26 July 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
58, Cathedral of Saint Gregory Palamas, Thessaloniki

The Church of Saint Gregory Palamas has been the cathedral of Thessaloniki since the end of the 16th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Before the day gets busy, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading.

During this time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

This week’s theme is seven churches in Thessaloniki. My photographs this morning (26 July 2021) are from the Cathedral of Saint Gregory Palamas in Thessaloniki.

The shrine and relics of Saint Gregory Palamas (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Metropolitan Church or cathedral of Thessaloniki is the Church of Saint Gregory Palamas. The cathedral, which has a round red dome, is named after the saint who was Archbishop of Thessaloniki from 1347 to 1359.

An earlier church on this site was a three-aisled basilica, built in the late 13th century. It became the Metropolitan Church or Cathedral of Thessaloniki at the end of the 16th century.

The cathedral was destroyed in a major fire in 1890. The cathedral was rebuilt after the fire to designs by the architect Ernst Ziller and his Greek colleague Xenofon Paionidis, and was completed in 1914.

The building retains considerable Byzantine influences, but there are neo-classical elements too. It is based on the Byzantine octagonal type, and the main church is cross-shaped form, like many Orthodox churches.

The cathedral holds the shrine and relics of Saint Gregory Palamas, who lived in Thessaloniki in 1325-1359. The walls are covered with bright, modern frescoes depicting the life of Christ and the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

A fresco depicts the Apostle Paul preaching in Thessaloniki (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 13: 31-35 (NRSVA):

31 He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’

33 He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’

34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35 This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet:

‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.’

The Epitaphios procession preparing to leave the cathedral on Good Friday (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Church Calendar celebrated Saint James the Apostle, and this celebration may be transferred to today. The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (26 July 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us give thanks for the life of James the Apostle. May we follow Jesus with the same urgency and commitment that he did.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1890 and rebuilt to designs by the architects Ernst Ziller and his Xenofon Paionidis (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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