The “theology of tears” has a distinguished history in Byzantine and western Medieval spirituality. The standard work on penthos however, first published in 1944 by Irénée Hausherr, while a thorough overview of the literary evidence for tears in early Christian writings, is weak in discussing where this theology came from or how its particular theological formulations impacted the wider theological system. Arguably, Hausherr spends too much time distracted by cataloging every instance of a monk breaking out of a Stoic system to shed tears over something that he misses the theological impact of penthos itself in the spiritual life of the ascetic. By an examination of only a few sources, spanning the first millennia of the Christian era, this paper hopes to illuminate the place of penthos in the theology of an experience of a mystical union with God.

To begin with the origins, penthos is instructed by Jesus in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the sorrowing [penthountes] for they will be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). The twelfth-century Byzantine writer Nicholas Kataskeperios defined penthos as “a godly sorrow, engendered by repentance.”[1] The connection between tears and repentance has clear evidence in both the Old and New Testaments. Most evident is Luke 7:36-50, the pericope of the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. As a result of her actions Jesus declares that her sins are forgiven and that her faith has saved her. Tears have, therefore, a scriptural connection to the forgiveness of sins and salvation. The implied message is that the actions of the sinful woman should be imitated, and if one does so, one will also have forgiveness of sins equal to that of the sinful woman and achieve perfect union with God. Certainly, this was the conclusion of the many Syrian monastic writers who interpreted this passage.[2] The question can then be raised, how do tears work to affect this renewal of the person into harmony with God, and why do tears achieve this goal?

A simplistic answer is that tears are a sign of sorrow, and by tears the true repentance of the sinner is made manifest. Tears and grief are clearly a part of the life of the desert monastics, however their conception of these tears seems to be largely limited to sorrow of sins.[3] As William Harmless characterizes the role of tears in the Apophthegmata Patrum, “Weeping was the outward expression of inward sorrow.”[4] Certainly many other theologians also instructed Christians to have sorrow over their own sins and the sins they see in the world. This, however, is quite a bit different from how some other theologians explain the role and effects of tears. Isaac the Syrian, for example, saw tears as the boundary between the physical and spiritual state, John Climacus viewed tears as nearly superior to baptism, and Niketas Stethatos believed that tears could restore lost virginity.[5] It is also quite different from the elaborate theological system advanced by Evagrius of Pontus, who clearly placed penthos in the realm of spiritual state needed to have a mystical encounter with the divine, which is echoed in how tears are used in the theology of Symeon the New Theologian.[6] This conception of penthos and tears in Evagrius and Symeon is the subject of this paper, but to understand the role of tears in the spiritual system of these writers one must first look at an antecedent to this theology of tears in the popular Christian literature of nascent Christianity.

In a fragment of the Acts of Peter dating to the third or fourth century and preserved only in Coptic there is the story of Peter’s daughter.[7] To summarize the plot of this short composition, Peter’s daughter suffers from extensive paralysis on one side of her body. When the people ask why Peter does not simply heal his daughter, since he has proven able to heal so many others, he answers that he can heal her and demonstrates this to the crowd. Though the healing is only temporary, for, Peter says, his daughter is paralyzed because if she was healthy she would be a source of great temptation to men. In fact, Peter goes on to recount that before his daughter was paralyzed she had already led one man to his ruin, a certain Ptolemaeus. Ptolemaeus saw the girl’s beauty and desired for her to be his wife, and though the text is fragmentary on this point, it is clear that God saved the girl from the uncleanness of sexual intercourse by inflicting her body with the paralysis, at which point Ptolemaeus returned the girl to her father uncorrupted. This fragment, like the rest of the Acts of the Apostles, bears an apparent affinity for encratism.[8] However, it is possible that this pericope was understood in a spiritual sense, teaching by narrative a theology of the soul and sin.[9] This approach may be borne out by how the text presents the fate of Ptolemaeus.

