Mihail Mitrea, Raising Hands to Heaven in Times of Crisis: Philotheos Kokkinos’ Prayers

In spite of, or rather in response to, its socio-political and spiritual crisis, late Byzantium nurtured a vibrant literary production, which included a notable increase in the number of new prayers and liturgical texts. These ranged from canons of supplication to Christ, the Theotokos, and other saints, to prayers against civil strife, foreign enemies, and natural disasters (e.g., plague, earthquakes, drought), and were composed by churchmen including Gregory Palamas, Patriarch Kallistos I, Makarios Chrysokephalos of Philadelphia, and Philotheos Kokkinos. Such prayers are a valuable, though hitherto largely unexplored, source of information not only on the religious thought-world of the Byzantines, but also on their daily life and the social and political problems they faced. This paper introduces the corpus of prayers for various occasions (euchai diaphoroi) composed by the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Philotheos Kokkinos (ca. 1300–1378) and their manuscript tradition, focusing especially on his prayers for the emperors.