- Basil of Caesarea
- Father of Eastern Monasticism
- 2 January (Roman Catholic; Anglican Church; Lutheran Church)
- 15 January (Coptic Orthodox Church; Ethiopian Orthodox)
- 30 January (Eastern Orthodox; Byzantine Rite as part of the Synaxis of the Three Holy Hierarchs
- 14 June (Episcopal Church; Roman Catholic prior to 1969)
Born to the nobility, his was a pious family – his mother, father, and four of his nine siblings were canonized, including Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Grandson of Saint Macrina the Elder. As a youth Basil was noted for organizing famine relief, and for working in the kitchens himself, quite unusual for a young noble.
He studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Saint Gregory Nazianus. Ran a school of oratory and law in Caesarea. Basil was so successful, so sought after as a speaker, that he was tempted by pride. Fearful that it would overtake his piety, he sold all that he had, gave away the money, and became a priest and monk.
Founded monasteries and drew up rules for monks living in the desert; he is considered as key to the founding of eastern monasticism as Saint Benedict of Nursia was to the west. Bishop and Archbishop of Caesarea. Conducted Mass and preached to the crowds twice each day. Fought Arianism. Greek Doctor of the Church. Father of the Church.
- carrying a scroll or book, referring to his influential writings
- supernatural fire, often with a dove nearby
O sinner, be not discouraged, but have recourse to Mary in all you necessities. Call her to your assistance, for such is the divine Will that she should help in every kind of necessity. – Saint Basil the Great
Happy is he who night and day entertains no other care and anxiety but how he may be able to render a satisfactory account of his life when he stands before the Judge. – Saint Basil the Great
By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints…by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name. – Liturgy of Saint Basil, 373AD
The bread which you use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit. – Saint Basil
Let us raise ourselves from our fall and not give up hope as long as we are free from sin. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. ‘Come, let us adore and prostrate ourselves and weep before him’ (Psalm 95:6). The Word calls us to repentance, crying out: ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened and I will refresh you’ (Matthew 11:28). There is, then, a way to salvation if we are willing to follow it” – from a letter by Saint Basil the Great
Envy is a gnawing pain which springs from the success and prosperity of another; and this is the reason why the envious are never exempt from trouble and vexation. If an abundant harvest fills the granaries of a neighbor, if success crowns his efforts, the envious man is chagrined and sad. If one man can boast of prudence, talent, and eloquence; if another is rich, and is very liberal to the poor, if good works are praised by all around, the envious man is shocked and grieved. The envious, however, dare not speak; although envy makes them counterfeit gladness, their hearts are sore within. If you ask him what vexes him, he dare not tell the reason. It is not really the happiness of his friend that annoys him, neither is it his gaiety that makes him sad, nor is he sorry to see his friend prosper; but it is that he is persuaded that the prosperity of others is the cause of his misery. This is what the envious would be forced to acknowledge, if they spoke the truth sincerely; but because they dare not confess so shameful a sin, they, in secret, feed a sore which tortures them and eats away their rest. As the shadow ever accompanies the pedestrian when walking in the sun, so envy throws its shadow on those who are successful in the world. – Saint Basil, from “De Individia”
Thy fame has gone forth into all the earth, which has received thy word. Thereby thou hast taught the Faith; thou hast revealed the nature of created things; thou hast made a royal priesthood of the ordered life of men. Righteous Father Basil intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved. – troparion of Saint Basil the Great
Thou wast an unshaken foundation of the Church and didst give to all mortals an inviolate lordship which thou didst seal with thy doctrine, O righteous Basil, revealer of the mysteries of heaven. – kontakion of Saint Basil the Great
- “Saint Basil the Great“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 February 2016. Web. 30 April 2016. <>