Easter: May 9th
Gregory, surnamed the "Theologian" by the Greeks, was born at Nazianz in Cappadocia in 329. He was one of the "Three Lights of the Church from Cappadocia." To his mother, St. Nonna, is due the foundation for his saintly life as an adult. He was educated at the most famous schools of his time — Caesarea, Alexandria, Athens. At Athens he formed that storied bond of friendship with St. Basil, which was still flaming with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm when he delivered the funeral oration at the grave of his friend in 381.
Gregory was baptized in 360, and for a while lived the quiet life of a hermit. In 372, he was consecrated bishop by St. Basil. In 381, he accepted the see of Constantinople, but grieved by the constant controversies retired again to the quiet life he cherished so highly and dedicated himself entirely to contemplation.
During his life span, the pendulum was continually swinging back and forth between contemplation and the active ministry. He longed for solitude, but the exigencies of the times called him repeatedly to do pastoral work and to participate in the ecclesiastical movements of the day. He was unquestionably one of the greatest orators of Christian antiquity; his many and great accomplishments were due in great measure to his exceptional eloquence. His writings have merited for him the title of "Doctor of the Church."
— Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch