Jan 022012

January 2 is the ninth day of Christmastide

Feast of the Saints Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzen

The Church put these two great saints of the east on the same day to exemplify the virtue of friendship. They were both born around 330 in the area of Cappadocia, Turkey. They studied together in Athens and returned to their homeland living a monastic life for several years and then moving to leadership roles.

Saint Basil was as a great teacher, writer, and defender of the faith. Among his surviving works is the monastic rule many Eastern monks still follow today. Saint Basil died on January 1, 379.

As bishop of Constantinople, Saint Gregory presided over the ecumenical council at Constantinople in the spring of 381 to help bring the Nicene Creed (defined in 325) to the Eastern Church. Unfortunately, the results of Council did nothing to help heal the division between east and west. Saint Gregory died January 25, 390.

Together, these friends—under the guidance of the Holy Spirit—developed the backbone of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Nine Ladies Dancing

Today’s gifts are Nine Ladies Dancing representing the nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23:

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • generosity
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

When the song was written, “ladies” would have been a reference to upper-class women, not a group of entertainers.

I could not find any explanation as to why nine ladies were chosen or why it topic switched from birds (days 1-8) to people (days 9-12).

Today’s Readings

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Lectionary: 205)

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.” ~ Saint Basil