The Mountain of Silence
Kyriakos C. Markides
Published by Doubleday, 2001
The Mountain of Silence explores the conversations of Kyriacos C. Markides and Father Maximos concerning the relevance that Athonite spirituality holds for those living in the world today. It centres around the spiritual knowledge acquired by Father Maximos during his time spent on Mount Athos as the spiritual child of Saint Paisios, which he passes on to Kyriacos through a series of discussions throughout the book.
The book begins with Kyriacos’ quest to find a mystical spiritual tradition, which leads him to explore various forms of yoga and meditation. This search for spirituality eventually leads him to visit Mount Athos where he meets Father Maximos for the first time. On his second trip to Mount Athos, Kyriacos discovers that Father Maximos has moved to Cyprus and decides to visit him for a deeper experience of Athonite spirituality. Upon entering the monastery we are treated to the personal dialogue between the two.
The majority of the time is spent discussing logismoi. In the words of Father Maximos these are “much more intense than simple thoughts. They penetrate into the very depths of a human being. They have enormous power.” He then goes on to talk about their destructive power likening them to an infection which can affect one’s spiritual bloodstream. Each stage of the deathly logismos is detailed, starting from assault and moving to interaction, consent, captivity, and finally passion. Markides then arrives at the crux of the book “The Threefold Way.”
This refers to the spiritual stages required to attain divinisation or theosis. The soul’s journey towards God begins with catharsis, or the purification of the soul from egotistical passions. It is then followed by the stage of photisis, or the enlightenment of the soul before finally coming to the stage of theosis, union with God. This book is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to learn more about asceticism and spirituality.
Source: Lychnos July-August 2019