Nicodemus the Hagiorite

Nicodemus the Hagiorite or Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (Greek: Ὅσιος Νικόδημος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης; 1749 – July 14, 1809) is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was an ascetic monk, mystic, theologian, and true philosopher. His life's work was a revival of traditional Christian practices and patristic literature.


This Blessed Saint wrote ascetic prayer literature and influenced the rediscovery of hesychasm, a method of contemplative prayer from the Byzantine period. 


He is very well known for his work with Macarius of Corinth on the anthology of monastic spiritual writings known as The Philokalia, as well as for his compilation of canons known as the Pedalion or The Rudder which he co-wrote with a hieromonk named Agapios Monachos. 


With Macarios of Corinth, Nicodemus was responsible for the compilation and publishing of The Evergetinos, thoroughly reviewing a vast collection of materials from a number of other collections of sayings of monastics and others, ranging from the well-known works of St. John Cassian and Palladius, to the anonymously produced Apophthegmata collections, but including materials also from hagiographies, menologia, and other, unspecified and now-lost sources. Assembling, collecting, and editing a number of manuscripts scattered among the libraries of Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain. Nicodemus was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1955.


Nicodemus was born Nicholas Kallivroutsis (Νικόλαος Καλλιβρούτσης) in 1749 on the Greek island of Naxos, which was at the time part of the Ottoman Empire. According to his biographer, he was possessed of "great acuteness of mind, accurate perception, intellectual brightness, and vast memory", qualities which were readily apparent to those who furthered him along in his learning.


He passed from the tutelage of his parish priest to that of Archimandrite Chrysanthos, who was the brother of Cosmas. From there he made his way to Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), where he studied at the Evangelical School. Here he studied theology, as well as ancient Greek, Latin, French, and Italian.


Persecution from the Turks, who ruled most of the Greek world at the time, cut his schooling short, and he returned to Naxos in 1770.


He studied at Smyrna but was forced to abandon his studies during a time of Ottoman persecution. Instead he entered the Dionysiou monastery on Mount Athos in 1775.


Nicholas made the acquaintance of Macarius of Corinth a few years after returning home, beginning a lifelong friendship. It was shortly thereafter that he decided to embrace the monastic life, following the example of three monks he had encountered, Gregory, Niphon, and Arsenios. These men had come from Mount Athos, which had been an important center of monasticism for over seven hundred years, and persuaded Nicholas to go there as well. He arrived there in 1775, at age 26.


Upon being tonsured a monk, Nicholas' name was changed, as is the custom for those who had abandoned the world, to Nicodemus. He was initiated into the practice of hesychia, a method of prayer involving inner stillness, controlled breathing which cannot be man made but actually given in coooperation with true prayer… repetition of the "Jesus Prayer" (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner). Nicodemus aligned himself with the monks known as Kollyvades, who sought a revival of traditional Orthodox practices and patristic literature, and he spent the remainder of his life at work translating and publishing those works. He also composed many original books of his own.


He died on July 14, 1809 on Mount Athos and was canonized by the Church of Greece on May 31, 1955. His feast day is 14 July.


In cooperation with Macarius of Corinth, Nicodemus compiled the Philokalia, which became an important work on monastic spirituality. It contains some of the teachings of many of the ancient Desert Fathers.


Nicodemus also published modern editions of other theological writings, such as those of Symeon the New Theologian and Gregory Palamas. In addition, he wrote original works, such as the Pedalion (also known as The Rudder), a treatise on Eastern Orthodox canon law, and the Exomologetarion, a guide for confessors.


Another of his famous works is the Enchiridion of Counsels (or "Handbook of Spiritual Counsel"), written by Nicodemus at the suggestion of his cousin Hierotheos, who had recently been made Bishop of Euripos. 


This handbook on the religious life, aimed at clergy and lay Christians alike, continues to be influential on Greek spirituality to this day to those who follow. 


The work has been described as a theological-ethical tract that displays both deep psychological insight and a keen scientific mind.


He was not ignorant of the Western spiritual writers, and even published reworked versions of the Spiritual Exercises (Πνευματικά γυμνάσματα) of Ignatius of Loyola and The Spiritual Combat (βιβλίον καλούμενον· Αόρατος Πόλεμος) of Lorenzo Scupoli.


The term Philokalia (φιλοκαλία) (love of the good), used for the texts, aims to enshrine the history of the Jesus Prayer (the Prayer of the heart), and the spiritual practice of this, called Hesychasm. 


It is this love of beauty that revives and gives faith to the hopeless. 


The history of the prayer begins with the earliest fathers including Anthony the Great, and the text ends with Gregory Palamas. 


