Saint Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

January 25

Gregory was born in Nazianzus of a Greek father (who later became a Christian and a bishop) and a Christian mother. Before his baptism, he studied in Athens with Basil the Great and Julian the Apostate. Gregory often prophesied that Julian would become an apostate and a persecutor of the Church, and this actually happened. Gregory’s good mother, Nonna, had an especially great influence on him. When he had completed his studies Gregory was baptized. St. Basil consecrated him as Bishop of Sasima, and Emperor Theodosius the Great summoned him to fill the vacant archiepiscopal throne of Constantinople. He wrote numerous works, the most famous of which are those on theology, for which he is called the Theologian. Especially known, because of its depth, is his work Homilies on the Holy Trinity. Gregory wrote against the heretic Macedonius, who erroneously taught that the Holy Spirit is a creation of God. He also wrote against Apollinarius, who erroneously taught that Christ did not have a human soul, but that His divinity was in lieu of His soul. Additionally, Gregory wrote against Emperor Julian the Apostate, his one-time fellow student. In 381, when a debate began regarding his election as archbishop, he withdrew on his own and issued a statement: “Those who deprive us of our archiepiscopal throne cannot deprive us of God.” Afterward he left Constantinople and went to Nazianzus, and there he lived a life of solitude and prayer, writing beneficial books. Although he was in poor health throughout his entire life, Gregory nevertheless lived to be eighty years old. His relics were later transferred to Rome. A reliquary containing his head reposes in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow. He was, and remains, a great and wonderful light of the Orthodox Church, as much by his meekness and purity of character as by the unsurpassable depth of his mind. He reposed in the Lord in the year 390.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.

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