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Saint Basil the Great

In its services, the Church calls St Basil a "bee of the Church of Christ"

In its services, the Church calls St Basil a "bee of the Church of Christ": bringing the honey of divinely-inspired wisdom to the faithful, stinging the uprisings of heresy. He was born in Cappadocia to a prominent family. Their worldly wealth, however, is as nothing compared to the wealth of Saints that they have given to the Church: his parents Saint Basil the Elder and Saint Emmelia; his sister Saint Macrina, the spiritual head of the family; and his brothers Saint Gregory of Nyssa (January 10), and Saint Peter, a future bishop

Tutored by his father, a renowned professor of rhetoric, the brilliant Basil studied alongside his life-long friend Saint Gregory of Nazianzus. When Basil returned from his studies in 356, he found that his mother and his sister Macrina had turned the family home into a convent, and that his brothers had also taken up the monastic life nearby. At the encouragement of his sister Macrina’s pleas, Basil entered the ascetical life.

He settled in Cappadocia living in poverty and writing his ascetical homilies. A monastic community steadily gathered around him, and for its good order Saint Basil wrote his Rule, which is regarded as the charter of monasticism. (Saint Benedict in the West was familiar with Basil’s Rule, and his own is modeled on it). In 370 Basil was consecrated Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. At this time the Arian heresy was rending the Church, and it became Saint Basil's lot to defend Orthodoxy in homilies and writings, a task which he fulfilled with such erudition and wisdom that he is called "Basil the Great." He reposed in peace in 379, at the age of forty-nine.

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