Basil the Great

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Related to Basil of Caesarea: Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom

Basil the Great


(also Basil of Caesarea). Born circa 330, in Caesarea, Cappadocia; died there on Jan. 1, 379. Christian church leader. One of the church fathers. Bishop of Caesarea from 370.

Basil the Great belonged to circles of the eastern Roman aristocracy that accepted Orthodox Christianity without reservation. Striving to consolidate the forces of Christianity, Basil opposed Arianism. He preached asceticism and supported the monastic way of life. Basil defended the independence of the church from the emperor. He considered it possible to make “valuable use” of the ancient pagan Greco-Roman culture in the interests of Christianity (the sermon Address to the Youth).

Basil the Great’s principal works are Philocalia (an anthology of the works of Origen, compiled with Gregory the Theologian), Against Eunomius (a refutation of Arian doctrine), and conversations (including the Commentary on the Six Days of Creation, in which the grounds for Christian cosmogeny are expounded). The works of Basil the Great (especially the Philocalia and the Commentary on the Six Days of Creation)were translated into Slavic languages and served as a source for acquainting readers with ancient Greco-Roman thinkers, many of whom Basil cited. The letters of Basil the Great (about 250) are an especially important source for the history of the ecclesiastical conflict in the empire during the fourth century.


Patrologia Graeca, vols. 29-32. Edited by J. P. Migne. Paris, 1912.
Lettres, vols. 1-3. Paris, 1957-66.
In Russian translation:
“Tvoreniia izhe vo sviatykh otsa nashego Vasiliia Velikogo. …” In Tvoreniia sviatykh otsov, vols. 5-11. Moscow, 1843-1915.


Allard, P. Saint Basile, 4th ed. Paris, 1903.
Treucker, B: Politische und sozialgeschichtliche Studien zu den Basilius-Briefen. Munich, 1961.
Dehnhard, H. Das Problem der Abhängigkeit des Basilius von Plotin. Berlin, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
81) The lawfulness of the created order was also commented on by Basil of Caesarea, who wrote that the divine command to the earth to bring forth vegetation became a permanent law of nature, and ever since nature has been following it.
From East to West, from Basil of Caesarea to Augustine, we assist in the accomplishment of a first phase of assimilation, adaptation, and harmonization of ancient and biblical traditions into a Christian idea of work rooted in the apostolic social doctrine of Paul and the Aristotelian idea of production.
Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa likewise rely on anti-Judaizing rhetoric, and particularly the accusations that Eunomians imitate New Testament Jews and thus pose a danger to true Christians.
Basil of Caesarea was a contemporary with an equally fine education in biblical studies and classical culture.
Likewise homoiousian theologians George of Laodicea and Basil of Ancyra provide Basil of Caesarea with a precedent for intellectual creativity in the face of the Heteroousian project.
Basil of Caesarea and the Emergence of an Ideal," "II.
The earliest form of the liturgy that includes the words of consecration is The Anaphora of Basil of Caesarea from about 357 A.
Eunomius in particular argued for the natural quality of names, and both Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa argued that names are accidental.
Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa are important in church history for their role in defining Trinitarian doctrine, outlining and describing church order, and for their "christianization" of Greek culture in Roman late antiquity.
He commendably presents the ways Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, as they propagated their doctrine on divine simplicity, met the challenge of Aetius and Eunomius of Cyzicus.
We have a particularly clear case of this practice in an encomium for Basil of Caesarea in which the stories of his family's fidelity in time of persecution served to introduce Basil as upholding that heritage.
Two Christian texts loom large throughout: the Life of Antony (biography) and Gregory of Nazanzius's Funeral Oration for Basil of Caesarea (panegyric).