Apparently one of the great standard texts on Mount Athos is Unseen Warfare, a text that came from the pen of Nicholas of the Holy Mountain; that’s a link to an account of his life by an American Orthodox deacon. He was one of the compilers of the Philokalia.

Unseen Warfare is in fact St Nicholas’s edition of Lorenzo Scupoli’s Spiritual Combat.  This pleased me immensely 🙂

 Interestingly, a lot of his stuff was published in Venice.

Now if I were more organized, I would dig out my copy of Scupoli and compare it with the text online of Nicodemus’s edition, to see what in the editing consists.

Here is part of St Nicodemus’s preface (which seems not to be included in that pdf version linked in the previous paragraph).

The arena, the field of battle, the site where the fight actually takes place is our own heart and all our inner man. The time of battle is our whole life.
With what weapons are warriors armed for this unseen warfare? Listen. Their helmet is total disbelief in themselves and complete absence of self-reliance; their shield and coat of mail — a bold faith in God and a firm trust in Him; their armour and cuirass — instruction in the passion of Christ; their belt — cutting off bodily passions; their boots — humility and a constant sense and recognition of their powerlessness; their spurs — patience in temptations and repudiation of negligence; their sword, which they hold ever in one hand, is prayer whether with the lips or within — in the heart; their three-pronged spear, which they hold in the other hand, is a firm resolve in no way to consent to the passion which assails them, but to repulse it with anger and wholehearted hatred; their pay and food, sustaining them in their resistance to the enemy, is frequent communion with God, both through the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, and inwardly; the clear and cloudless atmosphere, which enables them to see the enemy from afar, is a constant exercising of the mind in the knowledge of what is right in the eyes of the Lord, and a constant exercising of the will in desiring only what is pleasing to God, peace and quiet of the heart.

Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Mt 10:37-39)

Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.
(Mt 11:28-30)

To the rock too high for me,
lead me!
For you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
(Ps. 60:3b-4; Ps. 61:4)

In God alone there is rest for my soul,
from him comes my safety;
with him alone for my rock, my safety,
my fortress, I can never fall.
(Ps. 61:2-3; Ps. 62:1-2)

 

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