Born at Besanduk, near Eleutheropolis, in Judea, after 310; died in 403. While very young he followed the monastic life in Egypt. On his return to Judea he founded a monastery at Besanduk and was ordained to the priesthood. In 367 his reputation for asceticism and learning brought about his nomination as Bishop of Constantia (Salamis) the metropolis of the Island of Cyprus. For nearly forty years he fulfilled the duties of the episcopate, but his activity extended far beyond his island. His zeal for the monastic life, ecclesiastical learning, and orthodoxy gave him extraordinary authority; hence the numerous occasions on which his advice was sought, and his intervention in important ecclesiastical affairs. He went to Antioch, probably in 376, to investigate Apollinarianism and to intervene in the schism that divided that church. He decided in favour of Bishop Paulinus, who was supported by Rome, against Meletius, who was supported by the episcopate of the East. In 382 he assisted at the Council of Rome to uphold the cause of Paulinus of Antioch. About 394, carried away by an apparently excessive zeal, he went to Jerusalem to oppose the supposed Origenism of the bishop, John. In 402 he was at Constantinople to combat the same pretended heresy of St. John Chrysostom. He died on his return journey to Cyprus.

It was at the instance of his correspondents that Epiphanius compiled his works. The earliest (374) is the "Ancoratus", or "The Well-Anchored", i.e. the Christian firmly fixed against the agitations of error. The Trinity and the dogma of the Resurrection are particularly treated by the author, who argues especially against the Arians and the Origenists. There are two symbols at the end of the work: the first, which is the shorter, is very important in the history of symbols, or professions of faith, being the baptismal creed of the Church of Constantia. The second is the personal work of Epiphanius, and is intended to fortify the faithful against current heresies. In the "Ancoratus" Epiphanius confines himself to a list of heresies. Some readers desired to have a detailed work on this question, and Epiphanius composed (374-7) the "Panarion" or "Medicine chest", i.e. a stock of remedies to offset the poisons of heresy. This work is divided into three books comprising in all seven volumes and treating eighty heresies. The first twenty heresies are prior to Jesus Christ ; the other sixty deal with Christian doctrine. In reality the number eighty may be reduced to seventy-seven, for among the twenty heresies prior to Christ only seventeen count. Three are generic names, namely Hellenism, Samaritanism, and Judaism. In the editions of the "Panarion" each heresy is numbered in order; hence it is customary to quote the "Panarion" as follows: Epiphanius, Haer. N (the number of the heresy ). Necessarily much of the information in this great compilation varies in value. The "Panarion" reflects the character of Epiphanius and his method of working. Sometimes his ardour prevents him from inquiring carefully into the doctrines he opposes. Thus, on his own avowal (Haer., lxxi), he speaks of Apollinarianism on hearsay. At Constantinople he had to acknowledge the Origenist monks whom he opposed that he was not acquainted with either their school or their books, and that he only spoke from hearsay ( Sozomen, "Hist. eccl.", VIII, xl). There is, however, in the "Panarion" much information not found elsewhere. Chapters devoted only to the doctrinal refutation of heresies are rare. As an apologist Epiphanius appeared generally weak to Photius.

The "Panarion" furnishes very valuable information concerning the religious history of the fourth century, either because the author confines himself to transcribing documents preserved by him alone or because he writes down his personal observations. With regard to Hieracas (Haer., lxvii), he makes known a curious Egyptian sect by whom asceticism and intellectual work were equally esteemed. In connection with the Meletians of Egypt (Haer., lxviii), he has preserved important fragments of contemporary Egyptian history of this movement. With regard to Arianism (Haer., lxix), if he gives an apocryphal letter of Constantine, he transcribes two letters of Arius. He is the only one to give us any information concerning the Gothic sect of the Audians (Haer., lxx). He has made use of the lost report of the discussion between Photius (Haer., lxxi), and Basil of Ancyra. He has transcribed a very important letter from Bishop Marcellus of Ancyra (Haer., lxxii) to Pope Julius and fragments of the treatise of Acaius of Caesarea against Marcellus. With regard to the Semiarians (Haer., lxxiii), he gives in the Acts of the Council of Ancyra (358) a letter from Basil of Ancyra and one from George of Laodicea, and the stenographic text of a singular sermon of Melitius at the time of his installation at Antioch. In the chapter dealing with the Anomeans (Haer., lxxvi) he has preserved a monograph of Aëtius.

For the first three centuries Epiphanius was compelled to use the only literary sources. Some of these have been preserved, such as the great anti-heretical work of St. Irenæus of Antioch, "Contra Haereses". Other ancient sources utilized by him have been lost, which gives exceptional value to his work. Thus he made use of the "Syntagma" of Hippolytus. The precise determination of all his sources is matter of controversy. His information is especially valuable with regard to the Samaritans (Haer., x-xiii), the Jews (Haer., xiii-xx), the Ebionites (Haer., xxx), and their Gospel; with regard to the Gnostics Valentius (Haer., xxxi) and Ptolemaeus (Haer., xxxiii), whose letter to Flora he quotes; and with regard to the Scriptural criticism of Marcion. The work ends with a long exposition of the Catholic faith. A summary of the "Penarion" is perhaps the work of Epiphanius. A work entitled "Of Measures and Weights" (De mensuribus et ponderibus) has a more general interest than might be imagined from the title. For the time it is a real "Introduction" to the Holy Scripture, containing the history of Biblical texts and Sacred archaeology. The treatise "On the Twelve Precious Stones" is an explanation of the ornaments of the high-priest's breastplate ( Exodus 28:17 ). Mention must finally be made of two letters of Epiphanius preserved in a Latin translation.

In theological matters Epiphanius teaches the doctrine of the Catholic theologians of his time. In the vocabulary of Trinitarian theology he conforms to the language of the Greek Church. He speaks of three hypostases in the Trinity, whereas the Latins and the Paulicians of Antioch speak of one hypostasis in three persons. At bottom it was a mere matter of words, but for some time it occasioned theological dissensions. Ephiphanius clearly teaches that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. The doctrine that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only prevailed later in the Greek Church. This teaching cannot be traced to Epiphanius (Ancoratus, 8). With regard to the constitution of the Church, he is one of the most explicit of the Greek theologians concerning the primacy of St. Peter ("Ancoratus", 9; "Haer.", lix, 7). Two passages on the Eucharist are famous because they are among those which most clearly affirm the "Discipline of the Secret". The "Secret" was purely pedagogical and often neglected, consisting in grading the doctrinal initiation of catechumens and in not speaking before them of the Christian mysteries save in deliberately vague expressions. Hence the necessity of explaining the words of Epiphanius on the Eucharist ("Ancoratus", 57; "Haer.", xlii, 61). In these two passages, instead of quoting the words of the institution of the Eucharist, the author gives these: "Hoc meum est, hoc." Epiphanius is one of the chief authorities of the fourth century for the devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He expresses himself on the subject in connection with two heresies, of which one diminished, while the other exaggerated, this devotion (Haer." lxxviii, lxxix). A circumstance of his life is well known in the history of images, namely the destruction of an image in the church of Bethel ("Letter to John of Jerusalem" in P.G., XLIII, 390).

His character is most clearly shown by the Origenist controversies, which demonstrated his disinterested zeal but also his quickness to suspect heresy, a good faith which was easily taken advantage of by the intriguing, and an ardour of conviction which caused him to forget the rules of canon law and to commit real abuses of power. He saw in Origen the chief cause of the heresies of his time, and especially of Arianism. He was particularly opposed to his allegorical method, his doctrines concerning the Son, in which he saw the subordination of the Son to the Father, his doctrines concerning the pre-existence of souls and the resurrection ("Ancoratus", 54, 62; "Haer.", lxiv). He did not confine himself to this condemnation of Origen. He reproached the monks and bishops of his time with accepting the Origenist errors. Thence resulted at the end of his life the conflict with John of Jerusalem and with St. John Chrysostom. Apart from the injustice of the controversy, he encroached on the jurisdiction of these bishops. He was made use of by Theophilus of Alexandria, the irreconcilable enemy of Chrysostom. The chief sources relative to this controversy are: St. Jerome, "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum" in P.L., XXIII, 355; Idem, "Ad Theophilum" in Pl L., XXII, 736; Epiphanius, "Ad Joannem Hierosolymitanum" in P.G., XLIII, 379; Socrates, "Hist. eccl.", VI, x-xiv; Sozomen, "Hist. eccl.", VIII, xiv-xv. The chief editions of Epiphanius's works are those of Petavius (Paris, 1622); Greek text, Latin tr., and notes reproduced with additions in P.G., XLI-XLIII; and of Dindorf (Leipzig, 1859-62), 5 vols., giving only the Greek text, improved in some parts.



Born at Nisibis, then under Roman rule, early in the fourth century; died June, 373. The name of his father is unknown, but he was a pagan and a priest of the goddess Abnil or Abizal. His mother was a native of Amid. Ephraem was instructed in the Christian mysteries by St. James, the famous Bishop of Nisibis, and was baptized at the age of eighteen (or twenty-eight). Thenceforth he became more intimate with the holy bishop, who availed himself of the services of Ephraem to renew the moral life of the citizens of Nisibis, especially during the sieges of 338, 346, and 350. One of his biographers relates that on a certain occasion he cursed from the city walls the Persian hosts, whereupon a cloud of flies and mosquitoes settled on the army of Sapor II and compelled it to withdraw. The adventurous campaign of Julian the Apostate, which for a time menaced Persia, ended, as is well known, in disaster, and his successor, Jovianus, was only too happy to rescue from annihilation some remnant of the great army which his predecessor had led across the Euphrates. To accomplish even so much the emperor had to sign a disadvantageous treaty, by the terms of which Rome lost the Eastern provinces conquered at the end of the third century; among the cities retroceded to Persia was Nisibis (363). To escape the cruel persecution that was then raging in Persia, most of the Christian population abandoned Nisibis en masse. Ephraem went with his people, and settled first at Beit-Garbaya, then at Amid, finally at Edessa, the capital of Osrhoene, where he spent the remaining ten years of his life, a hermit remarkable for his severe asceticism. Nevertheless he took an interest in all matters that closely concerned the population of Edessa. Several ancient writers say that he was a deacon ; as such he could well have been authorized to preach in public. At this time some ten heretical sects were active in Edessa ; Ephraem contended vigorously with all of them, notably with the disciples of the illustrious philosopher Bardesanes. To this period belongs nearly all his literary work; apart from some poems composed at Nisibis, the rest of his writings-sermons, hymns, exegetical treatises-date from his sojourn at Edessa. It is not improbable that he is one of the chief founders of the theological "School of the Persians ", so called because its first students and original masters were Persian Christian refugees of 363. At his death St. Ephraem was borne without pomp to the cemetery "of the foreigners". The Armenian monks of the monastery of St. Sergius at Edessa claim to possess his body.

The aforesaid facts represent all that is historically certain concerning the career of Ephraem (see BOUVY, "Les sources historiques de la vie de S. Ephrem" in "Revue Augustinienne", 1903, 155-61). All details added later by Syrian biographers are at best of doubtful value. To this class belong not only the legendary and occasionally puerile traits so dear to Oriental writers, but also others seemingly reliable, e.g. an alleged journey to Egypt with a sojourn of eight years, during which he is said to have confuted publicly certain spokesmen of the Arian heretics. The relations of St. Ephraem and St. Basil are narrated by very reliable authors, e.g. St. Gregory of Nyssa (the Pseudo?) and Sozomen, according to whom the hermit of Edessa, attracted by the great reputation of St. Basil, resolved to visit him at Caesarea. He was warmly received and was ordained deacon by St. Basil; four years later he refused both the priesthood and the episcopate that St. Basil offered him through delegates sent for that purpose to Edessa. Though Ephraem seems to have been quite ignorant of Greek, this meeting with St. Basil is not improbable; some good critics, however, hold the evidence insufficient, and therefore reject it, or at least withhold their adhesion. The life of St. Ephraem, therefore, offers not a few obscure problems; only the general outline of his career is known to us. It is certain, however, that while he lived he was very influential among the Syrian Christians of Edessa, and that his memory was revered by all, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Nestorians. They call him the "sun of the Syrians," the "column of the Church ", the "harp of the Holy Spirit ". More extraordinary still is the homage paid by the Greeks who rarely mention Syrian writers. Among the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, 819) is a sermon (though not acknowledged by some) which is a real panegyric of St. Ephraem. Twenty years after the latter's death St. Jerome mentions him as follows in his catalogue of illustrious Christians : "Ephraem, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works [ opuscula ] in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit ; though it was only a translation, I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man" (De viris illustr., c. cxv). Theodoret of Cyrus also praised his poetic genius and theological knowledge (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxvi). Sozomen pretends that Ephraem wrote 3,000,000 verses, and gives the names of some of his disciples, some of whom remained orthodox, while others fell into heresy (Hist. Eccl., III, xvi). From the Syrian and Byzantine Churches the fame of Ephraem spread among all Christians. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on 1 February. In their menologies and synaxaria Greeks and Russians, Jacobites, Chaldeans, Copts, and Armenians honour the holy deacon of Edessa.

The works of this saint are so numerous and important that it is impossible to treat them here in detail. Let it suffice to consider briefly: (1) the text and the principal versions and editions of his writings; (2) his exegetical writings; (3) his poetical writings.

(1) Texts and Principal Versions and Editions

The Syriac original of Ephraem's writings is preserved in many manuscripts, one of which dates from the fifth century. Through much transcription, however, his writings, particularly those used in the various liturgies, have suffered no little interpolation. Moreover, many of his exegetical works have perished, or at least have not yet been found in the libraries of the Orient. Numerous versions, however, console us for the loss of the originals. He was still living, or at least not long dead, when the translation of his writing into Greek was begun. Armenian writers seem to have undertaken the translation of his Biblical commentaries. The Mechitarists have edited in part those commentaries and hold the Armenian versions as very ancient (fifth century). The Monophysites, it is well known, were wont from an early date to translate or adapt many Syriac works. The writings of Ephraem were eventually translated into Arabic and Ethiopian (translations as yet unedited). In medieval times some of his minor works were translated from the Greek into Slavonic and Latin. From these versions were eventually made French, German, Italian, and English adaptations of the ascetic writings of St. Ephraem. The first printed (Latin) edition was based on a translation from the Greek done by Ambrogio Traversari ( St. Ambrose of Camaldoli ), and issued from the press of Bartholomew Guldenbeek of Sultz, in 1475. A far better edition was executed by Gerhard Vossius (159-1619), the learned provost of Tongres, at the request of Gregory XIII. In 1709 Edward Thwaites edited, from the manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, the Greek text, hitherto known only in fragments. The Syriac original was unknown in Europe until the fruitful Oriental voyage (1706-07) of the Maronites Gabriel Eva, Elias, and especially Joseph Simeon Assemani (1716-17), which resulted in the discovery of a precious collection of manuscripts in the Nitrian (Egypt) monastery of Our Lady. These manuscripts found their way at once to the Vatican Library. In the first half of the nineteenth century the British Museum was notably enriched by similar fortunate discoveries of Lord Prudhol (1828), Curzon (1832), and Tattam (1839, 1841). All recent editions of the Syriac original of Ephraem's writings are based on these manuscripts. In the Bibliotheque Nationale ( Paris ) and the Bodleian ( Oxford ) are a few Syriac fragments of minor importance. Joseph Simeon Assemani hastened to make the best use of his newly found manuscripts and proposed at once to Clement XII a complete edition of the writings of Ephraem in the Syriac original and the Greek versions, with a new Latin version of the entire material. He took for his own share the edition of the Greek text. The Syriac text was entrusted to the Jesuit Peter Mobarak (Benedictus), a native Maronite. After the death of Mobarak, his labours were continued by Stephanus Evodius Assemani. Finally this monumental edition of the works of Ephraem appeared at Rome (1732-46) in six folio volumes. It was completed by the labours of Overbeck ( Oxford, 1865) and Bickell (Carmina Nisibena, 1866), while other savants edited newly found fragments ( Zingerle, P. Martin, Rubens Duval). A splendid edition (Mechlin, 1882-1902) of the hymns and sermons of St. Ephraem is owing to the late Monsignor T. J. Lamy. However, a complete edition of the vast works of the great Syriac doctor is yet to be executed.

(2) Exegetical Writings

Ephraem wrote commentaries on the entire Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testament, but much of his work has been lost. There is extant in Syriac his commentary on Genesis and on a large portion of Exodus; for the other books of the Old Testament we have A Syriac abridgment, handed down in a catena of the ninth century by the Syriac monk Severus (851-61). The commentaries on Ruth, Esdras, Nehemias, Esther, the Psalms, Proverbs, the Canticle of Canticles, and Ecclesiasticus are lost. Of his commentaries on the New Testament there has survived only an Armenian version. The Scriptural canon of Ephraem resembles our own very closely. It seems doubtful that he accepted the deuterocanonical writings; at least no commentary of his on these books has reached us. On the other hand he accepted as canonical the apocryphal Third Epistle to the Corinthians, and wrote a commentary on it. The Scriptural text used by Ephraem is the Syriac Peshito, slightly differing, however, from the printed text of that very ancient version. The New Testament was known to him, as to all Syrians, both Eastern and Western, before the time of Rabulas, in the harmonized "Diatessaron" of Tatian ; it is also this text which serves as the basis of his commentary. His text of the Acts of the Apostles appears to have been one closely related to that call the "Occidental". (J. R. Harris, "Fragments of the Commentary of Ephrem Syrus upon the Diatessaron", London, 1905; J. H. Hill, "A Dissertation on the Gospel Commentary of St. Ephraem the Syrian", Edinburgh, 1896; F. C. Burkitt, "St Ephraim's Quotations from the Gospel, Corrected and Arranged", in "Texts and Studies", Cambridge, 1901, VII, 2.) The exegesis of Ephraem is that of the Syriac writers generally, whether hellenized or not, and is closely related to that of Aphraates, being, like the latter, quite respectful of Jewish traditions and often based on them. As an exegete, Ephraem is sober, exhibits a preference for the literal sense, is discreet in his use of allegory; in a word, he inclines strongly to the Antiochene School, and reminds us in particular of Theodoret. He admits in Scripture but few Messianic passages in the literal sense, many more, however, prophetic of Christ in the typological sense, which here is to be carefully distinguished from the allegorical sense. It is not improbable that most of his commentaries were written for the Christian Persian school ( Schola Persarum ) at Nisibis ; as seen above, he was one of its founders, also one of its most distinguished teachers.

(3) Poetical Writings

Most of Ephraem's sermons and exhortations are in verse, though a few sermons in prose have been preserved. If we put aside his exegetical writings, the rest of his works may be divided into homilies and hymns. The homilies (Syriac memrê , i.e. discourses) are written in seven-syllable verse, often divided into two parts of three and four syllables respectively. He celebrates in them the feast of Our Lord and of the saints ; sometimes he expounds a Scriptural narrative or takes up a spiritual or edifying theme. In the East the Lessons for the ecclesiastical services (see OFFICE, DIVINE; BREVIARY) were often taken from the homilies of Ephraem. The hymns (Syriac madrashê , i.e. instructions) offer a greater variety both of style and rhythm. They were written for the choir service of nuns, and were destined to be chanted by them; hence the division into strophes, the last verses of each strophe being repeated in a kind of refrain. This refrain is indicated at the beginning of each hymn, after the manner of an antiphon; there is also an indication of the musical key in which the hymn should be sung. The following may serve as an illustration. It is taken from an Epiphany hymn (ed. Lamy, I, p. 4).

Air: Behold the month.

Refrain: Glory to Thee from Thy flock on the day of Thy manifestation.
Strophe: He has renewed the heavens, because the foolish ones had adored all the stars | He has renewed the earth which had lost its vigour through Adam | A new creation was made by His spittle | And He Who is all-powerful made straight both bodies and minds
Refrain: Glory to Thee etc.

Mgr. Lamyu, the learned editor of the hymns ; noted seventy-five different rhythms and airs. Some hymns are acrostic, i.e., sometimes each strophe begins with a letter of the alphabet, as in the case with several (Hebrew) metrical pieces in the Bible, or again the fist letters of a number of verses or strophes form a given word. In the latter way Ephraem signed several of his hymns. In Syriac poetry St. Ephraem is a pioneer of genius, the master often imitated but never equalled. He is not, however, the inventor of Syriac poetry; this honour seems due to the aforesaid heretic Bardesanes of Edessa. Ephraem himself tells us that in the neighbourhood of Nisibis and Edessa the poems of this Gnostic and his son Harmonius contributed efficaciously to the success of their false teachings. Indeed, if Ephraem entered the same field, it was with the hope of vanquishing heresy with its own weapons perfected by himself. The Western reader of the hymns of Ephraem is inclined to wonder at the enthusiasm of his admirers in the ancient Syriac Church. His "lyricism" is by no means what we understand by that term. His poetry seems to us prolix, tiresome, colourless, lacking in the person note, and in general devoid of charm. To be just, however, it must be remembered that his poems are known to most readers only in versions, from which of course the original rhythm has disappeared---precisely the charm and most striking feature of this poetry. These hymns, moreover, were not written for private reading, but were meant to be sung by alternating choirs. We have only to compare the Latin psalms as sung in the choir of a Benedictine monastery with the private reading of them by the priest in the recitation of his Breviary. Nor must we forget that literary taste is not everywhere and at all times the same. We are influenced by Greek thought more deeply than we are aware or like to admit: In literature we admire most the qualities of lucidity, sobriety, and varied action. Orientals, on the other hand, never weary of endless repetition of the same thought in slightly altered form; they delight in pretty verbal niceties, in the manifold play of rhythm and accent, rhyme and assonance, and acrostic. In this respect it is scarcely necessary to remind the reader of the well-known peculiarities and qualities of Arabic poetry.



Bishop of Caesarea, and one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church. Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement.

Saint Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was the son of a Christian of good birth and his wife, Macrina (Acta SS., January, II), both of whom suffered for the faith during the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314), spending several years of hardship in the wild mountains of Pontus. St. Basil the Elder was noted for his virtue (Acta SS, May, VII) and also won considerable reputation as a teacher in Caesarea. He was not a priest ( Cf. Cave, Hist. Lit., I, 239). He married Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr and became the father of ten children. Three of these, Macrina, Basil, and Gregory are honoured as saints ; and of the sons, Peter, Gregory, and Basil attained the dignity of the episcopate.

Under the care of his father and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, who preserved the traditions of their countryman, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-275) Basil was formed in habits of piety and study. He was still young when his father died and the family moved to the estate of the elder Macrina at Annesi in Pontus, on the banks of the Iris. As a boy, he was sent to school at Caesarea, then "a metropolis of letters", and conceived a fervent admiration for the local bishop, Dianius. Later, he went to Constantinople, at that time "distinguished for its teachers of philosophy and rhetoric", and thence to Athens. Here he became the inseparable companion of Gregory of Nazianzus, who, in his famous panegyric on Basil (Or. xliii), gives a most interesting description of their academic experiences. According to him, Basil was already distinguished for brilliancy of mind and seriousness of character and associated only with the most earnest students. He was able, grave, industrious, and well advanced in rhetoric, grammar, philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and medicine. (As to his not knowing Latin, see Fialon, Etude historique et littéraire sur St. Basile , Paris, 1869). We know the names of two of Basil's teachers at Athens — Prohaeresius, possibly a Christian, and Himerius, a pagan. It has been affirmed, though probably incorrectly, that Basil spent some time under Libanius. He tells us himself that he endeavoured without success to attach himself as a pupil to Eustathius (Ep., I). At the end of his sojourn at Athens, Basil being laden, says St. Gregory of Nazianzus "with all the learning attainable by the nature of man ", was well equipped to be a teacher. Caesarea took possession of him gladly "as a founder and second patron" (Or. xliii), and as he tells us (ccx), he refused the splendid offers of the citizens of Neo-Caesarea, who wished him to undertake the education of the youth of their city.

To the successful student and distinguished professor, "there now remained", says Gregory (Or. xliii), "no other need than that of spiritual perfection". Gregory of Nyssa, in his life of Macrina, gives us to understand that Basil's brilliant success both as a university student and a professor had left traces of worldliness and self-sufficiency on the soul of the young man. Fortunately, Basil came again in contact with Dianius, Bishop of Caesarea, the object of his boyish affection, and Dianius seems to have baptized him, and ordained him Reader soon after his return to Caesarea. It was at the same time also that he fell under the influence of that very remarkable woman, his sister Macrina, who had meanwhile founded a religious community on the family estate at Annesi. Basil himself tells us how, like a man roused from deep sleep, he turned his eyes to the marvellous truth of the Gospel, wept many tears over his miserable life, and prayed for guidance from God : "Then I read the Gospel, and saw there that a great means of reaching perfection was the selling of one's goods, the sharing of them with the poor, the giving up of all care for this life, and the refusal to allow the soul to be turned by any sympathy towards things of earth" (Ep. ccxxiii). To learn the ways of perfection, Basil now visited the monasteries of Egypt, Palestine, Coele-Syria, and Mesopotamia. He returned, filled with admiration for the austerity and piety of the monks, and founded a monastery in his native Pontus, on the banks of the Iris, nearly opposite Annesi. (Cf. Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor , London, 1890, p. 326). Eustathius of Sebaste had already introduced the eremitical life into Asia Minor ; Basil added the cenobitic or community form, and the new feature was imitated by many companies of men and women. (Cf. Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., VI, xxvii; Epiphanius, Haer., lxxv, 1; Basil, Ep. ccxxiii; Tillemont, Mém., IX, Art. XXI, and note XXVI.) Basil became known as the father of Oriental monasticism, the forerunner of St. Benedict. How well he deserved the title, how seriously and in what spirit he undertook the systematizing of the religious life, may be seen by the study of his Rule. He seems to have read Origen's writings very systematically about this time, for in union with Gregory of Nazianzus, he published a selection of them called the "Philocalia".

Saint Basil was drawn from his retreat into the area of theological controversy in 360 when he accompanied two delegates from Seleucia to the emperor at Constantinople, and supported his namesake of Ancyra. There is some dispute as to his courage and his perfect orthodoxy on this occasion (cf. Philostorgius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xii; answered by Gregory of Nyssa, In Eunom., I, and Maran, Proleg., vii; Tillemont, Mém., note XVIII). A little later, however, both qualities seem to have been sufficiently in evidence, as Basil forsook Dianius for having signed the heretical creed of Rimini. To this time (c. 361) may be referred the "Moralia"; and a little later came two books against Eunomius (363) and some correspondence with Athanasius. It is possible, also, that Basil wrote his monastic rules in the briefer forms while in Pontus, and enlarged them later at Caesarea. There is an account of an invitation from Julian for Basil to present himself a court and of Basil's refusal, coupled with an admonition that angered the emperor and endangered Basil's safety. Both incident and correspondence however are questioned by some critics.

Saint Basil still retained considerable influence in Caesarea, and it is regarded as fairly probable that he had a hand in the election of the successor of Dianius who died in 362, after having been reconciled to Basil. In any case the new bishop, Eusebius, was practically placed in his office by the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. Eusebius having persuaded the reluctant Basil to be ordained priest, gave him a prominent place in the administration of the diocese (363). In ability for the management of affairs Basil so far eclipsed the bishop that ill-feeling rose between the two. "All the more eminent and wiser portion of the church was roused against the bishop " (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii; Ep. x), and to avoid trouble Basil again withdrew into the solitude of Pontus. A little later (365) when the attempt of Valens to impose Arianism on the clergy and the people necessitated the presence of a strong personality, Basil was restored to his former position, being reconciled to the bishop by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. There seems to have been no further disagreement between Eusebius and Basil and the latter soon became the real head of the diocese. "The one", says Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. xliii), "led the people the other led their leader". During the five years spent in this most important office, Basil gave evidence of being a man of very unusual powers. He laid down the law to the leading citizens and the imperial governors, settled disputes with wisdom and finality, assisted the spiritually needy, looked after "the support of the poor, the entertainment of strangers, the care of maidens, legislation written and unwritten for the monastic life, arrangements of prayers, (liturgy?), adornment of the sanctuary " (op. cit.). In time of famine, he was the saviour of the poor.

In 370 Saint Basil succeeded to the See of Caesarea, being consecrated according to tradition on 14 June. Caesarea was then a powerful and wealthy city (Soz., Hist. Eccl., V, v). Its bishop was Metropolitan of Cappadocia and Exarch of Pontus which embraced more than half of Asia Minor and comprised eleven provinces. The see of Caesarea ranked with Ephesus immediately after the patriarchal sees in the councils, and the bishop was the superior of fifty chorepiscopi ( Baert ). Basil's actual influence, says Jackson (Prolegomena, XXXII) covered the whole stretch of country "from the Balkans to the Mediterranean and from the Aegean to the Euphrates ". The need of a man like Basil in such a see as Caesarea was most pressing, and he must have known this well. Some think that he set about procuring his own election; others (e.g. Maran, Baronius, Ceillier ) say that he made no attempt on his own behalf. In any event, he became Bishop of Caesarea largely by the influence of the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. His election, says the younger Gregory (loc. cit.), was followed by disaffection on the part of several suffragan bishops "on whose side were found the greatest scoundrels in the city". During his previous administration of the diocese Basil had so clearly defined his ideas of discipline and orthodoxy, that no one could doubt the direction and the vigour of his policy. St. Athanasius was greatly pleased at Basil's election (Ad Pallad., 953; Ad Joann. et Ant., 951); but the Arianizing Emperor Valens, displayed considerably annoyance and the defeated minority of bishops became consistently hostile to the new metropolitan. By years of tactful conduct, however, "blending his correction with consideration and his gentleness with firmness" (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii), he finally overcame most of his opponents.

Saint Basil's letters tell the story of his tremendous and varied activity; how he worked for the exclusion of unfit candidates from the sacred ministry and the deliverance of the bishops from the temptation of simony ; how he required exact discipline and the faithful observance of the canons from both laymen and clerics ; how he rebuked the sinful, followed up the offending, and held out hope of pardon to the penitent. (Cf. Epp. xliv, xlv, and xlvi, the beautiful letter to a fallen virgin, as well as Epp. liii, liv, lv, clxxxviii, cxcix, ccxvii, and Ep. clxix, on the strange incident of Glycerius, whose story is well filled out by Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire , New York, 1893, p. 443 sqq.) If on the one hand he strenuously defended clerical rights and immunities (Ep. civ), on the other he trained his clergy so strictly that they grew famous as the type of all that a priest should be (Epp. cii, ciii). Basil did not confine his activity to diocesan affairs, but threw himself vigorously into the troublesome theological disputes then rending the unity of Christendom. He drew up a summary of the orthodox faith ; he attacked by word of mouth the heretics near at hand and wrote tellingly against those afar. His correspondence shows that he paid visits, sent messages, gave interviews, instructed, reproved, rebuked, threatened, reproached, undertook the protection of nations, cities, individuals great and small. There was very little chance of opposing him successfully, for he was a cool, persistent, fearless fighter in defence both of doctrine and of principles. His bold stand against Valens parallels the meeting of Ambrose with Theodosius. The emperor was dumbfounded at the archbishop's calm indifference to his presence and his wishes. The incident, as narrated by Gregory of Nazianzus, not only tells much concerning Basil's character but throws a clear light on the type of Christian bishop with which the emperors had to deal and goes far to explain why Arianism, with little court behind it, could make so little impression on the ultimate history of Catholicism.

While assisting Eusebius in the care of his diocese, Basil had shown a marked interest in the poor and afflicted; that interest now displayed itself in the erection of a magnificent institution, the Ptochoptopheion, or Basileiad, a house for the care of friendless strangers, the medical treatment of the sick poor, and the industrial training of the unskilled. Built in the suburbs, it attained such importance as to become practically the centre of a new city with the name of he kaine polis or " Newtown ". It was the motherhouse of like institutions erected in other dioceses and stood as a constant reminder to the rich of their privilege of spending wealth in a truly Christian way. It may be mentioned here that the social obligations of the wealthy were so plainly and forcibly preached by St. Basil that modern sociologists have ventured to claim him as one of their own, though with no more foundation than would exist in the case of any other consistent teacher of the principles of Catholic ethics. The truth is that St. Basil was a practical lover of Christian poverty, and even in his exalted position preserved that simplicity in food and clothing and that austerity of life for which he had been remarked at his first renunciation of the world.

In the midst of his labours, Basil underwent suffering of many kinds. Athanasius died in 373 and the elder Gregory in 374, both of them leaving gaps never to be filled. In 373 began the painful estrangement from Gregory of Nazianzus. Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, became an open enemy, Apollinaris "a cause of sorrow to the churches" (Ep. cclxiii), Eustathius of Sebaste a traitor to the Faith and a personal foe as well. Eusebius of Samosata was banished, Gregory of Nyssa condemned and deposed. When Emperor Valentinian died and the Arians recovered their influence, all Basil's efforts must have seemed in vain. His health was breaking, the Goths were at the door of the empire, Antioch was in schism, Rome doubted his sincerity, the bishops refused to be brought together as he wished. "The notes of the church were obscured in his part of Christendom, and he had to fare on as best he might,--admiring, courting, yet coldly treated by the Latin world, desiring the friendship of Rome, yet wounded by her reserve,--suspected of heresy by Damasus, and accused by Jerome of pride " (Newman, The Church of the Fathers). Had he lived a little longer and attended the Council of Constantinople (381), he would have seen the death of its first president, his friend Meletius, and the forced resignation of its second, Gregory of Nazianzus. Basil died 1 January, 379. His death was regarded as a public bereavement; Jews, pagans, and foreigners vied with his own flock in doing him honour. The earlier Latin martyrologies (Hieronymian and Bede ) make no mention of a feast of St. Basil. The first mention is by Usuard and Ado who place it on 14 June, the supposed date of Basil's consecration to the episcopate. In the Greek "Menaea" he is commemorated on 1 January, the day of his death. In 1081, John, Patriarch of Constantinople, in consequence of a vision, established a feast in common honour of St. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom, to be celebrated on 30 January. The Bollandists give an account of the origin of this feast ; they also record as worthy of note that no relics of St. Basil are mentioned before the twelfth century, at which time parts of his body, together with some other very extraordinary relics were reputed to have been brought to Bruges by a returning Crusader. Baronius (c. 1599) gave to the Naples Oratory a relic of St. Basil sent from Constantinople to the pope. The Bollandists and Baronius print descriptions of Basil's personal appearance and the former reproduce two icons, the older copied from a codex presented to Basil, Emperor of the East (877-886).

By common consent, Basil ranks among the greatest figures in church history and the rather extravagant panegyric by Gregory of Nazianzus has been all but equalled by a host of other eulogists. Physically delicate and occupying his exalted position but a few years, Basil did magnificent and enduring work in an age of more violent world convulsions than Christianity has since experienced. (Cf. Newman, The Church of the Fathers ). By personal virtue he attained distinction in an age of saints ; and his purity, his monastic fervour, his stern simplicity, his friendship for the poor became traditional in the history of Christian asceticism. In fact, the impress of his genius was stamped indelibly on the Oriental conception of religious life. In his hands the great metropolitan see of Caesarea took shape as the sort of model of the Christian diocese ; there was hardly any detail of episcopal activity in which he failed to mark out guiding lines and to give splendid example. Not the least of his glories is the fact that toward the officials of the State he maintained that fearless dignity and independence which later history has shown to be an indispensable condition of healthy life in the Catholic episcopate.

Some difficulty has arisen out of the correspondence of St. Basil with the Roman See. That he was in communion with the Western bishops and that he wrote repeatedly to Rome asking that steps be taken to assist the Eastern Church in her struggle with schismatics and heretics is undoubted; but the disappointing result of his appeals drew from him certain words which require explanation. Evidently he was deeply chagrined that Pope Damasus on the one hand hesitated to condemn Marcellus and the Eustathians, and on the other preferred Paulinus to Meletius in whose right to the See of Antioch St. Basil most firmly believed. At the best it must be admitted that St. Basil criticized the pope freely in a private letter to Eusebius of Samosata (Ep. ccxxxix) and that he was indignant as well as hurt at the failure of his attempt to obtain help from the West. Later on, however, he must have recognized that in some respects he had been hasty; in any event, his strong emphasis of the influence which the Roman See could exercise over the Eastern bishops, and his abstaining from a charge of anything like usurpation are great facts that stand out obviously in the story of the disagreement. With regard to the question of his association with the Semi-Arians, Philostorgius speaks of him as championing the Semi-Arian cause, and Newman says he seems unavoidably to have Arianized the first thirty years of his life. The explanation of this, as well as of the disagreement with the Holy See, must be sought in a careful study of the times, with due reference to the unsettled and changeable condition of theological distinctions, the lack of anything like a final pronouncement by the Church's defining power, the "lingering imperfections of the Saints" (Newman), the substantial orthodoxy of many of the so-called Semi-Arians, and above all the great plan which Basil was steadily pursuing of effecting unity in a disturbed and divided Christendom.

Of the five books against Eunomius (c. 364) the last two are classed as spurious by some critics. The work assails the equivalent Arianism of Eunomius and defends the Divinity of the Three Persons of the Trinity; it is well summarized by Jackson (Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Series II, VIII). The work "De Spiritu Sancto", or treatise on the Holy Spirit (c. 375) was evoked in part by the Macedonian denial of the Divinity of the Third Person and in part by charges that Basil himself had "slurred over the Spirit" (Gregory Naz., Ep. lviii), that he had advocated communion with all such a should admit simply that the Holy Ghost was not a creature (Basil, Ep. cxiii), and that he had sanctioned the use of a novel doxology, namely, "Glory be to the Father with the Son together with the Holy Ghost " (De Sp. S., I, i) The treatise teaches the doctrine of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, while avoiding the phrase "God, the Holy Ghost " for prudential reasons (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii). Wuilcknis and Swete affirm the necessity of some such reticence on Basil's part. (Cf. Jackson, op. cit., p. XXIII, note.) With regard to Basil's teaching on the Third Person, as expressed in his work against Eunomius (III, i), a controversy arose at the Council of Florence between the Latins and the Greeks; but strong arguments both external and internal, availed to place Basil on the side of the "Filioque". The dogmatic writings were edited separately by Goldhorn, in his "S. Basilii Opera Dogmatica Selecta" ( Leipzig, 1854). The "De Spiritu Sancto", was translated into English by Johnston ( Oxford, 1892); by Lewis in the Christian Classic Series (1888); and by Jackson (op. cit.).

These include nine homilies "On the Hexaemeron" and thirteen (Maran) genuine homilies on particular Psalms. A lengthy commentary on the first sixteen chapters of Isaias is of doubtful authenticity ( Jackson ), though by a contemporary hand. A commentary on Job has disappeared. "The Hexaemeron" was highly admired by Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. xliii, no. 67). It is translated entire by Jackson (op. cit.). The homilies on the Psalms are moral and hortatory rather than strictly exegetical. In interpreting the Scripture, Basil uses both the literal and the allegorical methods, but favours the literal system of Antioch. His second homily contains a denunciation of usury which has become famous.

Twenty-four sermons, doctrinal, moral, and panegyrical in character, are looked upon as generally genuine, certain critical difficulties, however, remaining still unsolved. Eight of these sermons were translated into Latin by Rufinus. The discourses place Basil among the very greatest of Christian preachers and evince his special gift for preaching upon the responsibilities of wealth. The most noteworthy in the collection are the homilies on the rich (vi and vii) copied by St. Ambrose (De Nabuthe Jez., v, 21-24), and the homily (xxii) on the study of pagan literature. The latter was edited by Fremion (Paris, 1819, with French translation), Sommer ( Paris, 1894), Bach (Münster, 1900), and Maloney (New York, 1901). With regard to Basil's style and his success as a preacher much has been written. (Cf. Villemain, "Tableau d'éloq. Chrét. au IVe siècle", Paris, 1891; Fialon, "Etude Litt. sur St. B.", Paris, 1861); Roux, "Etude sur la prédication de B. le Grand", Strasburg, 1867; Croiset, "Hist. de la litt. Grecque", Paris, 1899.)

This group contains much of spurious or doubtful origin. Probably authentic are the latter two of the three prefatory treatises, and the five treatises: "Morals", "On the Judgment of God", "On Faith", "The Longer Monastic Rules", "The Shorter Monastic Rules". The twenty-four sermons on morals are a cento of extracts from the writings of Basil made by Simeon Metaphrastes. Concerning the authenticity of the Rules there has been a good deal of discussion. As is plain from these treatises and from the homilies that touch upon ascetical or moral subjects, St. Basil was particularly felicitous in the field of spiritual instruction.

The extant letters of Basil are 366 in number, two-thirds of them belonging to the period of his episcopate. The so-called "Canonical Epistles" have been assailed as spurious, but are almost surely genuine. The correspondence with Julian and with Libanius is probably apocryphal ; the correspondence with Apollinarus is uncertain. All of the 366 letters are translated in the "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers". Some of the letters are really dogmatic treatises, and others are apologetic replies to personal attacks. In general they are very useful for their revelation of the saint's character and for the pictures of his age which they offer.

A so-called "Liturgy of St. Basil" exists in Greek and in Coptic. It goes back at least to the sixth century, but its connexion with Basil has been a matter of critical discussion (Brightman, "Liturgies, Eastern and Western", Oxford, 1896, I; Probst, "Die Liturgie des vierten Jahrhunderts und deren Reform", Münster, 1893, 377-412).

