Gregory of Nazianzus

Last updated

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregor-Chora.jpg
Icon of St. Gregory the Theologian
Fresco from Kariye Camii, Istanbul, Turkey
Theologian, Doctor of the Church, Great Hierarch, Cappadocian Father, Ecumenical Teacher
Born AD 329
Arianzum, Cappadocia
Died25 January 390 (aged 60–61)
Arianzum, Cappadocia
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheranism
Canonized pre-congregation
Major shrine Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Fanar
Feast Eastern Orthodox Church: 25 January (primary feast day)
30 January (Three Great Hierarchs)
General Roman Calendar: 2 January [1]
General Roman Calendar of 1960: 9 May
Anglican Communion: 2 January
Episcopal Church 9 May
Lutheran Church: 10 January (LCMS); 14 June (ELCA)
Attributes Vested as a bishop, wearing an omophorion; holding a Gospel Book or scroll. Iconographically, he is depicted as balding with a bushy white beard.
Gregory the Theologian
St Gregorius Nazianzenus.jpg
Theological work
Era patristic age
Language Greek Language
Tradition or movement Nicene Christianity
cataphatic theology
Pneumatology
Notable ideas Trinity
homoousia
consubstantiality
Theosis
Hypostasis

Gregory of Nazianzus (Greek : Γρηγόριος ὁ Ναζιανζηνός, Grēgorios ho Nazianzēnos; c. 329 [2] – 25 January 390), [2] [3] 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. [4] As a classically trained orator and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials. [4] . Saint Gregory was saint patron of medieval Bosnia before the Catholic conquest when he was replaced by Saint (pope) Gregory. [5]

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.

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.

Philosopher person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy

A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology among both Greek- and Latin-speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian". Much of his theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers.

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Gregory is a saint in both Eastern and Western Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church he is numbered among the Doctors of the Church; in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches he is revered as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, along with Basil the Great and John Chrysostom.

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. The term is used in contrast with Western Christianity, although its scope has been one of continual discussion. 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.

He is also one of only three men in the life of the Orthodox Church who have been officially designated "Theologian" by epithet, [6] the other two being St. John the Theologian (the Evangelist), and St. Symeon the New Theologian.

Symeon the New Theologian 10th and 11th-century Christian saint, monk, and theologian

Symeon the New Theologian was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet who was the last of three saints canonized by the Eastern Orthodox church and given the title of "Theologian". "Theologian" was not applied to Symeon in the modern academic sense of theological study; the title was designed only to recognize someone who spoke from personal experience of the vision of God. One of his principal teachings was that humans could and should experience theoria.

Biography

Early life and education

Gregory was born of Greek parentage [7] in the family estate of Karbala outside the village of Arianzus, near Nazianzus, in southwest Cappadocia. [8] :18 His parents, Gregory and Nonna, were wealthy land-owners. In AD  325 Nonna converted her husband, a Hypsistarian, to Christianity; he was subsequently ordained as bishop of Nazianzus in 328 or 329. [4] :vii The young Gregory and his brother, Caesarius, first studied at home with their uncle Amphylokhios. Gregory went on to study advanced rhetoric and philosophy in Nazianzus, Caesarea, Alexandria and Athens. On the way to Athens his ship encountered a violent storm, and the terrified Gregory prayed to Christ that if He would deliver him, he would dedicate his life to His service. [4] :28 While at Athens, he developed a close friendship with his fellow student Basil of Caesarea and also made the acquaintance of Flavius Claudius Julianus, who would later become the emperor known as Julian the Apostate. [8] :19,25 In Athens, Gregory studied under the famous rhetoricians Himerius and Proaeresius. [9] Upon finishing his education, he taught rhetoric in Athens for a short time.

Cappadocian Greeks

Cappadocian Greeks also known as Greek Cappadocians or simply Cappadocians are a Greek community native to the geographical region of Cappadocia in central-eastern Anatolia, roughly the Nevşehir Province and surrounding provinces of modern Turkey. There had been a continuous Greek presence in Cappadocia since antiquity, and the native Indo-European populations of Cappadocia, some of whose languages may have been closely related to Greek, were entirely Greek in their language and culture by at least the 5th century. Following the terms of the Greek–Turkish population exchange of 1923 the remaining Cappadocian Greek natives were forced to leave their homeland and resettle in modern Greece. Today their descendants can be found throughout Greece and the Greek diaspora worldwide across the globe.

