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St. Gregory Thaumaturgus

III Century
The son of wealthy pagan parents, St. Gregory (born Theodore) studied rhetoric and law before he and his brother became Christians because of their contact with Origen. Gregory returned to the Pontus in Neo-Cęsaria c. 238 and was named bishop over the 17 Christians in the community. During the Decian persecutions, he advised his flock to flee, and he sought refuge in the desert or mountains. He is said to have later converted nearly the entire city of Pontus. Macrina the Elder, grandmother of Basil the Great is said to have memorized everything that Gregory taught and to have passed it on to her children and grandchildren. He attended in 264 the first Council of Antioch, which condemned Paul of Samosata and his monarchian beliefs. After Gregory's death c. 268/270, his body was translated to Calabria.

Gregory's surname and reputation are based on stories of his many miracles. He is the author of the Canonical Epistle, about church discipline; a eulogy of Origen; and the Exposition of Faith, a precursor of Nicene Christianity. His treatise on the Trinity is extant only in Syriac.

Gregory of Nyssa reports that Gregory Thaumaturgus was the first person to whom the Theotokos appeared in a vision. He is credited with instituting the celebration of martyrs' feasts as a way to interest pagans in Christianity.

Karen Rae Keck


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