The Arena

The Arena

Guidelines for Spiritual and Monastic Life

  • AvailablePaperback9780884652878311 pages: USD 22.95 / GBP 15.99 Add to basket
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Paperback, 311 pages
Aug 30, 2012
9 in x 6 in
18 grams
EPUB, 310 pages
Sep 1, 2012
Kindle, 310 pages
Sep 1, 2012

— About the Book —

This is one of the most important and accessible texts of Orthodox Christian teaching on the spiritual life, and and not unlike the better known “Philokalia.” The author, St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) describes this work as his legacy “of soul saving instruction.” He promises that “Those who carry out these instructions will enter into possession of spiritual riches.” In an age even more alienated from spiritual culture and rooted in materialism, his words pose both a challenge and an invitation to all who ever say to themselves “There must be more to life than this.” For anyone who desires to deepen their own spiritual journey based upon an encounter with Christ as God, this book is essential reading. Its contents may ultimately be accepted or rejected, but they will be very difficult to ignore.

Like the other leaders of this Russian monastic revival, Ignatius was deeply rooted in the ascetic and mystical doctrine of the Greek Fathers, yet there was nothing antiquarian or academic about his devotion to the teaching of the past: for this ancient tradition was something that he had experienced directly, as a creative and dynamic reality in his personal life.

–Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

Subjects covered include unceasing prayer, the need for spiritual direction and the importance of Divine meditation. The original Russian edition was published in 1867. The work encapsulates the legacy of St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) as it was published in the year of his death, after some forty years of monastic life. There is a helpful thirteen-page introduction is provided by Archimandrite (now Metropolitan) Kallistos (aka Timothy Ware) as well as a glossary of terms. The 2nd edition was reedited and newly typeset. It includes interior design features, subject and scripture indexes, and includes a short life of St Ignatius.

— Author Biography —

St. Ignatius (Branchininov) was one of the leading spiritual writers of 19th Century Russia.  He became a monk in 1831 and the bishop of the Caucasus and the Black Sea in 1857.  He devoted much of his life to writing spiritual works.  He reposed in 1867.

— Contents —

Foreword to the Original English-Language Edition



1 On the Study of the Commandments of the Gospel and On the Life According to the Commandments of the Gospel

2 People Will Be Judged at God’s Judgment According to the Commandments of the Gospel

3 The Monastic Life Is Life According to the Commandments of the Gospel

4 On the Precariousness of the Monastic Life When It Is Not Based on the Commandments of the Gospel

5 On Guarding Oneself from Occasions of Sin or Temptation

6 God-Pleasing Life in Human Society must Precede God-Pleasing Life in Silence and Solitude

7 On Guarding Oneself from the Good That Belongs to Fallen Human Nature

8 Concerning the Enmity and Conflict Between Fallen Nature and the Commandments of the Gospel

9 On Reading the Gospel and the Writings of the Fathers

10 On Discretion in Reading the Patristic Books on the Monastic Life

11 On the Solitary Life

12 Concerning Life in Obedience to an Elder

13 Concerning Life under Spiritual Direction

14 The Aim of the Monastic Life Consists in Studying the Will of God, in Making It One’s Own, and in Obeying It

15 Love for Our Neighbor Is a Means of Attaining to Love for God

16 Humility in Our Dealings with Our Neighbor Is a Means of Attaining to Love for Our Neighbor

17 On Prayer

18 On Preparation for Prayer

19 On Attention at Prayer

20 On the Cell Rule

21 Concerning Bows

22 On Adapting the Cell Rule to the Monastic Rule

23 On the Jesus Prayer

24 On the Practice of the Jesus Prayer

25 On Unceasing Prayer

26 On the Oral, Mental, and Cordial Jesus Prayer

27 On Divine Meditation 81

28 On the Remembrance of Death 83

29 The Narrow Way Is Designed by God Himself

30 The Teaching of the Holy Fathers Concerning the Narrow Way

31 Troubles Are the Special Lot of the Monks of the Last Time

32 Sources of Monastic Temptations

33 On the Necessity for Courage in Temptations

34 On Sobriety or Vigilance

35 On the Use and Harm of Bodily Discipline

36 Concerning Animal and Spiritual Zeal

37 Concerning Almsgiving

38 Concerning Poverty or Detachment

39 Concerning Human Glory

40 Concerning Resentment or Remembrance of Wrongs

41 The Meaning of the Term “World”

42 On Avoiding Acquaintance with the Opposite Sex

43 Concerning the Fallen Angels

44 The First Way of Struggling with the Fallen Angels

45 The Second Way of Struggling with the Fallen Angels

46 Concerning Dreams

47 On the Close Affinity Between Virtues and Vices

48 Concerning the Special Opposition of the Fallen Spirits to Prayer

49 On Keeping the Eye of the Soul from All That Is Harmful to It

50 Concerning Repentance and Mourning

Conclusion: Adaptations of the Rules for Present-Day Monasticism


Introduction: On the Need for Rules

The Meaning of a Monastery, Rule 1

On Obedience and Obediences, Rules 2 and 3

On the Treatment of Sins, Rule 4

On Prayer and Conduct in Church, Rules 5–18

On the Duties of Readers, Rules 19–22

On Movement in Church, Rule 23

On Bows and Prostrations, Rule 24

On Uncovering the Head, Rule 25 

On Maintaining Strict Reverence in Church, Rules 26–27 

On Behavior in Refectory and Use of Food, Rules 28–30 

On the Use of Wine, Rule 31 

On Conduct in One’s Cell and Reception of Visitors, Rules 32–37 

On Clothing, Rule 38 

On Relations with Brethren of the Monastery, Rules 39–43 

On Leaving the Monastery, Rules 44–49 

On Venerating the Miraculous Icons and Holy Relics, Rule 50 



Appendix: A Short Biography of St Ignatius (Brianchaninov)


Subject Index

Scripture Index 

— More from the Author —
Harbor for Our Hope
The Field
The Refuge