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Encountering the SacredThe Debate on Christian Pilgrimage in Late Antiquity$
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Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241916

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241916.001.0001

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Basil of Caesarea’s and Gregory of Nyssa’s Attitudes toward Pilgrimage

Basil of Caesarea’s and Gregory of Nyssa’s Attitudes toward Pilgrimage

(p.30) 1 Basil of Caesarea’s and Gregory of Nyssa’s Attitudes toward Pilgrimage
Encountering the Sacred


University of California Press

The significance of Gregory's position as given in this chapter extends beyond his circle and time, exercising a profound influence on the debate that raged between Catholics and Protestants from the sixteenth century on over the religious value of pilgrimage. Gregory was an enthusiastic supporter of the cult of the martyrs, an indication of his support for local pilgrimage. Therefore, Gregory's well-known Letter seems to warrant a renewed reading. This Letter helps to clarify his attitude, as well as that of his brother, Basil of Caesarea, toward the holy places and to gain a clearer picture of contemporary thought on the issue. The writings of Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesarea to the tombs of the martyrs in Cappadocia describe the cult of the martyrs or the theology of martyrdom as expressed in their writings and shed light on their position with regard to Christian sacred space and local pilgrimage.

Keywords:   Gregory, martyrs, Caesarea, Cappadocia, theology

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