Basil of Caesarea

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Saint Basil the Great
Basil of Caesarea.jpg
Icon of St. Basil the Great from the
St. Sophia Cathedral of Kiev
Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church; Great Hierarch
Born329 or 330
Caesarea, Cappadocia
DiedJanuary 1 or 2, 379 (aged 48–50)
Caesarea, Cappadocia
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheranism
Canonized Pre-congregation
Feast January 1 [1] [2] and January 30 [3] [4] (Byzantine Christianity)

January 14 (Serbian Christian Orthodox)
January 2 (General Roman Calendar; Anglicanism)
Thout 6 (Coptic Christianity) [5]
ጥር 6 (Ethiopian Christianity)
January 10 (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod; Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) [6]
June 14 (General Roman Calendar from 13th century to 1969; Episcopal Church)
Thout 13 (Coptic Christianity) A [7]

መስከረም 13 (

Contents

Ethiopian Christianity) A
Attributes Vested as bishop, wearing omophorion, holding a Gospel Book or scroll. St. Basil is depicted in icons as thin and ascetic with a long, tapering black beard.
Patronage Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists

Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great (Greek : Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, Ágios Basíleios o Mégas; Coptic : Ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲓⲟⲥ; 329 or 330 [8] – January 1 or 2, 379), was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church, fighting against both Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea. His ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position. He was the one to come up with singing the “Our Father” in mass.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Coptic language Latest stage of the Egyptian language

Coptic or Coptic Egyptian, is the latest stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century as an official language. Egyptian began to be written in the Coptic alphabet, an adaptation of the Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from Demotic to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have, in the 2nd century BC.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labor. Together with Pachomius, he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity. He is considered a saint by the traditions of both Eastern and Western Christianity.

Saint one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue

A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Eastern Christianity Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. It also includes Reformed Eastern churches such as the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church which follows a reformed West Syriac Rite and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church that uses the Byzantine Rite. Historically called the Eastern Church in contrast with the (Latin) Western Church, since the Protestant Reformation Eastern Christianity is used in contrast with Western Christianity, comprising both the said Latin Church as well as Protestantism and Independent Catholicism. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.

Western Christianity is a religious category composed of the Latin Church and Protestantism, together with their offshoots such as Independent Catholicism and Restorationism. The large majority of the world's 2.4 billion Christians are Western Christians. The original and still major part, the Latin Church, developed under the bishop of Rome in the former Western Roman Empire in Antiquity. Out of the Latin Church emerged a wide variety of independent Protestant denominations, including Lutheranism and Anglicanism, starting from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, as did Independent Catholicism in the 19th century. Thus, the term "Western Christianity" does not describe a single communion or religious denomination, but is applied to distinguish all these denominations collectively from Eastern Christianity.

Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of Great Hierarch. He is recognized as a Doctor of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church. He is sometimes referred to by the epithet Ouranophantor (Greek: Οὐρανοφάντωρ), "revealer of heavenly mysteries". [9]

Gregory of Nazianzus 4th-century Christian saint, bishop, and theologian

Gregory of Nazianzus, also known as Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople, and theologian. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained orator and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials.. Saint Gregory was saint patron of medieval Bosnia before the Catholic conquest when he was replaced by Saint (pope) Gregory.

Gregory of Nyssa 4th-century bishop of Nyssa, Asia Minor

Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen, was bishop of Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism. Gregory, his elder brother Basil of Caesarea, and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus are collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers.

Cappadocian Fathers Group of early of Christian chaplains

The Cappadocian Fathers, also traditionally known as the Three Cappadocians, are Basil the Great (330–379), who was bishop of Caesarea; Basil's younger brother Gregory of Nyssa, who was bishop of Nyssa; and a close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus (329–389), who became Patriarch of Constantinople. The Cappadocia region, in modern-day Turkey, was an early site of Christian activity, with several missions by Paul in this region.

