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Gregory I of Nazianzen

St Gregory the theologian was from Nazianzos of Asia Minor. His mother, Nonna, was a devout Christian, but his father was initially a follower of the Ypsistarians, which was a mixture of jewish and pagan religious elements linking the worshipping of God and fire. His wife through preayer and daily effort succeeded in his return to the Christian faith. He then was baptised receiving the name Gregory. A little bit later he was ordained bishop of Nazianzos. St Grefory the Theologian compares his parents with Abraam and Sarah, because they obtained children at an advanced age, namely Gorgonia, Gregory and Caesarios.

St Gregory was ordained a Presvyter by his father and a Bishop by his friend Basil the Great. He was a great Theologian. In the Church hymns, he is praised as the "highest mind of the theologians". The Church honoured him by calling him a Theologian, a title only given to three Saints. The other two are John the Evangelist and holy Symeon the new theologian.

St Gregory was called to the lead the Church of Constantinople at a difficult time, when the heretic Arians had conquered for forty years, and the imperial court was in favourable to heresis. There, despite great difficulties, shine his theological gift, as well as the greatness of his soul. He delivered his famous speeches regarding theology, and the small temple in which he was speaking and celebrating Liturgy was called Anastasia (=resurrectional), because it resurrected the divine word. Finally, the emperor Theodosius gave him the cathedral, and the Second Ecumenical Council proclaimed him Archbishop of Constantinople. His enemies, however, raised an issue that his installation to the see of Constantinople was uncanonical, because apparently he had another see. The accusation, however, was completely unbased, because Gregory was never installed at Sasima. But in order not to provoke a schism, he departed from Constantinople, after he first exclaimed from the presidential seat of the Synod a affectional speech, with whom he revealed the whole grandeur of his spiritual power. He said that if he himself was responsible for this division, let him be thrown in the sea like Jonas, for the tempest to stop. And he left in order to go and find his beloved quiteness.

His holy memory is celebrated on the 25th of January. Together with Ss Basil the Great and John Chrysostom, he is considered protector of letters and education. The three Hierarchs are feasted also together on January 30th.

 

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