Philokalia vol. 5

It appears that the long-awaited full translation into English of the fifth volume of the Philokalia of St Nikodimos the Hagiorite, translated by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop KALLISTOS, will be published in June 2007.

[Updates in comments]


  1. Please, I need to get hold of the 5th volume of Philokalia but having no joy at present. Could anyone help me find one. I need two copies in fact.

    Please help


  2. Dear Isla,
    It is not published yet, and there is no projected date for its publication. I contacted Faber & Faber, and they have not heard from the authors in some time. Metropolitan Kallistos is the only member of the translation team who has not passed on. It will be up to him to complete the work. I do recall hearing questions about whether it will be published at all, as the fifth volume contains much on issues of discipline in a monastic setting. It is therefore considered by some to be inappropriate for a wider public and for Orthodox lay reading. We’ll have to wait and see when/if it will be published.


  3. hi, just recently got my copy of the four volumes from amazon, its so sad to read from the introduction of the fourth volume that two of the translators passed away before the completion of this monumental work. Please keep us posted should there be a fifth volume. Thanks

  4. Joseph, I certainly will. Unfortunately I missed the perfect opportunity to find out its status just this last spring, when Metropolitan Kallistos was here for a series of talks. He was always surrounded by people, and I was too shy to barge in. I’ll try to find out and let you and everyone else know.

    My impression is that part of the reason that His Eminence is equivocating on publishing it (the translation is, so I’ve heard, done) is that there is much in the fifth volume on the breathing discipline associated with hesychastic prayer. This could easily go awry, if an unaware reader were to attempt to implement this without proper direction. I think I myself would be quite uncomfortable with letting that information out into the wilds of the religious cafeterianism of today. Who knows how many people, thinking themselves advanced when they’re not, could be harmed? I still hope for the translation to be published, however, of course, if only for the sake of completeness. Sufficiently frightful warnings could (and should!) be included.

    1. Thank you for your efforts. As you can see from the post below, I’m tired of waiting and utter frustrated. I posted the following on a related thread:
      It’s about time!!!! We’ve (the readers of the previous volumes) been waiting for 24 years!!!!!! Of course, this is probably a false rumor, like the earlier ones, to take pressure off Ware and his associates who hear requests for volume 5. Rumors like this have appeared MANY TIMES BEFORE on the Internet and the last volume is never, ever published. I’ll believe it when I have the copy in my hands. The delay is the number one reason I haven’t become Orthodox. It appears to me that either Metropolitan Kallistos Ware feels the text contains things he doesn’t want outsiders (or even non-Greek-speaking Orthodox) to know or he has decided to break his word given to the faithful, and other readers, in Volume 1 to translate the complete text into English. The Metropolitan has done many positive things for Orthodoxy and I have learned much from his writings, but, the refusal on his part to release the final volume is a major red flag to me, which troubles me greatly!!!!!!!!!! If I want secrecy and disrespect for the laity, I’ll become Roman Catholic. If I want blatant lies and hypocrisy, I’ll remain in the Evangelical Protestant world I was raised in!
      This really is a red flag about Orthodoxy to me. I cannot, in good conscience, convert (no matter how much I believe it and love it) until this is resolved by Ware keeping his word. Period. End of discussion.

      1. How about start with volume one, read it and re-read it until you understand it, then move on to volume 2 and so on until volume 5 comes out, then decide if you wouldnt be better suited to evangelical protestantism?

      2. Anger and frustration at not having volume 5 is a spiritual trap of the enemy. This is not a good reason for not seeking the truth of the Orthodox Church. Seek instruction from one who lives the life.

      3. I am also someone who has waited for all this time for Volume 5 of the Philokalia and from time to time find posts like this which promise that it is coming and it doesn’t.
        Like you sound, I am an orthodox in my belief and practice but not in commitment because I don’t see the need to change. If part of the reason for it not being produced is because of hesychasm it is a shame and shows that true prayer is still not liked by those in authority.
        I think all the original translators are now dead, but it’s a shame that someone hasn’t come forward to complete the project.
        I remember thinking that I would buy a volume each year, but I never knew I would still be waiting in my 50’s!

        1. I don’t think it was a conscious attempt to block the publication of the translation. It has been translated fully into other languages (French, excellenntly, amongst others). This publication delay is due to Metropolitan Kallistos being the sole remaining authorial person of the group which undertook its publication. He is quite old and yet quite busy. For some reason, Orthodox parishes and conferences are able to entice him to travel and speak much of the year, however taxing it may be. It is not surprising that some projects have falle to the wayside.

