Letters, Volume 2 (186–368) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 28)

Letters, Volume 2 (186–368) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 28)

Translated by SISTER AGNES CLARE WAY
with notes by ROY J. DEFERRARI
Copyright Date: 1955
Pages: 387
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b0bp
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  • Book Info
    Letters, Volume 2 (186–368) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 28)
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1128-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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

    Volume two of the letters of St. Basil (Nos. 186-368) includes letters written during his episcopate from the year 374 until his death in 379, letters at uncertain date or authorship, and clearly spurious letters. In the beginning of the year 374, Amphilochius, a disciple of St. Basil, had been consecrated Bishop of Iconium, and, full of apostolic fervor for the reform of his church, consulted St. Basil on many points of discipline and doctrine. St. Basil undertook to furnish the information requested and wrote the so-called three Canonical Letters (188, 199, and 217). These letters—all written within the...

  4. Letters
    • 186 (213) . To Antipater, the Governor
      (pp. 3-3)

      How admirable is philosophy, since, in addition to its other merits, it denies to its disciples extravagant cures. On the contrary, it uses the same thing as a relish and as a benefit to health. For, you have revived your failing appetite, as I have learned, with cabbage pickled in vinegar, which formerly I could not endure, not only because of the proverb,² but also because it was a reminder of its usual companion, poverty.

      But now, I think, I shall change my opinion and laugh at the proverb, seeing that cabbage, which has restored our governor to health, is...

    • 187 (214) . Antipater to Basil
      (pp. 4-4)

      ‘Cabbage twice is death’ the slanderous proverb says. But I, though I have often sought death, shall die but once; and, at any rate, I shall die, even though I had not sought to do so. If, then, at any rate, death comes, do not hesitate to eat a toothsome dish, slandered in vain by the proverb....

    • 188 (1) . To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons (1-16)
      (pp. 4-24)

      ‘Wisdom,’ it is said, ‘will be imputed to a fool if he asks questions.’³ But the question of a wise man, so it seems, makes even the fool wise. And this, by the grace of God, happens to us as often as we receive the letters of your painstaking soul. For, through the question itself we become more observant and more sensible than we were, being taught many things of which we had no immediate appreciation. Moreover, our solicitude to give an answer becomes for us a teacher. So, since we had never before taken thought of your questions, now...

    • 189 (80) . To Eustathius, the Court Physician
      (pp. 25-33)

      Truly, humanity is the concern of all of you who follow the profession of medicine. And it seems to me that he who would prefer your profession to all other life pursuits would make a proper choice, not straying from the right, if really the most precious of all things, life, is painful and undesirable unless it can be possessed with health. And your profession is the supply vein of health. But, in your case, especially, the science is ambidextrous, and you set for yourself higher standards of humanity, not limiting the benefit of your profession to bodily, but also...

    • 190 (406) . To Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium
      (pp. 34-36)

      You have attended to the affairs of the Isaurian² church in a manner worthy of your tact and zeal, of which I am always an admirer. That it would be more advantageous for everyone if the responsibility were divided among a greater number of bishops I believe is self-evident to any chance observer. And, in fact, your Intelligence is not unaware of this, but you have both clearly perceived and have made known to us how the matter stands. Since, however, it is not easy to find worthy men, shall we not, perchance, while we wish to have the credit...

    • 191 (398) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 37-38)

      On reading the message from your Reverence we felt very grateful to God, because in the words of the letter we found traces of an earlier charity; you, at least, were not affected by the feelings of the many, nor did you cling contentiously to a refusal to begin a friendly correspondence, but, as one who has learned the splendor which the saints gain from humility, you chose by taking the second place to be proved to be ahead of us. This is the law of victory among Christians, and he who does not refuse to be the lesser is...

    • 192 (329) . To the Master Sophronius
      (pp. 38-39)

      If you yourself were the recipient of a double blessing, as in your unsurpassed desire for good works you wrote to us, the one in having received my letter, and the second in having given assistance in our need, how much gratitude must we be thought to have, who have read your letter with its most welcome words and have seen the need for which we begged so speedily satisfied! Therefore, although we received with pleasure your dispatch because of its own special nature, we accepted it much more gladly because you were the one who directed its preparation. May...

    • 193 (369) . To Meletius, the Court Physician
      (pp. 39-39)

      It is not granted to us as it is to the cranes to escape the hardships of winter, but, as regards the foreseeing of the future, we, perhaps, are not worse off than the cranes; while in the matter of freedom of choice in life we are almost as far behind the birds as we are in the ability to fly. For, first of all, some of the business affairs of life held me back; next, continuous and violent fevers so wasted my body that there has seemed to be something thinner even than I—myself thinner than myself. Then...

    • 194 (368) . To Zoilus
      (pp. 40-40)

      What are you doing, admirable Sir, getting ahead of us in the measure of humility? You, although you are so very learned and so skilled in writing, as your letter clearly shows, ask pardon of us as if for some undertaking too daring and even surpassing your dignity. But, put aside this pretence and write to us at every opportunity. If we have any claim to eloquence, most gladly shall we read the letter of an eloquent man, and also, if we are taught from the Scripture how great is the beauty of love, above all things do we treasure...

    • 195 (312) . To Euphronius, Bishop of Colonia in Armenia
      (pp. 41-41)

      Because Colonia, which the Lord has handed over to you for guidance, has been settled far from the highway, frequently, even if we write to the other brothers in Lesser Armenia, we hesitate to send a letter to your Reverence, since we do not suppose that there is any carrier going that far. But now, hoping that either you yourself will be present or that the letter will be sent on by the bishops to whom we have written, we are writing also to your Reverence and by the letter are saluting you, both making it evident that we seem...

    • 196 (359) . To Aburgius
      (pp. 41-42)

      Rumor, the messenger of good news, does not cease announcing to us that you have been darting about like the stars, appearing sometimes in one part of the barbarian land, again in another, now furnishing provision money for the soldiers, and now in brilliant apparel seen with the emperor. And we pray to God that your undertaking may proceed according to its merits, that you may go forward to greatness, and may be seen in your native land at some time or other while we are upon earth and inhale this air. For, only so far do we have a...

    • 197 (55) . To Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
      (pp. 42-45)

      Always magnificent and abundant are the gifts of our Lord, and neither can their magnitude be measured nor their quantity numbered. But, one of the greatest gifts to those keenly aware of receiving His favors is this present one—that He has granted us, though far separated by the position of our countries, to be united with each other through the declarations in our letters. And He has favored us with a twofold means of becoming acquainted: one, by personal conference, and the other, through intercourse by letter. Seeing, therefore, that we know you through what you have said, and...

    • 198 (263) . To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
      (pp. 45-46)

      After the letter which was brought to us by the officials we received one other, which had been sent to us later. And we ourselves wrote letters—not many, in truth, because of not meeting with any setting out in your direction, but at least, more than four—with which we sent under seal to the most revered brother Leontius,² the Peraequator³ of Nicaea, those brought to us from Samosata after your Reverence’s first letter, urging that through him they be carried to the steward of the house of our most revered brother Sophronius that he might have charge of...

    • 199 (2) . To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons (17-50)
      (pp. 47-62)

      Some time ago, when I answered the questions proposed to us by your Reverence, I did not send what I had written, being hindered partly by a long and dangerous illness and partly by the lack of messengers. Few of our men are both experienced in journeying and prepared for such kind of services. And so, having learned the causes of our delay, pardon us.

      We were in admiration of your love of learning along with your humility, because you who have been entrusted with the position of teaching do not refuse to learn, and to learn from us who...

    • 200 (397) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 62-64)

      Maladies following one after another attack us, and duties arising from ecclesiastical affairs and from persons who act insolently toward the churches have kept us busy the whole winter, even to the time of this letter. Therefore, it has not been possible for us either to send someone or to visit your Reverence. But, we surmise that your situation is just another such as ours. I do not mean in respect to the illness—may that not be; may the Lord, in truth, grant health to your body sufficient for the execution of His commands—but that the anxiety concerning...

    • 201 (402) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 64-64)

      For many reasons I am eager to meet you, both so that I may make use of your counsel concerning the affairs in hand, and, as it is so long since I have seen you, that I may have some palliation for your absence. But, since the same forces hinder both of us—your present illness and our more prolonged ailment which has never left us—let us both, if you are willing, make allowances for each other, so as to free each other in turn from blame....

    • 202 (396) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 64-65)

      A meeting with your Dignity means much to me in any event, but especially now when the matter which is bringing us together is of such great importance. Yet, the aftereffects of my illness are such as not to permit me the slightest movement. For, just in attempting to be conveyed by carriage as far as the martyrs,² I almost succumbed again to the same disease. I shall need to have your pardon. If it will be possible to postpone the affair until a few days later, by the grace of God I will both be with you and will...

    • 203 (77) . To the Bishops of the Seacoast
      (pp. 65-70)

      Although I have been very eager for a conference with you, there has always been some obstacle that thwarted my desire. Either the infirmity of my body hindered me (you are not at all ignorant of how serious this has been from my earliest days until my present old age, growing up with me, as it has, and chastising me according to the just judgment of God, who manages all things in His wisdom), or the cares of the churches, or the conflicts with those who have risen up against the word of truth. Up to the present, therefore, I...

    • 204 (75) . To the Neo-Caesareans
      (pp. 70-78)

      For a long time we have maintained silence toward each other, most honorable and dearly beloved² brethren, like men roused to anger. Yet, who would be so exceedingly wrathful and hard to reconcile with one who has grieved him as to prolong the anger which springs from hatred almost the whole lifetime of a man? But, this it is possible to see happening in our case, although there is no just occasion for a separation, as least as far as we ourselves know, but, contrariwise, there have been present from the beginning many strong reasons for a most profound friendship...

    • 205 (322) . To Bishop Elpidius
      (pp. 79-79)

      Again we have sent our beloved fellow presbyter Meletius to carry our greetings to your Charity. Even though we had determined to spare him because of his weakness, which he voluntarily brought on himself in the subjugation of his flesh according to the Gospel of Christ, we decided that it was proper for us to address you through men of this kind, who can easily supply by themselves whatever escapes the letter, and be, as it were, a sort of living letter for both the writer and the recipient. We are also satisfying his longing to see your Perfection, which...

    • 206 (348) . A Letter of Condolence to Bishop Elpidius
      (pp. 80-81)

      Now, especially, am I sensible of the weakness of my body, when I see that it is such a hindrance to the betterment of my soul. If matters were succeeding according to my wish, not through letters nor through messengers would I salute you, but I myself would personally pay my debt of love, and in your company would enjoy spiritual profit. Now, however, I am in such a state that I can scarcely support the journeys in my own country, which we must make in our visitations of the parishes of the district. But, may the Lord provide for...

