Talk:Gregory of Nazianzus

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Former featured article Gregory of Nazianzus is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
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May 23, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
August 30, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
February 24, 2013 Featured article review Demoted
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Article Title[edit]

The reference to Gregory of Nazianzus' role in the loss of Sappho's work is considered by scholars to be an apocryphal tale with no basis. It should not be restored without citation of a source, at least.

Also, the title of this article (Gregory Nazianzus) would seem to be in error. I believe Nazianzus is the place, and that Nazianzen is the most common English form of the adjective meaning "from Nazianzus." Thus, it is Gregory of Nazianzus or Gregory Nazianzen of whom we should speak, not Gregory Nazianzus. 16:03, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I would support a page move as you suggest. TCC (talk) (contribs) 18:15, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Support as well, per nom; plus as far as I know, he's better known as "Nazianzen". Should we put a move tag on the page? Carl.bunderson 19:34, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've made the appropriate minor changes to the article and done the move. Wareh 16:40, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Feast Day[edit]

Isn't his feast day January 2nd in the Western church and January 25 in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches? Which brings up an interesting question -- how to handle differences between East and West. IS there a way to show both? GMPHARO 00:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, I changed the box to show both. GMPHARO 00:56, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The information at Saint of the Day references Jan 06 as his feast day, rather than Jan 02. Interestingly, my parish calendar uses the Jan 02 date. It's hard (but not impossible) to suppose that the Saint of the Day site is incorrect. Which is correct? JeffFerguson (talk) 22:28, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Making things more complicated, the Lutheran church celebrates the Cappodocian Fathers on June 14 rather than January 2 per the Church of England. Plus, the Episcopal Church (USA) remembers Gregory on May 9, which I thought odd, but doublechecked correct on two official sites (though one used what it called a provisional calendar).Jweaver28 (talk) 10:57, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Expanding Article[edit]

I'm slowly expanding the article to get it past Start-class. I'll try to work on it as time allows. Does anyone have any suggested references I can use besides McGuckin and Ruether? Majoreditor 02:59, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Quote on "shun every assemblage of Bishops"[edit]

It seems strange that such a brief article has substantial section on a relatively minor quote. Does anyone wish to offer an opinion on this matter? Majoreditor 02:14, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Getting this article to B-Class[edit]

I hope to have this article up to B-Class shortly. Does anyone have thoughts on specific actions to take? Does anyone want to help out?Thanks, Majoreditor 03:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm upgrading the artile to B Class and will continue to work on improving it.Majoreditor 13:56, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Dating of Basil's death and invitation to Constantinople[edit]

Concerning the anon's edit on conflicting timelines, the book I'm using (McGuckin) shows that Basil died in January, 379 and that Gregory travelled to Constantinople that same year. I need to check to see if the source says anything about Basil's advice and involvement -- that comment in the article predates my edits. TCC, your explanation is probably right -- I'll check it out next week. Majoreditor 21:36, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know for a fact if it's right or not. I just wanted to point out there was no inherent contradiction. TCC (talk) (contribs) 22:12, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Article Improvement[edit]

Thought this might be helpful: the following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and might not be applicable for the article in question.

  • Per Wikipedia:Context and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates), months and days of the week generally should not be linked. Years, decades, and centuries can be linked if they provide context for the article.[?]
  • Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings), avoid capitalizing words in section headings unless they are proper nouns or the first word of the heading.[?]
  • Please reorder/rename the last few sections to follow guidelines at Wikipedia:Guide to layout.[?]
  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • While additive terms like “also”, “in addition”, “additionally”, “moreover”, and “furthermore” may sometimes be useful, overusing them when they aren't necessary can instead detract from the brilliancy of the article. This article has 10 additive terms, a bit too much.
  • As done in WP:FOOTNOTE, footnotes usually are located right after a punctuation mark (as recommended by the CMS, but not mandatory), such that there is no space in between. For example, the sun is larger than the moon [2]. is usually written as the sun is larger than the moon.[2][?]
  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a.[?]

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Pastordavid 20:22, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. These are good guidelines. Majoreditor 23:23, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


I just did some cleanup here, but it seems someone pasted in chunks of text from [1] with only slight modification. Not only is it a copyvio, it naturally reflects the POV of its source -- which, no matter how much I agree with it, we cannot have here. I've spent too much time on this already, but if some others could please go through and rewrite (and properly cite) the copied sections it would be good.

