Islands of Prayer

Solovki by Roy Robson, Touching Heaven by John Oliver

Solovki: The Story of Russia Told Through Its Most Remarkable Islands
by Roy Robson
Yale University Press, 2004
(302 pages, $30.00, hardcover)

Touching Heaven: Discovering Orthodox Christianity on the Island of Valaam
by John Oliver
Conciliar Press, 2003
(179 pages, $13.95, paperback)

reviewed by Richard J. Mammana, Jr.

In the first centuries after Christ, men and women withdrew from the world in droves to lead lives of ascetic discipline and holiness. One important center of this incipient monastic movement was the desert of Egypt’s Thebaid—the background against which such important saints as Anthony, Paul the Hermit, Pachomius, and Athanasius . . .

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