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Subject Religion

Key-Topics monasticism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


Imiaslavie (lit. “glorification of the name”) was a doctrine, popular among Russian monks on Mount Athos in the first two decades of the 20th century, maintaining that the name of God is itself divine; it resulted in a major controversy culminating in the expulsion of over 800 Russian monks in 1913. Adherents referred to this teaching as imiaslavie (“name-glorifying”) and called themselves imiaslavtsy (“name-glorifiers”); opponents referred to this doctrine as the imenobozhnicheskaia eres' (“the name-worshipping heresy”) and to its adherents as imenobozhniki (“name-worshippers”). The controversy arose in reaction to the book Na Gorakh Kavkaza (In the Mountains of the Caucasus) by Schema-monk Ilarion, first published in 1907 with ecclesiastical sanction. Although primarily concerned with the practice of the Jesus Prayer, it came under criticism for passages appearing to identify the name of Jesus with Christ himself. The key phrase under dispute (one not used by Ilarion) became “the Name of God is God Himself” ( Imia Bozhie est’ Sam Bog ). By 1911–12 Russian Athonites were divided into opposing camps. On January 12, 1913, following a disputed election to the abbacy, the imiaslavtsy forcibly drove their opponents out of St. Andrew's Skete. Several official condemnations of both the actions and teachings of the imiaslavtsy were subsequently published: an epistle of Patriarch ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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