Saint Basil of Caesarea, also called Basil the Great (between 329 and 333 - January 1, 379) (Greek: Άγιος Βασίλειος ο Μέγας; Latin: Basilius), was the Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and an influential 4th century Christian theologian. Theologically, Basil was a supporter of the Nicene faction of the church, in opposition to the Arians on one side and the Appollanarians on the other. His ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections - especially with the Arian Emperor Valens - made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position.
Basil, Gregory Nazianzus, and Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of the Three Great Hierarchs, while the Roman Catholic Church has named him a Doctor of the Church.
Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer and labor.
Basil was given the title Doctor of the Church for his contributions to the debate initiated by the Arian controversy regarding the nature of the Trinity, and especially the question of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Basil was responsible for defining the terms ousia (nature) and hypostasis (being or person), and for defining the classic formulation of three Persons in one Nature. His single greatest contribution was his insistence on the divinity and consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son.
Basil of Caesarea holds a very important place in the history of Christian liturgy, coming as he did at the end of the age of persecution.
Attributes: Vested as bishop, wearing omophorion, holding a Gospel Book or scroll. St. Basil is depicted in icons as thin and ascetic with a long, tapering black beard.
Patronage: Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists
Prayer: Your voice resounded throughout the world that received your word by which, in godly manner, you taught dogma, clarified the nature of beings, and set in order the character of people. Venerable father, Royal Priesthood, intercede to Christ God to grant us great mercy.
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