St. Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople, and theologian. Gregory is well known for his Trinitarian theology and is sometimes called the “Trinitarian Theologian”. His theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers. He is also a Doctor of the Church, being considered one of the eight “Great Doctors”.
Quotes from Gregory of Nazianzus:
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“If anyone does not agree that Holy Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos), then he is at odds with the Godhead. If anyone asserts that Christ passed through the Virgin as through a channel and was not shaped in her both divinely and humanly. . . divinely because it happened without man and humanly to be in accord with the law of gestation. . . Then he is likewise Godless.” -Letter to Cledonias, the Priest, Against Apollinaris 101 (Written in 382 A.D.)
“I know a cleansing fire which Christ came to hurl upon the earth; He Himself is called fire in words analogically applied. . . I know also a fire that is not cleansing, but avenging, that fire of Sodom, mixed with brimstone, that He pours down on all sinners, which is prepared for the Devil and his angels, that which proceeds from the face of the Lord and burns up His enemies all around.” -Oration on Holy Baptism 40:36 (Written in 381 A.D.)
“Such is the grace and power of baptism; not an overwhelming of the world as of old, but a purification of the sins of each individual, and a complete cleansing from all the bruises and stains of sin. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the Spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths” (Oration on Holy Baptism 7–8 [A.D. 388]).
On the Sanctifying Effect of Suffering
“I know of the trembling, staggering, heaving, and wrenching of the heart and the palsied knees that are the punishments of the impious. But I do not mean to speak of the judgments to come that indulgence in this life delivers us; for it is better to be punished and cleansed now than to be sent to the torment to come, when it will be time for punishment only and not for cleansing.”
-On the Plague & Destruction of Crops 16:7 (Written 373 A.D.)
“Let us suppose that the existence of the universe is spontaneous. To what will you ascribe it’s order? If you like, we will grant even that. But to what then will you ascribe it’s preservation and it’s being maintained in terms of its first existence? Something else, or is that also spontaneous? Surely to something other than chance! But what else can this be, except God? Thus reason, which is from God and is implanted in all of us, which is our first law and is participated in by all, leads us to God through the things we can see.”
-Second Theological Oration 28:16 (Written 380 A.D.)
On Equality & Social Justice
“Their laws are unequal and irregular. Why did they restrain the woman, but indulge the man? A woman who practices evil against her husband’s bed is guilty of adultery, and for this the penalties of the law are very severe; but a husband committing fornication against his wife, has he no account to give? I do not accept this legislation nor do I approve of this custom. They who made the law were men and their legislation is hard on women… This is not how God acts.
He says: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
See the equality of the legislation.
There is one maker of man and woman and
one and the same debt is owed to both.
-Oration 37:6, On the Gospel of Matthew 19:1 (Written 380 A.D.)
On Equality & Social Justice
“There are some people who are so proud of their successes that they attribute everything to themselves and nothing to Him who made them and gave them wisdom and supplied them with good things. Let them learn from this saying that even to wish someone well requires God’s help; or rather, even to choose what is right is something divine and a gift from God…
However well you may run, however well you may wrestle,
you still need Him who gives the crown.”
-Oration 37:13, On the Gospel of Matthew 19:1 (Written 380 A.D.)
“Jesus crucified and crucifying my sins, as a lamb offered and as a Priest offering, as a Man buried and as God rising again, and afterwards ascending, whence He will come again in His own glory. How many festivals there are in each of the mysteries of Christ! And all of them have one main point:
my perfection and reformation and return
to the original condition of Adam.”
-On the Theophany of Christ 38:16 (Written 380 A.D.)
On the Regeneration of Baptism
“Just as God gave existence to what did not exist,
so too He gave new creation to what did exist,
creation more divine and lofty than that which existed before,
a seal for those only just entering into life,
and for those of more mature age, a gift and a
restoration of the image obliterated through sin.”
-Oration on Holy Baptism 40:7 (Written 380 A.D.)
“Believe in the Son of God, the Word before the ages,
who was begotten of the Father apart from time and incorporeally, who in the last days was, for your sake,
made Son of Man, born of the Virgin Mary
in an indescribable and stainless way
-for there is no stain where God is
and whence salvation comes-
whole Man and at the same time God also…”
-Oration on Holy Baptism 40:45 (Written 380 A.D.)
“Do you have
an infant child?
Allow sin no
rather, let the
From his most
let him be
by the Spirit.
Do you fear the
seal of baptism
because of the
weakness of nature?
Oh, what a
mother and of
how little faith!” -Oration on Holy Baptism 40:17
(Written 380 A.D.)
“‘Well enough,’ some will say,
‘for those who ask for baptism,
but what do you have to say about
those who are still children, and are
aware neither of loss nor of grace?
Shall we baptize them too?’
Certainly, if there is any pressing danger.
It is better that they be sanctified
unaware, than that they depart
unsealed and uninitiated.”-Oration on Holy Baptism 40:28
(Written in 388 A.D.)
“He was conceived by the Virgin, who had first been purified by the Spirit in soul and body; for, as it was fitting that childbearing should receive its share of honor, so it was necessary that virginity should receive even greater honor.” –Sermon 38:13 (Written 381 A.D.)
“They are not few in number who say that the God-man was born from a Virgin’s womb, which the Spirit of God formed, constructing a pure temple to house the Temple. For the Mother is the Temple of Christ, while Christ is the Temple of the Word.” –Poems About Others 7:180-94. (Written in 380 A.D.)
“After Christ was born of a chaste and virgin, not bound by carnal chains and like unto God. . . virginity began to sanctify women and drive away the bitter Eve. It took away the laws of the flesh and through the preaching of the gospel, the letter gave way to the spirit, and grace entered in. Then virginity shone out clearly before mortals; it appeared in the world freely, as the liberator of a helpless world. It is as superior to matrimony as the soul is to the body.” –Moral Poems 1:189-208 (Written in 380 A.D.)
“The virgin, Justina. . . Recalling these and other circumstances and imploring the Virgin Mary to bring her assistance, since she too was a virgin and had been in danger, she entrusted herself to the remedy of fasting and sleeping on the ground.” –Sermon 24:9-11 (Written in 380 A.D.)
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