Synaxis of the Family of St. Gregory Palamas,
St. Constantius (the father), St. Kalloni-Kallis (mother), Saint Theodosius, Saint Epicharis, Saint Theodota and Saint Makarios, his brothers
Commemorated on November 14 or and December 18
Saint Gregory Palamas, constantly prayed: “Lord, Enlighten my darkness, Enlighten my darkness…!” “Most-Holy Theotokos, Enlighten my darkness, Enlighten my darkness…!”
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
My brethren, all Christians, small and great, should always pray, using the noetic prayer, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”;St. Gregory Palamas said the following: “Let no one think that it is the duty only of clergy and monastics to pray with ceasing and not of laypeople. No, absolutely not; it is the duty of all Christians to remain always in prayer.” Using the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) “… this we can always do if we wish. For when we sit down to work with our hands, when we walk, when we eat, etc. we can always pray mentally as this is pleasing to God. Let us work with the body and pray with the soul.”
As an example of someone like this, let us take St. Gregory’s father, that amazing Constantine Palamas.
This man was an official of the imperial court, and was called the father and teacher of the Emperor Andronikos (II Palaiologos ,1282–1328),. He was daily occupied with imperial affairs, in addition to those his own house, since he was very wealthy and owned a large estate and servants, and had a wife and children. Nevertheless, he was so inseparable from God and so given to unceasing noetic prayer, that most of the time he would forget what it was the Emperor and the officials of the palace were discussing with him about imperial matters, and he would ask about the same things several times. Often the other officials, not knowing the reason for this, would become agitated and reproach him for forgetting so quickly, and for disturbing the Emperor with his repeated questions. But the Emperor, who knew the cause, would defend him, saying, “Lucky Constantine has his own concerns, and they do not permit him to pay attention to what we are saying on matters temporal and vain. But the nous of this blessed man is fixed on what is true and heavenly, and thus he forgets what is mundane. All of his attention is focused on the prayer and on God.”
Thus, as the most holy Patriarch Philotheos relates, Constantine was admired and loved by the Emperor and all the magnates and officials of the Empire. Likewise, he was loved by God, and the venerable one was even counted worthy to perform miracles. The holy Philotheos tells us in his biography of St. Gregory (Constantine’s son), that he took his whole family once on a boat to a place above Galatas, to pay a visit to a hermit who lived in stillness there, and get his blessing. On the way, he asked his servants if they had any food to take to that Abba, so that they might eat with him. The servants said that in the rush they had forgotten to bring any. The blessed man was saddened a bit, but said nothing. As they continued on in the boat, he simply put his hand into the sea, and with silent and noetic prayer he asked God, the Master of the sea, to let him catch something. After a short time (how wonderful are your works, O Christ King, by which you marvelously glorify Your servants!), he brought up his hand from the sea holding a large bass-fish. Tossing it into the boat in front of his servants, he said, “Look here how our Lord provided for his servant the Abba and has sent him something to eat.” Do you see, my brethren, with what sort of glory Jesus Christ glorifies those servants who are always with Him and who constantly invoke His sweetest name?…
Blessed and lucky are they who accustom themselves to this heavenly work, for they overcome every temptation of the wicked demons by it, like David prevailed over the proud Goliath; they put out the inordinate desires of the flesh by it, as the three youths put out the flame of the furnace. By this noetic work of prayer, they calm the passions, like Daniel tamed the wild lions; by it they bring down into their hearts the dew of the Holy Spirit, like Elias brought down the rain on Mount Carmel… Amen. Amen.
By St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain ,Taken from “The Life of St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, the Wonderworker” – http://www.orthodoxheritage.org/MOM%2001%202006.htm
Kontakion to Saint Gregory Palamas (Tone 8)
Holy and divine instrument of wisdom,
joyful trumpet of theology,
together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory.
Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O Father,
so that we may sing to you: “Rejoice, preacher of grace.”