Highly recommended books – Both are must reads.
The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, written by Elder Paisios
My husband and I have been reading the sweetest little book about the life of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, written by Elder Paisios. This little book is available in paperback and quite affordable. It seems that God has blessed us with so many faith affirming elders in our efforts to study of the lives of modern saints, currently focusing on those from Greece.
At the same time we have been reading The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, which is only available in hard bound in monthly volumes. Many of the months have yet to be published. My husband and I made the commitment to buy and read this series of books in support our daily practice of reading the lives of Saints from the early Church. It is one of the most comprehensive, in depth and inspiring collections of the full stories and lives of many of the most beloved Saints of the Orthodox Church.
Reading these longer versions of the lives of Saints, such as St. John Chysostom (75 pages long) or St. Gregory the Wonderworker, who literally prayed to God and moved mountains has changed our lives! Daily we are being reminded that “With God, all things are possible”. Not only are they possible, but given how entrenched both my husband and I have been in the Western logical mind, reading the longer version of the lives of martyrs and ascetics is mind blowing! In a matter of months, by the grace of God and the prayers of the Saints, we have begun to enter into a deeper contemplation of the Divine and more fervent prayer as a direct result of reading these volumes. Glory to God!
St. Arsenios the Cappadocian (1840–1924) was the spiritual father of Elder Paisios’ family. He baptized Elder Paisios as an infant. Throughout his life Elder Paisios had great love and reverence for the memory of St. Arsenios, and it was out of this love that he compiled the book “Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian” which provides us with the details of his life.
St. Arsenios pastored his Greek Orthodox flock amidst extremely difficult conditions. He lived with his people in the village of Farasa in Cappadocia, which after 1453 had fallen into the hands of the Muslim Turks. Under the harsh yoke of the Turks, the Greek people of Farasa formed an oasis of Orthodox Christianity. They sought refuge in holy St. Arsenios, who was their teacher, their spiritual father, and the healer of their souls and bodies. His reputation as a healer was so great that not only Greek Christians but also Turkish Muslims came to him for healing. Many times his village was threatened with violence from marauding Turks, but each time it was preserved in a miraculous way by St. Arsenios. The accounts in this book, which were taken down by Elder Paisios from eyewitnesses, testify to how powerfully God works through His holy ones, and to how lovingly He cares for and protects His children amidst adversity.
Since 1970, many apparitions and miracles have occurred near his holy relics, which reside in the Monastery of Souroti near Thessalonica. He was officially glorified by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1986.