St. Caesarius of Nazianzen


St. Caesarius of Nazianzen, pray for us!

St. Caesarius lived in present-day Turkey. His mother was St. Nonna and his father St. Gregory of Nazianzen the Elder was the bishop of Nazianzen. At that time bishops and priests could marry.

St. Caesarius’ brother was St. Gregory of Nazianzen, a close friend of St. Basil. Besides being a saint, St. Gregory is an important writer from the early Church. His books are still read today.

Both Sts. Caesarius and Gregory received an excellent education. But while St.Gregory wanted to be a priest, St. Caesarius wanted to be a medical doctor. Both went to the schools that would help them carry out their goals.

St. Caesarius completed his studies in medicine at Constantinople. He soon became a well-known and trusted doctor. In fact, Emperor Constantius, who lived in Constantinople, wanted St.Caesarius to be his personal physician. St. Caesarius thanked the emperor but gently refused. He wanted to go back to Nazianzen, his home city.

Some time later, however, St.t. Caesarius was again called to serve the emperor at Constantinople. This time the emperor was Julian the apostate. An apostate was someone who gave up his Christian faith and Julian was against the Christians.

But he was willing to excuse St. Caesarius, since he was such a good doctor. Julian tried to charm the doctor into giving up his faith. St. Caesarius was offered high positions, bribes and many good things if he did. St. Caesarius’ father and brother advised him not to accept the offers. They asked him to return home to practice medicine instead.

In 368, St. Caesarius was almost killed in an earthquake. He escaped unharmed but was badly shaken by the incident. He felt that God was telling him to live a life of prayer away from the noise and flattery of the court.

St. Caesarius gave away all his belongings to the poor and began to live a quiet, prayerful life. One year later St. Caesarius died and at his funeral the sermon was preached by his brother, St. Gregory.

Reflection: Faithfulness to Christ is greater than the good of this earth. No earthly power, fame or prestige can compare to the love of Christ. Our faithfulness is most important without it we are nothing.

Prayer: O God, who in your Saints have given an example and brought us protection in our weakness to help us tread the path of salvation, mercifully grant that we, who honor the heavenly birthday of blessed Caesarius, may, through his example, make our way to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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