Tuesday, January 10, 2012

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Gregory of Nyssa was born of a deeply religious family. His mother Emmelia was a martyr's daughter; two of his brothers, Basil of Cæsarea and Peter of Sebaste, became bishops like himself; his eldest sister, Macrina, became a model of piety and is honored as a saint. It would seem that the young man married: there exists a letter addressed to him by Gregory of Nazianzus condoling with him on the loss of one Theosebeia, who must have been his wife.

According to Gregory of Nazianzus it was Basil who performed the episcopal consecration of his brother around 371.

On arriving in his see Gregory had to face great difficulties. Demosthenes, Governor of Pontus, ordered the Bishop of Nyssa to be seized and brought before him. A Synod of Nyssa (376) deposed him, and he was reduced to wander from town to town, until the death of Emperor Valens in 378. The new emperor, Gratian, published an edict of tolerance, and Gregory returned to his see, where he was received with joy. In 379 he assisted at the Council of Antioch, which had been summoned because of the Meletian schism. He also asserted the faith of Nicea, and tried to put an end to Aryanism and Pneumatism in the East.

It is very probable that Gregory was present at another Council of Constantinople in 383. Between 385 and 386 he disappears from history, not without leaving a significant number of theological writings.

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