This paper provides a brief overview of the historic relationship between the ancient city of Veria and the saintly family of St Gregory Palamas. In addition to covering some historical milestones in the Palamas family’s sojourn in Veria, the paper also discusses some of the specific churches and monasteries with which St Gregory and his family had personal connections, sites that contain objects of veneration and have remained prominent destinations for pilgrimages up to our current era. Finally, a brief description is given of modern sites and celebrations that honour the Palamas family, including the canonisation of St Gregory’s parents and siblings in 2009.
Veria, an ancient town honoured by the visit and preaching of the Apostle Paul, has shown itself to be fertile ground for sainthood. Throughout time and on multiple levels, it has had on offer rich spiritual nourishment emanating from the lives and works of apostles, martyrs, hierarchs, monastics, and saintly families. Included in this saintly host, is an entire family of seven, the saintly Palamas family.1
The memory of St Gregory Palamas, but also the presence of all of you here today in the apostolic city of Veria, gives us an opportunity to highlight some of the lesser-known aspects of the saint’s life relating to our town and its surroundings.2
St Gregory Palamas and His Brothers in Veria
Let us take a look at some milestones in the life of St Gregory Palamas in relation to Veria:
Introduction to the International Scientific Conference, entitled: ‘Ἡ θεολογική καί φιλοσοφική σημασία τοῦ ἔργου τοῦ Ἁγίου Γρηγορίου Παλαμᾶ ἀρχιεπισκόπου Θεσσαλονίκης’ (Θεσσαλονίκη–Βέροια, 7–15 Μαρτίου, 2012). First published in Βελλᾶ Ἐπιστημονική Ἐπετηρίδα 7 (2013–2015): 121–36.
On the Family of Saints, cf. Ἀρχιμ. Γεωργίου Χρυσοστόμου, ‘Καθημερινή ζωή καί Παύλεια πνευματικότητα στίς ἀκολουθίες τῶν Ἁγίων Οἰκογενειῶν’, in Πρακτικά Διεθνοῦς Ἐπιστημονικοῦ Συνεδρίου, ‘Ἡ οἰκογένεια: Παύλεια θεολογία καί σύγχρονη θεώρηση’ (ΙΕ΄Παύλεια) (Βέροια, 2009), 321–56.
The saint’s first biographer was the student of Philotheos Kokkinos, Patriarch of Constantinople. Cf. Βίος Γρηγορίου Παλαμᾶ (Θεσσαλονίκη: 1984). See also Μοναχῆς Ὀλυμπιάδος Ντίτορα, Τό θαῦμα τῆς χάριτος. Ἀφηγηματική βιογραφία τοῦ Ἁγίου Γρηγορίου Παλαμᾶ τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ (Βέροια: Ἱ. Μ. Ἁγίου Ἀθανασίου Ἀγκαθιᾶς, 2009).