Ptolemaeus, unlike the villainous men in other narratives in the Acts of Peter or similar texts such as the Acts of Thekla who seek to rob young maidens of their virtue, is treated sympathetically.[10] After returning the girl to her father he “grieved night and day” over what had happened and “because of the many tears which he shed, he became blind” and he therefore contemplates suicide. However, when he was alone in his room at the ninth hour of the day he “saw a great light” and heard a voice telling him that he was not made for corruption or shame, or to defile a Christian virgin, but that he must go to Peter’s house, for there he will “behold my glory.” Upon telling Peter of these things Ptolemaeus could see “with the eyes of his flesh and the eyes of his soul.” Then, upon his death, Ptolemaeus gives all his land to Peter’s daughter, since “it was through her that he had believed in God and had been made whole.”

This story is, on one level, an expansion of, and theological exposition of, the pericope of the sinful woman in Luke 7.[11] The sin is converted from the sexual misdeeds of the female to the physical lust of the male. This lust or desire creates a deformity, paralysis being a visual representation of the damaged or maladjusted soul. By tears the sinful woman gained forgiveness of sins, and by tears Ptolemaeus could see the light of the glory of God. The sinful woman was granted salvation and Ptolemaeus had his eyes healed, both his fleshly and spiritual eyes, and thus he also was made whole. The movement from sin to salvation is clear in both, but in the account of Ptolemaeus tears gain a more prominent position, becoming not simply a part of expressing sorrow, but the impetus behind a vision of God leading to the salvation of the soul.

This conception of tears as the catalyst for conversion and an encounter with the glory of God bears remarkable similarity to how Evagrius and Symeon use penthos in their outline of the spiritual journey. For both monastic theologians penthos, accompanied by repentance, tears, and good works, leads to a state of pure prayer where one can have a direct experience of God. There are some differences in how both conceive of this process being carried out, but by examining some of the similarities and differences it can be hoped that the full meaning of penthos and its relationship with prayer and an experience of personal encounter with the divine may be elucidated.

In his work Chapters on Prayer, Evagrius spends the first four chapters describing the state of mind necessary for prayer,[12] then in chapter five declares that the first thing a person should do to achieve this is to pray for tears, “Pray first for the gift of tears.”[13] Here it is clear that Evagrius considers tears to be the first and most important aspect of the spiritual journey in prayer. Moreover, they are a thing which can not be conjured up by the student as a deed or state of mind necessary before praying. Rather, tears are the beginning of true prayer, a thing which must be requested in prayer, by prayer, and as such are a gift given by God to the supplicant.[14]

Like Evagrius, Symeon also sees tears as a gift of God, but, unlike Evagrius, sees this gift to be a part of a symbiotic relationship for:

There are things which we contribute and there are things given us from on high by God. To the extent that we are purified through holy toils and labors, we are illumined by the light, so we are purified in tears. On the one hand we bring out our own resources, and on the other we receive the gift from on high.[15]

This does not meant that Symeon believes that the gift of tears is simply an outcome of a certain set of deeds, for “There are many who have made their contribution without receiving that which God usually gives”[16] because they have not done these things with “a right mind and pious intention and fervent faith, or…great humility.”[17] Yet Symeon says elsewhere in the Chapters that “[without] sorrow and tears there is no repentance or true conversion or fear of God in our hearts”[18] The physical aspect of penthos is of great importance to Symeon. The human body is the locus of the dwelling of the Spirit, and the physical process of penthos by the individual Christian is as important as the reception of the gift of tears.[19]

This difference between Evagrius and Symeon seems to be dependent upon the fact that Symeon struggles to find room for the sacrament of baptism in his system, leading him to say that in baptism “we receive the remission of our sins…and we are freed from the ancient curse and sanctified by the presence of the Holy Spirit” yet “it in proportion to our repentance, confession, and tears that we receive the remission of our former sins, and as a consequence of this, sanctification and grace from on high.”[20] While Evagrius is silent on how tears and sorrow as the first step of spiritual perfection relates to the theology of conversion inherent in the sacrament of baptism,[21] Symeon is bound to account for it. In Symeon’s system in baptism one is given freedom from the curse of sin and the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit, but then the person must take those things and use them to come to full repentance, which will then purify the soul and allow it to be in full participation with the Holy Spirit.[22] In this second baptism of tears one has a conscious reception of the Holy Spirit, by which one is spiritually reborn into in the Kingdom of Heaven.[23] In short, penthos ratifies the sacraments of the church. By the physical act of the shedding of tears the whole person, body and soul, is restored and reintegrated into the perfect state which can embody the Holy Spirit.[24]

