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- 1 Introduction
- 2 Fourth-century B.C. Athens
- 3 Plotinus
- 4 Modern philosophy
- 5 Christianity
- 6 Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches
- 6.1 Degrees of prayer
- 6.2 Theological traditions
- 6.3 Writings
- 6.4 Ontological or Trinitarian theology
- 6.5 False spiritual knowledge
- 7 Comparison between views within Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity
- 8 Roman Rite of the Catholic Church
- 9 Scientific research
- 10 Quotes
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
The Greek theoria (θεωρία), from which the English word "theory" (and theatre) is derived, meant "contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at", from theorein (θεωρεῖν) "to consider, speculate, look at", from theoros (θεωρός) "spectator", from thea (θέα) "a view" + horan (ὁρᾶν) "to see". It expressed the state of being a spectator. Both Greek θεωρία and Latin contemplatio primarily meant looking at things, whether with the eyes or with the mind.
Taking philosophical and theological traditions into consideration, the term was used by the ancient Greeks to refer to the act of experiencing or observing and then comprehending through consciousness, which is called the nous or "eye of the soul" (Matthew 6:22–34). Insight into being and becoming (called noesis) through the intuitive truth called faith, in God (action through faith and love for God), leads to truth through our contemplative faculties. This theory, or speculation, as action in faith and love for God, is then expressed famously as "Beauty shall Save the World". This expression comes from a mystical or gnosiological perspective, rather than a scientific, philosophical or cultural one.
Christianity took up the use of both the Greek (theoria) and Latin (contemplatio, contemplation) terminology to describe various forms of prayer and the process of coming to know God. Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity grew apart as they incorporated the general notion of theoria into their respective teachings.
Several scholars have also demonstrated the similarities between the Greek idea of theoria and the Indian idea of darśana (darshan), including Ian Rutherford, Binod Kumar Agarwala, Gregory Grieve, and Michael A. Di Giovane.
Fourth-century B.C. Athens
For Plato, what the contemplative (theoros) contemplates (theorei) are the Forms, the realities underlying the individual appearances, and one who contemplates these atemporal and aspatial realities is enriched with a perspective on ordinary things superior to that of ordinary people. Philip of Opus viewed theoria as contemplation of the stars, with practical effects in everyday life similar to those that Plato saw as following from contemplation of the Forms.
Aristotle, on the other hand, separated the spectating of theoria from practical purposes, and saw it as an end in itself, the highest activity of man. To indicate that it is the philosopher who devotes himself to pursuits most worthy of a free man, Heraclides of Pontus compared him to a spectator (theoros) at the Olympic spectacle: unlike the other participants, he does not seek either glory, as does the competitor, or money, as does the businessman. Aristotle used the same image:
As we go to the Olympian festival for the sake of the spectacle (θεᾶς), even if nothing more should come of it – for the theoria (θεωρία) itself is more precious than money; and just as we go to theorize (θεωροῦμεν) at the festival of Dionysus not so that we will gain anything from the actors (indeed we pay to see them) … so too the theoria (θεωρία) of the universe must be honoured above all things that are considered to be useful. For surely we would not go to such trouble to see men imitating women and slaves, or athletes fighting and running, and not consider it right to theorize without payment (θεωρεῖν ἀμισθί) the nature and truth of reality.
Indeed, Andrea Wilson Nightingale says that Aristotle considers that those who, instead of pursuing theoria for its own sake, would put it to useful ends would be engaging in theoria in the wrong way, and Richard Kraut says that, for Aristotle, theoretical activity alone has limitless value. Thomas Louis Schubeck says that, in Aristotle's view, the knowledge that guides ethical political activity does not belong to theoria.
"Leading a contemplative life can be considered Aristotle's answer to the question what life humans ought to live. … The more humans engage in contemplation, the closer they are to their gods and the more perfect will be their happiness."
Aristotle's view that the best life would be a purely contemplative (intellectual) one was disputed by the Stoics and others, such as the Epicureans, who saw speculation as inferior to practical ethics. Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism considered contemplation superior and saw as its goal the knowledge of God or union with him, so that a "contemplative life" was a life devoted to God rather than to any kind of activity.
Commenting on Aristotle's view of the lack of practical usefulness of the contemplation of theoria, Andrew Louth said: "The word theoria is derived from a verb meaning to look, or to see: for the Greeks, knowing was a kind of seeing, a sort of intellectual seeing. Contemplation is, then, knowledge, knowledge of reality itself, as opposed to knowing how: the kind of know-how involved in getting things done. To this contrast between the active life and contemplation there corresponds a distinction in our understanding of what it is to be human between reason conceived as puzzling things out, solving problems, calculating and making decisions - referred to by the Greek words phronesis and dianoia, or in Latin by ratio - and reason conceived as receptive of truth, beholding, looking - referred to by the Greek words theoria or sophia (wisdom) or nous (intellect), or in Latin intellectus. Augustine expressed this distinction by using scientia for the kind of knowledge attained by ratio, and sapientia, wisdom, for the kind of knowledge received by intellectus. Human intelligence operates at two levels: a basic level concerned with doing things, and another level concerned with simply beholding, contemplating, knowing reality."
In the Enneads of Plotinus, a founder of Neoplatonism, everything is contemplation (theoria) and everything is derived from contemplation. The first hypostasis, the One, is contemplation (by the nous, or second hypostasis)[not in citation given] in that "it turns to itself in the simplest regard, implying no complexity or need"; this reflecting back on itself emanated (not created)[not in citation given] the second hypostasis, Intellect (in Greek Νοῦς, Nous), Plotinus describes as "living contemplation", being "self-reflective and contemplative activity par excellence", and the third hypostatic level has theoria. Knowledge of The One is achieved through experience of its power, an experience that is contemplation (theoria) of the source of all things.
Plotinus agreed with Aristotle's systematic distinction between contemplation (theoria) and practice (praxis): dedication to the superior life of theoria requires abstension from practical, active life. Plotinus explained: "The point of action is contemplation. … Contemplation is therefore the end of action" and "Such is the life of the divinity and of divine and blessed men: detachments from all things here below, scorn of all earthly pleasures, the flight of the lone to the Alone."
In modern times theoria is sometimes treated as distinct from the meaning given to it in Christianity, linking the word not with contemplation but with speculation. Boethius (c. 480–524 or 525) translated the Greek word theoria into Latin, not as contemplatio but as speculatio, and theoria is taken to mean speculative philosophy. A distinction is made, more radical than in ancient philosophy, between theoria and praxis, theory and practice.
Some Neoplatonic ideas were adopted by Christianity, among them the idea of contemplation, taken over by Gregory of Nyssa for example. The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa remarks that contemplation in Gregory is described as a "loving contemplation", and, according to Thomas Keating, the Greek Fathers of the Church, in taking over from the Neoplatonists the word theoria, attached to it the idea expressed by the Hebrew word da'ath, which, though usually translated as "knowledge", is a much stronger term, since it indicates the experiential knowledge that comes with love and that involves the whole person, not merely the mind. In addition, the Christian's theoria is not contemplation of Platonic Ideas nor of the astronomical heavens of Pontic Heraclitus, but is contemplative prayer, the knowledge of God that is impregnated with love.
Together with the meaning of "proceeding through philosophical study of creatures to knowledge of God", θεωρία had, among the Greek Fathers, another important meaning, namely "studying the Scriptures", with an emphasis on the spiritual sense.
Later, contemplation came to be distinguished from intellectual life, leading to the identification of θεωρία or contemplatio with a form of prayer distinguished from discursive meditation in both East and West. Some make a further distinction, within contemplation, between contemplation acquired by human effort and infused contemplation.
An exercise long used among Christians for acquiring contemplation, one that is "available to everyone, whether he be of the clergy or of any secular occupation", is that of focusing the mind by constant repetition a phrase or word. Saint John Cassian recommended use of the phrase "O God, make speed to save me: O Lord, make haste to help me". Another formula for repetition is the name of Jesus. or the Jesus Prayer, which has been called "the mantra of the Orthodox Church", although the term "Jesus Prayer" is not found in the Fathers of the Church. The author of The Cloud of Unknowing recommended use of a monosyllabic word, such as "God" or "Love". This exercise, which, for the early Fathers, was just a training for repose, the later Byzantines developed into a spiritual work of its own, attaching to it technical requirements and various stipulations that became a matter of serious theological controversy (see below), and are still of great interest to Byzantine, Russian and other eastern churches.
Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches
In Eastern Orthodox Christian theology and certain Eastern Catholic Christian theology, theoria refers to a stage of illumination on the path to theosis, in which one beholds God. As rather than the term meaning to contemplate as to "think of" the term here means to see or "behold" and then by doing so to understand through this experience. Theosis is obtained by engaging in contemplative prayer resulting from the cultivation of watchfulness (Gk: nepsis). In its purest form, theoria is considered as the 'beholding', 'seeing' or 'vision' of God.
According to the teachings of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the quintessential purpose and goal of the Christian life is to attain theosis or 'deification', understood as 'likeness to' or 'union with' God.
Theosis results from leading a pure life, practicing restraint and adhering to the commandments, putting the love of God before all else. This metamorphosis (transfiguration) or transformation results from a deep love of God. Saint Isaac the Syrian says that "Paradise is the love of God, in which the bliss of all the beatitudes is contained," and that "the tree of life is the love of God" (Homily 72). Theoria is thus achieved by the pure of heart who are no longer subject to the afflictions of the passions. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit to those who, through observance of the commandments of God and ascetic practices (see praxis, kenosis, Poustinia and schema), have achieved dispassion. According to the standard ascetic formulation of this process, there are three stages: katharsis or purification, theoria or illumination, and theosis or deification (also referred to as union with God).
Purification precedes conversion and constitutes a turning away from all that is unclean and unwholesome. This is a purification of mind and body. As preparation for theoria, however, the concept of purification in this three-part scheme refers most importantly to the purification of consciousness (nous), the faculty of discernment and knowledge (wisdom), whose awakening is essential to coming out of the state of delusion that is characteristic of the worldly-minded. After the nous has been cleansed, the faculty of wisdom may then begin to operate more consistently. With a purified nous, clear vision and understanding become possible, making one fit for contemplative prayer.
In the Eastern Orthodox ascetic tradition called hesychasm, humility, as a saintly attribute, is called Holy Wisdom or sophia. Humility is the most critical component to humanity's salvation. Following Christ's instruction to "go into your room or closet and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret" (Matthew 6:6), the hesychast withdraws into solitude in order that he or she may enter into a deeper state of contemplative stillness. By means of this stillness, the mind is calmed, and the ability to see reality is enhanced. The practitioner seeks to attain what the apostle Paul called 'unceasing prayer'.
Some Eastern Orthodox theologians object to what they consider an overly speculative, rationalistic, and insufficiently experiential nature of Roman Catholic theology., and confusion between different aspects of the Trinity.
Degrees of prayer
Eastern Orthodox tradition recognizes three degrees of prayer: (1) Ordinary oral prayer, as is practiced in church or at home; (2) prayerful thoughts and feelings united with the mind and heart; and (3) unceasing prayer, also known as 'Prayer of the Heart':
- "...the heart is warmed by concentration so that what hitherto has only been thought now becomes feeling. Where first it was a contrite phrase now it is contrition itself; and what was once a petition in words is transformed into a sensation of entire necessity. Whoever has passed through action and thought to true feeling, will pray without words, for God is God of the heart. So that the end of apprenticeship in prayer can be said to come when in our prayer we move only from feeling to feeling. In this state reading may cease, as well as deliberate thought...When the feeling of prayer reaches the point where it becomes continuous, then spiritual prayer may be said to begin...Without inner spiritual prayer there is no prayer at all, for this alone is real prayer, pleasing to God."