          I will also mention that durinng the time from my initial post to the present, there has passed more than sufficient time to have become fluent in the requisite Greek. If this unread volume is so important to one personally, language learning is the direction that one’s interest would be best directed.

  5. Just for information: The complete translation of the Philokalia has been available in French for about 20 years. The French version is now in its third edition and is currently published by the Éditions de l’Abbaye de Bellefontaine in seven volumes (replacing the two-volume edition of 1995). There is a lengthy introduction by Olivier Clément on the spirituality of the Philokalia.

  6. Forgot to add: The French edition contains St Nikodimos’s original introduction as well as his notes on the authors, supplemented (rather than rewritten, as in the English edition) by modern biographical information.

  7. Thank you very much for that information on the French edition, Paul. I’ll have to pick that up. It sounds (frankly) much better than the English translation. The rewriting of the individual introductions and the exclusion of St Nikodimos’ general introduction were something that I always thought somewhat odd. I suppose it’s related to the kind of target audience (general religious, not strictly Orthodox) they had in mind. Even so. Many thanks for your helpful comments!

  8. Glory to Jesus Christ !
    I too have awaited the fifth vulume. The Hesychastic persuit is one of the most beautifel and rewarding disciplines in Orthodoxy both past and present. I will use my sources to attain Philokalia in old church slavonic or Russian for translating. A good colatteral read is ‘Words of Spiritual Benefit’ by H.H. Pope Shenouda III in four volumes. If nothing else it should help you with patience unending.

    Yours in Christ
    Father Andrew
    Orthodox Mission of St. Mary of Egypt
    Saginaw, Michigan usa

  9. Thank you, Father Andrew! I do actually have three of the four volumes of HH Pope Shenouda’s Words of Spiritual Benefit. I still need to find volume three, but have the others. That reminds me to look for the third volume again!

    Pope Shenouda’s books are all a delight to read. He is a very loving shepherd!

  10. Hi Kevin, may I comment a bit about the hesychastic prayer fears on the Philokalia 5 and that ‘ This could easily go awry, if an unaware reader were to attempt to implement this without proper direction. I think I myself would be quite uncomfortable with letting that information out into the wilds of the religious cafeterianism of today. Who knows how many people, thinking themselves advanced when they’re not, could be harmed? ‘
    I’m a Romanian Orthodox, and we got all the 12 Philokalia books translated from the Greek versions by Fr. Dumitru Staniloe, well known theologist 60 years back. All been published a few editions now, since they been translated with no harm to any of us. As a born othodox, we come to learn that we have to obey to our spiritual father that we are confesing to, and to Elder Fathers (quite a few are living in monasteries today).
    God is really driving us, othodox people, on the right path always, if we do have faith. The other ones, with no faith in the True God, can be harmed by various matters, not only by the hesychastic prayer. The ‘weak’ othodox belivers, cannot go very far with it. God shows His mercy, and protects them one way or another. He’s Almighty!
    I’ve heard, that non-othodox people, go even to St.Mount Athos, and attempt practising the hesychastic prayer. Elder Fathers say, these people don’t get much out of it, if anything whatsoever.
    To be an othodox, means to be brave. Othodoxy is not easy or cosy. It’s fierce fight agains ourselves. My humble opinion. Pray for us.

    1. Thank you, Elena! That was beautiful. You are absolutely correct. I especially like this: “To be an othodox, means to be brave. Othodoxy is not easy or cosy. It’s fierce fight agains ourselves. My humble opinion. Pray for us.

      I will. Pray for us too, all the Orthodox in America, surrounded by so much insanity.

  11. Hi Kevin, I do certainly need to add you to my prayers list. If it’s America it’s a lot harder than in any Orthodox country. Much you’re asked for down here, much you’ll be given up in Heaven. God bless you American Orthodox people and give you the strength to overcome the evil in any form it comes around! (Remember to get the blessing from your priests all the time.)

  12. Any new news on the Philokalia 5? St. John Chrysostom on the Psalms is a wonderful read, also, but like you, I want the 5th for completeness. God bless you!

  13. I haven’t heard anything further about the fifth volume of the Philokalia, Cliff. I think we’re at the point where someone will need to ask Metropolitan Kallistos what his plans are in that regard, as he’s the only person involved in the project who’s not fallen asleep in the Lord. I really should have asked him myself when he was visiting our parish, but he was so busy, surrounded by people constantly, and I didn’t want to intrude. I admit to being a bit chicken, as well!

