- originally written/compiled by Saint Demetrius of Rostov (born 1651; reposed 1709; canonized 1757) in Slavonic and published in Kiev
- Russian edition (translated from the original Slavonic) was first published in 1914 by the Christian Printshop of the Transfiguration Almshouse in Moscow.
- English edition (translated by Fr. Thomas Marretta) is published by Chrysostom Press.
Reviews of this Collection:
Review by Christine Hall:
The Great Collection by St. Demetrius of Rostov is absolutely the best literature available for young Orthodox children. It is written in the form of a story, in a way that is very engaging for elementary age readers. Some accounts of saints' lives intended for children are "dumbed-down" either in content or language, or both. Other collections of saints' lives for adults are written in a style more like an encyclopedia, which generally does not hold the interest of young children. The stories in this collection by St. Demetrius of Rostov convey profound truths of our faith and are well-written, while still being very accessible and captivating to the minds and hearts of young children. This is the brilliance of St. Demetrius' writing. It has the ability to form children in Truth and in the phronema of the Church from a very young age, and to instill in children what it truly means to be a Christian and to live for Christ.
This is an excellent resource for incorporating into the history and literature curriculum of Orthodox parochial and home schoolers. For children that are avid readers from a young age – and are provided with an environment that encourages independent reading and this type of literary content – they can likely read this entire collection by the end of 4th grade. In my experience, this helps children approach wordly knowledge with a stronger sense of the Orthodox worldview, helps them have greater perception for distinguishing truth from falsehood, and gives them an increased appetite for spiritual reading in grades 5-12. If children are not able to read this collection themselves in early elementary, parents can cultivate their children's academic and spiritual development by reading to them from it every day, until the children are able to read it on their own.
Some people prefer to skip around and pick out selections to match the saint of the day, or to match a historical time period they are studying. While it can be used that way, I think it offers the most benefit – as a catechism tool and as a full picture of the Body of Christ – if it is read straight through from cover to cover. Aside from giving children an Orthodox translation of the Gospel, there is no other book or set of books that I recommend more than this one.
Review by Seraphim Larsen:
We frequently listened to an audio version of the English translation of Saint Demetrios of Rostov's Lives of the Saints of September when our oldest children were very young. We took many road trips in those days, and this was the favorite way to pass the time. Our oldest daughter, who is now 23, still remembers listening to these lives, and still remembers many details – they have provided examples and inspiration for all of us. The book includes wonderful saints as Saint John the Theologian, Saint Symeon the Stylite, Saint Eustathius, Saints Faith, Hope, and Love, Saint Euphrosynos the Cook, Saint Michael of Chernigov, and so many others. The stories are presented in a straightforward manner, with many interesting details. Saint Demetrios, the author, often referred to original texts when compiling these lives. For example, he cites large sections of the court records of some of the early martyrs, presenting the actual dialogue as recorded by the court clerks. The writing is of a high level, but clear and understandable to children. Many of these saints were unknown to us, but now they feel like dear friends. We always look forward to September, because this audio series made these lives so readily available to us. We see this collection as essential reading and are so thankful to Chrysostom Press for their decades-long labors in translating these works.