Life

Early life and education

Basil was born into the wealthy family of Basil the Elder, [10] and Emmelia of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, around 330. [11] His parents were known for their piety. [12] His maternal grandfather was a Christian martyr, executed in the years prior to Constantine I's conversion. [13] [14] His pious widow, Macrina, herself a follower of Gregory Thaumaturgus (who had founded the nearby church of Neocaesarea), [15] raised Basil and his four siblings (who also can be venerated as saints): Macrina the Younger, Naucratius, Peter of Sebaste and Gregory of Nyssa.

Saint Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was raised in Neocaesarea in Pontus. His feast day is 30 May.

Emmelia of Caesarea was born in Cappadocia, a province of the Roman Empire. She died May 30th, 375 AD. She was born in the late third to early fourth century, a period in time when Christianity was becoming more widespread, posing a challenge to the Roman government and its pagan rule. She was the wife of Basil the Elder and bore nine or ten children, including Basil of Caesarea, Macrina the Younger, Peter of Sebaste, Gregory of Nyssa, and Naucratius.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

Basil received more formal education in Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia (modern-day Kayseri, Turkey) around 350-51. [16] There he met Gregory of Nazianzus, who would become a lifetime friend. [17] Together, Basil and Gregory went to Constantinople for further studies, including the lectures of Libanius. The two also spent almost six years in Athens starting around 349, where they met a fellow student who would become the emperor Julian the Apostate. [18] [19] Basil left Athens in 356, and after travels in Egypt and Syria, he returned to Caesarea, where for around a year he practiced law and taught rhetoric. [20]

Kayseri Metropolitan municipality in Central Anatolia, Turkey

Kayseri is a large industrialised city in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is the seat of Kayseri Province. The city of Kayseri, as defined by the boundaries of Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality, is structurally composed of five metropolitan districts, the two core districts of Kocasinan and Melikgazi, and since 2004, also Hacılar, İncesu and Talas.

Turkey Republic in Western Asia

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, the part of Turkey in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest; Georgia to its northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. Istanbul is the largest city while Ankara is the capital. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority; the size of the Kurdish population is a subject of dispute with estimates placing the figure at anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of the population.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

Basil's life changed radically after he encountered Eustathius of Sebaste, a charismatic bishop and ascetic. [21] Abandoning his legal and teaching career, Basil devoted his life to God. A letter described his spiritual awakening:

Eustathius of Sebaste was bishop of Sebastia in Armenia. Together with Basil of Ancyra, he was the author of the sect of the Macedonians.

I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, and devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish. Suddenly, I awoke as out of a deep sleep. I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth, and I recognized the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world. [22]

Annesi

Russian icon of Basil of Caesarea Basil of Caesarea icon.jpg
Russian icon of Basil of Caesarea

After his baptism, Basil traveled in 357 to Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia to study ascetics and monasticism. [23] [24] He distributed his fortunes among the poor, then went briefly into solitude near Neocaesarea of Pontus (mod. day Niksar, Turkey) on the Iris. [23] Basil eventually realized that while he respected the ascetics' piety and prayerfulness, the solitary life did not call him. [25] Eustathius of Sebaste, a prominent anchorite near Pontus, had mentored Basil. However, they also eventually differed over dogma. [26]

Basil instead felt drawn toward communal religious life, and by 358 he was gathering around him a group of like-minded disciples, including his brother Peter. Together they founded a monastic settlement on his family's estate near Annesi [27] (modern Sonusa or Uluköy, near the confluence of the Iris and Lycos Rivers [28] ). His widowed mother Emmelia, sister Macrina and several other women, joined Basil and devoted themselves to pious lives of prayer and charitable works (some claim Macrina founded this community). [29]

Here Basil wrote about monastic communal life. His writings became pivotal in developing monastic traditions of the Eastern Church. [30] In 358, Basil invited his friend Gregory of Nazianzus to join him in Annesi. [31] When Gregory eventually arrived, they collaborated on Origen's Philocalia , a collection of Origen's works . [32] Gregory then decided to return to his family in Nazianzus.

