‘Philokalia’ itself means love of the beautiful, the exalted, the excellent, understood as the transcendent source of life and the revelation of Truth. It is through such love that, as the subtitle of the original edition puts it, ‘the intellect is purified, illuminated and made perfect’. The texts were collected with a view to this perfection, illumination and perfection. They show the way to awaken and develop attention and consciousness, to attain that state of watchfulness which is the hallmark of sanctity. They describe the conditions most effective for learning what their authors call the art of arts and the science of sciences, a learning which is not a matter of information or agility of mind but of radical change of will and heart leading man towards the highest of possibilities open to him, shaping and nourishing the unseen part of his being, and helping him to spiritual fulfillment and union with God. — b,p13 (m)

In response to the question “Should the counsels contained in the Philokalia only be applied in a monastic environment?: Many hesychast writers affirm that this is not the case, and St Nikodimos himself, in his introduction to the original Philokalia, goes out of his way to stress that ‘unceasing prayer’ may or, rather, should be practiced by all. — y,p15 (b)

It should be remembered that, however much the external appearances and conditions of the world may change, such changes can never unroot the fundamental potentialities of the human state and of man’s relationship with God; and as it is with these latter that the teaching and method of the Philokalia are concerned, the counsels it enshrines are as valid and effective today as they were at the times at which they were written. — b,p17 (m)

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