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The Threshold

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Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
Translated by Nicholas Kotar






Trials at the Crossroads of Eternity

Death is a great sacrament. It is the birth of a person from this earthly, temporary life, into eternity.

Throughout human history the existence and nature of a world beyond that which is visible to our material eyes has been a subject of intense debate. In this third volume of St Ignatius’s collected works the saint addresses the widespread lack of comprehension of this unseen realm and expounds the necessity of understanding it correctly in accordance with the Truth that is the Orthodox Faith. He examines the mystical boundaries that govern the life of a Christian: the one, between life and death; and the other, between the visible, physical realm and the invisible to most—but no less real—spiritual realm. He draws deeply on the patristic teachings of Christian saints of the first millennium, in particular St Basil the Great, St Isaac the Syrian, St John of Damascus, and St John of the Ladder.  He weaves in quotations from the Psalms and other Scriptural texts as well as liturgical hymns. He exhorts his readers to prepare themselves to cross the threshold into their final heavenly home: to cross from earthly into eternal life.

Included here is St Ignatius’s “Homily on Death,” one of his most popular writings in its original language. The reader will also encounter St Ignatius’s teachings on the nature of the soul and the essence of incorporeal beings, the latter theologoumena being a point of contention between the author and his contemporary, St Theophan the Recluse. The text is complemented by a comprehensive Scripture index, a subject index,  and a short biography of the author.

1. Homily on the Physical and Spiritual Vision of Spirits
2. A Homily on Death
3. Theological Teaching on Death
4. Created Spirits and Human Souls
Afterword:  “My Weakness”
Appendix: A Short Biography of St Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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