The One and the Three: Nature, Person and Triadic Monarchy in the Greek and Irish Patristic Tradition

By Chrysostom Koutloumousianos

A fertile study of convergences in early monastic thought in Ireland and Byzantine Greece, revealing theological insights into ecclesiology and the Trinity.

ISBN: 9780227175149


The One and the Three explores parallels between Byzantine and early Irish monastic traditions, finding in both a markedly trinitarian theology founded on God’s contemplation and ascetic experience. Chrysostom Koutloumousianos refutes modern theological theses that affect ecclesiology, and contrasts current schools of theological thought with patristic theology and anthropology, in order to approach the meaning and reality of unity and otherness within the Triadic Monad and the cosmos. He explores such topics as the connection between nature and person, the esoteric dimension of the Self, the relation and dialectic of impersonal institutions and personal charisma, and perennial monastic virtues as ways to unity in diversity.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 254

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Chrysostom Koutloumousianos is a Senior Elder at the Koutloumous Monastery, Mount Athos, and holds a BA in English Literature and a BA, MA and PhD in Theology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has been a visiting fellow at the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway, London. He is also the author of several books and articles on early monasticism.


Foreword by Andrew Louth

Part I: Approaching the Trinitarian Monad
1. The Quest for a Personalistic Ontology
2. Monarchy and Trinity in the Greek and Irish Fathers
3. Person and Grace

Part II: Subjectivity and Catholicity: The Monastic Paradigm
1. The Individual and the Community
2. Institution and Charisma

Concluding Remarks
Last Prologue



Endorsements and Reviews

Fr Chrysostom offers here a rich and penetrating analysis of the ways in which the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation intersect with ecclesial life, in its various dimensions, as reflected in writers of both the Byzantine and Celtic traditions. Calling into question the claim that ‘person transcends nature,’ and the authoritarian approach to ecclesiology this has fostered, the author opens up a much more expansive and balanced understanding of the ‘monarchy’ within the Trinity, and, correspondingly, the relation between person, nature, and communion, with all the implications this has for ecclesial structure and functioning and the spiritual life. This is a work of great learning and profound reflection, which will merits deep study and careful attention.
John Behr, Dean and Professor of Patristics, St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York

In this rich and incisive monograph, Fr. Chrysostom revisits the issues of trinitarian personhood and ecclesiology rendered justly famous by John Zizioulas and his Western followers in recent decades. Subjecting Zizioulas’s position to a courteous but multi-faceted critique, Koutloumousianos not only returns us to the authentic voice of the patristic sources concerned, but draws new attention to consonances with the ascetic trinitarian theology of the early Irish monastic tradition. Twentieth-century Orthodox discourses of ‘East’ and ‘West’ will be inexorably challenged by this important and timely contribution.
Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

In this sensitive and erudite study of the mystery of the Trinity, disagreements concerning which have been the occasion of divisions which have gravely wounded the unity of Christendom, Father Chrysostom finds a remarkable kinship between the theology of the Greeks and that of the early Irish. His richly nuanced exposition is particularly impressive in the depth of its treatment of the Irish sources, which are, for the most part, little known. This book sheds light from the East upon the West, and vice versa; it has much to offer to all who are concerned with the inwardness of Christianity.
John Carey, Professor of Early and Medieval Irish, University College Cork

Koutloumousianos has provided a significant challenge to personalist doctrines of the Trinity and the church. He argues from numerous different angles for its shortcomings, backing up his claims with citations from a breadth of Greek and Irish patristic theologians. … [This book] will be suitable for advanced undergraduates and those with interests in contemporary debates in trinitarian theology, patristic theology and Orthodox theology.
Cameron Coombe, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 24, Issue 4