St. Basil often called St. Basil the Great, was the son of St. Basil the elder, his paternal grandmother was St. Macrina
the Elder, his sister was St. Macrina
the Younger, and his brother was St. Gregory
He was born in Caesarea in 330, where was well educated. He and was expected to become a teacher and rhetotician as his father had been. During his studies in Caesarea he developed a great admiration for the bishop at the time, Dianius.
From Caesarea he went first to Constantinople, and from there on to Athens where he befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus. He he left Athens without any desire for spiritual enlightenment.
However, Basil met Dianius, his boyhood idol, baptised and then ordained him. He then fell in with his sister, Macrina who had just finished creating a religious community at Annesi. Basil tried to find revalation by visiting the eremetic monastaries of Egypt, Palestine, Coele-Syria and Mesopotamia.
He returned impressed by the monks and founded his own monastary at Pontus. He introduced the cenobitic(community) variation on the hermit lifestyle to Asia Minor, becoming an important figure towards monasticism and precursor to St. Benedict.
In 360 he travelled with two companions to the emperor at Constantinople where he supported Basil of Ancyra. The next year he condemned Dianius for signing the heretical creed of Rimini. When Dianius died in 362, having reconciled with Basil, it is believd that Basil had a hand in the election for the next Bishop of Caesarea. Basil was much more capable than the new bishop and ill feeling developed between the two. Basil retired to Pontus to prevent discord.
In 365 Valens was trying to impose Arianism on the clergy and a powerful presence. Basil was reinstated as Head of the Diocese and reconciled with Eusebius. He was a man of remarkable abilities who settled disagreements with fairness and finality, he also cared for the poor during times of famine. In 370 Basil became the Bishop of Caesarea, a town that at the time was powerful and wealthy. His influence spread far beyond Asia Minor, he was still opposed by Emperor Valens and the defeated minority of Arian bishops, although he apparently was able to win over most of his opponents eventually.
Basil fought make the priesthood more exclusive, to keep bishops from simony, and to make sure the holy tests were more faithfully observed by clerics and laymen alike. He also got heavily involved in the theological debates that were causing so many problems in Christendom at the time, apparently he was almost impossible to beat with his calm defence of doctrine and principles.
He erected the Basileiad, a house to care for the poor, where they could get training and medical treatment.
Eventually he became seen as a major influence on the oriental church, and his area of influence was seen as an ideal model for the rest of Christendom. Nevertheless, he was not liked in Rome, because he often requested help to deal with heresis.
Basis died in 379. As well as being a man of great acts, he wrote many theological works for he early church.