Edgecomb The Evergetinos I have briefly mentioned The Evergetinos before here as one of the classics of Orthodoxy designed for reading by all Orthodox, though primarily intended for reading by monastics. In this, it differs from the better-known Philokalia, which was intended as a kind of monastic training guide in hesychasm, and not originally intended for lay audiences at all. This post will describe in some detail the excellent new English translation of The Evergetinos recently completed, revised, and released in four large volumes by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, California, under the direction of the chief editors and translators Archbishop Chrysostomos and Hieromonk Patapios. The Evergetinos has a very interesting publishing history.
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And how many times sinners while still alive, beholding the torments of Hell and the demons, shudder with fear; and in this state of fear, their souls depart A. Gregory the Dialogist Question from Peter How can one explain the phenomenon which occurs with many who appear, by some delusion, to be separated from their bodies and are thought momentarily to be dead, as though without a soul, but who come back to life?
There once lived a monk named Peter. This monk was the disciple of an ascetic Elder, Evvasa, who lived the ascetic life in a secluded, wooded place. Elder Evvasa told a story to his disciple, Peter, about how, before settling in that secluded place, he fell ill and died. Immediately, however, his soul returned to his body and, when he had come to, he swore that he had seen the torments of Hell and its immeasurable burning chambers, and that indeed, he had seen suspended in that fire many of the rulers of this world.
Moreover, just as he was being led away to be thrown into that place of torture and fire, a white-winged Angel had appeared and preventing him from being cast into the fire, said to him: "Go and take heed; and henceforth you must take great care in how you live. In this way, thanks to the wondrous Providence of God, the Elder experienced a temporary death, so that he would not be condemned to the eternal death of Hell.
Though the heart of man is possessed, at times, by such profound darkness, perhaps this demonstration before him of the torments of eternal Hell can bring him to repentance. Then again, the manifestation of the torments of eternal Hell becomes a source of greater reproach for those indifferent or negligent, who, even after this ghastly vision, return to life, remaining the same as before, uncorrected; wherefore, there is no longer left for them any justification.
Gregory the Dialogist to his Deacon Peter That souls often see, while yet in the body, various of the torments of the unclean spirits in Hell, sometimes for their own edification, at other times for the edification of those who hear of them. There once lived a youth by the name of Theodore. He was very unruly and followed his brother, who was in fact a monk, to the monastery out of necessity and not out of any personal inclination or desire to do so.
If anyone happened to tell him some good word about his salvation, the young man, since he was very disobedient, was not only little disposed to act on the advice, but would not even hear it; nor, moreover, would he agree to become a monk. All of the brothers of the monastery gathered near him. Just as they saw him slowly expire his body had already become cold and there remained in his bosom only the slightest warmth of life , they began to pray for him persistently and to ask God, Who loves mankind, to have compassion on him at the hour of the departure of his soul from the body.
Suddenly, as the brothers were praying, Theodore began to cry out in a loud voice and interrupt the prayer of the monks, saying: "Get away from me, move away, for I have been handed over for a dragon to devour me. The dragon cannot consume me entirely because of your presence. He already had my head completely inside his mouth.
So give way, that I will not be further tortured and so that what he must do, he can do even more quickly. Since this dragon is intent on eating me, why should I suffer a slow martyrdorn? When a period of persistent prayer and supplication by the brothers had elapsed, suddenly the ill Theodore jolted up and yelled with all the power of his lungs: "My brothers, give thanks to God, for the dragon which had taken hold of me to devour me has fled, and was unable to stay here at all.
Now, therefore, I ask that you fervently pray to God that He will forgive me of my sins. After this fearful thing that has happened to me, I am completely ready to repent and to forsake the life of the world. Having pleased God sufficiently, his soul then departed from his body. Theodore saw the punishment that follows death and was benefited thereby. Others, however, as we noted previously, see the punishments inflicted by the evil spirits after death while they are still alive and recount these for the sake of our spiritual edification, then immediately die after the narration of the fearful things which they saw.
As an illustration of this, I will tell a story. There once lived a man named Chrysaorios, from among the most notable of this world. To the degree, however, that he added to his wealth, so much more he enriched his passions. Pumped up by vanity, he submitted without resistance to the passions of the flesh, endeavoring to amass many riches and inflamed by the passion of greed.
