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Hymns Of The Greek Church by John Brownlie



Gregory of Nazianzus, son of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, and life-long friend of Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, was born at Nazianzus, 325 A.D. He took up the priestly office at the earnest request of his father, and for some time was helpful to the aged bishop.

The times in which Gregory lived were trying times. The orthodox Christians clung to the creed of Nicea, and their champions did valiant battle with the Arians. As an advocate and exponent of evangelical truth, Gregory was summoned to Constantinople in 379, and as bishop of that See adorned the high position with gifts and graces as brilliant as they were rare. But he was not the man for such a position at such a time. Hilary, the Hammer of the Arians,' could keep the heretics at bay, and do in the Latin Church what Gregory could not do in the Greek Church -- maintain his position and his cause against all comers. For one thing, the retiring disposition of Gregory inclined him to shrink from the din of conflict, and his high ideals weakened his hopefulness. The result was that he abandoned his position and retired to Nazianzus in 381. Deprived by death of his life-long friend, and of his brother Caesarius, to whom he was bound by more than brotherly love, he retired from the world and penned those poems, some of which are among the treasures of the Church Catholic. He died in 390.

The hymns of Gregory are found in the second volume of the Benedictine Edition of his works which was published in Paris in 1842. A selection can be seen in Daniel's Thesaurus, and in the Anthologica Graeca, Carminum Christianorum.

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