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The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism
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The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism

4.62  ·  Rating Details ·  66 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This is a classic text that offers many treasures for seekers of the spiritual life today. Subjects covered include unceasing prayer, the need for spiritual direction and the importance of Divine meditation. Translated into English by Father Lazarus Moore from the original Russian edition published in 1867. It encapsulates the legacy of St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) as it w ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Holy Trinity Publications (first published January 28th 1982)
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Ryan Harbry
Mar 11, 2014 Ryan Harbry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best book on Christian spirituality and Christian theology that I have ever read. It came highly recommend to me by someone who I love and admire in the faith, and it exceeded every expectation that I brought to it. I would never suggest it as an introduction to someone new, or interested in, Orthodox Christianity. There are better books for this. But for those who are truly interested in living the faith, in maturing in the faith, these will find in Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov's wo ...more
Jun 18, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book I never finish reading. I have to put it down and "chew" on what I have read for days or weeks or months before returning for another bite. Excellent writing and seemingly good translation from Russian into English.

Although targeted toward Russian Orthodox monastics, there is much here that I believe the layperson will be able to take and use as he develops spiritually over his lifetime.

At times terrifying as Bp. Ignatius speaks of death and the hereafter, and comforting
Feb 13, 2015 Cecily rated it it was amazing
My edition is c. 1970, published in Madras, India--Diocesan Press. It's the first edition, with an introduction by Archimandrite Kallistos. The book was recommended by an eastern Orthodox acquaintance, but I didn't read it at the time. Then in 2001 a Trappist monk gave me this 1970 copy as a gift. I've been reading and re-reading it ever since. It's wonderful. It not only summarizes much of the best of the desert fathers, it includes stories I've not seen translated into English elsewhere. It's ...more
This was recommended to me by my spiritual father. It was ok, but it felt very harsh to me. There is a lot of good in it, but it seemed to be geared towards monastics, not the average layperson. I was kind of put off by it. Perhaps it was above my measure at the time, and maybe if I read it at a later date it would be more profitable - it might have been too early in my walk to be of benefit.
Oct 04, 2012 Silouan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this a dozen years ago in the first English edition, with the first twenty pages mixed up :-) It was still a simple, sober, realistic introduction to a life of guarding the thoughts and living within the life of the Church. Now I've just received this attractive new edition, and I look forward to revisiting it.
Jul 07, 2014 Hans rated it it was amazing
More like a 4.5

Great read. Written by a Russian Orthodox monk/bishop from about a century ago. Great spiritual insight. The only annoyance is that the 2nd half of the book is just a repeat of the first half. The first half is so great that it makes up for it, in my opinion.
Aug 14, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing
As spiritually challenging as the Ladder, the Arena offers great insight into what modern monasticism, and the call of Christ looks like on the monastic both in the monastery and in the world.
Chad rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2012
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Matthew Reed
Jun 13, 2007 Matthew Reed marked it as to-read
Fr. Thomas Hopko keeps recommending it. It's good so far but I just started it.
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Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov (1807–1867) is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. He was born Demetrius Alexandrovich Brianchaninov, to a wealthy landowning family. He was educated at Pioneer Military School in St. Petersburg. Although successful in his studies he was deeply dissatisfied with the lay life and turned to a life of prayer.
In 1827 he fell seriously ill and left the army on this gro
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“In the renunciation of one’s own will to follow the will of God consists the self-renunciation commanded by the Savior, which is an indispensable condition of salvation and Christian perfection. In fact, this is so indispensable that unless this condition is satisfied, salvation is impossible, and Christian perfection even more impossible.” 1 likes
“Causes or occasions of sin are the following: wine, women, wealth, health of body when excessive, authority or power, and honor or fame and name. “These,” says St Isaac the Syrian, “are not sins in themselves, but on account of our weakness and as our nature is easily drawn by them to various sins, there is need of peculiar caution in regard to them.”2” 1 likes
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