Based on: Desert Hermits, Byzant. MS. illum., ca, 1081 Princeton Univ. Library. imge modif .



1. EVAGRIUS PRINCIPAL TEXTS on PSALMODY2. EVAGRIUS: On Various Tempting-Thoughts, (sel);









Adapted from: Psalmody and Prayer in the Wrintings of Evagrius Ponticus, L. Dysinger, (Oxf. U. Pr., 2005), pp. 62-102

PALLADIUS’ attribution to Evagrius of one hundred daily ‘prayers’[1] attests that Evagrius spent a large part of his day in the alternating rhythm of psalmody and prayer which Cassian describes in his Institutes and Conferences. Evagrius would have offered twelve psalms (or portions of divided psalms) with their accompanying prayers at each of the two canonical offices of Vigils and Vespers. He presumably offered a sizeable portion of the remaining seventy-six psalm-prayers during the two periods of meditation described in the Coptic version of the Lausiac History: namely, the two-thirds of the night during which he prayed and meditated while pacing in his courtyard, and the interval during the afternoon when he resumed his pacing and meditation on the scriptures. [2]

     There are five texts in the works which can be confidently attributed to Evagrius in which he reflects at some length on the purpose and goal of psalmody. [3] Elsewhere in his writings he often extols in passing the value of this practice which occupied so much of his waking day; but in these five texts he employs a variety of images and definitions to contrast psalmody with prayer, thus affording a glimpse of the place he accords to psalmody in his model of the spiritual life. Four of these texts, De oratione 82, 83, 85, and 87 comprise most of a chain consisting of chapters 82-87:

Evagrius On Prayer 82-87-Praayer and Psalmody



καὶ ἀταράχως

και ψάλλε


καὶ εὐρύθμως,

καὶ ἔσῃ ὡς νεοσσὸς ἀετοῦ ἐν ὕψει αἰρόμενος.

 82. PRAY:

[1] gently and [2] undisturbed,


[1] with understanding and
[2] good rhythm;

then you will be like the young eagle that soars in the heights.

83. μὲν ψαλμῳδία τὰ πάθη κατευνάζει καὶ τὴν ἀκρασίαν τοῦ σώματος ἠρεμεῖν ἀπεργάζεται·

ἡ δὲ προσευχὴ ἐνεργεῖν παρασκευάζει τὸν νοῦν τὴν ἰδίαν ἐνέργειαν.

 83. PSALMODY calms the passions and puts to rest the body’s disharmony;

PRAYER arouses the nous to activate its own proper activity.

[84. Προσευχὴ ἐστὶ πρέπουσα ἐνέργεια τῇ ἀξίᾳ τοῦ νου ἤτοι ἡ κρείττων καὶ εἰλικρινὴς ἐνέργεια αὐτου καὶ χρῆσις.]

[84. Prayer is the power befitting the dignity of the nous; it is the nous’ highest and purest power and function.]

85.̔Η μὲν ψαλμῳδία τῆς ποικίλης σοφίας ἐστὶν,

ἡ δὲ προσευχὴ προοίμιόν ἐστι τῆς ἀΰλου, καὶ ἀποικίλου γνώσεως.

 85. PSALMODY pertains to multiform wisdom;

PRAYERis the prelude to immaterial and uniform knowledge.

[86. γνῶσις, καλλίστη ὑπάρχει· συνεργὸς γάρ ἐστι τῆς προσευχῆς, τὴν νοερὰν δύναμιν τοῦ νοῦ διυπνίζουσα πρὸς θεωρίαν τῆς θείας γνώσεως.]

[86. Knowledge has great beauty: it is the co-worker of prayer, awakening the intellectual power of the intellect to contemplation of divine knowledge.]

