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Gregory

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GREGORY, Saint, of Nazianzus, known as THEOLOGUS ("THE THEOLOGIAN" or "THE DIVINE") : b. Arianzus, near Nazianzus, a little city in southwestern Cappadocia, about 325,• d. there about 389 or 390. Receiving the seeds of a truly Christian education from his mother, Nonna, he attended in turn the most celebrated schools of his time. From Caesarea, in Cappadocia he went to Cgsarea in Palestine, thence to Alexandria and finally to Athens, where bis Saint Basil of Caesarea (q.v.), was not slow in joining him, Gregory ap parently stayed in Athens longer than his friend and possibly gave lectures on oratory there, but when about 30 years of age he returned to his native land to be baptized. Thenceforth he divided his life between Arianzus and the monastic retreat of Basil in Pontus. Gregory's life presents the unusual picture of alternate re• tirement and activity, like the ebb and flow of the sea. It was only the insistence of his friends and his own conscience which dragged him forth from the longed for solitude and silence of contemplation and forced him to take a vigorous part in the struggles and trials of the Church. Filial love and zeal for ortho doxy brought him forth from his retreat first in 360 or 361 as a messenger of peace to his compatriots. His father, also named Gregory, who was bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), through weakness or misunderstanding had subscribed (359) to the semi-Arian formula of Rimini, bringing upon himself the opposition of the faithful. The son's happy intervention resulted in a solemn profession of faith by the elder Gregory, at whose hands he was ordained priest somewhat in spite of himself on Christ mas Day, 361. After a brief sojourn with Basil in Pontus, Gregory returned to aid his father in the administration of his see. It was not long before Basil constrained his friend to accept the newly created bishopric of Sasima, although it is doubtful whether Gregory ever set foot in that little town. At any rate, in 372, yielding to his father's solicitations, Gregory decided to relieve him somewhat of the burden of his episcopal charge, and, when his father died in 374, soon to be followed by the pious Nonna, he was not slow to console his broken heart by resigning the administration of the Church at Nazianzus and returning to the con templative life at Seleucia. His younger brother, Cmsarius, and his sister, Gorgonia, had preceded their parents to the grave by several years (369) and there remained to be added but the death of his best friend, Basil (379), to confirm Gregory in his resolution to bid the world a lasting farewell. Nevertheless he was not destined to enjoy the repose he so longingly desired. Arianism under Valens had gained

headway in a part of the empire, and the Catholics at Constantinople, despoiled of their churches, felt themselves upon the very verge of utter ruination. They appealed to Gregory, who could not resist the hope of re-establishing the true faith in the capital of the east. Noth ing arrested his zeal and his marvelous elo quence triumphed over all. When Theodosius entered the city in 380, the faithful demanded as their bishop the restorer of orthodoxy, but Gregory, although consecrated as such, insisted upon awaiting the outcome of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, finally resigning his charge and returning in June 381 to Nazianzus, which had been without a head since the death of the elder Gregory. For two years he administered the Church there and about 383 retired to the vicinity of Arianzus, his birthplace, where he died in the austere practice of Christian asceticism. Gregory's works may be divided into three groups : dis courses, letters and poems. Of the discourses (which constitute the largest group) 47 are ex tant, and of these the most important and famous are those (27-31) pronounced at Con stantinople in defense of the mystery of the Trinity, which, because of their solid doctrine and vigorous exposition, have been called the 'Theological Discourses' and won for Gregory the title formerly appropriated only to Saint John. The rest of the discourses are on various subjects. There are 243 letters attributed to Gregory, the vast majority of which belong to the days of his retirement at Arianzus (383-389) and give an intimate picture of the life of the author or of his friends and parents. This same period also saw the majority of his poems, which very often are little more than versified prose, although some of his elegiac efforts seem to possess real poetic feeluig. The longest of his poems, Vita Sua,' is one of the most valuable sources of informa tion concerning the details of his life. Gre gory's complete works appear in Migne's Grmca.' The Eastern Church cele brates 25 and 30 January in his honor and the Western Church 9 May.

Bibliography.—Watkins, Henry W.,