Mt. Athos has seen, in the last hundred years, a period of prosperity, up to the early part of this century, then a painful decline, followed by a new flourishing of both vocations and influence in the wider Orthodox world, including America. Elder Joseph (+1959) was a living bridge between the first and last conditions, one who in large measure made possible the current revival, through his ascetic struggles and lifelong practice of the craft of prayer of the heart. The details of this struggle and this pursuit may be found in this newly-translated collection of eighty-two letters to numerous spiritual children. From it may be gleaned the essentials of a truly Orthodox understanding of the stages of the spiritual life, and the ''therapy'' provided by the Fathers and Saints of the Church, that can heal us from our diseases and set us on the path of purification, illumination, and perfection. It comes down to hard work, friends; and the grace necessary to help us persevere in it. It's all here -- passed on to us by one who was ''unlettered as far as his secular schooling was concerned... but wise in things divine, for he was tutored by God. The University of the Wilderness taught him what we basically need: the divine'' (Elder Ephraim). This is a book not to be simply read, as a certain holy bishop said, but ''eaten.''
An Eighth Day View:
Presented here for the first time in English as "Monastic Wisdom," this collection of Elder Joseph's letters makes the wealth of his wisdom and experience available to readers from all walks of life. As his struggles and lifestyle of stillness unfold, readers witness his difficult trials and battles with the demons, his profound visions and spiritual guidance, his martyric endurance in illnesses and finally his holy repose.