The Very Rev. John A. McGuckin, Ph.D., will present the Kay Butler Gill Lecture in Christian Spirituality at The General Theological Seminary on April 7, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, entitled "The Jesus Prayer: From Desert Contemplatives to Modern Urban Spirituality," will examine the origins of the Jesus Prayer in earliest Christianity, with monastic philosophers in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine developing the theory of the "Prayer of the Heart," and will move on to late Byzantine ideas on the explicit role of the "sharpening" of new forms of consciousness (noesis) during prayer; and then will look at the role of the Jesus Prayer in late modernity and in contemporary forms of lay, urban asceticism. McGuckin will also lead a 10-minute exercise demonstrating the communal Jesus Prayer in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd after his talk. Following the prayer experience, there will be a book signing with light refreshments.
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John Anthony McGuckin is the Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History and Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. He is an Archpriest of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and for over 30 years has taught in numerous European and American university settings. He is a specialist in early medieval Christian thought and history, and has published 25 books on topics ranging from New Testament history to Byzantine mysticism, several of which have won awards. He has long followed a special interest in the culture of monasticism. McGuckin is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain, and the recipient of the Romanian Order of St. Stephen, the Cross of Moldavia and Bukovina. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from St. Vladimir’s Academy and Sibiu University.