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Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

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The Orthodox theological professor Fr. [[Stanley S. Harakas|Stanley Harakas]], in his preface to the 1989 English translation of the saint's "A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel" in the Classics of Western Spirituality series, wrote that "He embodied the best traditions of Orthodox Christianity, which may be characterized as holistic and integrative." And Dr. George Bebis, in a survey of St. Nicodemus' prolific writings in the same volume, describes him as "A man who grasped both the letter and the spirit of the canons of the Church....also a pastor par excellence."
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. 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. 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.
==The Controversy Concerning Western Influence==

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