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January 10, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Gregory of Nyssa

On the tenth of this month [January], we commemorate our Holy Father Gregory of Nyssa.


The eloquence of Gregory has as its stage,
Not the throne of Nyssa, nor Pieria, but Eden.
On the tenth Gregory died enwrapped in darkness.

Our Holy Father Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, was the brother of Basil the Great. He was a luminary in his words, and a zealot of the Orthodox faith. For this reason he was anointed a protector of Christ's Church. This thrice-blessed man was present with the one hundred and fifty Bishops who gathered in Constantinople for the Second Ecumenical Synod against the Pneumatomachs in the year 381. There he stood as a champion of the Orthodox faith, and an opponent of the impious heresy of the Pneumatomachs, crushing them with written proofs, and with the power of his words. Having passed through every word and virtue, he received each one entirely. Therefore after shepherding his flock well and venerably, he departed to the Lord in deep old age. In his physical appearance, he looked similar in all things with his brother Basil, except that he had more gray hair, and was somewhat less graceful than him. His Synaxis is celebrated in the most-holy Great Church.*

Additional Notes by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

* Others write the following about Saint Gregory more specifically and in brief. Our Holy Father Gregory was Bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia. At first he was a Reader, then leaving this office, he gave himself over to the study of the art of rhetoric. He was invited to return to his office through the rebuke and urging of Gregory the Theologian. Before he became Bishop, he was married to Theosevia, whose death he courageously faced. Around the year 372 he became Bishop. Shortly after he was exiled by Emperor Valens (364–378), and traveled to various places, enduring hardships from the Arians, and in the year 378, when Valens died, he was invited back to his throne by Emperor Gratian (375-383). He attended a Synod in Antioch, and was sent from there with other Bishops to Arabia, to visit the Churches there. Coming to Jerusalem , he venerated the Holy Lands, where he was disillusioned by the wickedness there at the time. Being present at the Second Ecumenical Synod in 381, he completed the Creed of Nicaea, adding the theology of the Holy Spirit, with the four articles towards the end. Present also was he at the Local Synod of Constantinople in 394, regarding Agapius and Badagius. It should be noted that at the Seventh Ecumenical Synod in its sixth act, this divine Gregory of Nyssa was called "the Father of Fathers". Gregory the Theologian composed an oration for him (Oration 11), which begins: "Nothing at all in the world can compare to a faithful friend."

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Thou hast shown forth thy watchfulness and wast a fervent preacher of godliness: by the wisdom of thy teachings thou dost gladden the Church's faithful. Venerable Father Gregory, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Watchful with the eyes of thy soul and a vigilant shepherd for the world, with wisdom and thy fervent intercession thou didst drive off heretics like wolves, keeping thy flock unharmed.