Oriental monk, mystic, and ascetical writer; b. Lydia, end of the 13th century; d. Paroria, Bulgaria, Nov. 27, 1346. Gregory became a monk in Cyprus and later on Mt. Sinai. He traveled to Palestine and Crete, where he met the monk Arsenius, who taught him the excellence of mental prayer. Later, he returned to mount athos and gained disciples for his moderate form of hesychasm. Forced to flee before the Turkish invasions, he went to Sozopolis on the Black Sea. On Mt. Paroria in Bulgaria, he founded a famous monastery (c. 1325) that became the intellectual and spiritual center of the Balkans. Through his writings, Gregory's influence spread in Europe to the whole Orthodox world. His great work, 137 Chapters or Spiritual Meditations, contains a collection of spiritual aphorisms interspersed with dogmatic opinions, e.g., on the processions of the Holy Spirit, the way of the quietist, and illuminated living. The influence of St. john climacus is evident.
Gregory wrote shorter tracts on Hesychasm, prayer, and passions that hinder spiritual advancement. His writings are concerned chiefly with the explanation of his method of prayer. His edited works do not contain all of his ascetical writings, and there are many variants in the unedited MSS. He also wrote tropes of the Trinity and liturgical kanones, or hymns on the Holy Cross, and on controversial themes such as the filioque and Christocentricism. His life was written by his disciple, later Patriarch callistus i.
Feast: Nov. 27 (Greek Church), Aug. 8 (Slavs).
Bibliography: Eds. of the Life by p. syrkou (Monuments de la Sociéte des amis de l'ancienne littérature et de l'art 174; St. Petersburg 1909), Slavic; and by i. pomyalovsky (St. Petersburg 1894), Gr. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 694–695. v. laurent, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hur et demain, ed. g. jacquemet, 5:266–267. v. grumel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger (Freiburg 1930–38) 4:683. m. jugie Theologica dogmatica christianorum orientalium ab ecclesia catholica dissedentium (Paris 1926–35) 1:432–436. e. turdeanu, La Littérature bulgare du XIV siècle (Paris 1947) 5–15. c. Émereau, Échos d'Orient 22 (1923) 432.
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