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Saint Basil the Great




































Saint Basil the GreatSaint Basil (Vasileios) was born into a holy family in Caesarea of Cappadocia in the year 329 A.D. He was raised in holiness by an exemplary family, and after having completed his studies in Constantinople and Athens he abandoned the world and embraced the ascetical life. Gaining a thorough understanding of the art of asceticism through his pilgrimages to the monastics of Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia, he returned home, where he codified all that he learned into his famous Ascetic Rule, and applied it to the hermitage he founded. Around 363, after being ordained into the priesthood, he brought the monks of Cappadocia together into monastic communities, applying his Rule. In the year 370 he was elected to the Episcopal throne of Caesarea and became a bastion of Orthodoxy when Arianism was at its strongest. Even though divisions beset the Church he never despaired. His lofty preaching inspired all who heard it. Whenever he celebrated the Divine Liturgy he was as “a pillar of fire” with his prayers “rising from earth to heaven.” This teacher of heavenly things almost won the Arian Emperor Valens over to the Orthodox faith even after rebuking him. St. Basil had great concern for his flock, especially the poor, for whom his love knew no bounds. Under his influence the feasts of the Martyrs began to be celebrated with more solemnity, as did the veneration of their Relics. He oversaw the construction of his “City of Charity” outside the city of Caesarea. This consisted of a church surrounded by hospices, hospitals, schools, orphanages, and a leprosarium. He personally cared for the sick, poor and lepers not caring for his own health but only showing love towards those who needed it the most. Physically worn out by his austere asceticism he reposed in the Lord on 1 January 379. The Liturgy, which he wrote, with its high theological prayers, is still used by the Church today. His lofty writings, revealing the mysteries of the heavens, along with his Rule still edify and govern the Orthodox Church to this day.
–Reader Vasileios Tomaras (Contemprary icon painted by Vasileios Tomaras.)

Megalynarion of the Saint from his Festal Liturgy
Christ’s Revealer of heav’nly things * mystic of the Master * enlightener of things revealed, * hailing from Caeserea, * the land of Cappadocia, * Vasileios the Great, * we always honor you.
(Translated by Reader Vasileios Tomaras)

Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey















The ancient Christian cave churches of Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey.

The 2010 Orthodox Calendars were dedicated to the memory of Saint Basil...