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BASIL
BASIL
330

of Amasea (Mansi, Coll. conc., II, 534, 548). Eusebius also relates (Hist. eccl., X, viii) that in the time of Licinius Christians were treated with great cruelty, especially in Amasea and the other cities of Pontus, and that, in particular, the governor inflicted upon several bishops the ordinary punislunents of evildoers. St. Athanasius mentions the great Basileus of Pontus among the bishops of the early part of the fourth century who held firmly to the like substance of the Son with the Father; the reference is evidently to the martyr-bishop of Amasea (Athan. Opera, ed. Mannius, I, 122). The statement of Philostorgius [ed. Valesius; Eusebius, Hist. eccl. (Turin. 1748), III, 433], that Basileus attended the Council of Nicæa, cannot be quoted against this proof of the martyrdom of Basileus under Licinius, as there is evidently a mistake in what Philostorgius says; among the signatures at the Council of Nicæa appears that of Eutychianus as Bishop of Amasea. The Acts of the martyrdom of Basileus, supposedly written by an eyewitness, a presbyter named Johannes, are not authentic and the narrative is entirely legendary. The feast of Basileus falls on 26 April, on which date it occurs both in the Greek synaxaria and menæa and in the Roman martyrology.

Ada SS., April. III, 416-422; Surius, De prob. vitis Sanctor. (Cologne, 1571), II, 857-864; Tillemont, Memoires (Brussels, 1732), V, 219 sqq., 352 sqq.

J. P. Kirsch.

Basil of Seleucia, Bishop and ecclesiastical writer, date of birth uncertain; d., probably, between 458 and 460; was distinguished during the period when the Eastern Church was convulsed by the Monophysite struggles, and was necessarily obliged to take sides in all those controversies. Those of his ^^Titings which have come down to us, though somewhat too rhetorical and involved, prove clearly that he was a man of great literary ability.

He was appointed Bishop of Seleucia in Isauria, between the years 432 and 447, and was one of those who took part in the Synod of Constantinople, which was summoned (448) by the Patriarch Flavian for the condemnation of the Eutychian errors and the deposition of their great champion, Dioscurus of Alexandria. Curiously enough, though Basil seems to have agreed to these measures, he attended the I.atrocinium, or Robber Synod, of Ephesus, held in the next year (449), and, induced probably more by the threats and violence of the Monophysite party than by their arguments, he voted for the rehabilitation of Eutyches and for the deposition of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and was thus regarded for a time as a supporter of Monophysite opinions. Like the other prominent supporters of Dioscurus, he should have been removed from his see had he not in the meantime accepted the doctrine contained in the Dogmatic Epistle of Pope Leo to Flavian, and joined in the condemnation of Eutyches and Dioscurus. After this period he seems to have continued a zealous opponent of the Monophysite party, for we find that in the year 458 he joined with his fellow-bishops of Isauria, in an appeal to the Emperor Leo I, requesting him to use his influence in forwarding the Decrees of Chalcedon, and in securing the deposition of Timotheus -Elurus, who had intruded himself (457) into the Patriarchate of Alexandria. This is the last reference we find to Basil, and it is commonly supposed that he died shortly afterwards.

Forty-one sermons (i7oi) on different portions of the Old Testament have come down to us under his name, and are found in Migne (P. G., LXXXV, 27-474), where is also his historj- of the protomartjT Theda and of the miracles wrought at her grave (ibid., 477-6181. Most of these sermons may be regarded as genuine, though some of them are now generally assigned to Nestorius. According to Photius, Basil also dealt in verse with the life and miracles of Thecla.

Hefele, Conciliengeschithle (2d ed.), II, 331, 375. 430; Fabricius-Harles. Bibl. Gr., IX. 90, 97; Lipsius, Die apnk. Aposlelgesch. (18S7). II. i, 426, 432; B.vtiffol, Revue Bib. (1900), IX, 329-353; B.vrdenhewer, Patrologie (Freiburg, 1901), 468, 469. J^gg MacC.^FFUEI.

Basil the Elder, S.int. See B.sil the GRE.vr, S.IXT.

Basil the Great, S.unt, Bishop of Oesarea, one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church, b. probably 329; d. 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth centurj'. With his friend Gregory of Xazianzus and his brother, Gregorj' of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement. Life. — St. Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was the son of a Cliristian of good birth and his wife, Macrina (Acta SS., January, II), both of whom suffered for the Faith during the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314), spending several years of hardship in the wild moimtains of Pontus. St. Basil the Elder was noted for his virtue (Acta SS. May, VII) and also won considerable reputation as a teacher in Cwsarea. He was not a priest (Cf. Cave, Hist. Lit. , 1, 239). He married Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr, and became the father of ten children. Three of these, Macrina, Basil, and Gregorj' are honoured as saints; and of the sons, Peter, Gregorj-, and Basil attained the dignity of the episcopate.

Under the care of liis father and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, who preserved the traditions of their countryman, St. Gregorj' Thaumaturgus (c. 213-275) Basil was formed in habits of pietj' and studj-. He was still j'oung when lus father died and the family moved to the estate of the elder Macrina at Annesi in Pontus, on the banks of the Iris. As a boj', he was sent to school at Cajsarea, then "a me- tropolis of letters", and conceived a fervent admira- tion for the local bishop, Dianius. Later, he went to Constantinople, at that time "distinguished for its teachers of philosophy and rhetoric", and thence to Athens. Here he became the inseparable com- panion of Gregorj- of Nazianzus, who, in his famous panegj-ric on Basil (Or. xliii), gives a most interesting description of their academic experiences. Ac- cording to liim, Basil was already distinguished for brilliancj- of mind and seriousness of character and associated onlj- with the most earnest students. He was al)le, grave, industrious, and well advanced in rhetoric, grammar, philosophy, astronomj-, gc- ometrj-, and medicine. (As to his not knowing Latin, see Fialon, Etude hi.storique et litt^raire sur St. Basile, Paris. 1869.) We know the names of two of Basil's teachers at Athens, Prohieresius, possiblj- a Christian, and Himerius, a pagan. It has been affirmed, though probablj- incorrectly, that Basil spent some time under Libanius. He tells us himself tliat he endeavoured without success to attach him- self as a pupil to Eustathius (Ep., I). At the end of his sojourn at Athens, Basil being laden, saj-s St. Gregorj- of Nazianzus, "with all the learning attaina- ble by the nature of man", was well equipped to be a teacher. C;rsarea took possession of him gladly "as a founder and second patron" (Or. xliii), and as he tells us (ccx), he refused the splendid offers of the citizens of Xeo-Ciesarea, who wished him to undertake the education of the youth of their citj-.

To the successful student and distinguished pro- fessor, "there now remained", says Gregorj- (Or. xliii), "no other need than that of spiritual perfec- tion". Gregorj- of Nj-ssa, in his life of Macrina, gives us to understand that Basil's brilliant success both as a universitj- student and a professor had left traces of worldliness and self-sufficiencj- on the soul of the