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Hesychasm (from Gk., hesychia, ‘quietness’). Tradition of contemplative prayer associated above all with the monks of Mount Athos. Many antecedents can be found in the early Fathers, but its full expression is found in the 14th cent. in Gregory of Sinai, Nicephorus of Mount Athos, and especially Gregory Palamas. Its central feature is constant recitation of the Jesus Prayer, combined with optional physical techniques of a crouched posture and synchronization of such recitation with breathing, so that the mind is united with the heart, and the whole person is drawn into ‘prayer of the heart’. This leads to a vision by the bodily eyes of the Uncreated Light of the Godhead, the light that surrounded Jesus at the Transfiguration, none other than the uncreated energies of the Godhead.

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