87. Εἰ οὔπω ἔλαβες χάρισμα προσευχῆς ψαλμῳδίας, ἐφέδρευσον καὶ λήψῃ.[4]

  87. If you have not yet received the gift of PRAYER or PSALMODY, persevere and you will receive it.

       The fifth text in which Evagrius contrasts psalmody and prayer is from the Praktikos:

ζθ´. Μέγα μὲν τὸ ἀπερισπάστως προσεύχεσθαι, μεῖζον δὲ τὸ καὶ ψάλλειν ἀπερισπάστως.[5]

  69. A great thing - to PRAY without distraction; a greater thing still - to SING PSALMS without distraction.

          The only detailed study of these texts which has been undertaken to date is by Gabriel Bunge. [6] His concise study, Geistgebet, is a commentary on Evagrius’ De oratione intended for a wide audience. Bunge acknowledges his indebtedness to Adelbert de Vogüé who has described and drawn attention to the early monastic practice of psalmody.[7] Bunge’s contribution consists in a detailed explication of Evagrius’ understanding of the respective spiritual goals and effects of psalmody and prayer.

     Chapters 82-87 of De oratione in which Evagrius describes the relationship between prayer and psalmody are preceded by two contrasting chains of chapters. Chapters 67-73 warn against the demonic temptation to fantasize a visual form while praying. There then follow eight chapters concerned with the assistance offered by angels to the one who prays. After promising in chapter 80 that angels will ‘illuminate the one who truly prays with the logoi of things that have been created’,[8] Evagrius warns in chapter 81 that we must not provoke the angels ‘who strive greatly on our behalf’ through our ‘negligent dallying with thoughts inspired by the demons’.[9] Having thus emphasized the value of imageless prayer and the need for divine assistance (mediated by the angels) in attaining it, Evagrius turns in De oratione 82-87 to the interrelationship between psalmody and prayer. The deliberate structure of these six chapters and their interconnection becomes more apparent when they are summarized in diagrammatic form:

) P
RAYER to be offered gently/calmly
          B) [P
SALMS] to be chanted intelligently/well-rhythmed

          B) P
SALMODY soothes passions/quiets (somatic) disharmony
A) P
RAYER arouses the nous to its proper activity

A) P
RAYER - the highest power of the nous

PSALMODY - multiform wisdom
PRAYER - uniform knowledge

PRAYER , co-worker with knowledge, awakening nous to contemplation

( CHAPTER 87: the gift of PRAYER and PSALMODY available to those who persevere )

     With the exception of chapter 86 which is simply a concluding exhortation to perseverance, these chapters are closely linked and intertwined. In chapters 82, 83, and 85 the concept introduced in the second half of each chapter is taken up in the first part of the following chapter. This permits Evagrius to maintain a consistent pattern of exposition in which psalmody and prayer are contrasted within individual chapters (i.e. 82, 83, 85, 87), while at the same time allowing for a more extended discussion by carrying a subject on into the following chapter. Thus in chapters 82-83 psalmody is associated with both the mind and the body; while prayer is associated with the nous in chapters 83-84 and with ‘uniform’ wisdom, divine knowledge, and contemplation in chapters 85-86. As is true throughout Evagrius writings, this circuitous, slowly-progressive form of exposition presupposes a willingness to memorize and linger on each chapter and related series of chapters, savoring and exploring biblical allusions and interrelationships between words.[10]

(2)_ EVAGRIUS: On Various Tempting-Thoughts, (sel);




de Diversis Malignis Cogitationibus:  Περὶ διαφόρων πονηρῶν λογισμῶν  (CPG 2450) PG 79, 1200-1233 (=Suarès (1673); Φιλοκαλία  I, Athens 1957 pp. 44-57;. ; transl. of ch. 1-2, 6-8  by Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.]

     17. THE concepts (noemata) 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)  

[79,1220β] ΚΕΦΑΛ.ΙΖ´. Τὰ νοήματα τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ὁ Κύριος καθάπερ πρόβατά τινα τῷ ἀγαθῷ ποιμένι τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ παρέδωκε· κὰι γὰρ, φησὶν, τὸν αἰῶνα δέδωκεν ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀυτοῦ·



yoking to him indignation (epithumia) and desire (thumos) for [his] support, so that with the first he may drive away the concepts (noemata) from the wolves, while with desire he may lovingly tend the sheep, assailed as he often is by the rain and winds. συζεύξας αὐτῷ θυμὸν, κὰι επιθυμίαν πρὸς βοήθειαν, ἵνα, διὰ μὲν τοῦ θυμοῦ, 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).

Δέδωκε δὲ αὐτῷ πρὸς τούτοις καὶ νομὸν, ὅπως ποιμαίνῃ τὰ πρόβατα, καὶ τόπον χλόης, καὶ [79,1220ξ] ὕδωρ ἀναπαύσεως, καὶ ψαλτήριον, καὶ κιθάραν, καὶ ῥάβδον, καὶ βακτηρίαν, ἵνα ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ποίμνης, καὶ τροφῇ, καὶ ἐνδύσηται, καὶ χόρτον ὀρεινὸν συναγάγῃ.  < Τίς γὰρ, φησὶ, ποιμαίνει ποίμνην, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ γάλακτος τῆς ποίμνης οὐκ ἐσθίει; >

     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 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, [79,1220δ] εἰ μετὰ κενοδοξίας κατὰ διάνοιαν βόσκοιτο· καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων δὲ νοημάτων ὡσαύτως συμβήσεται, κλεπτομένων τοῖς πάθεσιν.

    18. 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)

[79,1220δ] ΚΕΦ. 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 [79.1221α] νυκτὸς, καὶ ἐγενόμην συγκαιόμενος τῷ καύσωνι τῆς ἡμέρας, καὶ τῷ παγετῷ τῆς νυκτὸς, καὶ ἀφίστατο ὁ ὕπνος ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μου; >

 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 the strings with the virtues 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) and grant us the logoi of signs and wonders.

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 καλέσῃ, καὶ τοὺς λόγους τῶν σημείων, καὶ τῶν τεράτων καὶ ἡμῖν χαρίσηται.



(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. (2 Tim. 1: 11).

Φύσιν μὲν λογικὴν ὑπὸ κακίας θανατωθεῖσαν ἐγείρει Χριστὸς διὰ τῆς θεωρίας πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· ὁ δὲ τούτου πατὴρ την ἀποθανοῦσαν ταυτής ψυχὴν , τὸν θάνατον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐγείρει διὰ γνώσεως τῆς ἑαυτοῦ.  Καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ [79.1221β] Παύλου λεγόμενον τὸ, < Εἰ συνάπεθανομεν τῷ Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν, ὅτι καὶ συζήσομεν αὐτῷ.

(Phk.18.) WHEN the nous [intellect], has stripped off the old human being 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. 24:20). Οταν ὁ νοῦς τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον  ἀποδυσάμενος τὸν ἐκ χάριτος ἐνδύσηται, τότε καὶ τὴν αὐτοῦ κατάστασιν ὄψεται κατὰ καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς, σαπφείρῳ ἢ οὐρανίῳ χρώματι παρεμφερῆ, ἥτινα καὶ τόπον Θεοῦ Γραφὴ ὀνομάζει ὑπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ὀφθέντα ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄρους Σινᾶ.




Evagrius, SCHOLIA on the PSALMS, [CPG 2455]


according to the collation of M.-J. Rondeau: Key in ‘Le commentaire sur les Psaumes d’Évagre le Pontique,  Orientalia Christiana Periodica 26 (1960):307-348. Except where otherwise indicated, Greek text is from Rondeau’s unpublished critical edition, found also in these orincipal sources:  R = De La Rue, editor of Selecta in Psalmos , PG 12.1054 ff. (TLG Or.58; Sel.);  P = Pitra, ed. Origenes in Psalmos pub. in Analecta Sacra v.2 p 444-483; v.3 p.1-364. (TLG Or. 44; Frag);  M = Athanasius, Expositiones in Psalmos (TLG Ath 61; Exp)


 μακάριος ἀνὴρ ὃς οὐκ ἐπορεύθη ἐν βουλῇ ἀσεβῶν,

1(1).  Blessed the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly,

   1. βουλὴ ἀσεβῶν ἐστι λογισμὸς ἐμπαθὴς αἰσθητοῖς πράγμασι τὸν νοῦν προσδεσμῶν. Οὐκ εἶπε δὲ, ̧ ἄνθρωπος ς, ἀλλ' ̧ ἀνὴρ ς, ὅτι πρὸς ἀγῶνας καὶ πάλας καὶ μάχας τὰς ὑπὲρ ἀρετῆς καλεῖ· καὶ βούλεται καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας ἀῤῥενώπους καὶ ἀνδρείας εἶναι. [cf PG 12.1085.]

