Basil and Two Gregory’s on Baptism


Basil and two Gregory’s are known as the Cappadocian Fathers.  They were leaders in the church in the later fourth century in modern Turkey.  The two Gregory’s were brothers.

Basil: Baptism in the Threefold Name

Let no one be misled by the fact that the Apostle often omits the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit, when he mentions baptism: let no one therefore assume that the invocation of the names was not observed….for the use of the name of Christ is the confession of the whole, since it points to the God who anointed the Son, and the Spirit who is the unction…Faith and baptism are two kindred and inseparable ways of salvation:  faith is perfected by baptism; baptism is established by faith and both are completed by the use of the same names.  As we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so we are baptized into the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Gregory of Nazianzus: Infant Baptism

Have you an infant?  Do not let wickedness seize its chance.  Let him be sanctified from babyhood, and consecrated by the Spirit in his tender years.  Are you afraid of the seal because of the weakness of the child’s nature?  What a faint hearted mother you are!  How weak is your faith…  You have no need of charms and spells…  Give your child the powerful and lovely amulet of the Trinity…It is better to be sanctified without being conscious of it than to depart without being sealed and initiated.

Gregory of Nyssa

Baptism is a purification of sins, a remission of transgressions, a cause of renovation and regeneration.  By regeneration you must understand a regeneration perceived by, though not observed by the eyes.  We shall not change the old man into a child…but we do bring back, by kingly grace, one scarred with sins and grown old in evil habits, to the innocence of a babe.  For just as the new-born infant is free from accusations and penalties, so too the child of regeneration has no charges to answer, being released from accountability by kingly bounty. It is not the water that bestows this bounty, but the commandment of God and the intervention of the Spirit, which comes sacramentally to give us liberty.

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