A Garner of Saints – Saint Basil the Great

detail of an illustration of Saint Basil the Caesarea, by Francesco Bartolozzi, 19th century; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Greek Father of the Church. Born at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 329. He was educated by his grandmother and studied first at Constantinople and then at Athens. After spending some time in the desert among the hermits he was ordained priest, and in 370 was created Bishop of Caesarea. As a bishop he observed the same austere life and contended against the Arians. This led him into opposition with the Emperor Valens, who was an Arian and who on one occasion insisted that Basil should perform the rites in the church of Caesarea according to the Arian fashion. Basil refused, and the Emperor resolved to come in state to the church on the feast of Epiphany, to intimidate the bishop. Basil took no notice of him, he and his clergy remaining engrossed in the service. The emperor advanced to make his offering, but the clergy refused to take it, and losing his presence of mind Valens trembled and swooned in the sight of the whole congregation. On another occasion when Valens wished to exile the bishop he broke three pens one after the other, and his hand trembled violently so that in a state of great fear he tore up the paper which he had taken. Basil died on 1st January 379. He was the author of many works and numerous letters. 14th June.

Attributes

  • Habit of a bishop of the Greek Church, a long beard.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Basil the Great”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2017. Web. 23 June 2017. <>