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date: 31 October 2020

Basil of Caesarealocked

  • Philip Rousseau

Extract

Basil of Caesarea (*Cappadocia), c. 330–79 ce (the dates are debated but not disproved). He is honoured as the chief architect of monastic life in the Greek Church. His early education was completed at Athens, where he came under the influence of *Himerius and *Prohaeresius. He was also instructed briefly by *Libanius. Those experiences marked him out for a teaching career, upon which he may have embarked. However, the influence of Eustathius of Sebaste and of travel in the eastern provinces inclined him to the practice of asceticism, which he undertook in the company of his friend *Gregory (2) of Nazianzus. His education bore fruit, nevertheless, in his Address to Young Men, which discussed the adaptation of the classical curriculum to Christian use and enjoyed lasting influence. His ascetic experience was distilled chiefly in his Long Rules and Short Rules.A growing interest in Church affairs drew him into the moderate party of Basil of Ancyra and encouraged him in lifelong loyalty to Meletius of Antioch. Within the general context of the Arian controversy, those associations made him less acceptable to both *Alexandria (1) and Rome.

Subjects

  • Early Christianity

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