Prayer of the Heart is often associated with a prayer called The Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer has long been used in hesychastic asceticism as a spiritual tool to aid the practitioner to bring about the unceasing, wordless prayer of the heart that St. Theophan describes. The Jesus Prayer does this by invoking an attitude of humility essential for the attainment of theoria. The Jesus Prayer is also invoked to pacify the passions, as well as the illusions that lead a person to actively express these passions. The worldly, neurotic mind is habitually accustomed to seek perpetuation of pleasant sensations and to avoid unpleasant ones. This state of incessant agitation of the mind is attributed to the corruption of primordial knowledge and union with God (the Fall of Man and the defilement and corruption of consciousness, or nous). According to St. Theophan the Recluse, though the Jesus Prayer has long been associated with the Prayer of the Heart, they are not synonymous.
Alexandrian tradition of theoria
According to Origen (184/185–253/254AD) and the Alexandrian theology, theoria is the knowledge of God in creation and of sensible things, and thus their contemplation intellectually (150–400AD) (see Clement of Alexandria, and Evagrius Ponticus). This knowledge and contemplation leads to communion with God akin to Divine Providence.
Cappadocian tradition of theoria
In the Cappadocian school of thought (see Saint Basil, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Gregory Nazianzus) (350–400AD), theoria is the experience of the highest or absolute truth, realized by complete union with God. It is entering the 'Cloud of Unknowing', which is beyond rational understanding, and can be embraced only in love of God (Agape or Awe). The Cappadocian fathers went beyond the intellectual contemplation of the Alexandrian fathers. This was to begin with the seminal work Philokalia, which, through hesychasm, leads to Phronema and finally theosis, which is validated by theoria. One must move beyond gnosis to faith (meta-gnosis). Through ignorance, one moves beyond knowledge and being, this contemplation being theoria. In this tradition, theoria means understanding that the Uncreated cannot be grasped by the logical or rational mind, but only by the whole person (unity of heart and mind); this perception is that of the nous. God was knowable in his manifestations, but ultimately, one must transcend knowledge or gnosis, since knowledge is based on reflection, and because gnosis is limited and can become a barrier between man and God (as an idolatry). If one wishes to commune with God, one must enter into the Divine filial relation with God the Father through Jesus Christ, one in ousia with the Father, which results in pure faith without any preconceived notions of God. At this point, one can commune with God just as Moses did. Gregory of Nyssa presented as the culmination of the Christian religion the contemplation of the divine Being and its eternal Will.
Dionysius the Areopagite's apophaticism
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Theoria is the main theme of Dionysius’ work called "The Mystical Theology". In chapter 1, Dionysius says that God dwells in divine darkness i.e. God is unknowable through sense and reason. Therefore, a person must leave behind the activity of sense and reason and enter into spiritual union with God. Through spiritual union with God (theosis), the mystic is granted theoria and through this vision is ultimately given knowledge of God. In the tradition of Dionysus the Areopagite, theoria is the lifting up of the individual out of time, space and created being, while the Triune God reaches down, or descends, to the hesychast. This process is also known as ekstasis ("mystical ecstasy").
While theoria is possible through prayer, it is attained in a perfect way through the Eucharist. Perfect vision of the deity, perceptible in its uncreated light, is the "mystery of the eighth day". The eighth day is the day of the Eucharist but it also has an eschatological dimension as it is the day outside of the week i.e. beyond time. It is the start of a new eon in human history. Through the Eucharist people experience the eternity of God who transcends time and space.
St. Macarius of Egypt
In the theological tradition of St. Macarius of Egypt (ca. 300–391AD), theoria is the point of interaction between God and the human in the heart of the person, manifesting spiritual gifts to the human heart.
The highest form of contemplation originates in the heart (see agape), a higher form of contemplation than that of the intellect. The concept that theoria is allotted to each unique individual by their capacity to comprehend God is consistent. This is also the tradition of theoria, as taught by St. Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022AD), that one cannot be a theologian unless one sees the hypostases of God or the uncreated light. This experience cultivates humility, meekness and the love of the human race that the Triune God has created. This invisible fire in the heart for humanity is manifest in absolute kindness and love for one's neighbor akin to selfless humility, agape or love, growing from mortification, kenosis, or epiclesis. This agape, or holy fire, is the essence of Orthodoxy.
Under St. Gregory Palamas (1296–1359AD), the different traditions of theoria were synthesized into an understanding of theoria that, through baptism, one receives the Holy Spirit. Through participation in the sacraments of the Church and the performance of works of faith, one cultivates a relationship with God. If one then, through willful submission to God, is devotional and becomes humble, akin to the Theotokos and the saints, and proceeds in faith past the point of rational contemplation, one can experience God. Palamas stated that this is not a mechanized process because each person is unique, but that the apodictic way that one experiences the uncreated light, or God, is through contemplative prayer called hesychasm. Theoria is cultivated through each of the steps of the growing process of theosis.
Gregory was initially asked by his fellow monks on Mount Athos to defend them from the charges of Barlaam of Calabria. Barlaam believed that philosophers had a greater knowledge of God than did the prophets, and valued education and learning more than contemplative prayer. Palamas taught that the truth is a person, Jesus Christ, a form of objective reality. In order for a Christian to be authentic, he or she must experience the Truth (i.e. Christ) as a real person (see hypostasis). Gregory further asserted that when Peter, James and John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, they were seeing the uncreated light of God, and that it is possible for others to be granted to see it, using spiritual disciplines (ascetic practices) and contemplative prayer.
The only true way to experience Christ, according to Palamas, was the Eastern Orthodox faith. Once a person discovers Christ (through the Orthodox church), they begin the process of theosis, which is the gradual submission to the Truth (i.e. God) in order to be deified (theosis). Theoria is seen to be the experience of God hypostatically in person. However, since the essence of God is unknowable, it also cannot be experienced. Palamas expressed theoria as an experience of God as it happens to the whole person (soul or nous), not just the mind or body, in contrast to an experience of God that is drawn from memory, the mind, or in time. Gnosis and all knowledge are created, as they are derived or created from experience, self-awareness and spiritual knowledge. Theoria, here, is the experience of the uncreated in various degrees, i.e. the vision of God or to see God. The experience of God in the eighth day or outside of time therefore transcends the self and experiential knowledge or gnosis. Gnosis is most importantly understood as a knowledge of oneself; theoria is the experience of God, transcending the knowledge of oneself. St. Gregory Palamas died on November 14, 1359; his last words were, "To the heights! To the heights!" He is commemorated on the Second Sunday of Great Lent because Gregory's victory over Barlaam is seen as a continuation of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, i.e., the victory of the Church over heresy.
Theoria appears in a variety of contexts.
- "The Lord considered the chief good to reside in theoria alone – that is in divine contemplation." St. John Cassian 
- Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos
- "St. Maximus goes on to say that man is 'granted the grace of theology when, carried on wings of love' in theoria and 'with the help of the Holy Spirit, he discerns - as far as this is possible for the human nous - the qualities of God'."
- "St. Thalassios ... wrote that when man's nous begins with simple faith, it 'will eventually attain a theology that transcends the nous and that is characterised by unremitting faith of the highest type and the vision of the invisible'."
- "We accept faith by hearing it not so that we can understand it rationally, but that our hearts may be cleansed, that, by theoria, we may attain faith and ultimately experience the Revelation of God."
- "In the Holy Scripture it appears that faith comes by hearing the Word and by experiencing theoria (the vision of God)."
- "[T]he disciples of Christ acquired the knowledge of the Triune God in theoria (vision of God) and by revelation."
- "[T]heoria, vision and theosis are closely connected. Theoria has various degrees. There is illumination, vision of God, and constant vision (for hours, days, weeks, even months)."
- "They [Latins and Protestants] are influenced by the philosophical dialectic, which has been surpassed by the Revelation of God."
- The Roman Catholics as well do not have the perfection of the therapeutic tradition which the Orthodox Church has. Their doctrine of the filioque is a manifestation of the weakness in their theology to grasp the relationship existing between the person and society. They confuse the personal properties: the "unbegotten" of the Father, the "begotten" of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause of the "generation" of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit.
- "The Latins' weakness to comprehend and failure to express the dogma of the Trinity shows the non-existence of empirical theology. The three disciples of Christ (Peter, James and John) beheld the glory of Christ on Mount Tabor; they heard at once the voice of the Father: 'this is my beloved Son' and saw the coming of the Holy Spirit in a cloud -for, the cloud is the presence of the Holy Spirit, as St. Gregory Palamas says-. Thus the disciples of Christ acquired the knowledge of the Triune God in theoria (vision) and by revelation. It was revealed to them that God is one essence in three hypostases".
- "This is what St. Symeon the New Theologian teaches. In his poems he proclaims over and over that while beholding the uncreated Light, the deified man acquires the Revelation of God the Trinity. Being in 'theoria' (vision of God), the Saints do not confuse the hypostatic attributes. The fact that the Latin tradition came to the point of confusing these hypostatic attributes and teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also, shows the non-existence of empirical theology for them. Latin tradition speaks also of created grace, a fact which suggests that there is no experience of the grace of God. For, when man obtains the experience of God, then he comes to understand well that this grace is uncreated. Without this experience there can be no genuine "therapeutic tradition".
- "St. Gregory the Theologian says that theoria and praxis are beneficial because theoria ... guides him to the holy of holies and restores him to his original nature; whereas praxis receives and serves Christ and tests love with actions. Clearly, theoria is the vision of God.... [P]raxis is whatever deeds it takes to lead to this love."
- Simeon the New Theologian
- 'He prays with his body alone, and not yet with spiritual knowledge. But when the man once blind received his sight and saw the Lord, he acknowledged Him no longer as the Son of David but as the Son of God, and worshipped Him' (John 9:38).
Ontological or Trinitarian theology
The highest theoria, the highest consciousness that can be experienced by the whole person, is the vision of God. A nous in a state of ecstasy or ekstasis, called the eighth day, is not internal or external to the world, outside of time and space; it experiences the infinite and limitless God. God is beyond being; He is a hyper-being; God is beyond nothingness. Nothingness is a gulf between God and man. God is the origin of everything, including nothingness. This experience of God in hypostasis shows God's essence as incomprehensible, or uncreated. God is the origin, but has no origin; hence, he is apophatic and transcendent in essence or being, and cataphatic in foundational realities, immanence and energies. This ontic or ontological theoria is the observation of God.
False spiritual knowledge
Theoria does not manifest a false spiritual knowledge, like incomplete knowledge akin to human rationalization as either conjecture or speculation, like that which may be arrived at through rational thought (called dianoia) or rational speculation (called stochastic and dialectics).
False spiritual knowledge can also be iniquitous, generated from an evil rather than a holy source. The gift of the knowledge of good and evil is then required: some knowledge is good and some knowledge is bad or evil. The most common false spiritual knowledge is derived not from an experience of God, but from reading another person's experience of God and subsequently arriving at one's own conclusions, believing those conclusions to be indistinguishable from the actual experienced knowledge, causing a conflict in interpretations. Knowledge is derived from experience (i.e. contemplation), but experience is not derived from knowledge. Knowledge is here defined by the change in humanity's nous caused by partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since humanity, in its finite existence as created beings or creatures, can never, by its own accord, arrive at a sufficiently objective consciousness in order to properly apply such knowledge. Theosis is the gradual submission of a person to the good, who then with divine grace from the person's relationship or union with God, attains deification. Illumination restores humanity to that state of faith existent in God, called noesis, before humanity's consciousness and reality was changed by their fall. After illumination or theoria, humanity is in union with God and can properly discern, or have holy wisdom. Hence theoria, the experience or vision of God, silences all humanity.
False spiritual knowledge leads to spiritual delusion (Russian prelest, Greek plani), which is the opposite of sobriety. Sobriety (called nepsis) means full consciousness and self-realization (enstasis), giving true spiritual knowledge (called true gnosis). Prelest or plani is the estrangement of the person to existence or objective reality, an alienation called amartía. This includes damaging or vilifying the nous, or simply having a non-functioning noetic and neptic faculty.
Evil is, by definition, the act of turning humanity against its creator and existence. Misotheism, a hatred of God, is a catalyst that separates humanity from nature, or vilifies the realities of ontology, the spiritual world and the natural or material world. Reconciliation between God (the uncreated) and man is reached through submission in faith to God the eternal, i.e. transcendence rather than transgression (magic).
The Trinity as Nous, Word and Spirit (hypostasis) is, ontologically, the basis of humanity's being or existence. The Trinity is the creator of humanity's being via each component of humanity's existence: origin as nous (ex nihilo), inner experience or spiritual experience, and physical experience, which is exemplified by Christ (logos or the uncreated prototype of the highest ideal) and his saints. The following of false knowledge is marked by the symptom of somnolence or "awake sleep" and, later, psychosis. Theoria is opposed to allegorical or symbolic interpretations of church traditions.
False asceticism or cults
Once the stage of true discernment (diakrisis) is reached (called phronema), one is able to distinguish false gnosis from valid gnosis and has holy wisdom. The highest holy wisdom, Sophia, or Hagia Sophia, is cultivated by humility or meekness, akin to that personified by the Theotokos and all of the saints that came after her and Christ, collectively referred to as the ecclesia or church. This community of unbroken witnesses is the Orthodox Church.
Wisdom is cultivated by humility (emptying of oneself) and remembrance of death against thymos (ego, greed and selfishness) and the passions. Practicing asceticism is being dead to the passions and the ego, collectively known as the world.
God is beyond knowledge and the fallen human mind, and, as such, can only be experienced in his hypostases through faith (noetically). False ascetism leads not to reconciliation with God and existence, but toward a false existence based on rebellion to existence.
True spiritual knowledge
Theoria is beyond conceptual knowledge. It is the state in which the mind is placed in the heart (kardio) and the nous is focused on the immediacy or immanence of the Trinity of God rather than strictly insight or foresight (which is to face the unknown with free will and faith) and rather than hindsight (determinism and knowledge). It is much like the difference between reading about the experience of another and reading about one's own experience. Thus, theoria is an expression of insight (noesis), and is deeply focused on the 'now', the 'immediate', and the 'present'. Though theoria is akin to acting by free will and by conscious choice rather than deterministically, it holds that one moves through time into the future without knowing, but proceeds by faith (faith is meta-gnosis or beyond knowledge). Theoria means placing the actual experience above the recollection of an experience (mnemonic) or memory. As it is the contemplation of the present (insight) while in the present, rather than the past (knowledge) or future (unknown), it is ultimately the experience of the hypostases of God. In other words, theoria places primacy of experience and observation over a speculative, discursive, rational analysis (Orthodox Empirical theology). This illumination is photismos, a light that permeates all things and is without source, a light that illuminates not only the physical world, but also the darkness within humanity; this light is also called the Tabor light. The Trinity is the three realities of the single God at once. Each reality or hypostasis is critical to the ontology of being (ousia).
Comparison between views within Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity
Relation between being a contemplative and being a theologian
In the Eastern Christian traditions, theoria is the most critical component needed for a person to be considered a theologian; however it is not necessary for one's salvation. Theoria is being with God, in Eastern Christianity, the one thing that humanity truly desires the most, that which is infinite (called apophatic or transcendent) and also personal and real (called cataphatic or immanent). God is ever-new, never-ending love, happiness, joy and bliss as is glory to glory. An experience of God is necessary to the spiritual and mental health of every created thing, including human beings. Eastern theologian Andrew Louth has said, the purpose of theology as a science is to prepare for contemplation, rather than theology being the purpose of contemplation. As Vladimir Lossky stated the Mysticism of the Eastern church is church dogma per excellence.
Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that "prayer cannot be reduced to the level of a means to improved understanding". Roman Catholic monk Thomas Merton wrote that the illumination of contemplation is prized much higher than the intellectual capacity of a theologian, with contemplation being "the normal perfection of theology". and contemplation seen as beyond speculative theology. According to Thomas Aquinas the latter can only focus on what God is not, for instance considering God a spirit by removing from our conception anything pertaining to the body, while the mystic, instead of trying to comprehend what God is, is able to intuit it. However, in the West contemplatives are not considered to be necessarily well-equipped for giving a rational exposition and explanation of Christian doctrine, which is the humbler task of the theologian: the experience of contemplatives is often of a more lofty level, beyond the power of human words to express, so that "they have had to resort to metaphors, similes, and symbols to convey the inexpressible."
Theosis (Greek for "making divine", "deification", "to become gods by Grace") and for "divinization", "reconciliation, union with God" and "glorification") is expressed as "Being, union with God" and having a relationship or synergy between God and man. God is Heaven, God is the Kingdom of Heaven the uncreated is that which is infinite and unending, glory to glory. Since this synergy or union is without fusion it is based on free will and not the irresistibly of the divine (i.e. the monophysite). Since God is transcendent (incomprehensible in ousia, essence or being), the West has over-emphasized its point by qualifying logical arguments that God cannot be experienced in this life.
Various Orthodox theologians including St. Symeon the New Theologian, St Gregory Palamas, John Romanides, Vladimir Lossky, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos, Thomas Hopko, Professor George D. Metallinos Nikolaos Loudovikos, Dumitru Stăniloae, Stanley S. Harakas and Archimandrite George, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios of Mount Athos  hold that this criterion is at the very heart of many theological conflicts between Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Western Christianity, which is seen to culminate in the conflict over hesychasm. Romanides maintains the idea that Western theology is more dependent upon logic and reason, culminating in scholasticism used to validate truth and the existence of God, than upon establishing a relationship with God (theosis and theoria).
Augustine of Hippo
Another example used by certain theologians in Eastern Christianity is that of St Augustine. Romanides claims that, although he was a saint, Augustine did not have theoria. Many of his theological conclusions, Romanides says, appear not to come from experiencing God and writing about his experiences of God; rather, they appear to be the result of philosophical or logical speculation and conjecture. Hence, Augustine is still revered as a saint, but, according to Romanides, does not qualify as a theologian in the Eastern Orthodox church. In the view of M.C. Steenberg, some of Augustine's Trinitarian conclusions appear to immanentize characteristics of theology in a manner improper to those divine things. He says that Eastern theologians, would, in light of their experiences, articulate their expressions of those things differently. Augustine's treatment of the inner relationship of the realities of God in the Trinity and how God has manifested Himself to humanity throughout time are example of this.
Augustine is listed among the Fathers of the Church in a document of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 553, which declares that it follows his teaching on the true faith "in every way". Another document of the same ecumenical council speaks of Augustine as "of most religious memory, who shone forth resplendent among the African bishops".
In his review of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose's book The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church Archimandite (later, Archbishop) Chrysostomos wrote: "In certain ultra-conservative Orthodox circles in the United States, there has developed an unfortunate bitter and harsh attitude toward one of the great Fathers of the Church, the blessed (Saint) Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.). These circles, while clearly outside the mainstream of Orthodox thought and careful scholarship, have often been so vociferous and forceful in their statements that their views have touched and even affected more moderate and stable Orthodox believers and thinkers. Not a few writers and spiritual aspirants have been disturbed by this trend."
While Chrysostomos admits that, "in terms of classical Orthodox thought on the subject, Saint Augustine placed grace and human free will at odds, if only because his view of grace was too overstated and not balanced against the Patristic witness as regards the efficacy of human choice and spiritual labor. Likewise, as an outgrowth of his understanding of grace, Augustine developed a theory of predestination that further distorted the Orthodox understanding of free will. And finally, Augustine's theology proper, his understanding of God, in its mechanical, overly logical, and rationalistic tone, leads one, to some extent, away from the mystery of God-which is lost, indeed, in Saint Augustine's failure to capture fully the very mystery of man", he nevertheless states that, "while Augustine's ideas may have been used and distorted in the West to produce more modern theories (such as Calvinistic predestination, sola gratia, or even deism), the Saint himself was not guilty of the kind of innovative theologizing that his more extreme detractors would claim he championed."
Coptic Orthodox monk Mattá al-Miskīn, in a book highly praised by Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan George Khedr of Lebanon, quotes Augustine as proving magnificently that man can only find God in the depths of his own soul: "Too late loved I Thee, O Beauty so old, yet ever new! Too late loved I Thee. And behold, Thou wert within, and I abroad, and there I searched for Thee. Thou wert with me, but I was not with Thee."
This quotation comes from the Confessions of Saint Augustine, to which Archimandrite Chrysostomos also referred, saying that Augustine's "understanding of God, despite his overly logical approach to theology, was derived from a deeply Orthodox encounter with the Trinity—something which a passing interest in his Confessions would aver."
Western criticism of Hesychasm and the Theoria derived from it
The practice of ascetic prayer called Hesychasm in the Eastern Orthodox Church is centered on the enlightenment, deification (theosis) of man. Theosis has also been referred to as "glorification", "union with God", "becoming god by Grace", "self-realization", "the acquisition of the Holy Spirit", "experience of the uncreated light"  Eastern Orthodox theologians John Romanides and George Papademetriou say that some of Augustine's teachings were actually condemned as those of Barlaam the Calabrian at the Hesychast or Fifth Council of Constantinople 1351. It is the vision or revelation of God (theoria) that gives one knowledge of God. Theoria, contemplatio in Latin, as indicated by John Cassian, meaning vision of God, is closely connected with theosis (divinization).
John Romanides reports that Augustinian theology is generally ignored in the Eastern Orthodox church. Romanides states that the Roman Catholic Church, starting with Augustine, has removed the mystical experience (revelation) of God (theoria) from Christianity and replaced it with the conceptualization of revelation through the philosophical speculation of metaphysics. Romanides does not consider the metaphysics of Augustine to be Orthodox but Pagan mysticism. Romanides states that Augustine's Platonic mysticism was condemned by the Eastern Orthodox within the church condemnation of Barlaam of Calabria at the Hesychast councils in Constantinople.
