St. Mark Of Ephesus Orthodox Church
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Online Library: Recommended Readings

Below are recommended Orthodox Christian books. If you wish to purchase a book, we ask that you make your purchase through the selected website links. As Orthodox Christians, we should be supporting our local Orthodox Christian bookstores and monasteries, especially in this season of almsgiving. Many monasteries are suffering due to storms and the pandemic and purchasing books from their online bookstores helps their financial needs; every little bit helps. (At all costs, we should refrain from purchasing Orthodox books from Amazon and the like for this very reason)


The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament & Psalms


A Bible that offers Bible study aids written from the Orthodox persepctive with footnotes and articles on topics relevant to the passages.


The Lenten Spring

by Fr. Thomas Hopko


All Christians who undertake the yearly journey to the blessed Pascha of our Lord will find inspiration and guidance in these meditations. All can enjoy reading and rereading them and share in the profound thoughts of the author as they make their own spiritual way through this holy season.


Great Lent: Journey to Pascha

by Fr. Alexander Schmemann


This revised edition of Father Alexander Shmemann's Lenten classic examines the meaning of the Liturgy of the Presancfied Gifts, the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and other neglected or misunderstood treasures of Lenten Worship. Schmemann draws on the Church's sacramental and liturgical tradition to suggest the meaning of "Lent in our life".


Food, Faith and Fasting

by Rita Madden


Orthodox Christians fast approximately half the days of the year. But in our food obsessed society, how do we determine our approach to eating in general?Nutritional expert Rita Madden expands on her popular podcast to help us eat, exercise, and manage stress in a way that is healthful for both our bodies and our souls in times of fasting, feasting, and the ordinary days in between.


First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew

Frederica Mathewes-Green


Join Frederica Mathewes-Green on a guided retreat through the classic Great Canon, a poetic hymn written in the eighth century and still chanted by Orthodox Christians during Lent.


Season of Repentance: Lenten Homilies of Saint John of Kronstadt

Ivan Ilyich Sergiev (St. John of Kronstadt)


Each year we begin anew the journey to the radiant feast of Pascha, entering the season of repentance known as Great Lent. The homilies presented in this modest volume, from St. John of Kronstadt-one of the spiritual giants of the Orthodox Church of Russia-can both encourage and inform us in this struggle of the fast.


Repentance and Confession

Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker and Biship of Pentapolis


Repentance and Confession is the first of Saint Nektarios' works to be translated into English. It behooves every Orthodox Christian who is concerned about the salvation of his soul to read this theologically rich, yet concise and understandable study on a much-neglected commandment of God.


The Great Canon: The Work of St. Andrew of Crete


This is the classic canon of repentance, chanted in parts over the first four days of the Lenten Fast and in its entirety on Thursday of the fifth week. The full text of the life of our Holy Mother Mary of Egypt is also given, as read liturgically during Matins on the Thursday of the fifth week.


On Prayer 

Archimandrite Sophrony


A collection of articles on prayer and the spiritual life, together with the author's own prayers. It is a moving testimony to the relevance of Christ, who is "All, and in all, the beginning and the ending" of all things.


The Sunflower: Conforming the Will of Man to the Will of God

St. John of Tobolsk (Maximovitch)


In this practical book, the author addresses the fundamental questions: Why should we care about God's will? What are the benefits of following His will? How are we to avoid common obstacles to living in accordance with His will? The reader will find practical and eternal wisdom running through these writings that discuss the perennial questions of why a good God permits evil.


A Little Lighter Reading for Lent


The Scent of Holiness: Lessons from a Women's Monastery

Constantina R. Palmer


In The Scent of Holiness, Constatina Palmer offers the reader a firsthand account of her contact with and immersion in the life of Orthodox monasticism...The major features of Orthodoxy are humilty and love. In our troubled world, Constantina's writings show us that these virtues and others still exist; the many monks and nuns who have dedicated their lives to prayer and ascetic endeavor keep them alive.


The Sweetness of Grace: Stories of Christian Trial and Victory

Constantina R. Palmer


From the author of The Scent of Holiness, The Sweetness of Grace is a collection of stories derived from conversations with Orthodox nuns, monks, and laypeople, along with experiences of Orthodox life in South Korea, Greece, and North America. These stories of faith, courage, struggle, and everday miracles will inspire and delight you.


Wounded By Love: The Life and Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios

Edited by the Sisters of the Holy Convent of Chrysopigi


Saint Porphyrios, a Greek monk and priest who died in 1991, was formally glorified as a saint by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2013. He stands in the long tradition of charismatic spiritual guides in the Eastern Church which continues form the apostolic age down to figures such as Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Staretz Silouan in modern times. In the book he tells the story of his life and, in simple, deeply reflected and profoundly wise words, he expounds the Christian faith for today.


