Saint Gregory the Decapolitan
Date of celebration: 20/11
Saint Gregory lived in the 9th century AD. and he came from Irinopolis of the Decapolis. He owed his Christian upbringing first to his mother Mary, who, with her living faith in Christ, raised her son according to the dictates of the Gospel.
Gregory became a monk and strove intensely for moral perfection. What particularly distinguished him was the cultivation of self-control. He considered it necessary for the purity of the mind and the moral mastery of the flesh. And to those who asked him why he gives special importance to this virtue, he answered with the eternal words of the Holy Bible:
“For he who strives always restrains himself, so that they may receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one” (1 Corinthians, 8:25). That is to say, everyone who strives is self-controlled in everything, even in food and drink. And they, the athletes of the world, struggle and restrain themselves to get a crown that wears out. But we, Christ’s athletes, strive for an indestructible crown.
Grigorios, however, was not satisfied only with the solitary life. He participated closely in the fierce struggles against the iconoclastic kings. He made many trips and finally settled in Thessaloniki, in the Monastery of Agios Minas. He indulged in writings and died of a serious illness in Constantinople in 816 AD.