Categories: HomiliesPublished On: January 2nd, 2023Tags: , 476 words14.4 min read
Sts. Basil & Gregory

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Sts. Basil & Gregory

Basil was born to the nobility into a pious family. His mother, father, and four of his nine siblings were canonized, including Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Basil is the grandson of Saint Macrina the Elder. As a youth Basil was noted for organizing famine relief, and for working in the kitchens himself, quite unusual for a young noble.

He studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Saint Gregory Nazianzus. Basil operated a school of oratory and law in Caesarea. Basil was so successful, so sought after as a speaker, that he was tempted by pride. Fearful that it would overtake his piety, he sold all that he had, gave away the money, and became a priest and monk.

Basil founded monasteries and drew up rules for monks living in the desert; he is considered as key to the founding of eastern monasticism as Saint Benedict of Nursia was to the west. He was Bishop and Archbishop of Caesarea. He conducted Mass and preached to the crowds twice each day, fought Arianism, is a Greek Doctor and Father of the Church.

Gregory is the son of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen the Elder and Saint Nonna. He is also the brother of Saint Caesar Nazianzen, and Saint Gorgonius. Gregory was in search of learning. He was a friend of and fellow student with Saint Basil the Great.

Gregory was a reluctant priest; he believed that he was unworthy, and that the responsibility would test his faith. He assisted his bishop father to prevent an Arian schism in the diocese. He opposed Arianism and brought its heretical followers back to the fold. He was bishop of Caesarea c.370, which put him in conflict with the Arian emperor Valens. The disputes led his friend Basil the Great, then archbishop, to reassign him to a small, out of the way posting at the edge of the archbishopric.

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

Noted preacher on the Trinity. When it seemed that orthodox Christianity had been restored in the city, Gregory retired to live the rest of his days as a hermit. He wrote theological discourses and poetry, some of it religious, some of it autobiographical. Just like Basil, Gregory is known as a Father and a Doctor of the Church.

May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and if the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen