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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, 389.

Gregory was a bishop's son, well-off financially, and educated at the very finest schools of his day, including the universities of Alexandria and Athens. Among his school comrades was Basil (see June 14), and when he finished school Gregory participated in Basil's pioneer monastic community on the island of Pontus. However, he had no intention at that time of entering the priesthood. Then his father called him home and virtually forced him into holy orders. Gregory took the priestly office very seriously and was terrified at having it thrust upon him. He fled back to Pontus and, by much prayer, fasting, and soul-searching, became reconciled to this new vocation.

The ecclesiastical career thus launched was to become a most distinguished one. Gregory was soon elected Bishop of Sasima. He was one of the most effective preachers against the Arian heresy.

The imperial city, Constantinople, was in the hands of the Arians and was ruled by the Arian emperor, Valens. When the emperor died in battle and the city was reopened to orthodox Christians, Gregory was the first bishop to enter the city. He was chiefly responsible for the reconversion of the city and eventually became its bishop. He skillfully led his people through a time of violence and discord in the church, avoiding controversy over all but the most essential issues. "It is unwise for those who walk the high tightrope to lean to either side."

Keep us steadfast in the course of our faith, that we may not be led astray by false occupations. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

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