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The Philokalia (Ancient Greek: φιλοκαλία, lit. 'love of the beautiful', from φιλία philia "love" and κάλλος kallos "beauty") is "a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters" of the mystical hesychast tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church. They were originally written for the guidance and instruction of monks in "the practice of the contemplative life". The collection was compiled in the 18th century by Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Macarius of Corinth based on the codices 472 (12th century), 605 (13th century), 476 (14th century), 628 (14th century) and 629 (15th century) from the library of the monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos.
Although these works were individually known in the monastic culture of Greek Orthodox Christianity before their inclusion in the Philokalia, their presence in this collection resulted in a much wider readership due to its translation into several languages. The earliest translations included a Church Slavonic language translation of selected texts by Paisius Velichkovsky (Dobrotolublye, Добротолю́бїе) in 1793, a Russian translation by Ignatius Bryanchaninov in 1857, and a five-volume translation into Russian (Dobrotolyubie) by Theophan the Recluse in 1877. There were subsequent Romanian, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Finnish and Arabic translations.
The book is the "principal spiritual text" for all the Eastern Orthodox churches. The publishers of the current English translation state that "the Philokalia has exercised an influence far greater than that of any book other than the Bible in the recent history of the Orthodox Church."
Philokalia (sometimes Philocalia) is also the name given to an anthology of the writings of Origen compiled by Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus. Other works on monastic spirituality have also used the same title over the years.
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