    • 207 (63) . To the Clergy of Neo-Caesarea
      (pp. 81-86)

      Your concurrence in hatred toward us and the fact that all of you, even to the last man, follow the leader² of the war against us, tempted me to maintain silence toward all alike and not to be the first with a friendly letter or with any other communication, but in silence to give myself over to my grief. However, we must break this silence in the presence of slanders, not in order that through the contrary assertion we may avenge ourselves, but that we may not acquiesce in the success of a lie, nor leave those who have been...

    • 208 (281) . To Eulancius
      (pp. 86-86)

      You have been silent for a long time, even though you are most loquacious and make it your practice and art always to speak something and to draw attention to yourself through your words. But, Neo-Caesarea is probably the cause of your silence toward us. Perhaps we should receive as a kindness the fact that we are not remembered by those there, since the mention of us is not kind, according to the report of those who have heard. But, you were formerly of those who were hated on our account, not of those who were content to hate us...

    • 209 (227) . Without Address, in Self-defense
      (pp. 86-87)

      You were doomed to griefs and struggles in our defense. And this is proof of your vigorous soul. Indeed, God, who directs our affairs, procures for those who are able to endure mighty conflicts greater occasions of winning public esteem. And you, moreover, have put forward your own life as a test of the genuineness of your virtue in regard to your friends, as the furnace is the test for gold. Therefore, we pray God that other men may become better and that you may remain like yourself and may not cease bringing such charges as you have now brought,...

    • 210 (64) . To the Most Eloquent Citizens of Neo-Caesarea
      (pp. 87-95)

      I had no obligation at all to divulge my opinion² to you or to tell the reasons for which I am now in this locality. I am not, in fact, one who wishes to attract attention, nor is the matter deserving of so much publicity. But we are not doing, I believe, what we wish, but that to which the leaders challenge us. Yet, I have always striven more zealously to be altogether ignored than the lovers of glory strive to be conspicuous. However, since the ears of all in your city are deafened, as I hear, and there are...

    • 211 (170) . To Olympius
      (pp. 95-95)

      After reading the letter from your Honor I became more content than I had been and more cheerful, and, when I conversed with your most beloved sons, I seemed to behold you yourself. Although they found my soul exceedingly afflicted, they so disposed me that I forgot the hemlock which the dream-peddlers and dream-hucksters among you bear around against us for the delight of those who have hired them. I have sent some letters; others we shall give later, if you wish. Only I hope there may be some benefit from them to the recipients....

    • 212 (370) . To Hilarius
      (pp. 95-97)

      How do you think I felt or what thought do you think I entertained when I journeyed to Dazimon and a few days after our arrival learned that your Eloquence had departed? It is not only because of the admiration which I had for you from boyhood, even from my very school days, that I have always valued your discourse highly, but also because nothing now is so excellent as a truth-loving soul endowed with a sound judgment in practical affairs. And this, we think, has been preserved in you. We see most other men divided, as at the horse...

    • 213 (242) . Without an Address, for a Pious Man
      (pp. 98-99)

      May the Lord, who has provided for me speedy relief in my afflictions, Himself grant you the help of that consolation which you have bestowed upon us in your present visit by letter, and reward you with a true and great joy of spirit for the consolation given to our Lowliness. It happened that I was in a way distressed in soul, when I observed in a large gathering a kind of beastlike and altogether irrational indifference in the people and an inveterate and stubborn habit of baseness among their leaders. But, when I saw the letter and its treasure...

    • 214 (349) . To Count Terentius
      (pp. 99-103)

      When we heard that your Dignity has been forced into the care of public affairs, we were immediately disturbed (for the truth will be told). We considered how contrary it was to your inclination, after you had been freed once and for all from public duties and were devoting yourself to the care of your soul, to be again compelled to turn back to the former responsibility. Then it occurred to our mind that, perhaps, the Lord, wishing to grant this one consolation for the innumerable griefs which now oppress the churches among us, had directed that your Dignity should...

    • 215 (250) . To Dorotheus, Presbyter
      (pp. 103-104)

      As soon as I found an occasion, I sent a letter to the admirable man, Count Terentius,² for I considered that my writing to him through strangers about the matter under discussion would be viewed with less suspicion, and at the same time I wanted our most beloved brother Acacius³ to meet with no delay in the affair. Therefore, I gave the letter to the collector of revenues in the office of the prefects, who was traveling by public conveyance, and I bade him show the communication to you first. As regards the road to Rome, I do not know...

    • 216 (272) . To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch
      (pp. 104-105)

      Many and varied journeys have drawn us away from the fatherland. In fact, we went as far as Pisidia to settle with the bishops there matters concerning the brethren² in Isauria. And from that place our travels next took us to the Pontus, since Eustathius had considerably disturbed Dazimon and induced many there to separate from our church. We also proceeded even to the home of our brother Peter;³ and this fact, because of our proximity to the region of Neo-Caesarea, furnished an occasion for much trouble to the Neo-Caesareans, and gave them an excuse for much insolence toward us....

    • 217 (3) . To Amphilochius, on the Canons (51-84)
      (pp. 105-117)

      Having just returned from a long journey (I had gone as far as the Pontus on business for the Church and for a visit to my relatives), even though I had brought back a shattered body and a comparably distressed spirit, when I took your Reverence’s letter into my hands I at once forgot all, for I had received a memento of a voice the sweetest of all to me and of a hand the dearest. Since, then, I was made so happy by your letter, you should be able to surmise how much I would value a meeting with...

    • 218 (403) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 117-119)

      Our brother Aelian² by himself brought to a successful conclusion the business about which he had come, without need of any assistance from us. Moreover, he bestowed on us a twofold pleasure in bringing a letter from your Reverence and in furnishing us an opportunity of writing a letter to you. Therefore, through him we greet your genuine and inimitable Charity, and we urge you to pray for us, who now, if ever, have need of the assistance of your prayers. My body, shattered from the journey to the Pontus, is unbearably afflicted by illness. Yet, this I have wanted...

    • 219 (280) . To the Clergy of Samosata
      (pp. 119-120)

      The Lord determines all things for us by measure and by weight² and lays upon us temptations not exceeding our strength, but tests the champions of piety by adversity, not allowing them to be tempted beyond what they are able to bear.³ He gives for drink tears in measure⁴ to those who ought to show whether in their afflictions they preserve gratitude toward God. He has manifested His benignity especially in His dispensation concerning you, for He did not permit such a persecution by the enemy to be inflicted on you as could pervert or shake any from faith in...

    • 220 (299) . To the People of Beroea
      (pp. 121-122)

      The Lord has granted a great consolation to those who are deprived of personal contact with each other, namely, communication by letter, from which it is possible to learn, not the characteristics of the body, but the disposition of the soul itself. Hence, having just now received a letter from your Reverences, we became acquainted with you and at the same time conceived in our heart a love for you, without the need of a long time to form an acquaintance. For we were enkindled with love for the beauty of your souls from the very thoughts contained in your...

    • 221 (298) . To the People of Beroea
      (pp. 122-123)

      We knew you heretofore, most beloved friends, because of your widely proclaimed piety and the crown of your confession of Christ. And perhaps, one of you might say: ‘And who is he who has carried these reports to such a distant land?’ The Lord Himself, who, having set His worshipers like a lamp upon a lampstand, makes them shine forth through the whole world. Is it not usual for the prize of victory to proclaim the winner among the contestants, and the design of the work the designer? And, if in these and such like things the memory endures unforgettable,...

    • 222 (297) . To the Chalcidians
      (pp. 123-125)

      Your Reverences’ letter, coming to us in our time of affliction, became a relief such as water frequently is to race horses, when poured into their mouths at high noon in the midst of their course, as they draw in the dust with their violent panting. We have recovered breath after our continuous trials, and at the same time we have been strengthened by your words, while by the remembrance of your struggles we have received more power to endure without yielding the conflict lying before us. Indeed, the conflagration which has spread over many parts of the East is...

    • 223 (79) . Against Eustathius of Sebaste
      (pp. 125-135)

      ‘A time to keep silence, and a time to speak,’ says the maxim in Ecclesiastes.² Surely, then, since the time of silence has been long enough, it is now opportune to open our mouth for a disclosure of the truth concerning matters which are misunderstood. The great Job also long endured his misfortunes in silence, in this very manner displaying his courage, remaining firm under the most grievous sufferings,³ but, when he had struggled sufficiently in silence, and had persevered in hiding the pain in the depth of his heart, then he opened his mouth and uttered those words known...

    • 224 (345) . To Genethlius, the Presbyter
      (pp. 135-138)

      I received your Reverence’s letter, and I approved the name which you aptly gave to the document composed by them, calling it a bill of divorce.² What defense, in truth, the authors, asserting that they have separated themselves from our love, have prepared for it before the tribunal of Christ which is not to be deceived I cannot imagine. They set forth the charge and inveighed violently against us and described in detail, not what was the truth, but what they wished, making a show of their own great humility and attributing to us inordinate arrogance on the ground that...

    • 225 (385) . To Demosthenes, in the Name of the Public
      (pp. 139-140)

      We always feel very grateful to God and to the rulers who have charge over us when we see that the administration of our country has been entrusted to a man who, first of all, is a Christian and, secondly, is upright in character and a strict guardian of the laws by which we manage human affairs. But, especially, on the occasion of your visit did we acknowledge this gratitude to God and to the emperor, dear to God. Perceiving, however, that some of the enemies of peace were intending to influence your revered court against us, we were waiting...

    • 226 (73) . To His Monks
      (pp. 141-147)

      The holy God can bestow even the gratification of a conference upon us who are always eager to look upon you and to hear about you, because in nothing else do we experience rest² of soul except in your progress and perfection through the commands of Christ. But as long as this is not granted to us, we hold it necessary to visit you through our true and God-fearing brethren and to converse with your Charities by letter. Now, for this very reason we have sent our most reverent and true brother and co-worker of the Gospel, our fellow presbyter...

    • 227 (292) . A Letter of Condolence to the Clergy in Colonia
      (pp. 147-149)

      What, indeed, is so beautiful and pleasing in the sight of God and men as perfect love, which we have been taught by the wise master is the fulfillment of every law? Therefore, I approve the ardor of your affection for your shepherd. Now, as the loss of a good father is unendurable to a son who loves his father, so also the departure of a shepherd and teacher is unbearable to a church of Christ. Therefore, you offer a proof of your good and noble will in your intense affection for your bishop. While this worthy disposition of yours...

    • 228 (290) . To the Magistrates of Colonia
      (pp. 150-151)

      I received your Modesties’ letter and I thanked the all-holy God, because, although you are engaged in the care of public affairs, you do not give those of the churches second place, but each one has shown solicitude in the same way as for a personal concern and one involving his own livelihood, and because you wrote to us when you were grieved at the departure of Euphronius, your bishop dearly beloved of God. Nicopolis has not taken him from you, but would say in pleading its case that it has recovered its own, and, cherishing you, will tell you...