Liturgy of St. Basil

Several Oriental liturgies, or at least several anaphoras, have been attributed to the great St. Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia from 370 to 379. That St. Basil composed a liturgy, or rather reformed an existing liturgy, is beyond doubt, since besides the constant tradition of the Byzantine Church there are many testimonies in ancient writings to establish the fact. In a treatise on the tradition of the Divine liturgy attributed to St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-466), it is stated that when St. Basil noticed the slothfulness and degeneracy of men, how they were wearied by the length of the liturgy, he shortened it in order to cure their sloth (P.G., LXV, 849). More certain testimony to the existence of a liturgical text which went under the name of St. Basil is given in a letter of Peter the Deacon, one of the Scythian monks sent to Rome to settle certain dogmatic questions. Writing about the year 520 to the African bishops in exile in Sardinia, Peter, an Oriental, mentions a Liturgy of St. Basil, which was known and used throughout the entire East, and even quotes a passage from it: "Hence, also, Blessed Basil, Bishop of Cæsaria, in a prayer of the holy altar, with which almost the entire East is familiar, says among other things: Grant us, O Lord, Thy strength and protection; make the evil good and preserve the just in their righteousness. For Thou canst do all things and there is no one who may oppose Thee; for when Thou desirest, Thou savest, and no one resists Thy will." (P.L., LXV, 449.)

Leontius of Byzantium, writing about the middle of the sixth century, censures Theodore of Mopsuestia because he was not content with the liturgies handed down by the Fathers to the churches, but composed a Mass of his own, showing, thereby, no reverence either for that of the Apostles, or for that composed in the same spirit by the great St. Basil (P.G., LXXXVI, 1368). The Quinisext, or Trullan Council (692), in its thirty-second canon draws an argument from the written liturgy of the archbishop of the church of the Cæsareans, St. Basil, whose glory has spread through the whole world ( Mansi, Coll. Conc., XI, 958). Finally, in the Barberini library there is a manuscript of the latter part of the eighth, or the early part of the ninth, century which contains a Greek liturgy entitled the "Liturgy of St. Basil".

It is not known precisely just what the nature of the Basilian reform was, nor what liturgy served as the basis of the saint's work. Very probably he shortened and changed somewhat the liturgy of his own diocese, which was akin to the Liturgy of St. James. In later times it underwent some development, so that with our present knowledge of its history it would be almost impossible to reconstruct it as it came from the pen of the Bishop of Cæsarea. According to the tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church, their liturgy is practically the work of St. Basil, due allowance being made for changes and amelioration in the course of time. This is older than either of the other two Byzantine liturgies, and is mentioned under the name of St. Basil in ancient times as if it were then the normal liturgy. Of the anaphoras attributed to St. Basil the Syriac and Armenian are probably derived from the Byzantine Greek with some modifications. The Abyssinian is a translation of the Coptic, while the Coptic, Arabic, and Greek Egyptian liturgies are substantially the same. These Egyptian anaphoras of St. Basil are different from the Cæsarean or Byzantine liturgy, and do not possess all the characteristics of the Alexandrian Rite, but appear rather to be modelled on the Syrian type, so they are probably an importation into Egypt. The Greek Egyptian contains several prayers (identical with those in the Byzantine liturgy ) expressly ascribed to St. Basil, and from these it may derive its title.

The Cæsarean or Byzantine Liturgy is used in the countries which were evangelized from Constantinople, or which came under its influence for any considerable period. It is used, for example, by the Orthodox and Uniat Greek churches in the Orient, as well as by the Greek communities in Italy and Sicily. Translated into the Old Slavonic it is used by Orthodox and Uniat Catholics in Russia and in some parts of the Austrian Empire ; translated into Georgian and Rumanian it is used respectively in Georgia and Rumania. It has also been translated into several other languages and dialects for use in the Russian dependencies and where the Russian Church has missions, as well as into Arabic for use in Syria. Since the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has become the normal liturgy of the Greek Church, that of St. Basil is now used only on the Sundays of Lent with the exception of Palm Sunday, on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday, on the vigils of Christmas and of the Epiphany, and on the feast of St. Basil, which in the Greek calendar occurs on the first day of January.

The liturgy may be divided into the Mass of the catechumens and the Mass of the faithful. The first contains the prayers of the prothesis, of the antiphons, of the little entrance, and of the trisagion, the lessons, and the prayers of the ectenes and of the catechumens. The Mass of the faithful begins with the two prayers of the faithful, and contains the prayer of the great entrance, the prayers of the Offertory, which is expressly ascribed to St. Basil, the kiss of peace, the Creed, and the Anaphora. The Anaphora proper, starting with the Eucharistic Preface followed by the Sanctus, embraces the preparatory prayers for the Consecration, the Consecration itself, the Epiclesis or invocation of the Holy Ghost, the Great Intercession for the living and the dead, the Lord's Prayer, the inclination, Elevation, Communion, thanksgiving, and dismissal.



Date of birth unknown; died after 385 or 386. He belongs to the group known as the "Cappadocian Fathers", a title which reveals at once his birthplace in Asia Minor and his intellectual characteristics. Gregory was born of a deeply religious family, not very rich in worldly goods, to which circumstances he probably owed the pious training of his youth. His mother Emmelia was a martyr's daughter; two of his brothers, Basil of Cæsarea and Peter of Sebaste, became bishops like himself; his eldest sister, Macrina, became a model of piety and is honoured as a saint. Another brother, Naucratius, a lawyer, inclined to a life of asceticism, but died too young to realize his desires. A letter of Gregory to his younger brother, Peter, exhibits the feelings of lively gratitude which both cherished for their elder brother Basil, whom Gregory calls "our father and our master". Probably, therefore, the difference in years between them was such as to have enabled Basil to supervise the education of his younger brothers. Basil's training was an antidote to the lessons of the pagan schools, wherein, as we know from a letter of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa spent some time, very probably in his early youth, for it is certain that while still a youth Gregory exercised the ecclesiastical office of rector. His family, it would seem, had endeavoured to turn his thoughts towards the Church, for when the young man chose a secular career and began the study of rhetoric, Basil remonstrated with him long and earnestly; when he had failed he called on Gregory's friends to influence him against that objectionable secular calling. It was all in vain; moreover, it would seem that the young man married. There exists a letter addressed to him by Gregory of Nazianzus condoling with him on the loss of one Theosebeia, who must have been his wife, and with whom he continued to live, as with a sister, even after he became bishop. This is also evident from his treatise "De virginitate".

Some think that Gregory spent a certain time in retreat before his consecration as bishop, but we have no proof of the fact. His extant letters make no mention of such retirement from the world. Nor are we better informed of the circumstances of his election to the See of Nyssa, a little town on the banks of the Halys, along the road between Cæsarea and Ancyra. According to Gregory of Nazianzus it was Basil who performed the episcopal consecration of his brother, before he himself had taken possession of the See of Sozima; which would place the beginning of Gregory of Nyssa's episcopate about 371. Was this brusque change in Gregory's career the result of a sudden vocation ? St. Basil tells us that it was necessary to overcome his brother's repugnance, before he accepted the office of bishop. But this does not help us to an answer, as the episcopal charge in that day was beset with many dangers. Moreover in the fourth century, and even later, it was not uncommon to express dislike of the episcopal honour, and to fly from the prospect of election. The fugitives, however, were usually discovered and brought back, and the consecration took place when a show of resistance had saved the candidate's humility. Whether it was so in Gregory's case, or whether he really did feel his own unfitness, we do not know. In any case, St. Basil seems to have regretted at times the constraint thus put on his brother, now removed from his influence; in his letters he complains of Gregory's naive and clumsy interference with his (Basil's) business. To Basil the synod called in 372 by Gregory at Ancyra seemed the ruin of his own labours. In 375 Gregory seemed to him decidedly incapable of ruling a Church. At the same time he had but faint praise for Gregory's zeal for souls.

On arriving in his see Gregory had to face great difficulties. His sudden elevation may have turned against him some who had hoped for the office themselves. It would appear that one of the courtiers of Emperor Valens had solicited the see either for himself or one of his friends. When Demosthenes, Governor of Pontus, convened an assembly of Eastern bishops, a certain Philocares, at one of its sessions, accused Gregory of wasting church property, and of irregularity in his election to the episcopate, whereupon Demosthenes ordered the Bishop of Nyssa to be seized and brought before him. Gregory at first allowed himself to be led away by his captors, then losing heart and discouraged by the cold and brutal treatment he met with, he took an opportunity of escape and reached a place of safety. A Synod of Nyssa (376) deposed him, and he was reduced to wander from town to town, until the death of Valens in 378. The new emperor, Gratian, published an edict of tolerance, and Gregory returned to his see, where he was received with joy. A few months after this (January, 379) his brother Basil died; whereupon an era of activity began for Gregory. In 379 he assisted at the Council of Antioch which had been summoned because of the Meletian schism. Soon after this, it is supposed, he visited Palestine. There is reason for believing that he was sent officially to remedy the disorders of the Church of Arabia. But possibly his journey did not take place till after the Council of Constantinople in 381, convened by Emperor Theodosius for the welfare of religion in that city. It asserted the faith of Nicæa, and tried to put an end to Arianism and Pneumatism in the East. This council was not looked on as an important one at the time ; even those present at it seldom refer to it in their writings. Gregory himself, though he assisted at the council, mentions it only casually in his funeral oration over Meletius of Antioch, who died during the course of this assembly.

An edict of Theodosius ( 30 July, 381 ; Cod. Theod., LXVI, tit. I., L. 3) having appointed certain episcopal sees as centres of Catholic communion in the East, Helladius of Cæsarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Otreius of Melitene were chosen to fill them. At Constantinople Gregory gave evidence on two occasions of his talent as an orator; he delivered the discourse at the enthronization of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, also the aforesaid oration over Meletius of Antioch. It is very probable that Gregory was present at another Council of Constantinople in 383; his "Oratio de deitate Filii et Spiritus Sancti" seems to confirm this. In 385 or 386 he preached the funeral sermon over the imperial Princess Pulcheria, and shortly afterwards over Empress Flaccilla. A little later we meet him again at Constantinople, on which occasion his counsel was sought for the repression of ecclesiastical disorders in Arabia ; he then disappears from history, and probably did not long survive this journey. From the above it will be seen that his life is little known to us. It is difficult to outline clearly his personality, while his writings contain too many flights of eloquence to permit final judgment on his real character.

Most of his writings treat of the Sacred Scriptures. He was an ardent admirer of Origen, and applied constantly the latter's principles of hermeneutics. Gregory is ever in quest of allegorical interpretations and mystical meanings hidden away beneath the literal sense of texts. As a rule, however, the "great Cappadocians" tried to eliminate this tendency. His "Treatise on the Work of the Six Days" follows St. Basil's Hexæmeron. Another work, "On the Creation of Man ", deals with the work of the Sixth Day, and contains some curious anatomical details; it was translated into Latin by Dionysius Exiguus. His account of Moses as legislator offers much fine-spun allegorizing, and the same is true of his "Explanation of the Titles of the Psalms". In a brief tractate on the witch of Endor he says that the woman did not see Samuel, but only a demon, who put on the figure of the prophet. Besides a homily on the sixth Psalm, he wrote eight homilies on Ecclesiastes, in which he taught that the soul should rise above the senses, and that true peace is only to be found in contempt of worldly greatness. He is also the author of fifteen homilies on the Canticle of Canticles (the union of the soul with its Creator), five very eloquent homilies on the Lord's Prayer, and eight highly rhetorical homilies on the Beatitudes.

In theology Gregory shows himself more original and more at ease. Yet his originality is purely in manner, since he added little that is new. His diction, however, offers many felicitous and pleasing allusions, suggested probably by his mystical turn of mind. These grave studies were taken up by him late in life, hence he follows step by step the teaching of St. Basil and of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Like them he defends the unity of the Divine nature and the trinity of Persons; where he loses their guidance, our confidence in him tends to decrease. In his teaching on the Eucharist he appears really original; his Christological doctrine, however, is based entirely on Origen and St. Athanasius. The most important of his theological writings is his large "Catechesis", or "Oratio Catechetica", an argumentative defence in forty chapters of Catholic teaching as against Jews, heathens, and heretics. The most extensive of his extant works is his refutation of Eunomius in twelve books, a defence of St. Basil against that heretic, and also of the Nicene Creed against Arianism ; this work is of capital importance in the history of the Arian controversy. He also wrote two works against Apollinaris of Laodicea, in refutation of the false doctrines of that writer, viz. that the body of Christ descended from heaven, and that in Christ, the Divine Word acted as the rational soul. Among the works of Gregory are certain "Opuscula" on the Trinity addressed to Ablabius, the tribune Simplicius, and Eustathius of Sebaste. He wrote also against Arius and Sabellius, and against the Macedonians, who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit ; the latter work he never finished. In the "De anima et resurrectione" we have a dialogue between Gregory and his deceased sister, Macrina; it treats of death, resurrection, and our last end. He defends human liberty against the fatalism of the astrologers in a work "On Fate ", and in his treatise "On Children", dedicated to Hieros, Prefect of Cappadocia, he undertook to explain why Providence permits the premature death of children.

He wrote also on Christian life and conduct, e.g. "On the meaning of the Christian name or profession", addressed to Harmonius, and "On Perfection and what manner of man the Christian should be", dedicated to the monk Olympius. For the monks, he wrote a work on the Divine purpose in creation. His admirable book "On Virginity", written about 370, was composed to strengthen in all who read it the desire for a life of perfect virtue.

Saint Gregory wrote also many sermons and homilies, some of which we have already mentioned; others of importance are his panegyric on St. Basil, and his sermons on the Divinity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

A few of his letters (twenty-six) have survived; two of them offer a peculiar interest owing to the severity of his strictures on contemporary pilgrimages to Jerusalem.



Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens (which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he departed in 356 for his native province, visiting Constantinople on his way home, he was about thirty years of age.

Arrived at Nazianzus, where his parents were now advanced in age, Gregory, who had by this time firmly resolved to devote his life and talents to God, anxiously considered the plan of his future career. To a young man of his high attainments a distinguished secular career was open, either that of a lawyer or of a professor of rhetoric; but his yearnings were for the monastic or ascetic life, though this did not seem compatible either with the Scripture studies in which he was deeply interested, or with his filial duties at home. As was natural, he consulted his beloved friend Basil in his perplexity as to his future; and he has left us in his own writings an extremely interesting narrative of their intercourse at this time, and of their common resolve (based on somewhat different motives, according to the decided differences in their characters) to quit the world for the service of God alone. Basil retired to Pontus to lead the life of a hermit ; but finding that Gregory could not join him there, came and settled first at Tiberina (near Gregory's own home), then at Neocæsarea, in Pontus, where he lived in holy seclusion for some years, and gathered round him a brotherhood of cenobites, among whom his friend Gregory was for a time included. After a sojourn here for two or three years, during which Gregory edited, with Basil some of the exegetical works of Origen, and also helped his friend in the compilation of his famous rules, Gregory returned to Nazianzus, leaving with regret the peaceful hermitage where he and Basil (as he recalled in their subsequent correspondence) had spent such a pleasant time in the labour both of hands and of heads. On his return home Gregory was instrumental in bringing back to orthodoxy his father who, perhaps partly in ignorance, had subscribed the heretical creed of Rimini ; and the aged bishop, desiring his son's presence and support, overruled his scrupulous shrinking from the priesthood, and forced him to accept ordination (probably at Christmas, 361). Wounded and grieved at the pressure put upon him, Gregory fled back to his solitude, and to the company of St. Basil; but after some weeks' reflection returned to Nazianzus, where he preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday, and afterward wrote the remarkable apologetic oration, which is really a treatise on the priestly office, the foundation of Chrysostom's "De Sacerdotio", of Gregory the Great's "Cura Pastoris", and of countless subsequent writings on the same subject.

During the next few years Gregory's life at Nazianzus was saddened by the deaths of his brother Caesarius and his sister Gorgonia, at whose funerals he preached two of his most eloquent orations, which are still extant. About this time Basil was made bishop of Caesarea and Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and soon afterwards the Emperor Valens, who was jealous of Basil's influence, divided Cappadocia into two provinces. Basil continued to claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as before, over the whole province, but this was disputed by Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, the chief city of New Cappadocia. To strengthen his position Basil founded a new see at Sasima, resolved to have Gregory as its first bishop, and accordingly had him consecrated, though greatly against his will. Gregory, however, was set against Sasima from the first; he thought himself utterly unsuited to the place, and the place to him; and it was not long before he abandoned his diocese and returned to Nazianzus as coadjutor to his father. This episode in Gregory's life was unhappily the cause of an estrangement between Basil and himself which was never altogether removed; and there is no extant record of any correspondence between them subsequent to Gregory's leaving Sasima. Meanwhile he occupied himself sedulously with his duties as coadjutor to his aged father, who died early in 374, his wife Nonna soon following him to the grave. Gregory, who was now left without family ties, devoted to the poor the large fortune which he had inherited, keeping for himself only a small piece of land at Arianzus. He continued to administer the diocese for about two years, refusing, however, to become the bishop, and continually urging the appointment of a successor to his father. At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at Seleuci, living there in solitude for some three years, and preparing (though he knew it not) for what was to be the crowning work of his life. About the end of this period Basil died. Gregory's own state of health prevented his being present either at the deathbed or funeral; but he wrote a letter of condolence to Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and composed twelve beautiful memorial poems or epitaphs to his departed friend.

Three weeks after Basil's death, Theodosius was advanced by the Emperor Gratian to the dignity of Emperor of the East. Constantinople, the seat of his empire, had been for the space of about thirty years (since the death of the saintly and martyred Bishop Paul) practically given over too Arianism, with an Arian prelate, Demophilus, enthroned at St. Sophia's. The remnant of persecuted Catholics, without either church or pastor, applied to Gregory to come and place himself at their head and organize their scattered forces; and many bishops supported the demand. After much hesitation he gave his consent, proceeded to Constantinople early in the year 379, and began his mission in a private house which he describes as "the new Shiloh where the Ark was fixed", and as "an Anastasia, the scene of the resurrection of the faith ". Not only the faithful Catholics, but many heretics gathered in the humble chapel of the Anastasia, attracted by Gregory's sanctity, learning and eloquence; and it was in this chapel that he delivered the five wonderful discourses on the faith of Nicaea -- unfolding the doctrine of the Trinity while safeguarding the Unity of the Godhead -- which gained for him, alone of all Christian teachers except the Apostle St. John, the special title of Theologus or the Divine. He also delivered at this time the eloquent panegyrics on St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and the Machabees, which are among his finest oratorical works. Meanwhile he found himself exposed to persecution of every kind from without, and was actually attacked in his own chapel, whilst baptizing his Easter neophytes, by a hostile mob of Arians from St. Sophia's, among them being Arian monks and infuriated women. He was saddened, too, by dissensions among his own little flock, some of whom openly charged him with holding Tritheistic errors. St. Jerome became about this time his pupil and disciple, and tells us in glowing language how much he owed to his erudite and eloquent teacher. Gregory was consoled by the approval of Peter, Patriarch of Constantinople (Duchesne's opinion, that the patriarch was from the first jealous or suspicious of the Cappadocian bishop's influence in Constantinople, does not seem sufficiently supported by evidence), and Peter appears to have been desirous to see him appointed to the bishopric of the capital of the East. Gregory, however, unfortunately allowed himself to be imposed upon by a plausible adventurer called Hero, or Maximus, who came to Constantinople from Alexandria in the guise (long hair, white robe, and staff) of a Cynic, and professed to be a convert to Christianity, and an ardent admirer of Gregory's sermons. Gregory entertained him hospitably, gave him his complete confidence, and pronounced a public panegyric on him in his presence. Maximus's intrigues to obtain the bishopric for himself found support in various quarters, including Alexandria, which the patriarch Peter, for what reason precisely it is not known, had turned against Gregory; and certain Egyptian bishops deputed by Peter, suddenly, and at night, consecrated and enthroned Maximus as Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, while Gregory was confined to bed by illness. Gregory's friends, however, rallied round him, and Maximus had to fly from Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, to whom he had recourse, refused to recognize any bishop other than Gregory, and Maximus retired in disgrace to Alexandria.

Theodosius received Christian baptism early in 380, at Thessalonica, and immediately addressed an edict to his subjects at Constantinople, commanding them to adhere to the faith taught by St. Peter, and professed by the Roman pontiff, which alone deserved to be called Catholic. In November, the emperor entered the city and called on Demophilus, the Arian bishop, to subscribe to the Nicene creed : but he refused to do so, and was banished from Constantinople. Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see, and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith.

Saint Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for Constantinople (see CONSTANTINOPLE, THE FIRST COUNCIL OF). Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form. The orthodox bishops were all in favor, and the objection (urged by the Egyptian and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from one see to another was in opposition to a canon of the Nicene council was obviously unfounded. The fact was well known that Gregory had never, after his forced consecration at the instance of Basil, entered into possession of the See of Sasima, and that he had later exercised his episcopal functions at Nazianzus, not as bishop of that diocese, but merely as coadjutor of his father. Gregory succeeded Meletius as president of the council, which found itself at once called on to deal with the difficult question of appointing a successor to the deceased bishop. There had been an understanding between the two orthodox parties at Antioch, of which Meletius and Paulinus had been respectively bishops that the survivor of either should succeed as sole bishop. Paulinus, however, was a prelate of Western origin and creation, and the Eastern bishops assembled at Constantinople declined to recognize him. In vain did Gregory urge, for the sake of peace, the retention of Paulinus in the see for the remainder of his life, already fare advanced; the Fathers of the council refused to listen to his advice, and resolved that Meletius should be succeeded by an Oriental priest. "It was in the East that Christ was born", was one of the arguments they put forward; and Gregory's retort, "Yes, and it was in the East that he was put to death ", did not shake their decision. Flavian, a priest of Antioch, was elected to the vacant see; and Gregory, who relates that the only result of his appeal was "a cry like that of a flock of jackdaws" while the younger members of the council "attacked him like a swarm of wasps", quitted the council, and left also his official residence, close to the church of the Holy Apostles.