Is that source citable, or as an hagiography from a church website is it not considered reliable? TCC (talk) (contribs) 01:09, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I will work through the article, identify what's been copied/pasted, and eliminate, replace, or cite. The copyvio situation must be corrected. Luckily, I have three excellent books with me on Gregory; I can draw upon them to craft the article. While we can cite from the OCA website, I'd prefer to stick to NPOV academic sources when possible. Thanks. Majoreditor 03:24, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I've removed the copied text. I will double-check to ensure that it's all gone. Majoreditor 01:58, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Good Article Nomination[edit]

I am going to nominate Gregory of Nazianzus for Good Article status this weekend. In the meanwhile I will continue to check and clean the article. I will probably make some last minute additions as well. Majoreditor 02:01, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Gregory of Nazianzus has been nominated for GA. Majoreditor 03:49, 5 May 2007 (UTC)


I don't have the cited source available, so I'm curious if it really says he "infused Hellenism into the early Church." Due to his classical training he obviously use a Hellenic viewpoint in his work, but as phrased it sounds as if he introduced Hellenism to the Church, which was surely not the case. If the source says that I suppose we have to as well, but it sounds odd to me. TCC (talk) (contribs) 02:54, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Here's the verbatim:
In fact his influence was probably more pervasively felt in the paradigm of Christian Hellenism he bequeathed to nascent Byzantium. Byzantine Christianity, in a real sense, was Gregory's mind-child and masterpiece, partly by design, and partly by his transmission to later Byzantium as the last of the ancients and the first of their "moderns." (McGuckin, (2001), xxiv)
I agree that he didn't introduce Hellenism to the Church -- but that he played a significant role in melding Hellenism into what would become Byzantine Christianity as we know it.
Perhaps that's a better way to express it. Please feel free to rephrase as you see fit -- or I can take a crack at it tomorrow. Majoreditor 04:28, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

I did the GA review for the article. Findings:

1. Well written?: Just great.
2. Factually accurate?: No errors as far as I can say.
3. Broad in coverage?: Covers pretty much everything in a nicely balanced way, very well referenced throughout.
4. Neutral point of view?: Roman non-Christian emperors get a bit strained handling, but I think they don't really mind any more.
5. Article stability? Only little changes during the last month, no disputes in the air.
6. Images?: Scarce. IMO, improvements are mainly on this sector if FA status starts to sound tempting. The high quality of the textual content makes up for the missing images on the GA level.

Passing GA. Added the article to Wikipedia:Good_articles#Religious_figures_and_leaders. --Drieakko 20:56, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Could this article be FA-class?[edit]

Could this article qualify as FA-class? Thoughts, anybody? what are your suggestions for improvements or next steps? Majoreditor 03:11, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I added some material to the "Theology and other works" section. Before nominating we should:

  • Ensure that references are properly formatted (not one of my strong points)
  • Determine if there is any additional material which should be added. I can help out if needed; just let me know what to do.
  • Give the article a final look-over.

Your thoughts? Next steps?

I took the plunge and nominated the article for FA status. Majoreditor 03:42, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
The article has been reviewed as a FAC and was promoted to Feature Article status. Majoreditor 01:51, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Congratulations. I hope you'll follow up on the FAC comments though - no harm in making a great article even better :) J.Winklethorpe talk 06:22, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I will try to follow up on some of the FAC comments. May be a few weeks until I start. Majoreditor (talk) 14:58, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Christian universalist?[edit]

Interesting addition to the article. I have my doubts that most scholars consider Gregory a Christian universalist. Perhaps someone can shed light on the matter?

