Emmelia (or Emilia) of Caesarea
|Died||30 May 375|
Caesarea in Cappadocia
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Feast||30 May (Western Church, Some Eastern Churches)|
8 May (Some Eastern Churches)
1 January (Russian Orthodox)
|Attributes||Mother of Saints|
Emmelia of Caesarea was born in Cappadocia, a province of the Roman Empire (nowadays Central Anatolia, Turkey). She died May 30th, 375 AD. She was born in the late third to early fourth century, a period in time when Christianity was becoming more widespread, posing a challenge to the Roman government and its pagan rule. She was the wife of Basil the Elder and bore nine or ten children, including Basil of Caesarea (born circa 330), Macrina the Younger, Peter of Sebaste, Gregory of Nyssa, and Naucratius.
Emmelia—also known as Emilia or Emily—is venerated as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church and is said to have died on May 30, 375. However, she is not the only woman in her family to be venerated as a saint. Both her mother-in-law, Macrina the Elder, as well as her daughters, Macrina the Younger and Theosebia are recognized as saints in the Catholic Church (except for Theosebia) and Eastern Orthodox Church.
Emmelia spent much of her later years living with her eldest daughter, Macrina the Younger. Macrina the Younger had a profound impact on her mother. With her husband no longer around, Emmelia and her daughter lived a life dedicated to Christianity, surrounded by servants whom they treated as equals, at Macrina the Younger's insistence. Their ascetic way of life attracted a following of women which created a convent-like atmosphere, where one was considered rich if she lived a pure and devout Christian life and disregarded the materialistic lure of earthly pleasures and possessions.
Caesareae, in Cappadocia, sanctorum Basilii et Emmeliae uxoris, qui fuerunt parentes beatorum Basilii Magni et Gregorii Nysseni ac Petri Sebastensis Episcoporum, atque Macrinae Virginis. Hi vero sancti conjuges, tempore Galerii Maximiani, extorres facti, Ponticas solitudines incoluere; ef post persecutionem, filiis suarum relictis virtutum heredibus, in pace quieverunt. [At Caesarea in Cappadocia, the holy Basil and Emmelia his wife, who were the parents of the blessed Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter, Bishop of Sebaste, and Macrina, virgin. These holy spouses, in the time of Galerius Maximian, banished, and have the deserts of Pontus; after the persecution, leaving their children heirs of their virtues, died in peace.]