The Three Holy Hierarchs are St. Basil (or Vasili), St. John Chrysostom, and St. Gregory the Theologian. They all lived a holy and yet public life in the latter part of the 4th century, and were great teachers and theologians. St. Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, consecrated his former schoolmate Gregory (also known as “Nazianzen” from his hometown) as bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia. St. Gregory was then called upon to serve as the Patriarch of Constantinople, but resigned this office when a quarrel broke out over his election.
St. John Chrysostom also served later as the Patriarch of Constantinople, and although his sermons were universally lauded (“Chrysostom” means “golden mouth”), his honesty and unbending devotion to the Christian faith caused the Empress Eudoxia to persecute him to death. In the 11th century when devotion to the three led to partisan rivalries among the Faithful, they appeared in a vision to a holy bishop telling him, “We are one in God,” and charging him with the institution of this common feast. Truly there are no rivalries in Heaven, but mutual honor and respect instead.