January 1st 2018
In this story we celebrate not just Basil but his friend and colleague Gregory of Nazianzus. If you have a good friend or someone you always end up doing things with, let this story encourage you.
Basil and Gregory fought critics, state and church to defend the idea that Jesus was God. A controversy known as Arianism questioned whether Jesus really was divine. Basil was bold, courageous and hot-headed. He worked with his eloquent and thoughtful friend Gregory to develop ideas which eventually convinced the Council of Constantinople in 381 – the first great conference of the global church. That achievement came to years after his death. At the end of that conference a statement of faith called the Nicene Creed was written and it declared Jesus was indeed God. Amazingly this piece of work was so important that many people still read it out in churches today – you may know it as the Nicene Creed.
But Basil’s work was not all in theology and politics. Basil was known for his care of the poor and excluded. Basil shaped a lot of early monastic communities – giving guidance on things like community, liturgy, prayer and work. If you’ve ever been to a monastic community of any sort – whether old or contemporary – then know that that community has at least indirectly been influenced by Basil.
Basil is considered a saint in both Eastern and Western Churches. He died in 379.
Take a moment to consider a really great friend. If you find this hard think of someone who’s supported you over the years or maybe someone who’s been loyal to you. Think about that person and write down everything you’re thankful for about them. If you have the chance go and tell them at least one of the things you’re thankful for.