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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
He could be called, with some limitations, a Roman among the Hellenes since "even his writings reveal a man of action and a leaning toward the practical and ethical aspects of the Christian message, while the rest of the Greek Church Fathers show a decided preference for the metaphysical side of the Gospel." (Quasten 1960: 208) Saint Gregory the Theologian testifies (Orat.
Gregory the Theologian, referring to the frugality of the meals he would have, to his detachment from love of money and his modest clothing, says:
Concerning the first task, working groups were given an excerpt from Ambrose of Milan (fourth century CE), Gregory the Theologian (fourth century CE) or Isaac of Ninevah (seventh century CE).
She has published many articles on patristics and Orthodox theology, especially on the Cappadocians, theological anthropology and gender issues, and she is the author of "Grace and Human Freedom according to St Gregory of Nyssa" (1992), "St Basil the Great on the Human Condition" (2005), and "St Gregory the Theologian: Festal Orations" (forthcoming).
This form of work is characteristic of Maximus: another of his great works, the Ambigua, is a discussion of difficult passages in St Gregory the Theologian (and one from Denys the Areopagite), that were raised with him by John, Archbishop of Cyzicus, and by another monk, Thomas.
(6) See especially the works by St Athanasius of Alexandria, St Gregory the Theologian, St Maximus the Confessor.
(10) Gregory the Theologian, Oration 45 on Easter, PG 36, 632Af.
Long before Symeon, St Gregory the Theologian affirmed that as long as a man has not risen above his passions and cleansed his intellect, he should not take the priestly service upon himself.
Between the three great Cappadocians (Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa), for instance, there exists a direct and immediate connection: they knew each other, were "allies" in theological writing, lived in the same church-historical context, used the same sources, wrote in the same language and read each other's works.