January 2: Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church
St Basil (329-379) was a brilliant student born of a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey). For some years, he followed the monastic way of life. He vigorously fought the Arian heresy which errouneously maintained that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, is not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not like Him, nor equal in dignity, or co-eternal, and therefore, not God, but rather a created inferior being.
St. Basil, together with St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Gregory of Nyssa (the so-called Cappadocian Fathers), defended the consubstantiality of the three Persons in One God, which is the Catholic dogma on the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons (hypostaseis), equal in substance (ousia) = consubstantial and therefore, one God.
St. Basil became bishop of Caesarea in 370. The monks of the Eastern Church today still follow the monastic rules which he set down.
St. Gregory (330-390) was also from Cappadocia. A friend of Basil, he too followed the monastic way of life for some years. He was ordained priest and in 381 became bishop of Constantinople.
Together with St. Gregory of Nyssa, Basil’s brother, they made major contributions to the definition of the Most Holy Trinity finalized at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and to the final version of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
“O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by the example and teaching of the Bishops Saints Basil and Gregory, grant, we pray, that in humility we may learn your truth and practice it faithfully in charity.”
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