‘Thus in the eternity of the age without end, he who runs towards Thee is always becoming greater and higher, always adding to himself by the multiplication of graces … but that which is sought is in itself boundless, the end and fulfilment of that which is found becomes, for those who ascend, the starting point of the discovery of more exalted blessings. And he who ascends never ceases to go from beginning to beginning by beginnings which have no end.’
Today the Church commemorates our father among the saints, Gregory, bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia III. St Gregory is one of the great doctors of the Church and, together with his brother, St Basil the Great and their friend St Gregory the Theologian, one of the Three Cappadocians to whom we owe our orthodox understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.
St Gregory was the younger brother of St Basil, born in Cæsarea of Cappadocia around A.D. 335. Their father was St Basil the Elder, a learned rhetorician, and St Gregory received a thorough secular education from him. The Synaxarion says of him that he became ‘one of the greatest architects of the Christianization of ancient culture.’
When St Basil became bishop of Cæsarea in the year 370, he recommended his brother for election to the see of Nyssa, a small town in what is now central Turkey, in order to have his support in the defence of the Nicene faith against the Arian assaults of the emperor Valens. Upon St Basil’s death in 379, St Gregory and his friend and collaborator St Gregory the Theologian, bishop of Sasima, became the foremost defenders of the orthodox faith in the Trinity, which triumphed at last at the Second Œcumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381.
St Gregory taught that, through our original creation in the image and likeness of God, and through our regeneration by baptism into the Body of Christ, we are freed for never-ending progress in a union without confusion with the infinite God. The Synaxarion quotes from St Gregory’s Seventh Homily on the Song of Songs:
(Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, The Synaxarion, Ormylia, Chalkidike, 2001, III, p. 105.)
Occasional comments by a convert to Orthodoxy.