Basil attended the Council of Constantinople (360). He at first sided with Eustathius and the Homoiousians, a semi-Arian faction who taught that the Son was of like substance with the Father, neither the same (one substance) nor different from him. [33] The Homoiousians opposed the Arianism of Eunomius but refused to join with the supporters of the Nicene Creed, who professed that the members of the Trinity were of one substance ("homoousios"). However, Basil's bishop, Dianius of Caesarea, had subscribed only to the earlier Nicene form of agreement. Basil eventually abandoned the Homoiousians, and emerged instead as a strong supporter of the Nicene Creed. [33]

Caesarea

Icon of the Three Holy Hierarchs: Basil the Great (left), John Chrysostom (center) and Gregory the Theologian (right)--from Lipie, Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland. MHS ojcowie ks Bazyli Wlk Jan Chryzostom Grzeg Wlk XVII Lipie p.jpg
Icon of the Three Holy Hierarchs: Basil the Great (left), John Chrysostom (center) and Gregory the Theologian (right)—from Lipie, Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland.

In 362, Bishop Meletius of Antioch ordained Basil as a deacon. Eusebius then summoned Basil to Caesarea and ordained him as presbyter of the Church there in 365. Ecclesiastical entreaties rather than Basil's desires thus altered his career path. [23]

Basil and Gregory Nazianzus spent the next few years combating the Arian heresy, which threatened to divide Cappadocia's Christians. In close fraternal cooperation, they agreed to a great rhetorical contest with accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. [34] In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant. This success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the Church. [34] Basil next took on functional administration of the city of Caesarea. [30] Eusebius is reported as becoming jealous of the reputation and influence which Basil quickly developed, and allowed Basil to return to his earlier solitude. Later, however, Gregory persuaded Basil to return. Basil did so, and became the effective manager of the city for several years, while giving all the credit to Eusebius.

In 370, Eusebius died, and Basil was chosen to succeed him, and was consecrated bishop on June 14, 370. [35] His new post as bishop of Caesarea also gave him the powers of exarch of Pontus and metropolitan of five suffragan bishops, many of whom had opposed him in the election for Eusebius's successor. It was then that his great powers were called into action. Hot-blooded and somewhat imperious, Basil was also generous and sympathetic. He personally organized a soup kitchen and distributed food to the poor during a famine following a drought. He gave away his personal family inheritance to benefit the poor of his diocese.

His letters show that he actively worked to reform thieves and prostitutes. They also show him encouraging his clergy not to be tempted by wealth or the comparatively easy life of a priest, and that he personally took care in selecting worthy candidates for holy orders. He also had the courage to criticize public officials who failed in their duty of administering justice. At the same time, he preached every morning and evening in his own church to large congregations. In addition to all the above, he built a large complex just outside Caesarea, called the Basiliad, [36] which included a poorhouse, hospice, and hospital, and was compared by Gregory of Nazianzus to the wonders of the world. [37]

His zeal for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth. The Emperor Valens, who was an adherent of the Arian philosophy, sent his prefect Modestus to at least agree to a compromise with the Arian faction. Basil's adamant negative response prompted Modestus to say that no one had ever spoken to him in that way before. Basil replied, "Perhaps you have never yet had to deal with a bishop." Modestus reported back to Valens that he believed nothing short of violence would avail against Basil. Valens was apparently unwilling to engage in violence. He did however issue orders banishing Basil repeatedly, none of which succeeded. Valens came himself to attend when Basil celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany (Epiphany), and at that time was so impressed by Basil that he donated to him some land for the building of the Basiliad. This interaction helped to define the limits of governmental power over the church. [38]

Basil then had to face the growing spread of Arianism. This belief system, which denied that Christ was consubstantial with the Father, was quickly gaining adherents and was seen by many, particularly those in Alexandria most familiar with it, as posing a threat to the unity of the church. [39] Basil entered into connections with the West, and with the help of Athanasius, he tried to overcome its distrustful attitude toward the Homoiousians. The difficulties had been enhanced by bringing in the question as to the essence of the Holy Spirit. Although Basil advocated objectively the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, he belonged to those, who, faithful to Eastern tradition, would not allow the predicate homoousios to the former; for this he was reproached as early as 371 by the Orthodox zealots among the monks, and Athanasius defended him. He maintained a relationship with Eustathius despite dogmatic differences.

