In the spiritual laboratory of the Egyptian deserts, these seekers after salvation, enlightenment, and union with Christ brought into sharp focus the teachings of the Apostles and the message of Holy Writ in their daily lives and activities. Also to be found are perfect models for every modern Christian who wishes sincerely to imitate those who have walked the path towards moral and spiritual perfection. This is the first English translation of this wonderful treasury of spiritual wisdom. These four volumes will be available in an attractive paperbound and a hardbound edition, in two color printing red and black , with Byzantine-style line drawings, and replete with the original Prologue of St. Each volume will be approximately pages in length. This monumental Patristic translation, twenty years in preparation, is the most important publication yet undertaken by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies.
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I have briefly mentioned The Evergetinos before here as one of the classics of Orthodoxy designed for reading by all Orthodox, though primarily intended for reading by monastics. In this, it differs from the better-known Philokalia, which was intended as a kind of monastic training guide in hesychasm, and not originally intended for lay audiences at all. This post will describe in some detail the excellent new English translation of The Evergetinos recently completed, revised, and released in four large volumes by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, California, under the direction of the chief editors and translators Archbishop Chrysostomos and Hieromonk Patapios.
The Evergetinos has a very interesting publishing history. First it is necessary to discuss the name. A certain Paul founded the monastery at his country estate, not far from Constantinople, in , before dying in Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium , s.
This is made all the more astonishing by the nature of the work itself. The Evergetinos is a vast collection of materials from a number of other collections of sayings of monastics and others, ranging from the well-known works of St John Cassian and Palladius, to the anonymously produced Apophthegmata collections, but including materials also from hagiographies, menologia, and other, unspecified and now-lost sources.
As Archbishop Chrysostomos relates 1:xxiv :. Fifty of these hypotheses make up each of the four books of The Evergetinos. Very much like a programmed text, each book works towards addressing matters of correct faith orthodoxy and matters pertinent to the proper observation and practice of that faith orthopraxy , taking the reader from basic matters of comportment and moral formation to experiences of the ineffable mysteries of communion with God through Grace, carefully concentrating on the teachings of the Church Fathers and the specific examples of the monks and nuns the Abbas and Ammas, or Fathers and Mothers of the Egyptian desert and other monastics.
This does not exhaust the interesting details regarding the publishing history of The Evergetinos. For seven and a half centuries, The Evergetinos circulated only in manuscript form. Our Father among the Saints, Macarios of Corinth, was responsible for putting together a manuscript for publication based upon a number of manuscripts scattered among the libraries of the Holy Mountain.
This voluminous manuscript he then entrusted to his friend and collaborator, Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, for further editing, and for the inclusion of an introduction to the work which is, happily, also translated in the CTOS edition. Saint Nikodemos was able to obtain the funds to have the collection published in Venice in As the translators were working between the two versions of the text, following at time one or the other, the CTOS translation must really be considered another edition of The Evergetinos.
The CTOS translation is available in paperback set of four or individual volumes 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 and hardcover set of four only; the hardcover is not sold in individual volumes from the excellent Eastern Christian Supply Company.
St Nikodemos writes:. And all of you who are partakers of the heavenly Orthodox calling, who, looking to God alone, desire to adorn your souls with every kind of virtue: put forth your arms like two golden stanchions and receive and store up this harvest; or, in the words of Scripture, receive this sacred embrace and with much joy press it close to your breast.
As you constantly read it, gather from it the sweetest fruits of edification and desist not, I beg you, from interceding before the Lord for him who planted this harvest at his own cost and for him who worked together with him to water it.
VOLUME 1 Hypothesis I No one should despair ever, even if he has committed many sins, but should have hope that, through repentance, he shall be saved. Hypothesis II As long as we are in the present life, we must do good here and not delay until the future. For after death we cannot set things aright. Hypothesis III Concerning how we should repent. Hypothesis IV That the afflicted should be guided slowly in the works of repentance. Hypothesis V That we must always call to mind death and the future judgment; for he who does not continually expect death and the future judgment is easily overcome by the passions.
Hypothesis VI The joy of Heaven is inexpressible, as is the glory which awaits the Saints; therefore, we must remember with our whole souls the joy of Heaven and the glory of the Saints. In all that we accomplish, nothing is equal to that joy and glory. Hypothesis VII Many times the souls of virtuous people are made cheerful at the time of death by some Divine overshadowing, and thus they depart from the body.
And how many times sinners while still alive, beholding the torments of Hell and the demons, shudder with fear; and in this state of fear, their souls depart the body. Hypothesis IX Proof of where the souls of the dying go and how they exist after their separation from the body. Hypothesis X The soul, after its departure from the body, undergoes testing in the air by evil spirits which encounter it and attempt to impede its ascent.
Hypothesis XI How, after death, souls are assigned to the same place as those souls which lived in a similar way on earth. Hypothesis XII God-loving parents should rejoice and be thankful for the trials and temptations that their children endure for the sake of the Lord. As well, parents who love God should exhort their children to struggle and to risk all for the sake of virtue. Hypothesis XIII How one renouncing the world should go to a remote place; what constitutes a remote place and what benefit derives from it; and what places are most appropriate for living out the ascetic life.
