The following books will help provide a basic introduction to the Orthodox Church as well as comparisons and appraisals of other faith traditions:
Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Webber
“Worry, despair, insecurity, fear of death . . . these are our daily companions, and even though we attempt to ignore them or try to crowd them out, they are there, waiting for us in our quieter moments. It is precisely where we hurt most that the experience of the Orthodox Church has much to offer. The remedy is not a pep talk, or any simple admonitions to fight the good fight, cheer up, or think positively. Rather, the Orthodox method is to change the way we look at the human person (starting with ourselves).
According to two thousand years of experience, Orthodoxy shows us how to be transformed by the renewing of our mind a process that is aided by participation in the traditional ascetic practices and Mysteries of the Church. In this unique and accessible book, Archimandrite Meletios Webber first explores the role of mystery in the Christian life, then walks the reader through the seven major Mysteries of the Orthodox Church, showing the way to a richer, fuller life in Christ.”
Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith by Peter Gillquist
“After a long and difficult journey, 2000 weary evangelical Protestants finally found their way home. This is the story of a handful of courageous men and their congregations who risked stable occupations, security, and the approval of lifelong friends to be obedient to God’s call.
It is also the story of every believer who is searching for the Church. Where Christ is Lord. Where holiness, human responsibility, and the Sovereignty of God are preached. Where fellowship is more than a covered-dish supper in the church basement. And where fads and fashion take a back seat to apostolic worship and doctrine.”
Surprised by Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity by Rev. A. James Bernstein
“The story of a man searching for truth and unable to rest until he finds it. Raised in Queens, New York, by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on his own personal quest for the God he instinctively felt was there. He was ready to accept God in whatever form He chose to reveal Himself–and that form turned out to be Christ. But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued–this time for the true Church. With his Jewish heritage as a foundation, he studied and evaluated, and eventually came to the conclusion that the faith of his forefathers was fully honored and brought to completion only in the Orthodox Christian Church.
Surprised by Christ combines an engrossing memoir of one man’s life in historic times and situations–from the Six-Day War to the Civil Rights Movement to the Jesus Movement in Berkeley–with a deeply felt examination of the distinctives of Orthodox theology that make the Orthodox Church the true home not only for Christian Jews, but for all who seek to know God as fully as He may be known.”
Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Exploring Belief Systems through the Lens of the Ancient Christian Faith by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
“Are you an Orthodox Christian who wonders how to explain to your Baptist grandmother, your Buddhist neighbor, or the Jehovah’s Witness at your door how your faith differs from theirs? Or are you a member of another faith who is curious what Orthodoxy is all about? Look no further. In Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick covers the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith. This book is an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to understand the faiths of those they come in contact with—as well as their own.”
Rock and Sand: An Orthodox Appraisal of the Protestant Reformers and their Theology by Fr. Josiah Trenham
“This book has been written for three purposes. First, to provide the Orthodox reader with a competent overview of the history of Protestantism and its major traditions, from its beginnings in the 16th century to the present day. This overview relies heavily upon the Reformer’s own words as well as the creeds of various Protestant faiths, in order to avoid misrepresentation and caricature. Second, to acquaint Orthodox and non-Orthodox readers with a narrative of the historical relations between the Orthodox East and the Protestant West. Finally, to provide a summary of Orthodox theological opinion on the tenets of Protestantism.”
Mountain of Silence: A Search of Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos Markides
“In an engaging combination of dialogues, reflections, conversations, history, and travel information, the author follows Father Maximos, a Mount Athos monk, to the troubled island of Cyprus. As Father Maximos establishes churches, convents, and monasteries in this deeply divided land, Markides is awakened anew to the magnificent spirituality of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Images of the land and the people of Cyprus and details of its tragic history enrich the Mountain of Silence. Like the writings of Castaneda, the book brilliantly evokes the confluence of an inner and outer journey. The depth and richness of its spiritual message echo the thoughts and writings of Saint Francis of Assisi and other great saints of the Church as well. The result is a remarkable work–a moving, profoundly human examination of the role and the power of spirituality in a complex and confusing world.”
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (Bishop Kallistos Ware)
“This classic introductory work on the Orthodox Church has become a worldwide standard in colleges and seminaries. Part One describes the history of the Orthodox Church. Part Two outlines doctrine and worship. The final chapter deals with restoring the breaches between East and West.”
The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware
“An excellent companion to Bishop Kallistos’s book The Orthodox Church, this book discusses the spiritual life of the Christian and sets forth basic issues of theology as a way of life for the follower of Christ.”