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153 Texts on Prayer by Evagrios the Solitary

153 Texts on Prayer by Evagrios the Solitary

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Published by: YaHaqq on Jun 30, 2010
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12/01/2014

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EVAGRIOS THESO LITA R Y
EVAGRIOSTHE SOLITARY
lntroductory Note
Evagrios hc Solitary,also known as EvagriosPontikos, wasbomin34jort46,probably atlborain Pontus, although accordingtoanother opinion hewasanativeoflberia (Geofgia). Adisciple of theCappadocianFathers, hewasordained reader bySt Basil the Greatanddeaconby St Gregory the fieologian (Gregoryof Nazianzos),and he accompanicd helatterto the Council ofConstantinople n38r(the secondEcumenicalCouncil).Evagrioswasnever ordainedpriest.After a brief stay inJerusalem,he went intBJto Eg)rpt,whcre hespentthercmainingsixtecnyears ofhis life.After tnr'oyearsat Nitria,wherehe becamea monk, he movedto tie moreremote desert o[Kellia, dyingthere in399.While inEgypt he hadas his spiritualfatherthe priest of Kellia, St Makariosof Alexandria,and ii is probablethathe also kncw St Makarioshe ESrptian,thepriestand spiritual hther ofSketis. lnthe perlon of tbese wo sainB,he camentocontactwitlthe firstgenerationof the Desert Fathersand withtheirspirituality in itspurestform..ln the numerouswritingsof Evagrioshere may be dirccrnedtwotendencies, he one 'speculative' and the other'practical'.On the'speculative'side hereliesheavily uponOrigen(c.r 85--r. r54),borrowing lromhim inparticular certain tlreories aboutthepre-existenceof humansoulsand the dpoldtdtosrJrfinalrestorationofallthingsin Christ. These theories werecondemned atth€ 6fthEcumenicalouncil(553).Onthe'pnctical' side he drawsuponthe living experienceof the Dcsert Fathersof Egypt,mainlyCopts,among whom he spent thelast yearsof his life, Hepossessedoanexceptional degree thegiftsofpsychological insight andvividdescription, togetherwiththe abllitytoanalyseanddefiner,vithremarkable precision the variousstages n the spiritualway. Herehis teachingr, so far from beingcondemned, haveexercised adecisive influence upon subsequentwriters.Hisdisciple StJohnCassian,while abandoning hesuspect heoricsthat Evagrioscrivctlfrom Origen,transmittedthc 'practical'aspcct ofEvagrios'caclr-ings tothc LatinWc$t. ln thcGreek East hc tcchnicllvocabularydevisedbyEvagrios emainedheredterstandard:it can bc found,for example,in thewritings of St Diadochosof Photiki,StJohnKlimakosand St MaximostheConfessor,asalsowithin the Syriactradition,inthelt!1sticrcoti.rcrof St Isaacof Ninevch.Thcuorksincluded bySt Nikodimos in thePlilolalio all belongo thc'practical'side ofEvagrios,and contain littleif any traceof susPectsPccu-lations.SeveralofEvagrios'rvorks have come downunder thename ofother authors.This isthe casewidrthervriting OnProTcr,which inthe GreekPhtlokalias ascribed o Neilos;butrecent researchhasmade t plainbeyondany reasonable oubtthat thisis awriting ofEvagrios.rScc hcstudicst I.Heushcrr,tcTnit{dc 'Or.hond'Evtrc le Pontlqu."
ln'.ctxd'lx&iquca dctlaiquc, XV('9t1)'PP,14-ei,' ']-7oi!1.' lqvnrd'unconenplo{.tz liol.ld. I'O.aMn A'Erol.. l. PonttqucPrris,'95o).Thc l:va'grt.neuth;hipof thcwortc On ProTc ir rcccptcdby rprcvlourEnglishtnnslrtor,JohnEudar8:rnbcrgcr, inhi! lntroduction to EldSttutPoD.t.u':Tk Prctru[or;Choptctsn Prcya(Cisterci.nStudictScrler, No.4,SPcnccr,Masr., r97olic|911l),
 
