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Editor: Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland

I was in my early twenties when I first heard of the Prayer of the Heart. Since then I have tried to find those who could teach it to me and at the same time tried to practise it.

I feel a little bit like the pilgrim in the "Tales of the Pilgrim"; he had a very long way to travel and although I have put even more miles in my travels in a much shorter travelling time, it all comes to the same conclusion: without thorough preparation and daily practise even the Prayer of Jesus is quite useless.

Therefore this website; to help myself and others to find the way to pray continuously!

It has dawned on me, rather slowly in fact, that the prayer of heart, although it can be considered to have originated within the Christian mystical practices, is not the sole property of the practising Christians. It can also be found in one form in the Indian mantras and japa-practise, and in the Islamic Sufi Zikr, and in Buddhism in the practice of nembutsu (or nenbutsu). All these practices are repetitive, repeating the name of a God, like Jesus, Allah, Amida Buddha, or Om etc.

In this connection it is good to remember what St. Seraphim of Sarov said to Motovilov: "... we must pray only until the time when God the Holy Ghost overshadows us by his heavenly grace. When he is pleased to visit us we must cease to pray." (Sergius Bolshakoff: Russian Mystics, p. 132.)

It is not only once I have experienced, in myself and other, how the prayer is "left on" although the contact to God is missing! The Elders call this "talking to the wind".

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Igumen Hariton of Valaam

Igumen Hariton of Valaam

Igumen of the Great Schema Hariton of Valaam (1872-1947) was leading the Monastery at the time it moved from the Old to the New Valaam. Arriving inthe old Valaam at Ladoga in 1894 he started his Spiritual Warfare; he was the Igumen of Valaam from 1933 until his death in 1947.
No doubt Farther Hariton's greatest challenge was to take the 200 monks who survived on the islands on the Valaam islands in Ladoga to their new home, the New Valaam in Finland. A partial translation of his other great work, the book called "The Art of Prayer", is standard reading in the studies of the Prayer of the Heart.

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