In his exegesis Basil was a great admirer of Origen and the need for the spiritual interpretation of Scripture. In his work on the Holy Spirit , he asserts that "to take the literal sense and stop there, is to have the heart covered by the veil of Jewish literalism. Lamps are useless when the sun is shining.
At the same time he was against the wild allegories of some contemporaries. Concerning this, he wrote:. There are those, truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own end.
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His ascetic tendencies are exhibited in the Moralia and Asketika sometimes mistranslated as Rules of St. Basil , ethical manuals for use in the world and the cloister, respectively. There has been a good deal of discussion concerning the authenticity of the two works known as the Greater Asketikon and the Lesser Asketikon. It is in the ethical manuals and moral sermons that the practical aspects of his theoretical theology are illustrated.
So, for example, it is in his Sermon to the Lazicans that we find St.
Basil explaining how it is our common nature that obliges us to treat our neighbor's natural needs e. His three hundred letters reveal a rich and observant nature, which, despite the troubles of ill-health and ecclesiastical unrest, remained optimistic, tender and even playful. His principal efforts as a reformer were directed towards the improvement of the liturgy, and the reformation of the monastic institutions of the East.
Most of his extant works, and a few spuriously attributed to him, are available in the Patrologia Graeca , which includes Latin translations of varying quality. Several of St. Basil of Caesarea holds a very important place in the history of Christian liturgy , coming as he did at the end of the age of persecution. Basil's liturgical influence is well attested in early sources. Though it is difficult at this time to know exactly which parts of the Divine Liturgies which bear his name are actually his work, a vast corpus of prayers attributed to him has survived in the various Eastern Christian churches.
Most of the liturgies bearing the name of Basil are not entirely his work in their present form, but they nevertheless preserve a recollection of Basil's activity in this field in formularizing liturgical prayers and promoting church-song. Patristics scholars conclude that the Liturgy of Saint Basil "bears, unmistakably, the personal hand, pen, mind and heart of St.
Basil the Great". One liturgy that can be attributed to him is The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great , a liturgy that is somewhat longer than the more commonly used Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The difference between the two is primarily in the silent prayers said by the priest, and in the use of the hymn to the Theotokos , All of Creation , instead of the Axion Estin of John Chrysostom's Liturgy. Chrysostom's Liturgy has come to replace Basil's on most days in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic liturgical traditions.
The Eastern Churches preserve numerous other prayers attributed to Basil, including three prayers of exorcism , several morning and evening prayers, the "Prayer of the Hours" which is read at each service of the Daily Office , and the "Kneeling Prayers" which are recited by the priest at vespers on Pentecost in the Byzantine Rite. Through his examples and teachings Basil effected a noteworthy moderation in the austere practices which were previously characteristic of monastic life. Basil is remembered as one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian monasticism.
Not only is Basil recognized as the father of Eastern monasticism; historians recognize that his legacy extends also to the Western church, largely due to his influence on Benedict. As a result of Basil's influence, numerous religious orders in Eastern Christianity bear his name. Basil , an international order of priests and students studying for the priesthood, is named after him. Basil was given the title Doctor of the Church in the Western Church for his contributions to the debate initiated by the Arian controversy regarding the nature of the Trinity, and especially the question of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
His single greatest contribution was his insistence on the divinity and consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son. It is traditional on St Basil's Day to serve vasilopita , a rich bread baked with a coin inside. It is customary on his feast day to visit the homes of friends and relatives, to sing New Year's carols , and to set an extra place at the table for Saint Basil.
Basil, being born into a wealthy family, gave away all his possessions to the poor, the underprivileged, those in need, and children. According to some sources, Basil died on January 1, and the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day together with that of the Feast of the Circumcision on that day. This was also the day on which the General Roman Calendar celebrated it at first; but in the 13th-century it was moved to June 14, a date believed to be that of his ordination as bishop , and it remained on that date until the revision of the calendar, which moved it to January 2, rather than January 1, because the latter date is occupied by the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
At present, this corresponds to January 14, January 15 during leap year. There are numerous relics of Basil throughout the world. One of the most important is his head, which is preserved to this day at the monastery of the Great Lavra on Mount Athos in Greece. The mythical sword Durandal is said to contain some of Basil's blood.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named Saint Basil, see Saint Basil disambiguation. Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator , Hagia Sophia. Autocephalous jurisdictions. Noncanonical jurisdictions. Evangelical Orthodox Western Orthodoxy. Celts France Gaul. Ecumenical councils.
Liturgy and worship.
Religion: Church Fathers (Writings of)
Liturgical calendar. Major figures. Other topics. OCA — Feasts and Saints. Louis, , p. Orthodox Church in America Website. Retrieved In Ferguson, Everett ed. The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity second edition. New York: Garland Press. Basil the Great. New York: Robert Appleton Company, The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. New York: Penguin Books, Littell, Son and Company.
Oration Funeral Oration on the Great S. Retrieved 20 February Butler's Lives of the Saints. Basil the Great — ". In McCloskey, O. Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press. Archived from the original on 23 December In Schaff, Philip ed. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2nd Series. Hexameron , 3. Archived from the original on 18 January Archived from the original on Scribner's Sons — via Google Books. Coptic saints. Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph. Matthew Mark Luke John.
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