Basil the Great

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Related to Basil the Great: John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
His Energies descend upon us while His Essence remains unknowable." (Basil the Great 1988: 483)
(11) St Basil the Great was the prototype of the religious diplomat, the one who, although very strict in observing the ritual, the canons, the Christian ethics, and doctrine, succeeded in maintaining an efficient dialogue with the representatives of the Roman state, who were most frequently his opponents.
Basil the Great said that, for a Christian, nothing is as characteristic as working for peace (Letter 114).
Harakas analyzes the thought of three great pastors in the Eastern Church: Gregory Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great. While he notes that none of these men provide a system of ethics, their thought allows a general approach to ethical issues.
They cover a whole host of topics: some of those from the iconoclast period contain brief expositions of the orthodox position on the veneration of icons and sometimes present a rather more personal line of argument than is found in Theodore's rather dry treatises in defence of the icons; more of them, however, discuss the pressing question of how to conduct relations with those who have succumbed to imperial pressure to reject icons - here Theodore draws on his considerable knowledge of St Basil the Great and the example of the persecuted Church of the first three centuries.
After introductory chapters on classical theories and some of the problems that Christianity posed for such theories, White turns to particular individuals who exemplified friendship in their lives and theorized about it in their writings, beginning with Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus and moving on to Chrysostom and Olympias.
Basil the Great of Caesarea (d ?379) and his co - worker St.
Saint Basil the Great, one of the Church's pillars of faith calls medicine, "an art" given to us by God for our help as it heals the sick as much as it can:
Almost 300 years went by before Pope Pius V added to these "Western" doctors four counterparts from the East: Saints Athanasius (295-373), Basil the Great (330-379), Gregory of Nazianzus (330-390), and John Chrysostom (345-407).
St Basil the Great recommended that those who kill in war should abstain from taking communion for three years.
Basil the Great (329-79), the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, a staunch defender of Nicene orthodoxy, and a central figure in the development of monasticism.