The Monk Thalassios
Commemorated on May 20
The Monk Thalassios, head of a monastery in Libeia, pursued asceticism during the VII Century. He was a friend of Saint Maximos the Confessor (Comm. 21 January), with whom for many years he corresponded. The holy ascetics, as their letters testify, addressed themselves to dealing with difficulties in the spiritual life. The Monk Thalassios, well versed in Holy Scripture, combined deep knowledge with the spiritual enlightenment of believers. He expounded his theological positions under the guise of instructive aphorisms in his work, "On Love, Temperance and the Spiritual Life". The composition of Abba Thalassios consists of 400 chapters, each of which is written in the form of an acrostic, which evidences the obvious literary talent of the author. In this composition, together with spiritual ethics there are stated questions of dogmatic character: concerning the Incarnation of God the Word, and concerning the redemption of mankind. The Monk John Damascene (Comm. 4 December) in his theological works makes use of the composition of the Monk Thalassios. The fundamental thought of the Monk Thalassios is concentrated upon the inner spiritual effort, involved in the struggle with the passions. "If thou dost wish, – he says, – to be freed totally from every evil, then make renunciation from the mother of evils – self-love. Self-love precedeth all the passions, and behind all of them there follows, finally, bitterness. The three primary thoughts of lust are begotten from the passion of self-love, behind which follow all the other passionate thoughts, but not all together". The Monk Thalassios died in old age in about the year 660, and his relics were glorified by a flow of fragrant myrh.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.