Basil corresponded with Pope Damasus in the hope of having the Roman bishop condemn heresy wherever found, both East and West. The pope's apparent indifference upset Basil's zeal and he turned around in distress and sadness.

Death and legacy

Basil died before the factional disturbances ended. He suffered from liver disease; excessive ascetic practices also contributed to his early demise. Historians disagree about the exact date Basil died. [40] The great institute before the gates of Caesarea, the Ptochoptopheion, or "Basileiad", which was used as poorhouse, hospital, and hospice became a lasting monument of Basil's episcopal care for the poor. [26] Many of St Basil's writings and sermons, specifically on the topics on money and possessions, continue to challenge Christians today. [41]

Writings

Fresco of Basil the Great in the cathedral of Ohrid. The saint is shown consecrating the Gifts during the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. Meister der Sophien-Kathedrale von Ohrid 001.jpg
Fresco of Basil the Great in the cathedral of Ohrid. The saint is shown consecrating the Gifts during the Divine Liturgy which bears his name.

The principal theological writings of Basil are his On the Holy Spirit, a lucid and edifying appeal to Scripture and early Christian tradition (to prove the divinity of the Holy Spirit), and his Refutation of the Apology of the Impious Eunomius, written about in 364, three books against Eunomius of Cyzicus, the chief exponent of Anomoian Arianism. The first three books of the Refutation are his work; his authorship of the fourth and fifth books is generally considered doubtful. [42]

Basilii Magni Opera (1523) Basilii Magni Opera.tif
Basilii Magni Opera (1523)

He was a famous preacher, and many of his homilies, including a series of Lenten lectures on the Hexaëmeron (also Hexaëmeros, "Six Days of Creation"; Latin : Hexameron), and an exposition of the psalter, have been preserved. Some, like that against usury and that on the famine in 368, are valuable for the history of morals; others illustrate the honor paid to martyrs and relics; the address to young men on the study of classical literature shows that Basil was lastingly influenced by his own education, which taught him to appreciate the propaedeutic importance of the classics. [43]

In his exegesis Basil was a great admirer of Origen and the need for the spiritual interpretation of Scripture. In his work on the Holy Spirit, he asserts that "to take the literal sense and stop there, is to have the heart covered by the veil of Jewish literalism. Lamps are useless when the sun is shining." He frequently stresses the need for Reserve in doctrinal and sacramental matters. At the same time he was against the wild allegories of some contemporaries. Concerning this, he wrote:

"I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those, truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own end." [44]

His ascetic tendencies are exhibited in the Moralia and Asketika (sometimes mistranslated as Rules of St. Basil), ethical manuals for use in the world and the cloister, respectively. There has been a good deal of discussion concerning the authenticity of the two works known as the Greater Asketikon and the Lesser Asketikon. [26]

It is in the ethical manuals and moral sermons that the practical aspects of his theoretical theology are illustrated. So, for example, it is in his Sermon to the Lazicans that we find St. Basil explaining how it is our common nature that obliges us to treat our neighbor's natural needs (e.g., hunger, thirst) as our own, even though he is a separate individual.

His three hundred letters reveal a rich and observant nature, which, despite the troubles of ill-health and ecclesiastical unrest, remained optimistic, tender and even playful. His principal efforts as a reformer were directed towards the improvement of the liturgy, and the reformation of the monastic institutions of the East.

Most of his extant works, and a few spuriously attributed to him, are available in the Patrologia Graeca , which includes Latin translations of varying quality. Several of St. Basil's works have appeared in the late twentieth century in the Sources Chrétiennes collection.

Statue of Saint Basil, depicting him in Western vestments, in the Church of St. Nicholas, Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic. StBasilGreat.JPG
Statue of Saint Basil, depicting him in Western vestments, in the Church of St. Nicholas, Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic.

Liturgical contributions

Basil of Caesarea holds a very important place in the history of Christian liturgy, coming as he did at the end of the age of persecution. Basil's liturgical influence is well attested in early sources. Though it is difficult at this time to know exactly which parts of the Divine Liturgies which bear his name are actually his work, a vast corpus of prayers attributed to him has survived in the various Eastern Christian churches.

