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Движение отцов Колливадов и их значение





The Kollyvades Movement and its Significance


The great teachers of the Church and of the Greek nation, Makarios Notaras, Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and Athanasios of Paros, who lived and worked in the 18th and early 19th centuries, form a new trinity of shining lights of the Church, like the three Fathers of the Church in the past, relatively speaking of course and bearing in mind the historical circumstances they lived through with their similarities and differences. To these three must be added Neophytos of Kafsokalyvia, who started the movement, although he was not as important or active as the other three would later become, thus earning their place in the Communion of Saints. They were nicknamed Kollyvades by their opponents on the Holy Mountain because they objected to the transfer of the memorial services (involving kollyva) from Saturday to Sunday in defiance of tradition, rightly judging that services for the dead are incompatible with the resurrectional and festal nature of Sunday.

The Kollyvades Saints

 This of course was a minor detail within their greater work of renewal and enlightenment. It was deliberately stressed and exaggerated in order to obscure the importance of their other work, and also to denigrate them as being people who concerned themselves with petty matters, as memorial services and kollyva supposedly were. Even today there are scholars who belittle them and their work, seeing the whole through the distorting prism of the memorial service controversy. Fortunately in recent decades, during which Greek historical and theological research has begun to free itself from Western ties, dependency and influence, their work has been reassessed as an 18th century philokalian renaissance. This renaissance had a decisive impact in strengthening and reinforcing the education of the enslaved Orthodox peoples and in preserving their awareness of who they were, not only vis-à-vis the Ottoman conquerors but also vis-à-vis the Western missionaries who spread out all over the Orthodox world, proselytising by unfair means, and especially by exploiting the ignorance, enslavement and poverty of the Orthodox faithful.

There was a great danger that the Orthodox would convert either to Islam or to a Western form of Christianity. Indeed, the second was the greater danger due to the West’s high level of civilisation, which made assimilation easier, whereas the feeling of superiority to Islam raised some barriers and reservations. There is the classic statement by the other great teacher and saint of that period, St Kosmas Aetolos, explaining why God allowed the Orthodox to be enslaved by the Turks rather than by the Franks [Westerners]: “Three hundred years after Christ’s Resurrection, God sent us Saint Constantine and established the kingdom for 1150 years. Then God took it away from the Christians, and for their own good gave it to the Turk for 320 years. And why did God bring the Turk and not some other nation? For our own good, because the other nations would have harmed our faith, but the Turk, as long as you give him money, will let you do as you like.”

However, after the dark ages of ignorance and illiteracy of the previous centuries, the roots of education were needed to raise a barrier against conversions to Islam or Western Christianity, to prevent a multitude of small streams becoming a river that would sweep away the Nation. What St Kosmas Aetolos did by travelling around the country and founding schools for the people, the Kollyvades Saints did at a higher level by publishing and interpreting texts from Scripture and the Fathers, Lives and Services of Saints, hymns, and even grammar, rhetoric and philosophy textbooks and also ancient Greek and Western classical writers. The aim was to enlighten the Nation and maintain it in its faith and in the traditions of the Fathers, to preserve Greek Orthodox culture. They wanted to ensure that in the schools, which were appearing in increasing numbers, the teachers, monks and priests would be able to understand Greek texts through school education, but also to publish these texts, since the manuscripts were few and far between, either hidden away in monastic libraries or looted by crafty foreign travellers.

One can even discern in their truly impressive educational and literary efforts a special emphasis on action to meet the danger of conversions to Islam or Western Christian denominations. It is well known that many Neo-Martyrs had as mentors, who supported them psychologically on the road to martyrdom, Kollyvades Saints such as St Makarios and St Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain. It is certain that what many Neo-Martyrs proclaimed before the Turkish judges regarding the superiority of the Christian faith to the religion of Muhammed, which they disparage and reject, echoed the teaching of the Kollyvades Saints. Many of these exchanges between these Neo-Martyrs and the Turkish judges, which recall the martyrologies of old, were preserved by St Nikodemos in his “New Martyrology”. The same interpretation must be put on the anti-Western works of St Athanasios of Paros; “The Antipope”, “The Judgement of Heaven”, “That Palamas” and other works on the aberrations and errors of the Latins.

