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Philokalia (Volume 5)

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Philokalia: Volume 5
TranslatorAnna Skoubourdis
LanguageEnglish translation of Greek original
GenreDevotional literature
Set inByzantine Empire
Publisher‎Virgin Mary of Australia and Oceania
Publication date
ISBN979-8-7096-9499-6 Search this book on .

Philokalia: Volume 5, translated from Greek to English by Anna Skoubourdis (2020).

Saints Kallistos and Ignatios Xanthopoulos[edit]

An Exact Rule and Method for Hesychasts

Part 1[edit]

  1. About their own conduct, practice, and way of life, and the manifold and great benefits of hesychia for those who practice it correctly. The present treatise and discourse is divided into one hundred chapters. The preface and first chapter of the discourse is about the divine and supernatural gift and grace that indwells the faithful through the Holy Spirit.
  2. The present treatise was written with the purpose of answering a brother’s question, and in obedience to an ordinance of the Fathers.
  3. Prior to every work is a plan, and the plan of our present endeavor is to learn what the foundation of the spiritual life is.
  4. The beginning of every God-pleasing undertaking is to live according to the Savior’s commandments. Its end is to return to the perfect grace of the All-Holy and Life-Giving Spirit, which was given to us through divine Baptism.
  5. What this grace is and how we may obtain it; what are the things that obscure this grace, and those that make it shine again.
  6. Although we receive divine grace purely as a gift through Holy Baptism, we obscure it with the passions, and make it shine again by fulfilling the commandments.
  7. Anyone who wishes to live in a God-pleasing manner must strive to keep all the commandments. One’s chief concern, however, should be for the chiefest and most universal commandments.
  8. The beginning of any work of love toward God is the invocation of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in faith, along with the peace and love that arise from it.
  9. An abundance of spiritual goods is lavished on us through each of these principles in particular, and through all three in unison.
  10. The Lord Jesus Christ left Ηis disciples final parting commandments and a divine inheritance at the time of His saving passion, and did likewise after His resurrection.
  11. All the virtues are bound together by these three principles.
  12. The gift and visitation of the Holy Spirit from God the Father to the faithful is granted through Christ Jesus and in His holy name.
  13. Our Holy Fathers have wisely enjoined us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who dwelt within them to pray to our Lord Jesus Christ and seek mercy from Him.
  14. He who desires to walk without stumbling in the godly way of stillness must first of all renounce the world and choose complete obedience.
  15. What are the signs of true subjection, such that the truly obedient person who possesses them will be practicing subjection without error.

Part 2[edit]

