Definition of Hesychast in US English:



  • A member of a movement dedicated to contemplation, originating among the Orthodox monks of Mount Athos in the 14th century.

    • ‘The Hesychasts claimed that, by suitable spiritual disciplines, those engaged in contemplative prayer could come to see the ‘uncreated light’ of God.’
    • ‘Seeking the ways of development of the spiritual heart, Hesychasts invented the method called Jesus prayer.’
    • ‘These links were forged long before the coming of Plethon to Mistra, but Plethon's neoplatonism was clearly related to the Hesychasts of Mt. Athos.’
    • ‘Symbolic actions are crucial to Eastern Christian liturgy and private prayer, most evident in the so-called ‘physical method’ of prayer taught by the Byzantine Hesychasts.’
    • ‘The Hesychasts were, in the Eastern Church, supporters of the ascetic mysticism propagated by the monks of Mount Athos in the XIVth Century.’


Mid 19th century: from late Greek hēsukhastēs ‘hermit’, from hēsukhazein ‘be still’, from hēsukhos ‘still’.