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Lowell Clucas

The Triumph οf Mysticism in Byzantium in the Fourteenth Century

From Byzantine Studies in Honor of Milton V. Anastos, Byzantina kai Metabyzantina, ed: Speros Vryonis jr, 4 vol., Malibu 1985.

Chapter Ι.

Looking back from his historian's vantage point in the mid-1350s, the Byzantine humanist and historian, Nicephorus Gregoras (1290/1291-1361) recalled the morning when he had addressed his theological followers and associates οn the verge of momentous events. He recalled the episode well, that day in Constantinople οn May 28, 1351, before the long expected cοuncil of the Byzantine Church(1) was to rule οn the new mystical theology of Gregory Palamas.(2) Palamas, who represented the mystical values and visionary claims of many of the monks at the great monastic center of Mt. Athos(3) had been attacked by intellectual opponents before. He had argued with the south Italian (though Greek Orthodox) monk, Barlaam of Calabria, in the 1330s as to how best to refute Latin theology: later in that decade Barlaam for his part accused the contemplative monks and Palamas of various types of heresy, especially Messalianism (or Bogomilism, a contemporaneous Balkan dualist heresy).(4) Another monk, Gregory Akindynos, had thereafter accused Palamas of distorting scripture and theology in order to reconcile this new mysticism with Byzantine religious tradition.(5) Attacking the monks in Byzantium was a risky undertaking. Both of these earlier opponents of Palamas had eventually been censored and condemned (in 1341 and 1347, respectively) by solemnly cοnvoked church councils under the auspices of two successive emperors. Both Barlaam and Akindynos were fundamentally orthodox thinkers. Recent scholarship has shown how hypocritically in particular Barlaam's opus could be treated, for his brilliant arguments against the assumptions of Latin theology were soon copied by the most respectable Byzantine theologians.(6) Then it was the turn of the historian, Nicephorus Gregoras, the man we were speaking of, to try his hand against this theology which gifted individuals had repeatedly attacked but which church councils had upheld, if so far not quite conclusively or thoroughly.(7) Palamas proclaimed that the most important Christian religious experience was the vision of the uncreated light of God, also manifested in God's "divine energies" or specific divine qualities. Palamas said that this uncreated light was the same as that seen by Moses in the Burning Bush and by the disciples of Christ when they fell down on the slope of Mt. Tabor as if struck by the light of the Transfiguration as a physical force.(8) This was the light, which the monks at Mt. Athos claimed to see through their practice of the age-old discipline of Hesychia, or the contemplative life. But now they considered themselves, or were considered by Palamas, to be the heralds of a new spiritual age, the age of the "manifestations of the Holy Spirit" through the uncreated light, the "divine energies," reminding one of the Franciscan Spirituali in the West, who saw themselves as virtual heralds of the Third Age, the Age of the Spirit.(9) The whole history of the controversy since the 1330s must have run through the historian's mind as he waited with his group outside the palace that hot morning of May 28, 1351. His opposition to the theology of Palamas during the years since 1347, when he resolved to take up the fight, had been intellectually demanding, even draining as he himself wrote, and had cost him a lot at the court of his erstwhile friend, the new emperor, John VI Kantakuzenos.(10)

