"Your Grace! With deep sadness have I learnt about the inconveniences that are being prepared for you. Evil doesn’t sleep… The denunciation had been sent to the Synod. I’m sending you the rough draft that accidentally fell into my hands, in order for you to have the possibility to prepare a worthy answer, just in case… A well-wisher."
The venomous paper had been read several times by the Archbishop. His heart was in pain; but his face, however, remained calm. He remained deep in his thoughts, while the candle light was barely illuminating his small chamber in the parochial house. The clock struck midnight. He knew this was his last night here.
In 20th century Russia, right before the start of the Bolshevik revolution, a new Archbishop is appointed in a small village, situated on the shores of the Volga river. His mission is simple; to bring back the apostolic spirit among the priests and believers of the place. But this was not an ordinary place with ordinary priests. The Evil never sleeps here. The priests have their own secrets and fears that the Archbishop has to discover, in order to earn their trust and fulfill his mission. As the Archbishop fights to revive Christ's spirit in the parish, more troubles begin to nurture within the clergy itself. They need help. But when the heavens won't answer their prayers, what could a bishop do?
The Archbishop by Hieromonk Tihon is a famous book in Russia. Written before the Bolshevik revolution, it landed along with other extraordinary books of Orthodoxy under the steamroller of the communist censorship. Now in its third edition in English, The Archbishop enjoy es a favorable welcoming not only among the faithful laity but also the clergy.
~ My Review ~
The Archbishop is beautifully written and I appreciate the eloquence of the author, Hieromonk Tihon, in talking about the Christian faith and religion, in general. In today's world, where it seems Christ is once again being crucified and His people have turned their backs on Him, it is still a testament of faith to continue to follow in His footsteps. Faith has been "funny" lately and have been twisted in multiple ways to mold in today's modern and evolving society.
We see more of the faithful leaving their "posts" daily and then, as the faithful, we start to believe that perhaps this Son was just a mere man whom the Apostles projected miracles to and told 'fairy tales' to the weak and disillusioned passersby some 2,000 years ago!
We are still weak and growing more disillusioned just like the peasants and townspeople in this story but there among them (and us) is a Shepherd. This book was full of wisdom and strength in faith but I will warn the reader that it moves a little slow. Also as a Roman Catholic, I understood how some words and contents may be taken as blasphemy, but it is a work of fiction that offers a rare inside view of priesthood; their thoughts and way of life.
NOTE: I am giving this a 3 star rating. As much as I appreciate the theology and the message, I found the pacing to be slow. The stories within the story was interesting and captured the different clergy's thoughts and way of life for those living in the asylum....but I was confused on what the plot was. I get that the Archbishop is introduced to this new land but there were too many people introduced and I lost count on where and what the main priest told in the beginning was supposed to be.
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. However, these thoughts and opinions are my own. I'm not required to write a positive review.***
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Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!