Because both Evagrius and Symeon emphasize that tears of repentance is a gift from God they are both also very careful to warn against these tears becoming a source of pride. Evagrius warns, “Though fountains of tears flow during your prayer do not begin to consider yourself better than others.”[25] Symeon, on the other hand, sees such tears as false tears, and not the result of any true penthos, “There is a false kind of humility which arises from careless neglect or the pangs of conscience…it does not have as its companion that sorrow which alone is the bringer of joy.”[26] And “There is a sorrow that has no spiritual humility about it.”[27] Tears, for both Evagrius and Symeon, are the gift that leads to repentance and the antidote for passions. Evagrius continues, “It is because your prayer has received help that you are able to confess your sins readily and to placate the Lord by weeping. So do not turn the antidote to passions into another passion.”[28] Symeon also sees the two-fold purpose of tears, “Sorrow works in two ways: it is like water because it quenches all the fire of passion with tears and washes the soul clean of stains.”[29] This is why tears that lead to pride, the highest of the passions, either arouse the anger of God, as in Evagrius, or are false tears, as in Symeon.

Another aspect of Evagrius’ teaching about penthos in the spiritual journey is its connection to the common monastic problem of acedia or listlessness. In the Praktikos Evagrius says, “When we meet with the demon of acedia then is the time with tears to divide our soul in two. One part to encourage; the other to be encouraged.”[30] Acedia and penthos are directly opposed to one another, and Evagrius recommends the recitation of the Psalter to oppose acedia, not because the text itself sacred, but because the Psalter impacts the nous and by it the mind is prodded to consider its practice of virtue.[31] While Symeon often rants in his Catechesis against the monk who is lazy and unconcerned with giving the proper attention to his spiritual growth, Symeon fails to make this direct connection that tears are an antidote to acedia. Symeon does, however, prescribe that tears must be a daily practice, and that one can only achieve these daily prayers by carefully and deliberately living out ones ascetic discipline.[32]

Tears, however, for both Evagrius and Symeon, are themselves important since it is through them there is a full repentance and cleansing of the soul. Evagrius says that when tears are given then “by means of sorrow you may soften your native rudeness” and gain pardon for sin.[33] As such, tears are not a single event, to be exercised at the beginning of the spiritual journey and then abandoned as one progresses. Rather, tears are an ongoing process, and one should be careful not to lose them. Evagrius says, “When you suppose tears on account of sin are no longer necessary in your prayer, see how far removed from God you are – you who ought to always be in him! – and you will weep more fervently.”[34] Symeon echoes this, saying that after baptism it is the three-fold practice of repentance, confession, and tears that achieve the remission of sins,[35] and that “it is a good thing to repent each day as the commandment instructs us ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven draws near.’ This imposes on us a duty without limit.”[36] To weep continually is the goal, and since there is no one without sin, one must weep everyday over ones sins until this goal is achieved.[37]

The ultimate goal of these tears is not simply the achievement of total repentance, but knowledge of God and union with him, and this is where Evagrius and Symeon take their theology of tears a step further. Evagrius first draws the parallel between repentance and the purification of Isaiah, “Indeed, when you have understood your own measure, you will delight in compunction and call yourself a wretch, in the manner of Isaiah. For how, being impure and having impure lips and being in the midst of such a people, how have you dared stand before the Lord Sabaoth?”[38] But, continues Evagrius, “If you pray truly, you will find great assurance.”[39] This true prayer is the chanting of the psalms, which leads to “immaterial and undiversified knowledge”[40] and “Knowledge is exceedingly fair, for it is prayer’s collaborator, rousing the mind’s mental power to the contemplation of divine knowledge.”[41] Moreover, “Through true prayer, the monk becomes ‘equal to the angels,’ yearning to ‘see the face of the Father who is in heaven.’”[42] For Symeon, grief leads a person straight into the presence of God, “When a man does not try to escape or avoid this grief…he will then progress more rapidly until he comes to stand before the face of the King of Kings.”[43]