Saint Gregory had now come to the conclusion that not only the opposition and disappointment which he had met with in the council, but also his continued state of ill-health, justified, and indeed necessitated, his resignation of the See of Constantinople, which he had held for only a few months. He appeared again before the council, intimated that he was ready to be another Jonas to pacify the troubled waves, and that all he desired was rest from his labours, and leisure to prepare for death. The Fathers made no protest against this announcement, which some among them doubtless heard with secret satisfaction; and Gregory at once sought and obtained from the emperor permission to resign his see. In June, 381, he preached a farewell sermon before the council and in presence of an overflowing congregation. The peroration of this discourse is of singular and touching beauty, and unsurpassed even among his many eloquent orations. Very soon after its delivery he left Constantinople (Nectarius, a native of Cilicia, being chosen to succeed him in the bishopric ), and retired to his old home at Nazianzus. His two extant letters addressed to Nectarius at his time are noteworthy as affording evidence, by their spirit and tone, that he was actuated by no other feelings than those of interested goodwill towards the diocese of which he was resigning the care, and towards his successor in the episcopal charge. On his return to Nazianzus, Gregory found the Church there in a miserable condition, being overrun with the erroneous teaching of Apollinaris the Younger, who had seceded from the Catholic communion a few years previously, and died shortly after Gregory himself. Gregory's anxiety was now to find a learned and zealous bishop who would be able to stem the flood of heresy which was threatening to overwhelm the Christian Church in that place. All his efforts were at first unsuccessful, and he consented at length with much reluctance to take over the administration of the diocese himself. He combated for a time, with his usual eloquence and as much energy as remained to him, the false teaching of the adversaries of the Church ; but he felt himself too broken in health to continue the active work of the episcopate, and wrote to the Archbishop of Tyana urgently appealing to him to provide for the appointment of another bishop. His request was granted, and his cousin Eulalius, a priest of holy life to whom he was much attached, was duly appointed to the See of Nazianzus. This was toward the end of the year 383, and Gregory, happy in seeing the care of the diocese entrusted to a man after his own heart, immediately withdrew to Arianzus, the scene of his birth and his childhood, where he spent the remaining years of his life in retirement, and in the literary labours, which were so much more congenial to his character than the harassing work of ecclesiastical administration in those stormy and troubled times.

Looking back on Gregory's career, it is difficult not to feel that from the day when he was compelled to accept priestly orders, until that which saw him return from Constantinople to Nazianzus to end his life in retirement and obscurity, he seemed constantly to be placed, through no initiative of his own, in positions apparently unsuited to his disposition and temperament, and not really calculated to call for the exercise of the most remarkable and attractive qualities of his mind and heart. Affectionate and tender by nature, of highly sensitive temperament, simple and humble, lively and cheerful by disposition, yet liable to despondency and irritability, constitutionally timid, and somewhat deficient, as it seemed, both in decision of character and in self-control, he was very human, very lovable, very gifted -- yet not, one might be inclined to think, naturally adapted to play the remarkable part which he did during the period preceding and following the opening of the Council of Constantinople. He entered on his difficult and arduous work in that city within a few months of the death of Basil, the beloved friend of his youth; and Newman, in his appreciation of Gregory's character and career, suggests the striking thought that it was his friend's lofty and heroic spirit which had entered into him, and inspired him to take the active and important part which fell to his lot in the work of re-establishing the orthodox and Catholic faith in the eastern capital of the empire. It did, in truth, seem to be rather with the firmness and intrepidity, the high resolve and unflinching perseverance, characteristic of Basil, than in his own proper character, that of a gentle, fastidious, retiring, timorous, peace-loving saint and scholar, that he sounded the war-trumpet during those anxious and turbulent months, in the very stronghold and headquarters of militant heresy, utterly regardless to the actual and pressing danger to his safety, and even his life which never ceased to menace him. "May we together receive", he said at the conclusion of the wonderful discourse which he pronounced on his departed friend, on his return to Asia from Constantinople, "the reward of the warfare which we have waged, which we have endured." It is impossible to doubt, reading the intimate details which he has himself given us of his long friendship with, and deep admiration of, Basil, that the spirit of his early and well-loved friend had to a great extent moulded and informed his own sensitive and impressionable personality and that it was this, under God, which nerved and inspired him, after a life of what seemed, externally, one almost of failure, to co-operate in the mighty task of overthrowing the monstrous heresy which had so long devastated the greater part of Christendom, and bringing about at length the pacification of the Eastern Church.

During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious poetical works which have come down to us. These include a valuable autobiographical poem of nearly 2000 lines, which forms, of course, one of the most important sources of information for the facts of his life; about a hundred other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs, epigrams, and epistles to well-known people of the day. Many of his later personal poems refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings, both physical and spiritual, which assailed him during his last years, and doubtless assisted to perfect him in those saintly qualities which had never been wanting to him, rudely shaken though he had been by the trails and buffetings of his life. In the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all (as has already been said) that remained to him of his rich inheritance, he wrote and meditated, as he tells, by a fountain near which there was a shady walk, his favourite resort. Here, too, he received occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable certainty, to the year 389 or 390.

Some account must now be given of Gregory's voluminous writings, and of his reputation as an orator and a theologian, on which, more than on anything else, rests his fame as one of the greatest lights of the Eastern Church. His works naturally fall under three heads, namely his poems, his epistles, and his orations. Much, though by no means all, of what he wrote has been preserved, and has been frequently published, the editio princeps of the poems being the Aldine (1504), while the first edition of his collected works appeared in Paris in 1609-11. The Bodleian catalogue contains more than thirty folio pages enumerating various editions of Gregory's works, of which the best and most complete are the Benedictine edition (two folio volumes, begun in 1778, finished in 1840), and the edition of Migne (four volumes XXXV - XXXVIII, in P.G., Paris, 1857 - 1862).

These, as already stated, comprise autobiographical verses, epigrams, epitaphs and epistles. The epigrams have been translated by Thomas Drant ( London, 1568), the epitaphs by Boyd ( London, 1826), while other poems have been gracefully and charmingly paraphrased by Newman in his "Church of the Fathers". Jerome and Suidas say that Gregory wrote more than 30,000 verses; if this is not an exaggeration, fully two-thirds of them have been lost. Very different estimates have been formed of the value of his poetry, the greater part of which was written in advanced years, and perhaps rather as a relaxation from the cares and troubles of life than as a serious pursuit. Delicate, graphic, and flowing as are many of his verses, and giving ample evidence of the cultured and gifted intellect which produced them, they cannot be held to parallel (the comparison would be an unfair one, had not many of them been written expressly to supersede and take the place of the work of heathen writers) the great creations of the classic Greek poets. Yet Villemain, no mean critic, places the poems in the front rank of Gregory's compositions, and thinks so highly of them that he maintains that the writer ought to be called, pre-eminently, not so much the theologian of the East as "the poet of Eastern Christendom ".

These, by common consent, belong to the finest literary productions of Gregory's age. All that are extant are finished compositions; and that the writer excelled in this kind of composition is shown from one of them (Ep. ccix, to Nicobulus) in which he enlarges with admirable good sense on the rules by which all letter-writers should be guided. It was at the request of Nicobulus, who believed, and rightly, that these letters contained much of permanent interest and value, that Gregory prepared and edited the collection containing the greater number of them which has come down to us. Many of them are perfect models of epistolary style -- short, clear, couched in admirably chosen language, and in turn witty and profound, playful, affectionate and acute.

Both in his own time, and by the general verdict of posterity, Gregory was recognized as one of the very foremost orators who have ever adorned the Christian Church. Trained in the finest rhetorical schools of his age, he did more than justice to his distinguished teachers; and while boasting or vainglory was foreign to his nature, he frankly acknowledged his consciousness of his remarkable oratorical gifts, and his satisfaction at having been enabled to cultivate them fully in his youth. Basil and Gregory, it has been said, were the pioneers of Christian eloquence, modeled on, and inspired by, the noble and sustained oratory of Demosthenes and Cicero, and calculated to move and impress the most cultured and critical audiences of the age. Only comparatively few of the numerous orations delivered by Gregory have been preserved to us, consisting of discourses spoken by him on widely different occasions, but all marked by the same lofty qualities. Faults they have, of course: lengthy digressions, excessive ornament, strained antithesis, laboured metaphors, and occasional over-violence of invective. But their merits are far greater than their defects, and no one can read them without being struck by the noble phraseology, perfect command of the purest Greek, high imaginative powers, lucidity and incisiveness of thought, fiery zeal and transparent sincerity of intention, by which they are distinguished. Hardly any of Gregory's extant sermons are direct expositions of Scripture, and they have for this reason been adversely criticized. Bossuet, however, points out with perfect truth that many of these discourses are really nothing but skillful interweaving of Scriptural texts, a profound knowledge of which is evident from every line of them.

Saint Gregory's claims to rank as one of the greatest theologians of the early Church are based, apart from his reputation among his contemporaries, and the verdict of history in his regard, chiefly on the five great "Theological Discourses" which he delivered at Constantinople in the course of the year 380. In estimating the scope and value of these famous utterances, it is necessary to remember what was the religious condition of Constantinople when Gregory, at the urgent instance of Basil, of many other bishops, and of the sorely-tried Catholics of the Eastern capital, went thither to undertake the spiritual charge of the faithful. It was less as an administrator, or an organizer, than as a man of saintly life and of oratorical gifts famous throughout the Eastern Church, that Gregory was asked, and consented, to undertake his difficult mission; and he had to exercise those gifts in combating not one but numerous heresies which had been dividing and desolating Constantinople for many years. Arianism in every form and degree, incipient, moderate, and extreme, was of course the great enemy, but Gregory had also to wage war against the Apollinarian teaching, which denied the humanity of Christ, as well as against the contrary tendency -- later developed into Nestorianism -- which distinguished between the Son of Mary and the Son of God as two distinct and separate personalities.

A saint first, and a theologian afterwards, Gregory in one of his early sermons at the Anastasia insisted on the principle of reverence in treating of the mysteries of faith (a principle entirely ignored by his Arian opponents), and also on the purity of life and example which all who dealt with these high matters must show forth if their teaching was to be effectual. In the first and second of the five discourses he develops these two principles at some length, urging in language of wonderful beauty and force the necessity for all who would know God aright to lead a supernatural life, and to approach so sublime a study with a mind pure and free from sin. The third discourse (on the Son) is devoted to a defence of the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and a demonstration of its consonance with the primitive doctrine of the Unity of God. The eternal existence of the Son and Spirit are insisted on, together with their dependence on the Father as origin or principle; and the Divinity of the Son is argued from Scripture against the Arians, whose misunderstanding of various Scripture texts is exposed and confuted. In the fourth discourse, on the same subject, the union of the Godhead and Manhood in Christ Incarnate is set forth and luminously proved from Scripture and reason. The fifth and final discourse (on the Holy Spirit ) is directed partly against the Macedonian heresy, which denied altogether the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, and also against those who reduced the Third Person of the Trinity to a mere impersonal energy of the Father. Gregory, in reply to the contention that the Divinity of the Spirit is not expressed in Scripture, quotes and comments on several passages which teach the doctrine by implication, adding that the full manifestation of this great truth was intended to be gradual, following on the revelation of the Divinity of the Son. It is to be noted that Gregory nowhere formulates the doctrine of the Double Procession, although in his luminous exposition of the Trinitarian doctrine there are many passages which seem to anticipate the fuller teaching of the Quicumque vult. No summary, not even a faithful verbal translation, can give any adequate idea of the combined subtlety and lucidity of thought, and rare beauty of expression, of these wonderful discourses, in which, as one of his French critics truly observes, Gregory "has summed up and closed the controversy of a whole century". The best evidence of their value and power lies in the fact that for fourteen centuries they have been a mine whence the greatest theologians of Christendom have drawn treasures of wisdom to illustrate and support their own teaching on the deepest mysteries of the Faith.



A Christian Orthodox bishop of the fourth century, son of a Cappadocian family of distinction, b. perhaps at Cæsarea, c. 339 or 340; d. probably some time between 394 and 403. His father was an eminent lawyer, and his mother Livia remarkable for gentleness and wisdom. He was probably first cousin to Gregory of Nazianzus, and was brought up in the peculiarly religious atmosphere of the Christian aristocracy of his native province. He studied for the bar, practised at Constantinople, but soon retired to lead a religious life in the vicinity of his friend and relative, the "theologian" of Nazianzus. He was soon drawn within the circle of St. Basil's influence, and seems to have been for a while a member of the Christian "City of the Poor" that Basil had built at Cæsarea. Early in 374 he was bishop of the important see of Iconium, probably placed there by Basil, whom he continued to aid in Cappadocian ecclesiastical affairs until Basil's death (379). Thenceforth he remained in close relations with Gregory of Nazianzus, and accompanied him to the Synod of Constantinople (381), where St. Jerome met and conversed with him (De Vir. Ill., c. 133). In the history of theology he occupies a place of prominence for his defence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit against the Macedonians (q.v.). It was to him that St. Basil dedicated his work "On the Holy Spirit ". He wrote a similar work, now lost. We know, however, that he read it to St. Jerome on the occasion of their meeting at Constantinople. His attitude towards Arianism is illustrated by the well-known anecdote concerning his audience with Theodosius and his son Arcadius. When the Emperor rebuked him for ignoring the presence of his son, he reminded him that the Lord of the universe abhorreth those who are ungrateful towards His Son, their Saviour and Benefactor. He was very energetic against the Messalians, and contributed to the extirpation of that heresy. His contemporaries rated him very high as a theologian and a scholarly writer. Not to speak of his admirers and friends already mentioned, St. Jerome says (Ep. 70) of the Cappadocian triad (Basil, Gregory, and Amphilochius) that "they cram their books with the lessons and sentences of the philosophers to such an extent that you cannot tell which you ought to admire most in them, their secular erudition or their scriptural knowledge ". In the next generation Theodoret described him in very flattering terms (Hist. Eccl., IV, x; V, xvi), and he is quoted by councils as late as 787. His only genuine extant work is, according to Bardenhewer (Patrologie, p. 249), the "Epistola Synodica", a letter against the Macedonian heresy in the name of the bishops of Lycaonia, and probably addressed to the bishops of Lycia (Goldhorn, S. Basil., Opp. Sel. Dogm., 630-635). The spurious "Iambics to Seleucus" offer an early and important catalogue of the canonical writings; other spurious fragments, current under his name, are taken from scriptural discourses, dogmatic letters and controversial writings (P.G., XXXIX, 13-130).



Didymus the Blind, of Alexandria, b. about 310 or 313; d. about 395 or 398, at the age of eighty-five. Didymus lost the use of his eyes when four years old, yet he became one of the most learned men of his period. He prayed earnestly in his youth, we are told by Rufinus, not for the sight of his bodily eyes, but for the illumination of the heart. He admitted to St. Anthony that the loss of his sight was a grief to him; the saint replied that he wondered how a wise man could regret the loss of that which he had in common with ants and flies and gnats, and not rather rejoice that he possessed a spiritual sight like that of the saints and Apostles. St. Jerome indeed habitually spoke of him not at "the blind" but as "the Seer". Didymus studied with ardor, and his vigils were long and frequent, not for reading but for listening, that he might gain by hearing what others obtained by seeing. When the reader fell asleep for weariness, Didymus did not repose, but as it were chewed the cud (says Rufinus) of what he had heard, until he seemed to have inscribed it on the pages of his mind. Thus in a short time he amassed a vast knowledge of grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, arithmetic, and geometry, and a perfect familiarity with Holy Scripture. He was early placed at the head of the famous catechetical school of Alexandria, over which he presided for about half a century. St. Athanasius highly esteemed him. The orator Libanius wrote to an official in Egypt : "You cannot surely be ignorant of Didymus, unless you are ignorant of the great city wherein he has been night and day pouring out his learning for the good of others. He is similarly extolled by his contemporaries and by the historians of the following century, Rufinus was six years his pupil. Palladius visited him four times in ten years (probably 388-398). Jerome came to him for a month in order to have his doubts resolved with regard to difficult passages of Scripture. Later ages have neglected this remarkable man. He was a follower of Origen, and adopted many of his errors. Consequently when St. Jerome quarrelled with Rufinus and made war on Origenism, he ceased to boast of being a disciple of Didymus and was ashamed of the praise he had formerly given to the "Seer". When Origen was condemned by Justinian and then by the Fifth General Council, Didymus was not mentioned. But he was anathematized together with Evagrius Ponticus in the edict by which the Patriarch Eutychus of Constantinople gave effect to the decree of the council; and he was (perhaps in consequence of this) included in the condemnation of the Origenists by the sixth and seventh councils. But this censure is to be taken as applying to his doctrine and not to his person. It has had the unfortunate effect of causing the loss to us of most of his very numerous writings, which, as the works of a supposed heretic, were not copied in the Middle Ages.

Didymus always remained a layman. the idea that he was married rests on a mistaken identification of him with a Didymus to whom one of the letters of St. Isadore of Pelusium is addressed. He seemed on the contrary to have lived the life of an ascetic, although in the city and not in the desert. A curious story was told by him to Palladius. One day, when dwelling on the thought of Julian as a persecutor, and on this account having taken no food, he fell asleep in his chair and saw white horses running in different directions, while the riders cried out, "Tell Didymus, today at the seventh hour Julian died; arise and eat, and inform Athanasius the bishop, that he may also know it." Didymus noted the hour and the month and the week, and it was even so.

Didymus was one of the principal opponents of Arianism. His Trinitarian and Christological doctrine is perfectly;y orthodox ; one may even say that he is more explicit than St. Athanasius as to the Unity in Trinity and the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. He has combined the theological vocabulary of St. Athanasius with that of the younger generation, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen. He continually uses the formula treis hypostaseis, mia ousia , which St. Athanasius admitted in his later years, and which has become the catholic watchword. Didymus has been credited with the invention of this formula, and Leipoldt is in favor of the attribution, whereas K. Holl rejects it. Until the fourth century the Greek-speaking Church had no means of expressing the doctrine of the Trinity. the use of hypostasis to express the Latin persona was in itself a clumsy device, for Didymus agrees with St. Jerome (who rejected the expression) that philosophically ousia and hypostasis are synonyms. Didymus, however, carefully safeguarded his doctrine from any wrong interpretation. His work on the Holy Spirit is preserved only in the Latin translation made by St. Jerome. It is free from the reproach of "economy" which attaches to the more famous work of St. Basil, who avoided (as he himself admits) calling the Holy Ghost "God". A yet more important work is the "De Trinitate", the three books of which are preserved almost entire; it was composed after 379. A treatise against the Manichæans is also nearly complete. Of the exegetical fragments, those on the Psalms are the most important. A commentary on the Catholic Epistles is known to us through the Latin translation made by a certain Epiphanius for Cassiodorus. Didymus comments on II Peter, and elsewhere frequently quotes that Epistle, although in one place he declares it to be spurious (falsata — the Greek is lost). In his commentaries Didymus shows himself to be much influenced by Origen, both in his care for the text and the grammar, and in his wide allegorizing, but of Origenistic heresies the traces in extant works are slight. He seems to have held the pre-existence of the soul. The doctrine of the "restitution of all things" is attributed to him by St. Jerome ; but he speaks very often of eternal punishment, though he seems to teach that the fallen angels and even Satan himself are saved by Christ. He is fond of explaining that God's punishments are remedial. He deliberately rejects some of Origen's views and in his Trinitarian and Christological teaching is wholly uninfluenced by his great predecessor. His style is poor and careless. He is gentle in controversy. His earnestness and piety sometimes supply the place of the eloquence and energy which he lacks.



Saint Ambrose, mosaic in the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan

Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons ; died 4 April, 397. He was one of the most illustrious Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and fitly chosen, together with St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Athanasius, to uphold the venerable Chair of the Prince of the Apostles in the tribune of St. Peter's at Rome.

