Writings of Basil - The Letters c
Of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Cæsaria,
Translated with Notes by
The Rev. Blomfield Jackson, M.A.
Vicar of Saint Bartholomew's, Moor Lane, and Fellow of King's College, London.
Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D.,
Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York,
and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London
Published in 1895 by T&T Clark,
Letter C. 
To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata.
When I saw your affectionate letter, in the country bordering on
Armenia, it was like a lighted torch held up at a distance to mariners
at sea, especially if the sea happen to be agitated by the wind. Your
reverence's letter was of itself a pleasant one, and full of comfort;
but its natural charm was very much enhanced by the time of its
arrival, a time so painful to me, that I hardly know how to describe
it, after once making up my mind to forget its troubles. However, my
deacon will give you a full account. My bodily strength completely
failed me, so that I was not even able to bear the slightest movement
without pain. Nevertheless I do pray that, by the aid of your
prayers, my own longing may be fulfilled; although my journey has
caused me great difficulties, in consequence of the affairs of my own
Church having been neglected through its occupying such a long time.
But if, while I yet live, God grants me to see your reverence in my
Church, then truly I shall have good hope, even for the future, that I
am not wholly excluded from the gifts of God. If it be possible, I
beg that this meeting between us may take place at the Synod which we
hold every year, in memory of the blessed martyr Eupsychius, 
now about to be held on the 7th of September. I am compassed with
anxieties which demand your help and sympathy, both in the matter of
the appointment of bishops and in the consideration of the trouble
caused me by the simplicity of Gregory of Nyssa,  who is
summoning a Synod at Ancyra and leaving nothing undone to counteract
 Placed in 372.
 cf. Letters clxxvi. and cclii. Eupsychius suffered for the
part he took in demolishing the Temple of Fortune at Cæsarea. cf.
Sozomen, Ecc. Hist. v. 11. An Eupsychius appears in the Bollandist
acts under April 9th. Vide Prolegomena.
 The Ben. note, in answer to the suggested unlikelihood of
Basil's being plotted against by his brother, calls attention to the
fact that this opposition was due not to want of affection but to want
of tact, and compares Letter lviii. on Gregory's foolish falsehood
about their uncle.
Letter CI. 
This is my first letter to you, and I could have prayed that its
subject were a brighter one. Had it been so, things would have fallen
out as I desire, for it is my wish that the life of all those who are
purposed to live in true religion should be happily spent. But the
Lord, Who ordains our course in accordance with His ineffable wisdom,
has arranged that all these things should come about for the advantage
of our souls, whereby He has, on the one hand, made your life
sorrowful, and on the other, roused the sympathy of one who, like
myself, is united to you in godly love. Therefore on my learning from
my brothers what has befallen you it has seemed to me that I could not
but give you such comfort as I can. Had it indeed been possible to me
to travel to the place in which you are now living I would have made
every effort to do so. But my bad health and the present business
which occupies me have caused this very journey, which I have
undertaken, to be injurious to the interests of my Church. I have,
therefore, determined to address your excellency in writing, to remind
you that these afflictions are not sent by the Lord, Who rules us, to
the servants of God to no purpose, but as a test of the genuineness of
our love to the divine Creator. Just as athletes win crowns by their
struggles in the arena, so are Christians brought to perfection by the
trial of their temptations, if only we learn to accept what is sent us
by the Lord with becoming patience, with all thanksgiving. All things
are ordained by the Lord's love. We must not accept anything that
befalls us as grievous, even if, for the present, it affects our
weakness. We are ignorant, peradventure, of the reasons why each
thing that happens to us is sent to us as a blessing by the Lord but
we ought to be convinced that all that happens to us is for our good,
either for the reward of our patience, or for the soul which we have
received, lest, by lingering too long in this life, it be filled with
the wickedness to be found in this world. If the hope of Christians
is limited to this life, it might rightly have been reckoned a bitter
lot to be prematurely parted from the body; but if, to them that love
God, the sundering of the soul from these bodily fetters is the
beginning of our real life, why do we grieve like them which have no
hope? Be comforted then, and do not fall under your troubles,
but show that you are superior to them and can rise above them.
 Placed in 372.
 To the title has been added "to the wife of Arinthæus," but no
manuscript known to the Ben. Ed. contained it.
 1 Thess. iv. 12.
Letter CII. 
To the citizens of Satala. 
Moved by your importunity and that of all your people, I have
undertaken the charge of your Church, and have promised before the
Lord that I will be wanting to you in nothing which is within my
power. So I have been compelled, as it is written, to touch as it
were the apple of my eye. Thus the high honour in which I
hold you has suffered me to remember neither relationship, nor the
intimacy which I have had from my boyhood with the person in question,
as making a stronger demand on me than your request. I have forgotten
all the private considerations which made him near and dear to me,
making no account of the sighs which will be heaved by all my people
on being deprived of his rule, none of the tears of all his kindred;
nor have I taken to heart the affliction of his aged mother, who is
supported by his aid alone. All these considerations, great and many
as they are, I have put aside, keeping only in view the one object of
giving your Church the blessing of the rule of such a man, and of
aiding her, now distressed as she is, at being so long without a head,
and needing great and powerful support to be enabled to rise again.
So much for what concerns myself. Now, on the other hand, I ask you
not to fall short of the hope which I have entertained and of the
promises which I have made him, that I have sent him to close
friends. I ask every one of you to try to surpass the rest in love
and affection to him. I entreat you to show this laudable rivalry,
and to comfort his heart by the greatness of your attentions to him,
that he may forget his own home, forget his kinsfolk, and forget a
people so dependent on his rule, like a child weaned from his mother's
I have despatched Nicias beforehand to explain everything to your
excellencies, and that you may fix a day to keep the feast and give
thanks to the Lord, Who has granted the fulfilment of your prayer.
 Placed in 372.
 On the appointment of a bishop for that see in the North East
of Armenia Minor.
 cf. Zech. ii. 8.
 The relative referred to is Poemenius. cf. Letter cxxii.
Letter CIII. 
To the people of Satala.
The Lord has answered the prayer of His people and has given them, by
my humble instrumentality, a shepherd worthy of the name; not one
making traffic of the word, as many do, but competent to give full
satisfaction to you, who love orthodoxy of doctrine, and have accepted
a life agreeable to the Lord's commands, in the name of the Lord, Who
has filled him with His own spiritual graces.
 Of the same date as the preceding.
Letter CIV. 
To the prefect Modestus. 
Merely to write to so great a man, even though there be no other
reason, must be esteemed a great honour. For communication with
personages of high distinction confers glory upon all to whom it is
permitted. My supplication, however, is one which I am driven by
necessity to make to your excellency, in my great distress at the
condition of my whole country. Bear with me, I beg you, kindly and in
accordance with your own characters and reach a helping hand to my
country, now beaten to the knee. The immediate object of my entreaty
is as follows. By the old census, the clergy of God, presbyters and
deacons,  were left exempt. The recent registrars, however,
without any authority from your lordship, have enrolled them, except
that in some cases a few were granted immunity on the score of age. I
ask, then, that you will leave us this memorial of your beneficence,
to preserve through all coming time your good fame; that in accordance
with the old law the clergy be exempt from contribution. I do not ask
the remission to be conceded personally and individually to those who
are now included, in which case the grace will pass to their
successors, who may not always be worthy of the sacred ministry. I
would suggest that some general concession be made to the clergy,
according to the form in the open register, so that the exemption may
be given in each place to ministers by the rulers of the Church. This
boon is sure to bring undying glory to your excellency for your good
deeds, and will cause many to pray for the imperial house. It will
also really be profitable to the government, if we afford the relief
of exemption, not generally to all the clergy, but to those who from
time to time are in distress. This, as any one who chooses may know,
is the course we actually pursue when we are at liberty.
 Placed in 372.
 On the rating of the clergy.
 tous tou theou hieromenous, presbuterous kai diakonous. The
Ben. note points out that the words priests and deacons probably crept
into the mss., in all of which it is found, from the margin, inasmuch
as by hieromenous and cognate words Basil means the whole clergy. cf.
Letter liv. and note on p. 157.
Letter CV. 
To the deaconesses, the daughters of Count Terentius. 
On coming to Samosata I expected to have the pleasure of meeting your
excellencies, and when I was disappointed I could not easily bear it.
When, I said, will it be possible for me to be in your neighbourhood
again? When will it be agreeable to you to come into mine? All this,
however, must be left to the Lord's will. As to the present, when I
found that my son Sophronius was setting out to you, I gladly
delivered him this letter, to convey you my salutation, and to tell
you how, by God's grace, I do not cease to remember you, and to thank
the Lord on your behalf, in that you are goodly scions of a goodly
stock, fruitful in good works, and verily like lilies among thorns.
Surrounded as you are by the terrible perversity of them that are
corrupting the word of truth, you do not give in to their wiles; you
have not abandoned the apostolic proclamation of faith, you have not
gone over to the successful novelty of the day. Is not this cause of
deep thankfulness to God? Shall not this rightly bring you great
renown? You have professed your faith in Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Do not abandon this deposit; the Father--origin of all; the Son--Only
begotten, begotten of Him, very God, Perfect of Perfect, living image,
shewing the whole Father in Himself; the Holy Ghost, having His
subsistence of God, the fount of holiness, power that gives life,
grace that maketh perfect, through Whom man is adopted, and the mortal
made immortal, conjoined with Father and Son in all things in glory
and eternity, in power and kingdom, in sovereignty and godhead; as is
testified by the tradition of the baptism of salvation.
But all who maintain that either Son or Spirit is a creature, or
absolutely reduce the Spirit to ministerial and servile rank, are far
removed from the truth. Flee their communion. Turn away from their
teaching. They are destructive to souls. If ever the Lord grant us
to meet, I will discourse to you further concerning the faith, to the
end that you may perceive at once the power of the truth and the
rottenness of heresy by Scriptural proof.
 Placed in 372.
 cf. Letter xcix. and note.
Letter CVI. 
To a soldier.
I have many reasons for thanking God for mercies vouchsafed to me in
my journey, but I count no blessing greater than the knowledge of your
excellency, which has been permitted me by our good Lord's mercy. I
have learnt to know one who proves that even in a soldier's life it is
possible to preserve the perfection of love to God,  and that we
must mark a Christian not by the style of his dress, but by the
disposition of his soul. It was a great delight to me to meet you;
and now, whenever I remember you, I feel very glad. Play the man; be
strong; strive to nourish and multiply love to God, that there may be
given you by Him yet greater boons of blessing. I need no further
proof that you remember me; I have evidence in what you have done.
 Placed in 372.
 Among others, conspicuous instances of the statement in the
text are Cornelius, St. Martin, John de Joinville, Peter du Terreil,
Sieur de Bayard, Henry Havelock, and Charles Gordon.
Letter CVII. 
To the Widow Julitta. 
I was grieved to find on reading your ladyship's letter that you are
involved in the same difficulties. What is to be done to men who show
such a shifty character, saying now one thing now another and never
abiding in the same pledges? If, after the promises made in my
presence, and in that of the ex-prefect, he now tries to shorten the
time of grace as though nothing had been said, he does seem to have
lost, as far as I am concerned, all sense of shame. Nevertheless I
wrote to him, rebuking him, and reminding him of his promises. I
wrote also to Helladius, who is of the household of the prefect, that
information might be given through him about your affairs. I
hesitated myself to make so free with an officer of such importance,
on account of my never having yet written to him about my own private
affairs and my fearing some adverse decision from him, great men, as
you know, being easily annoyed about such matters. If, however, any
good is to be done in the matter, it will be through Helladius, an
excellent man, well disposed towards me, fearing God, and having
perfectly free access to the prefect. The Holy One is able to deliver
you from all affliction, if only truly and sincerely we fix all our
hope on Him.
 Placed in 372.
 On the pressure put upon her by the guardian of her heirs.
Letter CVIII. 
To the guardian of the heirs of Julitta.
I am very much astonished to hear that, after the kind promises which
you made and which were only such as might be expected from your
generous character, you have now forgotten them and are putting
violent and stern pressure on our sister. What to think, under the
circumstances, I really do not know.I know from many who have
experienced your liberality, and bear testimony to it, how great it
is; and I remember the promises which you made before me and the
ex-prefect. You said that you were naming a shorter time in writing,
but that you would grant a longer term of grace, from your wish to
meet the necessities of the case, and do a favour to the widow, who is
now compelled to pay out of her substance such a large sum of money at
once. What is the cause of this change I cannot imagine. However,
whatever it is, I beg you to be mindful of your own generous
character, and to look to the Lord Who requites good deeds. I beg you
to grant the time of remission, which you promised at the outset, that
they may be able to sell their property and discharge the debt. I
perfectly well remember that you promised, if you received the sum
agreed on, to restore to the widow all the stipulated documents, as
well those which had been executed before the magistrates as the
private papers. I do beg you then, honour me and win great blessing
for yourself from the Lord. Remember your own promises, recognizing
that you are human and must yourself look for that time when you will
need God's help. Do not shut yourself off from that help by your
present severity; but, by showing all kindness and clemency to the
afflicted, attract God's pity to yourself.
 Placed in 372.
Letter CIX. 
To the Count Helladius.
I shrink from troubling your good nature, on account of the greatness
of your influence, for fear of seeming to make an unwarrantable use of
your friendship; however, the necessity of the case prevents my
holding my peace. Our sister, who is a relative of mine, and now in
the sorrowful position of a widow, has to look after the affairs of
her orphan boy. On seeing her above measure oppressed by intolerable
responsibilities, I felt great compassion for her, and, feeling deeply
on the subject, I have hastened to invoke your aid, in order that you
may, if possible, deign to support the messenger whom she has sent, to
the end that when she has paid what she promised in person in my
presence, she may be freed from any further pressure. She had agreed
that she should be relieved from the interest on payment of the
capital. Now, however, those who are looking after the affairs of her
heirs are trying to exact the payment of the interest as well as that
of the capital. The Lord, you know, makes the care of widows and
orphans His own, and so do you strive to use your best endeavours in
this matter, in the hope of the recompense which God Himself will give
you. I cannot help thinking that, when our admirable and kindly
prefect has heard of the discharge of the capital, he will feel for
this afflicted and unhappy house now stricken to the knee, and no
longer able to cope with the injuries inflicted upon it. Pardon,
then, the necessity which compels me to intrude upon you; and give
your help in this matter, in proportion to the power which Christ has
given you, good and true man as you are, and using your talents for
 Of the same date as the preceding.
Letter CX. 
To the prefect Modestus. 
In kindly condescending to come down to me you give me great honour
and allow me great freedom; and these in like, aye and in greater,
measure, I pray that your lordship may receive from our good Master
during the whole of your life. I have long wanted to write to you and
to receive honour at your hands, but respect for your great dignity
has restrained me, and I have been careful lest I should ever seem to
abuse the liberty conceded to me. Now, however, I am forced to take
courage, not only by the fact of my having received permission from
your incomparable excellency to write, but also by the necessity of
the distressed. If, then, prayers of even the small are of any avail
with the great, be moved, most excellent sir, of your good will to
grant relief to a rural population now in pitiable case, and give
orders that the tax of iron, paid by the inhabitants of iron-producing
Taurus, may be made such as it is possible to pay. Grant this, lest
they be crushed once for all, instead of being of lasting service to
the state. I am sure that your admirable benevolence will see that
this is done.
 Placed in 372.
 On the tribute of iron paid in Mount Taurus.
Letter CXI. 
To Modestus, the prefect.
Under any ordinary circumstances I should have lacked courage to
intrude upon your excellency, for I know how to gauge my own
importance and to recognise dignities. But now that I have seen a
friend in a distressing position at having been summoned before you, I
have ventured to give him this letter. I hope that by using it, as a
kind of propitiatory symbol, he may meet with merciful consideration.
Truly, although I am of no account, moderation itself may be able to
conciliate the most merciful of prefects, and to win pardon for me.
Thus if my friend has done no wrong, he may be saved by the mere force
of truth; if he has erred, he may be forgiven through my entreaty.
How we are situated here no one knows better than yourself, for you
discern the weak parts in each man and rule all with your admirable
 Placed in 372.
Letter CXII. 
To Andronicus, a general. 
1. Did but my health allow of my being able to undertake a journey
without difficulty, and of putting up with the inclemency of the
winter, I should, instead of writing, have travelled to your
excellency in person, and this for two reasons. First to pay my old
debt, for I know that I promised to come to Sebastia and to have the
pleasure of seeing your excellency; I did indeed come, but I failed to
meet you because I arrived a little later than your lordship;
secondly, to be my own ambassador, because I have hitherto shrunk from
sending, from the idea that I am too insignificant to win such a boon,
and at the same time reckoning that no one by merely writing would be
so likely to persuade any one of public or private rank, in behalf of
any one, as by a personal interview, in which one might clear up some
points in the charges, as to others make entreaty, and for others
implore pardon; none of which ends can be easily achieved by a
letter. Now against all this I can only set one thing, your most
excellent self; and because it will suffice to tell you my mind in the
matter, and all that is wanting you will add of yourself, I have
ventured to write as I do.
2. But you see how from my hesitation, and because I put off
explaining the reasons of my pleading, I write in roundabout phrase.
This man Domitianus has been an intimate friend of my own and of my
parents from the beginning, and is like a brother to me. Why should I
not speak the truth? When I learnt the reasons for his being in his
present troubles, I said that he had only got what he deserved. For I
hoped that no one who has ever committed any offence be it small or
great, will escape punishment. But when I saw him living a life of
insecurity and disgrace, and felt that his only hope depends on your
decision, I thought that he had been punished enough; and so I implore
you to be magnanimous and humane in the view you take of his case. To
have one's opponents under one's power is right and proper for a man
of spirit and authority; but to be kind and gentle to the fallen is
the mark of the man supereminent in greatness of soul, and in
inclemency. So, if you will, it is in your power to exhibit your
magnanimity in the case of the same man, both in punishing him and in
saving him. Let the fear Domitian has of what he suspects, and of
what he knows he deserves to suffer, be the extent of his
chastisement. I entreat you to add nothing to his punishment, for
consider this: many in former times, of whom no record has reached
us, have had those who wronged them in their power. But those who
surpassed their fellows in philosophy did not persist in their wrath,
and of these the memory has been handed down, immortal through all
time. Let this glory be added to what history will say of you. Grant
to us, who desire to celebrate your praises, to be able to go beyond
the instances of kindnesses sung of in days of old. In this manner
Croesus, it is said, ceased from his wrath against the slayer of his
son, when he gave himself up for punishment,  and the great
Cyrus was friendly to this very Croesus after his victory. We
shall number you with these and shall proclaim this your glory, with
all our power, unless we be counted too poor heralds of so great a
3. Yet another plea that I ought to urge is this, that we do not
chastise transgressors for what is past and gone, (for what means can
be devised for undoing the past?) but either that they may be reformed
for the future, or may be an example of good behaviour to others.
Now, no one could say that either of these points is lacking in the
present case; for Domitian will remember what has happened till the
day of his death; and I think that all the rest, with his example
before them, are dead with alarm. Under these circumstances any
addition which we make to his punishment will only look like a
satisfaction of our own anger. This I should say is far from being
true in your case. I could not indeed be induced to speak of such a
thing did I not see that a greater blessing comes to him that gives,
than to him that receives. Nor will your magnanimity be known only to
a few. All Cappadocia is looking to see what is to be done, and I
pray that they may be able to number this among the rest of your good
deeds. I shrink from concluding my letter for fear any omission may
be to my hurt. But one thing I will add. Domitian has letters from
many, who plead for him, but he thinks mine the most important of all,
because he has learnt, from whom I know not, that I have influence
with your excellency. Do not let the hopes he has placed in me be
blasted; do not let me lose my credit among my people here; be
entreated, illustrious sir, and grant my boon. You have viewed human
life as clearly as ever philosopher viewed it, and you know how goodly
is the treasure laid up for all those who give their help to the
 Placed in 372.
 Asking for the merciful consideration of Domitianus, a friend
 Herod. i. 45.
 Herod. i. 88.
Letter CXIII. 
To the presbyters of Tarsus. 
On meeting this man, I heartily thanked God that by means of his visit
He had comforted me in many afflictions and had through him shewn me
clearly your love. I seem to see in one man's disposition the zeal of
all of you for the truth. He will tell you of our discourses with one
another. What you ought to learn directly from me is as follows.
We live in days when the overthrow of the Churches seems imminent; of
this I have long been cognisant. There is no edification of the
Church; no correction of error; no sympathy for the weak; no single
defence of sound brethren; no remedy is found either to heal the
disease which has already seized us, or as a preventive against that
which we expect. Altogether the state of the Church (if I may use a
plain figure though it may seem too humble an one) is like an old
coat, which is always being torn and can never be restored to its
original strength. At such a time, then, there is need of great
effort and diligence that the Churches may in some way be benefited.
It is an advantage that parts hitherto severed should be united.
Union would be effected if we were willing to accommodate ourselves to
the weaker, where we can do so without injury to souls; since, then,
many mouths are open against the Holy Ghost, and many tongues whetted
to blasphemy against Him, we implore you, as far as in you lies, to
reduce the blasphemers to a small number, and to receive into
communion all who do not assert the Holy Ghost to be a creature, that
the blasphemers may be left alone, and may either be ashamed and
return to the truth, or, if they abide in their error, may cease to
have any importance from the smallness of their numbers. Let us then
seek no more than this, but propose to all the brethren, who are
willing to join us, the Nicene Creed. If they assent to that, let us
further require that the Holy Ghost ought not to be called a creature,
nor any of those who say so be received into communion. I do not
think that we ought to insist upon anything beyond this. For I am
convinced that by longer communication and mutual experience without
strife, if anything more requires to be added by way of explanation,
the Lord Who worketh all things together for good for them that love
Him,  will grant it.
 Placed in 372.
 That the Nicene Creed alone is to be required of the brethren.
 Rom. viii. 28.
Letter CXIV. 
To Cyriacus, at Tarsus. 
I need hardly tell the sons of peace how great is the blessing of
peace. But now this blessing, great, marvellous, and worthy as it is
of being most strenuously sought by all that love the Lord, is in
peril of being reduced to the bare name, because iniquity abounds, and
the love of most men has waxed cold. I think then that the
one great end of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought
to be to bring back to union the Churches now "at sundry times and in
divers manners"  divided from one another. In attempting myself
to effect this, I cannot fairly be blamed as a busybody, for nothing
is so characteristically Christian as the being a peacemaker, and for
this reason our Lord has promised us peacemakers a very high reward.
When, therefore, I had met the brethren, and learnt how great was
their brotherly love, their regard for you, and yet more their love
for Christ, and their exactitude and firmness in all that concerns the
faith, and moreover their earnestness in compassing two ends, the not
being separated from your love, and the not abandoning their sound
faith, I approved of their good disposition; and I now write to your
reverence beseeching you with all love to retain them in true union,
and associated with you in all your anxiety for the Church. I have
moreover pledged myself to them for your orthodoxy, and that you too
by God's grace are enrolled to fight with all vigour for the truth,
whatever you may have to suffer for the true doctrine. My own opinion
is that the following conditions are such as will not run counter to
your own feeling and will be quite sufficient to satisfy the above
mentioned brethren; namely, that you should confess the faith put
forth by our Fathers once assembled at Nicæa, that you should not omit
any one of its propositions, but bear in mind that the three hundred
and eighteen who met together without strife did not speak without the
operation of the Holy Ghost, and not to add to that creed the
statement that the Holy Ghost is a creature, nor hold communion with
those who so say, to the end that the Church of God may be pure and
without any evil admixture of any tare. If this full assurance is
given them by your good feeling, they are prepared to offer proper
submission to you. And I myself promise for the brethren that they
will offer no opposition, but will show themselves entirely
subordinate, if only your excellency shall have readily granted this
one thing which they ask for.
 Placed in 372.
 Like the preceding Letter, on the sufficiency of the Nicene
 cf. Matt. xxiv. 12.
 cf. Heb. i. 1.
Letter CXV. 
To the heretic Simplicia. 
We often ill advisedly hate our superiors and love our inferiors. So
I, for my part, hold my tongue, and keep silence about the disgrace of
the insults offered me. I wait for the Judge above, Who knows how to
punish all wickedness in the end, even though a man pour out gold like
sand; let him trample on the right, he does but hurt his own soul.
God always asks for sacrifice, not, I think, because He needs it, but
because He accepts a pious and right mind as a precious sacrifice.
But when a man by his transgressions tramples on himself God reckons
his prayers impure. Bethink thyself, then, of the last day, and pray
do not try to teach me. I know more than you do, and am not so choked
with thorns within. I do not mind tenfold wickedness with a few good
qualities. You have stirred up against me lizards and toads, 
beasts, it is true, of Spring time, but nevertheless unclean. But a
bird will come from above who will devour them. The account I have to
render is not according to your ideas, but as God thinks fit to
judge. If witnesses are wanted, there will not stand before the Judge
slaves; nor yet a disgraceful and detestable set of eunuchs; neither
woman nor man, lustful, envious, ill-bribed, passionate, effeminate,
slaves of the belly, mad for gold, ruthless, grumbling about their
dinner, inconstant, stingy, greedy, insatiable, savage, jealous. What
more need I say? At their very birth they were condemned to the
knife. How can their mind be right when their feet are awry? They
are chaste because of the knife, and it is no credit to them. They
are lecherous to no purpose, of their own natural vileness. These are
not the witnesses who shall stand in the judgment, but rather the eyes
of the just and the eyesight of the perfect, of all who are then to
see with their eyes what they now see with their understanding.
 Placed in 372.
 The Ben. E. note that in the imperial codex No. lxvii. appears
an argument of this letter wanting in the editions of St. Basil. It
is as follows: "Letter of the same to Simplicia about her eunuchs.
She was a heretic. The blessed Basil being ill and entering a bath to
bathe, Simplicia told her eunuchs and maids to throw his towels out.
Straightway the just judgment of God slew some of them, and Simplicia
sent money to the blessed Basil to make amends for the injury. Basil
refused to receive it, and wrote this Letter." This extraordinary
preface seems to have been written by some annotator ignorant of the
circumstances, which may be learnt from Greg. Naz. Letter xxxviii. It
appears that a certain Cappadocian church, long without a bishop, had
elected a slave of Simplicia, a lady wealthy and munificent, but of
suspected orthodoxy. Basil and Gregory injudiciously ordained the
reluctant slave without waiting for his mistress's consent. The angry
lady wrote in indignation, and threatened him with the vengeance of
her slaves and eunuchs. After Basil's death she returned to the
charge, and pressed Gregory to get the ordination annulled. cf.
Maran, Vit. Bas. chap. xxv.
 Presumably the slaves and eunuchs mentioned below. If the
letter is genuine it is wholly unworthy of the Archbishop of Cæsarea.
Letter CXVI. 
To Firminius. 
You write seldom, and your letters are short, either because you
shrink from writing or from avoiding the satiety that comes from
excess; or perhaps to train yourself to curt speech. I, indeed, am
never satisfied and however abundant be your communication, it is less
than my desire, because I wish to know every detail about you. How
are you as to health? How as to ascetic discipline? Do you persevere
in your original purpose? Or have you formed some new plan, changing
your mind according to circumstances? Had you remained the same, I
should not have wanted a great number of letters. I should have been
quite satisfied with "I am quite well and I hope you are quite well."
But I hear what I am ashamed to say, that you have deserted the ranks
of your blessed forefathers, and deserted to your paternal
grandfather, and are anxious to be rather a Brettanius than a
Firminius. I am very anxious to hear about this, and to learn the
reasons which have induced you to take to this kind of life. You have
yourself been silent; ashamed, I suppose, of your intentions, and
therefore I must implore you not to entertain any project, which can
be associated with shame. If any such idea has entered into your
mind, put it from you, come to yourself again, bid a long farewell to
soldiering and arms and the toils of the camp. Return home thinking
it, as your forefathers thought before you, quite enough for ease of
life and all possible distinction to hold a high place in your city.
This, I am sure, you will be able to achieve without difficulty, when
I consider your natural gifts and the small number of your rivals.
If, then, this was not your original intention, or if after forming it
you have rejected it, let me know at once. If, on the other hand,
which God forbid, you remain in the same mind, let the trouble come
self announced. I do not want a letter.
 Placed in 372.
 A young soldier whom Basil would win from the army to ascetic
Without address. 
