reading list

I was asked to coffee today by a Roman Catholic woman who spent Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha with our church in Mesa. She heads home to Washington next week and wondered what books I might recommend for her continuing journey towards Orthodoxy.I do not consider it complete. It was written at the spur of the moment and is on the back of a receipt. I would like to note that I am not recommending the Philokalia. She had already purchased the Philokalia from a monastery and I was redirecting her to Tito Coliander’s excellent little book…

Two friends have already suggested that Facing East by Frederica Mathews-Greene should be on the list. What other books would you recomend?

reading list written in a Starbucks on a receipt..



Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Poems, Books and Reviews

25 responses to “reading list

  1. Is ‘The Orthodox Way’ by Bishop Kallistos Ware on that list?

  2. Orthodox Christianity (SVS Press) by Metropolitan Hilarion is excellent and easy to read.

    • Fr. James Coles

      This is a new one for me.

      • Robert Joost

        “Turning the Heart to God” — St. Theophan the Recluse
        “Mountain of Silence” — Kyriakos C. Markides
        “Our Thoughts Determine our Live” — Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

  3. Nicholas Livingston

    Entering the Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Hierotheos Nafpaktos

    Pascha Tranforms Wolfman Tom (not sure on the author)

  4. I think it depends on the person… for me the book _Courage to Pray_ by Met A. Bloom, esp. the first page, was central for my initial journey in… Also the book by Fr. John the Monk published by St. Vlads entitled _Christ is in our midst_ is still one of my favorites….

  5. Maarit

    Great! Any possibility to get that list printed… since the text in the photo is not very clear in my laptop.

    • Fr. James Coles

      The Bible
      For The Life of the World
      Way of the Ascetics
      Behold the Beauty of the Lord
      Roots of Christian Mysticism
      The Ladder
      Beginning to Pray
      The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
      Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
      The Brothers Karamazov
      The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Conner
      The Abolition of Man
      Stories by Anton Chekhov

  6. David Maliniak

    Cabasilas’s “The Life In Christ
    “The Incarnate God” (2-volume catechism from SVS)
    Orthodox Study Bible

    • Fr. James Coles

      The Orthodox Study Bible was not taken for granted in the conversation but wasn’t listed. And it should have been. Thank you David.

  7. marsha

    To me, most of the books on that list were way beyond me. I still can’t read most of them, not because I lack intellect, but because I lack the heart for them, as of yet.

    I do highly recommend Fr. Meletios Weber and the “Facing East”. “mountain of silence” is another good one that I could “take in”.

    Also, “Thirsting for God” by Matthew Gallatin, though that’s directed to Protestants mostly.

    And Living Orthodoxy: In the Modern World : Orthodox Christianity & Society was THE book that tol d me that some day, somehow I would become Orthodox.

  8. I passed on to her At The Corner of East and Now, and would highly recommend Discovering The Rich Heritage of Orthodoxy by Fr. Charles Bell (now Fr. Seraphim).

  9. Lenore Wilkison

    There is a book called The Truth What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About The Orthodox Church by Clark Carlton. It is a fast read, but WARNING: Carlton can be rather demeaning at times.

  10. Christian Gonzalez

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s _Life Together_.

    Also. You got the ones that I would have suggested. Especially _Bros K_ and Fr Mel’s book.

    Oh, and St Athanasius’ _On the Incarnation_. I loved how it made me rethink and reevaluate Christ’s work. It’s nice to move from a legal understanding of Christ’s work to seeing him as the Victor.

  11. Joan Litman

    This is a thrilling list…. I’ve been wondering what to read next, and what to reread. I was very happy to find Flannery O’Connor and Henry Nouwen on the list.

    This year I read/listened to Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart. I must have listened to it five times.

    A really clarifying book was Eucharist by Alexander Schmemenn

  12. Evdokia3

    Thank you for starting a list Fr. James! I have more reading to do! 🙂 (former RC myself)
    Since she just traveled through Great Lent she might want to read Fr. Schmemann’s “Great Lent” to learn more about the services she may have attended. Others have mentioned my favorites. I also enjoyed “One Flew Over the Onion Dome” by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt.
    If she is tech savvy there are also a myriad of great podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio too. But perhaps that’s for a whole other list!

  13. Joel

    I would add Fr. Pat’s Christ in the Psalms.

  14. Rozanne Spires

    I realize that a Catholic might not relate to Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gillquist as much as an Evangelical Christian might. I was an Anglican when I read it though, and I thought it very helpful. Have loaned to a nice Presbyterian couple who are finding it quite approachable.

  15. CG

    Wounded by love (Elder Porphyrios) made a deep impression on me in the early days, as has Mother Gavrila’s Ascetic of Love more recently, but perhaps they are not for undecided outsiders. Both focus on how an Orthodox life is lived, rather than on what we believe.

  16. Caitlin

    I would also recommend Mountain of Silence and anything by Fredericka Matthews-Green.

  17. John G

    As an Orthodox convert from Roman Catholicism I would concur that Clarksons ‘The Truth about Roman Catholicism’ is not a good read for somebody brought up in the RC faith. I’m afraid that his zeal to ‘kick the pope’ sometimes has more than a hint of Protestant baggage that Clarkson is carrying , which is a big turn off for RC’s. Most RC’s move towards Orthodoxy not because they suddenly despise the RC church, but rather they recognize what they feel has departed from RC Liturgy and teaching is still present in Orthodoxy….Pope bashing is out…sorry.

  18. Patsy Morden

    Dear Fr James,
    You might only remember me in person as I’ve been to St Ignatius just a few times. (Tom and I go to St Katherine). I have some reading to do now. This is so funny. Most of the books on your list are ones I haven’t read. Some are on our shelf already. Please tell her to give herself some “let it soak in” time.
    I became Orthodox in 1994 and learned all everything all could at the time. There is still have more to learn, more books to read, love it.

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