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Philokalia-St Gregory Palamas





[V4] 287

St Gregory Palamas

(1296- 1359)

(Volume 4, pp. 287-425)

Introductory Note

In the Calendar of the Orthodox Church, St Gregory Palamas (1296-1359)^ - 'St Gregory of Thessaloniki', as he  is usually termed in Orthodox texts - enjoys a particular prominence, since his memory is celebrated not only on  the day of his death (14 November) but also on the second Sunday in Lent. The first Sunday in Lent,  commemorating the definitive restoration of the holy ikons in 843 at the end of the  iconoclast controversy, is known as 'the Sunday of Orthodoxy' or 'the Triumph of Orthodoxy'. If St Gregory's  feast was assigned to the following Sunday, this means that his successful defence of the divine and uncreated  character of the light of Tabor and his victory over the heretics of his time - Barlaam, Akindynos, Gregoras and  others - were seen as a direct continuation of the preceding celebration, as nothing less than a renewed Triumph of  Orthodoxy.

Bom and brought up in Constantinople, St Gregory Palamas came from a distinguished family, closely linked  with the imperial house; his father was a personal friend of the Emperor Andronikos II and tutor to the future  Emperor Andronikos III. In his youth Gregory enjoyed for a time the spiritual guidance of Theoliptos of  Philadelphia. After his father's death he gave up a promising secular career and around 1316, at the age of twenty,  he traveled to Mount Athos with two of his brothers; at the same time his mother, with two of his sisters and many  of their servants, entered convents in Thessaloniki. The next twenty years were passed by Gregory in monastic  seclusion on the Holy Mountain, except for a six -year period when he left Athos because of  ' On the life and theology of Palamas, the fundamental work remains the book of John Meyendorff, A Study ofGregoiy Polamas (London,  1964). MeyendorTs more popular study, St Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality (Crestwood, 1974), places Palamas in the broader  context of Orthodox mystical theology from the fourth century onwards. For more recent bibliography, see the same author's article in  Dictionnaire de Spiritualite xii (1983), cols 81-107. For selections from the Triads of Palamas, see Nicholas Gendle (tr.), Gregory Palamas: The  Triads (The Classics of Western Spihtiiality: New York, 1983).  

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the danger of Turkish attacks and settled in a cave near Veroia. Apart from a relatively short time spent in  cenobia, he chose - like St Gregory of Sinai - to follow the hesychast way of life in various small hermitages.  Palamas' normal programme was to spend five days of each week in total solitude, joining his brethren for the  Liturgy and other services on Saturday and Sunday. Such was the preparation for his future work as defender of  the faith.

Around 1335-6 a new era commenced in St Gregory's life. For the next fourteen years he became involved in  what is often termed the hesychast controversy. Initially his main opponent was a learned Greek from southern  Italy, Barlaam the Calabrian, who maintained that the light seen by the hesychasts in prayer was not the uncreated  light of the Godhead but simply a created and physical radiance. He also ridiculed the psychosomatic technique  used by some of the monks, referring to them as omphalopsychoi, 'navel-psychics', people who locate the soul in  the navel. Although, so far as his personal wishes were concerned Gregory would doubtless have preferred to  remain in the stillness of his hermitage, he felt obliged to come to the defence of the spiritual tradition of the Holy  Mountain and to act as spokesman for the monks. This forced him to leave Athos and to settle in the imperial  capital. Gregory's standpoint was vindicated at the Council of Constantinople in 1341, and Barlaam now withdrew  to the west. Unfortunately this did not mean the end of the controversy, which continued for another six years  (1341-7), chiefly because the theological points at issue became entangled in politics. Gregory's main opponents  during this second period of the dispute were his former friend Gregory Akindynos and the humanist scholar and  statesman Nikiphoros Gregoras. The doctrinal position upheld by Gregory was eventually reaffirmed at two  further councils held in Constantinople in 1347 and 1351, and since then it has remained the official teaching of  the Orthodox Church.

The final period in St Gregory's career began in 1347, when he was consecrated Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, the  second city of the Byzantine Empire. Because of the unstable political situation, he could not take possession of his  see until 1350. As bishop he made strenuous efforts to reconcile the members of his flock to each other, deeply  divided as they still were by the social and political conflicts of the 1340's. In his sermons he insisted upon the  urgent need for social righteousness, consistently supporting the poor and oppressed. His  

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preaching was also firmly sacramental: whereas the writings of Palamas to be found in The Philokalia make but  few references to baptism and the eucharist, the balance is redressed by his pastoral homilies to the faithful of  Thessaloniki. In 1354, while traveling by sea to Constantinople, he was taken captive by the Turks and spent a year  as a prisoner in Asia Minor, where he took part in doctrinal discussions with the local Muslims. Following his death  in 1359, a popular veneration for him sprang up almost immediately in Thessaloniki, in Constantinople and on the  Holy Mountain, and only nine years later, in 1368, he was formally glorified as a saint.

The writings of St Gregory Palamas are extremely voluminous. A six-volume critical edition is in course of  publication, prepared by Professor Panagiotis K. Christou, assisted by other scholars; five volumes have so far  appeared (Thessaloniki, 1962-92). St Makarios and St Nikodimos included six works by Palamas in The Philokalia:

(i) To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia (Greek text, ed. P.K. Christou, vol. v, pp. 193-230). This was written around  1342-6, at a time when Palamas was suffering sharp persecution from his opponents, and he makes several allusions  to his difficulties (§§ 3, 5, 6, 57). The work itself, however, is not an answer to his theological critics, but a  statement of the traditional Orthodox teaching concerning the ascetic life, written at Xenia's request. It is the most  substantial of Palamas's ascetic writings, and offers a general overview of his teaching about human nature, about  death and the future life, about the passions and the virtues, and in particular about virginity and inward grief. Little  is said concerning the higher stages of the spiritual way, but he refers briefly to the vision of divine light (§ 59) and  to the uncreated character of the grace dwelling within the saints (§ 70). Nothing is known about the nun Xenia  except that she had under her charge the daughters of 'the Great King', by which is probably meant the daughters of  the late Emperor Andronikos III, who had died in 1341 (§ 7).

(2) A New Testament Decalogue (Greek text, ed. P.K. Christou, vol. v, pp. 251-60).^ This was probably  composed by St Gregory Palamas towards the end of his life, during his episcopate, perhaps in the autumn of 1355.  It is a brief summary of Christian moral teaching,

^ There is a previous English translation by S.A. Mousalimas in The Greek Orthodox Theological Review XXV

(1980), pp. 297-305.

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indicating how the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law are transformed within the life of the Church because  of the incarnation. Addressed to the laity, it exemplifies St Gregory's pastoral concerns. Among other things he  refers to the Orthodox teaching on ikons (§ 2), on spiritual fatherhood (§ 5), and on virginity and marriage (§ 6), but  he does not discuss the specifically hesychast teaching concerning inner prayer.

(3) In Defence of Those who Devoutly Practise a Life of Stillness (= Triads I, ii: Greek text, ed. J. Meyendorff,  Defense des saints hesychastes [Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense 30-31: Louvain, 1959], vol. i, pp. 75-101). This is  a section of a much larger work, written by Palamas in defence of the hesychast tradition of prayer during 1337-9,  chiefly in answer to the attacks of Barlaam the Calabrian. In the portion included in The Philokalia, Palamas' main  concern is to uphold the legitimacy of the psychosomatic technique. The crouching posture adopted by the  hesychast assists him in establishing a 'circular' movement within himself, so that his concentration is turned inward  (§§ 5, 8). Slowing down the rhythm of the breathing also helps to hold in check the volatile and easily distracted  intellect; but this control of the breathing is an exercise appropriate chiefly for 'beginners ... recently embarked on  the spiritual path', who may abandon it once they have advanced 'to a higher stage' (§ 7). Yet, while attaching only  limited importance to the physical method, Gregory Palamas recognizes that it reflects a genuinely Christian  doctrine of the human person, with the heart regarded symbolically as man's spiritual centre (§ 3). The body is  God's creation, and we are to take full advantage of its Spirit-bearing potentialities; St Paul condemned, not the  body itself, but only 'the body of this death' (§ 1).

(4) Three Texts on Prayer and Purity of Heart (Greek text, ed. P.K. Christou, vol. v, pp. 157-9). Here again St  Gregory emphasizes the centrality of the heart (§5). In this brief work there is no specific reference to the concerns  of the hesychast controversy, and it was perhaps written in the early 1330's, before the outbreak of the dispute.

(5) Topics of Natural and Theological Science and on the Moral and Ascetic Life: One Hundred and Fifty Texts  (Greek text, ed. Robert E. Sinkewicz [Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Studies and Texts 83: Toronto,  1988]). This important but difficult work has been variously dated: some place it at the end of St Gregory's life,  others assign it to the years 1344-7, but most probably it was composed in

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1349-50. It provides a comprehensive picture of his theology, constituting what Fr Meyendorff calls 'a sort of  systematic siimma'. It falls into two distinct parts:

(a) §§ 1-63: a general survey of the divine economy of creation and salvation:^

(i) The non-etemity of the cosmos: the world had an origin, and it will have a consummation (§§

1-2).



(2) The celestial realm (§§ 3-7).

(3) The terrestrial realm (§§ 8-14).

(4) The natural human faculties: sense perception, the imaginative faculty, the intellect (§§ 15-20).

(5) Spiritual knowledge, and its superiority to Hellenic philosophy (§§ 21-29).

(6) Human nature, compared with that of the angels and the animals; the soul and its immortality (§§ 30-33).

(7) God the Holy Trinity and the Triadic image of God in the human person (§§ 3,V-40).

(8) The fallen state of man (§§ 41—63). Here St Gregory emphasizes that man is more perfectly in God's image  than the angels (§§ 62-63; but cf § 78).

(b) §§ 64-150: a refutation of false teachings concerning the divine light of Tabor and the uncreated energies of  God. This is directed primarily against Akindynos rather than Barlaam, who at the time of writing had already  withdrawn from the dispute and returned to Italy. St Gregory Palamas, supporting his argument with frequent  quotations from the fathers, maintains that there is a distinction-in-unity between God's essence and His energies.  The divine essence signifies God's absolute transcendence, and we humans will never participate in it, either in this  life or in the age to come. The divine energies, on the other hand, permeate the entire creation, and we humans  participate in them by grace (§§ 65, 78). Thus deification (theosis) and union with God signify union with God's  energies, not His essence (§ 75). That which the energies effect and produce is created, but the divine energies  themselves are supernatural, eternal and uncreated (§§ 72-73). The energies are Trinitarian, proceeding from all  three persons at

' It has to be said that the cosmological aspects of this survey reflect very largely Palamas' own personal views and must not be taken to  represent Christian cosmology as such. It should also be noted that Palamas' account of the thought of 'the Greek sages' makes it clear that  he was not closely familiar with their works.

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once (§§ 72, 112). They are not to be identified with the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit (§ 74.). The threefold  distinction within God between the one essence, the three hypostases, and the multiplicity of energies in no way  destroys the divine unity, for God 'is indivisibly divided and is united dividedly, and yet in spite of this suffers  neither multiplicity nor compositeness' (§ 81). The light which shone from Christ at the transfiguration on Tabor is  not created, natural or physical, but it is the uncreated energies of God. It is this uncreated glory that the saints  behold in prayer, and that will shine from Christ at the second coming. Thus, even when experienced in this present  life, it is an eschatological glory, the eternal radiance of the age to come (§§ 74, 146-50).

(6) The Declaration of the Holy Mountain (also known as 'The Hagioritic Tome': Greek text, ed. P.K. Christou,  vol. ii, pp. 567-78). This short statement of the hesychast standpoint, drafted by St Gregory Palamas in 1340, is of  particular importance because it bears the signatures of leading Athonite monks and also of the local hierarch, the  Bishop of Hierissos in Chalkidiki. This makes it clear that Palamas is expressing, not merely his own personal  opinion, but the accepted teaching of the Holy Mountain. Palamas emphasizes the eschatological character of the  divine light, which is a foretaste and anticipation of the glory of the age to come. The monks who bear witness to  the uncreated light fulfill a prophetic role within the Church: just as the Old Testament prophets foretold Christ's  first coming at the incarnation, so the monks as the prophets of the new covenant point forward to His second  coming (Prologue). Here as elsewhere Palamas expresses a holistic vision of the human person: the body is  glorified along with the soul (§ 4.). Our theosis is in no sense merely symbolical or metaphorical: it is a genuine  and specific reality, a pure gift of grace experienced even in this present life (§ 2).  

Contents

To the Most Reverend Nun Xema VOLUME 4: Page 293

A New Testament Decalogue 323

In Defense of Those Who Devoutly

Practice a Life of Stillness 331

Three Texts On Prayer and Purity of Heart 343

Topics of Natural and Theological Science

And on the Moral and Ascetic Life - 150 Texts 346

The Declaration of the Holy Mountain

In Defense of Those Who Devoutly

Practice a Life of Stillness 418  

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1 . Those who truly desire to live a monastic life find all talk troublesome, whether it is with people at large or  with those living in the same way as themselves. For it breaks the continuity of their joyful intercourse with God and  sunders, and sometimes shatters, that one -pointed concentration of the intellect which constitutes the inward and true  monk. For this reason one of the fathers, when asked why he avoided people, answered that he could not be with  God while associating with men. Another father, speaking of these things from experience, affirms that not only talk  with others but even the sight of them can destroy the steady quietude of mind possessed by those who practice  stillness.

2. If you observe carefully you will find that even the thought of someone's approach, and the expectation of a  visit and of having to talk, disrupt your mental tranquility. If you write you burden your intellect with even more  demanding worries. For if you are among those who are well advanced on the spiritual path and who through their  soul's good health have attained God's love, then though this love will be active within you while you write, it will  be so only indirectly and not unalloyed. But if you are one who still falls into many maladies and passions of the  soul - and such in truth am I - and must continually cry out to God, 'Heal me, for I have sinned against Thee' (cf. Ps.  41 :4), then it is unwise for you to leave off prayer before being healed and of your own accord to occupy yourself  with something else. In addition, through your writings you converse also with those who are not present, and often  what you write falls into the hands of others, sometimes of those whom you would not wish to read it, since writings  usually survive the death of their author.

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3. For this reason many of the fathers who practiced extreme stillness could not bear to write anything at all,  although they were in a position to set forth great and profitable things. It is true that I myseh", who totally lack the  strict observance of the fathers, have the habit of writing, although only when some great need compels me to do so.  Now, however, those who look upon certain of my writings with malicious eyes and seek to find in them grounds to  do me wrong have made me more reluctant to write. Such people, according to St Dionysios, are passionately  attached to the component parts of letters, to meaningless penstrokes, to unfamiliar syllables and words - things that  do not touch their power of noetic understanding. It is indeed witless, perverse and entirely inappropriate to want to  understand divine things and yet to pay attention, not to the purpose of what is said, but to the words alone.

4. Yet I know that I have been justly censured, not because what I have written conflicts with the fathers - for by  the grace of Christ I have been kept from doing this - but because I have written on things whereof I am unworthy,  perhaps, like another Uzzah, trying through words to prevent the chariot of truth from overturning (cf. 2 Sam. 6:6-7).  Yet my punishment was not a matter of divine wrath, but a fit measure of instruction. On account of this my  adversaries were not permitted to get the better of me. Yet this, too, may have been due to my unworthiness, for, it  seems, I was not worthy, or capable, of suffering anything on behalf of the truth, and so sharing joyfully in the  sufferings of the saints.

5. Indeed, was not St John Chrysostom, who while yet clothed with the body was united to the Church of the  firstborn in the heavens, and who as no other truthfully, clearly and fluently wrote about holiness - was not he cut off  from the Church and condemned to exile on the charge of holding and expounding the doctrines of Origen? And St  Peter, the chief of the foremost choir of the Lord's disciples, says that unlearned and unstable people in his days  distorted difficult passages in St Paul's epistles and brought destruction upon themselves as a result (cf 2 Pet. 3:16).  

6. I myself had intended to give up writing altogether because of the somewhat trivial attacks made upon me, even  though those who attacked me have been synodically condemned. But now you, most reverend mother, through your  constant requests in letters and  

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messages, have persuaded me once again to write words of counsel, though indeed you have no great need of  counsel. For by the grace of Christ you have gained, together with old age, a venerable understanding, and for many  years you have studied and applied the ordinances of the divine commandments, dividing your life in due measure  between obedience and stillness. In this way you have wiped clean the tablet of your soul, so that it is capable of  receiving and preserving whatever God writes on it. But the soul completely dominated by its desire for spiritual  instruction is never sated.

7. It is because of this that Wisdom says of herself, 'Those who eat Me will still be hungry' (Eccles. 24:21); while  the Lord, who has instilled this divine desire in the soul, says of Mary who chose 'what is best' that it will not be  taken away from her (cf. Luke 10:42). But you perhaps may be in need of such words of instruction for the sake of  the daughters of the Emperor who live under your guidance, and especially for the sake of the nun Synesis, who is of  your own family and whom you have longed to espouse to Christ, the bestower of mcorruption. And, indeed, you  imitate Him in that, just as He truly assumed our form for our sakes, so you have now assumed the role of a novice  who is in need of instruction. Therefore, although I am not rich in words, and particularly in such words as these, I  shall repay the debt of Christian love from what I now possess, showing thus my good will as well as my obedience  and my readiness to keep the commandment, 'Give to him that asks' (Matt. 5:42).

8. You must know, then, reverend mother - or rather, let the maidens who have chosen to live a godly life learn  through you - that there is a death of the soul, though by nature the soul is immortal. This is made clear by the  beloved disciple, St John the Theologian, when he says, 'There is sin that leads to death' and 'There is sin that does  not lead to death' (1 John 5:16, 17). By death he certainly means here the death of the soul. And St Paul says,  'Worldly sorrowfulness produces death' (2 Cor. 7:10) - death, certainly, of the soul. Again, St Paul says, 'Awake, you  who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light' (Eph. 5:14). From which 'dead' is one enjoined to  arise? Clearly, from those who have been killed by 'sinful desires that wage war against the soul' (1 Pet. 2:11).  Hence the Lord also described those who live in this vain world as 'dead', for when one of His disciples asked to be  allowed to go and bury his father. He refused permission, and told him to follow Him, leaving the dead to  

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bury their dead (cf Matt. 8 : 22). Here, then, the Lord clearly calls those living people 'dead', in the sense that  they are dead in soul.

9. As the separation of the soul from the body is the death of the body, so the separation of God from the soul is

the death of the soul. And this death of the soul is the true death. This is made clear by the commandment given in  paradise, when God said to Adam, 'On whatever day you eat from the forbidden tree you will certainly die' (cf. Gen.  2:17). And it was indeed Adam's soul that died by becoming through his transgression separated from God; for  bodily he continued to live after that time, even for nine hundred and thirty years (cf. Gen. 5:5).

10. The death, however, that befell the soul because of the transgression not only crippled the soul and made man  accursed; it also rendered the body itself subject to fatigue, suffering and corruptibility, and finally handed it over to  death. For it was after the dying of his inner self brought about by the transgression that the earthly Adam heard the  words, 'Earth will be cursed because of what you do, it will produce thorns and thistles for you; through the sweat of  your brow you will eat your bread until you return to the earth from which you were taken: for you are earth, and to  earth you will return' (Gen. 3:17-19).

1 1 . Even though at the regeneration to come, in the resurrection of the righteous, the bodies of the godless and  sinners will also be raised up, yet they will be given over to the second death, age-long chastisement, the unsleeping  worm (cf. Mark 9:44), the gnashing of teeth, the outer, tangible darkness (cf. Matt. 8:12), the murky and  unquenchable fire of Gehenna (cf. Matt. 5:22), in which, as the prophet says, the godless and sinners 'will be burned  up together and there will be none to quench the flame' (Isa. 1:31). For this is the second death, as St John has taught  us in the Revelation (cf. Rev. 20:14). Hark, too, to the words of St Paul, 'If you live in accordance with your fallen  self, you will die, but if through the Spirit you extirpate the evil actions of your fallen self, you will live' (Rom.  8:13). Here he speaks of life and death in the age to be: life is the enjoyment of the everlasting kingdom, death age-  long chastisement.

12. Thus the violation of God's commandment is the cause of all types of death, both of soul and body, whether in  the present life or in that endless chastisement. And death, properly speaking, is this: for the soul to be unharnessed  from divine grace and to be yoked to sin. This death, for those who have their wits, is truly dreadful and something  to

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be avoided. This, for those who think aright, is more terrible than the chastisement of Gehenna. From this let us  also flee with all our might. Let us cast away, let us reject all things, bid farewell to all things: to all relationships,  actions and intentions that drag us downward, separate us from God and produce such a death. He who is frightened  of this death and has preserved himself from it will not be alarmed by the oncoming death of the body, for in him the  true life dwells, and bodily death, so far from taking true life away, renders it inalienable.

13. As the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with  God, as life of the body is its union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of  the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened.  This is why the Lord says in the Gospels, 'The words I speak to you are spirit and life' (John 6:63). And having  experienced the truth of this, St Peter said to Him, 'Thy words are the words of eternal life' (John 6:68). But they are  words of eternal life for those who obey them; for those who disobey, this commandment of life results in death (cf.  Rom. 7:10). So it was that the apostles, being Christ's fragrance, were to some the death-inducing odor of death.  

while to others they were the hfe -inducing odor of life (of. 2 Cor. 2:16).

14. And this life is not only the life of the soul, it is also the life of the body. Through resurrection the body is also  rendered immortal: it is delivered not merely from mortality, but also from that never-abating death of future  chastisement. On it, too, is bestowed everlasting life in Christ, free of pain, sickness and sorrow, and truly immortal.