    1. The counsel of the ungodly is the [tempting-] thought that chains the intellect to sensual concerns.  It does not say “human being” but man, for it summons to struggle and fighting and battle for virtue; and it counsels that both men and women be more virile [in this].

   2. μακαριότης δὲ, ψυχῆς ἀπάθεια μετὰ γνώσεως τῶν ὄντων ἀληθοῦς. [cf. PG 12.1085 mod.]

    2. But blessedness is apatheia of the soul together with true knowledge of things that exist.

1̔3̓ καὶ ἐν ὁδῷ ἁμαρτωλῶν οὐκ ἔστη

1(3). and in the way of sinners he has not stood,

   3. καθέδρα λοιμῶν ἐστι λογικῆς ψυχῆς ἕξις χειρίστη, καθ' ἣν καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους διδάσκει παρανομεῖν. [= PG 12.1085.]

    3. The seat of the pestilential is the worst habit of the reasoning soul by which it also teaches others to disobey the law.

2̔2̓ καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτοῦ μελετήσει ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός.

2(2). and on his law he will meditate day and night.

  4. οὗτος διὰ παντὸς μελετήσει τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ τὰ καλὰ ἔργα διαπραττόμενος.

    4. He meditates constantly on the law of God who is accomplishing good works.

3 καὶ ἔσται ὡς τὸ ξύλον τὸ πεφυτευμένον παρὰ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὑδάτων, ὃ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ δώσει ἐν καιρῷ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ φύλλον αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἀπορρυήσεται

3. And he will be like the tree that is planted near the running waters, which will bring forth its fruit in its season and its leaf shall not drop.

  5. ὁ̔ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἀγάπη, χάρα, εἰρήνη καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. ὅρα πῶς ἐμψύχως εἴρηται δώσει, ἀλλ' οὐκ οἰσει. δίδωσι δὲ ὁ δίκαιος ἐν καιρῷ θυμοῦ καὶ ἐπιθυμίας μακροθυμίαν, ἀνδρείαν, σωφροσύνην, ἐν λοιδορίᾳ καὶ καταλαλιᾷ τὴν εὐλογίαν, τὴν σιωπήν, τοὺς ἐπαινούς, ὧν τὰς ἐπικαρπίας κομίσεται ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι, θάλλει δὲ καὶ ὧδε κομῶν ὡς φύλλοις τῷ ἐλπίδι ψυχαγωγούσῃ τὴν τῶν κόπων βαρύτητα ἢ τῇ ταπεινώσει τηρούσῃ καὶ σκεπούσῃ τοὺς καρποὺς ἀδιαπτώτους. 

    5.  ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace,’ (Gal 5:22) and so on. See how vividly it offers the reading, will bring forth; but not, will bear.  For the just one, in the season of indignation and desire, can bring forth patient endurance, courage, and temperance: in abuse and slander - blessing, silence, and praise; these being the harvest-revenue he will receive back as his future reward. And he blooms exceedingly in hope; as if decked with leaves, [hope thus] accompanying the heaviest toil: or else he humbles himself, [thus] guarding and sheltering the unfailing fruit.

  6. τὰ φύλλα δεικνύουσι τὰ δένδρα καὶ τὸν δίκαιον τὰ καθήκοντα.  ἔστι δὲ φύλλα γνωρίσματα ψυχῆς ἀγαθῆς διὰ σώματος ἐκτελούμενα, οἷον εἶδος ἐσθῆτος, βῆμα ποδός, προσώπου μειδίαμα.

     6.  The trees brings forth leaves, and the just one his daily tasks.  And the leaves are tokens of a good soul achieved by means of the body, like the appearance of clothes,  a foot’s stride [“to set one’s foot on”] (Deut 2:5; Acts 7:5),  a smiling face.

οὐχ οὕτως οἱ ἀσεβεῖς, οὐχ οὕτως,

4 (1)  Not so are the impious, not so

  7. ἐσχηματισμένην οἱ ἄπιστοι κέκτηνται τὴν ἀρετήν.

