Gregory of Nazianzus

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Gregory of Nazianzus


(Gregory the Theologian). Born around 330, near Nazianzus in Cappadocia. Asia Minor; died there around 390. Greek poet and prose writer. Church figure and religious thinker. One of the most prominent patristic figures.

Gregory of Nazianzus received a brilliant education in rhetoric and philosophy, which was crowned by language study in an institution of higher learning in Athens, where he became a friend of Basil the Great. In 379 he was summoned by the orthodox community to the episcopate in Constantinople, in order to contribute to the struggle against Arianism, and in 381 he presided at the Second Ecumenical Council. However, also in 381, in a situation marked by turmoil and intrigue, he resigned his episcopal office and returned to his homeland. As a theologian Gregory of Nazianzus was a member of the so-called Cappadocian circle, which included Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. The circle introduced the methods of Platonic idealistic dialectics into theology.

Gregory of Nazianzus’ greatest prose achievements were his funeral panegyrics to his father and Basil the Great. His lyric poetry is distinguished by an intimate and varied intonation. The autobiographical poems On My Life, On My Fate, and On My Sufferings, with their psychological profundity and standard of self-analysis, are on a par with St. Augustine’s Confessions.


Briefe. Edited by P. Gallay. Berlin, 1969.
Tvoreniia, vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1844–68.
Pamiatniki vizantiiskoi literatury 4–9 vekov. Moscow, 1968. Pages 70–83.


Istoriia Vizantii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1967. Pages 417–19.


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