A new book has just been published by Volos Academy for Theological Studies. The title is The Songs of the Bridal Chamber: Monks at Prayer and it is an essay on monastic forms of chant and prayer by Fr. Stephen C. Headley.
As the poems of St. Ephraim the Syrian show, theological poetry carries us into a paradise of revelation that is not based on abstract philosophical concepts but on the desire to come closer to God. God unveils himself to us in the liturgies of the “eighth day”. The monastic roots of these hymnographies are to be found in Jerusalem and the nearby monastery of St. Sabas. The poetic prayer developed there was based on silence and seclusion. St. Maximus the Confessor theorizes this, with the terms “iconic words and verbal icons”. Such prayer, even once written down, remains an eminently oral, sung tradition. Divine providence accompanies us into a landscape of hope evokes with intense beauty by St. Isaac the Syrian, these characterizes the destination of human existence.
Fr. Stephen C. Headley (b. 1943) is an Orthodox priest and a cultural anthropologist who worked in Java (Indonesia) for three decades and later in Moscow and South India. He collaborated with a research team of the C.N.R.S., Paris, founded by Louis Dumont, and taught at the Orthodox Seminary of St. Geneviève (Paris). His most recent writings are a three volume theological anthropology on prayer, ritual and secularization. He is the rector of the Orthodox parish of St. Etienne & St. Germain d’Auxerre in Vézelay (Burgundy, France).
The book is available from Volos Academy for Theological Studies and from major bookstores, physical and online.
You can take a look at the Contents and the Conclusion of the book here
268 pp., 14 Χ 20 cm, soft cover
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