Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain (2005)
In despair and longing to end his spiritual desolation, Merrill became one of a handful of visitors permitted entry to Mount Athos—a mysterious land that for more than a thousand years has been the secret heart of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There, amid the beautiful terrain, the ancient rhythms, and the spiritual rigor of this holy place, he found a haven. As Merrill's story unfolds, we, too, hike the rough trails of Athos, exploring a place and a way of life scarcely altered since medieval times. We share encounters with monks and spiritual seekers; visit Athos's twenty monasteries, where exquisite art treasures are sequestered; make our way to lonely hermitages that clutch the cliffs above the sea. Like Merrill, we come to consider existence in a new and different light.
Part journal of personal discovery, part meditation upon the history and traditions of the contemplative life, Things of the Hidden God takes us where the temporal and the eternal intersect, where community and solitude coexist, and where centuries-old practices offer insight for how to live today.