Kollyvades Movement

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The Kollyvades Movement was a movement among some monks of Mount Athos that began in the middle of the eighteenth century. The movement was concerned with restoration of traditional practices and opposed unwarranted innovations.

Kollya offering at Vatopedi Monastery at Mt. Athos.

The movement derives its name from the kollyva (boiled wheat) which is used during memorial services. Its proponents were Athonite monks who adhered strictly to Holy Tradition, and were opposed to unwarranted innovations. They were in favor of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, and practiced unceasing prayer of the heart. They insisted that memorial services should not be performed on Sundays, because that is the day of the Lord's Resurrection. In the Orthodox Church, Saturday is the usual day for the commemoration of the dead.


The movement arose in 1754 out of a dispute within the Skete of St. Anne at Mount Athos when a group of monks objected to the scheduling of the commemoration of the dead on Sunday, the day that represented the Resurrection and Christ's victory over death, instead of Saturday or weekdays as it had been according to ancient custom. Other monks held that the commemoration of the dead has a Resurrection theme in every Liturgical celebration. While much animosity developed between the groups, the movement of the Kollyvades, as they became known, became part of an attempt to address deficiencies in spiritual life that had arisen in the Church since Byzantine times.

In addition to the issue of following proper ritualistic traditions, there was a concern for return to a Eucharistic-centered spirituality and to the precepts preached by the Hesychasts of the fourteenth century. The Kollyvades movement strove for a rediscovery of Patristic theology and a liturgical life that included frequent communion. The movement came under assault by many at Mount Athos and elsewhere, attacks that became, at times, vicious and beyond what one would expect from monastics and clergy of any rank. In 1776, during this conflict, Fr. Athanasius Parios was condemned as a heretic, defrocked, and excommunicated by Patriarch Sophronius II and the Holy Synod of Constantinople, before Patr. Gabriel IV and the Holy Synod, in 1781, found the charges against him absurd and unfounded and lifted his suspension. He was restored to his priestly rank.

The Holy Fathers of the Kollyvades movement included : Neophytos Kavsokalyvites, St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain, St. Makarius (Notaras) of Corinth, St. Nektarios of Pentapolis, St. Kosmas Aitolos, St. Sabbas of Kalymnos, St. Athanasius of Parios, St. Paisios Velitchovsky, and St. Nicholas Planas,


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