March 28, 2021

Second Sunday of Great Lent - Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

On this day is celebrated the memory of our Holy Father Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki. The Horologion says this about him:

"This divine father was from Asia Minor, and as a child he was raised in the royal court of Constantinople, where he was educated in both our own and in secular wisdom. After this, while still a youth, he abandoned the imperial court and went to live on the Holy Mountain of Athos and in a skete of Beroea. He spent some time in Thessaloniki to treat an illness brought on by his rigorous lifestyle. In Constantinople he attended a synod that had convened in 1341 against Barlaam the Calabrian and in 1347 against Akindynos who was like-minded to him, where he bravely contested on behalf of the correctness of the doctrines of Christ's Eastern Church. In 1349 he was appointed Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, and he shepherded this flock in an apostolic manner for 13 years. Having lived a total of 63 years in which he wrote many things, he departed to the Lord. His sacred relic is preserved in the metropolis of Thessaloniki, and his Service of Praise was composed by Philotheos the Patriarch in the year 1368, at which time his feast was established for this day."

The reason for the feast of Saint Gregory being established on this Sunday is as follows: This Father of our Church was the foremost teacher of Orthodox Dogmas and an unconquerable opponent of the cacodox. The Church therefore sets before us his memory on the second Sunday of Great Lent, as a continuation, in a way, and extension of the first Sunday, namely the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Therefore the memory of Saint Gregory is in appearance a second "Sunday of Orthodoxy".

Our Church praises with hymns this great Father, chanting:

"Light of Orthodoxy, support and teacher of the Church, beauty of the monastic life, invincible defender of theologians, Gregory the Wonderworker, the boast of Thessaloniki, and preacher of grace, intercede forever that our souls may be saved."

Source: From the book Περίοδος Τριωδίου. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.