Saint Gregory of Nyssa

illustration of Saint Gregory of Nyssa; by Francesco Bartolozzi after Domenichino, 19th century; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsMemorial


Younger brother of Saint Basil the Great. Friend of Saint Gregory of Nanzienzen. Educated in Athens, Greece. Influenced by the works of Origen and Plato. Married to Theosebeia, who may have been a deaconess. Professor of rhetoric.

Disillusioned with his life as a teacher, he became a priest and hermit; his mother and sister already lived the monastic life. Bishop of Nyssa, Lower Armenia, in 372. Archbishop of Sebaste. Fought against Arianism, but not as successfully as he hoped.

Easy-going, tactless, inefficient in monetary matters, Gregory was cheated and deceived to the point that Demosthenes, governor of Pontus, accused him of stealing Church property and had him imprisoned. He escaped, but was deposed by a synod of bishops in 376. He wandered in exile for two years, then was restored to his see.

Attended the Council of Antioch. Fought the Meletian heresy. Participated in the second ecumenical Council at Constantinople as a theologian. Fought Arianism and reaffirmed the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. The council called him, “Father of the Fathers” because he was widely venerated as the great pillar of orthodoxy and the great opponent of Arianism. Father of the Church.

There is some debate about Gregory’s relationship with his wife following his episcopal consecration. Some say he continued to live with her, but Saint Jerome says that the eastern churches did not permit this.



  • c.398 of natural causes


Additional Information


MLA Citation

  • “Saint Gregory of Nyssa“. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 November 2021. Web. 27 January 2022. <>