Thursday, January 17, 2008

St. Basil the Great

St. Basil and his wife, St. Macrina, suffered under the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314). They fled to the mountains where they suffered many privations, thereby St. Macrina is regarded as a "Confessor of the Faith". Their son, St. Basil the Elder, married St. Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr, and among their ten children were St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Peter of Sebastea, St. Macrina the Younger, and the man who wrote the homilies that you have been reading. St. Basil the Great wrote nine homilies on the six days of creation, known as "The Hexaemeron."

St. Basil the Great was born around A.D. 329, and died on January 1, 379. He studied in Caesarea, Constantinople, and later in Athens, where he became friends with St. Gregory of Nazianzus. They joined their efforts in confronting heresies, especially Arianism. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Basil the Great, and Basil's brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, became known as "The Three Cappadocians." St. Basil became Bishop of Caesarea in 370, and greatly influenced theology in both the East and West.

St. Basil's insights into the first chapters of Genesis are remarkable for their clear apologetic of the biblical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. We have read excerpts from the first two sermons and tomorrow we will read the full text of St. Basil's third homily.

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