St. Basil the Great
St. Basil the Great
Saint Basil The Great, also called Basil of Caesarea, is the patronSaint for hospital administrators and reformers. Basil’s work onTheology, his support of the Nicene Creed, staunch deposition againstArian Heresy, and his work on Monasticism make him one of the mostrevered saints today.
Popularly known as the Father of Communal Monasticism, Saint Basil isnot only celebrated by Catholic Churches but also by Anglican andLutheran Churches all over the world.
Life and Legacy
Saint Basil The Great was born in the year 330 to a distinguishedChristian Cappadocian Greek family known for their devotion. He wastutored formally and received extensive education in Caesarea Mazaca inCappadocia where he became acquainted with Gregory of Nazianzus whowould go on to become a revered Saint and a key player in Basil’s questfor Monasticism.
Basil the Great left for Constantinople to further his studies where heonce again met with Gregory and became fast friends therewith. In 356,Basil traveled to Egypt and Syria where he gained further extensiveknowledge on law like his father, Basil the Elder. He was on his way tobecoming a great scholar when things took a rather unexpected turn.
Basil’s legal learning was interrupted on meeting Eustathius of Sebaste,who would become his mentor. He was so deeply influenced by theirrelationship that he abandoned his career as a legal orator and became adevout believer in God and religion.
The beginning of this Godly relationship marked a turning point forBasil. He began to travel far and wide through Palestine, Egypt, Syria,and Mesopotamia to study and begin his practice of monasticism andasceticism. He pursued theological missions, took solitude, and heed tothe needs of the poor, distributing his riches amongst them.
While he remained dedicated to asceticism, he realized he was not one tobe in solitude. He began to see the beauty in communal relationships andeventually realized he bore different convictions from his mentor,Gregory of Nazianzus.
By 358, Basil departed Gregory and began to gather disciples with whomhe shared the same views. He went on to write about and teach monasticcommunal life. These early writings would make up the documents of SaintBasil’s legacy.
Just before being ordained Deacon in 362, Saint Basil attended theCouncil of Constantinople where he renounced his alliance withHomoiousians. He considered the Homoiousians’ semi-Arian viewsunacceptable and instead stood in support of the Nicene Creed.
Arianism threatened to tear the Christians of Cappadocia apart. Led byEmperor Valens, the Arian heresy interpreted Jesus as an entity that didnot always exist as God. This explanation of Christ’s divinity was notaccepted by the many Christian orthodox, causing Emperor Valens topersecute Christians who dared to speak against or debate this heresy.
Saint Basil continued to fight against the wild spread of Arianism evenafter being made Bishop in 370. Striking a perfect balance betweenpolitical power and his religious beliefs, Basil was strict but alwaysshowed mercy on the needy. He built the Basiliad which was a poorhouse,hospice, hospital, and is described as one of the greatest monuments inChristian history.
Saint Basil the great continued to preach his belief that God the Fatherand Son are one. He continued his passionate quest against Arianism,prayed tirelessly, and reformed prostitutes and thieves until his death.
Saint Basil the Great wrote several books and documented severalreal-life accounts that would stand as a legacy. Among these hisletters, valuable books on history and teachings have shown up in the20th century. Some of Saint Basil’s works include Sermon to theLazicians, Moralia and Asketika.
Saint Basil has a strong influence on Christian Liturgy. He also ismentioned and preserved in specific prayers like in the litany of saintsused for exorcism.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Basil the Great
- Did you know Saint Basil is Patron Saint for Turkey? He is the
patron saint for the region Cappadocia, where he originated from.
- Did you know that Saint Basil is buried in Saint George’s Cathedral
in Istanbul, Turkey? Before being renamed, Istanbul was called
- Did you know that Saint Basil’s modern place of birth is Kayseri,
Turkey? Keysari is modern day Ceaserea Mazaca.
- Did you know that Saint Basil had 9 siblings, 4 of whom are
venerated saints like him? These 4 are Macrina the Younger,
Naucratius, Peter of Sebaste, and Gregory of Nyssa.
- Did you know that Basil the Great’s books still guide monks till
today? Some of his books like the Moralia act as ethical manuals
Prayer to St. Basil the Great
Saint Basil, o great follower of God, help all as well as me. Defenderof orthodoxy, defend us too, that follow your faith and stand besideyou.Great follower of God, pray to him for all your people, as well as forunworthy me. Strong knight and leader of Ostrog, save us from the seenand unseen. Raised by Serbian soil do be the light in front of God, beour light and light up our road and make darkness disappear.With prayer and tears you have warmed the cold cliffs of Ostrog, pleasewarm our hearts with God’s spirit, so we can be saved. From all cornersof the world to your grave come the weak and the ill, and you helpedthem, got rid of their demons as well as the devil, and healed theirsouls and bodies.Please continue to help, the baptized and the non baptized, everybodyand me as well. You brought peace to fighting brothers, please continueto bring peace, help the divided, make the sad happy, calm the stubborn,heal the sick.Saint Basil, o miracle worker, father of our spirit, listen and hearyour children’s spirits in the name of Jesus Christ.