JESUS PRAYER & HESYCHASM

"JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER"

©Fr. Photios (W) 2006-2010

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov),

ON THE PRAYER OF JESUS:

There are degrees of the action and of the prayer of Jesus. At first it acts only on the mind, leading it into a state of calm and attention. Afterwards it begins to penetrate to the heart, arousing it from the sleep of death and making its revival known by the manifestation within it of feelings of compunction and sorrow. As it goes still deeper, it gradually begins to act upon all the members of the soul and body and to expel sin from every part, and everywhere to destroy the dominion, influence and poison of the demons.

...

Let all your old man be silent within you! Let Jesus alone act within you by His most holy commandments, and by the thoughts and feelings that arise from these commandments. If you live in this way, the prayer of Jesus will certainly blossom within you, quite independently of whether you dwell in the deepest solitude or amidst the noise of a community, because the place of abode and rest of this prayer is the mind and heart, renewed by the knowledge, experience and fulfillment of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12: 2). Life according to the commandments of the Gospel is the one true source of spiritual progress, accessible to everyone who sincerely desires to succeed in whatever outward situation he may be placed by the inscrutable providence of God.

...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. The prayer of Jesus will replace all other prayers for you. And all of them - what thought can they contain and express more comprehensive than the thought of the pardon of sinners by Jesus?

...

Humility is that single altar on which it is allowed us by spiritual law to offer the sacrifice of prayer and on which the offered sacrifice of prayer ascends to God and appears before His face. Humility is that single (emphasis supplied) vessel into which the gifts of grace are put by the finger of God.

...

On Prayer

"It is good... to pray always and not to lose heart, as the Lord says, And again the Apostle says, 'Pray without ceasing', (Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy On Me) that is by night and by day and at every hour, and not only when coming into the church, and not bothering at other times. But whether you are working, lying down to sleep, traveling, eating, drinking, sitting at table, do not interrupt your prayer, for you do not know when he who demands your soul is coming (death approaching...). Don't wait for Sunday or a feast day, or a different place, but, as the Prophet David says, 'in every place of his dominion'. Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country; whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present at drinking parties, do not stop praying. When you are able, bend your knees, when you cannot, make intercession in your mind, 'at evening and at morning and at midday'. If prayer precedes your work and if, when you rise from your bed, your first movements are accompanied by prayer, sin can find no entrance to attack your soul."

St. Ephraim the Syrian


ORTHODOX FATHERS AND THE JESUS PRAYER

St. Gregory Palamas spearheaded the Jesus Prayer as central to the Faith in the fourteenth century, but its roots go back to ancient Christianity. So there is nothing new or innovational about it at all. In St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)'s ON THE PRAYER OF JESUS [available at Eastern Christian Supply and a different publisher at Barnes & Noble/Borders), he lists and discusses a wide number of the Fathers' testimonies, writings and involvement in the recognition and usage of it in prayer. [ON THE PRAYER OF JESUS is also on the Internet as an audiobook, see On The Prayer of Jesus audiobook, by St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov).] I make no claim to be "scientific" in this, but I did go through this wonderful spiritual work, which we recommend to all Orthodox Christians and to all others who are seeking the Truth, and noted down the Fathers. I might have missed a few, but my point is not to be exact but to illustrate the widespread acceptance of the Jesus Prayer by the Church. Fathers mentioned, some more extensively than others, are:

The Chief Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles, SS. Nile Sorsky, Gregory the Sinaite, Ignatius the God-bearer, Bishop of Antioch, John the Divine, Callistratus, John Chrysostom, Isaiah the Solitary, Hesychius of Jerusalem, Seraphim of Sarov, Peter, Paul, David, John the Prophet, Makarius the Great, Diadocus, Symeon the New Theologian, Bl. Theophylact, Barsanouphius the Great, Basil the Great, Pachomius the Great, John of the Ladder, Gregory the Theologian, Philotheus the Sinaite, Theolyptus of Philadelphia, Gregory Palamas, Dorotheus, Paissy Velitchkovsky, Vasily Polyanomeroolsky, Isaac the Syrian, Maximus, George the Recluse of Zadonsk, Nicephorous of Mt. Athos, Kallistos Xanthopoulos, Ignatius Nikiforovsky, Nikander Babaevsky, Arsenius the Great, John Karpathios, and Mark the Ascetic.

In Christ's Church, the praxis of the Jesus Prayer is supported by Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition and the writings of the Holy Fathers.


RECOMMENDED REFERENCES (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)

Anonymous, BEGINNERS AND THE JESUS PRAYER
Fr. Dr. Photios (W), THE ENTRY OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS INTO THE TEMPLE
(She lived as a heyschast in the temple)
THE RULE OF ST. PACHOMIUS
(includes 100 Jesus Prayers)
highly recommended for non-monastics (clergy and laity); once daily with increases in the numbers of the Jesus Prayer as one becomes more spiritually mature in prayer

COMBOSCHINI (THE PRAYER ROPE):
MEDITATIONS OF A MONK OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN ATHOS

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE JESUS PRAYER, by H.R.H. Princess lleana of Romania (later Mother Alexandra 1909-1991)
ON THE PRAYER OF JESUS - AUDIOBOOK, by St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
PRAYER WITHOUT CEASING IS NECESSARY FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, by St. Gregory Palamas
ON PRACTICING THE JESUS PRAYER, by St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
ON THE JESUS PRAYER, by St. John Kronstadt
CHAPTER 5. DISCUSSION WITH THE GERONDAS ON THE JESUS PRAYER, in A NIGHT IN THE DESERT OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, by Metropolitan Hierotheos Nafpaktos
THE JESUS PRAYER - THE PRAYER OF THE HEART
JESUS PRAYER PROJECT HOMEPAGE
CONCERNING THE JESUS PRAYER, from the Jordanville Prayer Book (1996 ed.)
GUIDANCE ABOUT THE JESUS PRAYER, by Father Paisios the Athonite
ON THE TEACHINGS OF FATHER AGAPIT ON THE JESUS PRAYER, compiled by Fr. Demetrios Serfes
THE THREE LEVELS OF PRAYER, by St. Theophan the Recluse
HESYCHASM LIBRARY
HESYCHASM ARTICLES IN ENGLISH/ITALIAN AND RUSSIAN
HESYCHIA AS A METHOD OF HEALING, by Metropolitan Hierotheos Nafpaktos in his ORTHODOX PSYCHOTHERAPY, CHAPTER V
RUSSIA'S CATACOMB SAINTS, LIVES OF THE NEW MARTYRS,
ARCHPRIEST VALENTIN: A PREACHER OF HESYCHASM IN THE WORLD, by Ivan Andreyev

ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS, PRAY UNCEASINGLY (No. 3), by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
ON THE ACQUISITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, by St. Seraphim of Sarov
SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS AS A HAGIORITE, by Metropolitan Hierotheos Nafpaktos

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