When, however, the Lord deigned to put an end to the many sins of this man, he allowed Chrysaorios to fall to a life-threatening illness. Now, when he had come to the last moment of his life, and while his eyes were still wide open, he saw before him frightful and dark-faced spirits, who were there to help escort him to the gates of Hell. He began to tremble and turn pale and was drenched with perspiration; crying out in desperation, terrified, he pleaded for a little time in order to repent.
He called with deep and agitated cries for his son Maximos, whom I later knew as a monk when I, too, was a monk, saying: "Maximos of mine, come to me. Never have I done you wrong. Save me now with the strength of your faith. Though none of them was able to see the evil spirits which had beset Chrysaorios, they could conclude that they were there from everything that the suffering man was saying and from his pallor and the fear which he showed, since he was turning here and there in his bed from fear of the vexatious spirits and their dark forms.
One minute he would turn to the left, only to see in front of him those spirits which he dared not confront. Then he would look away toward the wall, only to see them again standing before him. In all of this, it is obvious that Chrysaorios saw all of these things not for his own benefit, but for ours, that we might learn, come to fear, and correct our ways. For of what benefit to Chrysaorios was the appearance of evil spirits before his death or the reprieve which he sought, yet did not receive?
A similar instance was related to me by the Presbyter serving our brotherhood, Athanasios. In Iconium, from which he also hailed, there was a monastery: the monastery of the "Galatians," as it was called. In the monastery there lived a certain monk, whom all considered to have attained to a high degree of virtue and seemliness. As his death revealed, however, his life was far removed from the apparent virtues that he showed.
One day, foreseeing that his end was near, he called near him all the brothers of the monastery. The brothers gathered around him with great eagerness, waiting to hear from such a virtuous ascetic, as they reckoned him, something great and wondrous, now that he was dying. Thereupon, he, mourning and trembling from his fear, said: "You thought that I was fasting with you, when in fact, hidden away from you, I was eating. And now behold: I am delivered to the frightful Dragon to be devoured.
This frightful Dragon has wrapped his tail around my feet and my knees, putting my head in his mouth, while he sucks out and uproots my soul. From this incident it becomes wholly obvious that he saw this fearful vision solely for the spiritual benefit of those who were listening, since he, even though he made known to others the Enemy to whom he was delivered up, nonetheless could not escape it. From the Gerontikon An ascetic Elder related the following: There once lived an aged nun who excelled in virtue and piety.
When I asked her why she fled from the world, she told me this. He was thin and sickly in body, so that the majority of his time he passed confined to his bed. He was marked by such simplicity that he spoke only when compelled. When he was well, he dedicated himself to tilling the land, thereby occupying himself and bringing to our home the produce which he cultivated.
But he was so reticent to speak that those who did not know him thought him to be mute. She was such a busy-body and so idle that she was anxious to learn about things even outside our village. She talked so much that nobody ever saw her silent, even for a little: rather, one time she would be seen arguing and quarreling, and another time saying obscene and indecent words in jest.
Most of the years of her life she wasted in drunkenness and in the company of profligate men. Though she lived in this way, she nonetheless never became sick and never felt the slightest pain; for all of the wretched life that she lived, she maintained her bodily health.
Now, what happened at his death? Immediately a fearful wind came up and almost razed the area. There was continual thunder, and the rain poured so violently that no one dared poke his nose out of his house even for a moment.
This foul weather lasted three days, and out of necessity we kept my father inside the house, unburied. It seems that this dead man must have been an enemy of God, and for this reason God has not even allowed him to be buried yet. Indeed, she became so audacious that she transformed our home into a house of immorality and, indulging her unceasing sensual pleasures, squandered away all of our holdings; so, in a short time we had nothing left.
Some years after the death of my father, my mother died. She had such a splendorous and magnificent funeral that one could say that nature itself cooperated in conducting it.
Since my mother had died and I had passed the age of childhood, the flames of youth being kindled and tempting me, one evening the thought came to me: Which path shall I follow in my life?
