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The Field: Cultivating Salvation

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St Ignatius Brianchaninov






The spiritual harvest requires a heart that is harrowed by repentance, softened by compunction, and irrigated by tears.  

The field is a place of cultivation and of battle. In this volume the nineteenth century Christian saint and teacher  Ignatius (Brianchaninov) instructs his readers in the cultivation of the field of their hearts, with the aim of producing a harvest of virtues both pleasing to God and of benefit to all humankind. Drawing on his own military background St Ignatius recognizes that this cultivation requires discipline and awareness of the enemies that thwart our efforts to live a holy life. His words combine spiritual wisdom with reflections on nature that hint at the joy awaiting those who embrace the saint’s call.

The Field draws deeply on the teachings of the ascetic fathers of the Church, from the desert dwellers of Scetis in Egypt to St Ignatius’s Russian contemporaries,  the Optina Elders. He demonstrates how their voice is one in guiding us on the Christian path. It will be impossible for either lay people or monastics to read these words without being challenged and inspired to follow Christ more fully in cultivating the Field of their own life.

SAINT IGNATIUS (BRIANCHANINOV) was one of the leading spiritual writers of nineteenth 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, his most famous being known in English translation as the Arena, which has been continuously in print for almost half a century. He reposed in 1867 and was canonized in 1988.  The Field is the inaugural English translation of the first volume of his Collected Works.


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