Glen A. Kirk
The Ninth Day of Christmas | Sts. Basil & Gregory | January 2, 2022
Saint Basil & Saint Gregory
Defenders of the Faith
Ninth Day of Christmas | January 2, 2022
Two of the three early-church leaders called the “Cappadocian Fathers” are the focus of this Ninth Day of Christmas. Saint Basil the Great was a fourth century theologian and bishop along with his friend and fellow Cappadocian scholar Saint Gregory of Nanzianzen (or Nanzianzus). These defenders of the faith helped to establish early church doctrine including participation in the Council of Nicea which confirmed the Nicene Creed as a profession of faith. Possibly their greatest contribution to theology is their fight against another leader, Arius, who denied the divinity of Christ and thereby the Triune God.
Basil was known for his pastoral care and love of preaching, which he did twice each day during his bishopric. Even before he entered ministry he worked in defense of the poor and hungry by organizing famine relief and working in soup kitchens as a teen. His friend and colleague, St. Gregory of Nanzianzen is remember for his great theological mind and his religious poetry. The pressures of his role forced him into early retirement where he tended his gardens and enjoyed writing.
The ELCA celebrates the life of these two church-fathers on June 11. In the sixth century, a then united church celebrated them as part of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Roman Catholic and Orthodox believers still use the original date of January 2.
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Resources: Unknown. (2020, July 10). Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen. Loyola Press. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/saints/saints-stories-for-all-ages/saint-basil-the-great-and-saint-gregory-nazianzen/ Franciscan Media. (2021, January 14). Saint Gregory Nazianzen. Franciscan Media. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-gregory-nazianzen Multiple. (2021, December 24). Basil of Caesarea. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_of_Caesarea Multiple. (2021, December 29). Gregory of Nazianzus. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_of_Nazianzus