Icon of St. Silouan the Athonite Grace proceeds from everything that is good, but above all from brotherly love.St. Silouan the Athonite
Hymn from Orthros of Forgiveness Sunday

The time is now at hand for us to start upon the spiritual contest and to gain the victory over the demonic powers. Let us put on the armor of abstinence and clothe ourselves in the glory of the angels. With boldness Moses spoke to the Creator, and he heard the voice of the invisible God. In Thy love for man, O Lord, grant us with the same boldness to venerate Thy Passion and Thy Holy Resurrection.

Excerpts from St. Silouan the Athonite

Archimandrite Sophrony's book, St. Silouan the Athonite, provides a very detailed description of the life of St. Silouan, including many brief texts written by St. Silouan. Some of Archimandrite Sophrony's biographical texts provide valuable insights into the spiritual teachings of St. Silouan, especially of the phrase "Keep thy mind in hell, and despair not". The texts at the links in the brief summaries below highlight St. Silouan's spiritual experiences and teachings.

  1. While still a novice at the monastery on Mt. Athos, St. Silouan had a direct experience of the presence of Christ, a unique experience that stimulated his spiritual growth.
  2. However, even after this unique and overwhelming experience, St. Silouan still experienced spiritual struggles and discouragement, until 15 years after the vision of Christ, he received the important lesson, "Keep thy mind in hell, and despair not".
  3. Archimandrite Sophrony explains how this teaching warns against pride, and he also teaches more about what it is to truly know Christ.
  4. Another passage by Archimandrite Sophrony further clarifies the dangers of pride, and explains what the monks teach about spiritual experience and why they find it important to keep the mind "in hell".