The Life of Saint Basil The Great

The Patron Saint of Our Academy

Icon of Saint Basil The GreatSaint Basil Academy: how appropriate that the Academy, which nurtures Orthodox children in need, is named after Saint Basil the Great.

Born to a wealthy and distinguished family in Caesarea, Asia Minor, in 330 A.D., Saint Basil was educated in Constantinople and Athens, the cultural centers of the world. Although he received a secular education and became an outstanding scholar, he abandoned school for the contemplation of the ascetic life.

Consequently, he returned to Caesarea in 356 and distributed his fortune to the poor. He was joined by this friend Gregory (Nazianzos) the Theologian in 358 and, together, the two founded several monasteries. In 364, Saint Basil consented to be ordained to the priesthood and then, in 370, he was elected Bishop of Caesarea.

Saint Basil continued to offer his talents to the church by arranging the Liturgy that bears his name which is celebrated ten times a year (Christmas Eve, January 1st, January 5th, the five Sundays of Great Lent, Holy Thursday, and Holy Saturday). Saint Basil also wrote several exegetical and doctrinal treatises which paved the way for the triumph of Orthodoxy at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381.

Always compassionate to those who needed assistance, he was the first to establish orphanages, hospitals, and homes for the aged. Together, these institutions became known as “Basiliada,” philanthropic societies serving those in need. Even though he died at only forty-nine years old on January 1st, he is revered as one of the greatest Fathers of the Church.

Thus, it is appropriate that the Academy, which provides shelter and nurtures children of the Orthodox faith, bears the name of Saint Basil. In doing so, it fulfills the commandment of Jesus who says in John 13:34-35

As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

Together with Saint Gregory the Theologican and Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great is recognized as one of the three great hierarchs. The Church celebrates the feast of these venerable Three Hierarchs on January 30th.

Wherever thou turnest thine eyes, o rich man, thou wilt see evils: here an orphan is crying because of thee, there the poor man whom you wronged by not showing mercy to them are proclaiming to God against thee. Here slaves are walking naked and beaten, somewhere else I see other people tormented by thy usury; they throw themselves into the water and will rise against thee in the day of the departure of the soul. - Saint Basil The Great