Roman Catholic theologians have generally expressed a negative view of Hesychasm[not in citation given] until the 20th century. At that time, the (Hesychasm) doctrine of Gregory Palamas won almost no following in the West, and the distrustful attitude of Barlaam in its regard prevailed among Western theologians, surviving into the early 20th century, as shown in Adrian Fortescue's article on hesychasm in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia. Fortescue translated the Greek words ἥσυχος and ἡσυχαστής as "quiet" and "quietist". Edward Pace's 1909 article on quietism indicated that, while in the strictest sense quietism is a 17th-century doctrine proposed by Miguel de Molinos, the term is also used more broadly to cover both Indian religions and what Edward Pace called "the vagaries of Hesychasm", thus betraying the same prejudices as Fortescue with regard to hesychasm  and, again in the same period, Siméon Vailhé described some aspects of the teaching of Palamas as "monstrous errors", "heresies" and "a resurrection of polytheism", and called the hesychast method for arriving at perfect contemplation "no more than a crude form of auto-suggestion"
The later 20th century saw a remarkable change in the attitude of Roman Catholic theologians to Palamas, a "rehabilitation" of him that has led to increasing parts of the Western Church considering him a saint, even if uncanonized. Pope John Paul II himself referred to him as a saint. John Meyendorff describes the 20th-century rehabilitation of Palamas in the Western Church as a "remarkable event in the history of scholarship." Andreas Andreopoulos cites the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article by Fortescue as an example of how a distrustful and hostile attitude regarding hesychasm survived until recently in the West, adding that now "the Western world has started to rediscover what amounts to a lost tradition. Hesychasm, which was never anything close to a scholar's pursuit, is now studied by Western theologians who are astounded by the profound thought and spirituality of late Byzantium." While some Western theologians see the theology of Palamas as introducing an inadmissible division within God, others have incorporated his theology into their own thinking, maintaining that there is no conflict between his teaching and Roman Catholic thought.
Sergey S. Horujy states that "hesychast studies may provide fresh look at some old interconfessional divisions, disclosing unexpected points of resemblance", and Jeffrey D. Finch says that "the future of East-West rapprochement appears to be overcoming the modern polemics of neo-scholasticism and neo-Palamism".
Pope John Paul II repeatedly emphasized his respect for Eastern theology as an enrichment for the whole Church, declaring that, even after the painful division between the Christian East and the See of Rome, that theology has opened up profound thought-provoking perspectives of interest to the entire Church. He spoke in particular of the hesychast controversy. The term "hesychasm", he said, refers to a practice of prayer marked by deep tranquillity of the spirit intent on contemplating God unceasingly by invoking the name of Jesus. While from a Catholic viewpoint there have been tensions concerning some developments of the practice, the Pope said, there is no denying the goodness of the intention that inspired its defence, which was to stress that man is offered the concrete possibility of uniting himself in his inner heart with God in that profound union of grace known as theosis, divinization.
Heaven and Hell
The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that Heaven and Hell are both in God's presence. The saved and the damned will both experience God's light. However, the saved will experience this light as Heaven, while the damned will experience it as Hell. Theories explicitly identifying Hell with an experience of the divine light may go back as far as Theophanes of Nicea. According to Iōannēs Polemēs, Theophanes believed that, for sinners, "the divine light will be perceived as the punishing fire of hell".
However, according to Iōannēs Polemēs, the important Orthodox theologian Gregory Palamas did not believe that sinners would experience the divine light: "Unlike Theophanes, Palamas did not believe that sinners could have an experience of the divine light [...] Nowhere in his works does Palamas seem to adopt Theophanes' view that the light of Tabor is identical with the fire of hell."
Pictures of heaven and hell presented in Western literature are sometimes the work of authors hostile to the Catholic Church and its teaching. Both John Milton and James Joyce rejected Roman Catholic teaching, and even Dante has been seen by some writers, including Joyce, as anti-Catholic. It is Roman Catholic teaching that God loves all, even those who choose against him, such as the devil. And again, the understanding of the problem of universals that prevails in the West is that of Aristotelian realism, which understands universals as existing only in the things that instance them, not in God.
In the West, heaven is spoken of as the beatific vision: those to whom God reveals himself in heaven "see him face to face" The Catholic Encyclopedia defines the beatific vision as "the immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven. It is called 'vision' to distinguish it from the mediate knowledge of God which the human mind may attain in the present life. And since in beholding God face to face the created intelligence finds perfect happiness, the vision is termed 'beatific'." This direct vision of God is possible, as defined by the Council of Vienne of 1311-1312 only by a divine illumination that theologians call the light of glory (lumen gloriae).
In the Roman Catholic Church, "various theologians and mystics have noted that the 'fire' of Hell is the divine light and burning love of God. While the fire of God's divine love animates those who receive it, it torments those who reject it. Or, as the Catechism states, 'Hell's principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs' (CCC 1057)." The Catholic Church believes that God's love extends to all, even to those who reject his love definitively.
"Concerning the detailed specific nature of hell ... the Catholic Church has defined nothing. ... It is useless to speculate about its true nature, and more sensible to confess our ignorance in a question that evidently exceeds human understanding. "
Roman Rite of the Catholic Church
In the Roman Rite (sometimes called the Latin or Western) Catholic Church, terms derived from Latin contemplatio, such as the English word "contemplation", are generally used in languages that are largely derived from Latin, rather than the Greek term theoria. The equivalence of the Latin and Greek terms was noted by John Cassian, whose writings influenced the whole of Western monasticism, in his Conferences. However, Catholic writers do sometimes use the Greek term.
Possibility of contemplation
According to Saint Gregory the Great there are people by whom, "while still living in this corruptible flesh, yet growing in incalculable power by a certain piercingness of contemplation, the Eternal Brightness is able to be seen."
While the direct vision of God (the Beatific Vision) can be reached only in the next life, God does give to some a very special grace, by which he becomes intimately present to the created mind even before death, enabling it to contemplate him with ineffable joy and be mystically united with him even while still alive, true mystical contemplation. Saint Augustine said that, in contemplation, man meets God face-to-face.
Inasmuch as the goal of the Christian life is the vision of God in heaven, Augustine and others maintain that the "contemplative life" is the eschatological goal of all Christians, the fruit and reward of the entire Christian life. "Contemplation" on earth can thus be seen as a foretaste of heaven.
Contemplative prayer is not the reserve of some elite: "rather it is that interior intimacy with God which is intended for all baptized people, to which Jesus wants to lead all his disciples, because it is his own intimacy with the Father".
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes contemplation as "a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. 'I look at him and he looks at me': this is what a certain peasant of Ars used to say to his holy curé about his prayer before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the 'interior knowledge of our Lord', the more to love him and follow him."
Contemplative prayer is "a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, 'to his likeness'" and in it "the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit 'that Christ may dwell in (our) hearts through faith' and we may be 'grounded in love' (Ephesians 3:16-17)."
Saint John Cassian the Roman, whose writings influenced the whole of Western monasticism, interpreted the Gospel episode of Martha and Mary as indicating that Jesus declared "the chief good to reside in theoria alone – that is, in divine contemplation", which is initiated by reflecting on a few holy persons and advances to being fed on the beauty and knowledge of God alone.
Saint Augustine has been cited as proving magnificently that man can only find God in the depths of his own soul: "Too late loved I Thee, O Beauty so old, yet ever new! Too late loved I Thee. And behold, Thou wert within, and I abroad, and there I searched for Thee. Thou wert with me, but I was not with Thee." The Dismissal Hymn sung in the Byzantine Rite feast of Saint Augustine, 15 June, describes him as "a wise hierarch who has received God":
O blessed Augustine, you have been proved to be a bright vessel of the divine Spirit and revealer of the city of God; you have also righteously served the Saviour as a wise hierarch who has received God. O righteous father, pray to Christ God that he may grant to us great mercy.
He is celebrated not only as a contemplative but also as a theologian and Father of the Church, a title given to him in a document of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 553, which declared that it followed his teaching on the true faith "in every way". Another document of the same ecumenical council speaks of Augustine as "of most religious memory, who shone forth resplendent among the African bishops".
Contemplation and rational knowledge
The writings attributed to Saint Dionysius the Areopagite were highly influential in the West, and their theses and arguments were adopted by Peter Lombard, Alexander of Hales, Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure. According to these writings, mystical knowledge must be distinguished from the rational knowledge by which we know God, not in his nature, but through the wonderful order of the universe, which is a participation in the divine ideas. Through the more perfect mystical knowledge of God, a knowledge beyond the attainments of reason (even when enlightened by faith), the soul contemplates directly the mysteries of divine light.
Theoria or contemplation of God is of far higher value than reasoning about God or speculative theology, its illumination prized much more than the intellectual capacity of a theologian. "Prayer cannot be reduced to the level of a means to improved understanding". Instead, contemplation is "the normal perfection of theology".
The rational exposition and explanation of Christian doctrine is the humbler task of the theologian, while the experience of contemplatives is often of a more lofty level, beyond the power of human words to express, so that "they have had to resort to metaphors, similes, and symbols to convey the inexpressible."
Theology indeed can only focus on what God is not, for instance considering God a spirit by removing from our conception anything pertaining to the body, while mysticism, instead of trying to comprehend what God is, is able to intuit it.
The soul has three states, or stages, of perfection: the purgative way (that of cleansing or purification, katharsis in Greek), the illuminative way (receiving divine light) and the unitive way (indwelling in God). In the advance to contemplation Augustine spoke of seven stages: the first three are merely natural preliminary stages, corresponding to the vegetative, sensitive and rational levels of human life; the fourth stage is that of virtue or purification; the fifth is that of the tranquillity attained by control of the passions; the sixth is entrance into the divine light (the illuminative stage); the seventh is the indwelling or unitive stage that is truly mystical contemplation.
Methods of prayer include recitation of the Jesus Prayer, which "combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican (Luke 18:13) and the blind man begging for light (Mark 10:46-52). By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Saviour's mercy"; invocation of the holy name of Jesus; recitation, as recommended by Saint John Cassian, of "O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me" or other verses of Scripture; repetition of a single monosyllabic word, as suggested by the Cloud of Unknowing; the method used in Centering Prayer; the use of Lectio Divina; etc.
The Catholic Church holds that, "in the communion of saints, many and varied spiritualities have been developed throughout the history of the Churches … The different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradition of prayer and are essential guides for the faithful. In their rich diversity they are refractions of the one pure light of the Holy Spirit."
Fifteen Carmelite nuns allowed scientists to scan their brains with fMRI while they were meditating, in a state known as Unio Mystica or Theoria. The results showed the regions of the brain that were activated when they considered themselves to be in mystical union with God.
"We ought at all times to wait for the enlightenment that comes from above before we speak with a faith energized by love; for the illumination which will enable us to speak. For there is nothing so destitute as a mind philosophising about God, when it is without Him'." Of "Spiritual Knowledge" Discourse number 7 Philokalia volume 1 p 254 – St Diadochos of Photiki
"Unless the heart be cleansed it is impossible to attain real contemplation. Only a heart purified of passion is capable of that peculiar awe and wonder before God which stills the nous into joyful silence." Archimandrite Sophrony
"The question of the vision of God, not only among Byzantine Theologians of the fourteenth century but also in earlier history, especially among the Greek Fathers, presents serious difficulty for those who want to study it from the standpoint of the concepts appropriate to Latin scholasticism." Vladimir Lossky The Vision of God p 20.
"It is necessary that whoever eagerly prosecutes the exercises of contemplation, first questions himself with particularity how much he loves. For the force of love is an engine of the soul, which while it draws it out of the world, lifts it on high." Saint Gregory the Great
"In this passing over (into God in a transport of contemplation), if it is to be perfect, all intellectual activities ought to be relinquished and the most profound affection transported to God, and transformed into him. This, however, is mystical and most secret, 'which no one knows except him who receives it', no one receives except him who desires it, and no one desires except him who is penetrated to the marrow by the fire of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world." Saint Bonaventure
"I know that many persons who say vocal prayers are raised by God to high contemplation without their knowing how." Saint Teresa of Jesus
"There are three signs of inner recollection: first, a lack of satisfaction in passing things; second, a liking for solitude and silence, and an attentiveness to all that is more perfect; third, the considerations, meditations and acts that formerly helped the soul now hinder it, and it brings to prayer no other support than faith, hope, and love." Saint John of the Cross
- Archimandrite Sophrony
- Argument from beauty
- Beatific vision
- Centering prayer
- Contemplative prayer
- Desert Fathers
- Diodore of Tarsus
- Eastern Orthodox Christian theology
- Entire sanctification
- Father John Meyendorff
- Father John S. Romanides
- Father Michael Pomazansky
- Father Thomas Merton
- H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.
- Jesus Prayer
- Lectio Divina
- Mind's eye
- Mystical theology
- Religious experience
- Sacred Mysteries
- Saint Ambrose of Optina
- Saint Augustine
- Saint John of the Cross
- Saint Teresa of Jesus
- Tacit knowledge
- Andrew Louth, "Theology of the Philokalia" in Abba:The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2003 ISBN 0-88141-248-1), p. 358
- William Johnson, The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion (HarperCollins 1997 ISBN 0-8232-1777-9), p. 24
- Liddell and Scott: θεωρία
- Lewis and Short: contemplatio
- Online Etymological Dictionary
- Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article contemplation, contemplative life
- "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" NRSV But what is the noetic function? In the Holy Scriptures there is, already, the distinction between the spirit of man (his nous) and the intellect (the logos or mind). The spirit of man in patristics is called nous to distinguish it from the Holy Spirit. The spirit, the nous, is the eye of the soul (see Matt. 6:226). Faith And Science In Orthodox Gnosiology and Methodology by George Metallinos 
- Saint Symeon the New Theologian On Faith Palmer, G.E.H; Sherrard, Philip; Ware, Kallistos (Timothy). The Philokalia, Vol. 4
- Nikitas Stithatos (Nikitas Stethatos) On the Practice of the Virtues: One Hundred Texts
- Nikitas Stithatos (Nikitas Stethatos) On the Inner Nature of Things and on the Purification of the Intellect: One Hundred Texts
- Nikitas Stithatos (Nikitas Stethatos) On Spiritual Knowledge, Love and the Perfection of Living: One Hundred Texts
- Ian Rutherford, "Theoria and Darshan: Pilgrimage as Gaze in Greece and India", Classical Quarterly, Vol. 50, 2000, pp. 133-146
- Andrea Wilson Nightingale, Spectacles of Truth in Classical Greek Philosophy: Theoria in Its Cultural Context (Cambridge University Press 2004 ISBN 0-521-83825-8), p. 5
- Aristotle, Protrepticus, B44, quoted in Spectacles, p. 18
- Spectacles, p. 221
- Richard Kraut, Aristotle on the Human Good (Princetone University Press 1991 ISBN 978-0-69102071-6), p. 156
- Thomas Louis Schubeck, Liberation Ethics (Fortress Press 1993 ISBN 978-1-45141912-2), p. 41
- Gerhard Schuhmacher, Why is contemplation so highly regarded by Aristotle?
- Andrew Louth, "Theology, Contemplation and the University" in Studia Theologica, I, 2/2003, 66-67
- "Everything is contemplation" (Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, p. 32).
- "Everything comes from contemplation" (Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, p. 32).
- "According to his (Plotinus) metaphysical conception, everything was endowed with this supreme activity (contemplation), beginning with the One, which turns to itself in the simplest regard, implying no complexity of need" (Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, p. 32)
- "Plotinus suggests that the One subsists by thinking itself as itself" (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource: Neoplatonism).
- Lloyd P. Gerson, The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus (Cambridge University Press 1996 ISBN 0-521-47093-5), p. 32
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plotinus
- Quoted in Jorge M. Ferrer, Jacob H. Sherman (editors), The Participatory Turn: Spirituality, Mysticism, Religious Studies (State University of New York Press 2008 ISBN 978-0-7914-7601-7), p. 353
- Olga Taxidou, Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning (Edinburgh University Press 2004 ISBN 978-0-74861987-0), pp. 34, 79
- Donald Phillip Verene, Speculative Philosophy (Lexington Books 2009 ISBN 978-0-73913661-4), p. 15
- "From the point of view of the historian, the presence of Neoplatonic ideas in Christian thought is undeniable" (Dominic J. O'Meara (editor), Neoplatonism and Christian Thought (State University of New York Press 1982 ISBN 0-87395-492-0), p. x).
- "The analogy between (Gregory's) terminology and thought and that of the ancient initiators of the philosophic ideal of life is a perfect one. The ascetics themselves are called by him 'philosophers' or 'the philosophic chorus'. Their activity is called 'contemplation' (θεωρία), and to the present day this word, even when we use it to designate the θεωρητικός βίος of the ancient Greek philosophers, has preserved the overtone which transformation into a technical term of Christian asceticism has added to it" (Werner Jaeger, Two Rediscovered Works of Ancient Christian Literature: Gregory of Nyssa and Macarius (Brill, Leiden 1954), pp. 21-22).
- The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa (Brill, Leiden 2010 ISBN 978-90-04-16965-4), p. 528
- Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel (Continuum International 1986 ISBN 0-8264-0696-3), p. 19
- Keating, p. 20
- Mattá al-Miskīn, Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2003 ISBN 0-88141-250-3), pp. 55-56
- Augustin Poulain, "Contemplation", in The Catholic Encyclopedia 1908
- Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way, pp. 57-58
- Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way, p. 59
- John Cassian, Conferences, 10, chapters 10-11
- Laurence Freeman 1992
- Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 19740-913836-12-5), p. 32
- James W. Skehan, Place Me with Your Son (Georgetown University Press 1991 ISBN 0-87840-525-9), p. 89
- John S. Romanides, Some Underlying Positions of This Website, 11, note
- The Cloud of Unknowing (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature 2005 ISBN 1-84022-126-7), p. 18
- Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way, p. 58
- This is what Saint Symeon the New Theologian teaches. In his poems he proclaims over and over that, while beholding the uncreated Light, the deified man acquires the Revelation of God the Trinity. Being in "theoria" (vision of God), the saints do not confuse the hypostatic attributes. The fact that the Latin tradition came to the point of confusing these hypostatic attributes and teaching that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also, shows the non-existence of empirical theology for them. Latin tradition speaks also of created grace, a fact which suggests that there is no experience of the grace of God. For, when man obtains the experience of God, then he comes to understand well that this grace is uncreated. Without this experience there can be no genuine "therapeutic tradition." 
- "The contemplative mind sees God, in so far as this is possible for man"; What Is prayer? by Theophan the Recluse cited in The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology,p.73, compiled by Igumen Chariton of Valamo, trans, E. Kadloubovsky and E.M. Palmer, ed. Timothy Ware, 1966, Faber & Faber, London.
- Ecstasy comes when, in prayer, the nous abandons every connection with created things: first "with everything evil and bad, then with neutral things" (2,3,35;CWS p.65). Ecstasy is mainly withdrawal from the opinion of the world and the flesh. With sincere prayer the nous "abandons all created things" (2,3,35;CWS p.65). This ecstasy is higher than abstract theology, that is, than rational theology, and it belongs only to those who have attained dispassion. It is not yet union; the ecstasy which is unceasing prayer of the nous, in which one's nous has continuous remembrance of God and has no relation with the `world of sin', is not yet union with God. This union comes about when the Paraclete "...illuminates from on high the man who attains in prayer the stage which is superior to the highest natural possibilities and who is awaiting the promise of the Father, and by His revelation ravishes him to the contemplation of the light" (2,3,35;CWS p.65). Illumination by God is what shows His union with man. (GK: apathea) and clarity of vision. Vision here refers to the vision of the nous that has been purified by ascetic practice. Orthodox Psychotherapy Section The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- Proper preparation for vision of God takes place in two stages: purification, and illumination of the noetic faculty. Without this it is impossible for man's selfish love to be transformed into selfless love. This transformation takes place during the higher level of the stage of illumination called theoria, literally meaning vision, in this case vision by means of unceasing and uninterrupted memory of God. Those who remain selfish and self-centered with a hardened heart, closed to God's love, will not see the glory of God in this life. However, they will see God's glory eventually, but as an eternal and consuming fire and outer darkness. From FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/Diagnosis and Therapy Father John S. Romanides Diagnosis and Therapy 
- There was an anchorite (hermit) who was able to banish demons; and he asked them: Hermit: What make you go away? Is it fasting? The demons: We do not eat or drink. Hermit: Is it vigils? The demons: We do not sleep. Hermit: Is it separation from the world? The demons: We live in the deserts. Hermit: What power sends you away then? The demons: Nothing can overcome us, but only humility. Do you see how humility is victorious over the demons?  The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women By Laura Swan pg 67 Published by Paulist Press, 2001 ISBN 978-0-8091-4016-9
- Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine/Empirical Theology versus Speculative Theology. Father John S. Romanides  A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect.
- In the present case, Roman Catholic theologians are either confusing two dogmas — that is, the dogma of the personal existence of the Hypostases and the dogma of the Oneness of Essence, and it is absolutely essential to distinguish this from another dogma — or else they are confusing the inner relations of the All Holy Trinity with the providential actions and manifestations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which are directed towards the world and the human race. That the Holy Spirit is One in Essence with the Father and the Son, that therefore He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, is an indisputable Christian truth, for God is a Trinity One in Essence and Indivisible. [...] The expression, 'the Spirit of the Father and the Son", is likewise in itself quite Orthodox. But these expressions refer to the dogma of the Oneness of Essence, and it is absolutely essential to distinguish this from another dogma, the dogma of the begetting and the procession, in which, as the Holy Fathers express it, is shown the Cause of the existence of the Son and the Spirit. All of the Eastern Fathers acknowledge that the Father is monos aitios, the sole Cause” of the Son and the Spirit. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Michael Pomazansky 
- What Is Prayer? p.63
- What Is Prayer? p.52
- There was an anchorite (hermit) who was able to banish demons; and he asked them:
- Hermit: What makes you go away? Is it fasting?
- The demons: We do not eat or drink.
- Hermit: Is it vigils?
- The demons: We do not sleep.
- Hermit: Is it separation from the world?
- The demons: We live in the deserts.
- Hermit: What power sends you away then?
- The demons: Nothing can overcome us, but only humility. Do you see how humility is victorious over the demons? 
