on November 11, 2009
This beautifully produced volume is a treasure that a wide variety of readers will benefit from.
St. Gregory's important and inspiring homilies can be turned to again and again, and in this monumental volume one has the great advantage of the indices, notes, and scriptural references: e.g., if you want to read St. Gregory on the topic of peace, there are 10 entries listed, and 16 for eternal life. With this volume it is easy to use these homilies for thematic study for personal enrichment and for serious study. With so many sermons for the gospel lessons for Sundays and Feast Days, this work will also be a treasure for preachers, those leading Bible Studies, and any one wishing to have a deeper understanding of Holy Scripture.
on October 28, 2009
St. Gregory Palamas, though not well known in the West, is a figure of great importance for Christian theology. He (like his contemporary Nicholas Cabasilas), is a product of that remarkable flowering of piety and theological learning in the last centuries of the Christian Roman (Byzantine) Empire. When he is known, it is usually as a controversialist who opposed certain tenets of Western theology. But he is much more than that; as the editorial review above remarked, he is an important witness to the Orthodox theological tradition, summing up what went before him and shaping what came after.
His homilies, available in their entirety in this volume, are a rich and profound expression of his theological vision. Yet being homilies, delivered in church to a diverse audience, they are popular in expression and therefore very readable, and practical. This volume makes them available to an English readership, and is handsomely bound and presented.
As much as to the scholar who wishes to explore the riches of Eastern Christian theology, so also to any reader who wishes to deepen his understanding of the great mystery of God in Christ, I would recommend this volume.
on November 9, 2009
When a work of this magnitude is completed, the impact is difficult to measure. The place of St. Gregory Palamas in the history of the Church is central, and the availability of a full translation of his homilies in English provides a service to the Church and the academic world that will have far reaching effects.
This single volume publication provides not only an accurate and accessible translation of St. Gregory's writings, but also offers a very useful set of indexes of biblical references, Greek terms, and English names and subjects. Even more, this volume contains within it extensive notes by a theologian who possesses the skill, understanding, and training to expound on the thought of St. Gregory. As a result, these notes provide a road map that are able to guide the reader through the thought of one of the great theologians of Christian history.
As anyone who is familiar with St. Gregory's writings, readers will find a wide range of topics discussed in his homilies including but not limited to marriage, monasticism, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, salvation, grace, and doctrinal issues. St. Gregory's homilies provide a simultaneous accessibility and depth that is unrivaled. Scholars and laypersons alike will find numerous pearls in the writings of St. Gregory.
Finally, the importance of presentation is too often overlooked in the publishing process. In this particular work, such was not the case. The reader will be very pleased to see that the same care that went into the translation and editing was also extended to the formatting, quality of paper selected, and binding. In sum, the reader will be acquiring a volume that is pleasing to the eye, easy to handle, and will guide all those with open minds and open hearts into an ever-deepening understanding of the Christian life.
on December 26, 2009
The Sermons of St. Gregory Palamas:
This valuable publication goes far to fill out our picture of Gregory Palamas. Until these sermons began to appear in translation a few years ago, he was chiefly known, even in the East, for his famous debate with Barlaam of Calabria on the nature of divine grace. For most Christians, this subject is both too subtle to follow and too abstract for more modest attention spans. That is to say, it was all rather monkish.
Except for his preaching on the Lord's Transfiguration, however, that famous theme hardly appears in these sermons, which Gregory preached for the faithful at Thessaloniki when he left Mount Athos to become the archbishop of that city. Preaching nearly everyday, he covered nearly every aspect of the Christian life in terms easily understood by the faithful who gathered to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and pray the Daily Hours.
A much larger, more attractive, and very engaging Palamas appears in these sermons.
Patrick Henry Reardon
on November 18, 2009
In his Foreword to St. Gregory's homilies, Fr Zacharias hits the proverbial nail on the head when he says, "His word possesses a creative power, is always new, and informs the heart with grace." St Gregory Palamas, in and through his sermons, presents us with his entire theological vision, and demonstrates that the Bible and Tradition are really one and the same thing. Anyone interested in the Bible (Holy Scripture) will be fascinated by this book.
