Gregory of Nazianzus vs. Elizabeth the New Martyr

In the penultimate battle of the Round of 32, Gregory of Nazianzus squares off against Elizabeth the New Martyr. This marks the appearance of the fourth and final Elizabeth of Lent Madness 2020. How have the Elizabeths fared so far? Elizabeth of Hungary went down in flames, losing to Herman of Alaska, but the Biblical Elizabeth and Elizabeth Fry both emerged victorious and punched their respective tickets to the Saintly Sixteen.

Yesterday, Joanna the Myrrhbearer made it past Junia 62% to 38% and will face Bartimaeus in the next round.

In case you missed Monday Madness, in which Tim and Scott previewed the Saintly Sixteen while practicing Xtreme social distancing, you can watch it here. Also, get your priorities in order!

Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus desired nothing more than a solitary monastic life steeped in contemplation. Yet by responding to the needs of the church and the call of God, he came to be counted among the influential figures in Christianity, helping restore and establish Nicene Christianity in Constantinople.

Gregory was born around 329 ce in Nazianzus, in the Cappadocia region of present-day Turkey. He was the son of a bishop. Gregory received an excellent education in Athens, where he became a close friend of Basil of Caesarea. Leaving Athens in 351, Gregory sought the solitary monastic life, but after two years, he was called home to assist his father in the management of his diocese and affairs, and—against his will—was ordained priest.

Basil became the bishop of Caesarea, and when a rival who espoused Arian Christianity gained standing, Basil consecrated his old friend Gregory as bishop of Sasima, a hostile border town. The move strained Basil and Gregory’s friendship; Gregory had no desire to live in a difficult place or to become a pawn in church politics. They later reconciled, but the friendship was never the same. In time, Gregory again returned to his father in Nazianzus. But Gregory desired a solitary, contemplative life, and he withdrew to a monastery.

By 379, Constantinople was desperately in need of a strong and able bishop after years of Arian domination. Neighboring bishops sent for Gregory to restore the community; again, he tried to demur but ultimately consented. While Constantinople presented exactly the opposite of Gregory’s desired solitude, his time there proved pivotal for Christianity. He made his house into a church and preached a famous series of sermons on the Trinity that convinced all around him of his faith and understanding of the divinity of Christ and the nature of the Godhead. During the Ecumenical Council of 381, Gregory was installed as bishop of Constantinople and helped restore Christian orthodoxy to the crossroads of East and West.

Yet position and privilege were never Gregory’s desire. After the Council, he returned to Nazianzus, where at long last, he had the simple, contemplative life he craved. He died in Nazianzus in 390.

Collect for Gregory
Almighty God, who has revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

David Sibley


Elizabeth the New Martyr
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia was born February 24, 1864. She was the second daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. Her younger sister, Alexandra Fyodorovna, was the last empress of Russia. When Elizabeth was fourteen years old, her mother and youngest sister died of diphtheria. Elizabeth avoided the same fate because she was not living at home at the time. For a time, she was raised by her grandmother, Queen Victoria. Although she was pursued by her cousin, William II, Elizabeth ultimately chose to marry Grand Duke Sergei of Russia in 1884. After her marriage, Elizabeth embraced Orthodox Christianity.

In 1905 Elizabeth again was forced to confront tragedy when her husband was assassinated with a bomb. In the midst of the assassination Elizabeth is said to have comforted her husband’s coachman as he lay dying. She also later approached her husband’s killer in prison, offering him scriptures and inviting him to the faith.

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth divested her considerable wealth. With the funds she established the Martha and Mary Home in Moscow, a place for women to demonstrate both their devotion to Christ and their commitment to service. In 1909 she and other members of the home were dedicated as Sisters of Love and Mercy. She was engaged in a variety philanthropic ventures for nearly a decade.

In 1918, the Communist government exiled her, along with others from royal families, first to Yekaterinburg and then to Alapayevsk. On July 18, 1918, while still in Alapayevsk, she and others were murdered by local Bolsheviks. They were cast into an abandoned mine shaft and grenades were thrown in after them. Witnesses reported hearing them sing hymns as they died. One of Elizabeth’s last acts was to use her handkerchief to bandage the wounds of one of the princes murdered with her.

Elizabeth was proclaimed as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1981 and by the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole in 1992.

Collect for Elizabeth
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Elizabeth, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

David Creech


Gregory of Nazianzus vs. Elizabeth the New Martyr

  • Elizabeth the New Martyr (58%, 4,019 Votes)
  • Gregory of Nazianzus (42%, 2,942 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,961

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Gregory of Nazianzus: Anonymous Russian icon painter (before 1917) Public domain image (according to PD-RusEmpire) [Public domain]
Elizabeth the New Martyr: Charles Bergamasco [Public domain]

149 Comments to "Gregory of Nazianzus vs. Elizabeth the New Martyr"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 17, 2020 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    St. Gregory the great Trinitarian
    Took exception to doctrines more Arian
    When he preached up a storm
    Then a mob did him swarm;
    Such an outcome I find most unfairian.

    • Sandra Shirey's Gravatar Sandra Shirey
      March 17, 2020 - 10:05 am | Permalink

      Your offerings certainly brighten virus-isolated days. Thank you!

      • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
        March 17, 2020 - 5:27 pm | Permalink


    • Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
      March 17, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      : – > !!

    • Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
      March 17, 2020 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      I second Sandra’s acclamation.

    • Susie's Gravatar Susie
      March 17, 2020 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes! to all your good poetry & smiles in these times–Thank You!

    • David Bains's Gravatar David Bains
      March 17, 2020 - 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Very good!

    • March 17, 2020 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for your limericks! I smile Everytime and I don’t smile that often!

  2. March 17, 2020 - 8:05 am | Permalink
  3. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 17, 2020 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth has my vote today,in honor of my mother in law Elizabeth in heaven,a beautiful loving and Christian woman!

  4. March 17, 2020 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    In this time of self isolation, I vote for Gregory. I also vote for him because the Creed of St. Athanasius is impossible. I’m glad we use the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed instead in our services.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 17, 2020 - 8:53 am | Permalink

      Oh, but is such fun to brighten an otherwise dull Worship Committee meeting!

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        March 17, 2020 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Ooh. There’s a thought.
        If the meeting ends ahead of schedule, finish with the Apostle’s Creed.
        If it ends on time, finish with the Nicene Creed.
        If the meeting runs long, threaten those assembled with having to recite the Creed of St. Athanasius.

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      March 17, 2020 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      I also voted for the saint to WANTED to exercise social distancing.

    • Kate Long's Gravatar Kate Long
      March 17, 2020 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes me too! I have always enjoyed contemplation but the demands of our highly extrinsic world pulls me away. This is a time I hope to actually use to become closer to God and myself. Bless you in this time! Bless Gregory and Elizabeth both!

  5. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    March 17, 2020 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    I wish the wealthy of today would share their riches like Elizabeth and help those who are without work due to the Coronavirus shutdown.

    • Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
      March 17, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      They are!! Bill Gates has contributed $100,000,000. Other extremely wealthy folks are helping generously also. We should be thankful for them. Jesus said “To those who have, more will be given.” Perhaps because they will then be able to help out when a crisis arises.

      • Mary B eth Burns's Gravatar Mary B eth Burns
        March 17, 2020 - 11:40 am | Permalink

        Amen, Evelyn – we are blessed by amazing generosity, from the rich and the not so rich – people are sharing their
        goods, their time, and their spirit, hoping to make this difficult time of our lives better . .
        I chose Elizabeth because I’d not heard her story before – nothing against Gregory, but he’s well known.
        Much of the sweetness of Lent Madness is meeting new saints.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 17, 2020 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

        What did those millions get donated to?

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      March 17, 2020 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      One way to help (if your finances permit) is to call your favorite restaurants and order gift cards. Most can’t survive long just on takeout orders, especially if they have a liquor license. Many of them let you order gift cards online, too.

      The same goes for barbers, hair and nail salons. I’m sure there are other businesses; feel free to add them in a reply.

      The worst that happens is that they fold anyway, in which case you’re out the gift card — but you’ve helped a small business owner feed their family.

      And, if you’re at a coffee shop or other small business today, leave a $10 or $20 in the jar if there’s one there. Employees at these places are likely to be let go soon if business is slow (which it is).

      It will make their day.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 17, 2020 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, John — and, if you are a member of a amall, non-corporate gym that has to close for a while, maybe let them continue to bill you for membership fees for a couple of months, if you still have sufficient income. My gym is owned by a sole proprietor who has no idea how he will make rent at his place of business in the near future.

      • Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
        March 17, 2020 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

        You can also give someone a pack of toilet paper if they need it. I read on Facebook where a friend’s husband went to buy TP & Depends for his elderly mother who has cancer. He went to a store where he saw someone who loaded a shopping cart with TP; he was buying all the TP in the store. The friend’s husband asked the man if he would give him a pack for his mother. I couldn’t believe it when the man said no. What kind of person would do that? We need to share our resources during this crisis. I know both saints today would have shared.

  6. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 17, 2020 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. Orthodoxy and contemplation vs actually giving away your own wealth and helping people directly. It’s Elizabeth for me.

    • March 17, 2020 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, Greg went to places he didn’t want to go and do stuff he really didn’t want to do, for years.
      One might say that one person walked the walk and the other just tossed money around, but then one could also say, aw, he’s a man; vote for the woman. Everybody has the right to vote as they wish to.

      • March 17, 2020 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

        I’d say that Elizabeth did more than “toss money around,” and even that in itself is important and valuable. I’d also say that this “only women are winning” complaint has been disproved many times. You will survive.

  7. Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
    March 17, 2020 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    As much as I sympathize with an introvert who serves in leadership for the good of his people, I have to go with Elizabeth because of the horror she endured. Plus, I’m a bit of a fangirl of the Romanovs and Queen Victoria.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 17, 2020 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Me too, Laura B! I feel a kinship with Gregory’s introversion, but his fixation on the doctrine of the Trinity seems to me to be a diversion from the message of love and peace Jesus preached. And Elizabeth—what a woman! To be binding someone else’s wounds after being thrown in a mine shaft. Amazing! And confession, I too am a fan girl!

    • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
      March 17, 2020 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Me, too, Laura and Susan – love both posts

  8. Greg Staab's Gravatar Greg Staab
    March 17, 2020 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    What a dilemma! My name is Gregory and my wife’s name is Elizabeth. You don’t need to call me a smart man – I’m going with Elizabeth on this round.

