Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Silence, stillness, hesychia, is a fundamental gift of Athos. It seems that the reading and chanting of priests and monks in the endless rhythm of their day and nightly rituals is no more than a thin fringe of a limitless ocean of silence. This silence, this stillness, is far more than a mere absence of sound; it has a positive quality, a quality of fullness, of plenitude, of the eternal peace which is there reflected in the veil of the Mother of God, enshrouding and protecting her holy mountain, offering inner silence, peace of heart to those who dwell there and to those who come with openness of heart to seek this blessing.
It is not just a mountain of holy monks; it is not just a mountain of holy monasteries and shrines; it is, in itself, a holy mountain, a point of light in sacred space, a sacrament of God’s presence with humankind, a burning glass concentrating the rays of the spiritual sun with an especial intensity, indeed a theophany.
Click here for the original video of the talk, courtesy of the Friends of Mount Athos. An edited text of the lecture has been published as a chapter of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Studies in Honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, 2016.