Along with Basil and fellow-Cappadocian and friend Gregory of Nazianzus (c.… Consequently, it is sufficient if we use Christ’s life as a model for our own (On Perfection [264 – 265, 269]). . When reflecting on Gregory’s theory of knowledge as developed in The Life of Moses, one is struck by his commitment to rationalism–this despite his ambivalence on the value of pagan wisdom. Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen (Greek: Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c. 335 – c. 395), was bishop of Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. The idea of God’s energies in Gregory’s theology approximates to the Western concept of grace, except that it emphasizes God’s actual presence in those parts of creation which are perfected just because of that presence. A younger son of a distinguished family, Gregory was educated in his native province but was more deeply influenced by his philosophical training than by the other two Cappadocian Fathers of the Church, his brother St. The most important characteristic of the nature of the nous is that it provides for the unity of consciousness. Our knowledge may simply be too limited. Gregory of Nyssa Quotes and Sayings - Page 1 “If we truly think of Christ as our source of holiness, we shall refrain from anything wicked or impure in thought or act and thus show ourselves to be worthy bearers of his name. St Gregory of Nyssa Resources Online and in Print. But Gregory’s true position seems to lie between these two extremes: philosophy is useful if properly “circumcised,” that is, culled of any “foreskin” alien to the spirit of Christianity (Life of Moses II 39 – 40 [337]). Thus the resurrection and deification of Christ’s human nature are the prototypes of those to follow. He belongs to the group known as the "Cappadocian Fathers", a title which reveals at once his birthplace in Asia Minor and his intellectual characteristics. St. Gregory of Nyssa was born in the 4th century, about the year 335 in the region of Cappadocia (modern day Turkey). (Great Catechism 25 [65 – 68]). and the Christian Origen (c.185—254 C.E. Similarly, the relevant auditory metaphor is silence, not speech (Ecclesiastes VII [732]). For it means that there is an aspect of the human person that is not of this world. Given his apophatic approach to theology (described above), Gregory suggests that the religious life must eventually transcend intellectual knowing and ground itself faithful praxis. For this reason, Gregory subscribes to a realist theory of the sacraments. Metaphysical Principles of Virtue I 22). However the edition has not yet been completed. Moses, as Gregory interprets him, is one of those who crave ever more intimate communion with God. 394), or Gregory Nyssen as he is also known, was born in Neocaesarea, Pontus, now known as the Black Sea region of Turkey. But philosophy in his day was almost wholly associated with paganism. Gregory of Nyssa was born in Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia (central Turkey) in about 334, the younger brother of Basil the Great and of Macrina (19 July), and of several other distinguished persons. This intellectual dynamic is paralleled by a moral one, which will be sketched in what follows. Now Gregory lived at a crossroads in the theological understanding of this doctrine. Together, the Cappadocians are credited with defining Christian orthodoxy in the Eastern Roman Empire, as Augustine (354—430 C.E.) The heavens accommodate contrary motions, and these motions give rise to unmoving, static laws (Inscriptions of the Psalms I 3 [440 – 441]); heavy bodies are borne downward and light bodies upward, and simple causes bring about complex effects (Soul and Resurrection [25 – 28]). Gregory of Nyssa was born about 335 C.E. In this light consider the following passage from Against Eunomius: Even the inquiry as to that thing in the flesh itself which assumes all the corporeal qualities has not been pursued to any definite result. Thus Moses finally realizes that the longing for utter intimacy with God can never be satisfied–faith will never be transformed into understanding (cf. Given what we know about motion and rest, heaviness and lightness, and the rest, Gregory argues, we would expect to find them excluding, rather than complementing, each other. Gregory disliked attending gatherings of bishops but was periodically invited to preach at such occasions. For example, how is one to understand Jesus’ claim that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) when it seems to be contradicted by the admission that “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28)? The third and final theophany revolves around Moses’ vision of God’s glory from the cleft in a rock (Life of Moses II 202 – 321 [392 – 429]). Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335/40–395) is often regarded as the most speculative and mystical thinker of the Greek Fathers. In the former case, the presence of Christ “transforms what is born with a corruptible nature into a state of incorruption” (Great Catechism 33 [84], cf. “Cappadocian Thought as a Coherent System.”, Stramara, Daniel F. “Gregory of Nyssa: An Ardent Abolitionist?”. As noted above, the Father is always transcendent; and at the other extreme, the Holy Spirit is God’s glory (Song of Songs VI [1117]): it “manifests [the Son’s] energy” (Great Catechism 2 [17]) in the world. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership,, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Gregory of Nyssa, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Gregory of Nyssa spent his life in Cappadocia, a region in central Asia Minor. A notable emphasis of Gregory’s teaching is the principle that the spiritual life is not one of static perfection but of constant progress. It is the second Person of the Trinity who is the most interesting because it provides Gregory with the conceptual apparatus to explain God’s operation in history, for the point at which the second Person enters the world becomes the point in time in which God is more intimately present to the world than before. First, because the human nous is created in the image of God, it possesses a certain “dignity of royalty” (to tes basileias axioma) that is lacking in the rest of creation. MUNI bus lines 10, 19, 22 and 55 stop within one block. The former idea, the unity of the virtues, Gregory derives, once again, from the Stoics (cf. Nothing more is heard from him after about 395 CE. Song of Songs I [780 – 784], III [821 – 828], IV [844]). While Nyssa agrees with the knowability of such manifestations, he suggests that the true religious path must ultimately transce… Yet beginning with the Church councils, the Trinity gradually came to be understood differently, as three distinctions to be made within God’s inner nature itself. As a youth, he was at best a lukewarm Christian. Date of birth unknown; died after 385 or 386. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Latin Gregorius Nyssenus, (born c. 335, Caesarea, in Cappadocia, Asia Minor [now Kayseri, Turkey]—died c. 394; feast day March 9), philosophical theologian and mystic, leader of the orthodox party in the 4th-century Christian controversies over the doctrine of the Trinity. If this is all that Gregory means, his argument at best reduces to the cosmological, or “first cause,” argument that any chain of creating or sustaining causes requires a first member, which “everyone would call God,” as Thomas Aquinas puts it (Summa Theologiae I q. Dustin Bruce, The First Abolitionist: Gregory of Nyssa on Slavery Second, the nous is free. So God directs Moses to the cleft of a rock and walks by, placing a hand over the cleft to obscure Moses’ sight; only after God has passed is the hand removed, but by now all Moses can see is God’s back. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Saint Basil and the son of Saints Basil and Emmilia, was a married man when he began studying for the priesthood. Later, he recites with approval the common Christian interpretation of the Israelites’ spoiling of the Egyptians as a lesson to Christians on the importance of appropriating pagan wisdom in explaining Christian doctrine (Life of Moses II 115 [360]). The most important consequence of this extension is its application to the capstone of the cosmic order–human nature. In Gregory’s words, For although this last form of God’s presence amongst us is not the same as that former presence, still his existence amongst us equally both then and now is evidenced: now he rules in us in order to hold together that nature in being; then he was transfused in our nature, in order that our nature might by this transfusion of the divine become itself divine–being rescued from death and put beyond the reach of the tyranny of the Adversary. The fundamental fact about human nature according to Gregory of Nyssa is that humans were created in the image of God. Gregory’s philosophy of history begins with the fall of Adam from perfection. Pope Benedict XVI. in Cappadocia (in present-day Turkey). If … God cannot be perceived with the external senses, but some sort of mystical awareness of God is achievable internally. The parallels between the divine and the human extend all the way down to the evidential basis for the existence of the human nous. The emphasis here is not on order in general, but on unexpected order. Gregory was raised in a very pious (and large) Christian family of ten children; his grandmother Macrina the Elder, his mother Emily, his father Basil the Elder, his sisters Macrina the Younger and Theosebia, and his brothers Basil the Great and Peter of Sebaste have all been recognized as saints. His last public appearance was at a council at Constantinople. Similarly, the logical consequence of Christ’s deification is the apokatastasis–the restoration of humanity to its unfallen state. As part of Basil’s struggle with Bishop Anthimus of Tyana—whose city became the metropolis (civil and therefore ecclesiastical capital) of western Cappadocia in 372—Gregory was consecrated as bishop of Nyssa, a small city in the new province of Cappadocia Secunda, which Basil wished to retain in his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. of Nyssa," in Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century, (ed.) But Gregory moves beyond Aristotle’s psychological explanation. Gregory’s family is significant, for two of the most influential people on his thought are two of his elder siblings–his sister Macrina (c.327—379) and Basil (c.330—379), the oldest boy in the family. This should not be particularly surprising since Gregory regards the human body as a miniature, harmonious version of the cosmos as a whole (Inscriptions of the Psalms I 3 [441 – 444]). 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