Saint Gregory, the younger brother of Basil the Great, illustrious in speech and a zealot for the Orthodox Faith, was born in 331. His brother Basil was encouraged by their elder sister Macrina to prefer the service of God to a secular career (see July 19); Saint Gregory was moved in a similar way by his godly mother Emily, who, when Gregory was still a young man, implored him to attend a service in honor of the holy Forty Martyrs at her retreat at Annesi on the River Iris. Saint Gregory came at his mother’s bidding, but being wearied with the journey, and feeling little zeal, he fell asleep during the service. The Forty Martyrs then appeared to him in a dream, threatening him and reproaching him for his slothfulness. After this he repented and became very diligent in the service of God.
Gregory became bishop in 372, and because of his Orthodoxy he was exiled in 374 by Valens, who was of one mind with the Arians. After the death of Valens in 378, Gregory was recalled to his throne by the Emperor Gratian. He attended the Local Council of Antioch, which sent him to visit the churches of Arabia and Palestine, which had been defiled and ravaged by Arianism. He attended the Second Ecumenical Council, which was assembled in Constantinople in 381. Having lived some sixty years and left behind many remarkable writings, he reposed about the year 395. The acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council call him ‘Father of Fathers.”
Gregory was the brother of Basil the Great. At first he was only a presbyter, since he was married; but when his wife, Blessed Theosevia, reposed, Gregory was chosen and consecrated Bishop of Nyssa. He was distinguished by his great secular learning and spiritual experience. He participated at the Second Ecumenical Council [Constantinople, 381 A.D.]. It is thought that he composed the second half of the Symbol of Faith [the Creed]. He was a great orator, an interpreter of Holy Scripture and a theologian.
Because of their defeat, the Arians especially attacked him as their worst enemy, so that during the reign of Emperor Valens–their ally of the same mind–they succeeded in ousting Gregory from the episcopal throne and sent him into exile. This Holy Father spent eight years in exile, patiently enduring all miseries and all humiliations. He finally reposed in old age toward the end of the fourth century, and entered into the Kingdom of God, remaining throughout the ages as a great beacon of the Church on earth
Apolytikion of Gregory of Nyssa
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion of Gregory of Nyssa
Rejoicing with the Angels and taking delight in the Divine Light, Gregory of Nyssa, the vigilant mind, the God inspired hierarch of the Church, and wisdom’s revered hymnographer, intercedeth unceasingly for us all.
Source: Goarch.org / web.archive.org