Letters, Volume 1 (1–185) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 13)

Letters, Volume 1 (1–185) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 13)

Translated by AGNES CLARE WAY
with notes by ROY J. DEFERRARI
Copyright Date: 1951
Pages: 363
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b02t
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  • Book Info
    Letters, Volume 1 (1–185) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 13)
    Book Description:

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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1113-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xii)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-2)

    The letters of St. Basil, three hundred and sixty-eight in number, which comprise the most vivid and most personal portion of his works, give us, perhaps, the clearest insight into the wealth of his rich and varied genius.¹ They were written within the years from 357, shortly before his retreat to the Pontus, until his death in 378, a period of great unrest and of persecution of the orthodox Catholic Church in the East. Their variety is striking, ranging from simple friendly greetings to profound explanations of doctrine, from playful reproaches to severe denunciations of transgressions, from kindly recommendations to...

  4. 1. To Eustathius, the Philosopher
    (pp. 3-4)

    Though I had for some time been disheartened by the malice of what men call Fortune, which has always put some obstacle in the way of our meeting, you cheered and consoled me mightily by your letter. As it chanced, I was already pondering the question of whether or not there is any truth in the popular saying that a certain Necessity or Fate controls our affairs, both great and small; that we in ourselves are masters of nothing; or, at any rate, that a sort of chance directs the lives of men. You will readily pardon these reflections when...

  5. 2. Basil to Gregory
    (pp. 5-11)

    I recognized your letter just as men recognize the children of friends from their unmistakable resemblance to their parents. For, you say that the environment is not important in implanting in your soul a desire to live with us until you learn something of our customs and our manner of life. This disposition of mind was characteristically yours and worthy of your soul, which regards all things here below as nothing in comparison with the promised happiness reserved for us hereafter. But, I hestitate to write what I myself do in this solitude, night and day, seeing that, although I...

  6. 3. To Candidianus
    (pp. 12-13)

    When your letter came into my hands, it aroused a feeling worthy of your hearing. I was in awe of it, thinking it was bringing some official announcement; while I was breaking the seal, I dreaded to look at it as any Spartan prisoner ever dreaded to see the Laconian Dispatch.² But, upon opening and examining it in every detail, I was moved to laughter, partly indeed from the pleasure of hearing no bad news, and partly because of the comparison I made of your actions with those of Demosthenes. He, when he defrayed the cost of bringing out a...

  7. 4. To Olympius
    (pp. 13-14)

    What are you doing, O wondrous man,² driving my loved Poverty, the guardian of philosophy, out of my solitude? You would likely have to flee prosecution for ejecting her, if she should perchance receive the gift of speech. She would probably say: ‘I chose to dwell with this man, because now he praises Zeno, who, having lost everything in a shipwreck, uttered no complaining words, but said, “Well done, a Fortune, you are helping to reduce me to one threadbare cloak.”, Again, he praises Cleanthes,³ who hired himself out to draw water from a well to earn money for his...

  8. 5. A Letter of Condolence to Nectarius
    (pp. 14-17)

    On the third or fourth day after I had received the dazing report of your crushing misfortune, while I was still bewildered because of the meagerness of detail given by the messenger who brought the distressing news, and, moreover, while I was still skeptical of the current report because of my earnest wish that it might not be true, a letter came from the bishop giving in full the pitiable tidings. I need not say how grieved I was nor how many tears I shed. For, who is so stony-hearted or so entirely devoid of human sympathy as to hear...

  9. 6. A Letter of Condolence to the Wife of Nectarius
    (pp. 17-19)

    I had thought to maintain silence toward your Modesty,² considering that, just as the most delicate of remedies causes pain to an inflamed eye, so also condolence offered in a moment of excessive pain, even though it brings much consolation, seems in some way to be distressing to a soul afflicted with deep anguish. But, when it occurred to me that my words would be addressed to a Christian who had long since been taught to recognize the ways of Divine Providence and who was prepared for the vicissitudes of life, I concluded it was not right for me to...

  10. 7. To His Companion, Gregory
    (pp. 20-20)

    Even when I was writing to your Eloquence, I knew well that every theological expression is less than the thought in the mind of the speaker and less than the interpretation desired by him who seeks, because speech is in some way too weak to serve perfectly our thoughts.² If, therefore, our thought is deficient, and the tongue more so than the thought, what ought we to have expected in regard to our utterances except criticism for poverty of words? For this reason it really was not possible to pass over your question in silence. For, there is danger of...

  11. 8. An Apology to the Caesareans for His Withdrawal, and a Defense of the Faith
    (pp. 21-40)

    I have frequently wondered at your affection toward us, and your marks of deference to our insignificance, petty and weak as we are, and possessed, probably, of so few lovable qualities. For, you encourage us with your words, mentioning our friendship and our fatherland as though trying, by an appeal to my patriotism, to induce a fugitive to return to you once more. I indeed admit that I have become a fugitive, nor would I deny it; but now, since you desire, you may learn the cause.

    First of all, then, bewildered at the time by the unforeseen event² as...

  12. 9. To the Philosopher Maximus
    (pp. 40-43)

    Words are truly the pictures of the soul. Therefore, we have come to know you through your letter, just as, according to the proverb, we know the lion by his claws.² And we are delighted in the discovery that you are not negligent in regard to the principal and greatest of virtues—love both for God and for your neighbor. We consider your kindness toward us a proof of the latter; your zeal for learning, of the former. It is well known to every disciple of Christ that all virtues are contained in these two.

    The writings of Dionysius³ for...

  13. 10. To a Widow
    (pp. 44-44)

    There is a certain method used for hunting doves, such as this. When the fowlers have caught a bird, they tame it so that it will eat in their presence. Then, rubbing its wings with perfume, they allow it to join the flock outside. The sweet odor of that perfume wins for the owner the rest of the wild birds, which follow the fragrance and the tame dove into the cote. But why am I beginning my letter thus? Because after taking your son Dionysius, formerly called Diomedes² and anointing the wings of his soul with the divine perfume, I...

  14. 11. Without Address, through Friendship
    (pp. 44-45)

    We spent the holy day, by the grace of God, with our children,² who, because of their extraordinary love of God, really made it a perfect feast day with the Lord. Now we have sent them on in good health to your Nobility³ with a prayer to the loving God that they may be given an angel of peace as a support and companion on the way, and that they may find you in good health and in perfect tranquillity, that, wherever you may be, serving the Lord and giving thanks to Him, you may continue, as long as we...

  15. 12. To Olympius
    (pp. 45-45)

    Formerly you wrote us, but briefly; now, not even a few words. Since your brevity keeps increasing with time, it is likely to become complete silence. Return, therefore, to your first practice; we shall no longer find fault with you for the laconic terseness of your letters. On the contrary, we shall highly esteem even your brief messages as tokens of your great love. Only, write us....

  16. 13. To Olympius
    (pp. 45-45)

    Just as everything else which is seasonal appears in its own proper time-flowers in spring, ears of corn in summer, and apples in autumn-so intellectual discussions are the fruit of winter....

  17. 14. To Gregory, His Companion
    (pp. 46-48)

    Although my brother Gregory wrote that for a long time he had been wanting to visit with us, and added that you also had the same desire, I am unable to remain here because, having been frequently deceived, I am reluctant to rely upon your coming, and also because I am drawn away by business. I must immediately depart for the Pontus, where perhaps some day, if God wills, we shall cease from our wandering. For, after giving up with difficulty the vain hopes which lance entertained regarding you, or rather, to speak more truly, the dreams (for I agree...

  18. 15. To Arcadius, Imperial Administrator
    (pp. 48-49)

    The citizens of our capital conferred a greater favor than they received when they provided me with an opportunity of writing to your Honor.² For truly, because of your usual innate gentleness toward all, the privilege they sought to obtain through a letter from us was theirs even before the letter was written.

    In fact, we regarded it an exceptional advantage to have the opportunity of addressing your peerless Honor,³ and we prayed to the holy God that we might continue to take delight in your growing favor with Him and in your increasing earthly renown, and also that we...

  19. 16. Against Eunomius, the Heretic
    (pp. 49-50)

    He who says that it is possible to attain to a knowledge of things really existing has, no doubt, directed his process of thought by some method and orderly procedure having its inception in his actual knowledge of existing things, and, after he has trained himself by the comprehension of objects rather insignificant and easily understood, he has simply advanced his perceptive faculty to the apprehension of that which is beyond all understanding.

    Let him, therefore, who boasts that he has arrived at a knowledge of things actually existing explain the nature of the most trifling of visible objects. Let...

  20. 17. To Origen
    (pp. 50-51)

    Listening to you delights us, but reading your expositions gives us even more pleasure. And great is our gratitude to the good God, who did not permit the truth to be brought to naught because of its betrayal by would-be erudites, but, on the contrary, supplied through you a defense for the word of true religion. Certainly, those men, like hemlock or leopard’s bane, or any other deadly herb, after flourishing for a short time, will quickly wither away. But on you, for your defense of His name, will the Lord bestow His reward fresh and ever new. May the...

  21. 18. To Macarius and John
    (pp. 51-52)

    The work of the farm does not surprise the farmer, nor the storm at sea astonish the sailor, nor the sweat of summer dismay the hireling; so, in truth, afflictions of the present life do not find unprepared those who choose to live holily. Each of these occupations is accompanied by its proper labor, well known to those pursuing it—a labor not chosen for its own sake but for the enjoyment of the anticipated good. Hopes, encompassing and welding together the whole life of man, mitigate these hardships.

    Now, some who toil for the fruits of the earth or...

  22. 19. To Gregory, a Companion
    (pp. 52-52)

    We have just received your letter; yours in the strict sense of the word, not so much in the distinctiveness of the handwriting as in the characteristic style of the letter itself. The words were few but thought-filled. We did not answer immediately, since we ourselves were away from home when the carrier delivered the letter to one of our friends and immediately departed. But now we salute you through Peter, paying a debt of friendly greeting and at the same time furnishing you an opportunity for a second letter. Assuredly, there is no labor involved in writing a laconic...

  23. 20. To Leontius, the Sophist
    (pp. 52-54)

    Our letters to you are, it is true, infrequent, but not more so than yours to us, although people have been continually coming from your country to visit us. Now, if you were dispatching letters by all of these, one after another, we could easily imagine ourselves with you and enjoy you just as if we were actually in your company, so continuous has been the stream of arrivals here.

    But, why do you not write? Certainly, a sophist has no other work except to write. And if you are lazy of hand, you have no need to write, for...

  24. 21. To Leontius, the Sophist
    (pp. 54-55)

    The good Julian seems to be deriving some personal advantage from the general state of affairs. For, at present, when all the world is full of men demanding payment and bringing charges, he also is clamoring for payment and vehemently making accusations. Only, in his case, it is not arrears in taxes but in letters. Yet, I fail to understand how it is possible that anything has been left unpaid to him. For whenever he gave a letter he received one in return. Unless you have a preference, too, for that well-known ‘fourfold’;² for even the Pythagoreans esteemed the ‘tetractys’³...

  25. 22. Concerning the Perfection of the Monastic Life
    (pp. 55-60)

    There are many things set forth in the divinely inspired Scriptures which must be observed by those who are earnestly endeavoring to please God. But at this time I wish to explain, necessarily briefly, as I understand them from the divinely inspired Scripture itself, only those points which have been questioned among you at present. I am therefore leaving behind me the easily comprehended evidence on each such point, so that those may take note who are engaged in reading and who also will be capable of informing others.

