The Three Holy Hierarchs
The Three Holy Hierarchs is a feast day and a holiday in Greece that celebrates the patron saints of education: Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Theologian. These three men are venerated as saints not only in Catholicism but also in Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and other Christian denominations.
It’s a day that’s observed on January 30th and has traditionally been a day off for schoolchildren all across Greece. However, that changed in January of 2020 when the Education Ministry announced that the holiday would now be a school day. These rules apply not only to private but also to public primary and secondary schools in the country.
The History of The Three Holy Hierarchs
During the 11th century, a debate raged in Christian churches over which of the three hierarchs was indeed the greatest. Some people believed it was Saint Basil, while others were firmly in the corner of John Chrysostom. Each of these saints had their own feast day in January—with St. Basil having his on January 1st, Saint Gregory on January 25th, and John Chrysostom on January 27th. The Eastern Churches declared that each was equal before God. That’s when all three feast days were combined and celebrated on January 30th.
Observing The Three Holy Hierarchs
Traditionally, this day would be a school holiday, but that’s no longer the case. It’s also a working day, so businesses are open as usual. On this day, the devout will attend religious services. It’s also a day for people to learn more about Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Theologian.