Pilgrimage to Dzhvari: A Woman's Journey of Spiritual Awakening

Valeria Alfeyeva, Author, Stuart Robertson, Translator, Jenny Robertson, Translator
Valeria Alfeyeva, Author, Stuart Robertson, Translator, Jenny Robertson, Translator Crown Publishing Group (NY) $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-59194-9
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-517-88389-1
Paperback - 978-0-517-17450-0
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In this loosely autobiographical novel translated from the Russian, Alfeyeva describes her search for spiritual serenity and a deeper understanding of her Eastern Orthodox faith through visits to two Georgian monasteries. Shortly after the death of her husband, the narrator, a journalist like Alfeyeva, and her teenage son Mitya, arrange an unusual visit to a well-known monastery--unusual because women are traditionally forbidden entry. There, the narrator is urged to abandon her ``intellectual'' appreciation of Christianity for a more visceral faith while Mitya is encouraged in his desire to become a priest. Six years later, Mitya becomes a monk rather than the priest his mother had hoped and in a visit to another Georgian monastery, the narrator grapples both with her disappointment over his decision and with broader problems of Soviet mores and modern moral laxity. The strength of this impressive work comes not only from the depiction of the monks' human weaknesses and constant spiritual self-testing, but resides also in Alfeyeva's thoughtful explanation of the Orthodox faith and in her lyrical descriptions of the natural beauty of the Georgian countryside. (July)
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