SELECTED LETTERS

1-10; 24-25; 51-57; 59
 

 Monk, writing. Afignon  BM- 0136


Translation by Luke Dysinger, O.S.B (translation in public domain)

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). Portions of the Greek of Letters 4.3-6, 25, 27, 52, 56, 58, in Claire Guillaumont “Fragments grecs inédits d’Evagre le Pontique” Texte und Untersuchungen 133 (1987): 217-220.


Translation and Discussion of Letter 57 http://students.cua.edu/16kalvesmaki/EvagPont/EvEp57.htm 


  

 

LETTER 1 [To Melania]_

α. παλιν επιστολαι αυτου του ευαγριου [160βα.  p.565]

  

 

1. IT is said that a person bitten by a viper endures less suffering if he converses with another who has also been bitten by a viper: and so in my many adversities my soul is comforted by telling you who have had a severe breakdown, that the demons’ wiles are many and powerful against who strive to possess the knowledge of Christ (Phil 3:8).

το λεγομενον οτι ο δηχθεις υπ' εχιδνης ͅ ου πολυ παθος υπομενει ει ομιλει αλλωι τινι υπ' εχιδνης δηχθεντι και εγω τοινυν εν ταις πολλαις μου πληγαις την ψυχην μου παραμυθουμαι σοι διαλεγων πολυ τεθραυσμενι οτι πολλοι και μεγαλοι οι των δαιμονων προς ημας δολοι φιλοτιμουμενους την γνωσιν Χ. κτασθαι·

2.  However, you should know that no temptation bestows on the soul such frankness at the time of prayer as that bestowed by the temptation that attacks the body! Nor does our Lord confer such apatheia  on anyone as on one who, patiently enduring what happens with thanksgiving, despises this “sack” [i.e physical body]. And may blessed Job convince you of this, he who, after the battle waged in this skin saw God and discovered from him what the reason was for his enduring these temptations (cf. Job 38 ff.).

μονον γιγνωσκε οτι ουδε εις των πειφασμων [sic] τοιαυτην παρρησιαν διδωσι τηι ψυχηι καιρωι προσευχης οιαν διδωσιν ο την σαρκα καταλαμβανων πειρασμος ουδε ο κυριος ημων τοιαυτην απαθειαν τινι εμποιει ως τωι εν ομολογιαι τα επιτυχοντα υπομενοντι τε και της αναγκης {?} ταυτης καταφρονουντι. και αναπειθετω σε ο μακαριος Ιωβ ος μετα τον εν τουτωι τωι δερματι αγωνα τον θεον εωρακε και παρ' αυτου εμαθε τις η αιτια ων υπεμεινε πειρασμων.

3. And if we will only meditate on our pains, praising God and listening patiently to those who minister to us, we will also [hear] helpful, contemplative narrative[s]!  For these are the laws of those thus tempted. But if our tempters tempt us by dragging us down from meditations on higher things, we will redouble the blows of our enemies [if] we increase our discussions with unstable [lit. wandering] men and women.

και ημεις ει γαρ μονον εν ταις οδυναις ημων μελετωιμεν τον κυριον ευλογουντες τε και προς τους ημιν διακονουνταςͅ [160ββ] μακροθυμουντες ακουντες δε ωφελιμων θεωριων διηγησις! ουτοι γαρ εισιν οι νομοι των ουτως πειραζομενων. ει γαρ οι ημας πειραζοντες εν τωι κατασπαν ημας απο των ανω μελετων πειραζουσιν, ημεις δε διατριβας ανθρωπων ρεμβομενων και γυναικων προσεπιτιθεμεν τας των εχθρων ημων πληγας ημεις διπλασιαζομεν..

4. Remember that although Job’s friends wanted to console the[ir] afflicted [friend] through contemplation of the logoi of divine providence, the evil one deceptively manipulated them in order to provoke blessed Job to anger.  For the infamous one knows that one who suffers pain is more easily moved to anger.

μνημονευε οτι και τους φιλους Ιωβ θελοντας θεωριαι λογων της θεου προνοιας τον θλιβομενον παρακαλεσαι ο πονηρος επωτρυνε πλανων τον μακαριον προς οργην ερεθιζειν, ειδως ο καταρατος οτι αλγουμενος ταχεως θυμουται

Therefore bear it patiently if you call and he fails to answer, for it is written I called to my servant and he did not reply (Job 19.16). And if someone who knows you holds you in contempt do not be surprised; for Job’s friends were merciless towards him  For the evil one [stage-]manages all these things, desiring to confusing that mind with which we look to God as creator and with which we bring pure prayer to God.

μακροθυμησον δη εαν καλουσης σου αποκνωσιν υπακουειν οτι και τουτο μερος εστι των πειρασμων· γεγραπται γαρ θεραποντα μου εκαλεσα και ουχ υπηκουσεν]. και ει τις των γνωστων σου καταφρονει μη θαυμαζε οτι και οι φιλοι Ιωβ ͅ{161αα} ανελεημονες προς αυτον ησαν. παντα δε ταυτα πραγματευει ο πονηρος θελων συγχεειν την διανοιαν ηι εις θεον ως ποιητην αποβλεπομεν τε και καθαραν προςευχην τωι θεωι προσαγομεν.

5. And in all these thing if those tempted are brought still nearer to God, seeking assistance from Him, then their temptation becomes a benefit to them.  And if it is otherwise, then it is as the blessed Apostle Paul says: suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us  (Rom. 5:3).; for it renders the nous capable of receiving the Kingdom of Heaven.

και μετα τουτων παντων ει οι πειραζομενοι μαλλον προσαγονται τωι θεωι τωι παρ' αυτου βοηθειαν ζητειν προσαγεσθαι δε προς τον θεον αγαθον εστι πειραζεσθαι αρα αγαθον εστιν, ει περ῾σιξ̓ καθως λεγει ο μακ. παυλος· α θλιψις υπομονην κατεργαζεται εν ημιν, η δε υπομονη δοκιμην, η δε δοκιμη ελπιδα η δε ελπις ου καταισχυνει {Rom 5,3f.}, οτι ποιει τον νουν αυτον δεκτικον της βασιλειας του ουρανου.

6. Strive therefore, O Temperate One, to give good example not only to women but also to men, being as it were an archetype of patience; since it is proper for a disciple of Christ to struggle unto [the shedding of] blood [thus] showing everyone that Our Lord arms women, too, with manliness against the demons, and that He strengthens weak souls through the gifts of the commandments and faith.

συ τοιγαρουν σωφρονουσα σπευδε καλον παραδειγμε γεσεσθαι ου μονον ταις γυναιξιν αλλα και τοις ανδρασι ωστε αρχετυπον ειναι της υπομονης· οτι πρεπει μαθητηι Χ. εως αιματος αγωνιζισεσθαι και πασιν αποδειξαι οτι και τας γυναικας ο κυριος ημων ωπλισεν ανδρειοτητι προς ͅ τους δαιμονας και τας ασθενεις ψυχας {161αβ} δοσει των τε εντολων και της πιστεως εδυναμωσεν¨

  

 

LETTER 2 [to John of Jerusalem]

 β.

  

 

1. You have always wrtten to me as though to a farmer - as if I were capable of working the spiritual soil But you have not yet seen my field, which is full of thorns and thistles; nor yet my vineyard, which is dry, unfruitful, and devoid of spiritual grapes.

ως προς γεωργον γεγραφας μοι αδιαλειπτως και ως γην πνευματικην εργαζεσθαι δυνατωι, συ δε εως του νυν ουχ εωρακας το αγριδιον μου ακανθων και τριβολων μεστον ουδε την αμπελωνα μου εξηραμμενην και ακαρπον ουσαν και πνευματικων βοτρυων εστερημενην.

  2.  And in spite of this we have dared to cook uncharitable, carnal souls, so as to save them from the hardness of an evil life:but through lack of the water of knowledge we have scorched the pot countless times.  And I am ashamed to speak of our axe : how often in striking wood it shoots our fire[y sparks], having struck a stony heart (cf. Ezek 36:26) , or whatever I should call it.

αλλα μετα τουτων και τετολμηκαμεν ανευ της χαριτος ψυχας σαρκικας {ομφακας} εψεσθαι και σωζειν απο σκληροτητος ζοως της κακιας και δι' ενδειαν υδατος της γνωσεως μυριακις καυσιν της χυτρας εποιησαμεν. αισχυνομαι δε περι της αξινης ημων ειπειν ποσακις ξυλα κοπτουσα πυρ προιει οτι λιθον επληξεν η καρδιαν λιθινην η ουκ οιδα πως αυτο ονομασω.

  3. And despite all this you have sent us pure silver, which we, trying to do the right thing, have turned around and sent back to you.  Vessels and cups of the kind you ordered are not available here: and blessed  [are we] if we have not failed in our reckoning.

και μετα παντων τουτων και συ νυν καθαρον αργυριον ημιν επεμψας δε ͅ ως ευποιησοντες μεταστρεψαντες ανεπεμψαμεν· κυλικας γαρ η φιλας ως ενετειλας οι ενθαδε ποιειν ουχ ισασι {161βα} [or ισμεν] μακαριοι δε εαν μη εκλειπωμεν του λογισμου.

  4. Have we perhaps somehow offended the deacon Olympos?  Meanwhile we give thanks to Our Lord, that He has considered us worthy to hold the sacred Pasch with a man who can quiet the fierceness of our soul through his conversation.

μη ποτε τι παρωξυναμεν τον διακονον ολυμπα; πλην δοξαζομεν τον κυριον ημων καταξιωσαντα ημας το αγιον πασχα ποιειν μετα ανδρος το κτηνωδες της ψυχης ημων δια της ομιλιας αυτου καταστειλαντος¨

  

 

LETTER 3 [to a monk]

 γ.

  

 

1. What I had not hoped to discover you have sent us by writing; but what we might have hoped to learn you have not disclosed: namely, who has taken you; whether he is blessed; where you live; and who you were [formerly] with. These are the things I very much wish to learn.

οτι λαβειν η γνωναι τις ουκ ηλπισε δια γραμματων επεστειλας ημιν α δε μαθειν επεθυμησαμεν ουκ εγνωρισας, τις σε εδεξατο και ει ευλογητος εστι και οπου κατοικεις {καθιζεις} και μετα τινων ησθα; ταυτα γαρ πανυ εβουλομην μαθειν.

2. But if you have obtained nothing you wished, do not be surprised.  Bear in mind Him Who had nowhere to lay his head (Mt 8:20).  If they would not receive Him Who is the head of all things (cf. Eph 1:22), how much more a man of modest standing.

ει δε μηδεν κατα το θελημα σου σοι επιτυγχανει μη θαυμαζε, μνημονευε ωι ουκ ην που ψην κεφαλην κλινει·ει γαρ τον κεφαλην του παντος οντα ου δεχονατι ποσωι μαλλον τον ανθρωπον τον ως εστιν εν σχηματι ͅ εστωτα.

  3. You yourself know that the earth does not oppose the foxes which seek to make their dens in it: but how often does it slide down on those digging wells for themselves, caving in and suffocating them!

γινωσκεις δε και συ οτι η γη [161βα] [p.569] αλωπεξιν ουκ επανισταται ζητουσι ποιεισθαι αυτοις εν αυτηι φωλεους, επι δε τους φρεατα εν αυτηι σκαψαι αυτοις επιχειρουντας ποσακις κλινομενη πιπτει και αυτους πνιγει.

4. But we thank the Lord that you have remembered us out of love, [thereby] proving to all the uprightness of your love.

ημεις δε δοξαζομεν τον κυριον οτι δι' αγαπης ημων μνημονευεις τε και παντι την της αγαπης σου ειλικρινειαν αποδεικνυς¨

  

 

LETTER 4 [to Abbot Lukios [concerning Antirrhetikos])]

 δ.

  

 

  1. I have seen your sanctity’s letter, in which you truly show your love for us and command us to send you something of our troubles [?labors?]; which I would not have wanted to send of my own free will on account of my shame at your considerateness [discretion].  But now, having been commanded, I have readily obeyed and sent to you the treatise Antirrhetikos, so that you may read and correct it, and complete what is deficient, in case we have inexactly presented one or another of the unclean thoughts and not hit upon the proper contradiction to be addressed against it.  For I acknowledge to your worthiness that until now I have not properly understood the demonic thoughts, and that I have often been wickedly hampered by them; and since your departure I have endured indescribable suffering from them.  But now I offer thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ for the things I have heard concerning you, as I had prayed.

τα γραμματα εωρακα της οσιοτητος σου εν οις σφοδρα την σου προς ημας αγαπην απεδειξας και εκελευσας ημας τι των πονων ημων σοι πεμψαι, οτι κατα την εμην προαιρεσιν πεμψαι ουκ εβουλομην δια την μου προς την σωφροσυνην σου αιδω· νυν δε κελευσθεις ευκοπως υπηκουσα και επεμψα σοι τον λογον των αντιρρητικων ινα αναγνωσις και κατορθωσις το αν ελαττουμενον τι εκπληρων ει τινας των μιαρων λογισμων ουκ ακριβως εξεθεμεν και την κατ' αυτων αντιρρησιν ου καλως παρεταξαμεν. ομολογω δε τηι σηι τιμοτητι οτι εως αρτι ου καθηκοντως τους δαιμονιακους ͅ[162αα]  λογισμους κατειληφα οτι πολλακις υπ' αυτων πολυ κεκωλυσμαι και μετα το οιχεσθαι σε απ' εμου παθη αρρητα υπ' αυτων επαθον. νυν δε δοξαζω τον κυριον ημων δι' α ηκουσα περι σου και εμπαθον καθως προσηυξαμην.

  2. Be thus for  me a preacher of abstinence and humility, and a “destroyer of the thoughts and any other bullwark raised against the knowledge of Christ”. (2Cor 10:4 ff.), so that at the time of prayer frankness will come to the intellect of those who are rich in these things, so that it (the intellect) does not submit or bow down, neither when struck down by anger nor when ravished by desire.  This happens, however, to the wrathful and the gluttonous who do not abstain by day, and who enjoy no respite from evil fantasies by night.

ισθι μοι τοινυν κηρυξ εγκρατειας και ταπεινοφροσυνης {Ε} και καθαιρετης λογισμων και παντος υψωματος επαιρομενου κατατης γνωσεως του Χ [2Cor 10:5] ινα γενηται παρησια καιρωι προσευχης τωι νοι των τουτων περισσοτερων και μη γενηται μετακλινομενος η καμπτομενος η υπ' οργης κατασσομενος η υπ' επιθυμιας περισπωμενος. συμβαινει δε ταυτα τοις τε θυμωδεσι και γαστριμαργοις οι ημεραι ουκ αρκουνται και απο κακων φαντασιων νυκτος ου διασωζονται.

  3. And you know from Our Lord that reading the Sacred Scriptures is very conducive to purity, since it turns the intellect away from anxieties concerning this visible world, from which arises the corruption of unclean thoughts that shackle the intellect by their passions, binding it to corporeal affairs.

και συ γε δια τον κυριου ημων οισθα οτι η των θειων γραφων αναγνωσις  ͅ [162αβ ] εις την καθαροτητα πανυ συμφερει οτι τον νουν των τουτου του κοσμου του ορατου μεριμνων αφιστησι εξ ων διαστροφαι ακαθαρτων λογισμων υπογινονται δια των αυτων παθων τον νουν προς τα σωματικα πραγματα δεοντων τε και πηδωντων.

* Therefore speak tirelessly to the brothers, so that they read the scriptures at the proper times and “love not the world nor what is in the world;” (Jn 2:15 [1 or 2 Jn?), while keeping watch over [tempting-] thoughts,  which is a poison against ‘wolves’, [much-] hated by the demons..

* [μ´] Μὴ τοίνυν κατόκνει διαλέγεσθαι τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἀναγινώσκειν τε τὰς θείας γραφὰς ἐν χρόνῳ τακτῷ, ͅ καὶ μὴ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν κόσμῳ, καὶ τηρεῖν λογισμούς, ὅπερ ἐστὶ φάρμακον λυκόλεθρον ὑπὸ δαιμόνων μισούμενον·

4. Thus the struggle engaged in with discernment is replete with numerous temptations.  But it affords great purity of mind that will not be ridiculed by the demons, since they are not in a position to accuse the intellect or the soul.  For just as wisdom fittingly orders the contemplations of bodily things, just so - it may be presumed - the gift of discernment distinguishes in the forms imprinted on the intellect between holy and depraved thoughts, between the pure and the unclean.  And the cunning of the mocking demons may be recognized: they clothe themselves in images of the senses and of memories in order to lead into error  the soul hastening toward the “knowledge of Christ”.

ὁ γὰρ μετὰ κρίσεως γινόμενος πόλεμος μεγίστων μὲν πεπλήρωται λογισμῶν, πολλὴν δὲ ἔχει καθαρότητα διανοίας, μηκέτι τῶν δαιμόνων ἐμπαίζειν ἢ συκοφαντεῖν δυναμένων τὴν ψυχήν· ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ φρόνησις τὴν εὔλογον κρίσιν τῶν πραγμάτων κεκλήρωται, οὕτως ἡ διάκρισις τὰς [220] κατὰ διάνοιαν φαντασίας πεπίστευται, ἁγίους καὶ βεβήλους καὶ καθαροὺς καὶ ἀκαθάρτους διακρίνουσα λογισμούς, καὶ τέχνας δαιμόνων ἐμπαιζόντων κατὰ τὸ προφητικὸν λόγιον ἐμπειρεικαὶ μιμουμένων αἰσθησίν τε καὶ μνήμην πρὸς ἀπάτην ψυχῆς λογικῆς σπευδούσης εἰς τὴν γνῶσιν τοῦ Χριστοῦ·

5.  Thus it is essential for everyone who takes the field in this warfare to seek [the gift of] discernment from  the Lord, while seeing to it that he lacks nothing essential for the reception of this gift.  In outline these [esential prerequisites] are: abstinence; humility; vigils; withdrawal [from the world]; and constant prayer strengthened by reading of the sacred scriptures.  The practice of virtue cuts off the passions, for there are found desire and sorrow and wrath.  Reading, however, uproots the trifling worldly senses after practicing the virtues, and consecrates our intellect in the formless contemplations of the beings of divine knowledge that our Savior in his Gospel allegorically called “closet” (Mt 6:6), in which we will behold the holy and hidden Father.

ὅθεν ἀναγκαιότατον τὸν ταύτην στρατευόμενον τὴν στρατείαν ζητεῖν παρὰ κυρίου διάκρισιν, μηδὲν παραλιμπάνοντα τῶν συντελούντων πρὸς ὑποδοχὴν τοιούτου χαρίσματος· ἔστι δὲ ὡς ἐν τύπῳ εἰπεῖν ταῦτα· ἐγκράτεια καὶ πραΰτης, καὶ ἀγρυπνία καὶ ἀναχώρησις, καὶ πυκναὶ προσευχαὶ κουφιζούμεναι θείων λόγων ἀναγνώσεσιν· οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτως ποιητικόν ἐστι καθαρᾶς προσευχῆς ὡς ἀνάγνωσις· ἡ μὲν γὰρ πρακτικὴ περιτέμνει τὰ πάθη, ἐπιθυμίαν καὶ λύπην καὶ θυμὸν περικόπτουσα, ἡ δὲ μετὰ ταύτην ἀνάγνωσις καὶ αὐτὴν φίλην τῶν νοημάτων ἀφίστησι, πρὸς τὴν ἀνείδεον καὶ θειώδη καὶ μονοειδῆ γνῶσιν αὐτὸν μεταφέρουσα, ἣν συμβολικῶς ὁ Κύριος ἐν τοῖς εὐαγγελίοις ταμεῖον ὠνόμασε, τὸν κρυπτὸν πατέρα δεικνύουσας.

Portions of the Greek of Letter 4.3-5 [From asterisk above] in Claire Guillaumont “Fragments grecs inédits d’Evagre le Pontique” Texte und Untersuchungen 133 (1987):, 219-220.

̈

  

 

LETTER 5

 ε. [162ββ]

  

 

1. Richly-varied and full of good fruit is the letter you in your kindness have sent us is; so much so that I was overcome as I gathered and harvested the [fruits]. And by them and their delightful  fragrance my sense of smell was invigorated and I was wholly absorbed in joy and cheerfulness. 

πανυ διαφερει τηι αυτης αγαθοτητι η επιστολη ην ημιν επεστειλας και αγαθων γεμει καρπον ους δεδικαιωμαι τρυγων τε και θεριζων απ' αυτης και δια της ηδειας οσμης αυτων την οσφρησιν μου ανεψυξαν και ηυφραινον και γεγονα ολος εν τε χαραι και ευφροσυνηι·

2. And who will give me such fathers to comfort my soul, sitting [as I do] in the “darkness and shadow of death” of repentence? And it behooves us to remember the proverb where it stands written: “like cool water to a thirsty soul, so are good tidings from a distant land” (Prov. 25.25).  But in spite of this we posess nothing we could keep ready [to offer guests], for we are “poor and beggars” (cf. Ps. 39:18), in need of God’s mercy and far from able to feed our guests plentifully with the food of spiritual words. 

   ειθε γαρ τις δοιη τοιουτους πατερας παρακαλεσαι την ψυχην μου εν σκοτωι καθημενην και εν σκιας της μετανοιας· και προσηκει ημας μνημονευειν την παροιμιαν την γεγραμμενην ωσπερ υδωρ ψυχρον ψυχηι διψωσι ουτως αγγελια αγαθη εκ γης μακροθεν [prov. 25.25]. ημεις δε τι ετοιμαζωμεν αντι τουτων ουκ [p.571] εχομεν οτι πτωχοι και πενητες {cf. Ps. 39:18} εσμεν, χρηιζοντες της θεου χαριτος και πολυ αδυναμουμενοι δεχεσθαι πλουσιως τους ξενους ημων τροφηι λογων πνευματικων·

3. I admit that I once had a field and a vineyard – I do not deny it.  But locust have devoured my field, while my vineyard was trampled by a boar of the forest and destroyed by a wild beast. And behold, I sit at the doors of virtue with outstretched hand[– if ony they were outstretched to beg alms from those who “enter the temple”! 

  οτι δε και εγω ην οτε ειχον αγριδιον και αμπελωνα ομολογω τε και ουκ αρνουμαι· κατησθιον δε το αγριδιον ακριδες και τον αμπελωνα μου διεφθειρε συς εκ δρυμου {Πσ 79·14} και ονοι αγριοι κατενεμησαντο αυτον. ͅ163αα ͅ και ιδου καθημαι προς τηι της  αρετης θυραι και η χειρ μου εκτεινομενη - ωφελε δε καλως εκτεινομενη ην - του αιτησαι δικαιοσυνην παρα των το ιερον εισιοντων.

4. Come therefore to my aid through prayer, so that in response to my pleading I may be sent Peter and John: that Peter by means of his virtue and John through his divine words may straighten the feet of virtue and ankles of knowledge;  so that through allegorical knowledge I, too, leaping up, may enter the temple of knowledge and astonish the Jews.

  αντιλαβου μου δη τηι προσευχηι και αντ' εμου ικετευε ινα μοι πετρος και ιωαννης πεμφθωσι και πετρος μεν δια των αρετων αυτου ιωαννης δε δια των θειων αυτου λογων στερεωσιν τας της αρετης βασεις και τα σφυδρα της γνωσεως ωστε καμε εξαλλομενον δια γνωσεως αλληγορικης εισιεναι τε εις το ιερον της γνωσεως και τους ιουδαιους εκκαταληξαι Χ

  

 

LETTER 6

 ς.

  

 

1. We unkowingly  passed your holiness by during our former visit to Palestine, and we were not able to bring saving provisions on the way that lay before us. And along the way we snatched as it were by the birds; or we were the rocky ground¸dessicating what sprang up or we are full of thorns, and the Word suffocated in us. I beg you, forgive us this sin and pray for my other offences!

παρηλθομεν εν αγνοιαι την οσιοτητα σου το πρωτων εις παλαιστινην πορευθεντες και ουχ ευρομεν λαβειν εφοδια της σωτηριας εις την οδον ημιν προκειμενην· και τα οδον εσμεν ωστε αρπαζεσθαι ημας υπο των πετεινων η πετρωδη εσμεν και τα εξανατελλοντα ξηραινομεν η ακανθων μεστοι και ο λογος εν ημιν πνιγεται· δεομαι σου αφες μοι ταυτην την αμαρτιαν και υπερ των λοιπων μου ανομιων προσευχου·

2 We have rushed into a sea full of gales and waves and I fear those shipwrecks that fight against faith and knowledge and justice: and throughout all this the Lord within us sleeps, and our nous does not keep watch, [even] though by means of the virtues it is able to awaken [the Lord].  And sorely opposing us is the  the fleeing dragon who strikes [us], now with his tail, then with his gnashing jaws.  This dragon cannot be expelled otherwise than by completely despising food and posessions and worldly glory. For it is through these that the evil one instills his defiled thoughts into us, and through impassioned [tempting-] thoughts forces our nous to entangle itself with and to meditate upon visible things.   

τρεχομεν γαρ εν θαλασσηι μεστηι πνευματων τε και ͅ κυματων [163αβ] {και φοβουμαι ναυαγιαν} προς τε την πιστιν και την γνωσιν και την δικαιοσυνην πολεμιζοντων, και εν τουτοις ο κυριος εντος ημων καθευδει και ο νους ημων ου γρηγορει ο δυνατος αυτον δι' αρετων εξεγειραι και σφοδρα ημιν επανισταται ο φευγων δρακων τοτε μεν τηι ουραι σαινων τοτε δε τωι στοματι δακνων· τουτον δε ουκ ενι αλλως αποκρουειν η ει τις ολως καταφρονει εδεσματων και κτηματων και δοξης του κοσμου απο τουτων γαρ κομιζει εν ημιν ο πονηρος τους μιαρους αυτου λογισμους και μετακλινει τον νουν ημων δια λογισμων εμπαθων ωστε προσδεισθαι και μελεταν εν τοις ορατοις.

3. It is these passions that the wholly-evil-one employs and these three temptations that he brought upon  Jesus our God: enticing him to change stones into bread; then promising to give him the whole world; and finally interpreting the sign of spiritual words [as meaning] that he was worthy of being served by angels. And in these matters who is capable of banishing [the devil] behind ? And who will be [as] Daniel, helped by blessed Gabriel, making balls of pitch and hair and fat, to burst the dragon? I am not able [to do this], besieged as I am by temptations.  The ship I have given wholly over to the pilot, so that our trust is not in ourselves, but in God who stills the wind and commands the sea, and brings those in the ship to the land of his will on which they have gazed. 

τουτοις τοις παθεσιν εχρησατο ο παμπονηρος και τους τρεις πειρασμους τωι θεωι ημων Ι. επηγαγεν οτε λιθους αρτον ποιειν αυτον ανεπειθε και οτε τον κοσμον παντα δωσειν επηγγειλατο και παλιν οτε οτι υπ' αγγελων διακονεισθαι αξιος εστιν απο τεκμηριων λογων πνευματικων εξηγησατο. ͅ και εν τουτοις τις δυνατος [163βα] αυτον εις τα οπισω αποστρεψαι; τις εσται Δανιηλ βοηθουμενος υπο του αγιου Γαβριηλ ος ποιων μαζαν εκ πισσης και τριχος και στηρος διαρρηξει τον δρακοντα; εγω ου δυνατος ειμι ως υπο των πειρασμων ηττωμενος· την ναυν ολην τωι κυβερνητηι παραδεδωκα του μη ειναι την πεποιθησιν ημων εφ' ημιν αλλ' επι τωι θεωι τωι τε πνευματι επιτιμουντι και τηι θαλασσηι κελευοντι τους δε εν τηι νηι εις ην ατενιζουσιν γην του θεληματος αυτου επαναγοντι.

4. I beg your son [Aidesios] who is my brother, to compel his flesh and, as far as he it is able, to subdue it through prayer and fasting and vigils, through which the craving part the soul  is healed, so that they are not receptive of  hideous thoughts and wickedness.  And he should quell his wrath, which is a Judas who hands the intellect over to the demons.  And he will quell it through humility and forbearance and mercy, from which love arises by which the the disciple of Christ is recognized.

πειθω δε τον υιον σου Αιδεσιον τον μου αδελφον το σωμα αυτου πιαζειν καθως δυνατον και καταδουλωσαι δια προσευχης και νηστειας και αγρυπνιας ως του επιθυμητικου της ψυχης θεραπευτικων ωστε μη γενεσθαι δεκτικην μυσαρκον λογισμων τε και κακιας. Και συντριβετω την οργην αυτου ος εστιν Ιουδας τοις δαιμοσι τον νουν παραδιδους· συντριψει δε αυτην δια ταπεινοτητος και μακροθυμιας και ελεους οτι υπ' αυτων γενναται η αγαπη ͅ [163βα] των Χ. μαθητων αποδεικτικη.

He should concern himself with reading the Scriptures, which not only testify that he is the Redeemer of the world, but also, that he is the creator of the Ages and of the judgment and providence in them.  Saying this to your son will satisfy us.

επιμελεισθω της των γραφων αναγνωσεως οτι ου μονον αυτον σωτηρα του κοσμου μαρτυρουσιν αλλα και ποιητην των αιωνων και της εν αυταις κρισεως τε και προνοιας. ταυτα αρκειτω ημιν λεγειν προς τον υιον σου.

5. Because the the man of God and servant of Christ has afforded us great consolation in the desert,  I entrust him to your holiness, and I implore you to incline your soul and offer him the gift of yourself, as I have supported him and hope to find him.

τον δε ανδρα θεου και διακονον του Χ. οτι πολλην ημιν εδωκε παρακλησιν εν τηι ερημωι συνιστημι τηι οσιοτητι σου και πειθω σε καμψαμενον την ψυχην σου δουναι αυτωι καθως εγω αυτωι υπεσχμαι αυτος δε ευρησειν ελπιζει + [frb 571]

  

 

LETTER 7

ζ. [p.571]

  

 

1. Not like the just toward the just do I stretch out my soul towards God, for I am still full of lawless and [tempting-] thoughts; nor do I draw near the Lord as  creator, for I know neither the logoi of corporeals nor incorporeals – neither the logoi of judgment nor of providence.

  ουχ ως προς δικαιον δικαιως την ψυχην προς τον θεον εκτεινομαι οτι μεστω λογισμων ανομιας ουδε παλιν ως προς ποιητην προς τον κυριον εγγιζω οτι ου γιγνωσκω των τε ενσωματων και των ασωματων και της κρισεως τε και προνοιας τους λογους.

Nor do I stand in God’s presence, wretch that I am, for I have not prayed with uncovered head, carrying instead images of this present world and conversing with them.  And although I promise spiritual withdrawal from the world, within my soul I have ceaseless interactions with human beings.  Behold I knock at every door and investigate every city, to see whether I can purchase the provisions of vainglory, to satisfy my miserable, vanity-loving soul.

ουδε παλιν ως ενωπιον του θεου εστηκα εγω ατιμος οτι εως αρτι ουκ εχω ακαλυπτωι τηι κεφαληι προσευχεσθαι ως τουτου του κοσμου τα ειδωλα φερων [Ε] και προσευχης [π.573] καιρωι εν αυτοις  [164αα]ͅ λαλων· και αποχωρησιν πνευματικην του κοσμου υπισχνουμαι διαδε της ψυχης μου απαυστως μετ' ανθρωπων συμπεριφερομαι εις πασαν θυραν κρουω πασαν δε πολιν διεξερευνω ειποτε δυναμαι οψωνια κενοδοξιας αγοραζεσθαι ως εις την της αθλιας μου ψυχης τα ματαια φιλουσης πληρωσιν.

Let this suffice concerning Lazarus whom you say rests in the gnosis of Abraham’s breast.

  ταυτα εξαρκειτω περι λαζαρου σου ον ελεγες οικειν εν γνωσει των αβρααμ κολπον.

While I praise the intention of the chaste deaconess Severa, I cannot accept her undertaking: for I canot see what value she would receive from such an triesome journey on a long road; and I believe I have, with God[‘s help] shown how much she and her companions could be harmed.

  της δε σωφρονος διακονου Ζευηρας την μεν προαιρεσιν επαινω το δε πραγμα ου δεχομαι. ου γαρ γιγνωσκω τι κερδανει εν ταυτηι επιπονωι μακρας οδου πορευσει οσα δε ζημιουνται αυτη τε και αι μετ' αυτης αποδειξαι δια κυριου εχω.

I therefore implore your holiness that you prevent those who have forsaken the world from undertaking unnecessary trips.  I would be amazed if  they did not drink from the waters of the Gihon during the duration of their trip whether in the [tempting-] thoughts of their minds or through their deeds: and this [would] be  far from the state of the chaste!

  αλλα την οσιοτητα σου αναπειθω τας τον κοσμον απολιπουσας ανευ αναγκης οδωι μη πορευεσθαι κωλυσαι· θαυμαζω γαρ ει εν ολωι τουτωι διαστηματι ουκ επιον υδατα [164αβ] γηων η εν διαλογισμοις των φρονηματων αυτων η εν εργοις αυτων· εστι δε ταυτα της των σωφρονων καταστασεως απαλλοτρια. +

  

 

LETTER 8

 θ.

  

 

1. I am not capable of being either crowned through eulogies nor cast down through criticism: for eulogies produce vainglory while criticism evokes sadness; and where there are either vainglory or sadness there also are all other desires.  For the one deprived of his desires is saddened; while one who obtains his choice procures vainglory. To Paul it was given to triumph with the weapons of the right and the left; while to me applies the saying, “my wounds worsen and fester through my foolishness,” (Ps 37.6) and again, “be merciful to my sins, for they are great (Ps 24,2).These are my responses to your holy letter!

  ου δι' ευφημιων δυναμαι στεφανουσθαι ουδε δυσφημιαις θελω βαλλεσθαι σι γαρ ευφημιαι κενοδοξιαν παριστασι αι δε δυσφημιαι παλιν λυπην κατεργαζονται, ου δε κενοδιξια και λυπη αυτου και πασαι αι επιθυμιαι· θλιβεται γαρ ο των αυτου επιθυμιων αποστερουμενος, ο δε την αυτου προαιρεσιν επιτελεσας κενοδοξιαν κταται. Παυλου μεν εστι το δια των οπλων των δεξιων και των αρεστερων νικησαι εμου δε εστι λεγειν· προσωζεσαν και εσαπησαν οι μωλωπες μου απο προσωπου της αφροσυνης μου [πσ 37.6{ και παλιν· ιλασι την αμαρτιαι μου πολλη γαρ εστι {πσ 24,ιι}. ταυτα ειρησθω μοι προς τα αγια σου γραμματα·

2. Teach your sisters and sons (daughters?) not to undertake any great journey, nor to come unexamined into desert places for this is foreign to any soul that has withdrawn from the world!   

  διδαξον δε τας αδελφας σου και τους υιους σου μακραν οδον μη πορευεσθαι εις τε ερημους τοπους ανεξεταστως μη οιχεσθαι· απηλλοτριωμενον γαρ εστι τουτο πασης ͅ ψυχης του γε κοσμου αποχωρησασης·

3. Instead, the soul striving earnestly to persue the way of virtue should not only abstain from sinning in act, but also never to offend through [tempting-] thoughts.   For [the commandmant] to turn from sinful actions comes from Moses; while the the commandment against [tempting-] thoughts is from our Savior. And I would be amazed if a woman who traveled about, interacting with innumerable people  were in a position to live this lifestyle! 

  σπευδει [164βα] γαρ πας τουτην την της αρετης οδον μετιεναι ελομενος μη μονον της δι' εργουαμαρτιας απεχεσθαι αλλα μηδε δια λογισμου πλημμελειν· οτι η της δι' εργου αμαρτιας αποτροπη Μωυσεως εστιν η δε της δια λογισμου εντολη του σωτηρος ημων. και θαυμαζω ει γυνη περιαγομενη τε και μυριοις προσωποις συντυγχανουσα τουτην την πολιτειαν επιτελεσθαι δυναται¨

  

 

LETTER 9 [to John of Jerusalem]

 θ.

  

 

I know you: that you are a shepherd of many sheep and that you are able to lead a god-fearing flock to pasture in Bethlehem (1 Sam 17:15), [leading] a few of them with the rod but many with the staff.  I, however, am a wretch, incapable of leading even a single sheep to graze, nor am I willing to snatch it from the mouth of the wolf. Behold it is thus bitterly wounded, sometimes by wrath, and at other times by sadness; sometimes it is torn by pride and again by vainglory.

θ. γιγνωσκω σε οτι πολλων πολλων προβατων ει ποιμην και ευρηκας βοακημα θεοσεβες ποιμαινειν εν βηθλεεμ ολιγον αυτων δια ραβδου το δε πολυ δια συριγμου. εγω δε ο αθλιος εν προβατον ποιμαινειν αδυνατω και απο στοματος λυκων αρπαζειν ου θελω. δια τουτο ιδου πεπληκται ολον πικρως υπο θυμου η υπο λυπης και τοτε μεν υπερηφανια {Ε} τοτε δε κενοδοξια αυτο διασπαι {̣}·ͅ

I therefore ask your holines to beseech Jesus the Shepherd for me, that he would save us from the wild beasts, make us worthy of the number of his flock, give us the pasrture of virtue, and let us drink the water of knowledge.

αναπειθω τοινυν την υσιοτητα σου [164ββ] εντυγκανε υπερ εμου τωι ποιμενι Ι. ινα λυτρωσηι ημας απο των αγριων θηριων και με εις αριθμον της αυτου ποιμνης εισαγηι και ημιν νομην αρετης δωι τε και υδωρ της γνωσεως αυτου ημας ποτισηι¨

  

 

LETTER 10

 ι.

  

 

  1. We greatly rejoiced at seeing our brothers in the desert where such trusted companionship is not easily found. And what ought we to have done when we saw them?  We slaughtered for them no calf,  since we still struggle beneath the yoke of wickedness; nor did we bake for them the the unleavened bread of the soul’s kindness and love of truth, since we have not yet acquired the state of the pure. 

  σφωδρως εχαρημεν επ' οψει των αδελφων ημων τηι ερημωι ου τοιαυται συντυχιαι ου ταχεως ευρισκονται· και τι εδει ποιειν ημας ιδοντας αυτους; ουκ εθυσαμεν αυτοις μοσχον ως εως αρτι εν ζυγωι της πονηριας εζευγμενοι, ουδε της τε ευεξιας της ψυχης και της δικαιοσυνης της αγαπης αζυμα αυτοις επεψαμεν οτι εως αρτι την των καθαρων καταστασιν ου κεκτημεθα.

