St. Nonna was the wife of St. Gregory of Nazianzus and she was responsible for converting Gregory to the Christian faith. All three of her children became saints. Her feast day is August 5th.

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Full Biography

St. Nonna, the mother of St. Gregory the Theologian, was the daughter of Christians named Philotatos and Gorgonia, who raised her in Christian piety. St. Nonna entered into marriage with Gregory of Arianzus, who was the rich landowner of an estate in the Arianzus and Nazianzos districts. Unfortunately, the marriage caused great misery for the holy soul of St. Nonna. Her husband was a pagan, a follower of the sect of the Supremists, who venerated a supreme god and observed certain Jewish rituals, while at the same time worshiping fire.

St. Nonna prayed that her husband would turn to the One True God. Through the prayers of St. Nonna, her husband had a vision in his sleep. “It seemed to my father,” wrote St. Gregory, “as though he was singing the following verse of David: ‘I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord’ (Ps. 121/122: 1). He had never done this before, though his wife had often offered her supplications and prayers for it.”

The Psalm was strange to him, but along with its words, a desire also came to him to go to church. When she heard about this, St.. Nonna told her husband that the vision would bring the greatest pleasure if it were fulfilled.

Her husband, Gregory, went to the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea, where he made known his conversion to Christ. He was baptized, ordained presbyter, and then Bishop of Nazianzos devoting himself totally to the Church. At the same time as his consecration as bishop, St. Nonna was made a deaconness. With the same zeal with which she had raised her children, she now occupied herself in performing works of charity.

Her final years brought St. Nonna many sorrows. In 368, her youngest son, Caesarios, died, and the following year, her daughter died. St. Nonna bore these losses submitting to the will of God. In early 374, the hundred-year-old St. Gregory the Elder fell asleep in the Lord. After his death, St. Nonna hardly ever emerged from the church. Soon after his death, she died at prayer in the temple on August 5, 374.