January 2, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen

In celebrating the feasts of St. Basil of Caesarea and St. Gregory Nazianzen on the same day, the Church extols a virtue which she has always esteemed, friendship. The friendship between Basil and Gregory was admirable. Born in Cappadocia around 330, they studied together in Athens and then returned to their homeland where they led a monastic life for several years. Their temperaments were very different. While Basil had the qualities of a leader and a gift for organization that made him a legislator for monks in the East, Gregory was a contemplative and a poet.

The Orthodox Church has placed Basil and Gregory with John Chrysostom in the first rank of ecumenical doctors. They are "the three Hierarchs." — Excerpted from Magnificat, PO Box 91, Spencerville, MD © 2001

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