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The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  745 ratings  ·  66 reviews
An acclaimed expert in Christian mysticism travels to a monastery high in the Trodos Mountains of Cyprus and offers a fascinating look at the Greek Orthodox approach to spirituality that will appeal to readers of Carlos Castaneda.
In an engaging combination of dialogues, reflections, conversations, history, and travel information, Kyriacos C. Markides continues the explora
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 19th 2002 by Image (first published September 18th 2001)
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The Orthodox Church by Kallistos WareThe Orthodox Way by Kallistos WareOn the Incarnation by Athanasius of AlexandriaThe Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. MarkidesThe Orthodox Study Bible by Jack Norman Sparks
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The Orthodox Way by Kallistos WareOur Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Thaddeus of VitovnicaEveryday Saints and Other Stories by Tikhon ShevkunovThe Orthodox Church by Kallistos WareFather Arseny, 1893-1973 by Vera Bouteneff
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Amazing story of one man's series of conversations with a spiritual master from Mt. Athos. Such a rich treasury of Christian truth on how to seek after Christ following the path of saints and martyrs from the time of the apostles until now.

If anyone is interested or has questions about Orthodox spirituality, Fr. Maximos gives a compelling introduction through his conversations with Kyriacos Markides. Easy to read and very interesting.

Makes me want to go to Cyprus and Mt. Athos.

Lots to say about
The title, The Mountain of Silence, by Kyriacos C. Markides is an apt description of where the author wants to take us. And it does need to be considered ‘a search for Orthodox Spirituality’ as his work is sub-titled because Markides went to Cyprus in search of answers to his personal questions about the Orthodox faith. If you can humbly surrender to being along for an intimate introductory tour, you will enjoy this pilgrimage to/through Orthodoxy. If you’re looking for a heady theological cours ...more
Love this book for its jewels of wisdom. Here are a few passages from Father Maximos that I loved:

"Each person leads a life in accordance to his or her providentially assigned life's task. A leg cannot tell a hand 'I do not need you', neither can an eye to an ear. When we raise the question 'who is contributing more?' the very nature of the question is problematic. Why? Because we must not evaluate human beings on the basis of their contributions and utility to society, but on the basis of who
Chapter 5

"As a result of long and hard practice the sensibilities of the saints are radically altered. Unlike us, they perceive things around them differently. They see everything and everybody in their true state, permeated by God. Everybody is perceived as being within Providence. Therefore, for a real saint nothing is apprehended as really hostile. That is the reason the saints have absolutely no fears."

"...Whenever you meet someone on your way, in reality you meet God. And as you honor God
I never quite understood Eastern Orthodoxy and the Mystical tradition, that is until I read this book. Man, what an amazing insight into this realm of Christianity. Too bad I am female, otherwise I would take a journey to the Mountain of Silence as soon as possible!
The most spiritually illuminating and edifying book I have ever read. I cannot describe justly in words how much this book has contributed to my life and my knowledge of God. Every Christian should read this. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
This book is one of my all-time favorites. So many things to learn from it as well as being easy to read. I particularly like the accounts of miracles.
Patrick Williams
Highly recommended! I read this while a Protestant to learn about the Orthodox Church. The Mountain of Silence is about a Cyprian-American who goes back to his homeland of Cyprus and learns about the Orthodox Faith in discussion with a Bishop whom he calls "Maximos". This is all related in a narrative/story style with dialog in various setting occuring between the author and Maximos so it makes it interesting to read - it is like sitting next to them and listening to their conversation. In the c ...more
Franklin Tait
Read Mountain of Silence. This is a wonderful book, dare I say, a classic read in Eastern Christian Spirituality. It is very genuine and Markides isn't afraid to voice his doubts and to push back in his discussions with Fr Maximos. What he finds, though, is the world opening up in mystery and wonder before him, causing his scientific sociological and materialist worldview to vanish like mist before the rising sun. Listening to Fr Maximos, one discovers what it means to purify the heart that one ...more
This is an incredible book. Written by a University of Maine sociologist who grew up Orthodox in Cyprus but then fell away from his faith, this book is part travelogue (I've heard someone else describe it as that), spiritual journal, and introduction to Orthodox spiritually. It reads beautifully and one can sense the author's deep love for his spiritual guide, Fr. Maximos, and his deep respect for the religious experience. He writes of miracles with great credulity and in a way that makes them c ...more
I didn't mind the text that focused on Father Maximos' dialogue--in the very least it was educational and interesting to hear someone who believes very deeply in his faith try to rationalize it, communicate it to other believers and skeptics, and use it as the framework for viewing every other aspect of life. Lots of interesting detail about monasticism, Christian mysticism, and the political situation in Cyprus. Markides does a good job of keeping the topics germane to the layperson and his sty ...more
Brian Reed
I really liked this book, the content left me with a kind of awakening. This book definitely gives a person a lot to think about. I especially liked reading about the 5 stages in the evolution of logismos (thoughts), Assault, interaction, consent, captivity, and passion or obsession. Chapter 9, referred to as Invisible Intruders is where this is discussed.

Assault - the logismoi first attacks a person's mind
Interaction - a person opens up a dialogue with the logismoi
Consent - a person consents t
There are three ways of knowing, according to Kyriacos Markides: scientific, logical, and mystical. He argues that western society has concentrated on both logical and scientific in the past, but in recent history has disallowed the value of logical knowledge in favor of scientific only. Markides introduces the reader to the concept that there is great value in mystical knowledge. He discusses several examples that show the worldly wisdom of monks who have removed themselves from the world and h ...more
A highly readable narrative of Eastern Orthodox Christian mysticism as practiced in our modern time. The author, himself an Orthodox Christian of Cypriot heritage, gives a knowledgeable and sympathetic portrayal of the subject while also remaining sympathetic to the philosophical and scientific methods of the West. This is an excellent book for those who have hope that the "way of the mind" and the "way of the heart" is not necessarily a choice of "either or."
This was a wonderful book. It was so good, I'm going to read it again....but even more slowly next time so I can digest it even more. I absolutely loved the conversations the author has with Father Maximos! His thoughts on prayer, icons, marriage, and growing towards communion with God are so uplifiting and encouraging. It defintily left me with a different perspective on many things.
κίρστεν (Kirsten)
Review is HOPEFULLY forthcoming.

But so far I'm absolutely loving this book. It's a very peaceful late-night read, and it makes me think in a quiet, unassuming way. It's a true testimony to the gentle guidance of the Orthodox faith.

Definitely a keeper! If my brother ever asks for his copy back, I'm buying myself one. ^^
Huw Watkins
I found the comparative analyses of Markides to be banal and superfluous and the observations and spirituality of Father Maximos (aka the current Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Cyprus) to be divine and fulfilling. This book played a big role in my catechism to Orthodox Christianity, both in my rejection of my former wishy-washy view that all spirituality is the same and in the delightful introduction to the truth and incredible depth and beauty that resides in the Orthodox church. I once r ...more
Nick Shelton
This book too me way too long to read.
Not because it was bad necessarily, but it just wasn't horribly compelling.
The narrative-interview style is awkward and clunky and reminds me at best of a 60 minutes interview and at worst of a cheesy B-rate movie. The "real" conversations are too scripted, even though I believe Father Maximos is probably a credible and wise mystic and elder.
So stylistically I have reservations. It should have been written as a normal nonfiction work.

However, the i
A wonderful and accessible introduction to Orthodox spirituality, as related to the author by Father Maximos, an Athonite monk living in Cyprus. Athonite spirituality presents a picture of the Christian life as one oriented towards a fuller union with Christ and a living experience of God. Western Christianity and modernity as a whole are often used as foils; for the Orthodox, westerners have gone awry by trying to approach God and truth exclusively through the use of reason, while forgetting th ...more
Lauri Baird
An absolute must read for all seeking to understand the Orthodox Faith
David Gwartney
It is not often that I read a book where every chapter inspired me and captivated my thoughts for the rest of the day. A brief synopsis: the author, Kyriacos Markides, is a professor of sociology at the University of Maine and originally hails from Cyprus. Through his studies, he began to explore ancient mysticism, despite being himself an agnostic. His research lead him to a monastic community on Mount Athos in Greece and a meeting with a young monk named Father Maximos. This Athonite community ...more
Andrew Gounardes
This book was good and bad. I first picked it up because I was looking for some insights into Orthodox spirituality. On that measure, the book was excellent. The things that I learned about the spiritual traditions of my church really blew my mind - and for that, I am really glad I read this book. If I were to reread it again, or if I were to recommend to a friend, I would highlight all of the parts that deal directly with spirituality, and all of the teachings of Father Maximos, the central fig ...more
Sep 07, 2012 Aric added it
Shelves: religion
Well, this was interesting and informative, but I do have some gripes. I think quite often the form the author chose detracted from the otherwise interesting material. He chose a sort of dramatic Socratic dialog, ostensibly because that's how he learned the ideas he wished to present. Unfortunately this results in a rather stilted, often unrealistic and ultimately distracting narration of people chiming in with stories and ideas in a surprisingly organized fashion. I do think the style was as a ...more
Evan Hays
This book is definitely worth a read. It is not written as smoothly as some books I have read, and it is definitely written more as an information book by a scholar than a heartfelt explanation of Orthodoxy by a writer (which I am hoping is what A Short Trip to the Edge will be). That said, the information that you gain from reading this book makes it worth it.

Essentially the book is a series of conversation between the author, a trained sociologist who teaches in Maine but whose roots are Orth
A better review has already been written by Fr. Damick that mirrors my sentiments: To quote briefly, I agree with him as he writes: "I regard this book as very good... as far as it goes. Its main problem is that, overall, it offers an examination of spirituality without Christ. Mind you, I don't know whether the author (and certainly not the main subject of the book, "Fr. Maximos"!) had this intention, but it came across to me as a serious blindspot in th ...more
This book is a non-fiction novel about a professor from Maine who was born Christian Orthodox (like me) and travels to his native Greece to re-discover his spiritual roots. The book is basically a call to young people (like myself) who are turning away from the perceived rigidity of Orthodoxy to more liberal religions, like Buddhism. While I give props to the author for making this difficult attempt to convince me that Orthodoxy is just as "cool" as the idea of a God within us, it just didn't co ...more
Really, really enjoyed this book. Made me look at the faith differently. On top of the amazing stories and wisdom, the comment that a true Christianity would combine Western Christianity (reason, critical, theology-oriented) with Eastern Christianity (contemplative, mystic, experiential) really struck home to me. I hope to practice more of the contemplative side
Interesting and engaging work exploring the gifts of Greek Orthodox mysticism. I disagree with many of Marakides' conclusions about Western Christianity as a whole - yes, in part, to some of them - but it is to be read for the Greek Orthodox practices, beliefs, and traditions.
David Withun
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about hesychasm, or Orthodox mysticism. The vocabulary section at the back is especially helpful, as are the constant real-life examples from Father Maximos, the book's focal personality. Markides' sidebar comments get on my nerves from time to time, such as his constant use of "Christianity today" or "modern Christianity" (when speaking about certain negative stereotypes, such as disregard for logic and a fire-and-brimstone version of hell) w ...more
Camilla Sofia
Kyriacos Markides presents a thorough and penetrating view into the monastic life of the Eastern Orthodox church and covers many relevant issues including ceaseless prayer, illnesses of the heart, true knowledge of God, the meaning of icons, and the Orthodox understanding of Hell. Markides' writing is dense and often awkward, but the content is the important part of this book and not the art of writing, and it serves its purpose. A definite must-read for anyone considering the Eastern Orthodox f ...more
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“There are spiritual laws at work that most people know nothing about. So when others hurt us, our tendency is to strike back because we assume that we must defend ourselves, defend our name, our honor, our career, and so on. In reality we strike back at ourselves. ... What we consider as justifiable defense of our rights may in reality plunge us into a vicious cycle that can undermine our very spiritual foundation. By reacting to aggression with aggression we lose the opportunity to spiritually benefit from the experience. this law also explains why saints, when hit, often would literally turn the other cheek. (Fr. Maximos)” 5 likes
“God never cooperates with evil. He simply offers us the opportunity to transform the painful experiences in our lives into advantages and blessings. (Fr. Maximos)” 3 likes
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