April 6, 2018

Saint Gregory the Athonite, Instructor of Saint Gregory Palamas (+ 1308)

St. Gregory the Athonite (Feast Day - April 6)


Gregory the worker of watchfulness,
I honor with words and in this manner I pay tribute.

Our Venerable Father Gregory was from Constantinople, which is why he is also called Gregory of Byzantium. His surname was Drimys, and Philotheos Kokkinos, the biographer of Saint Gregory Palamas, addresses him as "Gregory the Great". Forsaking the world and all the delights thereof, he decided to dedicate his entire life to Christ by emulating the angels as a monastic on the Holy Mountain of Athos. There he settled in the mountains of Great Lavra Monastery, at Glossia Skete, which is dedicated to the Holy Apostles, where he dedicated himself to extreme asceticism and unceasing noetic prayer, so that he became an initiate of sacred mysteries. He arrived at such an elevated state of virtue, that he was made worthy by God to receive food from a divine angel.

Having conducted himself in such a manner, his fame spread throughout the Holy Mountain and beyond. Many came to him, seeking instruction on the path to perfection. Among his disciples gathered at Glossia Skete was Saint Gregory Palamas, from whom he learned the mysteries of hesychasm and noetic prayer over a period of two years. Being outside the protective walls of Great Lavra, Glossia Skete was disturbed by attacks of the Muslims, so Gregory Drimys returned to Constantinople, where he desired to repose, while Gregory Palamas went to Thessaloniki at the age of twenty-nine. Philotheos Kokkinos informs us that upon his repose, Gregory the Athonite's relics became a source of miracles. He reposed in 1308.