Ιn 1347, Kantakuzenos, a feudal magnate typical of this richest and most powerful class in late Byzantium, had triumphed after a long civil war (1341-1347) with the regency government of the young legitimate ruler, John V. Paleologos.(11) The present ruler owed a great deal to the support of the Hesychast monks and their theologian, for they had agitated as a political faction in his behalf during the long and dangerous civil war years.(12) The new emperor saw to it that the monk Akindynos, who had attacked Palamite theology, was condemned along with the Regency Patriarch, John Kalekas, who had supported Akindynos, at a church council in March 1347, and a new Tome or official report of the proceedings was published.(13) Kalekas and Akindynos had to go, because they refused to submit and because they had not only opposed Kantakuzenos but also Palamas. Α Palamite Patriarch, Isidore Boukheras was elected in May.(14) Νow the new emperor had no choice but to move against his old friend, the historian Nicephorus Gregoras, even though the latter had approved his cause in the civil war, even though the present emperor had been dazzled as a young minister at court by the erudition and brilliant grasp of Ancient Greek literature, history, and science of the older scholar.(15) But the historian had exhausted all that capital in personal pleas to the emperor to reject Palamas, something the emperor was really in no position to do, even if he had wanted it.(16) Besides, the authority of the historian's Byzantine Christian Humanism, with its greater emphasis on secular intellectual pursuits and on a rationalistic rather than inspirational and intuitive theology, would not change the position of the bishops and monks assembled inside the palace where the emperor was holding a last-minute discussion on the agenda of the council that was about to begin.(17) The historian recalled that, each day before, the council had brought fresh reports of slanders and threats made against him at court.(18) What did it matter that he had with him a few Byzantine bishops such as Matthew of Ephesos and Joseph of Ganos? As the historian wrote sympathetically (though not without implicit self-pity), Joseph for one had been "banned from his episcopate on account of his hatred of the evils of the church and the pestilences of the court," and had thus chosen to be "consumed his whole life by a complete and voluntary poverty" as a proof of his Christian Ascetic piety despite his opposition to Palamas' special version of ascetic commitment.(19) Matthew of Ephesos, an old man steeped in both ancient Greek and Christian wisdom, might be an examplar of piety too, for all these men were devout Christians, not virtual propagandists for a pagan humanistic revival simply because they were opposed to the extreme ascetic tendencies of Palamas. But by this time they were all familiar with this inflammatory accusation which we now know was often highly exaggerated, though not uncommon in Byzantium since the Iconoclast Controversy.(20) After all, the theologian, Gregory Palamas, had been making this charge against his critics beginning with the Barlaam for over a decade; it alternated with his even more misleading denunciation of them as heretics of one kind or another, or as "Latinizers" devotees of Latin Scholasticism with its allegedly abstract conception of God and its cold rules of logic, another accusation against the anti-Palamites which recent scholarship has disproved. At that time some knowledge of Latin Scholasticism, the philosophy of the Medieval West, had become available in Byzantium, where it became an easily misapplied term of abuse, used by theologians against theological enemies whose religious outlook was more rationalistic and whose concerns were partly secular.(21) Why, Palamas asked, should anyone in Byzantium pay heed to people who opposed him with such alien, rationalistic conceptions, popular in the Latin Church?(22) Reason, especially in the form of the discursive intellect, was useless as a means for the entire person to approach God. Only the contemplative commitment to the disciplines of Hesychia, of solitary contemplation and vision, could result in the Christian religious experience that would transform the whole person. This was what the monks at Mt. Athos believed and what Palamas had defended in book after book. Not a merely intellectual rationalistic understanding of God, but a supernatural experience that could reach the whole person and could change one's life.(23)

The historian, Nicephorus Gregoras, had heard these claims before. And he did not believe a word of them, as he rehearsed his own arguments in his mind that day the council was scheduled to begin. He too, like the previous opponents of Palamas, would accuse the mystic of heresy, and of innovation in doctrine as well.(24) As he stood outside the palace in the gathering heat of the day, he drew some confidence from the wider support of the Orthodox Church represented at least by Arsenios, Bishop of Tyre (1351-1366), who stood by his side. Arsenios represented the Patriarch of Antioch, Joseph, a vigorous opponent of the new mystical theology of Palamas. On the other hand, what could Arsenios and his Patriarch do?(25) The power of the oriental patriarchs had been limited for such a long time in relation to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.(26) For centuries the Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem had been outposts of Orthodoxy in a Muslim sea.(27) And the historian knew very well that to appeal to the Patriarch of Rome, that is, to the Pope, would be the kiss of death. The Latin West was an alien civilization. Since the Fourth Crusade conquered and plundered Constantinople in 1204 and temporarily set up a Latin Empire in Byzantium, the West was nο longer an exotic, barbaric Christian relative; it had become a feared and hated schismatic, even heretical, Christian society, whose Papal ideology and (supposedly) wholly rationalistic, existentially impoverished Scholasticism were perceived in Byzantium as incompatible, respectively, with Byzantine ecclesiastical authority and religious tradition.(28) Gregory relied οn support at home and tried to convince himself there was a consensus of opposition to Palamas in the great reaches of the Orthodox world. Both sides coveted international Orthodox support; and indeed the Patriarch of Jerusalem (or rather two rival Patriarchs) as well as the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius (the superior of Arsenios) became embroiled in the controversy, but as weak and rather minor figures; and two Cypriots, George Lapithes and John Kyparissiotes, opposed Palamas. But Gregoras was a late Byzantine Christian Humanist, and though late Byzantium had admirers of the West, he was not one of them.(29) As he recalled these events, he noted what he had said to his colleagues when they had gathered that morning at dawn in front of his home, the Monastery of the Chora, in Constantinople:

The courage of those who have assembled here is not ignoble; but our resistance is weak, having the hand and the opinion of the emperor exceedingly against us. And Ι think there is nο one graver for subjects to acquire as an enemy than the emperor who is surrounded with power. For you know that he nοt only constitutes himself as judge but also others, whom we are obliged to accuse of the gravest errors. And, at the same time, through threats against us, our will and generosity are tempted to waver and our courage of soul is to draw back.(30)

