(Γρηγόριος). (1) Surnamed Nazianznus, and usually called Gregory Nazianzen. He was born in a village near Nazianzus in Cappadocia about A.D. 329, and prosecuted his studies at Athens, where he earned a great reputation for his knowledge of rhetoric, philosophy, and mathematics. Among his fellow students was Julian , the future emperor, and Basil, with the latter of whom he formed a most intimate friendship. Gregory remained at Athens about six years (350-356), and then returned home. Having received ordination, [p. 750]
he continued to reside at Nazianzus, where he discharged his duties as a presbyter, and assisted his father, who was bishop of the town. In A.D. 372 he was associated with his father in the bishopric; but after the death of the latter in 374, he refused to continue Bishop of Nazianzus, as he was averse to public life and fond of solitary meditation. After living some years in retirement, he was summoned to Constantinople in 379, in order to defend the orthodox faith against the Arians and other heretics. In 380 he was made Bishop of Constantinople by the emperor Theodosius; but he resigned the office in the following year (381), and withdrew altogether from public life. He lived in solitude at his paternal estate at Nazianzus, and died there in 389 or 390. His extant works are about 45 orations or sermons, 243 letters, and 407 poems of a very varied description, comprising hymns, prayers, epitaphs, epigrams, etc. His discourses, though sometimes really eloquent, are generally little more than favourable specimens of the rhetoric of the schools, more earnest than Chrysostom, but less attractive. The Benedictine edition was published at Paris (1778-1842). See the monographs by Ullmann (Eng. trans. 1851); and by A. Benot (Paris, 1876).
(2) Nyssnus, bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia, was the younger brother of Basil, and was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia, about A.D. 331. He was made bishop of Nyssa about 372, and, like his brother Basil and their friend Gregory Nazienzen, was one of the pillars of orthodoxy. He died soon after A.D. 394. Like his brother, he was an eminent rhetorician, though his oratory often offends by its extravagance. His works are printed in Migne's Patrologia, vols. xliv.-xlvi.
(3) Styled Thaumaturgus, from his miracles, was born at Neocaesarea in Cappadocia, of heathen parents. He was converted to Christianity by Origen about A.D. 234, and subsequently became the bishop of his native town. He died about the year 265. His celebrated Ἔκθεσις, or confession of faith, is a summary of the theology of Origen. It is said to have been divined by him through a revelation from the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John. Other treatises of doubtful authenticity are attributed to him. His works are printed in vol. x. of the Patristic collection of the Abb Migne. See Ryssel, Gregorius Thaumaturgus: sein Leben und seine Schriften (Leipzig, 1880); and Harnack, Dogmengeschichte, vol. i. (Freiburg im Breisg. 1888).
(4) Of Tours, called the Father of Frankish History, was born at Arverna (Clermont), about A.D. 540, his baptismal name being Georgius Florentius. He became Bishop of Tours in 573, and after the death of Chilperic, whom Gregory calls the Nero and the Herod of our times, and by whom he was much harassed, he enjoyed general esteem and consideration down to the end of his life in 594. He is best known by his Historiae sive Annalium Francorum Libri X., which is the chief authority for the history of Gaul in the sixth century, beginning with an epitome of universal history, and developing the narrative with greater fulness as he proceeds. In it the author shows himself unskilled in literary composition, and his Latinity is especially interesting as a specimen of the gradual blending of the classic Latin into the rustic Latin from which the Romance languages emerged. His works are printed in vol. lxxi. of the Abb Migne's collection. There is a French translation by Bordier, 2 vols. (1859-61), and Jacobs, 2 vols. (1861). See Lbell, Gregor von Tours und seine Zeit (2d ed. 1869); Pattison, Essays, vol. i. (1889); and on his language, Bonnet, Le Latin de Grgoire de Tours (1891).