Gregory of Nazianzus – May 7, 2014
This week we give thanks for the life and witness of Gregory of Nazianzus. Born about 330 in Nazianzus in Cappadocia (now Turkey), his father was a local bishop. Gregory studied rhetoric in Athens with his friend Basil of Caesarea, and Julian, who later became emperor and tried to stamp out Christianity.In 361, Gregory was ordained to the priesthood against his will. Though he preferred an austere, quiet life, this was not to be his lot.During the reign of the Emperor Valens, Gregory was compelledto become Bishop of Sasima. He hated the assignment, even called Sasima“a detestable little place withoutwater or grass or any mark of civilization.” Hehe said hefelt like “a bone flung to the dogs.”His spirits plummeted. Deaths in his family, and estrangement from his friend, Basil, brought him to the point ofdeath. He withdrew, but returned in 379 and moved to Constantinople. He was a new man, no longer in despair. The next year, the new Emperor Theodosius entered Constantinople, and expelled the bishop andclergy. Then, on a rainy day, the crowds in the Great Church of Hagia Sophia acclaimed Gregory bishop,after a ray of sunlight suddenly shone on him.His fame as a theologian rests on five sermons about the doctrine of the Trinity. He retired toNazianzus where he died in 389.
Here is a prayer for his feast day: Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church youreternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as oneGod in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like yourbishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast inthe confession of this faith, and constant in our worship ofyou, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.