By God’s mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the plenitude of the Church
Grace, peace and mercy from Christ risen in glory
Beloved concelebrants and devout, god-loving children of the Church,
Christ is Risen!
The proclamation of the Resurrection by the myrrh-bearing women to the disciples of Christ was considered delirious. Yet, the word, formerly conceived as delirious, was confirmed as Truth. The risen Lord appeared to His disciples on several occasions.
In our time, the proclamation of the Resurrection is again considered delirious by rationalists. Nonetheless, we faithful not only believe in but also experience the Resurrection as a profoundly truthful fact. Indeed, if necessary, we seal our testimony with self-sacrifice because in the risen Christ we transcend death and are liberated from its fear. Our hearts are filled with joy when we repeat: The Lord has risen. Our saints, who have died according to the world, continue to live among us, responding to our petitions. The world that follows death is truer than the world that precedes death. Christ has risen and dwells among us. He has promised to be with us to the end of the world. And so He is — as our friend, brother, healer, who bestows all good things.
Blessed is our God, who has risen from the dead, granting eternal life to all people. O death, where is your sting? Christ has risen, revealing and ridiculing the one who formerly boasted without end to be a mockery. (See the Canon of St. John Damascene, 4th tone, 9th ode) Everything is filled with light and our hearts are replete with limitless joy.
And more than joy, they are filled with strength. For whoever believes in the Resurrection is unafraid of death; and whoever is unafraid of death is spiritually unyielding and unbending inasmuch as what may be the most terrible threat for the majority and for the disbelievers is of little significance to the Christian; for it is the entrance to life itself. The faithful Christian lives the Resurrection even prior to his or her natural death.
The consequence of experiencing the Resurrection is the transformation of the world. It inspires the soul. And an inspired soul also attracts other souls to its ways, when these souls are moved by the genuine joyous experience of immortality. Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection are not simply an abstract truth. They are a dogma of faith. They are a tangible reality. They are a force that overcomes the world despite the extremely harsh persecutions waged against it. “This is the victory, which has conquered the world, namely our faith” (1 John 5.4) in His Resurrection. Through the Resurrection, humanity is called to divinity through grace. Through the victory of the light of Resurrection over the impure passions, divine eros and a strange love, which surpasses human boundaries, are established in our souls.
Therefore, Christ is Risen! Our hearts are filled with the light and joy of the Resurrection. We approach the Risen Lord with authenticity and simplicity. For, as the royal Prophet David says, our God, who supervises our hearts from above, “will not despise a broken and contrite heart.” (Psalm 50.19)
The Resurrection is our strength, hope, joy, and delight. Through the Resurrection, we transcend pain and sorrow for all the evils of this natural, worldly life. The Resurrection is God’s response to the helplessness of wounded humanity before the suffering of worldly humanity.
We do not surrender to the difficulties and challenges of the modern world. The gathering of the Lord’s fearful disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem encourages us. We are not afraid because we love everyone, even as He loved us and gave His life for our sake. Mysteriously and invisibly, the Lord accompanies us. We only need to have — and we do have — love. For though love, we understand the power of the Mystery; we know the Mystery itself.
If others hesitate, “garnering their actions in thick sheaves” (Vespers of the Prodigal Son), yet we boast. And if we do not “winnow the chaff of our [sinful and passionate] actions with the wind of His loving-kindness or on the threshing floor of repentance,” the Risen Lord is Love and disperses all forms of darkness and fear that surrounds us, entering our hearts and our world, even when the doors are closed. He “remains with us” permanently through the cross of love. His calling is peace, and He grants us His peace. The powerful of this world pledge and promise peace, but can never produce or realize it. Whereas the power of divine Love, Peace and Wisdom remains beyond all human panic. It is not found on the margins of reality or the surface of human convictions. Instead, it is the heart of humanity, the center of life, the lord of life and death. It is Truth.
The incontestable transcendence of Power invisibly controls the reigns and directs all things, especially at a time when “the minds of so many lie in darkness.”
At this time of widespread dissolution throughout the world, the hope of all throughout the universe, the Wisdom of God, is the presence of the heavenly solution and harmony. At a time of collapse and anticipated death, we have the reality of Resurrection and the strength of our conviction in Christ.
