Orthodox Hesychasm received canonical authority from the Hagioritic Tome and the Palamite Councils but its radiant spiritual authority came from from Hesychast saints such as St Symeon the New Theologian and St Gregory Palamas. Contemporary Athonite elders such as St Silouan the Athonite and St Sophrony the Hesychast each imparted this Hesychast tradition in different ways, but their witness was always Spirit-bearing in its purifying fire, Christ-bearing in its enlightening flame and God-bearing in its deifying glorification. Prophecy is Spirit-bearing when it purifies the heart, burning off confusion and healing division. Priestly prayer is Christ-bearing in its communication of saving grace, curing confusion and overcoming division. God-centred glorification is God-bearing in its regeneration of creation anew, restoring glory that fell short of God when Adam lost paradise but opening to glory beyond glory in God unconfused, through God undivided. The Spirit-bearing prophecy of St Symeon the New Theologian regenerated Hesycahasm in St Gregory Palamas, entering into the fulness of its God-bearing inheritance three centuries after his death. In the eighteenth century, it was renewed again by St Paissy Velichkovsky, the Philokalic Athonite fathers and Optina elders, to be imparted to us in our own troubled times by St Silouan and St Sophrony, among other Athonites. This God-bearing, Christ-bearing and Spirit-bearing legacy of Hesychasm never received universal reception, but was contested, as was the prophecy of St Symeon long before.
Christ-bearing Hesychasm flourishes when Spirit-bearing prophecy purifies hearts for illumination, opening them in turn to God-bearing glorification of God through God. Without Spirit-bearing prophecy, hearts remain hard, blind to uncreated light, deaf to an elder’s ineffable word. Without Christ-bearing illumination, deification remains rumour and glorification indistinguishable from vainglory. The sacerdotal functions of Christ’s priesthood are Christ-bearing with ineffable scope, communicating healing presence to saving awareness in mysteries of glory beyond count. Because God becomes man, man may become God by grace, generating Christ-bearing mysteries of grace and glory in the saints. Among these, elders become God-bearing when they sustain regenerative glorification, like mid-wives who deliver God-centred glorification of God in the saints. Wisdom inspires Spirit-bearing prophecy to impart Christ-bearing priesthood to the saints, opening hearts to God-bearing union and communion in Holy Trinity.
Christ, being God’s Prophet, Priest and King, is Spirit-bearing when he awakens hearts to the Name with prophecy, Christ-bearing when he chrismates Christians in the priestly scope of his saving Name, and God-bearing when he deifies Christians in the crowning glory of the Kingdom of the unveiled Name. God-bearing completeness is intrinsically open to greater and greater completeness and so embraces incompleteness as paradoxical witness to perfect completeness. Moments of rapture in beginners are incomplete although they awaken to sound completeness even in the early stages of spiritual development. Uncreated light is thrice holy, being the hallowing energy of God, three in one and one in three, Spirit-bearing, Christ-bearing and God-bearing in turn. Purification, illumination and glorification each bears witness to Spirit-bearing prophecy, Christ-bearing priesthood and God-bearing crowning in the Kingdom of the Father. The Name is Spirit-bearing when it awakens hearts, Christ-bearing when it saves and heals the saints and God-bearing when it is hallowed and glorified in the Kingdom of Christ its King. Desert Hesychasm renews these mysteries of glory in each generation, ensuring that God-bearing grace is Christ-bearing and Spirit-bearing glorification in every generation.