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 exploration of a spiritual tradition and practice little known in the West he began in Riding with the Lion. His earlier book took readers to the isolated peninsula of Mount Athos in northern Greece and into the group of ancient monasteries. There, in what might be called a “Christian Tibet,” two thousand monks and hermits practice the spiritual arts to attain a oneness with God. In his new book, Markides follows Father Maximos, one of Mount Athos’s monks, to the troubled island of Cyprus. As Father Maximos establishes churches, convents, and monasteries in this deeply divided land, Markides is awakened anew to the magnificent spirituality of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Images of the land and the people of Cyprus and details of its tragic history enrich the Mountain of Silence. Like the writings of Castaneda, the book brilliantly evokes the confluence of an inner and outer journey. The depth and richness of its spiritual message echo the thoughts and writings of Saint Francis of Assisi and other great saints of the Church as well. The result is a remarkable work-a moving, profoundly human examination of the role and the power of spirituality in a complex and confusing world.
The spiritual traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church are all but unknown to most Christians in the West, who often think of Christianity as split into two camps: Bible-based Protestantism and sacramental Catholicism. Yet in The Mountain of Silence, sociologist Kyriacos Markides suggests that Orthodox spirituality offers rich resources for Western Christians to integrate the head and the heart, and to regain a more expansive view of Christian life. The book combines elements of memoir, travelogue, and history in a single story. Markides journeys to a cluster of monasteries on Mount Athos, an isolated peninsula in northern Greece and one of the holiest sites in the Orthodox tradition. He also visits the troubled island of Cyprus, largely occupied by Turkey since 1974, and makes the acquaintance of a monk named Father Maximos, who has established churches, convents, and monasteries. Markides, a native Cypriot, tells the tale of this journey in a tone that’s loose and light, with many excursions on Church history and Greek and Turkish politics. But despite the easygoing tone, the importance of this book is potentially immense. The Mountain of Silence introduces a world that is entirely new to many Western readers, and unveils a Christian tradition that reveres the mystical approach to God as much as the rational, a tradition that Markides says “may have the potential to inject Christianity with the new vitality that it so desperately needs.” –Michael Joseph Gross –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Markides, a Maine sociologist who was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith and later drifted into agnosticism, continues his spiritual journey homeward in this collection of captivating conversations with the monk Father Maximos. The book is set on the island of Cyprus, where the author and his monastic mentor spent extended periods of time together due to unexpected circumstances that moved Father Maximos from the “Holy Mountain” of Mount Athos. Markides (Riding with the Lion), his interest piqued by an earlier pilgrimage to Mount Athos, used a sabbatical from the University of Maine to further explore the body of Christian mysticism that Mount Athos’s monks have preserved since the ninth century. Here, Markides and others pepper the charismatic Maximos with questions on a wide range of topics from angels, saints and demons to the role of icons in worship and the place of hell in Christian belief. Markides is a skillful and skeptical inquisitor whose queries surely must have tried the patience of his mentor. But Maximos rises to the occasion, providing gentle, thoughtful answers that by necessity often transcend the Western mind’s reliance on logic in spiritual matters. Markides’s work is an excellent resource for spiritual seekers of all levels, answering questions about Christianity in general and Eastern monasticism in particular. It will be of special interest to those who may be unaware of Christianity’s deep roots in mysticism.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.