Diadochos of Photiki

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Our venerable and God-bearing father Diadochos of Photiki is one of the great heirs of Evagrius the Solitary (Pontique) for the doctrine of hesychia, and of saint Macarios of Egypt (the Great), for the ideas of sensible spiritual experience and the fierceness of the fight against the demons. Scholars have acknowledged his great influence on later Byzantine authors like saint Maximos the Confessor, saint John Climacus ("of the Ladder"), saint Symeon the New Theologian and the Hesychast movement of the 14th century. He has also a great influence in the West via the "De vita contemplativa" of Julian Pomerius (+ 498), who came to southern Gaul in 496, in Arles, and gained great influence on saint Cesarius of Arles. His feast day is commemorated on March 29.

Life

Saint Diadoque is born c. 400, and died before 486, date of an "History of the persecution by the Vandals" who's author praises him. He became bishop of Photiki (Photicé), small town in the province of Old Epira, in the nord-west of actual Greece. So F. Dörr, in "Diadochus von Photike und die Messalianer" calls him "the most Western of all Eastern bishops", and thus from the Greek Fathers.

He took part to Ecumenical Councile of Chalcedon (415) as bishop of Photiki. In one of his later works, "Sermo on Ascension", Diadoque appears as a real champion of the Orthodox doctrine of Chalcedon. His most known work, the "100 Chapters", was written for his monks, in reaction to some strange doctrines coming from Mesopotamia, from the schism (or sect?) of Messalianists (Euchists).

Some authors have misunderstood the role of saint Macarius in Mesopotamia, and concluded that saint Diadoque wrote his main work against him. Later studies showed that saint Macarius held in fact the same role with those Messalianists communities of Mesopotamia as saint Basil the Great with some excentric communities of Cappadocia : trying to save inside of it those who were only there by chance, or just mislead by ambiguous discourses but not really believing heterodox teachings.

In this work, Diadoque is clearly showing himself as bishop worried about and carring for the orthodoxy of his faithfuls, plainly actor in the spiritual fights of his time. Chapters 13 & 91 of his works shows us also a real Christian man of prayer, united to God, discovering very few of his "life in Christ", but wanting to share the good of if with the readers.

He was maybe part of the group of notables of Epira who got captured by a raid of Vandals between 467 and 474, group brought in deportation to North Africa, around Carthage, all vanished there. His date and place of death are thus unknown.

In English, Greek and Russian, he is in the Philokalia as mentionned on this orthodoxwiki.

In French, we can have his works in 3 editions : SAINT DIADOQUE DE PHOTICE, évêque et Père de l'Eglise "100 chapitres de la perfection spirituelle"


Chapter 11 & 12 (please correct translations errors, thank you!) "Spiritual discourse always keeps the soul free from self-esteem, for it gives every part of the soul a sense of light, so that it no longer needs the praise of men. In the same way, such discourse keeps the mind free from fantasy, transfusing it completely with the Love of God. Discourse deriving from the wisdom of this world, on the other hand, always provokes self-esteem; because it is incapable of granting us the experience of spiritual perception, it inspires its adepts with a longing for praise, being nothing but the fabrication of conceited men. It follows, therefore, that we can know with certainty when we are in the proper state to speak about God, if during the hours when we do not speak we maintain a fervent remembrance of God in untroubled silence. Whoever loves himself cannot love God; but if, because of 'the overflowing richness' of God's love, a man does not love himself, then he truly loves God (Ephes. 2,7). Such a man never seeks his own glory, but seeks the glory of God. The man who loves himself seeks his own glory, whereas he who loves God loves the glory of his Creator. It is characteristic of the soul which consciously senses the Love of God always to seek God's glory in every Commandment it performs, and to be happy in its low estate. For glory befits God because of His majesty, while lowliness befits man because it unites us with God. If we realize this, rejoicing in the glory of the Lord, we too, like Saint John the Baptist, will begin to say unceasingly, 'He must increase, but we must decrease.'"


Source

History : Adaptation & translation of the preface of the French edition "Migne"

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