Perhaps a better approach would be for the article to state that some Christian Universalists claim Gregory as one of their own, as do other denominations. Thoughts? Majoreditor (talk) 03:20, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the note. The same editor has been adding this to a number of pages. I find the sources used to be somewhat questionable. All is largely based on one 19th century book advocating universalism. The book is J.W. Hanson, Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years and it is published by the Boston and Chicago Universalist Publishing House, 1899 (the website cited in this article is based on that book). Certainly it can be said that this is a biased source, and my gut tells me that it is not a reliable source, but I want to do some more checking before I say that. Pastordavid (talk) 15:53, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I have invited the editor in question to this discussion. Pastordavid (talk) 15:55, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
The only info I can find on the author is that he had a D.D.. If he was English, that was a very respectable degree; if he was American, it was a pretty meaningless honorary degree. No mention of a professorship anywhere, and most web references lead back to the website cited here. Pastordavid (talk) 16:03, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

In terms of sources, one could add the following: Sachs, John R. “Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology.” Theological Studies. 54 (December 1993) : 617-640. in which the author writes that "The Cappadocians Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa also endorsed the doctrine of apocatastasis." It was certainly a topic that Gregory discussed and some of his other statements, such as those included in the present article, are suggestive of universalism. But it is certainly true that he was not as explicit as Gregory of Nyssa or many others. I wouldn't object to saying the opinion that he believed in apocatastasis is not universal--no pun intended. Jacob1207 (talk) 17:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for jumping in to the discussion, Jacob. I would suggest that there is a difference between apocatastasis, as expressed in the 3rd-6th centuries, and the modern theological concept of Christian universalism (a distinction which I am afraid that our articles do not make clear). Indeed, I would call it an anachronism to use the ancient and modern terms interchangeably.
I would further suggest that it is easy to confuse the theological concepts of apocatastasis and the (admittedly similar sounding) recapitulation. For example, the info that was added to Diodore of Tarsus I find highly suspect: given the conflict between Antioch and Alexandria, I find it to be unlikely that Diodore subscribed to the very Alexandrian theology of apocatastasis, and much more likely that if anything his theology represented the themes of recapitulation best expressed by Irenaeus of Lyon (himself also originally from Asia Minor).
Thoughts? Pastordavid (talk) 17:48, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Pastordavid that there is a distinct difference between apocatastasis and Christian universalism. I also share Pastordavid's misgivings on using Hanson (1899) as an authoritarian source to assert, without qualification, that Gregory was a Christian Universalist.

Jacob, I am unable to find the quote you mentioned in Father Sachs' article, “Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology.” (Theological Studies. 54-4 (December 1993) pp. 617-640.) Are you sure that the article says "The Cappadocians Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa also endorsed the doctrine of apocatastasis" ? The electronic copy I pulled down from EBSCO's ALTA database does not include that phrase, as far as I can tell. Can you point me to a page in the article?

Scanning through the article, I also don't find any mention of Gregory as a Christian Universalist. Actually, I see phrases quite to the contrary:

  • Like Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus (329/30-ca. 390) holds that sinners will be judged and punished for their transgressions both in this world and in the next.[72] Actually, it is our own sins which will condemn us before God. On the day of visitation, he says, God will "reason with us and oppose us and set before us our sins, bitter accusers . . . calling us to account for the honor of the image which has been confused and contaminated by sin."[73] (Sachs, p. 629)
  • [Gregory] seems to speak of eternal punishment in a traditional way. He speaks, for example, of the "roaring fire" and "eternal darkness far away from the light" which await the unjust on the Last Day.[80] He warns that it is better "to be punished and cleansed now than to be handed over to the torment to come, which is a time of punishment not of cleansing . . . for in Hades there is no confession or reformation for the dead. God has limited life and action to this world and scrutiny of it to the next."[81] (Sachs, p. 630)

Sachs believes that Gregory has, as he puts it, "leanings" toward apocatastasis, but in a "cautious, undogmatic" way (Sachs, p. 632).

Cheers, Majoreditor (talk) 23:59, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

The quote from the Sachs article can be found here. Also, an affirmation of divine punishment in this and/or the next world is not inconsistent with a belief that all will be saved. It is emphatically affirmed by a number of people who promoted the idea of universal salvation. I propose the following finding of fact for consideration:
  1. Gregory of Nazianzus discussed issues relating to salvation, including apocatastasis;
  2. He did not condemn said doctrine, despite being eminently aware of it and having a close friend, Gregory of Nyssa, who openly espoused it;
  3. He made some statements that suggest he held a belief in apocatastasis;
  4. He also made statements that suggest he believed in fixed, eternal fates;
  5. Many Christian universalists, such as Hanson and Philip Schaff in the 19th century, claimed Gregory as one of their own;
  6. At least one current scholar, viz. Sachs, has said that Gregory had cautious leanings in the direction of apocatastasis; and
  7. Other scholars dispute that Gregory held such views.
Based on the above, all of which I think can be cited and included in a compact and clear way, I think we should basically say just that. That he may have believed in apocatastasis, but produced some remarks for and against the doctrine, none of which were dogmatic or offered as certain, and that some say he was a universalist but that others disagree. What do you all think? Jacob1207 (talk) 18:28, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I think we are making good progress here - an excellent example of why wikipedia works. I think you have a good proposal above, Jacob. The phrasing of 5 is especially good, and a context in which I would have no objection whatsoever to using Hanson as a source (i.e., it is a statement about Hanson & universalists, not a direct statement about Gregory). I think the only step left is to hammer out the exact wording. I will take a swing at it a little later tonight, if no one objects. Pastordavid (talk) 18:37, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Good proposals. Looking forward to seeing the text. Majoreditor (talk) 21:09, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Reworking "Theology" section[edit]

Here is my proposal for the current 4th paragraph of the theology section. Since this is currently an FA, I want to make sure we have consensus before putting it in, rather than doing a bunch of back and forth reverting on the article itself. Pastordavid (talk) 21:55, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Some of Gregory's theological writings suggest that he may have supported some form of the doctrine of apocatastasis, the belief that God will bring all of creation into harmony with the Kingdom of Heaven.[1] This led some late-nineteenth century Christian universalists, notably J. W. Hanson and Philip Schaff, to describe Gregory's theology as universalist.[2] This view of Gregory is also held by some modern theologians, such as John Sachs who said that Gregory had "leanings" toward apocatastasis, but in a "cautious, undogmatic" way.[3] However, it is not clear or universally accepted that Gregory held to the doctrine of apocatastasis[4]

  1. ^ "Apocatastasis". New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. I.
  2. ^ I know the tentmaker site is based off Hanson's work, Jacob, do you have a reference to Hanson's estimation of Gregory that we can include here?
  3. ^ Sachs, John R. “Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology.” Theological Studies. 54 (December 1993), p.632.
  4. ^ For example, David L. Balas, "Apokatastasis" in The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, second edition, ed. Everett Ferguson (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), which details Gregory of Nyssa's adherence to the doctrine, while making no mention of Nazianzan.
I have no objections to that, I think it's very good. Hanson's comments on Gregory could be cited as follows (if this format is somewhat off, please modify it):

Hanson, J.W. Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years. Chapter XV: Gregory Nazianzen. Boston and Chicago Universalist Publishing House. 1899.

The only other change I'd suggest would be to make the first sentence read: "Some of Gregory's theological writings suggest that, like his friend Gregory of Nyssa, he may have supported some form of the doctrine of apocatastasis..." That establishes that there were others not out of the mainstream who were considering the doctrine and even accepting it at that time. Also, that a friend of his (the article on Nyssa says they were "good friend[s]") believed in the doctrine suggests a reason why the Gregory of the present article would consider the matter and be thought of as embracing it by later thinkers. Also, perhaps we should note that he never unambiguously embraced or taught the doctrine, but perhaps that is redundant since if he had taught it explicitly there'd be no controversy. Jacob1207 (talk) 22:29, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I made the change in the first sentence and put the paragraph into the article. Major Editor, would you mind checking the formatting on the references? I don't believe I got them all quite the same as the rest of the article, and you are so good at making sure that sort of thing is consistent. Thanks. Pastordavid (talk) 02:38, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Great work, all. I'll fix the reference formatting later this week. Majoreditor (talk) 14:20, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Done. Majoreditor (talk) 03:19, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Ruefner notes[edit]

I assume that the Ruefner name listed in Note entries is really Ruether since the year is the same and there is no author named Ruefner listed in the References section. However, because there are five separate entries with spelling Ruefner, the name difference is a two character delta, and the online version of Gregory of Nazianzus allows no preview to check against, I've decided to leave it alone on the chance that the Ruefner/Ruether spelling difference is valid. Perhaps someone with access to the original source could check this and correct or add another reference as necessary? -- Michael Devore (talk) 01:31, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

It's most likely my mistake. All of the entries should read "Ruether". The reference is to Ruether, Rosemary Radford Ruether's book entitled Gregory of Nazianzus, published in 1969 by Oxford University Press. I'll make the appropriate changes. Cheers, Majoreditor (talk) 03:50, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Validity of the picture[edit]

