Introduction to Hesychasm: Rev. Dr. John Dupuche

Episodes from the History of Christian Contemplation

Hesychasm, from the Greek word for stillness, repose, quiescence, is the name of one of the oldest contemplative traditions in Christianity. The doctrines and methods of the Hesychast tradition are first attested to in the writings of the early Greek Church Fathers, and the movement continued to develop throughout the Middle Ages in the Eastern Church. Christianity is often regarded as favouring dogma over experience, the soul over the body, and the intellect over the heart. Newcomers to the Hesychastic tradition, whose methods have been compared to yogic techniques, might therefore be surprised to learn that one of the central themes of Hesychasm is the transfiguration of the body and its coming into union with the soul as a single organism, whose centre is not the intellect but the heart.

In this talk, Rev. Dr. John Dupuche, Associate Professor in spirituality at the Catholic Theological College, will be speaking on the history and methods of Hesychasm, its connections to yoga, the notion of transfiguration, and the ways in which the Hesychastic contemplatives conceived of their relationship to God. Rev. Dupuche will also lead a brief meditation in the Hesychastic method.

This talk is open to people of all religious persuasions and none. No background knowledge will be assumed. All that is needed is an open mind.