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Appendix. St. Gregory Palamas The Reply On Cyril

A. Context and Date

The proponents of the Akindynist position had been circulating a carefully modified version of a text taken from the Thesaurus de sancta trinitate by Cyril of Alexandria.450 An associate of Gregory Palamas obtained a copy of the text and sent it to him for comment.451 There are two points worth noting here. First, Gregory Akindynos is not specifically mentioned, only the advocates of his position. Second, Gregory Palamas was absent from the immediate scene of events and had to be reached by courier. Since Constantinople was the locale where agitation against Palamite doctrines would have been most effective, we can assume, with some hesitation, that certain anti-Palamites were circulating their falsified text of Cyril in Constantinople at a time when Palamas was elsewhere.

Careful comparison of the disputed quotation from Cyril in Palamas’ pamphlet and the text of the Thesaurus in Migne reveals very little difference.452 The omission of the words εἰ δέ τοῦτο before διπλόη (T 6) obscures the meaning of the citation, but it does not much support the Akindynist position. The quotation does not appear elsewhere in the works of Palamas (apart from the Capita 150), nor can it be found in the writings of Gregory Akindynos. To my knowledge, the Cyril text reappears only in the systematic florilegium of the Palamite monk, Mark Kyrtos.453 It is found in the first section of that work under the rubric: Μαρτυρίαι τοῦ ἁγίου Κυρίλλου, ἐν αἷς δοκεῖ τό οἰκεῖον δόγμα συνιστᾶν ὁ Ἀκίνδυνος («Testimonies from St. Cyril with which Akindynos thinks he can establish his own doctrine»).454 The quotation from Thesaurus 14 is given as follows:455

Εἰ ἄλλο μέν αὐτός ὁ θεός ἐστιν. ἃλλο δέ ἡ ἐν αὐτῷ ζωή, διπλόη τις καί σύνθεσις περί αὐτόν θεωρηθήσεται. πῶς οὖν ἁπλοῦς καί ἀσύνθετος; ζωή ἄρα ἢν ἔχει ὁ πατήρ ἐν ἑαυτῷ αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός, ὑπάρχει δέ καί αὐτός ἐν υἱῷ ὡς ζωή κατά φύσιν ὤν.

If God himself and the life within him are distinct realities, a certain duality and composition will be observed in his regard. How then can he be simple and incomposite? Therefore, the life which the Father has in him is the Son himself, and the Father is in the Son since he is life by nature.

This is almost certainly the version of the text circulated by the Akindynists. In this form it could easily be used to show that any Palamite attempt to distinguish God (the divine substance) and the life in him (the divine energy) would lead necessarily to the heretical assumption of composition in God. It was probably Gregory's intention to provide his correspondent with the correct version of the quotation, since the latter was already familiar with the corrupt text.

At the head of the first section of Mark's systematic florilegium containing the Cyril quotation there is a dogmatic treatise against the followers of Gregory Akindynos.456 The treatise is addressed to an unnamed emperor who must be John Kantakouzenos. This strongly suggests that the treatise and the following florilegium were composed sometime during the period 1347–1351.457 Since the Cyril text does not appear in any earlier discussions there is good reason to suspect that Gregory's Reply On Cyril is close in date to Mark's florilegium. It could then have been written sometime between 1347 and 1351.458

Gregory's pamphlet follows a familiar pattern. He takes the abused quotation, gives its original form, explains the context and true meaning of the statement and supports his interpretation with other references to Cyril's Thesaurus. The Akindynists refused to accept any distinction between God's substance and the divine energies, and in support of this contention they cited the text from Thesaurus 14. Palamas thus had to explain that the Son could be named life in two senses: firstly, in an absolute and transcendent sense, in which case the reference is to the divine substance; and secondly, by cause or energy for the Son bestows both natural and divine life ad extra upon creatures. Because of the coinherence of the divine persons in the Trinity the name life can be applied in the same way to the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Akindynist identification of the divine energy with God's substance will eventually lead to a variety of absurd and contradictory conclusions: a multiplicity of substances in God, the communication of the divine substance to creatures, and the elimination of the divine energies. After treating the details of Cyril's theology, Palamas concluded with a résumé of his doctrinal position.459

B. The Manuscripts and the Constitution of the Text

D = Mount Athos, Ἱερά Μονή Διονυσίου, ms 194 (Athon. 3728).460 Fourteenth century (a.d. 1363), paper, 414 folios, 210x145 mm. Since the Catalogue of Lambros, the order of the folios has been disturbed, perhaps in the course of rebinding: the Λόγος διασαφῶν (Meyendorff #52) which was n° 43 in Lambros now appears at the head of the ms, and the dated colophon together with Psellos» treatise addressed to Michael Doukas (n° 48 in Lambros) have disappeared.461 The ms contains a non-systematic collection462 of Palamite and anti-Latin writings.463 The principal Palamite works in the ms are the following:

