Περὶ διαφόρων πονηρῶν λογισμῶν


  St. Mary and the Monk,
  Medieval illum MS.

This English translation by Luke Dysinger,O.S.B .is partly based on versions by Palmer, Kadloubovsky, et.al.: the Greek text below is based on Migne (PG 79)  the Philokalia, and Muyldermans: it has been superseded by the critical edition of Guillaumont (SC 438), and its revision in accordance with the critical edition is ongoing.








Περὶ διαφόρων πονηρῶν λογισμῶν





 1. OF the demons opposing the ascetical life [pratiké], those standing in the first [wave] for combat are:

[1] those entrusted with the appetites of gluttony,

[2] those that inspire us to love money, and

[3] those that entice us to seek human glory.

[p.148]1.Τῶν ἀντικειμένων δαιμόνων τῇ πρακτικῇ, πρῶτοι κατὰ τὸν πόλεμον συνίστανται

οἱ τὰς τῆς γαστριμαργίας ὀρέξεις πεπιστευμέοι,

καὶ οἱ τὴν φιλαργυρίαν ἡμῖν ὑποβάλλοντες,

καὶ οἱ πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων δόξαν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαλούμενοι.

All the rest march behind and receive the wounded whom these three pass along to them.

Οἱ δ' ἄλλοι πάντες κατόπιν τούτων βαδίζοντες, τοὺς ὑπὸ τούτων [79.1201a] τιτρωσκομένους διαδ́εχονται.

[1] For it is impossible to fall into the spirit of adultery, unless one has succumbed to gluttony;

[2] it is impossible to be agitated by anger, unless one covets and fights for food, or money, or fame;

Οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς χεῖρας τοῦ πνεύματος τῆς πορνείας, μὴ ὑπὸ τῆς γαστριμαργίας καταπεσόντα·

καὶ οὐκ ἔστι ταράξαι θυμὸν, μὴ ὑπὲρ βρωμάτων ἢ χρημάτων, ἢ δόξης ἀλόγων ἐπιθυμιῶν μαχόμενον·

[3] and it is impossible to avoid the demon of sadness, unless one has been deprived of all he wants to obtain;

[4] nor is it possible to escape pride, this first offspring of the devil, unless one has uprooted the love of money... the root of all evil (1Tim. 6.10); since Poverty brings a man low, according to the wise Solomon, (Prov.10:4).

καὶ οὐκ ἔστι τὸν τῆς λύπης δαίμονα διαφυγεῖν, τούτων πάντων στερηθέντα, ἢ μὴ δυνηθέντα τυχεῖν·

οὐδὲ ἀποφεύξεται τὴν ὑπερηφανίαν τις, τὸ πρῶτον γέννημα τοῦ διαβόλου, μὴ τὴν τῶν κακῶν ῥίζαν ἐξορίσας φιλαργυρίαν, εἴπερ καὶ πενία ἄνδρα ταπεινοῖ, κατὰ τὸν σοφὸν Σολομῶντα·

In other words, it is impossible for a man to fall under the power of any demon, unless he is first wounded by the three of the first wave.

 [p.152] καὶ συλλήβδην ἐιπεῖν, οὐκ ἔστιν ἄνθρωπον περιπεσεῖν δαίμονι, μὴ πρότερον ὑπ' ἐκείνων τῶν πρωτοστατῶν κατατρωθέντα,

THIS is why the devil suggested these three [tempting-] thoughts to the Lord (Mt 4:3, ff):

[1] the first, when he suggested that stones should become bread;

[2] the second, when he promised the whole world, if [the Lord] would fall down and worship him;

[3] and the third, when he said that if he would listen to him he would be glorified, suffering no harm from his fall [from the Temple].

διὸ καὶ τοὺς τρεῖς τούτους λογισμοὺς ὁ διάβολος τότε τῷ Σωτῆρι προσήγαγε. [Mt 4:3, ff]

Πρῶτον μὲν τοὺς λίθους, [79.1200b] ἄρτους γενέσθαι παρακαλῶν,

ἔπειτα δὲ τὸν κόσμον ὅλον ἐπαγγελλόμενος εἰ πεσὼν προσκυνήσει·

καὶ τρίτον εἰ ἀκούσοι δοξασθήσεσθαι λέγων, μηδὲν ἐκ τοῦ τηλικούτου πτώματος πεπονθότα,

But our Lord, showing himself to be above this, commanded the devil to get behind him (cf. Mat. 4:1-10), showing us by this that it not possible to banish the devil unless we depise these three [tempting-]thoughts.

ὧν, ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν κρείττων φανεὶς, εἰς τοὐπίσω τῷ διαβόλῳ χωρεῖν προσέταττε, διὰ τούτων καὶ ἡμᾶς διδάσκων, ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν ἀπώσασθαι τὸν διάβολον, μὴ τῶν τριῶν τούτων καταφρονήσαντας λογισμῶν.





 2.  ALL the [tempting-] thoughts of demonic origin introduce into the soul concepts of sensory concerns [“objects”]: because of this the nous, stamped with the imprint of these concerns, carries them about within itself; and [so] from the concern itself it [can] henceforth recognize the approaching demon.

[p.154] 2. Πάντες οἱ δαιμονιώδεις λογισμοὶ, νοήματα εἰς τὴν ψυχὴν αἰσθητῶν πραγμάτων εἰσφέρουσιν, ἐν οἱς τυπούμενος ὁ νοῦς τὰς μορφὰς τῶν πραγμάτων ἐκείνων ἐν ἑαυτῷ περιφέρει, καὶ ἀπ ᾿αὐτοῦ τοῦ πράγματος λοιπὸν ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν προσεγγίσαντα δαίμονα·

For example, if the face of a person who has done me harm or insulted me appears in my mind (dianoia), I recognize the approach of the [tempting-]thought of memory of injury. Or if there arises a memory of possessions or of esteem, we will recognize from the concern which [demon] is troubling us. And it is the same with other [tempting-]thoughts: from the [mental] concern we can discover which demon stands beside us, suggesting the representation (phantasia) to us.

[79.1201c] οἰον, εἰ τοῦ ζημιώσαντός με, καὶ ἀτιμασαντός με ἐν τῇ διανοίᾳ μου τὸ πρόσωπον γένοιτο, ἐλέγχεται ὁ τῆς μνησικακίας παραβαλὼν λογισμός. Εἰ πάλιν χρημάτων, ἢ δόξης ἀνάμνησις γένοιτο, ἐκ τοῦ πράγματος δῆλον ὅτι ὁ θλίβων ἡμᾶς ἐπιγνωσθήσεται· καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων δὲ λογισμῶν ὡσαύτως, ἀπὸ τοῦ πράγματος εὑρήσεις τὸν παρεστῶτα, καὶ ὑποβαλλοντα τὰς φαντασίας δαίμονα.

I do not say that all memories of such concerns [“objects”] come from the demons; for when the intellect is activated by man it is its nature to bring forth the representation (fantasia) of past events.

Οὐ πάσας δὲ τὰς μνήμας τῶν τοιούτων πραγμάτων ἐκ δαιμόνων λέγω συμβαίνειν· ἐπειδὴ πέφυκε καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ νοῦς κινούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τῶν γεγονότων ἀναφέρειν τὰς φαντασίας,

But all thoughts producing indignation (thumos) or desire (epithumia) in a way that is contrary to nature [are caused by demons].  For through disturbance of these two powers the nous mentally commits adultery and becomes incensed, and is no longer able to welcome in itself the representation (fantasia) of its [divine] lawgiver:

 [p.156] ἀλλ ᾿ ὅσαι τῶν μνημῶν θυμὸν, ἢ ἐπιθυμίαν παρὰ φύσιν συνεπισπῶνται. Διὰ γὰρ τὴν ταραχὴν τῶν δύο δυνάμεων τούτων, ὁ νοῦς κατὰ διάνοιαν μοιχεύει, καὶ μάχεται τοῦ νομοθετήσαντος [79.1201d] αὐτὸν θεοῦ τὴν φαντασίαν ἀναδέξασθαι μὴ δυνάμενος,.

for such luminosity only appears in the mind (hegimonikon) with the deprival of all conceptions (noemata) of objects [“concerns”] at the time of prayer.

εἴπερ ἡ λαμπρότης ἐκείνη κατὰ στέρησιν πάντων τῶν ἐν τοῖς πράγμασι νοημάτων ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τῆς προσευχῆς τῷ ἡγεμονικῷ παραφαίνεται.





