Eremiticae vitae descriptio

A description of the eremitic life. O nimis felix sacra solitudo, Quis tuas laudes valeat referre, Vita, dulcedo, requies, asylum, Semita portus. Antra deserti coluere sancti, Montibus sylvisque Camaldulenses Nunc Eremitae satagunt beatam Ducere vitam. Singuli plane rigide seorsum, In suis cellis bene separatis Iugiter degunt, comedunt, et orant Crimina plangunt. Septies templum repetunt silenter, Rite devote celebrant synaxim, Ac Deum laudant, pariter canentes, Nocte dieque. Si diu solus cupit esse quisquam, Et frui vita penitus remota, Is domi clausus remanet quietus, Celica cernens. Regulam servant pietate multa, Quam tulit Divus Benedictus olim, Postmodum sanctus quoque Romualdus Ordinis auctor. Hic Ravenatum procerum propago Tesqua, vel saltus coluit rigentes, Gratia, signis meritisque claris Regnat olympo. Appetant omnes nemorum recessus, Labilis temnant bona cuncta mundi, Eligant soli Domino placere His in Eremis.   O holy solitude, happy beyond measure, Who could be worthy to r

What is a Hermit.

Hermits devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance.  They manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered his life simply because he is everything to him.  Here is a particular call to find in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified One. The hermit was originally a layman (priests were exceptional) who lived alone in the desert outside the framework of any institution, even of the Christian and Ecclesial institution.  This statement should not be taken to imply a separation from the wider Church, but simply that the hermit's participation in the Church does not consist in fulfilling a specific organizational role. Christian solitude, is essentially an

State of Hesychia

   When we discuss Orthodox prayer we are often led to a discussion of  hesychia.  This is a very advanced form of Orthodox spirituality.  It makes up one of the last chapters in Saint Theophan's book, Path to Salvation .  What is it? Hesychia is a state when there is a an inner stillness and one abides alone in spirit with God. Saint John Climacus says, "A hesychast is one who strives to confine his incorporeal being within his bodily house." Saint Theophan says the hesychast is one who is, entirely occupied with being with the one Lord, with Whom he converses face to face, like as a favorite emperor speaks into his ear.  This activity of the heart is surrounded and guarded by preserving stillness of thought. This level of spiritual effort is very advanced and cannot be attained without first conquering our passions  This is an absolute prerequisite.  Hesychia only develops in those who have tasted the "sweetness of God," says Saint Theophan.  He warns us,