Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 20, “The Great Cappadocians” Loc. 3797-3966.
Cappadocia, now a part of Turkey, was home to three great Fathers: Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (Gonzalez 2010, Loc. 3800). Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers, whose sister, Macrina, was also notable. Macrina had given herself to a celibate life of contemplation (Ibid., Loc. 3814). Basil, much younger than Macrina, was trained at Caesarea, then Antioch, Constantinople, and Athens, meeting Gregory of Nazanzus and Julian, who would later be known as “the Apostate” (Ibid., Loc. 3819). Macrina confronted Basil about his arrogance, eventually making an impression during a time of grief (Ibid., Loc. 3827). At her suggestion, Basil studied with the Egyptian monasts, bringing the monastic ideals to Greece. Because the monastic life is that of service, Basil urged community life. He is credited for writing the rules which serve as the foundation for all Eastern monasticism (Ibid., Loc. 3850). Against his will, he was made bishop of Caesarea (Ibid., Loc. 3855) to oppose Arians in leadership. He stood firm in his orthodoxy against all threats. Basil died shortly before the Council of Constantinople in 381 (Ibid., Loc. 3887). Unlike Basil, Gregory of Nyssa was of a very quiet temperament (Ibid., Loc. 3887). After the death of his wife he took up a monastic life as “a way to avoid the pains and struggles of active life” (Ibid., Loc. 3896). He was, however, forced by Basil “to become bishop of Nyssa, which was little more than a village” (Ibid., Loc. 3896). After the Council of Constantinople he became an advisor to Emperor Theodosius (Ibid., Loc. 3901). He later managed to retire into obscurity. Gregory of Nazianzus was from a devout Christian family. He was trained in Caesarea then Athens (Ibid., Loc. 3911). After some time in the monastic life he was ordained as a presbyter, taking on pastoral roles, though reluctantly (Ibid., Loc. 3920). After the death of Basil he took up the fight against Arianism. He was later appointed bishop of Constantinople (Ibid., Loc. 3938), though he soon resigned that post, returning to Nazianzus. The affirmation of the Trinity in the Council of Constantinople owed a great deal to the work of Basil and the gwo Gregories (Ibid., Loc. 3950).