Monastic spirituality of the Italo-Greek monks
Book Title – Greek Monasticism in Southern Italy: The Life of Neilos in Context (edited by Barbara Crostini and Ines Angeli Murzaku)
Chapter Number & Title – Chapter 1 : Monastic Spirituality of the Italo-Greek Monks (by David Hester)
From the bioi of the Italo-Greek monks of the Byzantine period there is found a certain rhythm of life and askesis that progresses through four stages. First, there is the initial call or inner desire to become a monk. This involves leaving what one has known and searching for a spiritual father. Once one has made this connection and becomes obedient to this experienced monk, the second stage of asceticism, including prayer, fasting, vigil and obedience begins. Through these practices and the teachings of the spiritual father, the monk should grow spiritually. In the third stage, spiritual growth and struggle intensifies. In this stage some of the monks will become hermits where they will face great temptations and challenges. As a monk becomes more spiritually perfected, his perfection can begin to be revealed and others may come to him for spiritual guidance to seek to join with him in following the monastic way. In this way the cycle begins to move to a new generation as is seen in many of the bioi where a monk-disciple becomes the guide and father to the next generation of monks.