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Illumined Heart

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Introduces readers to the ancient, transcultural faith that grew and flourished among Christians from the first century onward, suggesting practical ways that readers can practice early Christian spirituality, such as finding a spiritual director and praying the Jesus Prayer..
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Paraclete Press (MA) (first published October 2001)
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The Orthodox Church by Kallistos WareThe Orthodox Way by Kallistos WareFor the Life of the World by Alexander SchmemannGreat Lent by Alexander SchmemannFacing East by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Eastern Orthodox Christian Reading
13th out of 63 books — 23 voters
The Orthodox Church by Kallistos WareThe Orthodox Way by Kallistos WareOn the Incarnation by Athanasius of AlexandriaThe Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. MarkidesThe Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way by Anonymous
Best Eastern Orthodox Books
111th out of 117 books — 36 voters

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This book took more time to read than its thickness would suggest because it is the type of material one needs to marinade in. I am already applying some if the principles, though not as holistically as the book suggests.

There are two things that rub me a little bit the wrong way about this book, though I still rated it highly because the meat of the book is so worthwhile. First, this book comes across more strongly than the other FMG book I have read in suggesting that the Orthodox Church has a
I really enjoyed this book. As the cover says, "Mathewes-Green explores prayer, fasting, and alms-giving as aids to 'theosis' - total transformation in Christ." It's beautifully written and very simple. I loved chapter 9, especially, and am challenged to truly pray without ceasing. This is my favorite quote: "Murmuring like a brook, the prayer becomes the background music of every other thought and deed in life. It beats in the heart through long years, accompanying the believer at every moment. ...more
Concise, 100-page tract for modern Christians to think about what the ancient church believed, and then try to appropriate things that we have lost. She ends up equating ancient Christianity with the modern Eastern Orthodox Church, but doesn't get too pushy. I think her conviction is that if one really reads the early fathers and puts things into practice that they recommend and did, one may be led to become Orthodox.

Who knows? She may be right. Look at Peter Gillquist and buddies, who in the 8
I love this book! Mathewes-Green explores prayer, fasting, and alms-giving in the ancient church in a serious, but still engaging and easy-reading way.
I felt the author put stumbling blocks, right up front, for people who would practice this. Being very familiar with the subject matter I also felt that the book didn't dig deep enough to be very rewarding. In all it felt like a primer that had a glaring defect of putting prominently the difficulty without digging into the payoff.
This book was a gift from a dear friend. Mathewes-Green is a wonderfully accessible voice for/from the Orthodox faith. Subject aside, she reminds me of a hybrid of Joseph Girzone and Paulo Cueho. In terms of content, as a "Western Christian" I certainly didn't find anything objectionable. I do think she might be a bit quick to write certain ideas/practices off as being strictly "Eastern". I liked her hypothetical characters for the sake of her argument and I appreciated her humility in admitting ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Jays rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jays by:
Love Frederica's writing. Powerful little book.
I didn't encounter anything new in this little book, but it did sparkle with spiritual insight and beauty nonetheless, and I am glad I read it. The book explains how the early Christian laity practiced and grew in their faith. My only criticism is that, as Mathewes-Green writes from an Eastern Orthodox Catholic perspective, she sometimes portrays the Roman Catholic Church in a harsh and not altogether accurate light.
I really enjoyed this little gem. I found it to be more full of small meditations of the original monasteries and spiritual figures. I felt that the later chapters were particularly poignant and the exploration of the Jesus prayer with meditation was one oft he best I have ever read. I would recommend this to friends who are not huge theology buffs or who have more abstract concepts of faith.
David Withun
A must-read book for all Christians; a moving, educating look at the vibrant spiritual life of the ancient Christians, a heritage lost to many modern Christians, but still alive and well in the Orthodox Church.
I love this book. Mathews-Green says so many quotable words of wisdom that I had to keep notes. If you like to think through your beliefs, take a look at this book.
Jul 10, 2007 Emma rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any searching for God
i am really interested in spiritual meditation. this book deals with eastern orthodox religion and the history of early christainity.
An excellent book suitable for anyone interested in authentic Christianity. Sometimes short and simple is better!
Good thoughts. Not too much in the way of practical application.
a short but transforming little book
wowsers. good.
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  • Great Lent: Journey to Pascha
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  • Beginning to Pray
  • The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church
  • The Philokalia, Volume 4: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth
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  • Wounded by Love
  • Christ the Eternal Tao
  • Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith
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  • Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture
  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies
  • Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words
  • Blessed are the Peacemakers: Christ's Teachings of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness
Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew

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