A worthy journey, indeed. Serge Bolshakoff recounts these conversations with the curiosity and simplicity of a child, though well nourished by the fares of academia. Born in St. Petersburg at the turn of the twentieth century, Bolshakoff began his studies in civil engineering, but upon fleeing to Estonia during the Russian Revolution his interests turned to sociology and theology. A few years after earning his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford, his fiancee died in a car accident and Serge embarked on a very different path -- traveling and staying in monasteries throughout Russia, Estonia, Finland, Mount Athos and France for more than twenty years, finally settling at Hauterive Abbey in Switzerland. He wrote and prayed in these monasteries. He asked questions (he was particularly good at asking questions) and from these encounters with men advanced in the life of prayer, he may have quietly come upon his vocation -- that is, making these invaluable conversations available to the Western world. He is much like the wanderer in The Way of the Pilgrim in this: ''It is impossible to escape from yourself; but if you possess peace of soul, you would be happy and joyful anywhere. In this life it is impossible to escape from sorrows; it is necessary to have patience, to pray and wait. Then the Lord will show you the path at the moment that he chooses.''
An Eighth Day View:
This book is largely made up of conversations the author had with monastic fathers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, Estonia, Finland, on Mount Athos and in France. They have a vivid, almost poetic quality.