Discernment of spirits, part of the Christian patrimony, "East and West":
AD: At the very end of your last chapter, you briefly work in Lev Gillet and also Kallistos Ware. Tell us a bit more about their experience and relevance to your study.
Their experience, as recounted in the book, is of interest because it took place in the context of an academic study at Oxford University on religious experience. The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, which is now based at the University of Wales, was collecting thousands of accounts of religious experience in the 1970s. As a way of reflecting on all this material interviewed a number of scholars, theologians and pastors about how they understand this persistent phenomenon.
Interviewed separately, Fr Lev Gillet and Fr Kallistos Ware (as he was then) gave very similar criteria for evaluating such experiences. They said it must be repeated. It can be short and authoritative, or come through gradual “infiltration by God.” It can be tested by asking others who understand your problem to pray for a solution and to ask for guidance, and see whether the answers converge. But the most definitive criterion is to pay attention to the feelings and actions that the experience produces. “Does this guidance create in you sorrow, bitterness, hatred? Or does it create in you joy and love for God and other people? Judge the tree according to its fruit.”