The death of the soul through transgression and sin is, then, followed by the death of the body and by its  dissolution in the earth and its conversion into dust; and this bodily death is followed in its turn by the soul's  banishment to Hades. In the same way the resurrection of the soul - its return to God through obedience to the divine  commandments - is followed by the body's resurrection and its reunion with the soul. And for those who experience  it the consequence of this resurrection will be true mcorruption and eternal life with God: they will become spiritual  instead of non-spiritual, and will dwell in heaven as angels of God (cf. Matt. 22:30).

15. As St Paul says, 'We shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall be with the  Lord for ever' (1 Thess. 4:17).

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The Son of God, who in His compassion became man, died so far as His body was concerned when His soul was  separated from His body; but this body was not separated from His divinity, and so He raised up His body once  more and took it with Him to heaven in glory. Similarly, when those who have lived here in a godly manner are  separated from their bodies, they are not separated from God, and in the resurrection they will take their bodies with  them to God, and in their bodies they will enter with inexpressible joy there where Jesus has preceded us (cf Heb.  6:20) and in their bodies they will enjoy the glory that will be revealed in Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1). Indeed, they will  share not only in resurrection, but also in the Lord's ascension and in all divine life. But this does not apply to those  who live this present life in an unregenerate manner and who at death have no communion with God. For though all  will be resurrected, yet the resurrection of each individual will be in accordance with his own inner state (cf . 1 Cor.  15:23). He who through the power of the Spirit has extirpated his materialistic worldly proclivities in this life will  hereafter live a divine and truly eternal life in communion with Christ. But he who through surrendering to his  materialistic and worldly lusts and passions has in this life deadened his spiritual being will, alas, hereafter be co-  judged with the devil, the agent-provocateur of evil, and will be handed over to unbearable and immeasurable  chastisement, which is the second and final death.

16. Where did true death - the death that produces and induces in soul and body both temporal and eternal death -  have its origin? Was it not in the realm of life? Thus was man, alas, at once banished from God's paradise, for he had  imbued his life with death and made it unfit for paradise. Consequently true life - the life that confers immortality  and true life on both soul and body - will have its origin here, in this place of death. If you do not strive here to gain  this life in your soul, do not deceive yourself with vain hopes about receiving it hereafter, or about God then being  compassionate towards you. For then is the time of requital and retribution, not of sympathy and compassion: the  time for the revealing of God's wrath and anger and just judgment, for the manifestation of the mighty and sublime  power that brings chastisement upon unbelievers. Woe to him who falls into the hands of the living God (cf. Heb.  10:31)! Woe to him who hereafter experiences the Lord's wrath, who has not acquired in this life the fear of God and  

so come to know the might of His anger, who

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has not through his actions gained a foretaste of God's compassion! For the time to do aU this is the present hfe.  That is the reason why God has accorded us this present life, giving us a place for repentance. Were this not the case  a person who sinned would at once be deprived of this life. For otherwise of what use would it be to him?

17. This is why no one should give way to despair, even though the devil finds various means by which to  insinuate it not only into those who live carelessly but also into those who practice the ascetic life. If, then, the time  of this life is time for repentance, the very fact that a sinner still lives is a pledge that God will accept whoever  desires to return to Him. Free will is always part and parcel of this present life. And it lies within the power of free  will to choose or to reject the road of life or the road of death that we have described above; for it can pursue  whichever it wishes. Where, then, are the grounds for despair, since all of us can at all times lay hold of eternal life  whenever we want to?

18. Do you not perceive the grandeur of God's compassion? When we are disobedient He does not immediately  condemn us, but He is longsuffermg and allows us time for conversion. Throughout this period of longsuffermg He  gives us power to gain divine sonship if we so wish. Yet why do I say 'gain sonship'? He gives us power to be united  with Him and to become one spirit with Him (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17).

If, however, during this period of longsuffering we pursue the opposite path and choose death rather than true life,  God does not take away the power that He gave us. And not only does He not take it away, but He reminds us of it  again and again. From the dawn till the dusk of this life. He goes round, as in the parable of the vineyard, seeking us  out and inviting us to engage in the works of life (cf. Matt. 20:7-15). And who is it that calls us in this way and  would engage us in His service? It is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all solace (cf. 2 Cor. 1 :3). And  who is the vineyard into which He calls us to work? The Son of God, who said, 'I am the vine' (cf. John 15:1). For,  indeed, no one can come to Christ, as He Himself said in the Gospels, unless the Father draws him (cf. John 6:44).  Who are the branches? We ourselves are. For directly afterwards Christ says, 'You are the branches. My Father is  the vine-dresser' (cf. John 15:1, 5).

19. The Father, therefore, through the Son reconciles us to Himself, not taking into account our offences (cf. 2  Cor. 5:19); and

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  He calls us, not in so far as we are engaged in unseemly works, but in so far as we are idle; although idleness is  also a sin, since we shall give an account even for an idle word (cf Matt. 12:36). But, as I said. God overlooks  former sins and calls us again and again. And what does He call us to do? To work in the vineyard, that is, to work  on behalf of the branches, on behah" of ourselves. And afterwards - the incomparable grandeur of His compassion!  - He promises and gives us a reward for toiling on our own behalf. 'Come,' He says, 'receive eternal life, which I  bestow abundantly; and as though in your debt I reward you in full for the labor of your journey and even for your  very desire to receive eternal life from Me.'

20. Who does not owe the price of redemption to the Redeemer from death? Who will not give thanks to the Giver  of Life? But He even promises to give us a reward as well, an inexpressible reward. 'I am come'. He says, 'so that  they may have life, and have it in all its fullness' (John 10:10). What is meant by 'in all its fullness'? He came not  only to be and to live with us, but to make us His brethren and coheirs. This, it seems, is the reward granted 'in all its  fullness' to those who hasten to the life-giving Vine and establish themselves as branches in it, who labor on behalf  of themselves and who cultivate it on behalf of themselves. And what do they do? First, they cut away everything  that is superfluous and that, instead of promoting, impedes the bearing of fruit worthy of the divine cellars. And  what are these things? Wealth, soft living, vain honors, all things that are transitory and fleeting, every sly and  abominable passion of soul and body, all the litter gathered while daydreaming, everything heard, seen and spoken  that can bring injury to the soul. If you do not cut out these things and prune the heart's offshoots with great  assiduity, you will never bear fruit fit for eternal life.

21. Married people can also strive for this purity, but only with the greatest difficulty. For this reason all who from  their youth have by God's mercy glimpsed that eternal life with the mind's keen eye, and who have longed for its  blessings, avoid getting married, since likewise in the resurrection, as the Lord said, people neither marry nor are  given in marriage, but are 'as the angels of God' (Matt. 22:30). Therefore those who wish to become 'as the angels of  God' will even in this present life, like the sons of the resurrection, rightly place themselves above bodily  intercourse. Moreover, the occasion for sinning was first provided by the wife. Consequently those who do not

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wish ever to give the devil any way of catching hold of them should not marry.  22. If this body of ours is hard to harness and hard to lead towards virtue - if, indeed, we carry it about like an  innate opposing force -why should we ever entrust ourselves to it, thereby increasing the difficulty we have in  attaining a state of virtue by binding ourselves to many different bodies? How will the woman, who is tied by  natural bonds to a husband, children and all her blood relations, possess that freedom for which she is enjoined to  strive? How will she, when she has taken upon herself the care of so many, devote herself, free from care, to the  Lord? How will she possess tranquility when entangled with such a multitude?

23. For this reason she who is really a virgin - who models herself on Him who is virgin, who was bom of a  Virgin and who is the Bridegroom of the souls that live in true virginity - will shun not merely carnal wedlock but  also worldly companionship, having renounced all kindred, so that like St Peter she can say boldly to Christ, 'We  have left all and followed Thee' (Matt. 19:27). If an earthly bride leaves father and mother for the sake of a mortal  bridegroom and cleaves to him alone, as Scripture says (cf. Gen. 2:24), what is untoward in a woman leaving her  parents for the sake of an immortal Bridegroom and bridal chamber? How can she whose 'citizenship is in heaven'  (Phil. 3:20) have kinship on the earth? How can she who is not an offspring of the flesh but of the Spirit (cf. John  

1:13) have a fleshly father or mother or blood relative? How will she who has renounced the carnal life, and so as far  as possible has spumed and continues to spurn her own body, entertain any relationship whatever to bodies that are  not her own? And if, as they say, likeness leads to friendship and everything adheres to what is like itself, how can  the virgin align herself with worldly loves and fall victim once again to the disease of self-adornment? 'Love of the  world is hostility to God' (Jas. 4:4), says the apostle who is our bridal escort into the spiritual bridal chamber. Thus a  virgin who reverts to worldly affections is not only in danger of separating herself from the immortal Bridegroom,  but also of being at enmity with him.

Do not be astonished or distressed by the fact that no criticism is made in Scripture of women who live in  wedlock, caring for the things of the world but not for the things of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 7:34), while at the same time  those who have vowed themselves to virginity

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are forbidden even to approach worldly things and are never allowed to live in comfort. Yet St Paul also warns  those who live in wedlock: 'The time is short; so let those who have wives live as though they had none and those  involved in worldly affairs as though they were not involved' (1 Cor. 7:29, 31): and this, 1 think, is harder to  accomplish than the keeping of one's virginity. For experience shows that total abstinence is easier than self-control  in food and drink. And one might justly and truly say that if someone is not concerned to save himself, we have  nothing to say to him, but if he is so concerned, then he should know that a life led in virginity is more easily  accomplished and less laborious than married life.

24. Yet let us leave these matters and return, virgin, bride of Christ, branch of the Vine of life, to what was said  above. The Lord says, '1 am the vine, you are the branches. . . . My Father is the vine-dresser... He prunes every  branch in Me that bears fruit, so that it may bring forth more fruit' (John 15:1, 2, 5). Reflecting on His careful  concern for yourself, recognize what fruit your virginity should bear and how great is the Bridegroom's affection for  you; and rejoice the more and strive in return to be still more obedient to Him. Gold that has been mixed with brass  is called counterfeit, but brass that has been smelted with gold dust appears brighter and more radiant than its natural  color. Similarly, it is an honorable thing for married women to long for you and the chastity of your way of life, but  for you to yearn for them brings dishonor upon you. For such a yearning returns you to the world, first because  though you have died to the world you still want to have relations with those who live in the world and to share their  life, and second because being in contact with such persons leads you to desire what they desire for themselves and  their kindred, that is, abundance in all things pertaining to this life - wealth, fame, glory, and the delight that these  things bring. In this way you will fall away from your Bridegroom's will, for in the Gospels He clearly disparages  such things, saying, 'Woe to the rich, woe to those who mock, woe to those who stuff themselves, woe to you when  everyone speaks well of you' (cf Luke 6:24-26).

25. Why does He deplore such people? Is it not because their souls are dead? What kinship can the bride of life  have with the dead? What communion with those who walk in the opposite direction? Wide and broad is the way  they travel; and unless they restrain themselves by blending some aspects of your life with theirs, they will lapse into  total

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destruction. But you should enter through the strait and narrow gate, the way that leads to life (cf. Matt. 7:13-14).  You cannot pass through this narrow gate and along this way while carrying a load of self-glory, or a cornucopia of  self-indulgence, or the burden of money and possessions.

26. But when you hear that other path of life called 'broad', do not suppose it to be free of sorrow, for in fact it is  filled with many oppressive misfortunes. He calls it 'broad' and 'wide' because there are many who pass along it (cf.  Matt. 7:13), each bearing a heavy load of the rubbish of this fleeting material life. But yours is a narrow path,  virgin, not even wide enough for two together. None the less, many at first embroiled in the world have renounced it  on the death of their spouses, emulating your supernatural way of life and choosing to journey along your path so as  to share in its rewards. And St Paul enjoins us to honor such people, for with hope in God they persevere in  supplication and prayer (cf 1 Tim. 5:3, 5). Although the narrow way of life involves affliction, it also brings solace,  confers the kingdom of heaven and fosters salvation. But on the broad path what is pleasant and what is grievous are  both alike. For, as St Paul says, worldly sorrowfulness produces death, while 'godly sorrow produces a saving  repentance that is not to be regretted' (2 Cor. 7:10).

27. It is for this reason that the Lord blesses the opposite of what the world calls blessed, saying, 'Blessed are the  poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens' (Matt. 5:3). In saying 'Blessed are the poor', why did He add  'in spirit"? So as to show that He blesses and commends humility of soul. And why did He not say, 'Blessed are those  whose spirit is poor', thus indicating the modesty of their manner of thinking, but 'Blessed are the poor in spirit"? So  as to teach us that poverty of body is also blessed and fosters the kingdom of heaven, but only when it is  accomplished in accordance with the soul's humility, when it is united to it and originates from it. By calling the  poor in spirit blessed He wonderfully demonstrated what is the root, as it were, and mainspring of the outward  poverty of the saints, namely, their humility of spirit. For from our spirit, once it has embraced the grace of the  gospel teaching, flows a wellsprmg of poverty that 'waters the whole face of our ground' (cf. Gen. 2:6), I mean our  outward self, transforming us into a paradise of virtues. Such, then, is the poverty that is called blessed by God.

28. 'The Lord has given a concise saying upon the earth', as the

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prophet observes (cf. Isa. 10:23. LXX). Having pointed out and called blessed the root cause of voluntary and  many-sided poverty. He also teaches us in this single short saying about its many effects. For we can choose to shed  possessions, and to be frugal and abstinent, simply in order to be praised by other people. In such a case we are not  'poor in spirit'. Hypocrisy is bom of self-conceit, and self-conceit is contrary to being poor in spirit. But if you  possess a contrite, lowly and humble spirit you cannot but rejoice in outward simplicity and self-abasement, because  you will regard yourself as unworthy of praise, comfort, prosperity and all such things. The poor man deemed  blessed by God is he who considers himself unworthy of these things. It is he who is really poor, being poor in full  measure. It was on this account that St Luke also wrote, 'Blessed are the poor' (6:20), without adding 'in spirit'.  These are they who have hearkened to the Son of God, following Him and assimilating themselves to him; for He  said, 'Learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls' (Matt. 1 1 :29). Hence  'theirs is the kingdom of heaven', for they are 'joint-heirs with Christ' (Rom. 8:17).

29. The soul is tripartite and is considered as having three powers: the intelligent, the mcensive, and the  appetitive. Because the soul was ill in all three powers, Christ, the soul's Healer, began His cure with the last, the  appetitive. For desire unsatisfied fuels the incensive power, and when both the appetitive and incensive powers are  sick they produce distraction of mind. Thus the soul's incensive power will never be healthy before the appetitive  power is healed; nor will the intelligence be healthy until the other two powers are first restored to health.

30. If you examine things you will find that the first evil offspring of the appetitive power is love of material  possessions. For the desires that help men to live are not blameworthy, as is clear from the fact that they are with us  from a very early age. Love of possessions, however, comes a little later - although still in childhood - and in this  way it is evident that it does not have its ground in nature, but is a matter of individual choice. St Paul rightly termed  it the root of all evils (cf. 1 Tim. 6:10), and the evils that it usually begets are niggardliness, trickery, rapacity,  thievery and, in short, greed in all its forms, which St Paul called a second idolatry (cf. Col. 3:5). Even in the case of  evils that do not spring directly from it, greed nearly always provides the fuel for their sustenance.

3 1 . Such evils, begotten of the love for material things, are passions

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of a soul that has no zeal for spiritual work. We can free ourselves more easily from passions that are a matter of  our own volition than from those rooted in nature. It is disbelief in God's providence that makes it difficult for us to  eradicate the passions that arise from our love of possessions, for such disbelief leads us to put our trust in material  riches. 'It is easier', said the Lord, 'for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the  kingdom of God' (Matt. 19:24). But if we trust in material riches, this means nothing to us; we long for worldly,  perishable wealth, not for a kingdom that is heavenly and eternal. And even when we fail to acquire that wealth, the  mere desire for it is extremely pernicious. For, as St Paul says, those who want to be rich fall into the temptations  and snares of the devil (cf 1 Tim. 6:9). Yet when wealth comes, it proves itself to be nothing, since its possessors,  unless they are brought to their senses by experience, still thirst after it as though they lacked it. This love that is no  love does not come from need; rather the need arises from the love. The love itself arises from folly, the same folly  that led Christ, the Master of all, justly to describe as foolish the man who pulled down his bams and built greater  ones (cf Luke 12:18-20).

32. How could such a person not be a fool when for the sake of things that cannot profit him - 'For a man's life  does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses' (Luke 12:15) - he gives up what is most profitable  of all? He fails to become a wise merchant, selling even necessities, so far as possible, and in this way adding to the  capital of a truly bountiful and gainful form of commerce or husbandry - a husbandry, indeed, which even before the  harvest time multiplies a hundredfold that which was sown, thus foreshowing that the profit to come and the harvest  shortly to be reaped will be indescribable and unimaginable. And the curious thing is that the smaller the storerooms  the seed comes from the larger will the harvest be.

Hence there is no justification in aspiring to become rich even for a good cause. The truth is that people are  frightened of being poor because they have no faith in Him who promised to provide all things needful to those who  seek the kingdom of God (cf. Matt. 6:33). It is this fear that spurs them, even when they are endowed with all things,  and it prevents them from ever freeing themselves from this sickly and baneful desire. They go on amassing wealth,  loading themselves with a worthless burden or, rather, enclosing themselves while still living in a most absurd kind  of tomb.

33. Dead men are simply buried in

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  the earth, but the intellect of a living pinchpenny is buried in the dust and earth of gold. Further, for those whose  senses are in a healthy state this grave smells worse than the normal one, and the more earth one throws on it, the  stronger the smell grows. For the festering wound of wretched persons buried in this way spreads, and its stench  rises up to heaven, even up to the angels of God and to God Himself. They have become loathsome and repulsive,  stinking on account of their folly, as David puts it (cf Ps. 38:5). Voluntary poverty - not undertaken to impress  others - delivers men from this foul-smelling and deadly passion; and such poverty is precisely the 'poorness in  spirit' that the Lord called blessed.
34. Yet a monk who has this passion cannot be obedient. If he persists in serving it diligently, there is a grave risk  of him lapsing also into incurable maladies of the body. Gehazi in the Old Testament and Judas in the New  Testament are sufficient examples of this. The first sprouted leprosy as evidence of his incurable soul (cf. 2 Kgs.  5:27), while the second hanged himself in the field of blood, and falling headlong he burst his belly and his  intestines gushed out (cf. Acts 1:18). If, then, renunciation precedes obedience, how can it be the other way round?  And if renunciation is the initial step in the monastic profession, how can anyone who has not first renounced  material possessions succeed in any of the other struggles of monastic life? Moreover, if a monk is incapable of  practicing obedience, how will he be able to cultivate stillness by himself in a cell, devoting himself to solitude and  persevering in prayer? But as the Lord says, 'Where your treasure is, there will your intellect be also' (Matt. 6:21).  How, then, can you gaze noetically at Him who sits in heaven on the right hand of the divine Majesty (cf. Heb. 1 :3)  while you are still amassing treasure upon the earth? How will you inherit that kingdom which this passion entirely  prevents you even from conceiving in your mind? 'Blessed', therefore, 'are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the  kingdom of heaven.' Do you see how many passions the Lord has cut away with one beatitude?

35. Yet this is not all. If love for material things is the first offspring of evil desire, there is a second offspring  which is even more to be shunned, and a third that is no less evil. What is the second? Self-flattery. We encounter  this passion while we are still quite young, as a kind of prelude to the love for worldly things which we encounter  later. Here I am referring to the self -flattery that expresses itself in the

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beautification of the body through expensive clothing and so on. It is what the fathers caU worldly vanity, to  distinguish it from the other kind of vanity, which afflicts those noted for their virtue and is accompanied by self-  conceit and hypocrisy, whereby the devil contrives to plunder and disperse our spiritual riches.

36. You can be completely healed from all these things if you become aware of divine glory and long for it while  regarding yourself as unworthy of it, and if you patiently endure people's scorn while thinking you deserve it. In  addition, you should esteem God's glory above your own, in conformity with the Psalmist's words, 'Not unto us,  Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory' (Ps. 1 15:2). And should you feel that you have done something  praiseworthy, you should attribute it to God, proclaiming Him as its cause and gratefully praising Him for it and not  yourself. In your rejoicing you will regard each virtue as a gift, and will not become conceited about it, since it is not  your personal achievement; on the contrary, you will grow more humble, and night and day will fix your mental  eyes on God, as the eyes of the handmaid - to use the Psalmist's words again - are fixed on the hands other mistress  (cf Ps. 123:2). At the same time you will be full of fear lest, becoming separated from Him who alone confers  goodness and preserves us in it, you are pulled down into the pit of evil; for this is what happens when you are  enslaved to conceit and vanity. A great help in healing these passions is withdrawal from the world and living a life  of solitude, keeping yourself to your cell. But you must be deeply aware of the frailty of your will and regard  yourself as not strong enough to mix with other people. Yet what is this but the poverty in spirit that the Lord called  blessed?

37. If you recognize the disgrace that such self -flattery brings upon you, you will spurn it with all your might. For  by longing for men's praise you dishonor yourself through the very deeds you do in order to attain it. By caring  about your appearance, by attaching great importance to the fame of your ancestors and to gaudy clothes and so on,  you show that yours is still a puerile mind. For all these things are mere dust, and what is more despicable than dust?  The nun who wears what she wears not simply for covering or warmth, but because it is gossamery and gaudy, not  only proclaims the barrenness of her soul but also displays the indecency of a loose woman. She should listen rather  to Him who says, 'They that wear fine clothing are to be found in royal palaces' (Matt. 1 1 :8). But 'our citizenship is  m heaven' (Phil. 3:20),

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as St Paul says. Let us not be cast out of heaven into the abodes of the 'ruler of the darkness of this world' (cf.  Eph. 6:12) simply for the sake of foolish ostentation in our clothing.  38. This same thing happens to those who practice virtue in order to be praised by others. While they are called to  be citizens of heaven, they 'degrade their glory to the dust' (Ps. 7:5), and make their dwelling there, thus drawing  upon themselves the curse of the Psalmist. For their prayer does not rise to heaven, and their every endeavor falls to  the earth, since it is not supported by the wings of divine love that raise aloft the works we do upon the earth. So  although they labor they reap no reward. But why do I speak of reaping no reward? For indeed they bear fruit, only  it is the fruit of shame, instability of thoughts, and distraction and turbulence of mind. For the Lord, as the Psalmist  says, 'has scattered the bones of those who court popularity; they have been put to shame, because God has set them  at naught' (Ps. 53:5. LXX).

