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Born in Smyrna, he was captured by Seljuk Turks as a young man, he was eventually ransomed to Cyprus and became a monk at Saint Catherine's Monastery. Later, he moved to Crete, where he learned the practices of Hesychasm from a monk named Arsenios, and in 1310 to Athos, where he remained until 1335. Increasing Muslim raids on Athos pushed Gregory and some disciples into the Bulgarian Empire, where he would find protection under Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Alexander and where he founded a monastery near Paroria, Strandzha mountains in south east Bulgaria.
The Philokalia includes five works in Greek by Gregory,
- On Commandments and Doctrines, Warnings and Promises; on Thoughts, Passions and Virtues, and also on Stillness and Prayer: 137 Texts
- Further Texts
- On the Signs of Grace and Delusion, Written for the Confessor Longinos: Ten Texts
- On Stillness: Fifteen Texts
- On Prayer: Seven Texts