Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘The Arena’

A classic manual on the Christian spiritual life, by Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, this is the second in this series of posts. See post 1 here.

The Arena: Guidelines for Spiritual and Monastic Life

By Ignatius (Brianchaninov) Translated by Lazarus (Moore) Foreword by Kallistos (Ware); Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville NY.

From the publisher’s description:

This is one of the most important and accessible texts of Orthodox Christian teaching on the spiritual life, and and not unlike the better known “Philokalia.” The author, St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) describes this work as his legacy “of soul saving instruction.” He promises that “Those who carry out these instructions will enter into possession of spiritual riches.”

In an age even more alienated from spiritual culture and rooted in materialism, his words pose both a challenge and an invitation to all who ever say to themselves “There must be more to life than this.”

For anyone who desires to deepen their own spiritual journey based upon an encounter with Christ as God, this book is essential reading. Its contents may ultimately be accepted or rejected, but they will be very difficult to ignore.

Like the other leaders of this Russian monastic revival, Ignatius was deeply rooted in the ascetic and mystical doctrine of the Greek Fathers, yet there was nothing antiquarian or academic about his devotion to the teaching of the past: for this ancient tradition was something that he had experienced directly, as a creative and dynamic reality in his personal life.

–Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

Subjects covered include unceasing prayer, the need for spiritual direction and the importance of Divine meditation. The original Russian edition was published in 1867. The work encapsulates the legacy of St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) as it was published in the year of his death, after some forty years of monastic life. There is a helpful thirteen-page introduction is provided by Archimandrite (now Metropolitan) Kallistos (aka Timothy Ware) as well as a glossary of terms. The 2nd edition was reedited and newly typeset. It includes interior design features, subject and scripture indexes, and includes a short life of St Ignatius.

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One thought on “Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘The Arena’

  1. Pingback: Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘Recollections of Mount Athos’ – The North American Thebaid

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