3. A PERSON cannot drive away impassioned memories unless he watches over his epithumia (desire) and thumos (indignation):

[1] destroying the one (i.e. desire) with fasting, vigils and sleeping on the ground; and

[2] taming the other (indignation) by patient endurance, forgetfulness of injury, and almsgiving. 

3. Οὐκ ἄν ἀπόθοιτο τὰς ἐμπαθεῖς μνήμας ὁ ἄνθρωπος, μὴ ἐπιθυμίας, καὶ θυμοϋ ἐπιμέλειαν ποιησάμενος,

τὴν μὲν [p.158] νηστείαις, ἀγρυπνίαις, καὶ χαμευνείαις καταναλώσας,

τὸν δὲ μακροθυμίαις, καὶ ἀμνησικακίαις, καὶ ἐλεημοσύναις καθημερώσας

For with these two passions are connected almost all the demonic [tempting-]thoughts that lead the nous to disaster and destruction. (1Tim 6:9)

· ἐκ γὰρ τῶν δύο τούτων παθῶν πάντες σχεδὸν οἱ δαιμονιώδεις συνίστανται λογισμοὶ οἱ τὸν νοῦν ἐμβάλλοντες εὶς ὅλεθρον, καὶ ἀπώλειαν.

 IT is impossible to overcome these passions unless we can rise above attachment to food and possessions, to esteem, and even to our own body, through which the demons often attempt to attack us.

[79.1204A]   Ἀδύνατον δέ τινα τῶν παθῶν τούτων περιγενέσθαι, μὴ παντελῶς βρωμάτων καὶ χρημάτων, καὶ δόξης ὑπεριδόντα, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου σώματος διὰ τοὺς ῥαπίζειν αὐτὸ πολλάκις ἐπιχειροῦντας·

It is essential, then, to imitate people who are in danger at sea and throw things overboard because of the violence of the winds and the threatening waves. But here we must be very careful in case we cast things overboard just to be seen doing so by men. For then we shall get the reward we want; but we shall suffer another shipwreck, worse than the first, blown off our course by the contrary wind of the demon of self-esteem.

Πᾶσα οὖν ἀνάγκη μιμεῖσθαι τοὺς κινδυνεύοτας, εν θαλάττη, καὶ τῶν σκευῶν ἐκβολὴν ποιουμένους διὰ τὴν βίαν τῶν ἀνεμων καὶ τῶν ἐπανισταμένων κυμάτων.  Ἀλλ' ἐνταῦθα προσεκτέον ἀκριβῶς, [p.158] μή πως ἐκβολὴν ποιούμενοι τῶν σκευῶν, πρὸς τὸ θεαθεῖναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ποίσωμεν· ἐπεὶ ἀπέχομεν τὸν μισθὸν ἡμῶν, καὶ ἄλλο τοῦ προτέρου χαλεπώτερον διδέξεται ἡμᾶς ναυάγιον, τοῦ τῆς κενοδοξίας ἡμῖν ἀντιπνεύσαντος δαίμονος. ´.

That is why our Lord, instructing the intellect, our helmsman, says in the Gospels: ‘Take heed that you do not give alms in front of others, to be seen by them; for unless you take heed, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. ‘ Again, He says: `When you pray, you must not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in synagogues and at street- corners, so as to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they get the reward they want [...] Moreover when you fast, do not put on a gloomy face, like the hypocrites; for they disfigure their faces, so that they may be seen by men to be  fasting. Truly I say to you, they get the reward they want (cf. Mt. 6: 1- 18).

Διὸ καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν ἐν τοῖς Εὐαγγελίοις, τὸν κυβερνήτην νοῦν παιδεύων, [79.1204b] ̧ προσέχετε, φασὶν, τὴν ἐλημοσύνην ἡμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθεῖναι αὐτοῖς, εἰ δὲ μήγε μισθ̀ον οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ Πατὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν τοὶς οὐρανοῖς. ς  Καὶ πάλιν· ̧  Ὅταν προσεύχησθε, φησὶν, οὐκ ἔσεσθε ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ, ὅτι φιλοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς, καὶ ἐν ταῖς γωνίαις τῶν πλατειῶν ἑστῶτες προσεύχεσθαι, ὅπως φανῶσι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἀπέχουσι τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν. ς  Καὶ πάλιν λέγει· ̧  Ὅταν νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποὶ· ἀφανίζουσι γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν, ὅπως φανῶσι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.ς

BUT observe how the Physician of souls here:

  Ἀλλὰ προσεκτέον ἐνταῦθα τῷ ἰατρῷ τῶν ψυχῶν, [1204c] πῶς

[1] through acts of mercy [medically] treats our irascibility;

[2] through prayer purges the nous;

[3] and through fasting causes desire to atrophy.

διὰ μὲν τῆς ἐλεημοσύνης τὸν θυμὸν θεραπεύει,

διὰ δὲ τῆς προσευχῆς τὸν νοῦν καθαρίζει, [p.162] 

καὶ πάλιν διὰ τῆς νηστείας τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν καταμαραίνει,̈

FROM these [virtues] the new man is formed, renewed according to the image of his Creator (Gal. 3:28), in whom, thanks to holy apatheia, there is neither male nor female; and, thanks to singleness of faith and love there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3: 10-11).

ἐξ ὧν συνίσταται ὁ νέος ἄνθρωπος, ὁ ἀνακαινούμενος κατ̓ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτὸν, ἐν ᾧ οὐκ ἔστι διὰ τὴν ἀγίαν ἀπάθειαν ἄρσεν, καὶ θῆλυ, οὐδὲ διὰ τὴν μίαν πίστιν, καὶ ἀγάπην,  Ἕλλην, καὶ  Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ, καὶ ἀκροβυστία, Βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, καὶ ἐλεύθερος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι Χριστός





10. OUR hatred against demons greatly contributes to [our] salvation and is helpful for [our] practice of virtue […] and the soul returns again to primordial hatred, learning to say to the Lord as did David: I hate them with perfect hatred: they have become my enemies. (Ps.138:22). 10. Πάνυ τὸ μῖσος τὸ κατὰ δαιμόνων ἡμιν πρὸς σωτηρίαν συμβάλλεται, καὶ πρὸς τὴν ἐργασίαν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἐστιν ἐπιτήδειον· […] καὶ πάλιν ἡ ψυχὴ πρὸς τὸ ἀρχέτυπον μῖσος ἐπανατρέχει διδασκομένη πρὸς τὸν Κύριον λέγειν, κατὰ τὸν Δαυὶδ, το «τέλειον μῖσος ἐμίσουν αὐτοὺς, εἰς ἐχθροὺς ἐγενοντό μοι.»





14. ALONE of all the [tempting-]thoughts, vainglory has unlimited resources, encompassing nearly the whole inhabited world; and it opens the gates to all the demons like some evil traitor in a city. .1216d] [p.198] 14. Μόνος τῶν λογισμῶν ὁ τῆς κενοδοξίας ἐστὶ πολύυλος, καὶ ὅλην σχεδὸν περιλαμβάνων τὴν οἰκουμένην, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς δαίμοσιν ὑπανοίγων τὰς θύρας, ὥσπερ  tις προδότης πονηρὸς ἀγαθῆς γενόμενος πόλεως.
Thus it completely humiliates the nous of the solitary, filling it with many words and concerns, and destroying the prayers through which he tries to heal all the wounds of his soul. Διὸ  καὶ πάνυ ταπεινοῖ τοῦ ἀναχωροῦντος τὸν νοῦν, πολλῶν λόγων αὐτὸν καὶ πραγμάτων πληρῶν, καὶ τὰς προσευχὰς αὐτοῦ λυμαινόμενος δι ὧν πάντα τὰ τῆς  ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ τραύματα θεραπεύειν σπουδάζει.

This [tempting-]thought is enhanced through the defeat of all the other demons; and with it[s help] they all regain entry into the soul, thus truly making his last state worse than his first. (cf. Mt 12:45).

Τοῦτον τὸν λογισμὸν συναύξουσι πάντες ἡττηθέντες οἱ  δαίμονες, καὶ πάλιν δι αὐτοῦ πάντες εἰς τὰς ψυχὰς  λαμβάνουσιν εἴσοδον, ποιοῦντες ὄντως τὰ ἔσχατα, χείρονα τῶν πρώτων.