This union with God is the highest achievement for both Evagrius and Symeon. Evagrius call this union “essential knowledge,” and it is the culmination of the practice of virtues and tears, “The sheaves of the grain are the fruit of the seeds; the virtues have knowledge as their fruit. As surely as tears go with the labor of sowing, joy attends the reaping.”[44] Evagrius says that when one has the great yearning for God and is filled with this piety and joy, laying aside all sensible perception, one enters into prayer.[45] In this state the Holy Spirit meets the mind and “lights upon it…advancing it in the love of spiritual prayer.”[46] An emotional response to this experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit is entirely lacking in Evagrius. In fact, Evagrius even speaks against it, concluding his On Prayer by warning that the quality of prayer is important, quoting from Matthew 6:7 “When you pray, do not babble”[47] and “In proportion as you are paying attention to the body and your mind is busy with the Tabernacle’s delights, you have not yet beheld the place of prayer and in fact its blessed way remains far from you.”[48] Evagrius’ separation between the physical and the pure prayer has led some to accuse him of having a “stoic” view of emotions.[49] His insistence on tears seems to belie a simple application of this category to his theology, but it is worth noting the nuance in his system that true tears are not the result of the passions, a desire to weep or otherwise emotionally react to sin or one’s sinful state. Rather, true tears leads to a pure prayer which rises above sensible perceptions.

For Symeon physicality and emotions are very much a part of ones response to a vision of God. He says that when a person comes to stand before the King of Kings “the grief in his heart will be turned to joy.”[50] Furthermore, “When a man has within him the light of the all-holy Spirit, he cannot bear the sight,…he cries out and shouts,…he pours out an endless flood of tears which refreshes him and rouses up the flame of his desire. His tears become more abundant and, when he is purified in their flood, he shines with a greater brilliance.”[51] Only through tears and compunction can one have the vision of light by which one can see God. This dependence upon light imagery is how Symeon describes his own initial mystical experience, and impacts all his language of the Holy Spirit as the giver of light.[52]

The differences in how tears are viewed in the end of the spiritual journey of Evagrius and Symeon seems to be largely dependent upon their view of the achievement of the mystical experience. Evagrius sees the end of man as beatitude.[53] Therefore, tears of repentance and grief over sins is a long-standing process which culminates in the end of man, the telos tou anthropou for, as Solomon says, the end of man is penthos, and blessed are those in penthos, for they shall be consoled, as Jesus says in the Beatitudes.[54] Symeon, on the other hand, sees tears and grief also as an ongoing aspect of spiritual growth, but believes that they can lead to an immediate mystical experience of God which includes an even greater outpouring of tears. Not only that, but Symeon supposes that this mystical experience is not only for those well into their spiritual ascent, but also for beginners who have within themselves the fear of retribution and grief.[55] Those who continue in this spiritual journey, then, can conceivably have many mystical experiences throughout the spiritual journey, as Symeon’s own personal testimony bears witness to. Furthermore, to achieve this state is the measure of salvation, those who do not repent of sins and work to become perfect before God can not be saved.[56]

The similarities and differences between Evagrius’ and Symeon’s concept of penthos and tears in the spiritual journey can be summed up as follows. Penthos and tears are a part of repentance and remorse over sin, which is the beginning of the spiritual journey to union with God. For both penthos is a gift from God and should not be a cause of boasting or pride. However, their theologies diverge when it comes to the soteriological outcome of this penthos. Evagrius makes no soteriological judgment upon those who do or do not achieve the state of perfect knowledge, and because Evagrius was writing to a monastic audience it can be assumed that he is not worried about such things. Symeon, on the other hand, believes that it is absolutely necessary to have this continual repentance in order have the purified state necessary for salvation and complete the process begun in baptism. This is not only the instruction for his own monks but secular persons as well. Finally, Evagrius and Symeon have very different views on how the mystical union is to be experienced. Evagrius is inherently suspicious of any representational forms or emotions during prayer, and instructs that these things are to be avoided as possibly demonic. Symeon welcomes such an ecstatic experience and emotions as a sign of achievement. Therefore, while Evagrius and Symeon stand in the same tradition of spiritual guides and have a similar method of speaking of penthos, their conclusions are very different. These differences may be attributed to the different times, situations, and spiritual situation of each one, and it serves to show how the spiritual journey can be conceived of differently depending upon the contemporary situation.

