Reading List

This reading list for ressourcement, not an account of conventional historical theology. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather fundamental starting points for the study and especially the renewal of the English School of orthodox-catholic spirituality, according to its various dimensions.

General Overviews

Martin Thornton—English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition
(note: this work is 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


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

Maximos Constas—The Art of Seeing

Andreas Andreopoulos—Gazing on God

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


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

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

John Macquarrie—Mary for All Christians

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

A. M. Allchin—The Joy of All Creation

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

ARCIC II—Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

Prayer of the Heart (Jesus Prayer)

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

Frederica Mathewes-Green—The Illumined Heart

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

The Philokalia 2 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

Pastoral Theology

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

Martin Thornton—Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation, Spiritual Direction, and The Rock and the River

Walter Hilton—The Scale of Perfection

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

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

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

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

S. Athanasius—Life of Antony and Letter to Marcellinus (on the Psalms)

S. Gregory the Great—The Dialogues (esp. The Life of S. Benedict)

Sulpicius Severus—The Life of S. Martin of Tours

Eadmer—The Life of S. Anselm

Primary Sources

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 and On the Incarnation

S. Basil of Caesarea—On the Holy Spirit

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. Benedict—Rule

S. Gregory the Great—The Book of Pastoral Rule (Pastoral Care), Moralia on Job, sermons and commentaries

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

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

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

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

Saint Anselm—Prayers and Meditations with the Proslogion

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

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

William of St Thierry—Mirror of Faith and Golden Epistle

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

The Ancrene Riwle

S. Aquinas—Compendium of Theology

S. Bonaventure—The Mystical Vine

Julian of Norwich—Revelations of Divine Love

The Cloud of Unknowing

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 Rule and Exercise of Holy Living, The Great Exemplar and sermons

Lancelot Andrewes—Sermons and Preces Privatae

George Herbert—The Complete English Poems

William Law—A Serious Call

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

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

Martin Thornton—The Purple Headed Mountain, Christian Proficiency, and A Joyful Heart