St Basil and St Gregory

On 1 January the Maronite Church celebrated the feasts of two great friends and defenders of the faith, Saints Basil and Gregory.

Basil was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia to a Christian family in 330 AD. For a period of time he lived life as a hermit. In 370 he was made Bishop of Caesarea. Saint Basil wrote many notable works including his monastic rule which is the basis of the Capuchin’s monastics and which many Eastern monks still follow to this day. Saint Basil the Great died on January 1, 379. He is a Doctor of the Church.

Saint Gregory Nazianzen was born in 330 AD. As a young man, he traveled in the pursuit of learning and eventually joined his friend Basil the Great as a hermit. He was later ordained a priest and then the Bishop of Constantinople in 381. He died on 25 January 389 or 390 AD. Saint Gregory Nazianzen was called theologos because of his outstanding teaching and eloquence.

These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who led the opposition to heresy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion. Gregory presided over the Second Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople where the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday) and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit were affirmed. These Cappadocian Fathers, both Doctors of the Church, are among the most influential Christian teachers of all time, honored by both East and West, Orthodox and Catholic. We ask for their intercession, to have strength to live our faith in the face of opposition.