- THE ILLNESS AND CURE OF THE SOUL by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos"If one wishes to be an Orthodox theologian one must begin from the state of Adam as it was before the Fall, what happened with the Fall and how we can be restored to our former state, even reach there where Adam did not. If a theology does not speak of man's fall; if it does not designate precisely what it is, and if it does not speak of man's resurrection, then what kind of theology is it? Surely, it is not Orthodox. In any case, we were saying earlier that Orthodoxy is a therapeutic treatment and science, and also that Theology is a therapeutic treatment. It cures man. Yet, if we do not examine where man's illness lies, how can we know what we should heal? If, regarding his body, man follows a wrong treatment he will never be cured. The same also happens with the soul. It must become clear to us that the darkness of nous is its illness and illumination is its cure. Mysteries and all the ascetic tradition of the Church are meant to lead us where Adam was before the Fall, that is, to the illumination of the nous, and from there to theosis, which is man's original destination. Therefore, it is very important for us to know exactly what the illness is. If we ignore our inner sickness our spiritual life ends up in an empty moralism, in a superficiality. Many people are against the social system. They blame society, family, the existing evil, etc. for their own problem. However the basic problem, man's real malady is the darkness of his nous. When one's nous is illumined one thus becomes free from slavery to everything in the environment, e.g. anxiety, insecurity, etc. "  Publisher: Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-18-0
- "People say: attain the Jesus Prayer, for that is inner prayer. This is not correct. The Jesus Prayer is a good means to arrive at inner prayer but in itself it is not inner but outer prayer" – St Theophan the Recluse, 'What Is Prayer?' cited in The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology p.98 by Igumen Chariton ISBN 978-0-571-19165-9
- "The influence of Greek philosophy on the Christian religion, though always active, reached its height the moment the latter entered the stage of its history at which it developed its own theology. This happened in the school of Alexandria. But it may well be said that Christianity came to develop a theology and to feel the urgent need of it because Greek philosophy had always insisted on a rational approach to the problem with which religion is concerned and thereby had set an example" (Werner Jaeger, Two Rediscovered Works of Ancient Christian Literature: Gregory of Nyssa and Macarius (Brill, Leiden 1954), p. 22).
- The vision of God
- The life of Moses ISBN 978-0-8091-2112-0
- Oasis of wisdom ISBN 978-0-8146-3034-1
- The vision of God
- Byzantine theology ISBN 978-0-8232-0967-5
- God's rule ISBN 978-0-87840-910-5
- Werner Jaeger, "Two Rediscovered Works of Ancient Christian Literature (Brill, Leiden 1954), p. 23
- Dionysius the Areopagite, The Mystical Theology'” in C.E. Rolt (Translator) The Mystical Theology and the Divine Names, Dover Publications, 2004. Pages 191-192
- Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, p. 220.
- The vision of God By V Lossky page 106 page 113
- Symeon the New Theologian: the discourses By Saint Symeon (the New Theologian), C. J. De Catanzaro pg 22-23 Symeon the New Theologian: the discourses By Saint Symeon (the New Theologian), C. J. De Catanzaro pg 22-23 ISBN 978-0-8091-2230-1 
- Saint Gregory insists that to theologize "is permitted only to those who have passed examinations and have reached theoria, and who have been previously purified in soul and body, or at least are being purified." 
- *The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Oxford Theological Monographs 2004) by Marcus Plested (ISBN 0-19-926779-0)
- V Lossky Vision of God pg 162-163
- The vision of the uncreated light, which offers knowledge of God to man, is sensory and supra-sensory. The bodily eyes are reshaped so they see the uncreated light, "this mysterious light, inaccessible, immaterial, uncreated, deifying, eternal", this "radiance of the Divine Nature, this glory of the divinity, this beauty of the heavenly kingdom" (3,1,22;CWS p.80). Palamas asks: "Do you see that light is inaccessible to senses which are not transformed by the Spirit?" (2,3,22). St. Maximus, whose teaching is cited by St, Gregory, says that the Apostles saw the uncreated Light "by a transformation of the activity of their senses, produced in them by the Spirit" (2.3.22). Orthodox Psychotherapy Section The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- History of Russian Philosophy By N.O. Lossky section on V. Lossky, p.400
- "Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors & the Holy Fathers - theoria". Orthodox.net. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Conferences, I, chapter 8, translation by Boniface Ramsey
- Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, Christianity Is Not a Religion. It Is Psychotherapeutic Science
- Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos
-  Archived October 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos2
- St Symeon the New Theologian, Philokalia, Vol.4, p. 17.
- That is to say, the man who beholds the uncreated light sees it because he is united with God. He sees it with his inner eyes, and also with his bodily eyes, which, however, have been altered by God's action. Consequently theoria is union with God. And this union is knowledge of God. At this time one is granted knowledge of God, which is above human knowledge and above the senses. Orthodox Psychotherapy Section The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- It is necessary to renounce both sense and all the workings of reason, everything which may be known by the senses or the understanding, both that which is and all that is not, in order to be able to attain in perfect ignorance to union with Him who transcends all being and all knowledge. It is already evident that this is not simply a question of a process of dialectic but of something else: a purification, a katharis, is necessary. One must abandon all that is impure and even all that is pure. One must then scale the most sublime heights of sanctity leaving behind one all the divine luminaries, all the heavenly sounds and words. It is only thus that one may penetrate to the darkness wherein He who is beyond all created things makes His dwelling. Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky, p. 27)
- "Orthodox Psychotherapy Chapter Six". Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- "Those who speak from their own thoughts, before having acquired purity, are seduced by the spirit of self-esteem." St. Gregory of Sinai
- "The Illness and Cure of the Soul" Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
- *History of Russian Philosophy «История российской Философии »(1951) by N. O. Lossky section on V. Lossky pg400 Publisher: Allen & Unwin, London ASIN: B000H45QTY International Universities Press Inc NY, NY ISBN 978-0-8236-8074-0 sponsored by Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
- Man has a malfunctioning or non-functioning noetic faculty in the heart, and it is the task especially of the clergy to apply the cure of unceasing memory of God, otherwise called unceasing prayer or illumination. "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". 
- History of Russian Philosophy «История российской Философии »(1951) by N. O. Lossky section on N. O. Lossky's philosophy pg262 "There is another kind of selfishness which violates the hierarchy of values much more: some agents who strive for perfection and the absolute fullness of being and even for the good of the whole world are determined to do it in their own way, so that they should occupy the first place and stand higher than all other beings and even the Lord God himself. Pride is the ruling passion of such beings. They enter into rivalry with God, thinking that they are capable of ordering the world better than its Creator. Pursuing an impossible aim, they suffer defeat at every step and begin to hate God. This is what Satan does. Selfishness separates us from God in so far as we put before us purposes incompatible with God's will that the world should be perfect. In the same way selfishness separates an agent in a greater or lesser degree from other agents: his aims and actions cannot be harmonized with the actions of other beings and often lead to hostility and mutual opposition.
- Orthodox Psychotherapy by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- Reading scripture with the Church Fathers By Christopher A. Hall Published by InterVarsity Press, 2001 ISBN 978-0-8308-1500-5 
- THE ILLNESS AND CURE OF THE SOUL by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Chapter THE CURE OF THE SOUL, The Theotokos-the perfect model of a hesychast. Publisher: Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-18-0
- But let him not remain in this condition. If he wishes to see Christ, then let him do what Zacchaeus did. Let him receive the Word in his home, after having previously climbed up into the sycamore tree, "mortifying his limbs on the earth and raising up the body of humility".
- History of Russian Philosophy «История российской Философии »(1951) by N. O. Lossky section on N. O. Lossky's philosophy pg262 "There is another kind of selfishness which violates the hierarchy of values much more: some agents who strive for perfection and the absolute fullness of being and even for the good of the whole world are determined to do it in their own way, so that they should occupy the first place and stand higher than all other beings and even the Lord God himself. Pride is the ruling passion of such beings. They enter into rivalry with God, thinking that they are capable of ordering the world better than its Creator. Pursuing an impossible aim, they suffer defeat at every step and begin to hate God. This is what Satan does. Selfishness separates us from God in so far as we put before us purposes incompatible with God's will that the world should be perfect. In the same way selfishness separates an agent in a greater or lesser degree from other agents: his aims and actions cannot be harmonized with the actions of other beings and often lead to hostility and mutual opposition.
- V Lossky Vision of God pg 123 "Knowledge is limited to what exists: now, as the cause of all being(The Divine Names, I, 1, col.588) or rather He is superior to all oppositions between being and non-being.
- This means that it is only when a person is within the revelation, as all the saints lived, that he can grasp this understanding completely (see theoria). The second presupposition is that humanity has and is composed of nous, word and spirit like the trinitarian mode of being. Man's nous, word and spirit are not hypostases or individual existences or realities, but activities or energies of the soul. Were as in the case with God or the Persons of the Holy Trinity each are indeed hypostases. So these three components of each individual man are `inseparable from one another' but they do not have a personal character" when in speaking of the being that is humanity. The nous as the eye of the soul, which some Fathers also call the heart, is the center of man and is where true (spiritual) knowledge is validated. This is seen as true knowledge which is "implanted in the nous as always co-existing with it".Orthodox Psychotherapy by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- The Vision of God, SVS Press, 1997. (ISBN 0-913836-19-2)
- Value and Existence «Ценность и существование»(1931) by Nikolai Lossky and John S. Marshall published by George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1935 pg 56-61
- FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/Diagnosis and Therapy Father John S. Romanides Diagnosis and Therapy 
- Knowledge of God, as will be explained further on, is not intellectual, but existential. That is, one's whole being is filled with this knowledge of God. But in order to attain it, one's heart must have been purified, that is, the soul, nous and heart must have been healed. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt.5,8).  Orthodox Psychotherapy Section The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2
- Andrew Louth, Theology, Contemplation and the University (abstract)
- Hans Urs von Balthasar, Contemplation and the Liturgy
- Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (Shambhala 2003 ISBN 978-1-59030-049-7), p. 258
- Merton 2003, p. 2
- Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski, The Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell 2007 ISBN 978-1-4051-1873-6), p. 80
- Merton, 2003, p. 13
- James Harpur, Love Burning in the Soul (Shambhala 2005 ISBN 1-59030-112-9), p. 5
- Henry George Liddell; Robert Scott , A Greek-English Lexicon
- Archimandrite George, Mount Athos, Theosis – Deification as the Purpose of Man's Life (extract)
- Translator of Kallistos Katafygiotis, On Union with God and Life of Theoria
- Archimandrite George, Mount Athos, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life, Glossary
- Fellow Workers With God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis (Foundations) by Normal Russell pg
- Theosis as the Purpose of Mankinds existence by Archimarite George
- 2. The leadership of the Roman Empire had come to realize that religion is a sickness whose cure was the heart and core of the Christian tradition they had been persecuting. These astute Roman leaders changed their policy having realized that this cure should be accepted by as many Roman citizens as possible. Led by Constantine the Great, Roman leaders adopted this cure in exactly the same way that today’s governments adopt modern medicine in order to protect their citizens from quack doctors. But in this case what was probably as important as the cure was the possibility of enriching society with citizens who were replacing the morbid quest for happiness with the selfless love of glorification (theosis) dedicated to the common good. SOME UNDERLYING POSITIONS OF THIS WEBSITE REFLECTING THE STUDIES HEREIN INCLUDED. by John Romanides 
- Theosis-Divinisation is the participation in the Uncreated grace of God. Theosis is identified and connected with the theoria (vision) of the Uncreated Light (see note above). It is called theosis in grace because it is attained through the energy, of the divine grace. It is a co-operation of God with man, since God is He Who operates and man is he who co-operates. The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos 
- At the heart of Barlaam's teaching is the idea that God cannot truly be perceived by man; that God the Transcendent can never be wholly known by man, who is created and finite. 
- But it was Simeon, "the new theologian" (c. 1025-c. 1092; see Krumbacher, op. cit., 152-154), a monk of Studion, the "greatest mystic of the Greek Church" (loc. cit.), who evolved the quietist theory so elaborately that he may be called the father of Hesychasm. For the union with God in contemplation (which is the highest object of our life) he required a regular system of spiritual education beginning with baptism and passing through regulated exercises of penance and asceticism under the guidance of a director. But he had not conceived the grossly magic practices of the later Hesychasts; his ideal is still enormously more philosophical than theirs. The Catholic Encyclopedia online article Hesychasm 
- A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. so it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart by confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect. EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY John Romanides 
- The mystical theology of the Eastern Church By Vladimir Lossky pgs 237-238 
- The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos 
- "St. Nicholas Orthodox Church » Mysticism, Women and the Christian Orient". Stnicholaspdx.org. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- We have a culture that creates saints, holy people. Our people's ideal is not to create wisemen. Nor was this the ideal of ancient Hellenic culture and civilization. Hellenic anthropocentric (human-centered) Humanism is transformed into Theanthropism (God-humanism) and its ideal is now the creation of Saints, Holy people who have reached the state of theosis (deification). The struggle between Hellenism and Frankism by George D. Metallinos 
- "FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE Part 2". Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY Father John S. Romanides  And, indeed, the Franks believed that the prophets and apostles did not see God himself, except possibly with the exception of Moses and Paul. What the prophets and apostles allegedly did see and hear were phantasmic symbols of God, whose purpose was to pass on concepts about God to human reason. Whereas these symbols passed into and out of existence, the human nature of Christ is a permanent reality and the best conveyor of concepts about God.
- FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY Father John S. Romanides  A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect.
- "While pointing this out, this writer has never raised the question about the sainthood of Augustine. He himself believed himself to be fully Orthodox and repeatedly asked to be corrected" 
- Gregory’s (Palamas) view should not be seen to undermine a positive view of philosophical thought as a whole, which was a continual accusation made by Barlaam. Taken as a tool for the progression of the human person towards a state receptive to divine grace, Gregory saw philosophy and discursive knowledge as a perfectly reasonable set of aids for the Christian. It was only when philosophy, whose created end is the furtherance of knowledge of God, was misused by the philosophers and turned, in effect, into God, that Gregory raised his voice in ardent opposition.
- "We further declare that we hold fast to the decrees of the four Councils, and in every way follow the holy Fathers, Athanasius, Hilary, Basil, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Theophilus, John (Chrysostom) of Constantinople, Cyril, Augustine, Proclus, Leo and their writings on the true faith" (Extracts from the Acts. Session I).
- The Sentence of the Synod
- Published by Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood 1997 ISBN 0-938635-12-3; cf. reviews of the book.
- The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church; cf. Blessed Augustine of Hippo: His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective Compilation.
- Orthodox Prayer Life, p. 61
- "Hesychasm, then, which is centered on the enlightenment or deification (θέωσις, or theosis, in Greek) of man, perfectly encapsulates the soteriological principles and full scope of the spiritual life of the Eastern Church. As Bishop Auxentios of Photiki writes: "[W]e must understand the Hesychastic notions of ‘theosis’ and the vision of Uncreated Light, the vision of God, in the context of human salvation. Thus, according to St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite (†1809): ‘Know that if your mind is not deified by the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for you to be saved.’" Before looking in detail at what it was that St. Gregory Palamas’ opponents found objectionable in his Hesychastic theology and practices, let us briefly examine the history of the Hesychastic Controversy proper. ..." Archbishop Chrysostomos, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Relations from the Fourth Crusade to the Hesychastic Controversy (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 2001), pp. 199‒232 .
- 14. Orthodox Fathers of the Church are those who practice the specific Old and New Testament cure of this sickness of religion. Those who do not practice this cure, but on the contrary have introduced such practices as pagan mysticism, are not Fathers within this tradition. Orthodox Theology is not "mystical," but "secret" (mystike). The reason for this name "Secret" is that the glory of God in the experience of glorification (theosis) has no similarity whatsoever with anything created. On the contrary the Augustinians imagine that they are being united with uncreated original ideas of God of which creatures are supposedly copies and which simply do not exist..
- "On Union With God and Life of Theoria by Kallistos Katafygiotis (Kallistos Angelikoudis) greekorthodoxchrch.org". Greekorthodoxchurch.org. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Theosis-Divinisation: It is the participation in the uncreated grace of God. Theosis is identified and connected with the theoria (vision) of the uncreated Light (see note above). It is called theosis in grace because it is attained through the energy, of the divine grace. It is a co-operation of God with man, since God is He Who operates and man is he who co-operates. Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos 
- This claim is made by Romanides in the title of his Augustine's Teachings Which Were Condemned as Those of Barlaam the Calabrian by the Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1351,
- Augustine himself had not been personally attacked by the Hesychasts of the fourteenth century but Augustinian theology was condemned in the person of Barlaam, who caused the controversy. This resulted in the ultimate condemnation of western Augustinianism as presented to the East by the Calabrian monk, Barlaam, in the Councils of the fourteenth century. Saint Augustine in the Greek Orthodox Tradition by Rev. Dr. George C. Papademetriou 
- The Latins' weakness to comprehend and failure to express the dogma of the Trinity shows the non-existence of empirical theology. The three disciples of Christ (Peter, James and John) beheld the glory of Christ on Mount Tabor; they heard at once the voice of the Father: "this is my beloved Son" and saw the coming of the Holy Spirit in a cloud -for, the cloud is the presence of the Holy Spirit, as St. Gregory Palamas says-. Thus the disciples of Christ acquired the knowledge of the Triune God in theoria (vision) and by revelation. It was revealed to them that God is one essence in three hypostases. This is what St. Symeon the New Theologian teaches. In his poems he proclaims over and over that while beholding the uncreated Light, the deified man acquires the Revelation of God the Trinity. Being in "theoria" (vision of God), the Saints do not confuse the hypostatic attributes. The fact that the Latin tradition came to the point of confusing these hypostatic attributes and teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also, shows the non-existence of empirical theology for them. Latin tradition speaks also of created grace, a fact which suggests that there is no experience of the grace of God. For, when man obtains the experience of God, then he comes to understand well that this grace is uncreated. Without this experience there can be no genuine "therapeutic tradition". Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos 
- "Videtis ergo principalem bonum in theoria sola, id est, in contemplatione divina Dominum posuisse" (Ioannis Cassiani Collationes I, VIII, 2)
- Theoria: Theoria is the vision of the glory of God. Theoria is identified with the vision of the uncreated Light, the uncreated energy of God, with the union of man with God, with man's theosis (see note below). Thus, theoria, vision and theosis are closely connected. Theoria has various degrees. There is illumination, vision of God, and constant vision (for hours, days, weeks, even months). Noetic prayer is the first stage of theoria. Theoretical man is one who is at this stage. In Patristic theology, the theoretical man is characterised as the shepherd of the sheep. Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos 
- The province of Gaul was the battleground between the followers of Augustine and of Saint John Cassian, when the Franks were taking over the province and transforming it into their Francia. Through his monastic movement and his writings in this field and on Christology, Saint John Cassian had a strong influence on the Church in Old Rome also. In his person, as in other persons such as Ambrose, Jerome, Rufinus, Leo the Great, and Gregory the Great, we have an identity in doctrine, theology, and spirituality between the East and West Roman Christians. Within this framework, Augustine in the West Roman area was subjected to general Roman theology. In the East Roman area, Augustine was simply ignored. FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE — [ Part 3 ] by John Romanides 
- Revelation for Palamas is directly experienced in the divine energies and is opposed to the conceptualization of revelation. The Augustinian view of revelation by created symbols and illumined vision is rejected. For Augustine, the vision of God is an intellectual experience. This is not acceptable to Palamas. The Palamite emphasis was that creatures, including humans and angles, cannot know or comprehend God's essence Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, p.67
- Revelation for Palamas is directly experienced in the divine energies and is opposed to the conceptualization of revelation. The Augustinian view of revelation by created symbols and illumined vision is rejected. For Augustine, the vision of God is an intellectual experience. This is not acceptable to Palamas. The Palamite emphasis was that creatures, including humans and angles, cannot know or comprehend God's essence Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, p.67 
- "18. Indeed some centuries earlier, just after the Norman conquest, the second Lombard Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm (1093-1109) was not happy with Augustine’s use of procession in his De Trinitate XV, 47, i.e. that the Holy Spirit proceeds principaliter from the Father or from the Father per Filium. (See Anselm’s own De fide Trinitate chapters 15, 16 and 24). This West Roman Orthodox Filioque, which upset Anselm so much, could not be added to the creed of 381 where "procession" there means hypostatic individuality and not the communion of divine essence as in Augustine’s Filioque just quoted. Augustine is indeed Orthodox by intention by his willingness to be corrected. The real problem is that he does not theologize from the vantage point of personal theosis or glorification, but as one who speculates philosophically on the Bible with no real basis in the Patristic tradition. Furthermore, his whole theological method is based on happiness as the destiny of man instead of biblical glorification. His resulting method of analogia entis and analogia fidei is not accepted by any Orthodox Father of the Church. In any case no Orthodox can accept positions of Augustine on which the Father’s of Ecumenical Councils are in agreement "against" him. This website is not concerned with whether Augustine is a saint or a Father of the Church. There is no doubt that he was Orthodox by intention and asked for correction. However, he can not be used in such a way that his opinions may be put on an equal footing with the Fathers of Ecumenical Councils." (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
- "11. In sharp contrast to this Augustinian tradition is that of the Old and the New Testament as understood by the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. The "spirit" of man in the Old and New Testaments is that which is sick and which in the patristic tradition became also known as "the noetic energy" or "faculty." By this adjustment in terminology this tradition of cure became more intelligible to the Hellenic mind. Now a further adjustment may be made by calling this sick human "spirit" or "noetic faculty" a "neurobiological faculty or energy" grounded in the heart, but which has been short circuited by its attachment to the nervous system centered in the brain thus creating fantasies about things which either do not exist or else do exist but not as one imagines. This very cure of fantasies is the core of the Orthodox tradition. These fantasies arise from a short circuit between the nervous system centered in the brain and the blood system centered in the heart. The cure of this short circuit is noetic prayer (noera proseuche) which functions in tandem with rational or intellectual prayer of the brain which frees one from fantasies which the devil uses to enslave his victims. Note: We are still searching the Fathers for the term ‘Jesus prayer.’ We would very much appreciate it if someone could come up with a patristic quote in Greek. 12. In sharp contrast to this tradition is that of Augustinian Platonism which searches for mystical experiences within supposed transcendental realities by liberating the mind from the confines of the body and material reality for imaginary flights into a so-called metaphysical dimension of so-called divine ideas which do not exist" (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
- 9. The Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1341 condemned the Platonic mysticism of Barlaam the Calabrian who had come from the West as a convert to Orthodoxy. Of course the rejection of Platonic type of mysticism was traditional practice for the Fathers. But what the Fathers of this Council were completely shocked at was Barlaam’s claim that God reveals His will by bringing into existence creatures to be seen and heard and which He passes back into non existence after His revelation has been received. One of these supposed creatures was the Angel of The Lord Himself Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. For the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils this Angel is the uncreated Logos Himself. This unbelievable nonsense of Barlaam turned out to be that of Augustine himself. (see e.g. his De Tinitate, Books A and B) and of the whole Franco-Latin tradition till today" (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
- Coming back to theological and anthropological problems, we can see at once that Hesychasm is indeed such a field, in which theology and anthropology meet and almost merge. It is spiritual or mystico-ascetic practice, and, as I explain in my other Hongkong lecture, spiritual practice is such anthropological strategy that is oriented to a goal, which does not belong to the horizon of man’s empiric existence. This goal is, in other words, meta-anthropological, and so it obtains its characteristics not from usual experience of empiric being, but from basic postulates of the religious tradition, to which the corresponding practice belongs. In the case of Hesychasm, the goal is defined by the Orthodox doctrine as deification (theosis, in Greek), which is conceived as the perfect union of all man’s energies with the Divine Energy (God’s grace). This concept has a specific dual nature: it belongs to dogmatic theology, but at the same time it represents the goal, to which ascetic works are oriented and which they approach actually, according to all the rich corpus of ascetic texts with the first-hand descriptions of hesychast experience. Thus it is both theological and anthropological concept. CHRISTIAN ANTHROPOLOGY AND EASTERN-ORTHODOX (HESYCHAST) ASCETICISM Prof. Dr. Sergey S. Horujy 
- Hesychasm article on the Catholic Encyclopedia online
- Andreas Andreopoulos, Metamorphosis: The Transfiguration in Byzantine Theology and Iconography (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2005, ISBN 0-88141-295-3), p. 215
- Edward Pace, "Quietism" in The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911) Retrieved 10 September 2010
- Simon Vailhé, "Greek Church" in The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909) Retrieved 10 September 2010
- John Meyendorff (editor),Gregory Palamas - The Triads, p. xi
- Pope John Paul II, Homily at Ephesus, 30 November 1979
- Andreas Andreopoulos,Metamorphosis: The Transfiguration in Byzantine Theology and Iconography (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2005, ISBN 0-88141-295-3), pp. 215-216
- Kallistos Ware in Oxford Companion to Christian Thought (Oxford University Press 2000 ISBN 0-19-860024-0), p. 186
- "Several Western scholars contend that the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas himself is compatible with Roman Catholic thought on the matter" (Michael J. Christensen, Jeffery A. Wittung (editors), Partakers of the Divine Nature (Associated University Presses 2007 ISBN 0-8386-4111-3), p. 243).