On Prayer:One Hundredand Fifty-ThreeTexts
PROLOGUEWhcn-sufreringromtlc feverof unclcanp.*rionr,my intcllectaffiictcdwithrlnmcfirlthougltr,I heve ofunbccnr;torcdrohe.althyyour lettar!,.! I ulcdto bc by thccounrclof ourgrcatguidc andtcachcr.r Thtuh not to bc wondcrcdet, rincelikJthcblesscdlacob;ouheveeamcd arich inhcritaoce.Througlryoureffort!to winRrchclyou hevc bcengivcnLceh1cf.Geo. i9:ig;,randlow1'oucckto bcgtven Rachclaho,rinceyouhevcabourcdfurthcrscvcnycanfor her rake.Formyrclf,I cannotdenytlnt dthougbI have wortcdharddtnightI luvccaughtnothing. YctetyourlugertionIhavc qgainetdownthenctr, andhevemedee lergc catch.Thcy arenot[lq 6!h,but rlrcrcere e hundrcdand fifty-thrccof thcm(cf.John:11r).Thesc,s you rrqucatcd,I amscndingyouine crcelof love, Inthcformof a hundred andfiftv-threctcxts.t amdelightcdo findyousoeagcr or tcxt!on prayerc.gcrnotsimplyfortlrore writtcnon popcrwitlr inkbut also orthocc whlchare fixcdin thc intcllccthroughovc andgercrority.Butcincc,allthingrgoin pein,onc complcmentinghcothcr', aa hcwircJcru.rput! it (Edclu!.4r:z4),please cccpt hc lettcrandundcrrtandtsspirit,slncccvcry *riftcnwordpraupporcrthc lntellcct:forwherctherc i! no intellecttlrcrc lc no writtcn word.Tlc weyofpnycrir al.ro wofold:itcompri!.rpncticc ofthe vinucrandcontcmplation.hesemcappllcrto numbcn:litcrallythcyercquantitics, but theycan alsorigni|qualitics.I htvedividedthi! discoursconpraycrintoonchundredandfitty-threctexts. Inthb way I scndyouan cvrngclicalfeast, othat
IS. M.t1106ot Alcund.i. (rG. p.JJ).IHcoc keh rymbollzcrthc pr.crac.of thcvinuc.erdR:chcl contcmplerton.
 
