Second Week of the Great Fast .Commemoration of St. Gregory Palamas.

Posted on February 23, 2018

The icon is of St. Gregory Palamas, who is commemorated in the Byzantine Church especially on the Second Sunday of the Fast. Saint Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) was a monk, archbishop and eminent theologian. He was also a major figure in fourteenth-century Byzantium. His greatest work, In Defense of Holy Hesychasts [commonly known as the Triads], was written between 1338 and 1341 as a response to the charges of Barlaam. Barlaam denied the legitimacy of the spiritual methods of Byzantine monastic groups known as hesychasts and discredited their claims to experience the divine presence. Hesychasm, a movement dating back to the Fathers of the desert, believed that since the body itself receives the grace of sacraments and the pledge of final resurrection it would properly have a share in “pure prayer”. They believed that God is accessible to personal experience because He shared His own life with humanity. It is from this tradition that we have the famous “Jesus Prayer”: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” source

On Keeping A Spiritual Fast.

There is both a physical and a spiritual fast. In the physical fast the body abstains from food and drink. In the spiritual fast, the faster abstains from evil intentions, words and deeds. One who truly fasts abstains from anger, rage, malice, and vengeance. One who truly fasts abstains from idle and foul talk, empty rhetoric, slander, condemnation, flattery, lying and all manner of spiteful talk. In a word, a real faster is one who withdraws from all evil. – St. Basil the Great

Gospel (Mark 2:1-12):
At that time, when Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’

Євангеліє: (Мр2,1-12) У той час коли прийшов Ісус до Капернауму, чутка пішла, що він у домі. І там зібралося стільки народу, що не було більш місця, навіть перед дверима; а він промовляв до них словом. І от прийшли до нього, несучи розслабленого; несли його четверо. А що із-за народу не могли донести до нього, розкрили стелю над місцем, де він був, й отвором спустили ліжко, на якому лежав розслаблений. Ісус, уздрівши їхню віру, до розслабленого й каже: “Сину, відпускаються тобі твої гріхи.” А були й деякі книжники, що сиділи там та міркували собі: “І як може цей так говорити? Він богохульствує! Хто може прощати гріхи, крім одного лише Бога?” Ісус же, вмить збагнувши духом, що вони таке собі думають, до них і каже: “Чого таке ось намислюєте у ваших серцях? Що легше – сказати розслабленому: Відпускаються тобі гріхи, а чи сказати: Встань, візьми твоє ліжко й ходи? Та щоб ви знали, що Син Чоловічий має владу на землі гріхи відпускати, – мовить до розслабленого: Кажу тобі: Встань, візьми твоє ліжко і йди до свого дому.” Устав той – і зараз же, взявши ліжко, вийшов на очу всіх; тож чудувалися всі, хвалили Бога й мовляли: “Ніколи ми такого не бачили!”