The Monk Gregory the Sinaite
Commemorated on August 8
The Monk Gregory
the Sinaite was born in about the year 1268 in the seacoast village of
Clazomeneia near the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor), of rich parents. In about the
year 1290 he was taken into captivity by the Hagarites and sent off to
Laodicea. After gaining his freedom, the saint arrived on the island of Cyprus,
where he was tonsured a monk. He set off afterwards to Mount Sinai and there
assumed the great schema. Having fulfilled his obediences of cook and baker,
and then as writer-copyist, surpassing all in reading and knowledge of
Scriptural and patristic books. The strictness of his life (fasting, vigil,
psalmody, standing at prayer) brought some to astonishment and others to envy.
Departing the monastery, the monk visited Jerusalem. For some time he lived on
the island of Crete, and afterwards he made the rounds on Athos with its monasteries
and ascetics. By such manner he acquired the experience of the monastic life of
many centuries from the ancient monasteries. Only after this did the Monk
Gregory the Sinaite settle himself in a solitary place for "hesychia"
["mystic quiet" doing the Jesus Prayer] – a cell for silence and
unhindered pursuit of mental prayer, combined with hard monastic work.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.