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Hesychia - Action - Knowledge

From Issue No 211 of "Ecclesiastiki Parembasi", Februar 2014

Ἡσυχία - δράση - γνώση


... adjusting for circumstances, all Christians can attain stillness and thereby also theoria of God. On this point too the Fathers are absolute and expressive.

St Peter of Damascus writes: “For all men need this devotion and stillness, total or partial, and without it, it is impossible to attain any humility and spiritual knowledge.”

In this teaching of St Peter of Damascus we need to note the words “all men need this devotion and stillness”. If this is supposed to be the case with all men, it is much more so with monks.

Unfortunately, some modern underrate sacred hesychia as a method of knowing God. But it is the only method and the only way of knowing God.

Some people maintain that hesychia in the way described by the Fathers is inaction, not action. In reality the opposite is the case. Hesychia is very great action in invisibility and silence. Man is in repose and silence in order to speak with God, in order to allow himself his freedom and to receive God Himself. And if we consider the fact that the greatest problems which torment us are inner problems of the soul, and if we think that most illnesses (psychological and physical) originate from the elaboration of thoughts, that is, from impurity of the nous and the heart, we can understand the great value of noetic hesychia. So it is action and life. Hesychia offers the indispensable conditions for loving one’s brothers dispassionately, for acquiring selfless and dispassionate love. “He who is not attracted by worldly things cherishes hesychia. He who loves nothing merely human loves all men” (St Maximus the Confessor). 

So the hesychastic life is a life of intense activity, but a genuine and good activity.


( Extract from the book "Orthodox Psychotherapy" by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios Hieorotheos)


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