The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Gregorius Thaumaturgus

311

GREGORIUS.

empire could furnish. Like his brother also, he formed an early friendship with Gregory Nazi­anzen. He did not, however, share in their reli­gious views; but, having been appointed a reader in some church, he abandoned the office, and be­came a teacher of rhetoric. Gregory Nazianzen remonstrated with him on this step by letter (JSpist. 43), and ultimately he became a minister of the church, being ordained by his brother Basil to the bishopric of Nyssa, a small place in Cappadocia, about a. d. 372. As a pillar of orthodoxy, he was only inferior to his brother and his friend. The Arians persecuted him; and at last, upon a frivo­lous accusation, drove him into banishment, a. D. 375, from which, on the death of Valens, he was recalled by Gratian, a. d. 378. In the following year he was present at the synod of Antioch; and after visiting his dying sister, Macrina, in Pontus [basilius], he went into Arabia, having been commissioned by the synod of Antioch to inspect the churches of that country. From this tour he returned in 380 or 381, visiting Jerusalem in his way. The state of religion and morality there greatly shocked him, and he expressed his feelings in a letter against the pilgrimage to the holy city. In 381 he went to the oecumenical council of Con­stantinople, taking with him his great work against the Arian Eunomins, which he read before Gregory Nazianzen and Jerome. In the council he took a very active part, and he had a principal share in the composition of the creed, by which the Catholic doctrine respecting the Holy Ghost was added to the Nicene Creed. On the death of Meletius, the first president of the council, Gregory was chosen to deliver his funeral oration.

He was present at the second council of Con­stantinople in 394, and probably died shortly after^ wards. • He was married, though he afterwards adopted the prevailing views of his time in favour of the celibacy of the clergy. His wife's name was Theosebeia.

The reputation of Gregory Nyssen with the ancients was only inferior to that of his brother, and to that of Gregory Nazianzen. (See especially Phot. Cod. 6*.) Like them, he was an eminent rhetorician, but his oratory often offends by its ex­travagance. His theology bears strong marks of the influence of the writings of Origen.

His works may be divided into: 1. Treatises on doctrinal- theology, chiefly, but not entirely, relating to the Arian controversy, and including also works against the Appollinarists and theMani- chaeans. 2. Treatises on the practical duties of Christianity. 3. Sermons and Orations. 4. Letters. 5. Biographies. The only complete edition of Gregory Nyssen is that of Morell and Gretser, 2 vols. fol. Paris, 1615—1618; reprinted 1638. There are several editions of his separate works. (Lardner's Credibility; Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. i. p. .244; Fabric. Bill. Graec. vol.ix. p. 98; Sehrockh, Christliche Kirchengeschichte, vol. xiv.; F. Rupp, Gregors von Nyssa Leben und Meinungen, Leipz. 4834, 8vo.; Hoffmann, Lexicon BibliqgrapJi. Script. Graec.) [P. S.]

GREGORIUS THAUMATURGUS, or THEODO'RUS, ST., received the surname of Thaumaturgus from his miracles. He was a native pf Neocaesareia in Cappadocia, and the son of heathen parents. He pursued his studies, chiefly in Roman law, at Alexandria, Athens, Berytus, and finally at Caesareia in Palestine, where he be-

GREGORIUS.

came the pupil and the convert of Origen, about A. d. 234. At the end of five years, during which Origen instructed him in logic, physics, mathema­tics, ethics, and the whole circle of philosophy, as well as in the Christian faith and biblical science, Gregory returned to his native place, where he soon received a letter from Origen, persuading him to become a minister of the church. Gregory, how­ever, withdrew into the wilderness, whither he was followed by Phaedinms, bishop of Amaseia, who wished to ordain him to the bishopric of Neo­caesareia. Gregory for a long time succeeded in evading the search of Phaedimus, who at last, in Gregory's absence, performed the ceremony of his ordination,1 just as if he had been present. Upon this Gregory came from his hiding-place, and under­took the office, in the discharge of which he was so successful, that whereas, when he became bishop, there were only seventeen Christians in the city, at his death there were only ^seventeen persons who were not Christians, notwithstanding the two calamities of the Decian persecution, about A. d. 250, and the invasion of the northern barbarians, about A. d. 260, from which the church of Neo­caesareia suffered severely during his bishopric. In the Decian persecution he fled into the wilder­ness, not, as it really appears, from fear, but to preserve his life for the sake of his flock. He was a warm champion of orthodoxy, and sat in the council which was held at Antioch in a. d. 265, to inquire into the heresies of Paul of Samosata. He died not long afterwards. The very probable emendation of Kuster to Suidas, substituting the name of Aurelian for that of Julian, would bring down his life to a. d. 270.

This is not the place to inquire into the miracles which are said to have been performed by Gregory at every step of his life. One example of them is sufficient. On his journey from the wilder­ness to his see he spent a night in a heathen temple. The mere presence of the holy man ex­orcised the demons, so that, when the Pagan priest came in the morning to perform the usual service, he could obtain no sign of the presence of his divi­nities. Enraged at Gregory, he threatened to take him before the magistrates ; but soon, seeing the calmness of the saint, his anger was turned to ad­miration and faith, and he besought Gregory, as a further proof of his power, to cause the demons to return. The wonder-worker consented, and laid upon the altar a piece of paper, on which he had written, "Gregory to Satan:—-Enter." The ac­customed rites were performed, and the presence of the demons was manifested. The result was the conversion of the Pagan priest, who became a dea­con of Neocaesareia, and the most faithful follower of the bishop. The following are the genuine works of Gregory Thaumaturgus :—1. Panegyrics ad Origenem, a discourse delivered when he was about to quit the school of Origen. 2. Metaphrasis in Ecclesiasten. 3. Expositio Fidei, a creed of the doctrine of the Trinity. 4. Epistola canonica, de Us, qui in Barbarorum Incursione idolothyta come-derant, an epistle in which he describes the penances to be required of those converts who had relapsed into heathenism through the fear of death, and who desired to be restored to the church. 4. Other Letters. The other works ascribed to him are either spurious or doubtful.

The following are the editions of Gregory's works:—1. That of Gerardus Vossius, Greek and

Pages
About | First

313

314

315
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.