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Author Topic: St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite - Christian Morality  (Read 1447 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthodox11
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« on: June 05, 2012, 08:45:22 PM »

St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite - Christian Morality
Translated by Hieromonk Patapios with Introduction and Commentary by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna


I read Archbishop Chrysostomos' entry about the book in the recent issue of Orthodox Tradition this morning and decided to order a copy. Has anyone had the chance to look at it yet? I'm hoping Archbishop Chrysostomos' commentary will be extensive, as many parts of the book will undoubtedly seem unpalatable to the 21st century reader, and in need of much contextualisation and explanation.
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 09:25:27 PM »

I have the book.  It has a lengthy introduction that is quite helpful, I think.  I think it is essential to read the introduction before reading the book.  The book is littered with commentary, to such an extent that it can become quite annoying, but overall the comments are useful.  Many here would no doubt mock the book as backwards and pharasaical, but I found what I have read thus far to be beneficial.  If anything, it shows how far we have fallen from the teaching of our Fathers.  For those who are not of a traditional mindset and like to poke fun at it, I advise that they avoid the book altogether lest it give them an excuse to blaspheme.  And for those who struggle with despondency, I would recommend that they avoid it too unless they have an extremely involved spiritual father who can walk them through the book.  
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 09:27:21 PM by Ionnis » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 09:58:53 PM »

Looking at the table of contents, I notice sections written against Christians playing musical instruments. I would be curious what reasoning/ support St. Nicodemus provides for this proscription.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 12:48:25 PM »

Looking at the table of contents, I notice sections written against Christians playing musical instruments. I would be curious what reasoning/ support St. Nicodemus provides for this proscription.

I suppose it's simply a matter of avoiding anything 'worldly', involvement in which would be unbecoming for any devout Christian. Of course, such notions of propriety are not static and change according to the environment and perceptions of the times (though has there ever been an age where popular music was lewder and less spiritual than it is today?). This is why I'm delighted to hear Ioannis say that "the book is littered with commentary". Archbishop Chrysostomos mentioned some such issues in passing in the Orthodox Tradition article, where he mentions, among other things, the cultural sensitivities that coloured a lot of St. Nikodemos' works, writing as he did under Muslim occupation.

I also hope that the commentary in question is of such a nature that it would help those inclined to "poke fun at it" to read the book in a more sensitive and even-handed way.
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2012, 12:57:19 PM »

I have the book.  It has a lengthy introduction that is quite helpful, I think.  I think it is essential to read the introduction before reading the book.  The book is littered with commentary, to such an extent that it can become quite annoying, but overall the comments are useful.  Many here would no doubt mock the book as backwards and pharasaical, but I found what I have read thus far to be beneficial.  If anything, it shows how far we have fallen from the teaching of our Fathers.  For those who are not of a traditional mindset and like to poke fun at it, I advise that they avoid the book altogether lest it give them an excuse to blaspheme.  And for those who struggle with despondency, I would recommend that they avoid it too unless they have an extremely involved spiritual father who can walk them through the book.  
What of us who are of a traditional mindset and like to poke fun at what is bemoaning nostalgia of "how far we have fallen from the teaching of our Fathers"?

Whose commentary litters the book?

Is it more despondent that the book of Ecclesiastes?
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2012, 01:18:26 PM »

My Lutheran-raised wife already thinks Eastern Orthodoxy is too intense with it's long services, fasting for much of the year and ritualized praying.  Can't wait for her reactions to this gem. LOL

But, on a more serious note, I recall reading something from St. Nicodemus in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series.  He was admonishing Christians to not laugh.  Not "Don't laugh at jokes", just simply "Don't laugh".  I thought that odd, so I looked for the context of such a saying.  It seems St. Nicodemus thought the Christian life a serious matter from birth to death and laughter has no part in it.  I remember thinking Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards would be proud. 
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2012, 01:19:49 PM »

My Lutheran-raised wife already thinks Eastern Orthodoxy is too intense with it's long services, fasting for much of the year and ritualized praying.  Can't wait for her reactions to this gem. LOL

But, on a more serious note, I recall reading something from St. Nicodemus in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series.  He was admonishing Christians to not laugh.  Not "Don't laugh at jokes", just simply "Don't laugh".  I thought that odd, so I looked for the context of such a saying.  It seems St. Nicodemus thought the Christian life a serious matter from birth to death and laughter has no part in it.  I remember thinking Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards would be proud. 
I was thinking about this very issue.  Btw, Muhammad supposedly never laughed.
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 03:49:57 PM »

My Lutheran-raised wife already thinks Eastern Orthodoxy is too intense with it's long services, fasting for much of the year and ritualized praying.  Can't wait for her reactions to this gem. LOL

But, on a more serious note, I recall reading something from St. Nicodemus in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series.  He was admonishing Christians to not laugh.  Not "Don't laugh at jokes", just simply "Don't laugh".  I thought that odd, so I looked for the context of such a saying.  It seems St. Nicodemus thought the Christian life a serious matter from birth to death and laughter has no part in it.  I remember thinking Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards would be proud. 
I was thinking about this very issue.  Btw, Muhammad supposedly never laughed.

Well, no one saw the Mother of God laugh, nor did St. Lazarus laugh after he was raised from the dead. It's not to condemn laughter, but to encourage sobriety.
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 04:00:01 PM »

My Lutheran-raised wife already thinks Eastern Orthodoxy is too intense with it's long services, fasting for much of the year and ritualized praying.  Can't wait for her reactions to this gem. LOL

But, on a more serious note, I recall reading something from St. Nicodemus in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series.  He was admonishing Christians to not laugh.  Not "Don't laugh at jokes", just simply "Don't laugh".  I thought that odd, so I looked for the context of such a saying.  It seems St. Nicodemus thought the Christian life a serious matter from birth to death and laughter has no part in it.  I remember thinking Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards would be proud. 
  Btw, Muhammad supposedly never laughed.

Well, hell, the boy had 4 wives.  Y'all might think "4x the pleasure" but it's also "4x the naggin'".  Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2012, 04:01:58 PM »

My Lutheran-raised wife already thinks Eastern Orthodoxy is too intense with it's long services, fasting for much of the year and ritualized praying.  Can't wait for her reactions to this gem. LOL

But, on a more serious note, I recall reading something from St. Nicodemus in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series.  He was admonishing Christians to not laugh.  Not "Don't laugh at jokes", just simply "Don't laugh".  I thought that odd, so I looked for the context of such a saying.  It seems St. Nicodemus thought the Christian life a serious matter from birth to death and laughter has no part in it.  I remember thinking Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards would be proud. 
I was thinking about this very issue.  Btw, Muhammad supposedly never laughed.

Well, no one saw the Mother of God laugh, nor did St. Lazarus laugh after he was raised from the dead. It's not to condemn laughter, but to encourage sobriety.

I reckon that's why there's no Orthodox Christian comedians.  Seriously though, I get the 'sobriety' point, but a life without laughter ain't life at all.
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 12:43:10 AM »

I have the book.  It has a lengthy introduction that is quite helpful, I think.  I think it is essential to read the introduction before reading the book.  The book is littered with commentary, to such an extent that it can become quite annoying, but overall the comments are useful.  Many here would no doubt mock the book as backwards and pharasaical, but I found what I have read thus far to be beneficial.  If anything, it shows how far we have fallen from the teaching of our Fathers.  For those who are not of a traditional mindset and like to poke fun at it, I advise that they avoid the book altogether lest it give them an excuse to blaspheme.  And for those who struggle with despondency, I would recommend that they avoid it too unless they have an extremely involved spiritual father who can walk them through the book.  
What of us who are of a traditional mindset and like to poke fun at what is bemoaning nostalgia of "how far we have fallen from the teaching of our Fathers"?

Whose commentary litters the book?

Is it more despondent that the book of Ecclesiastes?

The commentary is Archbishop Chrysostomos of the Synod in Resistance.  I think the translator adds some stuff too.  Interestingly Archbishop Chrysostomos commentary moderates some of what St. Nikodemos says.  

And I cannot say if it is "more despondent" than Ecclesiastes.  I guess it depends on each individual person's disposition.  I guess what I mean is that there is a marked reliance on the canons and the ideal seems impossible to me.  I'm thankful for the book because it shows me how far we have deviated, but I have Orthodox friends who I know would fall hard into despondency if they read the book.  Call it nostalgia if you will, but I don't find the life of the Fathers to be glamarous, but I think it is good, at least for some of us, to know exactly how crappy we are as Christians.  I certainly wouldn't fare well if the Church canons were applied strictly.  Truth is I'd probably be spending the rest of my life in the narthex never having received holy communion until I was on my death bed because of past sins I have committed, but still a good book. Smiley
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 12:51:59 AM by Ionnis » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2012, 06:24:08 PM »

I just got the book today and am a few chapters in (I've covered the ones dealing with music and dancing). So far, I think it's excellent. Although many would certainly consider the Saint overly strict, the spirit and intent with which he is writing is self-evident, and I see no reason for readers to be surprised, scandalized, or prone to mockery on account of anything he says. Furthermore, the more severe parts of the book are not the words of St. Nicodemos himself, but come in the form of quotes from the early Fathers, primarily St. John Chrysostom and the Cappadocians.

That St. Nicodemos calls his readers to what would seem for many to be an unattainable ideal should not put people off. Christ did the same: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).
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