the contribution of saint gregory palamas to hesychasm 4
Chapter 4

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


It is significant that Palamas never wanted to write anything about man’s theosis. When he was challenged by his opponents, however, he was compelled to refer to it with a few words of piety—insufficient according to his statement--underlining in these, that the experience of theosis is lived as betrothal during the historical presence of the saints on earth.

The Light of the Transfiguration on Tabor along with the one that the saints behold here on earth is evaluatively placed on the same level with the Light of the future Second Presence of Christ. It is the same Light which will continuously envelop the worthy ones during the future life.

It is the prelude of God’s glory. This is the Light of the future age, which will be visible with the eyes of the heart. It is the Light which the Saints behold inside them, the glory of Divine nature, the very immaterial Divinity of the Father and the Spirit, which effulges in the face of the Only Begotten Son during His Transfiguration. Accordingly, it is overt that photophany consists of the manifestation of God to his saints, while participation in this theophany corresponds with vision of God (theoptia). Theophany and theoptia consist of the delusion free theological presuppositions of the life in the Holy Spirit, which is equated with the charismatic theosis of man. Those who are deemed worthy to behold this Photophany share in this god-working Light, which being Divinity, deifies them charismatically. This Divine Light, the radiance of God, consists of theosis according to Palamas. There is nothing more sublime from this theoria (vision) for the worthy. Through this Light, God unites with the saints. This Divine Light is the deifying gift. Because of this, it is said that theosis is essential energy of God. Alternatively, if theosis proceeds from the activation of some natural power of man, then the deified saints do not transcend their nature, nor are they born of God, nor are they Spirit, born of the Spirit. While God is unknowledgeable, invisible, and immaterial, He becomes knowledgeable in a supernatural way, contained, translucent, and during theoptia, becomes one Spirit with those who accompany Him with a pure heart, according to the prayer of our common Father to His own Father. For He says, “grant them, even as Thou, Father art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.” Thus the Apostles, due to their unity in Christ, through the Holy Spirit of Pentecost, are united with Christ, and between them to such a degree, that Palamas is more than content to refer to one of them (John), and to say that through him all saints are represented. This union with God is perfect, because the faithful becomes one Spirit with God. This very Holy Spirit was preaching through the Apostles after Pentecost. Theosis, as Grace of the Holy Spirit, coincides with the Kingdom of God. Thus, for someone to become god by Grace is identical with achieving the Kingdom of God. And since the Kingdom of God is without beginning and uncreated, likewise theosis is without beginning and uncreated. Uncreated, and without beginning is also the holiness of the saints. Those deified are full of the pre-eternal Light which grants them god-like knowledge and life. They are not governed by the created temporal life, having beginning and end, but by the Divine and pre-eternal life of God the Word residing in them, as Apostle Paul wrote about himself, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” In reality, Christ lives in the heart of the faithful through the Holy Spirit, and the criterion for this is the Holy Spirit He gave to them. This explains why the energy of God and those deified are one and the same. In reality, theosis is clearly superior to the simple vision of Divine Light, because theosis presupposes the full union of man with God. But for man to become suitable for this union, his likeness with God is indispensable, which is achieved with the energy emanating from the Keeping of the Commandments, an energy which does not result from the mere natural imitation, but results from the power of the Spirit, which ineffably co-exists with those baptized. The virtue that follows from the Keeping of the Commandments simply makes the faithful suitable for the union, which is completed only by the uncreated Grace of the baptized. This union procedure with God is officiated by prayer, always in the framework of Divine mysteries, since we receive and maintain the uncreated Divine Grace through the mysteries. Moreover, since the deified receive and maintain actively the uncreated deifying Grace, that is the same Holy Spirit as a gift, it is apparent they do not simply have an improvement according to their nature.

The pursued purpose of the deified life in the Holy Spirit of the faithful is the betrothal experience of the promises of God for the future goods. He who shares in the living Divine Grace becomes a temple of the Divine glory and a place of spiritual bliss. He is shown forth as salt of the earth and light of the world, regardless of whether he is a monk or if he lives with a spouse in the world.

Some of the characteristics of the (Holy)-spiritual experience taking place from the vision and experience of the uncreated Light, are the cessation of the shameful (carnal) pleasures and passions of the soul; the calming of thoughts; serenity and spiritual joy ; contempt for human glory; humility along with inexpressible rejoicing ; hate towards the worldly spirit; Divine eros for the heavenly things, or better yet for the God of the heavens ; all of which one can experience and live independently of the state of his health or the integrity of his senses. Then, the god-like state develops with reference to virtue and the difficulty of movement or total immobilization towards evil. Furthermore, the Divine Light as charismatic presence of the Holy Spirit is also experienced as apocalyptic knowledge—as knowledge of God, as righteousness, as holiness, and freedom. This makes the mouth of the deified the mouth of God with wisdom of God, “which cannot be debated or challenged by any of the enemies,” because according to the assurance of the Lord, “for it is not you who speak but the spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Outside of the vision of the Divine Light, the defender of hesychia includes in the realm of the life in the Holy Spirit, the prayer of the heart, the spiritual warmth and the spiritual pleasure, but the pleasing and sweet tears of Grace. Man shares in the life of the Holy Spirit in his psychosomatic entirety. Thus, the dispositions and energies of the body are also sanctified, because whatever is human does not die but is transformed by the uncreated Grace. The qualities of the Divine beauty are conveyed from the nous and the soul to the entire body. When the body is enriched by the workings of the Divine Grace, the bodily heart reveals its communion with it by spiritual leaps, while the body becomes weightless, illumined, and warmed.

On account of its uncreated character, the deified life of the faithful in the Holy Spirit remains essentially inexpressible, even when attempting to discuss it. Under no circumstances could someone explain the quality of the spiritual pleasure that streams from the joy and Grace of God to those who have not experienced it personally. This goodness of the Paraclete to those who have not tasted it is essentially unheard of and inexpressible. However, it remains known and distinctive only to those who have acquired it.

The causes of these spiritual experiences can only be perceived by the noetic and spiritual sense. Finally, the life in the Holy Spirit must be definitely acquired and experienced by the faithful in this present life, because whoever does not receive it here, will not have it in the future life after death either.


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