Saint Gregory was an example of a righteous life and was blessed with the miracle-working abilities that brought many to the faith. He grew up in an upper-class Pagan family and received a brilliant education. He went to the finest schools in Beirut, Athens and Alexandria. He was a disciple of Origen, who baptized him into Christ.
He performed his first miracle in the streets of Beirut, where he had come to study law. By then, his purity and righteousness had attracted the envy of his fellow students. They had conspired to damage his reputation by asking a known harlot to approach him in a public place and ask him for the money he allegedly owed her for her services. Discreetly, the saint reasoned with her gently, saying that he had not met her. Yet, the harlot insisted, and he asked a friend to give her the money. The moment she took the money, the demons attacked her, she had a fit and revealed the truth. Saint Gregory prayed over the woman and drove out the demons.
Turning down the offers to build a career as a Roman civil servant, Saint Gregory retreated to the wilderness to live as a hermit. He intended to spend the rest of his life in hermitage, but the Lord willed otherwise. The bishop of his hometown had learned about his spiritual exploits and sent messengers to Gregory requesting him to accept ordination as a priest. The saint evaded the messengers, and after numerous attempts to reach him, the bishop ordained him in absentia. Gregory accepted his ordination as the will of God and commenced his ministry.
He bore witness to His faith tirelessly and steadfastly, healing the sick, giving alms to the needy and performing multiple miracles. When the persecution of Christians began under the Roman emperor Decius, he gathered his flock and led them away to the mountains. A local dweller noted the direction in which they were going and reported them to the Roman authorities. A party of Roman soldiers set off to capture the fugitives. Seeing them coming, the saint told his flock to raise their hands in prayer and stand motionless. In prayer, they were invisible to the soldiers who passed them several times at a short distance. When the soldiers returned to the city, they said that they only saw a few trees in the mountains, but found no Christians. Hearing about his miracle, the townsman repented and converted to Christ.
Saint Gregory is credited with the first symbol of faith, later confirmed at the first ecumenical council at Nicea. He had written it in response to the false teachings about the Holy Trinity promulgated by Sabellius and Paul of Samosata. The saint prayed fervently to the Mother of God asking her to enlighten him on how to speak of the Holy Trinity correctly. The Mother of God appeared to him in a vision in the company of Saint John the Theologian. He wrote down what Saint John had told him about the trinity, and made this text a part of the Creed. When he related the true teaching, even his opponents praised him as a second Moses.
With the example of his righteous life, and his heartfelt and tireless service, and his gift as a miracle worker he converted many pagans to Christ. When he assumed his office, there were only seventeen Christians in his town, and the rest were Pagans. By the time of his repose, there were only seventeen Pagans, and the rest were Christians.
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