    • 229 (193) . To the Clergy of Nicopolis
      (pp. 151-152)

      We are convinced that action taken by one or two pious men is done through the counsel of the Spirit. Since there is no human motive placed before their eyes, and saintly men are moved to action not with an aim of personal advantage, but after having proposed to themselves what is pleasing to God, it is evident that it is the Lord who directs their hearts.¹ And, whenever spiritual men are the initiators of plans, and the people of the Lord follow them in harmony of thought, who will doubt that the plan has been arrived at in communion...

    • 230 (194) . To the Magistrates of Nicopolis
      (pp. 152-153)

      The government of the churches depends upon those who are entrusted with their care, but they are strengthened by the laity. And so the duty of the bishops dearly beloved of God has been fulfilled; what is left now depends upon you, if you will deign to cleave dauntlessly to the bishop¹ given to you and strongly to beat off the attacks from the outside. Nothing so puts to shame both leaders and people who envy your peaceful condition as the agreement in your love for him who has been given to you, and the strength of your resistance. In...

    • 231 (395) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 153-155)

      I find few opportunities of writing to your Reverence and this grieves me not a little. It is just as if, although it was possible to see you frequently and to enjoy you, I rarely did so. But it is impossible for me to write because of the lack of persons traveling from here to your country; otherwise, there was nothing to hinder my letters from being, as it were, a daily record of my life, notifying your Charity of the happenings of each day. It brings me relief to tell you about the state of our affairs, and I...

    • 232 (404) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 155-156)

      Every day which brings a letter from your Reverence is a feast day for us, and the greatest of feasts. And, when the tokens² of a feast also are added, what else must we call it but a feast of feasts, just as the ancient Law was accustomed to use the expression Sabbath of Sabbaths? Therefore, we give thanks to the Lord, since we have heard that you are strong in body and that you have celebrated the commemoration of the Incarnation with the Church at peace.

      Some tumults, however, have disturbed us; truly, we have not spent the time...

    • 233 (399) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 156-158)

      I myself know this, having heard it, and I am also acquainted with the constitution of man. What, then, shall we say in answer to these things? That the mind is a thing of beauty; and in it we have that which is made according to the image of the Creator; also a thing of beauty is the operation of the mind; and, since the mind is ever active, it frequently forms images of non-existent things as though they did exist; and it frequently is borne straight to the truth. Since, however, two powers have grown side by side in...

    • 234 (400) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 159-161)

      ‘Do you worship what you know or what you are ignorant of?’ If we shall answer: ‘What we know, that we adore,’ very quickly will come the retort from them: ‘What is the substance of that which is adored?’ And if we shall admit that we are ignorant of the substance, again turning on us they say: ‘Surely, then, you adore what you do not know.’ But we say that ‘know’ is a word of many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, and His power, and wisdom, and goodness, and the providence with which He cares...

    • 235 (401) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 161-164)

      Which is first: knowledge or faith? We say that, on the whole, in the case of sciences, faith precedes knowledge, but in our teaching, even if anyone says that knowledge begins before faith, we do not disagree—but, a knowledge commensurate with human comprehension. In the case of sciences we must believe first that alpha is so called, and afterwards, having learned the letters and their pronunciation, gain also an accurate notion of the force of the letter. But in our faith concerning God the thought that God exists goes before, and this we gather from His works. We recognize...

    • 236 (391) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 165-172)

      Many have already inquired into the evangelical saying concerning our Lord Jesus Christ not knowing the day and the hour of the end,² and especially have the Anomoeans put it forward for the destruction of the glory of the Only-begotten, as a proof of His unlikeness in substance and of His subordination in dignity, on the ground that He who does not know all things is neither able to have the same nature nor to be understood in one likeness with Him who encompasses the knowledge of all things by His foreknowing and cogitative power regarding the future. Your Intelligence...

    • 237 (264) . To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
      (pp. 172-174)

      I both intended to send a letter to your Reverence through the Vicar of Thrace and I wrote other letters to send through a certain prefect of the treasury of Philippolis who was crossing from our country into Thrace, and I asked him to take them up when he was setting out. But the vicar did not take our letter. While we were traveling around our diocese, he stopped at the city in the evening and left again in the early morning, so that the arrival of the man escaped the notice of the administrators of the church and, in...

    • 238 (191) . To the Presbyters of Nicopolis
      (pp. 175-176)

      I received the letter of your Reverence, and I was not able to learn anything of more recent date from it than what I had already known. The report had come beforehand to all the country around, relating the disgrace of the one among you who fell, who because of a desire of empty glory brought shameful dishonor upon himself, and was found to have fallen from the rewards of his faith through self-love, but who because of the just hatred of those who fear the Lord did not attain that wretched little glory through the longing for which he...

    • 239 (10) . To Eusebius
      (pp. 176-178)

      The Lord has given us even now through our fellow presbyter, the most beloved and pious brother, Antiochus, an opportunity to address your Holiness and to urge you to pray as usual for us and through our conversations by letter to find for yourself some consolation for our long separation. Moreover, we beseech you in your prayers to ask this as the first and greatest favor from the Lord—that we be delivered from the wicked and malicious men who have gained the mastery over the people to such an extent that now our condition resembles nothing other than the...

    • 240 (192) . To the Presbyters of Nicopolis
      (pp. 178-181)

      You did well in writing to us, especially in writing through such a man. He would suffice even without letters to provide considerable consolation for us in our anxieties and to give an accurate explanation of the situation. In fact, because of the scattered rumors coming across to us, there were many things which we were eager to learn from one who had a clear understanding of them. All of these the most beloved and most honored brother, our fellow presbyter Theodosius, explained to us consistently and practically. Consequently, we are writing to your Reverences the counsels which we are...

    • 241 (360) . To Eusebius
      (pp. 181-181)

      It is not to increase your despondency that in our letters we seldom refrain from mentioning our troubles to your Honor, but to give some consolation to ourselves by our lamentations, which, when expressed, somehow are able to dissipate the pain in the depth of our heart. We also wish to spur your Lordship to more fervent prayer for the churches. Assuredly, Moses prayed always for his people, yet, when his struggle against Amalec² had begun, he did not let his hands drop down from dawn until evening. The outstretching of the holy man’s hands ended only with the cessation...

    • 242 (182) . To the Westerners
      (pp. 182-184)

      Since the holy God has promised those who hope in Him a means of escape from every affliction, we, even if we have been cut off in the midst of a sea of evils and are racked by the mighty waves stirred up against us by the spirits of wickedness, nevertheless endure in Christ who strengthens us, and we have not slackened the intensity of our zeal for the churches, nor do we, as in a storm when the waves rise high, expect destruction. We still hold fast to our earnest endeavors as much as is possible, sensible of the...

    • 243 (70) . To the Bishops of Italy and of Gaul, concerning the Condition and Confusion of the Churches
      (pp. 184-189)

      To our truly most beloved of God and most dear brethren and fellow ministers of like mind, the bishops of Gaul and Italy, Basil, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.

      Our Lord Jesus Christ, who deigned to call the whole Church of God His body, and who declared each one of us members of one another, also granted all of us the privilege of friendship for all through the harmonious union of the members. Therefore, even if we are very distant from each other in our dwellings, nevertheless, by reason at least of our union we are near to each other....

    • 244 (82) . To Patrophilus, Bishop of the Church at Aegae
      (pp. 190-200)

      I have read your letter, which you sent through brother Strategius, our fellow presbyter, and have read it with pleasure. In fact, why should I not so have done, since it was written by an intelligent man and from a heart which has been taught by the precept of the Lord to direct its love to all men? And I understood more or less the cause of the silence in the past. You were like a person perplexed and greatly amazed, because the notorious Basil, who from boyhood rendered such services to a certain one, who did various things on...

    • 245 (309) . To Bishop Theophilus
      (pp. 200-201)

      Although I received the letter from your Charity long ago, I was waiting to give my answer through an appropriate person, in order that the carrier of the message might supply whatever was lacking in the letter. Accordingly, when our most beloved and pious brother, Strategius, arrived, I decided that it was a real opportunity to use him as a messenger, since he both knows our mind and is able to serve our interests sincerely and at the same time religiously. Be assured, therefore, most beloved and most honored friend, that we value highly our brotherly love for you, in...

    • 246 (66) . To the Nicopolitans
      (pp. 201-201)

      When I see, on the one hand, evil prospering, and on the other, your Reverences toiling and exhausted because of the continual abuses, I am filled with sadness. But, when anew I consider the mighty hand of God and realize that He knows how to raise again the fallen, to show affection for the just, to crush the arrogant, and to put down the powerful from their seats, again, in turn, I become lighter in spirit through hope, and I am confident that because of your prayers the Lord will show us a speedy calm. Only do not grow weary...

    • 247 (190) . To the Nicopolitans
      (pp. 202-202)

      When I read the letter from your Holinesses, how much I groaned and lamented, because I had heard these additional troubles: lashes and insults against you yourselves, plundering of homes and wasting of the city and disruption of all the country, persecution of the Church and banishment of the clergy, incursion of wolves and scattering of flocks. But, when I had ceased from my groaning and my tears, I looked to the Lord in heaven, and I understand and am convinced. And this I wish you also to know, that help will be speedy, and the abandonment will not last...

    • 248 (405) . To Amphilochius
      (pp. 202-203)

      Whenever we consider our own longings, we are grieved at being so far separated from your Reverence, but, when we regard the tranquility of your life, we give thanks to the Lord, who has removed your Reverence from this conflagration which has particulary consumed our diocese. The righteous Judge has given to us according to our deeds ‘an angel of Satan’² which buffets us considerably, vehemently defends heresy, and carries on war against us to such an extent as not even to spare the blood of those who believe in God. Assuredly, it has not been unnoticed by your Charity...

    • 249 (238) . Without an Address, for a Pious Man
      (pp. 204-204)

      I congratulate this brother both because he is delivered from the disturbances here and because he is going to your Reverence. For he has chosen for himself an excellent provision for eternity, a good life passed with those who fear the Lord. We also commend him to your Honor, and through him I entreat you to pray for our wretched life so that we may be freed from these trials and may begin to serve the Lord according to the Gospel....

    • 250 (85) . To Patrophilus
      (pp. 204-206)

      After a long time I have received the answer to my earlier letter; still, I received it through the most beloved Strategius, and I gave thanks to the Lord because you remain the same in your love for us. And what you have now been so kind as to write on the same subject contains a proof of your good will, because you are properly disposed and you advise us to our advantage.

      Yet, since I see again that my discussion will be rather long, if I am to answer each separate point written by your Intelligence, I am saying...

    • 251 (72) . To the People of Evaesae
      (pp. 206-210)

      Even though the number of troubles surrounding us is great and our heart is oppressed with countless care, we have never banished from our memory solicitude for your Charities, but we beg of our God that you will continue in the faith in which you stand and exult in the hope of the glory of God.² For, at the present time it is truly difficult to find and very rare to see a church that is unimpaired, in no way harmed by the difficulties of the times, but preserving pure and untouched the teaching of the Apostles, such a church...

