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Saints and Feasts of October 23

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Synaxis of the Family of St. Gregory Palamas

In 2009, at the recommendation of the Metropolis of Berea, Naousa and Kampania, the Ecumenical Patriarchate established a feast day in honor of the family of St. Gregory Palamas. The day chosen for the feast is December 18th.

St. Philotheos Kokkinos, a disciple of St. Gregory and his biographer, writes the following of his father:

"Gregory was the offspring of noble and pious parents. So virtuous was his father that the emperor Adronikos II Palaiologos, made him one of his counselors. And not only the earthly king, but also God the Heavenly King, honored and glorified him even while he was still alive with miracles. Fore-knowing his death, Constantine – that was his name – took the Angelic Habit, that is, he became a monk, and was named Constantios."

Concerning the rest of his family, St. Philotheos writes also of them:

"At the age of 20, after turning down all the honors and promises of the emperor he [Gregory] decided to flee the City and go to Mount Athos. Having convinced all the members of his family to follow in his example, he came to the Lavra of Vatopaidi – one of the biggest monasteries even today – and gave himself up to the venerable elder Nikodemos. He received the Angelic Schema from this elder and in a very short time – under the guidance of his elder – he climbed the ladder of practice [praxis] and reached the great heights of vision [theoria]."

While speaking of St. Gregory's time at his monastery in Berea, St. Philotheos writes concerning his mother and sisters:

"During that period his mother died, and having received a letter from his sisters pleading to see him – they were in need of consolation and spiritual direction – he decided to visit them. Thus he came to Constantinople. Followed by his sisters he returned to Thessalonika, were he placed them in a convent, while he moved back to his cell in Boerea."

See also the documentary below (in Greek with English subtitles) on the family of St. Gregory Palamas:

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