Niphon Kausokalybites

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Niphon Kausokalybites (Greek: Όσιος Νήφων Καυσοκαλυβίτης, 1316–1411) was a Greek Christian Orthodox Saint and monk. He is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on June 14.[1]

A Greek, Niphon was born in the village of Lukovë, Himarë municipality, that time part of the Despotate of Epirus (modern south Albania). From an early age he went to the monastery of Geromerion (near Filiates) where he became a hesychast. Soon after he moved to the nearby monastery of Mesopotamon, where he became a monk.[2]

Niphon went to the monastic state of Mount Athos sometime after 1335,[3] where he dedicated himself to ascetism, under the guidance of the monastic Elders, Neilos Erichiotes, Theognostos and Maximos Kausokalybites.[1][4] In 1345, Niphon was the protos of Mount Athos. At that time Athos came under the protection of the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dusan, who accused him for heresy and Bogomilism, but he was successfully defended by Gregory Palamas.[5] In 1347-8 Niphon was tried and deposed from his position as protos after being accused by fellow monks of heresy.[6] He was succeeded by the Serbian monk Antonios. His deposition is regarded as either part of the struggles between rival religious factions that predated the Serbian control of the Athonite community or attempts of Stefan Dusan to gain control of Athos by appointing a Serbian official as its head.[5][6] This intervention resulted in serious contradictions between the Greek dignitaries and the Serbs of Hilandar monastery of Athos.[7]

During 1355-63 he was again accused of heresy when his servant Bardarius revealed before dying that he had joined the Euchite movement, but was defended by Patriarch Callistus. It is considered unclear from contemporary accounts whether Niphon was a Euchite or Hesychast at that time.[8] Niphon lived the rest of his life as a hesychast, until his death in 1411.[1]

Niphon was also the author of the first biography of Maximos Kausokalybites, his spiritual tutor.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ὅσιος Νήφων ὁ Καυσοκαλυβίτης. 14 Ιουνίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  2. ^ Nicol, Donald M. (2010). The despotate of Epiros, 1267-1479 : a contribution to the history of Greece in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-521-13089-9. 
  3. ^ Laiou-Thomadakis, edited by Angeliki E. (1979). Charanis studies : essays in honor of Peter Charanis. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8135-0875-7. 
  4. ^ (in Greek) Μωυσή Μοναχού Αγιορείτου. Η ησυχαστική παράδοση στο Άγιον Όρος από τον Άγιο Γρηγόριο Παλαμά έως σήμερα. 23-4-2008.
  5. ^ a b Stoyanov, Selected sources translated and annotated by Janet Hamilton and Bernard Hamilton ; Assistance with the translation of Old Slavonic texts by Juri (1998). Christian dualist heresies in the Byzantine world, c.650-c.1450 (1. publ. ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7190-4765-7. 
  6. ^ a b Korac, Dusan (1993-01-01). Mount Athos under the rule of Stephen Dusan. Serbian Studies. North American Society for Serbian Studies. p. 81. 
  7. ^ Pavlikianov, Cyril. "The Athonite Period in the Life of Saint Romylos of Vidin". Byzantina Symmeikta. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Obolensky, Dimitri (2004-08-19). The Bogomils: A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism. Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-521-60763-6. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Kallistos of Diokleia (2004-08-19). "St Maximos of Kapsokalyvia and Fourteenth-Century Athonite Hesychasm". Kathegetria. Essays Presented to Joan Hussey for her 80th Birthday. Camberley: 410. ISBN 978-1-871328-00-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • F. Halkin, «La vie de Saint Niphon», An. Boll. 58 (1940)