Two new episodes in The Lives of the Saints (Second Series) were uploaded this week. Episode Nine celebrates the life and contributions to the Church Universal of St. Gregory Nazianzen, whose Feast Day is Jan. 25th. St. Gregory is also known by two other names: St. Gregory the Theologian and Gregory Nazianzus, which recognizes the name of his jurisdiction as Bishop in Asia Minor (now southeastern Turkey).
The illustration is a Byzantine Orthodox mosaic, possibly 12th-13th C., of St. Gregory at Chora Church, Istanbul, wearing the regalia of an Eastern Church Bishop and carrying a golden and jewelled Gospel books. This is the same church featured on the Home page at our Web Site. It was originally known as Church of the Saviour in the Field (or Outside the Walls) and is now a museum.
St. Gregory is little known in the modern Western Church. Roman Catholics would recognize him as one of the four “Doctors” of the Church (with his friend Basil of Caesarea, plus Athanasius and John Chrysostom). He is one of only three men officially called “Theologian” in the Eastern Church, with St. John the Evangelist and Symeon the New Theologian. He was granted the title at the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
His fame is based largely on his Five Theological Orations, delivered at Constantinople circa 378 A.D. and his testimony at the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381 A.D.), all of which attempt to provide the Scriptural foundation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, especially the equality of the Holy Spirit with God the Father and God the Son. In the episode I explain the theft of his remains in 1204 A.D. and their return to Eastern Church jurisdiction in November 2006 A.D.
Episode Nine celebrates the life of the AIC’s patron saint, John Chrysostom, which literally means John the Golden Mouth. He was perhaps the most gifted pulpit orator of the Church in the first 1,000 years of Christianity. He left behind an enormous legacy of homilies on Genesis and the Psalms as well as the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, all the epistles of St. Paul, and St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. He served the Church first at Antioch, the second See of the early Church, and later as the 12th Bishop of Constantinople, the last of the five early Sees of the Church. St. John was forced from office by Empress Eudoxia in 403 A.D. He returned briefly, owing to the strong public outcry against his expulsion, but was exiled a second and final time around 405 A.D. He died in exile in 407 A.D. HIs last words were: “Glory be to God for all things!” His remains, along with those of Gregory Nazainzen, were stolen in 1204 A.D. during the Fourth Crusade. For centuries, they remained in St. Peter’s Basilica (first the old one and then the current one). They were returned by Pope Benedict XVI in time for the Feast of St. Andrew in November 2006 A.D.
In Episode Ten, to be released either this weekend or early next week, I will read the seven Nocturne Prayers traditionally associated with him and a selection from his extensive writings.
As always, thank you for your interest and support. I invite you to visit our Web Site and use the links to our Virtual Bookstores. 100% of all book royalities are contributed to the AIC ministry.
Glory be to God for all things! Amen!