Caesarius of Nazianzus, St.

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Fourth-century physician; b. probably Arianzus, 330; d. Bithynia, 369. Caesarius, the son of (St.) Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (modern Nenizi) and (St.) Nonna, and the brother of (St.) Gorgonia and Gregory of Nazianzus, received a religious and literary formation at home with his brother, and was sent to Alexandria to complete his scientific education and study medicine. In Constantinople, during his journey home, he met his brother Gregory returning from Athens, and they traveled together to Nazianzus (354). On a second visit to Constantinople, Caesarius became a friend and physician to the Emperor constantius ii (337361). During the persecution of ju lian the apostate, he was relieved of his position at court and he returned home (363). Recalled by Valens (364), he was made quaestor in Bithynia (368) and on miraculously escaping an earthquake in Nicaea, decided to follow the ascetical life, but after receiving Baptism, he died suddenly. His body was buried in the family vault in the presence of his parents, and (St.) Gregory of Nazianzus preached the funeral oration, which is the source of Caesarius's biography. He was soon honored as a saint (Nicephorus, Hist. Eccl. 10.19). The four dialogues that are attributed to Caesarius are certainly spurious.

Feast: Feb. 25; March 9 in Greek Church.

Bibliography: gregory of nazianzus, Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne (Paris 185766) 35:755788. Acta Sanctorum Feb. 3:501507. a. oberti, Per la storia della vaccinacione (Pisa 1970). o. bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur (Freiburg 191332) 3:174.

[f. chiovaro]