the contribution of saint gregory palamas to hesychasm 1
Chapter 1

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


Saint Gregory Palamas studied the Ascetic Literature near holy hesychasts, who were taught Hesychasm not only through Divine Grace, but through their personal experience as well. From these distinguished teachers he was taught the sacred nipsis (guarding of the nous) and the noetic prayer. His teacher par excellence, however, was his personal toil and the empirical knowledge procured through this toil. Thus, he received empirical knowledge of the hesychastic way of life, and when he received the calling to defend Hesychasm, he had already assimilated fruitfully and productively the entire Patristic Tradition. Consequently, he displayed an unrivaled combative spirit, theological eruditeness, along with holy-spiritual experience especially reflected in his written works In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts and in the Hagiorite Tome, synoptically. But what is the specific meaning of hesychia and Hesychasm? The ascetical term hesychia is primarily existential and experiential in character. Hesychia means the peace established in the inner man, when he sees, becomes disgusted with, and proceeds to expel his eidechthes prosopeion (his ugly mask) which had developed from the wandering of the nous. Hesychia is indispensably connected with the nipsis (guarding) of the nous, the spiritual vigilance, and the experiential knowledge of all those states which actualize in the practice of nipsis in a spiritual and inexpressible manner.

Consequently, the main task of the hesychast is the “guarding of the heart” with the congenial Keeping of the Commandments, spiritual purity, and sacramental life. With the Keeping of the Commandments, the hesychast expels the law of sin and introduces to himself the guarding of the nous. His senses are kept in check with the virtue of temperance (egkrateia), while the (pathetiko) impassive part of the soul is governed by love and the (logistiko) noetic by nipsis (sobriety). The hesychastic way of life affords the functional ability to Divine Grace to “remodel” the inner man and to conform him according to his prototype, granting him “blossomed” , his ancient and indescribable beauty. The hesychast lives without cares, absolved, as much as possible, from all matters of distraction. With the use of incessant prayer he unites his nous (essence of the soul) with God, and thus totally concentrated in his inner self, finds a new and mysterious ascent towards heaven. There having fixed his nous, he tastes ineffable pleasure, experiences perfect and sweetest peace—true hesychia and quietude. And thus, after having surrendered himself to God, sees the glory of God and visualizes the Divine Light.

The ultimate purpose of the hesychastic life is for man to become one with the Trihypostatic Monad (according to the archieratical prayer of Christ and with his synergy) just as He entered into communion and unity with the human nature, without distancing Himself from His own Triadic Monad.

For the aforementioned reasons, the hesychastic life is esteemed by the theologian of hesychia and of the Light of Grace, as the ultimate form of the ascetical life, and Hesychasm as the most precious segment of the Church, being that in its parameters by and large the paramount spiritual experience of the uncreated Light is lived as the vision of God (Theoptia).


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