  14. Hi Kevin,
    Things like this shouldn’t be let go. Even shouting the question over the people would’ve done, honestly. There is no time to waste for soul salvation. Counting that there are other 7 volumes of Philokalia to be translated, not sure how this will be accomplished. Maybe, people start to learn languages like: Greek, Russian, Romanian, Serbian,etc, that have already translated all these books and many more. Just a suggestion…
    Best regards,

  15. Elena, that’s definitely the case. There needs to be an organized standing group to translate all of these things, if they’re going to be translated at all. As you mention, there are other additional volumes of the Philokalia in languages other than Greek, and these should also be translated for those who either won’t or are convinced that they can’t learn the languages that they’re written in.

    I do hope that Metropolitan Kallistos will complete the fifth volume of the Faber & Faber English translation. It would be good to have the same consistent style of English for all five volumes. Though some have found the translation a bit too paraphrastic, it’s still easy to read yet with a pervasive literary quality, a sign of His Eminence’s high standards and skill.

  16. Metropolitan Kallistos has been working hard since mid-2006 on other projects which he has recently brought to a successful conclusion, so he will certainly now have time to finish the Philokalia.

  17. Hello I have a feeling that the 5th and 6th and 7th volume of the philokalia ,will be published in english all at once.Now is the time to experience the privious volume,so you will be ready for the rest.Breathing and visualizing practices can be learned from your spiritual father.we have to be opened to christ to hear his voice from the deep.

    God bless you all

  18. Hello Kevin,

    Are the contents of Volume 5 of the Philikalia known? Perhaps some of the writing contained in that volume are available online or in print individually.

    Also, from my limited reading about the Philokalia it appears that the number of volumes of the complete work varies. I thought there were only 5 volumes but there are apparently more, or is the variability due how the text(s) are grouped by voume?


    1. Yes, the Philokalia in Greek is 5 volumes, but in other languages, materials have been added from the Fathers in their own cultures (referring to the Russian and Romanian Philokalia editions). So there is a difference between them. All of them really should be translated into English, as we’re really pretty desparate for such things.

      The contents of Greek volume 5 are partly available in English in the last book published by Schemamonk Constantine of blessed memory (in the world, Dr Constantine Cavarnos), which is the second volume of his translations from the Greek Philokalia (most of volume one, much of volume two, and selections from all the others). That translation is available from the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, on the Patristic page. All of his books are highly edifying, particularly the Modern Orthodox Saints series which is a real treasure.

  19. Hi Kevin Could you advise if it is worth getting the Cavarnos edition of the Philokalia if I already have Vols1-4 of the F&F edition. I had no idea he had become a monk. (I am RC Benedictine in Scotland) Also do you know if there is an English translation available of the Introduction of Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain? Thanks

    1. Brother Finbar, yes, do get both volumes of the Cavarnos translations. St Nikodemos’s Introduction is translated in the first volume. I think you’ll enjoy them. The Cavarnos translation is more literal, but in a good way, not wooden.

      If you’d like to remember Schemamonk Constantine in your prayers, the third of March is the day of his falling asleep in the Lord.

  20. Yesterday I emailed Faber & Faber, the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge University, the Friends of Mount Athos (of which Metropolitan Ware is president) among others asking them to tell him that we have waited long enough—and it is time to publish Volume 5 and no excuses, theological or otherwise are acceptable. Finish the work he started.

    In part, I wrote:
    It’s been over a third of a century since Volume 1 of The Philokalia (Faber & Faber) English translation appeared and nearly 20 years since the last volume appeared. Obviously, lack of time to write (as is reflected in the list below [of works written by Ware since the last volume appeared] current as of 2001 only) has not been the issue with Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. It is time for him to either finish the project or pass it on to someone who will. I am certainly not the only reader who is tired of waiting. If he had no intention of finishing the project, he shouldn’t have started it!!!!!!

    I will continue to email and contact people and organizations that know and work with Ware asking them to use their influence on him. I will do so until the volume appears. If anyone else is willing to do so, God bless you! The more of us who are clamoring for volume 5, the quicker it should appear, if for no other reason than to shut us up! Also, I am praying that God will change Ware’s heart on this matter and finish the work he started. I ask you to do the same.

  21. Should anyone feel inclined to make the case for publication of Volume 5 to Metropolitan Ware in person and are in the UK (I’m in the USA), he is one of the scheduled speakers ‘Spiritual Guidance on Mount Athos’ a conference organized by the Friends of Mount Athos at Madingley Hall, Cambridge, UK from 8 to 10 March 2013.

