On the Prayer of Jesus

by Ignatius Brianchaninov.

Published by Nicolas-Hays, Inc. 2006


The words of the Jesus prayer are familiar to all pious Orthodox Christians: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner. St Ignatius Brianchaninov was a 19th century Russian Orthodox bishop.

He begins his work by placing the Jesus prayer firmly within the tradition and teaching of the gospels. He recalls multiple examples from Holy Scriptures to show that the prayer has scriptural origins; that it is not conceived by monastics of later centuries. The main idea conveyed in his work is to show how to live and breathe Christ. The purpose of the prayer is to have Christ on one’s mind and lips at all times and to call on Him with our emotions, our intellect, our bodies and with all our being.

Living Christ involves permanent communion with Him, not only with our tongues or minds but also with the most insignificant of our day-to-day actions.” He takes the reader through a history of Orthodox worship and explains how Orthodox Christians should conduct themselves in order to live a life in Christ. The author jumps through the centuries and through the writings of many hesychast fathers to show the continuation of the sacred tradition of invoking the name of Jesus Christ and to exemplify the continued power brought about by repeated invocation.

In such a short book, St Ignatius captures what it is to live a humble and God-fearing life. This is a book ideal for all thirsting to perfect themselves in truth.


Source: Lychnos November/December 2018