St. Gregory of Nazianzus

St. Gregory of Naziansus painting by Melissa Carmon.jpg

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 35" x 60", Oil on Panel, by Melissa Carmon


"May You be benevolent, You, the Hereafter of all things.” -St. Gregory of Nazianzus


I had forgotten 
That darkness that knows no walls 
No locks no doors 
Sand in wind 
pulling apart matter  
Darkness that mocks  
Darkness that masks
a lurking terror  

Never mind the embroilment of emperors  
Never mind those who step 
Out of a chorus  
With tongues like blades 
And stone arrows 
Never mind the pressures and  
Private heresies of being misunderstood  
By masses  


On the horizon line of time  
The whole of humanity looks to you 
Like a hungry animal 
We knew there were powers beyond us 
We could feel them  
In the woods  
Riding the sky 
Writhing in cruelty behind  
The look in someone's eye 

Yes all we knew were Caesars  
The din of weapons, the failure of men,
the sorrow of women,  
Streets filled with indecent statues 
Frozen in immovable stone 

Oh only lover of mankind
Blood saves blood.  
And you, the beautiful one  
Desire of ages 


The nameless terrors of night
the arrows that fly by day  
They lodged in Your palms  
And out bled life 
When the western sky turned to rose 
I knew that instead of nightfall  
It meant the dawn 

In a world washed clean
Everything that we had hoped for 
Which hurt 
Begins to breathe again
And the ones marked with blood sleep at last in peace 
Even in this world, beneath bowers of leaves,
on hard palettes, in down beds

I'm looking for the one thing 
Blood saves blood.  
It is You, the Beautiful One  
Desire of ages 

I have seen you in the willows,
I have seen you in the sky,
Author of Rainbows,
and the small feathers of birds’ throats

“May you be benevolent,
You, the hereafter of all things.” 

Historical Information:  Gregory of Nazianzus (330 CE- 390 CE) is one of the three Capadocian Fathers, along with Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa.  He is well known for his work on the theology of the Holy Spirit. A dear friend of Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzus had a temperament suited to solitude.  He served briefly as a bishop, but preferred to live a solitary life where he pursued monasticism.  A man of great intellect and sensitivity, he is well known for his theological works and his poetry. The quote at the beginning and end of the poem is a quotation from his poetry.

Melissa Carmon