Posts Tagged The “Nous” (series)

Met. Kallistos: “The ‘Heart’ in Christian Contemplative Prayer”

The following is an excerpt from Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (b. 1934) in his Introduction to On the Prayer of Jesus , by Ignatius Brianchaninov, Kallistos Ware, Father Lazarus.

kallistosware“Ignatius [Brianchaninov] distinguishes three main stages or levels on this journey inwards, which he describes as “oral”, “mental”, and “cordial”; that is to say, prayer of the lips, prayer of the mind, and prayer of the heart”.

“The third degree of prayer is attained when not only does the mind or intellect [nous] recite the Jesus Prayer with full attentiveness, but it also descends into the heart and is united with it. In this way our invocation [of Lord, Jesus, Christ, Son of God] becomes prayer of the heart, or more exactly prayer of the mind in the heart. When the hesychast tradition speaks of the “heart” in this context, the word is to be understood in its full Hebraic sense, as found in Scripture: it signifies, not merely the emotions and affections, but the moral and spiritual center of the total person, the ground and focal point of our created being, the deep self. Prayer of the heart, then, is no longer prayer of the faculty alone, but prayer of the entire person, spirit, soul, and body together. It is precisely at this stage that prayer becomes not just something that we do but something that we are – something, moreover, that we are not just from time to time but continually. In this way St. Paul’s injunction becomes a realized fact: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Nor is this all. Since the heart is not only the center of our created personhood but also the place where Christ and the Holy Spirit dwell within us, prayer of the heart is not so much something that we do as something that God does; not so much my prayer as the prayer of Christ in me (Gal. 2:20).”

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Hierotheos: “Christ as physician; Church as hospital”

Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos, born in Greece in 1945,  is one of the greatest living Christian theologians.  The influence of fellow theologian, Fr. John Romanides, the study of the patristic texts (particularly those of the neptic hesychast Fathers of the Philokalia), many years of studying St. Gregory Pálamas, association with the monks of the Holy Mountain (Mount Athos in northern Greece), and many years of pastoral experience, all brought him to the realization that Christian theology is a science of the healing of humankind’s fallen nature and damaged nous and that the early Church Fathers can be of immense help to modern society, so disturbed and afflicted as it is by its many internal and existential problems.


hierotheos vlachos

Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) 1945 –


“In the parable of the Good Samaritan the Lord showed us several truths.  As soon as the Samaritan saw the man who had fallen among thieves who had wounded him and left him half-dead, he “had compassion on him and went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him” (Luk. 10:33f).  Christ treated the wounded man and brought him to the inn, to the Hospital which is the Church.  Here Christ is presented as a physician who heals man’s illnesses, and the Church as a Hospital.” ~ Orthodox Psychotherapy, p.27.

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