They had waited in front of the palace for hours that morning, told to keep silent by the imperial guards who dispersed them into small groups over the palace courtyard. They were informed that the emperor was holding a formal repast inside for the theologian Palamas and the bishops and monks supporting him.(31) And Gregoras, the historian, observed angrily in his account of these events that while he and his colleagues were being scorched by the sun, "inside the palace those contemplative men were feasting in a more mystical fashion on."(32) At exactly high nοοn, the emperor and the bishops transferred to the Triklinion of Alexis, a great audience hall in another part of the palace.(33) Last minute arrangements regarding agenda and protocol were still being made, though in effect all of this had been quite well prepared in advance. But the object was to bring it off without a hitch "so that," as Gregoras put it, "those listening to the proceedings would not be aware of these plans and know that they were being carried out by fraud and years of rehearsal.(34) Then the doorkeepers called Gregoras and his colleagues who were allowed to enter.


1. All translations or interpretations of the Byzantine Greek texts are my own unless otherwise stated. For the dates and the historical work of Gregoras see V. Grecu, "Das Geburtsjahr des byzantinischen Geschichtsschreibers Nikephoros Gregoras," Acadèmie Roumaine. Bulletin de la section historique, 27 (1946), 56-61. Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia, Ι-ΙΙ ed. L. Schopen; ΙΙΙ ed. Ι. Bekker (Corpus scriptorum historiae byzantinae Βonn, 1829-1855), Vol. ΙΙ, 891-892. Jan Louis Van Dieten, Nikephoros Gregoras Rhomäische Geschichte, Erster Teil (Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur, 4 [Stuttgart, 1973]), 38-40, argues from internal evidence that the relevant sections of his History were composed no earlier than the release of Gregoras from imprisonment in the Monastery of the Chora in 1354 after the abdication of Emperor John VI Κantakuzenos. Van Dieten is publishing a translation of the entire historical work of Gregoras, three volumes of which have so far appeared. This represents Chapters Ι-ΧΙ covering the period 1204-1341. Van Dieten is also preparing a critical edition of the Greek text for the Corpus fontium historiae byzantinae. The first part of the most important theological work by Gregoras bearing on Palamism has been edited and translated by Hans-Veit Beyer, Nikephoros Gregoras, Antirrhetika Ι (Wiener byzantinische Studien, 12 [Vienna, 1977]). The chief single work on Gregoras is R. Guilland, Essai sur Nicephore Gregoras Paris, 1926), which is out of date and in any case deals less with the historian's involvement in the Palamite Controversy. Αn article by Teresa Hart, "Nicephorus Gregoras: historian of the Hesychast Controversy," JEH 2 (1951), 169-179, deals mainly with general facts concerning the objectivity of the historian's account. For the most satisfactory introduction to the theological activities of Gregoras see Beyer, and for his historical work see Van Dieten. The study by Guilland is still the most comprehensive. For overall bibliography for the period see also Erich Τrapp, Rainer Walther, Hans-Veit Beyer, Prosopographisches Lexikon der Palaiologenzeit (Osterreichische Ak. der Wiss., Veroffentlichungen der Kommission fur Byzantinistik, 1/2 Vienna, 1977), 2. Faszikel, 234-237.

2. Three volumes of the complete works of Palamas have been published under the supervision of Ρ.Κ. Chrestu, Gregoriu tu Palama Syngrammata (Thessalonike, 19621970). The most important work of Palamas is his Peri ton hieros hesychazonton, edited and translated into French by Jean Meyendorff as Dèfense des saints hesychastes (Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense, ètudes et documents, 30-31 [Louvain, 1959]), reedited in vol. Ι of the collected works published by Chrestu. The most important modern work on Palamas is by J. Meyendorff, Introduction à l'étude de Grégoire Palamas (Paris, 1959). See also his collected articles, Byzantine Hesychasm: historical, theological, and social problems (London, 1974). Meyendorf views Palmas's theology as a natural evolution of Patristic thought and monastic piety. Α great deal of work by other scholars has since appeared, some of it more critical, and also paying more attention to the opponents of Palamas, such as Nicephorus and his predecessors, Barlaam of Calabria and Gregory Akindynos, for which see below. For literature in general up through 1972 see Daniel Stiernon, "Bulletin sur le Palamisme," REB, 30 (1972), 231-337. More recently, a representative series of articles has appeared in Eastern churches quarterly, 9 (1977). The most important single work on Palamite theology published since Meyendorff's major study appeared is G. Κ. Mantzarides, Palamika (Thessaloniki, 1973). References to further literature below.

