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Holy Men of Mount Athos

Holy Men of Mount Athos

Edited by Alexander Alexakis
Translated by Stamatina McGrath
Edited and translated by Richard P. H. Greenfield and Alice-Mary Talbot

ISBN 9780674088764

Publication date: 04/30/2016

Often simply called the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos was the most famous center of Byzantine monasticism and remains the spiritual heart of the Orthodox Church today. This volume presents the Lives of Euthymios the Younger, Athanasios of Athos, Maximos the Hutburner, Niphon of Athos, and Philotheos. These five holy men lived on Mount Athos at different times from its early years as a monastic locale in the ninth century to the last decades of the Byzantine period in the early fifteenth century. All five were celebrated for asceticism, clairvoyance, and, in most cases, the ability to perform miracles; Euthymios and Athanasios were also famed as founders of monasteries.

Holy Men of Mount Athos illuminates both the history and the varieties of monastic practice on Athos, individually by hermits as well as communally in large monasteries. The Lives also demonstrate the diversity of hagiographic composition and provide important glimpses of Byzantine social and political history.

All the Lives in this volume are presented for the first time in English translation, together with authoritative editions of their Greek texts.


  • With this corpus of translations of Athonite saints’ Lives, a scholarly platform has been created for the future investigations on an interesting branch of Byzantine hagiography and on the life of a monastic polity.

    —Stephanos Efthymiadis, Speculum


  • Richard P. H. Greenfield is Professor of Byzantine History at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
  • Alice-Mary Talbot is Director of Byzantine Studies Emerita, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
  • Stamatina McGrath is an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University.
  • Alexander Alexakis is Professor of Byzantine Philology at the University of Ioannina, Greece.

Book Details

  • 776 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press