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Le colonne sonore della nostra vita - The soundtracks of our lives

1613-2013 Romanov Anniversary

Russian History and prominent Russian people

Spirituality is very important, materialism is destroying mankind

Musique pour les Romanov

1917/18-2017/18 – Cent ans après, l’histoire cachée de la révolution bolchévique et le chemin des Romanov vers la Sainteté

.:: Spirituality is very important, materialism is
destroying mankind


Messa alla Cattedrale Russa Ortodossa di Nizza "San Nicola" nella giornata dei Santi Pietro e Paolo
Riprese Daniela Asaro Romanoff 12 luglio 2017

Le Patriarche Kyrill à Paris pour la consécration de la nouvelle cathédrale orthodoxe russe de la Sainte Trinité

Заключительная речь Патриарха Кирилла: Кафедральный Собор Святой Троицы в Париже 4 декабря 2016

Заключительная речь Патриарха Кирилла: Кафедральный Собор Святой Троицы в Париже 4 декабря 2016

Освящение русского православного Кафедрального Собора Святой Троицы в Париже. 4 декабря 2016

Eglise orthodoxe russe de la Sainte Trinité à Paris et son environnement français

Imagés video de Daniela Asaro Romanoff été 2016

Une nouvelle Eglise orthodoxe russe se lève à Paris
Новая русская церковь в Париже

Imagés video de Daniela Asaro Romanoff été 2016


Imagés video de Daniela Asaro Romanoff été 2017



Imagés video de Daniela Asaro Romanoff été 2016


Jour de l'Ascension
9 juin 2016




After a long and difficult pilgrimage  the portrait of St. Nicholas Romanov, which I painted, is now in a Russian Orthodox Church

Icône miraculeuse de Saint Nicolas
Saint patron de la Russie



The force of the honesty of thought and action

Without Florence and San Marco, the face of Moscow would certainly have been different.”
(Giorgio La Pira, Mayor of Florence, 1959)

The face of Moscow … perhaps or almost certainly yes, but the Russian soul, oppressed, slandered and torn by the Soviet occupation and by the separatism that followed the collapse of the regime, is very profound in its intense spirituality, and has a lot to teach the world, which preferred to forget it during the dictatorship and still ignores it, confusing it with a perverse occupation, which deceived the people by spreading political ideas of non-existent facts. Even Russia’s traditions and History are trampled, using underhand political intrigues. Perhaps not many people know that Russia's Baptism took place in Kiev in 988 AD. The collapse of the regime brought separatism, but many Countries, which the west still ignorantly insists on considering without identity, or to which forms of allegiance and/or independence are superficially attributed, have a Russian soul that dates back many centuries.

Saint Maximus the Greek, born Michael Trivolis, is little known in western countries. His culture, formation, ideas, spirituality, and his life spent in countries far from Italy unfortunately make him rather enigmatic. Above all Saint Maximus the Greek sends us this message: “Widen your horizons and bear all sufferings with Christian serenity.” The cultural world often imposes limits and we might say that, at times, also some Catholics impose limits on themselves. Fortunately, in this difficult time, Pope Francis is reminding Catholics how important it is to keep an open mind.

We known that after his Byzantine education on Corfu, Michael Trivolis attended the best humanist schools in Florence, we also know that he met Girolamo Savonarola, an extraordinary character, who has been rehabilitated by the Catholic Church. In 1997 the diocese of Florence relaunched the cause for his beatification. Now his works are considered in important treatises on theology.

After Michael’s stay in Florence he retired to Mount Athos, where his faith was strengthened. Not only spiritual but also intellectual work led Michael Trivolis to retire to the Lavra of Vatopedi.

Specialists in Humanism and the Italian Renaissance, Byzantine and Slav scholars, met in Florence from 22 to 24 November 2007 to discuss this religious figure who is so important yet still so little known. The meeting was organised by the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies, with the patronage of the Italian Association for Slav Studies and the support of the Romualdo del Bianco Foundation.

There remains some doubt as to whether Michael Trivolis ever entered the Convent of San Marco in Florence.

An uncatalogued manuscript in the Convent, would appear to confirm that Michael entered the Community. On the other hand some scholars, especially Nina Vasil'evna Sinicyna, express doubts that it may have been Michael of Arta who entered San Marco in June 1502. Probably Trivolis remained a short time in that Covnent, but never took his vows there. However it must be remembered that in one of his essays the scholar Elie Denissoff defines Michael Trivolis as a “Dominican at San Marco”. The religious crisis that caused Trivolis to retire to a Monastery on Mount Athos can almost certainly be linked to the environment in Florence and to the figure of Savonarola, whose honesty of thought was brutally repressed.

In his essay of 1943, E. Denissoff made known what he had managed to find out about the life of Saint Maximus the Greek and for the first time revealed his birth name: Michael Trivolis.

In 1915, V. S. Ikonnikov had already recognised many traces of Italian culture in the monk’s Russian works. Denissoff and Ikonnikov placed his birth in the year 1470.

Palaeographic research, begun by Denissoff, has been most important, allowing the discovery of various written works by Michael Trivolis – Maximus the Greek – in both Greek and Russian.

Ikonnikov supposes that the first Italian city where Michael stayed was Venice. Instead Denissoff states that Michael Trivolis arrived in Florence in 1492 with Giano Lascaris, who had gone to Greece to buy some manuscripts for Lorenzo dei Medici. Also Prince Andrej Kurbskij had given some information about the cultural education of Maximus the Greek with Giano Lascaris. Andrej Kurbskij said that it took place in Paris, but this may be a mistake, due to the fact that in one of his manuscripts Maximus the Greek praised the Parisian University. However, Kurbskij has the merit of first mentioning the name of Maximus the Greek together with that of Giano Lascaris.

Teaching, research and publication were the main activities of Lascaris. It is very probable that Lascaris published some works by Michael Trivolis. The Greek epigrams were printed and published in 1494 with the title: Greek Anthology.

Among the other publications we can mention the tragedies by Euripides: Hippolytus, Medea, Alcestis and Andromaca. Michael Trivolis almost certainly participated in these publications.
 M. Bulanin recognised two writings by Trivolis as the translation of a quatrain by the Greek epigrammatist Leonidas, criticising magicians and astrology:

Sorcerers, Hellenes who study the evolution of the stars,

begone, lying masters of a wretched skill,

born of boldness and raised by madness, ,

you cannot even predict your own misfortune.”

The two versions of the quatrain by Leonidas are perhaps due to the fact that two editions of the Greek Anthology appeared. As well as the publication by Lascaris in 1494, there is that by Aldo Manuzio, who corrected and revised the Florentine edition. Here we are faced with the same problem of comparison of various translations concerning the Sudas Lexicon.

The collaboration with Lascaris did not last long. In 1496 the scholar moved to Paris, to the Court of King Charles VIII. According to Denissoff the period that Trivolis spent in Italy should be considered in two separate environments: “Au service de la Renaissance” and “Dominicain à Saint Marc”.

The desire for asceticism was expressed immediately in Michael Trivolis in the first years during which he lived in Italy, and was not due only to the influence of Savonarola.

Michael particularly appreciated the mendicant religious orders. He devoted a brief text to the Dominicans and the Franciscans. He also wrote the “Terrible and memorable narration of the perfect style of monastic life”. In this work Trivolis mentions the Carthusian and Dominican Communities as an example for their poor life style, and also speaks of Savonarola with great respect. According to Denissoff, Michael Trivolis may have been an eye witness of the tragic death of Savonarola, since he provides many details in his description of the sentence and execution.

In Italy Michael dealt with the revision and copying of manuscripts, transcribing works by classical and Christian authors; he was also a teacher and translator.

Important records have been collected for 1498. In that year Trivolis was in Venice, dealing with the copying of a manuscript. In the same year he went to Mirandola, where he helped Pico’s nephew Gianfrancesco prepare his uncle’s works for printing. In that period Michael turned down two important work proposals. Ludovico, Count of Desana, had invited him to take up service with him. He also turned down an invitation from Antonio Urceo in Bologna.

Entry to the Convent of San Marco

According to Denissoff, Michael Trivolis entered the Convent as a novice in 1502 and lived there for two years.

He should have taken his vows at the end of the novitiate. In the Chronicles of the Convent of San Marco there is no record of Trivolis being there. The note concerning the entry of Michael of Arta is a fragment of an uncatalogued manuscript, kept in the Convent of San Marco.

There remain two questions that have not been answered. How is it that the details of the entries to the Convent are recorded in two lists: the Liber vestitionum and the Cronaca di Ubaldini, secretary of Savonarola? Why at the beginning of his research did Denissoff have to overcome several obstacles before being able to find the fragment of the manuscript recording the entry of Michael of Arta to the Convent?

In 2003 it was possible to consult the general tally, a manuscript of the early twentieth century, containing the complete list of entries to the Convent, from the 14th to the 20th century. The tally was drawn up in 1911, based on the Chronicles of the Convent of San Marco: the liber vestitionum.

This list is in alphabetical order and has various columns. They give the baptismal name, surname, date of birth, date of death. The clothing column gives the date of the start of the novitiate, while the profession column records the date on which the novice took his religious vows. The general tally records the note in the liber vestitionum concerning brother Michael, son of Emanuel, of the city of Arta, and indicates only the date of the start of the novitiate, while the columns for “profession” and “date of death” are empty. From this it may be deduced that Michael lived in the Convent as a novice, without taking his vows.

When Michael left the Convent, he had to overcome many difficulties in Florence. In a letter of 1503 Michael asked Scipione Carteromaco to help him move to Venice and to give him a “letter of recommendation to the honourable Aldo”. Aldo was a printer and publisher.

The New Academy of Aldo Manuzio was founded in 1503, giving great impulse to the publication and study of Greek books. Aldo’s most trusted collaborators were Scipione Carteromaco and Giovanni Gregoropulo. Scipione wrote the Constitution or Rule of the New Academy.

