Afterfeast of the Theophany.
St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa (4th c.). St. Dometian, Bishop of Melitene (601). St. Marcian, Presbyter, of Constantinople (5th c.). Ven. Paul, Abbot of Obnora (Vologdá—1429). Ven. Macarius, Abbot, of Pisma (14th c.). Bl. Theosebia the Deaconess, sister of Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa (385). Ven. Antipas the Athonite (1882). St. Theophan the Recluse, Bishop of Tambov (1894).
SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA
Saint Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, was a younger brother of Saint Basil the Great (January 1). His birth and upbringing came at a time when the Arian disputes were at their height. Having received an excellent education, he was at one time a teacher of rhetoric. In the year 372, he was consecrated by Saint Basil the Great as bishop of the city of Nyssa in Cappadocia.
Saint Gregory was an ardent advocate for Orthodoxy, and he fought against the Arian heresy with his brother Saint Basil. Gregory was persecuted by the Arians, by whom he was falsely accused of improper use of church property, and thereby deprived of his See and sent to Ancyra.
In the following year Saint Gregory was again deposed in absentia by a council of Arian bishops, but he continued to encourage his flock in Orthodoxy, wandering about from place to place. After the death of the emperor Valens (378), Saint Gregory was restored to his cathedra and was joyously received by his flock. His brother Saint Basil the Great died in 379.
Only with difficulty did Saint Gregory survive the loss of his brother and guide. He delivered a funeral oration for him, and completed Saint Basil’s study of the six days of Creation, the Hexaemeron. That same year Saint Gregory participated in the Council of Antioch against heretics who refused to recognize the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God. Others at the opposite extreme, who worshipped the Mother of God as being God Herself, were also denounced by the Council. He visited the churches of Arabia and Palestine, which were infected with the Arian heresy, to assert the Orthodox teaching about the Most Holy Theotokos. On his return journey Saint Gregory visited Jerusalem and the Holy Places.
In the year 381 Saint Gregory was one of the chief figures of the Second Ecumenical Council, convened at Constantinople against the heresy of Macedonius, who incorrectly taught about the Holy Spirit. At this Council, on the initiative of Saint Gregory, the Nicean Symbol of Faith (the Creed) was completed.
Together with the other bishops Saint Gregory affirmed Saint Gregory the Theologian as Archpastor of Constantinople.
In the year 383, Saint Gregory of Nyssa participated in a Council at Constantinople, where he preached a sermon on the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit. In 386, he was again at Constantinople, and he was asked to speak the funeral oration in memory of the empress Placilla. Again in 394 Saint Gregory was present in Constantinople at a local Council, convened to resolve church matters in Arabia.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa was a fiery defender of Orthodox dogmas and a zealous teacher of his flock, a kind and compassionate father to his spiritual children, and their intercessor before the courts. He was distinguished by his magnanimity, patience and love of peace.
Having reached old age, Saint Gregory of Nyssa died soon after the Council of Constantinople. Together with his great contemporaries, Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, Saint Gregory of Nyssa had a significant influence on the Church life of his time. His sister, Saint Macrina, wrote to him: “You are renowned both in the cities, and gatherings of people, and throughout entire districts. Churches ask you for help.” Saint Gregory is known in history as one of the most profound Christian thinkers of the fourth century. Endowed with philosophical talent, he saw philosophy as a means for a deeper penetration into the authentic meaning of divine revelation.
Saint Gregory left behind many remarkable works of dogmatic character, as well as sermons and discourses. He has been called “the Father of Fathers.”
TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA
Troparion of the Theophany, tone 1
When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan The worship of the Trinity was made manifest For the voice of the Father bore witness to You And called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself And have enlightened the world, glory to You!
Troparion of the saint, tone 4
In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Gregory, entreat Christ our God / that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 1
You kept watch with the eyes of your soul, holy bishop, revealing yourself as a watchful pastor for the world. With the staff of your wisdom and your fervent intercession, you drove away all heretics like wolves. You preserved your flock free from harm, most wise Gregory!
Kontakion of the Theophany, tone 4
Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light.
Titus 1:5-2:1 (Epistle)
- For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you –
- if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
- For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
- but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
- holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
- For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
- whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.
- One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
- This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
- not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
- To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
- They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
- But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine
Luke 20:9-18 (Gospel)
- Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.
- Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
- Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
- And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
- Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’
- But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’
- So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
- He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
- Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’?
- Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”