The wisdom hermitage is redundant in monasteries that have forgotten what they are for, although in the desert, Orthodox monasticism began with hermit cells and on the Holy Mountain, the hermitage still survives between the monasteries. The wisdom round cell becomes a place to store whatever has nowhere else to go, when once it had been the place of stillness at the heart of the monastery. Stillness has nowhere to lay its head in an age of endless verbosity, but stores the prayer of the heart that is forgotten when ineffable light and glory are neglected or excluded. Glory enlightened all who turn and see, on distant isles or hidden in caves where the glory to come was present, recognised and remembered. In the wisdom hermitage, where wisdom is loved and known, illumined glorification is central, because purification of the heart remains the foundation of the remembrance of God. But the present generation no longer trains for the race in realms of religion, although in music, athletics or in sport, everyone recognises the need to train, to practice, though they no longer call it an ascesis.
Wholesome Orthodox Hesychasm retains the asceticism of purification of the heart, neglected in many Orthodox circles, but central to illumined right-glorification. Wisdom always remembers that Holy Orthodoxy is holy right-glorification, that when the dove descends, the light of glory is revealed. Wisdom is beautiful in the radiance of her luminous translucence, wondrous in her generous mercy, awesome in her capacity to turn hearts that they may see. The wisdom hermitage is nothing in itself, not even worth a mention, unless the radiant beauty of wisdom is being lived, loved and known. For this is who the Beloved Disciple is, what the Holy Church of God actually is, descending to wed ascension in an integral embrace. This is what glorification is, the union that unveils communion in the Spirit, the conjunction that hallows the Name in the stillness of the Holy of Holies. The Lord’s Prayer was not given to be repeated verbally by rote, but to be rightly lived, loved and re-cognitively known, turned round, unveiling uncreated light, revealing uncreated glory.
The wisdom hermitage is only a place of storage in a world that has forgotten wisdom, distancing disdained wisdom, so though nominally Orthodox, it no longer remembers what Orthodox right-glorification actually is. This is quite normal when convention prefers contention to uncontentious stillness, but at least nominal Orthodoxy is a visible witness to Holy Orthodoxy. What more can be expected in a nominal world, an external world that only perceives the nominal surfaces of things? What else can be expected in an externalised world? Nihilism expects nothing, being nothing. But love hopes that love will once again trust love and discover glory at the heart of love. The wisdom hermitage discovers what it is and what it is for, when love of wisdom is trusted again. Philosophy stole the name but did not notice when the meaning was stolen then altogether forgotten, leaving words that no longer heard the ineffable words of the third heaven. When words are repeated so fast that nobody remembers what they mean, the repetition of the Lord’s Prayer becomes a barrier to the Lord’s real prayer, to the real presence of the Lord and his prayer. The wisdom hermitage listens to ineffable words hidden in endless words, amazed that they unveil the glory of the age to come. When the realm of glory comes, wisdom is loved and stillness opens her heart to wisdom’s glory, amazed that her beauty never ceases to amaze.