This passion is the subtlest of all the passions, and for this reason the person who fights against it must not merely  be on guard against coupling with it or avoid assenting to it, but he must regard the very provocation as assent and  must shield himself from it. Only in this way can he narrowly escape speedy defeat. If through inward watchfulness  he manages to do this, the provocation itself will become an occasion for compunction. But if he fails to do it, the  provocation induces pride; and once a person has fallen a victim to pride it is hard, in fact impossible, to cure him,  for such a fall is the same as the devil's. Yet even before this the passion for popularity brings such injury upon those  it masters that it shipwrecks faith itself (cf. 1 Tim. 1:19). Our Lord confirms this when He says, 'How can you have  faith in Me when you receive honor from one another and do not seek for the honor that comes from the only God?'  (cf John 5:44).

39. What have you to do with honor accorded by men or, rather, with the empty name of honor? Not only is such  honor no honor at all, but it also deprives you of true honor. And not only this, but among other evils it also  generates envy: envy that is potentially murder and that was the cause of the first murder (cf Gen. 4:1-8) and then of  the slaying of God (cf . Matt. 27 : 1 8). What, in fact, does this passion for human honor contribute to our nature? Does  it sustain or protect it, or in any way restore or heal it when it has gone awry? No one could claim it does anything  like that; and I think that

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this alone is enough to show how baseless are the excuses made for its perversions. Should you examine things  closely you will find that in a treacherous fashion the thirst for glory among men first provokes us to various kinds  of villainy and then denounces us, shamelessly unmasking itself and disgracing even its own lovers. And yet the  champions of profane Greek teachings dare to say that nothing in life can be achieved without it - an absurd  delusion!

40. But we Christians have not been taught thus, we who bear the name of Him who lovingly anointed our nature  with His own and who watches over our actions. Turning to Him, we accomplish whatever is most excellent through  Him and because of Him, doing all for the glory of God (cf 1 Cor. 10:31) and having no desire at all to court  popularity. In fact, we are positively displeasing to people, as St Paul, the most intimate initiate of our Lawmaker  and Lawgiver, confirms when he says: 'If I still wanted to be popular I would not be the servant of Christ' (Gal.  1:10).

41. Let us now see whether the third offspring of evil desire is likewise destroyed by that poverty which the Lord  called blessed. The third offspring of the desire of a sick soul is gluttony; and from gluttony arises every kind of  carnal impurity. Yet why do we call this the third and last when it is implanted in us from our very birth? For not  only this passion, but also the natural motions related to the begetting of children, can be detected in infants that are  still at the breast. Why, then, do we place the disease of carnal desire at the end of the list? The reason is this: the  passions to which it gives birth belong to us by nature, and natural things are not indictable; for they were created by  God who is good, so that through them we can act in ways that are also good. Hence in themselves they do not  indicate sickness of soul, but they become evidence of such sickness when we misuse them. When we coddle the  flesh in order to foster its desires, then the passion becomes evil and self-indulgence gives rise to the carnal passions  and renders the soul diseased.

The first victim of these passions is the intellect. Because the passions initially spring from the mind, the Lord  says that the evil thoughts which defile us proceed from the heart (cf. Matt. 15:18-19). And prior to the Gospel the  Law tells us, 'Be attentive to yourself, lest there arise some secret iniquity in your hearts' (Deut. 15:9. LXX). Yet  though it is the intellect that initiates evil, none the less the images of sensory bodies that entice the intellect towards  these bodies and incite it to misuse them are impressed on it from below, through  

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the senses, and above all through the eyes, for the eyes can embrace a defiling object even from a distance. Eve,  our primordial mother, is clear evidence of this: first she saw that the forbidden tree was 'comely to look upon and  beautiful to contemplate', and then, assenting in her heart, she plucked and ate its fruit (cf Gen. 3:6). So we were  right when we said that yielding to the beauty of physical objects precedes and leads us to the degrading passions.  Hence the fathers advise us not to look closely upon another's beauty or to find delectation in our own.

42. Before the mind becomes embroiled with them, the passions which are naturally implanted in children  conduce not to sin but to the sustaining of nature. For this reason they are not at that stage evil. It is in the passion-  charged intellect that the carnal passions arise initially, and so healing must begin with the intellect. You cannot  extinguish a raging fire by slashing at it from above; but if you pull away the fuel from below, the fire will die down  immediately. So it is with the passions of impurity. If you do not cut off the inner flow of evil thoughts by means of  prayer and humility, but fight against them merely with the weapons of fasting and bodily hardship, you will labor in  vain. But if through prayer and humility you sanctify the root, as we said, you will attain outward sanctity as well.  This it seems to me is what St Paul counsels when he exhorts us to gird our loins with truth (cf Eph. 6: 14). One of  the fathers has excellently interpreted this as signifying that when the contemplative faculty of the soul tightly girds  the appetitive faculty it also girds the passions manifested through the loins and the genitals. The body, nevertheless,  is in need of hardship and moderate abstention from food, lest it become unruly and more powerful than the  intelligence. Thus all the passions of the flesh are healed solely by bodily hardship and prayer issuing from a humble  heart, which indeed is the poverty in spirit that the Lord called blessed.

43. If, then, you yearn to be enriched with holiness - and without holiness no one will see the Lord (cf. Heb.  12:14) - you should abide in your own cell, enduring hardship and praying with humility. For the cell of one rightly  pursuing the monastic life is a haven of self-restraint. But all that lies outside, and especially what is found in market  places and at fairs, constitutes an obscene medley of ugly sounds and sights, drowning the wretched soul of the nun  who exposes herself to them. One might also call this evil world a raging fire that devours those  

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who come into contact with it and bums up every virtue they possess. The fire that did not bum was found in the  desert (cf. Exod. 3:2). Instead of in the desert, you should abide in your cell and hide yourself a little until the  tempest of passion has passed over you. When it has passed, spending time outside your cell will do you no harm.

44. Then in truth you will be poor in spirit and will gain dominion over the passions and clearly be called blessed  by Him who said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' How, indeed, can those not be  called blessed who have absolutely no truck with material wealth and place all their trust in Him? Who wish to  please only Him? Who with humility and the other virtues live in His presence? Let us, then, also become poor in  spirit by being humble, by submitting our unregenerate self to hardship and by shedding all possessions, so that the  kingdom of God may be ours, and we may fulfill our blessed aspirations by inheriting the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord has left us certain synoptic statements that express in a succinct manner the Gospel of our salvation, and  one of these statements is the beatitude of which we have been speaking. By including so many virtues in that single  phrase and excluding so many vices, the Lord has conferred His blessing on all those who through these virtues and  through repentance prune the aspect of their souls that is vulnerable to passion. But this is not all; for in that phrase  He also includes many other things, analogous not to pruning but rather to the activity of cold, ice, snow, frost and  the violence of the wind - in a word, to the hardship that plants undergo in winter and summer by being exposed to  the cold and heat, yet without which nothing upon earth can ever bear fruit.



45. What are these things? The various trials and temptations that afflict us and that we must gladly endure if we  are to yield fruit to the Husbandman of our souls. If we were to feel sorry for earthly plants and build a wall around  them and put a roof over them and not allow them to suffer such hardships, then although we may prune and  otherwise tend them assiduously, they will bear no fruit. On the contrary, we must let them endure everything, for  then, after the winter's hardship, in springtime they will bud, blossom, adorn themselves with leaves and, covered  with this bountiful foliage, they will produce young fruit. This fruit, as the sun's rays grow stronger, will thrive,  mature and become ready for harvesting and eating. Similarly, if we do not courageously bear the burden of trial and  temptation - even though we may practice all the other virtues - we  

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will never yield fruit worthy of the divine wine-press and the eternal granaries. For it is through patient endurance  of afflictions deliberately entered into and those that are unsought, whether they come upon us from without or  assault us from within, that we become perfect. What happens naturally to plants as a result of the farmer's care and  the changing seasons happens, if we so choose, to us, Christ's spiritual branches (cf John 15:5), when as creatures  possessing free-will we are obedient to Him, the Husbandman of souls.

46. Unless we bear with patience the afflictions that come to us unsought, God will not bless those that we  embrace deliberately. For our love for God is demonstrated above all by the way we endure trials and temptations.  First the soul has to surmount afflictions embraced willingly, thereby learning to spurn sensual pleasure and self-  glory; and this in its turn will permit us readily to bear the afflictions that come unsought. If for the sake of poverty  of spirit you spurn such pleasure and self-glory, and also regard yourself as deserving the more drastic remedy of  repentance, you will be ready to bear any affliction and will accept any temptation as your due, and you will rejoice  when it comes, for you will see it as a cleansing-agent for your soul. In addition, it will spur you to ardent and most  efficacious prayer to God, and you will regard it as the source and protector of the soul's health. Not only will you  forgive those who afflict you, but you will be grateful to them and will pray for them as for your benefactors. Thus  you will not only receive forgiveness for your sins, as the Lord has promised (cf. Matt. 6: 14), but you will also attain  the kingdom of heaven and God's benediction, for you will be blessed by the Lord for enduring with patience and a  spirit of humility till the end.

47. Having spoken briefly about spiritual pruning, I will now add something about the productiveness that results  from it. After first calling blessed those who gain imperishable wealth because of their poverty in spirit. God, who  alone is blessed, next makes those who grieve partakers of His own blessedness, saying, 'Blessed are those who  grieve, for they will be consoled' (Matt. 5:4).

48. Why did Christ thus join grief to poverty? Because it always coexists with it. But while sorrow over worldly  poverty induces the soul's death, grief over poverty embraced in God's name induces the 'saving repentance that is  not to be regretted' (2 Cor. 7:10). The first kind of poverty, being unsought, is followed by unwished-for grief; the  second, being freely embraced, is followed by grief freely embraced. Because the grief here  

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called blessed is linked with the poverty embraced in God's name, necessarily issuing from it and depending on it  as its cause, it too possesses a spiritual and voluntary character.

49. Let us see, then, how this blessed poverty begets blessed grief. In this single word 'poverty' four types of  spiritual poverty are represented: poverty in body, poverty in our way of thinking, poverty in worldly goods, and  poverty through trials and temptations that come upon us from without. But because you see me setting down these  four types of poverty separately, do not conclude that they are to be practiced separately. Each of them is to be  implemented along with the others. Hence they are embraced by a single beatitude, which also discloses in a  marvelous way what is, as it were, their root and mainspring, I mean, our spirit. For from our spirit, as has been said,  once it has embraced the grace of the gospel teaching, there flows a wellspring of poverty that 'waters the whole face  of our ground' (cf Gen. 2:6), I mean our outward self, transforming us into a paradise of virtues.

50. There are, then, four types of spiritual poverty, and each gives birth to a corresponding kind of grief, as weU as  to a corresponding form of spiritual solace. In the first place, freely -embraced physical poverty and humility - and  that means hunger, thirst, vigils and in general hardship and tribulation of body, as well as a reasonable restraint of  the senses - begets not only grief, but also tears. For just as insensibility, callousness and hardness of heart develop  as the result of ease, soft living and self-indulgence, so from a way of life marked by self-control and renunciation  come contrition of heart and compunction, expelling all bitterness and generating a gentle gladness. It is said that  without contrition of heart it is impossible to be free from vice; and the heart is rendered contrite by a triple form of  self-control, in sleep, food and bodily ease. When through such contrition the soul is freed from vice and bitterness,  it will certainly receive spiritual delight in their place. This is the solace on account of which the Lord calls those  who grieve blessed. St John Klmiakos, who has constructed for us the ladder of spiritual ascent, says: 'Thirst and  vigil afflict the heart, and when the heart is afflicted, tears spring up. ... He who has found this by experience will  laugh' - he will laugh with that blessed joy ousness which springs from the solace that the Lord promised. Thus

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from bodily poverty embraced out of love for God is bom the grief that brings solace to those who experience it  and fills them with blessing.

5 1 . How, in the second place, does grief arise from a fear-dominated state of mind and a godly humility of soul?  Self-reproach always coexists with humility of soul. Initially self-reproach strongly emphasizes the fear of torment,  bringing before our eyes a frightening image in which all the various conflicting forms of hell are combined into  one. Our fear is increased yet more as we reflect that these torments of hell are inexpressible, and so even worse than  they have been painted, and - to add still further to the dismay - that they are unending. Heat, cold, darkness, fire,  movement and immobility, bonds, terrors, and the biting of undying beasts are all brought together into this single  condemnation; but all these things fail properly to convey the true horror of hell which - to use St Paul's words -  'man's mind has not grasped' (1 Cor. 2:9).

52. What, then, is this profitless, unconsoling and endless grief experienced in hell? It is the grief stirred up in  those who have sinned against God when they become aware of their offences. There, in hell, convicted of their sins,  stripped of all hope of salvation or of any improvement in their condition, they feel yet greater anguish and grief  because of the unsought reproof of their conscience. And this itself, and the everlasting nature of their grief, gives  rise to yet another form of grief, and to another dreadful darkness, to unbearable heat and a helpless abyss of  despondency. In this life, however, such grief is altogether beneficial, for God hearkens to it compassionately, so  much so that He even came down arid dwelt among us; and He promised consolation to those who grieve in this  way, the consolation being Himself, since He is called, and He is indeed, a Comforter (cf. John 14:16).

53. Do you see what grief arises in a humble soul and the consolation that ensues? Indeed, self-reproach on its  own, when lying for a protracted time upon the soul's thoughts like some intellectual weight, crushes and presses  and squeezes out the saving wine that gladdens the heart of man (cf. Ps. 104: 15), that is to say, our inner self. This  wine is compunction (cf. Ps. 60:3. LXX). Together with grief compunction crushes the passions and, having freed  the soul from the weight that oppresses it, fiUs it with blessed joy. That is the reason why Christ says, 'Blessed are  those who grieve, for they will be consoled' (Matt. 5:4).

Thirdly, grief also arises from the shedding of possessions, that is to  

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say, from poverty in worldly goods and in what we gather around us. This, we said, is to be conjoined with  poverty in spirit, for it is only when all types of poverty are practiced together that they are perfected and pleasing to  God. Now listen attentively so as to learn how from such poverty in worldly goods grief is produced in us along  with the consolation that grief confers. When a person bids farewell to all things, to both money and possessions,  either casting them away or distributing them to the poor according to the commandment (cf Luke 14:33), and  weans his soul from anxiety about such things, he enables it to turn inwards to self-scrutiny, free now from all  external attachments.

54. And whenever the intellect withdraws itself from all material things, emerges from the turbulence they  generate, and becomes aware of our inner self, then first of all it sees the ugly mask it has wrought for itself as a  result of its divagations among worldly things, and it strives to wash it away through grief. When it has got rid of  that uncouth guise, and the soul is no longer coarsely distracted by various cares and worries, then the intellect  withdraws untroubled into its true treasure-house and prays to the Father 'in secret' (Matt. 6:6). And the Father first  bestows upon it peace of thoughts, the gift which contains within it all other gifts. Then He makes it perfect in  humility, which is begetter and sustainer of every virtue - not the humility that consists of words and postures easily  taken by anyone who wishes, but that to which the Holy Spirit bears witness and which the Spirit Himself creates  when enshrined in the depths of the soul.

55. In such peace and humility, as in the secure enclosure of the noetic paradise, every tree of true virtue  flourishes. At its heart stands the sacred palace of love, and in the forecourt of this palace blossoms the harbinger of  the age to be, ineffable and inalienable joy.

The shedding of possessions gives birth to freedom from anxiety, this freedom to attentiveness and prayer, while  attentiveness and prayer induce grief and tears. Grief and tears expunge passion-imbued predispositions. When these  are expunged the path of virtue is made smooth, since the obstacles are removed, and the conscience is no longer  full of reproach. As a consequence joy and the soul's blessed laughter break through.

56. Then tears of tribulation are transformed into tears of delight, and the words of God become sweet to the  palate and more sweet than honey to the mouth (cf. Ps. 119: 103). Prayer changes from entreaty to thanksgiving, and  meditation on the divine truths of faith fills the heart with a sense of jubilation and  

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unimpeachable hope. This hope is a foretaste of future blessings, of which the soul even now receives direct  experience, and so it comes to know in part the surpassing richness of God's bounty, in accordance with the  Psalmist's words, 'Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful' (Ps. 34:8). For He is the jubilation of the righteous, the  joy of the upright, the gladness of the humble, and the solace of those who grieve because of Him.

57. Yet does such solace extend no further than this? Are these the only gifts of the sacred betrothal? Will not the  Bridegroom of such souls manifest Himself still more clearly to those who are perfected and cleansed by blessed  grief, and who through the virtues are arrayed as brides? Undoubtedly He will. We are well aware that at this point  certain people out of malice are ready to censure us, telling us, in effect, 'You are not to speak in the name of the  Lord (cf. Jer. 11:21), and if you do we will repudiate your name as evil (cf Luke 6:22), devising and spreading  slanders and falsehoods about you.' But let us take no notice of these people, and let us now continue with what we  were saying, believing in and affirming the teachings of the holy fathers, directing our attention to them and  convincing others through them. For it is written, 'I believed, and so I have spoken' (Ps. 1 16:10). We also believe,  and so we, too, will speak (cf. 2 Cor. 4 13).

58. When every shameful indwelling passion has been expelled and the intellect, as already indicated, has  returned wholly to itself, converting at the same time the other powers of the soul - and when through cultivating the  virtues it sets the soul in good order, ever advancing to a more perfect state, ascending through its active spiritual  progress and with God's help cleansing itself more fully - then it not only expunges all imprints of evil but also rids  itself of every accretion, however good it is or appears to be.

59. And when it has transcended intelligible realities and the concepts, not unmixed with images, that pertain to  them, and in a godly and devout manner has rejected all things, then it will stand before God deaf and speechless (cf.  Ps. 38 : 13).

It is now that: the intellect becomes simple matter in God's hands and is unresistingly recreated in the most  sublime way, for nothing alien intrudes on it: inner grace translates it to a better state and, in an altogether marvelous  fashion, illumines it with ineffable light, thus perfecting our inner being. And when in this manner 'the day breaks

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and the morning star rises in our hearts' (cf 2 Pet. 1:19), then 'the true man' - the intellect - 'will go out to his true  work' (cf. Ps. 104:23), ascending in the light the road that leads to the eternal mountains. In this light it miraculously  surveys supramundane things, being either still joined to the materiality to which it was originally linked, or else  separated from it - this depending on the level that it has attained. For it does not ascend on the wings of the mind's  fantasy, for the mind always wanders about as though blind, without possessing an accurate and assured  understanding either of sensory things not immediately present to it or of transcendent intelligible realities. Rather it  ascends in very truth, raised by the Spirit's ineffable power, and with spiritual and ineffable apperception it hears  words too sacred to utter (cf. 2 Cor. 12:4) and sees invisible things. And it becomes entirely rapt in the miracle of it,  even when it is no longer there, and it rivals the tireless angelic choir, having become truly another angel of God  upon earth. Through itself it brings every created thing closer to God, for it itself now participates in all things and  even in Him who transcends all, inasmuch as it has faithfully conformed itself to the divine image.

60. For this reason St Neilos says, 'The intellect's proper state is a noetic height, somewhat resembling the sky's  hue, which is filled with the light of the Holy Trinity during the time of prayer.' And again: 'If you wish to see the  intellect's proper state, rid yourself of all concepts, and then you will see it like sapphire or the sky's hue. But you  cannot do this unless you have attained a state of dispassion, for God has to cooperate with you and to imbue you  with His co-natural light.' And St Diadochos writes: 'Divine grace confers on us two gifts through the baptism of  regeneration, one being infinitely superior to the other. The first gift is given to us at once, when grace renews us in  the actual waters of baptism and cleanses all the lineaments of our soul, that is, the image of God in us, by washing  away every stain of sin. The second - our likeness to God - requires our co-operation. When the intellect begins to  perceive the Holy Spirit with full consciousness, we should realize that grace is beginning to paint the divine  likeness over the divine image in us. ... Our power of perception shows us that we are being formed into the divine  likeness; but the perfecting of this likeness  

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we shall know only by the light of grace. But no one can acquire spiritual love unless he experiences fully and  clearly the illumination of the Holy Spirit. If the intellect does not receive the perfection of the divine likeness  through such illumination, although it may have almost every other virtue, it will still have no share in perfect love.'

61. And likewise St Isaac writes that during the time of prayer the intellect that has received grace sees its own  purity to be 'like heaven's hue, which was also called the "place of God" by the council of the elders of Israel, when  it was seen by them in the mountain' (cf. Exod. 24:9-10). Again, he says that 'prayer is purity of the intellect, and it  is consummated when we are illumined in utter amazement by the light of the Holy Trinity'. He also speaks of 'the  purity of the intellect upon and through which the light of the Holy Trinity shines at the time of prayer'.