What is clear from both Evagrius and Symeon is that tears have a value beyond simply weeping over past sins. When tears are the expression of the inner sorrow of the soul they can lead the person to a personal encounter with the divine. Upon this understanding of penthos Niketas Stethatos, the student of Symeon, defines two different kinds of tears. He says:

Tears of repentance are to be distinguished from tears shed through divine compunction. The former are like a flood which carries off all the dikes of sin, while the latter fall on the soul as the rain upon the grass and as the showers upon the herb, causing knowledge to grow up for the harvest and multiplying its grains. All tears do not necessarily come from catanyxis; the two are quite different. Tears come from repentance and the remembrance of past strayings of the soul; as though from fire and boiling water, they are for the purification of the heart. Catanyxis comes from on high, from the divine dew of the Spirit. It consoles and refreshes which has just entered with fervor into the abyss of humility, which has received the contemplation of inaccessible light, and which cries to God in joy, with David, ‘We went through fire and through water, yet you have brought us forth to a spacious place.’[57]

This division between the two different types of tears are important for understanding the place of penthos in the spiritual life. Any study of tears in early Christian theology should recognize the distinction being made between simple tears of repentance, which is the common motif in the Apophthegmata Patrum, and the tears of compunction which brings about union with God. To be sure, the tears of the latter assume the tears of the former, but confusing the tears of penthos with mere tears of regret over past sins downplays the power of tears in the school of thought which conceives of tears as the thing leading a person to an encounter with the divine. And though the tears of repentance and tears of compunction may look similar, and while it would be wrong to say that the two types of tears are opposed to one another, it is clear from this study that the two types arise from two different modes of spiritual experience and result in two different ends.[58]

This latter form of sorrow, the sorrow that leads one to the contemplation of the divine light, is similar to the tears of Ptolemaeus in the Acts of Peter. By tears Ptolemaeus had the eyes of his soul opened so that he could see the glory of God. The text goes on to say that even after Ptolemaeus’ death Peter instructs his listeners “be sorrowful, and watch and pray, and God’s goodness shall look upon us, and we wait for it.”[59] While this text does not have the full theological system that we see in Evagrius and Symeon, it is worthwhile as a testimony to an early popular understanding of tears in repentance and the vision of God. It also offers a contemporary alternative to the “philosophical” position on tears offered by Clement of Alexandria which subsumed tears under theological speculation,[60] thus giving us a background to a positive conception of tears in the path towards a mystical experience. In it the later conception of tears as a path from the damaged state of the soul to a restored state of the soul in perfect unity with God is advanced, and we can speculate that this theology was common enough in Egyptian Christianity to have had some influence upon Evagrius’ theology, setting off a school of thought which possibly influenced not only Symeon and other eastern theologians, but also Benedict via Cassian in the West.[61]

From this limited survey of texts spanning a millennia it is clear that there was a particular strand of theology which tied the tears from penthos to a mystical vision of God, alternatively conceived as God’s glory, perfect knowledge, or light. As evidenced by the Acts of Peter, this theology began early in Christian ascetical thought, and continued until Symeon formulated his theology that these tears leading to a vision of God are not simply the telos of the Christian life of an ascetic, but a necessary and integral part of the daily life of every Christian. In this theological system the tears of penthos are distinguished from tears of repentance and should be studied in their own right as an important aspect of early Christian mystical theology.

[1] Irénée Hausherr, Penthos: The Doctrine of Compunction in the Christian East, CS 53 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982), 18.

[2] Hannah Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief: Tears of Contrition in the Writings of the Early Syrian and Byzantine Fathers (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 105.

[3] Hausherr, Penthos, 26-45.

[4] See Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 240.

[5] See Kallistos Ware, The Inner Kingdom: Volume 1 of the Collected Works (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000), 55.

[6] The exact nature of the relationship between the writings of Evagrius and Symeon is difficult to determine. Separated by centuries and the condemnation of Evagrius’ writings at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, it is difficult to imagine that, even if Symeon was aware that many of his teachings on the spiritual life was in any way dependent upon Evagrius, he would have thought it wise to make this public knowledge, but for the availability of at least some of Evagrius’ writings in Greek, even into twelfth century Byzantium, see A.M. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus (New York: Routledge, 2006), 21-22.  The great similarities between Evagrius’ Chapters on Prayer and Praktikos and Symeon’s The Practical and Theological Chapters are clear, both in style and in content, though it is equally unclear whether these similarities are intentional or simply the product of standing as the first and the last representative of a method of monastic spiritual instruction, see Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, John Eudes Bamberger, trans. Cistercian Studies Series 4 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1981), lv and n.130.