  22. About half the contents of the 5th volume are already available in English; the last 8 texts, by Sts. Mark of Ephesus, Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory Palamas, and Gregory of Sinai, are found in the 2nd volume of Constantine Cavarnos’ Philokalia. The first text, by Sts. Kallistus and Ignatius of Xantholopoulos, can be found in “Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart” (based on the Russian edition of the Philokalia) which is published by Faber & Faber but out of print currenlyt- which is unfortunate, since I think it is the single most useful volume of Philokalia writings available in English with regards to the Jesus prayer.

    1. I unfortunately gave my hardcover copy of that away! It’s a great read. You’ll be interested to know that Cavarnos provided an initial draft translation of (some of? all of?) the Philokalia to the English translators. His translation was the base for the Faber & Faber one, but he was unhappy with the result. Thus the publication of his own partial, but superior, translation. I think he mention this in the introduction. I may take up a project translating St Nikodemos’ short introductions to the various writers. That’d be fun! Maybe during the summer.

  23. I am looking for a complete set of the Philo Kalia in Byzantine Greek. do you know where it is available online to read or to purchase? thank you for your assistance.

    1. Elizabeth, the site appears to have all five volumes available for purchase. I wasn’t able to find an online site with the full texts. I don’t have the Greek set myself, though I will eventually pick it up.

  24. I too am interested in getting a complete edition of this work.

    I am currently looking into charity, based in Canada, that works to translate and preserve the world’s spiritual works into English, and provide them online free of charge.

    I am in the process of collecting available works online, and establishing complete lists of important texts for the various faiths of the world.

    Growing up in the Anglican tradition, and taking a real liking to Buddhism, I was surprised when I stumbled across the concept of hesychasm. I was surprised to find these teachings not readily put forward among the Western churches. It pleased me greatly to find the spiritual heart of Christianity so clearly outlined and expounded upon.

    What are the other great texts of the tradition that I should be looking for? I’ve seen some good suggestions in the comments of this thread already, thanks!

    Please let me know if the 5th surfaces anywhere in English.

    1. The Philokalia is the classic collection of hesychastic texts, but as is implied by the collection itself, hesychastic texts are to be found throughout Patristic writers. Note the writings of Pseudo-Dionysios and Gregory Palamas, especially, the former as one of the earlest set of writings with an explicit focus on hesychasm, the latter as the one to defend it against charges of heresy, crystallizing its theological underpinnings and causing its eventual recognition as the core of Eastern Christian mysticism and theology (for the two are one and the same).

  25. Currently the only way for someone to read the 5th volume of the Philokalia is to find (modern) Greek texts of the 5th volume in electronic form (can be found in Greek blogs) and “google translate” them! I wonder what the result will be like…. The 5th volume is the most “mind-blowing” of the 5 and probably the most difficult to translate!

  26. I contacted Faber and Faber today (11 January 2018), and the reply as to the publication date of Volume Five was:

    “Currently we have this scheduled for 2020.”


    1. Well, finally! That’s good news. While I was in Oxford I was going to offer my help to Met Kallistos, but I was too busy with my own studies. I trust everything will turn out fine in the end. Thanks for writing, James.

  27. It’s been 12 years since KEVIN P. EDGECOMB’s initial post announcing that Volume 5 of the Philokalia would appear in June 2007. To date, it hasn’t appeared. Obviously, Mr.Edgecomb’s source or sources LIED!!!!!!!!!

    1. Mr. Gainey, may I suggest that such outright paranoia and suspicion of conspiracy and lies is rather overwrought, especially given that Volume 5 has been publicly available in French for many years now, which makes accusations of conspiracy to keep hesychastic teachings secret from the public somewhat disingenuous. French is hardly a secret or archaic language and far more accessible to the modern faithful than the original Greek. Perhaps your energy is better directed toward finding the existing English portions mentioned above by Ryan in 2013 (Cavarnos vol. 2). Also, learning foreign languages is interesting and fun.

  28. I’ll believe Volume 5 is to appear in 2020 when I actually hold the copy in my hand. Too many people have lied too many times about it coming out in the past to believe them now!

    1. Believe it or not it’s been a silble in India since 2006!

      If it does get published by Faber and Faber in 2020, it’s about time.

      “This is from the Malayalam Philokalia, which published an English translation supplied by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware alongside the south-Indian version. Yes, even though the English vol. 5 has never appeared in the US or Europe, it has been circulating in India since 2006!”

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