62. The intellect that has been accounted worthy of this light also transmits to the body that is united with it many  clear tokens of the divine beauty, acting as an intermediary between divine grace and the grossness of the flesh and  conferring on the flesh the power to do what lies beyond its power. This gives birth to a godlike, unmatched and  stable state of virtue as well as to a disposition that has no or little inclination to sin. It is then that the intellect is  illumined by the divine Logos who enables it to perceive clearly the inner essences - the logoi - of created things and  on account of its purity reveals to it the mysteries of nature. In this way, through relationships of correspondence the  perceiving and trusting intelligence is raised up to-the apprehension of supernatural realities - an apprehension that  the Father of the Logos communicates through an immaterial union. From this arise various other miraculous  effects, such as visionary insight, the seeing of things future, and the experience of things happening afar off as  though they were occurring before one's very eyes. But what is more important is that those blessed in this manner  do not aspire to attain such powers. Rather it is as though one were to look at a ray of sunlight and at the same time  perceive the small particles in the air, though this was not one's intention. So it is with those who commune directly  with the  

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rays of divine light, which by nature reveal all things: according to their degree of purity they truly attain - albeit  as something incidental - a knowledge of what is past, of what is present, and even of what is to come. But their  main concern is the return of the intellect to itself and its concentration on itself. Or, rather, their aim is the  reconvergence of all the soul's powers in the intellect - however strange this may sound - and the attaining of the  state in which both intellect and God work together. In this way they are restored to their original state and  assimilated to their Archetype, grace renewing in them their pristine and inconceivable beauty. To such a  consummation, then, does grief bring those who are humble in heart and poor in spirit.

63. Since on account of our innate laziness such a consummation is beyond us, let us return to its foundation and  say a little more about grief itself. Grief also accompanies every kind of unsolicited worldly poverty. For how can a  person in need of money not be sorrowful, or he who hungers against his will or who suffers pain and dishonor?  Such grief, indeed, lacks all consolation, the more so the more acute the poverty becomes, especially when the  sufferer lacks true knowledge. For if you do not keep an intelligent control over sensual pleasures and pains but,  rather, allow yourself to be dominated by them through the misuse of your intelligence, you wrongly and profitlessly  multiply them, even causing yourself great injury. For thereby you give sure and self-accusing evidence that you do  not firmly adhere to God's Gospel and to the prophets who preceded Him, and to those who came after Him and  were His disciples and apostles. For these all teach that inexhaustible riches come through poverty, that ineffable  glory comes through simplicity of life, that painless delight comes through self-control, and that through patiently  enduring the trials and temptations that befall us we are delivered from the eternal tribulation and affliction held in  store for those who choose an easy and soft life in this world instead of entering by the strait and narrow gate (cf.  Matt. 7:14).

64. Rightly did St Paul say, 'Worldly sorrowfulness produces death' (2 Cor. 7:10), for from what we have said it is  clear that such sorrow is sin leading to death. If the soul's true life is the divine light conferred, according to the  fathers, through spiritual grief, then the death of the soul is an evil darkness induced in the soul through worldly  sorrowfulness. It is with reference to this darkness that St Basil the Great says, 'Sin, which exists through the  absence of the good.  

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takes the form of noetic darkness caused by acts of evil'

65. And St 'Mark also says: 'If you are beset by evil thoughts, how can you see the reality of the sin concealed  behind them? This sin wraps the soul in darkness and obscurity, and increases its hold upon us through our evil  thoughts and actions. ... If you fail to perceive this general process of sinning, when will you pray about it and be  cleansed from it? And if you have not been cleansed, how will you find purity of nature? And if you have not found  this, how will you behold the inner dwelling-place of Christ? . . . We should try to find that dwelling-place and  knock with persistent prayer. . . . Not only ought we to ask and receive, but we should also keep safely what is  given; for some people lose what they have received. A theoretical knowledge or chance experience of this may  perhaps be gained by those who have begun to learn late in life or who are still young; but the constant and patient  practice of these things is barely to be acquired even by devout and deeply experienced elders. ' St Makarios,  possessor of divine knowledge, says the same, as do all the saints.

66. Just as this darkness derives its existence from all our various sins, so - as you will find if you examine it  closely - worldly sorrowfulness is bom of and dominated by all the passions. Such sorrowfulness is thus an image  and a kind of firstfnut, prelude to and foretaste of the future endless grief that overwhelms those who do not choose  for themselves the grief that the Lord called blessed. This grief not only brings spiritual solace and provides a  foretaste of eternal joy, but it also stabilizes virtue and takes from the soul its disposition to fall into a lower state.  For although you may become poor and humble yourself and strive to live with godlike simplicity, yet if you do not  acquire grief as you advance along the spiritual path you can easily be changed and can readily return in thought to  that which you have abandoned, desiring again what you initially renounced and thus making yourself a transgressor  (cf. Gal. 2:18). But if you persist in your intention to live a life of blessed poverty, and devote your attention to it,  you will give birth to this grief in yourself and will lose all tendency to regress, and will not wrongly want to return  to what  

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you have so well abandoned. For, as St Paul says, 'Godly sorrow produces in the soul a saving repentance which  is not to be regretted (cf. 2 Cor. 7:10). Hence one of the fathers has said that 'grief both acts and protects'.

67. This is not the only gain that comes of grief, namely, that you virtually lose all disposition towards evil and do  not regress to your former sins; it also makes former sins as though they never existed. For once you begin to grieve  over them. God reckons them as unintentional, and there is no guilt in actions performed unintentionally. A person  who grieves because of his poverty shows that he is not in this state through his own choice, and so - like those who  want to be rich or are already rich - he falls into the snares of the devil (cf. 1 Tim. 6:9); and unless he changes and  strives to escape these snares, he will be sent with the devil into eternal torment. On the other hand, if a person who  has sinned against God continues to grieve over his sins, they will be justly regarded as unintentional, and along  with those who have not sinned he will journey without stumbling on the path leading to eternal life.
68. This, then, is the profit of the initial stage of grief, which is painful inasmuch as it is conjoined with the fear of  God. But in later stages it becomes in a wondrous manner wedded to love for God, and once you are conditioned by  it you experience the tender and sacred solace of the Comforter's blessing. But to those who have not experienced  this it is something virtually incomprehensible, since it cannot be described in words. For if one cannot explain the  sweetness of honey to someone who has never tasted it, how can one describe the delight of God's joy and grace to  those who have never experienced it?

69. In addition, the initial stage of grief resembles something that appears to be almost unattainable - a kind of  petition for betrothal to God. Thus those who grieve in their longing for the Bridegroom to whom they are not yet  united utter as it were certain words of courtship, smiting themselves and calling upon Him with tears as though He  were not present and perhaps might never be present. But the consummation of grief is pure bridal union with the  Bridegroom. For this reason St Paul, after describing a married couple's union in one flesh as 'a great mystery',  added, 'but I say this with respect to Christ and the Church' (Eph. 5:32). As they are one flesh, so those who are with  God are one spirit, as St Paul clearly testifies elsewhere when he says that he who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit  with Him (cf 1 Cor. 6:17).

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70. What are we to say, then, of those who regard the grace that dwells in God's saints as created? Let them know  that they blaspheme against the Spirit Himself who, in giving His grace, is united to the saints.

Let us add another still clearer example of what we are saying. The first stage of grief resembles the return of the  prodigal son. For this reason it fills the mourner with dejection and leads him to employ these very words, 'Father, I  have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son' (Luke 15:21). But the  consummation of grief resembles the moment when the heavenly Father runs out to meet him and embraces him.  And when the son finds himself accepted with such inexpressible compassion and on account of it is filled with  great joy and boldness, he receives the Father's embrace and embraces Him in return. Then, entering into the  Father's house, he shares together in the feast of divine felicity.  71. Let us, then, in blessed poverty also fall down and weep before the Lord our God, so that we may wash away  our former sins, make ourselves impervious to evil and, receiving the blessings and solace of the Comforter, may  glorify Him and the unorigmate Father and the Only -begotten Son, now and always and throughout the ages. Amen.

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A New Testament Decalogue

1. 'The Lord your God is one Lord' (cf. Deut. 6:4), revealed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: in the unbegotten  Father; in the Son, who is begotten eternally, tunelessly and impassibly as the Logos, and who through Himself  anointed that which He assumed from us and so is called Christ; and in the Holy Spirit, who also comes forth from  the Father, not begotten, but proceeding. This alone is God and alone is true God, the one Lord in a Trinity of  hypostases, undivided in nature, will, glory, power, energy, and all the characteristics of divinity.

Him alone shall you love and Him alone shall you worship with all your mind and with all your heart and with all  your strength. And His words and His commandments shall be in your heart so that you carry them out and meditate  on them and speak of them both sitting and walking, lying down and standing up (cf Deut. 6:5, 6, 7). And you shall  remember the Lord your God always and fear Him alone (cf Deut. 8:18; 6:13); and you shall not forget Him or His  commandments, for thus shall He give you strength to do His will. For He requires nothing else from you except  that you fear and love Him and walk in all His ways (cf. Deut. 10:12).

'He is your boast and He is your God' (cf. Deut. 10:21). When you hear of the impassible and invisible nature of  the supramundane angels and of the wicked nature - wise, acute and extremely crafty in deceit - of him who fell  away from that realm, do not think that any such being is equal with God. Seeing the greatness of the heaven and its  manifold motions, the sun's brilliance, the shining of the moon, the bright twinkle of the stars, the beneficial breezes  of the air, the broad back of sea and land, do not make a god of any of them. For all are servants and creations of the  one God, brought forth from non-being by His Logos. 'For He spake and they came into being; He commanded and  they were created' (Ps. 33:9. LXX). Him alone, therefore, the  

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Master and Creator of all, you should glorify as God and through love you should cleave to Him; before Him you  should repent day and night for your deliberate and unintentional lapses. For 'He is compassionate and merciful,  long-suffering and full of mercy' (Ps. 103:8) and eternally bountiful. He has promised and He actually gives a  celestial, unending kingdom, a painless existence, an immortal life and unwanmg light for the delight of those who  revere and worship Him and who love and keep His commandments.

Yet God is also a 'jealous God' (Exod. 20:5), a just judge who takes terrible vengeance on those who dishonor  Him, who disobey Him and who scorn His commandments, visiting them with eternal chastisement, unquenchable  fire, unceasing pain, unconsolable affliction, a cloak of lugubrious darkness, an obscure and grievous region, piteous  gnashing of teeth, venomous and sleepless worms - things He prepared for that first evil apostate together with all  those deluded by him who became his followers, rejecting their Creator in their actions, words and thoughts.

2. 'You shall not make an image of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth below, or in the sea' (cf Exod.  20:4), in such a way that you worship these things and glorify them as gods. For all are the creations of the one God,  created by Him in the Holy Spirit through His Son and Logos, who as Logos of God in these latter times took flesh  from a virgin's womb, appeared on earth and associated with men (cf Baruch 3:37), and who for the salvation of  men suffered, died and arose again, ascended with His body into the heavens and 'sat down on the right hand of the  Majesty on High' (Heb. 1 :3), and who will come again with His body to judge the living and the dead. Out of love  for Him you should make, therefore, an icon of Him who became man for our sakes, and through His icon you  should bring Him to mind and worship Him, elevating your intellect through it to the venerable body of the Savior,  that is set on the right hand of the Father in heaven.  

In like manner you should also make icons of the saints and venerate them, not as gods - for this is forbidden - but  because of the attachment, inner affection and sense of surpassing honor that you feel for the saints when by means  of their icons the intellect is raised up to them. It was in this spirit that Moses made icons of the Cherubim within the  Holy of Holies (cf. Exod. 25:18). The Holy of Holies itself was an image of things supracelestial (cf. Exod. 25:40;  Heb. 8:5),

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while the Holy Place was an image of the entire world. Moses called these things holy, not glorifying what is  created, but thrown it glorifying God the Creator of the world. You must not, then, deiiy the icons of Christ and of  the saints, but through them you should venerate Him who originally created us in His own image, and who  subsequently consented in His ineffable compassion to assume the human image and to be circumscribed by it.

You should venerate not only the icon of Christ, but also the similitude of His cross. For the cross is Christ's great  sign and trophy of victory over the devil and all his hostile hosts; for this reason they tremble and flee when they see  the figuration of the cross. This figure, even prior to the crucifixion, was greatly glorified by the prophets and  wrought great wonders; and when He who was hung upon it, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes again to judge the living  and the dead, this His great and terrible sign will precede Him, full of power and glory (cf Matt. 24:30). So glorify  the cross now, so that you may boldly look upon it then and be glorified with it. And you should venerate icons of  the saints, for the saints have been crucified with the Lord; and you should make the sign of the cross upon your  person before doing so, bringing to mind their communion in the sufferings of Christ. In the same way you should  venerate their holy shrines and any relic of their bones; for God's grace is not sundered from these things, even as  the divinity was not sundered from Christ's venerable body at the time of His life-quickening death. By doing this  and by glorifying those who glorified God - for through their actions they showed themselves to be perfect in their  love for God - you too will be glorified together with them by God, and with David you will chant: 'I have held Thy  friends in high honor, Lord' (Ps. 159: 17. LXX).

3. 'You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain' (Exod. 20:7), swearing an oath falsely because of  some worldly thing, or out of human fear, or shame, or for personal gain. For a false oath is a denial of God. For this  reason you should not take an oath at all (cf. Matt. 5:34). Avoid oaths altogether, since through an oath a man  forswears himself, and this estranges him from God and numbers him among the wrongdoers. If you are truthful in  all your words, that will convey the certainty of an oath.' Should you, however, bind yourself with an oath -  something to be deprecated - you must fulfill it as a legal obligation, provided it involves something permitted by  the divine law; but you should hold yourself at fault because you swore at  

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all, and by acts of mercy, supplication, grief and bodily hardship you should ask Christ's forgiveness, since He  said you should not swear oaths. If, on the other hand, you take an oath that involves something that is unlawful,  beware lest on account of your oath you do what is wrong and are numbered with Herod, the prophet-slayer (cf.  Matt. 14:7-9). And when you have put that unlawful oath behind you, make it a rule never again to take an oath, and  with tears ask more intensely for God's forgiveness, using the remedies already mentioned.  4. One day of the week you should 'keep holy' (Exod. 20:8): that which is called the Lord's day, because it is  consecrated to the Lord, who on that day arose from the dead, disclosing and giving prior assurance of the general  resurrection, when every earthly activity will come to an end. And you must not engage in any worldly activity that  is not essential; and you must allow those who are under your authority and those who live with you to rest, so that  together you may all glorify Him who redeemed us through His death and who arose from the dead and resurrected  our human nature with Himself. You should bring to mind the age to come and meditate upon all the  commandments and statutes of the Lord, and you should examine yourself to see whether you have transgressed or  overlooked any of them, and you should correct yourself in all ways. On this day you should go to the temple of  God and attend the services held there and with sincere faith and a clean conscience you should receive the holy  body and blood of Christ. You should make a beginning of a more perfect life and renew and prepare yourself for  the reception of the eternal blessings to come. For the sake of these same blessings you must not misuse material  things on the other days of the week either; but on the Lord's day, so as to be constantly near to God, abstain from all  activities except those which are absolutely necessary and which you have to perform in order to live. God thus  being your refuge, you will not be distracted, the fire of the passions will not bum you, and you will be free from the  burden of sin. In this way you will sanctify the Sabbath, observing it by doing no evil deeds. To the Lord's day you  should join the days dedicated to the great feasts, doing the same things and abstaining from the same things.

5. 'Honour your father and your mother' (Exod. 20: 12), for it is through them that God has brought you into this  life and they, after God, are the causes of your existence. Thus after God you should honor them and love them,  provided that your love for them  

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strengthens your love for God. If it does not, flee from them, yet without feelings of hatred. Should they actually  be a hindrance to you - especially with respect to the true and saving faith because they profess some other faith -  you should not merely flee from them, but also hate them, and not them alone but all relatives and everyone else  bound to you by affection or other union, and, indeed, the very limbs of your body and their appetites, and your  body itself and its bond with the passions. For 'if anyone does not hate his father and mother, and wife, and children,  and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, and if he does not take up his cross and follow Me. he is not. worthy  of Me', Christ said (cf Luke 14:26-27; Matt. 10:37). Such is the way in which you are to act towards your earthly  parents and your friends and brethren. But if they share your faith and do not hinder you in your quest for salvation,  you should honor and love them.

If it is thus with natural fathers, how much more should you honor and love those who are your spiritual fathers.  For they have brought you from a state of mere existence to a state of virtue and spiritual health; they have  transmitted to you the illumination of knowledge, have taught you the revelation of the truth, have given you rebirth  through the water of regeneration and have instilled in you the hope of resurrection and immortality, and of the  eternal kingdom and inheritance. In this way they have converted you from being unworthy to being worthy of  eternal blessings, have transformed you from an earthly into a heavenly being, and have made you eternal instead of  temporal, a son and disciple not of a man, but of the God-man Jesus Christ, who bestowed upon you the Spirit of  adoption, and who told you not to call anyone on earth your father or teacher, because you have only one Father and  Teacher, namely Christ (cf. Matt. 23:9-10). You must, therefore, render all honor and love to your spiritual fathers,  since the honor rendered to them redounds to Christ and the all-holy Spirit, in whom you received adoption, and to  the heavenly Father, 'from whom derives all fatherhood in heaven and on earth' (Eph. 3:15) You should strive to  have a spiritual father throughout your life and to confess to him every sin and every evil thought and to receive  from him healing and remission. For they have been given the power to bind and to unbind souls, and whatever they  bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever they unbind on earth will be unbound in heaven (cf. Matt.  18:18). This grace and power they have received from Christ, and so you should obey them and not  

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  gainsay them, lest you bring destruction upon your soul. For if a person who gainsays his natural parents in  matters not interdicted by the divine law is - according to the law (cf Exod. 21 : 17) - to be put to death, how will he  who contradicts his spiritual fathers not expel the Spirit of God from himself and destroy his soul? For this reason be  counseled by your spiritual fathers and obey them till the end, so that you may save your soul and inherit eternal and  untarnished blessings.

6. 'You shall not be unchaste' (Exod. 20:14), lest instead of being united to Christ you become united to a  prostitute (cf. 1 Cor. 6:15), severing yourself from the divine body, forfeiting the divine inheritance and throwing  yourself into hell. According to the law (cf. Lev. 21:9), a daughter of a priest caught whoring is to be burnt, for she  dishonors her father; how much more, then, does the person who defiles the body of Christ deserve endless  chastisement. If you are capable of it, embrace the path of virginity, so that you may become wholly God's and may  cleave to Him with perfect love, all your life devoting yourself undistractedly to the Lord and to what belongs to  Him (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32), and in this way anticipating the life to come and living as an angel of God on earth. For the  angels are characterized by virginity and if you cleave to virginity you emulate them with your body, in so far as this  is possible. Or, rather, prior to them you emulate the Father who in virginity begot the Son before all ages, and also  the virginal Son who in the beginning came forth from the virginal Father by way of generation, and in these latter  times was bom in the flesh of a virginal Mother; you likewise emulate the Holy Spirit who ineffably proceeds from  the Father alone, not by way of generation, but by procession. Hence if you practice true chastity in soul and body  you emulate God and are joined to Him in imperishable wedlock, embellishing every sensation, word and thought  with virginal beauty.

If, however, you do not choose to live in virginity and have not promised God that you will do this, God's law  allows you to marry one woman and to live with her alone and to hold her in holiness as your own wife (cf. 1 Thess.  4:4), abstaining entirely from other women. You can totally abstain from them if you shun untimely meetings with  them, do not indulge in lewd words and stories and, as far as you can, avoid looking at them with the eyes of both  body and soul, training yourself not to gaze overmuch upon the beauty of their faces. For 'whoever looks at a woman  with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart' (Matt. 5:28), and in this way he is  

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impure before Christ who sees his heart; and the next step is that he commits shameless acts with his body also.  But why do I speak of fornication and adultery and other natural abominations? For by looking overfondly on the  beauty of bodies a person is dragged down unrestrainedly into lascivious acts contrary to all nature. Thus, if you cut  away from yourself the bitter roots, you will not reap the deadly harvest but, on the contrary, you will gather the  fruits of chastity and the holiness which it confers, and without which 'no one will see the Lord' (Heb. 12:14).

7. 'You shall not kilF (Exod. 20:15), lest you forfeit the adoption of Him who quickens even the dead, and  because of your actions are adopted instead by the devil, who was 'a murderer from the beginning' (John 8:44). As  murder results from a blow, a blow from an insult, an insult from anger, and we are roused to anger because  someone else injures, hits or insults us, for this reason Christ told us not to stop anyone who took our coat from  taking our shirt also (cf Luke 6:29); and we must not strike back at him who strikes us, or revile him who reviles us.  In this manner we will free from the crime of murder both our self and him who does us wrong. Further, we will be  forgiven our sins, since He says, 'Forgive and you will be forgiven' (cf. Matt. 6:14). But the person who speaks and  acts evilly will be condemned to eternal chastisement. For Christ said, 'Whoever shall say to his brother " You fool"  shall be guilty enough to go to the hell of fire' (Matt. 5:22). If, then, you can eradicate this evil, calling down upon  your soul the benediction of gentleness, then glorify Christ, the teacher and ministrant of every virtue, without  whom, as we have been taught, we can do nothing good (cf. John 15:5). But if you are unable to bridle your temper,  censure yourself whenever you lose it, and repent before God and before anyone to whom you have spoken or have  acted evilly. If you repent at the inception of sin you will not commit the sin itself; but if you feel no pang in  committing minor offences you will through them fall into major transgressions.

8. 'You shall not steal' (Exod. 20:15), lest He who knows things secret increases your punishment because you  have set Him at naught. Rather you should secretly give from what you have to those in need, so that you receive  from God, who sees in secret, a hundred times more, as well as life eternal in the age to come (cf. Matt. 6:4; Mark  10:30).

9. 'You shall not accuse anyone falsely' (cf. Exod. 20: 16), lest you  

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become like the devil, who falsely accused God to Eve and was cursed by God (cf. Gen. 3:14). Rather, you  should conceal your neighbor's offence, unless by so doing others may be injured; and in this way you will imitate  not Ham, but Shem and Japheth, and so like them receive the blessing (cf. Gen. 9:25-7).

