|St. Gregory Thaumaturgus.|
Among the Fathers of the Church we find five famous Bishops bearing the name of Gregory whom we venerate upon our altars. St. Gregory (born A.D. 200), known as the Thaumaturgus or Wonderworker, was Bishop of Neo-Caesarea in the third century. St. Gregory of Nyssa (brother of the great St. Basil) and St. Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzum in Cappadocia, a Doctor of the Church, flourished in the fourth century, whilst the St. Gregory the Pope, called the Great, Doctor of the Church and Apostle of the English, was a contemporary of St. Gregory, Bishop of Tours. They all bear witness to the power and goodness of our Lady.
St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote the life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. In the course of this Life we find the following history:
"Gregory being thus constrained to bear the yoke of the episcopate, having gone through all the prescribed ceremonies, asked of him who had assigned to him the priesthood, a brief space of time for obtaining a more exact knowledge of the Mystery of the Faith. Now, as he was one whole night long pondering on the truths of the Faith—for there were at that time, too, some who sought to adulterate the orthodox teaching, and often by their plausible arguments made the truth ambiguous even to the learned and the prudent—there appeared to him one in human shape, of aged mien and of sacred character, as was seen by the form and arrangement of his garb, showing marks of great virtue by the grace of his countenance and his whole bearing. Gregory, amazed at the vision, was about to rise from his bed, and to ask him who he was and wherefore he had come. But the other calmed the trouble of his mind, speaking with gentle voice and telling him that it was by divine command that he appeared—on account of the questions that were exercising him—for the revealing to him of the truth of the orthodox Faith. At these words, Gregory began to take courage and to regard him with mingled feelings of joy and awe. The latter then stretched forth his hand, and, with fingers extended, pointed out to Gregory what was appearing on the other side. Gregory, turning his eyes in the direction of the hand, beheld facing him another vision in woman's form more excellent than human. Struck again with awe, he let fall his gaze, lost in bewilderment at the apparition, and unable to bear the sight of the vision, for what was most astonishing in the vision was this—that, although it was deep night, a light shone forth upon him from those who appeared, as if some bright, blazing torch had been enkindled. Whilst, then, his eyes were unable to bear the apparition, he heard them con versing together on the subject of his doubts, and thereby learned not only a true knowledge of the Faith, but also heard their names, as they addressed each other by their respective titles. And thus he is said to have heard the person in woman's shape bid ' John the Evangelist' disclose to the young man the Mystery of Godliness, whilst he replied that he was ready to comply with the wish of 'the Mother of the Lord.' He then pronounced a formulary well-turned and complete. And so they vanished. This divine formula of Christian Doctrine Gregory at once committed to writing, and conformably to it afterwards preached in the Church. Moreover, he left the same divinely given teaching as a legacy to his successors. By it the people of that city have been instructed in the Mysteries of the Faith until the present day and have remained proof against all heretical pravity."