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The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,566 ratings  ·  257 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by Shambhala (first published 1860)
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Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exactly twenty-one years ago last April, I quit smoking.

It was the WORST ordeal of my life - bar NONE.

No kidding! I just quit cold turkey.

They say there’s no fool like an Old Fool!

That day I felt lost, rootless - I felt I was in a lifeless vacuum.

I was suddenly a disembodied soul.

And that’s exactly what happens when you quit cold turkey.

Previously, your life is so busy and tied up with the endless routines of work - and smoke breaks are your reward, and thereby part and parcel of your work and
Ahmad Sharabiani
‭Otkrovennye Rasskazy Strannika Dukhovnomu Svoemu Ottsu = The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way, Anonymous

The Way of a Pilgrim, or The Pilgrim's Tale, is the English title of a 19th-century Russian work, recounting the narrator's journey as a mendicant pilgrim across Russia while practising the Jesus Prayer.

It is unknown if the book is literally an account of a single pilgrim, or if it uses a fictional pilgrim's journey as a vehicle to teach the practice of ceaseless inner pray
I'm fairly sure that I stumbled upon this while studying Dostoevsky for my final year dissertation at university.

The first text, The Way of a Pilgrim, has a timeless feel. The pilgrim wanders across Russia from one place of pilgrimage to another. The pilgrim holds to the practise of continual prayer, first praying 'Christ have mercy on me', building up to 'Christ have mercy upon me, a sinner' and finally reaching 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, a sinner'. The pilgrim walks. The words of
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this years ago through my reading of Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger. Franny is obsessed with the book, and it sort of makes you want to see what all the hoopla is about. (Funny story about that sometime) I re-read this during a book purge, and I think ultimately it is a wonderful little book-- approachable from both a literary or a religious viewpoint.

Basically it is this, an anonymous journal/biography of a young man's search for God through the Jesus prayer. This is set in 1860's Russia
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
The manuscript for this wonderful little book was found in the hands of a monk by the Abbot of St. Michael's Monastery at Kazan in Russia. Since then this book has been contributed to two writers: The first author is believed to have been Archimandrite Mikhail Kozlov who lived between 1826 and 1884. He converted to the Orthodox religion and then became a missionary. The second writer is believed to be Arsenii Troepolskii who was born in 1809 and lived until 1870. Like the pilgrim, he traveled be ...more
tonight's my night for reviews about books that nearly drove me crazy.

this is one of those books. i had loved franny and zooey but i didn't think that the little book that nearly drove fanny crazy was anything more than a plot device. and then one day i walked into a bookstore i'd never been in before, and there it was. franny's special book, the one that changed everything. it was real.

i'd been struggling to maintain some kind of faith at that point. i wanted very badly to believe, and that ne
Carsten Thomsen
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By the grace of God I am a Christian man, by my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place. My worldly goods are a knapsack and some dried bread in it, and a Bible in my breast pocket. And that is all.

So begins this russian pilgrim his tale of spiritual search. He walks from place to place seeking advice on mysticism and the prayer life. He acquires The Philokalia, a collection of writings by eastern orthodox church fathers, and
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-or-under
Of course I first came across this book in "Franny and Zooey". I later found it at a place called Urban Ore. I love how virtuosic the pilgrim is with his humility, how open he is to learning secrets from everyone he meets along the road, and how clearly he describes attaining unceasing internal prayer as an experiment of the imagination--to picture your heart beating in your chest and to slowly travel inwards with your creative intellect until you reach it, to sit silently in the spaces between ...more
David Withun
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, religion
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I encountered when stugying Christian Mysticism and Eastern Orthodox practices. Like "The Cloud of Unknowing" it makes use of the "Jesus Prayer"

The Jesus Prayer (Greek: Η Προσευχή του Ιησού) or "The Prayer" (Evkhee, Greek: Η Ευχή - the Wish) is a short, formulaic prayer esteemed and advocated within the Eastern Orthodox church:
“Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν.”

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

The prayer has been widely taught a
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Christians
I can see why I was so taken with this book the first time I read it. Then it opened doors into prayer which I never knew were possible. Now, years later, it seems less profound but still sweet and full of wonderful little vignettes about the possiblities that a life of constant prayer can offer.


Read this MANY(!) years ago--shortly after my daughters were born. Don't know if it was the book itself, my spiritual immaturity at the time, Grace or a combin
Michael O'Brien
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a Russian peasant turned Orthodox pilgrim whose quest is learning how to apply the Bible's adage to "pray without ceasing". In so doing, he meets various fellow Russians whose lives he influences or who influence him to improved piety in their lives. It's an interesting book, and ends somewhat indefinitely in a discussion between Pilgrim, an elder, a priest, a professor, and a hermit on the importance of intense prayer and how to be successful at it. For me, I found the most ...more
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book lets the reader enter into the spiritual life of the 19th century Russian Orthodox Church. The narrative form makes it enjoyable and easy to read, even if the stories are more allegorical than autobiographical. The best insights from this book come from the extensive quotes from the "Philokalia", the ancient Greek Christian manuscript about deep spiritual prayer. The narrative just keeps the text from being too dense, and provides a real life practical example of what these teachings w ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you're looking for a book which extensively covers the topic of "prayer without ceasing," then I highly recommend this one. It also highlights the importance of inward/ interior prayer, which is often ignored or not stressed enough in Western Christianity.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-list
This story, that is either fiction of nonfiction, is entertaining and educational. This book helped me understand prayer better, than other more dry texts. I recommend this to anyone that has been trying to learn how to pray, and not finding help in other books and people.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a book that made sense to me. Right from the beginning I saw myself in the Pilgrim. "That's me!" I immediately said to myself.

"On the 24th Sunday after Pentecost I went to church to say my prayers there during the Liturgy. The First Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians was being read and among other words I heard these--'Pray without ceasing.'

"It was this text, more than any other, which forced itself upon my mind and I began to think how it was possible to pray without ceasing, sin
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The anonymous confessions of an early 19th century Russian aestetic to his spiritual adviser, THE WAY OF A PILGRIM is a classic of Orthodox Christian spirituality and contains within its humble account a message accessible to every reader. Far from being a highfaultin' work of theology, its theme is simply the ability of any individual to dwell in the presence of God.

The author of the account speaks of how one day in a sermon he heard St Paul's exhortation to "pray without ceasing", and he wonde
Veronica Rizk
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The pilgrim is a pure representation of what is mentioned in Matthew 7:8. He is determined to learn how to pray unceasingly (as Saint Paul the Apostle instructs), and after knocking and seeking, he is able to find all of his answers. He portrays the true Christian who does not worry about life, what to eat, drink, or wear (Matthew 6:25). His simplicity and overwhelming love for God allow him to experience the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth with merely his Holy Bible, Philokalia, rosary, and constant ...more
Evan Hays
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: devotional, classics
Thanks to Barrett for making me think of putting this one on here. Read this one about five years ago, and enjoyed it immensely. It was the first book I had ever read on Orthodox spiritual life, and it was a major blessing to me. The faith of the peasant in the story to persevere and seek to learn what true prayer was reminded me of our connection with the great cloud of witnesses. Furthermore, I have learned much from the Jesus Prayer, and still use it frequently in times of stress or just to s ...more
Vincent Chough
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself travelling with the Pilgrim while reading this book. It is a story about a simple man on a humble journey of profound faith. It reads like a series of parables. While the Orthodox aspects might not be for everyone, there is a universal desire expressed here by all believers: to experience God's presence continually.

I enjoyed this book immensely, and it is in itself a type of prayer/meditation. My faith was enriched by the experience, and I plan on rereading it.

BTW, I read the Span
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read this before, but it had been years. However, reading this was exactly what I needed this Lent - some very big a-has for me and some life-changing thoughts.
Joshua Bryant
A great intro to Eastern Christian contemplation. About three fourths of this is quite easily readable material, very interesting stories, of someone in much harsher circumstances than most of us can imagine, yet happy and doing quite well. The last fourth (roughly speaking) is more systematic, and the dialogue starts to become more fictional, a means of delivering an essay. But on the whole this is a great intro to orthodox calling-upon the Holy One, also known by the Latinate offshoot 'prayer, ...more
Nissa Rachmidwiati
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

I came across this book from Salinger's Franny and Zooey. The Way of Pilgrim plays a central part of the story. Reading TWOAP makes me have a depth understanding to Franny and Zooey and see the novel even clearer. This book makes Franny deals with her spiritual crisis. No wonder though, this book is a great 'wake up call'. The orthodox part is not for everyone but even if you're not a Christian, this book will speak to you in its own way (a non-Chr
Wayne Sutton
I read the first part as Ram Dass listed it in his recommended readings section of Be Here Now and I enjoyed Franny and Zooey. I can't say that I was as head over heals over it as Franny was but I did enjoy it. Eventually I'll get around to reading the second part, I just don't feel that it is much of a priority right now.
Mark Thomas
One of Renovare's 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. This book written by an anonymous Russian Christian and first published in 1884 is a good chronicle of one person's quest for developing an ongoing interior prayer life.

I found it very refreshing the way that the Pilgrim took his spiritual mentor's advice to see an ongoing interior prayer and then rather than questioning, balking, trying to rewrite it in his own words, he simple set about to try and accomplish it. There is a wonderful lack
The Way of a Pilgrim - Author Unknown

This book plays a central part in Franny by J.D. Salinger.

I had intended to only skim, but found this far more interesting than i would have expected; i'm not the sort that you'd normally find reading a book with a picture of an angry Christ on the cover! The book is a combination of an account of a man's itinerant journey in 19th century Russia and the people he meets along the way, and his religious life - in particular his learning to pray without ceasing
*nicole* Yasuhara
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
i read this book so that i could delve deeper into zooey's mind (in franny & zooey, the way of a pilgrim is what zooey was reading). the plot is much as it is explained by salinger. i read the book from an agnostic standpoint, and chose to translate prayer as meditation. it was easy to read and fairly interesting. i could see how someone uncertain or religious could find it powerful.

unfortunately, the second part, a pilgrim continues on his way, is horrible. for me, i found the interpretation o
Feb 01, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Folks interested in prayer
This is a strangely simple, somewhat episodic tale. As obscure as the origins of this work are (and therefore difficult to tell whether it's fiction or nonfiction), I find the character of this peasant difficult to relate to. Granted, he comes from a very different walk of life than pretty much anyone alive today, but despite an inordinate amount of introspection, I just didn't see very many moments when this person had doubts--about his faith, about his life choices, and about the efficacy of t ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
This book simultaneously illustrates the beauty of focusing your life on being in God's presence AND the danger of becoming so absorbed in personal formation that you cease to see opportunities to love. It is the narrative of a pilgrim in Russia in the 1800's who develops a singular obsession with fostering unceasing, inner prayer, with the use of the Jesus Pray "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner."

The prayer appears to draw his heart closer to God, and provide him with wisdom, yet at
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was first published while the Tsars were ruling in Russia, in 1793, about six years before the death of George Washington here.
At first, saying the Jesus Prayer sounded like a mindless mantra, but in 'The Pilgrim Continues His Way' the speakers discussed all my theological objections. The point seems to be that by adding true faith and personalizing a formal prayer, it comes to have real spiritual power instead of just being a dead religious exercise.
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

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Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.

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“The trouble is that we live far from ourselves and have but little wish to get any nearer to ourselves. Indeed we are running away all the time to avoid coming face to face with our real selves, and we barter the truth for trifles.” 3 likes
“He who lives among a certain sort of people becomes accustomed to that kind of habit, behavior, and morals. Consequently the cool become enthusiastic, the stupid become sharp, the idle are aroused to activity by a lively interest in their fellow men. Spirit can give itself to spirit and act beneficially upon another and attract another to prayer, to attention. It can encourage him in despondency, turn him from vice, and arouse him to holy action.” 2 likes
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