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Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors

January 2, 2022

January 2 – Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Saint Basil the Great’s Story

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what Saint Benedict is to the West, and Basil’s principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea—now southeastern Turkey—and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

Arianism, one of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down. But trouble remained. When the great Saint Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”

Basil was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world—as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself—and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator. Though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”


Reflection

As the French say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Basil faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.


franciscanmedia.org


Patronage: Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists

St. Basil the Great

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Franciscan Media

Saint Basil the Great

Saint of the Day for January 2

(329 – January 1, 379)

Saint Basil the Great’s Story

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what Saint Benedict is to the West, and Basil’s principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea—now southeastern Turkey—and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

Arianism, one of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down. But trouble remained. When the great Saint Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”

Basil was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world—as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself—and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator. Though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”


Reflection

As the French say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Basil faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.


Saint Basil the Great is the Patron Saint of:

Russia

St. Basil the Great on “Ad Orientem”
ST BASIL THE GREAT, CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF CAESAREA—329-379 A.D.
St. Basil
On St. Basil
Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, & John Chrysostom, Jan.30
THE EARLY CHURCH AND ABORTION: THE WITNESS OF BASIL OF CAESAREA
St Basil The Great (329-379)
Saint Basil the Great “Orator of Orthodoxy”


Saint Gregory Nazianzen’s Story

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.

An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults, and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”


Reflection

It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten. Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, no pain. In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.


franciscanmedia.org


Saint Gregory was saint patron of medieval Bosnia before the Catholic conquest when he was replaced by Saint (pope) Gregory.

Gregory the Theologian

Chora, Constantinople

St. Gregory Nazianzen

One God, Three Equal Persons: St. Gregory of Nazianzus {Ecumenical Thread}
ST GREGORY NAZIANZEN, B. C., DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH 328- 389 A D.
ST GREGORY NAZIANZEN, B. C., DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH—328-389 A D.
Doctors of the Church – St. Gregory of Nazianzen
St. Gregory Nazianzen, [Nazianzus] 330-390. Doctor of Theologians
St. Gregory Nazianzen on the Incarnation

Catholic Culture

Christmas: January 2nd

Memorials of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors

MASS READINGS

January 02, 2020 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

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.

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Old Calendar: Holy Name of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors. This is the ninth day of the Christmas season.

St. Basil was a brilliant student born of a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey). For some years, he followed the monastic way of life. He vigorously fought the Arian heresy. He became Bishop of Caesarea in 370. The monks of the Eastern Church today still follow the monastic rules which he set down.

St. Gregory was also from Cappadocia. A friend of Basil, he too followed the monastic way of life for some years. He was ordained priest and in 381 became Bishop of Constantinople. It was during this period when the Arian heresy was at its height. He was called “The Theologian” because of his great learning and talent for oratory.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite St. Basil is celebrated on June 14 and St. Gregory on May 9. Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3 in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite today is the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. In a Motu Proprio dated October 23, 1913, Pope St. Pius X moved this Feast to the Sunday between January 2-5, or January 2 if none of these days is a Sunday.

St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen – Day Nine
Although New Year’s Day is not celebrated by the Church, this day has been observed as a holy day of obligation since early times due to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Each family and country has different traditional foods to eat on New Year’s Day, with lentils being the main superstition: ill luck befalling those who do not eat lentils at the beginning of the year.

New Year’s is a day of traditional hospitality, visiting and good cheer, mostly with a secular view, but there is no reason that this day, too, could not be sanctified in Christ.

St. Basil
St. Basil was born about 330, the oldest of four sons; three of his brothers became bishops, one of whom was St. Gregory of Nyssa. His pious grandmother Macrina exercised a great influence upon his religious education: “Never shall I forget the deep impression that the words and example of this venerable woman made upon my soul.” Between St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzen an intimate friendship existed from youth to old age. Of Western monasticism St. Benedict was the father and founder, of Eastern monasticism, St. Basil.

As bishop, Basil was a courageous and heroic champion of the Catholic faith against the Arian heresy. In 372 Emperor Valens sent Modestus, the prefect, to Cappadocia to introduce Arianism as the state religion. Modestus approached the holy bishop, upbraided him for his teaching, and threatened despoliation, exile, martyrdom, and death. To these words of the Byzantine despot, Basil replied with the peace of divine faith: “Is that all? Nothing of what you mentioned touches me. We possess nothing, we can be robbed of nothing. Exile will be impossible, since everywhere on God’s earth I am at home. Torments cannot afflict me, for I have no body. And death is welcome, for it will bring me more quickly to God. To a great extent I am already dead; for a long time I have been hastening to the grave.” Astonished, the prefect remarked: “Till today no one has ever spoken to me so courageously.” “Perhaps,” rejoined Basil, “you have never before met a bishop.” Modestus hastened back to Valens. “Emperor,” he said, “we are bested by this leader of the Church. He is too strong for threats, too firm for words, too clever for persuasion.”

