This reading list for ressourcement: to renew the living tradition of English spirituality and orthodox-catholic reality (or “phronema”) in Anglican parish life. This is not a catalogue of conventional historical theology, nor is it intended to be exhaustive. Herein are fundamental starting points for the study and especially the renewal of the English School of orthodox-catholic spirituality, according to various dimensions.

General Overviews

Martin Thornton—English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition and Margery Kempe (commentary)
(note: these works are primarily for parish priests and lay catechists)

Benedicta Ward—High King of Heaven and Give Love and Receive the Kingdom

Peter Ackroyd—Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination

Lay-Ascetical Texts

Saint Anselm—Prayers and Meditations with the Proslogion

Julian of Norwich—Revelations of Divine Love

Jeremy Taylor—The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living

The Book of Margery Kempe (with commentary by Fr Thornton)

The Quest of the Holy Grail—(trans. P. M. Matarasso)

Lancelot Andrewes—Preces Privatae

Lev Gillet (A Monk of the Eastern Church)—On the Invocation of the Name of Jesus 

Frederica Mathewes-Green—The Illumined Heart and Mary as the Early Christians Knew Her

The Cloud of Unknowing

Martin Thornton—The Purple Headed Mountain and Christian Proficiency

Father Andrew—Our Lady’s Hymn and Simeon’s Song 

S. Bonaventure—The Mystical Vine

S. Aelred of Rievaulx—Letter to His SisterOn Jesus at Twelve Years Old and Pastoral Prayer

E. Rozanne Elder (ed.)—Mary Most Holy: Meditating with the Early Cistercians


Benedicta Ward—Signs and Wonders, Anselm of Canterbury: A Monastic Scholar, and Anselm of Canterbury: His Life and Legacy

Eadmer—The Life of S. Anselm

S. Athanasius—Life of Antony 

S. Gregory the Great—The Life of S. Benedict

Sulpicius Severus—The Life of S. Martin of Tours

The Age of Bede (ed. D. H. Farmer)

Adomman of Iona—Life of St Columba

Anonymous—Life of St Cuthbert

Felix—Life of St Guthlac

Prayer of the Heart (Jesus Prayer, Passions)

Lev Gillet (A Monk of the Eastern Church)—On the Invocation of the Name of Jesus and The Jesus Prayer

Benedicta Ward and Desert spirituality:

  • The Desert of the Heart
  • The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks
  • The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers
  • Harlots of the Desert
  • Lives of the Desert Fathers (trans. Norman Russel)

The Philokalia2 vols. (Constantine Cavarnos, ed.) and 4 vols. (Palmer, Sherrard, and Ware, eds.) via the traditional path of entry into the Philokalia (from Maximos Constas, see here):

  • S. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain—Guarding the Mind and the Heart and then Introduction to the Philokalia
  • S. Nikephoros the HesychastOn Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart
  • Ss Kallistos and Ignatios—Directions to Hesychasts
  • S. Hesychios—On Watchfulness and Holiness
  • Evagrios—On Prayer
  • A Discourse on Abba Philemon
  • S. Symeon the New Theologian—On Faith andThe Three Methods of Prayer
  • S. Gregory Palamas—In Defense of Those who Devoutly Practice a Life of Stillness
  • S. Gregory of Sinai—On the Signs of Grace and Delusion

Lorenzo Scupoli—Unseen Warfare

Maximos Constas—Saint John Chrysostom and the Jesus Prayer


Maximos Constas—The Art of Seeing

Andreas Andreopoulos—Gazing on God

Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church—Stephen Sartarelli (trans.), Getty Publications

Leonid Ouspensky—Theology of the Icon (2 vols.) and The Meaning of Icons

Michel Quenot—The Icon: Window on the Kingdom and The Resurrection and the Icon


Eric Mascall (ed.)—The Mother of God: A Symposium by Members of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius

S. Bernard of Clairvaux—Homilies in the Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary

John Macquarrie—Mary for All Christians

A. M. Allchin—The Joy of All Creation

ARCIC II—Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

Pastoral Theology

Note: This section is primarily for parish priests and lay catechists.

Martin Thornton—Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation, Spiritual Direction, Feed My Lambs, The Rock and the River, The Function of Theology, Prayer: A New Encounter, and My God: A Reappraisal of Normal Religious Experience

S. Basil the Great—Asketicon (Long and Short Rules), The Morals, Concerning Baptism, Letters, On the Holy Spirit, Hexaemeron and other sermons

S. Benedict—Rule

S. Gregory the Great—The Book of Pastoral Rule (Pastoral Care)

Walter Hilton—The Scale of Perfection

Isaac Williams—On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge (Tracts 80 and 87)

John Behr—The Mystery of Christ, The Way to Nicaea and The Nicene Faith (2 vols.)

Evelyn Underhill—Concerning the Inner Life and Practical Mysticism

F. P. Harton—The Elements of the Spiritual Life

Kenneth Kirk—The Vision of God and Some Principles of Moral Theology


Ascetical Theology

S. Ignatius of Antioch—The Letters

S. Clement of Rome—Epistles to the Corinthians

S. Polycarp—Epistle to the Philippians

The Didache

Epistle of S. Barnabas

The Shepherd of Hermas

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

The Epistle to Diognetus

S. Justin Martyr—The First and Second Apologies and Dialogue of Trypho

S. Irenaeus—On the Apostolic Preaching and Against the Heresies

Origen—Commentaries, Philocalia and On Prayer

Evagrius Ponticus—The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer

S. Athanasius—Against the Pagans, On the Incarnation, and Letter to Marcellinus (on the Psalms)

S. Gregory Nazianzus (the Theologian)—Theological Orations and other orations

S. Gregory of Nyssa—Sermons on the Song of Songs, The Making of Man and Life of Moses

John Cassian—Institutes and Conferences

S. Augustine—Confessions, On the Trinity, sermons and commentaries

S. Gregory the Great—The Dialogues, Moralia on Job, sermons and commentaries

Venerable S. Bede—On the Temple, On the Tabernacle, sermons and commentaries

Anglo-Saxon Poetry (ed. S. A. J. Bradley)

The Bridlington Dialogue: An Exposition of the Rule of S. Augustine

S. Bernard of Clairvaux—On the Love of God, The Steps of  Humility and sermons

William of St Thierry—Mirror of Faith and Golden Epistle

The Ancrene Riwle

S. Aquinas—Compendium of Theology

Richard Rolle—The Fire of Love and The Mending of Life

The Whole Duty of Man

John Cosin—A Collection of Private Devotions

A. L. Maycock—Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding

Jeremy Taylor—The Great Exemplar and sermons

Lancelot Andrewes—Sermons

George Herbert—The Complete English Poems

William Law—A Serious Call

John Keble—The Christian Year, and sermons

Charles Grafton—Works (8 vols.)

Arthur Michael Ramsey—The Gospel and the Catholic Church

Eric Mascall—Christ, the Christian, and the Church, Grace and Glory, and Corpus Christi

John Macquarrie—Principles of Christian Theology and A Guide to the Sacraments