    • 252 (291) . To the Bishops of the Diocese of Pontus
      (pp. 210-210)

      The honoring of martyrs is much to be desired by all those who have hoped in the Lord, and especially by you who are seeking after virtue and who through your affection for your celebrated fellow servants² have manifested your good will toward our common Master, but, above all, because your life of rigid discipline possesses a certain kinship with those who have been brought to perfection through patient endurance. Therefore, since Eupsychius³ and Damas and their company are most distinguished martyrs whose commemoration is celebrated yearly by our city and all the neighboring country, the Church, urging you through...

    • 253 (199) . To the Presbyters of Antioch
      (pp. 211-211)

      The solicitude which you have for the churches of God, the most beloved and most pious brother Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter, will in part relieve by relating the love and good will of all the West toward us; in part, he will also rouse and stimulate it the more, describing personally to you with great clarity how much zeal the present circumstances demand. All the others announced to us, as it were, by halves, both the opinions of the men there and the condition of their affairs; but he, being a man capable of understanding the policies of men and...

    • 254 (311) . To Pelagius, Bishop of Laodicea
      (pp. 211-212)

      May the Lord grant me, at some time or other, to come into the presence of your true Reverence, and personally to supply those accounts which we have omitted in our letter. We have been late in beginning to write, and there is great need of an apology from us. Since, however, the most beloved and pious brother Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter, is at hand, he himself will tell you the news both from us and from the West. And in this latter he will truly gladden you, but, in speaking of the disturbances that are pouring down upon us,...

    • 255 (314) . To Vitus, Bishop of Charrae
      (pp. 212-213)

      Would that it were possible for me to write even daily to your Reverence! Ever since I have become acquainted with your Charity, I have a great longing, above all, to be with you, but, if that is not possible, at least to write and to receive letters, in order that I may be able not only to give you some information of our affairs, but also to learn about your condition. However, since not what we wish, but what the Lord gives, is granted us, we ought to receive it with thanksgiving; therefore, we have thanked the good God...

    • 256 (200) . To Our Most Beloved and Pious Brethren, Fellow Presbyters, Acacius, Aetius, Paulus, and Silvanus, and Deacons, Silvinus and Lucius, and the Rest of Our Brethren, the Monks
      (pp. 213-214)

      When I heard of that grievous persecution rising up against you, and how immediately after Easter those who ‘fasted for debates and strife,’² coming to your tabernacles, consigned all your labors to the fire, preparing for you a home in heaven not made by human hands,³ but laying up as a treasure for themselves the fire⁴ which they used to injure you, I bemoaned the incident, not compassionating you, brethren (may that not be!), but those who were so submerged in evils as to extend their wickedness to such a limit. I expected that you would all run immediately to...

    • 257 (303) . To the Monks Oppressed by the Arians
      (pp. 215-216)

      What I said to myself when I heard about the trial which had been brought upon you by the enemies of God, this I have thought it well to report to you in writing, namely, that in a time which is considered to be peacful you procured for yourselves a blessing which is reserved for those who suffer persecution for the name of Christ. Not just because a gentle and mild name invests those performing wicked deeds ought we on this account to consider that the acts are not hostile. I judge that a war on the part of those...

    • 258 (325) . To Bishop Epiphanius
      (pp. 217-221)

      It has long been expected from the prediction of the Lord, and now finally confirmed by the test of events, that, ‘because iniquity has abounded, the charity of the many would grow cold.’² This, though it was already prevailing among us, the letter brought from your Honor seemed to refute. Truly, it is an example of charity not at all trifling, in the first place, that you remember us who are so insignificant and of no worth, and secondly, that you send to visit us brethren who are fit to be messengers of letters of peace. Indeed, no sight is...

    • 259 (184) . To the Monks, Palladius and Innocent
      (pp. 221-222)

      The measure of my love for you, you ought to surmise from the extent of your love for us. In truth, I have always desired to be the author of peace and, since I am failing in my purpose, I am grieved. Why should I not be? Yet, I cannot be angry at anyone because of this, being aware that long ago the blessing of peace was taken away from us. But, if the cause of the disagreement lies in others, may the Lord grant that those bringing about the dissension may cease to do so. Of course, I do...

    • 260 (17) . To Bishop Optimus
      (pp. 222-232)

      I would be happy to see your noble children in any event, not only because of the stability of their character, which is beyond their age, but also because of their near relationship to your Reverence, which makes it possible to expect something great of them; but, when I saw that they were coming to me with a letter from you, I felt a twofold love for them. When I read the letter and perceived in it both the anxious care of your Affection for the churches and also your solicitude in reading the holy Scriptures, I gave thanks to...

    • 261 (65) . To the Citizens of Sozopolis
      (pp. 232-235)

      I read the letter, most honorable brethren, which you wrote concerning your troubles. And we rejoiced in the Lord that you associated us with you in your solicitude for the care of things needful for you and demanding attention. But we felt much sorrow on hearing that, in addition to the disorder brought upon the churches by the Arians, and the confusion which they have produced concerning the doctrines of faith, still another novelty has appeared among you, throwing the brotherhood into great grief, as you have written to us, namely, that men are introducing innovations and dogmas unfamiliar to...

    • 262 (344) . To the Monk Urbicius
      (pp. 236-237)

      You did well in writing to us, for you have shown the fruit of charity in no slight measure. In fact, do it frequently. Yet, do not think that you need to apologize when you write to us. We know ourselves and we are aware that by nature every man has equal honor with all the rest, and pre-eminence among us is not due to race, or abundance of money, or the condition of the body, but depends upon the superiority of our fear of God. Therefore, what prevents you, who fear the Lord more, from being greater than we...

    • 263 (74) . To the Westerners
      (pp. 237-242)

      May the Lord our God, in whom we have put our trust, bestow upon each of you the grace to obtain the hope placed before you in a measure commensurate with the joy with which you yourselves have filled our hearts not only through the letter which you sent us by our most beloved fellow presbyters,² but also through the sympathy which you, putting on a heart of mercy,³ expressed for us in our distresses, as the aforementioned have announced. Even if our wounds remain the same, nevertheless it brings us some relief to have physicians at hand who are...

    • 264 (326) . To Barses, Bishop of Edessa, during his Exile
      (pp. 243-244)

      To Barses, the bishop truly most beloved of God and deserving of all reverence and honor, Basil sends greetings in the Lord. Since the most noble brethren, Domninus² and his disciples, were setting out in the direction of your Lordship, we gladly seized the opportunity of writing, and through them we are greeting you. We pray the holy God that you may be preserved in this life until such a time as we may be considered worthy to see you and to enjoy the gifts of grace that are in you. Only pray, I urge, that the Lord may not...

    • 265 (293) . To Eulogius, Alexander, and Harpocration, Bishops of Egypt in Exile
      (pp. 244-250)

      Stupendous in every respect do we find the providence of the good God toward His churches, so that even events which seem gloomy and which turn out absolutely contrary to our will, even these are dispensed for the benefit of the many in the inscrutable wisdom of God and the unsearchable judgments of His justice.² For, behold, the Lord, having compelled your Charities to go out from the land of Egypt, led you into the midst of Palestine and settled you there in Imitation of Israel of old, whom He led in captivity into the land of the Assyrians, and...

    • 266 (321) . To Peter, Bishop of Alexandria
      (pp. 250-253)

      Rightly and in a manner becoming to a spiritual brother who has learned true love from the Lord have you upbraided me, because we do not inform you of all particulars, whether great or small, of affairs here. Certainly, it is proper both for you to be interested in our concerns and for us to report our affairs to your Charity. But, be assured, our most honorable and most beloved brother, that our continuous afflictions and this great turmoil, which at present is agitating the churches, causes us to be surprised at nothing that is taking place. As those in...

    • 267 (327) . To Barses, Bishop of Edessa, in Exile
      (pp. 254-255)

      Because of the affection which I have for your Reverence, I longed to be present myself and personally to embrace your true Charity, and to magnify the Lord² who has gained great glory in you and has made your honorable old age illustrious among all those in the world who fear Him.³ But, since an oppressive weakness of body weighs me down and an unspeakably great concern for the churches⁴ lies upon me and I am not my own master in regard to traveling wherever I wish and meeting with those for whom I long, I am relieving by this...

    • 268 (9) . To Eusebius in Exile
      (pp. 255-256)

      The Lord has shown even in our times that He does not abandon His holy ones,² for with His great and mighty hand³ He has protected the life of your Holiness. In fact, we regard this as very like to the incident of the holy man remaining without hurt in the belly of the whale⁴ and like that of the men who feared the Lord remaining unscathed in the raging fire,⁵ seeing that He even kept your Reverence unharmed when, as I hear, the war had spread around you on all sides.⁶ And may Almighty God indeed preserve for us...

    • 269 (186) . A Letter of Condolence to the Wife of the Commander Arintheus
      (pp. 257-259)

      It was in accordance with and due to your position that we ourselves should be at hand and share with you what is happening. Thus we might have allayed our own grief and have reasonably discharged our duty of consolation to your Dignity. But, since my body no longer endures the more tedious journeys, we have had recourse to a conversation by letter in order that we may not seem to be altogether uninterested in regard to the occurrence.

      Who, indeed, did not bewail that man? And who is so stony-hearted as not to pour forth burning tears for him?...

    • 270 (244) . Without an Address, concerning an Abduction
      (pp. 259-260)

      I am grieved exceedingly because I find that you are neither indignant at the forbidden deeds nor able to understand that this abduction which has taken place is a lawless and tyrannical act against the very life and existence of man, and an insult to free men. For I know that, if all of you had such an opinion, nothing would prevent this evil practice from having been banished long ago from our country. Take upon yourself, therefore, at the present time, the zeal of a Christian, and be roused in a manner worthy of the wrong-doing. Moreover, take away...

    • 271 (11) . A Letter of Recommendation to Eusebius, His Companion, in Behalf of the Presbyter Cyriacus
      (pp. 260-261)

      What is the need to mention how disheartened I was at missing you when I stopped at the city immediately after, even on the very heels of your departure, to say it especially to a man who does not require words, but knows by experience, through having suffered the same disappointment? How much I would have appreciated seeing the all-excellent Eusebius and embracing him, returning again in memory to our youth, and recalling those days in which we had but one home, one hearth, and the same teacher, recreation, interests, luxuries, want, and all things shared in common! How highly,...

    • 272 (330) . To the Master Sophronius
      (pp. 262-264)

      Actiacus,² the deacon, announced to me that some men had caused you to be vexed at us, slanderously saying that we are not favorably disposed toward your Dignity. I am not surprised if there are some flatterers who attend so great a man. Somehow, these servile attendants are accustomed to attach themselves to important positions. These men, because of their lack of personal good, by which they might be known, secure approval of themselves through the evils of others. And, as the rust, when it is on the grain itself, is destructive of the grain, so flattery, insinuating itself into...

