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(from the Greek hesychia, “quiet,” “silence,” “detachment”), a mystic trend in Byzantium.

Hesychasm is used in two senses. In the more general meaning, hesychasm is an ethicoascetic teaching on the path of man to union with god through “purification of the heart” by tears and through concentration of consciousness within itself; to achieve this, a set of techniques for psychophysical self-control was devised, which bears some outward resemblance to the methods of Yoga (the inclined sitting posture, regulation of breathing and circulation, constant mistrust of spontaneous “wishes,” and the practice of the so-called Jesus Prayer, entailing single-minded repetition of the very same phrase several thousand times in succession). The teaching was created by Egyptian and Sinaitic ascetics of the fourth through seventh centuries (Macarius the Egyptian, Evagrius, and John Climacus). During the religious restoration of the 14th century it underwent renewal and development; by no means was this an original creation. Only in this sense can one speak of the hesychasm of Gregory Sinaites and of his Russian followers (Nil Sorskii, for example).

In the narrower sense hesychasm is taken to mean the religio-philosophical teaching that Gregorius Palamas elaborated in disputes with spokesmen for theological rationalism, a teaching that included the thesis of the distinction between the essence and the energies of god (the doctrine of the uncreated nature of the “light of Mount Tabor”). Palamism, which historically was combined with a sociopolitical position supporting Emperor John Cantacuzenus, was after a prolonged struggle declared official Orthodox teaching at the local Blachernae Synod in 1351.


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References in periodicals archive ?
Prayer-ropes are the knotted cords, usually made of wool, that are an essential part of male and female Orthodox monasticism; especially, the hesychasts (those who silently devote themselves to inner recollection and private prayer: Ware, 1982, p.
If the Hesychast really did see 'the uncreated light of the Godhead', it was believed that this was because this vision had been granted by divine grace.
Athos that decided the Hesychast controversy in favor of the Palamites, these seven councils form the bedrock of Orthodox dogma.
The hesychast usually sits cross-legged and with a bowed head, and the prayer follows the rhythm of one's breathing.
Barlaam found Hesychast teachings and practices deeply disturbing.
Other religious groups, however, such as the Hesychast monks, would make the case for Byzantium standing against the Ottomans on its own, as cooperation with the Latins was seen by them as potentially compromising for their Orthodox faith, and the prospect of being dominated by non-Christians seemed equally unwelcome.
In the West, theosis became widely known through its hesychast teaching by Gregory Palamas and interpreted by the above-mentioned modern Orthodox theologians.
A Hesychast is one who practices Hesychasm in order to achieve "interior stillness and freedom from passions.
Norman Russell, providing a convenient bookend both in theological insight and chronological subject matter, explores the self-understanding of orthodoxy in the controversy after Gregory Palamas, revealing that the heart of the hesychast debates was really the ancient orthodox concern for a faithful understanding of the person of Christ.
Velitchkovsky was notable in initiating a major spiritual revival within the Russian Church in the Hesychast tradition.
As far as the Buddhist experience of the Rainbow Body is concerned, it shares with the hesychast approach, first, the visual sensory dimension of light and luminosity and, second, the concrete experiential praxis and cultivation of enlightening one's body through working with the mind.
As I knew nothing about the thinkers in the Hesychast line, the information Isayeva gave about them and about the similarities of their thinking with the thinking of Gaudapada, etc.