Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs
The Three Holy Hierarchs
Celebrated on January 30
Saints Basil the Great (c.330-379), Gregory the Theologian (329-c.390) and John Chrysostom (c.349-407) each had devoted followers during the 11th century who sought to declare one Saint superior to the other two. Some spoke of Saint Basil, who explained the mysteries so well, as superior to Saint John Chrysostom, who was inclined to absolve sinners. Supporters of Saint John pointed to his homilies as the most accomplished interpretation of the Divine Word. Others declared Saint Gregory the Theologian as preferred of the three for his purity and grace in explaining the dogma of the Holy Trinity.
These factions caused an ongoing dispute within the Church until the Three Hierarchs appeared to Saint John, Metropolitan of Euchaita in a dream. In unison, they told him that “there is not among us a first, a second or third” and that they were to be celebrated together in one Feast. With these miraculous instructions, Saint John of Euchaita arranged for the composition of a service with commemorative hymns for each of the three, and chose the date at the end of the month in which they are all celebrated individually.
In the troparia chanted in their honour, the Three Hierarchs are celebrated as an earthly trinity who encapsulate the Church’s entire ministry and who propagated the correct understanding of our Faith. In Greece, the Feast has long been associated with education and learning, and is recognized officially as the major Feast for schools by the Greek state.