Between Two Fears
Why Gregory Nazianzen Ran Away from the Priesthood: A Reflection on His Second Oration
by Addison H. Hart
On Easter Day in A.D. 362, in the Cappadocian town of Nazianzus, a young priest stood nervously before a sparse congregation to deliver what would in time be known as his First Oration. The number of those in attendance was low—hardly to be expected on the Church’s Day of Days—for the simple reason that this particular congregation was angry with this particular priest. They were angry with the young Gregory Nazianzen, the son of their own Bishop Gregory the elder, because he had run away months before, abandoning his flock, abandoning his father and . . .