The title conveys the contemplative tradition, in that it teaches understanding of the inner or mystical Kingdom of God within each person. 


The spirit of God is an ember and one must cultivate the ember into an open fire. 


This perpetual fire burns in the heart, in love for all things, which is to share in the energy of God, which is love. (Leviticus 9:24). 


It is within the Philokalia that one learns how to properly navigate the passions and depravity of existence called the World. 


The object of contemplation is "the love of beauty" or infinite beauty, which is God. 


For if existence were truly evil it could neither contain nor express beauty. 


This expression conveys the truth about the divine (ascetic) life and purpose which the heart learns through practice of the Prayer of the Heart, called Hesychasm. 


God in his energies is love. God is also the source of all that is truly beautiful, resplendent with divine glory. It is this beauty,  held from within one’s heart for and to our Lord Jesus Christ Son of God our Father. 


It is wise to go as far as back as you can to find a published copy that is closest to the original…unfortunately as recently as 2016 and many teachings, canons were removed which was and is a very grave error with our overall economia, economy within what is truly happening, spiritually on this earth.



A monk of Mount Athos, threw away his cassock and went into the world to live his life.


He lived prodigally with many sins of the flesh and finally got married. He had 2 boys and one day he went with his family to bathe in the sea.


On the beach, as he was lying under the umbrella, his little boy says to him:


– Dad, what is that cross on your chest? And the red letters on him, what do they say?


The father was shocked by his son's revelation. He asked to go back to their house and there he locked himself in his room and cried all night...


The next day he confessed and his spiritual father told him:


- Christ, even though you have repeatedly and consciously denied Him, still loves you undiminished! As much as he loved you when you were a monk, he loves you even more now!


These words hit him in the philotimos. So he revealed the whole truth to his wife and they agreed to divorce by mutual consent.


He went back to the monastery, while his wife later became a nun, after she settled their children first.


After 17 years, the son of the monk who had seen the letters on his father's chest visits Mount Athos and specifically the monastery where his father was a monk, without knowing it.


He goes to the abbot of the monastery and asks to confess. After the confession, he asks the abbot:


– Father, I'm looking to find my father. He became a monk and for so many years, I don't know where he is. Can you help me?


The abbot understood whose son this child was and tried diligently to hide his tears of emotion and said to him:


- My child, sit here today and I will be informed and I will tell you tomorrow.


The abbot went to the monk - father of the son, to inform him and he says:


– My child, your little son has come to the monastery and is looking for you. Would you like to see him?

He, clearly moved and at the same time troubled, told him:


- Elder I saw my guardian angel and he revealed to me that in 3 days I am leaving for the other world! Tell my child that he will see me in 3 days! And when I sleep, then you will reveal to him, that I was his father!


Because I want to set a rule for myself, for everything I've done in my life...


The act of the monk, is an act of complete repentance and his refusal, not to see his child, is superior love!


The abbot went to the child, convinced him to stay another 3 days in the monastery. At the funeral that took place in 3 days, the son attended and confessed to the abbot:


- Old man, this is the first time I've seen such a funeral! This monk is a holy relic! This is a monk!


And when they buried him, the abbot made the great revelation to the son:


– My child, this monk... was your father!!!


Elder Ephraim of the Skete of Saint Andrew


Why do we light candles in church?


All Christians who go to church upon entering the church take candles and after lighting them place them in the designated places, candelabras, usually in front of the icons of the Saints. Many do not know what this act symbolizes. Some think they do it to financially support their parish church. Indeed, the temple is financially strengthened by the offering of the faithful, but behind the lighting of the candle there is a deeper symbolism.

Why, then, do we light candles?

We will cite the answers of two great saints and great theologians of our Church who explain this symbolism, Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki and Saint Nicodemus of Mount Athos (Agioritis). Each gives 6 reasons.

Saint Simeon tells us that we light the candle and symbolizes:

a. The purity of the soul, because the genuine candle is made from pure beeswax.

b. The malleability of our soul. Just as we easily carve what we want on the wax of the candle, so we carve the bad or the good in our soul.

c. The fragrance of Divine Grace, because the candle comes from fragrant flowers.

d. The purpose of the Christian's life which is likeness to God, i.e. deification. Because the believer is burning with this desire, he remembers it by lighting the candle and seeing its flame.

e. The light of Christ. As the light of the candle illuminates and dispels the darkness, so the light of Christ illuminates the lives of believers.

f. The love and peace that every Christian should have, because the candle comforts the man with his light in the darkness.

Saint Nicodemus the Saint tells us the following symbols.

We light candles:

a. That God may be glorified, who is the true and only light that enlightens every man.

b. To dispel the darkness of the night and comfort us from the fear of the dark.

c. To show that we have joy in our souls.

d. In honor of the saints and martyrs of our faith, thus imitating the first Christians who lit candles at the tombs of the Martyrs.

e. For our good works to be symbolized, according to the word of the Lord: "let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven".

f. For the forgiveness of sins of those who light a candle and those for whom they light it. That is why in many temples of different regions there are separate candelabras where candles are lit for the living and for the dead.

(St. Nicodemus Agioreitou, Eortodromion, p. 433)



What are the responsibilities between Christians?


1.  That they love one another. (John 13:34-35)

2.  That they complete one another. (Rom. 12:5)

3.  That they are committed to one another. (Rom. 12:10)

4.  That they honour one another. (Rom. 12:10)

5.  That they rejoice with the joy of the other. (Rom. 12:15, 1Cor. 12:26)

6.  That they partake in the sorrow of the other. (Rom. 12: 15)

7.  That they have the same mindset with one another. (Rom. 12:16)

8.  That they do not judge one another. (Rom. 14:13)

9.  That they accept one another. (Rom. 15:7)

10.  That they counsel one another. (Rom. 15: 14)

11.  That they embrace one another. (Rom. 16:16)

12.  That they care for one another. (1Cor. 12:25)

13.  That they serve one another. (Gal. 5:13)

14.  That they are useful to one another. (Eph. 4:32)

15.  That they forgive one another. (Eph. 4:32)

16.  That they are compassionate to one another. (Eph. 4:32)

17.  That they comfort one another. (1Thess. 5:11)

18.  That they edify one another. (1Thess. 5:11)

19.  That they are subordinate to one another. (Eph. 5:21)

20.  That they suffer for one another. (Eph. 4:2, Col. 3:13)

21.  That the bear the burdens of one another. (Gal. 6:2)


"All Roads Lead to Rome"

 "ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME" is a well-known saying. It is thought that it was said for Rome, the capital of Italy.

But what is meant is Rome, "Nouva", that is, "New Rome", that is, "Constantinople", that is, "Istanbul".

Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great (272-337) set out to make Byzantium, where only five thousand people lived, the capital of the Roman Empire and to create a new city in 324, and started by dividing the seven-hilled city into 14 regions.
A large palace (Imperial Palace), Senate Palace, Hagia Irene Church, Church of the Holy Apostles (today there is Fatih Mosque), Hagia Sophia (it starts but cannot be finished), a hippodrome with a capacity of 33 thousand people, an aqueduct, a square decorated with statues bearing its name (Çemberlitaş), a square is built in the name of his mother Augusteum and the city is decorated with ancient works of art brought from all over the country.
In order to protect the city, the old city walls were demolished and the Constantine Walls, of which no traces remain today, were built. In addition, starting in front of Hagia Sophia, a large boulevard (today's Divanyolu Street) opens with the name "Oak".
After six years of activity, a magnificent and modern city emerges. With a great ceremony on Monday, May 11, 330, Byzantium became the Capital of the Roman Empire and the city was named Nuova Roma (New Rome) by the decision of the Senate. It is celebrated with great ceremonies.

When we go back two years, that is, during the construction, one day, the chief architect Leontius says to Emperor Constantine:

  - Your Majesty! We have reserved the area of ​​the Church of the Holy Apostles for the residence of relatives of the imperial family, senators and dignitaries. The area reserved for the public is between the small port and the big port. Both the small port and the large port are reserved for traders and sailors. In the following years, the settlement will continue in its own medium. However, I must make one more point. In our opinion, Byzantium should be made the center of the world. First of all, there is a stone called "Million", which is still preserved in Jerusalem and considered sacred because it was touched by Jesus. It would be appropriate to bring this stone and place it in front of the ruined temple (there was no Hagia Sophia at that time). The place where the stone is located should be counted as (0/Zero) point in the world and all distances should be measured from this point. If this happens, an office will be built right next to the stone. The job of this office will be to sell applicants maps showing the distance and routes from that point. To give an example, the passengers and caravans going from Byzantium to Antiochia (Antakya) will come from here and buy maps and will know how to go to Antiochia (Antakya), by which road and in how many days. In addition, accommodation places will be marked on the roads. Thus Byzantium will become the center of the world...

Indeed, that's exactly what happens.
The million stone is brought from Jerusalem.
It is placed opposite Hagia Sophia.
Until 1453, the place where that stone was found is now the (0/Zero) point in the world.

For this reason, the phrase "All Roads Lead to Rome" was used for Nouva Roma (New Rome), that is, Constantinople, that is, Istanbul.

- Radi Dikici (Bizans İmparatorluğu Tarihi/History of the Byzantine Empire)