Gregory Palamas

BookGregory Palamas

Gregory Palamas

The Hesychast Controversy and the Debate with Islam

Translated Texts for Byzantinists, 8


March 26th, 2020





Gregory Palamas, a monk of Mount Athos and metropolitan of Thessalonike from 1347 to 1357, was a leading fourteenth-century Byzantine intellectual. He was the chief spokesman for the hesychasts in the controversy bearing that name, which began when a charge of heresy was laid against him in 1340 and ended with his proclamation as a saint in 1368. Although excellent English translations of some of Palamas’ theological writings are available, very few texts relating to his historical role have yet been translated. This book contains the first English translation of the contemporary Life of Palamas by Philotheos Kokkinos, which is our principal source of biographical information on him. Also translated into English for the first time are the Synodal Tomoi from 1341 to 1368, which chart the progress of the hesychast controversy from the viewpoint of the victors, together with the corpus of material relating to Palamas’ year of captivity among the Turks, which offers a unique insight into conditions for Christians and Muslims in the early Ottoman emirate. The translations, all of which are based on critical texts, are preceded by introductions which set Palamas in his historical context and propose some changes to the conventional chronology of his life.

'Norman Russell, a renowned scholar of patristic, Byzantine, and modern Greek theology, must be thanked for his enormous contribution in Gregory Palamas: The Hesychast Controversy and the Debate with Islam... For anyone who is interested in the figure of St. Gregory Palamas and the ecclesiastical events of the middle Palaiologan period, this is an essential volume to own.'
The Pappas Patristic Institute

Author Information

Norman Russell is Honorary Research Fellow of St Stephen’s House, University of Oxford. His previous publications include The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford, 2004) and Gregory Palamas and the Making of Palamism in the Modern Age (Oxford, 2019).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
General Introduction
1. Byzantium in the Mid-Fourteenth Century
2. The Hesychast Controversy
3. The Main Characteristics of Palamite Theology
4. Palamas in Captivity among the Turks
5. A Contested Saint
6. The Reception of Palamas
7. Texts and Editions
I. The Life of Gregory Palamas by Philotheos Kokkinos
II. The Synodal Tomos of 1341
III. Letters from Prison in Constantinople
1. To John Gabras
2. To Philotheos
3. To Bessarion
4. To the Empress Anna
IV. The Synodal Tomos of 1347 and Related Documents
1. The Synodal Tomos of February 1347
2. The Prostagma of John VI Kantakouzenos of March 1347
3. The Anti-Palamite Tomos of July 1347
V. The Synodal Tomos of 1351
VI. Palamas in Captivity among the Turks
1. Letter to his Church
2. The Debate with the Chionai
3. Letter to an Unknown Recipient
VII. The Synodal Tomos of 1368