Through this [tempting-]thought is begotten pride, which cast down the seal of [divine] likeness and the crown of all beauty (Prov. 9:18) from heaven to earth. But turn quickly away from it and do not dally (Prov. 9:18), lest you surrender your life to others and your substance to the merciless (cf. Prov. 5:9). This demon is put to flight by intense prayer and by neither doing nor saying anything that contributes to accursed [self-]glorification.

̓Εκ τούτου δὲ γεννᾶται τοῦ λογισμοῦ, καὶ ὁ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας ἐκεῖνος, ὁ τὸ ἀποσφράγισμα τῆς ὁμοιώσεως, καὶ τὸν στέφανον τοῦ κάλλους ἀπ' οὐρανῶν εἰς γῆν κατασείσας.  Ἀλλ' ἀποπήδησον τούτου, καὶ μὴ χρονίσῃς, ἵνα μὴ προδῶμεν ἄλλοις τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν, καὶ τὸν ἡμέτερον βίον ἀνελεήμοσι.  Τοῦτον δὲ τὸν δαίμονα φυγαδεύει [p.202] ἐκτενὴς προσευχὴ, [79.1217b] καὶ τὸ μηδὲν ἑκόντα ποιεῖν, τῶν συνελούντων πρὸς τὴν ἐπάρατον δόξαν.





15. WHEN the nous of the solitary achieves some small degree of apatheia, it mounts the horse of vainglory and immediately rides off into [imaginary] cities, taking its fill of the lavish praise its reputation merits. [p.202] 15.  Ὅταν ὀλίγης ἀπαθείας τῶν ἀναχωρούντων ὁ νοῦς ἐπιλάβηται, τότε κενοδοξίας ἵππον κτησάμενος, εὐθέως ἐλαύνει κατὰ τὰς πόλεις ἄκρατον ἐκ τῆς δόξης ἐμφορούμενος ἔπαινον,
But in [God’s] salvific plan the spirit of sexual immorality [suddenly] confronts it, locking it in a pig-sty (cf. Luke 15:15-16), thus teaching it not to leave the [sick]bed until it is completely healed nor to imitate disobedient patients who, while their disease is still active, begin walking and bathing, and so relapse into illness. ᾧ, κατ' οἰκονομίαν, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πορνείας ἀπαντῆσαν, καὶ εἰς ἕνα τῶν συφεῶν ἀποκλεῖσαν τοῦτον, παιδεύει αὐτὸν μηκέτι πρὸ τῆς τελείας ὑγείας καταλιμπάνειν τὴν κλίνην, μηδὲ τοὺς ἀτάκτους τῶν ἀῤῥώστων μιεῖσθαι, οἵτινες, ἔτι λείψανα τῆς ἀσθενείας ἐν ἑαυτοῖς περιφέροντες, ὁδοῖς ἑαυτοὺς, καὶ λουτροῖς ἀκαίροις ἐπιδιδόασι, καὶ τοῖς ἐξ ὑποστροφῆς νοσήμασι περιπίπτουσι. 

Therefore let us remain [quitely] seated and give more heed to ourselves: thus progressing in virtue and less easily inclining towards vice we will be renewed in [spiritual] knowledge and will receive richly-varied contemplative insights; and ascending once again into prayer we will behold even more clearly the light of our Savior.

Διόπερ καθεζόμενοι μᾶλλον προσέχωμεν ἑαυτοῖς, ὡς, προκόπτοντες μὲν ἐν ἀρετῇ,  [79.1217c] δυσκίνητοι πρὸς κακίαν γινόμεθα, ἀνακαινούμενοι δὲ ἐν τῇ γνώσει, ποικίλων προσλαμβάνομεν πλῆθος θεωρημάτων, ὑψούμενοι δὲ πάλιν κατὰ τὴν προσευχὴν φανερώτερον τὸ τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐποπτεύσομεν φῶς.





Shepherd of an Inner Universe 




17.  THE concepts of this present world - these the Lord gave to man, like sheep to a good shepherd: for it is written, He has placed the world in his heart; (Eccl. 3:11)  yoking to him indignation and desire for [his] support, so that with the first he may drive away the concepts of wolves, while with desire he may lovingly tend the sheep, assailed as he often is by the rain and winds. 

[1220b] ΙΖ´. [p.208] 17. Τὰ νοήματα τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ὁ Κύριος καθάπερ [p.210] πρόβατά τινα τῷ ἀγαθῷ ποιμένι τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ παρέδωκε· ̧ Κὰι γὰρ, φησί, σὺν τὸν αἰῶνα ἔδωκεν ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀυτοῦ ς,  συζεύξας αὐτῷ θυμὸν κὰι επιθυμίαν πρὸς βοήθειαν, ἵνα, διὰ μὲν τοῦ θυμου, φευγαδεύῃ τὰ τῶν λύκων νοήματα, διὰ δε τῆς ἐπιθυμίας στέργῃ τὰ πρόβατα, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ὑετῶν καὶ ἀνέμων πολλάκις βαλλόμενος· 

[God] also gave him pasture so that he may shepherd the sheep, as well as a verdant place and refreshing water (cf. Ps. 23: 2), [the] Psalter and a harp (kithara), a rod and a staff; so that from these sheep he is fed and clothed and gathers provender.  For it is written, Does anyone feed a flock and not drink its milk? (l Cor. 9:7).

ἔδωκε πρὸς τούτοις καὶ νομὸν, ὅπως ποιμαίνῃ τὰ πρόβατα, καὶ τόπον χλόης, καὶ ὕδωρ ἀναπαύσεως καὶ ψαλτήριον καὶ κιθάραν καὶ ῥάβδον καὶ βακτηρίαν, ἵν' ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ποίμνης καὶ τραφῇ καὶ ἐνδύσηται καὶ χόρτον ὀρεινὸν συναγάγῃ·  ̧ Τίς γὰρ, φησὶ, ποιμαίνει ποίμνην, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος τῆς ποίμνης οὐκ ἐσθίει; ς

It is therefore proper for the anchorite to guard this flock at night and by day, so that the concepts are neither caught by wild beasts nor fall into thieves’ hands: if this should happen in the wooded valley he must immediately snatch [it] from the mouth of the lion or the bear (cf. 1 Sam.: 7: 35).

Δεῖ οὖν τὸν ἀναχωροῦντα φυλάττειν νύκτωρ, καὶ μεθ´ η῾με´ραν τοῦτο τὸ ποίμνιον, μήτι τῶν νοημάτων γένηται θηριάλωτον, ἢ λῃσταῖς περιπέσῃ, εἰ δὲ ἄρα τι τοιοῦτο συμβαίη κατὰ τὴν νάπην, εὐθέως ἐξαρπάζειν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος τοῦ λέοντος ἢ τῆς ἄρκτου.

 It is thus that the thought of a brother is caught by wild beasts - if it pastures what is within us with with hatred: with regard to a woman, if we turn aside to shameful desire; with regard to gold and silver, if we settle down with greed.  And the concepts of the holy gifts [of God are caught by wild beasts] if we mentally graze on vainglory: and the same happens in the case of other concepts if they are plundered by the passions.

Γίνεται δὲ τὸ νόημα τὸ περὶ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ θηριάλωτον, εἰ μετὰ μίσους νέμοι τὸ ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ τὸ περὶ τῆς γυναικὸς, εἰ μετ' αἰσχρᾶς ἐπιθυμίας στρέφοιτο παρ' ἡμῖν, καὶ τὸ τοῦ ἀργυρίου, καὶ τοῦ χρυσίου, εἰ μετὰ πλεονεξίας αὐλίζοιτο.  Καὶ τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἁγίων χαρισμάτων, [79,1220d] εἰ μετὰ κενοδοξίας κατὰ διάνοιαν βόσκοιτο· καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων δὲ νοημάτων ὡσαύτως συμβήσεται, κλεπτομένων τοῖς πάθεσιν.

