17 February 2008

St. Gregory Palamas

The second Sunday of Lent in the Eastern tradition commemorates St. Gregory Palamas. This 14th century father of the East defended the use of the "Jesus Prayer" and the practices of the Hesychasts.

St. Gregory also established the Eastern Orthodox doctrine that distinguishes between the Essence of the Triune God and the Energies of God, which is what we experience. This caused some controversy between East and West, regardless, Pope John Paul II called him a saint, and the Holy See approved his commemoration among Byzantine Catholics. I'm glad, because I like St. Gregory.

We unite ourselves to Christ, in so far as this is possible, by participating in the godlike virtues and by entering into communion with Him through prayer and praise. Because the virtues are similitudes of God, to participate in them puts us in a fit state to receive Christ, yet it does not actually unite us to Him. But prayer through its sacred and priestly power actualizes our ascent to and union with Christ, for it is a bond between intellectual creatures and their Creator.

~ Three Texts on Prayer and Purity of Heart (14th Century)

**St. Gregory uses big theological words like "sacral", "hieratic", and "noetic". I decided to substitute these words with ones easier to understand.

Kontakion of the Holy Relics (Tone Eight)
Through penance and mortification, the holy martyrs of Christ have overcome the disorder of their burning passions. During their lifetime, they had received the grace of healing the sick; after their death, they have the power of performing miracles. It is a great marvel indeed that healing should come forth from mere bones. Glory to the Creator, to God alone!

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