[7] Berlin Coptic Papyrus 8502. For an early dating of the Acts of Peter, even a possible second century composition, see Matthew C. Baldwin, Whose Acts of Peter? Texts and Historical Context of the Actus Vercellenses (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 4-8. For the more likely fourth century dating and composition of this particular Coptic fragment see Christine M. Thomas, The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel: Rewriting the Past (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 17-21. English translation in Wilhelm Schneemelcher, ed., New Testament Apocrypha Volume 2: Writing Relating to the Apostles, Apocalypses and Other Subjects, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992), 285-286.

[8] Thomas, The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel, 132 n. 85.

[9] That this text can be understood allegorically has already been proposed, but I find unlikely that the purpose of this text is the message that “God cares for his own” or that Ptolemaeus here is a stand-in for Paul on the Damascus road. See F. Lapham, An Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha (New York: T&T Clark, 2003), 69-70.

[10] Thomas, The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel, 68.

[11] This text, as one example, bears similarity to Ephrem’s interpretation of the sinful woman of Luke 7 and his belief that the female represents both the ailment of sin and the catalyst for its healing. See Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 114.

[12] See Jeremy Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection: Studies on Spiritual Progress in Evagrius Ponticus (New York: Newman Press, 2005), 52-53.

[13] Prayer 5. Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, 56.

[14] Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 53.

[15] Chapters 3.39. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, Paul McGuckin, trans. Cistercian Studies Series 41 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982), 82.

[16] Chapters 3.40. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 82.

[17] Chapters 3.40. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 83.

[18] Chapters 3.23. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 78.

[19] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 205-206.

[20] Chapters 3.45. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 85.

[21] Evagrius in Exhortations 2.39 does say “Faith and baptism will not save you from the eternal fire without works of righteousness….if you do [not] carry out the commands of God, do not call yourself a believer.” Evagrius of Pontus, Evagrius of Pontus: The Greek Ascetic Corpus, Robert E. Sinkewicz, trans. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 222.

[22] Chapters 3.46. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 85.

[23] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 215.

[24] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 219.

[25] Prayer 7. Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, 56.

[26] Chapters 3.10. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 74.

[27] Chapters 3.11. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 74.

[28] Prayer 7. Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 54.

[29] Chapters 3.12. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 75.

[30] Praktikos 27. Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, 23.

[31] Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 59.

[32] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 218.

[33] Prayer 5. Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, 56. An alternative, and clearer translation is given by Jeremy Driscoll, “First of all pray to receive tears, so that by sorrowing you may be able to calm the wildness that there is in your soul and obtain forgiveness from the Lord by confessing your offenses to him.” Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 53.

[34]Prayer 78. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 194.

[35] Chapters 3.45. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 85.

[36] Chapters 3.46. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 85.

[37] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 218.

[38] Prayer 79. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 194.

[39] Prayer 80. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 194.

[40] Prayer 85. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 195.

[41] Prayer 86. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 195.

[42] Prayer 113. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 198.

[43] Chapters 3.20. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 77.

[44] Praktikos 90. Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, 39.

[45] Prayer 62. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 192.

[46] Prayer 63. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 192.

[47] Prayer 151. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 201.

[48] Prayer 152. Cassiday, Evagrius Ponticus, 201.

[49] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 7.

[50] Chapters 3.20. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 77.

[51] Chapters 3.21. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 77-78.

[52] Hunt, Joy-bearing Grief, 207-209.

[53] Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 63.

[54] In Eccl 7:2. Driscoll, Steps to Spiritual Perfection, 63.

[55] Chapters 3.19-20. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 76-77.

[56] Chapters 3.25. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters and The Three Theological Discourses, 79.

[57] Centuries 1.70-71. Quoted in Hausherr, Penthos, 144-145.

[58] In this I disagree with Ware, who while noting the distinction between the “lower” and “higher” level of tears, says that one can lead to the other, see The Inner Kingdom, 56-57.

[59] Schneemelcher, ed., New Testament Apocrypha Volume 2, 286.

[60] Hausherr, Penthos, 11.

[61] See Evagrius Ponticus, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer, lv-lviii.