A New Book Noted

The Greek author Alexandros Papadiamandis, dubbed Greece’s Dostoevsky, in similar fashion to the Russian giant steps out of the realm of mere writer of folk tales to that of theologian. Christos Yannaras says:

“Papadiamantis is the most important and most authentic modern Greek theologian precisely because he alone rediscovered the basic presupposition of the Church’s Gospel: that we know God by cultivating a relationship, not by understanding a concept…


Papadiamantis can only be compared to Dostoevsky for the power of his writing and the authenticity of his Orthodox witness. In the theological ignorance prevailing in the Orthodox Churches during the last few centuries, these two “secular” authors are perhaps the only examples of writers who set down the criteria for distinguishing between Church and religion, heresy and Orthodoxy.”

For instance, Poor Saint, one of the stories included in Volume 1 of his short story collection “The Boundless Garden” is sub-titled “An Island Tale” but it’s more than just a mere tale.  In it he tells us of the origin of the sweet fragrance on the narrator’s island and events surrounding the ancient island citadel The Kastro.  The tradition was that a man had achieved sainthood there. But how? When? Papadiamandis proceeds to answer these questions in the form of the short story Poor Saint. And in it he aspires to remember the forgotten or as he says as prelude to the tale:

“The traditional account, it seems, remained vague and over time the particular circumstances were forgotten. Even the name of the martyr had passed into oblivion. And so, as it is commonly said, ‘a poor saint goes unsung’.”


NOTE: A series of four posts by Herman A. Middleton, author of Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece (featuring eight Greek Orthodox monastic elders), and translator of the recently released Greece’s Dostoevsky: The Theological Vision of Alexandros Papadiamandis (a study of one of modern Greek literature’s finest writers).

Learn more about Alexandros Papadiamandis and this newly published book and read all four blog posts:

Post #1: September 30th, Byzantine, TX

Post #2: October 4th, Eighth Day Books Blog

Post #3: October 6th, Bombaxo

Post #4: October 11th, Mystagogy


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