  2. Instead we set before them dry bread, a symbol of the aridity of our nous, which has not [yet] germinated the simplicity of grass, the fig’s sweetness, or the olive’s oil. As for a vineyard or a grapevine - we would not dare [even] to think of them, so far are we from [enjoying] the state of a “seer”.   

  προεθεμεν δε αυτοις αρτον ξηρον σημειον της του νοος ημων ξηροτητος ουδεπωποτε βλαστησαντος ου χορτον απλοτητος ουδε συκην ηδυτητος ουδε ελαιον πιαινοντα. Επι γαρ αμπελωνι η επ' αμπελωι ουδε εν φρονηματι θαρρειν εχομεν οτι ουτως μακραν εσμεν απο της του ορατικου καταστασεως·

  3. We trust solely in Christ, [reverend] father, that you will come to our assistance through your prayers. From now on we will sow the seed of justice in hope of harvesting the sheaves of true knowledge.

μονον πιστευομεν εν Χ.ͅ της πατροτητος σου εν προσευχηι μου αντιλαμβανουσης οτι απο τουδε σπερμα της δικαιοσυνης σπερουμεν επ' ελπιδι του της αληθινης γνωσεως σταχυας θερισειν. Χ

Letter 24  

  

 

LETTER 24 [κδ.]

[Bunge: To Bishop John of Jerusalem, concerning the Paulinian Schism (cf. Palladius, HL 46).]

  

 

   1. Your chaste deacon Olympos consoled us wonderfully, and he has reported much to us concerning your virtues and how you have pastured your flock, a few by means of the rod, but most with the shepherd’s flute (cf. Ps 2:9, Mica 7:14, Is. 5:26)And many the sheep that formerly grazed outside have now hastened back to your flock and your pools (cf. Ps 22/23:2) , and have through the one acknowledged the One Shepherd.

κδ. πανυ ταρακεκληκεν ημας ο διακονος σου ο αγνος Ολυμπας και πολλα διηγηδατο ημιν περι των κιιτορ&ωματων σου και πως το προβατα σου ποιμαινεις ολίγον δια ραβδον και το πολυ δια σνρεγμου και πολλα των προ β"τcον των εξω νειμαμενων ετρεχον απο τονδε προς την νομην doυ τε και ποτον και ωμολογησαν εν ενι ποιμενι δε' ενος.

   2. As regards the first [who required the rod of excommunication] we have set aside [their] testimony before all the brethren; but in regard to the second the eyewitnesses have themselves become testimony, those who had also instructed us previously concerning the unanimity of the Church: that you, through your humility have destroyed the stiff-necked attitude of the enemies. For you were indeed “gentle and forebearing” according to the prophetic text (Joel 3:11).

ημεις τοιννν εν τοις πρωτοις μεν μειιαρτνρηχαμεν εμπροσ&εν παντων αδελφων περι δε του άευτερου αυτοι οι εποπτιιι ημίν μαρτνρες εγενυντο οι xc» εγνωριδαν ημιν (το προτερoν ? Ε) περι της σνμφωνησεως της εκκλησιας ως δια της πραυτητος σου η των εχτ&ρων σκΧηροτης εσβεσται • εγενου γαρ πρανς και μυχητης κατα τον λογου της προφητειας (Joel 3,12).

   3. May the action of your prayer effect the salvation of those afar off, so that we, too, upheld by your prayers, may draw near to “Jerusalem(Heb 12:22) and become “fellow-citizens with the saints and householders of Christ (Eph 2:19), and praise him who has given us the victory (I Cor. 15:57).

γενοιτο το της προσευχης σου αποτελεσμα σωτηρια των μακρcιν ωστε και ημας δια των προσευχων σου στηριχύεντας προσελαειν ιερονσαλημ., γενεσ&αι δε συμπολιτας των αγεων και οικείους ( X. δοξαζοντας τον νιχην ημίν δoντα +

  

 

LETTER 25 [Bunge: To Anatolius]

[syr-wrk] κε.  [p.581]

  

 

1. I would have wished through the Lord that you lead the monastic life, through which [because?] you “destroy every [tempting-] thought and every obstacle that arises against the knowledge of Christ.” But you maintain that after you fled the Praetorians - if, indeed, you really have fled them - that you have fulfilled the works of righteousness and even advanced so far as to say, “graciously receive, O Lord, the voluntary offering of my mouth,” as if you had fulfilled everything in the law.

εγω μεν δια του κυριου προειλομην ζωην μονηρη διαγειν σε τους λογισμους καθελοντα τε και παν υψωμα επαιρομενον κατα της γνωσεως Χ. συ δε των πραιτωριανων αποτρεψαμενος – ει δη αληθως αποτετραψαι – ως την δικαιοσυνην εργωι τετελειωκας οιει και παλιν ως και υπερεκεινα τουτου κατηντησας ωστε δυνασθαι λεγειν τα εκουσια του στοματος μου ευδοκησον κυριε {PS 118}  ως παντα τα εν νομωι επιτελεσαντα. 

2. But in regard to the other [tempting-] thoughts you fail to understand that they proceed from the heart and soil the mind; and if it mentally consents to them, it draws near to sin. And there is a contradiction [antirrhesis] against them, in regard to both intention and action. For consenting to sin, even in thought, is accounted as sin.  And see how Moses teaches you, saying “Do not agree with them!” And in the Gospel the Lord condemns the nous as adulterer that only looks passionately on a woman, as well as one that mentally angers a brother.

τους γαρ αλλους ουκ εννοις λογισμους της καρδιας εκπορευομενος τε και τον νουν σπιλουντας οις ει συγκατατιθεται εν τηι διανοιαι μετακλινουσιν αυτον προς την αμαρτιαν· περι δε τουτου πνευματικη αντιρρησις κειται ως εις εμποδισμον της αμαρτιας της τε κατα προαιρεσιν και της δι' εργου· συμφωνειν δε τηι αμαρτιαι καν εν λογισμωι αμαρτια λογιζεται επει μωυσης σε διδασκει λεγων μη συμφωνει αυτοις και ο κυριος εν τωι ευαγγελιωι ως [169ββ] μοιχου καταδικαζει του εμπαθως εις γυνακα βλεποντος και του εις τον αδελφον αυτου καν εν διαλογισμωι οργιζοντος. 

3. These commandments uproot from the heart consent to lawlessness, and prepare in the nous the way for the Lord. But the ignorant regard it as foolish to undertake this path, and imagine they fulfill the apostolic path in a single moment, as if keeping the commandments were hindered only through physical suffering: for the [tempting-] thoughts that arise from these are transitory, while envy and resentment endure into old age.

αυται αι εντολαι την ανομιαι αυγκαταθεσιν της καρδιας εκριζουσι τε και την του [π.583] Κυριου οδον εν τωι νοι ευτρεπιζουσιν· οι δε ανοητοι ως γελοιον τι φροντιζουσιν το ταυτην την οδον πορευεσθαι και οιονται οτι παραυτικα την αποστολικν οδον εξετελεσαν ως της νομου τηρησεως δια των του σωματος μονον παθων κωλυομενης· οι δε εκ τουτων λογισμοι ολιγοχρονιοι εισι ο δε φθονος και η μνησικακια και εως της πολιας συμπαρεκτεινινται.

4. Perhaps the [tempting-] thoughts of the praetorium do not afflict you; but is it not possible that you are afflicted by [tempting-] thoughts of vainglory?  Take care that although physically in “Jerusalem” your spirit is distant from “Bethany” through which your tempting thoughts of avarice and its associated failings incline towards shopping, buying and selling salt, vinegar, and bread, while there are starving thousands deserving of daily bread!

ισως οι απο πραιτωριανων λογισμοι ου με καταποντιζουσι· μη ποτε εν λογισμοις κενοδοξιας καταποντιζεσθαι με ου δυνατον; προσεχε μη ποτε σωματικως εν ιερουσαλημ παροικουντος σου ο νους υπερεκεινα βηθανιας ηι λογισμοις φιλαργυριας και ευτραπελιας δεδεμενος και τεθραμμενος λογοις [170αα] αγορασεως τε και πρασεως αλος και οξους και ελαιου και αρτου μψριων ποσων πεινωντων του επιουσιου αρτου χρηιζοντων.

5. But forgive me, I beg you! I answered your letter because you wrote me that you dwell in a place receptive of God, who made heaven and earth. Know, too, that he dwells “in your midst” as John the Baptist testified. (Jn 1.26) And he awaits you as you progress through your works towards “Bethlehem”: through the spiritual vision of your purified nature you become “resurrection”; and through understanding the divine logoi you become what is called “ascension” and “Mount of Olives”.

αλλ' αφες μοι δεομαι σου, προς γαρ την επιστολην σου  αποκεκριμαι σοι οτι γεγραφας ως παροικεις εν τοπωι θεου δεκτικωι του ουρανον τε και γην ποιησαντος· γιγνωσκε οτι μεσος σου στηκει κατα ιωαννου του βαπτιστου τεκμηριον {Jn 1:26}· προσμενων σε εστε δια των εργων σου βηθλεεμ εσηι και δια τησ πνευματικης οψεως τησ καθαρας φυσεως σου αναστασις * εσηι και δια της επιστημης σου των θειων λογων αναληψις και κληθησηι ορος ελαιων.

6. But if you wish to comprehend the state of your heart, whether it careful is or inattentive, then observe yourself at the time of prayer. With which fantasies is your nous confused and distracted; which comes first, impassioned or dispassionate [thoughts]? If it is besieged by the first, then it is inattentive to the commandments of God; and the passions bloom  setting in motion indignation and desire, together with a whole crowd of sufferings.

μα´  Εἰ βούλει τῆς καρδίας σου τὴν κατάστασιν ἐπιγνῶναι, σπουδαζούσης ἢ ῥαθυμούσης, πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ ἐν καιρῷ προσευχῆς, ὑπο ποίων φαντασιῶν ὁ νοῦς σου κλονεῖται καὶ περισπᾶται, πρότερον ὑπο ἐμπαθῶν ἢ ἀπαθῶν· κν μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν προέρων λογισμῶν πολεμεῖται, ἀμελεῖ τῶν ἐντολῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἀκμάζει105 τὰ πάθη, θυμὸν καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν κινοῦντα, ͅ καὶ ὄχλον αὐτῷ μετὰ ὀδύνης παρέχοντα·

But if it finds itself disturbed by the second, then it is not observant in reading and prayer: rather, it is being utterly ruined through [preoccupation with] various events and new stories, constantly wishing “to say or hear something new.” Nevertheless, “fight the good fight” , in order to be “crowned with the wreath of justice” and to behold Christ the bridegroom,* whom you now seek through good works, which is in actuality the search for the Lord.

ἐὰν δὲ καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν δευτέρων ταράσσεται, οὐ προσέχει ἀναγνώσεσι καὶ προσευχῆ, ἀλλ᾿ὑπὸ συντυχιῶν πολλῶν καὶ διηγημάτων καινῶν καταλέλυται, καινότερον ἀεί τι λέγειν καὶ ἀκούειν βουλόμενος. Ἀλλ᾿ ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα, ἵνα  καὶ σὺ στεφανωθῇς τῷ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στεφάνῳ καὶ ἴδῳῃς τὸν νυμφίον Χριστὸν, ὃν νῦν διὰ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἔργων ζητεῖς106· τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν ὄντως τὸ ζητῆσαι τὸν Κύριον.

Greek of Letter 25.6 in Claire Guillaumont “Fragments grecs inédits d’Évagre le Pontique” Texte und Untersuchungen 133 (1987): 209-221.

* See Peri Logismon 42, Longer Recens. (A travers 55) for association of the light of the Holy Trinity and the vision of the Bridegroom. 