Most of the liturgies bearing the name of Basil are not entirely his work in their present form, but they nevertheless preserve a recollection of Basil's activity in this field in formularizing liturgical prayers and promoting church-song. Patristics scholars conclude that the Liturgy of Saint Basil "bears, unmistakably, the personal hand, pen, mind and heart of St. Basil the Great". [45]

One liturgy that can be attributed to him is The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great , a liturgy that is somewhat longer than the more commonly used Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom . The difference between the two is primarily in the silent prayers said by the priest, and in the use of the hymn to the Theotokos, All of Creation, instead of the Axion Estin of John Chrysostom's Liturgy. Chrysostom's Liturgy has come to replace Basil's on most days in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic liturgical traditions. However, they still use Basil's Liturgy on certain feast days: the first five Sundays of Great Lent, the Eves of Nativity and Theophany, on Great and Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday and on the Feast of Saint Basil, January 1 (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, their January 1 falls on January 14 of the Gregorian Calendar).[ citation needed ]

The Eastern Churches preserve numerous other prayers attributed to Basil, including three prayers of exorcism, several morning and evening prayers, the "Prayer of the Hours" which is read at each service of the Daily Office, and the "Kneeling Prayers" which are recited by the priest at vespers on Pentecost in the Byzantine Rite.[ citation needed ]

Influence on Monasticism

Through his examples and teachings Basil effected a noteworthy moderation in the austere practices which were previously characteristic of monastic life. [46] He is also credited with coordinating the duties of work and prayer to ensure a proper balance between the two. [47]

Basil is remembered as one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian monasticism. Not only is Basil recognized as the father of Eastern monasticism; historians recognize that his legacy extends also to the Western church, largely due to his influence on Benedict. [48] Patristic scholars such as Meredith assert that Benedict himself recognized this when he wrote in the epilogue to his Rule that his monks, in addition to the Bible, should read "the confessions of the Fathers and their institutes and their lives and the Rule of our Holy Father, Basil. [49] Basil's teachings on monasticism, as encoded in works such as his Small Asketikon, was transmitted to the west via Rufinus during the last 4th century. [50]

As a result of Basil's influence, numerous religious orders in Eastern Christianity bear his name. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Basilian Fathers, also known as The Congregation of St. Basil, an international order of priests and students studying for the priesthood, is named after him.

Commemorations

Basil was given the title Doctor of the Church in the Western Church for his contributions to the debate initiated by the Arian controversy regarding the nature of the Trinity, and especially the question of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Basil was responsible for defining the terms "ousia" (essence/substance) and "hypostasis" (person/reality), and for defining the classic formulation of three Persons in one Nature. His single greatest contribution was his insistence on the divinity and consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son.

In Greek tradition, Basil brings gifts to children every January 1 (St Basil's Day). It is traditional on St Basil's Day to serve vasilopita , a rich bread baked with a coin inside. It is customary on his feast day to visit the homes of friends and relatives, to sing New Year's carols, and to set an extra place at the table for Saint Basil. Basil, being born into a wealthy family, gave away all his possessions to the poor, the underprivileged, those in need, and children. [51] For Greeks and others in the Orthodox tradition, Basil is the saint associated with Santa Claus as opposed to the western tradition of St Nicholas.

According to some sources, Basil died on January 1, and the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day together with that of the Feast of the Circumcision on that day. This was also the day on which the General Roman Calendar celebrated it at first; but in the 13th-century it was moved to June 14, a date believed to be that of his ordination as bishop, and it remained on that date until the 1969 revision of the calendar, which moved it to January 2, rather than January 1, because the latter date is occupied by the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. On January 2 Saint Basil is celebrated together with Saint Gregory Nazianzen. [52] Some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 calendars.

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod commemorates Basil, along with Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa on January 10.

The Church of England celebrates Saint Basil's feast on January 2, but the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada celebrate it on June 14. [53]

In the Byzantine Rite, January 30 is the Synaxis of the Three Holy Hierarchs, in honor of Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom.

