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The love and protection of the Virgin Mary in St. Gregory Palamas

The love and protection of the Virgin Mary in St. Gregory Palamas

Παναγία Οδηγητρια_Panagia _Hodeghetria or Directress_Икона Божией Матери Одигитрия0_79c27_2b193c8b_orig33The first two years in his monastic habit, he spent with fasting, vigil, concentration of the mind and unceasing prayer. In his prayers he always evoke as intercessor the Mother of God and in every occasion he would ask for Her help. Once, when he was still and wholly surrendered to the thought of God, he saw in front of him a very venerable elder (St. John the Theologian). Turning at him with a gentle look, the elder said: “I came my child, sent by the Most Holy and Queen of all to ask you, why every hour, day and night, you cry to God ‘…enlighten my darkness, enlighten my darkness …?” In reply, Gregory said: “And what else shall I ask, me who am full of passion and sin, but to be shown mercy and be enlighten to see and do the Will of God?” Then the Evangelist told him: “The Mistress of all – through me, her servant – commands that I should be your helper.” Then Gregory asked him: “When will the mother of my Lord help me, now or after death?” “Now and at the future life”, said the Theologian and disappeared, filling the heart of Gregory with unspeakable joy in regard to the promises of the mother of God.

The life of Saint Gregory Palamas Archbishop of Thessalonika the Wonderworker by Philotheos, Patriarch of Constantinople

***

St. Gregory Palamas felt love for the Panagia.He was granted to see her in his life, he was her protege.

Before his father died, St. Gregory’s mother asked him to ask the emperor to protect his children. That saintly man not only did not accept her words, but rebuked her in a way and said to her.

“I do not leave my children to some earthly rulers, but I leave my children to this Mistress of all, the mother of the King of heaven.” And indeed at the time when he said these things he was looking at the icon of the Theotokos which was in front of him. St. Philotheos says in his biography of St. Gregory that the words of his holy father came true, because the theotokos herself persuaded the emperor to take care of the orphan children, but also later “she was seen to be their protectress and guide, and in every way the saviour of both their souls and their bodies.”

The second circumstance which shows that his father’s prophetic words were actually fulfilled and the Theotokos was a wonderful sponsor, governess and guide, came from the period of his studies. At die beginning of his studies the saint had difficulty in memorizing.

Then he placed a restriction on himself not to come near the books and not to begin reading without first having knelt thrree time before the icon of the Theotokos, saying a prayer at the same time. When he did this work every day he succeeded very easily in memorizing and reciting the lessons. But if he sometimes forgot to follow this rule even the recitation failed right away.” At the same time, as Philotheos says, the Panagia persuaded the emperor to be the guardian of the children and to assume all their personal expenses. Furthermore the emperor showed particular sympathy, for he invited them to come to see him and talked with them in a kind and loving way….

The Personal Relationship Of St. Gregory Palamas With The Theotokos
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, from his book “Saint Gregory Palamas as a Hagiorite”

The Chaldean children in the hands of the Virgin saw him who fashioned humankind. And perceiving him to be the Lord, even though he had taken the form of a slave, they hastened to pay tribute with gifts and to greet the blessed Lady:

Rejoice, mother of an unsetting star;
Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day.
Rejoice, who extinguished the furnace of error;
Rejoice, who enlighten initiates of the Trinity.
Rejoice, deposer of the inhuman tyrant from his rule;
Rejoice, discloser of the Lord Christ who loves humankind.
Rejoice, redeemer from pagan religions;
Rejoice, deliverer from the mire of sin.
Rejoice, for you have caused the worship of fire to cease;
Rejoice, releaser from the flames of passions.
Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity;
Rejoice, gladness of all generations.
Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.

Glory …, An Exapostilarion from the Triodion; (Tone III):

Rejoice, glory of the fathers, voice of theologians, * tabernacle of inward stillness, * dwelling-place of wisdom, greatest of teachers, * deep ocean of the Word. * Rejoice, thou who hast practiced virtues of the active life * and ascended to the heights of contemplation; * Rejoice, healer of man’s sickness. Rejoice, shrine of the Spirit; ** Rejoice, father who though dead art still alive.

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