Show Less
Restricted access

Christe Eleison!

The Invocation of Christ in Eastern Monastic Psalmody c. 350-450


James Frederick Wellington

For centuries the Jesus Prayer has been leading Orthodox Christians beyond the language of liturgy and the representations of iconography into the wordless, imageless stillness of the mystery of God. In more recent years it has been helping a growing number of Western Christians to find a deeper relationship with God through the continual rhythmic repetition of a short prayer which, by general agreement, first emerged from the desert spirituality of early monasticism. In this study James Wellington explores the understanding and practice of the psalmody which underpinned this spirituality. By means of an investigation of the importance of psalmody in desert monasticism, an exploration of the influence of Evagrius of Pontus and a thorough examination of selected psalm-commentaries in circulation in the East at this time, he reveals a monastic culture which was particularly conducive to the emergence of a Christ-centred invocatory prayer.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Primary sources

Apothegmata partum, Jean Baptiste Cotelier, ed., Ecclesiae Graecae monumenta, Vol. I (Paris: Muguet, 1677). Reprinted in Jacques-Paul Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus. Series Graeca, Vol. LXV (Paris: 1864). Supplemented by Jean-Claude Guy in Recherches sur la tradition grecque des Apophthegmata Patrum. Subsidia Hagiographica 36 (Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1962).

——, Luciana Mortari Vita e detti dei padri del deserto, Vols I and II (Rome: Città Nuova, 1971).

——, Lucien Regnault, Les sentences des pères du désert (Sablé-sur-Sarthe: Solesmes, 1981).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.