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E01100: Gregory of Nazianzus composes his Oration 32, which he delivers in 379, during a service held on the festival of unnamed martyrs. The sermon contains no information about the martyrs. Written in Greek at Constantinople.

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posted on 2016-01-31, 00:00 authored by erizos
Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 32 (CPG 3010.32)


Περὶ τῆς ἐν διαλέξεσιν εὐταξίας, καὶ ὅτι οὐ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου, οὔτε παντὸς καιροῦ τὸ διαλέγεσθαι περὶ Θεότητος.

Αʹ. Ἐπειδὴ συνεληλύθατε προθύμως, καὶ πολυάνθρωπος ἡ πανήγυρις, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μάλιστα καιρὸς ἐργασίας, φέρε τι δῶμεν ὑμῖν ἐμπόρευμα (…………)

Β΄. Πόθεν οὖν ἄρξομαι καταρτίζειν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί; Καὶ τίσι λόγοις τιμήσω τοὺς ἀθλητὰς, ὧν ἡ παροῦσα πανήγυρις; (………)

‘Oration 32

On discipline in theological discourse, and that discoursing about God is not for everyone or for every occasion.’

‘1. Since you have gathered here with eager zeal, and our gathering is so well attended, this is a splendid opportunity for me to ply my trade. So let us offer you some of our wares (………)

2. From where then should I start instructing you, brethren? By what words should I honour the martyrs whose this festal gathering is? (………)’

Text : Moreschini and Gallay 1985.
Translation: E. Rizos


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Nazianzus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Gregory was born in c. 330 to a wealthy Christian family in Cappadocia. He was educated at Nazianzos, Kaisareia/Caesarea, Athens, and Alexandria, and in 361 he returned to Nazianzos where he was ordained priest by his father, Gregory the Elder, who was bishop of Nazianzos. He was ordained bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia by Basil of Caesarea in 372, but stayed in Nazianzos, administering the local community after the death of his father. After retreating as a monk in Isauria for some years, he moved to Constantinople in 379, in order to lead the struggle for the return of the city to Nicene Orthodoxy. Two years later, the Arians were ousted by the emperor Theodosius I, and Gregory became bishop of Constantinople. In 381, he convened the Council of Constantinople, at the end of which he resigned his throne and retired to Cappadocia where he died in 390. On the manuscript tradition and editions, and for a commentary on Oration 32, see: Moreschini and Gallay 1985, 10-19.


Oration 32 dates from Gregory’s first months as leader of Constantinople’s dissident congregation of Nicene Christians, in 379. As these quotations reveal, it was given during a well-attended festival of martyrs, about whom Gregory gives no information. The festival was almost certainly celebrated at the church of Anastasia in central Constantinople, since Gregory’s community had no access to martyrs’ shrines and other major churches of the city. The latter belonged to the state church, then administered by the ‘Arian’ bishop Demophilos. From other sermons of Gregory, we know that the festivals of martyrs were a central aspect of life in the community of Anastasia, whose calendar included festivals of saints from various parts of the Roman world (see E00966). Edifying sermons were a central part of the services held on the festivals of martyrs. These could take the form of an encomium in honour of the saint, composed according to the models of secular eulogies, or they could deal with a theological or ethical subject, picked from the scriptural readings of the day, or from current affairs. In this case, Gregory calls for discipline and order in the community which was in a state of deep conflict about doctrinal matters.


Text, translation and comments: Moreschini, C., & Gallay, P. (1985). Grégoire de Nazianze. Discours 32-37. Introduction, texte critique et notes. Paris: Cerf. English translation: Vinson, M.P., St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Select Orations (Fathers of the Church 107; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2003), 191-215. Further reading: McGuckin, John A. St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography. Chrestwood, New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001. Daley, Brian. Gregory of Nazianzus. London, New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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