Saint Gregory of Nazianzen

[Saint Gregory of Nazianzen]Also known as

  • Gregory of Nazianzus
  • Grégoire de Nazianze
  • The Christian Demosthenes
  • The Theologian

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Son of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen the Elder and Saint Nonna. Brother of Saint Caesar Nazianzen, and Saint Gorgonius. Spent an wandering youth in search of learning. Friend of and fellow student with Saint Basil the Great. Monk at Basil‘s desert monastery.

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. 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.

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. Father of the Church. Doctor of the Church.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

  • bishop with a book, codex or scroll
  • censer
  • man writing with dove nearby
  • man writing with the hand of God over him
Additional Information

Readings

God accepts our desires as though they were of great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor. His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness. - Saint Gregory Nazianzen

Let us not esteem worldly prosperity or adversity as things real or of any moment, but let us live elsewhere, and raise all our attention to Heaven; esteeming sin as the only true evil, and nothing truly good, but virtue which unites us to God. - Saint Gregory Nazianzen

Basil and I were both in Athens. We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it. When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognized that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other; we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires, the same goal. Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper. The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning. We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit. Our single object and ambition was virtue, and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come. We followed the guidance of God’s law and spurred each other on to virtue. If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong. Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians. - from a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen

Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. - from a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Gregory of Nazianzen“. Saints.SQPN.com. 28 August 2014. Web. 31 August 2014. <>