    • 273 (216) . Without an Address, in Behalf of Hera
      (pp. 264-264)

      Being fully persuaded that your Honor loves us in such a way as to consider our concerns your own, I am recommending to your marvelous Excellency our most revered brother Hera, whom we call our brother not from mere habit but from an affection that is most genuine and can go no further in friendship. I also urge you to look upon him with a friendly spirit, and, according to your power, to extend to him your patronage in whatever matters he may ask it of your Lordship, so that I may be able to reckon this good deed among...

    • 274 (416) . To the Master Himerius
      (pp. 265-265)

      That my friendship and intimacy with the most revered brother Hera began with earliest childhood and by the grace of God has endured even until old age, you yourself know better than anyone else. The Lord bestowed on us the love of your Excellency almost from the very time from which He also granted us an acquaintance with each other. Since, then, he needs your patronage, I urge you and I entreat that, favoring us with your early affection and devoting yourself to this present urgent necessity, you make his affairs your own in such a way that he will...

    • 275 (217) . Without an Address, concerning Hera
      (pp. 265-266)

      You anticipated our appeals in your affection for our most revered brother Hera and you have proved yourself better toward him than we had prayed, not only by the extraordinary honors which you have shown to him but also by your protection on every occasion. Nevertheless, we also, since we are not able to bear in silence his present state of affairs, urge your unsurpassed Honor for our sake to add to your zeal for the man and to send him back to his country victorious over the abuses of his enemies. At the present time, certainly, he is not...

    • 276 (365) . To the Elder Harmatius
      (pp. 266-267)

      Not only does the common law of all men make the elders common fathers, but also the law peculiar to us Christians places us old men in the position of parents to such men. Therefore, do not think that I am overbusy or meddling beyond necessity, if I serve as intercessor with you for your son. We consider it right for you to demand his obedience in other respects, for he is responsible to you as regards his body both by the law of nature and by this civil law under which we are governed. As to his soul, however,...

    • 277 (42) . To the Scholar Maximus
      (pp. 267-268)

      The excellent Theotecnus² brought back to me news of the affairs of your Dignity, and, clearly delineating in his speech the character of your soul, inspired me with a longing to meet with you. He kindled in me such an affection for you that, if I had not been weighed down by old age and restrained by my usual infirmity and fettered by the innumerable cares of the Church, nothing could have kept me from visiting you. In truth, it is no small profit for a man from a great house and an illustrious race, entering upon the evangelical life,...

    • 278 (425) . To Valerian
      (pp. 269-269)

      Even when I was in Orphanene² I was desirous of seeing your Nobility. In fact, I hoped that you, since you were living in Corsagaena,³ would not hesitate to cross over to us, if we were holding the synod in Attagaena. But, when I missed that synod, I was eager to see you in the hill country. For, there again, Evesus,⁴ as it was near at hand, held out the hope of a meeting. As I missed both, I determined to write, in order that you might deign to come to me, at the same time doing what is right...

    • 279 (274) . To the Prefect Modestus
      (pp. 269-270)

      Even though there are many who carry letters from us to your Honor, nevertheless, because of the extraordinary esteem which you have for us, I think that the great number of letters affords your Excellency no annoyance. For that reason I have readily given the present letter to this brother, knowing that he will obtain all that he desires and that we shall be counted by you among your benefactors, since we are procuring for your good will opportunities for beneficence.

      Now, the affair for which he asks your protection he himself will tell you, if you will condescend to...

    • 280 (275) . To Modestus
      (pp. 270-271)

      Even if it is a daring act to address by letter supplications to so great a man, the honor which in the past we received from you takes the fear out of our heart, and we make bold to write to you in behalf of men related to us by kinship and worthy of honor because of the uprightness of their character. Futher, he who is presenting this letter of ours stands in the position of son to me. Since, then, he needs only your good will to procure that which he seeks, deign to receive my letter, which the...

    • 281 (278) . To Modestus
      (pp. 271-271)

      I have kept in mind the great honor you bestowed on me, that among other things you gave me also the encouragement to write to your Excellency. Accordingly, I have made use of the privilege and I am enjoying your most kind favor, both delighting myself by conversing with so great a man and also affording your Lordship an opportunity to honor us by your answers. Since I supplicated your Clemency in behalf of our companion Helladius,¹ our leading citizen, that he, having been relieved of the responsibility of the assessment, might be permitted to labor in the affairs of...

    • 282 (336) . To a Bishop
      (pp. 271-272)

      When you are not invited, you complain, and when you are invited, you do not heed. From the second observation, it is evident that you made use of the former excuse without reason. You would not have come, in all probability, even if you have been invited then. Give ear, therefore, to those who are inviting you now, and do not again be inconsiderate, since you know that one ground of complaint added to another confirms it, and the second makes the accusation of the former more credible. I urge you always to be patient with us, but, if you...

    • 283 (284) . To a Widow
      (pp. 272-273)

      We hope to find a suitable day for the synod after those which we are about to assign for the hill country.¹ But no other opportunity for a meeting, apart from the celebration of the synod, appears to us, unless the Lord makes some adjustment beyond our expectations. You ought to surmise this from your own affairs. For, if around your Nobility, who have the responsibility of one home, there lies such a throng of cares, with how many occupations do you think we are engaged each day?

      I think that your dream shows more perfectly that it is necessary...

    • 284 (304) . To an Assessor, in Behalf of Monks
      (pp. 273-273)

      I think that some rule has been in force with your Honor in behalf of the monks, so that we need not at all request a special favor in their case, but it suffices for them if they can enjoy the kindness that is common to all. Believing, nevertheless, that it is incumbent upon me to take thought, as far as possible, for such men, I am writing to ask your mature Intelligence to free from taxation those who long ago renounced this life, mortifying their bodies, so that they are able to furnish nothing useful to the state either...

    • 285 (229) . Without an Address, for the Protection of the Church
      (pp. 274-274)

      He who cares for our church and has in his hands the charge of its possessions, he himself is the one presenting this letter to you, our beloved son.¹ Be so kind as to grant him freedom of speech concerning the matters which he is referring to your Modesty, and to take heed of what he is asserting, so that at least from now on our church may be enabled to recover itself and to be freed from this many-headed hydra.² For the possessions of the poor are such that we are always seeking someone to take them, because the...

    • 286 (417) . To a Prison Official
      (pp. 274-275)

      Some men in this synod were caught committing evil deeds and, in contravention of the command of the Lord,¹ Stealing the cheap garments of poor people, whom they ought rather to clothe than to strip. Now, since men who have charge of ecclesiastical discipline arrested them, I, believing that the acceptance of the responsibility for such men was of importance to you who are engaged in state affairs, wrote informing you that it was proper for crimes committed in the churches to meet with the appropriate correction from us, and for the judges not to be concerned about such matters....

    • 287 (245) . Without an Address, against Retaliators
      (pp. 275-276)

      The case of this man seems to be very hard to handle. We do not know how to treat a character so versatile and, as it is possible to infer from our observations, so desperate. In fact, if he is summoned to judgment, he does not comply, and if he does present himself, he uses such a superfluity of words and oaths as to make us glad to get rid of him quickly. I have often seen him even twist the charges around against the accusers. In short, there is no nature among all creatures living upon this earth so...

    • 288 (246) . Without an Address, against Retaliators
      (pp. 276-276)

      Those whom the usual penalties do not recall to their senses, and even exclusion from prayers does not lead to repentance, must be subjected to the canons given by the Lord. For it has been written: ‘If thy brother sin, go and show him his fault, between thee and him. But if he do not listen to thee, take with thee another. And if not even thus, appeal to the Church, but if he refuse to hear even the Church, let him henceforth be to thee as the heathen and the publican.’¹ Now, this truly has been done in the...

    • 289 (249) . Without an Address, concerning an Afflicted Woman
      (pp. 277-279)

      I, judging it to be an equal fault either to permit the sinners to go unpunished or to overstep the measure in chastisement, have imposed on this man the penalty incumbent upon me to pass, excluding him from ecclesiastical communion. Moreover, I have advised those who were wronged not to avenge themselves, but to entrust the retribution to the Lord.¹ Therefore, if there would have been any assistance from my admonitions, I would have been heeded then, since I made use of speech more impressive by far than the urgency with which a letter could entreat.

      But, when I heard...

    • 290 (323) . To Nectarius
      (pp. 279-280)

      May many blessings be bestowed on those who are moving your Honor to a steady correspondence with us by letter. Do not think that we speak such words through custom, but that from a true affection we esteem your utterances most highly. For, what could be dearer to me than Nectarius, who from childhood was known to us for his most noble qualities and who now has risen to such high distinction by the exercise of every virtue? Therefore, he who brings your letters to me is the most loved of all friends.

      Certainly, in regard to the election of...

    • 291 (340) . To the Suffragan Bishop Timotheus
      (pp. 281-282)

      Now, I am aware that to write everything I think is neither consistent with the length of a letter nor otherwise proper to that sort of a greeting, yet to pass it by in silence is almost impossible to me, since my heart is inflamed with a just indignation against you. Therefore, I shall take the middle path, writing some things and disregarding others. For, I wish to reprove you, if it is meet and right, with a friendly frankness of speech.

      If you are that Timotheus whom we have known from boyhood so earnest as regards an upright and...

    • 292 (386) . To Palladius
      (pp. 283-283)

      The holy God fulfilled half of our desire when He arranged the meeting with our most modest sister, your wife. And He is able to grant the rest, also, so that we, seeing your Nobility, may return perfect thanks to God. We are possessed of a great desire, especially now, since we have heard that you have been invested with a great honor, the immortal garment,² which, enveloping our humanity, has utterly destroyed death in the flesh and absorbed that which was mortal in the garment of immortality.

      The Lord has made you very close to Himself through His grace,...

    • 293 (166) . To Julian
      (pp. 284-285)

      How has your health been during these intervening days? Have you regained completely the use of your hand? And how about the other concerns of life? Are they progressing according to your desire, as we pray and as is due to your principle of action? In fact, for those whose opinion is prone to change, it is not at all unnatural for their life also to be disorderly; but as for those whose mind is fixed, always constant and the same, it is consistent for them to conduct their life in harmony with their principle of action. For, truly, it...

    • 294 (210) . To Festus and Magnus
      (pp. 285-286)

      Surely, forethought for their own children is proper to fathers, care for plants or seeds to farmers, and solicitude for their pupils to teachers, especially when because of their natural ability they begin to show in themselves hopes for improvement. The farmer rejoices in his labors when his ears of corn mature and his plants grow, and the pupils delight their teachers and children their fathers, the first when they advance in virtue, the latter when they advance in growth. But we have a solicitude in your case so much the greater and a hope so much the stronger in...

