• 2011.01.18 Father John and Dr. Norris wrote for the Huffington Post Religion section, "The Compelling Spiritual Discipline of Asceticism" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norris-j-chumley-phd/the-value-of-asceticism-t_b_806700.html
  • 2011.01.13 Dr. Norris J. Chumley interviewed on "Come Receive the Light" on OCN, Orthodox Christian Network - take a listen here http://www.myocn.net/index.php/201101133347/Come-Receive-the-Light/Mysteries-of-the-Jesus-Prayer.html
  • 2010.12.07 The National Council of Churches has published a news article. We are very grateful to them for their endorsement and continuing assistance.Take a look, please at http://www.ncccusa.org/news/101207jesusprayer.html
  • Coming DECEMBER 15 - "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" has a pre-theatrical release from SnagFilms, beginning December 15, 2010, for three months. It's on COMCAST and VERIZON FIOS Video-On-Demand. Coming soon to theaters, then DVD's in early 2011.
  • 2010.09.12
    We are pleased to announce that His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew has written the foreword to Dr. Norris J. Chumley’s book, “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer.” We thank him for his generosity, and are humbled by this rare gift and honor.
  • 2010.07.01
    We are pleased to announce that Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer has been endorsed by the National Council of Churches.
    An ancient Christian prayer of meditation will be highlighted in film and book early 2011
    "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer"

    New York, July 1, 2010 -- A little known 2000-year-old Christian prayer, still used by monks and nuns in far away caves and monasteries, is the subject of a documentary feature film and book slated for early 2011.
    Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer focuses on the prayer, Kyrie Eleison ("Lord Have mercy") that is thought to have been first practiced by the Apostles.
    Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University, and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer.
    Their film and companion book from HarperOne retraces their steps and beyond, bringing the wisdom of both ancient saints and modern Christian sages to worldwide audiences.
    The film and book begin with a visit to St. Anthony's in Upper Egypt, the oldest existing monastery on earth, where Father Lazarus explains what the prayer is and how to use it. The authors' voyage continues to St. Catherine's monastery, in existence near Mt. Sinai since the fifth century, and to monastic communities in Eastern Europe, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
    The ancient prayer has been passed down through generations. Initially recited verbally, it was ultimately written in obscure instruction manuals intended only for monks. It was kept in secret, only to be revealed as part of a dedicated life of isolation. Some spiritual counselors advise using it only with the help of a disciplines guide, in the context of a life devoted to monasticism. Others say anyone can use it.
    The Jesus Prayer has great power. It is available in short form, long form, and with multiple variations. The documentary feature film and companion book from HarperOne, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, will introduce this prayer taught directly by Christian spiritual masters early next year so that anyone can use it at any time and in any place.
    Look for the book and film around Easter 2011. Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer is a production of Magnetic Arts, LLC, New York, The film is a not-for-profit project of the Hartley Film Foundation.
    Serving on the Advisory Board of the project are Nikki Stephanopoulos, a member of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and NCC Communication Commission, and her husband, Father Robert Stephanopoulos.
  • 2010.06.13
    Ancient Christian Meditation Discovered by Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D. on Huffington Post
    A prayer used some 2,000 years ago, still in use by monks and nuns in far away caves and monasteries but mostly unknown to the rest of the world, is the subject of a new documentary feature film and book. It's called Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer and focuses on a prayer thought to have first been practiced by the Apostles.
    Most of us want peace and happiness in our lives; that's what we live for. Sometimes it may feel that true peace and spiritual contentment are impossible in this chaotic world of stress, speed, over-stimulation and overstretched finances. At times, the desire to run away to some distant land may be highly tempting.
    Most of us cannot just retreat to a cave or monastery where we can be totally contemplative, meditating and praying with God without disruption. We don't have the luxury of leaving it all behind. The answer is to integrate meditation and prayer in all of your daily activities. Like the Apostle Paul suggested, pray constantly. The Jesus Prayer is the perfect meditation. It's like a Christian mantra.
    Monks, nuns and spiritual hermits have left their troubles in the "civilized world" behind for centuries, initially escaping to the Egyptian desert. One of the earliest Christian monks was Saint Antony, a man determined to find God in silence and isolation. Born to a wealthy Alexandrian merchant family, one day he passed by a church and heard the minister reciting the words of Jesus, "Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and come and follow me." He took those words to heart and at the age of 34, gave away his entire inheritance and retreated into the desert. He found an abandoned tomb and lived alone there for many years. In the desert he not only found a way to abandon his material desires, he learned to live with very little water or food, seeking only prayer as sustenance. Saint Antony, considered by some to be the father of all monks, recited the Jesus Prayer over and over, seeking only the mercy of his lord Jesus Christ.
    This ancient prayer has been passed down through generations. Initially recited verbally, it was ultimately written in obscure instruction manuals intended only for monks. It was kept in secret, only to be revealed as part of a dedicated life of isolation. Some spiritual counselors advise using it only with the help of a disciplined guide, in the context of a life devoted to monasticism. Others say that anyone can use it.
    Still in use some 2,000 years later in monasteries and churches that grew out of the Egyptian desert and spread to Greece, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Slavic lands, and Russia, the Jesus Prayer is now being revealed to those of us in the western world.
    There is no longer a need to become a monk or nun to know and use this prayer. It isn't necessary to leave your family, work or home behind and renounce everything. The prayer, Kyrie Eleison in Greek (Lord have mercy), or the Jesus Prayer, has great power. The documentary feature film and companion book from HarperOne, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, will introduce methods for using this prayer early next year, so that anyone can use it at any time and in any place.
    Travelling with camera crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, for the first time on film hermits, monks and nuns in caves, monasteries and convents share this ancient mystical prayer with the outside world. Based on a book The Spiritual Meadow, written in the seventh century, a priest, John Moscos, takes a student, Sophronious, to meet monks seeking spiritual words of wisdom. In the new film and companion book Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin and I retrace their steps, bringing the wisdom of both ancient saints and living Christian sages and spiritual masters to you.
    We travel to the oldest existing monastery on earth, St. Antony's, in Upper Egypt bringing you inside St. Antony's mountaintop cave where he lived for 46 years. You'll meet the staretz, or living spiritual master, Father Lazarus, and hear his explanation of what exactly this simple prayer is, and how to use it. We bring you along on a journey to Mt. Sinai, the place where God spoke to Moses. We introduce you to the wise old men of St. Catherine's monastery, built in the late fifth century. Seeking only a word and a prayer, we take you to Greece and holy Mount Athos, a peninsula of peace profound where only monks live since the 10th century. As Christian nuns and monks fled to eastern provinces since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, we travel their routes to Eastern Europe, to Romania, Ukraine, Old Russ, and Russia.
    Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer is almost finished. Look for it around Easter of next year, but in the meantime, please join us on the journey with a few sneak peeks at www.MysteriesoftheJesusPrayer.com