Younger brother of Saint Basil the Great. Friend of Saint Gregory of Nanzienzen. Educated in Athens, Greece. Influenced by the works of Origen and Plato. Married to Theosebeia, who may have been a deaconess. Professor of rhetoric.
Disillusioned with his life as a teacher, he became a priest and hermit; his mother and sister already lived the monastic life. Bishop of Nyssa, Lower Armenia, in 372. Archbishop of Sebaste. Fought against Arianism, but not as successfully as he hoped.
Easy-going, tactless, inefficient in monetary matters, Gregory was cheated and deceived to the point that Demosthenes, governor of Pontus, accused him of stealing Church property and had him imprisoned. He escaped, but was deposed by a synod of bishops in 376. He wandered in exile for two years, then was restored to his see.
Attended the Council of Antioch. Fought the Meletian heresy. Participated in the second ecumenical Council at Constantinople as a theologian. Fought Arianism and reaffirmed the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. The council called him, “Father of the Fathers” because he was widely venerated as the great pillar of orthodoxy and the great opponent of Arianism. Father of the Church.
There is some debate about Gregory’s relationship with his wife following his episcopal consecration. Some say he continued to live with her, but Saint Jerome says that the eastern churches did not permit this.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Eglise catholique en France
- Kirken i Norge
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book
- On the Holy Spirit (Against the Followers of Macedonius)
- On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit (To Eustathius)
- On “Not Three Gods” (To Ablabius)
- On the Faith (To Simplicius)
- On Virginity
- Catechetical Discourses
- Funeral Oration on Meletius
- On the Baptism of Christ (Sermon for the Day of Lights)
- “Saint Gregory of Nyssa“. Saints.SQPN.com. 8 April 2013. Web. 23 May 2013. <>