For many reasons I know that I am a debtor to your reverence, and now
the anxiety in which I find myself necessarily puts me in the way of
services of this kind, although my advisers are mere chance comers,
and not like yourself joined to me by many and different ties. There
is no need to bring the past under review. I may say that I was the
cause of my own difficulties, by determining to leave that good
discipline which alone leads to salvation. The result was that in
this trouble I soon fell into temptation. What happened has seemed
worthy of mention, so that I may not again fall into similar
distress. As to the future, I wish to give full assurance to your
reverence, that, by God's grace, all will go well, since the
proceeding is lawful, and there is no difficulty about it, as many of
my friends about the court are ready to help me. I shall therefore
have a petition drawn up, similar to the form presented to the Vicar;
and, if no delay intervene, I shall promptly get my discharge, and
shall be sure to give you relief by sending you the formal document.
I feel sure that in this my own convictions have more force than the
imperial orders. If I shew this fixed and firm in the highest life,
by God's aid the keeping of my chastity will be inviolable and sure.
I have been pleased to see the brother entrusted to me by you, and
hold him among my intimate friends. I trust he may prove worthy of
God and of your good word.
 Answer of Firminius to the preceding.
Letter CXVIII. 
To Jovinus, Bishop of Perrha. 
You owe me a good turn. For I lent you a kindness, which I ought to
get back with interest;--a kind of interest, this, which our Lord does
not refuse. Pay me, then, my friend, by paying me a visit. So much
for the capital; what of the increment? It is the fact of the visit
being paid by you, who are a man as much superior to me, as fathers
are better than children.
 Placed at the end of 372 or the beginning of 373.
 The mss. vary between Jovinus and Jobinus. cf. Theodoret, Ecc.
Hist. iv. 13.
Letter CXIX. 
To Eustathius, Bishop of Sebasteia. 
I address you by the very honourable and reverend brother Petrus,
beseeching you now and ever to pray for me, that I may be changed from
ways dangerous and to be shunned, and may be made one day worthy of
the name of Christ. Though I say nothing, you will converse together
about my affairs, and he will give you an exact account of what has
taken place. But you admit without due examination, the vile
suspicions against me which will probably be raised by men who have
insulted me, in violation of the fear of God and the regard of men. I
am ashamed to tell you what treatment I have received from the
illustrious Basilius, whom I had accepted at the hands of your
reverence as a protection for my life. But, when you have heard what
our brother has to say, you will know every detail. I do not thus
speak to avenge myself upon him, for I pray that it may not be put to
his account by the Lord, but in order that your affection to me may
remain firm, and because I am afraid lest it be shaken by the
monstrous slanders which these men are pretty sure to make up in
defence of their fall. Whatever be the charges they adduce, I hope
your intelligence will put these enquiries to them. Have they
formally accused me? Have they sought for any correction of the error
which they bring against me? Have they made their grievance against
me plain? As matters are, by their ignoble flight they have made it
evident that under the cheerfulness of their countenance, and their
counterfeit expressions of affection, they are all the while hiding in
their heart an immense depth of guile and of gall. In all this,
whether I narrate it or not, your intelligence knows perfectly well
what sorrow they have caused me, and what laughter to those who,
always expressing their abomination for the pious life in this
wretched city, affirm that the pretence of virtue is practised as a
mere trick to get credit, a mere assumption to deceive. So in these
days no mode of life is now so suspected of vice by people here as the
profession of asceticism. Your intelligence will consider what is the
best cure for all this.
As to the charges patched up against me by Sophronius, far from being
a prelude of blessings, they are a beginning of division and
separation, and are likely to lead to even my love growing cold. I
implore that by your merciful kindness he may be withheld from his
injurious efforts, and that your affection may strive rather to
tighten the bonds of what is falling asunder, and not to increase
separation by joining with those who are eager for dissent.
 Placed in the end of 372 or beginning of 373.
 On the misconduct of Basilius and Sophronius, two disciples of
Letter CXX. 
To Meletius, bishop of Antioch. 
I have received a letter from the very God-beloved bishop Eusebius, in
which he enjoins that a second letter be written to the Westerns about
certain Church matters. He has expressed a wish that the letter
should be drawn up by me, and signed by all those who are in
communion. Having no means of writing a letter about these wishes of
his, I have sent on his minute to your holiness, in order that, when
you have read it and can give heed to the information given by the
very dear brother Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter, you may yourself
be so good as to indite a letter on these points as seems best to
you. We are prepared to agree to it and to lose no time in having it
conveyed to those in communion with us, so that, when all have signed
it may be carried by the messenger, who is on the point of starting on
his journey to visit the bishops of the West. Give orders for the
decision of your holiness to be communicated to me as quickly as
possible, that I may not be ignorant of your intentions.
As to the intrigue which is now being devised, or has already been
devised against me, in Antioch, the same brother will convey
intimation to your holiness, unless indeed the report of what has been
done does not anticipate him and make the position clear. There is
ground for hope that the threats are coming to an end.
I wish your reverence to know that our brother Anthimus has ordained
Faustus, who is living with the pope  as bishop, without having
received the votes, and in place of our right reverend brother Cyril.
Thus he has filled Armenia with schisms. I have thought it right to
tell your reverence this, lest they should lie against me, and I be
responsible for these disorderly proceedings. You will of course deem
it right to make this known to the rest. I think such irregularity
will distress many.
 Placed in 373.
 Basil keeps up his support of the claims of Meletius, now in
exile in Armenia, to be recognised as Catholic bishop of Antioch, and
complains of the irregular ordination of Faustus as bishop of an
Armenian see by Basil's opponent, Anthimus of Tyana. Sanctissimus,
the bearer of the letter, is supposed by Tillemont (vol. ix. p. 219)
to be a Western on account of his Latin name. Maran (Vit. Bas. 26)
points out that Orientals not infrequently bore Latin names, and
supposes him to be a presbyter of Antioch.
 The title was not even at this time confined to bishops, and
who this papa is is quite uncertain. The title is not generally
limited to the bishop of Rome until the eighth century. So late as
680 Cyrus is called pope of Alexandria at the Sixth Council. (Mansi
xi. 214.) It was not till 1073 that Gregory VII. asserted an
exclusive right to the name. (Gieseler, vol. 1, 2, 405.)
