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Basil the Great
Basil the Great (c 330-379 CE) was a bishop of Caesarea, Doctor of the Church, and one of the three Cappadocian Fathers. He was born into the distinguished family of Basil the Elder and Emmelia in Pontus. He received the best education available, studying at Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens. While at Athens, he met Gregory of Nazianzus, who would become for him a lifelong friend and another of the three Cappadocian Fathers, the third being Gregory of Nyssa. Basil traveled throughout Alexandria, Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia observing hermits and formulating his own monastic rule, which was based on community life, liturgical prayer and manual labor. He later returned to Pontus, where he set up a monastery on the banks of the Iris River, thereby becoming the "Father of Greek Monasticism." Basil was ordained a presbyter in 364 and elected bishop of Caesarea in 370. His most prominent dogmatic writings include a treatise on the Holy Spirit and Against Eunomius. Basil fought to uphold the Nicene Creed against Arianism. He died on January 1, 379, just after he learned of the death of Valens, the Arian Emperor.
Theresa A. Winters
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