   It is fitting not only to protect this [flock] by day, but also to guard [it] by keeping vigil at night.  For it happens that by fantasizing shamefully and wickedly one may lose what is one’s own; and this is what was said by holy Jacob: I did not bring you a sheep caught by wild beasts; from my own [resources] I made good the thefts by day and the thefts by night, and I was burned with heat by day, and with frost by night, and sleep departed from my eyes. (Gen. 31: 39-40.lxx)

[1220d] .ΙΗ´. Οὐ μόνον δὲ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ δεῖ ταῦτα τηρεῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ νύκτωρ ἀγρυπνοῦντας φυλάττειν.  Συμβαίνει γὰρ καὶ φανταζόμενον αἰσχρῶς, καὶ πονηρῶς, ἀπολέσαι τὸ ἴδιον· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου λεγόμενον 'Ιακώβ· ̧ Οὐκ ἐνήνοχα σοι πρόβατον θηριάλωτον, απ´ ε᾿μαυτοῦ ἀπετίννουν κλέμματα ἡμέρας, καὶ κλέμματα [1221a] νυκτὸς, καὶ ἐγενόμην συγκαιόμενος τῷ καύσωνι τῆς ἡμέρας, καὶ τῷ παγετῷ τῆς νυκτὸς, καὶ ἀφίστατο ὁ ὕπνος ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μου; ς

 AND if, weary from our toil, a certain acedia  overtakes us we should climb up a little onto the rock of knowledge and converse with the Psalter, (cf. Ps 48:5)  plucking with the virtues the strings of knowledge: let us again tend our sheep as they pasture below Mount Sinai, so that the God of our fathers may also call to us out of the bush (cf. Exod. 3:1-6) and grant us the logoi of the signs and the wonders. (cf. Exod. 7:9, 11:9-10)

[p.212.17:32] Εἰ δέ τίς ἐκ τοῦ καμάτου καὶ ἀκηδία ἡμῖν προσγένηται, μικρὸν ἀναδραμόντες ἐπὶ τὴν τῆς γνώσεως πέτραν τῷ ψαλτηρίῳ προσ­ομιλήσωμεν, πλήσσοντες διὰ τῶν ἀρετῶν τῆς γνώσεως τὰς χορδὰς· βοσκήσωμεν δὲ πάλιν ὑπὸ τὸ Σιναῖον ὄρος τὰ πρόβατα, ἵνα ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς βάτου [p.214.17:38-39] καλέσῃ, καὶ τοὺς λόγους τῶν σημείων, καὶ τῶν τεράτων καὶ ἡμῖν χαρίσηται.





Two Kinds of Demons




18.  OF the unclean demons, some tempt man in so far as he is man, while others disturb him in so far as he is a non-rational animal. The first, when they approach us, suggest to us notions of self-esteem, pride, envy or censoriousness, notions by which non-rational animals are not affected; whereas the second, when they approach, arouse incensive power and desire in a manner contrary to nature. For these passions are common to us and to animals, and lie concealed beneath our rational and spiritual nature. Hence the Holy Spirit says of the thoughts that come to men in so far as they are men: ‘I have said, you are gods, and all of you are children of the most High. But you shall die as men, and fall as one of the princes’ (Ps 82:6-7).

[1224B]  ΚΑ'  [p.214.] 18.Τῶν ἀκαθάρτων δαιμόνων, οἱ μὲν τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ὡς ἄνθρωπον ἐκπειράζουσιν, οἱ δὲ τὸν ἀνθρωππον, ὡς ζῶον ἄλογον ἐκταράσσουσι, καὶ οἱ μὲν πρῶτοι παρβάλλοντες, κενοδοξίας, ἢ ὑπερηφανίας, ἢ φθόνου, ἠκατηγορίας ἡμῖν ἐμβάλλουσι νοήματα, ἅπερ οὐδενὸς ἅπτεται τῶν ἀλογων· οἱ δὲ δεύτεροι, προσεγγίζοντες, θυμὸν, ἢ ἐπιθυμίαν [79.1224c] παρὰ φύσιν κινοῦσι.  Ταῦτα γὰρ τὰ πάθη κοινὰ ἡμῶν, καὶ τῶν ἀλόγων ζώων τυγχάνουσιν, ὑπὸ τῆς λογικῆς καλυπτόμενα φύσεως.  Διὸ λέγει καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, πρὸς μὲν τοῖς ἀνθρωπίνοις περιπίπτοντας λογισμοῖς,  ̧γὼ εἶπα· Θεοί ἐστε, καὶ οἱοὶ Ὑψίστου πάντες· ὑμεῖς δὲ ὡς ἄνθρωποι ἀποθνήσκετε, αὶ ὡς εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων πίπτετε.ς

But what does He say of the thoughts which stir in men non-rationally ? `Do not be as the horse and mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be controlled with bit and bridle in case they attack you’ (Ps 32:9). Now if `the soul that sins shall die’ (Ezek. 18 :4), it is clear that in so far as we die as men we are buried by men, but in so far as eve me slain or fall as non-rational animals, we are devoured by vultures and ravens whose young `cry’ to the Lord (Ps. 147:9) and `roll themselves in blood’ (Job 39:30. LXX). `He that has ears to hear, let him hear’ (Mt 11:15).

Πρὸς δὲ τοὺς κινουμένους ἀλόγως, τί φησι;  ̧ Μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς ἵππος καὶ ἡμίονος, οἷς οὐκ ἔστι σύνεσις, ἐν κημῷ καὶ χαλινῷ τὰς σιαγόνας αὐτῶν ἀγξαι, τῶν μὴ ἐγγιζόντων πρὸς σέ.ς Ἡ δὲ ψυχὴ ἡ ἁμαρτάνουσα, αὕτη ἀποθανεῖται.  Πρόδηλον, ὅτι οἱ μὲν ἄνθρωποι ὡς ἄνθρωποι ἀποθνήσκοντες, ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων ταφήσονται, οἱ δὲ ὡς ἄλογοι θαντούμενοι, ἤτοι πίπτοντες, ὑπὸ γυπῶν, ἢ κοράκων βρωθήσονται, ὧν οἱ νεοσοὶ, οἱ [79.1224d] μὲν ἐπικαλοῦνται τὸν ύριον, οἱ δὲ φύρονται ἐν αἵμασιν. Ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν, ἀκουέτω.





Analysis and Contemplation - Weapons

of Spiritual Combat



19. WHEN one of the enemies draws near to wound you, and you wish, as it is written, to turn back his sword into his own heart (cf. Ps 37:15), then do as we say:

[1221b]  ΙΘ '  [p.216] 19. Ὅταν τῶν ἐχθ͂ρῶν τρώσῃ σέ τις παραβαλὼν, καὶ βούλει τὴν ῥομφαίαν αὐτοῦ στρέψαι, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ ποίησον οὕτως, ὡς λέγομεν. 

distinguish within yourself the hurled [tempting-]thought [into its parts]:

Δίελε κατὰ σαυτὸν τὸν ὑπ' αὐτοῦ βληθέντα λογισμὸν,

[1] what it is;

[2] of what [external] concerns is it composed;

[3] and what in it especially afflicts the intellect.

ὅστις ποτέ εστι,

καὶ ἐκ πόσων πραγμάτων συνέστηκε,

καὶ ποῖον τοῦτό ἐστι μάλιστα τὸ θλίβον [1221c] τὸν νοῦν.

Let us say that the following happens. When the [tempting-]thought of avarice is discharged at you you should distinguish between:

Ο δὲ λέγω, τοιοῦτόν ἐστιν· Ἔστω πεμφθεὶς ὁ τῆς φιλαργυρίας ὑπ' αὐτου λογισμὸς, τοῦτον δίελε εἴς τε

[1] the nous (intellect) that has received it,

[2] the idea (noema) of gold,

[3] the gold itself,

[4] and the passion of avarice.

τὸν ὑποδεξάμενον αὐτὸν νοῦν,

καὶ εἰς τὸ νόημα τοῦ χρυσίου,

καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν χρυσὸν,

καὶ εἰς τὸ φιλάργυρον πάθος·

And then ask in which of these lies the sin:

καὶ λοιπὸν ἐρώτα τί τούτων ἐστὶν ἁμαρτία,

[1] Is it the nous ?
But how
[can that be]? [The nous] is the image of God.

[2] Is it the idea of gold?
But who posessing a nous would say that?

[3] Then is gold itself the sin?
But why was it created?

πότερον ὁ νοῦς;
καὶ πῶς; ἔστιν εἰκὼν θεοῦ.

