Gregory of Nazianzus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Additional complexity arose with Evagrius and Gregory Nazianzus, who applied tripartite depiction to both healthy and degenerative political and ascetic life, thus recuperating Aristotle's "surely correct interpretation" of Platonic degenerative tripartition as a bipartition into rational and passable A transition to Plotinus is F.
His admirers Basil and Gregory Nazianzus (who dubbed him "The Stone that sharpens us all," a common patristic image of Christ Himself) sought to popularise him via an anthology
Basil was already suspect for not aggressively shouting the divinity of the Spirit from the housetops, as Gregory Nazianzus wanted him to.(18) In his defense Basil wrote On the Holy Spirit, in which he insisted that equal honor has to be given to equals--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the word homotimos ("equal in honor") is Basil's own coinage.
In the words of Gregory Nazianzus, the Spirit is "not a rival God."(25) In trinitarian logic, what is given to the Spirit is not taken away from the Son, or vice-versa.
Gregory Nazianzus works backward from inner transformation to the divinity of the Spirit: "How could [the Spirit] not be God, the one through whom you become God."(34) Cyril of Jerusalem announces the principle that "whatever the Spirit touches becomes holy and transformed."(35)
Before him Clement and afterwards Gregory Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa argued in the same direction.