Book Recommendations

A work in progress of my personal book recommendations (please check back for updates):

Introduction to the Orthodox Church

The Truth of Our Faith by Elder Cleopa of Romania — Q&A format between inquirers and Elder Cleopa

The Law of God: For Study at Home and School by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoi — Catechism originally in Russian intended for children but also a great resource for adults who want to learn more about the basics of the Orthodox Faith

Lives of the Saints and Elders

The Prologue of Ohrid: Lives of Saints, Hymns, Reflections and Homilies for Every Day of the Year, Vol. 1 and  Vol. 2 – Essential resource for the Orthodox home with short lives of the saints for each day of the year as well as reflections and homilies. Volume 1 covers January through June; Volume 2 covers July through December.

Everyday Saints (Russian Orthodox) — Collection of short stories about the Pskov Caves Monastery during the Soviet era and was the number one best selling book in Russia.

Father Arseny, 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father &
Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses — Account of Fr. Arseny’s Survival in the Soviet gulag and life afterwards. These books show the witness of how the Orthodox Faith is lived under duress and persecution.

The Life of St. Antony by St. Athanasius the Great — The life of St. Antony who experienced numerous spiritual trials in the desert. Also available in a cheaper Kindle edition.

Shepherd of Souls — Life of Elder Cleopa of Romania.

Salt of the Earth – Biography of Fr. Isidore.

Saint Nektarios: The Saint of Our Century — A modern saint who humbly endured persecution by heirarchs within the Church.

Wounded by Love — The life and spiritual councils of St. Porphyrios.

The Lives of the Holy Apostles — Detailed accounts of the lives of the 12 apostles (including Matthias) plus Paul and James the brother of the Lord and contains much information from Tradition about their travels while spreading the Gospel to other nations

The Optina Elders were influential in the revival of monasticism and spirituality in Russia in the 1800s and early 1900s until the Bolsheviks shut down the Optina monastery.

More detailed information can be found in this article on Pravoslavie.

There are several books devoted to the lives of these elders:

Spiritual Councils

The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way  — a classic Orthodox book about a  Russian pilgrim’s quest to pray without ceasing.

Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climicus — A step by step instruction guide on how to obtain spiritual purification.

Unseen Warfare as revised by St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by St. Theophan the Recluse — a manual about fighting in spiritual warfare

 The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection – short sayings of the Desert Fathers

Other Spiritual Councils

The Philokalia: Vol. 1   Vol. 2   Vol. 3   Vol. 4

Spiritual Counsels I: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Spiritual Counsels II: Spiritual Awakening by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Spiritual Counsels III: Spiritual Struggle by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Spiritual Counsels 4: Family Life by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos


The Orthodox New Testament: The Holy Gospels, Volume 1 &
The Orthodox New Testament: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation, Volume 2
 — A two volume set of the New Testament with a translation by Holy Apostles Monastery which also contains commentary by the Church Fathers

The Orthodox New Testament: Translated Out Of The Original Greek: The Text Of The 4 Gospels, Acts, 21 Epistles, And Revelation — A one volume pocket edition of the two volume set above without the commentary.

The Psalter-According to the Seventy — Septuagint Translation of the Psalms divided into the Kathismas and also contains charts for the daily cycle of Psalms as well as a list of Psalms read in the various services of the Church.

 Children’s Books

Orthodox Childrens Illustrated Bible — great resource for Bible stories with iconish illustrations and also available in a Greek version.

The Book of Jonah: Illustrated for Children by Niko Chocheli — beautiful illustrations tell the life of the Prophet Jonah with text from the Bible.

The Legend of the Cross

The Praises: Psalm 148 : A Psalm of David by Niko Chocheli — the Praise psalm from Matins accompanies by vivid imagery.

Prepare O Bethlehem: The Feast of the Nativity by Niko Chochel

Christ in the Old Testament: Prophecy Illustrated by Niko Chocheli — side-by-side comparisons of Old Testament prophecies to Christ’s fulfillment of them with Chocheli’s interesting drawings

The Woman and the Wheat — a chronicle of the process of making prosphora from planting the wheat through partaking of the Eucharist

St. Seraphim’s Beatitudes: Blessings for Our Path to Heaven – Based on the Life of the Wonderworker of Sarov

The Monk Who Grew Prayer

And Then Nicholas Sang: The Story of the Trisagion Hymn

These books by Catalin Grigore and illustrated by Adela Calistru contain detailed stories about the saint’s life with captivating pictures:

Wise Joseph and His Brothers

The Holy Prophet Moses and the People of Israel

Elder Paisios the Hagiorite, the Friend of Children

The Story of the Holy Hierarch Calinic of Cernica the Wonderworker

Holy Hierarch Luke of Crimea, the Unmercenary Physician

The Story of Holy Hierarch John Maximovitch the New Wonderworker

The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare by Jane G. Meyer and Zachary Lynch — Celtic artwork accompanies this story of St. Brigid

Pictures of God: A Child’s Guide to Understanding Icons by John Kosmas Skinas

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