Inner River: a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality
by Kyriacos C. Markides
Published by Image Press, 2012
Inner River addresses Christian Mysticism – and specifically the unbroken Orthodox Tradition – as naturally concurrent to mainstream science; revealing that the fundamentals of Christianity preserved by Orthodoxy hold the means to come into a relationship with our Creator and are the medicine in ‘resurrecting’ both God and man who humanity ‘killed’ in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to the socialists.
The author, himself a professor of sociology, enquires into monasticism on Mt Athos, Sinai and Cyprus, the spiritual realm as understood by the Fathers of the Church, the practice of prayer, and the notions of Theia Pronia, death, metanoia and Theosis, which he treats as legitimate study material in his research as a sociologist. His work weighs up Western thought alongside the Christian East, creating a very perceptive, innovative account of Orthodox spirituality that is not afraid to ask genuine questions about doctrine and practice.
Consequently, Markides acquires exceptional responses about our Faith from his conversations with the Metropolitan of Cyprus, Father Athanasios, that are core to Inner River, the series of informal symposiums on the Fruits of the Spirit that St Paul outlines in his Epistle to the Galatians, the conversations with abbots, a hermit, monks and lay people that he meets on his pilgrimage, and the interesting comments made by Saints, bishops, historians, philosophers and scientists – from Sorokin to Elder Ephraim Philotheou – that he includes in his work.
It is not only informative to read such a variety of thoughts and experiences about the treasures of our Orthodox Faith interspersed with scientific reasoning, but spiritually edifying, and also encouraging in one’s spiritual life; witnessing a yearning to be one with God from people of all different walks of life, expressed with flair and insight.
Source: Lychnos December 2017 / January 2018