Plunging Thought Into Light

The Philokalia is an extensive anthology of writings on prayer by Eastern Orthodox contemplatives. The anthology was first compiled in the 18th century, and a number of editions have been published over the years, in Greek, Russian, and other languages; currently a four volume set is available in English (which does not include the entire anthology; I hope the editors plan on translating the rest!).If you want a more succinct introduction to The Philokalia, one option — which, unfortunately, … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The elder opened the Philokalia, searched for an instruction of Saint Symeon the New Theologian and began: "Sit in silence and alone. Bend your head. Close your eyes. Breathe ever more quietly. With the imagination look inside your heart. Carry your intellect, that is your thought, out of your head and into your heart. As you breathe say quietly with your lips or in your intellect alone: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.' ... Try to drive away your thoughts. Keep restful patience … [Read more...]

The Chotki

This morning during my prayer time I used, for the first time, a chotki or prayer beads. Unlike a western rosary, the chotki originated in the eastern churches, and is typically used in a manner similar to mala beads or other prayer ropes from various spiritual traditions: unlike the rather complicated rosary, where different beads represent different prayers or meditations, each bead on the chotki simply stands for another repetition of the eastern Christian "prayer of the heart," also known … [Read more...]


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