Palamas, Λόγος διασαφῶν (fols. 1r-12r)

Palamas, Reply On Cyril (fols. 13v-16v)

Phakrases, Dialogue (fols. 17r-23v)

Matthew Blastares, On Divine Grace (fols. 41r-61v)464

David Dishypatos, Against Barlaam and Akindynos (fols. 61v-93v)465

Neilos Kabasilas, Ἀντίγραμμα Against Nikephoros Gregoras (fols. 95r-95v)466

7.      Palamas, Against Bekkos (fols. 97r-102v)

8.      Synodal Tome 1341 (fols. 161r-172r)

9.      Palamas, Hagioretic Tome (fols. 172r-177r)

Synodal Tome 1351 (fols. 177r-208r)

Palamas, Dialogue of an Orthodox and a Barlaamite (fols. 209r-228v)

Neophytos Prodromenos, Refutation of Barlaam and Akindynos (fols. 327r-338r) and Against Akindynos (fols. 338r-352v)467

Z = Mount Sinai, Monastery of St. Catherine, ms gr. 1671.468 Fifteenth century, paper, 343 folios, 211x 145 mm. Meyendorff has suggested that the ms originally belonged to the Great Lavra on Mt. Athos. It is an important witness to the text of the Triads. The ms contains the following works of Gregory Palamas.

Apodictic Treatises (fols. 1r-118v)

Against Bekkos (fols. 119r-129r)

Reply On Cyril (fols. 129v-134r)

Triads (fols. 136r-327v)

Treatise on the Economy (i.e., Hom. 16; fols. 328r-343r)

In addition to the two mss D and Z there is a further witness to the text, namely Palamas, Cap. 113–121 (=Pal).

Wherever D and Z are in agreement (even if Pal is not) I give this as the text. The one exception is 3.4 τῷ Pal recte: τὸ DZ. When the Reply On Cyril was incorporated into the Capita 150 the various sections of the work were rearranged and the text was altered in minor ways, and so many of the variations between DZ and Pal are stylistic and intentional. D is the older of the two mss but it does not always carry the best readings: e.g.,

3.11      αὐτό D: αὐτόν ZPal

4.11      πυθομένους D: πειθομένους ZPal

6.22      συγκοφαντοῦντες D: συκοφαντοῦντες ZPal

I have chosen the ZPal readings in cases where they differ against the D readings. Where Pal readings are not available I have given preference to the D readings, unless the Z reading is clearly superior.

To facilitate comparison the corresponding sections of Cap. 113–121 are noted in the margins.

* * *


cpg 3.5215; pg 75:244bc.


Reply On Cyril T(itle) 1–13.


Reply T 5–13 and Thesaurus 14, pg 75:244bc.


This is an unedited text found in the ms, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Coislin 288.


Coislin 288, fol. 122r.


Ibid., fol. 123r.


Ibid., fols. 3r-5v.


See A. Hero (ed.), Letters of Gregory Akindynos (cfhb 21; Washington, D.C., 1983), pp. 367–370.


Cf. Meyendorff, Introduction, pp. 376–377.


Reply 7–8.


Description in Sp. S. Lambros, Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts on Mount Athos, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1900; repr. Amsterdam, 1966), pp. 357–360.


In the ms as it is now the first folio bears three numbers: σελίς 1, 400 and 369. Since the folio borders where the page numbers appear have been repaired with paste-over strips it is difficult to establish the original foliation, at least when working only with a microfilm.


See Meyendorff, Introduction, p. 332.


Neophytos Prodromenos and (ironically) Barlaam the Calabrian are the authors of the principal anti-Latin works in the ms.


Cf. Meyendorff, Introduction, pp. 413–414.


Ed. D. G. Tsames, Δαβίδ Δισυπάτου Λόγος κατά Βαρλαάμ καί Ἀκινδύνου πρός Νικόλαον Καβάσιλαν (Βυζάντινα κειμένα καί μελέται 10: Thessalonica, 1973).


Cf. H.-G. Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur, p. 727.


Cf. Meyendorff, Indroduction, p. 414.


Description in V.N. Beneshevich, Opisanie Grecheskikh Rukopisei Monastyrya Svyatoy Ekateriny na Sinae, vol. 1 (St. Petersburg, 1911; repr. Hildesheim, 1965), pp. 257–259; see also Meyendorff, Défense, p. xlvii.

Источник: The one hundred and fifty chapters / Gregorius Palamas - Toronto : Pontifical inst. of mediaeval studies, 1988. - XI, 288 с. ISBN 0-88844-083-9

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