    The Christian ought to think thoughts befitting his heavenly calling² and...

  26. 23. Admonition to a Monk
    (pp. 61-62)

    There has come to me a man who says he despises the vanity of this life, the joys of which he has observed to be ephemeral, passing quickly away and merely furnishing material for eternal fire. He wishes to withdraw from a wretched and lamentable life, to forsake the pleasures of the flesh, and to travel for the future along the road that leads to the mansions of the Lord. Now, if he is really determined in his desire of a truly blessed manner of life, and has in his soul a noble and commendable longing—loving the Lord, our...

  27. 24. To Athanasius, Father of Athanasius, Bishop of Ancyra
    (pp. 62-64)

    I myself am convinced, nor do I think that your Excellency doubts it, that it is one of the most difficult, if not impossible, things, for the life of a man to be above slander. But, personally to provide no occasion to those keenly watching our actions or to those maliciously lying in wait for our slightest errors is both possible and characteristic of persons living wisely and according to the standards of piety. But, do not think that we are so easy-going and so credulous as to believe without investigation the accusations of chance persons. For, we bear in...

  28. 25. To Athanasius, Bishop of Ancyra
    (pp. 64-66)

    Some coming to us from Ancyra—so many that it is not easy to enumerate them, but all agreeing in their accounts—reported to me that you, my dear Friend² (how can I speak of it without hurting you), do not mention us in a very pleasant manner nor in accordance with your usual character. Yet, you may be sure, nothing human astonishes me, nor should any defection be a complete surprise, as I have learned from long observing the weakness of human nature and its readiness to espouse the opposite cause. I do not, therefore, consider it of importance...

  29. 26. To Caesarius, Brother of Gregory
    (pp. 66-67)

    Thanks be to God, who in your person has manifested His wondrous power by saving you from such a terrible death, and preserving you both for your country and for us, your relatives. It remains for us, indeed, not to be ungrateful nor unworthy of so great a bounty. On the contrary, we are convinced that we should proclaim according to our power the miracles of God, extolling in song this loving kindness which we have experienced in deed, and we should show our gratitude not only by word but also by deed, becoming such as we should be as...

  30. 27. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 68-68)

    When, by the grace of God and the aid of your prayers, I seemed to recover somewhat from my sickness and had gathered strength, the winter came, confining us indoors and compelling us at the same time to remain in our country. In fact, even if we had had a much milder winter than usual, it still would have been sufficient to hinder me not only from traveling during the season, but even from a possible venturing forth from my room.

    Yet, it is no small privilege for me to be held worthy of conversing with your Reverence by letters,...

  31. 28. A Letter of Condolence to the Church of Neo-Caesarea
    (pp. 68-73)

    Truly, that which has befallen you demanded our presence. that we might pay to the full with you, our closest friends, the honors due to a blessed man, and might share with you, at the sight of your greater sorrow, the dejection caused by your misfortune, and, also, that we might with you make necessary plans. But, since many things prevented our meeting in person, our only recourse was to share the present sorrows with you by letter.

    The remarkable endowments of the man, which especially caused us to consider that his loss was unendurable, could not be enumerated within...

  32. 29. A Letter of Condolence to the Church of Ancyra
    (pp. 73-74)

    The distressing report of your sad misfortune shocked us for a long time into silence. But, since we have somewhat recovered from the speechlessness which we suffered as do men who have been struck deaf by a mighty burst of thunder, we cannot, in the midst of our mourning over the occurrence, refrain from sending you a letter. We do this, not so much for your consolation (for what words could ever be found that would be able to heal such a great affliction), but to reveal to you by this message, as far as is possible, the grief of...

  33. 30. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 74-75)

    If I should enumerate, one after another, all the causes which have kept me at home until the present time, even though I was exceedingly eager to visit your Reverence, I would produce a story of interminable length. I omit mention of my continual illnesses, of the burden of the winter season, and of the constant succession of business affairs, which are well known and are already familiar to your Perfection. But, now, because of my sins, I have been bereft of the only consolation which I have had in this life, my mother.² And do not smile because at...

  34. 31. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 75-76)

    The famine has not yet released us from its grasp. Therefore, we must remain in the city both for the purpose of distributing aid² and for showing compassion for those in affliction. For this reason, I am not able even now to share the journey with my most revered³ brother Hypatius, to whom I have the right to give this name, not only as a title of respect, but because of the natural relationship existing between us, for we are of the same blood.

    Your Honor is not unaware of the nature of the illness he suffers. It grieves us...

  35. 32. To the Master Sophronius
    (pp. 76-78)

    Our brother Gregory,² the bishop, dearly beloved of God,³ is sharing the benefit of these times. For he, also, in common with everyone else, suffers the buffetings of successive slanders showered upon him like unexpected blows. For, men who do not fear God and who are, perhaps, hard pressed by the greatness of their troubles now insolently threaten him on the ground that Caesarius⁴ borrowed money from them.

    The loss of the money is, indeed, not serious, for he long ago learned to despise riches; but, since the executors had received very little of Caesarius’ wealth, his estate having fallen...

  36. 33. To Aburgius
    (pp. 79-79)

    Who, indeed, knows as well as you how to honor an old friendship, to revere virtue, and to share the sufferings of those in distress? So, when troubles, unendurable in any event, but especially contrary to his character, overtook our brother Gregory,² the bishop dearly beloved of God, we thought it best to flee to your protection and to try to obtain from you deliverance from these vexations. For, it is an intolerable situation that one to whom it is not natural nor desirable should be compelled to plead his own case in court, and that one who is poor...

  37. 34. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 79-81)

    How can we be silent in the present circumstances? Or, since we are not able to endure it patiently, how can we speak adequately of the existing conditions, so that our utterance will not be like a groaning but rather like a lamentation sufficiently evidencing the seriousness of the evil? For, even Tarsus² is lost to us. And this is not the only calamity, although it is unbearable. Nay, more bitter than this is the fact that a city so great and so conveniently situated that it links together within itself the Isaurians, the Cilicians, the Cappadocians, and the Syrians...

  38. 35. Without an Address, in Behalf of Leontius
    (pp. 81-81)

    I have already written to you and shall often write even more concerning many persons on the ground that they are kinsmen of mine. For, the needy are always with us, nor are we able to deny them a favor. Besides, no one is dearer to me nor more able to give me relief by his prosperity than my most revered brother, Leontius. So, treat his household as if you were coming to me myself, not in the state of poverty in which I now am with God, but as though I had obtained some wealth and was possessed of...

  39. 36. Without an Address, for Assistance
    (pp. 82-82)

    It has long been known to your Nobility, I think, that the presbyter of this place is my foster brother. What else, then, must I say to persuade your Excellency to look kindly upon him and to aid him in his affairs? Indeed, if you love me, as you assuredly do, then clearly you will wish to relieve with all means in your power those whom I love more than myself. What, then, is it that I request? That the assessment² formerly given be maintained for him. For, he indeed labors not a little in rendering service to us for...

  40. 37. Without an Address, for a Foster Brother
    (pp. 82-83)

    I am already viewing with suspicion the number of my letters. Indeed, against my will and because I cannot endure the annoyance of people begging us, I am forced to cry out. Nevertheless, I write, since I can devise no other method of escape than to give letters each time to those asking for them. Consequently, I fear lest, since many are carrying letters to you, this brother may be considered one of the many. I acknowledge that I have many friends and kinsmen in my native land and that I myself am placed in the position of a father²...

  41. 38. To His Brother Gregory, concerning the Difference between Substance and Person
    (pp. 84-96)

    Since, at present, many persons treating of the doctrines relating to the mystery [of the Trinity] make no distinction between the general term of ‘substance’ and the word ‘person,’ they fall into the same presumption, thinking that it makes no difference whether they say ‘substance’ or ‘person.’ For this reason, too, some of those who accept such expressions without examination are satisfied to speak of ‘one person’ in God, just as they say ‘one substance’; contrariwise, those admitting the three persons believe that they must, because of this admission, declare also the division of substances into the same number. Therefore,...

  42. 39. Julian to Basil
    (pp. 96-98)

    ‘Thou earnest not as a messenger of war,’ the proverb² says, but I would add from the comedy,³ ‘0 messenger of golden words.’ Come, then, prove this by your deeds, and hasten to us, for you will come as a friend to a friend.⁴

    Regular and constant occupation in affairs of state seems to be somehow burdensome to those who make it subordinate to their principal interest,⁵ but those sharing in my responsibility are, I am convinced, honorable and intelligent, and entirely reliable in all respects; therefore I grant myself some relaxation, so that it is possible even to take...

  43. 40. Julian to Basil
    (pp. 98-99)

    Although up to the present time we have shown the gentleness and kindliness natural from childhood, nevertheless we have gathered in all peoples under the sun as our subjects. For, lo! every nation of barbarians as far as the boundaries of the ocean has come, bringing gifts and placing them at our feet, as also have the Sagadares, who live along the Danube,² that comely, parti-colored, beetle-shaped folk, wild in aspect, and unlike human beings in appearance. These at present are prostrate at my feet, promising to do whatever is due to my sovereignty. And not only by this alone...

  44. 41. Basil to Julian, in Answer
    (pp. 100-101)

    Inconsequential are the vaunted deeds of your present high fortune. Miserable, also, is your boasted valor directed against us, yet not against us but against yourself. On my part, I shudder whenever I recall that you are invested with the purple and that your unworthy head is adorned with a crown; for all this without piety is not honorable, but renders your reign dishonored. Yet, since you have returned and have become exceedingly great, although, indeed, wicked spirits and those which hate all good raised you to this, you have begun not only to be presumptuous above all human kind,...

  45. 42. To Chilo, His Pupil
    (pp. 102-111)

    I shall become responsible for your salvation, my true brother, if you willingly accept our counsels as to your line of conduct, especially in those matters wherein you yourself have urged us to advise you. For, many have dared to begin the solitary life, but few, perhaps, have labored to bring it to a worthy end. By no means is the fulfillment in the mere intention, but in the fulfilling we have the fruit of our labors. For those, therefore, who do not hasten toward the accomplishment of their aim and who undertake the life of the monk only as...

  46. 43. Admonition to the Young
    (pp. 111-111)

    You who live a faithful solitary life and practice piety, observe and learn the way of life, according to the Gospel—subjection of the body, lowliness of spirit, purity of thought, and control of anger. When pressed into service² for the Lord’s sake, do still more; when defrauded, abstain from lawsuits; when hated, love; when persecuted, endure; when slandered, pray. Be dead to sin; be crucified for God; transfer all your care to the Lord, that you may procure that end where there are hosts of angels, assemblies of first-born, thrones of apostles, seats of prophets, sceptres of patriarchs, crowns...

  47. 44. To a Fallen Monk
    (pp. 112-115)

    We do not say, ‘Rejoice,’ for there is no rejoicing for the wicked. Nay, disbelief still holds me fast, nor does my mind conceive so heinous an offense and so great a crime as you have committed, if the facts are really as they now appear to all. I wonder how such great wisdom was swallowed up; how such great strictness of life became relaxed; whence came such blindness that enwrapped you; how, without taking thought of anything at all, you wrought such terrible and such great destruction of souls. If this report is true, you have both consigned your...