    • March 17, 2020 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      Same dilemma,we went with Gregory as he was the only one on the bracket,and Elizabeth’s abound.

  9. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    March 17, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Gregory’s write up made him seem a bit of a recalcitrant for my taste. Remember Gloria Swanson? “I vant to be uh-lone!” Meh.
    Elizabeth, by far has the best complexion of any saint in this year’s bracket. And, what a great story!

  10. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 17, 2020 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Interesting. I’m not quite sure what to do with this set-up today. Over the years we have faced a dismal imaginarium of martyrs’ deaths: drowning, iron pincers, beheadings, being thrown to lions. I trust we do not face being thrown down mine shafts and having grenades lobbed after us. Victoria would not have been pleased with this treatment of her grand-daughter. Today’s martyrdom takes the form of being lied to while the plague rages around us. Being publicly called “nasty” when you perform your journalist’s duty of confronting power with requests for answers and accountability. I voted for Gregory because I felt the poignant need of a country “desperately in need of a strong and able [leader].” I must confess to great skepticism about the victory of trinitarianism over arianism. I really cannot see how a triune god separates us from polytheism. It’s worth remembering that the Council of Nicea was called and presided over by an emperor. Constantine took part in the discussions and influenced decisions. I think it’s fair to say that we live in a world in which we are more familiar with a Constantine controlling our lives than one in which Paul exhorts us to live in amity because it was for freedom that Christ set us free. Nevertheless, I am moved by the collect to “remain steadfast in the confession of our faith,” regardless of the brain-cracking contortions of the creeds. I will consult Mister Death for a cocktail called “Homoousion.” I dedicate my vote today to Yamiche Alcindor. Dear brothers and sisters, I must confess to you I am not a good Christian. In the prayers of the people for our leaders, my own private petition is: may COVID-45’s bowels burst in a privy.

    • Sue Campbell's Gravatar Sue Campbell
      March 17, 2020 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      Loved your essay-answer, but confess to voting for Elizabeth, loving her selfless ways

    • Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
      March 17, 2020 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      As long as COVID-45 is never considered to be a martyr, I will join you in your petition!! Made me laugh out loud!

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 17, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t have said it better and would never have attempted to say it at all. What a mental image! Thank you.

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      March 17, 2020 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      ….and YOU get MY vote!

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 17, 2020 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

        “Homoousion”—! Laughing myself silly over this one. Recipe?

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 17, 2020 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      As I have been taught, I pray for the President. However, in my prayers I always include the petition “Please may our country and the world survive his presidency.” My earnest wish (which I recognize would require a miracle)(and there are miracles) is that he would undergo a conversion on the scale of Saul’s on the road to Damascus.

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        March 17, 2020 - 10:49 am | Permalink

        My go-to prayer, when I’m not feeling very charitable, I must admit, is “O dear God, will you knock some SENSE into those people!”

        • Amy's Gravatar Amy
          March 17, 2020 - 4:46 pm | Permalink


      • Glennda's Gravatar Glennda
        March 17, 2020 - 10:54 am | Permalink

        A wise priest once told me that the proper prayer for people such as our President (and my awful boss at the time) is that they become the person God wants them to be, so that’s my prayer. I do, however, add something similar to Kathy’s plea!

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 17, 2020 - 11:49 am | Permalink

        Kathy, I echo your prayer for our country and our world: may we all survive our “leaders”! In today’s vote, I gratefully vote for Gregory, the introvert who accepted his call to service. In retirement, my introvert nature has largely overcome my extrovert tendencies…especially now when it is so dangerous to mingle. Was this the Gregory who invented Gregorian chant? My music studies were so looooooooong ago…

        • Carol Gurioli's Gravatar Carol Gurioli
          March 17, 2020 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

          No, that’s Pope Gregory the Great.

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 17, 2020 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

            The guy who smeared Mary Magdalene’s image forever.

      • Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
        March 17, 2020 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

        My prayer for our president of the United States is that he would have a Pauline conversion experience: be knocked off of his high horse of arrogance and meet the Christ of love, light, and humility.

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      March 17, 2020 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      st. celia, thank you so much for making your confession public – it is comforting to know that there are others in the same camp.

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 17, 2020 - 11:51 am | Permalink

        Many, MANY , others, I suspect.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 17, 2020 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      Part of our Trinitarian difficulty is The Church’s (universal, not just Episcopal) use of the word “Person” when describing the Trinity. We think of “Person” as an individual, usually human, being. But, if I remember correctly, it comes ultimately from a Greek word (which I don’t remember) meaning a mask. I find it easier to think of “personae”, as in “dramatis personae”, a character in a play rather than the human being playing the part.
      I find it easier to accept the Three-in-One by thinking of the different ways God relates to us. And many years ago I heard a sermon–on Trinity Sunday–in which the preacher referred to “God beyond us”, “God beside us”, and “God within us.” It’s all the same God, just experienced or viewed in different ways.

      • Julia A. (Judy) Dean's Gravatar Julia A. (Judy) Dean
        March 17, 2020 - 11:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you that explanation of the Trinity. It’s new to me and explains it very well!

      • Tricia Staley's Gravatar Tricia Staley
        March 17, 2020 - 11:31 am | Permalink

        How fitting that you quote from St. Patrick’s Breastplate on St. Patrick’s Day !
        And what a good time to be reminded of that prayer (there are more verses, especially fitting for these times if you want to look it up).

        Christ with me,
        Christ before me,
        Christ behind me,
        Christ in me,
        Christ beneath me,
        Christ above me,
        Christ on my right,
        Christ on my left,
        Christ when I lie down,
        Christ when I sit down,
        Christ when I arise,
        Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
        Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
        Christ in every eye that sees me,
        Christ in every ear that hears me.

        • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
          March 17, 2020 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Love this prayer! I pray it every day for 2 very special people in my life and on other occasions when I need “bucking up,” And I love the hymn!!! Wish my singing did it justice but I sing it just the same.

      • Donna Lou Ritter's Gravatar Donna Lou Ritter
        March 17, 2020 - 11:58 am | Permalink

        I like to collect different images of Trinity. I like this “God beyond us, God beside us, God within us” I will save it and savor it.

      • Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
        March 17, 2020 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I always think of the Trinity as facets of a diamond: one gem, turning different faces to us.

      • Elaine Hixson's Gravatar Elaine Hixson
        March 17, 2020 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I also thank you. I have always believed in the Holy Trinity as God being with us in differing aspects. I live in an area of the country that really believes in polytheism, so I have to vote for Gregory.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 17, 2020 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

        For people wrestling with the nature of the Trinity on this St. Patrick’s Day, I offer this entertaining piece on YouTube from Lutheran Satire (a Missouri Synod pastor named Hans Fiene). He ultimately concludes that the Trinity is a mystery which no human can completely articulate:

      • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
        March 18, 2020 - 12:23 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Verdery! I wonder if I heard the same sermon. A difficult concept, the trinity.

    • COGPOW's Gravatar COGPOW
      March 17, 2020 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      This is a fun and lighthearted place for me to come each morning. I am learning about many people that I have never heard of, and enjoying the lightheartedness during a time of uncertainty. My wish is that politics could be left out of the comments, as increased division among the people of this country is not what we need at this time. Please consider keeping your political comments to yourself. Jesus taught us to get along with and accept EVERY one. Thank you.

      • March 17, 2020 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for saying posting this. That is my wish and my prayer, as well. Would be lovely if at least Lent Madness could be a place where we can all come together.

      • Daveed's Gravatar Daveed
        March 17, 2020 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Thank you for saying this. There’s enough of this type of commentary bombarding us on the airwaves 24/7, I’d rather not see it here. My heart is heavy enough as it is.

        • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
          March 19, 2020 - 1:35 am | Permalink

          So many other things to discuss. I’ve been enjoying and learning from conversations of saints, Arians, Trinitarians, and books! Thank you for those!

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 17, 2020 - 11:38 am | Permalink

      As always, thank you St. Celia!

      I’m going to go with with Gregory for my names sake, but I’m sure Elizabeth will move on, so I’ll have another chance. (All the women in my family have Elizabeth in their names…)

      I’m on for that cocktail you mentioned, as long as the spirit is Rum!

    • March 17, 2020 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

      and even though I am legally Elizabeth, voted for Greg. and I am with you in prayer

    • March 17, 2020 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I sense some anger in your essay. COVID-45. Please, can we all just get along?

    • Ray's Gravatar Ray
      March 17, 2020 - 4:27 pm | Permalink


    • Mary's Gravatar Mary
      March 17, 2020 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for putting my thoughts which I almost won’t admit to even to myself, into words! And thanks too for the shout out to journalists especially Yamiche Alcindor. I admire her work.

    • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
      March 17, 2020 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Oh, yes, St Celia!

    • Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
      March 17, 2020 - 7:31 pm | Permalink


    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 18, 2020 - 12:15 am | Permalink

      Your concluding sentence graphic nature distresses me. Perhaps you might consider other people’s sensibilities. We’re all in this together, you know.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 18, 2020 - 12:16 am | Permalink

      St. Celia, your concluding sentence graphic nature distresses me. Perhaps you might consider other people’s sensibilities. We’re all in this together, you know.

  11. Mary E, Winston's Gravatar Mary E, Winston
    March 17, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink middle name

  12. Carolyn A's Gravatar Carolyn A
    March 17, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I chose Gregory of Nazianus, because his desire to lead a monastic life, yet being “forced” into public life, reminds me of our own son, Gregory, who, being a “5” on the Enneagram (if you’re into that) refers to himself as the “Mystical Hermit.” I imagine Gregory of Nazanius had similar ideas of being a hermit.

    This was tough, because our daughter is named Elizabeth (but I voted in her favor when I chose the biblical Elizabeth). These choices are close to home!

    • Carolyn A's Gravatar Carolyn A
      March 17, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  13. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    March 17, 2020 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    In memory of all the workers and peasants murdered by the tsar and his family over the decades leading up to the revolution, I voted for Gregory.

    • Martha Shea's Gravatar Martha Shea
      March 17, 2020 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      Thanks, my thoughts were a somewhat along these lines.

    • March 17, 2020 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      Yes. Although it doesn’t mean that folks can’t so well in their own context, there is the context of the timing of her beatification by the Ruaaian Orthodox Church. I wonder if any people who opposed the tsar yet showed moral behavior under stress were beatified by them.

  14. Claire from Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire from Quincy MA
    March 17, 2020 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Laura, I am struck by your sympathy for the tragedy of Elizabeth’s murder. The Romanovs and the Victorian Imperialists didn’t care one bit about the suffering they unleashed on their serfs and colonial subjects. All well and good for Elizabeth to shun her tiaras.
    I vote for Gregory who walked towards all the strife that he wished to avoid in order to resolve conflicts and create a greater good.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 17, 2020 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      I’m having awful trouble choosing this year; but this morning, with ample time for reflection, I resolved to make my choice right after Morning Prayer. Again it was hard; but I eventually chose Elizabeth because, going against the gangster culture of the family into which she had married, she chose to renounce riches and to comfort and sustain the afflicted. Her Wikipedia article adds to David Creech’s estimable biography the facts that during her marriage she was known for her good works among the poor, and that she not only publicly forgave her husband’s murderer but campaigned for his pardon.

      So I see Elizabeth as one who swam boldly against the current, whereas Gregory was repeatedly dragged kicking and screaming into his vocation. We may owe him more than we owe her; but she shone in the darkness until it consumed her, and shines still.

      • Mariclaire Buckley's Gravatar Mariclaire Buckley
        March 17, 2020 - 10:21 am | Permalink

        Well put, Davis.

      • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
        March 17, 2020 - 11:48 am | Permalink

        I think it’s interesting that folks find fault for Gregory for trying to pursue his desire for contemplation – it’s very American to see that as an irresponsible path to follow. As Christians we should know better.
        He is also modeling the opposite of the Will to Power – again, a very Christian approach – he did not want power, but he served well when he was given authority, and then – wait for it – he laid down the scepter and went back to seeking the Presence of God. Wouldn’t it be lovely if our leaders took that tack, instead of seeking power over all else?

        • Carol Gurioli's Gravatar Carol Gurioli
          March 17, 2020 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

          I think Jimmy Carter is a good contemporary example.

          • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
            March 18, 2020 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

            Indeed! Thank you Carol.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 17, 2020 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

      • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
        March 17, 2020 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Beautiful. Thanks.

  15. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 17, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Oh, but is such fun to brighten an otherwise dull Worship Committee meeting!

  16. Ruth W Davis's Gravatar Ruth W Davis
    March 17, 2020 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Gregory because, although he was by nature a solitary, he provided his leadership when called to do so; and his influence continues to this day in our liturgy.

  17. Elspeth's Gravatar Elspeth
    March 17, 2020 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    “Witnesses reported hearing them sing hymns as they died. One of Elizabeth’s last acts was to use her handkerchief to bandage the wounds of one of the princes murdered with her.” These claims have been accepted as truth for well over 50 years, but are credibly disputed in “Ella: Princess, Saint, and Martyr” (Christopher Warwick, 2006). Having read the book, though, I vote for Elizabeth – she transitioned from privileged aristocrat to someone who worked directly with the poor and infirm, often taking on the very worst cases of nursing in order to spare her staff and fellow nuns. In this day and time I can see her opening a center to care for patients with COVID-19 at the risk of her own health.

  18. +Ann's Gravatar +Ann
    March 17, 2020 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Any discendent of Queen Victoria. . . . I voted for Gregory.

  19. Carol Gallagher's Gravatar Carol Gallagher
    March 17, 2020 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    “ Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world” … an appropriate prayer during this time of seclusion from the world.

  20. Mary Ann's Gravatar Mary Ann
    March 17, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I voted for Gregory because he gave up the life he wanted to do the will of God, although I have to admit this was a hard one for me.

  21. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 17, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    SEC–can we get rid of this offensive one? Please?

    • March 17, 2020 - 9:44 am | Permalink


      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 17, 2020 - 11:39 am | Permalink

        Bless your heart! And your fingers, or whatever, too.

  22. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 17, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    SEC, this is a troll account. Can you block this individual?

  23. Kris's Gravatar Kris
    March 17, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth. Then when I was reading the comments remembered her younger sister was unhinged by the Tsarovitch’s hemophilia and became enamoured by Rasputin. Now I wonder if I should recant.

    • Elspeth's Gravatar Elspeth
      March 17, 2020 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      Elizabeth repeatedly opposed her sister’s alliance with Rasputin, which led to their estrangement.

      • Kris's Gravatar Kris
        March 17, 2020 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        I didn’t know that. I am not going to recant.

    • Gail's Gravatar Gail
      March 17, 2020 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      Are we condemned by our relatives? Would Christ have done that?

  24. March 17, 2020 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    yesterday I was working on a small group study I will be leading this summer on heresies and working on Arianism. That must be a sign that I need to vote for Gregory

  25. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 17, 2020 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m continuing my pattern of voting for all of the Elizabeths.

  26. Carol B's Gravatar Carol B
    March 17, 2020 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    An particularly difficult decision today. I just recently read a fairly in depth study of Gregory and Basil, and I have always been in favor of people who are martyred in recent times, where interesting, but doubtful legends have grown up, and I also favored people who give up their wealth to help others. Don’t see much of that today. However, I finally voted for Gregory because his work turning Constantinople away from Arianism was very, very necessary to the future. Still a tough decision.

  27. Glenn Horton-Smith's Gravatar Glenn Horton-Smith
    March 17, 2020 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    The words “Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world” in the collect for Elizabeth really stood out to me.
    To slightly adapt a line from The Hobbit, “If more of us valued [giving and sharing] food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (Wikipedia’s long article on this Elizabeth tells me she did all of those things, even singing at the end.)

  28. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 17, 2020 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Such a tough choice today! I admire both for their humility, generosity, perseverance through difficulties, self-sacrifice, and courage. In the end I voted for Gregory, but am tremendously grateful for both of their lives and legacies. They both inspire me to love and serve God, neighbors, and nations.

  29. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 17, 2020 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    My group has been reading excerpts from Gregory Nazianzen. He was rooted in the spirit and joy of God, and was articulate and poetic in his copious writings. An example: “I have hardly begun to think of the Unity before the Trinity bathes me in its splendor: I have hardly begun to think of the Trinity before the Unity seizes hold of me again. When one of the three presents himself to me, I think it is the whole, so full to overflowing is my vision, so far beyond me does he reach. There is no room left in my mind, it is too limited to understand even one. When I combine the three in one single thought, I see only one great flame without being able to subdivide or analyse the single light.” His prayers/poems are ecstatic. His heart was in contemplation, and he reluctantly agreed to serve the people in what he saw was a greater need than his own needs. Reading him has helped me better understand why Christianity worships the Trinity as opposed to the Arianic way. While Elizabeth the New Martyr led an exemplary life and is also worthy of my vote, I’m going with Gregory because of my new found understanding of God and the Triune theology.

    • Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
      March 17, 2020 - 10:53 am | Permalink

      You’re inspiring me to read Gregory! I voted for him out of a contemplative bent of my own and a long-standing affection for the story of the Cappadocian Fathers, but I don’t think I knew how truly gorgeous Gregory’s writing was. Thanks for this snippet, Susan C.

    • Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
      March 17, 2020 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      You’re inspiring me to read Gregory! I voted for him out of a contemplative bent of my own and a long-standing affection for the story of the Cappadocian Fathers, but I don’t think I knew how truly gorgeous Gregory’s writing was. Thanks for this snippet, Susan C.

      Hey, SEC! How come your bots keep telling me I have submitted a duplicate comment when I have only written one? Happened yesterday, too, and when I submitted a revised edition, they both showed up! What gives??

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 17, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      Thank you Susan – now I’m going to read him too!

    • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
      March 17, 2020 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. Susan C, for your quotes from Gregory himself! I read of his sermons in a chapter of “The Cruelty of Heresy” book by C.S.Allison, but that book focused more on Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and their sister Macrina (remember her from a couple years ago?)
      Anyway, I voted for Gregory of Nazianzus before reading the comments, and am doubly glad to have done so.

  30. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 17, 2020 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth gets my vote today. What an unusual martyrdom, and she comforted someone else in the midst of torture and death.

  31. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 17, 2020 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Well done, Celebrity Bloggers. You are making the votes quite difficult this year.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 17, 2020 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I think the voting is more difficult every year!

  32. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 17, 2020 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, as always. I admire Elizabeth’s piety, but the depiction of Gregory’s service and leadership despite his preference for the contemplative life wins my appreciation, and my vote.

  33. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 17, 2020 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Ok, I didn’t get what Gregory really did. Really though, I kind of had to vote for Elizabeth as she was born exactly 100 years before me.

  34. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 17, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Whilst pleased to learn about Elizabeth, I have long admired Gregory and so my vote goes to him. A poem by John McGuckin speaks of a humble, holy man for whom ‘every foray into speech / a costed regret.’ I was unsurprised to see Elizabeth in the lead after I voted. Gregory would be more than happy with this state of affairs. On the death of his friend Basil he wrote in his eulogy to Basil, ‘We were driven by the same hope: the pursuit of learning. This is a way of life notoriously open to jealousy; but between us there was none. Indeed, in some sense rivalry intensified our zeal. For there was indeed a contest between us. But it was not about who should have first place, but about how one could yield it to the other. For each of us regarded the achievement of the other as his own.’

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 17, 2020 - 11:01 am | Permalink

      Fiona, your quote from Basil about the pursuit of learning “…[the contest] was not about who should have first place, but about how one could yield it to the other. For each of us regarded the achievement of the other as his own.” tipped the scales for me. I voted for Gregory.

      If more leaders could have that outlook, this world would be a much better place!

  35. Lois's Gravatar Lois
    March 17, 2020 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Since I attend St Gregory the Great church, I am voting for St. Gregory.

  36. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 17, 2020 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    I’m torn. My parish’s patron is the Trinity and Gregory is important in explaining the Trinity. But Elizabeth, like some other Elizabeths I could name, persisted and laid down her life.

    And speaking of people named Elizabeth . . . God save the Queen . . . the last thing we need now is to lose her.

  37. March 17, 2020 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    Ownership: Early Christian Teaching, a book by Charles Avila, informs us about Basil the Great of Cappadocia warning against private ownership of land. Gregory of Nazianzus was himself consecrated a Bishop by Basil of Cappadocia, so there’s a direct connection with today’s Lent Madness.

    Decades ago, Charles Avila was a seminarian in the Philippines who spent time working with extremely impoverished people after he recognized their connection to some imprisoned peasants’ rights activists whom he had visited.

