● Memorial Day Orthodox: January 1, January 30
● Name means: the royal (from Greek)
● Metropolitan, Archbishop of Caesarea and Doctor of the Church
● Born around 330 in Caesarea in Cappadocia, Turkey
● Died on January 1, 379 in Caesarea in Cappadocia, Turkey
Saint Basil “the Great” was a prominent figure in the early Christian Church. Born in 329 in
Cappadocian Caesarea, he hailed from a wealthy and distinguished family with a long legacy of
church service. His maternal ancestor was a martyr, and his paternal grandparents were known
Christians during the era of persecution. Basil’s parents, Saint Basilios “the Elder” and Saint
Emmelia, were renowned for their virtue and charity, and they brought up their 10 children in
the path of sanctification.
Basil’s sister, Saint Macrina, was instrumental in encouraging her family members to become
monks. Four of Basil’s siblings – Gregory of Nyssa, Petros of Sebaste, Naucratios, and Basil
himself – attained sainthood. Basil’s childhood was spent in Pont, where he received the
Orthodox faith from his mother and grandmother, who was a disciple of Saint Gregory the
Under the tutelage of his famous orator father, Basil acquired a deep knowledge of profane
sciences. After his father’s death, Basil continued his studies in the prestigious schools of
Palestine, Constantinople, and Athens. This is where he developed a close spiritual friendship
with St. Gregory the Theologian.
Basil was ordained as the bishop’s right-hand man in Caesarea in 364 and later became the
metropolitan of Cappadocia in 370. He was known for being a teacher of ecumenism, a lamp of
the Orthodox faith, a father and breadwinner to the poor, and a helper to those who put their
faith in God. He was the embodiment of a bishop and a living representation of Christ himself.
Basil spoke with Christ’s words and used his actions to display the treasures of love that lay in
Despite his valiant efforts, heresy was rampant during Basil’s time, and even though he fought
tirelessly, he experienced all kinds of failures, slander, and sorrows. He died at the young age of
50, only a year before the expulsion of the Arians and the recall of the orthodox bishops to their
seats began. Basil did not live to see the culmination of his struggle at the Second Ecumenical
Council of 381 in Constantinople.
Basil is considered an authority in the Western and Eastern Churches, and he has been
appointed as a Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church. Along with his brother Gregory of
Nyssa and friend Gregory of Nazianzus, he is known as one of the “great Cappadocians.” Basil
left an impeccable legacy of faith and love that continues to inspire many to this day.