  48. 45. To a Fallen Monk
    (pp. 115-118)

    A twofold fear has permeated the innermost depths of my mind because of the report concerning you. For, either a certain unsympathetic mood takes precedence, laying me open to a charge of harshness, or again, when I desire to pity and to be indulgent, your infirmities change my friendly attitude of mind. For this reason, even when I began to compose this letter of mine, I nerved my stiffening hand indeed by reasoning, but my face, which was downcast because of my distress over you, I was not able to alter; such great feeling of shame for you poured over...

  49. 46. To a Fallen Virgin
    (pp. 118-128)

    Now is the time to utter aloud those words of the Prophet who said: ‘Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes, and I will weep for the slain of the daughter of my people?’² For, even if deep silence enfolds them and they lie dispossessed once and for all of their sense by the horrible deed (for by the deadly blow they have been deprived already of the very awareness of their condition), still we must not tearlessly disregard so great a fall. For, if Jeremias judged those whose bodies were smitten...

  50. 47. To Gregory, His Companion
    (pp. 128-130)

    ‘Who will give me wings like a dove?’² Or how can my old age be renewed, so that I may be able to visit your Charity³ there to satisfy the longing which I have of seeing you and to tell you the sorrows of my soul, and thus through you to find some solace for my afflictions? For, at the death of the blessed Bishop Eusebius⁴ we were seized with no little fear that, perchance, those who are ever lying in wait for the church of our metropolis and desiring to fill it with the tares of heresy would grasp...

  51. 48. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 130-131)

    It was with great difficulty that we were able to secure a carrier for this letter to your Reverence. For, the people of our country cringe so beneath the winter that they do not have the least courage to venture out of their houses. In fact, we have been covered with such a heavy snowfall that for two months we have been in hiding, buried with the very houses. Assuredly, then, understanding both our Cappadocian² timidity and natural sluggishness, you will pardon us for not writing sooner and informing your Honor of the affairs at Antioch. It is, no doubt,...

  52. 49. To Arcadius, the Bishop
    (pp. 131-132)

    I gave thanks to the holy God on reading your Reverence’s! letter; and I pray both that I may be worthy of the hope which you entertain of us, and that you may obtain the perfect reward for the honor which you bestow on us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were delighted beyond measure that, upon yourself assuming a charge becoming to a Christian, you had erected a home for the glory of the name of Christ, truly loving, as it is written, ‘the beauty of the house of the Lord.³ Doing so, you have provided...

  53. 50. To Bishop Innocent
    (pp. 132-133)

    Who is more fit than your Reverence in the Lord to inspire courage in the cowardly and arouse the sluggish. You have also manifested your excellence in all perfections, in being willing to descend to our Lowliness, proving yourself a true disciple of Him who said: ‘But I am in your midst,’ not as he who reclines at table but ‘as he who serves.’² For, you yourself deigned to serve to us your spiritual joy, to lift up our souls by your esteemed letter, and to throw around us, like infant children, as it were, the arms of your greatness....

  54. 51. To Bishop Bosporius
    (pp. 133-135)

    How deeply, think you, was my soul pained on hearing of that slander poured out against me by some of those who do not fear the Judge who will ‘destroy all that speak a lie’?² As a result, your affectionate words kept me sleepless nearly the whole night, so firmly had grief fastened upon my inmost heart. For, truly, according to Solomon, ‘slander humbles a man’;³ and no one is so insensible to pain as not, when made a prey of lying mouths, to suffer in soul and be bowed down to the earth. But, I must indeed bear up...

  55. 52. To the Canonesses
    (pp. 135-139)

    Our brother Bosporius,² a bishop dearly beloved of God, by his more favorable report concerning your piety, gave us as much joy as the distressing rumor which resounded about our ears had previously pained us. For, he said, by the grace of God, all those rumors spread abroad were fabrications of men not accurately understanding the truth about you. But, he adds that he found among you such slanders against us, indeed, as might be spoken by those who do not expect, on the day of His just retribution, to render an account to the Judge even of every idle...

  56. 53. To the Suffragan Bishops
    (pp. 140-141)

    The disgracefulness of this hitherto-considered-incredible matter about which I am writing, and which consequently has become the subject of suspicion and common conversation, has filled my soul with grief. Therefore, let him who is conscious of guilt receive my words on this subject as a remedy; anyone who is not guilty, as a precaution; and anyone who is indifferent—I pray that such may not be found among you—as a solemn protest.

    What is it that I mean? There is a rumor that some of you receive money from those you ordain, covering this over with the name of...

  57. 54. To the Suffragan Bishops
    (pp. 142-144)

    It grieves me exceedingly that the canons of the Fathers have now fallen into disuse, and that all exact observance has been banished from the churches. I fear that, since this indifference is steadily growing, the affairs of the Church will sink gradually into utter ruin. The practice formerly observed in the churches of God was to admit subdeacons² for the service of the Church only after a most thorough investigation. Their whole manner of life was closely inquired into, whether or not they were scoffers, or drunkards, or quarrelsome, or if they were moderating their youthful spirits so as...

  58. 55. To Paregorius, a Presbyter
    (pp. 144-145)

    I read your letter with all patience, and I am amazed that, although you could have defended yourself before us briefly and easily by your actions, you prefer to persist in the situation causing the charges against you, and attempt to cure the incurable by long speeches. We are neither the first nor the only ones, Paregorius, who decreed that women should not live with men. Why, read the canon published by our holy Fathers in the Synod of Nicaea which clearly forbids the introduction of women into the household.² The honor of celibacy lies in this—namely, in the...

  59. 56. To Pergamius
    (pp. 145-146)

    I am naturally forgetful, and the multiplicity of business affairs which has fallen to my lot is augmenting my natural weakness. Therefore, even though I do not remember that I have received a letter from your Nobility, I am persuaded that you sent us one, for surely you would not tell us a falsehood. Yet, that I have not answered is not my fault, but his who did not demand an answer. Now, however, this letter is going to you, not only making a complete apology for the past, but also offering an opportunity for a second salutation. Therefore, when...

  60. 57. To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
    (pp. 147-148)

    If the intensity of the joy with which you inspire us as often as you write were at all evident to your Reverence, I know that you would never have passed by any pretext offered you for writing. On the contrary, you would have contrived many excuses for sending us letters on every occasion, since you know the reward reserved by our loving Master for relieving the afflicted. For, everything here is replete with grief, and the thought of your Holiness is our only refuge from these evils. This thought is brought to us more vividly in your correspondence, letters...

  61. 58. To Gregory, His Brother
    (pp. 148-149)

    How can I argue with you by letter? How can I upbraid, as it deserves, your simplicity in all matters? Who, tell me, ever falls a third time into the same snares? Who falls a third time into the same trap? Even a brute beast would scarcely suffer that to happen to it. You forged one letter and brought it to me as from the most revered bishop, our common uncle, deceiving me, for I know not what purpose. I received it as sent by the bishop through you. Why should I not? In my excessive joy I showed it...

  62. 59. To Gregory, His Uncle
    (pp. 150-152)

    ‘I have kept silence. And shall I always keep silence and be content’² even longer to impose upon myself that most severe penalty of silence, neither myself writing nor hearing you salute me? For, since I have persisted in this grave decision until the present time, I think I may fittingly use the words of the Prophet: ‘As a woman in labor I have been patient,’³ always desiring either a public conference or a private talk with you, but failing always of my object because of my sins. I cannot ascribe to any other cause what has happened except that...

  63. 60. To Gregory, His Uncle
    (pp. 153-154)

    I have always been glad to see my brother. In fact, why should I not, since he is my brother, and such a one? And at the present visit I have received him with the same affection, and have not in any way altered my love. God forbid that any such thing should happen as would make me forgetful of the ties of nature and hostile toward my relatives. On the contrary, I have deemed his presence a consolation in my physical infirmities and various spiritual sufferings. I also rejoiced much at receiving the letter which he brought from your...

  64. 61. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 154-155)

    I have read the letter of your Holiness in which you expressed your sorrow at the actions of the disreputable governor of Libya, and we have truly mourned for our country² because she is the mother and nurse of such evils. We have grieved, too, for Libya, our neighbor, since she shares in these evils and has been delivered up to the brutal practices of a man who spends his life in cruelty and in licentiousness. For such reasons, it would seem, the wise words of Ecclesiastes³ were spoken: ‘Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child’...

  65. 62. A Letter of Consolation to the Church of Parnassus
    (pp. 155-156)

    Following an old custom established by long observance and revealing to you the fruit of the Spirit, love in God, we are visiting your Reverence by letter, sharing with you both your grief at your bereavement and your solicitude for the affairs now at hand. Concerning your distressing troubles we say only this, that it is an opportune time for us to look to the precepts of the Apostle and not to grieve ‘even as others who have no hope’;² not to be insensible, of course, to what has happened, but, while conscious of our loss, not to be overcome...

  66. 63. To the Governor of Neo-Caesarea
    (pp. 156-157)

    ‘The wise man, e’en though he dwells in a distant land, though I may never behold him with my eyes, I account my friend,’ says the tragic poet Euripides.² If we say, therefore, even though we have never enjoyed the favor of personal acquaintance with your Excellency,³ that we are your intimate friend, do not judge these words to be flattery. Our friendship has sprung from report that with mighty voice proclaimed your achievements to all men. Moreover, since meeting with the most revered Elpidius,⁴ we have come to know you as well, and have been as utterly captivated by...

  67. 64. To Hesychius
    (pp. 157-157)

    There are many things which even from the beginning have bound me to your Honor—our common love of letters, which is proclaimed in many places by those who have made proof of it, and our long-standing friendship with that admirable man, Terentius.² Added to this is the conversation which we had with that thoroughly excellent man who fulfills the claim of every intimate relationship with us,³ our most revered brother Elpidius.⁴ He described all your virtuous qualities (and he, if anyone, is most able to discern and express in words the virtue of a man). He enkindled in us...

  68. 65. To Atarbius
    (pp. 158-159)

    And what end will there be to our silence, if I, on the one hand, should claim the privileges of age and wait for you to take the initiative in offering salutations, while your Charity, on the other, should wish to persist in your sinister decision of maintaining silence? Yet, since I consider that defeat in matters of friendship has the force of victory, I admit that I am conceding to you the credit of seeming to have prevailed over my opinion. And I have been the first to start writing, knowing that charity ‘bears with all things, endures all...

  69. 66. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 159-162)

    I think that the present order or, rather, to speak more truly, disorder of the churches, grieves no one else so much as your Honor. Indeed, in comparing the present with the past you can observe how utterly different from the former the existing conditions have become. You can also infer that, if our affairs continue sinking to a lower level with the same speed, there will be nothing to hinder the churches from being changed completely in a short time to some other form. Frequently, while alone, I have had this thought—if the perversion of the churches appears...

  70. 67. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 162-163)

    In my earlier letter to your Honor it seemed sufficient to me to declare this only—that all those comprising the holy Church at Antioch, who are strong in their faith, should be brought into agreement and unity. My purpose was to make clear that the many sections which have now been formed should unite with Bishop Meletius, dearly beloved of God. But, since this same beloved fellow deacon of ours, Dorotheus,² has asked for more definite information on these matters, we are, perforce, adding by way of explanation that both the whole East and we, who are in complete...

