On the 9th Day Christmas, the Feasts of Saint Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

On the 9th Day of Christmas, a Feast in honor of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

Today is celebrated the Feasts of two Saints, Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen. Both lived in the 4th century in what is today Turkey. Both are “Doctors of the Church,” people who made seminal philosophical and academic contributions to the Church.

St. Basil was a 4th century bishop in Caesarea. He argued strenuously and successfully in support of the Nicean Creed at a time when its acceptance was under attack. His work with the poor and underprivileged became legend.

Perhaps his most lasting influence was on monasticism. Having stayed in several monasteries, he rejected their severe austerity and developed his own doctrine for monastic life. “Not only is Basil recognised as the father of Eastern monasticism; historians recognize that his legacy extends also to the Western church, largely due to his influence on Saint Benedict.”

St. Gregory Nazianzen was a 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained speaker and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials.

Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology among both Greek- and Latin-speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the “Trinitarian Theologian”. Much of his theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the two brothers, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers