Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Akindynos, Gregorios

Born: ca. 1300, Prilapos, Northern Macedonia
Died: ca. 1348, Macedonia
  • George ZografidisEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_6-1


Gregorios Akindynos was a Byzantine theologian of the fourteenth century (ca. 1300–1348), learned in patristic literature and Greek philosophy, and leader of the anti-Palamite party in the second phase of Hesychast Controversy (1341–1347). Based on his interpretation of the Greek patristic tradition, he wrote extensive refutations of Gregorios Palamas’ works and especially of the Hesychast theological justification of the essence-energies distinction within God. For Akindynos simplicity is a major attribute of the tripartite God, and everything separated from God’s essence is created; so there can be no distinction between incomprehensible uncreated divine essence and comprehensible and inferior uncreated divine energies. Any such theory subverts the unity of the Trinity and leads to ditheism, for which he accused Palamas. Divine names do not correspond to energies but just denote divine nature. Regarding man’s participation in God as a means for deification, Akindynos refuses Hesychast’s claim that man is capable of participating in divine energies and even seeing them in a spiritual manner. The divine light which humans experience is a symbol and, together with the created world and reason, a way to the knowledge of God. Given this kind of knowledge, it is only in divine love that the inexplicable union of man and God occurs and deification is possible. Akindynos influenced anti-Palamite writers, and his works have been severely criticized by Hesychast theologians.


Fourteenth Century Greek Philosophy Patristic Literature Divine Nature Divine Love 
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Primary Literature

  1. Confession to the Empress: Candal, M. 1959. La Confesión de fe antipalamítica de Gregorio Acíndyno. Orientalia Christiana Periodica 25: 215–264.Google Scholar
  2. Discourse to monk Ierotheos: Pitsakes, K. 1972. Γρηγορίου Ἀκινδύνου ἀνέκδοτη πραγματεία περὶ (Κωνσταντίνου;) Ἀρμενοπούλου. Epeteris Kentrou Historias Hellenikou Dikaiou 19: 188–206.Google Scholar
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  5. Gregory Palamas, Epistles I-III to Akindynos: Chrestou, P., and J. Meyendorff. 1962. Γρηγορίου τοῦ Παλαμᾶ Συγγράμματα, vol. 1, 176–187, 196–224, 296–312. Thessaloniki. Italian translation: Perrella, E., ed. 2006. Gregorio Palamas, Che cos’è l’Ortodossia, 386–431, 574–605. Milano, Bompiani.Google Scholar
  6. Letters: Constantinides: Hero, A. 1983. Letters of Gregory Akindynos, Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 21. Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks.Google Scholar
  7. Refutation of Palamas’ Confession: Candal, M. 1963. Escrito de Pálamas desconocido: su ‘Consfesión de fe’ refutada por Akíndino. Orientalia Christiana Periodica 29: 360–406.Google Scholar
  8. Refutation of Palamas’ Third Epistle to Akindynos: Nadal, J. 1974. La rédaction première de la Troisième lettre de Palamas à Akindynos. Orientalia Christiana Periodica 40: 233–285.Google Scholar
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Secondary Literature

  1. Boiadjiev, T. 2000. Gregorios Akindynos als Ausleger des Dionysios Pseudo-Areopagita. In Die Dionysius-Rezeption im Mittelalter, Rencontres de philosophie médiévale 9, ed. T. Boiadjiev, G. Kapriev and A. Speer, 105–122. Turhnout, Brepols.Google Scholar
  2. Boiadjiev, T. 2005. Meriston symbolon. Gregorios Acindynos and the debate on tabor light. Synthesis Philosophica 39: 57–71.Google Scholar
  3. Nadal, J. 1974. La critique par Acindynos de l’herméneutique patristique de Palamas. Istina 19: 297–328.Google Scholar
  4. Nadal, J. 1990. Gregorio Akindinos, ¿eslavo o bizantino? Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici 27: 259–265.Google Scholar
  5. Nadal, J. 1996. Denys l’Aréopagite dans les Traités de Grégoire Akindynos. In Denys l’Aréopagite et sa postérité en Orient et en Occident, ed. Y. De Andia, 553–562. Paris, BrepolsGoogle Scholar
  6. Nadal Cañellas, J. 2002. Gregorio Akíndinos. In La théologie byzantine et sa tradition, ed. C.G. Conticello and V. Conticello, vol. 2, 189–256. Turnhout, Brepols.Google Scholar
  7. Nadal Cañellas, J. 2007. Le rôle de Grégoire Akindynos dans la controverse hésychaste du XIVeme siècle à Byzance. Ιn Eastern crossroads: Essays on medieval Christian legacy, ed. J.P. Monferrer-Sala, 31–60. Piscataway, Gorgias PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Phanourgakis, B. 1972. Άγνωστα αντιπαλαμικά συγγράμματα του Γρηγορίου Ακινδύνου (Unknown Antipalamite works of Gregory Akindynos). Kleronomia (Thessaloniki) 4Β: 285–302.Google Scholar

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, School of Philosophy and EducationAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece