Jump to: navigation, search

Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

365 bytes removed, 16:11, August 1, 2018
The Controversy Concerning Western Influence: removed Larchet reference
There is continued disagreement about the provenance of Nicodemus' ''Exomologetarion'', his manual for confession. Like most of his writings, and many of those from pre-modern Orthodox authors who saw themselves as writing in a tradition rather than originating new work as with the saint’s work in compiling the Philokalia, it is not an original work. Nicodemus says he compiled the “Exomologetarion” from "various teachers." In his Introduction to the work, Protopresbyter George Metallinos argues that his sources were Eastern, alleging that "he had no direct contact with Western sources” for it. Metropolitan [[Kallistos Ware]] holds that the Exomolgetarion is "mostly a direct translation" of two books on confession by the Italian Jesuit, Paolo Segneri (1624-1694)<ref>In his "St Nikodimos and the Philokalia," in Graham Speake, ''Mount Athos, the Sacred Bridge: The Spirituality of the Holy Mountain'', p. 91. The two books by Segneri are ''Il confessore istruito'' and ''Il penitence istruito''.</ref> Bishop Basil of Wichita in his introduction to the “Exomologetarion” (linked under sources below) argues for the edifying value of St. Nicodemus’ work from an Orthodox perspective.
The twentieth-century scholar Christos Yannaras is perhaps the severest critic of St Nicodemus' influence, seeing the negative effects of the West not only in his adaptation of Catholic books, but alleging the saint’s use of Roman canon law in ''[[The Rudder]]'' (Πηδάλιον,''Pedalion''), adoption of the Anselmian view of the Atonement, and acceptance of the Catholic practice of indulgences. (There is an extant letter by St. Nicodemus to Bishop Paisios of Stagai that Yannaras construes as 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> However, Yannaras’ scholarship and advocacy of spiritual eroticism and personalism have themselves been criticized for anachronistic twentieth-century Western approaches to earlier sources by the scholar Jean-Claude Larchet among others, raising questions about Yannaras’ assessment of the work of a saint who was also a prime compiler of “The Philokalia.” 
Yannaras points to both the ''Exomologetarion'' and Nicodemus' other compilation of canons, ''The Rudder'', as imposing a Western, juridical approach to the [[Confession | Mystery of Repentance (Confession)]], saying that "This pastoral approach, however, provoked opposition, contempt or indifference in the laity: one traumatic confession in the new judicial format might make people cut their ties with the Church."<ref>Yannaras, p. 135.</ref> At least one Athonite elder, St. [[Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalivite]], also found using the ''Exomologetarion'' harsh and counter-productive and ceased to use it for that reason.<ref>''Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios'', pp. 43-44.</ref>

Navigation menu