    • 295 (295) . To Monks
      (pp. 286-287)

      I believe that, by the grace of God, you need no other exhortation after the words which we addressed personally to you, encouraging all of you to accept the common life in imitation of the apostolic manner of living. You received this as good instruction and gave thanks for it to the Lord. Since, then, that spoken by us was not mere words but instructions which should pass into action for the advantage of you who accepted them, for the consolation of us who suggested the idea, and for the glory and praise of Christ, whose name is invoked upon...

    • 296 (285) . To a Widow
      (pp. 287-288)

      Considering your disposition toward us and knowing the zeal which you have for the work of the Lord, we recently behaved boldly toward you as toward our daughter, and used your mules for a longer time, working them sparingly as if they were our own, but, nevertheless, prolonging the time of their service. It was necessary, therefore, to write these things to your Dignity, so that you might know that what has been done is a proof of our affection. At the same time we remind your Modesty by letter to remember the Lord and always to keep before your...

    • 297 (286) . To a Widow
      (pp. 288-289)

      Judging that it is absolutely incumbent on me both because of my advanced age and because of the sincerity of my spiritual affection not only to visit your incomparable Nobility when you are bodily present, but also when you are absent not to fall short but to satisfy with letters for what is wanting, since I have found this suitable carrier for the letter to your Dignity, I am addressing you through her. Chiefly do I urge you on to the work of the Lord, in order that the good God, letting you spend with honor the days of your...

    • 298 (233) . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Pious Man
      (pp. 289-289)

      Because you deign to use us as adviser in all things and sharer of your thoughts, you do what is proper for your own perfection. May God requite you for your love for us and your diligence in regard to your life. I am surprised that the deception of this man has taken hold upon you, and that you have believed that there is some strange power in water, and this, when no testimony has confirmed the report. Certainly, there is no one there who received for his body either more or less of that for which he had hoped...

    • 299 (352) . To an Assessor
      (pp. 290-291)

      You wrote to me, although I was already aware of it, that you are dissatisfied with the administering of public affairs. And, in fact, it is an old saying that those who lay claim to any virtue do not gladly thrust themselves into offices. Really, that which is peculiar to doctors I see is also peculiar to rulers. They see terrible sights and have disgusting experiences, and they reap the distress belonging to the misfortunes of others, at least they do who are truly rulers. Yet, for men who are engaged in commerce, looking toward wealth and agitated about this...

    • 300 (201) . A Letter of Condolence to the Father of a Scholar Who Had Died
      (pp. 291-293)

      Since the Lord has placed us in the second rank of fathers to Christians, having entrusted to us the formation through piety of the children of those who believe in Him, we have considered that the fate of your blessed son is also our personal grief, and we have lamented the untimeliness of his departure. Sympathizing especially with you, we have taken into account how great would be the weight of the sorrow to him who is father by nature, since, even to us who have been made akin according to precept, there has been such grief of heart. Now,...

    • 301 (346) . A Letter of Condolence to Maximus
      (pp. 293-295)

      How we were affected on hearing of your misfortune no word of ours would suffice clearly to describe, for at one moment we were taking account of the loss which the community of the pious suffered—the principal lady of those of her own rank having perished—at the next we were considering into how much sadness the joyousness of your Dignity had been changed, beholding in thought a home which was deemed happy by all fallen to its knees,² and a companionship which was firmly cemented by the most perfect harmony dissolved more quickly than a dream. How would...

    • 302 (347) . A Letter of Condolence to the Wife of Briso
      (pp. 295-297)

      Why should we even mention how much we lamented at the tidings of the death of the most excellent of men, Briso? Surely, there is no one with such a stony heart, who, after he had gained some experience of that man and had then heard that he was suddenly snatched away from among men, has not considered the loss of the man the common loss of mankind. But, immediately upon our grief there succeeded a solicitude for you, when we considered how your soul is likely to have been affected by the calamity, if what has happened is so...

    • 303 (423) . To the Prefect of the Emperor’s Private Estate
      (pp. 297-298)

      The people of this district persuaded your Honor by false accusations, I think, to impose on these men a tax of mares.² Now, since that which is being done is unjust and for this reason ought to be displeasing to your Honor, and since it is distressing to us because of the friendship which we have for those who have been wronged, we have hastened to urge your Excellency not to allow those who are attempting to do wrong to continue their abusive treatment....

    • 304 (357) . To Aburgius
      (pp. 298-298)

      This is the man in whose behalf I previously have had some communications with you through the deacon. Now, since he has come with a letter from us, may he depart with what he wishes from you....

    • 305 (232) . Without an Address, for Some Virtuous Man
      (pp. 298-299)

      This man is already well known to you, as the accounts themselves of the man prove. On every occasion his tongue makes mention of you; in reminiscences of the orthodox, in hospitality toward ascetics, and in every virtue the man holds you first. Even if anyone of the masters is mentioned he does not suffer others to be placed before you, and, if they speak of champions of piety and those capable of refuting the plausible arguments of heresy, he would not wish to enumerate another before you, ascribing to you in everything a virtue unconquerable and incomparable. And it...

    • 306 (424) . To the Commander at Sebaste
      (pp. 299-300)

      I am sensible that your Honor receives our letters with pleasure and I know the reason. Indeed, being a lover of good and inclined to beneficence, since on each occasion we furnish some suitable material for you to engage the nobility of your good will, you run for our letters, as holding opportunities for good deeds. Now, then, another opportunity has come which can receive the impress of your kindness and which at the same time provides a herald for your virtues.

      Certain men, who set out from Alexandria in compliance with a necessary duty and one owed by the...

    • 307 (247) . Without an Address
      (pp. 300-301)

      Contentious natures frequently reject even good ideas and judge as noble and useful not that which seems so to all others, even if it is advantageous, but that which is pleasing to them alone, even if it is hurtful. And the cause is folly and perversity of disposition, not heeding the advice of others, but trusting to their own opinions only and to whatever considerations enter their mind. Those things in which they take pleasure enter the mind, and they take pleasure in what they want. Now, he who thinks that what he desires is advantageous is not a safe...

    • 308 (233) . Without an Address, for Patronage
      (pp. 301-301)

      Even when your Honor was present with the brethren, I spoke in behalf of the people from the district of Caprales,² and I introduced them to your Clemency, urging you that, keeping before your eyes the recompense from the Lord, you should succor them as being poor and afflicted in every way. And now again I renew the same petition by letter, praying to the holy God that both the distinction which you possess and the splendor of your life may be preserved and may reach to even greater limits, so that through your greater power you may be able...

    • 309 (230) . Without an Address, for a Needy Person
      (pp. 302-302)

      I severely condemned this brother for being solicitous about the registration of his house for taxation, since he certainly has beforehand the necessary exemption because of his poverty. For, from a wealthy life, the Lord dispensing thus for the profit of his soul, he has now been reduced to extreme poverty, so that he scarcely has enough food for each day and does not rule over even one slave out of the many which he formerly had in his service. There remains to him only his body, and that weak and aged, as you yourself see, and three children, an...

    • 310 (237) . Without an Address, in Behalf of Relatives
      (pp. 302-303)

      I myself was most desirous to meet your Eloquence for many reasons; first, indeed, to enjoy after a long interval of time the noble qualities which you possess, and then, to appeal to you in behalf of the men of Ariarathia, to whom after being long afflicted, the Lord has granted a worthy consolation, bestowing upon them the care of your Rectitude. There is also a certain other possession of my relatives which is exceedingly burdensome and which is almost the chief cause of the poverty at Ariarathia. This situation I also urge your Excellency to remedy as far as...

    • 311 (421) . To an Official
      (pp. 303-303)

      Men who do not pay attention to our assurances, but in their own interests seek something personal and exceptional, force us to write many letters to your Honor. For, long ago we protested to them that you would be so impartial and fair a guardian of justice for us that no one would seek for anything more as regards kindness unless, perhaps, he is excessively greedy. Nevertheless, to satisfy this man we have given him a letter, recommending him to you and urging you to look favorably upon him and, because his house has in the course of time been...

    • 312 (426) . To an Assessor
      (pp. 303-303)

      You know both the profits and the losses which come to men from the registration for taxes. Therefore pardon this man who is taking great pains not to suffer any harm, and be willing to co-operate with all your strength to obtain justice for him.

      It is not possible from afar to see the dispensations of God, but through littleness of soul we men pay attention to what is near at hand and frequently, although we are being led to a good end, we become angry, while the Lord, who manages all things in His wisdom, suffers our stupidity. You...

    • 313 (353) . To an Assessor
      (pp. 304-305)

      It is not possible from afar to see the dispensations of God, but through littleness of soul we men pay attention to what is near at hand and frequently, although we are being led to a good end, we become angry, while the Lord, who manages all things in His wisdom, suffers our stupidity. You remember, I presume, how angry we became at the time against the office imposed upon us, how many friends we invited in order through their assistance to oppose the abuse. Thus, indeed, we called the affair.

      But, now, you see what the present situation is...

    • 314 (231) . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Servant
      (pp. 305-305)

      Really, how could I overlook a suitable opportunity for a letter and not address your Honor, when this man was setting out in your direction? He, indeed, is sufficient of himself both to describe our affairs and to discharge the duty of a letter; but he wished also to become the bearer of a letter because he is very fond of us and is devoted to us with his whole soul. He desires also by all means to carry back your words and to be of service to you.

      We therefore have given him the letter, through which, in the first...

    • 315 (218) . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Relative
      (pp. 306-306)

      Since I was quite persuaded that I would fail to obtain nothing for which I might justly appeal to your Honor, I willingly consented to give a letter to this most orderly guardian of orphans who lives in a home more troublesome than a many-headed hydra.² In addition to all this, it happens that we are related to each other by blood. Therefore, we urge your Nobility, while both honoring us and defending the honor owed to the grandfather of the orphans, to provide some assistance so that the ownership for the future may be made bearable for us.

      aa...

    • 316 (219) . Without an Address, in Behalf of an Oppressed Man
      (pp. 306-306)

      I was quite convinced that those approaching your Clemency needed no letters at all because you do more from nobility of character than all that anyone by his entreaties might influence you to do for a good end. Nevertheless, because I was extremely concerned about this son, I was induced to write to your pure and guileless soul, recommending the man to you and urging that you should provide him with your assistance to the best of your power, in whatever way it might be possible, for the tasks lying before him. That he will need no other patron, if...

    • 317 (222) . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Needy Person
      (pp. 307-307)

      The infrequency of replies received here occasions on our part few letters to your Honor. For we consider our not receiving answers each time to letters which we write evidence that our letter brings annoyance to your Honor. But, again, the consideration of the mass of business about you gives us a different opinion, and we pardon for forgetting us him who has so much on his hands. For, even if there were all leisure and quiet, it would not be easy to be mindful of us because of the lowliness of our life.

      May the Holy One lead you,...

