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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

 

St. Basil the Great - Bilingual Anthology

WE MUST STRIVE AFTER A QUIET MIND

from St Basil's Letters, the Second Letter, * § 2. Translated by B. Jackson * Greek Fonts ||| St Basil Home Page


ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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Page 3

Let there then be such a place as ours, separate from intercourse with men, that the tenour of our exercises be not interrupted from without. Pious exercises nourish the soul with divine thoughts. What state can be more blessed than to imitate on earth the choruses of angels? to begin the day with prayer, and honour our Maker with hymns and songs? As the day brightens, to betake ourselves, with prayer attending on it throughout, to our labours, and to sweeten our work with hymns, as if with salt? Soothing hymns compose the mind to a cheerful and calm state. Quiet, then, as I have said, is the first step in our sanctification; the tongue purified from the gossip of the world; the eyes unexcited by fair colour or comely shape; the ear not relaxing the tone or mind by voluptuous songs, nor by that especialmischief, the talk of light men and jesters. ἔστω τοίνυν τὸ χωρίον τοιοῦτον͵ οἷόν πέρ ἐστι καὶ τὸ ἡμέτερον͵ ἐπιμιξίας ἀνθρώπων ἀπηλλαγμένον͵ ὡς ὑπὸ μηδενὸς τῶν ἔξωθεν τὸ συνεχὲς τῆς ἀσκήσεως διακόπτεσθαι. Ἄσκησις δὲ εὐσεβείας τὴν ψυχὴν τρέφει τοῖς θείοις διανοήμασιν. τί οὖν μακαριώτερον τοῦ τὴν ἀγγέλων χορείαν ἐν γῇ μιμεῖσθαι; εὐθὺς μὲν ἀρχομένης ἡμέρας εἰς εὐχὰς ὁρμῶντα καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς γεραίρειν τὸν κτίσαντα· εἶτα ἡλίου καθαρῶς λάμψαντος͵ ἐπ΄ ἔργα τρεπόμενον͵ πανταχοῦ αὐτῷ τῆς εὐχῆς συμπαρούσης͵ καὶ τοῖς ὕμνοις͵ ὥσπερ ἅλατι͵ παραρτύειν τὰς ἐργασίας· τὸ γὰρ ἱλαρὸν καὶ ἄλυπον τῆς ψυχῆς κατάστημα αἱ τῶν ὕμνων παρηγορίαι χαρίζονται. Ἡσυχία οὖν ἀρχὴ καθάρσεως τῇ ψυχῇ͵ μήτε γλώσσης λαλούσης τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων͵ μήτε ὀφθαλμῶν εὐχροίας σωμάτων καὶ συμμετρίας περισκοπούντων͵ μήτε ἀκοῆς τὸν τόνον τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκλυούσης ἐν ἀκροάμασι μελῶν πρὸς ἡδονὴν πεποιημένων͵ μήτε ἐν ῥήμασιν εὐτραπέλων καὶ γελοιαστῶν ἀνθρώπων͵ ὃ μάλιστα λύειν τῆς ψυχῆς τὸν τόνον πέφυκε.
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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/basil-quiet-mind.asp?pg=3