Saints of the Day – Gregory of Sinai

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Born near Smyrna, c.1290; died in Bulgaria, 1346; canonized by the Orthodox Church.

After being carried off from his home in a raid by Seljuk Turks, and ransomed by his neighbors, this Gregory joined the monks of Mount Sinai. In consequence of disagreements he left there, and while in Crete learned the practice of mental prayer from another monk. Coming to Mount Athos, he was disappointed to find its inhabitants knew little of ‘true silence and contemplation,’ so he set about teaching his ideas on prayer to the monks and solitaries. Then another piratical raid drove him away from Athos.

At length, about 1325, he established a monastery on Mount Paroria, near Sozopol on the west coast of the Black Sea; he lived there for the rest of his life, though not without further disturbance from the Turks. Gregory wrote little, but his teaching had considerable influence in the Orthodox Church. He emphasized the importance of physical aids (e.g., rhythmical breathing) to perfect concentration in mental prayer, which was part of the technique of Palamite Hesychasm (Attwater).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2020. Web. 27 November 2020. <>