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From Ashes and Ruin: Selections from the Writings of St. Gennadios Scholarios

Gennadios Scholarios, sometimes called the “last of the Byzantines,” was the first Patriarch of Constantinople after the violent overthrow of the Byzantine state on 29 May 1453. He was a survivor of a once great civilization, the tattered remnants of which were swept away by the conquering armies of Islam. The drastically changed circumstances raised inescapable questions about the nature of one’s identity in such a strange new world. All, or nearly all, the institutions that had defined and supported his sense of self had vanished seemingly overnight. He had become, as it were, a displaced person, a stranger in the city of his birth.

While known to scholars and historians primarily as a theological writer, Gennadios was also a pastor who authored many works designed to edify and inspire the faithful. These works touch on virtually all aspects of the life in Christ: from sin and repentance, to questions of free will, faith, prayer, fasting, Almsgiving, participation in church services, the sacraments, and the life of holiness and virtue. His teachings are clear and forthright, filled with spiritual counsel, practical advice, and deeply shaped by Scripture and inspired by the spirit of the Fathers, and thus fulfill the injunction of the Apostle Paul: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction” (2 Tim 4:2). Father John Palmer is to be congratulated for making these texts available in a clear and readable translation, providing us with what is now the largest collection of works by Gennadios Scholarios in English.

CONTENTS

Foreword

Introduction

Summary Texts ON the Life According to Christ

Concerning the Foremost Worship of God

Concerning Virtuous Works

An Admonition on Spiritual Nourishment

Selections on Christian Virtues

During the First Week of the Fast

Concerning Almsgiving

The Mind and the Passions

On Flight From the World

On Sin and Repentance

On the Difference Between Venial and Mortal Sins

On Whether Those Who Commit Evils
Do So Involuntarily or Voluntarily

Homily on the Parable of the Prodigal Son
and on Repentance

On Prayer

An Explanation of the Seven-fold Prayer
Taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ

On the Holy Entrances

Selections on Holiness

That the All-holy Theotokos is Beyond
Compare More Glorious Than the Seraphim

A Demonstration that St. Paul
is Greater than all the Saints

Happiness and Virtue in the Life According to the Philosophers

On Human Happiness

Index

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