The Three Great Hierarchs:
Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian,
and John Chrysostom
February 12 (January 30, Old Calendar)
Each of these saints has his personal feast day in the month of January: St. Basil on the 1st, St. Gregory on the 25th, and St. John Chrysostom on the 27th. The common feast we celebrate on January 30th was instituted in the 11th Century, in the time of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus. At one time there was a quarrel among the people about who was the greatest of the three. Some gave St. Basil the pre-eminence for his purity and courage, others St. Gregory for the unfathomable depth and height of his theological mind; still others St. John for the wonderful beauty of his speech and the clarity of his presentation of the Faith. So the first were called Basilians, the second Gregorians, and the third Johannites. But, by the providence of God, this dispute was resolved to the benefit of the Church and the yet greater glory of the three saints.
The Bishop of Euchaita, John (June 14), had a vision in his sleep, in which each of these saints appeared individually to him in great glory and indescribable beauty, and then all three together. They then said to him, "We are one in God, as you see, and there is no dispute among us...neither is there among us a first or a second." The saints also advised Bishop John to compile a common feast for them and to set aside for them a day of common commemoration. The quarrel was settled as indicated by the wonderful vision; January 30 was set aside for the common commemoration of the three hierarchs. The Greeks regard this feast not only as a church festival but as their greatest national and scholastic holiday.
Troparion, Tone 1
Let all who love their words come together and honor with hymns/ the three luminaries of the light-creating Trinity:/ Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian,/ and renowned John of the golden speech,/ who have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines,/ and are mellifluous rivers of wisdom/ who have watered all creation with streams of divine knowledge;/ they ever intercede with the Trinity for us.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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