The contribution of the Kollyvades to education and culture was not limited to raising the self-awareness of the Orthodox peoples vis-à-vis the twin dangers of assimilation by East or West, which were very great. It had another, equally broad, dimension, in which they appeared to have less success, not because their teachings were without effect, but because unfortunately, from 1821 the modern Greek state was violently cut off from the Greek Orthodox tradition. It abandoned traditional Greek Christian education and, guided by and in tutelage to the West, turned against its Byzantine heritage, against the Saints and the Church Fathers, against all that was holy for the Nation.

It is known that the Kollyvades Saints, and especially St Athanasios of Paros, clashed with the European and Europeanising supporters of the Enlightenment in modern Greece, who adopted the ideas of the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and even the atheism of Voltaire, and who attempted to direct the course of modern Greek culture towards classical antiquity, extolling and stressing the worldly wisdom and knowledge of antiquity while underrating or ignoring divine wisdom. Rationalism, science, knowledge and freedom were the new deities in the Enlightenment creed. The Byzantine synthesis, in which the healthy elements of the ancient Greek spirit were preserved and strengthened and pressed into the service of the divine message of love, humility and reconciliation that derives from the teaching of the Gospel of the Cross, was abandoned and disparaged. It was essentially a new form of persecution of the church, similar to the attempts by the Emperor Julian the Apostate in the fourth century to revive pure Hellenism in the place of Christianity, and by Barlaam the Calabrian in the fourteenth century to introduce into Orthodox Byzantium the scholasticism and rationalism of the Western Renaissance, rejecting the tried and true method of enlightenment and perfection used by the Fathers of the Church which emphasised divine wisdom, but without rejecting worldly or human wisdom. The three Fathers of the fourth century, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, with their fine classical Greek education, like St Gregory Palamas in the fourteenth century, barred the way back to an unwholesome classicism that places the created above the uncreated, human wisdom above divine wisdom, as was said by the blessed monk Christoforos Papoulakos on observing the wrong course taken after 1821 by westernised Greek scholars and clergymen, who adopted in their entirety the ideas of the European Enlightenment.

It is worth noting that the revolutionary heroes of 1821, Kolokotronis, Makrygiannis, Papaflessas and others, who had been brought up in the spirit of tradition, felt betrayed on this point. They had struggled to free the Greeks from the Turks in body, and now they saw Greece becoming enslaved spiritually, surrendering her soul, to the Europeans.

Latinisation returned in the form of Europeanisation and Westernisation. The West, which had been unable to “enlighten” free Byzantium with Barlaam the Calabrian, that is to plunge the Greeks into darkness, because St Gregory Palamas reacted with the Hesychast movement, nor again under the Turkish occupation due to the Hesychastic movement of the Kollyvades, attempted again after 1821 by placing the modern Greek state, education and culture under its spiritual tutelage. It seems, however, that it is once again being defeated.

The Kollyvades, reviled even in the name they were given, profoundly influenced Orthodox faith and life as true successors of the patristic Hesychast tradition. Both the Holy Mountain, which bred them, and St Gregory Palamas can be proud of these great teachers of Orthodoxy and the Nation.


Движение отцов Колливадов: появление его в истории и значение для нашего времени

The movement of Kollyvades as it appears throughout history and in the present


Throughout the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit has been endorsing some spiritual figures who not only leave their mark in their times but also become illuminating beacons for the future generations. Therefore, by looking up to them, we “the ones who have reached the end of ages” are able to sail through the seas of tribulation, of passions and of the devil’s delusions without danger, without “wetting our feet” to reach the port of the “true life”, of impassion, of Sabbatism and thus accomplish our deliverance. Such personalities were the Three Hierarchs, St Maximus the Confessor, St Simon the New Theologian, St Gregory Palamas as well as the Fathers of the Kollyvades movement.

The presence of the Kollyvades during the 18th Century in the Holy Mountain and generally throughout Greece has caused an active return to the roots of Orthodox Patristic Tradition.

The forerunners to this movement have been sarcastically described by their adversaries in the Holy Mountain as ‘Kollyvades’, because they had opposed the untraditional practice of transferring the memorial services for the deceased from Saturday to Sunday; the latter were correct in arguing that by transferring these services would insult to the Festal Day of the Resurrection.

