Anestis Keselopoulos on St Gregory Palamas: Grace, virtue and truth
‘Although human cooperation is presupposed, man’s progress in virtue is essentially a work of the grace of God . “For man does not ascend the degrees of virtue on his own, even of he intends to do so.”…Virtue…simply prepares man for theosis and makes him receptive to grace. As a human activity, prayer belongs to the category of the virtues and so on its own is not sufficient to bring about the theosis of man…”Righteousness by itself avails nothing”, writes St Nicholas Cabasilas.”‘
‘The essential characteristic of the virtuous man is that his thoughts are at peace. Afterwards, God grants him humility that bonds all the virtues tightly together since they are perfected by its influence…[T]he ethical teaching of Palamas and the other Fathers has truth not virtue as its goal…St Maximus the Confessor sets forth this presupposition of the essential character of Orthodox Christian ethics: “Virtue is for truth but truth is not for the sake of virtue.”‘
There is a lot to ponder here, not only by Orthodox, for Palamas’ thought suggests possible convergence between Orthodox and Reformed Christoian emphases.