Augustine in Ottoman Greece and Tsarist Russia

P & D also show that Augustine continued to be held as an authority in the Eastern churches throughout the Ottoman empire and in Russia.  They point out that St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite “included Augustine’s name among the saints to be commemorated on June 15, when he completed his monumental revision of the Synaxarion (a calendar of saint’s feast days) between 1805 and 1807.”

The authors also explain that in Russian under Peter I (1672-1725) and Catherine II (1729-1796) there were strong movements to Westernize the Russian church.  Latin replaced Greek and old Slavonic as the intellectual language, and western books were brought in.  In response to this Westernization at the orders of the Tsars, the Slavophile movement arose which did condemn Augustine as the father of Western theology, but this was not a dominant intellectual movement.  P & D note, “For the most part, however, the Russian intellectual response to Augustine was a generous critical engagement.”  A footnote says, “In fact, the Orthodox Theological Encyclopedia (St. Petersburg, 1900), 108, asserted that ‘the teaching of Augustine cane be accepted as the image of true Orthodox Christian teaching'” (20-21).

Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos also note that Bulgakov, in the late 19th and early 20th century, warmly embraced Augustine as a true and better development from the Cappadocians.

Augustine in Late Byzantium

I’ve already blogged on Photius’ appreciation of Augustine, as well as Michael Palaiologos’ desire to Westernize the Byzantine Church.  In the same article Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos also show that Augustine was read on Mt. Athos and held as an authority by Mark of Ephesus.  P & D write:

Mark of Ephesus, the fifteenth-century leader of the anti-unionist cause, accepted the authority of Augustine at the Council of Florence (1438-39) and even quoted from his Epistulae Soliloquiorum, and De Trinitate during debates on purgatory.  Mark repeatedly referred to Augustine as ho makarios Augoustinos (Blessed Augustine) and conlcudes one lengthy collection of proof-texts (which include several references to Augustine) by noting that all of these statements were offered by teachers of the Church.

~ pg. 16