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Saint Basil the Great
Saint Basil the Great

Saint Basil the Great

Feast Day
Jan 02, 2013
Hospital Administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists
<p>St. Basil was born into a wealthy family in what is modern day Turkey.&nbsp; His parents were known for their piety.&nbsp; He has four siblings that are commonly venerated as saints; Marcrina the Younger, Naucratius, Peter of Sebaste, and Gregory of Nyssa.&nbsp; Shortly after his birth the family moved to the town of Neocaesarea.&nbsp; He was educated in his home by his father and grandmother.&nbsp; Following his father&rsquo;s death when he was a teenager, he returned to Caesarea in Cappadocia around 350, to begin his formal education.&nbsp;</p> <p>It was here that he met Gregory of Nazianzus, who would become his lifetime friend.&nbsp; Together they went to study in Constantinople.&nbsp; Finally the two spent six years in Athens, and met a fellow student who would become the emperor &ldquo;Julian the Apostate&rdquo;.&nbsp; After traveling in Egypt and Syria, he returned to Caesarea, where he practiced law for a year and also taught rhetoric.&nbsp; One year later, Basil&rsquo;s life would change radically after he encountered Eustathius of Sebaste, a charismatic bishop and ascetic.&nbsp; He soon after abandoned his legal and teaching professions in order to devote his life to God.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 362 he was ordained a deacon.&nbsp; He was summoned by Eusebius to his city, and was ordained Presbyter of the Church in 365.&nbsp; Basil and Gregory Nazianzus spent the next few years combating the Arian Heresy, which threatened to divide the region of Cappadocia.&nbsp; As debates started to transpire, both Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant.&nbsp; This confirmed to them both, that their futures lay in the Administrative side of the Church.&nbsp; St. Basil took the job of administration for the Diocese of Caesarea.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 370, Bishop Eusebius died and St. Basil was chosen to succeed him.&nbsp; He was consecrated the Bishop of Caesarea.&nbsp; He was both generous and sympathetic, and personally organized a soup kitchen and distributed food to the poor during a famine following a drought.&nbsp; He gave away his personal family inheritance to benefit the poor of his diocese.&nbsp; His letters also show that he actively worked to reform thieves and prostitutes.&nbsp; They also show that he actively worked to encourage his clergy to not be tempted with wealth, and took personal care in selecting worthy candidates for Holy Orders.&nbsp; He also had the courage to criticize public officials who failed in their duty of administering justice.&nbsp; He also preached every morning and evening, in his own church to large congregations.&nbsp;</p> <p>He suffered from Liver illness and his excessive asceticism seems to have hastened him to an early death.&nbsp; A lasting monument of his Episcopal care for the poor was the great institute before the gates of Caesarea, which was used as a poorhouse, a hospital, and a hospice.&nbsp;</p> <h1><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong>Practical Take Away</strong></span></h1> <p>St. Basil the Great was the Bishop of Caesarea.&nbsp; He was famous for his preaching, and preached every morning and evening to large crowds in his Church.&nbsp; He was adamant in fighting against the Arian Heresy, and spent much of his life in teaching the faith through his preaching and defending the faith.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>