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Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

1 byte removed, 23:33, July 16, 2018
Writings: reorganizing
Although some critics have criticized his writings for influence from [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] spirituality, canon law, and theology, his life work clearly focused on reviving traditional Orthodox texts and ascetic practices, while making use of limited materials at hand amid the Turkish occupation of the Greek world, which involved sometimes adapting Catholic materials. He translated and revised "The Spiritual Combat" (1589) by Lorenzo Scupoli, a Catholic priest of Venice, renaming it "Unseen Warfare," as well as the "Spiritual Exercises" of J.P. Pinamonti (sometimes wrongly thought to have been Ignatius Loyola's original work), probably via a Greek translation by Emmanuel Rominantes. Accusations of Catholic and Pietistic influences on his work, a topic of controversy going back to divisions over the Kollyvades ascetic reform movement with which St. Nicodemus was associated in the Greek Church in his day, have been disputed. For a recent detailed discussion, see the introductory materials to "Christian Morality," a 2012 English translation of his 1803 "Chrestoethia of Christians." A current commentator in the new translation remarks on how that handbook on moral behavior reflects Orthodox ascetic tradition and Athonite "monastic propriety of his age," responding at times to "conventions upheld by the civil authorities" for a populace under a [[Muslim]] colonial regime, rather than Catholic or Pietist influence. Likewise, although it was alleged that the saint drew on Catholic sources for his manual of confession (which became standard in Greek Orthodoxy), this is disputed in Fr. George Mellitos' introduction to the most recent English translation of the book. Archimandrite Chrysostom Maidones, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Hierissos in Greece, in a recent English translation of St Nicodemus' "Concerning Frequent Communion," suggests how past neglect by academic theology of the "Fathers of the Philokalic movement," including St. Nicodemus, contributed to a lack of proper context for the Saint's work among modern scholars.
Recent renewed attention in the West to the primary Orthodox context of the Saint's writings reflects the expanded availability of English translations of his major books in the past decade, as well as greater awareness of the cosmopolitan contexts of Christian sources in the early modern period--through, for example, scholarship on the sequences of translation and adaptation of Roman Catholic texts in the East, and better understanding of the influence of the Orthodox ascetic texts of the Macarian homilies on Pietism. In this light, the main context of St. Nicodemus' works can be appreciated as firmly in the tradition of Orthodox asceticism--exemplified by the sources and influence of "The Philokalia"--applicable in varying ways to monastics, clergy, and laity alike. The legacy of St. Nicodemus' voluminous scholarship can also be understood from a larger perspective as an Orthodox Christian alternative, from Mount Athos, to a variety of eighteenth-century cultural movements in Europe, including not only the Enlightenment, but also the aftermath of the Counter-Reformation, Pietism, and the beginning of Romanticism.

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