EVAGRIUS PONTICUS
Various Texts on Gluttony
 

 


Translation by Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.  (translation in public domain)


1. from the Praktikos:


 

 

7. THE [tempting]-thought of gluttony suggests to the monk the quick abandonment of his asceticism.  The stomach, liver, spleen, and [resultant] congestive heart failure are depicted, along with long sickness, lack of necessities, and unavailability of physicians.  It often leads him to recall those of the brethren who have suffered these things. Sometimes it even deceives those who have suffered from this kind of thing to go and visit [others] who are practicing self-control, to tell them all about their misfortunes and how this resulted from their asceticism.

   ζʹ.  (7) Ὁ μὲν τῆς γαστριμαργίας λογισμὸς ἔκπτωσιν ταχεῖαν τῷ μοναχῷ τῆς ἀσκήσεως ὑποβάλλει· στόμαχον καὶ ἧπαρ καὶ σπλῆνα καὶ ὕδρωπα διαγράφων͵ καὶ νόσον μακράν͵ καὶ σπάνιν τῶν ἐπιτηδείων͵ καὶ ἰατρῶν ἀπορίαν. Φέρει δὲ αὐτὸν πολλάκις καὶ εἰς μνήμην ἀδελφῶν τινων τούτοις περιπεσόντων τοῖς πάθεσιν. Ἔστι δὲ ὅτε καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐκείνους τοὺς πεπονθό τας παραβάλλειν ἀναπείθει τοῖς ἐγκρατευομένοις͵ καὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐκδιηγεῖσθαι συμφοράς͵ καὶ ὡς ἐκ τῆς ἀσκήσεως τοιοῦτοι γεγόνασιν.

 

 

[Tactics] for the Eight [Tempting-]Thoughts

Πρὸς τοὺς ὀκτὼ λογισμούς

 

 

15. THE wandering nous is stabilized by
[1] reading,
[2] vigils and
[3] prayer.

  ιε´.  Νοῦν μεν πλανώμενον ἵστησιν
  
ἀναγνωσις καὶ
  
ἀγρυπνία  και
  
προσευχή·

  Burning epithumia (desire) is quenched by
[1] hunger,
[2] toil, and
[
3]
solitude. 

 ἐπιθυμίαν δὲ ἐκφλογουμένην μαραίνει
  
πεῖνα  καὶ
  
κόπος καὶ
   ἀναχώρησις·

  Churning thumos (indignation) is calmed by
[1] the singing of Psalms, by
[
2]
patient endurance and
[3] mercy. 

θυμὸν δὲ καταπαύει κυκώμενον
   
ψαλμῳδία καὶ
  
μακροθυμία καὶ
  
ἔλεος·

 But all these practices are to be engaged in at proper times and in proper measure.  What is done untimely or without measure is temporary.  And what is temporary is more harmful and not beneficial.

καὶ ταῦτα τοῖς  προσήκουσι χρόνοις τε καὶ μέτροις γινόμενα· τὰ γὰρ ἄμετρα καὶ  ἄκαιρα ὀλιγοχρόνια· τὰ δὲ ὀλιγοχρόνια βλαπερὰ μᾶλλον καὶ  οὐκ ὠφέλιμα.

 

 

16.  WHEN our soul desires a variety of foods, then It should be confined to bread and water to make it thankful for a mere mouthful. It is satiety which yearns for varied foodstuffs; hunger considers it sheer bliss just to have enough bread.

  ις'  Ὁπηνίκα διαφόρων βρωμάτων ἐφίεται ἡμῶν ἡ ψυχή, τὸ τηνικαῦτα ἐν ἄρτῳ στενούσθω καὶ ὕδατι ἵν' εὐχάριστος γένηται καὶ ἐπ' αὐτῷ ψιλῷ τῷ ψωμῷ· κόρος γὰρ ποικίλων ἐδεσμάτων ἐπιθυμεῖ, λιμὸς δὲ τὸν κόρον τοῦ ἄρτου μακαριότητα εἶναι νοίζει.

 

 

17.  TO deprive oneself of water helps a great deal towards continence; let the three hundred Israelites who defeated Midian with Gideon (Judges 7:5-7) persuade you of this.

  ιζ'  Πάνυ πρὸς σωφροσύνην συμβάλλεται ἡ τοῦ ὕδατος ἔνδεια· καὶ πειθέτωσάν σε τῶν  Ἰσραηλιτῶν οἱ μετὰ Γεδεὼν τριακόσιοι τὴν Μαδιὰμ χειρωσάμενοι.

 


2. from Peri Logismōn (on Various Tempting Thoughts):


 

 

 

3. A PERSON cannot drive away impassioned memories unless he watches over his epithumia (desire) and thumos (indignation):

[1] destroying the one (i.e. desire) with fasting, vigils and sleeping on the ground; and

[2] taming the other (indignation) by patient endurance, forgetfulness of injury, and almsgiving. 

