By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer 
Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality
Norris J. Chumley
HarperOne 04/11 Hardcover $24.99
ISBN: 9780061874178

This book by Norris Chumley, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and director, is an illustrated companion to the documentary film em>Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer. Both book and film chart Chumley’s spiritual journey with John A. McGuckin, a priest and professor, to Orthodox monasteries to learn more about the Jesus Prayer which they characterize as” the wellspring of Christianity’s first mystical tradition.” Their journey begins with visits to the monasteries of St. Antony in the Egyptian desert and St. Catherine’s on Mount Sinai and end at a Russian church with an elaborate liturgy on the Feast of the Holy Trinity. This pilgrimage of the heart, mind, and feet takes eight years and covers a lot of ground.

Chumley gives a brief history of the Jesus Prayer and its impact upon Eastern Orthodox believers. The monks talk about this hub in their devotional life which spurs them to silence, humility, mystery, and direct connection with God. Some believers have called the Jesus Prayer a Christian “mantra,” and that isn’t far off the mark. Chumley and McGuckin also shed light on the rituals, devotional practices, icons, and spiritual insights of the Orthodox church.