Professor I.M. Kontzevitch has a place in history for his discovery of the essence of Christian eldership as a continuation of the Prophetic ministry of the ancient Church. One of this century's greatest students of Orthodox sanctity, he combined careful, honest scholarship with first-hand knowledge of saints with whom he had been in contact while in Russia, including the holy Elders of Optina Monastery. The Acquisition of the Holy Spirit, his magnum opus, is a priceless source-book of all that he felt important to say. In Part One, he describes how spiritual prayer, communion with God, and sanctity are acquired through the principles of Orthodox asceticism, eldership and hesychasm. In Part Two, he explores how these principles were historically put into practice in the ancient monasticism of the East. And in the remainder of the book, he investigates how these principles were transmitted to the heart of Russia, creating an enormous blossoming of sanctity that has continued into our own century.
Probably no other book has expounded a veritable "History of Sanctity" as this one has. While the commonly-known events of world history were taking place, a whole other history was unfolding itself in the lives of those who lived for another world. If their history - the history of saints and how they acquired the Holy Spirit - were more generally known, the human race would be much the better for it. That is why this book is no needed and so timely.
This definitive introduction to Orthodox spirituality is the first in a series of books dedicated to the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Russia.