Tag Archives: Barlaam of Calabria

What Palamas Can Teach Us About Trolls

by Matt Kappadakunnel |  ქართული | Ελληνικά | Српски

Internet trolling has, unfortunately, become commonplace even in Christian circles. While at times these trolls are known individuals who get a rise out of provoking anger and controversy, the present trend includes anonymous social media accounts using profile photos of holy images, while spewing responses that are anything but holy.

Last month, Sister Vassa Larin hosted Professors George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou on her YouTube Channel “Coffee with Vassa” to discuss Public Orthodoxy and whether it is “accommodationist.”

In predictable fashion, the trolls came forth.

Without going on a tangent into the specific nature of this Internet trolling event, trolling not only predates social media, but can be found intertwined with Christian history. Even the temptation of Jesus in the desert was a form of trolling (cf. Matthew 4:1-11).

Most recently, I encountered a saint who also dealt with a troll. Following my article on Night Vigil, I became inspired to spend time with the writings of Saint Gregory Palamas, namely Holy Hesychia: The Stillness that Knows God. Therein I learned of the saint’s encounter with a troll (17).

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