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Online Morning Centering Prayer Retreat program: “Ancient Christian Contemplation – Before ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ “
May 13 @ 9:00 am - 11:30 am$20
Led by Steve Thompson (CONOVA)
Have Christians always practiced contemplation? During the first 150 years of Christianity, most of those who can be loosely identified as Christian contemplatives were ignored as harmless. By 220 CE, however, contemplatives were generally considered heretics, and they were frequently persecuted and sometimes put to death by their fellow Christians—usually for practices too similar to those of the Pythagorean contemplatives and the gymnosophists (the ancient Greek label for Buddhists).
However, around 295 CE, the first writer of a history of Christianity, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, made an exciting discovery in the course of his research. He uncovered the existence of a first-generation community of Christian contemplatives near Alexandria, Egypt, who had been converted by none other than the Apostle Mark himself. The individuals of this 1st-century community lived in one-person dwellings called (appropriately) monasterions, which had a tameion (inner room) in which they practiced a form of contemplation nearly identical to that of modern Centering Prayer. Yes, Jesus was reported to have said “When you pray, go into your tameion and shut the door” (Matthew 6:6).
This presentation will seek to draw out the full implications of how Bishop Eusebius’ influential discovery helped inspire the massive monastic movement of the late 300s. His discovery can also be considered an important turning point in the reception of silent contemplation as a legitimate Christian practice.
Morning program will include two sessions of Centering Prayer
Please register using the link below.
Offered freely, although contributions ($20 suggested) towards our programming costs are greatly appreciated: https://contemplativeoutreachnova.com/donations