'Αλλὰ τὸ νόημα τοῦ χρυσοῦ;
καὶ τοῦτο τίς ὰν εἰποι νοῦν ἕχων ποτέ;

ἀλλ' αὐτὸς ὁ χρυσός ἐστιν ἁμαρτία;
καὶ τίνος χάριν γεγένηται;

[4] It follows, therefore, that the cause of the sin is the fourth, which is:

ἕπεται τοίνυν [τῆς ἁμαρτ́ιας εἶναι τὸ αἴτιον τὸ τέταρτον·]

[4.a] neither a naturally subsisting [external] concern (pragma);

[4.b] nor the idea of an [external] concern;

[4.c] nor an incorporeal nous;

ὅπερ οὐκ ἔστι μὲν πρᾶγμα ὑφεστὼς κατ' οὐσίαν,

οὐδὲ νόημα πράγματος,

οὐδὲ νοῦς πάλιν ἀσώματος,

but a pleasure that hates humankind, born of free will, that urges the nous to badly abuse God’s creatures.

ἀλλ' ἡδονή τις μισάνθρωπος, ἐκ τοῦ αὐτεξουσίου τικτομένη, καὶ κακῶς κεχρῆσθαι, τοῖς τοῦ Θεου῀κτίσμασι τὸν νοῦν ἀναγκάζουσα,

It is this [spiteful pleasure] that the law of God commands us to cut off.

  ἣν καὶ περιτέμνειν ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ νόμος [79.1221d] πεπίστευται.

And as you closely examine these things the [tempting-]thought will be destroyed, analyzed into its proper contemplation;

Καὶ ταῦτά σου διερευνωμένου, φθαρήσεται μὲν ὁ λογισμὸς εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν ἀναλυόμενος θεωρίαν,

and the demon will flee from you

as your mind is equipped by this knowledge for the [spiritual] heights

φεύξεται δὲ ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ δαιμόνιον,

τῆς διανοίας σου ὑπὸ ταύτης τῆς γνώσεως εἰς ὕψος ἀρθείσης.

But if you wish, before using his own sword you may desire first to use your sling against him. Then cast a stone from your shepherd’s fleece (cf. 1Sam 17) and seek the contemplation of this:

[1221δ]  Κʹ. [p.220  Εἰ δὲ βούλη χρήσασθαι μὲν τῇ ἐκείνου ῥομφαίᾳ, ἐπιποθεῖς δὲ πρῶτον διὰ τῆς σῆς σφενδόνης τοῦτον χειρώσασθαι. Ἔκβαλλε καὶ σὺ λίθον ἐκ τοῦ ποιμενικοῦ σου κωδίου, καὶ τούτου ζήτει τὴν θεωρίαν.

[1] Now how is it that angels and demons approach our world,

but we do not approach their worlds?

[2] For, we are not able to unite the angels more [closely] to God,

 nor could we plan [a way] to make the demons more impure.

[3] And how was Lucifer, the morning star, cast down to the earth (cf Is 14:12), ‘making the deep boil like a brazen cauldron’ (Job 41: 31. LXX),

disturbing all by his wickedness and seeking to rule over all?

Πῶς ἄγγελοι μὲν, καὶ δαίμονες τῷ ἡμετέρω παραβάλλουσι [79.1224a]  κόσμῳ, ἡμεῖς δὲ τοῖς αὐτῶν κόσμοις οὐ παραβάλλομεν·

οὔτε γὰρ ἀγγέλους Θεῷ συνάπτειν πλέον δυνάμεθα,
οὔτε δαίμονας ἀκαθάρτους μᾶλλον ποιεῖν προαιρούμεθα.

 Και πῶς ὁ Ἐωσφόρος ὁ πρωῒ ἀνατέλλων εἰς τὴν γῆν κατεῤῥίφη, καὶ ἥγηται μὲν τὴν θάλασσαν ὡς ἐξάλειπτρον, τὸν δὲ Τάρταρον τῆς ἀβύσσου ὥσπερ αἰχμάλωτον, ἀναζεῖ δὲ τὴν ἄβυσσον ὥσπερ χαλκίον, πάντας ἐκταράσσων διὰ τῆς κακίας αὐτοῦ, καὶ πάντων ἄρχειν βουλόμενος;

The contemplation of these [external] matters seriously wounds the demon and drives away all his troops. But this comes to pass only for those who have to some degree been purified and have seen something of the logoi of beings.   For the impure cannot see the contemplation of these [things], and even if they have been taught by others how to outwit the enemy they will fail because of the great clouds of dust and the turmoil aroused by their passions during the battle. For all the troops of the foreigners must be made quiet, so only  Goliath can face our David.

Τούτων γὰρ τῶν πραγμάτων ἡ θεωρία πάνυ τιτρώσκει τὸν δαίμονα, καὶ πᾶσαν αὐτοῦ τὴν παρεμβολὴν φυγαδεύει. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν τῶν ἠρέμα κεκαθαρμένων μόνων  συμβαίνει, καὶ βλεπόντων ποσῶς τοὺς λόγους [p.222 19:40] τῶν γεγονότων.  Οἱ δὲ ἀκάθαρτοι τὴν θεωρίαν τούτων οὐκ ἴσασιν, οὐδὲ εἰ  μαθόντες παῤ ἑτέρων [1224b] κατεπᾴδοιεν ἀκουσθήσονται, πολλοῦ κονιορτοῦ, καὶ θορύβου διὰ τὰ πάθη συνισταμένου κατὰ τὸν πόλεμον. Δεῖ γὰρ πάντως τὴν παρεμβολὴν τῶν ἀλλοφύλων μικρὸν ἠρεμῆσαι, ἵνα μόνον ὁ Γολιὰθ ἀπαντήσῃ τῷ ἡμετέρῳ Δαβίδ.

Let us then in the battle act thus, and utilize both close examination and this [second] method against all unclean [tempting-] thoughts.

Ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ τῇ διαιρέσει, καὶ τῷ εἴδει τούτῳ τοῦ πολέμου χρησώμεθα καὶ ἐπὶ πάντων ἀκαθάρτων λογισμῶν.





Take Note and Remember

 Details of Battle



20. WHENEVER unclean thoughts have been driven off quickly, we should try to find out why this has happened. Did the enemy fail to overpower us because there was no possibility of the thought becoming action ? Or was it because of the degree of dispassion we have attained? For example, if a solitary imagines himself entrusted with the spiritual rule of a city, he does not dwell on this thought for long because clearly it cannot be realized in practice.

[1223d]  ΚΒ' [p.222] 20. Ὅταν τινὲς τῶν ἀκαθαρτων λογισμῶν ταχέως φυγαδευθῶσιν, ζητήσωμεν τὴν αἰτίαν πόθεν τοῦτο συμβέβηκε· πότερον διὰ τὴν σπάνιν τοῦ πράγματος, τοῦ δυσπόριστον εἰναι τὴν προσοῦσαν ἡμῖ ἀπάθειαν οὐκ ἰσχυσαν καθ' ἡμῶν οἱ ἐχθροί; Οἷον, εἴ τις τῶν ἀναχωρούντων ἐνθυμηθείη ὑπὸ δαίμονος, ψτῆς πρώτης πόλεως πνευματικὴν κυβέρνησιν [1225a] πιστευθῆναι, οὗτος δῆλον, ὅτι οὐ χρονίσει λογισμὸν τοῦτον φανταζόμενος, καὶ ἡ αἰτία ἐκ τῶν λεγομένω γίνεται γνώριμος·

But if someone does become the spiritual guide of a city and yet remains unaffected, that means he is blessed with dispassion. The same criterion can be applied to other thoughts.  We need to know these things in order to estimate our commitment and strength, and to perceive whether we have crossed the Jordan and are near the palm -trees, or are still in the wilderness and harassed by the enemy.

εἰ δέ τις πόλεως, καὶ τῆς τυχούσης γίνεται, καὶ ὁμοίως λογίζεται, οὗτος μακάριος τῆς ἀπαθείας ἐστίν. Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων λογισμῶν εὑρωθήσεται ὁ τοιοῦτός τρόπος ἐξεταζόμενος.  Ταῦτα δὲ ἀναγκαῖον εἰδέναι πρὸς τὴν ἡμετέραν προθυμίαν, καὶ δύναμιν, ἵνα εἴδωμεν, πότερον ῆ̀ τὸν Ἰορδάνην παρήλθομεν, καὶ ἐγγύς ἐσμεν τῆς πόλεως τῶν Φοινίκων, ἢ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ διάγομεν, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων τυπτόμεθα.





