Gregory Palamas

(c. 1296–1359)
   Mystic, Theologian and Archbishop.
   Gregory was educated in Constantinople and in c. 1316, he joined the monastic community on Mount Athos. In 1326 he was ordained priest and in 1347 he was consecrated Archbishop of Thessalonica. Gregory is remembered as the chief defender of Hesychasm. The Hesychists devoted themselves to silent, mystical meditation through which they believed they could attain full unity with God. Mount Athos was the centre of the movement.
   The monks would pray with their chins pressed down on their chests, holding their breath until they fell into an ecstatic trance. It was then that they would experience the Divine Light. When the Hesychists were attacked in Constantinople, Gregory, in his ‘Triads in defence of the holy Hesychists’, argued that even though the essence of God was unknowable, God’s energies could be perceived by human beings. In 1341 a council was summoned in Constantinople to discuss the issue and it upheld Gregory’s doctrine of the Uncreated Light. Gregory is regarded as an important figure in the Orthodox mystical tradition.
   J. Meyendorff, Gregory Palamas (1964);
   Gregory Palamas, The Triads, edited by J. Meyendorff et al. (1983).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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