I’ve noticed over the years of studying history, that there are certain families, locations, and periods of time when particularly influential people emerge and still other times when there is a lack of talented leaders.
In the 4th century an area known as Cappadocia in what is now central Turkey produced a family and a friend who became the most influential teachers and theologians of their time. The church remembers today three brothers, Basil (330-379) and Gregory (335-395), their sister Macrina (324-379), and Peter (340-391) along with a friend Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389). If we confess our faith this Sunday using the words of the Nicene Creed, the Cappadocian Fathers became defenders of that faith.
Basil, on Holy Communion: “For myself, I communicate four times a week…In Alexandria and Egypt it is the general rule for each member of the laity to keep communion at his own house. “He…is bound to believe that he rightly partakes of it and receives it from him who gave it.”
Gregory of Nyssa wrote concerning baptism: “Since the death of him who leads us to life involved burial under the earth. So, everyone who is linked to him and fixes his eyes on the same victory has water poured on him, instead of earth, and thus represents the grace of resurrection attained after three days.”
Macrina: After her fiancée died, she devoted herself to leading a community dedicated to ascetic meditation and prayer.
Gregory of Nazianzus became bishop of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. Regarding infant baptism: “Let him be sanctified from babyhood, and consecrated by the Spirit in his tender years. You have no need of charms or spells. Give your child the powerful and lovely amulet of the Trinity,”