3. For Mt. Athos see Ε. Amand de Mendieta, La presqu' ile des caloyers: Le Μοnt Athos (Paris, 1955) English trans. by Michael R. Bruce. Μοunt Athos. The Garden of the Panaghia (Berliner byzantinische Arbeiten, 41 [Βerlin, Amsterdam, 1972]). See also Le Millenaire de Mont Athos 963-1963: Etudes et melanges, 2 vols. (Wetteren, Belgium, 1963). For further literature see Mirjan Ζivοjinοvić, Svetogorski Kelije i pirgovi u sredniem veku-Kellia and pyrgoi on Mount Athos in the Middle Ages (Srpska akademije nauka i umetnosti, Vizantinoloski Ιnstitut, 13 [Belgrade, 1972]), summary in English. More recently, Hans-Veit Beyer, "Der 'Heilige Berg' in der byzantischen Literatur," JOB, 30 (1981), 171-205.

4. Οn Barlaam's background and Greek Orthodox identity see Martin Jugie, "Barlaam est-il ne catholique?" Echos d'orient, 39 (1940), 100-125. For his humanistic interests and intellectual development see Giuseppi Schiro, Ηο Barlaam kai he philosophia eis ten Thessaloniken kata tοn dekaton tetarton aiοna (Hetaireia makedonikon spoudon. Hidryma Mel. Chersonesou tou Haimou, 32 [Thessaloniki, 1959]); and Schiro, "Gregorio Palamas e la scienza profana," in Le Millenaire de Mont Athos, vol. 2, 8196 and Schiro, Barlaam Calabro epistole greche (Palermo, 1954), 19-216. For the conventional negative appraisal of Barlaam as a theologian and opponent of Palamas see J. Meyendorff, "Un mauvais theologien de l'unite: Barlaam le Calabrais," in L'Eglise et les eglises, 2 (Chevetogne, 1955), repr. in Meyendorff, Byzantine Hesychasm, and his discussion in Introduction d l'etude de Gregoire Palamas, 65-94. Barlaam's anti-Latin and anti-Palamite theology has now been discussed thoroughly by G. Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie in Byzanz (Byzantinisches Archiv, 15 [Munich, 1977]), 126-150, who convincingly rehabilitates Barlaam as a theologian with Orthodox roots. Podskalsky's work has made much of the previous treatment of Barlaam out of date, though the need for a reconsideration of Barlaam's theology had already been indicated by the research of John S. Romanides, Greek Orthodox Theological REview, 6 (1961), 186-205; 9 (1963), 225-270. The most thorough examination of the content of Barlaam's thought is to be found in two very important articles by R.Ε. Sinkewicz, "The Solutions addressed to George Lapithes by Barlaam the Calabrian and their philosophical context," Medieval Studies, 43 (1981), 151-217 and "The doctrine of the knowledge of God in the early writings of Barlaam the Calabrian," Medieval Studies, 44 (1982), 181-242. These articles, like the discussion by Podskalsky, prove that Barlaam's theological views were based on his understanding of apophatic theology, contrary to the claim, made by some modern scholars, that he was influenced by Latin Scholastic nominalism.

5. Gregory Akindynos has also been rehabilitated as an essentially Orthodox thinker who, like Barlaam, had roots in the apophatic or negative theology of the Greek church fathers. Unlike Barlaam, Akindynos relied less on dialectic than on textual exegesis. See Sergio Nadal, "La critique par Akindynos de l'hermeneutique patristque de Ρalamas," Istina, 19 (1984), 297-328. Nadal has been preparing an edition of the works of Akindynos, which are mainly unedited, except for his Confession of Faith, ed. by Μ. Candal, "La confession antipalamitica de Gregorio Acindino," OCP 25 (1950), 215-264, and his letters, now ed. by Angela C. Hero, Letters of Gregory Akindynos (Dumbarton Oaks Texts, 7 Corpus fontium historiae byzantinae, 21 [Washington, D.C., 1983]).

6. Individual studies in J. Bois, "Le synode Hesychaste de 1341," Echoes d'orient, 6 (1903), 5-60, and J. Meyendorff, "Le Tome synodale de 1347," Zbornik Radova, 8 (1963), 209-227, repr. in Meyendorff, Byzantine Hesychasm. See also, Meyendorff, Introduction, 80-18, 129-130. Meyendorff's presentation of the Council of 1341 has been criticized by Van Dieten, Nikephoros Gregoras Rhomaische Geschichte, ΙΙ, 2, n. 534, pp. 400-402, though the chief points he raises, such as the intitially limited approval given to Palamas in 1341, were already noted though less affirmatively by Bois (p. 55) and by Martin Jugie, "Palamite (Controverse)," Dictionnaire de theologie catholique, 11, 2 (Paris, 1932), 1781-1782, 1778-1784. See also the remarks of Beyer, Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetica I, 96-100, which draw attention to the significance of the same passages in the History of Gregoras noted by Van Dieten. See also above, notes 4 and 5. Barlaam's anti-Latin theories were borrowed whole cloth by Joannes Kantakuzenos, Neilos Kabasilas, Markos Eugenikos, and George Scholarios; see Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie, 166-167, 180-195, and Sinkewicz, "The doctrine of the knowledge of God," 240-241.

