Gregory of Nazianzus (330–390)

Greek Church Father, and one of the three Cappadocian Fathers, whose influential writings earned him the title ‘the theologian’. He was appointed bp. of Constantinople during the Council there in 381, but he resigned shortly afterwards. Many of his writings were translated into Syriac, sometimes in two versions. The most important are:

1. 47 Homilies, or ‘Orations’ ( CPG 3010, and Suppl.). There is an earlier version, preserved incomplete, and a thorough revision made by Pawla of Edessa, in 623/4 in Cyprus (whither he had fled from the Persian occupation of the eastern Byzantine provinces). Subsequent light revisions to this were made by Athanasios II and others. The following have been published so far (Greek numbering, the Syriac is different): Hom. 15, ‘On the Maccabees’, by R. L. Bensly and W. E. B. Barnes, The Fourth Book of Maccabees (1895), 55–73 (Pawla’s revision); Hom. 39 and 41, ‘On Epiphany and Pentecost’, by A. Malki, Die syrische Handschrift Berlin Sachau 220 (1984), 153–76, 258–82 (Pawla’s revision); and in the Louvain Corpus Nazianzenum: Hom. 40, ‘On Baptism’ (2001); Hom. 13, ‘On Eulalius’, and 41, ‘On Pentecost’ (2002); Hom. 27, ‘Against the Eunomians’, 38, ‘On the Nativity’, and 39, ‘On Epiphany’ (2005); Homs. 28–31, ‘Theological Orations’ (2007), all providing both versions (further volumes are in preparation). The mss. of the two versions are described by A. Van Roey and H.  Moors, in OLP 4 (1973), 121–33; 5 (1974), 79–126, and by A. Schmidt and M. Quaschning-Kirsch, in LM 113 (2000), 87–114. Pawla’s revision is always transmitted in two parts, 1–30 and 31–47. The Scholia (attached to the Homilies) explaining Gregory’s allusions to Greek mythology were edited, with ET, by S. P. Brock (1971), with both versions. Other scholia etc. were discussed by A. de Halleux, in LM 98 (1985), 103–47; 103 (1990), 67–90, and by A. Schmidt, in LM 111 (1998), 279–85. The Syriac revisions of the Homilies are mentioned by Timotheos I, in Letters 17, 22, 42, and 43.

2. Letters ( CPG 3032). According to Bar ʿEbroyo (‘Book of Directions’, VII.9) 31 Letters circulated in Syriac translation, out of a much larger number in Greek. Smaller collections survive in two mss. of the 8th/9th cent. (ms. London, Brit. Libr. Add. 17,209 and 14,544), representing two different translations (unpublished).

3. Poems. The names of three translators are known, Candidatus of Amid (17 poems, done in 665, according to ms. Vat. Syr. 96), Theodosios of Edessa, a monk of the Monastery of Qenneshre and brother of Patr. Dionysios, done in 802, according to Bar ʿEbroyo, Ecclesiastical History, vol. I, col. 363; and a certain Gabriel, mentioned in Timotheos I, Letter 24. Candidatus is also mentioned in a funerary inscription of his granddaughter Mariam, dated Sept. 760 (in the Vatican Museum, ed. Guidi, Actes, X Congrès des Orientalistes, vol. 3 [1896], 73–82). A large collection of poems survives in ms. Vat. Syr. 105, ed. P. J. Bollig (1895), and smaller groupings in three mss. in the British Library, ed. H. Gismondi (1896). It is unclear whether any of these can be allocated to either Candidatus or Theodosios.

4. There is also a Syr. Orth. Anaphora attributed to Gregory ( CPG 3097), ed. with LT, I. Hausherr, Anaphorae Syriacae I.2 (1940).

His commemoration is on 1 or 15 Jan.


  • CPG 3010–3125.
  • C. Crimi, ‘Fra tradizione diretta et tradizione indiretta: Note alla versione siriaca dei «Carmi» di Gregorio Nazianzeno’, in La diffusione dell’eredità classica nell’età tardoantica e medievale, vol. 1, ed. A. Valvo (1997), 83–93.
  • A. de Halleux, ‘La version syriaque des discours de Grégoire de Nazianze’, in II Symposium Nazianzenum, ed. J. Mossay (1983), 75–111.
  • J. T. McGuckin, St. Gregory of Nazianzus: an intellectual biography (2001). (for the wider background)

How to Cite This Entry

Sebastian P. Brock , “Gregory of Nazianzus,” in Gregory of Nazianzus, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Sebastian P. Brock , “Gregory of Nazianzus,” in Gregory of Nazianzus, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Brock, Sebastian P. “Gregory of Nazianzus.” In Gregory of Nazianzus. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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