Basil was a strong character, a burning lamp during his time. But as the fire from this lamp illumined and warmed the world, it consumed itself; as the saint’s spiritual stature grew, his body wasted away, and at the early age of forty-nine his appearance was that of an old man. In every phase of ecclesiastical activity he showed superior talent and zeal. He was a great theologian, a powerful preacher, a gifted writer, the author of two rules for monastic life, a reformer of the Oriental liturgy. He died in 379, hardly forty-nine years old, yet so emaciated that only skin and bones remained, as though he had stayed alive in soul alone.

Patron: Cappadocia; hospital administrators; reformers; Russia.

Symbols: Supernatural fire, often with a dove present.

St. Gregory Nazianzen
Gregory, surnamed the “Theologian” by the Greeks, was born at Nazianz in Cappadocia in 339. He was one of the “Three Lights of the Church from Cappadocia.” To his mother, St. Nonna, is due the foundation for his saintly life as an adult. He was educated at the most famous schools of his time – Caesarea, Alexandria, Athens. At Athens he formed that storied bond of friendship with St. Basil which was still flaming with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm when he delivered the funeral oration at the grave of his friend in 381.

Gregory was baptized in 360, and for a while lived the quiet life of a hermit. In 372 he was consecrated bishop by St. Basil. At the urgent wish of Gregory, his father and bishop of Nazianz, he assisted him in the care of souls. In 381 he accepted the see of Constantinople, but grieved by the constant controversies retired again to the quiet life he cherished so highly and dedicated himself entirely to contemplation.

During his life span the pendulum was continually swinging back and forth between contemplation and the active ministry. He longed for solitude, but the exigencies of the times called him repeatedly to do pastoral work and to participate in the ecclesiastical movements of the day. He was unquestionably one of the greatest orators of Christian antiquity; his many and great accomplishments were due in great measure to his exceptional eloquence. His writings have merited for him the title of “Doctor of the Church.”

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.


The Word Among Us

Meditation: John 1:19-28

Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Memorial)

Who are you? (John 1:19)

Maybe you’ve heard of a “humblebrag,” a term coined during the social-media age. Humblebragging is a kind of boasting camouflaged in humble language. A humblebrag, for example, would be a mother posting on Facebook that she just spilled wine all over the papers she needed to sign up her son for a special school program for gifted students. On the surface, she is talking about how clumsy she can be, but underneath, she is bragging about her son’s accomplishments.

While the word “humblebrag” may be new, the concept is probably as old as humanity itself. It also shows how tricky distinguishing between true and false humility can be. Does humility mean downplaying our accomplishments? Is it really bragging when we are merely telling someone about something good that has happened to us?

John the Baptist might be able to help us. When some of the Jewish leaders came to question him about his ministry, John didn’t play games or mince words. Rather, his answers revealed a deeply humble man.

John admitted that he wasn’t the Messiah. He wasn’t even the “Prophet” whom Moses had promised would arise in Israel’s hour of need (John 1:24; Deuteronomy 18:15). At the same time, John also believed that God had indeed sent him. That’s why he could be bold, even audacious, in calling kings and commoners alike to repentance.

John shows us that true humility is simply being sure of who you are and being clear about who you are not. John wasn’t down on himself by any means. And neither should we belittle ourselves or carry around a negative self-image. It’s true, none of us is perfect, so we shouldn’t judge other people when they fall. But neither are we the world’s savior. We can’t fix every problem or bear every burden.

Whatever we are or are not, one thing is certain: we are made in the image of God. We are graced with innumerable blessings, especially the gift of the Spirit. God has given each of us a special calling, just as he did for John. Just knowing this can breed a healthy confidence, even as it frees us up to think about other people more than ourselves.

So who are you?

“Lord, thank you for gracing me with your love.”

1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1-4


Homily of the Day

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

When was the last time we committed sin? Was it worth doing? Have we ever thought of anyone whom we may have violated doing such an act?
Were we ever satisfied after violating God’s commandments?

Committing a sin is an act that takes us away from God’s grace and blessings. Life spent committing sin is a life not lived well; in like manner with money not well spent or even worse. There are many temptations that will entice us to commit sin. However; it is still our prerogative that prevails.

Each one of us is prone to committing sin; in fact, even before we are born, each one of us already inherits one sin — original sin. No matter what kind of sin we commit, we should ask for God’s forgiveness and accept what His judgment will be. That is why every Roman Catholic should receive the Sacrament of Baptism shortly after birth.

Let us keep in mind that our Father has given us His only Son to be our salvation. Jesus has been very generous to us while he was here on earth. Don’t allow temptations and emotions control us. Let us think before we act.

Details

Date:
January 2, 2022

Organizer

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Phone:
(973) 473-0246

Venue

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
10 St. Francis Way
Passaic, NJ 07055 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
973-473-0246
Website:
www.olmcpassaic.com