 

   39

 

LETTER 39 [Bunge: ]

λθ.   [p.591/252]

  

 

1. “Strike the horse with a whip and the donkey with a stick”, I beg you.  For I am prevented from running until now.  Indeed, I wish neither to draw the “chariot of God” with others, nor am I able to carry my Lord alone. For until now the donkey’s owners contradict the disciples. And the thoughts of the passions do not allow me to carry the Lord of dispassion, for they bind my “feet” and hinder my walking.  For the nous will never see the “City of God” as long as it is bound to physical things by desires μαστιξον τον ιππον και τον ονον κεντριζε {προῃ 26.3} δεομαι σου ͅ175βᾳ· εγω γαρ προς ωραν απεσστερημαι του τρεχειν ου γαρ αρμα του θεου μετ' αλλων θελω ελκειν ουδε μονος τον κυριον μου βασταζειν εχω οτι εως αρτι οι του ονου κυριοι αντιλογουσι τοις μαθηταις και ουκ εαι με τα των παθων νοηματα τον της απαθειας κυριον φερειν τους ποδας μου πεδωντα τε και τρεχειν κωλυοντα· ου γαρ ποτε ο νους την θεου πολιν οραι εως δι' επιθυμιων τοις σωματικοις συνδεδεται·
   2. For it is obvious that one who tolerates the thought and pursues the thing suggested by the passion within him is attracted by the passion.  It is impossible to shake of these “riders” unless the passions are cut off.  For jusat as the thought of bread persists in the hungry on account of their hunger, and the thought of water persists in the thirsty because of their thirst, so also the thought of money persists because of avarice and the thought of those who hold us in contempt because of vainglory.  But these are thoughts of physical things that impress themselves on the mind and thus take shape.  For the thoughts and the things are of the same kind, and engaged in such meditations it is impossible to receive the knowledge of God, for the knowledge of God does not make itself known by shaping the nous, for God is not a body posessong color or outward form: these, indeed, shape the nous as if by visible thoughts δηλον γαρ οτι το νοημα τουτο βαστιζει ου το παθος εν αυτωι ανελαβε προς δε τουτο πραγμα τρεχει, προς ο αυτου το παθος αυτον ελκει, ουδε δυνατον τουτον τον αναβατην καταβηναι του παθους αυτου μη εκκοπτομενου. ωσπερ γαρ το νοημα του αρτου χρονιζει εν τωι πεινωντι δια την πειναν και το νοημα του υδατπς εν τωι διψωντι δια την διψαν ουτω και το νοημα των χρηματων χρονιζει δια την πλεονεξιαν και το νοημα των αρχων {αξιωματων} δια την κενοδοξιαν· ͅ175βᾳ ταυτα δε εστι νοηματα σωματικων πραγματων εν τηι ημων διανοιαι ενετυπωμενα και κατα το τυχον μορφουμενα· τοιαυτα γαρ εστι και αυτα τα πραγματα ων εστι νοηματα. μετα δε τουτων των μελετων ουκ εστο γνωσιν θεου υποδεχεσθαι, οτι η θεου γνωσις ου τι τον νουν εντυπουν γνωριζει· ου γαρ εστι σωμα θεος χρωμα η σχημε εχον· ταυτα γαρ εντυποι τον νουν δια νοηματων ως ειπομεν.
   3.  It is thus required of the nous that is to receive the knowledge of God that it discard the thoughts of things that happen; however it cannot flee from thoughts without renouncing passion. And I say that it is on their account that corporeal thoughts persist in us.  And we cannot cast away the passions if we do not remove from the nous covetousness, avarice, and vainglory, for it is through these passions that the demons oppose our way of life.  And from these Satan crafts the three temptations described in the Gospel that he proposed to the Lord.  And showing himself to be superior, he commanded Satan, “Begone!” δει τοινυν τον νουν γνωσιν θεου δεχεσθαι μελλοντα αποσπασθαι απω των πραγματων εννοιων, ου δε δυναται αποφευγειν τα νοηματα τα παθη μη αποθεμενος· ειπον γαρ οτι δια ταυτα τα των σωματικων νοηματα εν ημιν χρονιζει και ου δυναμεθα αποβαλειν τα παθη εαν μη απο του νου ημων μακρυνωμεν την πλεονεξιαν και την φιλαργυριαν και την κενοδοξιαν, τουτοις γαρ τοις παθεσι κολλωνται οι δαιμονες τηι ημων αναστροφηι αντικειμενοι·ͅ176ᾳ απο τουτων γαρ μορφωσας ο σατανας εκεινους τους τρεις πειρασμους εν τωι ευαγγελιωι γεγραμμενους τωι κυριω προσηγαγε, φανεις δε αυτων υψηλοτερος εκελευσε τον σατανα υπαγειν.
4. For the demon of lust flees bodily affliction and the demon of indignation flees if he cannot disturb us through anger; for what can anger one who despises meat, possessions, and vainglory? And the demon of sadness flees when there is nothing to snatch up. for this person cast everything away from himself ahead of time, and was not distressed. For disturbance indicates a demonic thought in a soul susceptible to passion, moving desire and indignation contrary to nature. αποφευγει γαρ ο της πορνειας δαιμων απο θλιψεως σωματος, και ο του θυμου οταν μη δυνηται ταραξαι δι' οργης· υπερ τινος γαρ οργιζεται τις εδεσματων και κτηματων και κενοδιξιας καταφρονων; φευγει δε και ο της λυπης δαιμων οταν μη τι δυναται αρπαζειν· προαπεβαλεν γαρ αυτος ο ανθρωπος παντα τα ητοιμασμενα και ου συνεχυθη, ταραχη γαρ ψυχηι εμπαθει νοημα δαιμονιωδες εν αυτηι επιθυμιαν και θυμον παρα φυσιν εξεγειρον.
5. But if the nous evades these things by the grace of God and “strips off the old man”, then its own condition appears at the time of prayer like a sapphire or the color of the sky, which the Scriptures  call the “place of God” seen by the elders on Mount Sinai.  This place is also named  the “vision of peace” where one sees that peace shining within, protecting our hearts and our every thought. εαν τοινυν χαριτι του θεου ο νους τουτων αποστρεφηται τε και τον παλαιον ανθρωπον εκδυηται τοτε και την αυτου καταστασιν οψεται κατα τον καιρον της προσευχης σαπφειρωι η ουρανιωι χρωματι παρεμφερη ητινα και τοπον θεου η γραφη ονομαζει υπο των πρεσβυτερων οφθεντα επι του ορους Σινα .|176ab| τουτον τον τοπον και ορασιν ειρηνης ονομαζει ηι οραι τις εν αυτωι εκεινην την ειρηνην την υπερεχουσαν παντα νουν και τας καρδιας ημων φρουρουσαν.
For a pure heart receives the imprint of another heaven, where the vision is of light and of the “spiritual place,” where the grand logoi of beings are seen and where the holy angels gather among those who are worthy. εν καθαραι γαρ καρδιαι αλλος ουρανος εντυπουται ου η ορασις φως εστι τε και ο τοπος πνευματικος οτι εν αυτηι ορωνται ποσον {ποσως} αι των οντων εννοιαι και οι αγιοι αγγελοι φοιτωσι προς τους αξιους.
But this vision is blinded by resentment, and through anger the heat of indignation completely quenches it. ταυτην δε την ορασιν ο μεν κοτος αμαυρως αποδεικνυει, η δε του θυμου ζαλη δι' οργης τελειως αφανιζει.

On the light of the nous and its possible origins: cf. KG 1.35, 1.74; 1.81, 2.29; 3.44, 3.52, 5.15; Sch.258 on Prov. 23.22 ; Prak. 64; Gnost. 45Prayer 75; Thoughts/Peri.Log. 17, 39, 40, 42; Skem. 2, 42325, 27; Letter 39.5; Antiret. 6.16.

 

  LETTER 51

 

LETTER 51

να.

  

 

[1] Brother Palladius has brought me the letter from your holiness in which you reflect on the evils of this world that assail our hearts and distract our intellect. And I, having read and barely comprehended it, give thanks to the Lord that he has condemned me to ignorance and bound me to walk in circles, unseeing, like an ignorant beast at a mill. 

ο αδελφος παλλαδιος επεδωκεν ημιν τα γραμματα της οσιοτητος σου εν οις κατειρηκας τουτου του κοσμου τα κακα τηι καρδιαι ημων επιβαλλοντα και του νουν ημων περισπωντα. εγω δε αναγνους τε και μολις αισθομενος τον κυριον ηυλογηκα αγνοιαι με ζημιωσαντα και ως κτηνος αλογον μυλωι με προσδησαντα χωρις οψεως περιφερεσθαι.

[2] Such matters [as you discuss in your letters] are extremely useful for the monks. For through vainglory the demons promise us a “great sea-calm”; without, however, revealng to us the “drowning” of virtues and knowledge.  I beg you to write to me of such things as these and thus awaken me from my drowsiness. For I can see that the dreams of vainglory have increased within me, although the healing remedy of insults has also been heavily applied to me by the physician of souls.  And I fear he might say of my soul also, “we wished to treat Babylon as a physician, but it was not healed” [Ther 28:9]; or that he might say “one can apply neither softening plaster nor oil [thes 1:6].

πλην τοιαυτα πραγματα τοις μοναχοις μαλα χρησιμα οτι οι δαιμονες δια {179βα}κενοδοξιας μεγαλςν της θαλασσης επαγγελλουσι τον δε της αρετης και της γνωσεως καταποντισμον ουκ αποφαινουσιν. γραφε τοινυν μοι τοιαυτα και επεγειρε [κεντει] το νυσψαζον μου δεομαι σου. ορω γαρ πληθυνειν εν εμοι της κενοδοξιας τα ενυπνια καιπερ φαρμακων ονειδισμου παρα του των ψυχων ιατρου επ' εμε πληθυνομενων, και φοβουμαι μη ποτε και περι μου λεγηι ιατρευσαμεν την Βαβυλωνα και ουκ ιαθη {ϑερ 28·9} η ειπηι ουκ εστιν μαλαγμα επιθειναι κλτ {ϑεσ 1·6}.

[3] And I am amazed at the artistry of the demons, how they are able to take advantage of anything: both rags and royal garments serve for vainglory; both speech and silence; satiety and hunger; eremetical anchoritic [solitude] and interaction with people. Fittingly have some of the brethren named vainglory the “thistle” that stings on all sides.  But we should recall that the Lord was crowned with thorns, not with thistles, allegorically signifying how difficult it it to throw them off.  And I trust in the Lord that strengthened by your prayers I may resist these things and “see the salvation of God”.

θαυμαζω δε επι τηι των δαιμονων τεχνηι πως απο παντος αφορμην λαμβανουσιν· ο σακκος αυτοις χρησιμευει εις κενοδεξιαν και ιματιον βασιλικον, και λαλια και σιγη, και πλησμονη και πεινη, και αποχωρησις και συμμιξις ανθρωπων. καλως δη τις αδελφος την κενοδοξιαν τριβολον ωνομασεν πανταχοθεν κεντουντα. πλην τουτο μνημονευωμεν οτι {179ββ} ο κυριος ακανθαις εστεφανωθη τριβολοις δε ου, ωστε το αποβλητον αυτων αλληγορικως σαφηναι. πιστευω δε εν τωι κυριωι οτι τουτοις ανθεστηξω δια των προσευχων σου ενδυναμουμενος και οψομαι το σωτηριον του θεου¨

  

 

LETTER 52

νβ.

  

 

   1. What I write is not an answer to your letter, but rather a severe reprimand; for your letter aroused within us an excess of vainglory! For the trouble of reading your compliments I paid the price of vainglory. For it is not right to write to those who have withdrawn from the world in a way that further exhaust through empty delights souls already weakened by the passions.

[1] ου γραφομεν σοι αποκρισιν επιστολης αλλα επιτιμησιν μεγαλην σφωδρα, οτι επεστειλας ημιν και εν υμιν υπερβολην κενοδοξιας επηγειρας· ηνωχλημαι αναγνους τους επαινους σου, τα δη οψωνια της κενοδοξιας. ου πρεπει ουτως γραφειν τοις του κοσμου αποχωρουσι και τας αυτων ψυχας εν παθεσιν αρρωστουσας τε και τα ματαια φιλουσας εκλυειν,

   2.Instead, one ought to write words of the opposite sort: “Sit in the desert, O guilty soul, serve the Lord with fasting and prayer; do not consider the world that has hurt you so often, in so many different ways. Remember your old shipwrecks: recall how often pirates have sunk you; do not forget the sea and the wild waves.  Do you not remember how after passing into the harbor of chastity your ship went down, together with all your chaste mental images? Do you not know what struck you when your ship crashed on the rock of your hard[-hearted]ness, cracking your ship's keel, the waters of resentment pouring in, swamping the ship and destoying your whole cargo of prayers?

[2]  αλλ' εναντιους τουτοις δει γραφειν λογους· καθησο εν τηι ερημωι ψυχη αλιτηριε θρησκευε θεον νηστειαι και προσευχηι μη ατενιζε εν τωι κοσμωι πολυ σε εν πολλοις οδυνησαντι, μεμνησο τους [180αα] παλαιους σου καταποντισμους, μεμνησο τους ληστας ποσακις σε εκακωσαν, μη επιλαθου την θαλασσαν και εκεινα τα αγρια κυματα. ου μημονευεις εις τον λιμενα της σωφροσυνης καταχθεισα πως η ναυς σου εβαπτισθη μετα παντων των της σωφρωσυνης σου νοηματων; ουκ οισθα τι σοι συνεβη οτε η νους τηι πετραι της σκληροτητος σου προςεκρουσθη τε και το κοιλον της νηος σου κατετρωθη και τα υδατα του κοτου εισελθοντα εκλησεν αυτον και παν το φοτιον των σου προσευχων απωλεσε;

   3. Remember the stench of greed that wafts from your throat and entices a multitude of desires.  Recall how many shipwrecks avarice has caused and how many wars against people it has provoked, [together with] chains, imprisonment, and instruments of torture: upon reflecting on these the blessed apostle fittingly named avarice “the root of all evil” [1Tim 6:10].  But what is there to say concerning the hurricanes of vainglory, blasphemy, or pride, that lash the ship and overhadow the helmsman-nous? 

[3] μνημονευε οσμην πλεονεξιας απο φαρυγγος πνευσασαν τε και εις πληθος επιθυμιων κεκηνυιαν· μεμνησο ποσας ναυαγιας η αργυροφιλια κατεργαζεται και ποσους πολεμος εξαπτει.εν τοις ανθρωποις πεδας και δεσμωτηρια και πληθος ποικιλων βασανιστηριων εις α αποβλεπων ο μακαριος αποστολος καλως ωνομασε την φιλαργυριαν ριζαν παντων των κακων [1τιμ.6·10].  . περι δε των κυματων της κεδοδοξιας η της βλασφημιας [180αβ] η της υπερηφανιας την ναυν υποβρυχιον ποιησαντων τε και τον νουν τον κυβερνητην καταδυσαντων τι εστιν ειπειν;

It is these and related matters that one must proclaim to the ears of those who haave forsaken the world, so as to give peace to their miserable souls, disturbed as they are by so many demons.  For one who writes compliment to one who has withdrawn from the world is like one who throws “wood or sticks or tow” into a burning oven, thus making it burn all the more.. 

ταυτα και τοιαυτα πρεπει κηρυσσειν εις ωτα των του κοσμου εξιοντων ωστε ποιειν ειρηνην εν ταις αθλιαις αυτων ψυχαις υπο πολλων και διαφορων δαιμονων τεταραγμεναος. ος γαρ επαινους γραφει τωι του κοσμου αποκεχωρηκοτι ομοιος εστι τωι εις καμινον πεπυρωμενον η στιπττυον η φρυγανα η καλαμας ριπτοντι ινα μαλλον εκκαυσθηι

   4. And you have written to me as if enemies were fighting against me. But I have no fear of human beings: rather, I fear that “Esau who may come to strike me and “the mother together with her children” [Gen.32:11], killing the capacity of my nous for knowledge, rendering my reason childless by depriving it of the fruits of virtue. Thus I call the sensible [“visible”] enemies my “benefactors”, for they discipline my vainglorious soul by their insults. For I do not complain against those who abuse me, nor do I turn away from the physician of souls, who restores me to health with the bandages of contempt: indeed, I know what happens to those who resist the physicians - how the strap them down and operate against their will!

[4] γεγραφας δε μοι παλιν ως οτι οι πολεμιοι ημιν πολεμουσιν· εγω δε ανθρωπους ου φοβουμαι φοβουμαι δε Ησαυ μηποτε ελθων παταχηι με και μητερα επι τεκνοις [γεν.32·11] και τον νουν μου νεκρον τηι γνωσει ποιηι και ατεκνον κατεργαζηται την φρονησιν μου των της αρετης καρπων στερηθεισαν, τους δε αισθητους πολεμιους ευεργετας [180βα] καλω ως παιδευτας οντας της κενοδοξου μου ψυχης δια των ονειδισμων αυτων. τοις γαρ με ατιμαζουσιν ουκ εγκαλω και ουκ απωθεω απ' εμου τον ιατρον των ψυχων υγιειαν μοι δια καταδεσμου ατιμιας προσαγοντα· οιδα γαρ τι συμβαινει τοις προς τους ιατρους διισχυριζομενους πως ιμασι συνδεονται και παρα το θελημα αυτων τεμνονται.

   5. In the meantime I know this for certain: namely, that those who divide the Church of the Lord are far removed from pure prayer.  For if those are called “unrighteous” who oppose the nous at the time of prayer blackening the innocent with accusations, what then will they do if they discover a [legitimate] pretext?

[5] πλην τουτο πεποιθοτως οιδα οτι οι την θεου εκκλησιαν σχιζοντες μακραν εισιν απο καθαρων προσευχων· εαν γαρ αδικουντες ονομαζωνται οι τωι νοι αντιπαλοι καιρωι προσευχης σκοτιζοντες δι' εγκληματων τον ανεγκλητον τι δη ποιησουσιν τοιαυτην προφασιν ευροντες;

But I implore you to keep far away from such matters and not be enticed by scintilating [but dangerous] phrases. For this world is evil, and if it is in an uproar we had better flee from it. In fact, I am equally afraid of both honor and shame, for vainglory follows honor, while resentment follows shame: and both passions are forign to the state of peace. 

σε δε πειθω ινα μακρυνηις απο τοιαυτων πραγματων και  μη ποικιλοις λογοις αχθηις· ουτος γαρ ο κοσμος [180ββ] κακος εστι ει δε τεταρακται μαλλον αυτον φευγωμεν. εγω ομου τιμην τε και ατιμιαν φοβουμαι την γαρ τιμην κενοδοξια διαδεχεται την δε ατιμιαν κοτος ταυτα δε τα πατη εκετερα αλλοτρια της ειρηνικςσ καταστασεως.

   6. Mistrust those who love only fasting, who although unblinded by tempting thoughts of gluttony are oppressed by thoughts of avarice, envy, anger, vainglory, and pride.  Therefore I beg you, do not lack discernment, nor imagine that only those who fast can receive the knowledge of God: for no ship is built with a single plank; nor is a building erected with a single stone. For the goal of the monk is not to free his nous from some thoughts while binding it to others, but rather to free his nous wholly from unclean thoughts and to “cast it down before Christ”.

[6] αποδοκομαζω τους την νηστειαν μονον φιλουντας υπο λογοσμων γαστριμαργιας ουκ αμαυρουμενους {̣} αλλα  φιλαργυριαι και κοτω  και οργηι και κενοδοξιαι και υπερηφανιαι τα νοηματα καταδυντας. μη αρα γενεσθω αδιακριτος δεομαι σου μηδε οιου οτι νηστευοντες μονον την θεου γνωσιν δεχονται· αφ' ενος γαρ ζυγου ου τελειουται ναυς ουδε απο μιας πλινθου οικος οικοδομειται. ο γαρ σκοπος του μοναχου μη ενος νοηματας λυσαντα τον νουν αυτου μεταναστραφεντα αλλωι προσδειν αλλα καθολως τον νουν των [181αα] ακαθαρτων νοηματων ελευθερουν τε και εμπροσθεν Χ. καταστησαι.

   7. As far as spiritual fathers are concerned, they are not called “fathers” because they rank ahead of others: if that were so, tribunes could be called “fathers”.  Rather, they are fathers because they possess the gifts of the spirit, and beget many for virtue and the knowledge of God.

[7] οι πνευματικοι πατερες ουκ ως πολλων προστατουντες πατερες ονομαζονται· ει δε μη και τους τριβουντους εξην ονομασαι πατερας· πατερες γαρ εισιν οι εχουσιν δομα πνευματος και πολλους εις τε αρετην και εις γνωσιν θεου γεννωσιν.

And as for me, having seen how many gather under pretext of speech, while neither refraining from gluttony and anger, nor devoting themselves to prayer, I shall refrain from speaking [further] so that my brothers do not become a “garden of Thalia”. 

εγω δε ιδων οτι αιτιαι {προφασει} λογου πολλοι συναγονται της γαστριμαργιας τε και οργης ουκ εγκρατεις και τε προσευχηι ου προσκαρτερουντες επαυσαμην λεγων...

  

 

LETTER 53

νγ.

  

 

   1. Sweet are the [contemplative] insights concerning this present world, while the world itself is bitter - and all the more bitter to the extent that one is dominated by [the world’s] passions.  But you know, reverend father, that the desire of the body, as body, is one thing; while the desire of the soul as a spiritual nature is another: and for these to coexist at the same time in the same person is impossible, for “no one can serve two masters; for he will either hate the one and love the other, or cleave to the one and despise the other” (Mt. 6:24)

γλυκειαι μεν αι περι του κοσμου τουτου διανοιαι πικρος δε αυτος ο κοσμος και μαλλον πικρος καθοσον τις αυτωι εμπαθως χραται. οισθα δε πατερ εντιμε οτι αλλο μεν εστιν η επιθυμια σωματος καθοσον σωμα αλλο δε εστιν η επιθυμια ψυχης ως ασωματου φυσεως, εκετερα δε ομου εγγιγνεσθαι τινι [181αβ] ουχ οιον τε οτι ου δυναται τις δυσι κυριοις δουλευειν η γαρ τον ενα μισησει και τον ετερον αγαπησει κτλ {Μτ. 6·24}.

   2. Meanwhile, insofar as it is in you power “break your bread with the starving” and lead the poor and the homeless into the house of your virtue. If you see someone naked, cover him, and do not turn your face away from the household of your “seed”  (Thes 58:7). I call “seed” not those who by nature but by their [inward] state are close to you.

πλην κατα την δυναμιν σου διαθρυπτε πεινωντι τον αρτον σου και πτωχους αστεγους εισαγε εις τον οικον της αρετης σου, εαν ιδηις γυμνπν περιβαλε και απο των οικειων του σπερματος σου ουχ υπεροψηι {ϑεσ. 58·7} σπερμα δε λεγω ου τους κατα φυσιν αλλα τους απο καταστασεως ημιν αντισους.

And do not be amazed if some of the brethren speak ill of us.  Remember the physicians who receive thanks not from the dead, but from the living.

ει δε τινες των αδελφων [603] ημας κακο λογουσι μη θαυμαζε· μνημονευε ιατρων χαριν παρα νεκρων ου ζητουντων αλλα παρα ζωντων¨

  

 

LETTER 54

νδ. [p.603]

  

 

   1. I know that, thanks to God you have acquired things necessary in [this] life; but in this you have gone a little astray from your path, for in your eyes “this corruptile world that is passing away” is more highly esteemed than virtue . The nous that makes use of the impassioned things [of the world] is separated far from the knowledge of God  because it agrees with the enemies who desire our ruin.

οιδα οτι την εις την ζωην ευχαρηστιαν δια θεου καλως κεκτησαι ολιγον δε οκνεις εν τηι οδωι σου οτι υπερ την αρετην τιμιος εν τοις ͅ οφθαλμοις σου ο φθαρτος 181βα κοσμος ο παραγων ωι αν τις εμπαθως χρωμενος τον νουν της θεου γνωσεως σφοδρα εξιστησι των εχθρων των τον ολεθρον ημων επιποθουντων αυτωι συνθεμενων.

   2.  Now is the time to serve the Lord and bear the “fruits of righteousness” because “from the fruit of justice there springs forth in the pure hearts of human beings “the tree of life” which is Christ , who shades all those burning in the fire of vice. 

καιρος νυν εστι τωι κυριωι λατρευειν και καρπους δικαιοσυνης ποιειν οτι απο καρπων δικαιοσυνης της ζωης το δενδρον, ο Χ., αναφυει εν ταις καθαραις των ανθρωπων καρδιαις επισκιαζον παντας υπο καυσμως της κακιας καιομενους¨

LETTER 55  

  

 

LETTER 55

 

  

 

1. I AM  not like the wise who, according to the spiritual proverbs (prov. 9:8), take advice to heart, loving those who admonish: rather, it is as if I am riddled with passions while striving to be free of the passions.  I freely admit that I am more cowardly than him who feared the serving-girl in the days of Pilate.  On the other hand I have also sought at the same time - insofar as I was afraid - to receive forgiveness, in order that I do not trample the pregnant soul which carries formed within it the seal of Christ, and [thus] earn the sentence of the trampling bull. {} The blame should certainly be mixed so that he, while he [] the opportunity to take the appearance of terror, like clever physicians who conceal the [surgical] instruments in the ambiguity of divination.  This I have said concerning fear.

ουχ ως σοφως κατα τας πνευματικας παροιμιας῾προῃ. 9·8̓ απεδεξαμην την επιτιμησιν ωστε τον με νουμετουντα φιλειν αλλ' ως εμπαθης σπευδων των παθων λυτρωθηναι.  εξομολογουμαι γαρ οτι εμφοβος ειμι υπερ τον ημεραις Πιλατου απο της παιδισκης φοβηθεντα· παλιν δε μετα του φοβεισθαι αφεσιν ηιτησα λαβειν ινα μη την ψυχην την εν γαστρι εχουσαν εν ηι τυπος Χ. μορφειται πανταξας ͅ181ββ κατακρισιν ταυρου κερατιστου δεχωμαι [Eχοδ. 21·28 ff].̓. προσηκει δε την επιτιμησιν ειναι κεκραμενην ωστε το πραγμα λεγουσν προσωπον φοβου ενδυεσθαι ῾̣̓ ωαπερ σοφοι ιατροι τον σιδηρον τωι αμφιλογωι της μαντειας αποκρυπτουσιν. ταυτα ειρηκα περι φοβου,

2. But in regard to the passions which dominate you I believe that knowledge is thus: of the tempting thoughts which assail us one sort arise, indeed, from nature, while the other [arise] from the weakness of our wills.  From nature are those from blood [-relations] and our parents; from the will are those which happen out of anger and lust . Those arising from nature, are time-consuming in their misleading us, because through meditation they imprint themselves in the nous and become entangled and thus scripture properly says :  “leave quickly – do not remain in this place”  But those which arise from the will bother the intellect if it assents to them, thus it is written: “do not choose to be with them”   It misleads by means of duration and the action of the sin.