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria celebrates the feast day of Saint Basil on the 6th of Tobi (6th of Terr on the Ethiopian calendar of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church). At present, this corresponds to January 14, January 15 during leap year.[ citation needed ]

There are numerous relics of Basil throughout the world. One of the most important is his head, which is preserved to this day at the monastery of the Great Lavra on Mount Athos in Greece. The mythical sword Durandal is said to contain some of Basil's blood. [54]

See also

Notes

A. ^  Miracle of St Basil

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Byzantine Rite liturgical rite of most Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches

The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek/Byzantine Catholic churches, and in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite.

Patristics or patrology is the study of the early Christian writers who are designated Church Fathers. The names derive from the combined forms of Latin pater and Greek patḗr (father). The period is generally considered to run from the end of New Testament times or end of the Apostolic Age to either AD 451 or to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

January 1 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics) day in the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar

December 31 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - January 2

The Liturgy of Saint Basil or, more formally, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, is a term for several Eastern Christian celebrations of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), or at least several anaphoras, which are named after Basil of Caesarea. Two of these liturgies are in common use today: the one used in the Byzantine Rite ten times a year, and the one ordinarily used by the Coptic Church.

Three Holy Hierarchs influential bishops of the early church (4th century)

The Three Hierarchs of Eastern Christianity refers to Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom. They were highly influential bishops of the early church who played pivotal roles in shaping Christian theology. In Eastern Christianity they are also known as the Three Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers, while in Roman Catholicism the three are honored as Doctors of the Church. The three are venerated as saints in Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism, and other Christian churches.

Coptic history

Coptic history is part of history of Egypt that begins with the introduction of Christianity in Egypt in the 1st century AD during the Roman period, and covers the history of the Copts to the present day. Many of the historic items related to Coptic Christianity are on display in many museums around the world and a large number is in the Coptic Museum in Coptic Cairo.

Christianity in the 5th century Christianity-related events during the 5th century

In the 5th century in Christianity, there were many developments which led to further fracturing of the State church of the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius II called two synods in Ephesus, one in 431 and one in 449, that addressed the teachings of Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius and similar teachings. Nestorius had taught that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons, and hence Mary was the mother of Christ but not the mother of God. The Council rejected Nestorius' view causing many churches, centered on the School of Edessa, to a Nestorian break with the imperial church. Persecuted within the Roman Empire, many Nestorians fled to Persia and joined the Sassanid Church thereby making it a center of Nestorianism. By the end of the 5th century, the global Christian population was estimated at 10-11 million. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon was held to clarify the issue further. The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches, that is today known as Oriental Orthodoxy. In spite of these schisms, however, the imperial church still came to represent the majority of Christians within the Roman Empire.

Timeline of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece (33–717)

This is a timeline of the presence of Orthodoxy in Greece. The history of Greece traditionally encompasses the study of the Greek people, the areas they ruled historically, as well as the territory now composing the modern state of Greece.

History of Eastern Orthodox theology

The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, and the Hesychast controversy. The period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, and more recently Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Church Fathers Group of ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700.

The Liturgy of Saint Gregory the Theologian is one of the three Anaphoras retained by the Coptic Church. The text is named after Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the Cappadocian Fathers.

The Popular Patristics Series is a book series published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press consisting of English translations of mainly first millennium Christian texts. It currently comprises 58 volumes. The texts are principally translated from Greek, but some Latin, Syriac and Coptic writers are included. John Behr has edited the series since its inception.

