Bishop Gregory of Neocaesarea (AD 213-270)
Gregory was born into an aristocratic pagan family in Neocaesarea (modern Niksar), in Pontus of the Black Sea region, around 213. He went to Alexandria, Egypt to study under Origin for eight years, during which time he became a dedicated Christian.
Although Gregory desired to live in the solitude of the wilderness, he became the bishop of Neocaesarea and served for thirty years, from 240 to 270. Gregory’s preaching was direct, lively, and very fruitful. He demonstrated the spiritual power of God by healing the sick and was given the name Wonder-Worker.
During the Christian persecutions unleashed by emperor Decius, Gregory led God’s people into the Pontus wilderness to hide until the persecutions were over. Macrina the Elder grew up under the teaching of Gregory and passed down his wisdom to her children and grandchildren, including Basil the Great. Basil the Great described Gregory the Wonder-Worker as a shining lamp that illuminated the church of God. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a very important and insightful biography of Gregory the Wonder-Worker. In it, we are told that Gregory experienced a night visitation by the apostle John and the Virgin Mary in 231.
During this encounter, John taught Gregory about the true nature of God. Gregory wrote down what he had received in a creedal statement. The Creed of Gregory was later used by Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory the Theologian to formulate their teaching about the triune nature of God.
The Creed of Gregory was examined and affirmed by the Ecumenical Church Council in Nicea in 325, where the first version of the Nicene Creed was written. Gregory the Wonder-Worker died in 270.