Karbala was a town of ancient Cappadocia, inhabited in Byzantine times. It is noted as the birthplace of Gregory of Nazianzus.

Arianzus or Arianzos was a town of ancient Cappadocia, inhabited in Byzantine times. Arianzus is a titular see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Priesthood

In 361 Gregory returned to Nazianzus and was ordained a presbyter by his father's wish, who wanted him to assist with caring for local Christians. [4] :99–102 The younger Gregory, who had been considering a monastic existence, resented his father's decision to force him to choose between priestly services and a solitary existence, calling it an "act of tyranny". [8] :32 [10] Leaving home after a few days, he met his friend Basil at Annesoi, where the two lived as ascetics. [4] :102 However, Basil urged him to return home to assist his father, which he did for the next year. Arriving at Nazianzus, Gregory found the local Christian community split by theological differences and his father accused of heresy by local monks. [4] :107 Gregory helped to heal the division through a combination of personal diplomacy and oratory.

Nazianzus or Nazianzos, also known as Nandianulus, was a small town of ancient Cappadocia, and in the late Roman province of Cappadocia Tertia, located 24 Roman miles to the southeast of Archelais. In the Jerusalem Itinerary it is miswritten as Nathiangus.

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

By this time Emperor Julian had publicly declared himself in opposition to Christianity. [4] :115 In response to the emperor's rejection of the Christian faith, Gregory composed his Invectives Against Julian between 362 and 363. Invectives asserts that Christianity will overcome imperfect rulers such as Julian through love and patience. This process as described by Gregory is the public manifestation of the process of deification ( theosis ), which leads to a spiritual elevation and mystical union with God. [4] :121 Julian resolved, in late 362, to vigorously prosecute Gregory and his other Christian critics; however, the emperor perished the following year during a campaign against the Persians. [4] :125–6 With the death of the emperor, Gregory and the Eastern churches were no longer under the threat of persecution, as the new emperor Jovian was an avowed Christian and supporter of the church. [4] :130

Gregory spent the next few years combating Arianism, which threatened to divide the region of Cappadocia. In this tense environment, Gregory interceded on behalf of his friend Basil with Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (Mazaca). [4] :138–42 The two friends then entered a period of close fraternal cooperation as they participated in a great rhetorical contest of the Caesarean church precipitated by the arrival of accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. [4] :143 In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of the Emperor Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant. This success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the Church. [4] :143 Basil, who had long displayed inclinations to the episcopacy, was elected bishop of the see of Caesarea in Cappadocia in 370.

Episcopate in Sasima and Nazianzus

Gregory was ordained Bishop of Sasima in 372 by Basil. [4] :190–5 Basil created this see in order to strengthen his position in his dispute with Anthimus, bishop of Tyana. [9] The ambitions of Gregory's father to have his son rise in the Church hierarchy and the insistence of his friend Basil convinced Gregory to accept this position despite his reservations. Gregory would later refer to his episcopal ordination as forced upon him by his strong-willed father and Basil. [4] :187–92 Describing his new bishopric, Gregory lamented how it was nothing more than an "utterly dreadful, pokey little hole; a paltry horse-stop on the main road ... devoid of water, vegetation, or the company of gentlemen ... this was my Church of Sasima!" [11] He made little effort to administer his new diocese, complaining to Basil that he preferred instead to pursue a contemplative life. [8] :38–9

By late 372 Gregory returned to Nazianzus to assist his dying father with the administration of his diocese. [4] :199 This strained his relationship with Basil, who insisted that Gregory resume his post at Sasima. Gregory retorted that he had no intention to continue to play the role of pawn to advance Basil's interests. [12] He instead focused his attention on his new duties as coadjutor of Nazianzus. It was here that Gregory preached the first of his great episcopal orations.

Following the deaths of his mother and father in 374, Gregory continued to administer the Diocese of Nazianzus but refused to be named bishop. Donating most of his inheritance to the needy, he lived an austere existence. [9] At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at Seleukia, living there for three years. Near the end of this period his friend Basil died. Although Gregory's health did not permit him to attend the funeral, he wrote a heartfelt letter of condolence to Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa and composed twelve memorial poems dedicated to the memory of his departed friend.

Gregory at Constantinople

Emperor Valens died in 378. The accession of Theodosius I, a steadfast supporter of Nicene orthodoxy, was good news to those who wished to purge Constantinople of Arian and Apollinarian domination. [4] :235 The exiled Nicene party gradually returned to the city. From his deathbed, Basil reminded them of Gregory's capabilities and likely recommended his friend to champion the trinitarian cause in Constantinople. [4] :235–6 [13]

In 379, the Antioch synod and its archbishop, Meletios, asked Gregory to go to Constantinople to lead a theological campaign to win over that city to Nicene orthodoxy. [8] :42 After much hesitation, Gregory agreed. His cousin Theodosia offered him a villa for his residence; Gregory immediately transformed much of it into a church, naming it Anastasia, "a scene for the resurrection of the faith". [4] :241 [14] From this little chapel he delivered five powerful discourses on Nicene doctrine, explaining the nature of the Trinity and the unity of the Godhead. [9] Refuting the Eunomion denial of the Holy Spirit's divinity, Gregory offered this argument:

Look at these facts: Christ is born, the Holy Spirit is His Forerunner. Christ is baptized, the Spirit bears witness to this ... Christ works miracles, the Spirit accompanies them. Christ ascends, the Spirit takes His place. What great things are there in the idea of God which are not in His power? What titles appertaining to God do not apply also to Him, except for Unbegotten and Begotten? I tremble when I think of such an abundance of titles, and how many Names they blaspheme, those who revolt against the Spirit! [15]

Gregory's homilies were well received and attracted ever-growing crowds to Anastasia. Fearing his popularity, his opponents decided to strike. On the vigil of Easter in 379, an Arian mob burst into his church during worship services, wounding Gregory and killing another bishop. Escaping the mob, Gregory next found himself betrayed by his erstwhile friend, the philosopher Maximus the Cynic. Maximus, who was in secret alliance with Peter, bishop of Alexandria, attempted to seize Gregory's position and have himself ordained bishop of Constantinople. [8] :43 Shocked, Gregory decided to resign his office, but the faction faithful to him induced him to stay and ejected Maximus. However, the episode left him embarrassed and exposed him to criticism as a provincial simpleton unable to cope with intrigues of the imperial city. [8] :43

Affairs in Constantinople remained confused as Gregory's position was still unofficial and Arian priests occupied many important churches. The arrival of the emperor Theodosius in 380 settled matters in Gregory's favor. The emperor, determined to eliminate Arianism, expelled Bishop Demophilus. Gregory was subsequently enthroned as bishop of Constantinople at the Basilica of the Apostles, replacing Demophilus. [8] :45

Second Ecumenical Council and retirement to Nazianzus

A Byzantine-style icon depicting the Three Holy Hierarchs: (left to right:) Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian. 3HolyHierarchs.jpg
A Byzantine-style icon depicting the Three Holy Hierarchs: (left to right:) Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian.

Theodosius wanted to further unify the entire empire behind the orthodox position and decided to convene a church council to resolve matters of faith and discipline. [8] :45 Gregory was of similar mind in wishing to unify Christianity. In the spring of 381 they convened the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, which was attended by 150 Eastern bishops. After the death of the presiding bishop, Meletius of Antioch, Gregory was selected to lead the Council. Hoping to reconcile the West with the East, he offered to recognize Paulinus as Patriarch of Antioch. The Egyptian and Macedonian bishops who had supported Maximus's ordination arrived late for the Council. Once there, they refused to recognise Gregory's position as head of the church of Constantinople, arguing that his transfer from the See of Sasima was canonically illegitimate. [4] :358–9

Gregory was physically exhausted and worried that he was losing the confidence of the bishops and the emperor. [4] :359 Rather than press his case and risk further division, he decided to resign his office: "Let me be as the Prophet Jonah! I was responsible for the storm, but I would sacrifice myself for the salvation of the ship. Seize me and throw me ... I was not happy when I ascended the throne, and gladly would I descend it." [16] He shocked the Council with his surprise resignation and then delivered a dramatic speech to Theodosius asking to be released from his offices. The emperor, moved by his words, applauded, commended his labor and granted his resignation. The Council asked him to appear once more for a farewell ritual and celebratory orations. Gregory used this occasion to deliver a final address (Or. 42) and then departed. [4] :361

Returning to his homeland of Cappadocia, Gregory once again resumed his position as bishop of Nazianzus. He spent the next year combating the local Apollinarian heretics and struggling with periodic illness. He also began composing De Vita Sua, his autobiographical poem. [8] :50 By the end of 383 he found his health too feeble to cope with episcopal duties. Gregory established Eulalius as bishop of Nazianzus and then withdrew into the solitude of Arianzum. After enjoying six peaceful years in retirement at his family estate, he died on 25 January in 390.

