This bulky volume is the work of a team of scholars experienced in the study of hagiographical texts. All translations were undertaken on the basis of extant editions, with the notable exception of the first one. An innovative aspect of this volume is that it includes a new critical edition of the Life of St. Euthymios the Younger, by Alexander Alexakis, who has prepared a markedly better Greek text than the one published by the Assumpsionist Louis Petit in 1903.
Unlike the Life of St. Euthymios, which was a literary product of Thessaloniki, the five texts that follow constitute a hagiographic dossier of pure Athonite extraction. Spreading over a chronological range of about four centuries (eleventh to fifteenth), they can be credited to its learned monks. To be sure, not all of them have high literary pretensions (for example, the Life of St. Maximos the Hutburner by Niphon), yet each offers insights into the “monastic erudition” of Mt Athos and its engagement with both the previous ascetic legacy–the tradition of the Desert Fathers–and contemporary developments in the political, spiritual, and literary spheres.