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Pachomius the Logothete


. In the works of Epiphanius the Most Wise the expressive-emotional style reached its height. In the third exponent of this style in hagiography, Pachomius the Logothete, it acquired an official nature. The vitae written by Pachomius became models for all subsequent official hagio­graphies. We cannot deny Pachomius’ literary ability. He was a very prolific writer. He was perhaps Russia’s first professional writer: the chronicle tells us that Pachomius received remunera­tion for his literary activity and was invited to work in various centres of learning. The mediaeval scholars admired his hagiog- raphical skill. But Pachomius’ writing was very rational in nature. He aimed at standardising the exposition in hagiographical works and bringing their texts into line with the formal requirements of the genre.

Born in Serbia, Pachomius the Logothete began his literary activity in the 1430s in Novgorod, under Archbishop Euthymius II of Novgorod. Later he worked in Moscow, the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius and the White Lake Monastery, subsequently returning to Novgorod. He is thought to have died in the 1480s. He is the author of several original vitae, of which the best is The Life of St Cyril of the WhiteLake. Apart from vitae, he also wrote a number of eulogies and services for saints. Pachomius’ main activity as an hagiographer, however, was his reworking of existing vitae with the aim of making them more rhetorical and closer to the canons of the genre.30

As Vasily Klyuchevsky points out, “Pachomius the Logothete laid down set devices for the biography of a saint and for his glorification in church and gave Russian hagiography many examples of the smooth, slightly cold and monotonous style that was easy to imitate with a very limited amount of scholar­ship.” 31