The materials for a biography of the Saint are chiefly to be found scattered through his writings, since the "Life" written after his death by his secretary, Paulinus, at the suggestion of St. Augustine, is extremely disappointing. Ambrose was descended from an ancient Roman family, which, at an early period had embraced Christianity, and numbered among its scions both Christian martyrs and high officials of State. At the time of his birth his father, likewise named Ambrosius, was Prefect of Gallia, and as such ruled the present territories of France, Britain, and Spain, together with Tingitana in Africa. It was one of the four great prefectures of the Empire, and the highest office that could be held by a subject. Trier, Arles, and Lyons, the three principal cities of the province, contend for the honour of having given birth to the Saint. He was the youngest of three children, being preceded by a sister, Marcellina, who become a nun, and a brother Satyrus, who, upon the unexpected appointment of Ambrose to the episcopate, resigned a prefecture in order to live with him and relieve him from temporal cares. About the year 354 Ambrosius, the father, died, whereupon the family removed to Rome. The saintly and accomplished widow was greatly assisted in the religious training of her two sons by the example and admonitions of her daughter, Marcellina, who was about ten years older than Ambrose. Marcellina had already received the virginal veil from the hands of Liberius, the Roman Pontiff, and with another consecrated virgin lived in her mother's house. From her the Saint imbibed that enthusiastic love of virginity which became his distinguishing trait. His progress in secular knowledge kept equal pace with his growth in piety. It was of extreme advantage to himself and to the Church that he acquired a thorough mastery of the Greek language and literature, the lack of which is so painfully apparent in the intellectual equipment of St. Augustine and, in the succeeding age, of the great St. Leo. In all probability the Greek Schism would not have taken place had East and West continued to converse as intimately as did St. Ambrose and St. Basil. Upon the completion of his liberal education, the Saint devoted his attention to the study and practice of the law, and soon so distinguished himself by the eloquence and ability of his pleadings at the court of the praetorian prefect, Anicius Probus, that the latter took his into his council, and later obtained for him from the Emperor Valentinian the office of consular governor of Liguria and Æmilia, with residence in Milan. "Go", said the prefect, with unconscious prophecy, "conduct thyself not as a judge, but as bishop ". We have no means of ascertaining how long he retained the civic government of his province; we know only that his upright and gently administration gained for him the universal love and esteem of his subjects, paving the way for that sudden revolution in his life which was soon to take place. This was the more remarkable, because the province, and especially the city of Milan, was in a state of religious chaos, owing to the persistent machinations of the Arian faction.

Ever since the heroic Bishop Dionysius, in the year 355, had been dragged in chains to his place of exile in the distant East, the ancient chair of St. Barnabas had been occupied by the intruded Cappadocian, Auxentius, an Arian filled with bitter hatred of the Catholic Faith, ignorant of the Latin language, a wily and violent persecutor of his orthodox subjects. To the great relief of the Catholics, the death of the petty tyrant in 374 ended a bondage which had lasted nearly twenty years. The bishops of the province, dreading the inevitable tumults of a popular election, begged the Emperor Valentinian to appoint a successor by imperial edict; he, however, decided that the election must take place in the usual way. It devolved upon Ambrose, therefore, to maintain order in the city at this perilous juncture. Proceeding to the basilica in which the disunited clergy and people were assembled, he began a conciliatory discourse in the interest of peace and moderation, but was interrupted by a voice (according to Paulinus, the voice of an infant) crying, "Ambrose, Bishop ". The cry was instantly repeated by the entire assembly, and Ambrose, to his surprise and dismay, was unanimously pronounced elected. Quite apart from any supernatural intervention, he was the only logical candidate, known to the Catholics as a firm believer in the Nicene Creed, unobnoxious to the Arians, as one who had kept aloof from all theological controversies. The only difficulty was that of forcing the bewildered consular to accept an office for which his previous training nowise fitted him. Strange to say, like so many other believers of that age, from a misguided reverence for the sanctity of baptism, he was still only a catechumen, and by a wise provision of the canons ineligible to the episcopate. That he was sincere in his repugnance to accepting the responsibilities of the sacred office, those only have doubted who have judged a great man by the standard of their own pettiness. Were Ambrose the worldly-minded, ambitious, and scheming individual they choose to paint him, he would have surely sought advancement in the career that lay wide open before him as a man of acknowledged ability and noble blood. It is difficult to believe that he resorted to the questionable expedients mentioned by his biographer as practised by him with a view to undermining his reputation with the populace. At any rate his efforts were unsuccessful. Valentinian, who was proud that his favourable opinion of Ambrose had been so fully ratified by the voice of clergy and people, confirmed the election and pronounced severe penalties against all who should abet him in his attempt to conceal himself. The Saint finally acquiesced, received baptism at the hands of a Catholic bishop, and eight day later, 7 December 374, the day on which East and West annually honour his memory, after the necessary preliminary degrees was consecrated bishop.

He was now in his thirty-fifth year, and was destined to edify the Church for the comparatively long space of twenty-three active years. From the very beginning he proved himself to be that which he has ever since remained in the estimation of the Christian world, the perfect model of a Christian bishop. There is some truth underlying the exaggerated eulogy of the chastened Theodosius, as reported by Theodoret (v, 18), "I know no bishop worthy of the name, except Ambrose". In him the magnanimity of the Roman patrician was tempered by the meekness and charity of the Christian saint. His first act in the episcopate, imitated by many a saintly successor, was to divest himself of his worldly goods. His personal property he gave to the poor ; he made over his landed possessions to the Church, making provision for the support of his beloved sister. The self-devotion of his brother, Satyrus, relieved him from the care of the temporalities, and enabled him to attend exclusively to his spiritual duties. In order to supply the lack of an early theological training, he devoted himself assiduously to the study of Scripture and the Fathers, with a marked preference for Origen and St. Basil, traces of whose influence are repeatedly met with in his works. With a genius truly Roman, he, like Cicero, Virgil, and other classical authors, contented himself with thoroughly digesting and casting into a Latin mould the best fruits of Greek thought. His studies were of an eminently practical nature ; he learned that he might teach. In the exordium of his treatise, "De Officiis", he complains that, owing to the suddenness of his transfer from the tribunal to the pulpit, he was compelled to learn and teach simultaneously. His piety, sound judgment, and genuine Catholic instinct preserved him from error, and his fame as an eloquent expounder of Catholic doctrine soon reached the ends of the earth. His power as an orator is attested not only by the repeated eulogies, but yet more by the conversion of the skilled rhetorician Augustine. His style is that of a man who is concerned with thoughts rather than words. We cannot imagine him wasting time in turning an elegant phrase. "He was one of those", says St. Augustine, "who speak the truth, and speak it well, judiciously, pointedly, and with beauty and power of expression" (De doct. christ., iv,21).

Through the door of his chamber, wide open the livelong day, and crossed unannounced by all, of whatever estate, who had any sort of business with him, we catch a clear glimpse of his daily life. In the promiscuous throng of his visitors, the high official who seeks his advice upon some weighty affair of state is elbowed by some anxious questioner who wishes to have his doubts removed, or some repentant sinner who comes to make a secret confession of his offenses, certain that the Saint "would reveal his sins to none but God alone" (Paulinus, Vita, xxxix). He ate but sparingly, dining only on Saturdays and Sundays and festivals of the more celebrated martyrs. His long nocturnal vigils were spent in prayer, in attending to his vast correspondence, and in penning down the thoughts that had occurred to him during the day in his oft-interrupted readings. His indefatigable industry and methodical habits explain how so busy a man found time to compose so many valuable books. Every day, he tells us, he offered up the Holy Sacrifice for his people ( pro quibus ego quotidie instauro sacrificium ). Every Sunday his eloquent discourses drew immense crowds to the Basilica. One favorite topic of his was the excellence of virginity, and so successful was he in persuading maidens to adopt the religious profession that many a mother refused to permit her daughters to listen to his words. The saint was forced to refute the charge that he was depopulating the empire, by quaintly appealing to the young men as to whether any of them experienced any difficulty in finding wives. He contends, and the experience of ages sustains his contention (De Virg., vii) that the population increases in direct proportion to the esteem in which virginity is held. His sermons, as was to be expected, were intensely practical, replete with pithy rules of conduct which have remained as household words among Christians. In his method of biblical interpretation all the personages of Holy Writ, from Adam down, stand out before the people as living beings, bearing each his distinct message from God for the instruction of the present generation. He did not write his sermons, but spoke them from the abundance of his heart; and from notes taken during their delivery he compiled almost all the treatises of his that are extant.

It was but natural that a prelate so high-minded, so affable, so kind to the poor, so completely devoting his great gifts to the service of Christ and of humanity, should soon with the enthusiastic love of his people. Rarely, if ever, has a Christian bishop been so universally popular, in the best sense of that much abused term, as Ambrose of Milan. This popularity, conjoined with his intrepidity, was the secret of his success in routing enthroned iniquity. The heretical Empress Justina and her barbarian advisers would many a time fain have silenced him by exile or assassination, but, like Herod in the case of the Baptist, they "feared the multitude". His heroic struggles against the aggressions of the secular power have immortalized him as the model and forerunner of future Hildebrands, Beckets, and other champions of religious liberty. The elder Valentinian died suddenly in 375, the year following the consecration of Ambrose, leaving his Arian brother Valens to scourge the East, and his oldest son, Gratian, to rule the provinces formerly presided over by Ambrosius, with no provision for the government of Italy. The army seized the reins and proclaimed emperor the son of Valentinian by his second wife, Justina, a boy four years old. Gratian good-naturally acquiesced, and assigned to his half-brother the sovereignty of Italy, Illyricum, and Africa. Justina had prudently concealed her Arian view during the lifetime of her orthodox husband, but now, abetted by a powerful and mainly Gothic faction at court, proclaimed her determination to rear her child in that heresy, and once more attempt to Arianize the West. This of necessity brought her into direct collision with the Bishop of Milan, who had quenched the last embers of Arianism in his diocese. That heresy had never been popular among the common people; it owed its artificial vitality to the intrigues of courtiers and sovereigns. As a preliminary to the impending contest, Ambrose, at the request of Gratian, who was about to lead an army to the relief of Valens, and wished to have at hand an antidote against Oriental sophistry, wrote his noble work, "De Fide ad Gratianum Augustum", afterwards expanded, and extant in five books. The first passage at arms between Ambrose and the Empress was on the occasion of an episcopal election at Sirmium, the capital of Illyricum, and at the time the residence of Justina. Notwithstanding her efforts, Ambrose was successful in securing the election of a Catholic bishop. He followed up this victory by procuring, at the Council of Aquilein, (381), over which he presided, the deposition of the only remaining Arianizing prelates of the West, Palladius and Secundianus, both Illyrians. The battle royal between Ambrose and the Empress, in the years 385,386, has been graphically described by Cardinal Newman in his "Historical Sketches". The question at issue was the surrender of one of the basilicas to the Arians for public worship. Throughout the long struggle Ambrose displayed in an eminent degree all the qualities of a great leader. His intrepidity in the moments of personal danger was equalled only by his admirable moderation; for, at certain critical stages of the drama one word from him would have hurled the Empress and her son from their throne. That word was never spoken. An enduring result of this great struggle with despotism was the rapid development during its course of the ecclesiastical chant, of which Ambrose laid the foundation. Unable to overcome the fortitude of the Bishop and the spirit of the people, the court finally desisted from its efforts. Ere long it was forced to call upon Ambrose to exert himself to save the imperilled throne.

Already he had been sent on an embassy to the court of the usurper, Maximus, who in the year 383 had defeated and slain Gratian, and now ruled in his place. Largely through his efforts an understanding had been reached between Maximus and Theodosius, whom Gratian had appointed to rule the East. It provided that Maximus should content himself with his present possessions and respect the territory of Valentinian II. Three years later Maximus determined to cross the Alps. The tyrant received Ambrose unfavourably and, on the plea, very honourable to the Saint, that he refused to hold communion with the bishops who had compassed the death of Priscillian (the first instance of capital punishment inflicted for heresy by a Christian prince) dismissed him summarily from his court. Shortly after, Maximus invaded Italy. Valentinian and his mother fled to Theodosius, who took up their cause, defeated the usurper, and put him to death. At this time Justina died, and Valentinian, by the advice of Theodosius, abjured Arianism and placed himself under the guidance of Ambrose, to whom he became sincerely attached. It was during the prolonged stay of Theodosius in the West that one of most remarkable episodes in the history of the Church took place; the public penance inflicted by the Bishop and submitted to by the Emperor. The long-received story, set afoot by the distant Theodoret, which extols the Saint's firmness at the expense of his equally pronounced virtues of prudence and meekness - that Ambrose stopped the Emperor at the porch of the church and publicly upbraided and humiliated him - is shown by modern criticism to have been greatly exaggerated. The emergency called into action every episcopal virtue. When the news reached Milan that the seditious Thessalonians had killed the Emperor's officials, Ambrose and the council of bishops, over which he happened to be presiding at the time, made an apparently successful appeal to the clemency of Theodosius. Great was their horror, when, shortly after Theodosius, yielding to the suggestions of Rufinose and other courtiers, ordered an indiscriminate massacre of the citizens, in which seven thousand perished. In order to avoid meeting the blood-stained monarch or offering up the Holy Sacrifice in his presence, and, moreover, to give him time to ponder the enormity of a deed so foreign to his character, the Saint, pleading ill-health, and sensible that he exposed himself to the charge of cowardice, retired to the country, whence he sent a noble letter "written with my own hand, that thou alone mayst read it", exhorting the Emperor to repair his crime by an exemplary penance. With "religious humility ", says St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei., V, xxvi), Theodosius submitted; "and, being laid hold of by the discipline of the Church, did penance in such a way that the sight of his imperial loftiness prostrated made the people who were interceding for him weep more than the consciousness of offence had made them fear it when enraged". "Stripping himself of every emblem of royalty", says Ambrose in his funeral oration (c. 34), "he publicly in church bewailed his sin. That public penance, which private individuals shrink from, an Emperor was not ashamed to perform; nor was there afterwards a day on which he did not grieve for his mistake." This plain narrative, without theatrical setting, is much more honourable both to the Bishop and his sovereign.

The murder of his youthful ward, Valentinian II, which happened in Gaul, May, 393, just as Ambrose was crossing the Alps to baptize him plunged the Saint into deep affliction. His eulogy delivered at Milan is singularly tender; he courageously described him as a martyr baptized in his own blood. The usurper Eugenius was, in fact, a heathen at heart, and openly proclaimed his resolution to restore paganism. He reopened the heathen temples, and ordered the famous altar of Victory, concerning which Ambrose and the prefect Symmachus had maintained a long and determined literary contest, to be again set up in the Roman senate chamber. This triumph of paganism was of short duration. Theodosius in the spring of 391 again lead his legions into the West, and in a brief campaign defeated and slew the tyrant. Roman heathenism perished with him. The Emperor recognized the merits of the great Bishop of Milan by announcing his victory on the evening of the battle and asking him to celebrate a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving. Theodosius did not long survive his triumph; he died at Milan a few months later (January 395) with Ambrose at his bedside and the name of Ambrose on his lips. "Even while death was dissolving his body", says the Saint, "he was more concerned about the welfare of the churches than about his personal danger". "I loved him, and am confident that the Lord will hearken to the prayer I send up for his pious soul " (In obitu Theodosii, c. 35). Only two years elapsed before a kindly death reunited these two magnanimous souls. No human frame could long endure the incessant activity of an Ambrose. One instance, recorded by his secretary, of his extraordinary capacity for work is significant. He died on Good Friday. The following day five bishops found difficulty in baptizing the crowd to which he had been accustomed to administer the sacrament unaided. When the news spread that he was seriously ill, Count Stilicho, "fearing that his death would involve the destruction of Italy ", despatched an embassy, composed of the chief citizens, to implore him to pray God to prolong his days. The response of the Saint made a deep impression on St. Augustine : "I have not so lived amongst you, that I need be ashamed to live; nor do I fear to die, for we have a good Lord". For several hours before his death he lay with extended arms in imitation of his expiring Master, who also appeared to him in person. The Body of Christ was given him by the Bishop of Vercelli, and, "after swallowing It, he peacefully breathed his last". It was the fourth of April, 397. He was interred as he had desired, in his beloved basilica, by the side of the holy martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius, the discovery of whose relics, during his great struggle with Justina, had so consoled him and his faithful adherents. In the year 835 one of his successors, Angilbert II, placed the relics of the three saints in as porphyry sarcophagus under the altar, where they were found in 1864. The works of St. Ambrose were issued first from the press of Froben at Basle, 1527, under the supervision of Erasmus. A more elaborate edition was printed in Rome in the year 1580 and following. Cardinal Montalto was the chief editor until elevation to the papacy as Sixtus V. It is in five volumes and still retains a value owing to the prefixed "Life" of the Saint, composed by Baronius. Then came the excellent Maurist edition published in two volumes at Paris, in 1686 and 1690; reprinted by Migne in four volumes. The career of St. Ambrose occupies a prominent place in all histories, ecclesiastical and secular, of the fourth century. Tillemont's narrative, in the tenth volume of his "Memoirs", is particularly valuable. The question of the genuineness of the so-called eighteen Ambrosian Hymns is of secondary importance. The great merit of the Saint in the field of hymnology is that of laying the foundations and showing posterity what ample scope there existed for future development.

The special character and value of the writings of St. Ambrose are at once tangible in the title of Doctor of the Church, which from time immemorial he has shared in the West with St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory. He is an official witness to the teaching of the Catholic Church in his own time and in the preceding centuries. As such his writings have been constantly invoked by popes, councils and theologians ; even in his own day it was felt that few could voice so clearly the true sense of the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church (St. Augustine, De doctrinâ christ.,IV,46,48,50). Ambrose is pre-eminently the ecclesiastical teacher, setting forth in a sound and edifying way, and with conscientious regularity, the deposit of faith as made known to him. He is not the philosophic scholar meditating in silence and retirement on the truths of the Christian Faith, but the strenuous administrator, bishop, and statesman, whose writings are only the mature expression of his official life and labours. Most of his writings are really homilies, spoken commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, taken down by his hearers, and afterwards reduced to their present form, though very few of these discourses have reached us exactly as they fell from the lips of the great bishop. In Ambrose the native Roman genius shines out with surpassing distinctness; he is clear, sober, practical, and aims always at persuading his hearers to act at once on the principles and arguments he has laid down, which affect nearly every phase of their religious or moral life. "He is a genuine Roman in whom the ethico-practical note is always dominant. He had neither time nor liking for philosophico-dogmatic speculations. In all his writings he follows some practical purpose. Hence he is often content to reproduce what has been already treated, to turn over for another harvest a field already worked. He often draws abundantly from the ideas of some earlier writer, Christian or pagan, but adapts these thoughts with tact and intelligence to the larger public of his time and his people. In formal perfection his writings leave something to be desired; a fact that need not surprise us when we recall the demands on the time of such a busy man. His diction abounds in unconscious reminiscences of classical writers, Greek and Roman. He is especially conversant with the writings of Virgil. His style is in every way peculiar and personal. It is never wanting in a certain dignified reserve; when it appears more carefully studied than is usual with him, its characteristics are energetic brevity and bold originality. Those of his writings that are homiletic in origin and form betray naturally the great oratorical gifts of Ambrose; in them he rises occasionally to a noble height of poetical inspiration. His hymns are a sufficient evidence of the sure mastery that he possessed over the Latin language." (Bardenhewer, Les pères de l'église, Paris, 1898, 736 -737; cf. Pruner, Die Theologie des heil. Ambrosius, Eichstadt, 1864.) For convenience sake his extant writings may be divided into four classes: exegetical, dogmatic, ascetico-moral, and occasional. The exegetical writings, or scripture-commentaries deal with the story of Creation, the Old Testament figures of Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Elias, Tobias, David and the Psalms, and other subjects. Of his discourses on the New Testament only the lengthy commentary on St. Luke has reached us (Expositio in Lucam). He is not the author of the admirable commentary on the thirteen Epistles of St. Paul known as "Ambrosiaster". Altogether these Scripture commentaries make up more than one half of the writings of Ambrose. He delights in the allegorico-mystical interpretation of Scripture, i.e. while admitting the natural or literal sense he seeks everywhere a deeper mystic meaning that he converts into practical instruction for Christian life. In this, says St. Jerome (Ep.xli) "he was disciple of Origen, but after the modifications in that master's manner due to St. Hippolytus of Rome and St. Basil the Great ". He was also influenced in this direction by the Jewish writer Philo to such an extent that the much corrupted text of the latter can often be successfully corrected from the echoes and reminiscences met with in the works of Ambrose. It is to be noted, however, that in his use of non-Christian writers the great Doctor never abandons a strictly Christian attitude (cf. Kellner, Der heilige Ambrosius als Erklärer das Alten Testamentes, Ratisbon, 1893).

