St Basil the Great,
Archbishop of Caesaria

Commemorated January 1

Our holy father among the Saints, St Basil, flourished during the reign of Emperor Valens in 364. He spoke out for the orthodox faith in front of him and judged him because he had accepted the erroneous beliefs of Arianism and was maltreating and fighting savagely and ferociously the churches of the orthodox. St. Basil's father was from the Black Sea and his mother from Cappadocia (from a place called Karamania). In speech and learning he surpassed not only the learned men of his time but also the ancient philosophers since, having studied all kinds of knowledge, he defeated and conquered them in all. Moreover, he practiced philosophy and through it he rose to the theory of beings (i.e. in his understanding of things) wherefrom he ascended the throne of prelacy.

When he became bishop he gave many battles for the orthodox faith and with the firmness and courage of his conviction he amazed prefect Modestus. With the orthodox sermons which he wrote he refuted the convictions of the heretics and arranged the order of morals. He taught the ascetic philosophy, he made plain the theory of beings and to cut a long story short he departed to the Lord, after he had guided the logical flock of Christ to salvation through every virtue. St. Basil the Great was tall in appearance, spare and fleshless. His face was dark-skinned in colour, although it was blended with paleness as well. He had a long nose, round eyebrows and the skin over his eyebrows was furrowed. he looked like a man in meditation and watching over himself. His face was wrinkled with a few furrows. He had long cheeks and his temples were hirsute with hairs which were turned round. He seemed to have his hair somewhat cut. He had quite a long beard with mixed hairs, i.e. black together with white ones.

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