The peace that derives from Him who trampled down death by death through his self-emptying, together with the joy of love, flow and heal our contemporary humanity that sighs and suffers as well as all of creation that groans and laments with us, who “await adoption and redemption” as well as “the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8.20-23)
Truly the Lord is Risen, beloved fathers, brothers and sisters!
Holy Pascha 2013
† Bartholomew of Constantinople
Your fervent supplicant before God
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See the full-length feature film and read the book — “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer” is more affordable and accessible than ever.
Seen the clips on YOUTUBE? SEE THE WHOLE FILM!
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Experience the Peace of Christ in the deserts and forests at monasteries where our Church began. Join in prayer, united by God on Earth.
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Perfect for yourself or a group. Go in-depth, discover the ancient history of the Church, learn how the prayer of the heart — the Jesus Prayer — came to be, and how it developed over centuries. Use the music and meditations CD at home, on your PDA, and wherever you go.
Watch the film over and over again — compare and illuminate the previously hidden spiritual treasures of monastic practices with the companion book. See 10 additional expanded scenes and interviews with the Study Guide, online.
** Note: order now, and we’ll ship all 3 (DVD, book, CD) in one package. You can download the Study Guide immediately, with the link provided on your email receipt. The Study Guide is a PDF file, and may be printed by you, or used online to access the additional scenes and interviews. It is NOT a printed book. The Study Guide is for use by one person only. Purchase additional copies for each member of your group.
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BOOK (in-depth companion to the film and Study Guide) Ordering from our webstore helps us.
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For nearly two millennia, the holy men and women of Eastern Christianity have built lives of reflection, humility, and constant connection to God around a simple sentence, the Jesus Prayer. Now you can use the Jesus Prayer to deepen your own practices and spiritual beliefs.
Dr. Norris J. Chumley—a documentarian and professor—reveals the history, practices, and abiding wisdom of this mystical tradition to the rest of the world. Chumley traveled to some of the early Church’s holiest sites with the Very Reverend Dr. John A. McGuckin, a priest and professor—to St. Anthony’s Monastery in the Egyptian desert and St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai, to convents in Transylvania and to monasteries in Russia, the Ukraine, and Greece—in search of Christianity’s first mystical tradition and its modern-day practitioners.
The monks and nuns he met taught him how to move through the stages of the Jesus Prayer, and how it can foster an unceasing, and ever deepening, conversation with God.
Enriched with stunning color photographs of these holy sites, where photography is rarely allowed, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer reveals the powerful theology packed into this prayer’s few words.
“The Jesus Prayer can be used by everyone . . . When prayer culminates in silence, we awaken to new awareness. Then, prayer becomes a way of noticing more clearly and responding more effectively to the world within us and around us.”
—Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, from the Foreword
“The famous Jesus Prayer has helped believers move closer to God for centuries. Chumley’s entirely fascinating new book takes us on a spiritual journey that explores the origins of this rich mystical tradition. Prayer does not need to be complicated for us to communicate with God.”
—James Martin , SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything
“This isn’t just a book about prayer. It is a full-on plunge into a prayer-filled adventure. Chumley takes you on a pilgrimage to some of the most enchanted places, and all you have to take with you is a one-line prayer that has been changing the world for centuries. Dive in.”
—Shane Claiborne, author, speaker, activist, and co-compiler of Common Prayer
“Led by twelve words of an ancient prayer, Chumley traverses a spiritual landscape unfamiliar to most westerners where he discovers a way of peace open to those who seek a deeper connection with God. Take this book and read. Even better, read this book and accept its invitation to pray.”
—Diana Butler Bass, author of A People’s History of Christianity
ORDER NOW — PURCHASING HERE ONLINE HELPS US IN OUR MISSION TO SHARE THE JESUS PRAYER. A not-for-profit film.
DVD (full-length theatrical version — plays anywhere — REGION 0)
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Discover the ancient and powerful Jesus Prayer in this spiritual adventure of a lifetime. Known by generations of eastern Christians, this mystical prayer has been in use since the Apostles, but remains largely unknown in the west. For the first time on film, desert hermits, monks and nuns reveal the simple prayer, bringing us into their private cells, caves and sanctuaries in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Russia. Narrated by Dr. Norris J. Chumley and Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin.
