On January 1 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate our Father among the Saints Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
While still unbaptized, Basil spent fifteen years in Athens where he studied philosophy, rhetoric, astronomy and all other secular sciences. His colleagues at that time were Gregory the Theologian and Julian, later the apostate emperor. In his mature years he was baptized in the river Jordan. He was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia for almost ten years. He was a great defender of Orthodoxy, a great light of moral purity, a great theological mind, a great builder and pillar of the Church of God. Basil fully deserved the title “Great.” In liturgical services, he is referred to as the “bee of the Church of Christ which brings honey to the faithful and with its stinger pricks the heretics.” Numerous works of this Father of the Church are preserved; they include theological, ascetical and canonical writings as well as the Holy and Divine Liturgy named after him, which we will celebrate today. Basil reposed peacefully in 379 A.D.
By his intercessions, O God, have mercy upon us. Amen.