10. 'You shall not covet anything belonging to your neighbor' (cf. Exod 20:17), neither his land, nor his money,  nor his glory, nor anything that is his. For covetousness, conceived in the soul, produces sin; and sin, when  committed, results in death (cf . Jas. 1:15). Refrain, then, from coveting what belongs to others and, so far as you  can, avoid filching things out of greediness. Rather you should give from what you possess to whoever asks of you,  and you should, as much as you can, be charitable to whoever is in need of charity, and you should not refuse  whoever wants to borrow from you (cf Matt. 5:42). Should you find some lost article, you should keep it for its  owner, even though he is hostilely disposed towards you; for in this way you will change him and will overcome  evil with good, as Christ commands (cf. Rom. 12:21).

If you observe these things with all your strength and live in accordance with them, you will store up in your soul  the treasures of holiness, you will please God, you will be rewarded by God and by those who are godly, and you  will inherit eternal blessings. May we all receive such blessings through the grace and compassion of our Lord, God  and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom with His unorigmate Father and the all-holy, bountiful and life-quickening Spirit  are due all glory, honor and worship, now and ever and through all the ages. Amen.  

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St Gregory Palamas  In Defense of Those who Devoutly Practice a Life of Stillness

A Question Posed to Him

You have done well, father, to quote the words of the saints regarding the subject of my query. For as I heard you  resolve my difficulties, I marveled at the clarity of the truth; but it also entered my mind that since - as you yourself  said - every word fights with another word, there may be grounds for contradicting what you have said. Yet because  I recognize that only by their fruits can we know things unquestionably, and because I have heard the saints saying  exactly the same as you, I am no longer anxious on this score. Indeed, how can a man who is not convinced by the  saints be worthy of credence? And how will such a person not reject also the God of the saints? For it is God who  said with respect to the apostles and, through them, to the saints who succeeded them, 'He who rejects you, rejects  Me' (Luke 10:16), which is to say that he rejects Truth itself. How, then, can the enemy of truth be accepted by  those who seek the truth? Hence I entreat you, father, to listen as I recount each of the other points that I heard from  those who pass their life in the pursuit of profane learning, and I beg you to tell me some of your thoughts on these  matters, adding also what the saints say about them. For they maintain that we are wrong in striving to enclose our  intellect within our body. Rather, they say, we should alienate it by any means possible from the body. They actively  mock some of those among us, writing against us on the grounds that we counsel those newly embarked on the  spiritual path to direct their gaze upon themselves and to draw their intellect into themselves by means of their  breathing. Our critics claim that the intellect is not separate from the soul; and since it is not separate, they say, but  included in the soul, how is it possible to reintroduce it into  

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A Question Posed to Him

oneself? Further, they report us as saying that we intromit divine grace through the nostrils. As I have never heard  any of those among us say this, I know that we are being misrepresented; and this has made me realize that their  other charges are also malicious. People who fabricate false charges can also deal falsely with realities. Yet, father, I  would ask you to teach me why we devote such care to inducing our intellect to come back into ourselves and do not  think it wrong to enclose it within the body.  

Answer

That it is not wrong for those who have chosen a hfe of self-attentiveness and stillness to strive to keep their

intellect within their body.

1 . Brother, do you not recall St Paul's statements, 'Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within us' (cf . 1 Cor.  6:19), and, 'We are the house of God' (cf. Heb. 3:6), as God Himself confirms when He says, 'I will dwell in them  and walk in them, and I will be their God' (Lev. 26:12; 2 Cor. 6:16)? Since, then, the body is God's dwelling-place,  what sane person would object to his intellect dwelling in it? And how was it that God established the intellect in the  body to start with? Did He do so wrongly? These are the things we should say to the heretics, to those who declare  that the body is evil and created by the devil. But we regard it as evil for the intellect to be caught up in material  thoughts, not for it to be in the body, for the body is not evil. Hence everyone who devotes his life to God calls to  Him as David did: 'My soul has thirsted for Thee, how often has my flesh longed for Thee' (Ps. 63:1), and: 'My heart  and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God' (Ps. 84:2. LXX); and he says with Isaiah: 'My belly shall sound as a  harp and my inward parts as a brazen wall that Thou hast restored' (cf. Isa. 16:11. LXX), and: 'Out of awe for Thee,  Lord, we are pregnant with the Spirit of Thy salvation' (Isa. 26:18. LXX). Filled with courage by this Spirit, we  will not fall; but it is those who speak in a materialistic way, and who pretend that celestial words and citizenship are  materialistic, that will fall.

Although St Paul called the body 'death' when he said, 'Who will  

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Answer

deliver me from the body 'of this death?' (Rom. 7 ; 24), this is simply because the materialistic, carnal mentality is  body-like, and so he rightly called it a body when comparing it to the spiritual and divine mind. Further, he did not  say simply 'body' but 'death of the body'. Shortly before this he clarifies his meaning when he says that the flesh is  not at fault, but the sinful impulse that infiltrates into the flesh because of the fall. 'I am sold', he says, 'into slavery  under sin' (Rom. 7:14); but he who is sold is not a slave by nature. And again he says, 'I know that in me - that is, in  my flesh - there dwells nothing good' (Rom. 7:18). Note that he does not say the flesh is evil, but that which dwells  therein. Thus it is evil for this 'law that is in our bodily members, warring against the law of the intellect' (cf. Rom.  7:23) - to dwell in the body, not for the intellect to dwell there.

2. That is why we grapple with this 'law of sin' (Rom. 8 : 2) and expel it from our body, establishing in its place  the surveillance of the intellect. Through this surveillance we prescribe what is fitting for every faculty of the soul  and every member of the body. For the senses we prescribe what they should take into account and to what extent  they should do so, and this exercise of the spiritual law is called self-control. To the aspect of the soul that is  accessible to passion we impart the best of all dispositions, that of love; and we also raise the level of the  intelligence by repelling whatever impedes the mind in its ascent towards God: this aspect of the law we call  watchfulness. When through self-control we have purified our body, and when through divine love we have made  our mcensive power and our desire incentives for virtue, and when we offer to God an intellect cleansed by prayer,  then we will possess and see within ourselves the grace promised to the pure in heart (cf. Matt. 5:8). Then, too, we  will be able to affirm with St Paul: 'The God who said, "Out of darkness let light shine", has made this light shine in  our hearts, to give us the illumination of the knowledge of God's glory in the Person of Jesus Christ' (2 Cor. 4:6).  'But we have', he says, 'this treasure in earthen vessels' (2 Cor. 4:7). Since, therefore, we carry as in earthen vessels -  that is to say, in our bodies - the Father's Light in the Person of Jesus Christ, and so can experience the glory of the  Holy Spirit, are we doing anything unworthy of the intellect's nobility if we retain it within our body? What person  of spiritual insight - and, indeed, what person endowed with human intelligence, even though bereft of divine grace -  would say such a thing?  
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Answer

3. Since our soul is a single entity possessing many powers, it utilizes as an organ the body that by nature lives in  conjunction with it. What organs, then, does the power of the soul that we call 'intellect' make use of when it is  active? No one has ever supposed that the mind resides in the finger-nails or the eye-lashes, the nostrils or the lips.  But we all agree that it resides within us, even though we may not all agree as to which of our inner organs it chiefly  makes use of. For some locate it in the head, as though in a sort of acropolis; others consider that its vehicle is the  centemiost part of the heart, that aspect of the heart that has been purified from natural life. We know very well that  our intelligence is neither within us as in a container - for it is incorporeal - nor yet outside us, for it is united to us;  but it is located in the heart as in its own organ. And we-know this because we are taught it not by men but by the  Creator of man Himself when He says, 'It is not that which goes into man's mouth that defiles him, but what comes  out of it' (Matt. 15:11), adding, 'for thoughts come out of the heart' (Matt. 15:19). St Makarios the Great says the  same: 'The heart rules over the whole human organism, and when grace takes possession of the pastures of the heart,  it reigns over all a man's thoughts and members. For the intellect and all the thoughts of the soul are located there.'

Our heart is, therefore, the shrine of the intelligence and the chief intellectual organ of the body. When, therefore,  we strive to scrutinize and to amend our intelligence through rigorous watchfulness, how could we do this if we did  not collect our intellect, outwardly dispersed through the senses, and bring it back within ourselves - back to the  heart itself, the shrine of the thoughts? It is for this reason that St Makarios - rightly called blessed - directly after  what he says above, adds: 'So it is there that we must look to see whether grace has inscribed the laws of the Spirit.'  Where? In the ruling organ, in the throne of grace, where the intellect and all the thoughts of the soul reside, that is  to say, in the heart. Do you see, then, how greatly necessary it is for those who have chosen a life of self-  attentiveness and stillness to bring their intellect back and to enclose it within their body, and particularly within that  innermost body within the body that we call the heart?

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Answer

4. If, as the Psalmist says, 'AH the glory of the king's daughter is within' (Ps. 45: 13. LXX), how shall we seek it  somewhere without? And if, as St Paul says, 'God has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts, crying: "Abba Father" '  (cf. Gal. 4:6). how shall we not pray in union with the Spirit that is in our hearts? And if, as the Lord of the prophets  and the apostles says, 'The kingdom of heaven is within us' (cf. Luke 17:21), how shall we not find ourselves outside  the kingdom of heaven if we strive to alienate our intellect from what lies within us? 'An upright heart', says  Solomon, 'seeks conscious awareness' (cf. Prov. 27:21. LXX), the awareness or perception which he elsewhere calls  noetic and divine (cf. Prov. 2:5. LXX). It is to such awareness that the fathers urge all of us when they say: 'A noetic  intellect assuredly acquires noetic awareness. Let us never cease from seeking for this, which is both in us and not in  us." Do you not see that whether we wish to withstand sin, or to acquire virtue, or to gain the reward of the contest  for virtue or, rather, the noetic awareness which is the pledge of the reward for virtue, we have to bring our intellect  back into our body and into ourselves? On the other hand, to extract the intellect not from a materialistic manner of  thought but from the body itself, in the hope that there, outside the body, it may attain noetic visions, is the worst of  profane delusions, the root and source of every heresy, an invention of demons, a doctrine engendering folly and  itself the result of dementedness. It is for this reason that those who speak by the inspiration of the demons are out of  their wits and do not even comprehend what they say. But we, on the contrary, install our intellect not only within  the body and the heart, but also within itself.

5. Those who claim that the intellect is never separate from the soul, but is always within it, assert consequently  that it is not possible to reinstall it in this way. They are ignorant, it seems, that the essence of the intellect is one  thing and its energy is another. Or, rather, although they know this, they deliberately side with the deceivers, making  play with verbal equivocations. 'By not accepting the simplicity of spiritual teaching,' says St Basil the Great, 'these  people whose wits are sharpened for disputation by dialectic pervert the power of the truth with the counter-  arguments of spurious knowledge (cf. 1 Tim. 6:20)  



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and with sophistic plausibilities. ' Such inevitably is the character of those who, without being spiritual, think  themselves competent to judge and give instruction in spiritual matters (cf 1 Cor. 2:14-15). It should not have  escaped them that the intellect is not like the eye which sees other visible things but does not see itself. On the  contrary the intellect functions, first, by observing things other than itself, so far as this is necessary; and this is what  St Dionysios the Great calls the intellect's 'direct movement'. Secondly, it returns to itself and operates within itself,  and so beholds itself; and this is called by St Dionysios the intellect's 'circular movement'. This is the intellect's  highest and most befitting activity and, through it, it even transcends itself and is united with God. 'For the intellect,'  writes St Basil, 'when not dispersed outwardly' - note that it does go out from itself; and so, having gone out, it must  find a way to return inwards - 'returns to itself, and through itself ascends to God' in a way that is free from delusion.  St Dionysios, the unerring beholder of noetic things, also says that this circular movement of the intellect is not  subject to delusion.

6. The father of error, ever desirous of seducing man from this ascent and of leading him to that form of action  which permits the devil to insinuate his delusions, has not found until now, so far as we know, a helper who with  fair-sounding words would aid and abet him in achieving this. But now, if what you tell me is correct, it seems that  he has discovered collaborators who write treatises which lead to this very thing and who endeavor to persuade  people, including those who have embraced the sublime life of stillness, that during prayer it is better to keep the  intellect outside the body. They do not respect even the definitive and unambiguous statement of St John Klimakos,  who with his words constructed the ladder leading to heaven: 'A hesychast is one who tries to enshrine what is  bodiless within his body.' And our spiritual fathers have rightly taught us things in harmony with this. For if the  hesychast does not enclose his intellect within his body, how can he possess within himself the One who is invested  with the body and who as its natural form penetrates all structurally organized  

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matter? The determined exterior aspect of this matter - the material body - cannot enshrine the essence of the  intellect until the material body itself truly lives by adopting a form of life appropriate to union with the intellect.

7. Do you see, brother, how St John has shown, not simply from the spiritual but even from a human point of  view, how vital it is /or those who seek to be true masters of themselves, and to be monks according to their inner  self, to install or possess the intellect within the body? Nor is it out of place to teach beginners in particular to look  within themselves and to bring their mtellect within themselves by means of their breathing. For no one of sound  judgment would prevent a person who has not yet achieved a true knowledge of himself from concentrating his  intellect within himself with the aid of certain methods. Since the intellect of those recently embarked on the  spiritual path continually darts away again as soon as it has been concentrated, they must continually bring it back  once more; for in their inexperience they are unaware that of all things it is the most difficult to observe and the  most mobile. That is why some teachers recommend them to pay attention to the exhalation and inhalation of their  breath, and to restrain it a little, so that while they are watching it the intellect, too, may be held in check. This they  should do until they advance with God's help to a higher stage and are able to prevent their intellect from going out  to external things, to keep it uncompounded, and to gather it into what St Dionysios calls a state of 'unified  concentration'. This control of the breathing may, indeed, be regarded as a spontaneous consequence', of paying  attention to the intellect; for the breath is always quietly inhaled and exhaled at moments of intense concentration,  especially in the case of those who practice stillness both bodily and mentally. Such people keep the Sabbath in a  spiritual fashion and, so far as is possible, they rest from all personal activities; they strip their soul's powers free  from every transient, fleeting and compound form of [knowledge, from every type of sense -perception and, in  general, from every bodily act that is under our sway, and, so far as they can, even from those not entirely under our  sway, such as breathing.

8. In those who have made progress in stillness all these things

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come to pass without toil awl anxious care, few of necessity they spontaneously follow upon the soul's perfect  entry into itself. But where beginners are concerned none of them can be achieved without effort. Patient endurance  is the fruit of love, for 'love patiently accepts all things' (1 Cor. 13:7), and teaches us to achieve such endurance by  forcing ourselves so that through patience we may attain love; and this is a case in point. But what need is there to  say anything more about this? Everyone possessing experience can but laugh when contradicted by those who lack  experience; for such a person is taught not by argument but by the exertions he makes and the experience that comes  from these exertions. It is from experience that we reap what is profitable, and it is experience that refutes the  fruitless arguments of contentious braggarts.

A great teacher has said that after the fall our inner being naturally adapts itself to outward forms. When, then,  someone is striving to concentrate his intellect in himself so that it functions, not according to the direct form of  movement but according to the circular, delusion-free form, how could he not gain mimensely if. instead of letting  his gaze flit hither and thither, he fixes it upon his chest or his navel as upon a point of support? Outwardly curling  himself- so far as is possible - into the form of a circle, in conformity with the mode of action that he tries to  establish in his intellect, he also, through this same position of his body, sends into his heart the power of the  intellect that is dispersed outwardly when his gaze is turned outward. If the power of the noetic demon resides in the  navel of the belly, since there the law of sin exercises its dominion and provides him with fodder, why should we not  establish there also the law of the intellect that, armed with prayer, contends against that dominion (cf. Rom. 7:23)?  Then the evil spirit expelled through our baptism - 'the water of regeneration' (Tit. 3:5) - will not return with seven  other spirits more wicked than himself and again take up residence in us, so that 'the last state is worse than the first'  (Luke 11:26).

9. 'Be attentive to yourself,' says Moses (Deut. 15:9. LXX) - that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things  that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay  attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily  free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize  yourself; or, rather, guard.  

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watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and  there will never again be 'some secret iniquity in your heart' (Deut. 15:9). If, says, the Preacher, the spirit that-rules  over the evil demons and passions rises up against you, do not desert your place (cf, Eccles. 10:4) - that is to say, do  not leave any part of your soul or body unwatched. In this way you will master the evil spirits that assail you and  you will boldly present yourself to Him who examines hearts and minds (cf. Ps. 7:9); and He will not scrutinize you,  for you will have already scrutinized yourself. As St Paul says, 'If we judged ourselves we would not be judged' (1  Cor. 11:31).

Then you will experience the blessing that David experienced, and you will say to God, 'Darkness will not be  darkness with Thee and night shall be bright as day for me, for Thou hast taken possession of my mind' (cf. Ps.  139:12-13). It is as if David were saying that not only has God become the sole object of his soul's desire, but also  that any spark of this desire in his body has returned to the soul that produced it, and through the soul has risen to  God, hangs upon Him and cleaves to Him. For just as those who cleave to the perishable pleasures of the senses  expend all the soul's desire in satisfying their fleshly proclivities and become so entirely materialistic that the Spirit  of God cannot abide in them (cf. Gen. 6:3), so in the case of those who have elevated their intellect to God, and who  through divine longing have attached their soul to Him, the flesh is also transformed, is exalted with the soul,  communes together with the soul in the Divine, and itself likewise becomes the possession and dwellmg-place of  God, no longer harboring any enmity towards Him or any desires that are contrary to the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5: 17).

10. Which is the place - the flesh or the intellect - most expedient for the spirit of evil that rises up against us from  below? Is it not the flesh, in which St Paul says that there is nothing good (cf. Rom. 7:18) until the law of life makes  its habitation there? It is on account of this especially that the flesh must never escape our attention. How can it  become our own? How can we avoid abandoning it? How can we repulse the devil's assault upon it - especially we  who do not yet know how to contend spiritually with the spiritual forces of wickedness - unless we train ourselves to  pay attention to ourselves also with respect to the outward positioning of the body? But why do I speak of those  newly engaged in spiritual warfare when there are more perfect  

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people, not only after Christ's incarnation but also before it, who during prayer have adopted this outward  positioning of the body and to whom the Deity readily hearkened? Elijah himself, pre-eminent among spiritual  visionaries, leaned his head upon his knees, and having in this manner assiduously gathered his intellect into itself  and into God he put an end to the drought that had lasted many years (cf. 1 Kgs. 18:42-45). But it seems to me,  brother, that these men from whom you say you heard such slanders suffer from the illness of the Pharisees: they  refuse to examine and cleanse the inside of the cup - that is to say, their heart - and not being grounded in the  traditions of the fathers they try to assume precedence over everyone, as new teachers of the law (Matt. 23:25-26).  They disdain the form of prayer that God vindicated in the case of the publican, and they exhort others who pray not  to adopt it. For the Lord says in the Gospel that the publican 'would not even lift his eyes to heaven' (Luke 18:13).  Those who when praying turn their gaze on themselves are trying to imitate the publican; yet their critics call them  'navel-psychics', with the clear intention of slandering them. For who among the people who pray in this way has  ever said that the soul is located in the navel?

1 1 . These critics, then, are evident calumniators; indeed, so far from healing those in error, they revile those who  should be praised. They write not for the sake of truth and the life of stillness, but out of self -flattery ; not in order to  lead men towards spiritual watchfulness, but in order to draw them away from it. For they do all they can to discredit  both the practice of hesychasm and those who engage in it in the appropriate manner. They would readily describe  as belly-psychics those who said: 'The law of God is in the centre of my belly' (cf. Ps. 40:8. LXX), and: 'My belly  shall sound as a harp and my inward parts as a brazen wall that Thou hast restored' (cf. Isa. 16:1 1. LXX). In general  they slander all those who use corporeal symbols to represent, name and search out things noetic, divine and  spiritual. Yet in spite of this they will inflict no injury on those whom they misrepresent or, rather, because of their  attacks the saints will receive more blessings and still greater rewards in heaven, while then" opponents will remain  outside the sacred veils, unable to gaze upon even the shadows of the truth. It is, indeed, greatly to be feared that  they will be punished eternally, for not only have they separated themselves from the saints, but they have also  inveighed against them by their words.  

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12. You know the life of Symeon the New Theologian, and how it was all virtually a miracle, glorified by God  through supernatural miracles. You know also his writings, which without exaggeration one can call writings of life.  In addition, you know of St Nikiphoros, how he passed many years in quietness and stillness and how he  subsequently withdrew into the most isolated parts of the Holy Mountain of Athos and devoted himself to gathering  texts of the holy fathers concerned with the practice of watchfulness, thus passing this practice on to us. These two  saints clearly teach those who have chosen this way of life the practices which, you report, are now under attack. But  why do I refer to saints of past times? For shortly before our own day men of attested sanctity, recognized as  endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, have transmitted these things to us by their own mouths. You have heard  of Theoliptos, whose name signifies 'inspired by God' and who is recognized in our days as an authentic theologian  and a trustworthy visionary of the truth of God's mysteries - the bishop of Philadelphia or, rather, he who from  Philadelphia as from a lampstand illumined the world. You have heard also of Athanasios, who for not a few years  adorned the patriarchal throne and whose tomb God has honored: and of Neilos of Italy, the emulator of the great  Neilos; of Seliotis and Ilias, who were in no wise inferior to Neilos; and of Gabriel and Athanasios, who were  endowed with the gift of prophecy. You have certainly heard of all these men and of many others who lived before  them, with them and after them, all of whom exhort and encourage those wishing to embrace this tradition - this  tradition which the new doctors of hesychia, who have no idea of the life of stillness and who instruct not from  experience but through spurious argument, try to repudiate, deform and disparage, all to no

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profit for their hearers. We, however, have spoken in person with some of these saints and they have been our  teachers. Are we, then, to count as nothing these people who have been taught by experience and grace, and to  submit ourselves to those who assume the role of teachers out of conceit and in a spirit of contention? This we will  never, never do. And you, too, should turn away from them, wisely repeating to yourself the words of David, 'Bless  the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name' (Ps. 103;1). Guided by the fathers, take note how  they urge us always to bring our intellect back into ourselves.