περι δε των νυν σε κατεχοντων παθων οιομαι οτι η επιγνωσις ηδε· των νοηματων των ημας ερεθιζοντων εστι τα μεν εκ της φυσεως τα εκ της προαιρεσεως ημων της ασθενιας· εκ της φυσεως ουν εστι τα απο του αιματος και των γονεων, εκ δε της προαιρεσεως τα εκ θυμου και εξ επιθυμιας ημιν συμβαινοντα.  και τα μεν εκ φυσεως δια μακροτητος ημας ερεθιζει εν τωι τον νουν δια μελετης αυτα εν αυτωι εντυπουν τε και αυτοις συμπλεκεσθαι ωι δη εν τηι γραφηι λεγεται παρελθε ταχεως μη βραδυνε εν εκεινωι τωι τοπωι, τα δε εκ της προαιρεσεως βλαπτει τον νουν εαν αυτοις συγκατατιθηι οτι γεγραπται μη προαιρου ειναι ͅ182αα μετ' αυτων· βλαπτει δε δια του χρονιου και δια της κατεργασιας της αμαρτιας·

3 It is certainly possible for thoughts which accord with nature  to awaken anger and lust insofar by scattering the intellect through their many concerns, if he oes not take care to employ corresponding remedies, namely hunger, thirst, keeping vigil and withdrawal from the world and prayer. For strong hunger also knows how to disown nature. Be convinced by the woman of Samaria who devoured her own son. Out of starvation. The satiated seek everything useful for their satiation and despise the purity of prayer.

δυναται γαρ τα φυσικα {κατα φυσιν} νοηματα θυμου και επιθυμιαν εξεγειρειν εν τωι τον νουν ταις πολλαις αυτων πραγματειαις καταδυειν εαν μη τα συμφεροντα φαρμακα λαβειν επιμεληται, πεινην δε και διψον και αγρυπνιαν και αναχωρησιν και προσευχην· οιδε γαρ κρατερα πεινη και αυτην την φυσιν αρνεισθαι, - πειθετω δε σε η γυνη η εν Σαμαρειαι υπο πεινης τον αυτης υιον καταφαγουσα - επει κεκορεσμενοι παντοιον τι προς την πλησμονην αυτων χρησιμον επιζητουσιτην δε προσευχης καθαροτητα εξουδενουσιν.

Perhaps you will say, “If I am anxious for the life of my relatives I do not violate the commandment! Comprehend the treachery of the evil one who brings about death in you by means of good things, and who darkens your intellect through thoughts which are in accord with nature.  Look, rather, to the physician of souls who abolishes these thoughts through necessary surgery, saying: “If anyone comes to me   .

λεγοις δε αν οτι μεριμνων του βιου των εμων αυκ αδικω την εντολην· εννοει την του πονηρου δολιοτητα δι' αγαθων εν σοι θανατον κατεργαζομενου και απο των κατα φυσιν νοηματων τον νουν σου αμαυρουντος· επιβλεψον δε εις τον ιατρον των ψυχων ος δια τομης συμφερουσης ῾̣̓ ταυτα τα νοηματα καταργει λεγων· ει τις ερχεται προς με και ου μισει τον πατερα αυτου ͅ182αβ και την μητερα αυτου και τν γυναικα και τα τεκνα και τους αδελφους {και τας αδελφας}ετι δε και την αυτου ψυχηνου δυναται ειναι μου μαθητης῾Λκ 14·26̓ 

4 And do not regard it as a great thing that, for the sake of the knowledge of God he forsakes his relatives.  For many who heeded the idols offered their sons and daughters to the demons. I know that many of the brethren in whom these thoughts persisted have fallen into difficulty.  For when their parents or brethren come joyfully to them in their cells they would not receive them.  For the evil one turned their minds towards anger under the  pretext of the withdrawal [into solitude]!

δια δε τι την καρδιαν  αουτου ταυταις ταις μεριμναις εσκοτισθαι. και μη οιου οτι μεγα τι εστι τινα δια γνωσιν θεου τους συγγενεις καταλιπειν· πολλοι γαρ τοις ειδωλοις πειθομενοι τους τε υιους και τας θυγατερας τοις δαιμονοις εθυον.  οιδα οτι πολλοι των αδελφων δια τουτων των νοωματων εν κινδυνωι επεσον εν αυτοις χρονιζοντων οτε δε οι γονεις αυτων η οι αδελφοι ηδεως προς αυτους εις την κελλην ηλθον ουκ εδεξαντο αυτους· μετεβαλεν γαρ ο πονηρος την διανοιαν αυτων εις οργην εν υποκρισει αναχωρησεως.

5 Therefore abide in stillness in the desert, I beg you, and persevere in prayer without anger and without [tempting-] thoughts, and “give no place to the evil one” {}, for mighty is the Lord who has called you also to lead them to life and to give them the inheritancewith those consecrated in light.

παραμεινον ουν εν τι ερημωι εν ησυχιαι δεομαι σου και προσκαρτερησον τηι προσευχηι ανευ οργης και ανευ λογισμων και μη διδως τοπον τωι πονηρωι οτι δυνατος ο κυροις καλεσας σε και τουτους προς την ζωην προσαγαγειν και κληρον δουναι αυτοις μετα των εν φωτι αγιασθεντων.¨

   56

 

LETTER 56

 νς.  [p.603]

  

 

  1. Sufficiently have you consoled us, o Serene One [in that] you have extinguished mourning through encouragement and allowed no space for tears. It is not seemly to mourn for the departed, since ‘we should not mourn like those who have no hope’ () . ]1 If this were not so, how should we then say to God “lead my soul out of this prison, so that I may praise your name, Lord”?, like one hindered by the body, from sending up pure praise to God? For the senses incline towards physical things, whereas the nous observes spiritual things in which our God abides. Therefore the nous is bored by physical things if it is still a beginner, since it wants to converse with God alone.  

122βᾳ ικανως ημας παρακεκληκας ω σωφρον και δια παραμυθιας το πενθος κατεσβεκας και δακρυσι τοπον ου δεδωκας· ου γαρ προσηκει πενθειν περι των κοιμωμενων, οτι ου λυπουμεθα καθως και οι λοιποι οι μη εχοντες ελπιδα· ει δε μη πως λεγομεν τωι θεωι εξαγαγε εκ φυλακης την ψυχην μου του εξομολογησασθαι τωι ονοματι σου ως του σωματος κωλυοντος δοξολογιαν καθαραν θεωι αναπεμψαι· τα γαρ αισθητηρια επι τα σωματικα ρεπει ο δε νους εις τα πνευματικα βλεπει οις ο θεος ημων επαναπαυεται. τοιγαρουν αρχαριος ο νους βδελυσσεται εν τοις σωματικοις επιποθων μονωι τωι θεωι διαλεγεσθαι·

  2. Just as there is no possibility of incorporeals approaching corporeal things, so also it is impossible to see the incorporeals without the incorporeal nous. Indeed, it is not the nous which of itself sees God, but rather only the pure nous.  “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” () . Note that He does not pronounce purity blessed, but raather vision!  For purity is apatheia of the logos-gifted souls; while the vision of God is true knowledge of the unity in being of the Blessed Trinity, which those will see who fulful their journey here and have purified their souls through the commandments.

  ωσπερ γαρ απορον εστι ασωματον τοις σωματικοις πλησιαζειν ουτως αδυνατον ανευ νοος ασωματου τον ασωματον οραν· ουχ ο νους τον θεον οραι αλλ' ο καθαρος νους, μακαριοι γαρ οι καθαροι τηι καρδιαι οτι αυτοι τον θεον οψονται. βλεπε οτι ου την καθαροτητα μακαριζει αλλα την οψιν, οτι ͅ[182ββ] καθαροτης εστιν απαθεια λογικης ψυχης, οψις δε θεου αληθινη επιγνωσις της μιας ουσιας της προσκυνητης τριαδος ην ορωσιν οι ενθαδε τας αναστροφας επιτελεσαντες τε και δι' εντολων την ψυχην καθαρισαντες.

  3.  But the first and most important of the commandments is love (Mk 12:29, ff.) with which the intellect sees the primordial love, namely God. For it is through our love that we behold God’s love for us, as it is written in the Psalm “He will teach the gentle his ways” (Ps 24:9) :  “But Moses was gentler than all other men” (Num 12:13) and the Holy Spirit fittingly said: “He showed Moses his ways.” (cf. Ps 102:7) 

  μια δε των εντολων και αρχικη εστιν η αγαπη μεθ' ης ο νους καθοραι την πρωτην αγαπην, τον δη θεον. δια γαρ της ημων αηαπης την θεου προς ημας αγαπην ορωμεν ως γεγραπται εν τωι ψαλμωι διδαξει πραεις οδους αυτου {ψ 24,9} πραυη δε ην Μωσης παρα παντας ανθρωπους και λκαλως ειπε το αγιον πνευμα εγνωρισεν τας οδους αυτου τωι Μωυσηι {ψ 102,7}.

  4. Teach your brothers this gentleness, so that they give themselves to anger only with difficulty.  For no evil makes the intellect into a “demon” as much as anger through the troubling of wrath. Thus it is said in the psalm:  “[their] anger is like that of the snake.” (Ps 57:5)  And do not consider a demon to be anything other than a human being aroused by anger and deprived of perception! Although the bodies of the demons have color and form, they elude our perception, because their quality is the quality of bodies beyond our perception  Therefore, if they wish to appear to someone, they imitate our bodies in various ways and do not show their own bodies.

  ταυτην την πραυτητα εγχειρισον τοις αδελφοις σου βραδεως προς τον θυμον μεταστρεφειν οτι ουδεμια κακια ως ο θυμος τον νουν δαιμονα γενεσθαι ποιει δια της οργης του ταρασσοντος· γεγραπται γαρ εν ψαλμωι θυμος αυτοις κατα την ομοιωσιν του οφεως ωσει ασπιδος {ψ 57,5} και μη οιου οτι τι αλλο εστι δαιμων η ανθρωπος οργηι διατεταραγμενος, της δε αισθησεως ͅ [183αα] εξελθων, οτι τα των δαιμονων σωματα χρωμα εχει και σχημα την δε ημων αισθησιν αποφευγει επει η κρασις αυτων ανομοια της των υπο την ημετεραν αισθησιν κειμενων σωματων. οταν δε θελωσι φανηναι τινι μαλλον πασαις ταις μορφαις του ημων σωματος ομοιουνται, το δε αυτων σωμα ου δηλουσιν.

  5. Let none of the brothers, therefore, become like the snake, and do not approve any abstinence that is far from gentleness. For he who abstains from food and drink, but in whose interior reigns unjustified anger, resembles a ship that finds itself in the middle of the sea, steered by the demon of anger.

  μη ουν τις των αδελφων οφει ομοιουσθω και μη αποδεχου εγκρατειαν ης η πραυτης μακραν· ος γαρ αν της μεν εδωδης τεκαι του ποτου απεχηται εντος δε αυτου θυμος ασχημων εξηπται ομοιος εστι νηι εν μεσωι της θαλασσης υπο του της οργης δαιμονος αγομενηι.

  6. But tell me, why has the Scriptures in wishing to praise Moses, left aside all miraculous signs and instead reflected solely on gentleness? (Num 12:3)  Because they do not say that Moses chastised Egypt with the twelve plagues and led the chosen people out from there  And they do not say that Moses was the first to receive the Law from God and that he received understandings of past worlds, and they do not say that that he divided the Reed Sea with his staff nor that he brought water welling up for the thirsty people from the rock.  Rather, they state that he stood all alone in the desert before the face of God when he wanted to destroy Israel, and asked to be annihilated with the sons of his people.  Love of men and crimes he placed before God insofar as he said, “Forgive them or blot me out of the book you have written.” (Ex. 32:32)   Thus spoke the gentle one!, God, however, preferred to forgive those who had sinned, rather do Moses an injustice. 

  ειπε μοι δια τι ελομενη η γραφη τον Μωυση επαινεσαι αφεισα παντα τα θαυματα την πραυτητα μονην εμνημονευσεν; οτι ουκ ειπεν οτι Μωσης εν δωδεκα πληγαις την Αιγυπτον επαιδευσε και εξηγαμεν αυτης λαον βαρυν και ουκ ειπεν ͅ {183αβ} οτι Μωυσης πρωτος νομον παρα θεου ελαβεν και γνωσιν των αιρωνων των γεγομενων εδεξατο, ουδε οτι ραβδωι την ερυθραν θαλασσαν εσχισεν και εκ πετρας υδωρ εξηγαγε τωι διψουντι λαωι αλλα ειπεν οτι μονος ειστηκει εμπροσθεν θεου εν τηι ερημωι τον Ισραηλ αφανισαι θελοντος και εδειτο εξαλειφθηναι μετα των υιων του λαου αυτου· φιλανθρωπιαν και αδικιαν εθηκεν εμπροσθεν θεου λεγων αφες αυτοις ει δε μη εξαλειψον με εκ της βιβλου σου ης εγραψας {Εχ 31,32}. ταυτα ειπεν ο πραυς ο δε θεος μαλλον ειλατο αφειναι τοις ημαρτηκοσιν η αδικειν εις Μωυσην.