Letter CXXI. 
To Theodotus, bishop of Nicopolis. 
The winter is severe and protracted, so that it is difficult for me
even to have the solace of letters. For this reason I have written
seldom to your reverence and seldom heard from you, but now my beloved
brother Sanctissimus, the co-presbyter, has undertaken a journey as
far as your city. By him I salute your lordship, and ask you to pray
for me, and to give ear to Sanctissimus, that from him you may learn
in what situation the Churches are placed, and may give all possible
heed to the points put before you. You must know that Faustus came
with letters for me, from the pope, requesting that he might be
ordained bishop. When however I asked him for some testimonial from
yourself, and the rest of the bishops, he made light of me and betook
himself to Anthimus. He came back, ordained by Anthimus, without any
communication having been made to me on the subject.
 Of the same date as the preceding.
 On the same subject.
Letter CXXII. 
To Poemenius,  bishop of Satala.
When the Armenians returned by your way you no doubt asked for a
letter from them, and you learnt why I had not given the letter to
them. If they spoke as truth lovers should, you forgave me on the
spot; if they kept anything back (which I do not suppose), at all
events hear it from me.
The most illustrious Anthimus, who long ago made peace with me, when
he found an opportunity of satisfying his own vain gloriousness, and
of causing me some vexation, consecrated Faustus, by his own authority
and with his own hand, without waiting for any election from you, and
ridiculing my punctiliousness in such matters. Inasmuch, then, as he
has confounded ancient order and has made light of you, for whose
election I was waiting, and has acted in a manner, as I view it,
displeasing to God, for these reasons I felt pained with them, and
gave no letter for any of the Armenians, not even for your reverence.
Faustus I would not even receive into communion, thereby plainly
testifying that, unless he brought me a letter from you, I should be
permanently alienated from him, and should influence those of the same
mind with me to treat him in the same manner. If there is any remedy
for these things, be sure to write to me yourself, giving your
testimony to him, if you see that his life is good; and exhort the
rest. If on the other hand the mischief is incurable, let me
perfectly understand it to be so, that I may no longer take them into
account; although really, as they have proved, they have agreed, for
the future, to transfer their communion to Anthimus, in contempt of me
and of my Church, as though my friendship were no longer worth having.
 Placed in 373.
 On the same subject as the preceding. cf. Letters cii.,
ccxxvii., ccxxviii., ccxxix., and cxxx.
Letter CXXIII. 
To Urbicius, the monk. 
You were to have come to see me (and the blessing was drawing near) to
cool me, aflame in my temptations, with the tip of your finger. What
then? My sins stood in the way and hindered your start, so that I am
sick without a remedy. Just as when the waves are round us, one sinks
and another rises, and another looms black and dreadful, so of my
troubles: some have ceased, some are with me, some are before me. As
is generally the case, the one remedy for these troubles is to yield
to the crisis and withdraw from my persecutors. Yet come to me, to
console, to advise, or even to travel with me; in any case you will
make me better for the mere sight of you. Above all, pray, and pray
again, that my reason be not whelmed by the waves of my troubles; pray
that all through I may keep a heart pleasing to God, that I be not
numbered with the wicked servants, who thank a master when he gives
them good, and refuse to submit when he chastises them by adversity;
but let me reap benefit from my very trials, trusting most in God when
I need Him most.
 Written in 373.
 cf. Letter cclxii.
Letter CXXIV. 
It is sometimes said that slaves to the passion of love, when by some
inevitable necessity they are separated from the object of their
desire, are able to stay the violence of their passion by indulging
the sense of sight, if haply they can look at the picture of the
beloved object. Whether this be true or not I cannot say; but what
has befallen me in your case, my friend, is not very different. I
have felt a disposition towards your godly and guileless soul,
somewhat, if I may so say, of the nature of love; but the
gratification of my desire, like that of all other blessings, is made
difficult to me by the opposition of my sins. However, I have seemed
to see a very good likeness of you in the presence of my very reverend
brothers. And if it had been my lot to fall in with you when far away
from them, I should have fancied that I saw them in you. For the
measure of love in each of you is so great, that in both of you there
is a plain contest for the superiority. I have thanked God for this.
If any longer life be left me, I pray that my life may be made sweet
through you, just as now I look on life as a wretched thing to be
avoided, because I am separated from the companionship of those I love
best. For, in my judgment, there is nothing in which one can be
cheerful when cut off from those who truly love us.
 Placed in 373.
Letter CXXV. 
A transcript of the faith as dictated by Saint Basil, and subscribed
by Eustathius, bishop of Sebasteia. 
