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Sts Basil and Gregory, Two Bodies One Spirit - St. Gregory of Nazianzen

Saints Basil the Great

and Gregory Nazianzen:

Two Bodies One Spirit

 

St. Gregory of Nazianzen

Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

 

Saint Gregory of Nazianzen

On January 2, the Roman Catholic Church honors the memory of two friends from an area of what is now Turkey that was called Cappadocia.  These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who were the backbone of Catholic Orthodoxy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion.  Gregory presided over the 2nd ecumenical council, held at Constantinople, whose great achievement was the completion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.  These Cappadocian Fathers, both Doctors of the Church, proved to be some of the greatest and most influential teachers of all time, honored by both East and West, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.  This selection, an excerpt from a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzus (Oratio 43, in laudem Basilii Magni, 15. 16-17, 19-21; PG 36, 514-423) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for January 2, the feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen.

 

Basil and I were both in Athens. We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it.


I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil. I knew his irreproachable conduct, and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation. I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him. Many fell immediately under his spell, for they had already heard of him by reputation and hearsay.


What was the outcome? Almost alone of those who had come to Athens to study he was exempted from the customary ceremonies of initiation for he was held in higher honor than his status as a first-year student seemed to warrant.


Such was the prelude to our friendship, the kindling of that flame that was to bind us together. In this way we began to feel affection for each other. When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognized that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other: we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires the same goal. Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper.


The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning. This is an ambition especially subject to envy. Yet between us there was no envy. On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry. Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the otherís success as his own.


We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit. Though we cannot believe those who claim that everything is contained in everything, yet you must believe that in our case each of us was in the other and with the other.


Our single object and ambition was virtue, and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come; we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it. With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions. We followed the guidance of Godís law and spurred each other on to virtue. If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong.


Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.

 

Basil was born of a Christian family at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 330 AD.  Conspicuous for his learning and virtue, for a time he led the life of a hermit but in 370 was made bishop of Caesarea.  He fought against the Arians and wrote many admirable works, especially his monastic rule which many Eastern monks still follow.  Saint Basil died on January 1, 379.  Gregory Nazianzen (also called Nazianzus) was also born in 330.  Traveling as a youth in the pursuit of learning, he first joined his friend Basil as a hermit and was later ordained priest and bishop.  In the year 381 he was elected bishop of Constantinople; however, because of factions dividing the Church, he returned to Nazianzen where he died on January 25, 389 or 390.  He was called theologus because of his outstanding teaching and eloquence.

 

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The Early Church Fathers, Catholic Church, Fathers of the Church, Marcellino D'AmbrosioThe Early Church Fathers

 

A society characterized by the violence, loss of respect for life, exotic religious cults, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and even pedophilia. No, we're not talking about modern times -

 

The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!

 

Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus

Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine

Early Church Fathers 2 VHS Setó$44.00  

Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Setó$49.95

Early Church Fathers 2 CD Setó$18.00  

Early Church Fathers 2 Audio Setó$18.00

 

 

The Virtues: Seven Habit of ChampionsEWTN - The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part mediation in this new EWTN Home Video on the four moral virtues - Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

Seven Habits of Champions lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living, contained in the Scriptures and made known through the Catechism and Church documents, is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints. We are all called to holiness. And though the practice of these seven "habits," heroic virtue can be attained!

Each DVD tape contains 4 episodes aired on EWTN!

DVD 1:

Introduction to the Virtues

The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence

The Cardinal Virtue of Justice

The Cardinal Virtue of Temperance

DVD 2:

The Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude

The Theological Virtue of Faith

The Theological Virtue of Hope

The Theological Virtue of Charity 

Set of Two DVD with 8 shows

 

Fathers of the Early Church, Early Church FathersThe Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter

If you are not familiar with the Fathers of the Early Church, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, in this single, upbeat talk, full of examples and stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers.  Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most important questions of our day.  In this talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us today. 

 

Retail - $8.95 CD        Audio Tape - $8.95


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