Monthly Archives: November 2012

St Basil the Great and the Divinity of the Holy Spirit

“I neither chose to name the Holy Spirit God nor dare to call him a creature,” declared Eustathius of Sebaste in response to the Neo-Arian denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. At first glance, Eustathius’s ambivalence seems reasonable. … Continue reading

Posted in Basil of Caesarea | 5 Comments

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 20 (part 3)

St Gregory now comes to the heart of Oration 20: a succinct presentation of the Nicene understanding of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: “So we adore the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, dividing their individualities [hypostases] … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen | 6 Comments

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 20 (part 2)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Though St Gregory does not cite this text in Oration 20, it well summarizes his approach to theological reflection. Before … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 20 (part 1)

On 9 August 378 the Eastern Roman Emperor and earnest supporter of Arianism, Valens, was killed by the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople. Emperor Gratian subsequently appointed one of his ablest generals as co-emperor and Augustus of the East—Theodosius … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen | 3 Comments

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 40 (part 4)

The time for baptism has arrived. St Gregory has exhaustively explored all the arguments his catechumens might invoke to defer their initiation into the Church. There is now just one thing more for the bishop to do—to name the God … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen | 4 Comments

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 40 (part 3)

St Gregory has a problem. He didn’t create the problem; he inherited it. The problem is this: What to do with baptized believers who commit grave sin? In the fourth century the practice of the Church appears to have been … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen | 1 Comment

St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 40 (part 2)

Today I read through, for the fourth time, St Gregory’s Oration 40. As already noted, it is a very long homily, which makes it difficult to blog on. On this reading I found myself appreciating, perhaps for the first time, … Continue reading

Posted in Gregory Nazianzen | 1 Comment