Monday, March 21, 2011


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Dear readers, pray for me and forgive me for misleading you by my errors of scholarship.

Nicephorus the Hesychast of Mt. Athos (†1300)
I don't think the anti-Catholic monk Nicephorus the Hesychast (†1300?), an Italian who converted from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy and was famous for his anti-union activities in the wake of the 14th Ecumenical Council (Lyons II in 1274), is the "Our Venerable Father Nicephor, Hegumen of the Medikion Monastery (14th Century)" for May 5 of the "official calendar of saints and commemorations for the Byzantine Ruthenian Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh is taken from The Divine Liturgy of our Holy Father John Chrysostom (2006)." The calendar seems to list the wrong century; Nicephorus the Hesychast was an Athonite, whereas there is a St. Nicephorus of the Medikion Monastery, which is in Bithynia and not Athos, who reposed in the 815. On this St. Nicephorus see the Acta Sanctorum for May 4 from the year 1680: 5:I:500-501E (628-629). St. Gregory Palamas praised Nicephorus the Hesychast for his anti-Catholicism, yet Josyf Cardinal Slipyj must have led the Magisterium to moral certainty that Palamas died a Catholic, thought it seems that Slipyj's specific arguments are not a matter of public knowledge (though Fr. Serge Keleher of Dublin might know). Here is a rough translation of what Palamas says in Triads II:2:2, from the French translation of Fr. John Meyendorff, p. 320: "Nicephorus who confessed the true faith and therefore was condemned to banishment by the first emperor Palaeologus who adopted the thinking of the Latins, Nicephorus was of Italian origin, but acknowledged the heresy of these people, so he joined our Orthodox Church, and with the customs of his fathers, he rejects their heritage and prefers our empire to his own country..."

Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See? Previously I answered with a resounding yes, and I hope this is the case. Yet I can't really be enthusiastic about Photius anymore, in light of the observations of Fr. Venance Grumel, A.A. of happy memory in "New Light on the Photian Schism," Unitas 5 (1953), 147-148.

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