    • 318 . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Countryman
      (pp. 307-308)

      The very claim of our country recommends to you those who have arrived from our native land, although by the kindness of your manner you bring under your own care all who need any help whatsoever. Accordingly, receive him, the son of this man, who is placing this letter in the hands of your Modesty, not only as a fellow countryman but also as one who needs help, and as one who has been recommended to you by us; and for all these reasons let one favor be granted to him—the obtaining of all possible aid from you for...

    • 319 . Without an Address, in Behalf of a Stranger
      (pp. 308-308)

      Immediately after your departure this son who is presenting this letter to you approached us with the need (as a man living in a foreign land) of all the consolation owed by Christians to strangers. Now, he himself will tell you his business more clearly, and you on your part will provide assistance to the best of your ability and as is necessary for the present tasks. If the governor is at hand, you yourself will, of course, lead the stranger to him, since you will furnish him with what he desires through those who are administering the government. For,...

    • 320 (221) . Without an Address, in Friendly Greeting
      (pp. 308-309)

      Only after a considerable time has it been granted to us to address your Honor, because he who carries our replies delayed long in our district and fell in with men and affairs rather hard to manage. In fact, for a whole year he alienated himself from the country which bore him. After having been led on by deceits and compromises of men to think that, if he would overcome the evil-doing about him, he would become master of the whole affair, he at length became sensible of his total loss, his sense of awareness having been stolen away by...

    • 321 (212) . To Thecla
      (pp. 309-310)

      During the past year there was a heavy frost in our country and it in jured the eyelids of the grapevines which were already being loosened for travail, and they, remaining barren, caused our bowls to be parched and unmoistened. Now, why in the world have we been induced to describe so tragically tbe unfruitfulness of our plants? In order that you yourself might become for us, according to Solomon,² both a blooming vine and a fruitful branch, not putting forth a cluster of grapes, but pressing out the dew of the grapes for the thirsty. And who are the...

    • 322 (223) . Without an Address, on Celebrating Easter with a Friend
      (pp. 310-311)

      I was delighted at receiving your Honor’s letter, as was likely, and I gave thanks to the Lord and was ready to answer if anyone had made timely mention of copies.¹ The matter about which you had given us directions was settled in the process of time, but it was not safe to answer anything before the final adjustment. This is the cause of our’ silence; it was certainly not indifference or ignorance of what is proper. In fact, even if we had been really indifferent, we would, at any rate, have desired to throw a shadow over our faults...

    • 323 (335) . To Philagrius Arcenus
      (pp. 311-312)

      Thanks be to the holy God! I certainly would not say that I am grateful to those who wronged you because they have become for me the occasion of a letter. But the Lord, who shows us kindness on every side, knows how to fill us with consolations frequently even through sorrows. And for this reason He made the thoughtlessness of those who deserted you an occasion of joy for us.

      But may you write to us on every pretext, just such things as you write, from a judgment so good and from a tongue so pure. Even if we...

    • 324 (375) . To Pasinicus, a Doctor
      (pp. 312-313)

      An evidence that you are not just casually disposed toward us is the fact that you saluted us immediately, at the very doors, so to say, of the entrance. Now, even to receive a friendly letter is in itself worthy of our zeal, but, if what is written brings about the needed result in most important matters, it is certainly of much more worth.

      Therefore, understand well that Patricius, a man excellent in all respects, bears such charms of persuasiveness on his lips that, even if he would get hold of any Sauromatian or Scythian, let alone anything you have...

    • 325 (381) . To Magninianus
      (pp. 313-313)

      The letter from your Dignity was sufficient to bring us every joy. And now, too, the most modest of women, Icelium, our common daughter, who presented the letter, has increased our joy more than twofold, not only because she is the living image of your Excellency, but also because she has shown in herself every care for virtue. Therefore, although at first we received her gladly because of you, later reversing the order, we pronounced you happy because of her, since rewards from the Lord God await you for such rearing of your children. But, may we at some time...

    • 326 (224) . Without an Address, for the Sake of Admonition
      (pp. 314-314)

      The holy God has given us a most convenient occasion for the matter at hand, having made known to us this brother, the man whom we have used as carrier of this written communication of ours on his return to your Honor, and we pray to God that, advancing to a higher degree of distinction and glory, you will do honor both to us and to your whole fatherland by your own personal virtue.

      We urge you during all your life to be mindful of God who created and honored you, in order that in addition to the splendor of...

    • 327 (225) . Without an Address, for Encouragement
      (pp. 314-315)

      Because you honored us while we were present and deign to remember us when we are absent (for the report has come to us), may you receive a reward from the good Lord, and on the great day of the righteous judgment of our God may we see you glorious because of your good deeds, in order that, just as you were considered deserving of renown here, so also you may enjoy a place of dignity beside the heavenly King.

      Therefore, we urge chiefly that you exhibit sufficient zeal for the Church of God, and then that you increase your...

    • 328 (367) . To Hyperechius
      (pp. 315-315)

      I both salute your Honor and I pray for blessings for you, but I also inform you, since you are evidently desirous to know all about us, that I am faring not at all better than usual. In fact, I refrain from more foreboding words that I may not grieve one who is praying for the greatest blessings for us....

    • 329 (282) . To Phalerius
      (pp. 315-315)

      I was very agreeably delighted with the fish from the river, having begrudged their escape which they had made by stealing under the shelter produced by the cold.¹ However, your letter is more prized by us than the fish. Therefore, send letters² rather than gifts. But, if you have an inclination to be silent, at least do not leave off praying for us....

    • 330 (176) . Without an Address
      (pp. 315-316)

      That I love you you may learn from what I write. That you hate me I know because you keep silent. Write me, at least in the future, with pen and ink and a short piece of paper, loving us who love you....

    • 331 (240) . Without an Address
      (pp. 316-316)

      It is foolish to write twice about the same things. Either the matter does not have a nature capable of correction and those coming to us trouble us in vain, or those receiving the letters disregard us and we are foolish, writing to men who despise us. Now, since you have already received a letter about this same matter and we have been forced to write a second time, either correct yourself, if you have the strength, or make known to us the reason why our orders were not carried out long ago....

    • 332 (177) . Without an Address
      (pp. 316-316)

      One indication of life is speech. How, then, could you be considered to be upon earth, since you never speak? But put aside your silence, writing to us and making it evident that you are living....

    • 333 (178) . To a Scribe
      (pp. 316-317)

      Words have a winged nature. For this reason they have need of symbols, that the writer may attain their speed when they are on the wing. Therefore, my son, make your characters perfect and punctuate the passages consistently. For, by a slight irregularity a great speech has failed, and by the carefulness of the writer that which is said is kept correct....

    • 334 (180) . To a Calligrapher
      (pp. 317-317)

      Write straight and keep your lines straight; neither let your hand swing upward nor move downhill. Do not force your pen to go slantwise like the crab in Aesop’s fable,¹ but go forward in a straight line as if moving along a carpenter’s rule, which preserves absolute evenness and does away with all irregularity. The slant is offensive, but the straight line pleasing to those who observe it, since it prevents the eyes of the readers from traveling up and down like a pump handle. Some such thing happened to me when I was reading your letter. For, as the...

    • 335 (142) . To Libanius
      (pp. 318-318)

      I am ashamed that I bring the Cappadocians to you one by one and do not persuade all the youth to seek after eloquence and learning and to use you as teacher in their training. But, since it is not possible to meet at one time with all who are choosing the proper pursuits for themselves, we send to you those whom we have persuaded on each occasion, showing as great a favor to them as that which they who lead to the fountains show to the thirsty.

      He who is now coming will a little later, after he has...

    • 336 (143) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 319-320)

      After some time a young Cappadocian has come to us. This is one gain—he is a Cappadocian. And, moreover, this Cappadocian is of a first family. That is the second gain. But he is also the bearer of a letter from the admirable Basil to us. Than this, who could mention a greater gain? For I, who you think have forgotten you, even revered you long ago when you were young, seeing you competing with the old men in self-control, and that, too, in that city² teeming with pleasures, and also seeing you already possessed of a great measure...

    • 337 (144) . To Libanius
      (pp. 321-321)

      Behold, still another Cappadocian has come to you, even my own son,² for this position which we now hold gives all men in adoption to us. Therefore, according to this he would be a brother of him who came previously and deserving of the same zeal both on my part as father and on yours as teacher, if, indeed, it is at all possible for those who come from us to receive anything more. And I say this, not because your Eloquence would not bestow any further favors on your friends of earlier days, but because your bounteous assistance is...

    • 338 (145) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 321-322)

      I know that you will frequently write this: ‘Behold, still another Cappadocian has come for you.’ You will send, I think, many, since you are always and everywhere using complimentary expressions about me, and by this very act stirring up both the fathers and the sons.

      At any rate, what happened in regard to your beautiful letter it would not be beautiful to pass over in silence. There were seated beside me not a few others who hold government positions, and also Alypius,¹ a man excellent in every respect, a cousin of the famous Hierocles. Now, when those bringing the...

    • 339 (146) . To Libanius
      (pp. 323-324)

      What can a man who is a Sophist not say, and such a Sophist, one for whom it is admitted that it is the distinguishing property of his art to make great things insignificant whenever he wishes, and to give to insignificant matters greatness?² Truly, something of such a sort you have shown in our case, too. For, that letter, a slovenly one, as you who possess such elegance of expression might say, although it was not at all more to be endured than this one now in your hand, you extolled so highly in your words that you were,...

    • 340 (147) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 324-325)

      If you had considered for a very long time how you might best confirm what we wrote about your letters, you would not have seemed to me to do this better than by writing such things as you have now written. You call me a Sophist, and you say that it is characteristic of such a one to be able to make insignificant things great, and, again, great things insignificant. What is more, you say that my letter pretended to show forth yours as beautiful, although it was not beautiful; and that it was not at all better than the...

    • 341 (148) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 325-325)

      You have not yet given up your grievance against me, so that in the midst of my writing I tremble. But, if you have given it up, why do you not write, excellent Sir? And, if you still retain it, a thing foreign to every learned soul and yours, how is it, when you proclaim to others that we must not continue in our wrath until sunset,¹ that you yourself have continued in it for many suns? Or, perchance, did you wish to punish me, by depriving me of your honey-sweet utterances? At all events do not do so, noble...

    • 342 (149) . To Libanius
      (pp. 326-326)

      Those who are attracted to the rose, as is likely for lovers of beauty, are not annoyed even with the thorns themselves from which the blossom grows forth. And I have heard from someone, perchance in jest or even in earnest, some such thing about them—that, just like stings of love to lovers, nature has grown those delicate thorns upon the flower, stimulating those who pluck them to a greater longing by the pleasantly stinging pricks.

      What is my purpose in introducing the rose into my letter? It is not at all necessary for you to be told if...

    • 343 (150) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 326-326)

      If these are the words of an unpolished tongue, what would you be if you should whet it? In your mouth lie fountains of eloquence mighter than the onrush of flowing waters. But as for us, if we should not be watered daily, there remains only silence....

