Stillness of Mind

“We must pray to maintain stillness of mind even in the midst of struggle.”

This sentence from a reading in Lauds this week caught my attention, sounding like contemporary advice. I had never heard of the author, Diadochus of Photiki, who, I discovered, was a bishop in the 5th century in what is now the northwestern section of Greece.

The 5th century was a time of great instability throughout Europe.  The Roman Empire, a powerful military force for centuries, was falling apart, leaving cities vulnerable to marauding invaders. Diadochus himself was most likely captured by Vandals when he was in his 60’s and taken to Northern Africa, never to return to Greece again.  The Vandals were a Germanic tribe with a reputation for sacking and looting—the origin of the term vandalism.  Diadochus’s “stillness of mind” was no doubt tested, and I suspect he was in constant prayer.  My struggles seem very minor compared to what Diadochus of Photiki faced, but I appreciate his wisdom—stillness of mind is important in all situations, and prayer is the way to receive it.

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