30—Gregory Nazianzen: Greatness in the Passive Voice
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All Gregory wanted was a quiet place where he could relax with his books and a few close friends. From young adulthood he believed God was calling him to the contemplative life, and to old age he never lost that sense. But history kept dragging him into its current. First, his father (a bishop) coerced him into ordination to the priesthood. Then his closest friend, Basil the Great, pressured him to be ordained a bishop. Both times he put up little resistance, but later resented the actions as violence. Both times he eventually fled the demands of his office. Later he was persuaded to lead the Nicene faction in the capital city of the empire. Eventually he became bishop there and led the second ecumenical council in 380. Before the council was over he resigned and resumed his monastic retreat back home. Along the way he wrote the most compelling and complete Trinitarian theology of his time—and reams of great poetry.
Gregory Nazianzen, Epistle 150 (on dogmatic questions) https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=2459
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 2 (on his flight from priesthood) https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=2433
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 27: The First Theological Oration (on the duties of the theologian) https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=2440
John Henry Newman, “Basil and Gregory” https://www.newmanreader.org/works/historical/volume2/fathers/chapter3.html
More works by the Fathers https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/
Mike Aquilina’s website https://fathersofthechurch.com
Mike Aquilina’s books https://catholicbooksdirect.com/writer/mike-aquilina/
Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed http://www.ccwatershed.org
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