Russian Pietyis a history of Orthodox spirituality in its Russian forms. Many texts unknown in the West are translated here, and the chapters on the saintly life are a valuable and reliable anthology.
The book is a gallery of intimate scenes, portraits and memoirs, and is indispensable for an understanding of the complex history of Russian and the tradition of her Church, whose role in the contemporary Ecumenical Movement is already familiar to all. The author, who was formerally Professor of New Testament and Apologetics at St Vladimir's Seminary, is intimately acquainted with Russian literature, and expertly traces its spiritual themes and issues. He makes it possible for us to see how the Revolution of 1917 exploited and betrayed a messianism which Russian literature can never fully express so long as it is not rooted in Christianity.
In spite of the present difficulties, which Professor Arseniev discusses candidly and without political rancor, Russian Orthodoxy is still alive. By separating what is essential from what is secondary in the Russian Church today, Russian Piety gives us an inkling of the nature of Russia's spiritual destiny in the years ahead.