Samuel macauley jackson, D. D., LL. D

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von Ancyra, Leip 

sic, 1898; DCB, i, 281 282.

BASIL, SAINT, THE GREAT: Bishop of Ciesarea

in Cappadocia; b. at Caesarea, of a wealthy and pious

family, c. 330; d. there Jan. 1, 379. He was

somewhat younger than his friend, Gregory Nazi­

anzen, and several years
older than his brother,

Gregory of Nyssa, who, with him, are known as the

three great Cappadocians. The first years of his

life Basil spent on a rural family estate under the

guidance of his grandmother, Macrina (q.v.),

whom he always remembered with gratitude.

He received his literary education at first in Cmsarea,

then at Constantinople, finally at the great school

in Athens, where he became intimate

Earlier with Gregory and the future emperor

Life. Julian. The practical ideal of pure

Christianity, the elevation of the soul

above sensuality, the flight from the world, and

the subjection of the body were already apparent

in him. The family tendency to an ascetic life

proved decisive after his return to Casarea (c. 357).

For a time, indeed, he acted as rhetor, but he

resisted exhortations to devote himself to the

education of youth. At this time he seems to have

received baptism, and, after being received into

the Church, he visited the famous ascetics in Syria,

Palestine, and Egypt. To the dogmatic contro­

versies which stirred the Church he paid no atten­

tion, though he deplored them. Upon his return to

Cwsarea he distributed his property among the poor

and withdrew to a lonely romantic district, attract­

ing like minded friends to a monkish life, in which


Bashan Basil

prayer, meditation, and study alternated with agriculture. Eustathius of Sebaste (q.v.) had already labored in Pontus in behalf of the anchoretic life and Basil revered him
on that account, although the dogmatic differences, which then estranged so many hearts, gradually separated these two men also. Siding from the beginning and at the Council of Constantinople in 360, with the Homoiousians, Basil went especially with those who overcame the aversion to the homoousios in common oppo­sition to Arianism, thus drawing nearer to Atha­nasius (see ARIANISM). He also became a stranger to his bishop, Dianius of Caesarea, who had sub­scribed the Nicene form of agreement, and became reconciled to him only when the latter was about to die.

In 364 Basil was made a presbyter of the Church at CEesarea and as such opposed the new bishop Eusebius, who was not favorably disposed toward asceticism. For a time he again vrithdrew to soli­tude, but the increasing influence of Arianism induced him to devote his undivided strength to ecclesiastical affairs. He now appears as the real leader of
the Church of Caesarea,

Presbyter and in directing the church discipline,

and Bishop in promoting monachism and eecle­of Caesarea. siastical asceticism, and especially by his powerful preaching, his influ­ence grew
. His successful exertions during the famine in the year 368 are especially praised. After the death of Eusebius (370), Basil was elected bishop of Cwsarea in spite of much opposi­tion on dogmatic and personal grounds; even his friend Gregory felt offended. Occupying one of the most important episcopal sees of the East, Basil's influence on public affairs was now great. With all his might he resisted the emperor Valens, who strove to introduce Arianism, and impressed the em­peror so strongly that, although inclined to banish the intrhctable bishop, he left him unmolested. To save the Church from Arianism Basil entered into connections with the West, and with the help of Athanasius, he tried to overcome its distrustful attitude toward the Homoiousians. The difficulties had been enhanced by bringing in the question as to the essence of the Holy Spirit. Although Basil advocated objectively the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, he be­longed to those, who, faithful to Eastern tradition, would not allow the predicate homoousios to the former; for this he was reproached as early as 371 by the Orthodox zealots among the monks, and Athanasius defended him. His relations also with Eustathius were maintained in spite of dog­matic differences and caused suspicion (see Eu­STATHIUS OF SEBASTE). On the other hand, Basil was grievously offended by the extreme adherents of HomOousianism, who Seemed to him to be reviving the Sabellian heresy. The end of the unhappy factional disturbances and the complete success of his continued exertions in behalf of Rome and the East, he did not live to see. He suffered from liver complaint and excessive asceticism made him old before his time and hastened his early death. A lasting monument of his episcopal care for the poor was the great institute before the gates of



Cwsarea, which was used as poorhouse, hospital, and hospice.

Of Basil's writings, mention may be made (1) of the dogmatic polemical, including the books against Eunomius of Cyzicus (q.v.) entitled " Refutation of the Apology of the Impious Eunomius," written in 363 or 364; book i controverts Ariamism, books ii and iii defend the Homoousianism of the Son and the Spirit. The fourth and fifth books do not

