Mount Athos gets little press in the Western Protestant (and I think Roman Catholic) churches (some links: wiki, homepage, monachos). A book I’ve started to read, on Saint Silouan, the Athonite. A little explanation, Athonite means “of Mount Athos”, which means the the subject of this book was a monk residing at a Russian monastery (St. Panteleimon). St. Siluan was born a Russian peasant in 1866. This book is in two parts, the first a description of his life, his actions, and his teaching and interactions with those around him, the second collections of what the Saint himself wrote, apparently on “scraps of paper” kept in his cell. The staretz Siluan was almost illiterate, but was as evidence in this book, very holy and wise. Staretz, btw, means “spiritual father”, a practice in the Eastern tradition is that there are spiritual directors/fathers guiding the spiritual life of the members of the community. Often this person is the priest, but as is the case with staretz Siluan this is not always the case. Another term, this book was written by Archimandrite Sophrony. Archimandrite, in English, would be translated as Abbot and signifies the leader of a monastic community.
This book is remarkable, and it should (if my faulty memory serves me) to be on my “most influential book” list at the end of the year.