Eastern Orthodox Mysticism

I have been studying Eastern Orthodox Mysticism some.

   I am wondering why is there such a GREAT emphasis on attaining inner peace through  "hesychia" and a heart-felt experience of God in prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Mysticism? 

  It seems that there is this false way of seeking union with God and finding inner peace nowadays, not only with the Eastern Orthodox Mysticism- but all Eastern Mysticism (yes some are not seeking union with God but inner peace)<----just a small point, but now I'll go back to Christ), instead of a much more emphasis of finding inner peace and mystical union with God through above all--- DOING the WILL OF GOD---darkness of faith, no consolations and the cross? 

Perhaps Im missing something. Lastly, was the hesychast movement ever condemned by the Holy Roman Catholic Church-for those of you who are Roman Catholic and know?

DEAR Pdubs:

Your message is probably meant to be polemical and also appears somewhat haughty. To have studied some mysticism may have left you confused. Perhaps I will seem in my understanding Latin mysticism to be polemical and haughty. Catolic mysticism also seems strange to me as I have read of Spanish Saint Teresa to be seeking too physical almost sensual joy in Christ.

But Isichasm (hesychasm) of Greek monks is not widespread habit so that Orthodox are most not sitting around like pupodusniki. But even pupodusniki were seeking the uncreated light of Tavor, in seeing Christ as did Serafim Sarovskij. Inner peace is some psychological attempt to explain this experience - which is very, very unusual for holy saints to see Christ in Tavor light. Reading about experience of Serafim Sarovskij and you will understand better than reading about psychological explaining such fenomenon.

Also this subject is dealing not with GrekoCatolics who are not even as interested in isikhasm as might be Orthodox. Be careful where placing such messages.

Thank you for responding. Yes, you are right. I am just a little frustrated and confused (probably due to my lack of deeper study on Eastern Orthodox Mysticism) but I could only go on what has been presented to me up to now, that’s why I have questions. Have mercy on me venting my impatience, its one of my weaknesses.

   I won't get into St. Theresa right now, but you are misinterpreting her writings based on firsthand reading just like I have with Eastern Orthodox Mysticism, etc. Her writings, just like St. John of the Cross can be easily misinterpreted without serious spiritual guidance.

  But, truly above all of this, I am seeking answers to my questions and trying to understand more. May I somehow keep in contact with you to search for more answers to some questions, because I know I will have more questions in regards to the history of the Hesychast movement and Orthodox Mysticism?

Most Orthodox are not mystics, we are just ordinary folks. So it’s an academic subject, not really something many of us can speak of firsthand.

I would imagine mystics don’t normally post much on internet forums, and most internet posters know precious little about mysticism firsthand.

I believe it may be better if we do not judge one another’s mystics or their practices, as if there is some relative value at stake. Let’s not criticize one another’s saints or spirituality. We might end up hurting each other’s feelings over something we really are not qualified to assess properly ourselves.

Bishop Gregory Palamas of Thessolonika is the man most noteworthy for defending hesychasm, he lived in the fourteenth century long after the great schism and he is a Catholic saint.


Orthodox mysticism does not lend itself to academic study.

It can only be lived.

However, progress in hesychasm has several prerequisites, including Orthodox faith, participating in the spiritual life of the Church through private prayer (which is still given in standard prayer books), attendance at the Divine Office, and participation in the Divine Liturgy and regular confession.

PS–the Roman Church is not the standard, but is only one of 20 odd sui juris particular Churches in the Catholic Communion.

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