Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Basil the Great (329–379)

Saint Basil the Great (329–379)

Patron saint of Russia, reformers, and hospital administrators

Feast day: January 2

Saint Basil the Great was born to a noble family. He was on the path to becoming a famous teacher when he realized that his pride in his accomplishments might surpass his devotion to God. After this realization, he sold all that he had, gave the money to the poor, and entered religious life.

Basil established one of the first monasteries in Asia Minor, and his values and ideology greatly influenced Eastern monasticism. He fought tirelessly against the Arian heresy, which proclaimed that Jesus was neither divine nor eternal. In his fight to defend the true faith, he faced many obstacles, including being called a heretic himself. Frustrated by his lack of support, even from the Pope, Basil wrote, “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”

Basil cared diligently for his congregation, founded a hospital, and fought against the immorality of prostitution.

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