- J. Christensen, Jeffery A. Wittung (editors), Partakers of the Divine Nature (Associated University Presses 2007 ISBN 0-8386-4111-3), p. 244
- Pope John Paul II and the East Pope John Paul II. "Eastern Theology Has Enriched the Whole Church" (11 August 1996). English translation
- Original text (in Italian)
- Having reached this point, we will turn our attention to those aspects of differences between Roman and Frankish theologies which have had a strong impact on the development of difference is the doctrine of the Church. The basic difference may be listed under diagnosis of spiritual ills and their therapy. Glorification is the vision of God in which the equality of all mean and the absolute value of each man is experienced. God loves all men equally and indiscriminately, regardless of even their moral statues. God loves with the same love, both the saint and the devil. To teach otherwise, as Augustine and the Franks did, would be adequate proof that they did not have the slightest idea of what glorification was. God multiplies and divides himself in His uncreated energies undividedly among divided things, so that He is both present by act and absent by nature to each individual creature and everywhere present and absent at the same time. This is the fundamental mystery of the presence of God to His creatures and shows that universals do not exist in God and are, therefore, not part of the state of illumination as in the Augustinian tradition. God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends. One can see how the Frankish understanding of heaven and hell, poetically described by Dante, John Milton, and James Joyce, are so foreign to the Orthodox tradition. This is another of the reasons why the so-called humanism of some East Romans (those who united with the Frankish papacy) was a serious regression and not an advance in culture. Since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell. This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God's glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward and not punishment. The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have. EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 
- God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends. EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 
- "Paradise and Hell exist not in the form of a threat and a punishment on the part of God but in the form of an illness and a cure. Those who are cured and those who are purified experience the illuminating energy of divine grace, while the uncured and ill experience the caustic energy of God."
- "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". 
- Proper preparation for vision of God takes place in two stages: purification, and illumination of the noetic faculty. Without this, it is impossible for man's selfish love to be transformed into selfless love. This transformation takes place during the higher level of the stage of illumination called theoria, literally meaning vision-in this case vision by means of unceasing and uninterrupted memory of God. Those who remain selfish and self-centered with a hardened heart, closed to God's love, will not see the glory of God in this life. However, they will see God's glory eventually, but as an eternal and consuming fire and outer darkness. From FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/Diagnosis and Therapy Father John S. Romanides Diagnosis and Therapy 
- Regarding specific conditions of after-life existence and eschatology, Orthodox thinkers are generally reticent; yet two basic shared teachings can be singled out. First, they widely hold that immediately following a human being's physical death, his or her surviving spiritual dimension experiences a foretaste of either heaven or hell. (Those theological symbols, heaven and hell, are not crudely understood as spatial destinations but rather refer to the experience of God's presence according to two different modes.) Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars page 195 By Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou 
- God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends.EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 
- Thus it is the Church's spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God's splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light. ... those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God ... But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (St. Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises) The Orthodox Church of America website 
- For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ "comes in glory, and all angels with Him," so that "God may be all in all." (I Corinthians 15-28) Those who have God as their "all" within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose "all" is themselves and this world, the "all" of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:21, et al.) The Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:41-43) According to the saints, the "fire" that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same "fire" that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the "fire" of God's love; the "fire" of God Himself who is Love. "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29) who "dwells in unapproachable light." (I Timothy 6:16) For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the "consuming fire" of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same 66consuming fire" will be the cause of their "weeping" and their "gnashing of teeth." Thus it is the Church's spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God's splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light. ... those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God ... But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (St. Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises) The Orthodox Church of America website 
- Iōannēs Polemēs, Theophanes of Nicaea: His Life and Works, vol. 20 (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), p. 99
- Iōannēs Polemēs,Theophanes of Nicaea: His Life and Works, vol. 20 (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), p. 100
- Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) speaks of "the hell of separation from God" (Archimandrite Sophrony, The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Silouan, 1866-1938 (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-913836-15-X), p. 32).
- "The circumstances that rise before us, the problems we encounter, the relationships we form, the choices we make, all ultimately concern our eternal union with or separation from God" (Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1991, pp.8-9, produced by The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pa.).
- "Hell is nothing else but separation of man from God, his autonomy excluding him from the place where God is present" (In the World, of the Church: A Paul Evdokimov Reader (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-88141-215-5), p. 32).
- "Hell is a spiritual state of separation from God and inability to experience the love of God, while being conscious of the ultimate deprivation of it as punishment" (Father Theodore Stylianopoulos).
- "Hell is none other than the state of separation from God, a condition into which humanity was plunged for having preferred the creature to the Creator. It is the human creature, therefore, and not God, who engenders hell. Created free for the sake of love, man possesses the incredible power to reject this love, to say 'no' to God. By refusing communion with God, he becomes a predator, condemning himself to a spiritual death (hell) more dreadful than the physical death that derives from it" (Michel Quenot, The Resurrection and the Icon (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1997 ISBN 0-88141-149-3), p. 85).
- John N. King, Milton and Religious Controversy (Cambridge University Press 2000 ISBN 978-0-52177198-6), p. 1
- Derek Attridge (editor), The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce" (Cambridge University Press 1990 ISBN 978-0-52137673-0), p. 57
- Catholic Answers, "If God loves all his creatures, then doesn't he love Satan?"
- 1 Corinthians 13:12; cf. Matthew 5:8; Psalms 17:15
- "God in Heaven". Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- Edward Pace, "Beatific Vision" in "Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907
- Jordan Aumann, Spiritual Theology (Continuum 1980 ISBN 978-0-56700505-2), p. 43
- Catholicism Answers, "Lesson Ten: The Last Things"
- The Reality of Hell
- Cord Hamrick, "For God So Loved the World, He Created Hell" in Crisis Magazine (9 May 2011)
- Gustav Niebuhr, "Hell Is Getting A Makeover From Catholics" in New York Times, 18 September 1999
- John Anthony O'Brien, The Faith of Millions: The Credentials of the Catholic Religion, pp. 19-20
- Cf. Josef Pieper, An Anthology (Ignatius Press 1989 ISBN 978-0-89870226-2), 43; Eugene Victor Walter, Placeways (UNC Press Books 1988 ISBN 978-0-80784200-3), p. 218; Thomas Hibbs, Aquinas, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion (Indiana University Press 2007 ISBN 978-0-25311676-5), pp. 8, 89; Steven Chase, Angelic Spirituality (Paulist Press 2002 ISBN 978-0-80913948-4), p. 63
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Saint John Cassian
- John Cassian, The Conferences (English translation by Boniface Ramsey, Newman Press 1997 ISBN 978-0-80910484-0), p. 47
- Christopher A. Dustin, "The Liturgy of Theory" in Bruce T. Morrill et al. (editors), Practicing Catholic (Palgrave Macmillan 2005 ISBN 978-1-40398296-4), pp. 257-274; Thomas Bénatouïl, Mauro Bonazzi, Theoria, Praxis, and the Contemplative Life after Plato and Aristotle (Brill 2012 ISBN 978-9-00422532-9); Frans Jozef van Beeck, God Encountered: A Contemporary Catholic Systematic Theology (Liturgical Press 2001 ISBN 978-0-81465877-2); and in books dealing with Antiochene exegesis
- Gregory the Great, Moralia, book 18, 89
- George M. Sauvage, "Mysticism" in Catholic Encyclopedia
- "Orthodox Prayer life, p. 60
- Cardinal Christoph von Schonborn, Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Paths of Prayer (Ignatius Press 2003 ISBN 9780898709568), chapter 30
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2715
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2713-2714
- John Cassian, Conferences, I, chapter 8, translation by Boniface Ramsey
- Byzantine Music: Hymnographers
- Joseph Stiglmayr, "Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite" in Catholic Encyclopedia
- Arthur Devine, "State or Way" in Catholic Encyclopedia
- Jordan Aumann, Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition (Ignatius Press 1985 ISBN 978-0-89870068-8), p. 64
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2667
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2668
- Thomas Keating, Centering Prayer and the Christian Contemplative Tradition (Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, Bulletin 40, January 1991)
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2684
- M. Beauregard & V. Paquette (2006). "Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns". Neuroscience Letters. Elsevier. 405 (3): 186–90. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2006.06.060. ISSN 0304-3940. PMID 16872743.
- Revelation 2:17
- Jordan Aumann, Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition (Sheed & Ward 1985 ISBN 0-89870-068-X), p. 247
- Thomas Dubay, Fire Within, Ignatius Press 1989 ISBN 0-89870-263-1
- Christopher A. Hall, Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers (InterVarsity Press 2001 ISBN 978-0-8308-1500-5)
- Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel (Continuum International 1986 ISBN 0-8264-0696-3)
- Vladimir Lossky, The Vision of God (SVS Press 1997. ISBN 0-913836-19-2)
- Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer (Darton, Longman & Todd 2005 ISBN 978-0-232-52604-2)
- Mattá al-Miskīn, Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2003 ISBN 0-88141-250-3)
- Aristotle Papanikolaou, Being With God (University of Notre Dame Press February 24, 2006 ISBN 0-268-03830-9)
- Marcus Plested, The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Oxford Theological Monographs 2004 ISBN 0-19-926779-0)
- Tomáš Špidlík, The Spirituality of the Christian East: A Systematic Handbook (Cistercian Publications Inc Kalamazoo Michigan 1986 ISBN 0-87907-879-0)
- Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God : Revelation and Knowledge of the Triune God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Volume 1 : Revelation and Knowledge of the Triune God (Holy Cross Orthodox Press May 17, 2005 ISBN 0-917651-70-7)
- Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God : Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Volume 2: The World, Creation and Deification (Holy Cross Orthodox Press June 16, 2005 ISBN 1-885652-41-0)
- Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, The Illness and Cure of the Soul (Metropolitan Publisher: Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece, January 1, 2005 ISBN 978-960-7070-18-0)
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