  1. Anyone who desires genuine and godly hesychia must, along with Orthodox faith, be full of good works. Faith is twofold. The hesychast must have faith, but also be peaceful, undistracted, free from anxiety – that is, without concerns – silent, still, thankful to God in all things; he should acknowledge his weakness, endure temptations bravely, hope in God, and expect what is beneficial from Him.
  2. Faith is twofold.
  3. You should be peaceful.
  4. You should be undistracted.
  5. You should be free from anxiety and care.
  6. You should be silent.
  7. You should be still.
  8. You should thank God in all things.
  9. You should recognize your own weakness.
  10. You should bravely endure temptations.
  11. (not numbered)
  12. (not numbered)
  13. (not numbered)
  14. (not numbered)
  15. (not numbered)
  16. You should hope in God and expect from Him what is beneficial.
  17. The fear of God is twofold: the fear proper to beginners and the fear proper to the perfect.
    1. On the first fear, which is proper to beginners.
    2. On the second and perfect divine fear.
  18. We ought to sacrifice our very lives for the sake of the commandments and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ if it is required of us.
  19. Natural method of entering the heart by breathing through the nose and the accompanying prayer that is performed: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”. How this method contributes to the mind’s concentration.
  20. The natural method of breathing through the nose while invoking the Lord Jesus Christ.
  21. The divine Chrysostom, like other holy Fathers of old, enjoins us to pray in Christ Jesus our Lord within the heart, and to say the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”.
  22. More about the remembrance of Jesus within the heart by breathing with attention.
  23. Anyone who wishes to be watchful in intellect, especially the beginner, should sit in a quiet and dark room during the time of prayer, so that the mind and the intellect can be recollected from division in a natural manner.
  24. It is first and foremost through Jesus Christ and the invocation of His holy name with faith in the heart that cessation from anxiety and mental wandering is granted to the intellect. But the natural methods of entering the heart by breathing through the nose, sitting in a quiet and dark space, and the like, also contribute in a certain manner.
  25. How the hesychast should spend the time between vespers and orthros; the beginning of detailed instruction.
  26. How to spend the time between orthros and morning.
  27. How to spend the time between morning and mealtime.
  28. On guarding oneself from sloth, and how even the hesychast must adhere to the ecclesiastical order and tradition.
  29. More about prayer. We should always pray.
  30. On bodily regimen and how the hesychast should eat.
  31. How the ascetic should eat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  32. How one should eat on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  33. How you should eat on Saturdays. About vigils and how one should eat on days and weeks with vigils.
  34. How one should eat on Sundays. Concerning other matters, such as labor and humility.
  35. How one should eat and conduct oneself during the holy forty-day fasts, especially during Great Lent.
  36. On discernment, and how labor in moderation is of inestimable value. More about submission.
  37. How the ascetic should spend the time between lunch and sundown. We should believe that divine gifts are granted to us in proportion to our effort and the measure of our labor.
  38. Pure prayer is superior to any work.
  39. On the amount of prostrations to be done every day.
  40. Divine gifts are not, as we have said, bestowed solely in proportion to our effort and the amount of our labor, but also on the basis of our habit of mind, receptivity, faith, and natural disposition.
  41. On general and perfect discernment. He who lives against nature and according to the flesh; he who lives according to nature and according to the soul; and he who lives above nature and according to the spirit.
  42. More about discernment by way of example.
  43. On human mutability and change, and the surpassing glory of humility.
  44. On repentance, purity, and perfection.
  45. The five tasks of the first and introductory hesychia for beginners: prayer, chanting, reading, meditation, and handiwork.
  46. Where should those who wish to live the hesychastic life properly and reasonably begin? What is its starting-point, and what is the measure of improvement, progress, and perfection?
  47. The order of hesychia for beginners.
  48. On prayer of the heart with attention and watchfulness, and how it works.
  49. The different ways that the Holy Fathers passed on to us of saying the Jesus Prayer. What prayer is.
  50. The words of the sacred and divine prayer have been mystically taught not only by the Holy Fathers, but even by the chiefest Apostles Peter, Paul, and John.
  51. Beginners may sometimes pray with all the words of the prayer, and sometimes with a part of it, but at all times and always in the heart. One should not continually change the words of the prayer.
  52. Much time, struggle, and force are required for one to bear fruit in the heart through prayer. In fact, no good can be achieved except through great toil and after a long period of time.
  53. Prayer of the heart that is not yet pure, and how to enter into pure and unwandering prayer.
  54. Pure and unwandering prayer of the heart, and the fervor engendered by it.
  55. Fervor can be produced by a variety of causes, but the chief kind is that which is brought about by pure prayer of the heart.
  56. What is the work that follows the warming of the heart.
  57. On the longing and eros that are born of fervor, attention, and prayer.
  58. On tears of the heart, and more about divine longing and eros.
  59. Admonition that one should seek only what is in due measure. Further exhortation concerning the constant remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts.
  60. On fervent zeal and the divine manifestation of enhypostatic illumination to us through grace.
  61. On divine energy and demonic energy.
  62. On the illumined and unerring teacher.
  63. On true and false illumination – that is, divine light and the light from the evil one.
  64. On indecent and decent imaginations, and how one should deal with them.
  65. Both indecent and decent imagination are rejected by the Saints for the purpose of pure prayer and the simple and unified activity of the intellect.
  66. The purity and perfection of the mind, soul, and heart.
    1. The pure intellect.
    2. The pure soul.
    3. The pure heart.
    4. The perfect intellect.
    5. The perfect soul.
    6. The perfect heart.
    7. On purification.
  67. On the manner in which the prophets beheld visions.
  68. More about imaginations and the “many and various visions and contemplations”.
  69. On the five powers of the soul; similarly, on imaginations that are natural to the soul and the intellect, and how it is necessary for one to avoid imagination completely, as well as shapes, impressions, and forms while engaged in pure prayer and the simple and unified activity of the intellect.
  70. More about the intellect.
  71. More about pure prayer.
  72. That dispassion of intellect is one thing and true prayer another, greater than dispassion.
  73. More about imaginations and impressions of the intellect and the signs of delusion and truth; what the signs of delusion are.
  74. On the difference between divine consolation and false consolation.
  75. On the divine pleasure that springs from the heart.
  76. This spiritual delight is signified by many names, but is also unnamable.
  77. Anyone who desires to live in perfect stillness must be meek at heart.
  78. How we can achieve meekness, and on the three parts of the soul: the irascible, the appetitive, and the rational.
  79. One must readily repent for any offenses committed, and so be wisely prepared for the future.
  80. On stumbling and repentance.
  81. More on repentance, fear, love, mourning, tears, and self-blame.
  82. On precaution and wise circumspection.
  83. The hesychast must strive to do all that we have said, and first and foremost, to be still and meek and devoted to invoking the Lord Jesus Christ purely within the heart.
  84. On the beautiful and ecstatic eros, and divine beauty.
  85. On spiritual warfare, God’s withdrawal for the sake of instruction, and the withdrawal of abandonment.
  86. On dispassion. What is human dispassion?
  87. More about dispassion and perfection.
  88. On passionate desire, the passion of pleasure-seeking, passionate sensuality, and dispassion.
  89. What is the character of the impassioned man, the pleasure-seeker, the sensualist, and the man of dispassion, and what is the therapy for each kind of passion?
  90. On faith, hope, and love.
  91. On the Holy Eucharist, and all the benefits that are granted to us through frequent communion with a clean conscience.
  92. It is necessary to understand the miracle of the Holy Mysteries: what they are, why they were given, and what their benefits are.
  93. Conclusion of all the topics that were discussed in detail, and a short exhortation to the inquirer.
  94. One must obey and follow the spiritual tenets of the Fathers.
  95. Recapitulation. How one should pray. On true illumination and divine power.
  96. Another recapitulation.
  97. Hesychia with obedience is truly the unerring and true and God-pleasing way of life which has been handed down by the Fathers, and the Saints have wisely called it the life hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3).
  98. Although there are also other ways leading to salvation, this is the chief and royal highway and leads to our adoption as sons.
  99. This way of life is called by several names because of its sublimity.
  100. Ethical Exhortation: Along with the help and grace of God, it is also necessary that we strive and struggle with all our effort to become worthy of such great and supernatural gifts, starting from this present time, as a partial pledge, lest we fail to attain them for want of a little care – God forbid!

