Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonika, was born in the year 1296 in Constantinople. St. Gregory's father became a prominent dignitiary at the court of Andronikos II Paleologos (1282-1328), but he soon died, and Andronikos himself took part in the raising and education of the fatherless boy. Endowed with fine abilities and great diligence, Gregory mastered all the subjects which then comprised the full course of medieval higher education. The emperor hoped that the youth would devote himself to government work. But Gregory, barely twenty years old, withdrew to Mount Athos in the year 1316 (other sources say 1318) and became a novice in the Vatopedi monastery under the guidance of the monastic Elder St. Nikodemos of Vatopedi (July 11). There he was tonsured and began on the path of asceticism. A year later, the holy Evangelist John the Theologian appeared to him in a vision and promised him his spiritual protection. Gregory's mother and sisters also became monastics.
After the demise of the Elder Nikodemos, St. Gregory spent eight years of prayerful effort under the guidance of the Elder Nikephoros, and after the latter's death, Gregory transferred to the Lavra of St. Athanasios (July 5). Here he served in the trapeza, and then became a church singer. But after three years, striving for a greater degree of spiritual perfection, he resettled in the small skete of Glossia. The head of this monastery began to teach the youth the method of concentrated spiritual prayer and mental activity, which was gradually appropriated and cultivated by monastics, beginning with the great desert ascetics of the fourth century: Evagrios Pontikos and St. Makarios of Egypt (January 19).
1 -[Saint Gregory Palamas]
2 -[Saint Gregory Palamas : Life]