Before we go on with our main issue, I believe it would make us better understand, if I say a few words about Hesychasm, a spiritual tradition endorsed by St. Gregory the Palamas (15th century), and collected by Demetrios Tselengidis, Professor of Dogmatics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Hesychastic life is the highest form of ascetic life, through which man can achieve the highest spiritual experience, théosis or theoria (deification).
According to St. Gregory Palamas, hesychia (stillness, “quietness”), par excellence an ascetic term, is of existential and experiential content. Hesychia implies the state of peace settling inside the inner man, when we (permitted by God) see, detest and get rid of our ugly mask, which was established due to the wandering activity of our nous. Hesychia is indispensably connected with the nepsis (watchfulness) of our nous, with the spiritual wakefulness and the experience of all the conditions being realized during nepsis in a spiritual and inexpressible manner.
Consequently, the work of an hesychast (person practicing hesychia) is the guarding of the heart by lovingly keeping God’s commandments, maintaining his (or her) spiritual purity and by partaking of the Mysteries of our Church (leading an active liturgical life). By observing God’s commandments, an hesychast expels the low of sin and replaces it with the supervision of his nous. His senses are being controlled by self-restraint (abstinence), while the pathetikon (emotional) part of the soul is ruled by love, and the logistikon (logical) by watchfulness (nepsis). Hesychastic life allows for the Devine Grace to operate in our inner existence and “repair” us, mold us into our original version, and give us our “flourished” ancient and indescribable beauty.
A hesychast lives without worries, as much as possible free from any relation with distraction. By ceaseless praying, he or she unites their nous with God, and, by totally concentrating to themselves, they find a new and secret uplifting to the heavens. There, with their concentrated nous, they taste an inexpressible pleasure, a perfect and sweetest serenity, a true quietness and silence. And, this way, being totally surrendered to God, one beholds the Glory of God and observes the Devine Light.
The ultimate purpose of hesychastic life is to make man one with Triune God, in accordance with Christ’s archpriest prayer “let them all become one” and with our cooperation, which means, the way He came into communion and unity with the human nature without departing from His own Triune Unity.
It is after 1821 (the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Occupation) when a vicious persecution of the Orthodox Tradition started; by whom? By the Neo-Greeks, followers of the Enlightenment movement, who joined forces with the protestant Bavarians planted in Greece to govern our newly established State. Those people (Farmakidis and Koraïs and others) were very much eroded by the protestant spirit, by the European Enlightenment movement (which, due to atheism, was a total darkness) and by the theology of the West. That’s why they started a war against Hesychasm, the roots of our Orthodox Tradition.
Right after we gained our freedom from the Turkish occupation, those people passed a legislation (three laws of the Greek State, of an orthodox State, if you please!) and closed down 400 monasteries!!! It is unbelievable, but, yes, WE did it, the supposedly orthodox Greeks!… Surprisingly, not the Turks… During the Turkish Occupation there were 600 monasteries, and, as soon as WE (the so-called Orthodox Christians) arrived and claimed to be the legitimate rulers of this nation, we closed down 400 of them! The reason for this absurd move was the spirit of Koraïs and Maurer, established in the souls of all those who came to rule and were raised up in and fed by the West.