    Charles Avila (who left seminary without becoming a priest) wondered what the early Church Fathers had stated regarding land ownership, so he proposed to do a major research project.

    His seminary professors thought it wasn’t worth the effort! Charles Avila dug into the library, in ancient languages, and discovered a wealth of very pronounced teachings in early centuries of Christianity.

    St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom of Constantinople, and St. Ambrose of Milan — like St. Basil the Great of Cappadocia — wrote strongly against the private ownership of land. This part of early Christianity had been largely neglected and forgotten by most of Christianity for centuries.

    The more we learn, the easier it is to link something new to what we already know. In other words, this is a sidebar to today’s Lent Madness, yet fascinating and worth reading Charles Avila’s relatively short book.

  38. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 17, 2020 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    The collect for Elizabeth swayed me.

  39. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 17, 2020 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Without Gregory, Christianity would not be the religion we know today, so I voted for him. I am curious about Elizabeth’s title? Why New Martyr? Surely there have been many others since, alas.

  40. Micah W.'s Gravatar Micah W.
    March 17, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    While I admire the royal Elizabeth, I have a deeper appreciation at the moment for Gregory, who answered his call more than once, even when it was not his will, to serve the Christian people – and then to seek God in silence. In this time of ‘social isolation’, may we all remember how important it is to serve others, and also to know how important it is to seek God, even if in solitude.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 17, 2020 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Well done, Micah.

  41. March 17, 2020 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth’s personal piety is awe inspiring. My life has a closer connection to Gregory who accepted calls to serve when he wished to worship in contemplation. Elizabeth’s choice was how to react in the situation into which she was thrust. Gregory exercised free will and could have rejected the call of church authorities. His overall influence was greater.

  42. Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
    March 17, 2020 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is a difficult one for a deacon. On the one hand, we have a person who gave up her wealth to help those in need, and risked and lost her own life in so doing. On the other, we have a leader who has a call to contemplation. A tough decision this week . . .

  43. Nancy Tinkham's Gravatar Nancy Tinkham
    March 17, 2020 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    Gregory of Nazianzus has long held a special place in my heart. When I was a young adult, getting ready to take my first theology classes in college, I was happily Apollinarian — Jesus had the mind of God in a human body, makes perfect sense. It was Gregory’s observation that “that which is not assumed is not redeemed” that showed me why that’s a mistake. Jesus took on all of our human situation: not just our fragile, pain-sensitive body, but our limited mind too. We’re not omniscient, we can’t perceive the world perfectly, and Jesus shared that. And, by doing so, Jesus redeemed not only our bodies but also our minds. Thanks, Gregory, for helping me to see the full depth of the Incarnation.

  44. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 17, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Vote Gregory!

  45. Diane Dufva Quantic's Gravatar Diane Dufva Quantic
    March 17, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I cast my lot with Elizabeth knowing that Gregory is responsible for much of our form of Christianity today. But Elizabeth is a rarity: a Russian martyr. Not everyday you get to vote for a Russian princess.

  46. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 17, 2020 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    While Elizabeth demonstrated true discipleship, and did what Jesus asked of us, Gregory went that much further, in submitting himself totally to the will of God by taking on roles not of his choosing, going to place where he would not have opted to go given a choice. Gregory is a model of spiritual obedience. Yes, Gregory of Nazanzianus gets my vote today

  47. Tunnza's Gravatar Tunnza
    March 17, 2020 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to blame autocorrect for calling Kaiser Wilhelm William II.

  48. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 17, 2020 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to go with Gregory. There is something truly holy in your desires all leaning one way, yet still answering the call of necessity. The path of most resistance, so to speak. But good on Elizabeth. She passed through the eye of the needle.

  49. john's Gravatar john
    March 17, 2020 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I had trouble casting a vote for either saint here. I was never a big fan of the theological controversies that often divide rather unite us. And Elizabeth while showing her piety was part of that ugly Romanov family that were tone deaf to the people of Russia. But, her acts of piety and comforting others is commendable. I wonder if her kast act if charity was really true.

  50. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 17, 2020 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The final Elizabeth to vote for this round gets it for singing to the end.
    What a steadfast, heroic faith to help others.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, despite his loss to Lawrence and the closings of the bars due to Coronavirus.

  51. Lucinda's Gravatar Lucinda
    March 17, 2020 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Gregory fought Arianism which was a real threat to early Christianity. Would Elizabeth have worshipped the same faith had he not done this? He taught and about Jesus’ divinity and the Trinity. These concepts were just beginning to gel and are basic to our beliefs. Maybe we need a refresher course on Arianism.

  52. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 17, 2020 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Friends, I found a blog post from Eco-Justice Ministries offering a theological response to “social distancing” in the face of coronavirus. Given that we’re talking about theology, and we’re all practicing quarantine, I thought you might be interested. The theological virtue he is proposing is solidarity with the vulnerable. I figured that would be right up this group’s alley:

  53. March 17, 2020 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Another interesting discussion thread(s) going on today. First, to my vote. I try to vote before reading any of the posts and my thinking was this. Certainly Gregory was an admirable person, answering the call many times instead of replying with Barnaby the Scrivener’s “I would prefer not to.” And although I have my misgivings about royalty of all sorts (including those terrific royals in the Netherlands and Liechtenstein), I give credit to Elizabeth for looking beyond her own and doing her best to treat them in a humane fashion. So I voted for her.