Saint Kallistos Angelikoudes[edit]

Chapters on Prayer
  1. The Paradise described in Scripture is an Image of Man.
  2. On spiritual gifts.
  3. On divine and human energy, and on peace.
  4. On the contemplative life, and what the contemplative requires; prayer is an aspect of contemplation; the Fathers count contemplation as prayer.
  5. On the verse, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).
  6. On prayer.
  7. On the things necessary for prayer and how it is worthy of such great honor.
  8. On prayer.
  9. On the verse, “‘God said to Abram, “Depart from your land’” (Gen. 12:1); on contemplation.
  10. On humility and contemplation.
  11. On the same.
  12. On contemplation.
  13. On the practitioner and the contemplative.
  14. On the same.
  15. On participation in the Holy Spirit.
  16. On contemplation.
  17. On contemplation.
  18. On contemplation.
  19. On contemplation.
  20. On the passage, “God said to Abraham, ‘I will abundantly multiply your seed’” (Gen. 22:17).
  21. On the passage, “Praise the Lord, O my soul” (Ps. 145:1).
  22. On contemplation.
  23. On divine illumination.
  24. How divine eros is imparted to the soul.
  25. More on divine eros.
  26. On the fear that is preserved in love.
  27. How the form of love is threefold.
  28. The intellect proceeds to the contemplation of God in three ways, etc.
  29. On the participation of vision.
  30. On contemplation.
  31. On the practitioner and the contemplative.
  32. How contemplatives contemplate.
  33. On the passage, “Jerusalem is being built as a city, whose fellowship is complete; for there the tribes ascended, the tribes of the Lord, a testimony to Israel” (Ps. 121:3-4).
  34. On the same subject.
  35. On “those who were noble men from the East.” 1
  36. God, by His charity, can be apprehended by every noetic faculty.
  37. The Spirit of God dwells within the faithful.
  38. Every believer has been richly honored by God.
  39. On the passage, “He receives them having spread His wings, and takes them up on His back” (Dt. 32:11).
  40. What proper pleasure is.
  41. On carnal pleasure.

Saint Kallistos Telikoudes[edit]

  • On the Practice of Hesychasm
  • Selection from the Holy Fathers On Prayer and Attention

Saint Kallistos Kataphygiotes[edit]

  • On Union with God and the Comtemplative Life

Saint Symeon Archbishop of Thessaloniki[edit]

  • On the Sacred and Deifying Prayer
    • Chapter 296
    • Chapter 297: That all Christians, clergy, monastics, and laypeople, should pray in the name of Jesus Christ, at least at a specific time, according to their strength.
  • Α Marvellous Oration: On the Words of the Divine Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me”
  • Αn Interpretation of the Prayer “Lord Have Mercy” Beneficial for Every Christian

Saint Symeon the New Theologian[edit]

  • Discourse on Faith, and instruction addressed to those who claim that it is impossible for those who are in the world and have worldly cares to reach the perfection of virtue; and an explanation regarding this in the beginning, which is greatly beneficial.
  • Discourse on the Three Forms of Prayer
    • On the First Form of Attention and Prayer.
    • On the Second Form.
    • On the Third Form.
    • Question: Why is it that the first and second forms of which we have spoken cannot achieve these things?
    • Note on the Omission of the Texts by St. Gregory of Sinai

Father Maximos the Hut-Burner[edit]

  • From the Life of Our Holy and God-Bearing Father Maximos the Hut-Burner

How All Christians Should Pray Without Ceasing[edit]

  • How All Christians Should Pray Without Ceasing


  • Skoubourdis, Anna (2020). The Philokalia of the Holy Neptic Fathers, Volume 5: compiled by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth. ‎Virgin Mary of Australia and Oceania. ISBN 979-8-7096-9499-6.