Sunday, March 27, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki


By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

On this day we commemorate our Holy Father Gregory, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, the Wonderworker and Palamas, who appeared prominently in 1340.

Verses

You were truly a preacher of the bright light,
A light whose source brings splendor to the innermost sanctuary.

From the Introduction to the Writings of St. Gregory Palamas in the Philokalia*

Our Holy Father Gregory of Thessaloniki lived under the rule of Andronikos II Palaiologos, around the year 1340. Having left the world and everything in it and emigrated from Constantinople, his home, to the Holy Mountain of Athos, he embraced the monastic life. There he engaged in the toils of the greatest asceticism in the highest hesychia, with his soul turned only towards God, and he became the most God-like mirror of the Holy Spirit, being raised, as few ever were, to the summit of praxis and theoria. There, irradiated in his intellect by the contemplative splendors of the Spirit, he left to the Church of God, most-wise and most-theological writings, as a memorial of Orthodoxy.

The extracts from these writings given here procure, for those who read them, treasures of divine knowledge and spiritual wisdom and perfection. Indeed, that heavenly and God-seeing nous did not only gather the sayings of the ancient saints, but added to them so much that he himself had known supernaturally from his vast experience and blessed suffering, and created a true masterpiece of the Neptics, so that no one would believe they were the work of the human intellect (which would do much worse). Indeed they are truly the thoughts of Christ and words of God, able to bring every hearer and intellect into ecstasy. With these he nobly defended those who live in sacred heychasm and occupy themselves with noetic watchfulness and prayer; while confronted most profoundly, with proofs from the Scripture, the opposing empty words of adversaries, as views that negate the truth.

Notes:

* Because the Synaxarion of Constantinople was written before the time of St. Gregory Palamas, St. Nikodemos left his entry empty for his feast on November 14th, but did include iambic verses and a note telling his readers to refer to the life written by Philotheos Kokkinos. The short life here by St. Nikodemos was taken from the Introduction to the works of St. Gregory Palamas which were included in the Philokalia.


Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Illuminator of Orthodoxy, support and teacher of the Church, the beauty of monastics, the invincible defender of theologians: Gregory, the wonderworker, the boast of Thessaloniki, preacher of grace, supplicate always that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Holy and divine instrument of wisdom, joyful trumpet of theology, with one accord we sing your praises, O Gregory inspired of God. But since you stand now in nous and spirit before the Original Nous, guide our nous to Him, O Father, that we may cry to you: Rejoice, preacher of grace.

Oikos in Plagal of the Second Tone
You appeared on earth as an angelic messenger, proclaiming the mysteries of God unto mortal men. Endowed with a human intellect and flesh, yet speaking in the voice of the bodiless powers, you have filled us with amazement, O Saint inspired by God, and thus leading us to cry out to you:

Rejoice, for through you the darkness is dispelled;
rejoice, for through you the light has returned.

Rejoice, messenger of the uncreated Godhead;
rejoice, reprover of created folly.

Rejoice, height impossible to climb, that tells of God’s nature;
rejoice, depth hard to scan, that speaks of His energy.

Rejoice, for you have rightly proclaimed God’s glory;
rejoice, for you have denounced the opinions of evildoers.

Rejoice, torch that shows us the sun;
rejoice, cup filled with nectar.

Rejoice, for through you the truth has shone forth;
rejoice, for through you falsehood has been plunged into darkness.

Rejoice, O preacher of grace!

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