    One thing I will say about the threads above is there always people who feel there is a right way to vote and a wrong way, a right way to share and a wrong way, but in the end I think people have been granted the right to express themselves here however they wish. I do take exception to those who are cruel or merely trying to make trouble. But on the whole, I am willing to listen to those who are thoughtful and concerned about us all, even if I don’t agree with them. That being said, “I wish you well, fellow Mad Lenters.” If someone can come up with a better term for the members of this community, I would appreciate it.

  54. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 17, 2020 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    An apt leade, who really would rather be meditating, is what all leaders ought to be, and for that, though Elizabeth’s story is admirable, I’ll support Gregory.

  55. James's Gravatar James
    March 17, 2020 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I feel bad because when you say someone should be the clear winner, it’s like you’re diminishing the other person, and in this case, I really don’t want to do that. Elizabeth has a compelling personal biography, but Nanzianzus is one of the premier theologians in church history*, and truly ecumenical in the sense that he’s equally revered in the East and West, something that would become increasingly rare after his time. I hope you, dear Voter, can reverse his fortunes. Kicking him to the curb after one round would be pretty amazing.

    *This is basically the Lenten Madness version of the Kanye speech….

  56. Melinda's Gravatar Melinda
    March 17, 2020 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I have loved Elizabeth since before I ever heard of Lent Madness. She showed love in the most difficult of circumstances.

  57. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 17, 2020 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Here is one way we can love our neighbors: Red Cross says they have a critical shortage of blood, due to many community blood drive cancellations. They have changed procedures to enable social distancing, etc, during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve scheduled a “power red” donation (esp needed from type O and RH-negative donors) for March 31. Here’s a link to the website: Blessings to all, whether you can donate or not.

  58. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 17, 2020 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m not so sure it’s accurate to call Elizabeth a “martyr,” because it seems the Bolsheviks would have murdered her due to her having been born to a “royal” family. Martyrs are supposed to be people murdered for standing up for their Christian faith, aren’t they? In any case, I voted for Elizabeth, because she divested herself of her considerable wealth and showed great, selfless love.

  59. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 17, 2020 - 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I ask shocked that the greatest Trinitarian is losing to a nice, rich lady who was kind to the unfortunate.

  60. Gaen's Gravatar Gaen
    March 17, 2020 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I found it difficult to vote for either of these saints. Arian Christianity produced some of the world’s most beautiful and meaningful Christian mosaics, which you can see in Ravenna, Italy (well not now but perhaps some day), now a UNESCO world heritage site. And ever since I first visited Ravenna to see the mosaics, over 20 some years ago, I have always found the Nicene creed to be more of a political statement than a spiritual one. Who are we to define the divinity of God? Who are we to say how God’s holiness rested in Christ? For me, it’s enough to try to follow Jesus and live in his way. Years ago, I read Bishop Spong’s “This Hebrew Lord” and was very strongly influenced by his description of Jesus’s Judaism as a religion of doing vs. the focus on belief that came with the Hellenization of Christianity. My creed are found in the Arian mosaics of San Apollinaire Nuovo in Ravenna, which show Jesus healing, teaching, feeding, blessing, turning water into wine. There is no crucifixion, either. We go from scenes of the Passion to the empty tomb. In late antiquity, they remembered all too well that crucifixion was a form of torture and execution.

    As for Elizabeth, well, she got my vote but somewhat reluctantly. I am moved by her putting aside of her wealth to try to follow a Christian life. But given the history of the Russian royal family, and the harsh authoritarian history of that nation and the ways that authoritarianism is now impacting our nation it is hard for me to feel inspired by anything Russian at this time (and this from someone who studied Russian in college and is a great lover of Checkhov and Meyerhold).

  61. Fr Richard Asmussen's Gravatar Fr Richard Asmussen
    March 17, 2020 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Greg0ry of Nazianzus
    . steeped in contemplation ! we need this now in the World of God+s people

  62. Micah W.'s Gravatar Micah W.
    March 17, 2020 - 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I was reading in “Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church” (ed. Wright) today, and the passage for today (Tuesday in 3 Lent) was from Gregory of Nazianzus’ “On the Love of the Poor”! And it was so applicable to today’s world.

    After discussing our wonderful gifts in being made children of God and co-heirs with Christ, and God’s wonderful goodness and generosity to humankind, he says:

    “Is it not God who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures? Because we have received from him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse him this one thing only, our generosity? Though he is God and Lord he is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we for our part repudiate those who are our kith and kin?

    “Friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift. If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say: ‘Be ashamed of yourselves for holding on to what belongs to someone else. Resolve to imitate God’s justice, and no one will be poor.’ Let us not labor to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need. If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words: ‘Come now, you that say: When will the new moon be over, so that we may start selling? When will sabbath be over, so that we may start opening our treasures?’”

    Gregory advocated for Nicene Christianity, true, but what he preached for was nothing less than the Gospel, and the two great commandments: loving God and loving our neighbor. Would that many more of us, including kind people like Elizabeth, had his boldness in denouncing the predation of so many of the world’s wealthy and elite and fervent zeal for the equality for all of us as children of God.

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