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1. Because the Deity is goodness itself, true mercy and an abyss of loving bounty - or, rather. He is that which  embraces and contains this abyss, since He transcends every name that is named (cf Eph. 1:21) and everything we  can conceive - we can receive mercy only by union with Him. We unite ourselves to Him, in so far as this is  possible, by participating in the godlike virtues and by entering into communion with Him through prayer and  praise. Because the virtues are similitudes of God, to participate in them puts us in a fit state to receive the Deity, yet  it does not actually unite us to Him. But prayer through its sacral and hieratic power actualizes our ascent to and  union with the Deity, for it is a bond between noetic creatures and their Creator. Or at least this happens when our  prayer, through its fervent compunction, transcends the passions and conceptual thoughts; for the intellect, while  still passion-dominated, cannot be united to God. Thus so long as the intellect when praying remains in a passion-  charged state, it will not obtain mercy; but to the extent that it can dispel distractive thoughts it will experience  inward grief, and in so far as it experiences such grief it will partake of God's mercy. And if with humility it  continues to savor this mercy it will transform entirely the aspect of the soul that is accessible to passion.

2. When the intellect's oneness becomes threefold, yet remains single, then it is united with the divine Triadic  Unity, and it closes the door to every form of delusion and is raised above the flesh, the world and the prince of the  world. As the intellect thus escapes the grip of these enemies, it finds itself in itself and in God; and for as long as it  abides in this state it delights in the sense of spiritual jubilation that springs up within it. The intellect's oneness  becomes threefold, yet remains single, when it reverts to itself and through itself ascends to God. The intellect's  return to itself is its own self-guarding, while its  

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ascent to God is initiated through prayer, prayer that is succinct, although at times it may be more lengthy in  form, which requires more effort. If you persist in concentrating your intellect in this way and in raising it up  towards the Deity, and in forcibly restraining the mind's propensity to stray hither and thither, you will draw  noetically close to God. will reap things ineffable, taste the age to come, and by noetic perception will know that the  Lord is fall of bounty, in accordance with the Psalmist's words, 'Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful' (Ps.  34:8). It is, perhaps, not very difficult for the intellect to find itself in the threefold state - for it itself to be, that is to  say, both the guard, that which is guarded, and that which prays while it is keeping guard; but it is extremely  difficult to persevere for a long time in this state that gives birth to things ineffable, for the effort involved in  acquiring every other virtue is slight and altogether easy to sustain when compared with this. Hence many, unable to  endure the self-constraint needed for acquiring the virtue of prayer, do not attain a plenitude of divine gifts; but  those who do persist are rewarded with greater manifestations of divine aid, which sustain, support and joyfully  carry them forward. Then what is difficult to accomplish is easily achieved, for they are invested with what one  might call an angelic capacity, which empowers our human nature to commune with what lies beyond it. This  accords with the words of the prophet, that those who persist will grow wings and will gain new strength (cf Isa.  40:31).

3. The intellectual activity consisting of thought and intuition is called intellect, and the power that activates  thought and intuition is likewise the intellect; and this power Scripture also calls the heart. It is because the intellect  is pre-eminent among our inner powers that our soul is deiform. In those devoted to prayer, and especially to the  single-phrased Jesus Prayer, the intellect's noetic activity is easily ordered and purified; but the power that produces  this activity cannot be purified unless all the soul's other powers are also purified. For the soul is a single entity  possessing many powers. Thus if one of its powers is vitiated the whole of it is denied; for since the soul is single,  the evil in one of its powers is communicated to alt the rest Now since each of the soul's powers produces a different  energy, it is possible that with diligence one of these energies might be temporarily purified; but the power in  question will not therefore be pure, since it communes with all the rest and so it remains impure rather than pure.  Suppose, then.  

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that a person has purified his intellectual energy through diligence in prayer, and has been to a certain extent  enlightened either by the light of knowledge or in addition by noetic illumination: if he considers himself for this  reason to be pure he deceives himself and is utterly mistaken, and through his presumption he throws wide open a  door into himself for the devil, who always strives to delude us human beings. But if he recognizes his heart's  impurity, and is not filled with pride because of the partial degree of purity he has attained, but uses it as an aid, then  he will see more clearly the impurity of the other powers of his soul and will progress in humility, his inward grief  will grow and he will find suitable ways of healing each of his soul's powers. He will cleanse its moral aspect with  the right kind of ascetic practice, its power of spiritual apperception with spiritual knowledge, its power of  contemplation with prayer, and in this way he will attain perfect, true and enduring purity of heart and intellect - a  purity that no one can ever experience except through perfection in the ascetic life, persistent practice,  contemplation and contemplative prayer.  

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1. That the world has an origin nature teaches and history confirms, while the discoveries of the arts, the  institution of laws and the constitution of states also clearly affirm it. We know who are the founders of nearly all  the arts, the lawgivers and those who established states, and indeed we know what has been written about the origin  of everything. Yet we see that none of this surpasses the account of the genesis of the world and of time as narrated  by Moses. And Moses, who wrote about the genesis of the world, has so irrefutably substantiated the tnith of what  he writes through such extraordinary actions and words that he has convinced virtually the whole human race and  has persuaded them to deride those who sophistically teach the contrary. Since the nature of this world is such that  everything in it requires a specific cause in each instance, and since without such a cause nothing can exist at all, the  very nature of things demonstrates that there must be a first principle which is self-existent and does not derive from  any other principle.

2. That the world not only has an origin but also will have a consummation is affirmed by the fact that all things  in it are contingent, and indeed it is partially coming to an end all the time. Moreover, sure and irrefutable assurance  of this is furnished by the prophecy both of those inspired by God and of Christ Himself, the God of all; and not  only the pious but also the impious must believe that what they say is true, since everyone can see that what they  predicted about other things has proved correct. From them we leam that the world will not lapse entirely into non-  being but, like our bodies and in a manner analogous to what will happen to us, it will be changed by the  

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power of the Holy Spirit, being dissolved and transformed into something more divine.

3. The ancient Greek sages say that the heavens revolve in accordance with the nature of the world soul, and that  they teach justice and reason. What sort of justice? What kind of reason? For if the heavens revolve not by virtue of  their own nature but by virtue of the nature of what they call the world soul, and if this world soul belongs to the  entire world, how is it that the earth and the water and the air do not also revolve? Yet though in their opinion the  soul is ever-moving, none the less the earth is stationary by nature, and so is water, which occupies the lower region,  whereas the heavens, which occupy the upper region, are by nature ever in motion and move in a circle. But what is  the character of this world soul by virtue of whose nature the heavens revolve? Is it endowed with intelligence? If  so, it must be self-determining, and so it would not always move the celestial body in the same way, for what is self-  determining moves differently at different times. And what trace of deifomi soul do we observe in the lowermost  sphere - the sphere of the earth - or in the elements most proximate to it, namely those of water, air, and even fire  itself, for the world soul supposedly pertains to them as well? And again, how in their opinion are some things  animate and others inanimate? And among inanimate things it turns out that not merely a few examples taken at  random but every stone, every piece of metal, all earth, water, air and fire, moves by virtue of its own nature and not  by virtue of a soul; for they admit that this is true even of fire. Yet if the soul is common to all, how is it that only  the heavens move by virtue of the nature of this soul and not by virtue of their own nature? And how in their view  can the soul that moves the celestial body be void of intelligence since according to them it is the source of our  souls? But if it is void of intelligence it must be either sentient or vegetative. We observe, however, that no soul  moves a body without the assistance of organs, and we cannot observe any such organ that specifically serves the  earth, or the heavens, or any of the other element contained within them; for every organ is composed of various  natures, while the elements severally, and above all the heavens, are simple and not composite. The soul is the  actuality of a body possessing organs and having the potentiality for life; but the heavens, since they have no  member or part that can serve as an organ, have no potentiality for life. How, then, can that which is incapable of  life possibly have a soul? But  

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those who have become 'vain in their reasonings' have invented 'out of their foolish hearts' (Rom. 1:21) a world  soul that does not exist, never has existed, and never will exist. Yet they claim that this soul is the demiurge and  governor and controller of the entire sensible world and, farther, that it is some sort of root and source of our souls  or, rather, of every soul. Moreover, they say that it is bom from the intellect, and that the intellect is other in  substance than the supreme Intellect which they call God. Such doctrines are taught by those among them most  proficient in wisdom and theology, but they are no better than men who deify wild beasts and stones. In fact their  religiosity is much worse, for beasts, gold, stone and bronze are real things, even though they are among the least of  creatures; but the star-bearing world soul neither exists, nor is it anything real, for it is nothing at all but the  invention of an evil mind.

4. Since, they say, the celestial body must be in motion, and there is no place to which it can advance, it turns  about itself and thus its 'advancement' is that of rotation. Well and good. So if there were a place, it would move  upwards, like fire, and more so than fire since it is by nature lighter than fire. Yet this movement is due not to the  nature of a soul but to that of lightness. Thus if the heavens' motion is rotational, and this motion exists by virtue of  their own nature, and not that of the soul, then the celestial body revolves not by virtue of the nature of the soul but  by virtue of its own nature. Hence it does not possess a soul, nor is there any such thing as a celestial or pancosmic  soul. The only soul that possesses intelligence is the human soul, and this is not celestial, but supracelestial, not  because of its location but because of its very nature, for its essence is noetic.

5. The celestial body does not move forward or upward. The reason for this is not that there is no place beyond it.  For adjacent to the heavens and enclosed within them is the sphere of ether, and this too does not advance upward,  not because there is no place to which it might proceed - for the breadth of the heavens embraces it - but because  what is above is lighter. Hence, the heavens are by their own nature higher than the sphere of ether. It is not because  there is no place higher that the heavens do not proceed upward, but because there is no body more subtle and light  than they are.

6. No body is higher than the celestial body. Yet this is not to say that the region beyond the heavens does not  admit a body, but only that the heavens contain every body and there is no other body  

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beyond. But if a body could pass beyond the heavens, which is our pious belief, then the region beyond the  heavens would not be inaccessible. God, who fills all things and extends infinitely beyond the heavens, existed  before the world, filling as He now fills the whole region of the world. Yet this did not prevent a body from existing  in that region. Thus even outside of the heavens there is nothing to prevent the existence of a region, such as that  which surrounds the world or as that which is in the world, in which a body could abide.

7. Since there is no such hindrance, how is it, then, that the celestial body does not move upwards, but turning  back upon itself moves in a circular fashion? Because, as it is the lightest of bodies, it rises to the surface of all the  others and is the highest of them all, as well .as being the most mobile. Just as what is most compressed and most  heavy is the lowest and most stationary, so what is more ranfied and lightest is the highest and most mobile. Thus  since the celestial body moves by nature above the level of all other bodies, and since by nature it is impossible for it  to separate itself from those things on the surface of which it is located, and since those things on which it is located  are spherical, it must encircle them unceasingly. And this it does not by virtue of the nature of a soul but by virtue of  its own proper nature as a body, since it passes successively from place to place, which is the movement most  characteristic of the highest bodies, just as a stationary state most characterizes the lowest bodies.

8. It may be observed that in the regions close about us the winds, whose nature it is to rise upwards, move about  these regions without separating themselves from them and without proceeding further in an upward direction. This  is not because there is no place for them to rise to, but because what is above the winds is lighter than they are. They  remain on the surface of the regions above which they are situated because by nature they are lighter than those  regions. And they move around those regions by virtue of their own nature and not that of a soul. I think that  Solomon, wise in all things, intended to indicate this partial likeness that the winds bear to the celestial body when  he applied the same kind of language to the winds as is used of it; for he wrote, 'The wind proceeds circle-wise, and  returns on its own circuits' (Eccles. 1 :6). But the nature of the winds round about us diners from the nature of higher  bodies, in that the winds' motion is slower and they are more heavy.

9. According to the Greek sages, there are two opposing zones of  
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the earth that are temperate and habitable, and each of these is divided into two inhabited regions, thus making  four in all. Therefore they assert that there are also four races of men upon the earth, and that these are unable to  have any contact with one another. There are, according to these philosophers, men living in the temperate zone  lateral to us, who are separated from us by the torrid zone. And there are people who dwell antipodal to these latter,  living from their point of view beneath the temperate zone and its inhabitants. In a similar way there are those who  dwell beneath us. The first they say are opposite to us, while the second are antipodal and reversed. What these  sages did not realize is that only one tenth of the earth's sphere is land, while the rest is almost entirely swallowed up  by the abyss of the waters.

10. You should realize that, apart from the region of the earth which we inhabit, there is no other habitable land,  since it is all inundated by the waters of the abyss. You should also bear in mind that (omitting ether) the four  elements out of which the world is fashioned balance one another equally, and that each of the elements has its own  sphere, the size of which is proportionate to its density, as Aristotle also thinks. Tor', he says, 'there are five  elements located in five spherical regions, and the greater spheres always encompass the lesser: water encompasses  earth; air encompasses water; fire, air; and ether, fire. This constitutes the world.'

1 1 . Ether is more translucent than fire, which is also called 'combustible matter', and fire is many times greater in  volume than air, and air than water, and water than earth which, as it is the most compressed, is the least in volume  of all the four elements under the heavens. Since the sphere of water is many times greater in size than that of earth,  if the two spheres - that of water and that of earth - had the same centre and the water was poured over the entire  surface of the earth, the water would not have left any part of the earth's surface available for use by terrestrial  animals, since it would have covered all the soil and the earth's surface would have been everywhere at a  considerable depth beneath it. But since the waters do not entirely swallow up earth's surface - for the dry land we  inhabit is not covered by them - the sphere of the waters must of necessity be eccentric to the earth's sphere. Thus  we must try to discover by how much it is  

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eccentric and where its centre lies, whether above or beneath us. Yet it cannot be above us, since we see a part of  the water's surface below us. Thus from our point of view the centre of the sphere of water is beneath the earth's  centre. We have still to discover how far this centre is from the centre of the earth.

12. You can see how far from our viewpoint the centre of water's sphere lies beneath the centre of earth's sphere if  you take into consideration that the surface of the water visible to us and beneath us - just as the ground we walk  upon is beneath us - coincides almost exactly with the surface of the earth which we inhabit. But the habitable region  of the earth is about one tenth of its circumference, for the earth has five Stones, and we inhabit half of one of those  five. Hence if you want to fit a sphere that encompasses the earth on to one that encompasses this tenth part of its  

surface you will find that the diameter of the exterior sphere is nearly twice as great as the diameter of the interior  sphere, while its volume is eight times greater; and its centre will be situated at what is from our viewpoint the  bottom extremity of the sphere of the earth. This is clear from the following diagram.

13. Let us represent the earth's sphere with a circle on the inside of which are the letters A, B, C, D; and around  this let us draw another circle representing water's sphere, which touches the first circle at its highest point, and on  the outside of this second circle let us write the letters E, F, G. H. It will be found that, from our point of view, the  centre of the outer circle will lie on the circumference of the inner circle at its bottom extremity. And since the  diameter of the outer circle is twice that of the inner circle, and since it can be demonstrated geometrically that the  sphere whose diameter is twice that of another sphere is eight times the size of the latter, it follows that one eighth of  the sphere of the element of water is contained by and merged with earth's sphere. It is for this reason that many  springs of water gush forth from the earth and abundant, ever-flowing rivers issue from it, and the gulfs of many  seas pour into it, and many lakes spread over it. There is scarcely any place on the earth where, if you dig, you will  not find water flowing beneath.

1 4. As the above diagram and logic itself teach us, no region of the earth other than our own is inhabited. For just  as the earth would be totally uninhabitable if both earth and water had the same centre, so, even more truly, if the  water has its centre at what is from our point of  

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view the lowest extremity of the earth, all the other parts of the earth, apart from the region where we live which  fits into the upper section of the water's sphere, must be uninhabitable since they are flooded by water. And since it  has already been demonstrated that embodied deiform souls dwell only in the inhabited region of the earth, and that  there is but one such region on the earth - the one in which we live - it follows that land animals not endowed with  intelligence also dwell solely in this region.

15. Sight is formed from the manifold impressions of colors and shapes; smell from odors; taste from flavors;  hearing from sounds;

and touch from things that are rough or smooth on contact. The impressions that the senses receive come from  bodies but, although corporeal, they are not bodies themselves. For they do not arise directly from bodies, but from  the forms that are associated with  

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bodies. Yet they are not themselves these forms, since they are but impressions left by the forms; and so, like  images, they are inseparably separated from these forms. This is particularly evident in the case of sight, especially  when objects are seen in mirrors.

16. These sense impressions are in turn appropriated from the senses by the soul's imaginative faculty; and this  faculty totally separates not the senses themselves but what we have called the images that exist within them from  the bodies and their forms. It stores them up like treasures and brings them forward ulteriorly - now one and now  another, each in its own time - for its own use even when there is no corresponding body present. In this way it sets  before itself all manner of things seen, heard, tasted, smelled and touched.

17. In creatures endowed with intelligence this imaginative faculty of the soul is an intermediary between the  intellect and the senses. For the intellect beholds and dwells upon the images received in itself from the senses -  images separated from bodies and already bodiless - and it formulates various kinds of thought by means of  distinctions, analysis and inference. This happens in various ways - impassionately or dispassionately or in a state  between the two, both with and without error. From these thoughts are bom most virtues and vices, as well as  opinions, whether right or wrong. Yet not every thought that comes into the intellect has its origin in the images of  things perceived or is connected with them. There are some thoughts that do not come within the scope of the  senses, but are given to the thinking faculty by the intellect itself. As regards our thoughts, then, not every truth or  error, virtue or vice has its origin in the imagination.

18. What is remarkable and deserving our attention is how beauty or ugliness, wealth or poverty, glory or ill  repute - and, in short, either the noetic light that bestows eternal life or the noetic darkness of chastisement - enter  the soul, becoming firmly established within it, from merely transitory and sensible things.

19. When the intellect enthrones itself on the soul's imaginative faculty and thereby becomes associated with the  senses, it engenders a composite form of knowledge. For suppose you look at the setting sun and then see the moon  follow it, illuminated in the small part turned towards the sun, and in the subsequent days you note that the moon  gradually recedes and is illuminated more brightly until the opposite process sets in; and suppose you then see the  moon draw closer from the other side and its hght wane more and more until it disappears  

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altogether at the point at which it first received illumination; suppose you take intellectual note of all this, having  in your imagination the images you have previously received and with the moon itself ever present before your eyes,  you will in this way understand from sense-perception, imagination and intellection that the moon gets its light from  the sun, and that its orbit is much lower than the sun's and closer to the earth.

20. As in this way we achieve knowledge of things pertaining to the moon, so in a similar way we can achieve  knowledge of things pertaining to the sun - the solar eclipses and their nodes - as well as of the parallaxes, intervals  and varied configurations involving the planets, and in short of all phenomena concerning the heavens. The same  holds true with regard to the laws of nature, and every method and art, and in brief with regard to all knowledge  acquired from the perception of particulars. Such knowledge we gather from the senses and the imagination by  means of the intellect. Yet no such knowledge can ever be called spiritual, for it is natural, things of the Spirit being  beyond its scope (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14).

2 1 . Where can we learn anything certain and true about God, about the world as a whole, and about ourselves? Is  it not from the teaching of the Holy Spirit? For this teaching has taught us that God is the only Being that truly is -  the only eternal and immutable Being - who neither receives being from non-being nor returns to non-being; who is  Tri-hypostatic and Almighty, and who through His Logos brought forth all things from non-being in six days or,  rather, as Moses states. He created them instantaneously. For we have heard him say, 'First of all God created  heaven and earth' (Gen. 1:1). And He did not create them totally, empty or without any intermediary bodies at all.  For the earth was mixed with water, and each was pregnant with air and with the various species of animals and  plants, while the heavens were pregnant with various lights and fires; and so with the heavens and the earth all  things received their existence. Thus first of all God created the heavens and the earth as a kind of all-embracing  material substance with the potentiality of giving birth to all things. In this way He rightly rebuts those who wrongly  think that matter preexisted on its own as an autonomous entity.

22. After this initial creation. He who brings forth all things from non-being proceeds as it were to embellish and  adorn the world. In six days He allotted its own proper and appropriate rank to each of  

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His creatures that together constitute His world. He differentiates each by command alone, as though bringing  forth from hidden treasuries the things stored within, giving them form, and disposing and composing them  harmoniously, with perfection and aptness, one to the other, each to all and all to each. Establishing the. immovable  earth as the centre He encircled it in the highest vault with the ever-moving heavens and in His great wisdom bound  the two together by means of the intermediary regions. Thus the same world is both at rest and moving. For while  the heavenly bodies encircle the earth in rapid and perpetual motion, the immovable body of the earth necessarily  occupies the central position, its state of rest serving as a counterbalance to the heavens' mobility. In this way the  pancosmic sphere does not change its position as it would if it were cylindrical.

23. Thus by assigning such positions to the two bodies that mark the boundaries of the universe - the earth and the  heavens - the Master-craftsman both made fast and set in motion what one might call this entire and orderly world;  and He farther allotted what was fitting to each thing lying between these two limits. Some He placed on high,  enjoining them to move in the upper regions and to revolve for all time round the uttermost boundary of the universe  in a wise and ordered manner. Those are the light and active bodies capable of making bodies that lie beneath them  fit and serviceable. They are most wisely set above the world's middle region so that they can sufficiently dispel the  excessive coldness there and restrain their own excessive heat to its proper level. In some manner they also restrict  the excessive mobility of the world's outermost, bounds, for they have their own opposing movement and they hold  that outermost region in place through their counter-rotation. At the same time they provide us with beneficial yearly  changes of season, whereby we can measure temporal extension; and to those with understanding they supply  knowledge of the God who has created, ordered and adorned the world. Hence He commanded those bodies in the  upper region to dance round it in swift rotation for two reasons: to fill the entire universe with beauty and to furnish  a variety of more specific benefits. He set lower down in the middle region other bodies of a heavy and passive  nature that come into being and undergo change, that decompose and are recompounded, and that suffer alteration  for a useful purpose. He established these bodies and their relationships to one another in an orderly manner

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so that all things together could rightly be called 'cosmos', that is to say, that which is well-ordered.