    • 344 (151) . To Libanius
      (pp. 327-327)

      That I should not write frequently to your learned self, both fear and ignorance persuade me, but that you should most determinedly keep silence, how will that be free from blame? And, if anyone would consider the fact that, living even in the midst of letters, you hesitate to write, he will find you guilty of forgetfulness of us. To whom the art of speaking is easy, for him the art of writing is not difficult. He who possesses these arts and, nevertheless, is silent quite clearly does this either through contempt or forgetfulness. I shall answer your silence with...

    • 345 (152) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 327-329)

      I believe that there is more need of an apology from me because I did not begin to write to you long ago than there is of an excuse because I have begun to do so at present. I am the one who ran after you whenever you appeared, and offered my ears with the greatest pleasure to the flow of your tongue, rejoicing when you spoke, departing with difficulty, and saying to my companions: ‘This man is so much more excellent than the daughters of Achelous¹ in that he charms in the same way as they, but does not...

    • 346 (153) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 329-329)

      If we have added anything in the way of eloquence to the young men whom you have sent, you yourself shall judge. But, I hope that this, even if it is little, will win the reputation of something great¹ because of your friendship for us. As to what you praise in preference to eloquence, that is, self-control and the refusal to surrender our souls to ignoble pleasures, they took care of this perfectly, and I kept them, as was right, mindful of him who had sent them. Welcome, then, what is your own, and praise those who by their character...

    • 347 (154) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 329-329)

      Every bishop is a very grasping sort of person. And, as for you, as much as you outstrip the others in eloquence, to that extent do you cause me fear lest in some way you may refuse my request. Yet, I need crossbeams. Another Sophist might have said poles or stakes, not because he wanted them, but because he takes pride in his pretty words instead of serving his need. But for my part, if you should not provide them, I shall pass the winter under the open sky....

    • 348 (155) . To Libanius
      (pp. 330-330)

      If making profit¹ is said to be the same as grasping, and the phrase which your sophistic art selected for us from the innermost shrines of Plato has this meaning, consider, admirable Sir, who is the more grasping, we, who are so staked² in by your epistolary power, or the race of sophists, whose art consists in taking toll for words. Who of the bishops has placed a toll on his sermons? Who has made his disciples payers of fees? It is you who set out your eloquence for sale, like confectioners do their honey cakes. Do you see how...

    • 349 (156) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 330-331)

      Will you not cease, Basil, filling these sacred precincts of the Muses with Cappadocians, and that, too, when they are redolent of the frost¹ and snow and other good things there? They have almost made me a Cappadocian, always chanting to me their ‘I make obeisance to you.’² Yet it must be endured, since Basil commands it. Understand, therefore, that, although I understand accurately the manners of your country, I shall clothe the men with the nobility and good taste of my Calliope, so that they may seem to you to be tame doves instead of wild pigeons....

    • 350 (157) . To Libanius
      (pp. 331-331)

      Your annoyance is ended. Let this, indeed, be the prelude of my letter. As for you, mock and ridicule our customs, either in jest or in earnest. Yet, why did you make mention of snow or frost, when it was possible for you to exult over us with your gibes? For my part, Libanius, that I may stir you to loud laughter, I have written my letter while covered over with a blanket of snow. When you receive it and touch it with your hands, you will perceive how icy-cold it is in itself and how it characterizes the sender...

    • 351 (158) . To Libanius
      (pp. 332-332)

      Many of those about you who happened to meet us have marveled at your excellence in the art of speaking. They said that there had been a certain exceedingly brilliant demonstration. It was, they remarked, a most extraordinary contest, to the extent that all assembled and no one else in the city, except Libanius alone, appeared contending for the prize, and people of every age were listening. No one was willing to be absent from the contests, not he who possessed dignity of position, nor he who was famous in the military registers, nor he who was devoted to the...

    • 352 (159) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 332-333)

      Behold, I have sent the speech, although I am dripping with sweat. Indeed, how is it likely that I would not be, when I am sending my speech to that man who is able by his skill in oratory to show that the wisdom of Plato and the cleverness of Demosthenes are vaunted in vain, while my skill is like a gnat compared to an elephant? Therefore, I shiver and shake, thinking of the day on which you will review my words; and I have almost lost my wits....

    • 353 (160) . To Libanius
      (pp. 333-333)

      I have read your speech, a wisest of men, and I have admired it exceedingly. a Muses, a Eloquence, a Athens, what gifts you bestow on your lovers! What fruits they bear away who associate with you for some brief time! ah, for your strong-flowing fount!² What learned men has it shown those to be who have drawn inspiration from it! In fact, I seemed to see in the speech the man himself engaged in conversation with his garrulous little wife.³ Libanius on earth has written a living speech, he who alone has given a soul to his words....

    • 354 (161) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 333-333)

      I know now that I am what I am called; since Basil has praised me, I have the victory over all. And it is probable that I, having received your vote, may walk with a swaggering gait, like some braggart who despises all men. Now, since you have prepared with much labor a speech against drunkenness, we wish to read it. I am not trying to say anything clever,³ but your speech, when seen, will teach me the art of speaking....

    • 355 (162) . Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 334-334)

      Do you live in Athens, Basil, and have you forgotten yourself? For, the sons of the Caesareans could not have listened to such things. In fact, my tongue was not accustomed to them. But, struck dizzy by the novelty of the words, just as when one is traveling through beetling cliffs, it said to me its father: ‘Father, you have not taught those things.’ This man is a Homer; nay, a Plato; nay, an Aristotle; nay, a Sousarion,² who knows all things. And these words, indeed, my tongue spoke. Would that it might be possible, Basil, for you to give...

    • 356 (163) . To Libanius
      (pp. 334-334)

      Receiving what you write is a delight, but being required to reply to what you have written involves a struggle. Now, what could I say in answer to so Attic a tongue, except that I am the disciple of fishermen? I confess it and I love it....

    • 357. Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 334-335)

      What is the matter with Basil that he was annoyed at a letter, the symbol of philosophy? We were taught by you to jest. Nevertheless, our play is dignified and, as it were, becoming to gray hairs. But, by our friendship itself and by our common pastimes, deliver me from this sadness which your letter has produced in me¹ ... in no way different....

    • 358. Libanius to Basil
      (pp. 335-335)

      Oh, for those times in which we were all things to each other! Now we are relentlessly separated. You, for your part, have one another,¹ but I have no one like you to replace you. And I hear that Alcimus² in his old age is undertaking the pursuits of youth and is hastening to Rome, putting upon you the labor of remaining with the lads. But you, always a gentle person, will bear not even this with annoyance, since you were not vexed with us at having to write first....

    • 359. To Libanius
      (pp. 335-336)

      Although you have enclosed in your mind all the art of the ancients, you are so silent as to permit us to gain nothing whatsoever by your letters. Now, if the art of the teacher¹ were safe, having made Icarian wings, I would have come to you. Nevertheless, since it is not possible to trust wax to the sun, instead of using Icarian wings I am writing you words which prove our friendship. Moreover, it is the nature of words to reveal the love in the soul. And for this reason are my words. You may carry them wherever you...

    • 360 (205) . From His Letter to Julian the Apostate
      (pp. 336-336)

      According to the undefiled faith of the Christians, transmitted to us by God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; one God, the Three I adore and glorify. And I confess also the Incarnation of the Son, and holy Mary, Mother of God, who bore Him in the flesh. I accept the holy Apostles also, the Prophets, and the martyrs, and I call upon these for their prayers of supplication to God, in order that through them, or rather, through their mediation, the loving...

    • 361. To Apollinaris
      (pp. 337-338)

      To my most revered master Apollinaris, I, Basil send greetings. We wrote to you at an earlier date concerning some obscure passages in the Scripture, and we rejoiced both in your answers and in your promises. But now, a greater care concerning more important matters has come upon us, for which we are unable to call upon any other associate and leader of the present day as capable as you, whom God has given to us, exact both in knowledge and in speech, and likewise accessible.

      Since, then, those who are throwing all things into confusion and filling the whole...

    • 362. Apollinaris to Basil
      (pp. 339-341)

      You believe piously and inquire learnedly; therefore, for the sake of charity, good will is due on our part even though satisfaction should not follow upon our words because of our deficiency and the extraordinary character of the task.

      Substance is said to be one not only in number, as you say, and as to what is in one sphere, but also properly of two men and any other whomsoever that are united by race. Therefore, in this way at least, both two and more are the same in substance, according as we men are all Adam, being one, and...

    • 363. To Apollinaris
      (pp. 341-341)

      To my master, my most revered brother, Apollinaris, I, Basil, send greetings. We missed the opportunities by which it was possible to address your Reverence, although we would gladly have written in reply to those letters. We rejoiced that you silently took pleasure in the former ones. In truth, you alone seemed to us to be learned (but the shadows of the interpreters dart about), as you led your explanation toward so sound a sense. And now, actually, the desire for the knowledge of the divine Scriptures fastens more tightly upon my soul. However, I hesitate to propound to you...

    • 364. Apollinaris to Basil
      (pp. 342-343)

      To my master, my most beloved brother, Basil, I, Apollinaris, send greetings in the Lord. Where was I myself, Master, and where were the most beloved voice and the customary letter? Why do you not give aid by your presence, or in your absence give encouragement, since so great a war against true religion has broken out and we, as if in the midst of the battle, are crying out to our companions because of the violence of the enemy? But we do not know how we should seek you, since we do not even find out where you happen...

    • 365. To the Great Emperor Theoclosius
      (pp. 343-345)

      A calamity has occurred in our country, not from any bodily vicissitudes, but from the influx of waters. Whence this came I shall explain. There was a great downfall of snow in our marshy region. Before it had yet frozen a warm breeze followed and rain from the south fell upon it. Now, as the melting was sudden, immense streams transcending tongue and eye were put in motion and joined an ever-flowing river, the Halys, and that when it was a torrent. This is the neighboring river which falls to our share. It pours out of the country of the...

    • 366. To Urbicius, a Monk, concerning Continence
      (pp. 345-347)

      You do well in setting forth strict standards for us, in order that we may know not only continence but also its fruits. Now, its fruit is a participation in God. For, incorruption is a sharing in God, just as corruption is a participation in the world. In fact, continence is a denial of the body and an assent to God. It withdraws from everything mortal, having, as it were, the Spirit of God as a body. Possessing neither jealousy nor envy, it causes us to be joined with God. For, he who loves a body passionately envies another, but...

    • 367. Gregory to Basil
      (pp. 347-347)

      He who in your opinion is a mimic, but in ours a pious man, asked me for a letter to you that he might be heard with joy....

    • 368. To Gregory
      (pp. 347-348)

      He who in our opinion is a mimic, but in yours a pious man, came to us on a desired and joyous day and departed in a manner truly befitting a god....

  5. INDEX
    (pp. 351-369)