We quote a few sentences from the Rule:

Since the true lovers of study draw great advantage from conversing in the Greek language, we three, Aldo Romano (as Aldo Manuzio called himself), John of Crete (Giovanni Gregoropulo) and I myself Scipione Carteromaco, have agreed on the rule to publish only the Greek language.”

Manuzio was undoubtedly looking for new collaborators who knew Greek, so it is very likely that Michael began to work with Aldo Manuzio.

The Greek Anthology was published. They also published an edition of Lucian of Samosata, a Greek satirical writer who lived in the second century A.D. It is almost certain that Maximus had both these anthologies in his possession when he was in Moscow, since he had taken part in the preparation of the two volumes.

In all the letters of his period in Moscow, Maximus the Greek always begins by repeating the same request to his correspondent:

You asked me, oh my Prince and Lord, to reveal to you the meaning of a sign which you saw in a printed book. Now listen carefully.”

He introduced the discussion from far back, speaking about the printer and his activity:

In Venice there lived a clever philosopher, Aldo by name and Manuzio by surname, of Italian origin, but Roman by birth, an heir of ancient Rome, he had a good knowledge of both Roman (that is, Latin) and Greek letters. I knew him and visited him in Venice and there I often went to assist in his publishing activity; at that time I was young and had not yet worn the habit. Thanks to his wisdom, Aldo Manuzio Romano conceived a clever idea.”

The actual idea was not presented, but Maximus was clearly referring to Manuzio’s activity as a printer. At that time printing and printed books were almost unknown in Russia.

Denissoff supposed that Michael Trivolis had left Italy in 1505.

Instead, Ikonnikov placed the arrival of Maximus in Moscow in 1518. According to that scholar, he had arrived at Mount Athos in 1508 and, as Maximus himself stated in one of his Russian works, he remained on the Holy Mountain for ten years.

From Mount Athos to Russia

Maximus was sent to Moscow because the Great Prince of Moscow, Vasilij, sent ambassadors to the Monastery of Mount Athos, asking for an expert translator. The Prince had mentioned a monk named Savva, but Savva was very old and sick. The Superiors decided to send Maximus, who was in expert in the Holy Scripture and could explain and translate any book. After having received from the Patriarch of Constantinople a letter of presentation to the Metropolitan of Moscow, Maximus arrived in the Russian city. He stayed in the Kremlin, in the Chudov Monastery, where be began to translate an explanation of the Psalter.

As Maximus did not know the Church Slavonic language well enough, he translated the Greek text into Latin, then another monk wrote it in Slavonic. Many people admired it and just as many detested it because of the modifications that it had made to the old liturgical books.

Unfortunately the Prince began to suspect that there were political intrigues against him, and even the new Metropolitan Daniel was not favourable to Maximus, who was sentenced to prison by a court. He had to live six years in a small damp cell of the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery, he was banned from receiving communion and was not even allowed to write, but the Lord did not abandon him and he was not without inspiration: in his cell he composed a canon to the Holy Spirit, the comforter, it was found later on a wall of the cell, Maximus had written it with a piece of coal. In 1531 he underwent a new trial, he was accused of heresy and political treason. He was transferred to the monastic prison of Tver. At least in the prison in Tver he had access to paper, pen and ink. He wrote some books on the Bible and some comments.

In 1544 the new Patriarch of Constantinople asked for Maximus to be allowed to return to Mount Athos, but this request was not well received.

In 1547 the ban on receiving the Sacraments was lifted. In 1551 Maximus was at last transferred to the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, where he led an almost normal life.

In 1555 he had the possibility to speak with the Czar Ivan the Terrible. He predicted a woeful event, but his words went unheeded and the event occurred.

Maximus died in 1556, after 50 years of monastic life, 38 of which were spent in Russia. He always bore his physical and moral sufferings with great serenity. He was buried in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. His tomb is now in the Church of the Holy Spirit. In the years just after his death the portrait of Maximus the Greek began to be included in the frescos in the vestibule of the Church of the Annunciation in Moscow and in other Churches. In a manual for iconographic painters of 1694 we find explanations of how his Icon should be painted. Already in the 17th century there was talk of miraculous occurrences due to the intercession of Maximus, but his official canonisation took place in 1988. Saint Maximus is commemorated on 21 January. His life filled with sufferings, misunderstandings, defamations and humiliations teaches all of us that we must not fear the powerful of this world. It was probably also the longa manus of Medici abuse of power that made life so difficult for Maximus in Russia, but the more the powerful ill-treat us and persecute us, the more the Lord helps us to move forward to pass on his message.

Great strength often lies in those characteristics which are scorned and trampled by the men of this world. The strength of humble people which can never be destroyed by worldly power, because it comes from the only King of the world.

Sources: Nina Vasil'evna Sinicyna

Massimo il Greco e l'Umanesimo italiano

(Maximus the Greek and Italian Humanism)

(Marcello Garzaniti – Francesca Romoli)

Bergamo Ortodossa (Orthodox Bergamo)

M. Donadeo


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