New book on the Eastern Christian tradition, Conversations in a Monastery


The Arvo Pärt Centre has published a book by Hieromonk Raphael (Noica), Conversations in a monastery, that is based on public talks given by Fr. Raphael at the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England. The transcripts of Fr. Raphael’s talks can be considered as an introduction to the spiritual heritage of St. Silouan the Athonite and St. Sophrony the Athonite.

Fr. Raphael (Răsvan Noica) was born in 1942 in Romania in the family of the well-known philosopher Constantin Noica. During his spiritual quest in England he met the founder of the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, Fr. Sophrony, and spent the next thirty years by his side. He is now living in retreat in the silence of the Western Carpathian Mountains.

“In this book, Fr. Raphael treats an ancient tradition of searching for and knowing the truth, a truth greater than himself or his teacher, passed on from generation to generation,” Tauri Tölpt, a theologian, writes in the introduction, and continues: “This quest for the truth and its knowledge is essentially a love story. It is a story about truth as the eternal and imperishable relationship of divine love, something which Fr Raphael recognized … in the life of Fr. Sophrony. It caused Fr. Raphael to open himself up, to fall in love with the truth, and to live his life in a similar manner to his elder.”

The idea to publish the talks in Estonian came from the Pärt family, whose acquaintance with the founder of the monastery, Fr. Sophrony, as well as his disciple Fr. Raphael, developed into a close bond with frequent interactions that lasted for more than ten years. Arvo and Nora Pärt have fond memories of Fr. Raphael whose spiritual journey is marked by extraordinary inner warmth, authenticity, and a sense of freedom.

The book was translated by Marrit Andrejeva and designed by Angelika Schneider. The text is illustrated with photos of the monastery and its brethren.

The book is available at the Arvo Pärt Centre`s online store.

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