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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17, Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop and Confessor

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop and Confessor

St.Gregory the Wonderworker
This Gregory was Bishop of Neocaesarea, in Pontus, in the third century, a man who gained much repute for holiness and learning, so that in time he gained ever greater repute for signs and wonders, for which reason he was called Thaumaturgus or Wonderworker. So much was he venerated for wonders that little regard was paid to the details of his holy life by those who wrote of him. By prayer he removed to another place a mountain which was hindering the building of a church ; that he dried up a swamp which was a cause of dissension between brothers ; that he restrained the Lycus Rover which was destructively inundating the fields, which same hi did by fixing in the bank thereof his staff, wherein it staitway grew into a green tree, and thereafter the river dared not flow beyond this limit. * Saint Basil the Great, from his grandmother Saint Macrina, learned much concerning the high repute with which this Gregory was regarded by his own generation. Of him Basil saith that he was a man like unto Moses, and that he had the vision of the Prophets and the spirit of the Apostles. It is known that he was a faithful missionary, and to make his converts love the feasts of holy Church, he instituted games and merry-making on all the great festivals, a thing not much hitherto done. * He drave out the evil of idol-worship, and as well he drave out evil from men’s souls, and did many other mighty works, by means of which he led many fold to the Faith of Jesus Christ. Also, in prophetic spirit, he foresaw things yet to come. When he was about to die, he asked how many infidels remained in the town of Neocaesarea, and when told there were only seventeen, he gave thanks to God, and said : Just so many were the faithful, when I began my episcopate. He wrote much whereby, as well as by wo9ndrous deeds, he adorned the Church. He passed to God about the year 270.

A Homily by the Venerable Saint Bede the Priest

St. Bede
Heathen, who have written evil things against the Church, are wont to Taunt our people with not having a complete faith in God, because they have never been able to remove mountains. To whom it should be answered that not all the things which trough faith have been done in the Church have been fully declared, any more than have the acts of Christ our Lord himself, as the Gospel itself doth testify. And therefore also this could have been done, that a mountain should be removed from the earth, and cast into the sea, if necessity had demanded that it should be done. It is said that such a thing was once done by the prayers of our blessed Father Gregory, Bishop of Neocaesarea in Pontus, a man illustrious by his merits and virtues. * For of him it is told that, when he wished to build a church on a suitable spot, he saw that the site was too narrow for the purpose required, because it was limited on one side y a cliff going down to the sea, and on the other by the proximity of a mountain ; and that therefore went to the place by night and, on bended knees, reminded the Lord of his promise, that according to the faith of him that prayeth, so should he move a mountain. And it is said that when he returned in the morning, he found that the mountain had left as much space to the builders of the church as the work required. Now, if this man did thus, any other man of equal merit could obtain from the Lord, by reason of his faith, that even a mountain should be removed and cast into the sea, provided that in the sight of God necessity required it. * Nevertheless, it should be noted, that by the name of mountain is sometimes signified the devil, and this because of the pride with which he exalteth himself against God, and wisheth to be like unto the Most High. Such a mountain is removed from the earth, and cast into the sea, at the command of those who are strong in faith when, by the preaching of holy teachers, the unclean spirit is driven from the heart of those who are pre-ordained unto life, and permitted to exercise the frenzy of his tyranny only upon the unquiet and bitter minds of the infidels.

Antiphon on the Benedictus:
Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, * I will make thee ruler over many things, saith the Lord (alleluia).
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the devout observance of this festival of blessed Gregory, thy Confessor and Bishop, may be profitable unto us for our advancement in all godliness, and for the attainment of everlasting salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Magnificat:
O holy Priest and Bishop, thou worker of so many mighty works, and good shepherd to Christ’s flock, * pray for us unto the Lord our God (alleluia).

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