Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

29—Basil and the Beginning of Christian Social Thought

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 09, 2020 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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History calls him “Basil the Great,” and his greatnesses were many. He was a brilliant theologian; and anyone today who writes about tradition or the Holy Spirit must engage his works, which are foundational in the field. He also produced some of the earliest sustained reflections on the social order implicit in the Gospel. But he didn’t just think about these things. He did something about them. As bishop he was a model administrator, marshaling the resources of Christians in order to build a “new city” dedicated to worship and service of those in need; there he constructed one of the first hospitals, a poorhouse, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a hospice, and a trade school. He was an outstanding preacher, an organizer, an operator, and a saint recognized for greatness even in his own lifetime.


Gregory Nazianzen, Funeral Oration on the Great St. Basil

Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit

Basil the Great, Homily I: in the Beginning God Made the Heaven and the Earth

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Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

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Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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