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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian Panegyric on Caesarius (Oration VII), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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2. The parents of Caesarius, to take first the point which best becomes me, are known to you all. Their excellence you are eager to notice, and hear of with admiration, and share in the task of setting it forth to any, if there be such, who know it not: for no single man is able to do so entirely, and the task is one beyond the powers of a single tongue, however laborious, however zealous. Among the many and great points for which they are to be celebrated (I trust I may not seem extravagant in praising my own family) the greatest of all, which more than any other stamps their character, is piety. By their hoar hairs they lay claim to reverence, but they are no less venerable for their virtue than for their age; for while their bodies are bent beneath the burden of their years, their souls renew their youth in God.

3. His father [2935] was well grafted out of the wild olive tree into the good one, and so far partook of its fatness as to be entrusted with the engrafting of others, and charged with the culture of souls, presiding in a manner becoming his high office over this people, like a second Aaron or Moses, bidden himself to draw near to God, [2936] and to convey the Divine Voice to the others who stand afar off; [2937] gentle, meek, calm in mien, [2938] fervent in spirit, a fine man in external appearance, but richer still in that which is out of sight. But why should I describe him whom you know? For I could not even by speaking at great length say as much as he deserves, or as much as each of you knows and expects to be said of him. It is then better to leave your own fancy to picture him, than mutilate by my words the object of your admiration.

[2935] His father. S. Gregory the elder. Cf. Orat. xviii., 5, 6, 12-29, 32-39. Also viii., 4, 5; xii., 2, 3; xvi., 1-4, 20.

[2936] Exod. xxiv. 1, 2.

[2937] Exod. xx. 19; Deut. v. 27.

[2938] In mien. v. l. "in disposition."

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