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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Monday, April 11, 2005

Keeping the Gregory's, Basil's and Macrina's straight

Presently reading some of the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa. If you're like me (God help you), then you sometimes get all these different saints with the same names mixed up.So, in an introduction I think I got it all straightened out.

St. Macrina the elder was St. Gregory of Nyssa's grandmother. St. Emmelia, St. Macrina the elders daughter gave birth to St. Macrina the younger and she was of course St. Gregory's sister. (In fact, of 10 siblings, 5 would be numbered as saints!). St. Basil the Great was also one of Gregory of Nyssa's brothers and while attending the equivalent of university in Athens, Basil would meet and befriend St. Gregory the theologian (aka "of Nazianzus").

St. Gregory of Nyssa apparently was married (which I didn't know) and was also made bishop of Nyssa (I have found conflicting info as to whether or not he was still married while a bishop or if his wife died prior to his becoming a hierarch). And he wrote an account of his sister's life, which may be read here. He apprently attributes both his and his brother St. Basil's devotion to Christ and His church to his sister St. Macrina the younger.


What an amazing family! Lots more may be found about them...do a little digging, it is fascinating.

...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 7:46 PM [+]
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4 comments


4 Comments:

I have an icon of St Gregory and his wife - St Theosebia.

In those days marriage was not an issue with the episcopacy. Only later do we try to edit our current pactice backwards. It is certain that following her death he remained single.

Still, as I've read in some places (Schmemann?) the Holy Spirit does let somethings die out: saying St G was married is not a covert way of saying we should allow our modern bishops to marry!

By Blogger Huw Richardson, at 2:05 PM  

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And how might this relate to the female deaconate?

:)

By Blogger fdj, at 8:21 AM  

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On the other hand ...

Remember that the tradition (custom?) is not simply that bishops be celibate, but that they be monks. This makes for better bishops, and is good for the Church, only to the extent that the monastic life in the Church is spiritually in good shape. If monasticism is in decline or is not really a presence in the overall life of the Church, making sure that the bishops are monks doesn't really buy you very much.

In a lot of cases, the bishops aren't actually drawn from among the monks. A celibate priest is elected, and then he takes pro-forma monastic vows immediately before his consecration. He never actually lives the monastic life. I don't see that that is really honoring the tradition in substance.

The solution, of course, is to revitalize the monastic life in the Church, and choose bishops from those who have actually lived as monks for a number of years. But if that is not done, I don't really see how married bishops would be any worse (or any less faithful to tradition) than the current situation.

I'll admit that my views on this are colored by the fact that the OCA diocese of the West (of which I was a member at the time) elected a celibate but non-monastic priest over an Athonite monk who was my own theology instructor. In my opinion, they would have done better to follow the tradition in substance rather than in form.

By Blogger Chris Jones, at 9:45 AM  

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If it is the bishop I think it is Chris, well then I am in complete agreement with you.

By Blogger fdj, at 8:43 AM  

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