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


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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.


Summary Texts ON the Life According to Christ
-Concerning the Foremost W
orship 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

Format: Paperback 
Pages: 264

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