More specifically the reason for the movement was provided by the monks of the Skete of St Anne’s in the Holy Mountain. In 1754, these monks had been trying to rebuild the central church of the Skete, the Kyriakon. But because they had to work on Saturday, they decided not to carry out the memorial services for the deceased on that day as they were traditionally held throughout the Holy Mountain, but on Sunday after the Divine Liturgy. This decision which contravened  the Ecclesiastical tradition has tempted hierodeacon Neophytos Kausokalybytis , who was at the time teaching at the Athoniada School- which the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi had recently established in 1749- and launched a dogmatic battle against the monks of St Anne. Hierodeacon Neophytos was established as the forerunner of the Kollyvades movement.

Indeed the actual day that the memorial services were to be held constituted only a minor detail in the entire revitalizing and traditional mission of the Kollyvades’ movement. It had simply been deliberately exaggerated by their opponents, the so- called Anti-Kollyvades or Liberals, not only to bury their entire contribution but also to denigrate them as monks because they had been supposedly concerned with minor and immaterial things, like the memorial services and the kollyva. In the same way, the Maccabees because they hadn’t obeyed King Navouchodonosor on a minor detail, namely to eat pork forbidden by their Fathers’ tradition, had been terribly tortured and became Martyrs and genuine confessors of their Fathers’ faith; we venerate them as Saints of our Church. The confessionary aspect of our orthodox faith is not only expressed dogmatically but also in the context of morality and tradition.

Another cause for the appearance of the Kollyvades movement was presented by the publication of two books, the first in 1777 and the second in 1783, which dealt with the need to take Holy Communion often and had been produced by the Kollyvades’ circle. The second book, written by St Nicodemus the Hagiorite and St Macarius Notaras, bishop of Korynth, has been condemned by the Patriarchate in 1785, because it was allegedly causing strife and scandals. Later on, the Patriarchate presented the same book as beneficial and contributing to the salvation of the soul. With an official Patriarchate letter, endorsed by the Holy Synod, the writers were exonerated.

From the outset, all the teachers at the Athoniada School had expressed their support to Neophytos Kaysokalybytis; among them St Athanasius from Paros, Christopher Prodromitis from Arta, hieromonks Agapios from Cyprus, Jacob from Peloponissos, Parthenios the Hagiographer and Paisios the Calligrapher. Let us pay specific attention to Agapios the Cypriot, among the forerunners of the movement, who did justice to our island, “the island of the saints”. Later, St Nicodemus the Hagiorite, the great Saint and wise tutor of the Greek people, joined the movement together with St Macarius, bishop of Korynth, a descendant of the famous Notaras family and hieromonk Dionysius from Siatisti, the spiritual father of the Vatopedi Skete of St Demetrius and his acolyte, hieromonk Ierotheos, the spiritual father at Protato at the Holy Mountain.

The main exponents of the Kollyvades’ movement who in the 18th century have created a revival of the pursuit of virtue ( ‘φιλοκαλική αναγέννηση’) inside the Orthodox Church were :Athanasios from Paros, Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Macarius from Korynth. These people, because of their activities and their sacrifices, but mostly because of their pious and exemplary lives in accordance with the Patristic spirit, have been appropriately ranked among the Saints of our Church.

Two Synods convened on the issue of the memorial services. At the command of the Patriarchate, the first one convened in 1774 at the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousi in the Holy Mountain. Two former Patriarchs, eight head priests and approximately two hundred monks took part in the Synod. The Synod issued a decree of anathema for the Kollyvades. The second Synod was convened in Konstantinoupolis in 1776 under Patriarch Sophroni II. The Patriarch of Jerusalem Abraamios and sixteen other head priests took part. The Synod issued a decree of anathema for the leaders of the movement, among them hieronmonk Agapios, the Cypriot, while it exiled St Athanasius Parios.  In 1785, Patriarch Gabriel exonerated St Athanasius. However, the final justification for the Kollyvades movement on the issue of the memorial services and on the frequency of the Holy Communion occurred much later in 1819 under the auspices of Patriarch Gregory the Fifth.

The Liberals, Anti-Kollyvades, have used all the illicit means available against Kollyvades. Namely, slanders, accusations and smears. They even resorted to murder. The monks from Ayia Anna called some renowned thief to murder four of the Kollyvades: Hieronmonk Paisios, the calligrapher and his elder, Theofanis, hieronmonk Agpaios, the Cypriot and hieronmonk Gabriel. The thief managed to drown two of them: Paisios and Theofanis.

The Kollyvades‘teaching was genuinely patristic. Their main objective was to convince people through their words and deeds, to adopt an internal life in Christ. They targeted their efforts on the issues of the holy worship. They cherished the liturgy and advocated frequent participation in the Holy Communion- namely the frequent participation in the mystery of the holy Eucharist after continuous effort and preparation. They promoted the strict observance of the rituals of the Church, because this safeguards the spiritual balance in the life of the Church. They also advocated reading Patristic writings because it enables the faithful to acquire a genuine patristic mindset. The three Kollyvades Saints- Nicodemus the Hayiorite, Athanasius Parios and Macarius Notaras- have interpreted passages from the Holy Scriptures and from the Fathers of the Church, wrote biographies and liturgies in honor of Saints and even schoolbooks on grammar, rhetoric and philosophy. Many Kollyvades have also copied books by foreign writers and translated contemporary, western philosophers. They either did not avoid contact with modern ideas, by incorporating modern views and methods into Patristic teachings, or criticized them altogether. The shrewd Evgenios Boulagaris- who may easily be associated with the Kollyvades, even though he did not actively participate in the movement since after 1762 he was in Leipzig and later in Russia – was deeply knowledgeable of the contemporary spiritual movements and critically assessed them in the light of the Patristic tradition.

What was foremost in the minds of the Kollyvades fathers was to awaken the enslaved nation to stand up for its faith and the traditions of its Fathers and to safeguard the Greek Orthodox culture and their lives in Christ. St Nicodemus wrote twenty five enormous treatises. Among them one distinguishes the “Symbouleytikon Egheiridion (Advisory Manual) which he wrote while exiled in the island of Skyropoyla. His life then was filled with difficulties and hardships and was lacking even the rudimentary necessities and of course books. He uses plenty of patristic passages from memory in his book; this proves this great Father’ enormous ability to commit to memory as well as the presence of Grace. This treatise is a manual for anyone, who wishes to experience life in Christ, tries to control his senses and practices the mental prayer along with everything else which contributes towards the spiritual perfection of the person. St Athanasius Parios, who is regarded as the feistiest of the Kollyvades, wrote 53 treatises. He especially fought against the atheist movement of Voltaire: the delusion which has tried to enter the Greek orthodox realm under the guises of Enlightenment, natural religion and rationalism but in effect was hiding atheism.

In addition the Kollyvades were the spiritual fathers of the new martyrs. They had the duty to prepare and psychologically support towards martyrdom those who had initially forsaken their faith but having repented and been replenished with divine Eros, were eagerly seeking martyrdom and were insisting to follow this road. St Macarius Notaras had “spiritually prepared” and contributed towards igniting the ‘divine flame’ of the love of Christ in the hearts of three great new martyrs: Polydoros from Nicosia, Theodor of Byzantium and Demetrius from Pelloponisos. The blood of the new martyrs rose in the face of the Lord like a fragrant incense which brought freedom to the enslaved nation. St Nicodemus collected the biographies of several such new martyrs in his book “Neon Martyrologion”.

The regenerating movement of Kollyvades had decisively strengthened and stimulated the educational system of the enslaved nation, preserving the self-awareness of the orthodox peoples not only against the Ottoman occupiers but also against western missionaries, who had been scouring the orthodox countries, illicitly proselytizing, but mostly exploiting peoples’ ignorance, poverty and their lack of freedom. St Kosmas Aitolos said that God had allowed the occupation of the nation by the Turks and not the Catholics because the latter were going to change its faith. “The Turk”, stressed St Kosmas “gives you what you want if you give him some monies”.

The Kollyvades have caused the hesychastic revival in the Holy Mountain and were the bearers of the Patristic tradition. They were the ones to preserve the development and way of life of the Holy Mountain for over thousand years in contrast to the Anti-Kollyvades, who had been influenced by the European religious Enlightenment, which advocated the secularization of the Church and the adaption of orthodox monasticism. The latter led an imperfect monastic life, the so-called “rough monasticism” and have had no experience of divine Grace through the Orthodox tradition. That’s why they opposed long liturgical services, the frequent participation in the Holy Communion and Confession, the allotted reading of spiritual books, the mental exercise and the practice of Jesus’ prayer. They exhibited no internal spiritual life. The Kollyvades were attesting to the role of the Holy Mountain as the carrier of the genuine Patristic tradition. They stood by the line of the Great Fathers of the Church- particularly of the hesychast and niptic Fathers of the 14th Century- and did not permit the adaption of orthodox monasticism as in Russia under Tsar, Peter the Great, who was an ardent westerner. He had promoted the westernization of the Orthodox faith which culminated with the anti-monastic policies of Empress, Katherine the Great the Second.