  71. 68. To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
    (pp. 163-164)

    Hitherto, we wished to keep the most pious² brother Dorotheus,³ our fellow deacon, with us, so that at the end of our negotiations we might send him back to acquaint your Honor with the details of what has taken place. But, since we had long delayed, postponing matters from day to day, and since at the same time a certain plan occurred to us for action to be taken in our perplexity, we dispatched this same brother to meet your Holiness, personally to report everything, and to set forth our suggestion. Our purpose was that, if our ideas should appear...

  72. 69. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 164-168)

    The opinion which we have had for a long time of your Honor is always being confirmed as time advances; rather, it is even strengthened by the accumulation of successive incidents. Although it is quite enough for most men to watch over their own responsibilities, this does not suffice for you. On the contrary, you have as great a care for all the churches as for the one particularly entrusted to you by our benign Lord. For, indeed, you never cease reasoning, admonishing, writing, and on every occasion sending the best counselors. And even now we have welcomed with much...

  73. 70. Without Address, concerning a Synod
    (pp. 168-170)

    To renew bonds characteristic of the early love and again to restore to vigor the peace of the Fathers, the heavenly and saving gift of Christ, which has been dimmed by time, is for us both essential and advantageous, and it will be, I well know, a pleasure to your Christ-loving spirit. For, what could be more pleasing than to see men who are separated by such great distances bound in a union of love into one harmonious membership in the body of Christ? Almost the whole East, most honorable Father (and by the East I mean the regions from...

  74. 71. Basil to Gregory
    (pp. 170-173)

    I received the letter from your Reverence through the most revered brother Helenius;² and what you intimated to us he in person clearly explained. As to how we were affected on hearing it, you certainly can have no possible doubt. But, since we have decided to consider our love for you superior to every grievance, we have received even this as is befitting, and we pray to the holy God that during the days or hours remaining to us we may be preserved in the same disposition toward you as in the past. For, during that time we were conscious...

  75. 72. To Hesychius
    (pp. 173-174)

    I know both your love for us and your zeal for good. Therefore, since I must appease my most beloved² son, Callisthenes,³ I thought that I would more easily accomplish my earnest desire if you would share my solicitude. The man has been vexed at the most eloquent⁴ Eustochius; and his vexation is just. He charges the latter’s servants with insolent and mad acts against him. We are asking him to relent, to be satisfied with the fear with which he has inspired both those overbold men and their masters, and to put an end to the quarrel by granting...

  76. 73. To Callisthenes
    (pp. 174-176)

    I gave thanks to God on reading the letter of your Nobility: first, because I received a greeting from a man who chose to honor us, for, truly, we value most highly association with eminent men; secondly, because I had the pleasure of being kindly remembered. The sign of remembrance was the letter. When I received it and understood its purport, I marveled at how truly, according to the opinion of all, it bespoke paternal reverence. For the fact that a man, incensed and angered, and eager for vengeance against those who had vexed him, really put an end to...

  77. 74. To Martinianus
    (pp. 176-180)

    How much, think you, would I esteem the opportunity of our some time meeting and conversing together at greater length, so that I may enjoy all your splendid qualities? For, if it is important as an evidence of culture ‘to have seen the cities of men and to have learned their minds,’² association with you, I think, bestows this favor in a short time. In fact, what greater advantage is it for a person to see many men, one at a time, than to see one man who has acquired the experience of all men together? I would rather say...

  78. 75. To Aburgius
    (pp. 181-182)

    Although there are many qualities which make your character superior to that of others, nothing is so characteristically yours as zeal for your country. Moreover, because you make just returns to that country from which you are sprung, you have become so great that your fame is known throughout the whole world. This same country which brought you forth and nourished you has now returned to the incredible condition found in ancient tales, and no one coming into our city, not even one who is very well acquainted, would recognize it, so suddenly has it been transformed into a complete...

  79. 76. To the Master Sophronius
    (pp. 182-183)

    Truly, the magnitude of the misfortunes which have overtaken our country was impelling me to go to court and describe not only to your Excellency but also to all others who possess the greatest influence in civil affairs the despondency which has overspread our city. But, since my physical condition and the care of the churches hold me back, I have been forced, meanwhile, to voice my lamentation to your Lordship in a letter. And I say that no ship at sea, overwhelmed by violent winds, has ever disappeared from sight so suddenly, no city destroyed by earthquakes or flooded...

  80. 77. Without Address, concerning Therasius
    (pp. 183-183)

    This one advantage we have enjoyed from the administration of the great Therasius—the continuous visits of your Eloquence to us. But, since we have been deprived of our ruler, we have likewise suffered the loss of this advantage. Yet, since favors once bestowed upon us by God remain steadfastly with us and though memory of them are present in the souls of each of us even though we are separated in body, let us at least continue to write and tell each other our needs, especially at the present time when the storm has offered this briefly enduring truce....

  81. 78. Without Address, in Behalf of Elpidius
    (pp. 184-184)

    Your kindly regard for our most revered companion Elpidius has not escaped our notice—how, with your customary sagacity, you gave the prefect an opportunity to show his benevolence. Therefore, through this letter we now urge you to make this favor perfect, reminding the prefect personally to put in charge of our country the man on whom depends nearly the whole care of our public interests. Consequently, you will be able to suggest many plausible reasons which will necessarily cause the prefect to order him to remain in our country. Now, in what condition our affairs are here, and how...

  82. 79. To Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste
    (pp. 184-185)

    Even before I received your letter, I was aware of the distress which you feel for every soul and, especially, for our Lowliness, because I have been thrown into this conflict. And when I had received the letter from the most revered Eleusinius,² and had actually seen him present, I thanked God, who, through His spiritual aid, has granted us in our struggles for the cause of religion such an assistant and fellow soldier. And let it be known to your unsurpassed Reverence that, up to the present, we have suffered some attacks from high officials and these violent, since...

  83. 80. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 185-186)

    The more the disorders of the Church increase, the more do we turn toward your Perfection, believing that the one consolation left to us in our dangers lies in your leadership. You, indeed, have saved us from this terrible storm by the power of your prayers and by your knowledge of how to give the best suggestions in our troubles. This is believed by all alike who even slightly know your Perfection by hearsay or by experience. Therefore, do not be remiss in praying for us and encouraging us by your letters. For, if you had realized the greatness of...

  84. 81. To Bishop Innocent
    (pp. 186-188)

    As I was delighted at receiving your Charity’s letter, so in the same measure was I grieved because you have placed upon us a burden of responsibilities which exceeds our strength. For, how shall we be able, from so great a distance, to be in charge of such an important administration? Doubtless, as long as the Church possesses you, it rests, as it were, on its own supports. But, if the Lord makes some dispensation of your life, who as revered as you can I send out from here to care for the brethren? What you honorably and sensibly requested...

  85. 82. To Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 188-189)

    When we look into our affairs and perceive the difficulties by which every good action is restrained as if fettered by some chain, we fall into an absolute despair concerning ourselves. But, when again we look to your Grace and consider that our Lord has preserved you as the physician of the maladies in the churches, we resume our reflection and from the lapse into despair we rise up to the hope of better things. All the Church has been rent asunder, as your Wisdom does not fail to realize. And, no doubt, you see the situation on every side...

  86. 83. To an Assessor
    (pp. 189-190)

    My acquaintance and personal contact with your Nobility has been exceedingly brief, but my knowledge of you by repute, through which we are associated with many distinguished men, is neither slight nor unworthy of consideration. Now, whether you also have heard any chance mention of us, you yourself would know better than I. At all events, your reputation with us is as we have said. But, God has called you to an office which offers an occasion for kindness, one through which our country, completely beaten to the ground, can be restored. Therefore, I think that it is befitting for...

  87. 84. To an Official
    (pp. 191-193)

    What I am about to write is almost incredible, but for the sake of truth it shall be written. And this it is—that, although I had every desire to converse with your Honor as frequently as possible, when I found the occasion for this letter I did not rush eagerly to avail myself of the unexpected opportunity, but hesitated and shrank back. Now, the wonder in this is that when the chance for which I had prayed presented itself, I did not welcome it. And the reason—that I am ashamed to write not purely out of friendship, but...

  88. 85. Concerning the Fact That It Is Unnecessary to Take an Oath
    (pp. 193-194)

    We do not cease protesting in every synod and urging in private conferences this matter—that, in the case of public taxes, collectors must not exact oaths of farmers. My last resort is to protest solemnly before God and man by letter concerning this same subject, that it is your duty to cease bringing death upon the souls of men, to contrive some other methods of exacting payment, and so to allow men to keep their souls unharmed. We are writing this to you, not on the ground that you need a verbal exhortation (for you have present with you...

  89. 86. To an Official
    (pp. 194-195)

    I know that the greatest and principal care of your Honor is to comply in every way with the demands of justice, and the second, to benefit your friends and to exert yourself for those who have fled to your Lordship’s protection. In this, therefore, we are in complete agreement on the present occasion. Now, the matter for which we are making intercession is just and a favor to us whom you have deigned to count among your friends, and is also the due of those who call on your Firmness² for assistance in the injuries which they have suffered....

  90. 87. Without Address, concerning the Same Subject
    (pp. 195-195)

    I am astonished that, when you were acting as mediator, so much wrong was perpetrated against our fellow presbyter² that he was despoiled of the only means of livelihood that he possessed. And the most terrible part of it is that they who dared to do this laid the responsibility for what they had done upon you, whose duty it even was, far from permitting such a thing to happen, to prevent it with all your strength in the case of all men; certainly, if not all, at least in the case of our presbyters and of those who are...

  91. 88. Without Address, for a Tax-Collector
    (pp. 196-196)

    Your Honor, more than all others, knows the difficulty of collecting gold furnished by contribution.² Moreover, we have no better witness of our poverty than you, who in your remarkable kindness have both sympathized with us and up to the present shown all possible indulgence, at no time having altered the gentleness of your manners because of the agitating urgency of those in high authority. Therefore, since a little of the gold is still lacking from the whole account, and this must be collected from the contribution to which we urged the whole city, we ask your Clemency to prolong...

  92. 89. To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
    (pp. 197-198)

    The good God, in providing us with occasions for friendly greetings to your Honor, soothes the intensity of our longing. He Himself is witness of the desire which we have to see you personally and to enjoy your excellent and soul-profiting instruction. And now, through our fellow deacon, the most pious and zealous brother Dorotheus² who is going to you, we beseech you in the first place to pray for us, that we may not become an obstacle to the people, nor a hindrance to your prayers of supplication to the Lord. Next, we also suggest that you deign to...

  93. 90. To the Most Holy Brothers and Bishops of the West
    (pp. 198-200)

    The good God, who always joins consolations to afflictions, has even now in the midst of our many distresses let us find some degree of comfort from the letters which our most honorable father, Bishop Athanasius, received from your Rectitude and which he sent on to us. They are a testimony of sound faith and give proof of your inviolable harmony and union, making clear that the shepherds are following in the footsteps of the Fathers and tending the people of the Lord with understanding. All these facts have gladdened us to such an extent as to relieve our dejection...

  94. 91. To Valerian, Bishop of the Illyrians
    (pp. 201-202)

    Thanks be to the Lord who permitted us to see in your Purity² the fruit of pristine³ love. Although separated from us in the flesh by such a great distance, you have united yourself with us by letters, and by embracing us with your spiritual and holy love you have engendered in our souls an unspeakably great affection. In fact, we have learned by experience the force of the proverb: ‘As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good tidings from a far country.’⁴

    For, the famine of love among us, honorable brother, is terrible. And the cause is...

