On the Kollyvades: Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, Saint Athanasius of Paros

  1. Lemma
  2. Κολλυβάδικα: Ἅγιος Νικόδημος Ἁγιορείτης, Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος Πάριος
  3. English
  4. Koutalis, Vangelis
  5. Ethics - Atheism - Key thinkers - Conflict - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Patristic studies - Ecumenism and dialogue > Ecumenism - Ecumenism and dialogue > Westernism and anti-westernism - Culture and national identities - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Cult and spirituality
  6. 23-05-2017
  7. Zisis, Theodoros [Author]. On the Kollyvades: Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, Saint Athanasius of Paros
  8. Κολλυβάδικα: Ἅγιος Νικόδημος Ἁγιορείτης, Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος Πάριος - Thessaloniki: “Vryennios” Publications, 2004.
  9. Hesychasm - Kollyvades movement - Palamas, Gregory - St. Athanasius of Paros - St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain - Enlightenment - Communism - Ecumenism - secularization - anticlerical propaganda - rationalism - atheism - Mariology
    1. <p>Zisis, Th. [Ζήσης, Θ.] (2004). <em>Κολλυβάδικα: Ἅγιος Νικόδημος Ἁγιορείτης, Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος Πάριος</em>. Thessaloniki: “Vryennios” Publications.</p>
    1. This book focuses on certain aspects that may allow a better assessment of the historical significance of the work of two representatives of the Kollyvades Movement, Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and Athanasius of Paros.

      The first two chapters are dedicated to Nicodemus. The first tackles the question of the Western influences in the teaching of Nicodemus, and the second examines the ways in which Mary, the Mother of God, affected the life and the work of the Saint. As for the question of the close textual dependence of Nicodemus’ Ἀόρατος πόλεμος (‘Invisible war’) and Πνευματικὰ Γυμνάσματα (‘Spiritual exercises’) on Jesuit sources, and more particularly on Lorenzo Scupoli’s Combattimento spirituale and on Giovanni Pietro Pinamonti’s Exercizi spirituali respectively, the author responds to the scholars that have regarded this dependence as lack of originality that Nicodemus transformed the Jesuit sources that he used into genuinely Orthodox works, through his own additions, deletions and emendations. After all, for Nicodemus himself, borrowing ideas from Catholic authors was not as such a censurable practice, so long as the loans being accepted were cleared of heretical views. Recent research has also proved that Nicodemus knew his Jesuit sources only at second hand, through anonymous manuscript Greek translations of them that had been already made, and without being himself aware of their authors. Chrestos Giannaras’ objection that Western influences permeate the work of Nicodemus in its entirety can be countered by a similar argument: Nicodemus’ writings were checked, by his contemporary Orthodox scholars and clerics, and proved to be fully in accord with the Orthodox doctrines. A by no means negligible part of Nicodemus’ work, illustrative of his deep commitment to Orthodoxy, as the author points out in his chapter on Nicodemus’ Mariology, is his hymnological and liturgical writings or collections on Theotokos, who in some instances was portrayed by the Saint as an hesychastic and ascetic figure herself.

      The next twelve chapters of the book deal with the work of Athanasius of Paros. In the first four of them, the relevance of Athanasius’ teaching to current theological debates and cultural dilemmas is discussed. In the following five chapters, comprising a distinct part of the section of the book that is devoted to Athanasius, the author evaluates the impact of Gregorios Palamas’ teachings on Athanasius’ theology. In the final three chapters of this section, the overall theological contribution of Athanasius is assessed. Athanasius’ work, which for more than a hundred and fifty years was considered as outdated or irrelevant, owing to the impact of the Enightenment, the atheist propaganda of Communism, and the Ecumenism, three factors that reinforced the tendency to marginalize the Kollyvades movement and the Patristic and genuinely Orthodox theology in general, during the last decades has come once again to the forefront, as a source of inspiration with regard to a variety of current controversial issues. Such issues are the relations between East and West, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, the significance of the Patristic tradition and of the liturgical life, as well as the purposes of education and the relation between secular and religious learning. As a leading actor of the eighteenth-century Philokalic Renaissance, Athanasius continued and enriched the Hesychast tradition that Gregory Palamas in the fourteenth century had defended, stood against atheism, anticlericalism, rationalism and secularism, combined a strict adherence to tradition with an openness and inclusiveness of spirit which is typical for the Orthodox tradition, the latter being consolidated after an historical encounter between Hellenism and Christianism, and bequeathed to posterity a rich and multi-faceted theological work, contributing much to the Orthodox apologetics, dogmatics, polemics, Hagiology and liturgics.