2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
A monk who flourished in the middle of the XII Century, St. Peter Damascene was known for his asceticism, but little is known about his life. Byzantine legends say he owned no books but borrowed and read voraciously. Some scholars believe he read extensively in anthologies. Peter says in his own works that the spiritual life has two stages: the first is concerned with the purification of the body and the soul, and the second is concerned with the contemplation of Christ's passion and, eventually, the energies of God. The second stage does not follow automatically from the first but is a gift from God. Peter writes of three types of monasticism: communal, skete-dwelling, and eremitic. He recommends the use of imageless prayer and frequent repetition of short prayers. His theology is not systematic, and he gives advice for practicing the ascetical life, a life open to all. Byzantine legends also report that he opposed Islam and that his tongue was cut out before he was exiled to Arabia.
Karen Rae Keck
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