Hypothesis XIV From whence the fear and love of God are first engendered in man and to what extent he is obliged to fear and love God. Hypothesis XV It is essential for those who have abandoned the world not to communicate with their relatives according to the flesh or to nurture the slightest interest in them.
Hypothesis XVI We must love our relatives in the flesh equally with our other brothers, as long as our relatives lead a similar kind of life; if, however, they conduct themselves in a way discordant with that of our brothers, we must avoid them as harmful. Hypothesis XVII How he who becomes a monk must bare himself of all things, and how he must dispose of everything which belongs to him.
Hypothesis XVIII It is necessary for one who wishes to be saved to seek the company of virtuous people and, as a thing much beneficial, to question them with exceeding desire and flaming zeal, so as to learn from them all those things which are essential for the salvation of the soul. Hypothesis XIX Regarding the necessity of obedience: what benefits arise from it and how a man accomplishes it.
Hypothesis XX That one should not trust in himself in anything, but should heed the advice of the Fathers in all things and should clearly confess the secrets of his heart without hiding anything.
Hypothesis XXI That we must confess our thoughts to those among the Fathers who are discerning and not entrust them to just anyone; how we are to confess and what we should ask our confessors; what faith we should place in the answers of the Fathers; and how, through this faith, we should work together with our confessors for the achievement of good.
Hypothesis XXII Concerning the fact that he who wishes to be saved must avoid meetings with careless men and must avoid disturbances, and that estrangement from worldly affairs is necessary for him. Hypothesis XXIII Concerning the fact that we must keep away from those who harm us, even if they are friends or are otherwise quite indispensable. Hypothesis XXIV Concerning the fact that one who has renounced the world should not be entangled at all with earthly affairs, even if they seem justified, but should submit to Divine Providence in these matters also.
Hypothesis XXV Concerning the fact that evil is easy, and that there are many who choose this, especially in our day; that virtue is demanding, and that there are few who pursue it; and that we must emulate the latter and pay no heed to the majority.
Hypothesis XXVI Those coming to the monastic life are received with much testing; those admitted after scrutiny are for the most part reliable; what tasks are entrusted to them.
Hypothesis XXVII Rejections of the world based on different circumstances should not be wholly turned aside; we should not immediately dismiss someone who comes to the monastic community and fervently seeks to remain with the brethren, before we have examined him in detail; rather, we should grant him some possibility of staying and test him in accordance with what we have written.
After we have ascertained that he is abiding by his intention, and after testing him, we should accept him into the monastic community, unless something happens that is forbidden by the Divine laws. Hypothesis XXIX The demons wage a furious war against him who struggles with all his strength, whereas they are uninterested in the negligent, since they have them at their beck and call; those who want the good find God to be their ally, Who permits wars for our spiritual profit.
Hypothesis XXX We should not regard the demons as causes of all the sins we commit, but rather ourselves; for the demons are unable to harm those who are attentive, since the help that comes from God is great; and that God allows struggles in proportion to the strength of men. Hypothesis XXXI One who has come to the ascetical life should only be clothed in monastic garb after he has been sufficiently trained in the virtues; the monastic schema is honorable, soul-profiting, and salvific.
Hypothesis XXXII The faithful monk should display a manner of life that is appropriate to his schema; for he who does not live in conformity with his schema is not faithful; likewise, a Godly old age is not characterized by length of time, but by the way in which a man lives. Hypothesis XXXIII The faithful monk should eagerly accept whatever his spiritual Father suggests to him, because all such suggestions are in his interest, even if they induce distress or are arduous; for mercy is given by God for this purpose and for the alleviation of afflictions.
Hypothesis XXXV We should be subject in simplicity to our superiors in the Lord and accept their orders as coming from God, without criticizing, examining, or correcting them, even if they do not seem for the time being to be of benefit. Hypothesis XXXVI What the sins of disobedience and grumbling against our teachers in the Lord are; the Christian should not object at all or justify himself, but should in all cases resist his own will and love reproof, not avoid it.
Hypothesis XXXVIII How the Grace of God often teaches those who watch over themselves and entrust themselves to His Providence what they ought to do through simple people and strangers; the humble do not refuse to learn from anyone they may encounter.
Hypothesis XXXIX The faithful Christian should not be confident in himself, but should believe that through his spiritual Father he is both saved and enabled to do everything good; and he should invoke the prayers of his Elder, for they have great power. Hypothesis XL That one should not lightly go out of, or withdraw from, the monastery in which he has promised, in the sight of God, to remain until the end of his life; for the Fathers did not even go out of their cells, in which they found great benefit.
Hypothesis XLI That for those who are not prepared, it is perilous to live alone. Hypothesis XLII That we should not gainsay anyone in a contentious manner even regarding those things that are considered good, but should be subject to our neighbor in everything. Hypothesis XLIII That whatever happens, happens by the justice of God; for this reason the believer must always follow Divine Providence and must seek, not his own will, but the Will of God; for he who does or accepts all things in this manner has spiritual rest.