24. In this manner the first of beings was brought forth into creation and after that another was brought forth, and  after that still another, and so on, until last of all man was brought forth. So great was the honor and providential  care which God bestowed upon man that He brought the entire sensible world into being before him and for his  sake. The kingdom of heaven was prepared for him from the foundation of the world (cf Matt. 25:34); God first  took counsel concerning him, and then he was fashioned by God's hand and according to the image of God (cf. Gen.  1 :26-27). God did not form the whole of man from matter and from the elements of this sensible world, as He did  the other animals. He formed only man's body from these materials; but man's soul He took from things  supracelestial or, rather, it came from God Himself when mysteriously He breathed life into man (cf. Gen. 2:7). The  human soul is something great and wondrous, superior to the entire world; it overlooks the universe and has all  things in its care; it is capable of knowing and receiving God, and more than anything else has the capacity of  manifesting the sublime magnificence of the Master-Craftsman. Not only capable of receiving God and His grace  through ascetic struggle, it is also able to be united in Him in a single hypostasis.

25. Here and in such things as these lie the true wisdom and the saving knowledge that procure for us the  blessedness of heaven. What Euclid, Marinos or Ptolemy has been able to understand these truths? What  Empedocleans, Socratics, Aristotelians and Platonists with their logical methods and mathematical demonstrations?  Or, rather, what form of sense -perception has grasped such things, what intellect apprehended them? If the wisdom  of the Spirit seemed something lowly to these philosophers of nature and their followers, this fact alone  demonstrates its incomparable superiority. In much the same way as animals not endowed with intelligence are  related to the wisdom of these men - or, if you wish, as children would consider the pastries they hold in their hands  superior to the imperial crown and to all the knowledge of these philosophers - so are these philosophers in relation  to the true and sublime wisdom and teaching of the Spirit.

26. To know God truly - in so far as this is possible - is incomparably superior to the philosophy of the Greeks,  and simply to know what place man has in relation to God surpasses all their wisdom. For man

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alone among all terrestrial and celestial beings is created in the image of his Maker, so that he might look to God  and love Him and be an initiate and worshipper of God alone, and so that he might preserve his own beauty by his  faith in God and his devotion and affection towards Him, and might know that whatever is found on earth and in the  heavens is inferior to himself and is completely void of intelligence. This the Greek sages could never conceive of,  and they dishonored our nature and were irreverent towards God. 'They worshipped and served the creature rather  than the Creator' (Rom. 1 :25), attributing to the sense -perceptible yet insensate stars an intelligence in each case  proportionate in power and dignity to its physical size. They wretchedly worshipped these things, called them  greater and lesser gods, and committed the lordship of all things to them. Did they not thus shame their own souls,  dishonoring and impoverishing them, and filling them with a truly noetic and chastising darkness by their  preoccupation with a philosophy based on sense -objects?

27. To know that we have been created in God's image prevents us from deifying even the noetic world. 'Image'  here refers not to the body but to the nature of the intellect. Nothing in nature is superior to the intellect, for if there  were then it would constitute the divine image. Since, therefore, the intellect is what is best in us and this, even  though it is in the divine image, is none the less created by God, why, then, is it difficult to understand or, rather,  how is it not self-evident that the Creator of that which is noetic in us is also the Creator of everything noetic? Thus  every noetic being, since it is likewise created in the image of God, is our fellow-servant, even if certain noetic  beings are more honorable than us in that they possess no body and so more closely resemble the utterly bodiless  and uncreated Nature. Or, rather, those noetic beings who have kept their rank and who maintain the purpose for  which they were created deserve our homage and are far superior to us, even though they are fellow-servants. On the  other hand, the noetic beings who did not keep their rank but rebelled and rejected the purpose for which they were  created are totally estranged from those close to God, and they have fallen from honor. And if they attempt to drag  us after them and to make us fall, they are not only worthless and disgraced but are also God's enemies and  destructive and inimical to the human race.

28. Yet natural scientists, astronomers and those who boast of possessing universal knowledge are unable to  understand anything of  

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what has just been said on the basis of their philosophy. Moreover, they have regarded the ruler of the noetic  darkness and all the rebellious powers under him not only as superior to themselves but even as gods, and they have  honored them with temples, made sacrifices to them and submitted themselves to their niinous oracles. In this way  they were mocked exceedingly by the demons, through unholy sacred objects, through defiling purifications which  only increased their accursed conceit, and through prophets and prophetesses who estranged them totally from the  essential truth.

29. For a man to know God, and to know himself and his proper rank - a knowledge now possessed even by  Christians who are thought to be quite unlearned - is a knowledge superior to natural science and astronomy and to  all philosophy concerning such matters. Moreover, for our intellect to know its own infirmity, and to seek healing  for it, is incomparably greater than to know and search out the magnitude of the stars, the principles of nature, the  generation of terrestrial things and the circuits of celestial bodies, their solstices and risings, stations and  retrogressions, separations and conjunctions and, in short, all the multiform relationships which arise from the many  different motions in the heavens. For the intellect that recognizes its own infirmity has discovered where to enter in  order to find salvation and how to approach the light of knowledge and receive the true wisdom that does not pass  away with this present world.

30. Every spiritual and noetic nature, whether angelic or human, possesses life as its essence, whereby it continues  immortal in its existence and does not admit dissolution. But the spiritual and noetic nature within us has life not  only as its essence but also as its activity, since it quickens the body united to it. For this reason it is also called the  body's life. And when it is called the life of the body, it is called life with reference to something else and is an  activity of our nature; for when relative to something else it can never be called an essence in itself. The noetic  nature of angels, however, does not possess life as an activity of this sort, because it did not receive an earthy body  from God and was not united to it in such a way as to have a quickening power in regard to it. Yet their nature can  admit opposites, that is, good and evil. This is confirmed by the fact that the wicked angels fell away because of  their pride. Thus the angels are somehow composite, being formed of their essence and one of these contrary  qualities of virtue or vice.  

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Hence it is evident that even angels do not have goodness as their  essence.

3 1 . The soul of each animal not imbued with intelligence is the life of the body that it animates; it does not  possess life as essence, but as activity, since here life is relative and not something in itself. Indeed, the soul of  animals consists of nothing except that which is actuated by the body. Thus when the body dissolves, the soul  inevitably dissolves as well. Their soul is no less mortal than their body, since everything that it is relates and refers  to what is mortal. So when the body dies the soul also dies.  32. The soul of each man is also the life of the body that it animates, and possesses a quickening activity in  relation to something else, namely, to the body that it quickens. Yet the soul has life not only as an activity but also  as its essence, since it is self-existent; for it possesses a spiritual and noetic life that is evidently different from the  body's and from what is actuated by the body. Hence when the body dissolves the human soul does not perish with  it; and not only does it not perish but it continues to exist immortally, since it is not manifest only in relation to  something else, but possesses its own life as its essence.

33. The spiritual and noetic soul possesses life as essence, yet it can admit contraries, that is to say, good and evil.  Thus it is evident that it does not have goodness as essence, nor evil either; both are as it were qualities and when  either is present it is because the soul has chosen it. They are present, not with respect to place, but whenever the  noetic soul, having received free will from its Creator, inclines to one or the other and wills to live in accordance  with it. Hence the spiritual and noetic soul is somehow composite, but not on account of the activity mentioned  above; for this activity is related to something else, namely, the body, and so does not by nature produce what is  composite. Rather the soul is composite on account of its own essence and the presence in it of one of the two  contrary qualities - good and evil - of which we have just spoken.

34. The supreme Intellect, the uttermost Good, the Nature which transcends life and divinity, being entirely  incapable of admitting opposites in any way, clearly possesses goodness not as a quality but as essence. Hence  everything that we can conceive of as good is to be found in It or, rather, the supreme Intellect both is that good and  surpasses goodness. And everything that we can conceive of as being in the Intellect is good or, rather, is both  goodness and a Goodness that

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transcends goodness. Life, too, is to be found in It or, rather, the Intellect is life; for life is good and the life that is  in the Intellect is goodness. And Wisdom is in It, or, rather, the Intellect is Wisdom; for Wisdom is good and the  Wisdom that is in the Intellect is goodness. It is the same with eternity, blessedness and everything that we can  conceive of as good. There is no distinction between life and wisdom and goodness and so on, for this Goodness  embraces all these things comprehensively, umtively and in utter simplicity, and we conceive of It and call It  Goodness by virtue of Its embracing every form of goodness. Whatever goodness we can conceive of and ascribe to  It is one and true. Yet this Goodness is not only that which is truly conceived of by those who perceive with an  intellect imbued with divine Wisdom and who speak of God with a tongue moved by the Spirit; it is also ineffable  and incomprehensible and transcends these things, and is not inferior to the unitive and supernatural simplicity; for  absolute and transcendent Goodness is one. It is by virtue of this alone - namely, that He is absolute and  transcendent Goodness, possessing goodness as His essence - that the Creator and Lord of Creation is both  intellectually perceived and described; and this solely on the basis of His energies which are directed towards  creation. Hence in no way whatever does God admit what is contrary to goodness, since there is nothing contrary  where essence is concerned.

35. This absolute and transcendent Goodness is also the source of goodness; and that which proceeds from It is  likewise good and is supremely good and cannot be lacking in perfect goodness. The transcendently and absolutely  perfect Goodness is Intellect; thus what else could that which proceeds from It as from a source be except  Intelligence-content or Logos? But the divine Logos is not to be understood in the same way as the human thought-  form that we express orally, for that proceeds not from the intellect but from a body activated by the intellect; nor is  it to be understood in the same way as our human inner intelligence-principle, for this, too, is disposed within us in  such a way as to give birth to different forms of sound. Neither is the divine Logos equivalent to the reasoning  power in our mind, even though this is soundless and operates entirely according to impulses that are bodiless. For  the reasoning logos, as a faculty dependent on us, requires for its functioning successive moments of time, since it  emerges gradually, proceeding from an incomplete starting-point to its complete conclusion. Rather, the divine  Logos is similar to the logos  

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implanted by nature in our intellect, according to which we are made by the Creator in His own image and which  constitutes the spiritual knowledge coexistent with the intellect. On the plane of the sublime Intellect of the absolute  and transcendently perfect Goodness, wherein there is nothing imperfect, the divine Logos-Gnosis is  indistinguishably whatever that Goodness is, except for the fact that it is derived from It. Thus the supreme Logos is  also the Son, and is so described by us, in order that we may recognize Him to be perfect in a perfect and individual  hypostasis, since He comes from the Father and is in no way inferior to the Father's essence, but is indistinguishably  identical with Him, although not according to hypostasis; for His distinction as hypostasis is manifest in the fact that  the Logos is begotten in a divinely fitting manner from the Father.

36. The Goodness, then, that issues by way of generation from the Source of noetic goodness is Logos. But no  intelhgent person could conceive of a Logos or InteUigence-content that is hfeless and without spirit. Hence the  Logos, God from God, possesses the Holy Spirit that issues together with Himself from the Father. Yet the Holy  Spirit is spirit not in the sense whereby the breath conjoined to the word issuing from our lips is spirit, for this is a  body and is conjoined to our speech through bodily organs; nor is it spirit in the sense whereby that which  accompanies, albeit bodilessly, our innate reasoning process is spirit, for that, too, entails a certain impulse of the  intellect that accompanies our thought-process through successive intervals of time, and progresses from  incompletion to completion. The Spirit of the supreme Logos is a kind of meffable yet intense longing or eros  experienced by the Begetter for the Logos bom ineffably from Him, a longing experienced also by the beloved  Logos and Son of the Father for His Begetter; but the Logos possesses this love by virtue of the fact that it comes  from the Father in the very act through which He comes from the Father, and it resides co-naturally in Him. It is  from the Logos's discourse with us through His incarnation that we have learned what is the name of the Spirit's  distinct mode of coming to be from the Father and that the Spirit belongs not only to the Father but also to the  Logos. For He says 'the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father' (John 15:26), so that we may know that from  the Father comes not solely the Logos - who is begotten from the Father - but also the Spirit who proceeds from the  Father. Yet the Spirit belongs also to the Son, who receives Him from the Father as the Spirit of  

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Truth, Wisdom and Logos. For Truth and Wisdom constitute a Logos that befits His Begetter, a Logos that  rejoices with the Father as the Father rejoices in Him. This accords with the words that He spoke through Solomon:  'I was She who rejoiced together with Him' (Prov, 8:30). Solomon did not say simply 'rejoiced' but 'rejoiced together  with'. This pre-etemal rejoicing of the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit who, as I said, is common to both, which  explains why He is sent from both to those who are worthy. Yet the Spirit has His existence from the Father alone,  and hence He proceeds as regards His existence only from the Father.

37. Our intellect, because created in God's image, possesses likewise the image of this sublime Eros or intense  longing - an image expressed in the love experienced by the intellect for the spiritual knowledge that originates from  it and continually abides in it. This love is of the intellect and in the intellect and issues forth from it together with its  innermost intelligence or logos. This is shown clearly by the fact that even those who are unable to perceive what  lies deeply within themselves possess an insatiable desire for spiritual knowledge. Yet in the Archetype, in this  absolutely and transcendently perfect Goodness, wherein there is nothing imperfect, the divine Eros is  indistinguishably whatever that Goodness is, except for the fact that it is derived from It. Hence this intense longing  is - and is called - the Holy Spirit and the other Comforter (cf John 14:16), since He accompanies the Logos. Thus  we know Him to be perfect in a perfect and individual hypostasis, in no way inferior to the Father's essence, but  indistinguishably identical with the Son and the Father, although not according to hypostasis; for His distinction as  hypostasis is manifest in the fact that He proceeds from God in a divinely fitting manner. Thus we worship one true  and perfect God in three true and perfect hypostases - not, certainly, a threefold God but one who is simple. For  Goodness is not something threefold, nor a triad of goodnesses. Rather, the most subhme Goodness is a holy, awe-  inspiring and venerable Trinity flowing forth out of Itself into Itself without change and divinely established in Itself  before the ages. The Trinity is without limits and is limited only by Itself; It limits all things, transcends all and  permits no beings to be outside Itself.  38. The noetic and intelligent nature of angels also possesses intellect, and the thought-form (logos) that proceeds  from the intellect, and the intense longing (eros) of the intellect for its thought-form.  
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3. Since our soul is a single entity possessing many powers, it utilizes as an organ the body that by nature lives in  conjunction with it. What organs, then, does the power of the soul that we call 'intellect' make use of when it is  active? No one has ever supposed that the mind resides in the finger-nails or the eye-lashes, the nostrils or the lips.  But we all agree that it resides within us, even though we may not all agree as to which of our inner organs it chiefly  makes use of. For some locate it in the head, as though in a sort of acropolis; others consider that its vehicle is the  centemiost part of the heart, that aspect of the heart that has been purified from natural life. We know very well that  our intelligence is neither within us as in a container - for it is incorporeal - nor yet outside us, for it is united to us;  but it is located in the heart as in its own organ. And we-know this because we are taught it not by men but by the  Creator of man Himself when He says, 'It is not that which goes into man's mouth that defiles him, but what comes  out of it' (Matt. 15:11), adding, 'for thoughts come out of the heart' (Matt. 15:19). St Makarios the Great says the  same: 'The heart rules over the whole human organism, and when grace takes possession of the pastures of the heart,  it reigns over all a man's thoughts and members. For the intellect and all the thoughts of the soul are located there.'

Our heart is, therefore, the shrine of the intelligence and the chief intellectual organ of the body. When, therefore,  we strive to scrutinize and to amend our intelligence through rigorous watchfulness, how could we do this if we did  not collect our intellect, outwardly dispersed through the senses, and bring it back within ourselves - back to the  heart itself, the shrine of the thoughts? It is for this reason that St Makarios - rightly called blessed - directly after  what he says above, adds: 'So it is there that we must look to see whether grace has inscribed the laws of the Spirit.'  Where? In the ruling organ, in the throne of grace, where the intellect and all the thoughts of the soul reside, that is  to say, in the heart. Do you see, then, how greatly necessary it is for those who have chosen a life of self-  attentiveness and stillness to bring their intellect back and to enclose it within their body, and particularly within that  innermost body within the body that we call the heart?

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4. If, as the Psalmist says, 'AH the glory of the king's daughter is within' (Ps. 45: 13. LXX), how shall we seek it  somewhere without? And if, as St Paul says, 'God has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts, crying: "Abba Father" '  (cf. Gal. 4:6). how shall we not pray in union with the Spirit that is in our hearts? And if, as the Lord of the prophets  and the apostles says, 'The kingdom of heaven is within us' (cf. Luke 17:21), how shall we not find ourselves outside  the kingdom of heaven if we strive to alienate our intellect from what lies within us? 'An upright heart', says  Solomon, 'seeks conscious awareness' (cf. Prov. 27:21. LXX), the awareness or perception which he elsewhere calls  noetic and divine (cf. Prov. 2:5. LXX). It is to such awareness that the fathers urge all of us when they say: 'A noetic  intellect assuredly acquires noetic awareness. Let us never cease from seeking for this, which is both in us and not in  us." Do you not see that whether we wish to withstand sin, or to acquire virtue, or to gain the reward of the contest  for virtue or, rather, the noetic awareness which is the pledge of the reward for virtue, we have to bring our intellect  back into our body and into ourselves? On the other hand, to extract the intellect not from a materialistic manner of  thought but from the body itself, in the hope that there, outside the body, it may attain noetic visions, is the worst of  profane delusions, the root and source of every heresy, an invention of demons, a doctrine engendering folly and  itself the result of dementedness. It is for this reason that those who speak by the inspiration of the demons are out of  their wits and do not even comprehend what they say. But we, on the contrary, install our intellect not only within  the body and the heart, but also within itself.

5. Those who claim that the intellect is never separate from the soul, but is always within it, assert consequently  that it is not possible to reinstall it in this way. They are ignorant, it seems, that the essence of the intellect is one  thing and its energy is another. Or, rather, although they know this, they deliberately side with the deceivers, making  play with verbal equivocations. 'By not accepting the simplicity of spiritual teaching,' says St Basil the Great, 'these  people whose wits are sharpened for disputation by dialectic pervert the power of the truth with the counter-  arguments of spurious knowledge (cf. 1 Tim. 6:20)  



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and with sophistic plausibilities. ' Such inevitably is the character of those who, without being spiritual, think  themselves competent to judge and give instruction in spiritual matters (cf 1 Cor. 2:14-15). It should not have  escaped them that the intellect is not like the eye which sees other visible things but does not see itself. On the  contrary the intellect functions, first, by observing things other than itself, so far as this is necessary; and this is what  St Dionysios the Great calls the intellect's 'direct movement'. Secondly, it returns to itself and operates within itself,  and so beholds itself; and this is called by St Dionysios the intellect's 'circular movement'. This is the intellect's  highest and most befitting activity and, through it, it even transcends itself and is united with God. 'For the intellect,'  writes St Basil, 'when not dispersed outwardly' - note that it does go out from itself; and so, having gone out, it must  find a way to return inwards - 'returns to itself, and through itself ascends to God' in a way that is free from delusion.  St Dionysios, the unerring beholder of noetic things, also says that this circular movement of the intellect is not  subject to delusion.

6. The father of error, ever desirous of seducing man from this ascent and of leading him to that form of action  which permits the devil to insinuate his delusions, has not found until now, so far as we know, a helper who with  fair-sounding words would aid and abet him in achieving this. But now, if what you tell me is correct, it seems that  he has discovered collaborators who write treatises which lead to this very thing and who endeavor to persuade  people, including those who have embraced the sublime life of stillness, that during prayer it is better to keep the  intellect outside the body. They do not respect even the definitive and unambiguous statement of St John Klimakos,  who with his words constructed the ladder leading to heaven: 'A hesychast is one who tries to enshrine what is  bodiless within his body.' And our spiritual fathers have rightly taught us things in harmony with this. For if the  hesychast does not enclose his intellect within his body, how can he possess within himself the One who is invested  with the body and who as its natural form penetrates all structurally organized  

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matter? The determined exterior aspect of this matter - the material body - cannot enshrine the essence of the  intellect until the material body itself truly lives by adopting a form of life appropriate to union with the intellect.

7. Do you see, brother, how St John has shown, not simply from the spiritual but even from a human point of  view, how vital it is /or those who seek to be true masters of themselves, and to be monks according to their inner  self, to install or possess the intellect within the body? Nor is it out of place to teach beginners in particular to look  within themselves and to bring their mtellect within themselves by means of their breathing. For no one of sound  judgment would prevent a person who has not yet achieved a true knowledge of himself from concentrating his  intellect within himself with the aid of certain methods. Since the intellect of those recently embarked on the  spiritual path continually darts away again as soon as it has been concentrated, they must continually bring it back  once more; for in their inexperience they are unaware that of all things it is the most difficult to observe and the  most mobile. That is why some teachers recommend them to pay attention to the exhalation and inhalation of their  breath, and to restrain it a little, so that while they are watching it the intellect, too, may be held in check. This they  should do until they advance with God's help to a higher stage and are able to prevent their intellect from going out  to external things, to keep it uncompounded, and to gather it into what St Dionysios calls a state of 'unified  concentration'. This control of the breathing may, indeed, be regarded as a spontaneous consequence', of paying  attention to the intellect; for the breath is always quietly inhaled and exhaled at moments of intense concentration,  especially in the case of those who practice stillness both bodily and mentally. Such people keep the Sabbath in a  spiritual fashion and, so far as is possible, they rest from all personal activities; they strip their soul's powers free  from every transient, fleeting and compound form of [knowledge, from every type of sense -perception and, in  general, from every bodily act that is under our sway, and, so far as they can, even from those not entirely under our  sway, such as breathing.

