Spirituality for Today – February 2010 – Volume 14, Issue 7

Saint of the Month

St. Caesarius of Nazianzen – February 25

Caesarius was born early in the fourth century. He came from a very blessed family. Both his mother and father, Nonna and Gregory the Elder, were later canonized as saints, along with his sister, Gorgonia, and his brother, Gregory the Younger. A Doctor of the Church, Caesarius's brother was important to the formation of the Christian doctrine and an ardent opponent to Arianism.

A photo of a purple sky and clouds

Although both his father and brother were bishops, Caesarius decided not to work toward a career in the Church. Instead, he studied oratory, philosophy and medicine in Alexandria, Egypt.

He then concluded his medical studies at Constantinople and began working as a doctor. Soon, Caesarius had earned the reputation as one fo the foremost physicians of the land.

At the time, Emperor Julian the Apostate was trying to revive paganism, and he passed laws against Christians to make practicing paganism preferable. However, despite his feelings about Christians, Julian wanted Caesarius to be his chief physician. To keep Caesarius in Constantinople, Julian exempted him from the anti-Christian laws. Later, when Julian pressured Caesarius to renounce his faith, Caesarius staunchly refused and resigned his court post on the advice of his father.

Caesarius excelled in the financial field as well. After Julian's death, Emperor Valens appointed Caesarius keeper of the privy purse and treasurer of Bithynia. While at Nicaea in 368, he narrowly escaped death when an earthquake hit. Frightened, he was immediately baptized and lived a simple life thereafter. Upon his death, Caesarius left all his possessions to the poor.

Father in heaven,
in the face of great suffering and disaster,
even as at all other times,
may I remain firm in my faith and trust in You.
In all things may Your most holy, most just,
and most lovable will be done, praised, and exalted above all.
Thy will be done, O Lord, thy will be done.
The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.

From Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives