St. John Damascene
Notes and comments by Augoustinos N. Kantiotes, Bishop of Florina, Greece
Preface, Introduction, and New Translation by Asterios Gerostergios, et al.
“In the present publication, I have used as a guide the format of Augoustinos Kantiotes’ The Precious Pearl, namely, his division of the text and all of his comments and footnotes. I have also kept his title, The Precious Pearl, and added the subtitle, The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph. Also, the book has been adorned with almost all the Byzantine icons found in his edition, and a general index has been added for the readers’ convenience. [...]This fresh English translation is offered, with much love, to the Orthodox Church in the Diaspora. We particularly wish to help the already existing effort to develop missionary and monastic centers in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Our Orthodox Church in the Diaspora is fairly young and has a great need for such spiritual oases. May young men and women with a special love for Christ and the Church imitate Sts. Barlaam and loasaph and take the brave step to completely devote their lives to the Lord. May monasticism flourish in the Orthodox Church and become her vigilant conscience.”
1. The purpose of this book
I. THE LAND OF INDIA AND THE BEGINNINGS OF CHRISTIANITY IN HER
2. Apostle Thomas of India
3. Abenner, the Pagan king
4. The persecution of the Christians
5. The marvelous story of the return of the highest official of the land and his apology before the king
II. IOASAPH IS EDUCATED AS THE SUCCESSOR OF THE PAGAN KING
6. The childless king has a son
7. The conference of astrologers
8. The king takes measures against the unpleasant news
9. A certain courtier is a secret follower of the Crucified-One. The ruse of the envious people, destruction of the trap, victory, and triumph of goodness
10. The martyr’s death of the ascetics by fire
11. The strict seclusion and education of the king’s son; he learns the secret of his seclusion, however
12. The first departure of the king’s son from the palace and the first sad spectacles
13. The king’s son in great agony
14. A certain foreigner seeks to show the king’s son the precious stone which has miraculous powers
III. FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT (BARLAAM INSTRUCTS AND BAPTIZES IOASAPH)
15. The first question: What is your heart?
16. A beautiful anecdote (the four purses)
17. "Who is your master?"
18. What is holy baptism?
19. The question: What is blessed hope, the kingdom of heaven, death, and what is it like beyond the grave?
20. Barlaam’s apologetic homily speaks of the existence of the future life, of judgment and retribution
21. A strong admonition for repentance. Be saved from this perverted generation. A fine picture of the unrepentant
22. What should the life of the believer be after baptism?
23. Question: Are sins committed after baptism forgiven?
24. Baptism by blood
25. Ascetics are "voluntary martyrs"
26. Different kinds of monastic life and conduct, and the glory of the ascetics
27. The deceit of the world. Three parables
28. The power of giving alms
29. Is the monastic life an ancient apostolic tradition or a later invention of man?
30. What is independence and will?
31. A picture of present-day life. A miserable cave
32. Ioasaph makes a heroic decision. Barlaam narrates a new parable
33. What is the wealth and the power of God?
34. What is ones true age?
35. What is death?
36. What is the ascetic life of Barlaam in the desert and those with him?
37. Ioasaph wants to follow Barlaam into the desert, but Barlaam refuses and instead prepares him for baptism
38. Concise dogmatic instruction of the day of baptism
39. Ioasaph is baptized, and Barlaam defines the program of his life after baptism
40. Zardan the courtier disturbs him
41. A temporary separation between Barlaam and Ioasaph
42. Ioasaph’s conduct after Barlaam departs
43. Zardan makes accusations. The king’s wrath. Consultation at the Palace. Araches’s advice
44. A new persecution. The martyrdom of seventeen ascetics
IV. DEFENSE AND ATTACK AGAINST IDOLATRY
45. A lengthy discussion between the king and his son
46. A second visit of the king to his son
47. Nachor’s trap
48. Christians and idolators in public debate
49. An excellent speech by Nachor. The division of the people according to religion
50. Nachor repents and goes into the desert
51. Shame and defeat of the idolatrous array
52. Theudas the magician and his cunning
53. The discussion between Ioasaph and Theudas
V. THE VICTORY AND TRIUMPH OF THE TRUE FAITH
54. Theudas’ repentance
55. Division of the kingdom into two parts
56. Ioasaph the ideal king
57. Conversion of King Abenner
58. The conversion and Christianization of an idolatrous people
59. The last days of King Abenner
60. Ioasaph’s momentous decision
61. Barachias the new king
62. loasaph goes to the desert
VI. DEATH IN THE LORD
63. Barlaam foretells his death
64. Barlaam’s last moments
65. Ioasaph’s vision
66. Ioasaph at the heights of holiness and his visions
67. Ioasaph goes to heaven
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Item Number: BKC490
Publication Data: Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1997
Number of Pages: 438
Dimensions (l × w × h): 21.8 cm × 14.9 cm × 3.0 cm
Additional Information: black-and-white illustrations