When we hear the phrase “Church Fathers,” there are three names that immediately come to our minds: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom. Our Holy Orthodox Church honours these saintly bishops annually on a day referred to as the “Feast Day of the Three Holy Hierarchs.”
The contributions made to the Church by this trio of saints are tremendous in scope. St. Basil was the author of the Divine Liturgy which is still celebrated ten times a year according to our ecclesiastical calendar. He established rules and regulations for monastic communities, and is said to have been the organizer and founder of the first Christian hospital.
At. Gregory was a contemporary of St. Basil. Living during an era when the truths and doctrines of Christianity still faced stiff opposition and attacks, St. Gregory developed a reputation for being a steadfast defender of the faith. His keen perception and heartfelt understanding of the teachings of Holy Orthodoxy earned him the right to be referred to as the “Theologian.”
As his title proclaims, St. John Chrysostom (Golden-Mouthed) was one of the most eloquent speakers the Church has ever known. As Patriarch of Constantinople, St. John spoke out fearlessly against the social and moral wrongs of the time, often provoking the wrath of the Emperor and his family in the process! A prolific writer, many of St. John’s sermons and homilies have been preserved. Many prove to be as timely today as the day they were written. His form of the Divine Liturgy is still celebrated on the majority of Sundays and Holy days in the Orthodox Church.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin …… Vestal, Cliffwood, New Jersey …… Litho in U.S.A.
The celebration of the Synaxis of the three great Doctors of the Church, or “Three Satellites,” as they were called, originated in the year 1100 in the days of Emperor Alexis Comnenus. A great quarrel as to which one of these three theologians was the greatest then divided the people of Constantinople. Patriarch John, appointed as arbitrator resorted to fervent prayer to help find a solution. Basil, Gregory, and Chrysostom appeared to him in a dream and told him they were equal before God, and that each one of them had his own personality and genius. A feast honouring all three of them together was established on January 30.
Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth by Anthony Coniaris