Regarded as one of the three hierarchs or pillars of orthodoxy along with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, Basil is a key figure in the formative process of Christianity in the fourth century. While his role in establishing Trinitarian terminology, as well as his function in shaping monasticism, his social thought and even his contribution to the evolution of liturgical forms have been the focus of research for many years, there are few studies which centre on his political thought. Basil played a major role in the political and religious life between Cappadocia and Armenia and was a key figure in the tumultuous relationship between Church and State in Late Antiquity. He was a great religious leader and a gifted diplomat, and developed a ’special relationship’ with Emperor Valens and other high imperial officials.
'Fr. Dumitrascu succeeds in his book to perceive the truth behind the phenomena and the mere estimation. This truth is consisted in the transformed mind of a saint, which depending upon the variety of his personal gifts, gives him a clear and whollistic spiritual vision and enables him to act accordingly. The author dignifies the unique spiritual beauty and power of the Bishop Basil of Caesarea and the ways these were unfolded in his life and action.'
Marina Kolovopoulou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
'Fr. Dumitrascu examines an aspect of Basil's life that is less well known yet of great interest: his involvement in missionary work, and more especially his relations with Armenia. Basil is seen here not only as an eminent theologian but as a bridge-builder and diplomat, as a church leader of firm principles but also of moderation, strict yet at the same time gentle.'
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, University of Oxford
'Dumitrascu succeeds here in delving into two relevant facets of Basil’s political activities. First, his strategy towards a hostile imperial power through his letters targeted to important officials of the court. Second, the author analyzes in detail Basil’s mission in Armenia in 372-373 on behalf of emperor Valens by putting it in relation with Catholicos Nerses own missions. As an unexpected consequence from Basil’s powerful confrontation with the emperor, that mission did not bring all the expected fruits though.'
Pablo Argarate, University of Graz
'St. Basil of Caesarea is not known well enough in the West except for his influence on the Orthodox liturgy, as the father of Greek monasticism and as a close friend of Gregory of Nazianzus. In his amazing book Professor Dumitrascu sheds a welcome new light on other sides of Basil’s influence, for instance in Armenia, and especially in definitions of theology after Arius.'
Benedicta Ward, University of Oxford
Foreword - Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Preface - Professor Pablo Argárate
Part 1. Saint Basil and Emperor Valens: Dignity versus Authority
1. Saint Basil, Emperor Valens and Christianity in Cappadocia
2. Saint Basil and the History of His Royal Meeting (s): Two Authorities in Confrontation
Part 2. Saints Basil and Nerses, and Armenia: Mission and Church Diplomacy
3. Saint Nerses the Great, Armenia and His Blessed Mission
4. Saint Basil the Great and His Mission in Armenia
Part 3. Saint Basil and The Art of Diplomacy: Meetings, Methods and Correspondence
5. Saint Basil’s Church Missionary Strategy and Society
6. Mission and Counter Mission in Saint Basil’s Correspondence
7. Saints Basil and Athanasius, Epistles and the Unity of the Church
Part 4. Saint Basil the Great as Model for a Christian Opinion Leader: Dignity, Humility and Culture
8. Christ, Religious Leader and Communities
9. Saint Basil and his Diplomacy towards the Greek Culture
10. The Art and the Value of Teaching the Future Leaders