Grego'rius Thaumaturgus, St.
, St., received the surname of Thaumaturgus from his miracles.
He was a native of Neocaesareia in Cappadocia, and the son of heathen parents.
He pursued his studies, chiefly in Roman law, at Alexandria, Athens, Berytus, and ünally at Caesareia in Palestine, where lie became the pupil and the convert of Origen, about A. D. 234.
At the end of five years, during which Origen instructed him in logic, physics, mathematics, ethics, and the whole circle of philosophy, as well as in the Christian faith and biblical science, Gregory returned to his native place, where he soon received a letter from Origen, persuading him to become a minister of the church. Gregory, however, withdrew into the wilderness, whither he was followed by Phaedimus, bishop of Amaseia, who wished to ordain him to the bishopric of Neocaesareia. Gregory for a long time succeeded in evading the search of Phaedimus, who at last, in Gregory's absence, performed the ceremony of his ordination, just as if he had been present. Upon this Gregory came from his hiding-place, and undertook the office, in the discharge of which he was so successful, that whereas, when he became bishop, there were only seventeen Christians in the city, at his death there were only seventeen persons who were not Christians, notwithstanding the two calamities of the Decian persecution, about A. D. 250, and the invasion of the northern barbarians, about A. D. 260, from which the church of Neocaesareia suffered severely during his bishopric.
In the Decian persecution he fled into the wilderness, not, as it really appears, from fear, but to preserve his life for the sake of his flock.
He was a warm champion of orthodoxy, and sat in the council which was held at Antioch in A. D. 265, to inquire into the heresies of Paul of Samosata.
He died not long afterwards.
The very probable emendation of Kuster to Suidas, substituting the name of Aurelian for that of Julian, would bring down his life to A. D. 270.
This is not the place to inquire into the miracles which are said to have been performed by Gregory at every step of his life. One example of them is sufficient. On his journey from the wilderness to his see he spent a night in a heathen temple.
The mere presence of the holy man exorcised the demons, so that, when the Pagan priest came in the morning to perform the usual service, he could obtain no sign of the presence of his divinities. Enraged at Gregory, he threatened to take him before the magistrates; but soon, seeing the calmness of the saint, his anger was turned to admiration and faith, and he besought Gregory, as a further proof of his power, to cause the demons to return.
The wonder-worker consented, and laid upon the altar a piece of paper, on which he had written, "Gregory to Satan:--Enter."
The accustomed rites were performed, and the presence of the demons was manifested.
The result was the conversion of the Pagan priest, who became a deacon of Neocaesareia, and the most faithful follower of the bishop.
The following are the genuine works of Gregory Thaumaturgus :--
A discourse delivered when he was about to quit the school of Origen.
A creed of the doctrine of the Trinity.
An epistle in which he describes the penances to be required of those converts who had relapsed into heathenism through the fear of death, and who desired to be restored to the church.
5. Other Letters
The other works ascribed to him are either spurious or doubtful.
The following are the editions of Gregory's works:--
1. That of Gerardus Vossius, Greek and Latin, Lips. 1604, 4to.
2. The Paris edition, in Greek and Latin, which also contains the works of Macarius and Basil of Seleuceia, 1622, fol.
3. In Gallandii Biblioth. Patrum, Paris, 1788, folio.
There are several editions of his separate works.
Gregorius Nyssen. Vit. S. Greg. Thaum.;
Suid. s.v. the ancient ecclesiastical historians; Lardner's Credibility;
Cave, Hist. Lit.
sub. ann. 254; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. vii. p. 249; Schröckh, Christliche Kirchengeschichte,
vol. iv. p. 351; Hoffmann, Lex. Bibl. Script. Graec.