Reflection – Saint Gregory Palamas

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St. Gregory Palamas learned much through heavenly revelations. After he had spent three years in stillness in a cell of the Great Lavra, it was necessary for him to go out among men and benefit them with his accumulated knowledge and experience. God revealed this necessity to him through an extraordinary vision: One day, as though in a light sleep, Gregory saw himself holding a vessel in his hand full to overflowing with milk. Gradually, the milk turned into wine which likewise spilled over the rim, and drenched his hands and garments. Then a radiant youth appeared and said: “Why would you not give others of this wonderful drink that you are wasting so carelessly, or are you not aware that this is the gift of God’s grace?” To this Gregory replied: “But if there is no one in our time who feels the need for such a drink, to whom shall I give it?” Then the youth said: “Whether there are some or whether there are none thirsty for such a drink, you are obligated to fulfill your debt and not neglect the gift of God.” Gregory interpreted the milk as the common knowledge (of the masses) of moral life and conduct, and the wine as dogmatic teaching.

The second time Gregory secluded himself in a monastery he was writing his Principles of Orthodoxy. On the eve of the Feast of St. Anthony the Great, the monks summoned him to the all-night vigil service, but he remained at his work in the cell while all the brethren went to church. St. Anthony suddenly appeared to him and said: “Perfect stillness is good, but sometimes it is necessary to be with the brethren.” Convinced by this revelation, Gregory immediately went into church to the joy of all the monks.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume Two

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