Saint Gregory Palamas

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

Saint Gregory Palamasaudio button
(November 14/27, Second Sunday of Great Lent)
(†1359)

Saint Gregory PalamasSaint Gregory Palamas was born in Asia Minor to prominent parents.  After a Turkish invasion, his family fled to Constantinople.  There, Gregory grew up in the court of Emperor Andronick.  The boy was very talented in all school subjects and received an excellent education.  The Emperor wanted Gregory to become a politician, but Gregory from his early years was attracted to a monastic life.

Everyone in Gregory’s family was a devout Christian.  His mother and sister became nuns.  Around 1318 Saint Gregory and his brother went to Mount Athos where they learned a contemplative prayer.  Gregory spent many days in complete silence.  Soon the Turks invaded the territory, and Gregory and the other monks fled to Thessaloniki.  There, Gregory was ordained a priest in 1326.  Some years later, he returned to Athos.

At that time in Italy, there lived a monk named Barlaam who followed a heretic teaching.  Barlaam said that philosophers know God better than prophets, and education is more important than prayer.  He believed that knowledge is above everything.  Barlaam had many supporters.

Saint Gregory answered Barlaam’s heresy with several written works in which he defended the true faith.  He wrote that a person can see the light of God if he practices repentance, contemplative prayer and spiritual discipline.  Saint Gregory also wrote that prophets knew the Lord better because they had seen and heard Him.

A Synod held in Constantinople in 1341 supported Gregory Palamas’ teachings.

In 1347 Saint Gregory became Archbishop of Thessaloniki.  On his way to Constantinople he was captured at sea by the Turks, who then kept him as a slave.  He was sold several times in one city after another.  Three years before his death, the saint gained his freedom and returned to Thessaloniki.  Saint Gregory reposed in the Lord in 1359.

The Orthodox Church glorified Gregory Palamas in 1368.  His feast days are November 14th and the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Gregory Palamas Cathedral, Thessaloniki, Greece

Церковь Григория Паламы в греческом
городе Солунь


Gregory [′gre gǝ rɪ]
Turkish [ˈtəːkɪʃ]
Turk [təːk]
Mount Athos [′maunt ′ӕθͻs]

Словарь к тексту

prominent, adj. [ˈprɒmɪnənt] известный, уважаемый
flee (fled-fled), v. [flɪː] бежать, спасаться бегством
contemplative, adj. [ˈkǝn temp lǝ tɪv] сосредоточенный, вдумчивый       
heretic, adj. [ˈhe rə tɪk] еретический
prophet, n. [ˈprɔ fǝt] пророк
supporter, n. [səˈpɔːtəʳ] сторонник, приверженец
spiritual, adj. [ˈspɪ rɪ tju əl] духовный
capture, v. [ˈkæp tʃəʳ] захватывать, брать в плен