"A valuable treasure of Russian spirituality that theologians, philosophers, and laymen will read with pleasure and delight." — The Personalist.
An anonymous nineteenth-century peasant attempts to follow St. Paul's advice to "pray without ceasing," setting out on a pilgrimage with only a Bible, a rosary, and some dried bread. Throughout his travels, he recites the Jesus prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me"), an invocation reputed to instill a sense of love for all creation. The story of his spiritual education, "The Way of a Pilgrim" ranks among the classics of world spirituality, and its appearance here distinguishes this superb anthology of spiritual works by Russian writers.
Clear, scholarly commentaries introduce the texts, which date from the eleventh century to modern times and derive from the lives of saints, ascetic and mystic treatises, and spiritual autobiographies. All the authors — mystics, prophets, rebels, and saints — belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, and most occupied places of spiritual authority. Their works offer both literary sensibility and compelling examples of intense religious experience. The first such anthology in any language, this volume was hailed upon its original publication as "a gold mine indeed" (Commonweal).