Gregory of Nazianzus was born into an aristocratic Christian family in Cappadocia during the reign of the emperor Constantine. He received a superb education in Athens and entered into the monastic life with his classmate and friend Basil (who would become known as "Basil the Great"). After reluctantly submitting to ordination to the priesthood in 362, he subsequently became the Bishop of Sasima. Upon the accession of Theodosius I to the imperial throne in 379 and the convening of the Council of Constantinople in 381, Gregory was summoned to the eastern imperial capital to serve as bishop of that city and as presider over the council. The unfortunate incidents that occurred in Constantinople at that time impelled Gregory to retire to his boyhood home and to devote himself to writing. The autobiographical poems in this volume relate the events of his life through his own unique perspective.