Children's Reading List for Lent (Young Readers and Teenagers)


The Miracle of the Red Egg

Elizabeth Crispina Johnson


At Pascha, Orthodox all over the world dye and bless red eggs. Here is the story of how this tradition started - way back in apostolic times, with St. Mary Magdalene and a blessed miracle that dazzled the unbelieving Roman emperor with the reality and power of Christ's Resurrection.


The Lion and the Saint

Laura E. Wolfe


This small gem of a story shows us this extraordinary friendship through the eyes of the lion, and of a baboon he befriends along the way, allowing us to participate in the lion's transformation - through contact with holiness - from an undifferentiated dumb beast to a particular lion with his own name and destiny.


The Lost Saint

Christine Rogers


Marko's life changes in an instant when he spies an armada of Ottoman ships on the horizon. After a battle separates him from his family, he finds help and guidance with a small group of monks. But when they stumble upon an abandoned church and a mysterious icon, Marko must conquer his own fears in order to make peace with God and to reunite with his family. Journey back to 1522, Rhodes, Greece, and experience with Marko what it means to be lost, then found.


Keeper of the Light: St. Macrina the Elder, Grandmother of Saints

Bev Cooke


The road to sainthood takes a lifetime to the fourth century, Christians are labeled enemies of the Roman Empire - hounded, arrested, tortured, and executed. Macrina and her husband Basil, once wealthy Christians, flee with their small son to the mountainous forests south of the Black Sea. There, Macrina embarks on a seven-year journey of unexpected tests and trials that will take her through a harsh and hungry wilderness pilgrimage, only to plunge her into poverty and danger on the streets of Neocaesarea. So begins Macrina's adventure in faith, as she undertakes the process of becoming one of the most influential women in sacred history, the mother and grandmother of saints.


Royal Monastic, Princess Ileana of Romania: The Story of Mother Alexandra

Bev. Cooke


The life of a princess is not all glamour, handsome princes, and beautiful clothes. It is also devotion to duty, sacrifice for your people, and a lot of just plain hard work. And if your country happens to suffer two world wars and a communist takeover in your lifetime, it means danger and suffering, exile and heartache as well. Princess Ileana of Romania endured all this and more. But her deeply rooted Orthodox faith saw her through it all, and eventually led her in her later years to the peaceful repose of monasticism. But that life included sacrifice and hard work as well, because as Mother Alexandra she was called to build the first English-language Orthodox women's monastery in the US: the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Princess Ileana's story is a thrilling tale of love and loss, danger and rescue, sacrifice and reward. Her inspiring life stands as a beacon of faith and holiness for young women of all times and nations to follow.


The Woman and the Wheat

Jane G. Meyer


"There once was a woman who planted some wheat..." So begins this rhythmical, festive children's book about the joy of a farmer as she works to grow the wheat and bake the bread that she will offer back to her Creator in Eucharistic celebration. The vibrant images - reminiscent of fields in the American mid-west - sparkle in light-saturated, warm jewel-tones and provide the perfect backdrop for the story of a woman in love with the earth, and her labor, and equally in love with her God.


Toddler & Preschool Reading List


Saint Ia Rides a Leaf

Melinda Johnson


Saint Ia Rides a Leaf is a charming story from the life of Saint Ia, an Irish missionary to England in the fifth and sixth century. The town and parish of St. Ives in Cornwall, England, are named after her, and she is commemorated on February 3 in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Join Saint Ia and her animal friends on an adventure to spread the Gospel!


Everything Tells Us About God

Katherine Bolger Hyde


Inspired by a story told by Fr. Thomas Hopko: the world is like a giant puzzle God made that teaches us about Himself. Every piece - earth, sea, and sky, plants, animals, and people - reveals something about who He is and why we're here. Everything Tells Us About God will help children recognize the beautiful and sometimes mysterious pieces of this puzzle for themselves.


The Adventures of a Little Ringtail

St. Anthony's Monastery


This volume contains three books from the ringtail series: Part 1 - The Drought - the little Ringtail and the starving animals and insects traverse the desert to visit an ascetic, the Praying Mantis, and pray with him for rain. Part II - An Amazing Pilgrimage. The Ringtail and the praying Mantis cross the cactus forest and float in a canoe during a monsoon as they go on a pilgramage to a monastery. Part III - Life in the Shed - Together, the Praying Mantis and the Ringtail do good deeds for both their friends and their enemies.


Paraclete Pre-K Bible

Editors at Paraclete Press


A children's bible specifically for Pre-K kids! With wonderful storytelling and colorful illustrations, The Paraclete Pre-K Bible will capture your little one's heart. Help your pre-K reader learn the most important stories in the Bible from both the Old and New Testaments with this sturdy, beautiful book.






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