Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Panagiota Mikropandremenou: The virtue of discernment according to the Syriac fathers of the desert as presented in the Book by Evergetinos
The purpose of this paper is to examine some extracts from the book of Evergetinos, in which various passages regarding the charisma of discernment (διάκρισις), as it is expressed and interpreted in the ascetic anthology of the Syriac fathers, can be found. Discernment (διάκρισις-diakrisis-ܡܒܰܝܢܳܢܽܘܬܳܐ ) is defined as the charisma that gives someone the ability to safely understand/to distinguish the will of God in every place and time. It is considered the highest virtue that presupposes inner purity and protects the believer against spiritual falls and mistaken actions.According to the spiritual Syriac desert fathers, who followed the monastic rules, had solitary habits and taught the above virtue, discernment includes all virtues. Examining the way of ascetic living in the desert, Father Paul Evergetinos, who lived in the 11th century, got paradigms from their daily practice and used apophthegmata gathered through centuries in his book. In this paper, some of these instances of asceticism, used by the monks to avoid the temptation of the demons and gain the charismas, will be presented.