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Gregory

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GREGORY, Saint, of Nyssa: b. about 335 or 336; d. after 395 or 396. He was a younger brother of Saint Basil of Caesarea (q.v.), who, it seems, had charge of his education. While holding the office of lector in the Church he yielded to the attractions of the world and be came a professor of belles-lettres, preferring "the name of rhetorician to that of Christian." But the lively representations of his friends and especially of his namesake of Nazianzus, persuaded him to return to his first vocation. After retiring into seclusion for a short time, he allowed himself in 371 to be consecrated by his brother Basil and became bishop of Nyssa, a small town in Cappadocia, continuing to live with his wife, Theosebeia, although as with a sister. The hatred of the Arians awaited him in his new field and after a few years of bitter struggle he was deposed about 375 by an Arian synod convoked by the governor of Pontus. The death of the Emperor Valens in 378 brought about a change in the political situation of the Church and Gregory returned from exile to Nyssa in triumph. In the fall of 379 he assisted in the Council of Antioch in opposing the Meletian schism, and two years later en very joyed a very important role in the second gen eral council at Constantinople. During the in terval he had traveled extensively in fulfilment of a commission which he had received from the Antioch Council "to visit and reform the Church in Arabia." It is after his last trip to Constantinople in 394 that Gregory's name dis appears from history and it is probable that his death followed shortly thereafter. Gregory has few rivals in the 4th century to compare with his fecundity and depth of knowledge.

Most of his works are exegetical, as 'On the Creation of Man'; 'The Work of the Six Days' ; 'The Defence of the Hexaemeron' ; 'On the Witch of Endor'i 2 books on the Psalms, 8 homilies on Ecclesiastes, 15 homilies on the Canticle of Canticles, 5 homilies on the Lord's Prayer, and 8 homilies on the Beatitudes. In the field of metaphysics and theology, the works of Gregory merit particular attention, as 'Against Eunomius' ; 'Against Apollinaris); 'Grand Catechism' ; 'Against Tritheism); Faith> • 'Dialogue with Macrina' (his sister), and others. An ascetic spirit animates three little works dealing with the meaning of the Christian name and the purpose of Christian life, and another work 'On Virginity,' which gives the principles of right living. Gregory's discourses reflect the style of the time, although they do not contain the eloquence of his name sake of Nazianzus. Chief among these dis courses are the funeral orations on his brother, Basil, and Meletius and his panegyric on Greg ory of Neocmsarea (q.v.). Only 26 letters of Gregory have come down to us. His writings are best collected in Migne's (Patrologia Graeca.' His feast in the Western Church is observed 9 March.

Bibliography.— Venables, Edmund, 'Grego rius (15) Nyssenus> (in Smith and Wace, 'A Dictionary of Christian Biography,' Vol. II, London 1880); Rupp, J. 'Gregors, des Bischofs von Nvssa, Leben and Meinungen) (Leipzig 1834) ; Bardenhewer, Otto, 'Les Peres de l'Eglise; leurs Vies et leurs Oeuvres' (tome 2, Paris 1898); Chevalier, Ulysse, (Bio-Biblio graphic' (Paris 1905).