Rowan Williams

Apatheia and the Passions: audio talks by Rowan Williams

With the kind permission of Mother Mary Luke CHC and Lord Williams of Oystermouth we are pleased to make available a series of talks by Rowan Williams delivered during an Easter Retreat for the Community of the Holy Cross at Costock on the subject of apatheia and the passions.

In his introduction Rowan describes the passions, and the goal of apatheia (from Greek, ‘without-‘passion’), as one of the ‘great governing themes of early Christian spirituality’. Still foundational within Orthodoxy and Western monastic culture to this day, they are perhaps better known to Latin Christianity – somewhat unhelpfully – as the seven deadly sins.

We found these talks to be enormously helpful and inspiring summaries of those diagnostic tools for the maladies of the spirit, developed in the crucible of the Egyptian desert among the first Christian monks. Here, unusually and boldly, Rowan pairs and contrasts each of the eight passions with the Beatitudes found in the Gospels.

Our hope in putting these talks online is to make this area of Christian and monastic spirituality more widely known and, more importantly, to provide some food for the journey.

NB. The Introduction begins with some remarks by Mother Mary Luke which are not very clear in the recording but don’t adjust your audio until Rowan starts speaking!