  95. 92. To the Bishops of Italy and Gaul
    (pp. 202-207)

    To our most dearly beloved of God and most holy² brethren and fellow ministers in Italy and Gaul, bishops of like belief with us, we, Meletius,³ Eusebius,⁴ Basi⁵ Bassus,⁶ Gregory,⁷ Pelagius,⁸ Paul, Anthimus,⁹ Theodotus,¹⁰ Vitus,¹¹ Abraham,¹² Jobinus,¹³ Zeno,¹⁴ Theodoretus, Marcianus, Barachus, Abraham,¹⁵ Libanius, Thalassius, Joseph, Boethus, Iatrius,¹⁶ Theodotus, Eustathius,¹⁷ Barsumas, John, Chosroes, Iosaces¹⁸ Narses, Maris, Gregory,¹⁹ and Daphnus, send greetings in the Lord.

    Even a groan drawn forth repeatedly from the depth of the heart brings some relief to distressed souls, and perhaps, also, a tear trickling down has dispelled the greater part of an affliction. However, the telling of...

  96. 93. To the Patrician Caesaria, about Communion
    (pp. 208-209)

    Now, to receive Communion daily, thus to partake of the holy Body and Blood of Christ, is an excellent and advantageous practice; for Christ Himself says clearly: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting.’² Who doubts that to share continually in the life is nothing else than to have a manifold life? We ourselves, of course, receive Communion four times a week, on Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays;³ also on other days, if there is a commemoration of some saint.

    As to the question concerning a person being compelled to receive Communion by his own...

  97. 94. To Elias, Governor of the Province
    (pp. 209-211)

    I have been especially eager to approach your Honor myself, lest, because of my failure to appear, I should have less advantage than they who are slandering me. But, since the infirmity of my body has prevented me, afflicting me much more severely than usual, I have, of necessity, resorted to writing. Accordingly, O admirable Sir, when recently I met your Honor I was desirous of communicating with your Wisdom concerning all my temporal affairs, and I also wished to have some conversation in behalf of the churches, in order that, henceforth, no occasion might be left for slanders. But,...

  98. 95. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 212-213)

    Although I had long since written to your Reverence about other matters, and especially concerning our meeting with each other, I was utterly disappointed in my expectation, since the letter did not reach your Honor’s hands. The blessed deacon, Theophrastus,² who had taken the letter at a time when we were obliged to set out on certain visits, did not send it on to your Reverence, being prevented by the illness from which he died. This accounts for my writing too late to expect that there will be any advantage from this letter, because so little time remains. For Meletius...

  99. 96. To the Master Sophronius
    (pp. 213-214)

    Who is as devoted to his city, honoring even as he does his parents the land which bore and nurtured him, as you yourself are, you who pray for blessings for the whole city in general and for each person individually, and not only pray, but also confirm your prayers through your personal efforts? Certainly, it is by the grace of God that you are able to do such things, and may you retain this power for a very long time indeed, since you are so very kind.

    Nevertheless, our country became rich drowsing under your protection, because it had...

  100. 97. To the Senate of Tyana
    (pp. 214-216)

    The Lord who reveals the depths and makes manifest the counsels of hearts has also given to the lowly comprehension of artifices difficult, as some think, to understand. Therefore, nothing has escaped us; nor is anything which has been done still hidden. Nevertheless, we ourselves neither see nor hear anything, except the peace of God and what leads to it. For, even if others are powerful and great and self-reliant, we are nothing and of no worth. Consequently, we would never attribute so much to ourselves as to think that we, single-handed, could succeed in our difficulties, knowing well that...

  101. 98. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 216-218)

    Although I was exceedingly eager to go to Nicopolis, after receiving the letter from your Holiness containing your refusal to go, I gave up my desire, at the same time recalling all my infirmities. Moreover, I realized the perfunctory manner of those inviting me, giving us a cursory invitation through the most revered brother Hellenius,² the assessor of Nazianzus, and not deigning to send a second messenger to remind us of these same matters or to escort us on the road. At all events, since our sins have made us an object of suspicion to them, we feared lest, perhaps,...

  102. 99. To Count Terentius
    (pp. 218-223)

    Although I had felt the greatest eagerness to obey, at least in part, both the imperial command and your Honor’s friendly letter, whose every word and every opinion, I felt confident, was laden with a right motive and a noble intention, I was not allowed to direct my zeal to the work. And the cause—the first, indeed, and truest—is my sins, which everywhere come out to meet me and trip my steps; and, secondly, our estrangement from the bishop who had been assigned to co-operate with us. For, our most revered brother, Theodotus,² who had promised from the...

  103. 100. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 223-224)

    In the neighboring country of Armenia I beheld the letter of your Charity as men at sea would descry a beacon shining afar off on the waters, especially if the sea should happen to be wildly agitated by the winds. For, though, indeed, a letter of your Dignity is naturally pleasing and affords much comfort, yet, at that time especially, the circumstances increased my gratification from it. Now, what these circumstances were and how they grieved us I should not say, since I have decided once and for all to forget those distressful things. Our fellow deacon, however, will relate...

  104. 101. A Letter of Consolation
    (pp. 224-226)

    That this, our first letter to you, should have a more cheerful subject is a matter worthy of prayer. For, in this way, everything would have been according to our desire, because we wish that the whole life of all those who choose to live in piety should proceed prosperously toward a good end. But, these circumstances have been assuredly ordered for the benefit of our souls by our Lord who directs our lives according to His ineffable wisdom. For, through them, He has rendered life painful to you and has led us, who are joined with you through the...

  105. 102. To the Citizens of Satala
    (pp. 226-227)

    Constrained by your own appeals and those of the whole people, I took upon myself the care of your church and I promised you before God to leave undone nothing that should come within my power. Therefore, as it is written, I was compelled to touch, as it were, the apple of my eye.² Thus, my extraordinary esteem for you permitted me to remember nothing, neither relationship nor my intimacy with the man from childhood, in preference to your demands. On the contrary, I was forgetful of all that existed personally between us as friends. I took no account of...

  106. 103. To the People of Satala
    (pp. 227-227)

    The Lord has answered the prayers of His people, and through our Lowliness has given to them a shepherd worthy of the name, and not one who makes traffic of the title as many do. He is a man capable of pleasing you exceedingly in the name of the Lord who has filled him with His spiritual gifts, since you love the true doctrine and have accepted a life in accordance with the commands of the Lord....

  107. 104. To the Prefect Modestus
    (pp. 228-229)

    The very act of writing to so great a man, even if no other pretext were added, is to be esteemed a special honor in the eyes of the discerning, because association with men who preeminently surpass all others confers the highest distinction on those deemed worthy of it. But, as for me, who am in distress for my entire country, the petition to your Lordship is a necessity, and I beseech you to bear it kindly and as you are wont to do, and to stretch out your hand to our country which has already fallen to its knees....

  108. 105. To the Deaconesses, the Daughters of Count Terentius
    (pp. 229-230)

    I expected, in truth, to meet your Modesties when I stopped at Samosata; when I failed to do so, I did not bear the disappointment easily, wondering when it would be either possible for me to approach your neighborhood again or pleasing to you to visit our country. But, let those decisions remain with the will of the Lord.

    As to the present, however, when I found that my son Sophronius² was setting out in your direction, I gladly entrusted him with this letter which carries a greeting to you and reveals our disposition of mind—that, by the grace...

  109. 106. To a Soldier
    (pp. 231-231)

    Although we must thank the Lord for many things of which he has considered us worthy in our travels, we judge that the acquaintance with your Honor which was granted to us by our good Master is our greatest blessing. For, we have come to know a man who makes clear that it is possible even in the military life to maintain a perfect love toward God, and that it behooves the Christian to be distinguished not by the style of his dress, but by the disposition of his soul.

    Even at that time, therefore, we were most desirous of...

  110. 107. To the Widow Julitta
    (pp. 231-232)

    I was exceedingly distressed on reading in the letter from your Nobility that the same difficulties again beset you. What really should be done in regard to men who show such an unstable disposition, saying at one time one thing and at another another, and not abiding by their personal agreements? If, after the promises made before me and before the ex-prefect, the man now, as if he had said nothing, shortens to such an extent the appointed time, he seems to be absolutely beyond shame before us.

    Nevertheless, I have written to him, reprehending him, and reminding him of...

  111. 108. To the Guardian of the Heirs of Julitta
    (pp. 232-233)

    I was amazed when I heard that, forgetful of your former kind promises, so becoming to your Liberality,² you were now bringing a most severe and rigid claim against this sister of ours. What I should infer from the reports I do not know. For, I am not only conscious of your great generosity, acknowledged by those who have had experience of it, but I also remember your promises which you made before me and this man.³ You said that you were specifying in writing a rather short time, but would grant more, because you were willing to accomodate yourself...

  112. 109. To count Helladius
    (pp. 233-234)

    I apologize exceedingly for being troublesome to your Excellency, lest I should seem to make use beyond measure of your friendship because of your great authority. Nevertheless, I am not permitted by the stress of circumstances to be silent. Therefore, when I saw this sister, a relative of ours, suffering the affliction of widowhood and burdened with the care of the estate of her orphan son, now being oppressed beyond her strength by insupportable hardships, sick at heart I pitied her. I hastened to appeal to you, in order that, if it is at all possible, you may deign to...

  113. 110. To the Prefect Modestus
    (pp. 234-235)

    In the same measure as you have granted us honor and freedom of speech, being content in the gentleness of your disposition to descend to our level, in that measure and still more do we pray that our good Master will bestow on you an increase of dignity during your whole life. Although I had long ago set my heart on writing and enjoying the honor, yet, respect for authority restrained me, for I was careful lest I should ever seem to be using that freedom to excess.

    But, I now am forced to take courage from the fact that...

  114. 111. To the Prefect Modestus
    (pp. 235-236)

    I would not have had the courage in other circumstances to trouble your Excellency, since I know how to estimate myself and how to recognize the powers of others. But, when I saw this man, a friend of mine, acutely disturbed because he had been summoned, I dared to give him this letter, so that, by offering it in lieu of an olive branch,² he might meet with some kindness. Assuredly, even if we ourselves are of no account, our very moderation is sufficient to supplicate the kindest of prefects, and to obtain pardon for us, in order that, if...

  115. 112. To the Leader Andronicus
    (pp. 236-239)

    If I had such health as to be able easily to endure journeys and to bear the hardships of winter, I would not be writing. On the contrary, for two reasons I should be going in person to visit your Magnanimity. The first is that I might pay the long-standing debt of my promise (for I know that I agreed to go to Sebasteia, there to enjoy the company of your Perfection; and I did go, but I missed the meeting, since I arrived a short time after the departure of your Honor). And the second is that I might...

  116. 113. To the Presbyters at Tarsus
    (pp. 239-240)

    On meeting this man, I felt great gratitude toward the holy God, because by the presence of such a one He gave me comfort from my many afflictions, and through him clearly showed your love. From the principles of this one man I have learned, I might say, the zeal which all of you have for the truth. Now, what we discussed in private with each other he himself will inform you. But, what is proper for me to make known to your Charities is this.

    The present time shows a great inclination toward the destruction of the churches, and...

