Basil the Great

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Related to Basil of Caesarea: Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
(12) Quotations from Basil of Caesarea's Hexaemeron are from the Stanilas Giet's edition.
Both Gregory of Nyssa and his brother Basil of Caesarea promoted pilgrimages to the tombs and relics of miracle-working martyrs, sometimes to those of local Cappadocia cults, rather than a journey to Jerusalem or Bethlehem.
Fedwick (ed.), Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic (Toronto, 1981);
This is an excellent brief introduction to Basil of Caesarea. Radde-Gallwitz offers a portrait of Basil as pastor and theologian through whom readers can better understand the early Christian doctrinal disputes.
He deals with Antony the Great, Pachomius, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Palestinian monasticism, including Jerome, Mesopotamian and Syrian monasticism, the desert fathers of Nitria and Scete and their apophthegmata, and Evagrius Ponticus.
Scholars have long recognized that the theological arguments of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa against their opponent Eunomius helped to shape the development of Christian orthodoxy, and thus Christian self-definition, in the late fourth-century Roman Empire.
In the East, Basil of Caesarea and John Chrysostom scorched the lazy with fiery sermons on social justice.
The Text of Matthew in the Writings of Basil of Caesarea. By JEAN-FRANCOIS RACINE.
Relying mainly on the letters of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzus, with supplementary material from the many studies of city life in Anatolia, Raymond Van Dam studies the impact of Rome on Cappadocia and the role of Greek civic culture in the area.
Basil of Caesarea (Basil the Great), his brother Gregory of Nyssa and their best friend Gregory of Nazainzus "developed the ideas that would make it possible for conservative Arians and Nicene Christians eventually to fuse."