Maxim the Greek

Orthodox Remembrance Day: 21.  January

Name means: the greatest (Latin.)

Greek writer, translator and monk


* c. 1470 in Arta, Greece

21 January 1556 in Sergiev Posad

Antike original russische Ikone aus dem 19. Jahrhundert.


Maxim (birth name Mikhail Trivolis) came from an aristocratic Albanian family and received a high education. He graduated from school in Corfu. At the age of about 20, he moved to Italy to study ancient languages and devote himself to philosophical studies. There he was influenced by humanists such as Aldo Manuzio. In Florence he heard Savonarola preach. In 1507 he returned from Italy to Greece and entered a monastery on Mount Athos, where he took the religious name Maxim. In 1517 he received a reputation from Grand Duke Vasily III, who sought translators for the improvement and multiplication of Russian liturgical books. Maxim, who did not yet know Russian, took up residence in Moscow in 1518. Soon, however, he came into conflict with Metropolitan Daniel († 1539) because of the translation work, who in 1525 had him condemned by a synod as a heretic and put him in monastic detention. By rejecting the Grand Duke’s second marriage, Maxim also drew his enmity and the enmity of his wife, the later regent Helena Glinskaya, and was condemned again in 1531. He spent the years 1525 to 1556 mainly in captivity in changing monasteries. Maxim died in the Trinity Monastery of Sergiev Posad.


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