St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea
Commemorated on January 1
St. Basil was born into a wealthy Christian family in Caesarea in Cappadocia in 330. He was educated
in the schools of Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens where he formed a great friendship with Gregory (later known as St
Gregory Nazianzus). Shaken by the sudden death of his younger brother, he was converted by his pious Macrina. After visiting
monastic centers, he formed a monastic community of his own in Ibora, near his home in Annesi. He lived there with his
monks for about five years. He wrote many rules and guidelines for monastics so that all Eastern monasticism owes something
to his spirit. He was ordained priest in 365 and bishop of Caesarea in 370. He greatly cared for the poor and suffering and
built an estate which included houses for travelers, a church, a hospital, and a hospice all which a complete staff. A famine
struck the area and sent many poor and starving into his care; their pain grieved him and he labored to feed them with his
own hands. He wrote: "If you are reduced to your last loaf of bread and a beggar appears at your door, then take that loaf
and lift your hands to heaven and say 'O Lord, I have but this one loaf: hunger lies in wait for me but I revere Your commandments
more than all other things.' If you should say this , then the bread you gave in your poverty will be changed for an abundant
In his struggle against the Arian heresy, Saint Basil stood up against the Arian emperor Valens. When
called to account by the state for his orthodoxy, he conducted himself in such a way that the examining prefect (accustomed,
as he was, to more pliable hierarchs) expressed astonishment at his boldness. Basil retorted, "Perhaps you have never had
to deal with a proper bishop before!"
Basil wrote to his nephews to make full use of pagan literature (a rare attitude in those days) in
order to gain a deeper understanding of the Christian faith.
Basil was aware of his own shortcomings and dispirited by disappointments in his life of struggles,
wrote, "For my sins, I seem to fail in everything. "Nevertheless, he was far from a failure. His labors, including his writings
On the Holy Spirit and Against Eunomius greatly contributed to the final triumph of Nicene orthodoxy at the Second
Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. He had a great effect on the formulation of monasticism. The Liturgy of St. Basil
is largely his own work. He died peacefully in the Lord in 379.
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
St. Maximos Kavsokalyvites
on January 13th
The Monk Maximos Kausokalibites
was educated at the church of the MostHoly Mother of God at Lampsakos. At seventeen years of age he left his parental home,
accepted monasticism and passed his obedience under the finest spiritual instructor in Macedonia – the starets Mark.
Upon the death of his instructor, the monk pursued asceticism under the guidance of several desert fathers of extremely strict
life. Having arrived in Constantinople, the Monk Maximos was constantly at the Blakhernai church of the MostHoly Mother of
God, as though he had taken up his abode at the entrance. In order to conceal his ascetic deeds of fasting and prayer, and
to avoid celebrity, the monk conducted himself like a fool. On Athos the Monk Maximos fulfilled his obedience in the Lavra
of the Monk Athanasias, and on the summit of the Holy Mountain he was deigned a vision of the Mother of God. The Monk Maximos
told about his vision to a certain elder, pursuing asceticism by the church of the holy Prophet of God Elias at Carmel, who
declared the monk fascinating. But this disbelief also the monk turned to good, under the appearance of vanity and pride having
concealed his prodigious ascetic deeds, and privation, wandering hardship and solitude. For the greater disdain through common
gossip about his being a fool, the Monk Maximos did not establish a settled abode, rather he wandered from place to place
like a lunatic, having burned his hut – a grass shelter (kausokalibit' – signifies "hut-burner"). Those of the
Holy Mountain, knowing about the extreme deprivations and sorrows of the Monk Maximos, for a long time regarded him with contempt,
even then when the monk had attained the heights and perfections of contemplative life. When the Monk Gregory of Sinai (+
c. 1310, Comm. 8 August) arrived on Athos, having spent his life in mental prayer, he encountered the pretendingly distracted
one, and striking up a conversation with him, he began to call him nothing other than an earthly angel. The Monk Gregory persuadingly
besought Saint Maximos to leave off from the aspect of fool and to take up an abode in one place, so that others might learn
from his spiritual experience. Heeding the words of Saint Gregory and the advice of other elders, the monk selected for himself
a permanent dwelling in a cave nearby the reknown elder Isaiah. Knowing about his gift of perspicacity, the Byzantine emperors
John Paleologos (1341-1376) and John Kantakeuzenos (1341-1355) visited the monk and were surprised by the fulfilling of his
predictions. The hegumen of Batopedeia monastery, Theophanes, wrote about the Monk Maximos: "I invoke God in witness, that
I was an eyewitness to several of his miracles: once, for instance, I saw him going through the air from one place to another;
I listened, as the monk forecast a prediction concerning me, that first I would be an hegumen, and then Metropolitan of Okhrid;
he even revealed to me about my sufferings for the Church". Just only before his death did Saint Maximos abandon his solitude,
and settle near the Lavra of the Monk Athanasias, where he offered up his soul to the Lord at 95 years of age (+ 1354). Just
as during life, so also in death the Monk Maximos was glorified by many miracles.
