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Gregory Palamas, St

Gregory Palamas, St (c.1296–1359). Greek theologian and chief exponent of hesychasm. Nobly born and well-educated, he became a monk, and c.1318 went to Mount Athos where he became familiar with hesychasm. With the advance of the Turks he fled to Thessalonica where he was ordained priest in 1326, and consecrated archbishop of Thessalonica in 1347. His fame stems from his controversy with Barlaam of Calabria, which began in 1337, over the nature of Christian contemplation. Against Barlaam's extreme statement of God's unknowability, he insisted, in his Triads in Defence of the Holy Hesychasts (c. 1338), that God really communicates knowledge of himself to humans, and that the experience of the uncreated light of the Godhead in contemplation, claimed by the hesychast monks, is veridical. Although initially Palamas was condemned, he was vindicated by councils at Constantinople in 1347 and 1351 and canonized in 1363. Feast days in E., 14 Nov. and the 2nd Sunday in Lent.

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