Compiled by Emmanuel Nicholas Stamatiou
Prefaced by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia
Introduction by Dr Philip Kariatlis of Saint Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College
To purchase, click HERE
The Holy Monastery of Saint John is offering a new book entitled ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ to our Orthodox faithful. This is a truly unique book, ideal for all the faithful, from Catechumens to those mature in the faith, and is unrivalled with anything currently on the market. It is a must have for all spiritual libraries, and a timeless treasure rich in encyclopaedic content.
This beautifully presented three volume set entitled ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ covers different aspects of the Christian Orthodox faith. The volumes are entitled ‘Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed‘, ‘The Sacramental and Liturgical Life‘, and ‘Spiritual Life and Progress‘. The structure of the book is in the form of answers to frequently asked questions, and its contents are primarily a collection of references from both the Patristic tradition and contemporary Orthodox theologians. It is a magnificent reference book and truly belongs in everybody’s home.
All proceeds raised from the sale of this book go solely towards the production costs and the needs of our Monastery.
It is truly a blessing that His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia has written the Preface to this monumental work. A copy of the Preface text is as follows:
“Spiritual Enlightenment” is fundamental in our path toward theosis, the ultimate goal of every Orthodox Christian. As such, Mr. Stamatiou’s publication, in the form of questions and answers that clarify aspects of our rich Orthodox faith, is valuable reading and essential for all those who strive for the one thing needed” (Luke 10:42).
It is a comprehensive book, which seeks not only to bring to the fore some of the main tenets of our Orthodox faith as expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, but also explores the significance of the Sacraments, the Liturgy, and our icons to name only a few of the other topics that are covered.
Furthermore, the work is rich in its Patristic references and, I am sure, will go a long way in assisting all those, but especially our youth, who are seeking to form and strengthen a relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
This relationship then becomes the experience of the living God, and transcends mere intellectual knowledge about God. Such a relationship becomes unwavering in the face of the variouş challenges and difficulties that will, inevitably, come our way and, when combined with a humble mindset and ascetic struggle leads to our deification, or theosis.
I commend the labours of Mr Stamatiou in putting together this publication in such an easy to read format and pray that the book has the success it deserves, I remain,
In Sydney, on the 29th day of September 2020
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Dr Philip Kariatlis has written a beautiful Introduction of which an excerpt of the text is found below:
We live in a world in which tested and tasted’ values, held almost universally by the majority of civilisations throughout time, are being questioned in our modern times, if not totally rejected. Christian teachings, more specifically, which of old underpinned not only the way people related to God but also to one another and the world more broadly, are seen in a rather negative or at least unattractive light. Indeed, terms such as ‘doctrine’ or ‘dogma’- namely, the Church’s teachings about God and the world – are understood negatively, and too restrictive for the modern ’emancipated’ person. Even within Christian circles more specifically many of our faithful have come to understand the term ‘doctrine’ in terms of abstract conceptual teachings which have hardly anything to do with daily living. That is to say, more often than not, they are perceived as principles or teachings which need to be cognitively known, for example, without any practical relevance. For this reason, there is a tendency to see the Church’s doctrine in general as being only relevant for the ordained clergy or ‘specialist’ theologian, but not so for the common faithful.
Although many Orthodox Christians know and can recite the Nicene Creed by heart, they may not understand the meaning of the articles of the Nicene Creed they are reciting. The Nicene Creed is recited as a personal confession of our allegiance to God, our confession of faith. It was formulated by the Holy Fathers with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to remind us of our true belief and not to be scattered in different directions by heresies and innovations which continuously threaten the Church and our faith.
My major interest for writing this book is for the spiritual renewal of the people of the Orthodox Christian Church. Most people nowadays have been educated in a secular way and give little credence to religion or belief in God and eternal life. They have lost direction and are living in a state of confusion, forgetfulness of God and in the darkness of ignorance. They feel insecure, abandoned and indifferent to all things because they have become estranged from God. They take sin to be progress and morality. They accept the unnatural for the natural.
They justify the unjustifiable and glorify sin. Saint Paisios says that the secular spirit” has entered into the world and it will destroy us. People have taken this “world” into their hearts and have expelled Christ. The secular spirit enters into our hearts gradually. The worldly spirit deceives us into making small concessions at first until it gradually overwhelms us. Evil progresses in small steps.
People take delight in worldly things because they do not think of eternity. They have not grasped the deeper meaning of life that real joy, peace and delight can only be found in Christ.
The aim of this book is to attempt to awaken people with the grace of the Holy Spirit from the spiritual slumber and to help them from being swept away by the secular torrent and drown by the excesses of evil. This can only be done through repentance and renewal. When people turn around the Holy Spirit will give them an abundance of grace to try and overcome the temptations that lie ahead.
In order to assist the readers in understanding their Orthodox faith, I have divided the book into three general sections:
1. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
2. The Sacraments, Liturgical Life, major periods of the liturgical year
3. Aspects of Spiritual Life and Progress
The structure of the book is in the form of answers to frequently asked questions and its contents are for the most part a collection of references from both the Patristic tradition and contemporary Orthodox theologians.
I pray that this book will be of assistance to those who are struggling, like myself, on the road to enlightenment.
Emmanuel Nicholas Stamatiou
Each of the three volumes contains many beautiful and unique pieces of art created specifically for this book. Some examples are found here below.
Volume One - Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
Volume Two - The Sacramentical and Liturgical Life
Volume Three - Spiritual Life and Progress