The most influential of his ascetico-moral writings is the work on the duties of Christian ecclesiastics (De officiis ministrorum). It is a manual of Christian morality, and in its order and disposition follows closely the homonymous work of Cicero. "Nevertheless", says Dr. Bardenhewer, "the antitheses between the philosophical morality of the pagan and the morality of the Christian ecclesiastic is acute and striking. In his exhortations, particularly, Ambrose betrays an irresistible spiritual power" (cf. R. Thamin, Saint Ambroise et la morale chrétienne at quatrième siècle, Paris, 1895). He wrote several works on virginity, or rather published a number of his discourses on that virtue, the most important of which is the treatise "On Virgins " addressed to his sister Marcellina, herself a virgin consecrated to the divine service. St. Jerome says (Ep. xxii) that he was the most eloquent and exhaustive of all the exponents of virginity, and his judgment expresses yet the opinion of the church. The genuineness of the touching little work "On the Fall of a Consecrated Virgin" (De lapsu virginis consecratæ) has been called in question, but without sufficient reason. Dom Germain Morin maintains that it is a real homily of Ambrose, but like so many more of his so-called "books", owes its actual form to some one of his auditors. His dogmatic writings deal mostly with the divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Ghost, also with the Christian sacraments. At the request of the young Emperor Gratian (375-383) he composed a defence of the true divinity of Jesus Christ against the Arians, and another on the true divinity of the Holy Ghost against the Macedonians; also a work on the Incarnation of Our Lord. His work "On Penance" was written in refutation of the rigoristic tenets of the Novatians and abounds in useful evidences of the power of the Church to forgive sins, the necessity of confession and the meritorious character of good works. A special work on Baptism (De sacramento regenerationis), often quoted by St. Augustine, has perished. We possess yet, however, his excellent treatise (De Mysteriis) on Baptism, Confirmation, and the Blessed Eucharist (P.L. XVI, 417-462), addressed to the newly baptized. Its genuineness has been called in doubt by opponents of Catholic teaching concerning the Eucharist, but without any good reason. It is highly probable that the work on the sacraments (De Sacramentis, ibid.) is identical with the preceding work; only, says Bardenhewer, "indiscreetly published by some hearer of Ambrose". Its evidences to the sacrificial character of the Mass, and to the antiquity of the Roman Canon of the Mass are too well known to need more than a mention; some of them may easily be seen in any edition of the Roman Breviary (cf. Probst, Die Liturgie des vierten Jahrhunderts und deren Reform, Münster, 1893, 232-239). The correspondence of Ambrose includes but a few confidential or personal letters; most of his letters are official notes, memorials on public affairs, reports of councils held, and the like. Their historical value is, however, of the first order, and they exhibit him as a Roman administrator and statesman second to none in Church or State. If his personal letters are unimportant, his remaining discourses are of a very high order. His work on the death (378) of his brother Satyrus (De excessu fratris sui Satyri) contains his funeral sermon on his brother, one of the earliest of Christian panegryics and a model of the consolatory discourses that were henceforth to take the place of the cold and inept declamations of the Stoics. His funeral discourses on Valentinian II (392), and Theodosius the Great (395) are considered models of rhetorical composition; (cf. Villemain, De l'éloquence chrétienne, Paris, ed. 1891); they are also historical documents of much importance. Such, also, are his discourse against the Arian intruder, Auxentius (Contra Auxentium de basilicis tradendis) and his two discourses on the finding of the bodies of the Milanese martyrs Gervasius and Protasius.

Not a few works have been falsely attributed to St. Ambrose; most of them are found in the Benedictine Edition of his writings (reprinted in Migne ) and are discussed in the manuals of patrology (e.g. Bardenhewer). Some of his genuine works appear to have been lost, e.g. the already mentioned work on baptism. St. Augustine (Ep. 31, 8) is loud in his praise of a (now lost) work of Ambrose written against those who asserted an intellectual dependency of Jesus Christ on Plato. It is not improbable that he is really the author of the Latin translation and paraphrase of Josephus (De Bell. Judaico), known in the Middle Ages as Hegesippus or Egesippus, a distortion of the Greek name of the original author ( Iosepos ). Mommsen denies (1890) his authorship of the famous Roman law text known as the "Lex Dei, sive Mosaicarum et Romanarum Legum Collatio", an attempt to exhibit the law of Moses as the historical source whence Roman criminal jurisprudence drew its principal dispositions.



Albrecht Altdorfer. The Penitence of St. Jerome . 1507. Oil on panel. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420. He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory of Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died ( 11 December, 384 ) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians.

The literary activity of St. Jerome, although very prolific, may be summed up under a few principal heads: works on the Bible ; theological controversies; historical works; various letters; translations. But perhaps the chronology of his more important writings will enable us to follow more easily the development of his studies.

A first period extends to his sojourn in Rome (382), a period of preparation. From this period we have the translation of the homilies of Origen on Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Isaias (379-81), and about the same time the translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius ; then the "Vita S. Pauli, prima eremitae" (374-379).

A second period extends from his sojourn in Rome to the beginning of the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (382-390). During this period the exegetical vocation of St. Jerome asserted itself under the influence of Pope Damasus, and took definite shape when the opposition of the ecclesiastics of Rome compelled the caustic Dalmatian to renounce ecclesiastical advancement and retire to Bethlehem. In 384 we have the correction of the Latin version of the Four Gospels ; in 385, the Epistles of St. Paul ; in 384, a first revision of the Latin Psalms according to the accepted text of the Septuagint ( Roman Psalter ); in 384, the revision of the Latin version of the Book of Job, after the accepted version of the Septuagint ; between 386 and 391 a second revision of the Latin Psalter, this time according to the text of the "Hexapla" of Origen ( Gallican Psalter, embodied in the Vulgate ). It is doubtful whether he revised the entire version of the Old Testament according to the Greek of the Septuagint. In 382-383 "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi" and "De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium". In 387-388, commentaries on the Epistles to Philemon, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus; and in 389-390, on Ecclesiastes.

Giovanni Bellini. St. Jerome in the Desert. c. 1480. Tempera on panel. 151x113 cm. Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy

Between 390 and 405, St. Jerome gave all his attention to the translation of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew, but this work alternated with many others. Between 390-394 he translated the Books of Samuel and of Kings, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, and Paralipomena. In 390 he translated the treatise "De Spiritu Sancto" of Didymus of Alexandria ; in 389-90, he drew up his "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" and "De interpretatione nominum hebraicorum." In 391-92 he wrote the "Vita S. Hilarionis", the "Vita Malchi, monachi captivi", and commentaries on Nahum, Micheas, Sophonias, Aggeus, Habacuc. In 392-93, "De viris illustribus", and "Adversus Jovinianum"; in 395, commentaries on Jonas and Abdias ; in 398, revision of the remainder of the Latin version of the New Testament, and about that time commentaries on chapters 13-23 of Isaias ; in 398, an unfinished work "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum"; in 401, "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum"; between 403-406, "Contra Vigilantium"; finally from 398 to 405, completion of the version of the Old Testament according to the k/07176a.htm">Hebrew.

In the last period of his life, from 405 to 420, St. Jerome took up the series of his commentaries interrupted for seven years. In 406, he commented on Osee, Joel, Amos, Zacharias, Malachias ; in 408, on Daniel ; from 408 to 410, on the remainder of Isaias ; from 410 to 415, on Ezechiel ; from 415-420, on Jeremias. From 401 to 410 date what is left of his sermons ; treatises on St. Mark, homilies on the Psalms, on various subjects, and on the Gospels ; in 415, "Dialogi contra Pelagianos".

Saint Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-2, he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. But he went too far in his reaction against the ideas of his time, and is open to reproach for not having sufficiently appreciated the Septuagint. This latter version was made from a much older, and at times much purer, Hebrew text than the one in use at the end of the fourth century. Hence the necessity of taking the Septuagint into consideration in any attempt to restore the text of the Old Testament. With this exception we must admit the excellence of the translation made by St. Jerome.

His commentaries represent a vast amount of work but of very unequal value. Very often he worked exceedingly rapidly; besides, he considered a commentary a work of compilation, and his chief care was to accumulate the interpretations of his predecessors, rather than to pass judgment on them. The "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" is one of his best works. It is a philological inquiry concerning the original text. It is to be regretted that he was unable to continue, as had been his intention, a style of work entirely new at the time. Although he often asserted his desire to avoid excessive allegory, his efforts in that respect were far from successful, and in later years he was ashamed of some of his earlier allegorical explanations. He himself says that he had recourse to the allegorical meaning only when unable to discover the literal meaning. His treatise, "De Interpretatione nominum hebraicorum", is but a collection of mystical and symbolical meanings.

Excepting the "Commentarius in ep. ad Galatas", which is one of his best, his explanations of the New Testament have no great value. Among his commentaries on the Old Testament must be mentioned those on Amos, Isaias, and Jeremias. There are some that are frankly bad, for instance those on Zacharias, Osee, and Joel.

To sum up, the Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes. In the first place, he was very careful as to the sources of his information. He required of the exegete a very extensive knowledge of sacred and profane history, and also of the linguistics and geography of Palestine. He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them. On the inspiration, the existence of a spiritual meaning, and the freedom of the Bible from error, he holds the traditional doctrine. Possibly he has insisted more than others on the share which belongs to the sacred writer in his collaboration in the inspired work. His criticism is not without originality. The controversy with the Jews and with the Pagans had long since called the attention of the Christians to certain difficulties in the Bible. St. Jerome answers in various ways. Not to mention his answers to this or that difficulty, he appeals above all to the principle, that the original text of the Scriptures is the only one inspired and free from error. Therefore one must determine if the text, in which the difficulties arise, has not been altered by the copyist. Moreover, when the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they did so not according to the letter but according to the spirit. There are many subtleties and even contradictions in the explanations Jerome offers, but we must bear in mind his evident sincerity. He does not try to cloak over his ignorance ; he admits that there are many difficulties in the Bible ; at times he seems quite embarrassed. Finally, he proclaims a principle, which, if recognized as legitimate, might serve to adjust the insufficiencies of his criticism. He asserts that in the Bible there is no material error due to the ignorance or the heedlessness of the sacred writer, but he adds: "It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time" (P.L., XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855).

Among the historical works of St. Jerome must be noted the translation and the continuation of the "Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis", as the continuation written by him, which extends from 325 to 378, served as a model for the annals of the chroniclers of the Middle Ages ; hence the defects in such works: dryness, superabundance of data of every description, lack of proportion and of historical sense. The "Vita S. Pauli Eremitae" is not a very reliable document. The "Vita Malchi, monachi" is a eulogy of chastity woven through a number of legendary episodes. As to the "Vita S. Hilarionis", it has suffered from contact with the preceding ones. It has been asserted that the journeys of St. Hilarion are a plagiarism of some old tales of travel. But these objections are altogether misplaced, as it is really a reliable work. The treatise "De Viris illustribus" is a very excellent literary history. It was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men. For the first three centuries Jerome depends to a great extent on Eusebius, whose statements he borrows, often distorting them, owing to the rapidity with which he worked. His accounts of the authors of the fourth century however are of great value.

Caravaggio. St. Jerome . c.1605. Oil on canvas. Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy

The oratorical consist of about one hundred homilies or short treatises, and in these the Solitary of Bethlehem appears in a new light. He is a monk addressing monks, not without making very obvious allusions to contemporary events. The orator is lengthy and apologizes for it. He displays a wonderful knowledge of the versions and contents of the Bible. His allegory is excessive at times, and his teaching on grace is Semipelagian. A censorious spirit against authority, sympathy for the poor which reaches the point of hostility against the rich, lack of good taste, inferiority of style, and misquotation, such are the most glaring defects of these sermons. Evidently they are notes taken down by his hearers, and it is a question whether they were reviewed by the preacher.

The correspondence of St. Jerome is one of the best known parts of his literary output. It comprises about one hundred and twenty letters from him, and several from his correspondents. Many of these letters were written with a view to publication, and some of them the author even edited himself; hence they show evidence of great care and skill in their composition, and in them St. Jerome reveals himself a master of style. These letters, which had already met with great success with his contemporaries, have been, with the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, one of the works most appreciated by the humanists of the Renaissance. Aside from their literary interest they have great historical value. Relating to a period covering half a century they touch upon most varied subjects; hence their division into letters dealing with theology, polemics, criticism, conduct, and biography. In spite of their turgid diction they are full of the man's personality. It is in this correspondence that the temperament of St. Jerome is most clearly seen: his waywardness, his love of extremes, his exceeding sensitiveness; how he was in turn exquisitely dainty and bitterly satirical, unsparingly outspoken concerning others and equally frank about himself.

The theological writings of St. Jerome are mainly controversial works, one might almost say composed for the occasion. He missed being a theologian, by not applying himself in a consecutive and personal manner to doctrinal questions. In his controversies he was simply the interpreter of the accepted ecclesiastical doctrine. Compared with St. Augustine his inferiority in breadth and originality of view is most evident.

His "Dialogue" against the Luciferians deals with a schismatic sect whose founder was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. The Luciferians refused to approve of the measure of clemency by which the Church, since the Council of Alexandria, in 362, had allowed bishops, who had adhered to Arianism, to continue to discharge their duties on condition of professing the Nicene Creed. This rigorist sect had adherents almost everywhere, and even in Rome it was very troublesome. Against it Jerome wrote his "Dialogue", scathing in sarcasm, but not always accurate in doctrine, particularly as to the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The book "Adversus Helvidium" belongs to about the same period. Helvidius held the two following tenets:

  • Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ ;
  • from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.

Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions.

The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book "Adversus Jovinianum" written about ten years later. Jerome recognizes the legitimacy of marriage, but he uses concerning it certain disparaging expressions which were criticized by contemporaries and for which he has given no satisfactory explanation. Jovinian was more dangerous than Helvidius. Although he did not exactly teach salvation by faith alone, and the uselessness of good works, he made far too easy the road to salvation and slighted a life of asceticism. Every one of these points St. Jerome took up.

The "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum" dealt with the Origenistic controversies. St. Jerome was involved in one of the most violent episodes of that struggle, which agitated the Church from Origen's lifetime until the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The question at issue was to determine if certain doctrines professed by Origen and others taught by certain pagan followers of Origen could be accepted. In the present case the doctrinal difficulties were embittered by personalities between St. Jerome and his former friend, Rufinus. To understand Origen were by far the most complete exegetical collection then in existence, and the one most accessible to students. Hence a very natural tendency to make use of them, and it is evident that St. Jerome did so, as well as many others. But we must carefully distinguish between writers who made use of Origen and those who adhered to his doctrines. This distinction is particularly necessary with St. Jerome, whose method of work was very rapid, and consisted in transcribing the interpretations of former exegetes without passing criticism on them. Nevertheless, it is certain that St. Jerome greatly praised and made use of Origen, that he even transcribed some erroneous passages without due reservation. But it is also evident that he never adhered thinkingly and systematically to the Origenistic doctrines.

Under these circumstances it came about that when Rufinus, who was a genuine Origenist, called on him to justify his use of Origen, the explanations he gave were not free from embarrassment. At this distance of time it would require a very subtle and detailed study of the question to decide the real basis of the quarrel. However that may be, Jerome may be accused of imprudence of language and blamed for a too hasty method of work. With a temperament such as his, and confident of his undoubted orthodoxy in the matter of Origenism, he must naturally have been tempted to justify anything. This brought about a most bitter controversy with his wily adversary, Rufinus. But on the whole Jerome's position is by far the stronger of the two, even in the eyes of his contemporaries. It is generally conceded that in this controversy Rufinus was to blame. It was he who brought about the conflict in which he proved himself to be narrow-minded, perplexed, ambitious, even timorous. St. Jerome, whose attitude is not always above reproach, is far superior to him.

Vigilantius, the Gascon priest against whom Jerome wrote a treatise, quarrelled with ecclesiastical usages rather than matters of doctrine. What he principally rejected was the monastic life and the veneration of saints and of relics.

In short, Helvidius, Jovinian, and Vigilantius were the mouthpieces of a reaction against asceticism which had developed so largely in the fourth century. Perhaps the influence of that same reaction is to be seen in the doctrine of the monk Pelagius, who gave his name to the principal heresy on grace : Pelagianism. On this subject Jerome wrote his "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Accurate as to the doctrine of original sin, the author is much less so when he determines the part of God and of man in the act of justification. In the main his ideas are Semipelagian : man merits first grace : a formula which endangers the absolute freedom of the gift of grace.

The book "De situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum" is a translation of the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, to which the translator has joined additions and corrections. The translations of the "Homilies" of Origen vary in character according to the time in which they were written. As time went on, Jerome became more expert in the art of translating, and he outgrew the tendency to palliate, as he came across them, certain errors of Origen. We must make special mention of the translation of the homilies "In Canticum Canticorum", the Greek original of which has been lost.

St. Jerome 's complete works can be found in P.L., XXII-XXX.




Alessandro Botticelli. St. Augustine . 1480. Fresco. Ognissanti, Florence, Italy

The great St. Augustine's life is unfolded to us in documents of unrivaled richness, and of no great character of ancient times have we information comparable to that contained in the "Confessions," which relate the touching story of his soul, the "Retractations," which give the history of his mind, and the "Life of Augustine," written by his friend Possidius, telling of the saint's apostolate.

We will confine ourselves to sketching the three periods of this great life: (1) the young wanderer's gradual return to the Faith; (2) the doctrinal development of the Christian philosopher to the time of his episcopate; and (3) the full development of his activities upon the Episcopal throne of Hippo.

Saint Augustine was born at Tagaste on 13 November, 354. Tagaste, now Souk-Ahras, about 60 miles from Bona (ancient Hippo-Regius ), was at that time a small free city of proconsular Numidia which had recently been converted from Donatism. Although eminently respectable, his family was not rich, and his father, Patricius, one of the curiales of the city, was still a pagan. However, the admirable virtues that made Monica the ideal of Christian mothers at length brought her husband the grace of baptism and of a holy death, about the year 371.

Augustine received a Christian education. His mother had him signed with the cross and enrolled among the catechumens. Once, when very ill, he asked for baptism, but, all danger being soon passed, he deferred receiving the sacrament, thus yielding to a deplorable custom of the times. His association with "men of prayer " left three great ideas deeply engraven upon his soul : a Divine Providence, the future life with terrible sanctions, and, above all, Christ the Saviour. "From my tenderest infancy, I had in a manner sucked with my mother's milk that name of my Saviour, Thy Son; I kept it in the recesses of my heart; and all that presented itself to me without that Divine Name, though it might be elegant, well written, and even replete with truth, did not altogether carry me away" (Confessions, I, iv).

But a great intellectual and moral crisis stifled for a time all these Christian sentiments. The heart was the first point of attack. Patricius, proud of his son's success in the schools of Tagaste and Madaura determined to send him to Carthage to prepare for a forensic career. But, unfortunately, it required several months to collect the necessary means, and Augustine had to spend his sixteenth year at Tagaste in an idleness which was fatal to his virtue ; he gave himself up to pleasure with all the vehemence of an ardent nature. At first he prayed, but without the sincere desire of being heard, and when he reached Carthage, towards the end of the year 370, every circumstance tended to draw him from his true course: the many seductions of the great city that was still half pagan, the licentiousness of other students, the theatres, the intoxication of his literary success, and a proud desire always to be first, even in evil. Before long he was obliged to confess to Monica that he had formed a sinful liaison with the person who bore him a son (372), "the son of his sin " — an entanglement from which he only delivered himself at Milan after fifteen years of its thralldom.

Two extremes are to be avoided in the appreciation of this crisis. Some, like Mommsen, misled perhaps by the tone of grief in the "Confessions," have exaggerated it: in the "Realencyklopädie" (3d ed., II, 268) Loofs reproves Mommsen on this score, and yet he himself is too lenient towards Augustine, when he claims that in those days, the Church permitted concubinage. The "Confessions" alone prove that Loofs did not understand the 17th canon of Toledo. However, it may be said that, even in his fall, Augustine maintained a certain dignity and felt a compunction which does him honour, and that, from the age of nineteen, he had a genuine desire to break the chain. In fact, in 373, an entirely new inclination manifested itself in his life, brought about by the reading Cicero 's "Hortensius" whence he imbibed a love of the wisdom which Cicero so eloquently praises. Thenceforward Augustine looked upon rhetoric merely as a profession; his heart was in philosophy.

Unfortunately, his faith, as well as his morals, was to pass though a terrible crisis. In this same year, 373, Augustine and his friend Honoratus fell into the snares of the Manichæans. It seems strange that so great a mind should have been victimized by Oriental vapourings, synthesized by the Persian Mani (215-276) into coarse, material dualism, and introduced into Africa scarcely fifty years previously. Augustine himself tells us that he was enticed by the promises of a free philosophy unbridled by faith ; by the boasts of the Manichæans, who claimed to have discovered contradictions in Holy Writ ; and, above all, by the hope of finding in their doctrine a scientific explanation of nature and its most mysterious phenomena. Augustine's inquiring mind was enthusiastic for the natural sciences, and the Manichæans declared that nature withheld no secrets from Faustus, their doctor. Moreover, being tortured by the problem of the origin of evil, Augustine, in default of solving it, acknowledged a conflict of two principles. And then, again, there was a very powerful charm in the moral irresponsibility resulting from a doctrine which denied liberty and attributed the commission of crime to a foreign principle.

Once won over to this sect, Augustine devoted himself to it with all the ardour of his character ; he read all its books, adopted and defended all its opinions. His furious proselytism drew into error his friend Alypius and Romanianus, his Mæcenas of Tagaste, the friend of his father who was defraying the expenses of Augustine's studies. It was during this Manichæan period that Augustine's literary faculties reached their full development, and he was still a student at Carthage when he embraced error.

His studies ended, he should in due course have entered the forum litigiosum , but he preferred the career of letters, and Possidius tells us that he returned to Tagaste to "teach grammar." The young professor captivated his pupils, one of whom, Alypius, hardly younger than his master, loath to leave him after following him into error, was afterwards baptized with him at Milan, eventually becoming Bishop of Tagaste, his native city. But Monica deeply deplored Augustine's heresy and would not have received him into her home or at her table but for the advice of a saintly bishop, who declared that "the son of so many tears could not perish." Soon afterwards Augustine went to Carthage, where he continued to teach rhetoric. His talents shone to even better advantage on this wider stage, and by an indefatigable pursuit of the liberal arts his intellect attained its full maturity. Having taken part in a poetic tournament, he carried off the prize, and the Proconsul Vindicianus publicly conferred upon him the corona agonistica .

