Plot and Structure
ἔνδοξος, εὐσεβέστατος, λαμπροστεφανωμένος·
εὐγένεια προγονικὴ παπποπατροδομένη,
ἡ μπασαραμπαδόξαστος, καντακουζηνωμένη,
παρὰ θεοῦ παντάνακτος εὐσεβοφρουρουμένη,
τοῦ εὐσεβαστοκράτορος ὁμώνυμος εἰς πάντα,
τοῦ Κωνσταντίνου Κώνσταντος ἴδιος κατὰ πάντα […] 
Neophytos of Adrianople
The ruler mentioned at the end of the quote is Şerban Cantacuzino, who had been one of Neophytos Philaretos’ most fervent admirers and supporters. The metropolitan of Adrianople was deeply revered at the princely court in Bucharest and we know that during the last decades of his life he visited the Wallachian capital at least three times, in 1664, 1682, and 1683.  It is not accidental that the ruler’s admiration for him is stressed in the quoted text. Interestingly, that passage is taken from a letter written to Neophytos in 1686 by Germanos Lokros, who had spent the last years of his life in Wallachia in constant pursuit of Şerban’s favor and patronage. As it happens, the author of the letter was not only one of Neophytos Philaretos’ closest friends and most regular correspondents,  but also one of the main characters of Τὸ ἀχούρι, in which he appears and is specifically named as the satirized Kyrillos’ deceased brother. Indeed, Germanos is the very person to whom the metropolitan of Adrianople expresses his posthumous indignation at Kyrillos’ maltreatment of his former protégé, the monk Neophytos, in what forms the ghostly scene that concludes the first part of the work.
Germanos of Nyssa
Dionysios IV Mouselimis
The Peloponnesian Connection
- As already discussed here, it is almost certain that the satire had a strongly autobiographical background. Therefore, despite the fact that no objective value can be attached to the discernible incongruities between what the text reveals about its protagonist/author and what is actually known about Neophytos Notaras, it is worth taking them into account. The fictional Neophytos complains that he has been totally alone in this world since the death of his protector, the metropolitan of Adrianople. He is badly beaten, manipulated, and dragged to court by an insignificant old monk probably over some money that he had borrowed from him and could not pay back. He is auditioned and embarassingly reproached by an ex patriarch, the mere sight of whom he utterly dreads. Finally, his addiction to alcohol is being frequently and viciously criticized to the point that he must come up with some sort of self-defense. None of these can be really applied to Notaras. At the point of the dialogue’s composition, he was a middle aged respectable archdeacon of the Holy Sepulcher,  who was soon to be given total control over the Patriarchate of Jerusalem as its general supervisor. There is no indication that he had ever been to Adrianople, and it is highly unlikely that he had served Neophytos Philaretos as his deacon. But even if he had been related to the metropolitan of Adrianople at some point in his life, would he really claim in writing that he was helpless and miserable when his “γέρων” was not around any more? Did Notaras not have other people in his life with whom he could seek comfort and protection? What about his brother and uncle? Not only were they fairly close to each other throughout their lives, but it is also hard to believe that with them by his side Neophytos would publically confess, even in the context of a satirical text, his helplessness and despair over some trivial and quite embarrassing events. It can hardly be overlooked that both Chrysanthos and Dositheos ranked very high among the most powerful clerics in the Orthodox East at the time.
- It is difficult to imagine that someone like Notaras could have written a satirical work as acerbic and agressive as Τὸ ἀχούρι. And this is not just an issue of arbitrary psychological interpretation. It should also be kept in mind that all the virtuous and highly praised characters in the dialogue had been branded adversaries of his uncle Dositheos, or, at any rate, were known to have had very problematic relations with the authoritative patriarch of Jerusalem. That was certainly the case with Neophytos of Adrianople, Germanos Lokros, and Dionysios IV Mouselimis, all of whom play an important role in the text as agents of justice and revenge and as people of high moral standards and undisputed authority.  It does not seem likely that in a world of ferocious antagonism and deep ideological tension, one of Dositheos’ closest and most trusted colleagues would or could have produced a work whose sympathies lie with precisely those people whose lives and careers had been in one way or another compromised by the patriach’s venomous attacks.
- Although the date of Neophytos Notaras’ death is carefully recorded on the last page of the codex, and both his official position at the Patriarchate and his relationship to Patriarch Chrysanthos are explicitly stated,  he is not identified as the author of the dialogue. Nor is he anywhere mentioned and specifically named as the owner of the codex or the copier of any of the texts that are included therein. These omissions are not without significance, especially since they go against a standard scribal practice that would normally require the inclusion of information pertaining to the authorship of a text or the ownership of a manuscript. 
- Finally, a few chronological remarks. The author/copier Neophytos was a monk in Bucharest while he was writing Τὸ ἀχούρι and must have been living there for some time before 1692. As it can be inferred from the previously quoted signatures that conclude four different manuscripts in the codex, he was still there between 1700 and 1701. By that time he had become abbot of Saint Savas, his home monastery. On the other hand, what we know about Notaras is that in 1696 he had settled in Palestine and that no more than two years later he was appointed to a crucial post in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem that had been seriously weakened by the ineffective management of previous administrators. Thus, attributing the dialogue to him would involve accepting that he had been a simple monk in Bucharest at the beginning of the 1690s, which is not impossible but not very likely either. More that than, however, one would also have to accept that soon after moving to Palestine and assuming his duties at the Patriarchate, Notaras returned to the Wallachian capital as abbot of Saint Savas. In fact, he must have stayed in Bucharest at least until the beginning of the eighteenth century, since, as it has been shown here, the abbot of the monastery had copied, signed, and dated at least two manuscripts there, in 1700 and 1701 respectively. This sounds like a rather far-fetched scenario. Notaras’ duties at the Patriarchate demanded his constant presence in Jerusalem and we are in a position to know that he rarely, if ever, left the city after 1698. How possible can it be that he spent extensive periods of time in Bucharest and had actually served as abbot of an imporant monastic center in the city that would have certainly required his constant presence there?