Surprisingly, the Easter celebration, as it were, divides the spring time into two periods, the spring before Easter and the Easter spring. In the first days of the Pre-Easter Spring, this synonym for Great Lent, the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Caesarius. The saint was the brother of Saint Gregory the Theologian (329-390). Therefore, like his great relative, he is also sometimes referred to as "Caesarius of Nazianzus."
The modern discrepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars of 13 days leads to the fact that the memory of St. Caesarea in the Churches of the Julian calendar is celebrated on the days of the spring equinox, March 22. This date, as a day of celebration in honor of this saint, is easy and important to remember. After all, it is symmetrical and deeply symbolic.
After all, the saints, by their very holiness by the gift of grace, brought the Sun of Truth, Christ, closer to the Church, the Universe, and all mankind. They truly bring us into their Fellowship. Faith in this Communion of Saints is proclaimed in the Apostles' Creed. This is the basis for the commemoration of the saints at the Divine Liturgy.
The first three centuries of the history of the Church were the time of the sanctity of the martyrs. Most of Christ's Apostles also ended their lives as martyrs, or, like John the Evangelist, suffered greatly for their faith in Christ and for the preaching of the Gospel, and therefore were not inferior in "the honor of the heavenly calling." (Philippians 3:14) to the martyrs. The bishops in the first centuries of Christianity, this was also an expression of their apostolic succession, also became martyrs, because they lived ready to die for Christ. The practice of the Ancient Church testifies to the diffusion of the tradition of celebrating the Eucharist on the tombs or relics of the martyrs.
This practice continues to this day in the Orthodox Church. During the consecration of the temple, part of the relics of the martyrs is put in the antimension and the altar.
With a symbolic gesture, Theophilos of Alexandria (385-412), one of the most authoritative bishops of his time, once celebrated the Eucharist on the relics of a deceased holy monk. In doing so, he symbolically marked the beginning of a new understanding of holiness. After all, the moment of the legalization of Christianity under Emperor Constantine (+337) and the end of persecution, holiness began to be identified with the departure from the secular life. The voluntary suffering of ascetics and monks in self-limitation, loneliness, abstinence, refusal of food and drink was perceived by the Church as voluntary martyrdom in readiness to suffer all one's life for faith in Christ and Orthodox beliefs. In the dogmatic disputes that then shook the Church for centuries, the monks, by virtue of their education and personal experience of the vision of God, in word and deed, and, most importantly, with their very lives, testified to the truth of the Catholic Faith of the Church. This was extremely important evidence. Recall that the literal translation of the Greek word martyr, in the original "martyr", means precisely a testimony!
Summing up, when the persecution of Christianity ceased, the holy bishops and monastic ascetics, were venerated as saints.
Saint Caesarius is one of the few ancient saints canonized under the name "righteous". If this if this theological term is translated from the language of the Orthodox liturgy, this means that he was canonized as a layman.
Cesarius was a year younger than his brother Gregorius. He was born in the year 330, and in 368 he went to the Lord during the epidemic that broke out then.
The parents of Gregorio and Cesario, Gregorio and Nona, are also venerated by the Church among the saints in the menologies. Remember that the bishops in the Old Church could have a family, have a wife and children. The corresponding canonical rules requiring the obligatory celibacy of the bishop, that is, celibacy, appeared in the Orthodox Church much later.
This explains why the father of Gregory Nazianzus and Caesarius, also Gregory, was a married bishop from the Cappadocia city of Nazianzus. Canonized by the Church as a saint, he is called by the Church Gregory Nazianzen the Elder (276-374). He lived almost a hundred years and died, as the Scriptures speak of the biblical righteous Abraham (Gen. 25:8) and Job (Job 42:17), "full of days."
“The family is a small Church” - in most cases this saying remains a wish, or even just a slogan. In the image of the holy family of Mary and Joseph, the family of Gregory and Nonna of Cappadocia was truly such. It is tragically paradoxical, but the Church's calendars list very few holy families!
Caesarius' biography is extremely interesting. After all, the saint was not just a physician, but the court doctor of the Roman emperors! Among them are the son of Constantine the Great, Constantius II (337-361), and even the apostate from the Christian faith, a convinced pagan and persecutor of Christians Julian (361-363).
Constantius openly sympathized with the heretics of the Arians, who denied the divinity of the Son of God, who became man in Jesus Christ. Julian the Apostate, by his decrees, removed Christians from teaching, forbade them from holding important posts in the state. But neither one nor the other could exert any influence on Cesario. Until his last breath, he lived and acted as a Catholic Christian committed to the decrees of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325).
Unlike his predecessors in the medical profession, Pantaleon of Nicomedia, Cyrus and John of Alexandria, and many others who are revered by the Church as holy doctors who lived alone or inherited savings and practiced medicine, Cesario was not without mercenaries. He was a highly qualified specialist in his profession, professional physician. Medicine was his bread and butter.
The life of Caesarius as a believing and virtuous layman is described by Gregory of Nazianzus in the funeral oration, which he dedicated to his brother. In the last years of his short life, Caesarius was the quaestor of the Empire in the Roman province of Bithynia. He miraculously survived a terrible earthquake in the provincial capital of Nicaea but died from the ensuing epidemic.
In accordance with the practice of the Ancient Eastern Church of that time, he received Baptism just before his death. Thus, in literal accordance with the words of the Apocalypse, he entered the Heavenly Kingdom in white robes of righteousness and sanctification (cf. Apoc. 3:4). Gregory Nazianzen speaks about this in his Oration on the death of his brother. For in baptism, according to the faith of the Church, all sins are forgiven a person. "We acknowledge one single Baptism for the remission of sins," says the Creed.
Proximity to the powerful of this world on the duty of medical practice, who did not favor or were hostile to the Orthodox Church, as well as undeniable competence, a great talent in his profession, brings Caesarius close to our contemporary, St. Luke Voyno-Yasenetsky (1877–1961).
True doctors by gift of God, they lived a holy life by the power of grace, where the Lord called them. Fulfilling the word of the Apostle, "each one remains in the rank to which he was called" (1 Cor. 7:24). The truly modern in Christ is not timely. Fidelity to the vocation and, above all, the grace of the thirst for holiness contrary to profit or fear, here and now, despite modernity, makes us a family of saints in these Last Times.