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Basil the Great: Bishop of Caesarea



We bring you a sound portrait of Saint Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea and Confessor and Doctor of the Church. The grandson of a martyr he was named great during his lifetime for his various activities as Bishop , preacher and talent for liturgical and monastic organisation. A programme written by Jill Bevilacqua and produced by Sean Patrick Lovett :

"..Basil had made himself loved not only for his vigorous defence of the Unity of the Church and his battle against Arianism , but for his humanitarian outlook and his massive contribution to the social needs of his time..knowing men's tendency to hoard , he exhorted them not to be more cruel than animals by keeping for themselves what is common property , and possessing for themselves alone what belongs to everyone...Once he became Bishop , Basil set about founding towns for the poor .Outside the city walls of Caearea he built a gigantic hospice - a city of mercy it has been called .."

"...Basil undertook a series of journeys in Egypt, Syria and Palestine visiting monasteries and hermits so as to learn about the monastic life....and today Basil is regarded as the Father of all Eastern monks as Benedict is Father of those of the West..."

"...Apart from his struggle against Arian heresy , in the process of which he defied the emperor , Basil wrote theological treatises, numerous letters and homilies which are used in the Divine Office..Basil was also an inspired arranger of the psalms and made them known to children and adults , to learned and uneducated alike . ..The psalms we are told resounded in the Churches like thunder ..and could be heard ringing out also in the houses and squares..."

"...At a time when the Orthodox Bishops who remained in charge in Churches could be counted on the fingers of one hand, Basil was one of those who held firm. In the time of the Emperor Valens he was virtually the only Orthodox Bishop in the East who succeeded in retaining charge of his See.."
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