  117. 114. To Cyriacus and His Followers in Tarsus
    (pp. 241-242)

    Why should we proclaim among men who are sons of peace how great is the blessing of peace? Since, therefore, this blessing, great and wondrous and eagerly desired by all those who love the Lord, now runs the risk of being reduced to a bare name, ‘because iniquity has abounded, the charity of many having now grown cold,’² I think that those who serve the Lord sincerely and truly ought to have this one ambition—to bring back to unity the churches which have been severed from each other at ‘sundry times and in divers manners.’³ And, certainly, if I...

  118. 115. To the Heretic Simplicia
    (pp. 242-244)

    Ill-advisedly do men heap abominations upon their betters and indulge their inferiors. Therefore, I myself now restrain my tongue, stifling by silence any rebuke for the insolence directed against me. I shall wait for the Judge above who knows how to finally avenge every evil. For, even though a person should pour out money more plentifully than sand, he injures his soul if he tramples upon justice. Now, God always demands a sacrifice, not, I mean, as if needing it, yet accepting a pious and righteous mind as a precious sacrifice. But, when anyone treads on his own soul by...

  119. 116. To Firminus
    (pp. 244-245)

    Your letters are both rare and brief, either because of your reluctance to write, or for some other reasons—because you are planning to escape the satiety arising from voluminous correspondence, or even because you are accustoming yourself to brevity in speech. For us, certainly, they are not at all sufficient. However, even if their number should be excessive, they are less than we desire, because we wish to learn every detail about you—how your health is; how your practices of asceticism progress; whether you are persevering in the resolutions formerly determined upon, or have made some change, altering...

  120. 117. Without Address, on the Practice of Asceticism
    (pp. 245-246)

    I own that I am already indebted to your Honor; besides, this present solicitude in which we are involved necessarily makes us dependent on assistance in such troubles, even if those advising are chance persons, to say nothing of you, who are joined to us by many other lawful claims. And, so, it is not necessary to review the past, since we might say that we are responsible for our own disorders, because we were obstinately eager to depart from that blessed life of asceticism which alone leads to salvation. Perhaps, on this account also we were given over to...

  121. 118. To Jovinus, Bishop of Perrha
    (pp. 247-247)

    I hold you a debtor of a goodly debt. For, I made you a loan of love which I should receive again with interest, since even our Lord does not reject such a form of interest. Therefore, pay it, my dear Friend, by coming to visit our country. Now, that, certainly, is the capital. But, what is the interest? The fact of your being present, a man as far superior to us, as fathers are better than their sons....

  122. 119. To Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste
    (pp. 247-249)

    Through my most revered and most pious brother Peter² I salute your Charity, urging you now, as on every other occasion, to pray for me that, turning from these detestable and harmful habits of mine, I may, at length become worthy of the name of Christ. Now, assuredly, even if I do not speak, you and he will converse with each other about our concerns, and he will give you an exact account of what has happened, so that you will not accept without examination the base suspicions against us which in all likelihood those will invent who have been...

  123. 120. To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
    (pp. 249-250)

    I received a letter from Bishop Eusebius, dearly beloved of God, enjoining us to write again to the Western bishops concerning certain ecclesiastical affairs, and he wanted us to write the letter to be signed by all who are in communion. But, since I did not see how I could write about the matters which he commanded, I have sent the memorandum to your Reverence, so that you yourself, after reading it and being attentive to the reports from the most beloved brother Sanctissimus,² our fellow presbyter, may deign to write about these affairs as seems best to you. We...

  124. 121. To Theodotus, Bishop of Nicopolis
    (pp. 251-251)

    The winter is bitter and prolonged, so that we do not readily have the consolation of letters. For this reason, I realize, I have seldom written to your Reverence or received letters from you. But since the most beloved brother Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter, has undertaken a journey to you, through him I salute your Modesty and urge you to pray for me and to lend your ear to the brother just mentioned, so that you may learn from him the condition of affairs in the churches and may bring all possible zeal to the tasks lying before you.

    I...

  125. 122. To Poemenius, Bishop of Satala
    (pp. 252-253)

    No doubt, you asked the Armenians for a letter when they returned through your city, and you learned my reason for not giving them one. Now, if they spoke with a love of the truth, you pardoned us at once; but, in case they concealed it, which I do not think probable, at least hear it from us.

    Anthimus, a most notable man, who long ago made peace with us, later finding an opportune time to satisfy his vanity and to cause us some distress, consecrated Faustus by his own authority and with his own hand, waiting for the vote...

  126. 123. To the Monk Urbicius
    (pp. 253-253)

    You were going to visit us (and the blessing was near at hand) to refresh us at least with the tip of your finger when we were burning up in the midst of our trials. What then? Our sins stood in the way and prevented your setting out, that we might suffer without relief. For, just as among the waves one sinks and another rises up, while still another grows black with violent agitation, so also with our evils—some have ceased, others come on, while still others are expected. The one relief from our troubles, generally, is to yield...

  127. 124. To Theodorus
    (pp. 254-254)

    Some say that, if those held captive by the passion of love are drawn away from those loved by some unusually urgent necessity, whenever they look at a likeness of the beloved one they relieve the vehemence of the passion through the pleasure derived from the sight. Now, whether this is true or not, I cannot say, but what has happened to me with regard to your Goodness² is not very different from this. For, since I have, so to say, a certain loving affection for your holy and guileless soul, but the enjoyment of my friends, as also of...

  128. 125. A Transcript of Faith Dictated by the Most Holy Basil, Which Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste, Signed
    (pp. 255-260)

    Those who have either previously accepted another profession of faith and wish to transfer to unity with the orthodox, or even those who now for the first time wish to be instructed in the doctrine of truth, must be taught the Creed written by the blessed Fathers in the synod assembled formerly at Nicaea. And the same thing would be useful also for those suspected of being opposed to sound doctrine and who obscure the meaning of their false teaching by their specious subterfuges. For these, also the Creed inserted here is sufficient. For, either they will correct their hidden...

  129. 126. To Atarbius
    (pp. 261-262)

    We came to Nicopolis in the hope of correcting the disorders which had been stirred up and of applying a possible remedy to what had been done irregularly and contrary to ecclesiastical law. And we were exceedingly disappointed when we did not find your Excellency on our arrival, but learned that you had gone out in all haste, even though the synod which you were holding was scarcely half finished. On this account we have been compelled to write a letter, through which we suggest that you meet us in order that you may personally relieve our grief, by which...

  130. 127. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 262-263)

    Our loving God, who adds consolations commensurate with our afflictions and comforts the downcast that they may not be overwhelmed unawares by their excessive grief, has afforded us a consolation equal to the disorders which assailed us at Nicopolis. For, He has brought in at an opportune moment Jovinus, a bishop dearly beloved of God. And how very opportune for us was his appearance let him tell personally. We shall be silent that we may be sparing in the length of our letter, and also that we may not seem, by the mention of their fault, to hold up to...

  131. 128. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 263-265)

    I have not yet been able worthily to give practical proof of my zeal for reconciling the churches of the Lord. But I protest that I have in my heart so great a desire that I would even gladly deliver up my own life to extinguish the flame of hatred kindled by the Evil One. And, if I wished to approach the regions of Colonia² not through the desire for peace, may my life not be spent in peace. The peace I seek, of course, is the true peace left to us by the Lord Himself; and what I asked...

  132. 129. To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
    (pp. 266-268)

    I knew that the present charge brought against Apollinaris,² who is so prone to say anything, would astonish the ears of your Perfection. In fact, I myself, until now, was not conscious that he had been accused. At present, however, the citizens of Sebasteia, after making investigations in some place or other, have produced these statements and are carrying a document, through which they are also trying to condemn us especially, on the ground that we hold the same opinions. It contains such expressions as these: ‘Therefore, it is necessary to conceive the first identity always conjointly, or, rather, in...

  133. 130. To Theodotus, Bishop of Nicopolis
    (pp. 269-271)

    Deservedly and fittingly have you reproached us, our truly most honorable and beloved brother, because from the time that we departed from your Reverence carrying those propositions concerning the faith to Eustathius² we have let you know nothing either little or great about his affairs. However, I did not overlook the matter on the ground that the acts which he committed against us were negligible, but because the report had been published abroad to all men already, and there was no need of any explanation from us to learn the intention of the man. For, he even contrived this himself,...

  134. 131. To Olympius
    (pp. 271-273)

    Truly, hearing of unexpected events is enough to make the two ears of a man ring. And this has now happened to me. For, although the news of those writings being circulated against us fell on my ears already inured to it, because I myself had formerly received the letter, which befits my sins but is certainly not what I had ever expected to be written by those who sent it, nevertheless, the second reports appeared to us to have such excessive bitterness in them as to overshadow the previous ones entirely. How was it possible that I was not...

  135. 132. To Abramius, Bishop of Batnae
    (pp. 273-274)

    Since late autumn I have not known where your Reverence was living. In fact, I was getting varied reports, since some were announcing that your Reverence was tarrying in Samosata, and others in the country; still others were affirming that they had seen you around Batnae itself. Therefore, I did not continue to write. But, now, since I have learned that you are staying at Antioch, in the home of the most revered Count Saturninus,² I have readily given this letter to the most beloved and most pious brother Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter. Through him I greet your Charity, urgmg...

  136. 133. To Peter, Bishop of Alexandria
    (pp. 274-274)

    Eyes are the promoters of sensuous friendship, and the intimacy engendered through a long stretch of time strengthens it. But, the gift of the Spirit brings about true love, joining together things separated by long distances and making known the beloved ones to each other not through physical characteristics but through the peculiar qualities of the soul. This, indeed, the grace of the Lord has accomplished in our case, allowing us to see you with the eyes of our soul and to embrace you with true charity, and, as it were, to be joined with you and to come into...

  137. 134. To the Presbyter Paeonius
    (pp. 275-275)

    You can undoubtedly imagine from what you wrote how much your letter delighted us, so clearly apparent from the contents was the purity of heart from which those words came forth. For, as the stream reveals its own source, so the nature of the speech reveals the character of the heart which has brought it forth. Therefore, I confess that I have experienced something extraordinary and far different from what seemed likely. I am always eager to receive news from your Perfection, but, when I took your letter into my hands and read it, I was not more pleased with...

  138. 135. To Diodorus, Presbyter of Antioch
    (pp. 276-278)

    I have read the books sent by your Honor. And I have really enjoyed the second one very much, not only because of its brevity, as would one who is lazily disposed toward everything and at present without health, but because it is at one and the same time close-packed with ideas and explicit as to the objections of opponents and answers to them. Moreover, the simplicity of the style and the absence of elaboration seemed to me to be proper to the purpose of a Christian, who writes more for the general good than for show. But the first...

  139. 136. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 278-279)

    In what condition the excellent Isaac² found us, he, better than I, will describe to you in person, even though he does not have a tongue able to report in tragic manner the excesiveness of my sufferings; such was the gravity of my illness. But, in all probability, this is known to everyone who is acquainted with me ever so little. For, if, when in apparent good health, I have always been weaker than those whose lives are despaired of, it is possible to realize in what a state I was during my illness. Yet (now pardon one who is...

  140. 137. To Antipater
    (pp. 280-281)

    At present, I seem to be especially sensible of the loss which I suffer by my illness, when during the administration of our country by such a great man I myself am compelled to be absent because of the care I must give my body. For a whole month already I have been taking the treatments of the natural hot springs in the hope of receiving some benefit from them. But, I seem to labor in vain in the solitude, or even to appear to most people to be deserving of ridicule, as one who does not understand the proverb...

