Gregory of Nyssa

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Related to Gregory of Nyssa: Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nyssa


Born around 335 in Caesarea; died 394, in Nyssa. Church writer, theologian, and philosopher. One of the most prominent Greek patristic figures.

Gregory of Nyssa was the brother of Basil the Great and a friend of Gregory of Nazianzus, and with them he formed the so-called Cappadocian circle of church figures and thinkers. As a youth he studied rhetoric and philosophy before entering a monastery. He became bishop of the town of Nyssa in Asia Minor in 371, and he was a participant in the Second Ecumenical Council of 381. Gregory of Nyssa’s philosophical outlook took shape under the decisive influence of Plato and Christian Platonism as represented by Origen. This influence and his penchant for philosophical speculation often led him to adopt an unorthodox position. (Thus, like Origen and in opposition to church doctrine, he taught the concepts of the temporary nature of the torments of hell and the eventual enlightenment of all sinners, including Satan.) Gregory of Nyssa put forth the thesis of the necessity of delimiting the spheres of philosophy and theology. Like Origen, he made extensive use of free allegorical interpretations of the Bible.

Gregory of Nyssa’s anthropology was distinguished by its great originality. Its basis is not the idea of the individual but the idea of humanity as an organic whole—a kind of collective personality, whose essence is its intellect. Gregory exerted a powerful influence on the author John Scotus Erigena. as well as on Maximus the Confessor.


Opera, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1921.
Opera, vols. 1–8. Leiden, 1958–64.


Nesmelov. V. I. Dogmaticheskaia sistema Grigoriia Nisskogo. Kazan, 1887.
Danielou, I. Platonisme et théologie mystique. Paris. 1954.
Völker, W. Gregor von Nyssa als Mvstiker. Wiesbaden. 1955.


References in periodicals archive ?
Man's participation in God's perfections according to saint Gregory of Nyssa, Rome: Studia Anselmiana, 1966.
Similarly, Gregory of Nyssa argued that God is knowable only through his energies, and that all our speech concerning God denotes not his essence but his energies.
One Word, One Body, One Voice: Studies in Apophatic Theology and Christocentric Anthropology in Gregory of Nyssa.
in Chapter Four, "Talking about God," sixteen of thirty-seven footnotes refer to ancient Christian sources: Gregory Nazianzen, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, the Apostle Paul.
Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, to name only two, taught the salvation of all.
theology--Mannoussakis gives a remarkably insightful reading of Pseudo-Dionysius, Augustine, and Gregory of Nyssa.
Hudson begins with an introductory chapter, sketching theosis in Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and Pseudo-Dionysius, though she admits Nicholas had contact mostly with the works of Dionysius and only some acquaintance with Maximus.
Along with Macrina, this family living in a region now part of Turkey produced an extraordinary number of saints: the girl's maternal grandmother, for whom she was named; her parents; and three of her brothers, all bishops--Peter of Sabaste and Cappadoclan Fathers Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaraea.
In the fourth century, a famine struck the Cappadocian region in Asia Minor, and leaders such as Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa sought a Christian response to the tragedy.
Gregory of Nyssa mentioned all the symptoms that Aretaios had identified, but he added a raspy voice, and most importantly, the loss of sensation in the affected skin.
Unfortunately, he ended up as a condemned heretic, his teachings banned in 381 and himself denounced in the Antirrheticus of Gregory of Nyssa.
Macrina was the elder sister of Saints Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa.