ABSTRACT. Entitlement can be understood in two different ways: first, you do something meritorious and somebody gives you a title or entitles you in some way; second, you inherit a title without having done great things necessarily. In St. Gregory of Nazianzus’ poetry we find both kinds of entitlement to dignity. In the first case, in order to achieve progress towards the Kingdom of God, which implies a dignifying lifestyle, according to Gregory, one has to work hard to reach purification through the practice of virtue, even better, through an ascetical life, and by following Christ. In the second case, as we are God’s children the title of dignity was given to us when we were created in God’s image. Like the image, dignity is inherent in us, yet diminished and it is our job to work hard through a special Christian way of living in order to make it reach the original splendor.

Keywords: Saint Gregory of Nazianzus; human dignity; imago Dei; theological poems; responsibility

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PhD; Professor at Metropolitan College of New York,
School for Human Services and Education,
New York, USA

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