Gregorius Palamas



Gregory Palamas was the most important theologian of the 14th century. He was born around 1296 but his birthplace is unknown. We do know that he came from a noble family who sent him at an early age to be brought up at the court of the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos. But he abandoned the court in order to devote himself to a religious life. He assumed the monastic habit at Thessalonike and lived for a while as a hermit in the environs of Berroia. He later withdrew to Mount Athos and there he became acquainted with hesychasm, of which he became a fervent follower. He wrote theological treatises in its support, giving it a dogmatic basis, that is defining it according to the dogmas of the Church, and became the main exponent of the movement during the hesychast controversy.

In 1349 he became metropolitan of Thessalonike, thanks to the support of the hesychast emperor John VI Kantakouzenos, but the people of Thesalonike opposed his election and did not allow him to establish himself in the city until many years later. However, he was greatly honoured by his supporters and was later canonised by the Church.

"a classical education helps the natural knowledge (of man about things), but it can never become itself intellectual knowledge, unless it joins with faith and the love of God and, even more, unless it regenerate itself from this love and from the grace that emanates from this love, and unless it becomes different from what it was before; that is new, Godlike, pure, peaceful, tolerant, amenable, full of words that enlighten those that listen to them and bearing good fruit, knowledge which is also called wisdom of God...".
Gregorius Palamas