the contribution of saint gregory palamas to hesychasm 2
Chapter 2

Chapter 1
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


Christ during his historical presence on earth revealed His uncreated Divinity to the elect of His Apostles with His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. According to the theological evaluation of Saint Gregory Palamas, the disciples saw upon the mount “the essential majesty of God… the ultra-luminous brightness of the archetypal beauty, the formless kind of Divine comeliness… they saw the inconceivable and ineffable Light… they saw the Grace of the Holy Spirit, which they subsequently received, and it abided in them.”

The Grace of God is the betrothal of the inheritance of the saints, the Spirit of sonship, the promise of the Spirit, which the Son received from the Father and granted to his faithful. It is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

The faithful receives the Divine Grace during Holy Baptism, and more specifically, during the mystery of Holy Chrism, whereby he becomes Her charismatic offspring since he was born from Her during the Divine washing, and thus he procured the ancient beauty.

Afterwards, the uncreated Grace exists incessantly in the faithful and assists him soteriologically (in matters of salvation) and multifariously, while Her Divine Light illumines him accordingly—at times, more, and at times, less. This Light becomes visible spiritually with the noetic sense, and it consists of the inseparable glory and brightness of Divine nature. Futhermore, it also constitutes the garment of the soul of the faithful, since it will bring back to her the ancient and most excellent beauty, but it simultaneously consists of the true nourishment of the angels as much as the righteous. It does not have its own substance, and for this it is called enhypostatic and not auto-hypostatic. Thus, it is reasonable to speak about the effulgence of hypostatic Light in the souls of the faithful, which acts in them without being separated from the Holy Spirit. Being an uncreated glory of God, pre-eternal and infinite, the Divine Light is not sensual, but noetic and spiritual, which is approximated and envisioned spiritually. It is incorporeal divine illumination and Grace, which becomes “envisioned in an invisible manner, and it is conceived in an inconceivable manner.” It is a “natural ray of Divinity”, and “the very Divinity which manifested to the disciples on the mount,” according to Saint Gregory the Theologian.

Divine illumination to be beheld presupposes the purification of the heart, and it is found evaluatively higher than homiletics about God, and certainly above reason. Of course, Divine illumination provides knowledge of God, but this knowledge and understanding is granted to the nous by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when occasionally this Divine illumination is called “knowledge and understanding,” it must be understood in a different l ight because what is meant here is another kind of understanding—a spiritual one. Barlaam, the anti-hesychast philosopher, thought that anyone who has knowledge of beings (onton) brings God inside him, or, can see (achieve vision of God) through this knowledge. In reality though, Palamas says, this man has within him the knowledge of the created things and through this knowledge he contemplates God, raises his mind to God abstractly, and expresses Him conjecturably. This perception of God does not consist of knowledge of God in and by itself. However he, who has energized the Divine Light inside himself, sees in an inexpressible way, and his expressions about God are not conjectures, but are based on having true vision and practical experience of Him. He truly ascertains that he has God inside him, because God is never separated from His eternal glory. The most trustworthy person who can inform us about the presuppositions necessary to acquire and to see the Divine Light happens to be that Divine person, who received our nature and imparted to it the glory of His nature. These presuppositions are the keeping of the Divine commandment, because Christ promised His appearance to whoever keeps them. This appearance Christ called “the abidance of Himself and of His Father in Him” saying, “if a man love s me he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” In this verse, Palamas sees the Grace and energy of the Holy Spirit through which God manifests and abides in those deemed worthy. The abidance of the Son with the Father is interpreted as participation (metheksi) of the deifying Grace and energy, while in a similar context Palamas identifies the coming of Christ, the abidance and His manifestation together with the Father with our ascent toward Him through revelation, as super-celestial ascent and rapture. The knowledge of God procured by the vision of Light is above all other knowledge, since there is nothing greater in existence than the abidance and manifestation of God inside of us, neither anything equal nor approximate. Thus, we know that the keeping of the commandment provides true knowledge, because with only this the health of the soul is secured. Health of the soul cannot exist when the intelligent power (gnostiko) of the soul is ill.

The Keeping of the Commandments, however, offers not only knowledge of God, but even charismatic theosis, to which we are guided as long as we see inside of us God’s glory in the Spirit. This materializes when it is God’s good pleasure to elevate us towards the spiritual mysteries. If the knowledge of the Divine Scriptures, according to the Apostle Peter is sure and secure, in the words of the same Apostle, this knowledge is equated with the “Light of an oil lamp that shineth in a dark place until the day dawns, as it dawned brilliantly on Tabor, and Christ, the Day Star, arises in your hearts.” This so indicative of the great difference between the knowledge of the holy Scriptures compared to the Light of knowledge emanating from the mystical vision of God . It is the light of the sun shining in the middle of the sky at noon time.


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