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Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience of God [Paperback]

Our Price $ 15.26  
Retail Value $ 17.95  
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Item Number 289414  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.56" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.63 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 9, 2007
Publisher   Conciliar Press
ISBN  1888212918  
EAN  9781888212914  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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.

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More About Meletios Webber

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Webber is an Orthodox priest, and is pastor of Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Cruz, California.

Meletios Webber currently resides in Santa Cruz, in the state of California.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Personal Reflections  Oct 3, 2008
Bread & Water, Wine & Oil provides sustenance for the soul. I found the book to be wise, profound and eminently practical. Webber has a fine-tuned mind and a fluid way with words. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Al Rossi
A profound but eminently approachable introduction to the goals and means of Orthodox spirituality  Sep 11, 2008
In BREAD & WATER, WINE & OIL Father Meletios Webber offers an explanation of aspects of Orthodox faith that benefits from his individual experiences. An English convert to Orthodoxy, Fr Meletios also has training as a psychologist. Initially Fr Meletios both applies psychological concepts to the Orthodox faith, which we modern people might swiftly understand, and sets the secular science of psychology in harmony with the teaching of the Church Fathers. He draws a distinction between the "mind", our ways of thinking which can only distract us from religious faith, and the "heart" (his translation of Greek nous), a human being's deeper insight. Orthodox practice, Fr. Meletios explains, is directed towards nourishing the heart, creating nothing less than a relationship with God, and its rich symbolism of bread and water, wine and oil serve that end. Part I clarifies issues of prayer, fasting (why and how do we fast?), the use of icons, and the church building. In Part II, each of the Orthodox sacraments receives its own chapter. Fr. Meletios walks through the steps of the church's ceremonies surrounding these, explaining the equally vital but distinct roles of both clergy and people in each. For converts coming from denominations without a sacramental tradition, this will prove very helpful to understanding what all is going on in church.

As a catechumen in the Orthodox Church with training in Classical Greek and an academic bent, I've read dozens of books on Orthodox practice written in specialist terminology and abundantly footnoted. But few books have impressed me as much as Fr. Meletios' work here, which casts greater light on Orthodoxy for the Western convert with the most simple of tones. If you want a gentle and friendly--but still rigorous and spiritually challenging--introduction to the Orthodox faith, but find Frederica Matthewes-Green's books too cutesy (and nothing against Matushka, she focuses on her own important demographic), Fr. Meletios Webber's book is well worth reading.
A Spiritual Gift  Jan 24, 2008
I highly recommend "Bread & Water, Wine & Oil." Father Meletios states it best: "We (Orthodox Christians) identify ourselves most clearly by being quite sure who we are not." True to his "who we are not" theme, Father Meletios explores every dimension of Orthodoxy and its Mysteries, and richly interprets the almost unexplainable. Anyone seeking Orthodoxy will find his engaging style, and clarity of thought about Orthodox teachings most illuminating and spiritually eloquent. Those already engaged in the Orthodox spiritual life will be refreshed with deeper understanding. His genuine and practical anecdotes connect an ancient Faith with modern life, ever so adeptly. Father Meletios' writings are an immeasurable gift to his readers, and I am grateful for his monumental effort. This book is to be read carefully and savored. It is a treasure; certainly it will be an enduring one. Thank you, Father Mel, from one of the lucky ones who has grown under your spiritual guidance.
a book destined to become a classic  Nov 4, 2007
A key passage at the beginning of "Bread and Water, Wine and Oil" focuses on the on the Orthodox use of the word "mystery":

"One of the most noticeable features of Eastern Christianity is that it is this word, `mystery,' rather than the word `sacrament,' which describes those actions of God which have a specific, decisive and eternal significance in the lives of those who take part in them. Everyday substances -- oil, water, bread, wine -- together with simple actions -- offering, blessing, washing, anointing -- become the means by which God intervenes in our lives. These interventions -- in which God does all the work, and our only contribution is to be prepared and present -- color and shape our lives beyond the extent that would be possible through any human encounter. However, unlike most human interactions, they do not take us from a place of ignorance to a place of knowledge. Rather, the Mysteries lead us deeper and deeper into the Mystery -- the Mystery which is the presence of God Himself."

Mystery, in the Orthodox sense, has nothing to do with mystery novels and films. The divine mystery has no solution. As the author writes:

"In the East, on the other hand, a mystery is an area where the human mind cannot go, and where the heart alone makes sense, not by `knowing,' but by ;being.' The Greek word mysterion leads you into a sense of `not-knowing' or `not-understanding' and leaves you there. All a person can do is gaze and wonder; there is nothing to solve."

Father Meletios's book is a profoundly challenging book about the journey from the mind (always struggling to explain, solve and de-mystify, yet always seething with emotions and passions) to the depths of the heart, the center of being rather than of knowing.

"Bread and Water, Wine and Oil" seems likely to become a Christian classic, the sort of book the reader returns to again and again and keeps recommending to friends.

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