Holy Men of God: Kings, Priests, and Monks in Eastern Orthodoxy


Extraordinary Lecturer, North-West University, South Africa

Series: Religion and Spirituality
BISAC: REL108020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/IVZR9071

Holy Men of God is a history of the kings, priests, and monks of Eastern Orthodoxy, an intriguing subject especially for Western readers. It focuses on the violent and luxuriant worlds of Byzantium and medieval Russia, taking its readers from the Iconoclastic crisis, the last church fathers, the Bogomil heretics, the God-intoxicated Hesychasts, and the flowering of Russian saints under the Mongol yoke, to the quarrel between the Possessors and the Non-Possessors, the bizarre persecution of the Old Believers, the twilight of the Ottoman Empire, the spiritual classic The Way of a Pilgrim, and the death on a Greek peninsula of the solitary monk Silouan. Central to its plot are the quarrelsome figure Symeon the New Theologian and the final schism between the Eastern and Western churches in AD 1054.

Throughout the book the quiet sanctity of the Eastern church is contrasted with the neurosis and sadism of the Russian and Byzantine monarchs. This interplay helps the reader better appreciate the strength and resilience of a church that has been repeatedly exposed to chaos and catastrophe up to the present day.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Iconoclasts and Iconodules

Chapter 2. John of Damascus

Chapter 3. The Paulicians Versus the Empire

Chapter 4. The Beginning of the Great Schism

Chapter 5. Symeon the New Theologian

Chapter 6. Russia Under the Mongol Yoke

Chapter 7. The Philosophy of Hesychasm

Chapter 8. The Possessors

Chapter 9. Archpriest Avvakum

Chapter 10. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Chapter 11. The Way of the Pilgrim

Chapter 12. Silouan’s Song


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