g. HESYCHASTERIA AND HERMITAGES
These monastery dependencies are either separate institutions known as cells and seats or they constitute small communities without particular organization known as ‘Kapsala’ (30 huts), ‘Mikra’, ‘Saint Ann’ (4 huts), ‘Karoulia’ (10 huts), ‘Katounakia’ (10 huts), Saint Vasilis (8 huts) and ‘Provata’ (5 huts).
In the first live, as we have already mentioned, the ascetics and in the second the actual hermits, who follow the stricter form of the orthodox monastic life.
The residents of these institutions and especially the ones that live in hermits are removed from the multi functional and noisy life of the human groups, in order to find peace in other places.
They seek to find and meet themselves, once they get rid of all “secular virtuous” that offer nothing more than current enjoyment and material bliss.
They are continuously under trial to succeed purification.
They usually live alone, “enclosed” into humble huts built with dried stones on the rock or inside caves, considering the sand of the desert as useless luxury.
All of the equipment of the hesychasteria is a set of grass and branches, a well with natural water that sometimes is replaced by a water jug, a wooden cross, few icons, some books and - not rarely- the bones of an older hermit, placed in a corner.
Work, fast, vigil and prayer cover their program.
With their hard work, they preserve their bonnie bodies and help their incompetent companions and guests.
With exhaustive fast and vigil, combined with their prayer, secret or not, they gradually get rid of the passions of the flesh and of all other passions in the deserted place where they live, enjoying their “life giving mortification” and reaching the “proper alteration”, which they preserve with the continuous invocation of God.
It is an existential task, an internal way of living with the presence of God at the depth of each praying hermit’s personality. The continuous cry “Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy upon me the sinner" is self-awareness and salvation.
The life hermits follow in Athos, as well as their colleagues in various regions consists for the Orthodoxe Church an aspect of an evangelic life, with escatological prospects.