Patrology Notes-St. Basil and the Trinity

Saint Basil was born around 330 a.D. in Cesarea of Cappadocia, where he would later serve as bishop. During the Council of Nicea he vigorously opposed the Arian heresy and promoted the orthodox position. He is regarded as a doctor of the Church and a founder of communal monasticism. Saint Basil’s position on the relationships among the trinity is in line with the Nicene faith, and it is expressed in the acceptance of the statement: “One in three ” (or one being in three persons). This states the mystery of the Trinity as being one God in three persons. One had to accept both in order to be Christian. To accept the first part (one being), while rejecting the second one (three persons) would result in the rejection of the tripersonal character of God, not unlike Judaism, and similar to heresies like Modalism. To accept the second part while rejecting the first one is akin to Paganism. Basil expresses his view with his somewhat controversial doxology “Glory be to the Father with the Son together with the Holy Spirit”. Worth mentioning is that one of of the problems that Basil’s opponents had with this doxology is that it didn’t conform to their usage of the prepositions “from”, “through”, and “in”. Saint Basil realized their opponent’s usage of these prepositions was aligned with Platonic usage, and in turn, accused his opponents of following the pagan philosophers rather than Holy Scripture, where all the prepositions may be assigned to one person, for example, in 1 Cor. 8:6 “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and from whom we exist and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist”.

For further Study:
The Rule of St. Basil
The Council of Nicea

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