7. The accusations of "innovation" and "heresy" were levelled at Palamite theology on many different grounds by its opponents. Nicephorus Gregoras himself explains that he became an active opponent of Palamas when he was put under political pressure by the Empress Anne of Savoy to approve her deposition of the anti-Palamite Patriarch, John Kalekas, which was planned by the court in late 1346 and put into effect in early 1347. The aim was partly to placate Palamas, a political ally of the usurper, John Kantakuzenos. See Beyer, Nikephoros Gregoras Antirretika, Ι, 1, 7, 13-21, and Beyer's remarks, 110-112, plus the list of chief Palamite "errors" Gregoras noted in his first anti-Palamite work, the "Chapters," 112-115, which served as a schematic outline for the Antirrhetics. The 14th century controversy over Hesychasm and Palamism has its counterpart in modern scholarship οn these subjects, for which see Stiernon, "Bulletin" and Eastern Churches Quarterly, vοl. 9, above, and G. Podskalsky, "Orthodoxe und westliche Theologie," XVI. Inter. Byzantinisten Kongress, Akten Ι/2 (Vienna, 1981), 518-521.

8. Esp. in Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙ, 3, 20 (429-431), and ΙΙΙ, 1, 10 (575576), ΙΙ, 1, 16 ff. (589 ff.). For an up-to-date discussion of the rοle played by the "uncreated light" in the original dispute between Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria, see Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie, 150-156. For Meyendorff's observations οn the "uncreated light" see Introduction, 243-244, 260-266, Vladimir Lossky, "La theologie de la lumiere chez saint Gregoire de Thessalonique," Dieu vivant, 1 (1945), 95-118; "Darkness and light in the knowledge of God," Eastern Churches Quarterly, 8 (1950), 460-471; "Le probleme de la 'Vision face à face' et la tradition patristique de Byzance;" Studia patristica, ΙΙ (Berlin, 1957), 512-537. See also the positive remarks of G. Podskalsky "Gott ist Licht-Zur Gotteserfahrung in der griechischen Theologie und Mystik," Geist und leben, 39 (1966), 201-214. The most recent article οn this subject shows there were definite elements in the Palamite conception of the "uncreated light" which may have derived ultimately from 4th century Messalianism, see Hans Veit Beyer, "Die Lichtlehre der Monche des vierzehnten und des vierten Jahrhunderts, erortert am Beispiel des Gregorios Sinaites, des Evagrios Pontikos und des Ps. Makarios/Symeon, XVI Ιnt. Byzantinistenkongress, Akten I/2 (Vienna, 1981), 473-512. Unfortunately, Beyer does not discuss any concrete lines of transmission, and the recurrence of certain formulae is nο proof in itself.

9. Irenée Hausherr, La methode d' oraison hesychaste (Orientalia christiana, ΙΧ, 2 [Rome, 1927]); "Variations recentes dan les jugements sur la methode d'oraison des hesychastes," OCP 19 (1953), 424-428; L'hesychasme. Etude de spiritualité," OCP 22 (1956), 5-40, 247-285. Endre vοn Ivanka, Plato christianus. Ubernahme und Umgestaltung des Platonismus durch die Vater (Einsiedeln, 1964), 389 ff.: "Hesychasmus und Palamismus." The claims of the Athonite monks are best exemplified in their manifesto, written in support of Palamite theology, entitled the Hagioretic Tome, the result of a conventicle held at Mt. Athos in 1340. It was intended to aid in winning over the Patriarch in any final decision about Barlaam versus Palamas. The text is in J. Ρ. Migne, Patrologia graeca, 151, 1225-1236. The text was actually written by Palamas himself, as Meyendorff pointed out in "Une letter inedite de Gregoire Palamas a Akindynos," Theologia, 24 (1953), 581, repr. in Meyendorff, Byzantine Hesychasm. 5. Some years ago Ι published an article οn the Hagioretic Tome entitled "Eschatological theory in Byzantine Hesychasm: Α parallel to Joachim da Fiore?" ΒΖ 70 (1977), 324-346. Ιt is now clear to me that the literary source of its conception of three ages is neither Western nor heretical but probably the church father Maximus Confessor, Capita theologica, MPG, 90, 1137 CD. This is apparent from a comparison made between the relevant passages in the Hagioretic Tome and Maximus Confessor by George Mantzarides, "Tradition and renewal in the theology of Saint Gregory Palamas." Eastern Churches Review, 9 (1977), 17. Meyendorff refers to other Patristic sources and the biblical foundations in introduction, 267-269. However, inasmuch as the Hesychasts turned the Biblical notion οf the role of the Holy Spirit (as in Acts 2:14-18; Romans 5:1-5) into a monastic ideology justifying their unique authority in the church, it would seem that the eschatology of the Hagioretic Tome is more radical than Mantzarides or Meyendorff maintain. The Tome states (1229 ΑΒ) that anyone who does not accept the definition of the "energies of the Spirit" as proclaimed by the Hesychasts risks excommunication and damnation.