Hypothesis XLIV That humility is completely impregnable to demons, how humility is engendered, and what its power is; that humility, more than all the other virtues, is able, by itself, to save a man. Hypothesis XLV A distinctive mark of the humble man is that he blames and disparages himself and thinks that his good deeds, howsoever many and whatsoever they may be, amount to nothing; what the characteristic traits of humility are, and what are its fruits.
Hypothesis XLVIII That to appear humble, when this is done inopportunely or excessively, is not beneficial, but harmful; how we ought to act towards those who praise us, and that praise does no harm at all to one who is attentive. Hypothesis XLIX Concerning how one should use clothing, what kind, and up to what point, in order to cover the body, and how the Fathers loved frugality in their very dress; the faithful should prefer frugality in every circumstance.
Hypothesis L That we should not do anything to gratify ourselves or do anything out of a passionate craving. Hypothesis II By nature, abasement invites humility, while honor invites pride; and so it is that those who are of humble mind, when they are scorned, rejoice, while they become sorrowful if they are shown homage. Hypothesis III That one should not be idle, but undertake physical labor, too; and that idleness is the cause of many ills. Hypothesis IV To what end a monk should work and for what amount of time, and what kind of work he should perform.
Hypothesis V That against which the brothers should take caution when they work together. Hypothesis VII That he who shamelessly betrays or removes anything from among those things belonging to the monastery sins very greatly before God and will be punished more severely; for this reason we should care for these things as being dedicated to God and not despise the most insignificant things; and that negligence hurts everyone.
Hypothesis VIII With what disposition we should serve or be served and what is the profit resulting from service. Hypothesis IX When and by whom service is to be preferred to prayer. Hypothesis X One must eagerly rise up in the night in prayer and attend thereto. From where and for what reason prayer was appointed, from the beginning, at certain hours, and why we must not be remiss therein.
Hypothesis XI Regarding psalmody and prayers and the orderliness that one should maintain in them. Hypothesis XII We should reprove those who talk idly or converse with each other in the Divine services; and if they do not correct themselves, we should sternly eject them from the Church.
Hypothesis XIII That we should always keep vigil and should only sleep for as long as is necessary to keep our bodies healthy; and that beginners in asceticism should use any contrivance to accustom themselves to staying awake. Hypothesis XIV Concerning pathological self-love.
Hypothesis XV Concerning the benefit that comes from abstinence, the harm that comes from a lack of abstinence, and the damage caused by the immoderate consumption of wine. Hypothesis XVI How the Fathers loved fasting and how they were successful in it; and to what extent they were strict in their observance of it.
Hypothesis XVII Various exploits of the Holy Fathers, which encourage us, in our infirmity, to exercise patience and which, in their hyperbole, teach us humility.
Hypothesis XX That secret eating is a great evil, and that it by itself can lead a monastic to ruin. Hypothesis XXII We should not eat for enjoyment, but out of bodily need; he who does not eat for enjoyment, even if the food is enjoyable, suffers no harm. Hypothesis XXIII How and with what purpose a monk should sit in the refectory, how he should approach food, and what he should guard against after the meal. Hypothesis XXIV Concerning food and drink: how at times we should not partake of certain kinds; and from which kinds we should abstain.
Hypothesis XXV What the warfare of fornication is and how we should struggle against it. Hypothesis XXVI That it is not possible for one to be delivered from warfare with fornication by any means, save by the aid of God, which comes to those who struggle. What perfect chastity is. Hypothesis XXVII The honor of chastity and the dishonor of fornication; the reward and the recompense of each, both in the present life and in the future life.
Hypothesis XXVIII That to accept evil thoughts and not to reject them immediately is worthy of chastisement, just as are looking inquisitively and saying or hearing shameful things; likewise, one who assents to shameful thoughts is punished in the same way as one who carries them out; the spirit of fornication assails us in many and various ways, and for this reason we should always be on our guard against it.
Hypothesis XXX That a believer must never consent to listen to a flute or a guitar or any other theatrical instrument, but avoid these as ruinous.
Hypothesis XXXII How great is the work of contrition, what the manifold forms of contrition are, and what the different kinds of tears are. Hypothesis XXXIII That demons attack a man with greater intensity at the end of his life; for this reason, we should be all the more attentive at this time. Hypothesis XXXIV Nothing is so inappropriate for the believer as familiarity and laughter; this present hypothesis also treats of reverence and its characteristic features.
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ISBN 13: 9780911165623
I have briefly mentioned The Evergetinos before here as one of the classics of Orthodoxy designed for reading by all Orthodox, though primarily intended for reading by monastics. In this, it differs from the better-known Philokalia, which was intended as a kind of monastic training guide in hesychasm, and not originally intended for lay audiences at all. This post will describe in some detail the excellent new English translation of The Evergetinos recently completed, revised, and released in four large volumes by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, California, under the direction of the chief editors and translators Archbishop Chrysostomos and Hieromonk Patapios. The Evergetinos has a very interesting publishing history. First it is necessary to discuss the name. A certain Paul founded the monastery at his country estate, not far from Constantinople, in , before dying in Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium , s. This is made all the more astonishing by the nature of the work itself.