GREGORY of NYSSA, SAINT, a Greek church-father, and the younger brother of Basil the great, born about 332 at Sebaste, devoted himself at an early age to the study of sciences and philosophy, and subsequently married a pious and honorable lady. In consequence of a dream, however, he separated from her, and abjuring the world, entered upon the duties of an ecclesiastic. After a short relapse into hia old profane studies, he renounced this `• apostasy " forever, and in 372 was made bishop of Nyssa, a city in Cappadocia, in Lesser Armenia, much to the dismay of the Arians, who knew him to be a zealous defender of the Nicene creed. They at once commenced an oppo sition to him. Gregory was deposed by the emperor, and compelled to flee. He lived for some years in seclusion, until. at the death of Valens (378), Gratianus restored him to his see. In 379 he was charged by the council at Antioch, to visit the churches In Arabia and Palestine, in order to restore them to their pristine orthodoxy and peace, the many years of heresy and dissension that had preceded having created a sad confu sion among the flock of the faithful. In 881 he was chosen by the council of Con stantinople to be one of the "centers" of faith for the Catholic communion, i.e., an arbiter of orthodoxy for his and other congregations, principally in Pontus. He fur ther assisted at the council held in that city in 382 and 383, and played so prominent a part in both, that shortly afterwards the honorable title of metropolitan was unani mously conferred upon him. The last time Gregory seems to have appeared publicly, was at the council of Constantinople in 394; and he seems to have died shortly after wards. The second Nieman council conferred upon him the pre-eminent title of "Pater Patrum." His writings are extremely numerous. Although not fraught with the glowing elo quence and penetrating acumen of a Gregory Nazianzen, or a Basil, they exhibit a greater depth of poetical feeling and philosophical thought, while, at the same time, they abound in practical teachings and wise counsels for every stage of life. The fanciful, often puerile subtleties and conceits which occur no less frequently, are rather to be put to the account of the times in which Gregory lived, when symbolism and allegory reigned supreme. On the other hand, Gregory cannot be praised too highly for having
been one of the first who manfully stood out for the ancient Greek—albeit heathen— philosophy. His writings are indeed fully imbued with Platonism and Aristotelianism, and he went as far as to borrow the technical terms of these masters for his theological investigations. "As the Israelites borrowed from the Egyptians," he said, "so Chris tianity mast carry along with it all that is costly out of the pagan camp;" a saying, however, has been attributed to some other fathers of the early church. His orthodoxy has been questioned in later lilacs; chiefly on account of his strongly con demning as heathenish, time view that religion was mostly dependent on the dogma: according to him, religion was more a matter of the heart and of feeling. The council of Epheaua solemnly and most energetically declared for the soundness of his teaching, refuting the heretics out of his own writings. Of his Christology—in the main that of Origen—viz., that the Logos had penetrated all parts of the human nature, and thus elevated it to himself, we will treat under this latter. The Latins celebrate the day of Gregory on Jan. 10, the Greeks on Mar. 9. His most celebrated works are a catechetie treatise; a dialogue of the Soul and Resurrection, called .hlaerinia, after his sister (sup posed to have been held at her death-bed); it treatise on The holy Trinity and the Deity of the Holy Ghost, besides a number of homilies. The first complete Latin edition of his writings, comprising dissertations on the Old and New Testament, dogmatical and controversial treatises, discourses, sermons, panegyrics, biographies, letters, etc., appeared at Cologne in 1:537 (folio), and was followed by others at Basel (1562 and 1571), and Paris (1573 and 1603). The first Greek and Latin editions by the Jesuit Greticr appeared in Paris (1615-18), 2 vols., fol., and was reprinted there in 16t38. Separate works of Gregory have been edited repeatedly, but next to none have appeared in any modern translation.