Паисий Величковский

Паисий Величковский Паисий Величковский

1722 – 1794

Monk, archimandrite, hegumen of a community which moved from Mount Athos to Dragomirna, Secu and Neamț Monastery from Moldova, translator of patristic, ascetical and mystical literature, theologian and author of Hesychast and autobiographical works, letters and sermons.


Paisius Velichkovsky is the key figure of the revival of the Byzantine mysticism in the Slavic and the Romanian world of the 18th century (Tachiaos 1986). Born in Poltava (Ukraine), in the family of Cossacks priests from Chernihiv (Шумило 2020), Peter was tonsured monk in 1741, taking the name of Platon. He studied in the Academy of Kiev (1735-1739) and he grew attached to the Pechersk Lavra, where he was spiritually guided by confessor John Kmita. Platon left his homeland in search of a spiritual master. In 1743 he arrived to Wallachia and met staretz Basil of Poiana Mărului in Dălhăuți Skete (Vrancea county). Between 1743 and 1746 he settled in Trăisteni, Dălhăuți and Cârnu Skete, ruled by staretz Basil, where he learned Romanian and the practice of the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the Heart. After this period of time, Platon left for Mount Athos, where he created a monastic community of Slavic and Romanian brethrens in different sketes around Pantocrator Monastery. In 1750 staretz Basil of Poiana Mărului arrived to Athos and tonsured Platon a lesser schema monk, changing his name to Paisius. Between 1746 and 1763, the Slavo-Romanian community of staretz Paisius gathered, copied and translated different ascetical texts from Athonite monastic centres (e.g. St. Basil Skete founded in 1744 by Karamanlis monks). This activity was continued in Moldova, once the community moved to Dragomirna Monastery (1763) and then to Secu (1775) and Neamț Monastery (1779). In 1790, archbishop Ambrosius of Poltava named Paisius archimandrite. Staretz Paisius Velichkovsky died in Neamț Monastery on the 15th of November 1794.

The multi-ethnic and multilingual monastic community (Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Bulgarians and Greeks) of Paisius Velichkovsky became an “ascetico-philological” school (Tachiaos 1964) which aimed to translate a wide number of patristic texts from Greek to Slavonic (Tachiaos 1964, Citterio 1991, McGukin 2012). The translation followed three stages: 1. Gathering Slavic manuscripts and confronting each other; 2. Translating texts from Greek to Romanian; 3. Translation from Greek to Slavic supported by the Romanian witnesses (cf. Letter to Theodosius in Pelin 1998). These stages were respected in different ways according to the phases of the activity of translation: Mount Athos (1746-1763), Dragomirna (1763-1775), Secu (1775-1779) or Neamț Monastery (1779-1794). Staretz Paisius and some Slavic disciples (Жгун 2016, 2017, 2018) translated directly from Greek to Slavonic, while most of the Wallachian and Moldavian monks transposed texts from Greek to Romanian (Ursu 1994, Pelin 2017). Sometimes, the Romanian disciples translated Slavic ascetical works (Mutalâp 2020, 2023) which were necessary to be read in the cell according to the Rule of Dragomirna Monastery (1763).

The peak of the translations from Neamț is the rendering of the Greek Philokalia (Venice, 1782) to Slavonic (Dobrotoljublje) by startez Paisius (Kontouma 2002, 2012). However, the translation was revised and published by a group of correctors and by metropolitan Gavril Petrov at Moscow in 1793 (Родионов 2014). The Greek ascetical anthology printed in Venice was translated into Romanian at Neamț at the beginning of the 19th century (Rom BAR MS 1455; cf. Zaharia 1996, Dulgheru 2022). Paisius Velichkovsky knew about the project of the Philokalia, translated and edited by Macarius of Corinth (1731-1805) and Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809), before its actual publication (cf. Letter to Theodosius).

