Uncut Mountain Press has its humble beginnings in the year 2000 in Tagarades, Greece, a small town outside of the ancient city of Thessaloniki. It was there that the newly-wed, first-year student of theology at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki, Peter Heers, began translating the Αντιαιρετικοί Διάλογοι of Elder Cleopa of Romania. This work would, the following year, be the Press’ first publication with the title The Truth of our Faith: Discourses from Holy Scripture on the Tenets of Christian Orthodoxy.
Between 2001 and 2008 UMP churned out an average of one book a year. In 2001 the Press, in cooperation with the Missionary Society of St. Kosmas, translated and published Apostle to Zaire: The Life and Legacy of Blessed Father Cosmas of Grigoriou. One volume in English, this book is a compilation of the biography of Father Cosmas by his father and the collection of miraculous accounts from the mission field during and after Father Comsas’ repose by Monk Damascene Grigoriatis.
In 2005 the Press succeeded in publishing the second volume of Elder Cleopa’s discourses on Holy Scripture: On the Christian Mysteries. Countless seekers and believers have been won over by Elder Cleopa’s simple and wise explanations of difficult passages of Holy Scripture on those key and controversial issues dividing Protestantism and Catholicism from the ancient Faith of the Orthodox.
In the following year UMP joined forces with the translator Fr. George Dokos, Doctor of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, to bring out three of the many volumes of works of St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite. Exomologetarion: A Manual of Confession (2006), Concerning Frequent Communion (2006) and the saint’s own Confession of Faith (2007) were received with gratefulness by the Orthodox faithful around the English-speaking world, especially by spiritual fathers and clergy.
In 2006 the Press was approached by our friend and well-known writer of Orthodox Christian books for children in Greece, Mersine Vigopoulos, the author of From I-ville to You-ville, which UMP published in October of that year. This book has since been reprinted three times and become a run-away favorite with Orthodox faithful everywhere.
In 2007, UMP published as a booklet the lecture delivered in 2005 at the academic conference “The Mission of the Orthodox Church and the World Council of Churches” by its founder, Fr. Peter Heers, The Missionary Origins of Modern Ecumenism: Milestones Leading up to 1920.
In 2007 we also had the blessing and honor of publishing the university lectures of the renowned professor of Dogmatic Theology, Fr. John Romanides (+2001), entitled Patristic Theology.
From 2008 until 2014 the Press’ founder and head took an extended break from publishing in order to research and write his own book, The Ecclesiological Renovation of the Second Vatican Council: An Orthodox Examination of Rome’s Ecumenical Theology Regarding Baptism and the Church, which was published in Greek by the Press in November of 2014. The English edition of this book is expected to be released in November of 2015.
About Our Name
Our Press takes its name from the uncut mountain in the book of Daniel, the All-Holy Theotokos (Birth-giver of God) and Virgin Mary, from whom the Stone (Christ) was cut without hands (Dan. 2:34-35). St. Justin the Martyr (100-165 AD), in his Dialogue with Trypho, refers to this when defending the virgin birth of Christ thus: “To say that it was cut by no human hand (cf. Dan 2.45) is to show that it is not a work of man, but the work of the will of God who produced it, the Father, God of all” (Justin Martyr, Dial. 76). St. Irenaeus of Lyon also identifies Christ with the Stone in Daniel thus: “Christ is the ‘stone cut out of the mountain without hands,’ which is to annihilate the temporal kingdoms and bring in the everlasting kingdom, that is, the resurrection of the righteous—for ‘the God of heaven,’ it is written, ‘will raise up a kingdom which will never be destroyed’” (Dan 2.44) (Irenaeus of Lyon, Haer. 4.20). It was Irenaeus who first suggested a connection between the mountain from which the stone was cut and the Virgin Mary in his explanation of the significance of the expression “by no human hand” in the Book of Daniel: “His [Christ’s] coming into this world was not by the operation of human hands, that is, of those men who are accustomed to stone-cutting; that is, Joseph taking no part with regard to it, but Mary alone cooperating with the pre-arranged plan. For this stone from the earth derives existence from both the power and the wisdom of God” (Haer. 3.21). (See: Paul Ladouceur, “Old Testament Prefigurations of the Mother of God,” St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 50, 1-2 (2006), 5-57).
The “logo” of our Press shows the Uncut Mountain, the All-Holy Theotokos, hands raised in prayer for the whole world, residing in the Holy Mountain of Athos, her millennium old “garden” of holiness and asceticism and truly an uncut mountain, from which the Stone, which the builders rejected, is forever crushing the kingdoms of this world and being laid as the cornerstone of Faith for many.