St Gregory of Nazianzus was held in high esteem as a bishop, educator, rhetorician and writer by both his contemporaries and by future generations. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of patristic age. Gregory received a classical as well as religious education, studying at various academic centres of the empire. What made a profound impact on him was his university studies in Athens, where he developed a close friendship with his fellow student, Basil. Upon finishing his education he taught rhetoric in his hometown for a short time, but then he decided to put his 'logoi' in the service of the Logos. It is generally agreed that he highly appreciated Greek culture and acknowledged a suitable place for it in the Christian education. Throughout his life he maintained a warm-hearted attitude towards Greek 'paideia', and always seemed to show much interest in the field of education. In one of his didactic poems (On virtue) he focused on the issue of proper education, which, for him, was a lifelong process that required rising in virtue. Thus, according to the bishop, the best Christian formation includes traditional school education, biblical reading and, first and foremost, ascetic practice. He was also anxious to make his young readers realize the prime objective of human life. The salvation of soul and the idea of theosis meaning deification were used to recognize the very aim of the life of 'arete'.
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