belong to Basil, or to Apollinaris of

Writings. Laodicea (q.v.), but probably to

Didymus of Alexandria (q.v.). The work " On the Holy Spirit " (ed. C. F. H. Johnston, Oxford, 1892; tranal. by G. Lewis, Christian Classics Series, iv, London, 1888) also treats the questions of Homoousianism. Basil influenced the fixing of the terminology of the church doctrine of the Trinity, though as concerns dogmatic acuteness and speculative power he is far behind Athanasius and his brother Gregory (of Nyasa). (2) The ascetic works (ascetics) are religio ethical writings which acquaint us with the man who in a high degree labored for the naturalization of monasticism in the Church, and who at the same time exerted him­self to regulate it in the cenobitic form and to make it fruitful also for the religious life of the cities (cf. A. Kranich, Die Ascetik in ihrer dogmatischen Grunndlage bei Basilius dem Grossen,
Paderbom, 1896). Of the monastic rules traced to Basil, the shorter is the one most probably his work (see BAsxmANs). (3) Among the numerous homilies and orations, highly appreciated by the early Church, some like that against usury and that on the famine in 368, are valuable for the history of morals; others illustrate the worship of martyrs and relics; the address to young men on the study of classical literature shows that Basil was lastingly influenced by his own education, which taught him to appreciate the propmdeutic importance of the classics. His homilies on the Hexaemeron were especially valued. (4) The very numerous epistles are an important source of contemporaneous church history. His three " Canonical Epistles " give a clear idea of his efforts in behalf of church­discipline. (5) The liturgies bearing the name of Basil (ed. with trand. by J. N. W. B. Robertson, London, 1894), in their present form, are not his work, but they nevertheless preserve the true recollection of Basil's activity in this field in for­mularizing liturgical prayers and promoting church­song. (6) A fruit of Basil's studies with his friend Gregory in their monkish loneliness is, finally, the Philokalia, an anthology (fiorilegium) from the works of Origen (ed. J. A. Robinson, Cambridge, 1893). The best edition of Basil's works is that of J. Gamier and Prudence Maran (3 vols., Paris, 1721 30), reprinted in MPG, xxix xxxii. The " Holy Spirit," homilies of the Hexaemeron, and letters are translated in NPNF, viii.

G. KaOaER.



BIBLIOGRAPHT: The souroes, besides Basil's own works, are the eulogies of Gregory Naaiansen, Gregory of Nyasa, and Epbraem Syrus, also notices in Socrates, Sosomen, Theo­dorm, Philoetorgiue, and Rufinus, and in Jerome, Ds vir. ill., and Phatius, Bibliotheoa. Of
the volumi­nous literature mention may be made of E. Fialon, lauds historique st liWraire our St. Basile, Paris, 1889; F. BShringer, Die %irehe Christi and Are Zeupen, vol. vii, Stuttgart, 1875; F. Loofs, Eustathius von babaste and die Chronolopie der basilianisehsn Britfe, Halts, 1897. Consult also the works on patrology and history of doc­trine. For the literature consult S. F. W. Hoffmann, BiUwpraphieches Lexicon der pesamfttan Litteratur der Grischsn, i, 407 421, Leipsic, 1838; U. Chevalier. R6ptr­toire des sources historiques du moyen dpe. Non. 234 and 7445, Paris, 1877 88. There is a life in English by R. F. Smith, The Fathers for English Readers, London, 1881. Consult also P. Schaff, History of the Christian Church, m, 893 903, New York, 1884; J. H. Newman's three essays on the Trials of Basil, Labours of Bata, and Basil and Gregory in vol. iii of his Historical Sketches, London, 1873; and the long article in DCB, i, 282 297.

BASIL OF SELEUCIA: Bishop of Seleucia in Isauria. He was against Eutyches at the Synod of Constantinople in 448, but for him at Ephesus in 449, and escaped deposition at Chalcedon in 451 only by again changing his vote. In 458, with the other Isaurian bishops, he gave an answer to the emperor Leo I favorable to Chalcedon and against Timotheus Elurus (cf. the document in Mansi, vii, 559 563; see T1moTHEua tELURUS). His extant works are forty one sermons in pompous style and dependent on Chrysostom (cf. Photius, cod. clxviii) and a writing on the life of St. Thecla (cf. R. A. Lip­sius, Die apokryphen Apwtelgewhichten, ii, part 1, Brunswick, 1887, p. 426). They are in MPG, lxxxv. G. KR$GER.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Fabricius Harles, BsWiofhtca Grow, ix, 90­97, Hamburg, 1804; Hefele, Concilisnpeschichts, ii, pas­sim, Eng. tranal., vol. iii.

BASILIANS: Monks or nuns following the rule of St. Basil, who introduced the cenobitic life into Asia Minot, and is said to have founded the first monastery there. The rules which he gave this community connected active industry and devo­tional exercises in regular succession, day and night,  one meal a day, consisting of bread and water; very little sleep during the hours before midnight; prayers and singing, morning, noon, and evening; work in the fields during forenoon and afternoon; etc. These rules were further developed and com­pleted by Basil's ascetic writings. After the separa­tion between the Eastern and Western churches, Ba­sil's rule became almost the exclusive regulation of monastic life in the Eastern Church; so that a " Basilian " simply means a monk of the Greek Church. In the Western Church the rifle of Basil was afterward completely superseded by that of Benedict of Nursia. Nevertheless, Basilian monas­teries, acknowledging the supremacy of the Pope, are still lingering in Sicily and in the Sia~v,ronian countries. S08 BASIL, SAINT, THE GREAT; MoNAs­TIcisx.


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