Our son Basil (short “a”) was born on August 28, 2017 and his name immediately generated conversations. He is named after St. Basil the Great. This was inspired by a lecture on St. Basil by Dr. George Grant of Parish Presbyterian Church.
George Grant has left an indelible mark on my thinking and on my family. Dr. Grant’s exuberant way of teaching church history also inspired the name Athanasius for our first son – that coupled with a plea from an Orthodox priest friend for “real” Christian names.
To paraphrase a piece of that lecture:
Julian the Apostate is set to enter Rome to take his place as the Roman Emperor. Waiting at the gates is a contingent of opposing Generals to block his entrance. Julian’s commanders come to him with the report and ask if he is afraid. Young Julian responds with, “Fear men? Why no, not one man!”
A commander said, “Truly sir, you fear no man?”
“None. I fear no man, let us march and claim what is rightly my inheritance,” replied Julian.
“Sir, there is not one soul that you fear?”
Finally, Julian says, “Well, there are but three: Athanasius, Ambrose, and that damnable genius Basil.”
The entire lecture is available online at WordMP3.com
Our friend Jeff Moss picked out this choice quote from the same lecture:
“Interestingly, by almost all accounts, it was the delicate, retiring, and sensitive Basil of Caesarea who stood foursquare against the surging sea of heresy and apostasy, who seemed to leave a dynamic mark that would endure long after his death.”