Avarice Follows Vainglory

and Anger



21. THE demon of avarice, it seems to me, is extraordinarily complex and is baffling in his deceits. Often, when frustrated by the strictness of our renunciation, he immediately pretends to be a steward and a lover of the poor; he urges us to prepare a welcome for strangers who have not yet arrived or to send provisions to absent brethren. He makes us mentally visit prisons in the city and ransom those on sale as slaves. He suggests that we should attach ourselves to wealthy women, and advises us to be obsequious to others who have a full purse. And so, after deceiving the soul, little by little he engulfs it in avaricious thoughts and then hands it over to the demon of self-esteem.

[p.226] 21. Πάνυ γὰρ ποικίλος μοι φαίνεται τῆς φιλαργυρίας ὁ δαίμων, καὶ πρὸς ἀπάτην εὐμήχανος, ὃς πολλάκις στενωθεὶς ὑπὸ τῆς ἄκρας ἀποταγῆς, τὸν οἰκονόμον εὐθὺς, καὶ φιλόπτωχον ὑποκρίνεται, καὶ τοὺς μηδέπω παρόντας [79.1225b] ὑποδέχεται ξένους γνησιώτερον, καὶ ἄλλοις λειπομένοις ἀποστέλλει διακονίαν, καὶ δεσμωτήρια πόλεως ἐπισκέπτεται, καὶ τοὺς πιπασκομένους δῆθεν ἐξαγοράζει, γυναιξί τε κολλᾶται πλουσίαις, καὶ ἄλλους πάλιν ἀποτάξασθαι νουθετεῖ βαλάντιον ἀδρὸν κεκτημένους, καὶ οὕτως ἐξαπατήσας κατὰ μικρὸν τὴν ψυχὴν, τῆς φιλαργυρίας αὐτὴν λογισμοῖς ὑποβάλλει, καὶ τῷ τῆς κενοδοξίας παραδίδωσι δαίμονι.

The latter calls up in our imagination crowds of admirers who praise the Lord for the works of mercy we have performed; he makes us picture people talking to one another about how we deserve to be ordained, and he suggests to us that the present priest is bound to die before long.  So our wretched intellect, entangled by these thoughts, attacks anyone who (as it imagines) opposes the idea of our ordination, while on those who support the idea it lavishes gifts and flattery. Some of our critics we bring in our mind’s eye before the judges and demand their expulsion from the city.

[1225c]  ΚΓ''  Ὡς πλῆθος εἰσάγει τῶν δοξαζόντων ἐπὶ ταῖς οἰκονομίαις ταύταις τὸν Κύριον, καί τινας κατ' ὀλίγον [79.1225c] περὶ ἱερωσύνης συλλαλοῦντας προβάλλων λοιπὸν προμαντεύεται ταχὴν θάνατον τοῦ ὄντος ἱερέως, καὶ ὡς οὐκ ἃν ἐκφύγῃ μυρία ποιήσας προστίθησι, καὶ οὕτως ὁ παλαίπωρος νοῦς ἐνδεθεὶς τούτοις τοῖς λογισμοῖς, τοῖς μὲν μὴ κατεξαμένοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων διαμάχεται, τοῖς δὲ τοῦτο καταδεξαμὲνοις, ἑτοίμως δῶρα χαρίζεται, καὶ τῆς εὐγνωμοσύνης αὐτοὺς ἀποδέχεται· τινὰς δὲ διστασιάζοντας, τοῖς δικαστασαῖς παραδίδωσι, καὶ τῆς πόλεως ἐξορίζεσθαι παραγγέλλει·

As these thoughts circle in our mind, the demon of pride suddenly appears, filling our cell with lightning and visions of terror and trying to make us mad. But let us call down destruction upon all such thoughts and thankfully live in poverty .`For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain that we can take nothing out of it. Having food and raiment, let us be content with them’ (1Tim 6:7-8), remembering the words of St Paul: `Avarice is the root of all evil’ (1Tim 6:10).

τούτων δὲ λοιπὸν ἔνδον ὄντων, καὶ στρεφομένων τῶν λογισμῶν, εὐθὺς καὶ ὁ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας ἐφίσταται δαίμων, ἀστραπὰς συνεχεῖς κατὰ τὸν ἀέρα τῆς κέλλης τυπῶν, καὶ δράκοντας πτερωτοὺς ἐπιπέμπων, καὶ τὸ τελευταῖον κακὸν, στέρησιν φρενῶν ἐργαζόμενον, ἀλλ' ἡμεῖς τούτοις τοῖς λογισμοῖς [79.1225d]  ἀπώλειαν ἐπευξάμενοι, μετ' εὐχαριστίας τῇ πενίᾳ συζήσωμεν, ̧ Οὐδὲν γὰρ εἰηνέγκαμεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οὐδὲ ἐξενεγκεῖν τι δῆλον ὅτι δυνάμεθα· ἔχοντες δὲ τροφὰς, καὶ σκεπάσματα, τούτοις ἀρκεσθησόμεθα, ς μεμνημένοι καὶ Παύλου, ῥίζαν πάντων τῶν κακῶν τὴν φιλαργυρίαν εἰπόντος.





22.  ALL the impure thoughts that persist in us because of our passions bring the intellect down to ruin and perdition. Just as the idea of bread persists in a hungry man because of his hunger, and the idea of water in a thirsty man because of his thirst, so ideas of material things and of the shameful thoughts that follow a surfeit of food and drink persist in us because of the passions.

[p.230] 22. Πάντες οἱ ἀκάθαρτοι λογισμοὶ διὰ τὰ πάθη χρονίζοντες ἐν ἡμῖν, κατάγουσι τὸν νοῦν εἰς ὄλεθρον, καὶ ἀπώλειαν· ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ νόημα τοῦ ἄρτου χρονίζει ἐν τῷ πεινῶντι διὰ τὴν πεῖναν, καὶ τὸ νόημα τοῦ ὕδατος ἐν τῷ διψῶντι διὰ τὴν δίψαν, οὕτω καὶ τὰ νοήματα τῶν κτημάτων, καὶ τῶν χρημάτων, χρονίζει διὰ τὴν πλεονεξίαν, καὶ τὰ νοήματα τῶν βρωμάτων, καὶ τῶν [1228a] τικτομένων αἰσρῶν λογισμῶμ ἐκ τῶν βρωμάτων, χρονίζει διὰ τὰ πάθη.

The same is true about thoughts of self-esteem and other ideas. It is not possible for an intellect choked by such ideas to appear before God and receive the crown of righteousness. It is through being dragged down by such thoughts that the wretched intellect, like the man in the Gospels, declines the invitation to the supper of the knowledge of God (cf. Lk 14:18); and the man who was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness (cf. Mt. 22:13) was clothed in a garment woven of these thoughts, and so was judged by the Lord, who had invited him, not to be worthy of the wedding feast. For the true wedding garment is the dispassion of the deiform soul which has renounced worldly desires.

̓Αλλὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν τῆς κενοδοξίας λογισῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων λογισμῶν ὁμοίως φανερωθήσεται.  Οὐκ ἔστι δὲ νοῦν πνιγόμενν ὑπὸ τοιούτων παραστῆναι Θεῷ, καὶ τὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἀναδήσασθαι στέφανον. ᾿κ τούτων γὰρ τῶν λογισμῶν κατασπώμενος καὶ ἐκεῖνος ὁ ἐν τοῖς Εὐαγγελίοις τρισάθλιος νοῦς, τὸ τῆς Χριστοῦ γνώσεως ἄριστον παρῃτήσατο· καὶ πάλιν ὁ δεσμούμενος χεῖρας, καὶ πόδας, καὶ εἰς τὸ ἐξώτερον σκότος βαλλόμενος ἐκ τούτων τῶν λογισμῶν καθυφασμένον εἶχε τὸ ἐνδυμα, ὅνπερ οὐκ ἄξιον τῶν τοιούτων γάμων ὁ καλέσας απεφήνατο εἰναι· διὸ ἔνδυμά ἐστι γαμικὸν απάθεια ψυχῆς λογικῆς κοσμικὰς ἀρνησαμένης ἐπιθυμίας.

In the texts On Prayer  it is explained why dwelling on ideas of sensory objects destroys true knowledge of God.

Τίς δὲ ἡ αἰτία τοῦ τὰ νοήματα τῶν αἰσθητῶν πραγμάτων, [79.1228b] χρονίζοντα διαφθείρειν τὴν γνῶσιν εἴρηται ἐν τοῖς πρι προσευχῆς κεφαλαίοις.





Dangerous and Destructive Withdrawal

 into Solitude



23. A SOLITARY should never withdraw into solitude [burdened] with anger or gloominess, nor flee from the brethren while perplexed by these [tempting-]thoughts. For madness can arise from such passions as these: when the heart shifts from one [contemplative] insight to another, from this to that, from still another [insight] to yet another one, it [thus] tumbles by stages into the pit of amnesia.  ,p.232] 23.  Μηδεὶς τῶν ἀναχωρούντων μετ' ὀργης ἢ λύπης ἀναχωρείτω, μηδὲ φευγέτω τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων λογισμῶν ἐνοχλούμενος.  Γίνονται γὰρ καὶ ἐκστάσεις καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων παθῶν τῆς καρδίας, ἀπὸ νοήματος εἰς νόημα, καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου ἐφ' ἕτερον, καὶ  απ' ἐκείνου ἐπ' ἄλλο, κατὰ μικρὸν ἐμπιπτούσης εἰς πάραθρον λήθης. 
However, we have known many brothers who fell victim to this shipwreck but were brought back again to human life through the tears and prayers of the other [brethren]. Πολλοὺς γὰρ ἔγνωμεν τῶν ἀδελφῶν περιπεσόντας τούτῷ τῷ ναυαγιῳ, οὓς οἱ λεπτοὶ μετὰ δακρύων καὶ προσευχῆς, αὖθις εἰς τὸν ἀνθρώπινον ἐπανήγαγον βίον. 
But there are others who drifted unawares into a fixed amnesia and have lost the strength to maintain their former state; and to this day we, the humble, behold our shipwrecked brethren. Τινὲς δὲ καὶ ἀνεπάνακτον λήθην λαθόντες, οὐκ ἔτι ἴσχυσαν καταλαβεῖν τὴν πρώτην κατάστασιν, καὶ μέχρι τῆς σήμερον ἡμεῖς οἱ ταπεινοὶ βλέπομεν τὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν ναυάγια·
This particular calamity chiefly befalls one as a consequence of the [tempting-] thought of pride. τοῦτο δὲ τὸ πάθος ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖστον ἀπὸ τῶν τῆς ὑπερηφανίας συμβαίνει λογισμῶν.
When someone withdraws into solitude while in this state [of pride]: first, he perceives the air of his cell burning; then nocturnal flashes of lightning illuminate the walls; voices are [next heard], both of those giving chase and of their victims, while ethereal forms of horse-drawn chariots appear; [finally,] Ethiopians fill the house, and chaos ensues.  And [at last], overwhelmed by terror he descends into madness, succumbing to megalomania; and through fear he forgets his [merely] human state.  Ὅταν δέ τις ἀναχωρεῖ τοιαύτην ἔχων κατάστασιν, πρῶτον μὲν ὁρᾷ τὸν τῆς κέλλης ἀέρα διάπυρον, καὶ ἀστραπὰς τινὰς νύκτωρ ἐκλαμπρούσας περὶ τοὺς τοίχους· ἔπειτα φωνὰς διωκόντων καὶ διωκομένων, καὶ ἅρματα σύν ἵπποις κατὰ τὸν ἀέρα τυπούμενα, καὶ τὸν οἶκον ὅλον πεπληρωμένον Αἰθιόπων καὶ ταραχῆς.  Καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ὑπερβαλλούσης δειλίας ἐκστάσει λοιπὸν περιπίπτει καὶ μετέωρος γίνεται, καὶ τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ἀπὸ τοῦ φόβου ἐπιλανθάνεται καταστάσεως. 
This is why it [especially] behooves us to undertake the solitary life [only] with great humility and gentleness.  And we should console the soul of this afflicted person with spiritual words, saying to him the words of holy David: Διὸ ἀνάγκη μετὰ πολλῆς ταπεινοφροσύνης ἀναχωρεῖ καὶ πραΰτητος, καὶ λόγοις πνευματικοῖς παρακαλεῖν τὴν ψυχὴν τούτου καὶ τὰ τοὺ ἁγίου Δαυὶδ φθέγγεσθαι πρὸς αὐτὴν· ̧

Bless the Lord,  my soul,

never forget all his rewards,

who has compassion on your misdeeds,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from corruption,

who crowns you with mercies and compassion.
(Ps. 102: 2-4).

Εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον, καὶ μὴ ἐπιλανθάνου πάσας τὰς ἀνταποδόσεις αὐτοῦ·

τὸν εὐιλατεύοντα πάσαις ταῖς ἀνομίαις σου, τὸν ἰώμενον πάσας τὰς νόσους σου·

τὸν λυτρούμενον ἐκ φθορᾶς τὴν ζωήν σου, τὸν στεφανοῦντά σε ἐν ἐλέει καὶ οἰκτιρμοῖςς. [Ps 102.2-4] 

These, then, are the type of words you should speak to this person, like a mother at festival seeking diligently for her child out of fear that some evil-doer seize him and carry him away. 

   [p48] Ταῦτα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα φθέγγου πρὸς αὐτὴν· καθάπερ μήτηρ ἐν πανηγύρει τὸ ἴδιον παιδίον ἐπιζητοῦσα πυκνότερον, μὴ τις αὐτὸ τῶν κακούργων ἁρπάσας ἀπέλθῃ·

But above all else we should, through earnest prayer, constantly invite him back to the Lord. μάλιστα δὲ διὰ συντόνου προσευχῆς ἀεὶ καλεῖ τὴν ψυχὴν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον· -





Discernment and the Three




26. IF any of the hermits wishes to receive from the Lord the knowledge of discernment (diakrisis), he should first work eagerly at the commandments that are at hand [in his power], not omitting anything.  And so at the time of prayer he should request knowledge from God, who gives generously to all without reproaching; but let him ask without doubting (Jas 1:5), not thrown about by waves of doubt (cf. Mt. 8:24) , and it will be given him (Jas 1:5). 26. [SC,p.244] Εἴ τις βούλοιτο τῶν ἀναχωρητῶν γνῶσιν διακρίσεως παρὰ Κυρίου λαβεῖν, τὰς ἐν χερσὶ πρῶτον ἐντολὰς κατεργαζέσθω προθύμως, μηδὲν παραλείπων.  Καὶ οὕτω κατὰ τὸν καὶρον τῆς προσευχῆς αἰτείτω γνῶσιν παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, τοῦ διδόντος πασιν ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος· [cf.. Μτ. 8·24] αἰτείτω δὲ μηδὲν διακριόμενος, μηδὲ ὑπὸ κυμάτων ἀπιστιας βαλλόμενος, καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ. 
For it is not possible to receive knowledge of even more matters if one has been neglectful of those matters already known Οὐκ ἐστι πλειόνων πραγμάτων γνῶσιν λαβεῖν ἀελοῦντα τῶν ἐγνωσμένων, ἵνα μή τις πραγμάτων γνῶσιν λαβεῖν ἀμελοῦντα τῶν ἐγνωσμένων,
otherwise, having transgressed greatly one would be answerable for even more sins.  ἵνα ή τις πολλὰ παραβαίνων, πλειόνων ἁμαρτημάτων ὑπεύθυνος γένηται. 

   And it is a blessed thing to serve the knowledge of God, for it is truly dangerous not to do what [such knowledge] advises, and it is blessed to do all that it teaches.

Καὶ μακάριος δουλεῦσαι γνώσει Θεοῦ, ἐπικίνδυνον γὰρ ὄντως μὴ ποιοῦντα τὰ ὑπ' αὐτῆς προστασσόμενα· μακάριον δὲ εἰ πράττοι πάντα τὰ ὑπ' αὐτης διδασκόμενα. 