    7. The unbelievers make a great show of having acquired virtue

5(1) διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἀναστήσονται ἀσεβεῖς ἐν κρίσει [οὐδὲ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐν βουλῇ δικαίων·]

5(1). Therefore the ungodly shall not rise in judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the just.

   8. Κρίσις ἐστὶ δικαίων μὲν ἡ ἀπὸ πρακτικοῦ σώματος ἐπὶ ἀγγελικὰ μετάβασις· ἀσεβῶν δὲ ἀπὸ πρακτικοῦ σώματος ἐπὶ σκοτεινὰ καὶ ζοφερὰ μετάθεσις σώματα. Ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ οἱ [12.1100] ἀσεβεῖς οὐκ ἐν τῇ προτέρᾳ κρίσει, ἀλλ' ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ. [cf. PG 12.1097-1100.]

   8. Judgement is for the just the passage from a body for asceticism to an angelic one: but for the ungodly it is the change from a body for asceticism to a darkened and gloomy one.  For the ungodly will not be raised in the first judgment, but rather in the second.

6̔1̓ ὅτι γινώσκει κύριος ὁδὸν δικαίων,

6(1).  For the Lord knows the way of the just

   9. μόνον τὸ καλὸν οἶδεν ὁ θεὸς, φαῦλον δὲ οὐδέν· ἀνάξια γὰρ τῆς γνώσεως αὐτοῦ.

   9. God looks only on the good, never on the wicked: for they are unworthy of his knowledge.




5̔1̓.  τότε λαλήσει πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐν ὀργῇ αὐτοῦ

     1. .Ὀργή ἐστι Θεοῦ κόλασις ἐπίπονος ἐπὶ τῷ συμφέροντι τοῦ ἡμαρτηκότος. [Π]

5 (1). This he said to them in his anger

            1. Anger is God’s painful punishment for the benefit of the one who has sinned.

7. κύριος εἶπεν πρός με υἱός μου εἶ σύ,
          ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε·

            2. ἄχρι τὸ σήμερον καλεῖται. [cf Pitra 2.7.2]

v.7  The Lord said to me you are my son,
            today I have begotten you

            2. Unto today he adresses [him thus].

8̔.1̓  αἴτησαι παρ' ἐμοῦ, καὶ δώσω σοι ἔθνη τὴν κληρονομίαν σου

            3. κληρονομίαν ἐνταῦθα ὠνόμασεν τὴν φύσιν τὴν λογικὴν κληρονομοῦσαν αὐτὸν ὡς σοφίαν καὶ γνῶσιν καὶ ἀλήθειαν καὶ δικαιοσύνην. κληρονομία δὲ ἐστι φύσεως λογικῆς θεωρία σωματῶν καὶ ἀσωμάτων καὶ τοῦ αἰτίου τούτων Θεοῦ. [cf PG 12.1108.38]

8 (1).  Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance  

            3.  Here inheritance means the reasoning nature inheriting him as knowledge and truth and justice.  But inheritance of reasoning nature is contemplation of corporeal and incorporeal [beings] and the origin of these [beings] in God.

12̔1̓.  δράξασθε παιδείας μήποτε ὀργισθῇ κύριος

            4. παιδεία ἐστὶ μετριοπαθεία παθῶν· ὅπερ συμβαίνειν πέφυκεν ἐκ τῆς πρακτικῆς, εἴγε πρακτική ἐστι διδασκαλία πνευματικὴ τὸ παθητικὸν μέρος τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκκαθαίρουσα. [cf Pitra 2.12.1 ]

v. 121Lay hold of instruction so the Lord is not angered

            4. Instruction is moderation of the passions, which tends naturally to result from the praktike.  For the praktike is spiritual teaching purifying the portion of the soul subject to passion






(CPG 2434)

Syriac text with Greek retroversion by W. Fankenberg, Evagrius Ponticus, Abhandlung der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wisenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse, Neue Folge, Band xiii, no. 2 (Berlin, 1912): 472-544; Frankenberg’s edition of the Antirrheticus is based on the British Museum Syriac MS addit. 14578, f. 34b-77a) 


 αγωνιζομενον ανοιξαι το στομα μου και λαλησαι προς τον θεουν και προς τους αγιουσ αυτου αγγελους και προς την ψυχην μου την πειραζομενην·

[...] I HAVE STRUGGLED to open my mouth and speak before God and his holy angels and before my own afflicted soul. 

