|Saint Basil the Great|
Icon of St. Basil the Great from the
St. Sophia Cathedral of Kiev
|Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church; Great Hierarch|
|Born||329 or 330
|Died||January 1 or 2, 379
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
January 1 and January 30 (Eastern Orthodox Churches)
|Attributes||vested as bishop, wearing omophorion, holding a Gospel Book or scroll. St. Basil is depicted in icons as thin and ascetic with a long, tapering black beard.|
|Patronage||Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists|
Any one who chooses will set up for a literary critic, though he cannot tell us where he went to school, or how much time was spent in his education, and knows nothing about letters at all.
Now, if you notice how the swan, putting its neck down into the deep water, brings up food for itself from below, then you will discover the wisdom of the Creator, in that He gave it a neck longer than its feet for this reason, that it might, as if lowering a sort of fishing line, procure the food hidden in the deep water.
As we were baptized, so we profess our belief. As we profess our belief, so also we offer praise. As then baptism has been given us by the Savior, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so, in accordance with our baptism, we make the confession of the creed, and our doxology in accordance with our creed.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
No one who is in this world will deny that evils exist. What, then, do we say? That evil is not a living and animated substance, but a condition of the soul which is opposed to virtue and which springs up In the slothful because of their falling away from good.
We men are easily prone to sins of thought. Therefore, He who has formed each heart individually, knowing that the impulse received from the intention constitutes the major element in sin, has ordained that purity in the ruling part of our soul be our primary concern.
Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?
Good masters teach good doctrine, but that taught by evil masters is wholly evil.
All who call the Holy Ghost a creature we pity, on the ground that, by this utterance, they are falling into the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against Him.
He who confesses magic or sorcery shall do penance for the time of murder, and shall be treated in the same manner as he who convicts himself of this sin.
Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.
We do not accost a physician as we do any mere nobody; nor a magistrate as we do a private individual. We try to get some advantage from the skill of the one and the position of the other. Walk in the sun, and your shadow will follow you, whether you will or not.
Do not measure your loss by itself; if you do, it will seem intolerable; but if you will take all human affairs into account you will find that some comfort is to be derived from them.
First and foremost, the monk should own nothing in this world, but he should have as his possessions solitude of the body, modesty of bearing, a modulated tone of voice, and a well-ordered manner of speech. He should be without anxiety as to his food and drink, and should eat in silence.
Men whose sense of taste is destroyed by sickness, sometimes think honey sour. A diseased eye does not see many things which do exist, and notes many things which do not exist. The same thing frequently takes place with regard to the force of words, when the critic is inferior to the writer.
Liberated from the error of pagan tradition through the benevolence and loving kindness of the good God with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, I was reared from the very beginning by Christian parents. From them I learned even in babyhood the Holy Scriptures which led me to a knowledge of the truth.
If men are in a state in which they find it hard to be weaned from their own ways and choose rather to serve the pleasures of the flesh than to serve the Lord, and refuse to accept the Gospel life, there is no common ground between me and them.
Among irrational animals the love of the offspring and of the parents for each other is extraordinary because God, who created them, compensated for the deficiency of reason by the superiority of their senses.
We glorify the Holy Ghost together with the Father and the Son, from the conviction that He is not separated from the Divine Nature; for that which is foreign by nature does not share in the same honors.
All of us who desire the kingdom of God are, by the Lord's decree, under an equal and rigorous necessity of seeking after the grace of Baptism.
Whatever requires an undue amount of thought or trouble or involves a large expenditure of effort and causes our whole life to revolve, as it were, around solicitude for the flesh must be avoided by Christians.
Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.
God who created us has granted us the faculty of speech that we might disclose the counsels of our hearts to one another and that, since we possess our human nature in common, each of us might share his thoughts with his neighbor, bringing them forth from the secret recesses of the heart as from a treasury.
Just as we would have no need of the farmer's labor and toil if we were living amid the delights of paradise, so also we would not require the medical art for relief if we were immune to disease, as was the case, by God's gift, at the time of Creation before the Fall.
The woman who purposely destroys her unborn child is guilty of murder. With us there is no nice enquiry as to its being formed or unformed.
Every evil is a sickness of soul, but virtue offers the cause of its health.
Do not despise the fish because they are absolutely unable to speak or to reason, but fear lest you may be even more unreasonable than they by resisting the command of the Creator. Listen to the fish, who through their actions all but utter this word: 'We set out on this long journey for the perpetuation of our species.'
It is impious to say that evil has its origin from God, because naught contrary is produced by the contrary. Life does not generate death, nor is darkness the beginning of light, nor is disease the maker of health, but in the changes of conditions there are transitions from one condition to the contrary.
Strive to attain to the greater virtues, but do not neglect the lesser ones. Do not make light of a fall even if it be the most venial of faults; rather, be quick to repair it by repentance, although many others may commit a large number of faults, slight and grievous, and remain unrepentant.
In truth, to know oneself seems to be the hardest of all things. Not only our eye, which observes external objects, does not use the sense of sight upon itself, but even our mind, which contemplates intently another's sin, is slow in the recognition of its own defects.
What is the benefit of fasting in our body while filling our souls with innumerable evils? He who does not play at dice, but spends his leisure otherwise, what nonsense does he not utter? What absurdities does he not listen to? Leisure without the fear of God is, for those who do not know how to use time, the teacher of wickedness.
Indulging in unrestrained and immoderate laughter is a sign of intemperance, of a want of control over one's emotions, and of failure to repress the soul's frivolity by a stern use of reason.
There is nothing unpremeditated, nothing neglected by God. His unsleeping eye beholds all things.