Basil the Great
(c. 330-379): older brother of Gregory of Nyssa, bishop of Caesarea,
and mentor of eastern monasticism.
After a brief period of time as a hermit, Basil the Great became bishop
of the see of Caesarea and was obliged to take part in the great theological
controversies of his era. He became an effective defender of Nicene
orthodoxy and of the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Basil also
elaborated the moderate monastic rule which continues to shape eastern
monasticism to the present.
Gregory of Nyssa
(c. 330-c. 395): younger brother of Basil the Great, bishop of Nyssa,
and prolific writer. After a time as a monk, Gregory of Nyssa unwillingly
became bishop of Nyssa. He was a prolific author on many theological
and pastoral topics, and his works display the influence of neo-platonism
and the theology of Origen. Gregory of Nyssa
is famed for his use of a simile which suggests that in the incarnation
God deceived the devil by using Christ like the bait on a fish-hook.
Gregory of Nazianzus
(329-389): bishop of Sasima and later of Constantinople, preacher of
Nicene orthodoxy. A monk ordained as a priest and bishop against
his will, Gregory of Nazianzus preached powerfully in the cause of Nicene
orthodoxy. He wrote extensively on both theological and devotional topics.
After the victory of Nicene orthodoxy
at the Council of Constantinople
I (381), he retired from his dignity as bishop and led a monastic