Demetrios Kydones and Thomas Aquinas

Barlaam was condemned for his opposition. He left almost immediately for Avignon, where conversion to Catholicism only confirmed existing suspicions. His treatment in Byzantium was symptomatic of the continuing hostility there was from many quarters to any renewal of contacts with the papacy. He has famously been labelled a 'bad theologian',31 though it was more a case ofbeing wilfully misunderstood. But from a Byzantine point of view his fault was a serious one: he was willing to disturb Byzantine thinking by introducing Latin elements. It might have been a means of defending Orthodoxy, but to use Latin methodology to such an end was to diminish Orthodoxy as the true faith and guarantee of salvation. Barlaam had very little direct influence in his own time, but the value of his work came to be appreciated by Orthodox theologians. Already by the 1360s Neilos Kabasilas was making considerable use of Barlaam's treatises against the Latins, but he could not acknowledge his debt openly.32

Barlaam may have laid the foundations for the later appropriation of Latin scholasticism by Byzantine theology, but he was remembered as Gregory Palamas's first opponent and an enemy of Orthodoxy.33 With his departure the controversy over the uncreated light could be conducted along strictly Byzantine lines. Palamas's opponents recognised his teachings for what they were: a daring innovation, which was difficult to justify either on philosophical grounds or in terms of traditional Byzantine theology. The triumph of the Palamites should not be dismissed as merely a product of the political configurations of the time. Bad theologian that he may well have been, Gregory Palamas was in tune with one of the enduring refrains of Orthodoxy: 'God became man, so that man might become God.' His theology was part of a spiritual revival, which spread via monasteries to all parts of the Orthodox world. It tilted the balance within the Orthodox Church to the monastic order. Effectively, Mount Athos rather than Constantinople became the centre of gravity of Orthodoxy.

Opposition to the triumph of Palamite theology - confirmed at the council of Blakhernai in 135134 - came from conservative elements within the Byzantine establishment. Not all opponents of Palamas became Latin sympathisers, let

31 J. Meyendorff,'Un mauvais theologien'.

32 Podskalsky, Theologie, 180-230.

33 J. Gouillard, 'Le Synodikon de l'Orthodoxie', TM 2 (1967), 81-5.

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