Metropolitan Kallistos addresses the question of whether there are parallels between the hesychastic method of prayer and other apparently similar techniques of prayer in Hinduism and Islam. This is something to which as Christians we need to give particular thought at this present time. Jung is typical: ‘Spirit is the living body seen from within, and the body is the outer manifestation of the living spirit — the two beings really one.’ If writers on Chris tian spirituality continue to assume a sharp contrast between body and soul — as they have frequently done in the past — their words will seem increasingly irrelevant to their secular contemporaries. In fact Evagrios is less anti-physical than these words suggest, for he assigns an important function in prayer to such bodily experiences as the gift of tears.Looking at the origins of hesychasm and the teachings of figures such as St Gregory Palamas, St Gregory of Sinai and Nikiphoros the Hesychast, Metropolitan Kallistos addresses the question: is the Jesus Prayer an essential and authentically Christian practice, or is it unnecessary and perhaps even harmful? For we are living in an age when, alike in philosophy, in physics and in psychology, it is proving less and less helpful to posit a dichotomy between spirit and matter, between soul and body. In reality a body-soul division of a Platonic type has no place within Christian tradition. One of the most thoroughgoing attempts in the history of Christian spirituality to ascribe a positive and dynamic role to the body during prayer was made by the fourteenth-century hesychasts. How can we make our human physicality an active participant in the work of prayer? All too often in Christian teaching this has not been done. 399) describes prayer as ‘the communion of the intellect [ This leaves us wondering: What place, then, has the body in the venture of prayer?The Bible sees the human person in holistic terms, and despite the heavy influence of platonism this unitary standpoint has been repeatedly reaffirmed in Greek Christianity. As an accompaniment to the recitation of the Jesus prayer they proposed a physical technique that has obvious parallels in yoga and among the sufis of Islam. We need to give it concrete and practical expression in our theology of the sacraments, especially the sacraments of the eucharist and of marriage, and equally in our theology of prayer. It is not enough, however, simply to assert this holistic anthropology in theory. So the person is neither of these things on its own, but it is the single whole formed together from them both.’ The contemporary Greek theologian Christos Yannaras insists in similar terms that the body is to be regarded not as a ‘part’ or ‘component’ of the person, but as the total person’s ‘mode of existence’, as the manifestation to the outside world of the energies of our human nature in its completeness.
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‘It was not written by simple Greek monks, but by great and very holy men of old time, men whom your Church honours also [. Is the ‘heart method’ of the hesychasts authentically Christian, a true way of fulfilling the in junction, ‘Glorify God in your body? Already among the monks of fourth-century Egypt it was the custom to use ‘arrow prayers’, short and fervent invocations frequently repeated, as an aid in preserving the continual ‘remembrance of God*.
This practice came to be known as ‘monologic prayer’, prayer of a single The real beginnings of a distinctive spirituality of the Holy Name come only with St Diadochos of Photiki (second half of the fifth century), who speaks regularly of the ‘remembrance' or ‘invocation’ of Jesus.