Ss Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bps

St Basil the Great

St. Basil the Great, Bp.

Born to a noble and pious family – his mother, father, and four of his nine siblings were canonized. As a youth, Basil is noted for organizing famine relief, and for working in the kitchens, quite unusual for a young noble.

He studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Gregory Nazianus. Ran a school of oratory and law in Caesarea. Basil was so successful, so sought after as a lecturer, that he was tempted by hubris. Afraid that his pride would overtake his piety, he sold all that he had, gave away the money, and became a priest and monk.

Founded monasteries and drew up Rule of Basil for monks and hermits of the desert; he is considered as key to the founding of Eastern monasticism.

He became Archbishop and then Bishop of Caesarea.

Also, he fought against Arianism.

St. Basil created the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great and was known to conduct Mass and preach twice each day.

St. Gregory Nazianzen

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bp.

Son of St. Gregory of Nazianzen the Elder and St. Nonna, brother of St. Caesar and St. Gorgonius.  Spent a wandering

Spent his youth wandering in search of knowledge and became friends with St. Basil the Great.

He resided at one of the desert monasteries founded by Basil.

He is known to be a reluctant priest, for Gregory felt he was unworthy and that the obligations would test his faith.

St. Gregory, like St. Basil, opposed Arianism and assisted his bishop father in preventing an Arian schism. He brought the heretical followers back to the monastic fold.

Became the Bishop of Caesarea circa 370 AD, which put him in conflict with the Arian emperor Valens. The disputes led Archbishop Basil to reassign him to a small, out of the way posting at the edge of the archbishopric.

St. Gregory, was the Bishop of Constantinople from 381 to 390, following the death of Valens. He hated the city, despised the violence and slander involved, and feared of being drawn into politics and corruption, but he worked to bring the Arians back to the faith. For the trouble, he was slandered, insulted, beaten, and a rival “bishop” tried to take over his Diocese.

He was a renowned lecturer on the Trinity. When it seemed that orthodox Christianity had been restored, St. Gregory retired to live the rest of his days as a desert hermit. He wrote theological discourses and poetry, some of it is religious and other were autobiographical.

Both saints are considered as a Doctor and Father of the Church.

Writings of St. Basil the Great:

The Hexemeron
Epistle to St. Gregory
Epistle to the Caesereans
St. Basil’s Prayer at the Ninth Hour
The Prayer of St. Basil

Writings of St. Gregory Nazianzen:

Oration 1
Oration 2 – Part 1
Oration 2 – Part 2
Oration 2 – Part 3
Oration 3
Oration 4