Nilus, 14th-century Byzantine theologian and apologete, metropolitan of Thessalonica; b. Thessalonica, c. 1298; d. c. 1363. Nilus served at the court of John VI Cantecuzenus and in 1361 was consecrated metropolitan of Thessalonica, although he never took possession of the see. He was the revered professor of his nephew Nicolas cabasilas and of Demetrius cydones. At first Nilus appears to have been either neutral or inclined against the Palamite teaching. He was consulted by Demetrius Cydones for clarification of the doctrines in dispute between the Latin and Greek Churches and favored efforts at reunion. He became an admirer of the writings of thomas aquinas and encouraged Cydones in his translation of the Summa contra gentiles. Apparently at the request of the Emperor he took an interest in the Hesychastic controversies and eventually sided with Palamas, attempting to win Nicephorus Gregoras to the Palamite position. With the Patriarch Philotheus Coccinus, Nilus composed the Palamitic tome of the Synod of 1351 and wrote an Antigramma against Gregoras. Realizing that the works of Aquinas posed a threat to Byzantine theology, he set about to refute the arguments of the Summa contra gentiles and made free use of the works of barlaam of ca labria in his "On the Procession of the Holy Spirit." Finally, he produced several other anti-Latin writings, including a refutation of the Thomistic use of the syllogism in theology, which seems originally to have been part of the work on the Holy Spirit, and tracts on the causes of the schism, another on the primacy of the pope, and one on the synod of 879–880. A work on purgatory attributed to him actually belongs to Mark eugenicus. His considerations on the procession of the Holy Spirit were influential at the Council of Florence.
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 148:1328–1435, Adversus Gregoras Nicephorus; 149:683–730, schism and primacy; 151:707–764, tome of the synod. e. candal, Orientalia Christiana periodica 9 (1943) 245–306, Procession of the Holy Spirit; ibid. 23(1957) 237–266, Palamite theology; ed., Nilus Cabasilas et theologia S. Thomae de processione Spiritus Sancti (Studi e Testi 116; 1945). f. vernet Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 2.1:1295–97. h. beck Divus Thomas 13 (1935) 1–22, Thomism. Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich 727–728. m. rackl, Xenia Thomistica, ed. s. szabÓ, 3 v. (Rome 1925) 3:363–389. l. petit, Patrologia orientalis 15 (1927) 5–168. g. schiro, Studi Bizantini 9 (1957) 362–388.
[h. d. hunter]
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