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E01233: Gregory of Nazianzus, in his Oration 43 of 382, mentions a dispute between the church of Tyana and that of Kaisareia/Caesarea (both in Cappadocia, central Asia Minor) over the revenue of a shrine of *Orestes (martyr of Tyana, S00756). Written in Greek in Cappadocia.

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posted on 31.03.2016, 00:00 by erizos
Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 43, On Basil of Caesarea (CPG 3010, BHG 245), 58.28-33

With the creation of the new province of Cappadocia Secunda (371), the city of Tyana becomes metropolitan bishopric and acquires some of the property and revenue previously belonging to the church of Kaisareia/Caesarea, causing a dispute between the two bishops.

(...) Ὃ δὲ πλεῖον αὐτὸν ἐξέμηνεν, αἱ Ταυρικαὶ πρόσοδοι καὶ παρόδιοι, αὐτῷ μὲν ὁρώμεναι, ἐκείνῳ δὲ προσγενόμεναι, καὶ τὸν ἅγιον Ὀρέστην ἐκκαρποῦσθαι μέγα ἐτίθετο ὡς καὶ τῶν ἡμιόνων λαβέσθαι ποτὲ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἰδίαν ὁδὸν ὁδεύοντος, εἴργων τοῦ πρώσω μετὰ λῃστρικοῦ συντάγματος (...)

‘(...) What, however, enraged him [the bishop of Tyana] most was that the revenue from the Taurus and the road tolls passed along before his eyes, but were accrued to his rival [Basil]. He [the bishop of Tyana)] also made a great effort to take control of Saint Orestes to the point that once he even seized the mules of Basil, who was on a private journey, blocking his way with a gang of bandits (...)’

Text: Bernardi 1992
Translation E. Rizos


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Orestes, martyr in Tyana of Cappadocia, under Diocletian : S00756

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Nazianzos Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Nazianzos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Nazianzus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Gregory was born in c. 330 to a wealthy Christian family in Cappadocia. He was educated at Nazianzos, Kaisareia/Caesarea, Athens, and Alexandria, and in 361 he returned to Nazianzos where he was ordained priest by his father, Gregory the Elder, who was bishop of Nazianzos. He was ordained bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia by Basil of Caesarea in 372, but stayed in Nazianzos, administering the local community after the death of his father. After retreating as a monk in Isauria for some years, he moved to Constantinople in 379, in order to lead the struggle for the return of the city to Nicene Orthodoxy. Two years later, the Arians were ousted by the emperor Theodosius I, and Gregory became bishop of Constantinople. In 381, he convened the Council of Constantinople, at the end of which he resigned his throne and retired to Cappadocia where he died in 390. Oration 43 was probably delivered during a memorial for Basil held in Kaisareia/Caesarea, on 1 January 382 or later. On the manuscript tradition of this Oration (550 manuscripts), see Bernardi 1992, 40-45, and:


This passage comes from Gregory’s account of one of the greatest troubles of the episcopate of Basil of Caesarea, which was the creation of the new province of Cappadocia Secunda. The bishop of Tyana, capital of the new province, demanded a division of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction along the lines of the civil one, which Basil was unwilling to accept. This would involve a division of the property and revenue controlled by the church of Kaisareia/Caesarea within Cappadocia Secunda, which included the iron mines of the Taurus, road tolls, and shrines of martyrs. According to the Passio of *Orestes (BHG 1384, E07106), the site of his martyrdom and probably his shrine was on a mountain, at a distance of 24 miles from Tyana. Apparently the revenue of the shrine was considerable, and it became part of the dispute between the old and the new metropolitan bishoprics. The passage is also important, because it suggests that the revenue of a shrine in the vicinity of Tyana was controlled by the metropolitan bishopric of Kaisareia/Caesarea, and not by the local bishop of Tyana. It is possible that the incident mentioned by Gregory was an episcopal visitation of Basil to the shrine (described by the speaker as a private journey), which was apparently met with violent resistance.


Text and French translation: Bernardi, Jean. Grégoire De Nazianze. Discours 42-43. Sources Chrétiennes 384. Paris: Cerf, 1992, 25-45, 116-307. English Translations: SchaffP., and Wace, H. (eds.), A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series. Vol. 7 (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1894), 395-423. McCauley, L.P., "On St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea," in: Funeral Orations by Saint Gregory Nazianzen and Saint Ambrose (Fathers of the Church 22; Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1968), 27-99. Further reading : Bernardi, J., La prédication des pères Cappadociens (Université de Paris, Sorbonne, 1968). Daley, B.E., Gregory of Nazianzus (The Early Church Fathers; London: Routledge, 2006). McGuckin, J.A., St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001). Rousseau, P., Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

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