January 2

St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors

Memorial

“Lamps are made needless by the advent of the sun; and, on the appearance of the truth, the occupation of the Law is gone, and prophecy is hushed into silence. He, on the contrary, who has been empowered to look down into the depth of the meaning of the Law, and, after passing through the obscurity of the letter, as through a veil, to arrive within things unspeakable, is like Moses taking off the veil when he spoke with God. He, too, turns from the letter to the Spirit.”[1]

Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen lived in the latter half of the 4th century. After a respectable Christian upbringing, these men studied in Athens and afterwards began to follow a monastic way of life. As Bishop of Caesarea, St. Basil wrote rules for monks and integrated social programs into monasteries. St. Gregory, Bishop of Constantinople, defended the Church against the Arian conspiracies, clarified the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and presided in the Council of Constantinople. Together, they preached fervently, wrote extensively, and are beloved as the Cappadocian Fathers, along with St. Gregory of Nyssa. [2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Basil the Great, “Proof from Scripture that the Spirit is called Lord,” in De Spiritu Sancto, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, (T&T Clark, Edinburgh), 33-34, www.ccel.org.
[2] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 139-140, 599.
[3] Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, The Martyrology of the Monastery of the Ascension, 2008.

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