Even though the Anti-Kollyvades were more numerous and used illicit means as we have already said and occasionally enjoyed the support of certain Patriarchs, they did not manage to crash the Kollyvades’ movement. The Kollyvades support for the Orthodox tradition and the fresh, widespread revitalization which was set in motion and was founded on the revival of hesychasm, soon passed onto Thessaloniki, Thessalia, Epeiros, Peloponissos and the Aegean islands. Most of the Hayiorite Fathers who were exiled or who exiled themselves went to islands near the Holy Mountain in the Aegean Sea.

One such émigré was hieronmonk Nefon from Chios, together with four others-Gregorios, Agathangelos, Ananias and Joseph. These, having stayed several years in Samos, Patmos and Ikaria, finally went to Skiathos, where Nefon founded in 1794 the renowned monastery of the Annunciation, which became the most important centre of activity for Kollyvades outside the Holy Mountain. Two literary persons from Skiathos who later became the spiritual backbones of the Kollyvades movement, were Alexandros Moraitides (latter day Andronikos monk) and Alexandros Papadiamantis.

St Macarius Notaras was constantly touring the Aegean islands to support and convey the Patristic spirit to the flock, particularly to the island of Chios along with St Athanasius Parios.

Blessed elder Ierotheos began his monastic life in the Vatopedi Skete of St Demetrius, where Dionysos Siatisteas became his spiritual father. However, after his elder’s death and during the second round of persecutions against Kollyvades he is forced to leave Mount Athos. He arrives in Poros and Hydra, where he establishes the holy monastery in honor of Prophet Elijah. His brother, Ierotheos, becomes the new owner of the then abandoned monastery of the Zoodohou Pegis in Loggovarda in Paros. It is from this monastery that Filotheos Servakos, the well known to us abbot, hailed.

St Arsenios , the New, along with his spiritual father, Daniel, left the Holy Mountain and visited the islands of Paros, Sikinos and Folegandros. St Arsenios stayed in Paros where he became abbot of the monastery of St George. He lived there a very spiritual life, full of grace and comforted many people, steering them away from the ignorance which prevailed on the island.

Konstantinos Oikonomos, Kosmas Flamiatos, Christopher Panayiotopoulos (the renowned Papoulakos), Ignatios Lambropoulos and St Nicholas Planas were some of the many spiritual figures of the 19th Century who had been kneaded with the Kollyvades’ spirit and became active in Peloponissos and Athens.

Moreover, other Orthodox countries, like Romania and Russia, have directly or indirectly benefited by Kollyvades as it is manifested by the revival of hesychasm in these countries.  In the 18th Century, Romanians and Russians were initiated to the neglected Patristic spirituality by St Paisios Velitsckofsky, who had lived for eighteen years in Kapsala of the Holy Mountain and in the monastery of Prophet Elijah which he founded. Then he later visited Moldova, latter day Romania, and became the founder of the ascetic “Starets”: namely of the holy Russian Elders, who by their saintly and charismatic words and deeds comforted not only the illiterate villagers but also the mighty intellectuals of their countries.

In the 19th Century, the spirit of the Kollyvades became the antibody against the spirit of change in Orthodox monasticism which had been adopted by westernized advocates- politicians and theologians- like Adamantios Korais and Arch. Theoklitos Farmakides.

However, even nowadays there is an undercurrent motion working against the Kollyvades spirit, against the spirit of the Fathers. The threat which favors the secularization of our Church is real. Many people advocate the need to shorten the services, to simplify the language of the Holy Liturgy, to limit the days for fasting and of the feasts and abolish the temple inside the churches. Many think that it is a delusion to practice the mental prayer, to use the praying rope or to take the Holy Communion frequently.

At the same time, more and more theological movements are being created, while others continue to exist throughout the life of the Church, but essentially exist outside the Church. We might say that there are some tendencies in the theological circles which nowadays promote a similar way of life.