  7. The Scriptures skip over the famous feeding with Manna, the unexpected flight of quail and the abstinence of Moses, that surpassed human nature, the allegorical tent, in which the last and the future worlds were portrayed (comp. Heb 9:6 ff.) and they praise only this, that “Moses was more gentle than all people” (Num 12:3). O how great the miracle, that they enclose all Moses’ the wisdom of in two miraculous signs! Both this acclamation of Moses and his name portray the two miraculous signs.  

  παρηκεν η γραφη τον ενδοξον σιτισμον του μαννα και ορνιθας των ορτυγομητρων και την νηστειαν Μωυση της ανθρωπινης φυσεως υψηλοτερν και τι σκηνωμα αλληγορικης τυπουν τους αιωνας τε γενομενους και τους εσομενους και τουτο μονον επηινεσεν οτι Μωυσης δη πραυς παρα παντας τους ανθρωπους {νυμ 12,3}. ω του μεγαλου θαυματος οτι πασαν την σοφιαν Μωυση ͅ {183βα} δυσι σημειοις περιεγραψε και γαρ ο επαινος αυτου και το ονομα Μωυση δυο σημειων εστι.

  8. And David, too, reflecting on the virtue of gentleness pleaded that he might be made worthy of it, saying::  “O Lord remember David and [all] his gentleness.” (Ps 131:1)  He sets aside [the fact] that his knees became weak from fasting ()  and his flesh wasted [for lack] of oil and that he kept vigil, and was like a sparrow flying around the roof () and he says [instead]: “O Lord remember David and [all] his gentleness.” 

  και Δαυιδ μνημονευων την πραυτητος αρετην λεγει μνησθητι κυριε του Δαυιδ και πασης της πραυτητος αυτου {ψ 131,1} παρεσιωπησε το οτι τα γονατα αυτου ησθενησαν απο νηστειας και η σαρξ αυτου ηλλοιωθε δι' ελαιον {ψ 108,24} και το οτι ηγρυπνησε και εγενηθη ωσει στρουθιον μοναζον επι δωματι και ειπεν μνησθητι κτλ. {ψ 131,1}

  9.  Let us, too, acquire that gentleness of him who said “:  “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart ()”that he may teach us His ways and refresh us in the heavenly kingdom. 

κτωμεθα και ημεις ταυτην την πραυτητα του ειποντος μαθετε απ' εμου οτι πραυς ειμι και ταπεινος τηι καρδιαι {Μτ 11,29} ινα διδαξηι ημας οδους αυτου και αναπαυσηι εν βασιλειαι του ουρανου. +

   57

 

LETTER 57

  νζ. π.[607]

  

 

  1. Since you are dead, do not be greatly distressed that our blessed father has passed away.  “For we gladly go to him, but he will not return to us” (2Sam 12:23) My wish in regard to everything I possess is this: I made a vow to God when I entered the order of monks, that after the death of my father I would keep nothing for myself on earth, but rather spend everything in deeds of righteousness for the Lord.

θνητος ων μη πολυ θλιβου οτι ο πατηρ ημων ο μακαριος κεκοιμηται οτι ημεις προς αυτον απερχομεθα αυτος δε προς ημας ου μεταναστρεψει. το δε θελημα μου περι παντος μοι υπαρχοντος τοδε· ευχην ευχημαι θεωι εις την των μοναχων ταξιν εισελθων οτι μετα τον θανατον του πατρος μου ουδεν εμοι επι της γης καταλειψω αλλα παντα ͅ δικαιοσυναις του κυριου καταναλωσω.

  2. According to your word you have written us while sorrow still burned within you. Although I find myself also in the same state of mourning, this letter was requested of me and I have been compelled to write of that which I have myself received from [all of] you . But ‘God who consoles the humble’ (cf 2Cor 7:6), consoled us, in that he immediately bestowed on us the knowledge of life and death: regarding the flesh which is our vessel (cf 2Cor.4:7, 1Thes 4:4), and regarding the reasoning  soul, why souls are [at first] bound to bodies and then released.

κατα το ρημα σου καιρωι [183βα] οτε εμαρανθη εν σοι η λυπη ημιν γεγραφας εγω δε εν αυτωι ων τωι πενθει ταυτην την επιστολην απηι τημαι και βιαζομαι ταυτα γραφειν α παρ' υμων απεδεξαμην. ο δε θεος ο παρακαλων τους ταπεινους ημας παρεκαλεσε διδους ημιν παραχρημα γνωσιν του τε θανατου και της ζωης, του σωματος ο εστιν ημων σκευος και της λογικης ψυχης δια τι αι ψυχαι τωι σωματι προσδεδενται και παλιν λυονται

why angels and demons approach our world;  but we do not approach their worlds.  For, we are not able to unite the angels more [closely] to God, nor could we propose to make the demons more impure; [Thoughts/Peri.Log.19 and  KG 3.78]

[Πῶς] ἄγγελοι [μὲν,] καὶ δαίμονες τῷ ἡμετέρω παραβάλλουσι [1224Α]  κόσμῳ, ἡμεῖς δὲ τοῖς αὐτῶν κόσμοις οὐ παραβάλλομεν· οὔτε γὰρ ἀγγέλους Θεῷ συνάπτειν πλέον δυνάμεθα, οὔτε δαίμονας ἀκαθάρτους μᾶλλον ποιεῖν προαιρούμεθα. [also Peri.Log. 20, PG 1221D-1224Α. [KG ΙΙΙ.78]

because we don’t attain to that greatness of knowledge, nor do we reach that [abyss of] ignorance.

ως εις εκεινο της γνωσεως μεγεθος ουκ εξικνουμενοι ουδε εις ταυτην την αγνωσιαν καταληγοντες·

  3. And how our fathers are only the fathers of the flesh, while God is the “father” of the soul . And just as the son’s illness grieves the father, so the disorder of the soul grieves God. At the sickening of the son the father calls the physician; but, God has sent the physician of our souls from heaven, so as to enchant human beings, thus bringing wickedness to virtue and ignorance to the knowledge of God .

και οπως οι πατερες ημων τεν σωματων μονον εισιν, ο δε θεος πατηρ της ψυχης εστι και ως η νοσος του υιου τον πατερα θλιβει ουτως η αναταστασια της ͅ ψυχης τον θεον καταλυπει. ο πατηρ του υιου [184αα] νοσηλευοντος τον ιατρον καλει ο δε θεος τον των ψυχων ιατρον ουρανοθεν εξεπεμψεν ινα θελγων τους ανθρωπους απο κακιας προς αρετην και απ' αγνωσιας προς επιγνωσιν θεου μεταγηι·

  4 Whereas he has on the one hand given the angels the ‘Jerusalem above’ (Gal 4:26) to be their dwelling, as it is written:  ‘You have come to the mountain of Zion and the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem and to myriads of angels’ (Heb.12:22); he has, on the other hand, bound the demons with fetters of darkness and has handed them down to the deepest (regions) of the earth, ‘so that they may be kept for judgment’ (cf 2Pe 2:4);  and He has placed us in this this world and bound us to working [prob. praktike] bodies, as it is written:  ‘The heaven of the heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth he has given to men’ (Ps 113:24) , so that we, insofar as we practiced mercy, might be granted mercy (cf Mt. 5:7? Rom 11:31) and become “coheirs with the angels” (cf.Eph. 2:19, ?Heb 1:4, 11:9?), with whom, as I believe, is our blessed father, for he was merciful,  And witnesses to that are those who received alms from him and who bought oil for him. 

και πως τοις μεν αγγελοις κατοικητηριον εδωκε την ανω Ιερουσαλημ καθως γεγραπται προσεληλυθατε Ζιων ορει και πολει θεου ζωντος Ιερουσαλημ επουρανιωι και μυριασιν αγγελων {Ηεβρ. 12.22} τους δε δαιμονας πεδαις σκοτους καταδησας τωι κατωτατωι της γης παραδεδωκεν φυλαττεσθαι εις το κατακριμα, ημας δε εν τουτωι τωι κοσμωι εθηκε τε και σωμασιν εργαζομενοις συνεδησε καθως γεγραπται· ο ουρανος του ουρανου τωι κυριωι την δε γην εδωκε τοις υιοις των ανθρωπων [Πσ 113·24] ινα ελεημοσυνην ποιουντες ελεηθωμεν και συγκληρονομοι των αγγελων γενωμεθα μεθ' ων πιστευω οτι ο μακαριος πατηρ ημων εστιν· ελεημων γαρ ην, μαρτυρες δε ͅ οι παρ' [184αβ] αυτου λαβοντες δικαιοσυνας και ελαιον αυτωι αγορασαντες.

LETTER_59  

  

 

LETTER 59 [To Kekropios]

  νθ.[π.609]

  

 

  1. Do not be sad, Brother Kekropios, that we live far away from you. For it is possible for you to be amoung our holy fathers by living in justice and in the fear of God: for it is not locale, but rather impassioned thoughts which frustrate the knowledge of God.  So take note in the words of St. Paul that “we though many are one in Christ Jesus” (Rom 12:5)  and “the crowd of those who believed in Our Lord were of one heart and soul:” (Acts 4:32), [namely,] through apatheia  and faith. Indeed, that which locale is for corporeal beings, virtue is for the incorporeals.  And indeed it is said that among the the saints they are together whose virtue is one.   

μη καταλυπεισθω τι, αδελφε Κεκροπιε, οτι μακραν απο σου καθιζομεν· δυνασαι γαρ κατα δικαιοσυνην τε και φοβον θεου ζων μετα των αγιων ημων πατερων ειναι την γε θεου γνωσιν ου τοπον αλλ' εμπαθων νοηματων καταργουντων, επει ως και ο μακαριος παυλος λργρι οι πολλοι εν εσμεν εν Χ [Ρομ 12·5] και του πληθους των πιστευσαντων εν κυριωι ην καρδια και ψυχη μια [Αξτ 4·32] εν απαθειαι τε και πιστει. Ωσπερ γαρ ο τοπος των σωματων ¦ εστιν ουτως και η αρετη των ασωματων· ουτοι γαρτων αγιων λεγονταιειναι εις εν ων μια εστιν η αρετη῟ η εναρετος καταβασις᾿. 

  2. And so you proclaim blessed those who dwell with me: well, “Blessed,” indeed, “are the gentle:” (Mt. 5:5)  However, those who dwell with me are shameless dogs who daily lick my blood. (cf. Lk 16:21, cf Ep.Mel 17). Understand what I have said!

Εμακαρισας δε τους ¦ μετ' εμου κατοικουντας· ναι μακαριοι οι πραεις· 185 οι γαρ μετ' εμου κατοικουντες κυνες αναιδεις λειχοντες το αιμα μου πασαν την ημεραν· εννοει οτι λεγω.

  3. And since you mention Lazarus and the rich man, that Lazarus was gladdened through knowledge while the rich man was tormented by the flames of ignorance, (Lk 16:23 f.)   [know this also: that]

Και οτι εμνημονευσας τον τε λαζαρον και τον πλουσιον οτι ο μεν λαζαρος ηυφρανθη εν γνωσει ο δε πλουσιος εβασανισθη εν φλογι της αγνωσιας  απο τουτου γιγνωσκομεν οτι 

there was [a time] when evil did not exist, and there will be [a time] when it no longer exists; but there was never [a time] when virtue did not exist and there will never be [a time] when it does not exist; for the seeds of virtue are indestructible. And be convinced by the rich man condemned to hell for his evil, but who felt compassion for his brothers (Luke 16:19-31). For to have pity is a very beautiful seed of virtue.

Ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν κακὸν, καὶ ἔσται ὅτε οὐκ ἔσται· οὐκ ἦν δὲ ὅτε οὐκ ἦν ἀρετή, οὐδὲ ἔσται ὅτε οὐκ ἔσται· ἀνεξάλειπτα γὰρ τὰ σπέρματα τῆς ἀρετῆς· [Πείθει δέ με] [. . .] καὶ ὁ πλούσιος ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ διὰ κακίαν κρινόμενος καὶ [154] οἰκτείρων τοὺς ἀδελφούς. Τὸ δὲ ἐλεεῖν, σπέρμα τυγχάνει τὸ κάλλιστον τῆς ἀρετῆς. [cf Sch. 62  on Prov.5:14, pp. 152-154]

[here] the, ‘finger’ and the ‘depths’ are symbols of knowledge and wickedness, as one who is reliably knowledgeable in spiritual matters has passed on to us. 

Δακτυλος δεκαι χασμααλληγορικως λεγονται η τε και γνωσις και η κακια ως παρεδωκεν ημιν τις ανηρ εν τοις πνευματικοις δεδοκιμασμενος ακριβως

   
   
   
   

  

 

LETTER 0 [Bunge: ]

κε.  [p.0]

  

 

   

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