KABASILAS, ka-ba'si-las: Two metropolitans of Thessalonica during the fourteenth century. Nilos, the elder, lived about 1340 under John Cantacuzenus, and belonged to the strict anti-Roman party, so that his writings were first noticed among the Protestants (e.g., De primatu papae, ed. M. Flacius Illyricus, Frankfort, 1553). Far more important


was his nephew Nikolaos (d. 1371). Of his life the only details known are that he was originally bursar at Constantinople and sided with the Palaeologi, but afterward became a friend of John Cantacuzenus, who used him on political missions. In the Hesyohastic controversy (see HESYCHASTS) he sided with the monks of Athos, and was later appointed metropolitan of Thessalonica. Nikolaos is known as a philosopher, but more especially as a theologian. Among his philosophical writings special mention may be made of one directed against skepticism (ed. Elter and Radermacher in Analecta Graeca, Bonn, 1899.) The most important of his theological writings was his "Seven Books concerning the Life in Christ" (ed. W. Gass, Greifswald, 1849). The line of thought is briefly this. True to the development of Greek theology, Kabasilas regards the summum bonum as exaltation above the sensual, the introduction into life and immortality, as given through Christ. Man is to be transplanted from the present world to the future. This transfer is made by Christ himself. The life in Christ which transfers man to the other world is perfected through the sacraments and the human will. Baptism means to man the beginning of a new existence. The second sacrament, that of unction, is unction of the spirit, and initiates man into the true Christian calling. The Eucharist adds the third degree of perfection, and produces an inward change, causing a mystic kinship with Christ. By the side of this physiological mysticism stands a non-monastic system of ethics. Kabasilas teaches that the will must conform unreservedly to the sacramental influences, being thereby supplied with a train of pious thoughts. Through joy and sadness it becomes purified. Finally the climax of love is reached, and with it perfect altruism. Kabasilas indulges in lofty expressions when he describes the power of love, declaring that as once it had caused God to descend to man, so now it breaks the bonds of selfish isolation and constrains man to live for God, and not for self. This power of love rises to complete self-renunciation and self-forgetfulness, and this is the state of him in whom sacrament and will work to gether in perfect harmony.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Works are in MPG, cl. Consult: Fabricius-Harles, Bibliotheca Graeca, x. 20-30; Demetrakopulos, Graecia orthodoxia, pp. 76 sqq., 83 sqq., Leipsic, 1872; Krumbacher Geschichte, pp 109-110, 158-159; W. Gass, Die Mystik des Nakolaos Kabasilas, Leipsic, 1899.


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