Simple (1954 Calendar): November 17
St Gregory Thaumaturgus, one of the Fathers of the Church, was converted to the faith by Origen about the year 232. He then returned to his native city of Neocaesarea in Asia Minor, and was made its bishop. At that time there were only 17 Christians in the city, but Gregory's apostolic zeal was such that before his death there were only 17 non-Christians left. Gregory was aided in his apostolate by an extraordinary gift of miracles. A legend relating that he once caused the removal of a mountain from the spot where he wished to build a church. He died about the year 270.
Let us read the brief account of the great Thaumaturgus given in the holy liturgy:
Gregory, bishop of Neocaesarea in Pontus, was illustrious for his holiness and learning, but still more for his miracles, which were so startling and so numerous that he was called the Thaumaturgus; and, according to St Basil he was considered comparable to Moses, the prophets, and the apostles.Prayer:
By his prayer he removed a mountain, which was an obstacle to the building of a church. He also dried up a lake which was a cause of dissension between brothers. The river Lycus, which was inundating and devastating the fields; he restrained by fixing in the bank his stick, which immediately grew into a green tree, and he served as a limit which the river henceforth never overpassed.
He frequently expelled the devils from idols and from men's bodies, and worked many other miracles, by means of which he led multitudes to the faith of Christ. He also foretold future events by the spirit of prophecy. When he was dying, he asked how many infidels remained in the city of NeocaeSarea; and on being informed that there were only seventeen, he gave thanks to God, and said: When I was made bishop, there were but seventeen believers. He wrote several works, by which, as well as by his miracles, he adorned the Church of God.
O Almighty God, grant that our solemn celebration of the feast of Your confessor bishop Gregory may increase our devotion and bring us closer to our salvation. Through Our Lord . . .