If you’ve read The Way of the Pilgrim, you know about The Philokalia — the legendary anthology of Eastern Orthodox mystical writings that was first compiled in the 18th century; it was translated into Russian a century later and that version featured prominently in The Way of the Pilgrim, a fictionalized account of a spiritual seeker whose spiritual director introduces him into the mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of the Heart. The Pilgrim comes to regard The Philokalia as second only to the Bible in terms of its deep contemplative wisdom.
The Philokalia is a massive compendium — featuring the work of over two dozen writers covering a thousand years of Orthodox spirituality. In the 1970s, three English Orthodox scholars, Gerald E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware, began translating The Philokalia in English — it turned into a massive project that lasted almost fifty years, consisting of five hefty volumes. Volume 1 was published in 1979, followed by the second volume in 1981 and Volume 3 in 1984. After Palmer’s death in 1984, Sherrard and Ware completed volume 4 which was published in 1995 — the same year of Sherrard’s passing. With only Ware surviving, but he getting older, it seemed like this project would remain incomplete — but just before his passing in 2022, Volume 5 finally was completed and published in March of 2023. It was also the first volume to made available as an ebook — but then, in late 2023 the previous four volumes were also released as Kindle or Nook ebooks. So if you like to read books using a Kindle, the complete Philokalia in English is now available.
I know a lot of people don’t like ebooks, and a lot of people are uncomfortable supporting Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You have to be true to your own conscience, but as someone who is getting older and my eyesight is less reliable with the passing of time, I appreciate the ability to change font sizes that only an ebook provides (let’s face it, magnifying glasses are cumbersome and reading glasses are unwieldy). Plus, ebooks keep one’s highlights and notes easily stored, and best of all, they’re searchable. So if you’re a purist and insist on a tree dying for you to read, click here to buy your paper copies. But if you enjoy reading ebooks, here are the links to get your complete copy of The Philokalia in English:
- Volume One, for Kindle or Nook
- Volume Two, for Kindle or Nook
- Volume Three, for Kindle or Nook
- Volume Four, for Kindle or Nook
- Volume Five, for Kindle
Hope you enjoy the reading — and the prayer that these books are meant to inspire.