References

  1. Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας ὁ Καππαδόκης. 1 Ιανουαρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  2. St Basil the Great the Archbishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia. OCA – Feasts and Saints.
  3. Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Οἱ Ἅγιοι Τρεῖς Ἱεράρχες. 30 Ιανουαρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  4. Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom. OCA – Feasts and Saints.
  5. "نياحة القديس باسيليوس الكبير رئيس اساقفة قيصرية الكبادوك - عيد سنكسار يوم 6 طوبة، شهر طوبة، الشهر القبطي - St-Takla.org". st-takla.org.
  6. Lutheranism 101, CPH, St. Louis, 2010, p.277
  7. "عيد تذكار الأعجوبة التي صنعها القديس باسيليوس الكبير أسقف قيصرية - سنكسار يوم 13 توت، شهر توت، الشهر القبطي - St-Takla.org". st-takla.org.
  8. Fedwick (1981), p. 5
  9. "St Basil the Great the Archbishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia". Orthodox Church in America Website. Retrieved 2007-12-15.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. Quasten(1986), p. 204.
  11. Bowersock et al. (1999), p.336
  12. Oratio 43.4, PG 36. 500B, tr. p.30, as presented in Rousseau (1994), p.4.
  13. Davies (1991), p. 12.
  14. Rousseau (1994), p. 4.
  15. Rousseau (1994), p. 12 & p. 4 respectively
  16. Hildebrand (2007), p. 19.
  17. Norris, Frederick (1997). "Basil of Caesarea". In Ferguson, Everett (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (second edition). New York: Garland Press.
  18. Ruether (1969), pp. 19, 25.
  19. Rousseau (1994), pp. 32–40.
  20. Rousseau (1994), p. 1.
  21. Hildebrand (2007), pp. 19–20.
  22. Basil, Ep. 223, 2, as quoted in Quasten (1986), p. 205.
  23. 1 2 3 Quasten (1986), p. 205.
  24. Encyclopædia Britannica (15th ed.) vol. 1, p. 938.
  25. Merredith (1995), p. 21.
  26. 1 2 3 McSorley, Joseph. "St. Basil the Great." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 31 May 2016
  27. Encyclopædia Britannica (15th ed.) vol. 1, p. 938.
  28. mod. Yeşilırmak and Kelkit Çayi rivers, see Rousseau (1994), p. 62.
  29. The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History: The Early, Medieval, and Reformation Eras, vol.1, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, ISBN   0-664-22416-4, p. 75.
  30. 1 2 Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN   0-14-051312-4.
  31. Rousseau (1994), p. 66.
  32. Merredith (1995), pp. 21–22.
  33. 1 2 Meredith (1995), p. 22.
  34. 1 2 McGuckin (2001), p. 143.
  35. Meredith (1995), p. 23
  36. The Living Age. 48. Littell, Son and Company. 1856. p. 326.
  37. Gregory of Nazianzus. Oration 43: Funeral Oration on the Great S. Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia. p. 63. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  38. Alban Butler; Paul Burns (1995). Butler's Lives of the Saints. 1. A&C Black. p. 14. ISBN   9780860122500.
  39. Foley, O.F.M., Leonard (2003). "St. Basil the Great (329–379)". In McCloskey, O.F.M., Pat (rev.) (ed.). Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feasts (5th Revised Edition). Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press. ISBN   978-0-86716-535-7. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  40. Rousseau (1994), pp. 360–363, Appendix III: The Date of Basil's Death and of the Hexaemeron
  41. No. 48: St. Basil Wants You To Be Charitable , retrieved 2017-11-29
  42. Jackson, Blomfield. "Basil: Letters and Select Works", Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds.) .T&T Clark, Edinburgh
  43. Deferrari, Roy J. "The Classics and the Greek Writers of the Early Church: Saint Basil." The Classical Journal Vol. 13, No. 8 (May, 1918). 579–91.
  44. Basil. "Hexameron, 9.1". In Schaff, Philip (ed.). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (2nd Series). 8 Basil: Letters and Select Works. Edinburgh: T&T Clark (1895). p. 102. Retrieved 2007-12-15.. Cf. Hexameron, 3.9 (Ibid., pp. 70–71).
  45. Bebis (1997), p. 283
  46. Murphy (1930), p. 94.
  47. Murphy (1930), p. 95.
  48. See K. E. Kirk, The Vision of God: The Christian Document of the summum bonum (London, 1931), 9.118, (as quoted in Meredith)
  49. Meredith (1995), p.24
  50. Silvas (2002), pp. 247–259, in Vigliae Christanae
  51. "Santa Claus". Eastern-Orthodoxy.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  52. Calendarium Romanum, Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969, p. 84
  53. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  54. Keary, Charles Francis (1882). "Outlines of Primitive Belief Among the Indo-European Races". C. Scribner's Sons via Google Books.

Bibliography

Further reading