8. In those who have made progress in stillness all these things

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come to pass without toil awl anxious care, few of necessity they spontaneously follow upon the soul's perfect  entry into itself. But where beginners are concerned none of them can be achieved without effort. Patient endurance  is the fruit of love, for 'love patiently accepts all things' (1 Cor. 13:7), and teaches us to achieve such endurance by  forcing ourselves so that through patience we may attain love; and this is a case in point. But what need is there to  say anything more about this? Everyone possessing experience can but laugh when contradicted by those who lack  experience; for such a person is taught not by argument but by the exertions he makes and the experience that comes  from these exertions. It is from experience that we reap what is profitable, and it is experience that refutes the  fruitless arguments of contentious braggarts.

A great teacher has said that after the fall our inner being naturally adapts itself to outward forms. When, then,  someone is striving to concentrate his intellect in himself so that it functions, not according to the direct form of  movement but according to the circular, delusion-free form, how could he not gain mimensely if. instead of letting  his gaze flit hither and thither, he fixes it upon his chest or his navel as upon a point of support? Outwardly curling  himself- so far as is possible - into the form of a circle, in conformity with the mode of action that he tries to  establish in his intellect, he also, through this same position of his body, sends into his heart the power of the  intellect that is dispersed outwardly when his gaze is turned outward. If the power of the noetic demon resides in the  navel of the belly, since there the law of sin exercises its dominion and provides him with fodder, why should we not  establish there also the law of the intellect that, armed with prayer, contends against that dominion (cf. Rom. 7:23)?  Then the evil spirit expelled through our baptism - 'the water of regeneration' (Tit. 3:5) - will not return with seven  other spirits more wicked than himself and again take up residence in us, so that 'the last state is worse than the first'  (Luke 11:26).

9. 'Be attentive to yourself,' says Moses (Deut. 15:9. LXX) - that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things  that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay  attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily  free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize  yourself; or, rather, guard.  

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watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and  there will never again be 'some secret iniquity in your heart' (Deut. 15:9). If, says, the Preacher, the spirit that-rules  over the evil demons and passions rises up against you, do not desert your place (cf, Eccles. 10:4) - that is to say, do  not leave any part of your soul or body unwatched. In this way you will master the evil spirits that assail you and  you will boldly present yourself to Him who examines hearts and minds (cf. Ps. 7:9); and He will not scrutinize you,  for you will have already scrutinized yourself. As St Paul says, 'If we judged ourselves we would not be judged' (1  Cor. 11:31).

Then you will experience the blessing that David experienced, and you will say to God, 'Darkness will not be  darkness with Thee and night shall be bright as day for me, for Thou hast taken possession of my mind' (cf. Ps.  139:12-13). It is as if David were saying that not only has God become the sole object of his soul's desire, but also  that any spark of this desire in his body has returned to the soul that produced it, and through the soul has risen to  God, hangs upon Him and cleaves to Him. For just as those who cleave to the perishable pleasures of the senses  expend all the soul's desire in satisfying their fleshly proclivities and become so entirely materialistic that the Spirit  of God cannot abide in them (cf. Gen. 6:3), so in the case of those who have elevated their intellect to God, and who  through divine longing have attached their soul to Him, the flesh is also transformed, is exalted with the soul,  communes together with the soul in the Divine, and itself likewise becomes the possession and dwellmg-place of  God, no longer harboring any enmity towards Him or any desires that are contrary to the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5: 17).

10. Which is the place - the flesh or the intellect - most expedient for the spirit of evil that rises up against us from  below? Is it not the flesh, in which St Paul says that there is nothing good (cf. Rom. 7:18) until the law of life makes  its habitation there? It is on account of this especially that the flesh must never escape our attention. How can it  become our own? How can we avoid abandoning it? How can we repulse the devil's assault upon it - especially we  who do not yet know how to contend spiritually with the spiritual forces of wickedness - unless we train ourselves to  pay attention to ourselves also with respect to the outward positioning of the body? But why do I speak of those  newly engaged in spiritual warfare when there are more perfect  

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people, not only after Christ's incarnation but also before it, who during prayer have adopted this outward  positioning of the body and to whom the Deity readily hearkened? Elijah himself, pre-eminent among spiritual  visionaries, leaned his head upon his knees, and having in this manner assiduously gathered his intellect into itself  and into God he put an end to the drought that had lasted many years (cf. 1 Kgs. 18:42-45). But it seems to me,  brother, that these men from whom you say you heard such slanders suffer from the illness of the Pharisees: they  refuse to examine and cleanse the inside of the cup - that is to say, their heart - and not being grounded in the  traditions of the fathers they try to assume precedence over everyone, as new teachers of the law (Matt. 23:25-26).  They disdain the form of prayer that God vindicated in the case of the publican, and they exhort others who pray not  to adopt it. For the Lord says in the Gospel that the publican 'would not even lift his eyes to heaven' (Luke 18:13).  Those who when praying turn their gaze on themselves are trying to imitate the publican; yet their critics call them  'navel-psychics', with the clear intention of slandering them. For who among the people who pray in this way has  ever said that the soul is located in the navel?

1 1 . These critics, then, are evident calumniators; indeed, so far from healing those in error, they revile those who  should be praised. They write not for the sake of truth and the life of stillness, but out of self -flattery ; not in order to  lead men towards spiritual watchfulness, but in order to draw them away from it. For they do all they can to discredit  both the practice of hesychasm and those who engage in it in the appropriate manner. They would readily describe  as belly-psychics those who said: 'The law of God is in the centre of my belly' (cf. Ps. 40:8. LXX), and: 'My belly  shall sound as a harp and my inward parts as a brazen wall that Thou hast restored' (cf. Isa. 16:1 1. LXX). In general  they slander all those who use corporeal symbols to represent, name and search out things noetic, divine and  spiritual. Yet in spite of this they will inflict no injury on those whom they misrepresent or, rather, because of their  attacks the saints will receive more blessings and still greater rewards in heaven, while then" opponents will remain  outside the sacred veils, unable to gaze upon even the shadows of the truth. It is, indeed, greatly to be feared that  they will be punished eternally, for not only have they separated themselves from the saints, but they have also  inveighed against them by their words.  

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12. You know the life of Symeon the New Theologian, and how it was all virtually a miracle, glorified by God  through supernatural miracles. You know also his writings, which without exaggeration one can call writings of life.  In addition, you know of St Nikiphoros, how he passed many years in quietness and stillness and how he  subsequently withdrew into the most isolated parts of the Holy Mountain of Athos and devoted himself to gathering  texts of the holy fathers concerned with the practice of watchfulness, thus passing this practice on to us. These two  saints clearly teach those who have chosen this way of life the practices which, you report, are now under attack. But  why do I refer to saints of past times? For shortly before our own day men of attested sanctity, recognized as  endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, have transmitted these things to us by their own mouths. You have heard  of Theoliptos, whose name signifies 'inspired by God' and who is recognized in our days as an authentic theologian  and a trustworthy visionary of the truth of God's mysteries - the bishop of Philadelphia or, rather, he who from  Philadelphia as from a lampstand illumined the world. You have heard also of Athanasios, who for not a few years  adorned the patriarchal throne and whose tomb God has honored: and of Neilos of Italy, the emulator of the great  Neilos; of Seliotis and Ilias, who were in no wise inferior to Neilos; and of Gabriel and Athanasios, who were  endowed with the gift of prophecy. You have certainly heard of all these men and of many others who lived before  them, with them and after them, all of whom exhort and encourage those wishing to embrace this tradition - this  tradition which the new doctors of hesychia, who have no idea of the life of stillness and who instruct not from  experience but through spurious argument, try to repudiate, deform and disparage, all to no

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profit for their hearers. We, however, have spoken in person with some of these saints and they have been our  teachers. Are we, then, to count as nothing these people who have been taught by experience and grace, and to  submit ourselves to those who assume the role of teachers out of conceit and in a spirit of contention? This we will  never, never do. And you, too, should turn away from them, wisely repeating to yourself the words of David, 'Bless  the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name' (Ps. 103;1). Guided by the fathers, take note how  they urge us always to bring our intellect back into ourselves.

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Three Texts on Prayer and Purity of Heart

1. Because the Deity is goodness itself, true mercy and an abyss of loving bounty - or, rather. He is that which  embraces and contains this abyss, since He transcends every name that is named (cf Eph. 1:21) and everything we  can conceive - we can receive mercy only by union with Him. We unite ourselves to Him, in so far as this is  possible, by participating in the godlike virtues and by entering into communion with Him through prayer and  praise. Because the virtues are similitudes of God, to participate in them puts us in a fit state to receive the Deity, yet  it does not actually unite us to Him. But prayer through its sacral and hieratic power actualizes our ascent to and  union with the Deity, for it is a bond between noetic creatures and their Creator. Or at least this happens when our  prayer, through its fervent compunction, transcends the passions and conceptual thoughts; for the intellect, while  still passion-dominated, cannot be united to God. Thus so long as the intellect when praying remains in a passion-  charged state, it will not obtain mercy; but to the extent that it can dispel distractive thoughts it will experience  inward grief, and in so far as it experiences such grief it will partake of God's mercy. And if with humility it  continues to savor this mercy it will transform entirely the aspect of the soul that is accessible to passion.

2. When the intellect's oneness becomes threefold, yet remains single, then it is united with the divine Triadic  Unity, and it closes the door to every form of delusion and is raised above the flesh, the world and the prince of the  world. As the intellect thus escapes the grip of these enemies, it finds itself in itself and in God; and for as long as it  abides in this state it delights in the sense of spiritual jubilation that springs up within it. The intellect's oneness  becomes threefold, yet remains single, when it reverts to itself and through itself ascends to God. The intellect's  return to itself is its own self-guarding, while its  

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Three Texts on Prayer and Purity of Heart

ascent to God is initiated through prayer, prayer that is succinct, although at times it may be more lengthy in  form, which requires more effort. If you persist in concentrating your intellect in this way and in raising it up  towards the Deity, and in forcibly restraining the mind's propensity to stray hither and thither, you will draw  noetically close to God. will reap things ineffable, taste the age to come, and by noetic perception will know that the  Lord is fall of bounty, in accordance with the Psalmist's words, 'Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful' (Ps.  34:8). It is, perhaps, not very difficult for the intellect to find itself in the threefold state - for it itself to be, that is to  say, both the guard, that which is guarded, and that which prays while it is keeping guard; but it is extremely  difficult to persevere for a long time in this state that gives birth to things ineffable, for the effort involved in  acquiring every other virtue is slight and altogether easy to sustain when compared with this. Hence many, unable to  endure the self-constraint needed for acquiring the virtue of prayer, do not attain a plenitude of divine gifts; but  those who do persist are rewarded with greater manifestations of divine aid, which sustain, support and joyfully  carry them forward. Then what is difficult to accomplish is easily achieved, for they are invested with what one  might call an angelic capacity, which empowers our human nature to commune with what lies beyond it. This  accords with the words of the prophet, that those who persist will grow wings and will gain new strength (cf Isa.  40:31).

3. The intellectual activity consisting of thought and intuition is called intellect, and the power that activates  thought and intuition is likewise the intellect; and this power Scripture also calls the heart. It is because the intellect  is pre-eminent among our inner powers that our soul is deiform. In those devoted to prayer, and especially to the  single-phrased Jesus Prayer, the intellect's noetic activity is easily ordered and purified; but the power that produces  this activity cannot be purified unless all the soul's other powers are also purified. For the soul is a single entity  possessing many powers. Thus if one of its powers is vitiated the whole of it is denied; for since the soul is single,  the evil in one of its powers is communicated to alt the rest Now since each of the soul's powers produces a different  energy, it is possible that with diligence one of these energies might be temporarily purified; but the power in  question will not therefore be pure, since it communes with all the rest and so it remains impure rather than pure.  Suppose, then.  

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that a person has purified his intellectual energy through diligence in prayer, and has been to a certain extent  enlightened either by the light of knowledge or in addition by noetic illumination: if he considers himself for this  reason to be pure he deceives himself and is utterly mistaken, and through his presumption he throws wide open a  door into himself for the devil, who always strives to delude us human beings. But if he recognizes his heart's  impurity, and is not filled with pride because of the partial degree of purity he has attained, but uses it as an aid, then  he will see more clearly the impurity of the other powers of his soul and will progress in humility, his inward grief  will grow and he will find suitable ways of healing each of his soul's powers. He will cleanse its moral aspect with  the right kind of ascetic practice, its power of spiritual apperception with spiritual knowledge, its power of  contemplation with prayer, and in this way he will attain perfect, true and enduring purity of heart and intellect - a  purity that no one can ever experience except through perfection in the ascetic life, persistent practice,  contemplation and contemplative prayer.  

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  Topics of Natural and Theological Science and on the Moral and Ascetic Life:

One Hundred and Fifty Texts

1. That the world has an origin nature teaches and history confirms, while the discoveries of the arts, the  institution of laws and the constitution of states also clearly affirm it. We know who are the founders of nearly all  the arts, the lawgivers and those who established states, and indeed we know what has been written about the origin  of everything. Yet we see that none of this surpasses the account of the genesis of the world and of time as narrated  by Moses. And Moses, who wrote about the genesis of the world, has so irrefutably substantiated the tnith of what  he writes through such extraordinary actions and words that he has convinced virtually the whole human race and  has persuaded them to deride those who sophistically teach the contrary. Since the nature of this world is such that  everything in it requires a specific cause in each instance, and since without such a cause nothing can exist at all, the  very nature of things demonstrates that there must be a first principle which is self-existent and does not derive from  any other principle.

2. That the world not only has an origin but also will have a consummation is affirmed by the fact that all things  in it are contingent, and indeed it is partially coming to an end all the time. Moreover, sure and irrefutable assurance  of this is furnished by the prophecy both of those inspired by God and of Christ Himself, the God of all; and not  only the pious but also the impious must believe that what they say is true, since everyone can see that what they  predicted about other things has proved correct. From them we leam that the world will not lapse entirely into non-  being but, like our bodies and in a manner analogous to what will happen to us, it will be changed by the  

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Topics of Natural and Theological Science and on the Moral and Ascetic Life:

One Hundred and Fifty Texts

power of the Holy Spirit, being dissolved and transformed into something more divine.

3. The ancient Greek sages say that the heavens revolve in accordance with the nature of the world soul, and that  they teach justice and reason. What sort of justice? What kind of reason? For if the heavens revolve not by virtue of  their own nature but by virtue of the nature of what they call the world soul, and if this world soul belongs to the  entire world, how is it that the earth and the water and the air do not also revolve? Yet though in their opinion the  soul is ever-moving, none the less the earth is stationary by nature, and so is water, which occupies the lower region,  whereas the heavens, which occupy the upper region, are by nature ever in motion and move in a circle. But what is  the character of this world soul by virtue of whose nature the heavens revolve? Is it endowed with intelligence? If  so, it must be self-determining, and so it would not always move the celestial body in the same way, for what is self-  determining moves differently at different times. And what trace of deifomi soul do we observe in the lowermost  sphere - the sphere of the earth - or in the elements most proximate to it, namely those of water, air, and even fire  itself, for the world soul supposedly pertains to them as well? And again, how in their opinion are some things  animate and others inanimate? And among inanimate things it turns out that not merely a few examples taken at  random but every stone, every piece of metal, all earth, water, air and fire, moves by virtue of its own nature and not  by virtue of a soul; for they admit that this is true even of fire. Yet if the soul is common to all, how is it that only  the heavens move by virtue of the nature of this soul and not by virtue of their own nature? And how in their view  can the soul that moves the celestial body be void of intelligence since according to them it is the source of our  souls? But if it is void of intelligence it must be either sentient or vegetative. We observe, however, that no soul  moves a body without the assistance of organs, and we cannot observe any such organ that specifically serves the  earth, or the heavens, or any of the other element contained within them; for every organ is composed of various  natures, while the elements severally, and above all the heavens, are simple and not composite. The soul is the  actuality of a body possessing organs and having the potentiality for life; but the heavens, since they have no  member or part that can serve as an organ, have no potentiality for life. How, then, can that which is incapable of  life possibly have a soul? But  

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those who have become 'vain in their reasonings' have invented 'out of their foolish hearts' (Rom. 1:21) a world  soul that does not exist, never has existed, and never will exist. Yet they claim that this soul is the demiurge and  governor and controller of the entire sensible world and, farther, that it is some sort of root and source of our souls  or, rather, of every soul. Moreover, they say that it is bom from the intellect, and that the intellect is other in  substance than the supreme Intellect which they call God. Such doctrines are taught by those among them most  proficient in wisdom and theology, but they are no better than men who deify wild beasts and stones. In fact their  religiosity is much worse, for beasts, gold, stone and bronze are real things, even though they are among the least of  creatures; but the star-bearing world soul neither exists, nor is it anything real, for it is nothing at all but the  invention of an evil mind.

4. Since, they say, the celestial body must be in motion, and there is no place to which it can advance, it turns  about itself and thus its 'advancement' is that of rotation. Well and good. So if there were a place, it would move  upwards, like fire, and more so than fire since it is by nature lighter than fire. Yet this movement is due not to the  nature of a soul but to that of lightness. Thus if the heavens' motion is rotational, and this motion exists by virtue of  their own nature, and not that of the soul, then the celestial body revolves not by virtue of the nature of the soul but  by virtue of its own nature. Hence it does not possess a soul, nor is there any such thing as a celestial or pancosmic  soul. The only soul that possesses intelligence is the human soul, and this is not celestial, but supracelestial, not  because of its location but because of its very nature, for its essence is noetic.

5. The celestial body does not move forward or upward. The reason for this is not that there is no place beyond it.  For adjacent to the heavens and enclosed within them is the sphere of ether, and this too does not advance upward,  not because there is no place to which it might proceed - for the breadth of the heavens embraces it - but because  what is above is lighter. Hence, the heavens are by their own nature higher than the sphere of ether. It is not because  there is no place higher that the heavens do not proceed upward, but because there is no body more subtle and light  than they are.

6. No body is higher than the celestial body. Yet this is not to say that the region beyond the heavens does not  admit a body, but only that the heavens contain every body and there is no other body  

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beyond. But if a body could pass beyond the heavens, which is our pious belief, then the region beyond the  heavens would not be inaccessible. God, who fills all things and extends infinitely beyond the heavens, existed  before the world, filling as He now fills the whole region of the world. Yet this did not prevent a body from existing  in that region. Thus even outside of the heavens there is nothing to prevent the existence of a region, such as that  which surrounds the world or as that which is in the world, in which a body could abide.

7. Since there is no such hindrance, how is it, then, that the celestial body does not move upwards, but turning  back upon itself moves in a circular fashion? Because, as it is the lightest of bodies, it rises to the surface of all the  others and is the highest of them all, as well .as being the most mobile. Just as what is most compressed and most  heavy is the lowest and most stationary, so what is more ranfied and lightest is the highest and most mobile. Thus  since the celestial body moves by nature above the level of all other bodies, and since by nature it is impossible for it  to separate itself from those things on the surface of which it is located, and since those things on which it is located  are spherical, it must encircle them unceasingly. And this it does not by virtue of the nature of a soul but by virtue of  its own proper nature as a body, since it passes successively from place to place, which is the movement most  characteristic of the highest bodies, just as a stationary state most characterizes the lowest bodies.

8. It may be observed that in the regions close about us the winds, whose nature it is to rise upwards, move about  these regions without separating themselves from them and without proceeding further in an upward direction. This  is not because there is no place for them to rise to, but because what is above the winds is lighter than they are. They  remain on the surface of the regions above which they are situated because by nature they are lighter than those  regions. And they move around those regions by virtue of their own nature and not that of a soul. I think that  Solomon, wise in all things, intended to indicate this partial likeness that the winds bear to the celestial body when  he applied the same kind of language to the winds as is used of it; for he wrote, 'The wind proceeds circle-wise, and  returns on its own circuits' (Eccles. 1 :6). But the nature of the winds round about us diners from the nature of higher  bodies, in that the winds' motion is slower and they are more heavy.

9. According to the Greek sages, there are two opposing zones of  



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Jesus Prayer Explained for Beginners
Jesus Prayer Explained for Beginners
2 B Spiritual - Don't Resent or React - Be Silent
SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!

DO NOT RESENT,

DO NOT REACT,

KEEP INNER STILLNESS.


When I was in seminary I had the great blessing of becoming the spiritual son of a Greek bishop, Bishop Kallistos of Xelon. He was the one who taught me the Jesus Prayer (Νοερά Προσευχή) .

The whole spiritual vision of Bishop Kallistos had three very simple points.
Do not resent.
Do not react.
Keep inner stillness.

By Abbot Jonah Paffhausen of St John Monastery (now Metropolitan Jonah)
2 B Spiritual - Don't Resent or React - Be Silent
Πως Αποκτουμε το Αγιο Πνευμα



Πως Αποκτουμε το Αγιο Πνευμα

ΤΟ ΑΓΙΟ ΠΝΕΥΜΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΔΩΡΟ ΘΕΟΥ Σ' ΑΥΤΟΥΣ ΠΟΥ ΕΡΓΑΖΟΝΤΑΙ ΤΙΣ ΕΝΤΟΛΕΣ ΤΟΥ. ΓΙ' ΝΑ ΤΟ ΛΑΒΟΥΜΕ,

1. ΧΡΕΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ ΤΑΠΕΙΝΩΣΗ

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Πως Αποκτουμε το Αγιο Πνευμα
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