Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar). CURRENT ROLE EXAMPLE


Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar)



«Η Ποίηση έγινε για να διορθώνει τα λάθη του Θεού·

ή εάν όχι, τότε, για να δείχνει

πόσο λανθασμένα εμείς συλλάβαμε την δωρεά του»


Οδυσσέας Ελύτης[1]


When I was studying in Greece, I bought a three-volume book entitled “100 Μεγάλοι Έλληνες. Οι κορυφαίοι όλων των εποχών (100 Great Greeks. Luminaries of all epochs)”. From time to time, in the course of the Greek language classes, which I teach at the Abkhaz State University, I together with students and undergraduates of the Faculty of History, parse small texts from this three-volume book. Recently we have reviewed a text dedicated to the most influential Greek poet of the 20th century, Odysseas Elytis (1911–1996). At the same lesson, I gave the students the task to get acquainted with the life and works of the poet by themselves, using the Internet. To make sure that my students were looking for the right information on the Internet, I had to spend several additional hours on the World Wide Web.

There were not so many materials in Russian about the Nobel Prize winner in literature Odysseus Elytis on the Internet. There are even fewer translations of his works. However, my attention was drawn to the electronic version of the introductory article by Irina Kovaleva to the publication of a collection of poems by a Greek poet in Russian translation. The article was published in the journal “Foreign Literature” (2008, No. 2). I will quote two excerpts from it.

“Elytis,” writes I. Kovaleva, “all his life avoided awards and honors. When, during the dictatorship of the “black colonels”, they tried to award him a prize of a million drachmas, he hid, as before during the occupation of Athens he hid from arrest. When, after the restoration of democracy, he was offered to run for parliament, he refused. When in 1977 they wanted to make him an academician, he refused: “Poetry is a mission that does not need awards.” But when in 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he could not refuse.

“In 1996, Elytis died,” I. Kovaleva concludes the article. – Before his death, he asked not to arrange a solemn funeral for him, not to make speeches – nothing but a funeral service in the narrowest circle of relatives. The country, immersed in deep sorrow, honored this request. But three months later, in the summer of 1996, in honor of the memory of the poet, the performance of the oratorio “Axion esti” took place in Olympia. Conducted by Mikis Theodorakis[2]. It seemed that the whole Greece had gathered there, and those who could not come watched it on TV. The broadcast from Olympia replaced the speeches of politicians, militants and football matches that evening. And just as on the day of the poet’s death the country was united in grief, so on that day it was united in joy.”

The above excerpts, I believe, are more relevant than ever for us today. Our modern creative intelligentsia should carefully read the essence inherent in them: a great talent is modest and does not need any awards, titles, or loud compliments …

In May 2022, the First International Shinkuba Readings dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Poet of Abkhazia Bagrat Shinkuba took place in Sukhum. Your obedient servant also took part in them. At the session of the section, I made a report: “On one plot of the historical novel by Bagrat Shinkuba “Ацынҵәарах” and the deportation of Christian Abkhazians to the territory of the Ottoman Empire.”

As part of the above-mentioned readings, a round table was also held in the conference hall of the National Library of Abkhazia. Guests of the Shinkuba Readings and representatives of the Abkhazian intelligentsia were invited to participate in it. The tone set by the organizers of the round table was, as it has become customary for us lately, pretentious and excessively laudatory. When they asked me to speak, I (although I did not prepare for this) quickly found on my laptop a quote from the diary of Bagrat Shinkuba published in 2020. I will cite it, since the content of this phrase, it seems to me, has much in common with the views on life of the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis.

Here is what Bagrat Shinkuba wrote in his diary on 6 November, 1967: «Аԥхьаҩ гәыраз! Иубоит ариабжьарак сара схагалан сызмоу; лассы-лассы жәҩангәыла аԥырра, ҵыхәаԥҵәа змам аизарақәа, агәырӷьаратә еилатәарақәа, аҽхәаԥхьыӡ злыжжуа ажәахәқәа, ақәгыларақәа, иааԥымҵәаӡакәа анапеинҟьарақәа. Изакәытә чҳароузеи ирылоу уамажә аџьамыӷәақәа зхызгахьоу ҳажәлар!»


New Athos,

10 November, 2022


[1] Odysseas Elytis: “Poetry was created to correct God’s mistakes, and if not, to show how wrong we perceived his gift.”
[2] The famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis (1925–2021) in 1964 set to music the most famous poem by Odysseas Elitis Άξιον Εστί.