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The second Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to the memory of St. Gregory Palamas, the 14th century scholar, monk and later Archbishop of Thessalonika, who was an inspiring example to his contemporaries. This Sunday has often been often referred to as the second Triumph of Orthodoxy because of St. Gregory’s defense of the faith and his amazing understanding of prayer.

Prayer is conversation with God, nourishment for the soul, whether it be private or in the communal atmosphere of our Church. The Gospel tells of a paralyzed man whose four friends, caring for their friend, cut a hole in the roof in order to lower him on his stretcher to see Christ. Jesus, seeing their faith says, “your sins are forgiven”. Simply their effort is an example of how they were willing to help one in need.

The central theme of St. Gregory was that through faith, prayer, and the sacraments of the Church, Orthodox Christians experience a personal sharing in the life of God. The life and work of St. Gregory can be summed up by two keywords in the Orthodox Christian tradition “theosis”- the renewal of all things in God, and “hesychasm”, quietude or prayerful stillness before God. You see “theosis” is God’s plan for all – the glorification of human beings as well as of creation. The central goal of the whole universe is to be like a “burning bush” ablaze with the glory of God.

As we continue our journey through Great Lent, let us love God, serve Him with our time, talents, and resources, and give thanks and glory to Him in all things!

St Gregory Palamas