The first such tendency is that of the so- called eusevians, the moralists. The advocates of such tendencies, who have existed throughout the life of the Church, place the emphasis on the external form; they exhibit a moral life externally, but basically they do not know what it means to attain the purity of the heart. They focus on the letter and do not permeate the essence. They believe that man’s deification is a moral and not an existential issue; namely man’s genuine participation in the uncreated energies of God.

The second tendency is exhibited by those who advocate the so-called theology of the senses. They are highly intellectual people, prominent figures in the arts, poetry and music. They would like to link theology and art, so that theology becomes the nurturer of art. That is, to render the theology of our Church more poetic, more literary and more musical. Let us stress, however, that Orthodoxy and therefore, theology, does not belong to the Arts or Culture, but it creates art and culture. The arts and even our own lives must be connected with the Church in order to collect the «living water» (John 4, 10).

The third tendency is that of the traditionalists. They concentrate on the letter of the Patristic tradition but they change it in practice. They do not believe that Tradition is the natural and dynamic continuation of the Church. They identify themselves with its glorious past but they do not practice Tradition in their lives. They are the ones acquainted with the orthodox theology but do not practice it. They constantly speak about the need to return to the traditions and to our Fathers, but they have never experienced the divine Grace which had resided in the Fathers and inspired their every word and deed. Thus, they are proved to be fakes or as Paul the Apostle said: they are like “tinkling cymbals” (A Corinthians 13, 1).

The fourth tendency is the one advocated by those who speak about the present day theology (παροντική θεολογία). They move the centre of attention from theology to anthropology and sociology. They support the idea that Patristic theology has come to an end; they are trying to establish a new theology which will tackle social problems since they believe that these cannot be solved by Patristic theology. They believe that the word offered by the Church is constrained and static and they do not accept that eschatology is feeding the Church; that the history of the world acquires its meaning because of eschatology.

Nevertheless, there are many people lately who have acquired a deeper knowledge of the Patristic tradition, particularly of Hesychasm as the genuine practical experience. This experience is none other than the application of the Scriptures in our times; namely, the experience of divine Grace which assures that one is productively integrated in the Body of the Church where he experiences the fullness of the true life and indefeasible joy in his communion with other persons. Then man becomes an ecclesiological and thankful being, a true person in the image of the absolute and eternal person, Christ.

We may endeavor to say with certainty that those who belong to the aforementioned four categories have acquired an intellectual relationship with God, became complacent and think that they know God. But they have not accomplished communion with God which relates to their whole existence and particularly with the noetic energy in their hearts; neither have they accomplished any substantial communion with their brother.  The holy Kollyvades Fathers stressed that the spiritual centre of the person is the heart and not the brain. That’s where all the mysteries of the unseen war are taking place, of our regeneration and where divine Grace dwells. St Nicodemus the Hayiorite says that a man’s heart is a physical (φυσικό), beyond nature( παραφυσικό) and above-nature (υπερφυσικό) centre. Christ, Himself, reveals to us that “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17, 21). Kollyvades were insisting in the frequent participation in the Holy Communion because they knew that with Christ’s Body in the Holy Eucharist, the divine is inexpressibly and inseparably united with human nature, man experiences the common nature of mankind and the mystery of deification is accomplished.

People who experience and offer a fake and impure Orthodoxy must coordinate with the life-giving Patristic tradition, which is advocated by the Kollyvades of the 18th Century, the Hesychasts of the 14th Century; namely, the Fathers of our Church.  Thus Kollyvades once again become our spiritual guides to the proper course inside the genuine Patristic tradition.

The spirit of the Fathers remains always the same. However, depending on the social, political and cultural conditions of the times, the Fathers experiencing divine Grace, i.e. the communion with the personal God, express their views in line with the ongoing arguments by the philosophical, theological and social tendencies of those times. The way the dogmas are being expressed and the way the path to repentance is being explained depends on the current dynamic terminology without  altering the essence of the Evangelic preaching which has always been: “repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3, 2).

source: Translated by Olga Konari Kokkinou from the Greek edition: Αρχιμ. Εφραίμ Βατοπαιδινού Καθηγουμένου Ι. Μ. Μ. Βατοπαιδίου, Αθωνικός Λόγος, Ιερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου, Άγιον Όρος 2010.

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