Desert Hesychasm is called out from regulated convention into deification, which lives the mysteries of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ as direct revelation. Christ restores seers to union with the Father in the Holy Spirit, incorporating saints into his incarnation, death and resurrection by grace, grace which is a charism of both speech and silence. Prophecy is poetic speech that awakens pure prayer, whilst pure prayer is silence that shares in God’s knowledge, through God, of God. Abba Evagrius called this knowing gnosis, a knowing which knows the deifying oneness of knower and known, being none other than the Holy Trinity, where God is knower, knowing and known. For desert Hesychasm, Holy Trinity has nothing to do with triadological, conceptual systems but with pre-conceptual spiritual awareness of presence, ecstatically conjoined with thrice holy presence of awareness, transcending both speech and silence. Both wisdom and glory are pre-conceptual, transcending theological formulation. The Son bears witness to the Father as the eternal Word, whilst the Holy Spirit grants deifying awareness of presence that is spiritually certain, being God’s own certainty of God, grounding human incompleteness in the ineffable completeness of God. The Alpha and the Omega of the revelatory Name is Christ, whose incarnation reveals the Father’s deification of those who abide in him, awakening them to the deifying energy of the Holy Spirit.
The incarnation and deification both speak and remain silent. As speech, they are Holy Scripture and Tradition. As silence, incarnation is unveiled in the stillness of the Spirit of Truth and deification is revealed as silent assimilation of the truth. It is the Spirit who inspires both speech and silence, speech accessible to all, silence welcoming those who abide in the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit unveils the completeness of revelatory truth by granting wisdom’s insight into glory, not by rational explanation or scholastic elaboration, but by recognition in stillness and remembrance. Incarnation, when spoken, unveils deification indirectly but silent deification unveils Holy Trinity directly, in the Spirit, through Christ’s glorification by the Father. The incarnation is the promise of deification, which by grace, deification fulfils and completes. Desert elders receive the promise, the mystery of the incarnation, so that by grace, in glorified saints, the mysteries of deification may be fulfilled. The Spirit inspires both speech and silence. As speech, it inspires Scripture and Tradition. As silence, it inspires their realisation as purification, illumination and deification of the heart.
Deification is the grace of incarnation in action, glory initiating purification, illumination and glorification of elders and saints. Holy Orthodoxy is glorification of the Father by the Son, but without the Spirit, silent Hesychast assimilation of glorification would be overlooked. It is deification by the Holy Spirit that breathes life into Holy Orthodoxy from within. Whether Christ formally instituted Orthodox Christianity as a regulated religion or not, he certainly communicated the timeless mysteries of glory that illumine and glorify the saints. For Hesychast elders, holy glorification, therefore, takes precedence over institutional regulation and canonical regularity, for it is the blessing of glory that makes Holy Orthodoxy truly holy. The authority of the external religious institution is always secondary to the timeless life of glory in God and in the saints. But regulated authority nonetheless has its legitimate, if conditional rights, given that religions also generate human institutions. Deification is incarnation alight as wisdom and aflame as glory, restoring glory to the Father through the Son, lived as hallowing deification, through wisdom and glory, in the Spirit.