Saint Anthony the Great
St. Anthony was born of wealthy parents in a village near Heracleopolis in middle Egypt
in 251. He was raised a Christian. His died when was about twenty and he was left with the care of his sister. At liturgy
one day he heard the Savior's words, "If you would be perfect, sell all you have and give it to the poor." Struck to the heart
by these words, he sold all his property, arranged for the care of his sister, and gave alll the rest to the poor. He then
moved to live in a tiny hut on the edge of his parents' estate, devoting himself to poverty, fasting, and prayer, according
to the custom of those days. There he bgan a struggle with the demonic enemy. He left his hut for a cave that was used as
a tomb, and was so beset by the spiritual enemy that he was found unconscious and had to be carried to a nearby church. He
insisted on returning too the cave to finish the struggle. When a t length he won and Christ's light chased the horrors away,
he asked, "Where were you Lord? Why didn't you come earlier to relieve me of my agony?"
The Lord replied, "Anthony, I was there, but I was wainting to see you in action. Now, because you have
triumphed, I will always help you and make your efforts known everywhere."
Anthony soon left the cave for the great solitude of the desert---a novelty in
those days. He lived in an adandoned fort for the next twenty years, being brought his supply of bread only twice a year.
Afterwards, friends broke down the door and Anthony came forth---"neither dried up nor fat through idleness but as God-borne
and standing in his natural condition." Word spread everywhere and crowds came to see him. The desert soon became populated
with those emulating the man of God and looking to him as their father. As his fame grew, he found it harder to find solitude.
In 313, he moved further into the desert---to the foot of a mountain near the Red Sea, his "Innner Mountain." He returned
to Alexandria only twice: once in 311 to strengthen the Christians arrested in the persecution and once in 338 to publicly
strive against Arianism, supporting St. Athanasius who invited him. In the desert he continued to pray and care for the monk.
So it was that he came at the age of ninety to meet St. Paul of Thebes, another hermit who lived in complete solitude. Anthony
was visited by many from the world as well. When challenged by some pagan philosophers on how he could claim wisdom though
he was not educated, he answered, "Which is older---the mind or the book? And which is the source of the other? So, to the
man whose mind sound, there is no need for books to attain wisdom." He was known as one who had frequent visions and revelations,
drove out demons, healed the sick by his prayer, and lived in cheerfulness and joy. Anthony died in peace after a full eighty-five
years in the desert.
Source: "A Daily Calendear of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
St Athanasius the Great the Archbishop of Alexandria
Commemorated on January 18
Saints Athanasius and Cyril were
Archbishops of Alexandria. These wise teachers of truth and defenders of Christ's Church share a joint Feast in recognition
of their dogmatic writings which affirm the truth of the Orthodox Faith, correctly interpret the Holy Scripture, and censure
the delusions of the heretics.
St Athanasius took part in the First Ecumenical Council when he was still a deacon.
He surpassed everyone there in his zeal to uphold the teaching that Christ is consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father,
and not merely a creature, as the Arians proclaimed.
This radiant beacon of Orthodoxy spent most of his life in exile
from his See, because of the plotting of his enemies. He returned to his flock as he was approaching the end of his life.
Like an evening star, he illumined the Orthodox faithful with his words for a little while, then reposed in 373. He is also
commemorated on May 2 (the transfer of his holy relics).
St. Mark the Archbishop of Ephesus
Commemorated on January 19
Saint Mark Eugenikos, Archbishop of Ephesus, was a stalwart defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence.
He would not agree to a union with Rome which was based on theological compromise and political expediency (the Byzantine
Emperor was seeking military assistance from the West against the Moslems who were drawing ever closer to Constantinople).
St. Mark countered the agruments of his opponents, drawing from well of pure theology, and the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
When the members of his own delegation tried to pressure him into accepting the Union he replied, "There can be no compromise
in matters of the Orthodox Faith."
Although the members of the Orthodox delegation signed the Tomos of Union. St. Mark was the only one who
refused to do so. When he returned from Florence, St. Mark urged the inhabitants of Constantinople to repudiate the dishonorable
document of union. He died in 1457 at the age of fifty-two, admired and honored by all.
Source: OCA website
"Mark signed shall in any case, we epoiisamen none." Marcus did not sign, then we did nothing. A proverbial phrase of the Pope of Rome, when the Mark
Polite did not put his signature on the protocol for the Association of Churches, and had signed all other orthodox bishops.
a champion of Orthodoxy
was born in Istanbul in 1392. Parents
had Deacon George and Mary, who was the daughter of a doctor called the Lucas. Mark had many talents and he was super in theological and other studies. Taught at the school his father, and later, after the death
of this, succeeded in teaching profession. He excelled as a teacher of rhetoric and, at the 25th birthday he decided to become a
monk and so went to a monastery in Princess Islands. There declared itself under
the spiritual supervision virtuous monk, Simeon, who ekeire monk and renamed by Manuel, who was the first name in Mark. Then from these islands left and went to the monastery of Magadha, where he was
ordained priest. After
becoming a clergyman, in 1436 elected Archbishop of Ephesus. Then, King John Paleologos, in front of the Turkish danger and the idea that
he could to help the Pope goes to Ferrara, Italy to discuss the union of the two Churches. In the final session, made in Florence in 1439, we, unfortunately, the Orthodox bishops, especially
the "primacy" of the Pope to sign everyone. Here,
just the most critical moment of the Orthodox Christian history, he raises his spiritual stature, Bishop Mark of Ephesus Ephesus
and says "" No. Best colleges enslaved to the Turks, but
enslaved spirit in Pope heretic. "He managed, thus holding up the banner of Orthodoxy and to teach to all of us how the orthodox
tradition we should not compromise and betray the interests of ephemeral and selfish purposes . Accordingly, the "St. Mark
suffered by those who ruled exile, persecution and humiliation, but remained unshakeable. Sick for about 14 days and died on
June 23 (where normally be celebrated or main memory, according to S. Efstratiadis) of the year 1444, aged 52 years. He was buried in
the Monastery of St. George of Magadha.
St. Ephraim the Syrian
St Ephraim was born in Nisibis of Mesopotamia
some time about the year 306 AD, and in his youth was the disciple of St James, Bishop of Nisibis, one of the 318 Fathers
at the First Ecumenical Council. Ephraim lived in Nisibis, practicing a severe ascetical life and increasing in holiness,
until 363 AD, the year in which Julian the Apostate was slain in his war against the Persians, and his successor Jovian surrendered
Nisibis to them. Ephraim then made his dwelling in Edessa, where he found many heresies to do battle with. He waged an especial
war against Bardaisan; this gnostic had written many hymns propagating his errors, which by their sweet melodies became popular
and enticed souls away from the truth. St Ephraim, having received from God a singular gift of eloquence, turned Bardaisan's
own weapon against him, and wrote a multitude of hymns to be chanted by choirs of women, which set forth the true doctrines,
refuted heretical error, and praised the contests of the Martyrs.
Of the multitude of sermons, commentaries, and
hymns that St Ephraim wrote, many were translated into Greek in his own lifetime. Sozomen, a famous historians of the early
Church, says that Ephraim "surpassed the most approved writers of Greece", observing that the Greek writings, when translated
into other tongues, lose most of their original beauty, but Ephraim's works "are no less admired when read in Greek than when
read in Syriac". St Ephraim was ordained Deacon, some say by St Basil the Great, whom Sozomen said "was a great admirer of
Ephraim, and was astonished at his erudition". St Ephraim was the first to make the poetic expression of hymnody and song
a vehicle of Orthodox theological teachings, constituting it an integral part of the Church's worship; he may rightly be called
the first and greatest hymnographer of the Church, who set the pattern for those who followed him, especially St Romanus the
Melodist, because of this he is called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit". St Jerome of says that his writings were read in some
churches after the reading of the Scriptures, and adds that once he read a Greek translation of one of Ephraim's works, "and
recognized, even in translation, the incisive power of his lofty genius".
Shortly before the end of his life, a famine
broke out in Edessa, and St Ephraim left his cell to rebuke the rich for not sharing their goods with the poor. The rich answered
that they knew no one to whom they could entrust their goods. Ephraim asked them, "What do you think of me?" When they confessed
their reverence for him, he offered to distribute their alms, to which they agreed. He himself cared with his own hands for
many of the sick from the famine, and so crowned his life with mercy and love for neighbour. St Ephraim reposed in peace,
according to some in the year 373 AD, according to others, 379 AD.
source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Three Great Hierarchs, Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory
the Theologian, and John Chrysostom
Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: January 30
These three lived in the fourth century, and has his own day of commemoration in January. However, a great
controversy arose in the eleventh century as to which one was the greatest. Gregory was known for his theological mind, John
for the beauty and clarity of his talks, and Basil for his purity and courage. Bishop John was appointed as an arbitrator,
and after prayer, he saw the hierarchs in a dream. They conveyed to him that each had his own strengths, but that they were
one in God and there were no disputes among them. They asked that a common feast day be given to them, and harmony was restored.
Source: "The Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints and Fasting Calendar 2006"
St. Seraphim of Sarov
Born in Kurst, Russia in 1759, with the name of Prokhor, the future saint was a son of
devout Christian parents of the merchant class. At the age of eighteen, he entered the monastery in Sarov. He dovoted himself
to saying the Jesus Prayer and continued in humble service in the monastery, baking bread and working in the woodwork shop.
After four years he fell quite ill and was near death. While the brothers prayed for him in church, he had a vision of the
Mother of God in which he was told he would he would recover, which he eventually did. He was finally tonsured a monk in 1786
with the name Seraphim and was ordained priest in 1793. He served liturgy daily and exhorted the people to receive Holy Communion
frequently. Soon he asked for a blessing to live a life od solitude in the nearby forest. Upon obtaining the blessing, he
moved to the forest, during which time he devoted himself to prayer. He prayed for one thousand days upon a hard rock. He
subsisted each week on a loaf of bread and a few vegetables, out of which he fed the animals that came to his cell. Every
Saturday and Sunday he returned to the monastery and served liturgy. Later, he moved into further isolation in the forest,
not returning to the monastery for three years and living in total silence. Ill health brought an order from the monastery
for him to return. After spending another fiver years in solitude within the monastery walls, he then began to receive visitors,
guiding many as a true elder and confessor. He also guided the Diveyevo convent of nuns, whose care he inherited after the
former abbot of Sarov had reposed. One of St. Seraphim's many visitors was Nicholas Motivilov. In a visit with the saint,
Nicholas was him shine with the uncreated light of God. St. Seraphim was a man filled with God. Year round, he would greet
each visitor with the salutation, "Christ is risen, my joy!" He said that the goal of the Christian life was the acquisition
of the Holy Spirit. He died at the age of eighty in 1833 while kneeling in prayer.
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
Synaxis of John the Holy Glorious Prophet, Baptist, & Forerunner
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Because John's main role in his life was played out on the day of the Epiphany (Theophany),
the Church from earliest times dedicated the day following Epiphany to his memory. To this feast is also linked the incident
with the hand of the Forerunner. The Evangelist Luke desired to remove the body of John from Sebaste, where the great prophet
was beheaded by Herod, to Antioch his place of birth. He succeeded though, in acquiring and translating only one hand which
was preserved in Antioch until the tenth century after which it was transferred to Constantinople from where it disappeared
during the time of the Turks.
Feasts of St. John are celebrated several times throughout the year, but this day, January
7, has the most Svecara. [That is, those Orthodox Serbs who honor St. John the Baptist as their Krsna Slava - Patron Saint.
The Krsna Slava is the day that the Orthodox Serbs commemorate the baptism of their ancestors into Christianity]. Among the
Gospel personalities who surround the Savior, John the Baptist occupies a totally unique place by the manner of his entry
into the world as well as by the manner of his life in this world, by his role in baptizing people for repentance and for
his baptizing the Messiah and, finally, by his tragic departure from this life. He was of such moral purity that, in truth,
he could be called an angel [messenger] as Holy Scripture calls him rather than a mortal man. St. John differs from all other
prophets especially in that he had that privilege of being able, with his hand, to show the world Him about Whom he prophesied.
is said that every year on the feast of the saint, the bishop brought the hand of St. John before the people. Sometimes the
hand appeared open and other times the hand appeared clenched. In the first case it signified a fruitful and bountiful year
and, in the second case, it meant a year of unfruitfulness and famine.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa : January 10
father among the saints Gregory
of Nyssa (ca. A.D. 335 – after 384) was bishop of Nyssa and a prominent theologian of the fourth century.
He was the younger brother of Basil the Great and friend of Gregory the Theologian. Gregory's influence on Church
doctrine has remained important, although some have accused this theology of containing an Origenist influence. He is commemorated
on January 10.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the younger brother of St. Basil the Great,
was born in Cappadocia about 335 in Caesarea, a wonderful family, the church will cross many saints among members: grandmother,
Macrina, his mother, Emilia his sister - Macrina, his brothers Basil and Peter Sebaste.
Almost all Christian moral education one receives from his sister,
Macrina, the elder brother, Basil, then you will be called "father and my teacher." Under
this influence, Gregory is attracted to enter the clergy and ecclesiastical life, which reached the rank of legibly.
At the time of Julian the Apostate is attracted to profane philosophical
culture, especially reading Plato, but also retorii Libanus and Stagirius. Thus
influenced, St. Gregory professor of rhetoric will get. This period was called
by some patristic as "a crisis of conscience", or at least a period of Gregory of Nyssa's away from the Church.Exhortations
of Basil and his friends have returned but the way the minister of the Church.
Most exegetes say that St. Gregory lived for a long married life. At St. Gregory of Nazianzus 385 year comfort him for the death of St. Gregory of
Nyssa his wife Teosevia (feast with St. on Jan. 10), "truly holy priest wife." There are no documents to prove but Gregory's
ordination Nyssa before or after the death of his wife. But it seems that both spouses are separated the way before, by understanding,
embracing both the monastic life. Even in his writing "On Virginity," made up to 370 or 371 to the worthy brother Basil Saint
Gregory of Nyssa regrets that remained unmarried so they could not reach "the top of virginity." At this conviction and determination
to the monastic life of both spouses must have arrived with enough time before writing composition "On Virginity".
In 370-371, Gregory retired to a monastery founded by his brother Basil,
Iris River in Pontus, and where they retired before 358.
In 371 he was appointed bishop of Nyssa by Basil. Because
of naivete and his more contemplative nature, is convicted of Aryans and lodged in a local council level, in 376.In 378, after
the death of Emperor Valens Aryan is triumphantly received by his parishioners.
After the death of his brother Basil in 379, St. Gregory is an ardent
fighter for the cause of Orthodox Christianity and against heresies. In the
autumn of 379 attend the Synod of Antioch, which is distinguished by its special culture. Request
of the council then he made a canonical visit the dioceses of Pontus (Pontus, Palestine and Arabia).Meanwhile, almost without
his will, he was appointed bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, where he spent a few months.
The Second Ecumenical Council of 381 (Constantinople), St. Gregory
participate as one of the great theologians autoritate.In order to fulfill the decisions of the Council, a decree of the Emperor
Theodosius, July 30, 381, require that all the heretics of the dioceses of Pontus, which were in communion with the bishops
of Caesarea Heladie, Otreius of melittine and Gregory of Nyssa , to be expelled.
Happened because the council day to die imparatesele Flacilla and Pulheria, St. Gregory
was called to utter obituaries Also in Constantinople, in 1934, taking part in another council, after which
no longer knows anything about it.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa died probably in 394 or 395.
St. Sava I, Archbishop of Serbia
Commemorated on January 12
The son of Stefan Nemanja, the great Serbian national leader, he was born
in 1169. As a young man he yearned for the spiritual life, which led him to flee to the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk
and with rare zeal followed all the ascetic practices. Nemanja followed his son's example and himself went to the Holy Mountain,
where he lived and ended his days as the monk Simeon.
Sava obtained the independence of the Serbian Church from the Emperor and
the Patriarch, and became its first archbishop. He, together with his father, built the monastery of Hilandar and after that
many other monasteries, churches and schools throughout the land of Serbia. He traveled to the Holy Land on two occasions,
on pilgrimage to the holy places there. He made peace among his brothers, who were in conflict over their rights, and also
between the Serbs and their neighbors.
In creating the Serbian Church, he created the Serbian state and Serbian culture
along with it. He brought peace to all the Balkan peoples, working for the good of all, for which he was venerated and loved
by all on the Balkan peninsula. He gave a Christian soul to the people of Serbia, which survived the fall of the Serbian state.
He died in Trnovo in the reign of King Asen, being taken ill after the Divine
Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany in 1236. King Vladislav took his body to Mileseva, whence Sinan Pasha removed it, burning
it at Vracar in Belgrade on April 27th, 1594.
St. Euthymios the Great
Commemorated on January 20
This Saint, who was from Melitene in Armenia, was the son of pious parents named Paul and Dionysia. He was born about
377. Since his mother had been barren, he was named Euthymius-which means "good cheer" or "joy"-for this is what his parents
experienced at his birth. He studied under Eutroius, the Bishop of Melitene, by whom he was ordained and entrusted with the
care of the monasteries of Melitene. Then, after he had come to Palestine about the year 406, he became the leader of a multitude
of monks. Through him, a great tribe of Arabs was turned to piety, when he healed the ailing son of their leader Aspebetos.
Aspebetos was baptized with all his people; he took the Christian name of Peter, and was later consecrated Bishop for his
tribe, being called "Bishop of the Tents." Saint Euthymius also fought against the Nestorians, Eutychians, and Manichaeans.
When Eudocia, the widow of Saint Theodosius the Younger, had made her dwelling in Palestine, and had fallen into the heresy
of the Monophysites which was championed in Palestine by a certain Theodosius, she sent envoys to Saint Symeon the Stylite
in Syria (see Sept. 1), asking him his opinion of Eutyches and the Council of Chalcedon which had condemned him; Saint Symeon,
praising the holiness and Orthodoxy of Saint Euthymius near whom she dwelt, sent her to him to be delivered from her error
(the holy Empress Eudocia is commemorated Aug. 13). He became the divine oracle of the Church, or rather, "the vessel of divine
utterance," as a certain historian writes. He was the instructor and elder of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified. Having lived for
ninety-six (Source: GOArch)
St. Maximus the Confessor
Commemorated on January 21
He was born in the region of Constantinople, was well educated, and spent some time in government service before becoming
a monk, having been a member of the old Byzantine aristocracy and holding the post of Imperial Secretary under Emperor Heraclius.
