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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Saint Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

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                                                                          JANUARY 25th
 
                                          St Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople
 

Born in Nazianzus of a Greek father (who later became a Christian and a bishop) and a Christian mother, he studied in Athens before his baptism with St Basil the Great and Julian the Apostate.  He often foretold to Julian that he would be an apostate and a persecutor of the Church, and so it came to pass.  Gregory was especially influenced by his mother, Nonna.  He was baptised when he had completed his studies.  St Basil consecrated him bishop of Sasima, and the Emperor Theodosius quickly called him to the vacant archiepiscopal throne of Constantinople.  His works were manifold, the best-known being his theological writings, for which he received the title ‘the Theologian.’.  He is particularly famed for the depth of his Sermons on the Holy Trinity.  He also wrote against the heretic Macedonius, who taught wrongly of the Holy Spirit (that the Spirit was a creature of God), and against Apollinarius who taught that Christ did not have a human soul but that His divinity was in place of His soul.  He also wrote against the Emperor Julian the Apostate, his sometime schoolfellow.  In the year 381, when a quarrel broke out in the Council concerning his election as archbishop, he withdrew himself, declaring: ‘Those who deprive us of the (archiepiscopal) throne cannot deprive us of God.’  He then left Constantinople and went to Nazianzus, remaining there in retirement, prayer and the writing of instructive books until his death.  And, although he was in weak health all his life, he lived to the age of seventy.  His relics were later taken to Rome, and his head to the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow (My note: The relics of Saint Gregory were returned by the Vatican to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2004).  He was, and remains, a great and wonderful light of the Orthodox Church, as much for the meekness and purity of his character as for the unsurpassable depth of his mind.  He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 389.
 

 

– From The Prologue from Ochrid: Lives of the Saints and Homilies For Every Day In The Year- Part One: January, February, March by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Translated by Mother Maria, Birmingham, UK, Lazarica Press, 1985.

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