St. Gregory Palamas
The scion of a noble Anatolian family, St. Gregory was born, probably at
Constantinople, c. 1296. After his father's death, he became a monk, as
did several members of his family. He entered a monastery on Mt. Athos and
followed the rule of St. Basil. He lived on Athos in solitude for most of
the following twenty years. In the 1330's, he began to defend the practice
of hesychasm against the attacks of people like Barlaam of Calabria, who
denied, among other things, that the light of Tabor which hesychasts
experience is the uncreated light. Athough the 1341 council of
Constantinople upheld Gregory's teachings about theosis, he was
excommunicated in 1344. Three years later, he was consecrated bishop of
Thessaloniki. Because hesychasm had come to have political as well as
theological associations, the choice was not popular, and he entered his
see with the aid of the Byzantine emperor. The Turks captured Gregory in
1354 and kept him captive for a year. He died in 1359.
Gregory believes that although God is ultimately unknowable, man can
experience his energies through the sacraments and mystical experience,
which are possible because of the Incarnation of Christ. The practice of
the Jesus prayer opens one to God's energies.
Karen Rae Keck
Fr. Cyprian Kern:
Antropologiya sv. Grigoriya Palamy, (1950).
Moscow: Palomnik, 1996.
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