Silence, we are told, ‘is a language shaped around liturgy that we are called as creatures to learn in order that we may speak’.1 In his essay ‘Cosmic Speech and the Liturgy of Silence’, Oliver Davies notes that Maximus the Confessor, writing on the liturgy, describes two distinct kinds of silence: the ‘much hymned silence of ‘the unseen and unknown call of the deity’ and the human silence invested in liturgical speech which itself ‘rich in tone’ summons the former.2 Liturgy, avers Davies, should make present to us, or allow us to discern and to hear the silences of God. In order to articulate something of what he sees as the specific contexts – the cosmic and the relational – of the silence of the cross, Davies refers to the Russian terms tishina (a state of rest, disturbed or interrupted by speech) and molchanie (a form of communication, ‘subtended by speech’3).