January 14, 2019 - Toba 6, 1735
Departure of St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea
Today also of the year 379 A.D., the great St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, departed. His father's name was Isosorus (Isidore), who was a priest and a holy man. He begot five children: St. Basil of Caesarea, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Kisarion (Cherion), St. Peter of Sebastia, and St.Machrina. They all lived in holiness all their lives. He was instructed in the art of rhetoric, at the hands of the philosopher Libianius of Antioch, and he worked as an advocate. In 358 A.D., he abandoned the world and all its vain glories. He travelled through the wilderness of Egypt, where he witnessed the ascetics and was influenced by them. Upon his return, he withdrew to a wild and beautiful spot in Pontus and devoted himself to prayer and study. When the news of his holiness spread around, many came to him and they took him as a guide to lead them in the way of perfection. In 362 A.D., he was promoted to the priesthood. He continued to teach the believers, to defend the faith, and to save those who had been lost.
In 370 A.D., he was ordained Bishop of Caesarea, Cappadocia. For his boldness in truth and for his rebuke of the emperors who conducted themselves against the doctrine and those who behaved immorally. Emperor Valens wanted to exile St. Basil, but he declined because of the death of his son. Another time, when the Emperor wanted to sign an order for his exile, the pen broke in his hand, he took another pen and that also broke, and the same thing happened to a thirdpen. Valens tore the paper and left the saint to shepherd his flock and manage his church in peace. St. Basil was filled with the Holy Spirit, and wrote the liturgy that is named after him. God wrought by his hands many signs and miracles. Among them, some heretics gained control over one of the churches and decided to close it unless someone opened it by his prayers. By the prayers of this saint, the church was opened and the believers gained access to it once again. Another sign: Abba Ephraim saw a pillar of light between earth and heaven and heard a voice saying, This is Basil. St. Ephraim came to the city of Caesarea and witnessed the virtues of St.Basil. St. Basil ordained him a deacon.
Among his miracles was that a woman wrote all her sins on paper and gave it to St. Basil. He prayed for her and her sins were forgiven, except one sin. He told her to go to Abba Ephraim to pray for her. When she went to Abba Ephraim, he sent her back to St. Basil saying, Hurry, go back to meet him before his death. When she came back, she found that he had passed away. She wept and she put the paper that she had written on his body and the written sins were blotted out. Also among his miracles was a Jewish physician, who was known for his professional accuracy and who told the saint that he would die after three days. The saint prayed to God, Who prolonged his life, and he did not die on the day that the physician expected him to die. The physician believed and was baptized with all his household. Another example is that of a young man who wrote a covenant with the devil to deny his Christianity and his baptism. Through the prayer of the Saint, the young man was saved from the servitude of the devil. This saint had many virtues and performed many miracles besides the above mentioned ones. He wrote many articles, homilies, and discourses. He put down canons which the believers follow till now. He also wrote commentaries on some of the Books of the Old and New Testaments. May His prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever and ever. Amen.