Manuscripts of St. Maximus the Greek presented in St. Petersburg for the first time

Source: Blagovest-Info

St. Petersburg, October 6, 2016

Photo: wikimedia.org
Photo: wikimedia.org

Manuscripts of the prominent Greek writer and translator
Venerable Maximus the Greek (c. 1475-1556) are being
presented at an exhibition at the National Library of
Russia for the first time. The exposition which tells
about the activities of this great teacher and scholar in
Russia is timed to coincide with the opening of the
international conference, “The Byzantine
Empire— Russia—Balkans: the Crossroads of
Cultures,” reported Alexei Alexeyev, head of the
Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Russia,
to the TASS agency.

“In this cross-cultural year between Russia and
Greece St. Maximus the Greek is a living embodiment of the
old ties of our countries’ cultures. The mature
period of his creative work is connected with Russia, and
his contribution to our culture is universally recognized:
he translated texts of the Holy Scriptures and he is the
author of several hundred writings and translations. His
works survive: they are moral-accusatory, didactic,
polemical, philosophical and theological
treatises—we have his collected works at the
Manuscripts Department which he created himself. Although
his works can be found in other libraries as well, our
collected works of St. Maximus the Greek rank as the most
authoritative ones,” A. Alexeyev said.

According to him, unique portraits of St. Maximus the
Greek survive too and are presented at the exhibition as
well. “One of them which was obviously made during
his lifetime and taken from an ancient manuscript depicts
St. Maximus in profile with a broad and thick
beard.” Later portraits are of the eighteenth
century which, in A. Alexeyev’s view,
“indicates that he was held in high respect and
enjoyed authority in Russia.”

Scholars from Russia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovakia,
Poland, Germany and Italy are taking part in the
international conference which is dedicated to the study
of Greek and Slavonic writing traditions. Their reports
are devoted to the centuries-old Greek-Slavic cultural
relations which are echoed in the literary monuments of
various epochs. Matters of national characteristics,
influence and continuity of literary and other written
traditions of Greece, Russia and other Slavic states will
be discussed during the conference. A number of speakers
will devote their reports to works related to Athos and
Athonite ascetics. There will also be reports from Greek
manuscript researchers, many of which will be based on
documents from collections of the National Library of
Russia.

The conference which is being held already for the
eleventh time is also called “Zagrebin
Readings” in honor of the Russian paleographer and
researcher of the south Slavic writing tradition
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Zagrebin (1942-2004). The
conference has grown from a memorial meeting into a
meaningful forum of Slavicists which receives guests from
Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Poland. “Although we
are unable to cover any of their expenses, they annually
gather here which is indicative of the respect that our
foreign colleagues have for this event,” A. Alexeyev
said.

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