  141. 138. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 281-283)

    How do you think I felt when I received the letter from your Reverence? Considering the spirit of your message, I immediately wanted to fly straight to Syria, but, looking at the weakness of my body, which fettered me, I perceived that I was incapable not only of flying but even of turning over in bed. For, that day on which the beloved and zealous brother, our fellow deacon Elpidius,² came to us was the fiftieth day of my illness. I was much exhausted by the fever which, because of lack of material to nourish it, concentrated itself in this...

  142. 139. To the Alexandrians
    (pp. 284-286)

    The report of the persecutions which have been taking place throughout Alexandria and the rest of Egypt reached me long ago, and it has deeply affected my soul, as was to be expected. For, we thought of the artifice of the Devil’s warfare, who, when he saw that by the persecutions of our enemies the Church was increasing and thriving the more, changed his plan. He no longer makes war openly, but places hidden snares for us, concealing his treachery by means of the name which his followers bear, in order that we may endure the same sufferings as our...

  143. 140. To the Church at Antioch
    (pp. 286-289)

    ‘Who will give me wings like a dove? And I will fly’ to you ‘and be at rest’² from my longing desire for a conference with your Charity. At present, however, I am in want not only of wings, but of a body itself, since mine has for some time past been laboring under a long-continued weakness, and now has been completely crushed by uninterrupted afflictions. For, who is so hard of heart, who so absolutely without sympathy and kindliness that, when he hears the groans which strike upon our ears from all sides as if from some sorrowful choir...

  144. 141. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 289-291)

    I have already received two letters from your inspired and most perfect Wisdom. One of them vividly described to us how we had been expected by the people under the jurisdiction of your Holiness, and how much grief we had caused by being absent from the most holy synod. And the other, the earlier one, as I judge from the contents, but which was delivered to us later, contained instructions such as are worthy of you and necessary for us—that we should not be negligent of the churches of God nor little by little yield the control of affairs...

  145. 142. To the Accountant of the Prefects
    (pp. 291-292)

    At the synod of the blessed martyr Eupsychius² I brought together all our brothers, the suffragan bishops,³ to make them known to your Honor. But, since you were absent, they must be introduced to your Perfection by letter. I would like you, therefore, to know this brother, who is worthy of being trusted by your Wisdom because of his fear of the Lord. And in whatever matters he may have recourse to your good will as regards the poor, do not refuse to trust him as one who is telling the truth, and to furnish your powerful assistance for the...

  146. 143. To the Second Accountant
    (pp. 292-293)

    If it had been possible for me to visit your Honor, I would certainly have appealed in person for what I wanted, and I would have taken my stand as defender of the oppressed. But, since weakness of body and business affairs hold me back, I am recommending to you, in my place, this brother, the suffragan bishop,² so that, giving heed to him in all sincerity, you may use him for a counselor. For, he is a man able to advise you truthfully and prudently concerning our affairs. Now, when you will deign to visit the almshouse he established...

  147. 144. To the Prefects’ Administrator
    (pp. 293-293)

    Surely you know this man through your interview in the city. Nevertheless, I am presenting and recommending him to you also by letter, because, in view of his ability to suggest intelligently and prudently what should be done, he will be useful to you for many of the works toward which you are directing your efforts. And thers: is now an opportunity to give practical proof of what you told me in private, when the afore-mentioned brother explains the condition of the poor....

  148. 145. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 293-294)

    I know the countless labors which you have endured in defense of the churches of God, and I am not ignorant of the numerous occupations in which you are engaged, since you do not carryon your administration carelessly but according to the will of God. I also bear in mind that man² who, close at hand, lies in wait for you, because of whom each of you, like birds cowering under cover beneath the eagle, must not stray far from the shelter. None of these facts has escaped me. Yet, yearning is irresistible both in hoping for the unattainable and...

  149. 146. To Antiochus
    (pp. 294-295)

    I am not able to charge you with idleness because you were silent when an opportunity of writing a letter offered itself. For, the salutation which you sent me by your honored hand I prize more highly than many letters. Therefore, in return, I greet you and I urge you to give earnest care to the safety of your soul, training all carnal passions according to reason and keeping the thought of God continually fixed in your soul, as in a most holy temple. In every deed and every speech place before your eyes the judgment of Christ, so that...

  150. 147. To Aburgius
    (pp. 295-296)

    Formerly, I used to think that the tales of Homer were a fable whenever I read the second part of the poem in which he narrates the sufferings of Odysseus. But, the sudden disaster befalling Maximus, a most excellent man in all respects, has taught us to consider as entirely probable those things until now regarded as fabulous and incredible. For, he was governor over no very insignificant people, just as Odysseus was leader of the Cephallenians. Now, Odysseus, although he took with him much money, returned stripped of all. Misfortune has also reduced this man to such a state...

  151. 148. To Trajan
    (pp. 296-297)

    It brings much consolation to the afflicted even to be able to lament their misfortunes bitterly, and, especially, when they find men who are able, because of the nobility of their character, to sympathize with them in their grievances. Now, the most revered brother Maximus, he who ruled our country, has endured such sufferings as no other man has yet endured, and has been stripped of all his belongings, both such as he inherited from his father and such as he had amassed by his former labors. Moreover, having suffered bodily evils without number by his wanderings to and fro,...

  152. 149. To Trajan
    (pp. 297-298)

    You yourself have seen with your own eyes the misery of the formerly renowned but now most pitiable Maximus, who was governor of our country. Would that he had not been! For, I think that the government of the peoples will be shunned by many, if governorships are likely to come to such an end. So, why should we report separately each thing which we have seen and which we have heard to a man who is able by the keenness of his intellect to infer from a few incidents what has been omitted? But, at least in saying this,...

  153. 150. To Amphilochius, in the Name of Heracleidas
    (pp. 298-302)

    I recall the conversations which we once had with one another, and I have not forgotten either what I myself said nor what I heard from your Nobility. And, now, public life does not hold me back. Although I am the same in heart and have not yet put off the old man, except, indeed, in appearance and in having removed myself far from the affairs of life, I seem now, as it were, to have entered upon the path of life exemplified by Christ. And I sit by myself like those about to put out to sea, looking steadily...

  154. 151. To Eustathius, the Physician
    (pp. 302-303)

    If there is any benefit from our letters, do not for any length of time cease writing to us and rousing us to write, for we ourselves are certainly made happier by reading the letters of intelligent men who love the Lord. And, whether you yourself really find something deserving of esteem in our letters, it is for you who read them to know. By all means, if we were not drawn away by the press of business engagements, we would not refrain from the pleasure of writing continuously. But you, whose cares are less, charm us as often as...

  155. 152. To Victor, a Commander
    (pp. 304-304)

    If I should not write to some other person, I would, perhaps, justly incur the charge of negligence or forgetfulness. But, how is it possible to forget you, whose name is spoken among all men? And, how possible to neglect you, who have excelled almost all on earth in the loftiness of your honors? However, the cause of our silence is evident—we hesitate to become troublesome to so great a man. But, if in addition to your other virtues, you possess this one, also—that you not only accept the letters sent by us but also miss those which...

  156. 153. To Victor, the Ex-Consul
    (pp. 304-305)

    As often as we chance to read the letters from your Modesty, we return thanks to God because you continue to be mindful of us, and do not because of any slander lessen the love which formerly, either by a wise judgment or a kindly practice, you consented to entertain for us. Therefore, we pray to the holy God both that you may persevere in the same disposition toward us and that we may be worthy of the honor which you bestowed on us through your letter....

  157. 154. To Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica
    (pp. 305-306)

    You have acted rightly and according to the law of spiritual charity in having begun the correspondence between us and stirred us to a like zeal by your good example. For, the friendship of the world needs the eyes and a personal meeting to initiate an acquaintance therefrom. But, those who know how to love spiritually do not use the flesh as the promoter of friendship; on the contrary, they are led to the spiritual union through the fellowship of the faith. Therefore, thanks be to the Lord, who has consoled our hearts by showing that not among all has...

  158. 155. Without Address, in the Case of a Trainer
    (pp. 307-308)

    Against the many charges which were written in the first and only letter that your Nobility deigned to send us, I am at a loss as to how I should defend myself, not because of the want of a just reason, but because from among a great number of accusations the choice of the more relevant is a difficult matter, as is also the choice of the point to which we must first direct our attention. Or, perhaps, by making use of the very order in which they are written, we should meet them one by one.

    We did not...

  159. 156. To Euagrius, a Presbyter
    (pp. 308-311)

    So far was I from being displeased at the length of your message that the letter, because of the pleasure I derived from reading it, even seemed to me to be short. For, what is more pleasing to hear than the name of peace? Or what is more befitting the sacred office and more gratifying to the Lord than planning for such things? Therefore, may the Lord bestow the reward of peace-making on you, who choose so well and are so zealously engaged in a most blessed task. But believe; honored Friend, that of those foremost in zeal we yield...

  160. 157. To Antiochus
    (pp. 311-311)

    You can imagine how disappointed I was at having failed to meet you during the summer. Even our meeting of other years was not such as to completely satisfy us. However, to see, at least in a dream, the objects of their desire brings some comfort to lovers. But, you do not even write, you are so lazv; so, your absence can be ascribed to no other cause than that you are disinclined to long journeys for charity’s sake. However, let us cease this. Pray for us and entreat the Lord not to abandon us, but, as He delivered us...

  161. 158. To Antiochus
    (pp. 311-312)

    Since my sins stand against me so that I have not been able to accomplish the desire which I have long had of meeting you, I am at least consoling myself for the failure by means of letters. And we urge you not to cease remembering us in your prayers, in order that, if we live, we may be considered worthy of enjoying your company; if not, that through the assistance of your prayers we may depart from this world with great hope. We recommend to you the brother who is in charge of the camels....

  162. 159. To Eupaterius and His Daughter
    (pp. 312-314)

    How much pleasure the letter of your Modesty afforded me you surely can imagine from the very contents. For, to a man who makes it his prayer that he may always associate with those who fear God and receive some advantage from them, what could be sweeter than such a letter through which knowledge of God is sought? For, if ‘to us to live is Christ,’² it follows that our speech ought to be about Christ, and our every thought and act should depend upon His commands, and our soul should be formed to His image. Accordingly, I rejoice at...

  163. 160. To Diodorus
    (pp. 314-319)

    A letter has reached us which bears the name of Diodorus, but which seems in all that follows to belong to anyone else rather than to Diodorus. In fact, it appears to me that some clever fellow, masquerading in your person, wished in this way to make himself seem trustworthy to his hearers. When asked by someone if it was allowable for him to marry the sister of his dead wife, he did not shudder in horror at the question, but even listened calmly, and very nobly and gloriously supported the wanton desire. Now, if I had the letter at...

  164. 161. To Amphilochius, on His Consecration as Bishop
    (pp. 319-321)

    Blessed be God, who chooses in each generation those pleasing to Him, making known His chosen vessels² and using them for the ministry of the saints. He even now has ensnared you with the inescapable nets of His grace, when you were fleeing, as you say, not us, but the summons expected through us; and He has led you into the midst of Pisidia, so that you may take men captive to the Lord and may, according to His will, draw out from the depths into light those who have been made captive by the Devil. Therefore, say also yourself...

