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Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

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The Controversy Concerning Western Influence
Christos Yannaras is perhaps the severest critic of St Nicodemus' influence, seeing the negative effects of the West not only in his repackaging of Catholic books, but by his use of Roman canon law in ''The Rudder'', his adoption of the Anselmian view of the Atonement, and his acceptance of the Catholic practice of indulgences. (There is an extant letter by St Nicodemus to Bishop Paisios of Stagai requesting an indulgence, and promising financial payment for it.) Yannaras also sees the influence of Western pietistic moralism in Nicodemus; ''Chrestoethia of Christians'' (1803), in which he condemns musical instruments, dancing, (non-liturgical) singing, the telling of jokes, etc., and tells Christians that such conduct will lead not only to their own punishment, but to the death of their unborn children.<ref>See Yannaras, pp. 128-137.</ref>
Although Metallinos is keen to defend the Orthodoxy of Nicodemus' writings, in his introduction to the ''Exomologetarion'' he admits that its language "appears intensely scholastic" and "is repugnant to today's believer." He acknowledges that NIcodemus says things about sin, God, and God's wrath that sound quite unorthodox, writing: "“AdmittedlyAdmittedly, if these phrases are detached from their context, they immediately take on a cruel, sadistic character, overturning the theology of divine love which permeates the spirit of Orthodox (ecclesiastical) soteriology (see Jn. 3:16, Rom. 5:8, etc.). For this reason, it is necessary to place them in the entire context of St. Nikodemos’ thought and activity.” Bur his attempt at such placement is unlikely to convince critics.

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