He was so unfortunate that he was not even allowed in his torments to be buried like other people. Did she not live a healthy life, even though she was plunged into a life of pleasures and desires? I will also, therefore, live the life that my mother did, for I prefer to believe in what I can see than in promises about what is to come. And when I went to sleep, there appeared before me a man of enormous dimensions and with a savage face.
What have you decided? On the basis of this you can choose which way of life you want for yourself. And outside the furnace a number of ghastly and frightening individuals gazed on the sight. From my pain and fear, I was trembling, while my teeth began to chatter and to gnash.
My pains are unbearable. My torments are unceasing. For a few years of delight and sinful pleasure, I brought all of this terrible punishment on myself. Woe to me, such an unfortunate one! Woe to me, wretch that I am! Because of the ephemeral pleasures of temporary life, I am now tormented eternally. But, my child, take pity on your mother, who, as you see, is in flames and is being devoured by fire. Remember, my child, how I gave you suckle and reared you, and take pity on me. Give me your hand and pull me out of here.
Do not close your eyes to this unfortunate mother, who is tortured in the Gehenna of fire and continually consumed by unsleeping worms. No sooner had the flames of the fire only slightly touched my hand, than I felt great pain and began to cry in moans.
From my lamentations and moans, I awoke everyone in the house. They got up, turned on the lights, and ran to my bed, asking with incessant questions to learn why I was crying in my sleep and groaning.
I pray that God will deem me worthy to succeed therein and to see my father again and live with him, for, by the Grace of God, with my own eyes I saw the glory and honor which awaits those who ready themselves by living reverently and virtuously; and, on the other hand, again, what fearful punishment and Hell awaits those who squander their lives on pleasures and passions. From the Gerontikon Abba Macarios the Egyptian related the following incident to his disciples.
Once, while I was walking in the desert, I found a lifeless skull on the ground. I pushed it lightly with my staff and, to my amazement, I heard a voice from this skull. So bravely and without fear I asked the skull: "You, who are you? And you are Macarios, a man of the spirit. Take note, then, that any time that you take pity on those in Hell and pray for them, they receive some comfort.
Petropoulos, John V. In the spiritual laboratory of the Egyptian deserts, these seekers after salvation, enlightenment, and union with Christ brought into sharp focus the teachings of the Apostles and the message of Holy Writ in their daily lives and activities. Also to be found are perfect models for every modern Christian who wishes sincerely to imitate those who have walked the path towards moral and spiritual perfection. This is the first English translation of this wonderful treasury of spiritual wisdom. The Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies is pleased to announce that, with the publication, on July 1, , of the fourteenth and last volume—the third volume of Book Four—of the first complete text in the English language of The Evergetinos, we will now issue this classical Orthodox collection of the sayings and aphorisms of the Desert Fathers as well as other Hesychastic writings in a four-book library set, corresponding to the original Greek publication. These four volumes will be available in an attractive paperbound and a hardbound edition, in two color printing red and black , with Byzantine-style line drawings, and replete with the original Prologue of St.
Yet this familiarity, as flattering as it might be to a venerable faith which has seen the ancient witness of millions upon millions of its children fade into social and historical obscurity in the West, is fraught with danger. For, paradoxically, the growth of Eastern Orthodoxy is occurring at a time when Orthodox spirituality is at a particular low. A vast majority of the Church struggles in Eastern Europe under the yoke of political persecution. In many places the simple discussion of Orthodoxy is perilous. Monasticism, often characterized by Eastern Fathers as the barometer by which Orthodox spiritual health is measured, is engaged in what appears to be a losing battle with contemporary social ideals and morality.
The Evergetinos : a complete text
You are visitor number , Durably paperbound. The Evergetinos A Complete Text The Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies has issued the first complete text in the English language of The Evergetinos, a classical Orthodox collection of the sayings and aphorisms of the Desert Fathers as well as other Hesychastic writings in a four-book library set, corresponding to the original Greek publication. These four volumes are available in an attractive hardbound edition, in two-color printing red and black , with Byzantine-style line drawings, and replete with the original Prologue of St. This monumental Patristic translation, twenty years in preparation, is the most important publication yet undertaken by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies. The Evergetinos, compiled by St. Makarios of Corinth and first published by St.