  165. 162. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 321-322)

    The following reflection seems to me both to cause hesitation in writing and to indicate its very necessity. For, when I contemplate my obligation of remaining at home and at the same time take into account the benefit of a meeting, I am inclined to despise letters exceedingly, since they are not able to accomplish a shadow’s worth in comparison with the real visit. Again, when I consider that my only consolation, deprived as I am of what is greatest and most important, is to address such a great man and, as is our custom, to supplicate him not to...

  166. 163. To Count Jovinus
    (pp. 322-323)

    I saw your soul in your letter. For, truly, no painter can so accurately portray the lineaments of a body as speech can image the secrets of the soul. In fact, the words of your letter aptly represented to us the stability of your character, the genuineness of your worth, and the purity of your mind in all respects; for this reason it also afforded us great consolation for your absence. Therefore, do not fail to use every pretext which falls in your way to write and to grant us the favor of conversing with you from a distance, since...

  167. 164. To Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica
    (pp. 323-326)

    The greatness of the joy with which the letter of your Holiness filled us we cannot easily describe, for speech is but a weak tool for vivid portrayal, but you yourself ought to infer it, basing your judgment on the beauty of what you have written. For, what did your letter not contain? Did it not contain love for the Lord? Admiration for the martyrs, describing so clearly the manner of the combat that it brings their deeds before our very eyes? Honor and affection toward us? Did it not have whatever qualities one might mention as most noble? Consequently,...

  168. 165. To Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica
    (pp. 326-327)

    The holy God has fulfilled our long-enduring prayer, having deemed us worthy to receive a letter from your true Reverence. Now, the greatest privilege and one deserving of the highest esteem is to see you personally and to be seen by you, and in ourselves to enjoy the graces of the Spirit in you. But, since both the distance of your country and also the circumstances detaining each of us respectively prevent this, it is worthy of a second prayer that our soul be nourished by frequent letters from your Charity in Christ. And this, as a matter of fact,...

  169. 166. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 327-328)

    Although our most revered brother, Eupraxius,² is in every way dear to us and is among the truest of our friends, he has seemed dearer and truer because of his affection for you. Even now he has hastened to your Reverence like a hart (to use the words of David³) which quenches its great and intolerable thirst at a clear fresh spring. Happy is he who has been considered worthy to be associated with you, but more happy is he who has so crowned his sufferings for the sake of Christ and his toils for the sake of truth as...

  170. 167. To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
    (pp. 329-329)

    You gladden us by writing as well as by being mindful of us, and, even more than this, by blessing us in your letters. But, if we had been deserving of your sufferings and of your combat for Christ, we would also have been considered worthy to visit you, to embrace your Reverence, and to take the example of your patient endurance in sufferings. Now, since we happen to be unworthy of this, being entangled in many afflictions and cares, we do what is second best—we salute your Perfection and we ask you not to grow weary of remembering...

  171. 168. To Antiochus the Presbyter, a Nephew of Eusebius, Who Was Living with His Uncle in Exile
    (pp. 329-330)

    As much as I grieve that the Church has been deprived of so great a shepherd,² to that extent do I deem you happy who at such a time have been thought worthy of being with a man struggling desperately in the strenuous defense of religion. I am convinced that the Lord will consider you, who are nobly stimulating and supporting his zeal, also deserving of the same lot. And how great a gain it is to enjoy in profound tranquillity a man who has acquired so much from his education and from his experience in life! Therefore, I am...

  172. 169. Basil to Gregory
    (pp. 330-332)

    You have undertaken a fitting, kindly, and humane act in bringing together the captive troop of the disdainful Glycerius (for, thus we must write for the present), and in having covered over our common disgrace as far as was possible. Nevertheless, there is need for your Reverence to learn the charges against him, and so to wipe out the dishonor.

    For, this Glycerius, at present swaggering and proud in your opinion, was by us ordained deacon of the church at Venesa,² both to serve the presbyter and to care for the work of the church. The man is, even if...

  173. 170. To Glycerius
    (pp. 332-333)

    To what extent do you abandon your common sense, and, while planning unwisely concerning your own actions, both disturb us and shame the whole order of monks? Return, then, trusting in God and in us who imitate His loving kindness. For, even though we have rebuked you like a father, we shall also pardon you like a father. This is our attitude toward you, since many others are pleading for you, and above all, your presbyter, whose venerable hair and kindly heart we revere. But, if you prolong your separation from us, you have fallen altogether from your rank. Moreover,...

  174. 171. To Gregory
    (pp. 333-333)

    I wrote to you just lately concerning Glycerius and the virgins. They have not yet returned even to this day, but they are still delaying; for what reason and how they are doing so, I do not know. Now, I would not bring this as a charge against you, that you are doing this to discredit us either because you are somewhat ill-disposed toward us or wish to show favor to others. Therefore, let them come without fear; and you become surety for this. For, we suffer when our members are cut off, even if they have been rightly cut...

  175. 172. To Bishop Sophronius
    (pp. 333-334)

    How much joy your letter gave us, we need not write. For, you can assuredly surmise it from the nature of the news which you sent. In fact, in your letter you showed us the first fruit of the Spirit, which is charity. Now, what could be more precious to us than this in the present state of affairs, when 'because iniquity has abounded the charity of the many has grown cold'?² For, nothing is so rare now as a meeting with a spiritual brother, and peaceful conversation, and spiritual fellowship; since we have found this fellowship in your Perfection,...

  176. 173. To the Canoness Theodora
    (pp. 335-336)

    The fact that we are not sure of our letters being placed in the hands of your Charity, but through the wickedness of those serving as carriers they may be read first countless others, makes us hesitant about writing, especially now, when affairs everywhere are in such confusion. Therefore, I am waiting to be in some manner censured and to have the letters forcefully demanded, to be assured by this very fact of their delivery. At all events, whether we write or keep silence, we hold in our hearts one duty—to guard the memory of your Modesty and to...

  177. 174. To a Widow
    (pp. 336-337)

    Although I desired very much to write regularly to your Nobility, I always restrained myself. I feared lest, perchance, I should seem to provoke trials for you because of those who are ill-disposed toward us, and, as I hear, are pushing their hatred to such a measure that they inquire impertinently if anyone by chance even receives a letter from us. But, since you yourself have happily begun the correspondence and have written, communicating with us, as was necessary, concerning the affairs of your soul, I am impelled to answer, thus correcting what I omitted in the past and at...

  178. 175. To Count Magnenianus
    (pp. 337-338)

    Recently, your Dignity sent me a letter about certain other matters, and also expressly enjoined that we should write concerning the faith. I do admire your zeal in this affair and I pray to God that you may adhere unyieldingly to your choice of the good, and that, always advancing in knowledge and good works, you may attain perfection. But, because I do not wish to leave behind me a treatise on the faith nor to compose different creeds, I have refused to write what you requested.²

    Only, you seem to me to be surrounded by the din of men...

  179. 176. To Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium
    (pp. 338-339)

    May the holy God grant that this letter of ours come into your hands when you are in good health of body, free of all business, and faring in all things according to your will, in order that our invitation may not be unavailing. For, we are inviting you now to visit our city in order that the festival, which it is a custom for our church to celebrate yearly in honor of the martyrs,² may be made more impressive. In fact, be convinced, my most honored and truly beloved friend, that, although our people have had experience of many,...

  180. 177. To the Master Sophronius
    (pp. 339-340)

    To enumerate all those who have received benefits from your Lordship through our mediation is not easy. We are indeed conscious of having aided many through your mighty hand, which the Lord has bestowed on us as an ally in the most critical times. However, most deserving of all, perchance, is the one who is now being introduced through our letter, our most revered brother, Eusebius,² who has fallen a prey to absurd calumny, which it is in the power of your Rectitude alone to dispel. Therefore, we urge that, complying with justice and taking thought of the lot of...

  181. 178. To Aburgius
    (pp. 340-341)

    I am aware that I have frequently recommended many persons to your Honor and have been quite serviceable at most critical times to those in affliction. Yet, I know that I have sent to your Modesty no one who is more honored in my sight or who is striving for anything of greater importance than our most beloved son, Eusebius, who is now placing in your hands this letter from us. And, should he meet with an opportunity, he will explain in detail to your Dignity in what sort of trouble he is involved. But, what we can fittingly say...

  182. 179. To Arinthaeus
    (pp. 341-341)

    Both the generosity of your nature and your affability toward all make sufficiently plain to us that you are a lover not only of freedom but also of man. We, therefore, serve confidently as an ambassador for a man illustrious through a long line of ancestors, but deserving of himself more honor and respect because of the gentleness of character inherent in him. As a consequence, we urge you to defend him in his struggle against a charge which is deserving of contempt, as far as regards the truth, but is especially difficult to meet on account of the severity...

  183. 180. To the Master Sophronius, in Behalf of Eumathius
    (pp. 342-342)

    I have suffered much in spirit on meeting with a worthy man who had been subjected to an unendurable situation. For, since I am a man, why should I not share the suffering of a free man who is involved in troubles beyond his desert? After deliberating how I might become useful to him, I found one solution for the difficulty which beset him—if I might make him known to your Modesty. The rest, then, is your duty—to exhibit for him the zeal which you have shown for many, as we have witnessed.

    The petition presented by him...

  184. 181. To Otreius of Meletine
    (pp. 342-343)

    I realize that the separation from Bishop Eusebius, dearly beloved of God, affects your Reverence as much even as ourselves. Since, then, we both need comfort, let us become a consolation to each other. You write to us the news from Samosata, and we shall report whatever we can learn from Thrace. For, to me it brings no little alleviation of the present distresses to know the constancy of the people, and to your Excellency to learn in what condition our common father is. Of course, at the present time we cannot explain by letter, but we have commended to...

  185. 182. To the Presbyters of Sarnosata
    (pp. 343-343)

    As much as we are grieved when we consider the desolation² of your church, to that extent do we congratulate you, who have already reached this point of the struggle. May the Lord grant that you pass through this with patient endurance, in order that you may receive the great reward for the faithful stewardship and the noble constancy which you have shown for the name of Christ....

  186. 183. To the Senate of Samosata
    (pp. 343-344)

    Whenever I consider that our trial has already spread through the whole world, and that the greatest of the cities in Syria have experienced misfortunes equal to your own, and that nowhere is there a Senate so esteemed and distinguished for good works as yours at present proclaimed for its zeal in good works, I almost feel grateful for what has been ordained. For, if this affliction had not occurred, your excellence would not have shone through. Therefore, it seems that, what the furnace is for gold,² this the affliction endured for our hope in God is for those who...

  187. 184. To Eustathius, Bishop of Himmeria
    (pp. 344-345)

    I know that orphanhood is a condition of sadness and much work because it entails the loss of those set over us. Therefore, I infer that your Reverence, too, being saddened by what has happened, does not Write to us and is at the same time even more engaged now in visiting the flocks of Christ because the enemies are rising up from every side. But, since conversation with those of like spirit is an assuagement of every sorrow, deign, as often as may be possible for you, to write to us and not only to rest yourself by addressing...

  188. 185. To Theodotus, Bishop of Berrhoea
    (pp. 345-345)

    I know that, even if you do not write to us, the memory of us is nevertheless present in your heart. And I take as an indication of this, not the fact that I myself am worthy of any kindly remembrance, but that your soul is rich in its superabundance of charity. However, as far as is possible for you, make use of the opportunities which occur to write to us in order that we may be of better courage on learning of your affairs and may ourselves seize the occasion to inform you of ours. For, this is the...