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Callistus II Xanthopulus, Patriarch of Constantinople


Byzantine spiritual writer who reigned as patriarch in 1397. His surname indicates that he was from the monastery of Xanthopulus. With another monk, Ignatius Xanthopulos, Callistus composed the important Century, a tract of 100 sections on the ascetical practices of the Hesychastic monks; it was incorporated in the Philokalia of Nicodemus the Hagiorite and had a great influence on Orthodox spirituality. The Century avoided the Palamite controversy; it confined itself to practical directives based on the teachings of the Greek fathers, such as Evagrius, Maximus the Confessor, and John Climacus. At the start of his spiritual life, the monk must seek a director who will lead him to the perfection of his baptismal graces in a life of faith, hope, and charity. Obedience to the director eliminates self-will and leads to fulfillment of the commandments of Jesus. A life of continual prayer, strict self-discipline, and practice of the bodily activities of the Hesychasts are prerequisites, as is the Prayer of the Heart or the jesus prayer. These means are, however, subordinate to the action of Divine Grace (c. 24). Callistus seems to have used the work of Callistus Angelicudes as a basis for this compilation. A series of "Texts on Prayer" is also attributed to Callistus in the Philokalia. Several rescripts and a confession of faith have been preserved from his reign as patriarch. The homilary attributed to him in a MS of the Chilandar monastery is not of his authorship.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 147:635812. e. kadloubovsky and g. e. h. palmer, trs., Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart (London 1951) 162273. Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich 774, 784785.

[h. d. hunter]

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