The so-called “Paisian” movement or “paisianism” mixed the extensive activity of ascetical translations with the diffusion of the practice of the Jesus Prayer and the spirituality of staretsdom. Besides that, it created a wide monastic network between Mount Athos, the Slavic world and Moldova. Nicodemus the Hagiorite himself wanted to visit Neamț Monastery, to meet Paisius, in 1779 (Διονυσιάτου 1959). Monk Constantinos, who was part of the Kollyvades movement and close to Macarius of Corinth, came to Dragomirna in 1774 (Paschalidès 2016; Deun 2016). Throughout the Dragomirna phase, the Zaporozhian Cossack Petro Kalnyshevsky (1691-1803) assisted staretz Paisus’ community with alms (Шумило 2015), while some disciples of Paisius moved from Pecersk Lavra to Dragomirna and Neamț (Ігнатенко 2019, 2022). Within the Romanian Principalities, this movement strengthened the connections between Moldavian and Wallachian monasteries, as attested by the diffusion of the “Paisian” ascetical miscellanies focused on the Jesus Prayer (Furtună 2002; Mutalâp 2020, 2022).

Apart from translations, staretz Paisius’ oeuvre consists of letters, sermons and a couple of works which were aimed to defend the practice of the Jesus Prayer. The former were sent to Slav clergymen and political figures, Greek and Romanian monks and theologians. The latter consists of three texts focused on defending the reading of mystical literature and the monastic practice of the Prayer of the Heart: Response to Atanasius the Moldavian (1757-1758), Composition on the Prayer of the Mind (1770) and Defence of the Prayer of the Mind (1793) (Pelin 2010).

The Vitae of Paisius Velichkovsky was written by schema monk Mitrofan, one of his first disciples (Tachiaos 1986), and it is the basis of six different versions produced by: monk Vitalie; Isaac Dascălul, who translated it into Romanian (ca 1796); Grigorie Dascălul (beg. 19th c); schema monk Platon (first part of 19th c); archimandrite Gherasim Miron and Augustin Braha (1852-1856) and archimandrite Andronic Popovici (1872-1874). The common source for all of them is the Autobiography of staretz Paisius Velichkovsky, preserved in an autograph manuscript from Secu Monastery.


Citterio, E. La scuola filocalica di Paisij Velichkovskij e la Filocalia di Nicodimo. – in: Amore del bello: Studi sulla Filocalia. Atti del "Simposio Internazionale sulla Filocalia", Pontificio Collegio Greco, Roma, novembre 1989, Magnano, 1991, 179–207.

Deun, P. V. Encore une philocalie avant la lettre: le Skiathos Μονὴ τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ 10. – in: Da Teognosto alla Filocalia (XIII-XVIII secolo): Testi e autori, Bari, 2016, 163–198.

Διονυσιάτου, Θ. Άγιος Νικόδημος ο Αγιορείτης, βίος και τα έργα του, 1749-1809. Αθήνα, 1959, 288–292.

Dulgheru, C.-G. O analiză preliminară asupra situației inseratelor biblice în Filocalia de la Neamț (Ms. 1455 BAR). – in: Receptarea Sfintei Scripturi: între filologie, hermeneutică şi traductologie. Lucrările Simpozionului Internaţional „Explorări în tradiţia biblică românească şi europeană”, ediţia a XI-a, Iaşi, 16-18 iunie 2022, Iași, 2022, 137–149.

Furtună, D. Ucenicii starețului Paisie în mânăstirile Cernica și Căldărușani, București, 2002.

Ігнатенко, Є. В. Осмогласник Каллістрата 1769 року: авторизація грекомовних причасників і херувимських пісень. – Мистецтвознавчі записки, 35, 2019, 267–273.

Ігнатенко, Є. В. Kallistrat’s Greek Oktoechos of 1769: New Research Results. – in: Theorie und Geschichte der Monodie, vol. 11, Brno, 2022, 73–88.

Жгун, М.-М. Ученики Старца Паисия, занимавшиеся распространением святоотеческих трудов. Некоторые новые архивно-биографические материалы. – В: Материалы ІV Международной богословско-практической конференции «Паисиевские чтения», Chișinău, 2016, 13–19.

Жгун, М.-М. Некоторые «книжные» ученики прп. Паисия Величковского: миссия и призвание (Источники и размышления). – В: Материалы V Международной богословско-практической конференции «Паисиевские чтения», Chișinău, 2017, 18–27.

