On January 30 there is a common feast of three great Fathers of the Church: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, surnamed the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom. Since they all have separate feast days in January (St. Basil on January 1, St. Gregory on January 25 and St. John Chrysostom on Jan 27) we might well ask why we celebrate a feast in honor of these three saints, and why, on the same day? At the end of he eleventh century during the reign of Alexius Komnenos, an argument arose among Christians living in Constantinople as to which was the greatest of these three saints. Since local pride was involved, considerable hard feelings naturally followed, almost resulting in schism. The faithful were in fact divided into three groups: Basilians, Gregorians, and Joanites.. When tempers were dangerously high, a solution literally came from heaven. All three saints appeared one night to the saintly Bishop John of Euchaita, a suburb of Constantinople, to tell him that they were all equal before God. The faithful accepted this solution with great enthusiasm and began to honor all three saints together on the same day to emphasize their equality. John of Euchaita, to whom the three hierarchs appeared, wrote many hymns and several prayers in which he pays homage to the saints and praises their sanctity and wisdom. “Let us all gather together to honor with songs of praise those three stars of the three sunned Trinity who illuminated the universe with rays of divine doctrines (stichera of vespers). “Let them be honored, defenders of the Trinity, exemplars of true worship, the three apostles after the Twelve…” (stichera of vespers). “Come together, O Feast-lovers, and extol in songs of praise those bishops of Christ, the pride of the Fathers and towers of faith, the teachers and defenders of the faithful, says: Rejoice, O Basil the wise, light of the Church and its unshakeable pillar! Rejoice, O heaven-given intellect, the great hierarch, Gregory the Theologian! Rejoice, O John the golden-mouthed, Chrysostom, fervent preacher of repentance! Wherefore, O thrice-blessed Fathers, cease not to intercede with Christ for those who celebrate in faith and love your all-blessed and divine feast” (stichera).
|January 6||Epiphany (the Baptism of our Lord) … ( Theophany)|
|January 30||Feasts of the Three Holy Hierarchs|
|February 2||Presentation of our Lord|
|March 25||Annunciation of the Mother of God|