The nous wanders in circles when it is impassioned (empathēs) and becomes difficult to restrain when it reflects [within itself] on matters that produce pleasures. Κυκλεύι γὰρ ὁ νοῦς ἐμπαθὴς ὢν καὶ δυσκάθεκτος γίνεται, τὰς ποιητικὰς τῶν ἡδονῶν ὕλας ἐπισκεπτόμενος. 
But it ceases to wander when, having attained apatheia, it meets the Incorporeal [Beings], who fulfill its spiritual desires (epithumia)  Ἵσταται δ̀ τῆς πλάνης ἀπαθὴς γεγονὼς καὶ τοῖς ἀσωμάτοις περιτυχῶν τοῖς ἀποπληροῦσι τὰς πνευματικὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτῷ. 
However, it is impossible to receive knowledge without having made the first, second, and third renunciation[s]. Οὐκ ἔστι δὲ κτήσασθαι γνῶσιν, μὴ τὴν πρώτην ἀπόταξιν καὶ δευτέραν καὶ τρίτην ἀποταξάμενον·

The first renunciation is to voluntarily leave all worldly things for the knowledge of God;

καὶ πρώτην ἀπόταξις, κατάλειψις κοσμικῶν πραγμάτων ἑκούσιους τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ γνώσεως ἕνεκεν·

the second is the casting aside of evil which occurs through the grace of Christ our Savior and the zeal of the human person;

δευτέρα δὲ ἀπόθεσις κακίας χάριτι τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ καὶ σπουδῇ τῇ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου προσγενομένῃ·

the third renunciation is separation from ignorance concerning those things that are naturally manifested to people in accordance with their state

 τρίτη δὲ ἀπόταξις χωρισμὸς ἀγνοίας ἐστὶ τῶν πεφυκότων ἐμφανίζεσθαι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις κατ' ἀναλογίαν τῆς καταστάσεως· -





Holy Contemplation on the Wings

of Apatheia



29. IF one of the hermits is not disturbed by fantasies during sleep [or] by terrifying or lustful visions [...] truly blessed is he for such a level of apatheia!

 29.[SC,p.254]   Εἴ τις τῶν ἀναχωρούντων ἐν ταῖς καθ' ὕπνον φανασίαις ἐπι τοῖς φοβεροῖς ἢ πορνικοῖς μὴ ἐκταράσσοιτο φάσμασιν, [...] Οὗτος ὄντως μακάριος τῆς τοιαύτης ἀπαθείας ἐστί. 

FOR the soul that has succeeded in asceticism (praktike) with God’s help and is [thus] released from the body, attains those places of knowledge where the wing of apatheia give it rest: then it will receive also the wings of that holy Dove and will take flight through the contemplation of all the ages and will find rest in the knowledge of the adorable Trinity.

Ψυχὴ γὰρ πρακτικὴν σὺν Θεῷ κατορθώσας καὶ λυθεῖσα τοῦ σώματος, ἐν ἐκείνοις γίνεται τοῖς τῆς γνώσεως τόποις, ἐν οἷς ἂν αὐτὴν τὸ τῆς ἀπαθείας πτερὸν καταπαύσῃ, ἀφ' ὧν λοιπὸν λήψεται καὶ τὰς πτέρυγας τῆς ἁγίας ἐκείνης περιστεράς· καὶ μετασθήσεται διὰ τῆς θεωρίας πάντων των αἰώνων, καὶ καταπαύσει εἰς τὴν γνῶσιν τῆς προσκυνητῆς Τριάδος·-





38. (Phk.17.) OUR reasoning nature, having been put to death by vice, is raised by Christ through the contemplation of all the ages. And his Father raises the soul which has died the death of Christ by means of the knowledge He gives of Himself.  And this is what was meant by Paul: If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. (Rom 6:8 ?2 Tim. 1: 11?).

 ͅ 38. [π.284] Φύσιν μὲν λογικὴν ὑπὸ κακίας θανατωθεῖσαν ἐγείρει Χριστὸς διὰ τῆς θεωρίας πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· ὁ δὲ τούτου πατὴρ την ἀποθανοῦσαν ψυχὴν τὸν θάνατον τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγείρει διὰ τῆς γνώσεως τῆς ἑαυτοῦ· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ [π.286] ὑπὸ τοῦ [79.1221β] ἀποστόλου λεγόμενον, τὸ, ̧ εἰ συνάπεθανομεν τῷ Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν, ὅτι καὶ συζήσομεν αὐτῷ.ς





 39. (Phk.18.) WHEN the nous  has stripped off the old man and put on [that which comes] from grace, (cf Col 3:9-10)  then it will see its own state at the time of prayer, like a sapphire or the color of heaven, which Scripture calls the place of God that was seen by the elders under Mount Sinai (cf. Exod. 24:10).

 ͅ 39.  Ὅταν ὁ νοῦς τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον  ἀποδυσάμενος τὸν ἐκ χάριτος ἐνδύσηται, τότε καὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ κατάστασιν ὄψεται κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς, σαπφείρῳ ἢ οὐρανίῳ χρώματι παρεμφερῆ, ἥτινα καὶ τόπον Θεοῦ ἡ γραφὴ ὀνομάζει ὑπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ὀφθέντα ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄρους Σινᾶ.





 40. THE nous cannot see the place of God within itself unless it is lifted up above all the concepts [noemata] of [external] objects.  But it will not be lifted up unless it strips off the passions enchaining it through concepts [noemata] of sensory objects.  And while it puts away passions through the virtues, the [more] subtle [tempting-]thoughts [are laid aside] through spiritual contemplations; and these, in turn [are laid aside] when there appears to it that light which at the time of prayer shapes [within it] a model of the place of God.

 40. [π.288] Οὐκ ἂν ἴδοι ὁ νοῦς τὸν τοῦ τόπον ἐν ἑαυτῷ, μὴ πάντων τῶν ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν ̧νοημάτωνς ὑψηλότερος, μὴ τὰ πάθη ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰ συνδεσμοῦντα αὐτὸν διὰ τῶν νοημάτων τοῖς πράγμασι τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς.  Καὶ τὰ μὲν πάθη ἀποθήσεται [π.290] διὰ τῶν ἀρετῶν, τοὺς δὲ ψιλοὺς λογισμοὺς διὰ τῆς πνευματικῆς θεωρίας, καὶ ταύτην πάλιν ἐπιφανέτος αὐτῷ τοῦ φωτὸς ἐκείνου τοῦ κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς ἐκτυποῦντος τὸν τόπον τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ.





 42.  DIABOLICAL thoughts blind the left eye of the soul,  that which is given over to the contemplation of created beings. Concepts that stamp our chief intellective faculty and clothe it [in a form] disturb the right eye which, at the time of the prayer, contemplates the blessed light of the Holy Trinity:  it is with this eye also that the betrothed has ravished the heart of the Betrothed in the Song of Songs (Cant 4:3).

 42. [π.55] [π.296] Οἱ μὲν δαιμονιώδεις λογισμοὶ τὸν εὐώνυμον ὀφθαλμὸν τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκτυφλοῦσι, τὸν ἐπιβάλλοντα τῇ θεωρίᾳ τῶν γεγνονοτων· τὰ δὲ νοήματα τὰ τυποῦντα τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν ἡμῶν καὶ σχηματίζοντα, τὸν δεξιὸν ὀφθαλμὸν ἐκθολοῖ τὸν θεωροῦντα κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς τὸ μακάριον φῶς τῆς ἁγίας Τριάδος, δι' οὗ ὀφθαλμοῦ καὶ τὸν νυμφίον αὐτον ἐκαρδίωσεν ο168] ἡ νύμφη ἐν τοῖς ᾀσμασι τῶν ᾀσμάτων[ξφ. Ξαντ 4·9]:-





 43.  IF you long (epithumōn) for pure prayer, keep guard over your indignation (thumos); and if you desire self-restraint, control your belly, and do not take your fill even of bread and water. Keep vigil in prayer and let resentment (mnesikakia) be far from you. Let the words (logoi) of the Holy Spirit be always with you; and knock at the doors of Scripture with the virtues as your hands to . Then apatheia of heart will arise within you, and during prayer you will see your nous shine like a star.

 43. [p.298]. PG 79. 1228Β λ. 13-21. [p.55]  Ἐπιθυμῶν οὖν καθαρᾶς προσευχῆς, διατήρησον θυμὸν, καὶ ἀγαπῶν σωφροσύνην, κράτει γαστρὸς, μὴ δῷς ἄρτον σῇ κοιλίᾳ εἰς κόρον καὶ ἐν ὕδατι ἐκθλιβε αὐτὴν· ἀγρύπνει ἐν προσευχῇ, καὶ μνησικακίαν μακρὰν ποίησον ἀπὸ σοῦ, λόγοι Πνεύματος ἁγίου μὴ ἐκλειπέτωσάν [79.1128ξ] σε, καὶ θύραν  γραφῆς  κροῦε χερσὶν ἀρετῶν.  Τότε ἀνατελεῖ σοι καρδίας ἀπάθεια, καὶ νοῦν ἀστεροειδῇ ὄψει ἐν προσευχῇ.







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