Simone Martini. The Miracle of the Child Falling from the Balcony. c. 1324. Tempera on panel. Church of St. Augustine, Siena, Italy

It was at this moment of literary intoxication, when he had just completed his first work on æsthetics (now lost) that he began to repudiate Manichæism. Even when Augustine was in his first fervour, the teachings of Mani had been far from quieting his restlessness, and although he has been accused of becoming a priest of the sect, he was never initiated or numbered among the "elect," but remained an "auditor" the lowest degree in the hierarchy. He himself gives the reason for his disenchantment. First of all there was the fearful depravity of Manichæan philosophy — "They destroy everything and build up nothing"; then, the dreadful immorality in contrast with their affectation of virtue ; the feebleness of their arguments in controversy with the Catholics, to whose Scriptural arguments their only reply was: "The Scriptures have been falsified." But, worse than all, he did not find science among them — science in the modern sense of the word — that knowledge of nature and its laws which they had promised him. When he questioned them concerning the movements of the stars, none of them could answer him. "Wait for Faustus," they said, "he will explain everything to you." Faustus of Mileve, the celebrated Manichæan bishop, at last came to Carthage ; Augustine visited and questioned him, and discovered in his responses the vulgar rhetorician, the utter stranger to all scientific culture. The spell was broken, and, although Augustine did not immediately abandon the sect, his mind rejected Manichæan doctrines. The illusion had lasted nine years.

But the religious crisis of this great soul was only to be resolved in Italy, under the influence of Ambrose. In 383 Augustine, at the age of twenty-nine, yielded to the irresistible attraction which Italy had for him, but his mother suspected his departure and was so reluctant to be separated from him that he resorted to a subterfuge and embarked under cover of the night. He had only just arrived in Rome when he was taken seriously ill; upon recovering he opened a school of rhetoric, but, disgusted by the tricks of his pupils, who shamelessly defrauded him of their tuition fees, he applied for a vacant professorship at Milan, obtained it, and was accepted by the prefect, Symmachus. Having visited Bishop Ambrose, the fascination of that saint's kindness induced him to become a regular attendant at his preachings.

However, before embracing the Faith, Augustine underwent a three years' struggle during which his mind passed through several distinct phases. At first he turned towards the philosophy of the Academics, with its pessimistic scepticism ; then neo-Platonic philosophy inspired him with genuine enthusiasm. At Milan he had scarcely read certain works of Plato and, more especially, of Plotinus, before the hope of finding the truth dawned upon him. Once more he began to dream that he and his friends might lead a life dedicated to the search for it, a life purged of all vulgar aspirations after honours, wealth, or pleasure, and with celibacy for its rule (Confessions, VI). But it was only a dream ; his passions still enslaved him.

Monica, who had joined her son at Milan, prevailed upon him to become betrothed, but his affianced bride was too young, and although Augustine dismissed the mother of Adeodatus, her place was soon filled by another. Thus did he pass through one last period of struggle and anguish. Finally, through the reading of the Holy Scripture light penetrated his mind. Soon he possessed the certainty that Jesus Christ is the only way to truth and salvation. After that resistance came only from the heart. An interview with Simplicianus, the future successor of St. Ambrose, who told Augustine the story of the conversion of the celebrated neo-Platonic rhetorician, Victorinus (Confessions, VIII, i, ii), prepared the way for the grand stroke of grace which, at the age of thirty-three, smote him to the ground in the garden at Milan (September, 386). A few days later Augustine, being ill, took advantage of the autumn holidays and, resigning his professorship, went with Monica, Adeodatus, and his friends to Cassisiacum, the country estate of Verecundus, there to devote himself to the pursuit of true philosophy which, for him, was now inseparable from Christianity.

Augustine gradually became acquainted with Christian doctrine, and in his mind the fusion of Platonic philosophy with revealed dogmas was taking place. The law that governed this change of thought has of late years been frequently misconstrued; it is sufficiently important to be precisely defined. The solitude of Cassisiacum realized a long-cherished dream. In his books "Against the Academics," Augustine has described the ideal serenity of this existence, enlivened only by the passion for truth. He completed the education of his young friends, now by literary readings in common, now by philosophical conferences to which he sometimes invited Monica, and the accounts of which, compiled by a secretary, have supplied the foundation of the "Dialogues." Licentius, in his "Letters," would later on recall these delightful philosophical mornings and evenings, at which Augustine was wont to evolve the most elevating discussions from the most commonplace incidents. The favourite topics at their conferences were truth, certainty (Against the Academics), true happiness in philosophy (On a Happy Life), the Providential order of the world and the problem of evil (On Order) and finally God and the soul (Soliloquies, On the Immortality of the Soul).

Here arises the curious question propounded modern critics: Was Augustine a Christian when wrote these "Dialogues" at Cassisiacum? Until now no one had doubted it; historians, relying upon the "Confessions," had all believed that Augustine's retirement to the villa had for its twofold object the improvement of his health and his preparation for baptism. But certain critics nowadays claim to have discovered a radical opposition between the philosophical "Dialogues" composed in this retirement and the state of soul described in the "Confessions." According to Harnack, in writing the "Confessions" Augustine must have projected upon the recluse of 386 the sentiments of the bishop of 400. Others go farther and maintain that the recluse of the Milanese villa could not have been at heart a Christian, but a Platonist ; and that the scene in the garden was a conversion not to Christianity, but to philosophy, the genuinely Christian phase beginning only in 390.

But this interpretation of the "Dialogues" cannot withstand the test of facts and texts. It is admitted that Augustine received baptism at Easter, 387; and who could suppose that it was for him a meaningless ceremony ? So too, how can it be admitted that the scene in the garden, the example of the recluses, the reading of St. Paul, the conversion of Victorinus, Augustine's ecstasies in reading the Psalms with Monica were all invented after the fact? Again, as it was in 388 that Augustine wrote his beautiful apology "On the Holiness of the Catholic Church," how is it conceivable that he was not yet a Christian at that date ? To settle the argument, however, it is only necessary to read the "Dialogues" themselves. They are certainly a purely philosophical work — a work of youth, too, not without some pretension, as Augustine ingenuously acknowledges (Confessions, IX, iv); nevertheless, they contain the entire history of his Christian formation. As early as 386, the first work written at Cassisiacum reveals to us the great underlying motive of his researches. The object of his philosophy is to give authority the support of reason, and "for him the great authority, that which dominates all others and from which he never wished to deviate, is the authority of Christ "; and if he loves the Platonists it is because he counts on finding among them interpretations always in harmony with his faith (Against the Academics, III, c. x). To be sure such confidence was excessive, but it remains evident that in these "Dialogues" it is a Christian, and not a Platonist, that speaks. He reveals to us the intimate details of his conversion, the argument that convinced him (the life and conquests of the Apostles ), his progress in the Faith at the school of St. Paul (ibid., II, ii), his delightful conferences with his friends on the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the wonderful transformations worked in his soul by faith, even to that victory of his over the intellectual pride which his Platonic studies had aroused in him (On The Happy Life, I, ii), and at last the gradual calming of his passions and the great resolution to choose wisdom for his only spouse (Soliloquies, I, x).

It is now easy to appreciate at its true value the influence of neo-Platonism upon the mind of the great African Doctor. It would be impossible for anyone who has read the works of St. Augustine to deny the existence of this influence. However, it would be a great exaggeration of this influence to pretend that it at any time sacrificed the Gospel to Plato. The same learned critic thus wisely concludes his study: "So long, therefore, as his philosophy agrees with his religious doctrines, St. Augustine is frankly neo-Platonist ; as soon as a contradiction arises, he never hesitates to subordinate his philosophy to religion, reason to faith. He was, first of all, a Christian ; the philosophical questions that occupied his mind constantly found themselves more and more relegated to the background" (op. cit., 155). But the method was a dangerous one; in thus seeking harmony between the two doctrines he thought too easily to find Christianity in Plato, or Platonism in the Gospel. More than once, in his "Retractations" and elsewhere, he acknowledges that he has not always shunned this danger. Thus he had imagined that in Platonism he discovered the entire doctrine of the Word and the whole prologue of St. John. He likewise disavowed a good number of neo-Platonic theories which had at first misled him — the cosmological thesis of the universal soul, which makes the world one immense animal — the Platonic doubts upon that grave question: Is there a single soul for all or a distinct soul for each? But on the other hand, he had always reproached the Platonists, as Schaff very properly remarks (Saint Augustine, New York, 1886, p. 51), with being ignorant of, or rejecting, the fundamental points of Christianity : "first, the great mystery, the Word made flesh ; and then love, resting on the basis of humility." They also ignore grace, he says, giving sublime precepts of morality without any help towards realizing them.

It was this Divine grace that Augustine sought in Christian baptism. Towards the beginning of Lent, 387, he went to Milan and, with Adeodatus and Alypius, took his place among the competentes , being baptized by Ambrose on Easter Day, or at least during Eastertide. The tradition maintaining that the Te Deum was sung on that occasion by the bishop and the neophyte alternately is groundless. Nevertheless this legend is certainly expressive of the joy of the Church upon receiving as her son him who was to be her most illustrious doctor. It was at this time that Augustine, Alypius, and Evodius resolved to retire into solitude in Africa. Augustine undoubtedly remained at Milan until towards autumn, continuing his works: "On the Immortality of the Soul" and "On Music." In the autumn of 387, he was about to embark at Ostia, when Monica was summoned from this life. In all literature there are no pages of more exquisite sentiment than the story of her saintly death and Augustine's grief (Confessions, IX). Augustine remained several months in Rome, chiefly engaged in refuting Manichæism. He sailed for Africa after the death of the tyrant Maximus (August 388) and after a short sojourn in Carthage, returned to his native Tagaste. Immediately upon arriving there, he wished to carry out his idea of a perfect life, and began by selling all his goods and giving the proceeds to the poor. Then he and his friends withdrew to his estate, which had already been alienated, there to lead a common life in poverty, prayer, and the study of sacred letters. Book of the "LXXXIII Questions" is the fruit of conferences held in this retirement, in which he also wrote "De Genesi contra Manichæos," "De Magistro," and, "De Vera Religione."

Augustine did not think of entering the priesthood, and, through fear of the episcopacy, he even fled from cities in which an election was necessary. One day, having been summoned to Hippo by a friend whose soul's salvation was at stake, he was praying in a church when the people suddenly gathered about him, cheered him, and begged Valerius, the bishop, to raise him to the priesthood. In spite of his tears Augustine was obliged to yield to their entreaties, and was ordained in 391. The new priest looked upon his ordination as an additional reason for resuming religious life at Tagaste, and so fully did Valerius approve that he put some church property at Augustine's disposal, thus enabling him to establish a monastery the second that he had founded. His priestly ministry of five years was admirably fruitful; Valerius had bidden him preach, in spite of the deplorable custom which in Africa reserved that ministry to bishops. Augustine combated heresy, especially Manichæism, and his success was prodigious. Fortunatus, one of their great doctors, whom Augustine had challenged in public conference, was so humiliated by his defeat that he fled from Hippo. Augustine also abolished the abuse of holding banquets in the chapels of the martyrs. He took part, 8 October, 393, in the Plenary Council of Africa, presided over by Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, and, at the request of the bishops, was obliged to deliver a discourse which, in its completed form, afterwards became the treatise "De Fide et symbolo."

Enfeebled by old age, Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, obtained the authorization of Aurelius, Primate of Africa, to associate Augustine with himself as coadjutor. Augustine had to resign himself to consecration at the hands of Megalius, Primate of Numidia. He was then forty two, and was to occupy the See of Hippo for thirty-four years. The new bishop understood well how to combine the exercise of his pastoral duties with the austerities of the religious life, and although he left his convent, his episcopal residence became a monastery where he lived a community life with his clergy, who bound themselves to observe religious poverty. Was it an order of regular clerics or of monks that he thus founded? This is a question often asked, but we feel that Augustine gave but little thought to such distinctions. Be that as it may, the episcopal house of Hippo became a veritable nursery which supplied the founders of the monasteries that were soon spread all over Africa and the bishops who occupied the neighbouring sees. Possidius (Vita S. August., xxii) enumerates ten of the saint's friends and disciples who were promoted to the episcopacy. Thus it was that Augustine earned the title of patriarch of the religious, and renovator of the clerical, life in Africa.

But he was above all the defender of truth and the shepherd of souls. His doctrinal activities, the influence of which was destined to last as long as the Church itself, were manifold: he preached frequently, sometimes for five days consecutively, his sermons breathing a spirit of charity that won all hearts; he wrote letters which scattered broadcast through the then known world his solutions of the problems of that day; he impressed his spirit upon divers African councils at which he assisted, for instance, those of Carthage in 398, 401, 407, 419 and of Mileve in 416 and 418; and lastly struggled indefatigably against all errors. To relate these struggles were endless; we shall, therefore, select only the chief controversies and indicate in each the doctrinal attitude of the great Bishop of Hippo.

After Augustine became bishop the zeal which, from the time of his baptism, he had manifested in bringing his former co-religionists into the true Church, took on a more paternal form without losing its pristine ardour — "let those rage against us who know not at what a bitter cost truth is attained.... As for me, I should show you the same forbearance that my brethren had for me when I blind, was wandering in your doctrines" (Contra Epistolam Fundamenti, iii). Among the most memorable events that occurred during this controversy was the great victory won in 404 over Felix, one of the "elect" of the Manichæans and the great doctor of the sect. He was propagating his errors in Hippo, and Augustine invited him to a public conference the issue of which would necessarily cause a great stir; Felix declared himself vanquished, embraced the Faith, and, together with Augustine, subscribed the acts of the conference. In his writings Augustine successively refuted Mani (397), the famous Faustus (400), Secundinus (405), and (about 415) the fatalistic Priscillianists whom Paulus Orosius had denounced to him. These writings contain the saint's clear, unquestionable views on the eternal problem of evil, views based on an optimism proclaiming, like the Platonists, that every work of God is good and that the only source of moral evil is the liberty of creatures (De Civitate Dei, XIX, c. xiii, n. 2). Augustine takes up the defence of free will, even in man as he is, with such ardour that his works against the Manichæan are an inexhaustible storehouse of arguments in this still living controversy.

In vain have the Jansenists maintained that Augustine was unconsciously a Pelagian and that he afterwards acknowledged the loss of liberty through the sin of Adam. Modern critics, doubtless unfamiliar with Augustine's complicated system and his peculiar terminology, have gone much farther. In the "Revue d'histoire et de littérature religieuses" (1899, p. 447), M. Margival exhibits St. Augustine as the victim of metaphysical pessimism unconsciously imbibed from Manichæan doctrines. "Never," says he, "will the Oriental idea of the necessity and the eternity of evil have a more zealous defender than this bishop." Nothing is more opposed to the facts. Augustine acknowledges that he had not yet understood how the first good inclination of the will is a gift of God (Retractions, I, xxiii, n, 3); but it should be remembered that he never retracted his leading theories on liberty, never modified his opinion upon what constitutes its essential condition, that is to say, the full power of choosing or of deciding. Who will dare to say that in revising his own writings on so important a point he lacked either clearness of perception or sincerity?

The Donatist schism was the last episode in the Montanist and Novatian controversies which had agitated the Church from the second century. While the East was discussing under varying aspects the Divine and Christological problem of the Word, the West, doubtless because of its more practical genius, took up the moral question of sin in all its forms. The general problem was the holiness of the Church ; could the sinner be pardoned, and remain in her bosom? In Africa the question especially concerned the holiness of the hierarchy. The bishops of Numidia, who, in 312, had refused to accept as valid the consecration of Cæcilian, Bishop of Carthage, by a traditor , had inaugurated the schism and at the same time proposed these grave questions: Do the hierarchical powers depend upon the moral worthiness of the priest ? How can the holiness of the Church be compatible with the unworthiness of its ministers ?

At the time of Augustine's arrival in Hippo, the schism had attained immense proportions, having become identified with political tendencies — perhaps with a national movement against Roman domination. In any event, it is easy to discover in it an undercurrent of anti-social revenge which the emperors had to combat by strict laws. The strange sect known as "Soldiers of Christ," and called by Catholics Circumcelliones (brigands, vagrants), resembled the revolutionary sects of the Middle Ages in point of fanatic destructiveness — a fact that must not be lost sight of, if the severe legislation of the emperors is to be properly appreciated.

The history of Augustine's struggles with the Donatists is also that of his change of opinion on the employment of rigorous measures against the heretics ; and the Church in Africa, of whose councils he had been the very soul, followed him in the change. This change of views is solemnly attested by the Bishop of Hippo himself, especially in his Letters, xciii (in the year 408). In the beginning, it was by conferences and a friendly controversy that he sought to re-establish unity. He inspired various conciliatory measures of the African councils, and sent ambassadors to the Donatists to invite them to re-enter the Church, or at least to urge them to send deputies to a conference (403). The Donatists met these advances at first with silence, then with insults, and lastly with such violence that Possidius Bishop of Calamet, Augustine's friend, escaped death only by flight, the Bishop of Bagaïa was left covered with horrible wounds, and the life of the Bishop of Hippo himself was several times attempted (Letter lxxxviii, to Januarius, the Donatist bishop ). This madness of the Circumcelliones required harsh repression, and Augustine, witnessing the many conversions that resulted therefrom, thenceforth approved rigid laws. However, this important restriction must be pointed out: that St. Augustine never wished heresy to be punishable by death — Vos rogamus ne occidatis (Letter c, to the Proconsul Donatus). But the bishops still favoured a conference with the schismatics, and in 410 an edict issued by Honorius put an end to the refusal of the Donatists. A solemn conference took place at Carthage, in June, 411, in presence of 286 Catholic, and 279 Donatist bishops. The Donatist spokesmen were Petilian of Constantine, Primian of Carthage, and Emeritus of Cæsarea; the Catholic orators, Aurelius and Augustine. On the historic question then at issue, the Bishop of Hippo proved the innocence of Cæcilian and his consecrator Felix, and in the dogmatic debate he established the Catholic thesis that the Church, as long as it is upon earth, can, without losing its holiness, tolerate sinners within its pale for the sake of converting them. In the name of the emperor the Proconsul Marcellinus sanctioned the victory of the Catholics on all points. Little by little Donatism died out, to disappear with the coming of the Vandals.

Fra Filippo Lippi. Vision of St. Augustine . 1450s-1460s. Tempera on panel. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

So amply and magnificently did Augustine develop his theory on the Church that, according to Specht "he deserves to be named the Doctor of the Church as well as the Doctor of Grace"; and Möhler (Dogmatik, 351) is not afraid to write: "For depth of feeling and power of conception nothing written on the Church since St. Paul's time, is comparable to the works of St. Augustine." He has corrected, perfected, and even excelled the beautiful pages of St. Cyprian on the Divine institution of the Church, its authority, its essential marks, and its mission in the economy of grace and the administration of the sacraments. The Protestant critics, Dorner, Bindemann, Böhringer and especially Reuter, loudly proclaim, and sometimes even exaggerate, this rôle of the Doctor of Hippo ; and while Harnack does not quite agree with them in every respect he does not hesitate to say (History of Dogma, II, c. iii): "It is one of the points upon which Augustine specially affirms and strengthens the Catholic idea.... He was the first [!] to transform the authority of the Church into a religious power, and to confer upon practical religion the gift of a doctrine of the Church." He was not the first, for Dorner acknowledges (Augustinus, 88) that Optatus of Mileve had expressed the basis of the same doctrines. Augustine, however, deepened, systematized, and completed the views of St. Cyprian and Optatus. But it is impossible here to go into detail. ( See Specht, Die Lehre von der Kirche nach dem hl. Augustinus, Paderborn, l892.)

The close of the struggle against the Donatists almost coincided with the beginnings of a very grave theological dispute which not only was to demand Augustine's unremitting attention up to the time of his death, but was to become an eternal problem for individuals and for the Church. Farther on we shall enlarge upon Augustine's system; here we need only indicate the phases of the controversy. Africa, where Pelagius and his disciple Celestius had sought refuge after the taking of Rome by Alaric, was the principal centre of the first Pelagian disturbances; as early as 412 a council held at Carthage condemned Pelagians for their attacks upon the doctrine of original sin. Among other books directed against them by Augustine was his famous "De naturâ et gratiâ." Thanks to his activity the condemnation of these innovators, who had succeeded in deceiving a synod convened at Diospolis in Palestine, was reiterated by councils held later at Carthage and Mileve and confirmed by Pope Innocent I (417). A second period of Pelagian intrigues developed at Rome, but Pope Zosimus, whom the stratagems of Celestius had for a moment deluded, being enlightened by Augustine, pronounced the solemn condemnation of these heretics in 418. Thenceforth the combat was conducted in writing against Julian of Eclanum, who assumed the leadership of the party and violently attacked Augustine.

