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Price: $22.00


Publisher: Protecting Veil Press

Anestis Keselopoulos


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Lessons From a Greek Island

Known in Greece as the “Saint of Greek Letters,” Alexandros Papadiamandis (Papadiamantis) (1851-1911) was the most important literary figure of nineteenth-century Greece and arguably of modern Greek literature more generally. Through his lively, tender, and profound short stories of the simple lives of the Orthodox faithful of his native island of Skiathos, Papadiamandis reveals a world of organically lived Orthodoxy, a world largely lost in the disintegrating order of modern life. Papadiamantis enjoyed close friendships with holy men of his age, such as St. Nicholas Planas (alongside whom he served as chanter). Papadiamandis does not portray a romantic, ideal world but rather a profoundly human world of struggle that always has the possibility of transfiguration through life in Christ and His Church.

For many decades overlooked and largely rejected by the Academy, Papadiamandis’s work is finally coming into its own. It is an exciting time for Westerners interested in Papadiamandis and the world of Greek literature, for this volume is being joined by wonderful new English translations of the majority of Papadiamandis’s works, which are presently being edited for publication. In Lessons From a Greek Island, with great warmth and sympathy Professor Keselopoulos provides the first serious attempt to plumb the spiritual depths of the riches of Papadiamandis. One of Professor Keselopoulos’s chief concerns is Papadiamandis’s description of the spiritual and liturgical life of Skiathos, which he shows to be an authentic expression of Orthodox faith. He also aims to show how, because Papadiamandis is an authentic bearer of the Church’s tradition, his creative works become tradition. Papadiamandis’s faith transforms his work, providing it with an authentically Orthodox spiritual dimension absent in most modern art. Professor Keselopoulos’s book is read in Greek both by laymen, entranced by his successful marriage of profound theology and the beautiful world Papadiamandis describes, and by students of theology at the University of Thessalonica, where it is used in the Pastoral Theology class.

The book features:

  • Two stories by Alexandros Papadiamandis: “Without a Wedding Crown” and “A Village Easter”
  • A Foreword by Hieromonk Alexis (Trader), author of In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord: An Orthodox Interpretation of the Gifts of the Spirit, and Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy, previously Lecturer in Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and now a monk of Karakallou Monastery on Mt. Athos
  • A Translator’s Introduction, which considers the Orthodox understanding of art outside of its strictly liturgical bounds, as it appears in the works of both Fyodor Dostoevsky and Alexandros Papadiamandis
  • A map of Papadiamandis’s home island of Skiathos
  • A Glossary of theological terms
  • Extensive footnotes and endnotes

The body of the book is divided into six chapters, the first of which provides the reader unfamiliar with Papadiamandis with an introduction to his life and work.

The remaining chapters are based on Papadiamandis’s stories and consider different aspects of the faith:

  • The Clergy: Pastoral service, education, the relationship between the monastery and the parish
  • The Role of Lay People: Clergy/laity relations, lay people as concelebrators, Church-State relations
  • The Tradition of the Church: Biblical tradition as liturgical tradition, Eastern and Western traditions, diachronicity in tradition
  • Papadiamandis’s Liturgical Theology: Influences from the monastic typicon, liturgical precision and Economy, form and essence in worship
  • Art in Worship: The meaning of liturgical art, the theology of the icon, the “museumification” of liturgical art, the authentic and the false ethos of Orthodox art