 ͅ36αβ και παντα τον αγωνα της μοναστικης αναστροφης αποδειξω προφανως, ον και το αγιον πνευμα δια ψαλμων εδιδαξεν τον Δαυιδ και οι εν μακαριοις πατερες ημιν παρεδοσαν. ουτος δε ο αγων ον ωνομασα εν τηι γραφηι μετα ταυτα

I reveal all the struggles of the ascetic life openly, [that life] that the Holy Spirit TAUGHT DAVID THROUGH THE PSALMS, and that was also delivered to us by the blessed fathers. This is named after these things in the Scriptures.



[1] Cf. above, Chapter 2.1: Palladius, Lausiac History 38.10, Bartelink, p. 200: Εποίει δὲ εὐχὰς ἑκατόν.

[2] Palladius, Lausiac History (Coptic ver.), Amélineau, p. 113.

[3] The relative merits of psalmody and prayer are also contrasted in Paraeneticus 14-16 (Frankenberg, p. 558), a text preserved only in Syriac which is attributed to Evagrius in manuscripts of the sixth and seventh centuries, but to Abraham Nathperaya after the eighth century. Bunge’s study of the Paraeneticus has led him to conclude that it cannot be regarded as the work of either Evagrius or Abraham Nathperaya (Geistgebet, p. 94, n. 4). Among other disquieting features is the absence of typical Evagrian terminology such as praktikos, apatheia, logoi, and gnosis. For this reason texts from the Paraeneticus are not discussed in this thesis.

[4] Evagrius, De oratione 82-87, Tugwell, pp. 16-17 (cf. PG 79.1185).

[5] Evagrius, Praktikos 69, SC 171, p. 652.

[6] Irénée Hausherr comments briefly on De oratione 82-87 in ‘Le Traité de l’Oraison D’Évagre le Pontique’, pp. 127-132. Bunge discusses the interrelationship between psalmody and prayer in Geistgebet ch. 1, ‘Psalmodie und Gebet’, pp. 13-28; and ch. 2, ‘Betet ohne Unterlass’, pp. 29-43. Bunge reveals the orientation of his commentary in the first paragraph of the first chapter where he asserts that in antiquity psalmody and prayer were regarded as two separate entities, each clearly distinct from the other, yet closely related. He is particularly eager to challenge the modern notion (almost universally held by those obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours) that the singing or saying of psalms itself constitutes prayer. He points out that in antiquity psalmody always preceded prayer, but was not (without further qualification) regarded as prayer: ‘Psalmody is not - or at least is not yet - prayer!’ Geistgebet, p. 13.

[7] Bunge refers his readers to Vogüé’s articles, ‘Psalmodie et Prière’ and ‘Psalmodier n’est pas prier’. Vogüé reviews in detail the ancient monastic practice of prayer and advocates restoring to the Liturgy of the Hours silent intervals of up to three minutes following each psalm and reading: Vogüé, La règle de saint Benoît, vol. 5, pp. 555-558; vol. 7, pp. 184-240, esp. pp. 206-240.

[8] Evagrius, De oratione 80, Tugwell, p. 16 (cf. PG 79.1185): ὰν ἀληθῶς προσεύχῃ [] ἄγγελοι [] τοὺς λόγους τῶν γινομένων φωτιοῦσι σε.

[9] Evagrius, De oratione 81, Tugwell, p. 16 (cf. PG 79.1185): Γίνωσκε ὅτιπερ οἱ ἅγιοι ἄγγελοι προτρέπονται ἡμᾶς εἰς προσευχὴν [] ἐὰν οὖν ἀμελήσωμεν καὶ δεξώμεθα λογισμοὺς ἐναντίους, λίαν παροξύνομεν αὐτοὺς.

[10] Driscoll highlights the necessity for repetition and ‘digestion’ of Evagrius’ gnomic texts in The ‘Ad Monachos’, pp. 329-331, 361-388, and in ‘Spiritual Progress’, pp. 62-63.

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