There are some books that earn a special place on your desk, next to your bed, on your prayer table, or wherever you keep important books in your house. Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies is one of those books. I have been in possession of this book for several months now, and I have had a hard time putting it down, let alone trying to review it. I am going to attempt now, but before I do, I'd like to give some stats on the book. It is a 750 page hardcover, measuring approximately 9" x 6". Within this tome are 63 homilies, which range in length anywhere from five to thirteen pages. At the end of the homilies, there are over 100 pages of notes on the homilies, including Scripture references, original Greek wording, and explanations of passages in the homilies. Finally, there are three indices - 1. Index of Scriptural References, 2. Index of Names and Subjects, and 3. Index of Greek Words. The editor and translator is Dr. Christopher Veniamin, who is a disciple of Archimandrite Sophrony of Sakharov, which is awesome in and of itself.
When reading through a collection of this magnitude by such a great Church Father you have to read through it slowly and carefully, because if you try and read too quickly you will miss a ton of beauty. I found even reading slowly that I still had to go back and re-read even slower because the depth which St. Gregory Palamas dives can be overwhelming sometimes. I appreciate the way Dr. Veniamin organized this book, which is in the order the Sundays or Feast Days appear in the Church Calendar. It gives the book a nice flow to it. Unfortunately, not all of Saint Gregory Palamas' homilies were saved, so you will find that not every Sunday or major Feast Day is covered in this book. However, when the homilies in this book come on successive Sundays (like Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent), you feel your knowledge increase exponentially.
It is impossible to pick the "best" passage in a book of this nature, because each of his homilies are edifying for the soul. If I had to pick the homilies I enjoyed the most, they would be the ones on Mary, particularly her Dormition and her Entrance into the Holy of Holies. In the West, we refer to Mary's Dormition as her Immaculate Conception, and her Entrance into the Holy of Holies is a GREATLY neglected Feast Day that I think 99% of Roman Catholics don't even know about. In his homily on the Dormition, St. Gregory Palamas explains how Mary's death was life-giving and the day itself should be remembered as joyful. He also recounts the tradition of all the Apostles being gathered to her funeral, despite them being spread throughout the world. There is also great explanation given to the fact that both her body and soul were taken to Heaven. Catholics believe that too, so this is a great point of agreement for Catholics and Orthodox that could be a good start toward unity.
This book is a treasure to be not only valued and held in high regard, but also read (repeatedly), pored over, and studied. It is also clearly a book that was a labor of love for Dr. Veniamin. I already find myself visiting this book, almost on a daily basis, and I know I will continue to study it and reference it even more, particularly on the Sundays that coincide with the homilies inside. This book is worth every penny and then some. If you are a serious student of Patristics, you need this book in your library.
on September 5, 2014
Wonderful collection of homilies from one of the great Church Fathers! St. Gregory Palamas is a must-read for understanding the Eastern Orthodox Faith. I have several texts put out by the publisher Mount Thabor Publishing. I have yet to be disappointed. I also own several texts by the author Christopher Veniamin. Christopher Veniamin is a theologically sound Eastern Orthodox author as well. If you love patristics as I do you just cannot go wrong with this book.
on March 31, 2010
Thank God this was put together. St. Gregory's (full) works are hard to find in English.
on November 11, 2014
This is an unbelievable resource for anyone looking to delve into the fathers. St. Gregory Palamas does a wonderful job of articulating the Orthodox faith and understanding in all that he writes. If you're serious about Orthodoxy, this is a must have.
on September 26, 2014
This volume is a monumental, magnificent contribution to Christian literature in the English language. Three qualities, in particular, may delight the reader: 1) the smooth, readable prose of the translation of St Gregory's homilies; 2) the rich, detailed, and copious endnotes; and 3) the capacity of the text and the endnotes to carry the reader to whole new levels of encounter with the Holy Scriptures. If I could take only a handful of books to that proverbial desert island, this surely would be one.