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*Please note: Purchasing from our store online, helps us support our efforts to teach people the Jesus Prayer, and to recoup the significant costs of making this not-for-profit film. Thank you.
“ It is with spiritual delight that we welcome and introduce... the living tradition and profound Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer.” – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
“...a pilgrimage to some of the most enchanted places, and all you have to take with you is a one-line prayer that has been changing the world for centuries. Dive in.” (about the companion book)
– Shane Claiborne, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, ACTIVIST, AND CO-COMPILER OF COMMON PRAYER
“In a time when all people yearn for Divine Stillness in their hearts, this film lifts one from the noise and chaos of the ‘much too with us’ world to that place where God speaks quietly to every person.”
– A Humble Priest
With 31 pages of lesson plans, descriptions, historic teachings, topics for contemplation and discussion, and ideas for prayer and outreach – the Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer Study Guide is perfect for churches, universities, seminaries and individual use. It may be used with a teacher or group leader, or as independent study. It is full of beautiful color photographs from each location in the movie – places where cameras have never been before. Eleven (11) short online films featuring extended footage, scenes not included in the movie, extra interviews and demonstrations — the study guide is in PDF form (instantly downloadable) with links to online films.
* Each Study Group member needs an individual copy, please. We are offering this Study Guide without copy restrictions, on the honor system, but we do need to recoup costs of making the film and writing the materials. Thank you for your understanding and support.*
NOTE: It is necessary to view the films online. Internet access is necessary for the links to the films. The Study Guide is not available in DVD form, nor are the film sections downloadable. Each Study Guide PDF download contains everything needed: descriptive texts, topic points for contemplation and discussion, suggestions for participation and practice, and private links to the online films.
NOTE: It is necessary to view the films online. Internet access is necessary for the links to the films. The Study Guide is not available in either print or DVD form, nor are the film sections downloadable. Each Study Guide PDF download contains everything needed: descriptive texts, topic points for contemplation and discussion, suggestions for participation and practice, and private links to the online films.
1) Monasticism: What is it?
Tour of St. Antony Monastery and Conversation with Fr. Lazarus & Fr. Antony
2) The Jesus Prayer
Interview with Mother Maria, Agapia Convent, Romania
3) Desert Monasteries
A visit to St. Catherine’s monastery at Mt Sinai, and talk with His Eminence Archbishop Damianos of Sinai.
4) Monastic Vows
Abbess Josephina, Varatec Monastery, Romania
5) Two Hagiographies: The Life of St. Antony the Great & Life of St Sergei of Radonezh
Father Lazarus & Father Ruwais, Saint Antony’s Monastery, Egypt
Tretyakov Gallery, Vision of the Youth Bartholomew painting
Visiting Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius, Sergyiev Posad, Russia
6) Holy Mountain Monasteries
His Eminence Archbishop Iustinian, Saint Ana Monastery, Romania
7) Icons and Orthodoxy
His Eminence Patriarch Daniel of Romania, on icons
The Mandylion icon by Andrei Rubilev – Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
8) Epilog: What is The Mystery?
Patriarch Kiril’s Pentecost sermon on the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God
CD: (Music and Meditations)
Music from the feature documentary film. Meditative, contemplative and peaceful. A transcendent mix of ancient and contemporary music, sounds and natural elements. With ancient Christian chants and prayers that you can use in your practices.
Composer Rich Devletian says:
- I went about researching and collecting music from each location/culture we visit in the film. – The movie’s score moves through time as we progress through the locations, starting first with monophonic drones, moving to simple chord structures, and eventually indulging in complex harmony (similar to the growth of the musical tradition in the church over the course of thousands of years). – Took elements from folk arrangements of each culture to provide direction in instrumentation & modality. – Fused the sounds of the clergy’s everyday life with the original music in order to create a seamless soundscape to accompany us on our journey.
Purchasing the actual CD from us helps a great deal, although it may also be downloaded on iTunes and CDBaby.com immediately.
For a sample of the Main Theme music, please click here.