Жгун, П., Жгун, М.-М. Переводческая школа старца Паисия и ее связь с Макарием Коринфским и Никодимом Агиоритом. – В: Материалы V Международной богословско-практической конференции «Паисиевские чтения», Chișinău, 2017, 28–35.

Жгун, П. Рукописи преподобного Паисия (Величковского) и его учеников. Проект сводного каталога. – В: Преподобне отче Паисие, Добротолюбия подвижниче, Sankt Petersburg, 2018, 12–28.

Kontouma, V., Citterio, E. La Philocalie et ses versions. in: – La Théologie byzantine et sa tradition, vol. 2, Turnhout, 2002, 999–1021.

Kontouma, V. The Philokalia. in: – The Orthodox Christian World, London, 2012, 453–465.

McGuckin, J. A. The Making of the Philokalia: a Tale of Monks and Manuscripts. – in: The Philokalia: a classic text of orthodox spirituality, New York, 2012, 36–49.

Mutalâp, D. The structure and composition of a proto-philokalic Romanian manuscript from 1769. – in: Translations of Patristic Literature in South-Eastern Europe: proceedings of the session held at the 12th International Congress of South-East European Studies: (Bucharest, 2–6 September 2019). Brăila, 2020, 301–333.

Mutalâp, D. Viața și opera monahului Rafail de la Mănăstirea Hurezi (I). – Revista istorică, 4-6, 2022, 357–390.

Mutalâp, D. The Source of The Oldest Romanian Translation of The Writings of St. Symeon The New Theologian. – Scripta & e-Scripta, 23, 2023, 325–360.

Paschalidès, S. A. Autour de l’histoire d’une collection ascétique: la Philocalie, les circonstances de son édition et sa tradition manuscrite. – in: Da Teognosto alla Filocalia (XIII-XVIII secolo): Testi e autori, Bari, 2016, 199–233.

Pelin, V. Cuvinte și scrisori duhovnicești, vol. 1, Chișinău, 1998.

Pelin, V. Cuvinte și scrisori duhovnicești, vol. 2, Iași, 2010, 25–108, 163–207, 244–272.

Pelin, V. Paisianismul în contextul cultural și spiritual sud-est și est european (secolele XVIII-XIX). Iași, 2017.

Родионов, O. A. Предисловие к славянскому «Добротолюбию»: история текста. – Каптеревские чтения. Сборник статей, 12, 2014, 151–180.

Шумило, С. Прп. Паисий Величковский и последний Кошевой атаман Запорожской Сечи П. Калнышевский: малоизвестные письма. – Orientalia Christiana Cracoviensia, 7, 2015, 27–57.

Шумило, С. До питання про походження роду прп. Паїсія Величковського і його зв'язки з Чернігівщиною. – Сiверянський лiтопис, 1, 2020, 144–163.

Tachiaos, A.-E. Ο Παΐσιος Βελιτσκόφσκι (1722-1794) και η Ασκητικοφιλολογική Σχολή του, Thessaloniki, 1964.

Tachiaos, A.-E. The Revival of Byzantine Mysticism among Slavs and Romanians in the XVIIIth century: Texts Relating to the Life and Activity of Paisy Velichkovsky (1722-1794), Thessaloniki, 1986.

Ursu, N. A. Școala de traducători români din obștea starețului Paisie de la mănăstirile Dragomirna, Secu și Neamț. – Teologie și viață, IV, 11–12, 1994, 58–83.

Zaharia, C. Biserica ortodoxă română și traducerile patristice și filocalice în limbile moderne. in: – Paisianismul. Un moment românesc în istoria spiritualității europene, București, 1996, 57–59.



SESDiva ERA.Net RUS Plus Call 2017 – S&T

SESDiva. Проект № 156

Проект SESDiva направлен на создание виртуального музея письменной культуры по отношению к социальной, культурной, идеологической и религиозной среде и связям между южными и восточными славянами (с XI до начала XX в.).

Продолжительность: 2018-2020 гг.
Программа: ERA.Net RUS Plus Call 2017 ‐ S&T Projects