Throughout his life Gregory faced stark choices. Should he pursue studies as a rhetor or philosopher? Would a monastic life be more appropriate than public ministry? Was it better to blaze his own path or follow the course mapped for him by his father and Basil? Gregory's writings illuminate the conflicts which both tormented and motivated him. Biographers suggest that it was this dialectic which defined him, forged his character and inspired his search for meaning and truth. [8] :54

Legacy

Andrei Rublev, Gregory the Theologian (1408), Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir. Gregory of Nazianzus from Vasilyevskiy chin (15th c., GTG).jpg
Andrei Rublev, Gregory the Theologian (1408), Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir.

Theological and other works

Gregory's most significant theological contributions arose from his defense of the doctrine of the Trinity. He is especially noted for his contributions to the field of pneumatology—that is, theology concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit. [17] In this regard, Gregory is the first to use the idea of procession to describe the relationship between the Spirit and the Godhead: "The Holy Spirit is truly Spirit, coming forth from the Father indeed but not after the manner of the Son, for it is not by generation but by procession, since I must coin a word for the sake of clearness." [18] Although Gregory does not fully develop the concept, the idea of procession would shape most later thought about the Holy Spirit. [19]

He emphasized that Jesus did not cease to be God when he became a man, nor did he lose any of his divine attributes when he took on human nature. Furthermore, Gregory asserted that Christ was fully human, including a full human soul. He also proclaimed the eternality of the Holy Spirit, saying that the Holy Spirit's actions were somewhat hidden in the Old Testament but much clearer since the ascension of Jesus into Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit at the feast of Pentecost.

In contrast to the Neo-Arian belief that the Son is anomoios, or "unlike" the Father, and with the Semi-Arian assertion that the Son is homoiousios , or "like" the Father, Gregory and his fellow Cappadocians maintained the Nicaean doctrine of homoousia , or consubstantiality of the Son with the Father. [20] :9,10 The Cappadocian Fathers asserted that God's nature is unknowable to man; helped to develop the framework of hypostases , or three persons united in a single Godhead; illustrated how Jesus is the eikon of the Father; and explained the concept of theosis , the belief that all Christians can be assimilated with God in "imitation of the incarnate Son as the divine model." [20] :10

Some of Gregory's theological writings suggest that, like his friend Gregory of Nyssa, he may have supported some form of the doctrine of apocatastasis, the belief that God will bring all of creation into harmony with the Kingdom of Heaven. [21] This led some late-nineteenth century Christian universalists, notably J. W. Hanson and Philip Schaff, to describe Gregory's theology as universalist. [22] This view of Gregory is also held by some modern theologians, such as John Sachs who said that Gregory had "leanings" toward apocatastasis, but in a "cautious, undogmatic" way. [23] However, it is not clear or universally accepted that Gregory held to the doctrine of apocatastasis. [24]

Apart from the several theological discourses, Gregory was also one of the most important early Christian men of letters, a very accomplished orator, perhaps one of the greatest of his time. [20] :21 Gregory was also a very prolific poet who wrote theological, moral and biographical poems.

Influence

Gregory's great nephew Nichobulos served as his literary executor, preserving and editing many of his writings. A cousin, Eulalios, published several of Gregory's more noteworthy works in 391. [4] :xi By 400, Rufinius began translating his orations into Latin. As Gregory's works circulated throughout the empire they influenced theological thought. His orations were cited as authoritative by the First Council of Ephesus in 431. By 451 he was designated Theologus, or Theologian by the Council of Chalcedon [4] :xi – a title held by no others save John the Apostle [9] and Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD). He is widely quoted by Eastern Orthodox theologians and highly regarded as a defender of the Christian faith. His contributions to Trinitarian theology are also influential and often cited in the Western churches. [25] Paul Tillich credits Gregory of Nazianzus for having "created the definitive formulae for the doctrine of the trinity". [26] Additionally, the Liturgy of St Gregory the Theologian in use by the Coptic Church is named after him. [27]

Relics

Following his death, Saint Gregory was buried at Nazianzus. His relics, consisting of portions of his body and clothing, were transferred to Constantinople in 950, into the Church of the Holy Apostles. Part of the relics were taken from Constantinople by Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade, in 1204, and ended up in Rome. On 27 November 2004, those relics, along with those of John Chrysostom, were returned to Istanbul (Constantinople) by Pope John Paul II, with the Vatican retaining a small portion of both. The relics are now enshrined in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Fanar. [28]

