The Way of a Pilgrim is a spiritual classic, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. It came to a remote monastery in Greece in the 19th century and was first published in 1884. Whether it is literal, fictitious, metaphorical, or pedagogical is unknown. The story follows an itinerant spiritual wanderer, all the time practicing Saint Paul's exhortation to "pray without ceasing." Specifically, the pilgrim repeats one prayer unceasingly, the Jesus prayer, until it becomes a sort of mantra. Through repetition of the prayer and encounters with his fellow inhabitants of 19th-century Russia and Siberia, the wanderer finds a spiritual enlightenment.
The Way of a Pilgrim is an oddity, but it can also be strikingly profound. In its sequel, A Pilgrim Continues His Way, the pilgrim engages an even richer dramatis personae in dialogues and spiritual lessons. Olga Savin's crisp, straightforward translation preserves the distinctive timelessness that makes the book great spiritual literature. This edition also includes three appendices that elaborate on the narrative's themes and a helpful glossary. --Eric de Place
This classic of world spiritual literature is the firsthand account of a pilgrim's journey as he endeavors to live out Saint Paul's instruction to "pray without ceasing." The narrator, an unnamed nineteenth-century peasant, sets out on his pilgrimage with nothing but a Bible, a rosary, and some dried bread. As he walks, he recites the Jesus prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me")—a prayer that is said to quiet anxiety and fill the heart with love for all creation. With this prayer constantly on his lips, the pilgrim undergoes a profound spiritual education. This edition includes the sequel to The Way of a Pilgrim, entitled A Pilgrim Continues His Way, which contains a lengthy appendix reviewing the teachings of the Holy Fathers on the Jesus prayer.
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