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Author Topic: Holy Silence  (Read 938 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 21, 2007, 03:29:05 PM »

Hello All (in particular, minasoliman, Stavro, EA, and any familiar with Fr. Matthew the Poor)

Currently, I'm reading Fr. Matthew the Poors Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way.  I crossed an interesting paragraph this morning, and I was hoping I could receive yoru comments.  Here is the quote:

"There is no share in silence and retreat for bodily activity.  Solitude is a chance for the impirsoned soul to be released and go about its business.  In the outset of practicing retreeat, the flesh will be ill at ease and the mind will revolt, for the flesh and the mind will feel the darkness of the grave, where the soul be still suffering in travial and discomfort while trying to break loose from the prison of the flesh and the darkness of its senses.  One may thus encounter unease at the beginning of one's solitude, but this is the crucial point, which calls for faith and patience.  It is not so difficult for the soul to endure such an experience, for it will soon feel that the light is at hand and that behind the darkness of the grave there lies the glory of the resurrection."  (Fr. Matthew the Poor.  Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way.  Crestwook, New York.  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.  2003.  Pg. 199.)

From my understanding of the quote, it seems that Fr. Matthew is teaching that during deep contemplative prayer, the soul attempts to seperate from the body.

Q1.  Is my point of view correct?
Q2.  If yes, is this "seperation" to be taken literally or metaphorically?
Q3.  Is this point of view of Fr. Matthew held by most Coptic and/or Orthodox Fathers, dead (or "sleeping") or alive?

As the thread progresses, I'm sure I'll have more questions but that is all for now.  Thanks.

Shawn
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2007, 11:11:09 PM »

Dear Shawn,

It appears to me that he is speaking metaphorically.

Nevertheless, it is well known within the Coptic tradition that certain holy men known as Al-Sowah (or simply 'hermits') have the ability to travel by their spirit to a region apart from that in which their physical body is located. I had the blessing of meeting one such person, Abba Faltaous of the Monastery of St. Pishoy, in the holy wilderness of Wadi El-Natrun.

This man is one of the holiest saints sanctifying the ground of the earth today, and yet he disguises it so well that I would never have known it had I not had the blessing of being present at a moment in which he, feeling compelled and out of obligation, dispensed to my father and my father's best friend--who is in fact his personal physician, some of the secrets of the desert (my experience with the monks in fact revealed a great paradox--that the true Saints are not usually those whose speech is full of spiritual content, and whose humility is self-evident (though that is certainly not to say that such monastics cannot/are-not genuinely holy men)--but those who would externally reveal themselves to be somewhat foolish or strange). He revealed how he and another well known living hermit of the day (who resides quite a few hundred kilometres away from him) often meet, by the spirit (i.e. with their physical bodies remaining at their place of solitude) in a certain cave below the water--which he in fact described in fine geographical detail, as if he we were taking us through the specific route he takes to get there--with Abba Paul, the first anchorite, whereupon they perform the Divine Liturgy together. It was an unusually detailed and remarkeable account, and I was rather surprised we got it out of him--my dad's best friend's stubborn persistence paid off in the end.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 11:18:15 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2007, 12:00:32 AM »

This man is one of the holiest saints sanctifying the ground of the earth today, and yet he disguises it so well that I would never have known it had I not had the blessing of being present at a moment in which he, feeling compelled and out of obligation, dispensed to my father and my father's best friend--who is in fact his personal physician, some of the secrets of the desert (my experience with the monks in fact revealed a great paradox--that the true Saints are not usually those whose speech is full of spiritual content, and whose humility is self-evident (though that is certainly not to say that such monastics cannot/are-not genuinely holy men)--but those who would externally reveal themselves to be somewhat foolish or strange). He revealed how he and another well known living hermit of the day (who resides quite a few hundred kilometres away from him) often meet, by the spirit (i.e. with their physical bodies remaining at their place of solitude) in a certain cave below the water--which he in fact described in fine geographical detail, as if he we were taking us through the specific route he takes to get there--with Abba Paul, the first anchorite, whereupon they perform the Divine Liturgy together. It was an unusually detailed and remarkeable account, and I was rather surprised we got it out of him--my dad's best friend's stubborn persistence paid off in the end.
I remember reading something about how St. John Maximovitch (+1966) was transported in spirit to minister to someone in Paris while he was physically celebrating a Divine Liturgy in San Francisco.  I hope someone here can give some more detail regarding this miracle.
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