QUOTE////////"A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain" is a book which brings to light the quintessence of Orthodox spiritual life: the Jesus
prayer or prayer of the heart and how it can be practised by both monks / nuns and lay people.
The discussion flows in a spontaneous and immediate way with the dialogue form of the book contributing to this.
The reader enjoys the simple presentation of the teachings of the Church on the Jesus prayer, through the authentic experience of an Athonite hermit.
And "when a hermit's mouth opens, it fills you with fragrance".
The Holy Mountain is a blessed place for the entire Church. There are monks there who practise without ceasing the Jesus prayer and who struggle to
live the ascetic life, which is actually life according to the Gospel. Thus they become bearers of the Holy Tradition of the Church. It is with such a
monk and ascetic that the author of this book enters into dialogue.
The book has been a classic of its kind in Greece where it is now in its ninth edition. It has also been translated into French, Arabic, Spanish, and
The translation into English was undertaken as a response to the requests of many English speaking friends who believe that the text has a lot to
offer to all our brethren in Christ who thirst and seek for intimate communion with God; for the transformation and unification of their inner world
through the energy of the grace of God; and who desire to become indwellings of the most Holy Spirit: The author of this book is himself an admirer of
the neptic tradition of the Church, which he also presents in his other books.
His series of four books on "Orthodox psychotherapy" is of great interest since he believes that the neptic tradition of the Church has a
therapeutic value. Archimandrite Hierotheos Vlachos believes that Christianity is not a philosophy or an ideology, but rather it is a therapeutic
science and a therapeutic treatment which cures the innermost aspect of one's personality.
It is within this framework that the present book operates.
The Holy Mountain is a place of mystery where silence, which is eternity itself, speaks intensely, since silence is the language of the age to
As the holy angels have a noetic power inconceivable to us through which they transmit divine thoughts to each other (St. Basil the Great), in the
same way the earthly angels –who live on the Holy Mountain– and compete with the heavenly and bodiless one in life and prayer have another power
in order to transmit what they experience.
And this power is that of silence which, especially on the Holy Mountain, is the most eloquent of sermons; a "silent exhortation". The monks there
do not speak much; they live the mysteries of God "in silence;" they experience Orthodox theology in an apophatic way.
They listen to the voice of God through silence and acquire virtue. According to St. Symeon the New Theologian, "the silence of the lips, the closing
of the eyes, and the deafness of the ears are for beginners in spiritual life the quick way to acquire virtue".