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EVAGRIOTTHESOLITARY
voumavdcliqhtn asymbolicalumbcrhat combinestriangularLt*.fr"*tgJndfigurc.rTlretrianglcndicatcspiritualknowlcdgc
rThcnumlrrr51rtcellrthcrlnughrof'grcrt firho'clughtby-SlmonPcrcrrnd ttrc Apcdct(lohn r | : It)ln thtprsogcEvrgrlot-m'tcttltc oI'numcn€'l.ymbollrrnwldcly .mPloycdtn rhcenclcntend r.dlcv'l*orld:l. A trianaulornumbcrb lhc 3um otdof.contlnuourcrlcrof nurncnls,stenlngfrom hciumbcr.Thu.t(=r+r),5(-t+t+t).tdro(:I+2+I+ 4)erc ell triengulernrmrbcr.ll. A4uan'numbcrb obt incdbt nurnbcrlngrom-r but omlttlnton'numcrelcrch linc.Thur4(-t+r),9(-I+t+ J)$dt6(-t+ r+ t+ 7)rrcrquarcnumbc]!.lli. To obtein ocmoonalnurnbcr,t*o nurncnls.t!omlttcdG'chlmc:|+ 4+ 7+ro . . .ctc.jtoo6aioe rrc6oootnumbcr, thrccnumcr.ltarcomlttcd:|+ t +t+r3.,.ctc.it,'I ircrto,orq,tutoln$rbcr b orcwl c[,whca multlPllcdb,lt"lf,tcProduc"Ibcu.gft$ th;lstdlgtt: c.g.tx3-tti 6x5-35.Applylngth|t @tllcnumbc! tJt,Ev.8rlo.aorcludc.:o.'iilli"loqfut"',b.togthc rum ofJl oumcnbuPto It(locludvc)'.t. ltbi.r.rrrdr,b.lngthc rurnof t+J+ 9+tt.' .uP o3l(rrcrulrvcr'-c. hlr thc r-umofroolr rqlorcnunbcr)rnd of3t;urdttlt ln ltrtumthc tutnorrt(rntd'ruro.numbcl::r*I* 3+4+ J+6+ t)''-ld'5Fct"ulatldl.rtcdnunbc!:-JxJ)'T[cfollowlngdLgrdrurhowthc mrancrtnwhkf, th€nrlout ,crl"quotcd'boYccorrepond6tf,Juatctwhich dcmtct[em:
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ofthcTrinity,thc hexegon ndicetcr thcordered crcatlonof tf,cworldin rix dap,Thc numbcr onc hundrcdtr rqrnre,whilethcnumber fifty-tlrccir trLnguLr aadryhcrical;fortwcnty-cighti!triangulrr, endtwcnty-fivc ir sphcrical,fivc timcrfivebclngtwenty-fivc.ln thi!w.y,1ouhavca lgu.rc figure tocxprcsshllourfold neturcof thcvirurcc,and aboaryherlcalnumber,twenty-6ve,whichby formrcprcrcntr thc cyclicmovementoftimc androindicat! tnreleowlcdgcofthispre*nt1ge.For wcckfollows wccland month followrmonth, and irncrcvolvcr fromycar toycar, rndse.sonollows !ca!on, eawere from the movcmcntof thc cunandmoon,of4ringrnd summcr,md ro on. The trianglc"."tignifyknowledgeof the Holy Trinity.Or you cen rcgardt}c total sum,one hundrcdand fty-thrcc,ar triangularmd ro signi$\rerpcctivc-ly the pncticc of the virtue!, contcmpletionof thcdivine innature,andleologrr or splrltud knowlcdgcof God; faith,hopc andlovc(cf.r Cor. r3r3);orgold,rilvcr andprccious stones cf.r C.or.1r:).Somuch, hen, or thir number.Do not dcrpisc the humblc apF.ranccof thaetcxs,foryouknow how to bccontcntwith muchor lltdc (cf.Phil,4:r:).Youwillrccell how Chrirt did notrcJcct thc wldow'rmitca(cf.Ma*r::,9g),but rcccpted them a!gr€atcr thna thc rlchgiftsof nnnyothers. Slnwlrgln thir way charity radlove toryerdsyourtrucbrethrtn,pnyforonewho ir rick thathc rnayalcuphb bcd'andwalk (Merkr : rr)by thegrecqof Chrirt. Amco,r.Should newirh to rmhc ncenrc,onc willminglc,accordingto the Lrw, fngrrnt gum, ca,rria, rornaticshcll end myrrhin cqrnlamounecf.Exod.3o:34).Thclc are he fourvirnrcr.Withthclrfull and bclanccd dcvclopmcnt, thc intcllectwillbc refcfrombetranl.r. Whcn thcroul lrarbccn purificd tkouihthckeepingofallthe comnnndmcntr,t make!the intcllcctstcadfrot.ndabletoreceivc thc rtate nccded or prayer.3.Pnycr is communion f the intellcct withCod. Whatrtetc,then, doca thc intcllectnecdso thrt itcan rcachout to it!Lrrdwithout&flccttonend communewith Himwithoutintermediarv?4.Whar Moscr trlcd to dnw nearto the burningbush hc rJarforbiddcn to approachuntil hc hed oolcdhf!raa&l.r fromhir fcct(cf.Exod.3:g).If, thcn, you wirhto bcholdandcommunewltlr
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