Today we celebrate the lives of three important early church fathers: Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who was Basil’s younger brother, and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil’s close friend. All three were born in the fourth century into devout Christian families in Cappadocia (present-day Turkey). They studied together in Athens, then eventually each was ordained a bishop. Gregory of Nazianzus became Patriarch of Constantinople. These three men of God were very influential in taking a stand against the Arian Heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. They played vital roles in writing the Nicene Creed and defining the doctrine of the Trinity during a time of crisis and uncertainty in the life of the church.
Although Basil, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus were very close to one another and joined in their faith, they had very different personalities and natural gifts. Basil was a man of action, Gregory of Nyssa was a great orator, and Gregory of Nazianzus was a great thinker and theologian and is sometimes called Gregory the Theologian.
Today they are known as the Cappadocian Fathers and are venerated by the church in both the East and the West. We honor them, three men of God, all different in personality and gifts and yet united without jealousy to further the work of His Kingdom.