St. Gregory Nazianzen was the eldest son in a family of saints. He lived from 329 to 389. His father, St. Gregory the Elder, was bishop of Nazianzen. Gregory was born in Cappadocia and read law in Athens for 10 years before he left to join his friend, St. Basil the Great, as a monk in Pontus. He was ordained a priest and later made bishop of the small town of Sasima. He refused to take up his duties and instead acted as assistant to his father in Nazianzen. In 380 he was convinced to accept the post of Patriarch of Constantinople but resigned after a month due to the controversy of “transferring sees” forbidden by Canon 15 of the Council of Nicea. He retired to Arianzos where he died in 390. While mostly unsuccessful as a bishop, he was one of the greatest writers of the early Church, earning the tittle of “the Divine (a Theologos)” and is revered as a Doctor of the Church in both the East and the West.
Since 1969 his feast in the West was combined with that of St. Basil the Great on January 4th.