Tag Archives: Gregorii Nyssenii

Gregory of Nyssa on speaking in tongues — source texts

Pertinent source texts on the meanings of Pentecost and Babel by the fourth-century Bishop, Gregory of Nyssa.

The Greek text of Gregorii Nysseni’s, Oratio de Spiritu Sancto Sive in Pentecosten, relating to Pentecost

As found in Migne Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 46. Col. 697 – 699


Σήμερον γὰρ κατὰ τὴν ἑτήσιον τοῦ ἔτους περίοδον τῆς πεντηκοστῆς συμπληρουμένης, κατὰ τὴν ὤραν ταύτην, ἔιγε περί τήν τρίτην ὣραν τῆς ἡμέρας ἐσμὲν, ἑγένετο ἡ ἀνεκδιήγτος χάρις. Κατεμίχθη γὰρ πάλιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὸ Πνεῦμα, ὅπερ πρότερον διὰ τὸ γενέσθαι σάρκα τὸν ἄνθρωπον τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν ἀπεφοίτησε· καὶ διὰ τῆς βιαίας ἐκείνης πνοῆς, τῶν πνευματικῶν τῆς πονηρίας δυνάμεων, καὶ πάντων τῶν ῥυπαρῶν δαιμονίων ἁποσκεδασθέντων ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀέρος, ἐν τῇ καθόδῳ τοῦ Πνεύματος, πλήρεις τῆς θείας δυνάμεως ἐν εἴδει πυρὸς, οἱ ἐν τῷ ὑπερῴῳ καταλειφθέντες ἐγένοντο· οὑδὲ γάρ ἑστι δυνατὸν ἅλλως μέτοχον Πνεύματος ἁγίου γενέσθαι τινὰ, μὴ τῷ ὑπερῴῳ τῃς ζωῆς ταὺτης ἑνδιαιτώμενον. Ὅσοι γὰρ τὰ ἅνω φρονοῦσι, μεταθέντες ἑαυτῶν ἁπὸ γῆς εἰς οὐρανὸν τὸ πολίτευμα, τοῦ ὑπερῴου τῆς ὑψηλῆς πολιτείας ὄντες οἰκήτορες, ἐν μετουσίᾶ τοῦ ἀγίου Πνεύματος γίνονται. Οὕτω γάρ φησιν ἡ ἱστορία τῶν Πράξεων, ὅτι συνηγμένων αὑτῶν ἐν τῷν ὑπερῴῳ, τὸ καθαρὸν ἐκεῖνο καὶ ἅϋλον πῦρ εἰς εἴδη γλωσσῶν, κατὰ τὸν ἁριθμὸν τῶν μαθητῶν, διασχίζεται. Ἐκεῖνοι μὲν οὖν Πάρθοις, καὶ Μήδοις, καὶ Ἑλαμίταις, καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἔθνεσι διελέγοντο, κατ’ἐξουσίαν πρὸς πᾶσαν ἐθνὶκην γλῶσσαν τὰς ἑαυτῶν φωνὰς μεθαρμόζοντες· Ἐγώ δέ, καθώς φησιν ὁ Ἀπόστολος, θέλω πέντε λόγους ἐν Ἐκκλησίᾳ τῷ νοΐ μου λαλῆσαι, ἵνα καὶ ἄλλους ὠφελήσω, ἤ μυρίους λόγους ἑν γλώσσῃ. Τότε μὲν χρήσιμον το ὀμόφωνον γίνεσθαι τοῖς ἀλλογλώσσοις, ὡς ἄν μὴ ἀνενέργητον εἴη τὸ κήρυγμα τοῖς ἀγνοῦσι, τῇ φωνῇ τῶν κηρυσσόντων ἐμποδιζόμενον· νῦν μέντοι τῆς κατὰ τὴν πυρίνην γλῶσσαν τοῦ Πνεύματος εἰς φωτισμὸν τῶν δι’ἀπάτης ἐσκοτισμένων.


The Latin translation from the Greek text of Gregorii Nysseni, Oratio de Spiritu Sancto Sive in Pentecosten.

As found in Migne Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 46. Col. 697 – 699


Hodie enim transactas, juxta annui orbis stata tempora, quinquaginta a Paschatis festivate diebus, hac ipsa, tertia scilicet diei hora, donum illud hominibus largitus est Deus, quod omnem dicendi vim superat. Rursus enim homini admistus est ille Spiritus, qui antea, propterea, quod homo esset caro, a natura nostra recesserat, et spiritualibus nequitiae potestatibus per vehementem illum spiritum disjectis, cunctisque foedis daemonibus ejusdem adventu ex aere expulsis, divina virtute, speciem ignis prae se ferente, repleti sunt, qui in superiore domus parte degebant ; neque enim fieri potest, ut quis sancti Spiritus particeps fiat, nisi in sublimiori hujus vitae instituto versetur. Nam qui ea, quae sursum sunt, sapiunt, et vitae conversatione, e terra in coelum translata, in coenaculo sublimis illius vitae rationis habitant, hi sancti Spiritus participes fiunt. Congregatis enim in coenaculo discipulis, ut in Actuum apostolorum historia narratur, ignis ille divinus omnisque materiei expers, ad linguarum instar, pro eorumdem discipulorum numero, divisus est. Illi ergo Parthos, Medos, et Elamitas, ac reliquas gentes alloquebantur, ad quarumlibet earum linguas voces suas pro libitu accommodantes. At ego, ut inquit Apostolus, malo, sensu meo quinque verba loqui in Ecclesia, ut aliis etiam prosim, quam decem millia verborum in lingua. Verum tunc quidem multum profuit, apostolorum vocem aliarum gentium linguis aptari, ne praeconum linguam ignorantibus Evangelii promulgatio incassum fieret; nunc autem quoniam una eademque lingna(1)I think this an MPG printer error. This should read lingua utimur, igneam debemus Spiritus linguam exquirere, qua eos qui per errorem in tenebris versantur, illuminemus.


Gregorius Nyssenus Theol., Contra Eunomium

The portion relating to the confusion of tongues at Babel, the nature of human and divine speech, and slight reference pentecostal speaking in tongues.

The original text can be found in two locations:

  • Thesaurus Linguae Graecae: Gregorius Nyssenus Theol., Contra Eunomian (2017.030) Book 2, Chapter 1 [247ff] – as taken from W. Jaeger, Gregorii Nysseni opera, vols. 1.1 & 2.2. Leiden: Brill, 1960.

  • Migne Patrologia Graeca Vol. 46. Lib. XII Col. 993ff. A pdf of the relative pages are provided here. mpgvol45col993ff

  • An English translation can be found at Gregory of Nyssa: Against Eunomium from a Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. second series. Volume 5. Philip Schaff, Henry Wace, ed. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 1892. Pg. 275ff

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