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Author: Ludmila I. Zhurova
Information about the author:

Ludmila I. Zhurova, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Nikolaeva 8, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6796-0896

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



For citation:

Zhurova, L.I. “Epistles of Maximus the Greek to Deacon Gregory: Textology, Attribution, Poetics.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 22. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 7–28. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-7-28 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-7-28
UDC: 821.161.1.0
Keywords: epistle, Maximus the Greek, Deacon Gregory, textological study, attribution, text grammar, exegetics, genre.
Date of publication: 20.09.2023

Acknowledgements: The article was completed with the support of the program “Memory of the Past in Written Sources of the 16th–20th Centuries: Actualization of Events, Translation of Cultural Traditions, Research Practices” (FWZM-2021-0005).


The creative laboratory of Maximus the Greek contains the evidence of transformation of a letter into a public epistle, which becomes one of the leading genres of the Russian publicist writings of the 16th century. The paper presents the results of a textological study of four letters to Gregory, the deacon of the Bishop of Tver Achatius. The history of the text proved to be largely connected with the literary tradition of the collections of writings by Maximus the Greek of the late 16 – early 17 centuries, among which the Nizhny Novgorod-Paris collection is of special interest. A solution of the issue of attribution of The Tale of Crist’s Birth is proposed. The focus of the correspondence between Gregory and Maximus the Greek is on the issues of a linguistic and exegetic nature, which interested the curious deacon and his associates. At Gregory’s request, the Wise Man from Mount of Athos interprets certain variants of the Article of Faith, the second verse of Psalm 89 and discusses one of the dogmatic provisions related in the life of the Byzantine saint Blessed Andrew, the nature of the Trinity. Maximus the Greek wrote an exclusively personal letter to Gregory lamenting his inebriety, relating “his spiritual heartache” caused by his friend’s sin. The letter discloses the trusting relation between the Learned Monk and the deacon and becomes an important ego-source for comprehending the inner emotional world of the author. The poetics of the friends’ correspondence witness reduction of the etiquette norms of the epistolary genre, preservation of the didactic role of quoting sacred texts and special expression of the author’s self-knowledge and personality. The author’s writing attitude is aimed at achieving a perlocutionary effect.


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