Second Sunday of the Great Lent St. Gregory Palamas

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan HILARION, Archbishop of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on Sunday March 27, 2016, Divine Liturgy is celebrated for the Pakistani Orthodox Christians.

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On Second Sunday of the Great Lent Fr.Joseph Farooq preached about the St. Gregory Palamas — Gregory’s father was an eminent official the court of the Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus. The gifted Gregory, completing his secular studies, did not want to go into imperial service at court, but withdrew to the Holy Mountain and became a monk, living in asceticism at Vatopedi and the Great Lavra. He waged war against the heretic Barlaam, and finally overcame him. He was consecrated Metropolitan of Salonica in 1347, being glorified both as an ascetic and a theologian, both as a hierarch and a wonderworker. He was the defender of the Hesychasts. He upheld the doctrine that the human body played an important part in prayer, and he argued that the Hesychasts did indeed experience the Divine and Uncreated Light of Tabor.

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Further Fr. Joseph Farooq told the faithful St. Gregory developed the distinction between the essence and the energies of God. He set Hesychasm on a firm dogmatic basis, by integrating it into Orthodox theology, and by showing how the Hesychasts vision of Divine Light in no way undermined the doctrine that God cannot be comprehended. His teachings were confirmed by the local councils held in Constantinople in 1341 and 1351. St. Gregory began by reaffirming the Biblical doctrine of man and of the Incarnation; i.e. the whole man, united in body and soul, was created in the image of God, and Christ, by taking a human body at the Incarnation, has made the flesh an inexhaustible source of sanctification’. The Hesychasts, so he argued, in placing emphasis on the body’s part in prayer, are not guilty of a gross materialism but are simply remaining faithful to the Biblical doctrine of man as a unity. Christ took human flesh and saved the whole man; therefore it is the whole man that prays to God.

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