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st.Caesarius of Nazianzus-Father of the Church, physician, younger and only brother of St. Gregory of Nazianzus; son of Gregory the Elder

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Feast Day : February 25

 

 

Most of the details of the life of Caesarius of Nazianzus are known from his funeral oration delivered by his older brother Gregory. Caesarius was born ca. 330 in Arianzus near Nazianzus. His father, Gregory the Elder, was bishop of Nazianzus, and all the children received a careful religious upbringing. He studied medicine, geometry and astronomy at Caesarea in Cappadocia and in Alexandria. He established an excellent reputation as a physician, and went to Constantinople, where his older brother, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, came in 358. Caesarius served as physician to the court of Emperor Constantine and then was appointed to the court of Emperor Julian the Apostate, who unsuccessfully attempted to convert him to paganism. Caesarius left the court but returned to Constantinople after Julian’s death. He became physician for Emperor Jovian and then treasurer for Emperor Valens. In 368 Caesarius narrowly escaped death in a great earthquake that nearly destroyed Nicaea. Shaken, he was baptized and devoted himself to an ascetic life. Soon thereafter he fell fatally ill, dying in the spring of 369. He instructed that all of his goods should be given to the poor, but his servants kept many things. Caesarius’s remains were buried at Nazianzus.

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