Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
Pemptousia recently interviewed Elder Elisaios, Abbot of Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras. Here is one idea derived from the engaging interview, which can be found at the link below.
When places like Madagascar come to mind, the first things we think of are the endless beaches and jungles. The very innate difference of physical life, the plants and the animals come in such a variety that we rarely see. The landscapes are unparalleled and the world around is almost something of a surreal scene, for those of us with a western mind. Now, what are the odds of finding an Athonite monk in such a place?
Athonite monks spend much time in hysechia*, cultivating the inner Kingdom and growing in the vast expanse of Christ within. So for these men who have travelled to such great spirituality an exterior change does not seem as profound. The scene is still a beautiful one; Holy desert fathers sent for missionary endeavors in some of the wildest places in the world but they still dwell in the same inner Kingdom, which emanates around them.
Missionary work is not foreign to the monks of Mount Athos, in fact it makes sense, as Elder Elisaios, Abbot of Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras says, “Mission without Hesychasm and the mystical life is a social contribution. It’s not missionary activity, it’s not the apostolicity which brings people to Christ, it’s just a contribution to society. If the Church does not live in its mystical fashion and with hesychasm, its efforts will be shallow.”
In the video from our partner, Pemptousia, you can listen to the conversation in Greek, or follow along with the subtitles.
*Hysechia is a movement in the Eastern Orthodox Church that sought a divine quietness through constant contemplative prayer. The movement had its roots in the 5th century, was developed by the monks of Mount Athos, Greece, in the 14th century, and was popular in 19th-century Russia.
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