April 10, 2010

Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Kollyvades Fathers

Holy Kollyvades Fathers (Feast Day - Bright Saturday)

On the Saturday of Bright Week, a service has been written to commemorate all of the Holy Fathers of the so-called "Kollyvades" movement. These were monastics primarily from Mount Athos who taught adherence to Holy Orthodox dogma and tradition amid waves of westernization and secularism during the years of the Turkish occupation of Greece. The ranks of such Holy Fathers include some of the Church's most beloved Saints: St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, St. Makarios (Notaras) of Corinth, St. Athanasios of Paros, St. Paisius Velichovsky, St. Nektarios of Aegina, St. Kosmas Aitolos, St. Savvas of Kalymnos, St. Nicholas Planas and so many more. The following summary discusses the Holy Mountain and the Kollyvades by Monk Moses the Athonite:

In the mid-18th century a grave theological debate developed all over the Holy Mountain in connection with the issues of the holding of memorial services for the departed, frequency of Holy Communion, and other matters relating to the exact observance of Orthodox tradition. The starting-point for this prolonged controversy was the building of the Kyriakon at the Skete of Saint Anna (1754). The question arose as to whether the commemoration of the founders and benefactors should be held on Saturday or Sunday, and with what frequency the monks should receive Holy Communion. The debate divided the monks, and those who insisted that the memorial services should be held on Saturdays were mockingly dubbed 'kollyvades' (named after the kollyva, or sweetened boiled wheat served at memorial services). It seems, however, that, behind their apparent obstinacy, they had a profound knowledge of ecclesiastical tradition and fought hard for its authenticity and for its purification from adulteration. Thus the name of 'kollyvas' became a title of honor and the movement was responsible for a profitable and beneficial regeneration and renewal. Indeed, this devout movement was led by three saints: Makarios Notaras, Nikodemos the Hagiorite and Athanasios of Paros, and they numbered among their supporters and sympathizers distinguished scholars such as Neophytos Kavsokalyvitis, Christophoros Artinos, Agapios of Cyprus, Iakovos the Peloponnesian, Paul the Hermit, Theodoritos of Esphigmenou and a number of others. Some of them chose voluntary exile and took refuge in mainland Greece or the islands, where they founded scores of monasteries, of which a fair number survive today. Thus we see Makarios Notaras in Chios, Niphon in Skiathos, Dionysios of Skiathos in Skyros, Ierotheos in Hydra, with numerous disciples and friends of that Athonite tradition which has nourished monks and saints. The monasteries which they founded were noted for their vigor and service. The Ecumenical Patriarchate by decision of the Holy Synod finally put an end to the 'kollyvades' issue, by ruling that memorial services could be held as circumstances demanded and that Holy Communion, with the proper preparation, could be received frequently, and that the life of the substance, and not the aridity of the form, was to be adhered to.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Let us honor the choir of Kollyvades Fathers, ministers of the Holy Spirit, stewards of grace, for they taught to us the Gospel of Christ in evil times, and as very bright stars, they delivered souls from the darkness of error. Rejoice O Godly band, rejoice boast of the nation, rejoice torches of truth and expounders of the faith.

For the full service text (in Greek) of the Synaxis of the Holy Kollyvades Fathers:
http://www.pigizois.net/latreia/paraklitikoi_kanones/pdf/esperinos_kolivadon_pateron.pdf http://www.pigizois.net/latreia/paraklitikoi_kanones/pdf/orthros_kolivadon_pateron.pdf