Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (329–390)

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (329–390)

Feast day: January 2

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus was a friend of Saint Basil the Great and accepted his invitation to join him in monastic life at Basil’s newly founded desert monastery. Saint Gregory enjoyed a life of prayerful solitude at the monastery but hesitantly became a priest at his father’s request.

Gregory opposed Arianism (a heresy that proclaimed that Jesus, the Son of God, was a creature of God and not equal to God) and worked diligently to prevent an Arian schism in his diocese.

Saint Gregory was appointed bishop of Caesarea and clashed with Emperor Valens, an Arian. These disagreements affected his friendship with Saint Basil the Great, and Saint Gregory was reassigned to a remote village.

After the death of Valens, Saint Gregory became bishop of Constantinople and worked hard to bring the Arians back to the faith. Against extreme opposition and violence, Saint Gregory successfully rebuilt Constantinople. He spent his last days in solitude and simplicity as a hermit. Saint Gregory is known for his religious poetry and his moving sermons on the Trinity. He is often referred to as “the Theologian.”

(Image © Zvonimir Atletic /