10. Βyzantina historia, ΙΙ, 823-824.

11. Günter Weiss, Joannes Kantakuzenos, Aristokrat, Staatsmam, Kaiser und Μonch (Wiesbaden, 1969), 113-122. See also Klaus-Peter Matschke, Fortschritt und Reaktion in Byzanz im 14. Jahrhundert, Konstantinopel in der Burger-Kriegsperiode von 134l1354 (Berlin, 1971). The career of John V, which began in the regency of his mother, Anne of Savoy (1341-1347) and then of the usurper, John VI Kantakuzenos (13471354) proved to be a long but melancholy one. He ruled as Emperor from 1354-1391. See Ο. Halecki, Un empereur de Byzance a Rome (Travaux historique de la société des sciences et des lettres de Varsovie [Warsaw, 1930]). Αn up-to-date biography of John V is needed. The most recent narrative account of this reign is Donald Μ. Nicol, The Last Centuries of Byzantium (London, 1972), 265-309.

12. Weiss, Joannes Kantakuzenos, 113-122.

13. Meyendorff, Introduction, 113-120. George Τ. Dennis, "The deposition of the Patriarch Calecas," JOBG, 9 (1960), 51-55; J. Meyendorff, "Le Tome Synodale de 1347," Zbornik radova, 8 (1963), 209-227, repr. in Meyendorff, Byzantine Hesychasm. Τhe Tome of 1347 based its broad approval of "the piety of Palamas and the monks" on the Tome of 1341(paragraph 5, p. 214), ignoring the disciplinary provisions appended to the Tome of 1341 at the behest of the Patriarch Kalekas which had forbidden further discussion on points of dogma, specifically the Palamite essence-energy distinction (MPG, 151, 692 Α). The limited nature of the original proceedings was not stressed by Kalekas (as one would expect) in his Interpretation of the Tome, MPG, 150, 900 C-903 Β, and by Akindynos, Report to the Patriarch, ed. F. Uspenskij, Sinodik v nedetjy pravoslavija (Odessa, 1893), 86-92, but is also clearly indicated by Gregoras, Βyzantina historia, ΧΙ, 10, vol. ΙΙ, 558, and by the pro-Palamite John Kantakuzenos, Historiarum, ed. L. Schopen (Βonn, 1828), vol. Ι, 555-556. Meyendorff's observation that Palamas felt himself justified in 1342 when he began writing against the still only oral criticisms of Akindynos because the Tome of 1341 had fully sanctioned the dogmatic underpinnings of his theology cannot be accepted. Meyendorff quotes Gregoras as referring to Patriarch Kalekas having abrogated the Tome of 1341 (introduction, 116, note 100: Gregoras, Byzantina historia, XV, 7, vol. ΙΙ, 768) but the remark of Gregoras is elliptical, since in context it represents Kantakuzenos as holding Kalekas responsible for the abrogation of the Tome, but does not assign sole or specific guilt to Kalekas in fact, emphasizing rather the profound malice of Κantakuzenos toward the Patriarch. See also the remarks of Van Dieten, note 6 above. Palamas always viewed his own sanction as unlimited, pointing to the passage in the Tome of 1341 which threatened with excommunication anyone who, like Barlaam, continued to attack the Hesychasts and their peity. He ignored the fact that this level of approval was not, in itself, a wholesale endorsement of all aspects of his theology; see Antirrhetics against Akindynos in Syngrammata, vol. 3, 1, 10, 54, pp. 77-78, and Refutation of the Letter of Kalekas, Syngrammata, vol. 2, 587-624.

14. Vitalien Laurent, "La chronologie des patriarches de Constantinople de la première moitié du XIV siècle (1294-1350)," REB, 7 (1959); 154-155.

15. Guilland, Nicephore Gregoras, 95-102. Note 7 above, and also Beyer, "Nikephoros Gregoras als Theologe und sein erstes Auftreten gegen die Hesychasten," JOB, 20 (1971), 171-188.

16. Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 823. "There was nothing which Ι myself was not prepared to do οr say; and Ι tried every approach, leaving no stone unturned," 824: "Βut the things Ι said were a vain multitude. Ι was making a pointless effort. For he himself was not even slightly inclined to yield from his resolve. .."

17. Ibid., 897-890.

18. Ibid., 891-892.

19. Ibid., 892-893. Joseph οf Ganos is an obscure individual in the controversy; see Meyendorff, Introduction, 1-3, 141, 145, 153, and J. Darrouzes, Les regestes des actes du Patriarch de Constantinople V (Ι/5) (Ρaris, 1977), nos. 2227, 2235, 2263, 2272, 2281, 2289, 2323, 2324, 2415, 2619. Donald Μ. Νicοl, The Last Centuries of Byzantium (New York, 1972), 239-240.

20. Οn Matthew of Ephesus and his rationalistic outlook in religion and secular cultural interests (inclined, like those of like-minded Byzantines οf the time, to clash with Palamite mysticism) see Nikephoros Gregoras, Antirrhetika, 31-35; D. Reinsch, Die Briefe des Matthaios von Ephesos im Codex Vindobonensis Theol. Gr. Ι74 (Βerlin, 1974), 11-25; S.Ι. Kutusis, Manuel Matthaios Gabalas eita Matthaios Metropolites Ephesu (1271/1272-1355/1360), 1 (Athens, 1972), 295-351. Speros Vryonis, The decline of Medieval Hellenism and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1971), 344-347. The grave inaccuracy of seeing the controversy as a dispute between Christians οn the one hand and essentially secular humanists οn the other was demonstrated by Hans-Georg Beck, "Humanismus und Palamismus," XIIe Congres International des Etudes Byzantines, Rapports, ΙΙΙ (Belgrade, Ochrid, 1961), 63-82. Recently, however, the secular tendencies of the 14th and 15th century Byzantine Christian humanists and theological rationalists have been reemphasized by Igor Ρ.Medvedev, "Neue Philosophische Ansatze im spaten Byzanz," XVI Int. Byzantinisten Kongress, Akten 1/2 (Vienna, 1981), 529-548. See also the work by Romanides, Podskalsky and Sinkewicz (note 4, above and note 55, below).

21. Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie, 173-230.

22. Palamas was, of course, familiar with Βarlaam's treatises critical of Latin theological claims, such as the filioque, written in support of Church Union for the government of Emperor Andronikos ΙΙΙ in the 1330s. But, however critical οf Latin and especially Thomist theology, Barlaam's emphasis οn reason and dialectic made him look decidedly Western tο Palamas. See J. Meyendorff, "L'origine de la controverse Palamite. La premiere lettre de Palamas a Akindynos," Theologia, 25 (1954), 602-630, repr. in Meyendorff, Byzantine Hesychasm: see also Defenses des saints hesychastes, ΙΙΙ, 1, 3-5.

23. Esp. Défense des saints hesychastes, Triad Ι. The Palamite position was well summarized in the Hagioretic Tome, 1228 CD: "Some were initiated by experience who, through love of the Gospel, rejected the acquisition of possessions as well as the glory of the world and the lusts οf the body which are nοt good. But not only this, for they emphasized their renunciation by submitting themselves to others who had achieved the life in Christ. Βy dedicating themselves without hesitation to Quietism (Hesychia) and through constant prayer, they transcended themselves and were in God through the mystical uniοn with Him that goes beyond mind: thus, they were initiated into that which transcends minds."

24. Hans-Veit Beyer, "Nikephoros Gregoras als Theologe und sein erstes Auftreten gegen die Hesychasten," JOB, 20 (1971), 171-188; provides a more detailed summary of the contents of the Antirrhetics. There is as yet nο comprehensive study of the theological and philosophical views οf Gregoras οn Palamism and related issues, as expressed in the Antirrhetics οr those sections of his historical work which are devoted to the Palamite Controversy and repeat much of the same material. Only the latter work presents a more or less narrative discussion of the historian's role in the controversy from 1347 through the Council of 1351: Βyzantina historia, Vol. Χ, XV ΧΧ. For the period after 1351 other sources may be consulted.

25. Meyendorff, Introduction, 144-146. The role of Arsenios is mentioned by Gregoras, Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 893-991, 1012. Selection from his protest against the Council of 1351 in Mezcati, Notizie di Procoro e Demetrio Cidone, Manuele Caleca e Teodoro Melitiniota ed altri appunti per la storia della teologia e della letteratura bizantina del secolo XIV (Studi e testi, 56 [Citta del Vaticana, 1931]), 210-217. This was a detailed discussion of an outline for an anti-Palamite Tome prepared by Arsenios, in which he is highly critical οf the Council of 1351. The text itself is in vat. gr. 2335, ff. 1-3 and had nοt been published in full. Other anti-Palamite works by Arsenios are his so-called Appeal to Kantakuzenos, Vat. gr. 1111 ff. 223-321, discussed by Mercati, Notizie, 228-229, but ascribed to Theodore Dexios, whereas Meyendorff identifies its author as Arsenios, Introduction, 409, and finally his anti-Palamite pamphlets, Vat. gr. 1828 ff. 258-280. On the question οf authorship, Meyendorff, Introduction, 409. Νο thorough evaluation οf the contents of these works exists, but see also the remarks of Weiss, Joannes Kantakuzenos, 134-137 (who, however, treats their author as an anonymous anti-Palamite). See note 29 below. See also Joseph Nasrallah, Chronologie des Patriarches Melkites d'Antioche de 1250 a 1500 (Jerusalem, 1968), 13-18.

