January 25, 2023

Homily on the Holy Hierarch of Christ Gregory the Theologian (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Delivered in 1991 at the Athonite Monastery of Gregoriou)

We thank Saint Gregory the Theologian, because with the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit given to him, he taught and dogmatized in a classical way about the Divinity of the Word and the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and silenced the heretics.

Saint Gregory's theology is not only from human learning, which the Saint had in abundance, but it is also from his pure intellect, with which he observed the heavenly and divine mysteries, as the liturgical service repeatedly says today.

The splendor of the divine rays descended upon his most pure nous, which was like a pure mirror, a mirror in which the three Lights of the Holy Trinity reflected. And so whatever he taught, he taught from the knowledge of his mystical and unutterable communion with God. And that is why his teaching is a divine and heavenly teaching. And that is why the Church demanded that he be the second to receive the same title which was received by the first Theologian, Saint John the Evangelist.

As his apolytikion says, from "the depths of the Spirit", that he explored with his pure nous, he "enriched with the beauty of words". Because indeed Saint Gregory was not only an initiate of heavenly revelations, but he was also an excellent writer, poet, literary artist, who used the Greek language with unique grace and skill. That is why he, like the other two Hierarchs, is an eternal teacher of the Church.

Today we heard some of his autobiographical "epics" - in translation of course - which he wrote with many verses. In these verses he also confesses his life. Saint Gregory the Theologian had a delicate and sensitive and poetic nature, and that is why he did not seek positions, as he himself says. What he longed for was quietness and union with God.

He was pressured to assume the archbishopric throne of Constantinople. And out of obedience to the Church he accepted it. But as soon as some wrongly and uncanonically raised claims and doubts as to whether he is the canonical archbishop of Constantinople, Saint Gregory did not stay to defend himself, but immediately resigned, being young in age, and departed to his beloved quietude, having pronounced his Farewell Address, with which he said goodbye to everyone and his flock, but also mockingly criticized the kings and rulers for their illegalities.

May Saint Gregory intercede to the Lord and for us, so that we too may desire the secret union with God in quietness above all other corruptible and vain things, even those selfish ambitions, which temptation puts on us even in our monastic life. May we transcend all this and be heavenly-minded, as Saint Gregory was, to be heavenly men and earthly angels.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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