Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Fourth Century)
+ Basil was born to a saintly family in Cappadocia in 330. Known for his learning and virtue, he lived as a hermit for several years before being named bishop of Caesarea in 370.
+ As bishop, he fought against the Arian heresy and wrote many influential works on the Trinity and the Incarnation, as well as a rule of life for monks that is still used today.
+ Saint Basil died on January 1, 379.
+ Gregory Nazianzen, like his friend Basil, was born in 300 to a family of saints. While traveling as a youth, he met Basil while studying in Caesarea.
+ In 381, Gregory reluctantly accepted the office of bishop of Constantinople. Because of rival factions that were dividing the Church, he returned to Nazianzen a short time later. He died there on January 25, 389 or 390.
+ Saint Gregory is especially remembered for his outstanding and eloquent teachings about the Trinity.
+ Saint Basil and Saint Gregory Nazianzen were declared Doctors of the Church in 1568 and have been celebrated together on this day since 1969.
For prayer and reflection
“When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognized that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other: we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires, the same goal. Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper… The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning.”—Saint Gregory Nazianzen
On this day, we also remember Saint Hortulana of Assisi. The mother of Saint Clare and Saint Agnes of Assisi, she joined her daughter Clare as a nun in her monastery at San Damiano. Saint Hortulana died around the year 1238.
Several religious communities follow the ancient Rule of Saint Basil or have him as their special patron. These include:
The Basilian Fathers (Congregation of St. Basil): http://www.basilian.org/
The Basilian Salvatorian Fathers: www.saintbasils.org
The Basilian Order of St. Josaphat (Ukrainian Catholic): Basilian Fathers
The Sisters of St. Basil the Great (Byzantine Catholic): www.sistersofstbasil.org
The Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great (Ukrainian Catholic): www.stbasils.com
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church
by the example and teaching
of the Bishops Saints Basil and Gregory,
grant, we pray,
that in humility we may learn your truth
and practice it faithfully in charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.