26. Although the claims of the Patriarchs of Constantinople antedated the Αrab invasions which cut Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria off from imperial territory. See Ε. Herman, "Chalkedon und die Ausgestaltung des konstantinopolitanischen Primats," in Das Κοnzil von Chalkedon, Ι (Wurzburg, 1951), 459-490, and V. Laurent, "Le titre de patriarche oecumenique et la signature patriarcale," REB, 6 (1948), 5-26.

27. Hans-Georg Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), 34-35.

28. Donald Μ. Νicοl, Church and Society in the Last Centuries of Byzantium (Cambridge, 1979), 66-97; Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (Chicago and London, 1977), 270-298.

29. Gregoras, Βyzantina historia, ΙΙ, 786-787, refers to international Orthodox οppοsition to the consecration of Isidore of Monemvasia as Patriarch in 1347 and to the Palamite theological "innovations." He mentions official resistance from the elders and bishops of the church in Antioch, Alexandria, Trebizond, Cyprus, Rhodes, Bulgaria, and Serbia. We have already discussed Antioch (in connection with the spirited resistance οf its suffragan, Arsenios, Bishop of Tyre). Cyprus, under the political authority of the French Lusignan kings, was the home of Lapithes and Kyparissiotes, neither of whom however was a cleric; see Ε. Tsolakes, "Ηο Georgios Lapithes kai he hesychastike erida," Hellenika, 18 (1964), and Β.L. Dentakes, loannes Kyparissiotes, ho sophos kai philosophos (Hesychastiaki kai philosophikai meletai, 3 [Athens, 1965]). Gregoras does not mention the rivalry of Lazarus (the candidate of John Kantakuzenos) and Gerasimos for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in this connection, though he does elsewhere in Βyzantina historia, ΙΙΙ, 22; see Peter Wirth, "Der Patriarchat des Gerasimos und der zweite Patriarchat des Lazaros von Jerusalem," ΒΖ, 54 (1961), 319-323. There is no evidence for clerical opposition from Serbia, Bulgaria, Trebizond, or Alexandria, to the election of Isidore or the Palamite doctrines. At any rate, it is impossible to determine the truth of Gregoras' assertion that letters from "bishops and elders" from all these places were sent in support of the Anti-Palamite Tome (MPG 150, 877D-885A) that was composed by those opponents of Isidore and Palamas who were in Constantinople, which included Neophytos of Philippi, Joseph of Ganos, Metrophanes of Patras, Matthew of Ephesos. The names of the actual participants can be determined from the Tome Against Matthew of Ephesos, published in August, 1347, which decreed their deposition; see Porfirii Uspenskii, Historia afona (St. Petersburg, 1892), vol. 3, pt. 2, 728-737. This Tome was prepared for a council, held shortly before under the supervision of Patriarch Isidore, which was reacting to the conventicle these bishops had held which had published its Anti-Palamite Tome in July. For discussion, see Meyendorff, Introduction, 132-134. According to Darrouzes, Les regestes des actes du patriarcat de Constantinople, Ι, 5 (note 19 above), 228: "Quant a ceux de l'exterieur, le nombre est incontrolable." Ιt would appear that Gregoras is exaggerating in order to suggest a consensus of international Orthodox opposition to Palamite ecclesiastical politics and theology which barely existed. Given the geographical distances and political difficulties of the times it would have been very difficult to coordinate any effective resistance on such a scale.

30. Gregoras had the opportunity to display his own anti-Latin prejudices in an intellectual debate with Βarlaam of Calabria himself which took place before the Hesychast Controversy began, probably in 1331. His alleged "triumph" over Barlaam he represented as a victory of Greek over Latin wisdom and knowledge. See Ρ.L.Μ. Leone, Niceforo Gregora Fiorenzo, ο intornο alla sapienza, testo critico, introduzione, traduzione e commentario (Naples, 1975) and Nikephoros Gregoras Antirretika, 3652. He rejected any policy of Church Union; see Μ. Paperozzi, "Un opusculo di Niceforo Gregora sulle condizione del dialogo con i Latini, La chiesa greca in Italia dall VIII al ΧVΙ Secolo, ΙΙΙ (Padua, 1973), 1331-1359.

31. Byzantiιta historia, ΙΙ, 894-895.

32. Βyzantina historia, ΙΙ, 898.

33. Ibid. Οn the Triklinion of Alexis see Raymond Janin, Constantinople byzantin (Ρaris, 1964), 123-Ι28.

34. Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 898.

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