Death

During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birthplace, Gregory composed the greater part of the copious poetical works which has passed down from generation. These include a valuable autobiographical poem of nearly 2,000 lines; about one hundred other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs, epigrams, and epistles to well-known people during that era. The poems that he wrote that dealt with his personal affairs refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings (physical and spiritual) which assailed him during his last years. In the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all that remained to him of his rich inheritance was by a fountain near which there was a shady walk. At this point, Gregory retired to spend his days as a hermit. It was at this point he decided to write theological discourses and poetry of both a religious and an autobiographical nature. [29] He would sometimes receive occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers who were attracted to his retreat by his large reputation for sanctity and learning. He died about 25 January 390, although the exact date of his death is unknown. [30]

Feast day

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod commemorates Gregory, along with Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa (the Cappadocian Fathers) on 10 January. [31] The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate two feast days in Gregory's honor. 25 January is his primary feast; 30 January, known as the feast of the Three Great Hierarchs, commemorates him along with John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea. [32] [33] The US Episcopal Church now remembers this Gregory on 9 May, [34] as did the Roman Church up to 1960 (and still does, wherever the usus antiquior or traditional Roman Rite is celebrated), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates Gregory of Nazianzus together with his friends St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa on 14 June. The Roman Catholic Church observes his feast day on 2 January, [1] which is also Gregory's Holy Day, on 2 January, a "Lesser Festival", in the Church of England. [35]

See also

Related Research Articles

Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is also God. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius, a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt. The term "Arian" is derived from the name Arius; and like "Christian", it was not a self-chosen designation but bestowed by hostile opponents—and never accepted by those on whom it had been imposed. The nature of Arius's teaching and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father.

Athanasius of Alexandria Patriarch of Alexandria

Athanasius of Alexandria, also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His intermittent episcopacy spanned 45 years, of which over 17 encompassed five exiles, when he was replaced on the order of four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

Filioque is a Latin term added to the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and which has been the subject of great controversy between Eastern and Western Christianity. It is not in the original text of the Creed, attributed to the First Council of Constantinople (381), the second ecumenical council, which says that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father", without additions of any kind, such as "and the Son" or "alone".

First Council of Constantinople synod

The First Council of Constantinople was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and dealt with sundry other matters. It met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon.

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.

Basil of Caesarea 4th-century Christian bishop, theologian, and saint

Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor. 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.

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.

Doctor of the Church one of the early Christian theologians regarded as especially authoritative in the Western Church

Doctor of the Church is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.

Gregory Thaumaturgus 3rd-century Christian bishop

Gregory Thaumaturgus or Gregory the Miracle-Worker, also known as Gregory of Neocaesarea, was a Christian bishop of the 3rd century. He has been canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

In 4th century Christianity, the Anomoeans, and known also as Heterousians, Aetians, or Eunomians, were a sect that upheld an extreme form of Arianism, that Jesus Christ was not of the same nature (consubstantial) as God the Father nor was of like nature (homoiousian), as maintained by the semi-Arians.

Subordinationism is a belief that began within early Christianity that asserts that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to God the Father in nature and being. Various forms of subordinationism were believed or condemned until the mid-4th century, when the debate was decided against subordinationism as an element of the Arian controversy. In 381, after many decades of formulating the doctrine of the Trinity, the First Council of Constantinople condemned Arianism.

Amphilochius of Iconium bishop

Amphilochius of Iconium was a Christian bishop of the fourth century, son of a Cappadocian family of distinction, born, perhaps at Caesarea, ca. 339/340, died probably 394–403. His father was an eminent lawyer, and his mother Livia remarkable for gentleness and wisdom. He is venerated as a saint on Nov. 22.

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.

The Pneumatomachi, also known as Macedonians or Semi-Arians in Constantinople and the Tropici in Alexandria, were an anti-Nicene Creed sect which flourished in the countries adjacent to the Hellespont during the latter half of the fourth, and the beginning of the fifth centuries. They denied the Godhood of the Holy Ghost, hence the Greek name Pneumatomachi or 'Combators against the Spirit'.

Anthimus of Tyana was a Christian bishop of the Cappadocian city of Tyana. Tyana increased in prominence when Roman Emperor Valens divided Cappadocia into two provinces and Tyana became the capital of Cappadocian Secundus in 371. This led to the conflict with Basil of Caesarea, who had only become bishop there in 370, for which Anthimus of Tyana is best known.

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.

Eastern Orthodox teaching regarding the Filioque

The position of the Eastern Orthodox Church regarding the Filioque controversy is defined by the Bible, teachings of the Church Fathers, creeds and definitions of the seven Ecumenical Councils and decisions of several particular councils of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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

Citations

  1. 1 2 Saint Gregory of Nazianzus at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. 1 2 Liturgy of the Hours Volume I, Proper of Saints, 2 January.
  3. "Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής :: Άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Θεολόγος". Saint.gr. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 McGuckin, John (2001) Saint Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography, Crestwood, NY.
  5. Housley, Norman (17 June 2016). "The Crusade in the Fifteenth Century: Converging and competing cultures". Routledge. Retrieved 3 March 2019 via Google Books.
  6. Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Θεολόγος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. 25 Ιανουαρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  7. Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries (2005). The Riverside Dictionary of Biography. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 336. ISBN   9780618493371. Gregory of Nazianzus or Nazianzen, St c. 330-c. 389 AD •Greek prelate and theologian- Born of Greek parents in Cappadocia, he was educated in Caesarea, Alexandria and Athens.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Ruether, Rosemary Radford (1969), Gregory of Nazianzus: Rhetor and Philosopher, Oxford University Press
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Hunter-Blair, DO (1910), "Gregory of Nazianzus", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Appleton
  10. Migne, J.P. (ed), Patrologiae Graecae (PG) , (1857–66), 37.1053, Carm. de vita sua, l.345
  11. Gregory, as quoted in PG 37.1059–60, De Vita Sua, vv. 439–46.
  12. Gallay, P. (1964), Grégoire de Nazianze (in French), Paris, p. 61; quoting from Ep. 48, PG 37.97.
  13. Orat. 43.2, PG 36.497.
  14. 2 Kings 4:8 and Orat. 26.17, PG 35.1249.
  15. Nazianzus, Gregory of, Or, The Orthodox Church of America, p. 31:29, retrieved 2 May 2007
  16. PG , 37.1157–9, Carm. de vita sua, ll 1828–55.
  17. Michael O'Carroll, "Gregory of Nazianzus" in Trinitas (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1987).
  18. Gregory of Nazianzus, Five Theological Orations, oration five. This fifth oration deals entirely with the Holy Spirit.
  19. HEW Turner and Francis Young, "Procession(s)" in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. A. Richardson & J. Bowden (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983). Through Augustine, the idea would develop in the West into "double-procession," resulting in the Filioque clause and the split between Eastern and Western Christianity.
  20. 1 2 3 Børtnes (2006), Gregory of Nazianzus: Images and Reflections
  21. "Apocatastasis". New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. I.
  22. Hanson, JW Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years. Chapter XV: Gregory Nazianzen. Boston and Chicago Universalist Publishing House, 1899.
  23. Sachs, John R. "Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology." Theological Studies. 54 (December 1993), p. 632.
  24. David L. Balas, "Apokatastasis" in The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, second edition, ed. Everett Ferguson (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), details Gregory of Nyssa's adherence to the doctrine, while making no mention of Nazianzan.
  25. See how the 1992 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites a variety of Gregory's orations
  26. Tillich, Paul. A History of Christian Thought (Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 76.
  27. Chaillot, Christine (2006), "The Ancient Oriental Churches", in Wainwright, Geoffrey (ed.), The Oxford history of Christian worship, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, p. 139, ISBN   978-0-19-513886-3
  28. Fisher, Ian (28 November 2004), "Pope returns remains of 2 Orthodox patriarchs", San Diego Union-Tribune, archived from the original on 29 August 2007, retrieved 24 October 2012
  29. "Saint Gregory of Nazianzen". 3 January 2009.
  30. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Gregory of Nazianzus". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  31. Lutheranism 101, CPH, St. Louis, 2010, p. 277
  32. "St Gregory the Theologian the Archbishop of Constantinople". OCA Online Feast Days. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  33. "Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom". OCA Online Feast Days. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  34. Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, New York, Church Publishing Incorporated, 2010, ISBN   978-0-89869-637-0
  35. "Join us in Daily Prayer – The Church of England". www.churchofengland.org.

Sources

Further reading

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Demophilus or
Evagrius
Archbishop of Constantinople
Disputed by Maximus

379–381
Succeeded by
Nectarius