test case of the possibilities and limits of the encounter of Orthodoxy with the Enlightenment.30 Voulgaris was a devout man, a clergyman with impeccable Orthodox credentials. During his residence on Athos in the 1750s he was even the subject of miraculous healing by one of the most venerated icons on the Holy Mountain, the Virgin of the Akathistos at Dionysiou monastery. But he was also a rationalist, a scholar of modern philosophy and science. After his studies in Venice and Padua he returned to Greece and taught in schools in Ioannina and Kozani where he was embroiled in conflicts, personal and ideological, with conservative scholars, defenders of traditional learning, who accused him of heresy on account of his rationalism and scientific outlook. The official church seems not to have shared this distrust and saw these quarrels for what they really were: professional confrontations and generational conflicts among scholars. Patriarch and synod entrusted Voulgaris with the renewal of ecclesiastical education because they considered that he possessed the best available talents.
At the school on the hill standing above Vatopedi monastery, Voulgaris attempted to introduce a western model of higher education into an Orthodox cultural environment. In the early stages, so long as he enjoyed the support of Cyril V, things seemed promising. In a letter written in early 1756 to a former pupil, Kyprianos the Cypriot, whom he had taught in Ioannina, Voulgaris offered a very evocative lyrical description of the natural environment of the school, extolling its natural beauty, and proceeded with a rather surprising account of the curriculum of the Athonite Academy:
There Demosthenes struggles, encouraging the Athenians against the Macedonians; there Homer in his rhapsodies sings the heroic deeds around Ilion; there Thucydides narrates in sublime style the civil strife of the Greeks; there the father of history in Ionic style narrates earlier history and victories against the barbarians; here Plato expounds theology and Aristotle in multiple ways unravels the mysteries ofnature; and the French, the Germans, and the English teach their novel philosophical systems.31
As it appears from this profile of his teaching at the Athonite Academy, Voulgaris's model for the revival and upgrading of learning within the Orthodox Church envisaged a substantial training in the classics combined with an exposure to modern European philosophy. The 'French, German, and English' philosophers whom Voulgaris taught on Mount Athos were Descartes, Leibniz
30 P. M. Kitromilides, 'Athos and the Enlightenment', in Mount Athos and Byzantine monas-ticism, ed. A. Bryer and M. Cunningham (Aldershot: Variorum, 1996), 257-72.
31 The text in napaAAr^ovfiAoaofiasKai xpi^riaviajou(Constantinople, 1830), 82-91; quotation at 91.
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