• For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Is Orthodox monasticism really hesychastic?

Serge

Archon
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
3,308
Reaction score
35
Points
48
Age
54
Website
sergesblog.blogspot.com
Spinning off from this thread.

It seems to me that Orthodox monasticism is more about praying the full liturgical life of the church, such as the full horologion, than hesychasm.

Seems like what seems to be a myth that most Orthodox laity use the Jesus Prayer primarily. Maybe that is a hesychastic thing in Orthodox monasticism; I don't think I've met born Orthodox laity who do it.

Orthodox devotional life is more like the Jordanville prayer book: lots of akathists, canons (both like the litanies and novenas in Western Catholicism), molebny, and panichidi, plus of course lighting candles in front of icons (also big with images of saints in the West).
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,314
Reaction score
192
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Are you asking us or are you telling us? 

The young fogey said:
It seems to me that Orthodox monasticism is more about praying the full liturgical life of the church, such as the full horologion, than hesychasm.
I would say that Orthodox monasticism is about unceasing prayer; the practical arrangements for achieving that goal, however, seem to differ even among monasteries.  Yes, the common services (the daily Office, the Liturgy a couple of times a week or even daily) are a fundamental standard, and in many monasteries that's exactly what you get.  There is no monastery in India, as far as I can tell, where the full Office is not sung daily.  But there are monasteries where the daily schedule doesn't include all the Offices: I've been to EO monasteries which do everything in common, or only Matins/Liturgy and Vespers/Compline, or even "morning prayers"/Liturgy and Vespers/Compline, or some other combination.  Some substitute the Jesus Prayer for all the daily Offices, while others may substitute the Jesus Prayer for some of them.  I'm not sure I "agree" with such substitution as a normal thing in a community (as opposed to some hermit living in a cave or a forest or something), but it happens.  But in any case, the goal is unceasing prayer.  If we're going to equate "hesychasm" exclusively with the practice of the Jesus Prayer and say this is the primary characteristic of Orthodox monasticism, I'm not sure that would be accurate.  It is certainly an important part of it, but it is not the whole of it.  Even modern elders like Elder Paisios and St Porphyrios teach a more balanced prayer life as standard both for monastics and for laypeople.     

Seems like what seems to be a myth that most Orthodox laity use the Jesus Prayer primarily. Maybe that is a hesychastic thing in Orthodox monasticism; I don't think I've met born Orthodox laity who do it.
Make more friends. 

Orthodox devotional life is more like the Jordanville prayer book: lots of akathists, canons (both like the litanies and novenas in Western Catholicism), molebny, and panichidi, plus of course lighting candles in front of icons (also big with images of saints in the West).
Honestly, I think that's more of a stereotype or a true assessment for a particular subset, but not really universal. 
 

Serge

Archon
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
3,308
Reaction score
35
Points
48
Age
54
Website
sergesblog.blogspot.com
Mor Ephrem said:
Yes, the common services (the daily Office, the Liturgy a couple of times a week or even daily) are a fundamental standard, and in many monasteries that's exactly what you get.  ...  If we're going to equate "hesychasm" exclusively with the practice of the Jesus Prayer and say this is the primary characteristic of Orthodox monasticism, I'm not sure that would be accurate. 
That's what I meant.
 

Jonathan Gress

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
5,541
Reaction score
1
Points
0
The young fogey said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Yes, the common services (the daily Office, the Liturgy a couple of times a week or even daily) are a fundamental standard, and in many monasteries that's exactly what you get.  ...  If we're going to equate "hesychasm" exclusively with the practice of the Jesus Prayer and say this is the primary characteristic of Orthodox monasticism, I'm not sure that would be accurate. 
That's what I meant.
I'm pretty sure hesychasm involves more than just reciting the Jesus prayer...
 

Nephi

Protokentarchos
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
4,829
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Jonathan Gress said:
The young fogey said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Yes, the common services (the daily Office, the Liturgy a couple of times a week or even daily) are a fundamental standard, and in many monasteries that's exactly what you get.  ...  If we're going to equate "hesychasm" exclusively with the practice of the Jesus Prayer and say this is the primary characteristic of Orthodox monasticism, I'm not sure that would be accurate. 
That's what I meant.
I'm pretty sure hesychasm involves more than just reciting the Jesus prayer...
The only monks I've personally ever heard of in Orthodoxy that only did the Jesus Prayer were, well, individual hermits.

This relates to the other thread in the CI board about a "western spiritual father," where Sleeper IIRC said that Christminster practices hesychasm even though their primary devotion is lectio divina and not the Jesus Prayer.

Sleeper said:
You may wish to contact the monks at Christminster monastery, who are Orthodox Benedictines, and perhaps begin a correspondence with one of them for spiritual guidance. They practice the ancient Western form of hesychasm (though not formally titled that) through lectio divina. The Jesus Prayer grew out of this desert tradition and is wholly consonant with a Western spirituality. So, while they might not formally use the method of the Jesus Prayer, they certainly strive for the unceasing prayer we are all called to.

You can reach them at http://christminster.org/
 
Top