Festal Orations: Saint Gregory of Nazianzus
Popular Patristics Series Volume 36
In the Orthodox Church St. Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. AD 329-390) is known as "the Theologian," a title he shares only with the Apostle and Evangelist John. His reputation and influence in the Byzantine world as both theologian and rhetor are unsurpassed. Although best known in the West for his dogmatic work, Five Theological Orations, in the Eastern churches Gregory has been hailed for his many festal orations, homilies that eventually were appointed for reading in church on specific feast days or saints' days, or as commentary on the Gospel lesson for the day. Moreover, the poetic prose of his homilies is quoted extensively in Byzantine hymnography, and two collections of his orations were translated into Slavonic in tenth-century Bulgaria for reading in church or in the monastic refectory. They passed from there into the Russian Orthodox tradition. Therefore, Orthodox Christians have been learning and praying his theology in church for over a thousand years, even if they have never read his writings, and attentive readers will find their words in this volume strikingly familiar.