Keeping faith with Christ’s Gospel of the Name, desert elders transmitted the wisdom of glory in hidden caves and forgotten mountain sanctuaries so that mysteries of glory were never profaned. When Rome adopted the Gospel as the official religion of the Empire, persecutions ceased but new trials put confessors to the test, temptations that subjected glory to vainglory and gave worldly authorities grave powers to usurp God, commanding unquestioning allegiance. Desert saints nonetheless kept faith with the costly witness of the martyrs by laying down their lives for the Name, purifying the heart of deceptive, deadly compromise in the light of wisdom’s glorification of the Name. Purification supported illumination by nurturing glorification of the Name, nourishing glorification through the Name, called theosis or deification in the desert. White martyrdom kept the witness of red martyrdom alive and well, long after imperial persecutions ceased. Elders did not cut loose from costly witness to bask in shallow complacency, but offered their pierced hearts, bleeding fresh life into the hallowing Name, sealed with an invisible stigmata, hallowing mysteries of glory with the life-blood of consecrated saints.
Desert elders did not denigrate prophecy but renewed it with prayer, generating mature prophecy of prayer, fulfilling ancient prophecy with sealed martyrdom, unsealing glorification of God and glorification by God. Indeed, glorification kept the Gospel of the Name alive, long after Rome became the Patriarchate of the western empire and Constantinople the first Patriarchate of the eastern empire. When both empires eventually fell or disintegrated, glorification remained wisdom’s witness to the glory of grace, even in times that barely remembered the Gospel, the desert or its witness. Hesychasm appears like a fossil in such times, a presence belonging to a long-forgotten past, bearing witness to a long-neglected future, a visionary paradise perhaps, or an echo of a reign of glory, illumining hearts but never permanently establishing itself on earth with visible symbols of external power. Saints had always known Jesus never spoke of an earthly reign, although somehow the Gospel unseats usurping powers all the same. The desert was always a sign of contradiction and a paradox in every age. It still dethrones invisible powers and illumines hearts in uncreated light, awakening the glory of the Name and its mysterious reign.
The Gospel of the Name completed ancient prophecy by turning prophets into apostles and prophecy into epistles, letters sent out to gather saints into the glory of the Name. The Gospel of the Name also inspired four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles that bore witness to the Name, together with the Apocalypse that unveiled the glory of the Name, inspiring ancient liturgies that glorified the Name. Elders still glorify the Name just as prophets and apostles always did, but some are also revelatory seers who hallow the Name on earth as it always reigns in heaven. Scripture and tradition are mysteriously one in desert wastes, one hallowing communion, in living Hesychasm, right unto our own age. Of course, there are still temptations that put the mysteries of union on trial, separating scripture from tradition and confusing the Gospel with the latest news. These trials are inevitable when timeless glory enters time and the Name is confused with conventional names and empty, flattering words. But trials refine the Gospel of the Name with uncreated fire, purifying reifying words in the living flame of the Name. A Gospel of glory regenerates elders and saints with the same grace that generates the holiness of angels, renewing the communion of angels and saints afresh in every generation. There would be no saving Gospel if nobody acknowledged the glory of grace, if nobody hallowed the Name of glory in a reign of uncreated light. The Gospel of the Name restores glory to wisdom by opening heaven to earth, securing the reign of the Name on earth as it reigns in glory in heaven.