The image would look even more authentic, if the individual pixels of the swastikas would not be visible. (talk) 16:12, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The image was vandalized by a user. Thanks to your note it was identified and removed. Majoreditor (talk) 17:12, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
FYI, I went ahead and deleted the intentionally inflamatory picture uploaded by MajorEditor's new friend. Pastordavid (talk) 18:37, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Wait... what? Can we see this picture? Did it look realistic? Brutannica (talk) 20:17, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
It was a technically well done, realistic forgery and was extremely offensive. The crosses were transformed into left-facing swastikas. PastorDavid did the right thing by deleting the image since it was a forgery. Majoreditor (talk) 20:29, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

References to the Anglican Communion Comemoration[edit]

I think that the reference that he is comemorated in the Anglican Communion is enough. Since the title of saint in the Anglican Communion is merely honorary, it doesn't have the same meaning of a saint for the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, there is no need to make references to other Church members of the Anglican Communion because that would be superfluous. If he is comemorated by the Anglican Communion that means that he his honoured in general by the Calendars of Saints of the Church members of that denomination. (talk) 14:21, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

The fact that the ECUSA commemorates him on a day of the year is notable and informative. What I don't understand from the logic you suggest is why you retained the information about commemoration in the Church of England. Both churches' commemorations are noteworthy. In general, at Wikipedia, while we avoid piling up tedious details (or offload them to a sub-article as needed), "less is enough" and "that would be superfluous" are not adequate arguments for removing material. Wareh (talk) 16:45, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

The Church of England is the mother church of all the church members of the Anglican Communion. To state the obvious it basically means the same. My point is that enough is enough. The Anglican Communion is the same church for all their members. (talk) 17:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

If the unity of the Anglican Communion were so simple that the article could state, "The churches of the Anglican Communion celebrate Gregory of Nazianzus on (date)," then it would, and I would be satisfied. As it is the ECUSA (call it what you will) commemorates him on a different date (together with some other bodies), and it's still utterly unclear to me what the harm is in stating that. The fact that the Church of England is a "mother church" if anything only creates the confusion resolved by the article's statement of the difference in date between CoE and ECUSA. Wareh (talk) 17:31, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Wareh, if the CofE and ECUSA celebrate him on different days, both should be mentioned. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 20:38, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I just added mention of the different commemoration in the Episcopal Church (on May 9, after doublechecking it online in a couple of sources, one of which calls the calendar in Holy Women Holy Men provisional though I think it adopted in the General Convention several years ago). Clearly from this discussion, it may have been in once but taken out, and I don't have time to check the history of this article. I agree with Carl.bunderson and Wareh (which seems to be the concensus here) that both dates should be mentioned. I also changed the entry in today's H&O mentioning Gregory from Anglican Communion to Episcopal Church. For what it's worth, I'm Episcopalian and also consider myself part of the Anglican Communion, though not aligned with the breakaway US churches. IMHO, whoever's doing this editing needs to stand up, rather than do this under the table.Jweaver28 (talk) 11:09, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Not up to current FA standards[edit]


  • Missing page numbers in references eg. Børtnes (2006).
  • Ref 25 is General Roman Calendar of 1962. An article is considered unreliable, by default
  • Use of WP:PRIMARY references: PG, 37.1157–9, Carm. de vita sua, ll 1828–55.
  • Inconsistency in references
  • Comprehensiveness:
    • Primary sources of his biography?
    • Primary sources of his theology
    • What are his relics?
    • A Doctor of the Church should definitely have a more comprehensive section on theology and views.

--Redtigerxyz Talk 18:49, 7 February 2012 (UTC)


In reading this article today, I was surprised that it was demoted from FA status. However, I did note the absence of a mention of Athanasius of Alexandria, whose pretty bad page I edited last week, and which still includes quotes from this Gregory. Frankly, I don't have the time (or probably the background) to edit that article into the pretty decent shape that this article's in, so if Majoreditor or someone else wants a big project, here's a heads up (or plea about another vital article). Or if someone wants a minor project, I'd be interested in any links between the two important figures in the fight against Arianism. I think Athanasius was Gregory's mentor, and perhaps Athanasius was allowed to return to Alexandria though Gregory's good offices (and connections with Emperors Justin and Valens), but both traveled around a lot and I don't have time to find the exact time and place connection.Jweaver28 (talk) 11:19, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

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