Fr. PhD Mladin Constantin, Byzantine theological personalities from the Xth-XIth Centuries

Mitropolia Olteniei Publishing House, Craiova, 2020, 978-606-731-082-5

This book, Byzantine theological personalities from the X-XI centuries, is the result of research, during studies at the Doctoral School “Saint Nicodemus” of the University of Craiova, in the field of Theology, Patrology and post-patristic literature, under the guidance of Fr. Habil. PhD. Constantin Băjău, who also made the Foreward.

The research topic is a bit in-depth in specialized studies in Romanian. It sums up almost all the information from the foreign literature and in Romanian, to which I had access, to which I added constructive, personal opinions and criticisms, in order to outline a complete picture of the life, activity and work of personalities, which is the subject of the thesis.

In this sense, the research aims to present information about the authors from the studied period (X-XI centuries), about their role in the Church and in the society of the time. It also aims to detail the aspects related to their works, whether theological or indirectly related to theology and to show the importance of the teachings of faith derived from the study of their works for Orthodox theology, understood as a whole, as doctrine and worship. Thus, the work aims to bring theologians of a millennium closer to the readers of the 21st century, in general, and to contemporary theologians in particular. The knowledge of works and authors from the X-XI centuries deserves a much wider attention and deepening in our studies.

As a way of working, I used first of all to study the authors’ works in original and to translate them into Romanian and in the modern languages that are accessible to me. We followed a presentation that was easy to read and understand, focusing on documenting the information used and proven from sources.

The organization of the work is didactic, the authors of the X-XI centuries being divided according to their preoccupation or according to their occupied social and ecclesiastical status. The content of my paper did not aim to completely exhaust the subject. This is completely impossible for countless reasons. I hope that on this subject, many other valuable works will be written in Romanian in the future. My work brings vital information for a future overall understanding of the two centuries, X-XI, in the history of Christian Byzantium.

Of course, we could not make an analysis and an objective evaluation of all the works of the authors studied. Most of these have not been translated into modern European languages either. The research material is organized in two parts, complementary and well outlined, to which is added a rich critical apparatus and an important number of bibliographic references, which total 372 pages.

The Byzantine personalities chosen by me are emperors, hagiographers and theologians, bishops, teachers and historians of the time, as follows: Emperor Leo VI the Wise, Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, St. Symeon the Metaphrast, St. Symeon the Studite, St. Symeon The New Theologian, Niketas Stethatos, Patriarch  Nicholas I Mystikos, Patriarch Michael I Cerularius, Archbishop Arethas of Caesarea Cappadocia, St. Peter of Argos (St. Peter the Wonderworker), Michael Psellos, Euthymios Zigabenos, John Italus and Leo the Deacon. To these I added a Lexicon, an encyclopedia containing various historical information in alphabetical order, named after the author: Suidas.

The life and work of these authors highlight the concerns for culture in general and for theology in particular, in the two centuries, X-XI, aspects that bring more information in the theological field Patrology and post-patristic literature and beyond.