Towards 426 there entered the lists a school which afterwards acquired the name of Semipelagian, the first members being monks of Hadrumetum in Africa, who were followed by others from Marseilles, led by Cassian, the celebrated abbot of Saint-Victor. Unable to admit the absolute gratuitousness of predestination, they sought a middle course between Augustine and Pelagius, and maintained that grace must be given to those who merit it and denied to others; hence goodwill has the precedence, it desires, it asks, and God rewards. Informed of their views by Prosper of Aquitaine, the holy Doctor once more expounded, in "De Prædestinatione Sanctorum," how even these first desires for salvation are due to the grace of God, which therefore absolutely controls our predestination.

In 426 the holy Bishop of Hippo, at the age of seventy-two, wishing to spare his episcopal city the turmoil of an election after his death, caused both clergy and people to acclaim the choice of the deacon Heraclius as his auxiliary and successor, and transferred to him the administration of externals. Augustine might then have enjoyed some rest had Africa not been agitated by the undeserved disgrace and the revolt of Count Boniface (427). The Goths, sent by the Empress Placidia to oppose Boniface, and the Vandals, whom the latter summoned to his assistance, were all Arians. Maximinus, an Arian bishop, entered Hippo with the imperial troops. The holy Doctor defended the Faith at a public conference (428) and in various writings. Being deeply grieved at the devastation of Africa, he laboured to effect a reconciliation between Count Boniface and the empress. Peace was indeed reestablished, but not with Genseric, the Vandal king. Boniface, vanquished, sought refuge in Hippo, whither many bishops had already fled for protection and this well fortified city was to suffer the horrors of an eighteen months' siege. Endeavouring to control his anguish, Augustine continued to refute Julian of Eclanum ; but early in the siege he was stricken with what he realized to be a fatal illness, and, after three months of admirable patience and fervent prayer, departed from this land of exile on 28 August, 430, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

Augustine himself had not been personally attacked by the Hesychasts of the fourteenth century but Augustinian theology was condemned in the person of Barlaam, who caused the controversy. This resulted in the ultimate condemnation of western Augustinianism as presented to the East by the Calabrian monk, Barlaam, in the Councils of the fourteenth century.
Palamas, the Orthodox protagonist, wrote numerous treatises against the filioque and the basic theological philosophical presuppositions of Latin theology. Saint Gregory Palamas followed the Cappadocian theological presuppositions and maintained that God's essence is totally transcendent and supported the evidence of personal participation in the uncreated energies. That is, he opposed the identity of the essence with the attributes in God. It was the conflict of the theology of revelation based on Augustine, which came from the West through Barlaam, that was reacted against. Revelation for Palamas is directly experienced in the divine energies and is opposed to the conceptualization of revelation. The Augustinian view of revelation by created symbols and illumined vision is rejected. For Augustine, the vision of God is an intellectual experience. This is not acceptable to Palamas. The Palamite emphasis was that creatures, including humans and angles, cannot know or comprehend God's essence.11
In the person of Barlaam, the East rejected Augustinian theology. The East perceived that Augustine accepts the neo-Platonic presupposition that the saint is able to have vision of the divine essence as the archetype of all beings. Barlaam contended under the influence of neo-Platonism that through ekstasis , the reason going out of the body when it functions in a pure way, one has a vision of the divine archetype. Palamas calls this the Greek pagan error and maintained that man attains theosis through participation in the divine energies.12

Later, for political reasons, the Byzantine emperors sought union with Rome to save the empire. The Emperor, the Patriarch and a delegation came to Ferrara in 1438 to participate at a council with the pope and bring about union between the Greeks and the Latins.

In the debate between the Greeks and the Latins, numerous times the authority of Augustine came up. The adamant Greek Orthodox theologian, Mark Eugenikos, used the work of Augustine to support his views. In regard to the errors of Augustine, he tried to place him in the best possible light, following the example of Saint Photios. He makes reference to Saint Gregory of Nyssa who agreed with the Origenist doctrines. He says "it would be better to give them over to silence, and not at all compel us, for the sake of our own defence, to bring them out into the open."13

Also attending the Council at Ferrara-Florence was a theologian of great stature, Gennadios Scholarios. He knew Latin and Latin theology. He had translated several treatises of Thomas Aquinas into Greek for the benefit of his compatriots. He spent a great deal of time studying and writing on Augustine in the debate on the filioque . Scholarios approaches Saint Augustine and all the other fathers as individuals who must be in concord with the Church's dogmas and teachings. He states, "we believe in the Church; they (the Latins) in Augustine and Jerome." The Church holds to our Lord's dogmas and teachings that were commonly given by the holy apostles and councils.14 Gennadios expresses his opinion that no individual person is a "saint" in isolation. Were that the case, the Church would be subservient to the teachers and change according to the whims of strong personalities. The Church has its own standards and law for sanctifying a person. The saints are guided and governed by the Holy Spirit, especially those who have advanced in virtue and holiness. This guidance the Holy Spirit of the saint does not mean that they are one. Saints can have their own thoughts that may be contrary to the teaching of God, as their actions may be also, because no one is without error or sin ( hamartema ).15
On this basis, that even saints may err, Scholarios strengthened his argument against the Latins who based their false doctrines of the filioque on the validity and holiness of Augustine. Scholarios makes his case as follows:

"But they state that the blessed Augustine says these things. But we believe neither in Augustine nor in Damascene but in the Church which the canonical Scriptures confirm and the common Synods of the faithful commend, the Church of Christ ."16

Another example he gives is Gregory of Nyssa who erred on the doctrine of eschatology and yet is a saint of the Church. 17
n all this discussion on "blessed Augustine," Scholarios does not renounce the holiness and the teaching value of Augustine. In fact he anathematizes those who deny his saintliness. He says: "if anyone does not believe and call Augustine saint and blessed, he is anathema." 18
In making the point, Scholarios argues that the doctrines of the western theologians must be judged according to Eastern Christian Orthodox standards. This is because of the clarity of the Greek language. He gives three arguments in defence of the Eastern Christian positions as being the true ones: that Greek is more broad and flexible than Latin as well as clearer in meaning. And, of course, the Greek is the source of the Latin language. He gives references to Augustine, Athanasios, and Gregory the Theologian who state that Latin is much narrower and that is the cause of the schism between East and West.

The second reason is the formulation of dogma is clearly stated in the Greek language.19 The eastern fathers and teachers formulated the dogmas with great care because they struggled against the heretical doctrines. For this reason, it was necessary for them to articulate the faith with great precision in order not to give the heretics the excuse to attack them for their lack of clarity and vagueness. 20

The third reason he gives is that it prevailed in the Latin language to express itself in universal and general terms ( katholikoterais kai genidoterais lexesi ), whereas in the East, the Fathers use specific and precise names ( idikoterois onomasi ) in articulating the Christian doctrines. 21

Scholarios points out that Augustine accepted and developed the filioque under four presuppositions:

  1. Augustine was under the impression that he was following Hilary and his teacher Ambrose. He points out that Jerome, who was educated in the Greek East, avoided the filioque language. The difference between Hilary and Ambrose on the one side and Augustine on the other is that the first two fathers were expressing a personal opinion whereas Augustine struggled against all those who expressed views opposite to his. 22
  2. On the basis of Scripture that states the Spirit as power issued from the Son to heal all the sick, as well as the Son who sends and breathes the Spirit on the Apostles, Augustine interpreted these passages on the basis of the opinion of Hilary and Ambrose. 23
  3. Augustine used human models beyond the limits to describe the Holy Trinity and for that reason he fell into error. 24
  4. Augustine followed the Platonic position that God primarily is the Good ( Agathon ). The Good eternally begets ( aidios ) the Mind ( Nous ). The Mind is the cause of all beings and is also called secondary cause, and is referred to as " idea " and " logos ." From the mind the universal soul is derived that gives vitality to all living beings. So, Scholarios claims that Augustine transferred this view into the Christian Trinity. The "Good" ( Agathon ) is unbegotten and not bound to intellect ( agenneton ). The Mind ( Nous ) is begotten only from the Good. The Soul is derived from the Mind and returns to the Good. The Soul is the relational connection as love between the Good and the Mind. These views not only were accepted by Plato, but also by Plotinus as well as by numerous heretics. 25  

Scholarios blames Augustine for his notorious philosophical approach to revelation. It was the Manichean influence that Augustine underwent during his pre-Christian involvement with that heresy. His pagan and Manichean training remained with him all his life. In fact, Scholarios says "Lord deliver us from the Augustinian dialectic."26

Scholarios accepts that Augustine believed in the faith of the Church and confirmed the Constantinopolitan Creed 27, in spite of the fact that he erred as an individual human being.28 This does not take away from his holiness. For Scholarios, Augustine is "blessed" as well as a "wise" person who deserves all such praises and honors.29 He is very critical of the theology of Augustine because he feels that he has not shaken off the influence he underwent in his pagan Greek philosophical training before his conversion to Christianity.

The prominent seventeenth-century Greek Orthodox theologian, Dositheos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, contends that the works of Saint Augustine were tampered with and his doctrines distorted. For that reason the Orthodox do not accept them without caution. But all those works that agree with Orthodoxy are very useful. Dositheos himself uses "blessed" Augustine to support his own views of Orthodox doctrines. 30

The celebrated theologian of the eighteenth century, Nikodemos the Hagiorite, included the name of Saint Augustine in the Synaxaristes (the book of the saints). He states the following: "In memory of our father among the saints, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo." 31 And he includes two verses as follows: "You were enflamed by the love of God, you demonstrated to be all splendid, blessed Augustine." 32

Nikodemos refers to Augustine as the "divine and holy" ( Theios kai ieros ), writing that Augustine is a great teacher and theologian of "great fame in the Church of Christ." Nikodemos praises him for the great number of books he authored. However, he regrets that very few have been translated into Greek for the spiritual benefit and edification of the Greek Orthodox people. He says we are deprived ( sterometha ) of the spiritual wealth of these valuable writings. 33

Subsequent to Nikodemos the name of Saint Augustine appears in the book of saints and also in the calendar (June 15) both in Greece and Russia.

In the modern patrology and dogmatic handbooks of the Orthodox writers, Augustine is included. He is given equal space as a father and hierarch of the Church and is praised for his great number of writings and for his depth. 34

Also, the philosophy of Saint Augustine has been praised and analyzed by modern Greek Orthodox thinkers such as Constantine Logothetis and Ioannis Theodorakopoulos.35

Eusebius Stephanou wrote several years ago that Saint Augustine must be reinstated in his rightful place within the Church. Only in Orthodoxy can his thought be objectively evaluated because of the western errors based on his thought. 36

Other Greek Orthodox theologians found Saint Augustine to be an Orthodox theologian-philosopher. Recent works that are sympathetic to Saint Augustine were promoted by Metropolitan Bishop Augustinos Kantiotes of Northern Greece. A symposium was held in Thessalonike and three small volumes were published that extol the works and teachings of Saint Augustine. These circulated for popular consumption. 37 Another book claims that " Saint Augustine belongs to the universal undivided Church of Christ, equally to the West as well as to the East, because he lived before the schism." 38

Seraphim Rose wrote a small book that attempts to exonerate Saint Augustine from the Orthodox perspective. 39 This approach is not universally accepted in Orthodoxy. Recent Orthodox theologians have attacked Augustine as an innovator of heretical teachings.

Fr. John Romanides and Fr. Michael Azkoul have been extremely critical of Augustine. Fr. Romanides in his doctoral dissertation at the University of Athens in 1957 harshly judged Augustine as the source of all the western heresies and deformation of dogma. Romanides, in his work, Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine, severely attacks Augustine's works and doctrines as heretical. In an analytical method, Romanides points to the thrust of the theological­ philosophical errors of Augustine on the filioque. Augustine's basic mistake lies in his rejection of the "distinction between what persons are and what they have (even though this is a biblical distinction) and identified what God is with what He has." 40 So Romanides blames Augustine saying that he "never understood the distinction between 1: the common essence and energies of the Holy Trinity and 2: the incommunicable individualities of the divine hypostases." 41 Romanides criticizes Augustine for speculating on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. He claims that Augustine confused "generation" and "procession" and identified them with the divine energies.42

The theological presuppositions of Augustine are erroneous because he ignores the patristic tradition. His presuppositions, according to Romanides, are based on scriptural and philosophical hermenuetics and not on the Church fathers. The first criticism, that is the one dealing with the scriptural basis, is that Augustine completely misinterprets the Scriptures because he identifies the Divine Essence with the Divine energies. And secondly, or philosophically, Romanides claims that Augustine theologized on the basis of Neoplatonism. That is, the model of the human soul is used as an adequate image of the Holy Trinity.43

Michael Azkoul, a conservative, old-calendarist theologian, equally attacks Augustine's theology and his works as heretical. He points out that Augustine was not known in the East and had not, until recently, been listed in the list of saints. He states that, "His writings lie at the basis of every heresy which now afflicts the religion of the West." 44

In one of his books, Azkoul presents and supports his basic thesis that Augustine fell into several heresies and became the source for the heretical West and for that reason is not included in the Orthodox list of saints. He blames Augustine for the deformation of the theology of the West. 45

In reviewing the Greek Orthodox literature we see that the Greek Orthodox theologians are very critical of Augustine and his errors. Nowhere, however, did we find evidence in the patristic writings for the claim that his name should be eliminated from the list of the saints. Beginning with Photios, generally, the Greek Orthodox perceive Augustine as a saint whose doctrines have been deformed or distorted by the West and that as a human being he erred on certain teachings. As Greek Orthodox we reverence the person of Saint Augustine. The view of Vladimir Lossky is that, through a better understanding of Augustine by the East, it is possible to bridge the two positions in theology. To quote Lossky:

"Reconciliation will be possible and the filioque will no longer be an impedimentum dirmens at the moment when the West, which has been frozen for so long in dogmatic isolation, ceases to consider Byzantine theology as an absurd innovation which can be found in a less explicit form in the Fathers of the first centuries of the Church."46

I would like to conclude with the Dismissal Hymn chanted in the Orthodox Church on June 15, the Feast of Saint Augustine:

"O blessed Augustine, you have been proved to be a bright vessel of the divine Spirit and revealer of the city of God ; you have also righteously served the Saviour as a wise hierarch who has received God. O righteous father, pray to Christ God that he may grant to us great mercy."47

 1J.P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus . Series Graeca. Vol. 102, Book 2. Paris (1857-1866), c. 352, cited as PG. Photios, Mystagogia , 71.

2 Photios, Mystagogia , 67. PG 102, c.345. Saint Photios. The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit . Trans. Joseph P. Farrell. (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1987) p. 91

3Farrell, p.91.

4Photios, Mystagogia , 67; Farrell, p.91.

5Farrell, The Mystagogy , 69, p.93; PG 102, c. 352; Mystagogia . 70.

6Letter of Photios to Metropolitan Archbishop of Aquieleia, Liber, 117. PG 102, c. 809.


8PG 102, c. 809, 812 Letter to the Metropolitan Archbishop of Aquieleia , Liber 117.

9 Letter to Archibishop of Aquieleia , Liber 122, PG 102, c.816.

10Letter to the Archbishop of Aquieleia , Liber 125, PG 102, c.820. The council of 879-880 condemned the Carolingians without naming them. See John S. Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine; An Interplay Between Theology and Society (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1981) p. 66.

11Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism , p.67

12Antonios Papadopoulos, Theologike Gnosiologia Kata Tous Niptikous Pateras (Thessalonike: Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, 1977) pp. 79-81.

13"Marci Archiepiscopi Ephesii Oratio Prima de Igne Purgatorio," Ch. 11 in Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. 15. Trans. and edited by Louis Petit. Turnhout/Belgique: Editions Brepols (1973) p. 53. See also Seraphim Rose, The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church (Platina, CA: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1983) p. 30.

14Theodoros N. Zeses, Gennadios B' Scholarios Bios-Sygrammata-Didaskalia (Thessalonike: Patriarchal Institute of Patristic Studies, 1980) p. 455. Gennadios Scholarios. Oeuvres Completes (Paris: Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1929). Tome ii, p.64. See also Demetri Z. Niketa. "The presence of Augustine in the Eastern church" (in Greek) Kleronomia Vol. 14, No. 1 (June 1982) pp. 7-24.

15Scholarios, Oeuvres II, pp. 58-59

16Scholarios, Oeuvres Tome III, p. 83: alla fasin, oti taut' Augoustinos o makarios legei: All' hemeis eis the ekklesian pisteuomen, en ai kanonikai grafai synistosi kai ai koinai ton piston synodi, ten Ekklesian Cristou paristanousai, ouk eis Augoustinon, oud' eis Damaskenon.


18Scholarios, Oeuvres III, p. 59: kai eis tis fronei kai legei ton Augoustinon agion kaimakarion einai anathema .

19Scholarios, Oeuvres , III, p. 58.

20Ibid. III p.59.

21Ibid. III, p.58

22Scholarios, Oeuvres , II, p. 46.

23Ibid. p.47.

24Ibid. II, p. 48.

25Ibid. II, p. 48.

26Ibid.,II, p. 46: Rysai hemas, kyrie, tes Augoustini- ou dialektikes .

27PG 160, c. 693.

28Scholarios, Oeuvres , II, p. 49: Augoustinon de kai tina allon ton didaskalon dynasthai tes aletheias en tini diamartanein hegoumetha, kan oposeoun agiosyne didaskalia dienegken .

29Scholarios, Oeuvres , III, p. 59: makarios esti kai sophos kai epainetos tes toiaytes philotimias . See also PG 160, c. 718.

30Nicodemos the Hagiorite, Synaxaristes Vol. 2. Athens : Constantine Ch. Spanos Publishing House (1868) p. 207 note. Dositheos makes reference to (blessed) Augustine, in his Homologia tes Orthodoxou Pisteos . ( Athens, 1949) offprint from Theologia 20 (1949) pp. 147, 156.

31Ibid. Vol. 2, p.206.

32Ibid. Vol. 2, p.206.

33Ibid. Vol. 2, p.207. He also makes reference to the Greek translation of the De Trinitate by Maximos Planoudes and that copies are available on Mt. Athos.

34Demetrios S. Balanos, Patrologia (The Ecclesiastical Fathers and Teachers of the First Eight Centuries) in Greek. (Athens: I.L. Alevropoulos Press, 1930) pp. 463-482. He gives a good analysis of the works and teachings of Augustine. See also Panagiotes K. Chrestou. Pateres kai Theologoi tou Christianismou Vol. 1. (Thessalonike: n.s., 1971) pp. 257-269. He characterizes Augustine as one of the greatest universal teachers of the Church and one of the most important philosophers of the world." p.157. Constantine G. Bonis. "Ho Hagios Augustinos Episkopos Hipponos." Epistemonike Eperteris tes Theologikes Scholes Panepistemiou Athenon Vol. 15 (1965) pp. 535-632.

35Constantine I. Logothetis, He Philosophia ton Pateron kai tou Mesou Aionos (Athens: I. K. Kollaros Press, 1930) pp. 278-344. And Ioannis N. Theodorakopoulos. "Ho Hieros Augoustinos." Philosophika kai Christianika Meletimata . (Athens: G. Rode Brs. Press, 1973) pp. 95-187. Both these authors extol the philosophy of Augustine as one of the greatest Christian philosophers of the world. They give an excellent analysis of his philosophy.

37Eusebious Papastephanou, Christianismos kai philosophia (Athen: n.p., 1953) p.14, n. 1. See also: Theodore Stylianopoulos. "The Filioque: Dogma, Theologoumenon or Error?" Spirit of Truth: Ecumenical Perspectives on the Holy Spirit . Theodore Stylianopooulos and S. Mark Heim, eds. (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1986) pp. 25-28.

38Aimilianos Timiades, Ho Hieros Augoustinos (Thessalonike: Christianike Elpis Press, 1988) p. 7. In this book of 324 pages the life and works are presented and the contents analyzed. However, the Author does not critically evaluate Augustinian thought from the Orthodox perspective.

39Seraphim Rose, Place of Blessed Augustine , p. 30.

40Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism , p.74

41Ibid. p.74

42Ibid. p. 88.

43John Romanides, Dogmatike kai Symbolike Theologia tes Orthodoxou katholikes Ekklesias Vol. 1 (Thessalonike: P. Pournaras Press, 1973) p. 383. See also his criticism of Augustine in "Highlights in the Debate over Theodore of Mopuestia's Christology and Some Suggestions for a Fresh Approach." The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 5: 2 (Winter 1959-1960): 182-83.

44Michael Azkoul, The Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church . Vol. 1 (Buena Vista, Co: Dormition Skete, 1986) p. 199. See a criticism of this book by Bishop Chrysostomos of Oreoi in The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 32:1 (Spring 1987) pp. 100-103.

45Michael Azkoul, The Influence of Augustine of Hippo on the Orthodox Church . Texts and Studies in Religion . Vol. 56. (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990). See my review, The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 39:3-4. (1994) pp. 379-381.

46Vladimir Lossky, "The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Orthodox Trinitarian Doctrine." In The Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974) p. 96.

47Nikolaos S. Hatzinikolaou, Voices in the Wilderness: An Anthology of Patristic Prayers (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1988) p. 109.

Apostoliki Diakonia of Church of Greece