Thursday, March 13, 2014

St. Gregory Palamas

St. Gregory Palamas is commemorated this coming Sunday (the second Sunday in Lent) in the Orthodox Church.  He is remembered on this Sunday because the condemnation of his enemies and the vindication of his teachings by the Church in the 14th century was acclaimed as a second triumph of Orthodoxy.

St. Gregory was born in 1296 in Constantinople to pious Christian parents. He eventually entered the monastic life.  Through solitude and inner stillness he was able to enter into a state of constant prayer.  He wrote various treatises on asceticism and prayer and defended the methods used by hesychasts.
Read more about St. Gregory Palamas HERE.

St. Gregory taught that unceasing mental prayer is the duty of all Christians and the prayer known as the "Jesus Prayer" is often used for this purpose in the Orthodox Tradition.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

To prepare for this Sunday I read a lesson to my kids about St. Gregory Palamas from the Orthodox curriculum, The Children's Garden of the Theotokos (Anaphora Press).  It teaches children about the use of prayer ropes with the Jesus Prayer.  Instead of making the page outlined in the lesson, I used a craft found on the Crafty Contemplative blog.  Click HERE for the craft.  We did ours slightly different (for instance we used 3-dimensional stickers for the crosses) and added an icon of St. Gregory that I printed.  I made my own with the kids and said one Jesus Prayer as I glued on each of the circles that represent the knots on a prayer rope.  You can read more about prayer ropes HERE.

The kids seemed to really enjoy making their own version of a prayer rope on paper and we hung them on the wall to remind us of this prayer throughout Lent.

(Click to see larger)

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