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10 January 2013
  + Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa +
Basil the Great of Caesarea, 1 January AD 379
with Gregory of Nazianzus, 9 May AD 389
and Gregory of Nyssa, 9 March AD 395

Saint Basil the GreatSaints Basil and the two Gregorys, collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers, were leaders of Christian orthodoxy in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in the later fourth century. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers; Gregory Nazianzus, Patriarch of Constantinople, was their friend. All three were influential in shaping the theology ratified by the Council of Constantinople of 381, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed.

Their defense of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity, together with their contributions to the liturgy of the Eastern Church, make them among the most influential Christian teachers and theologians of their time. Their knowledge and wisdom continues to be heard and known in the Christian Church today.

Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of NyssaWhen we commemorate the brothers, we also do well to remember their sister Macrina (Makrina). The eldest child of their generation, she did much to support and encourage the brothers' theological studies, moral development, and later work. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a Life of Macrina, one that actually focuses more on his sister's last days and death.

Please note that this day of celebration was chosen by The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod for its list of commemorations. Basil is remembered in the East on his heavenly birthday (death date) while the West traditionally celebrated him on 14 June, the anniversary of his consecration.

The occidental Church doesn't commemorate him on his date of death because of its conflict with the Western celebration of a major Christological feast, The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. Recently, Roman Catholicism adopted 2 January for the commemoration. The LCMS chose to remember Wilhelm Loehe on that date and transferred Basil to an open day, combining his commemoration with those of the two others with whom he worked so closely.

Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus were two of the four Eastern theologians among the eight great Doctors of the undivided Church. The other two were Athanasius and John Chrysostom. The four great early Western (or Latin) doctors were Augustine, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and Ambrose of Milan.

Lection

Psalm 139:1-9 or 34:1-8
Wisdom 7:7-14
1 Corinthians 2:6-13
Luke 10:21-24

Collect

Almighty God, who revealed to Your Church Your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in a Trinity of Persons, give us grace that, like Your servants Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who live and reign one God, now and forever.

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