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It was then that his great powers were called into action.
Hot-blooded and somewhat imperious, Basil was also generous and sympathetic.
In 370, Eusebius died, and Basil was chosen to succeed him, and was consecrated bishop on June 14, 370.
His new post as bishop of Caesarea also gave him the powers of exarch of Pontus and metropolitan of five suffragan bishops, many of whom had opposed him in the election for Eusebius's successor.
However, Basil's bishop, Dianius of Caesarea, had subscribed only to the earlier Nicene form of agreement.
Basil eventually abandoned the Homoiousians, and emerged instead as a strong supporter of the Nicene Creed.
In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant.
He also had the courage to criticize public officials who failed in their duty of administering justice.
At the same time, he preached every morning and evening in his own church to large congregations.
I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, and devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish. I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth, and I recognized the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world.
Basil instead felt drawn toward communal religious life, and by 358 he was gathering around him a group of like-minded disciples, including his brother Peter.