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Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary of the Unpublished Works of Athanasios Ⅰ, Patriarch of Constantinople

Emmanouil Patedakis, University of Crete, Fellow 2007–2008

Apart from his extensive correspondence with the emperor Andronikos Ⅱ and the imperial family, Athanasios Ⅰ composed around sixty longer works that remain unedited (two long teachings and a letter to the emperor, several letters to bishops in general or to those of specific dioceses in Asia Minor, letters to monks of Mt. Athos, encyclical instructions to clerics and laymen, such as teachings that stress the necessity for charity by all subjects of the empire, as well as his Novel and Testament), with some of them regarded until now as lost.

I firstly had to study in detail Athanasios’s monastic background and experience, which influenced his subsequent two patriarchates. A parallel study on Symeon the New Theologian during the beginning of my stay functioned as an initiation course to the superb library of Dumbarton Oaks; it was completed and will be published in the volume edited by Ιda Toth and Neils Gaul, Reading in Byzantium and Beyond. A Collection of Papers to Honour Professors Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys (forthcoming). I also reexamined modern views on his so-called “Reform Policy.”

Crucial introductory answers to such issues were offered through further research while preparing the apparatus criticus and apparatus fontium for the unedited texts. The linguistic and compositional features, literary and rhetorical figures, as well as the convoluted style of writing (with long periods, syntax that deviates from classical usage, examples of absolute structures, and repeated transitional words and phrases) function as a medium that continuously corroborates Athanasios’s policy and demand for return (ἐπιστροφή) and repentance (μετάνοια). More than two thousand quotations from other texts (scriptural, patristic, or ascetic) detected in his works were also used as a repetitive vehicle for transferring and applying his ideas and public interventions.

After completing the processing of the apparatuses for the unpublished part of Athanasios’s writings, I have attempted a more precise understanding by preparing an English translation of the Greek text, which will be included in the final edition. I also continue to research some recently discovered theological anthologies on the Holy Spirit that are attributed to the patriarch, and I simultaneously attempt to clarify issues regarding the network of persons and places during Athanasios’s life. The resonance and the fame of his personality, especially in the first half of the fourteenth century, were kept alive both through controversial references by contemporary authors and a number of manuscripts compiled not only in order to preserve his own writings but also to confirm his canonization as a saint in Constantinople. I have already started to compose the above mentioned case studies into a separate paper and articles.

I hope that after the generous hospitality of Dumbarton Oaks during the past year the critical edition for the whole corpus of Athanasios’s unpublished works will be completed in the near future.