Born in the year 330 A.D. at Caesarea in Cappadocia, St. Basil was a brilliant scholar and a virtuous man.
Initially he planned to become a hermit. But he was made Bishop of Caesarea, now modern day Turkey, in 370.
Basil supported the Nicene Creed and fought against early church heresies such as Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea. He also wrote numerous works. Among them the monastic rule that bears his name. These guidelines focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labor. Along with Pachomius, in Eastern Christianity he is considered a father of communal monasticism. Many monks in the East follow that even today.
Basil was given the title “Doctor of the Church” for his contributions in the debates over Arianism, in particular regarding the nature of the Trinity and the question of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
Basil died on January 1, 379. He is considered a saint in both Eastern and Western Christianity.
The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates St. Basil’s feast day along with the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1. The Roman Catholic calendar listed January 1 as St. Basil’s day until the 13th century when it was moved to June 14. A 1969 revision of the calendar moved the day to January 2 so that it would not conflict with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1. St. Basil is celebrated along with Saint Gregory Nazianzen. The Anglican Church celebrates St. Basil’s feast on January 2. The Episcopal Church celebrates St. Basil on June 14.