3. Οὐκ ἄν ἀπόθοιτο τὰς ἐμπαθεῖς μνήμας ὁ ἄνθρωπος, μὴ ἐπιθυμίας, καὶ θυμοϋ ἐπιμέλειαν ποιησάμενος,

τὴν μὲν [p.158] νηστείαις, ἀγρυπνίαις, καὶ χαμευνείαις καταναλώσας,

τὸν δὲ μακροθυμίαις, καὶ ἀμνησικακίαις, καὶ ἐλεημοσύναις καθημερώσας

For with these two passions are connected almost all the demonic [tempting-]thoughts that lead the nous to disaster and destruction. (1Tim 6:9)

· ἐκ γὰρ τῶν δύο τούτων παθῶν πάντες σχεδὸν οἱ δαιμονιώδεις συνίστανται λογισμοὶ οἱ τὸν νοῦν ἐμβάλλοντες εὶς ὅλεθρον, καὶ ἀπώλειαν.

 IT is impossible to overcome these passions unless we can rise above attachment to food and possessions, to esteem, and even to our own body, through which the demons often attempt to attack us.

[79.1204A]   Ἀδύνατον δέ τινα τῶν παθῶν τούτων περιγενέσθαι, μὴ παντελῶς βρωμάτων καὶ χρημάτων, καὶ δόξης ὑπεριδόντα, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου σώματος διὰ τοὺς ῥαπίζειν αὐτὸ πολλάκις ἐπιχειροῦντας·

It is essential, then, to imitate people who are in danger at sea and throw things overboard because of the violence of the winds and the threatening waves. But here we must be very careful in case we cast things overboard just to be seen doing so by men. For then we shall get the reward we want; but we shall suffer another shipwreck, worse than the first, blown off our course by the contrary wind of the demon of self-esteem.

Πᾶσα οὖν ἀνάγκη μιμεῖσθαι τοὺς κινδυνεύοτας, εν θαλάττη, καὶ τῶν σκευῶν ἐκβολὴν ποιουμένους διὰ τὴν βίαν τῶν ἀνεμων καὶ τῶν ἐπανισταμένων κυμάτων.  Ἀλλ' ἐνταῦθα προσεκτέον ἀκριβῶς, [p.158] μή πως ἐκβολὴν ποιούμενοι τῶν σκευῶν, πρὸς τὸ θεαθεῖναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ποίσωμεν· ἐπεὶ ἀπέχομεν τὸν μισθὸν ἡμῶν, καὶ ἄλλο τοῦ προτέρου χαλεπώτερον διδέξεται ἡμᾶς ναυάγιον, τοῦ τῆς κενοδοξίας ἡμῖν ἀντιπνεύσαντος δαίμονος. ´.

That is why our Lord, instructing the intellect, our helmsman, says in the Gospels: Take heed that you do not give alms in front of others, to be seen by them; for unless you take heed, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Again, He says: `When you pray, you must not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in synagogues and at street- corners, so as to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they get the reward they want [...] Moreover when you fast, do not put on a gloomy face, like the hypocrites; for they disfigure their faces, so that they may be seen by men to be  fasting. Truly I say to you, they get the reward they want (cf. Mt. 6: 1- 18).

Διὸ καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν ἐν τοῖς Εὐαγγελίοις, τὸν κυβερνήτην νοῦν παιδεύων, [79.1204b] ̧ προσέχετε, φασὶν, τὴν ἐλημοσύνην ἡμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθεῖναι αὐτοῖς, εἰ δὲ μήγε μισθ̀ον οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ Πατὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν τοὶς οὐρανοῖς. ς  Καὶ πάλιν· ̧  Ὅταν προσεύχησθε, φησὶν, οὐκ ἔσεσθε ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ, ὅτι φιλοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς, καὶ ἐν ταῖς γωνίαις τῶν πλατειῶν ἑστῶτες προσεύχεσθαι, ὅπως φανῶσι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἀπέχουσι τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν. ς  Καὶ πάλιν λέγει· ̧  Ὅταν νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποὶ· ἀφανίζουσι γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν, ὅπως φανῶσι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.ς

BUT observe how the Physician of souls here:

[1] through acts of mercy [medically] treats our irascibility;

[2] through prayer purges the nous;

[3] and through fasting causes desire to atrophy.

  Ἀλλὰ προσεκτέον ἐνταῦθα τῷ ἰατρῷ τῶν ψυχῶν, [79.1204c] πῶς

̈διὰ μὲν τῆς ἐλεημοσύνης τὸν θυμὸν θεραπεύει,

διὰ δὲ τῆς προσευχῆς τὸν νοῦν καθαρίζει, [p.162] 

καὶ πάλιν διὰ τῆς νηστείας τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν καταμαραίνει,̈

FROM these [virtues] the new man is formed, renewed according to the image of his Creator (Gal. 3:28), in whom, thanks to holy apatheia, there is neither male nor female; and, thanks to singleness of faith and love there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3: 10-11).

ἐξ ὧν συνίσταται ὁ νέος ἄνθρωπος, ὁ ἀνακαινούμενος κατ̓ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτὸν, ἐν ᾧ οὐκ ἔστι διὰ τὴν ἀγίαν ἀπάθειαν ἄρσεν, καὶ θῆλυ, οὐδὲ διὰ τὴν μίαν πίστιν, καὶ ἀγάπην,  Ἕλλην, καὶ  Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ, καὶ ἀκροβυστία, Βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, καὶ ἐλεύθερος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι Χριστός

 


3. from the Antirrhetikos:


 

 


This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2004....x.....   .

 


This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2003....x....   .