Around 614, he became a monk (later abbot) at the monastery of Chrysopolis. During the Persian invasion of the Empire (614),
he fled to Africa.
From about 640 on, he became the determined opponent of Monothelitism, the heretical teaching that Jesus Christ had only
one will. In this, he followed the example of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, who was the first to combat this heresy starting
Maximus supported the Orthodoxy of Rome on this matter and is said to have exclaimed: "I have the faith of the Latins,
but the language of the Greeks." He argued for Dyothelitism, the Orthodox teaching that Jesus Christ possessed two wills (one
divine and one human), rather than the one will posited by Monothelitism.
After Pyrrhus, the temporarily deposed Monothelite Patriarch of Constantinople, had declared his defeat in a dispute at
Carthage (645), Maximus obtained the heresy's condemnation at several local synods in Africa, and also worked to have it condemned
at the Lateran Council of 649. He was brought to Constantinople in 653, pressured to adhere to the Typos of Emperor
Constans II. Refusing to do so, he was exiled to Thrace. (Pope St. Martin of Rome was tried around the same time in Constantinople,
and thus deposed and exiled to Crimea.)
In 661 Maximus again was brought to the imperial capital and questioned; while there, he had his tongue uprooted and his
right hand cut off (to prevent him from preaching or writing the true faith), and then was again exiled to the Caucasus, but
died shortly thereafter.
Ultimately, Maximus was exonerated by the Sixth Ecumenical Council and recognized as a Father of the Church.
St. Gregory the Theologian and Archbishop of Constantinople
Our father among the saints Gregory the Theologian, also known as Gregory of Nazianzus (though that name
more appropriately refers to his father) and Gregory the Younger, was a great father and teacher of the Church. His
feastday is celebrated on January 25 and that of the translation of his relics on January 19. With Sts. Basil the Great and
John Chrysostom, he is numbered among the Three Holy Hierarchs, whose feast day is celebrated on January 30. St. Gregory is
also known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers.
He was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who
later became Bishop of Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are
among the saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgonia (Feb. 23).
At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria
to Athens, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized.
With tears and fervor he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to
calm. At Athens St. Gregory was later joined by St. Basil the Great, whom he already knew, but now their acquaintanceship
grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as
emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before
Julian had thrown off the mask of piety, St. Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, "What an evil the Roman
State is nourishing" (Orat. V, 24, PG 35:693).
After their studies at Athens, Gregory became Basil's fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a
time in the hermitages of Pontus. His father ordained him presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and St. Basil consecrated
him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow
to Gregory and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Basil, but his love for Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly
seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil (Orat. XLIII).
About the year 379, St. Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled
for forty years by the Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labors he freed it from the corruption of heresy. He was
elected archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Council, which assembled there in 381, and condemned Macedonius,
Archbishop of Constantinople, as an enemy of the Holy Spirit. When St. Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians had taken
all the churches, and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to St. Anastasia the Martyr. From there he began
to preach his famous five sermons on the Trinity, called the Triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later,
the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. St. Meletius of Antioch (see Feb. 12), who was presiding over
the Second Ecumenical Council, died in the course of it, and St. Gregory was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself
in his expositions of dogmatic theology.
Having governed the Church until 382, he delivered his farewell speech-the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated
the Divinity of the Son—before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great. Also in this speech he requested, and
received from all, permission to retire from the See of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end
of his life. He reposed in the Lord in 391, having lived some sixty-two years.
His extant writings, both prose and poems in every type of meter, demonstrate his lofty eloquence and his wondrous breadth
of learning. In the beauty of his writings, he is considered to have surpassed the Greek writers of antiquity, and because
of his God-inspired theological thought, he received the surname "Theologian." Although he is sometimes called Gregory of
Nazianzus, this title belongs properly to his father; he himself is known by the Church only as Gregory the Theologian. He
is especially called "Trinitarian Theologian," since in virtually every homily he refers to the Trinity and the one essence
and nature of the Godhead.