The 12 days of Christmas – Jan 2 St Basil the Great

St Basil the Great has his feast day on January 2. He is one of the Fathers of the Church, and recognized as one of a group of three known as the Cappadocian Fathers, three saints whose contribution to Christianity played a major role who all came from Cappadocia aka Modern Day Turkey.
Basil is great for several reasons.
1) He was one of the first to established a communal monastic rule for Christians choosing that life. When Basil was first learning and practicing Christianity, he sought out ascetic practice, giving up his wealth (he came from a wealthy family) aiding the poor and helpless, and going into solitude periodically. During his time with an anchorite, an ascetic mystic devoted to extreme solitude, Basil realized that this kind of monastic ascetism didn’t appeal to him. This led him to develop his own, where people lived communally, This monastic rule is still popular in Eastern Christianity and his writings about this are still popular with Orthodox groups to this day.
2) He supported the Nicene creed. His support, which came about from a change of stance during the debate over an interpretation about Jesus the Christ, caused him to support the Nicene creed and it’s interpretation over the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Not something really important to most people, but very significant to most people.
3) He was influential in clarifying the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the Three in One. This was part of the Nicene Creed which established this and had loyal Christians reciting the creed for all of time, or at least until the Reformation in Europe.
In some countries, a sweet bread is made which has a coin put into it. This bread is given as gifts on St Basil’s Day. It is said whoever finds the coin will have good luck the rest of the year. A story behind this says that it came about because St Basil wanted to distribute money to the poor, but have it be a surprise. So he found some bakers who made sweet bread which he had a coin hidden in, and gave this to the people of NeoCeasarea.
There are also numerous relics of St Basil throughout the world. The most famous one being his head, which is kept at the monastery of Great Lavra on Mount Athos in Greece. It is also said the mythical sword Durandal, which was wielded by the mythical knight Roland, had some of Basil’s blood touch it, which is what made the sword so powerful.

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