The difference between dreams, revelations and visions

Originally posted in 2012, I am re-posting the above herewith because of the ongoing number of questions that keep coming in on this subject.

According to Saint Nikita Stithatos, the differences between dreams, revelations and visions can be discerned as follows:

  1. Dreams are “images that do not remain unchanged in the imaginative faculty of the nous,” the heart of the soul. Dreams “present a confused picture with constantly altering scenes and forms . . . [they are seen by] materialistic and sensually-minded people;”
  2. Revelations are theorias of the mysteries of God, “granted to the purified and illumined soul in a way that transcends normal sense perception . . . [they are granted to those] who are activated by the Holy Spirit, and whose soul is united to God through theology” (theoria). Revelations are associated with inner purity;
  3. Visions are constant and unchanging. They also “remain imprinted on the nous unforgettably for many years . . . [visions are present in] those well advanced on the spiritual path, who have cleansed the soul’s organs of perception.”


Met. Hierotheos. (2010). The science of spiritual medicine. Levadia, Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery.