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The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. First published in Greek in 1782, then translated into Slavonic and later into Russian, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from the Bible. It is concerned with themes of universal importance: how man may develop his inner powers and awake from illusion; how he may overcome fragmentation and achieve spiritual wholeness; how he may attain the life of contemplative stillness and union with God.
Only a selection of texts from The Philokalia has been available hitherto in English. The present rendering, which is a completely new translation, is designed to appear in five volumes. The first of these was published by Faber and Faber in 1979. The second volume consists mainly of writings from the seventh century, in particular by St. Maximus the Confessor, the greater part of which has never before been translated into English. As in the first volume, the editors have provided introductory notes to each of the writers, a glossary of key terms, and a detailed index.