1. Both men whose minds have been preoccupied by a heterodox creed
and now wish to change over to the congregation of the orthodox, and
also those who are now for the first time desirous of being instructed
in the doctrine of truth, must be taught the creed drawn up by the
blessed fathers in the Council which met at Nicæa. The same training
would also be exceedingly useful in the case of all who are under
suspicion of being in a state of hostility to sound doctrine, and who
by ingenious and plausible excuses keep the depravity of their
sentiments out of view. For these too this creed is all that is
needed. They will either get cured of their concealed unsoundness,
or, by continuing to keep it concealed, will themselves bear the load
of the sentence due to their dishonesty, and will provide us with an
easy defence in the day of judgment, when the Lord will lift the cover
from the hidden things of darkness, and "make manifest the counsels of
the hearts." It is therefore desirable to receive them with
the confession not only that they believe in the words put forth by
our fathers at Nicæa, but also according to the sound meaning
expressed by those words. For there are men who even in this creed
pervert the word of truth, and wrest the meaning of the words in it to
suit their own notions. So Marcellus, when expressing impious
sentiments concerning the hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
describing Him as being Logos and nothing more,  had the
hardihood to profess to find a pretext for his principles in that
creed by affixing an improper sense upon the Homoousion. Some,
moreover, of the impious following of the Libyan Sabellius, who
understand hypostasis and substance to be identical, derive ground for
the establishment of their blasphemy from the same source, because of
its having been written in the creed "if any one says that the Son is
of a different substance or hypostasis, the Catholic and Apostolic
Church anathematizes him." But they did not there state hypostasis
and substance to be identical. Had the words expressed one and the
same meaning, what need of both? It is on the contrary clear that
while by some it was denied that the Son was of the same substance
with the Father, and some asserted that He was not of the substance
and was of some other hypostasis, they thus condemned both opinions as
outside that held by the Church. When they set forth their own view,
they declared the Son to be of the substance of the Father, but they
did not add the words "of the hypostasis." The former clause stands
for the condemnation of the faulty view; the latter plainly states the
dogma of salvation. We are therefore bound to confess the Son to be
of one substance with the Father, as it is written; but the Father to
exist in His own proper hypostasis, the Son in His, and the Holy Ghost
in His, as they themselves have clearly delivered the doctrine. They
indeed clearly and satisfactorily declared in the words Light of
Light, that the Light which begat and the Light which was begotten,
are distinct, and yet Light and Light; so that the definition of the
Substance is one and the same. I will now subjoin the actual
creed as it was drawn up at Nicæa. 
2. pisteuomen eis hena Theon Patera pantokratora, panton horaton te
kai aoraton poieten; [poieten ouranou kai ges horaton te panton kai
kai eis hena Kurion Iesoun Christon, ton hui& 232;n tou Theou [ton
monogene] gennethenta ek tou Patros monogene. [ton ek tou Patros
gennethenta pro panton ton ai& 240;non.]
toutestin ek tes ousias tou Patros, Theon ek Theou [omit],  Phos
ek Photos, Theon alethinon ek Theou alethinou, gennethenta ou
poiethenta, homoousion to Patri, di' hoi ta panta egeneto, ta te en to
ourano kai ta en te ge [omit].
ton di' hemas tous anthropous kai dia ten hemeteran soterian,
katelthonta [ek ton ouranon] kai sarkothenta. [hek pneumatos hagiou
kai Marias tes parthenou.]
kai enanthropesanta [staurothenta te huper emon epi Pontiou Pilatou,
kai], pathonta [kai taphenta], kai anastanta te trite hemera [kata tas
graphas kai], anelthonta eis tous ouranous. [kai kathezomenon ek
dexion tou Patros.]
kai palin erchomenon [meta doxes] krinai zontas kai nekrous; [hou tes
basileias ouk estai telos;]
kai eis to Pneuma to hagion. [to Kurion kai to zoopoion to ek tou
Patros ekporeuomenon, to sun Patri kai Hui& 254; sumproskunoumenon kai
sundoxazomenon, to lalesan dia ton propheton; eis mian hagian
katholiken kai apostoliken ekklesian, homologoumen hen baptisma eis
aphesin hamartion, prosdokomen anastasin nekron, kai zoen tou
mellontos ai& 242;nos. 'Amen.]
tous de legontas, en pote hote ouk en, kai prin gennethenai ouk en,
kai hoti ex ouk onton egeneto, e ex heteras hupostaseos e ousias
phaskontas einai, e ktiston e trepton e alloioton ton Hui& 232;n tou
Theou, toutous anathematizei he katholike kai apostolike ekklesia.
[Omit all the Anathemas.]
3. Here then all points but one are satisfactorily and exactly
defined, some for the correction of what had been corrupted, some as a
precaution against errors expected to arise. The doctrine of the
Spirit, however, is merely mentioned, as needing no elaboration,
because at the time of the Council no question was mooted, and the
opinion on this subject in the hearts of the faithful was exposed to
no attack. Little by little, however, the growing poison-germs of
impiety, first sown by Arius, the champion of the heresy, and then by
those who succeeded to his inheritance of mischief, were nurtured to
the plague of the Church, and the regular development of the impiety
issued in blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Under these circumstances
we are under the necessity of putting before the men who have no pity
for themselves, and shut their eyes to the inevitable threat directed
by our Lord against blasphemers of the Holy Ghost, their bounden
duty. They must anathematize all who call the Holy Ghost a creature,
and all who so think; all who do not confess that He is holy by
nature, as the Father is holy by nature, and the Son is holy by
nature, and refuse Him His place in the blessed divine nature. Our
not separating Him from Father and Son is a proof of our right mind,
for we are bound to be baptized in the terms we have received and to
profess belief in the terms in which we are baptized, and as we have
professed belief in, so to give glory to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
and to hold aloof from the communion of all who call Him creature, as
from open blasphemers. One point must be regarded as settled; and the
remark is necessary because of our slanderers; we do not speak of the
Holy Ghost as unbegotten, for we recognise one Unbegotten and one
Origin of all things,  the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: nor
do we speak of the Holy Ghost as begotten, for by the tradition of the
faith we have been taught one Only-begotten: the Spirit of truth we
have been taught to proceed from the Father, and we confess Him to be
of God without creation. We are also bound to anathematize all who
speak of the Holy Ghost as ministerial,  inasmuch as by this
term they degrade Him to the rank of a creature. For that the
ministering spirits are creatures we are told by Scripture in the
words "they are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister."
But because of men who make universal confusion, and do not
keep the doctrine of the Gospels, it is necessary to add yet this
further, that they are to be shunned, as plainly hostile to true
religion, who invert the order left us by the Lord, and put the Son
before the Father, and the Holy Spirit before the Son. For we must
keep unaltered and inviolable that order which we have received from
the very words of the Lord, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost." 
I, Eustathius, bishop, have read to thee, Basil, and understood; and I
assent to what is written above. I have signed in the presence of our
Fronto, Severus, the chorepiscopus, and several other clerics.
 Placed in 373.
 On Basil's relations with Eustathius of Sebasteia (Siwas in
Armenia Minor), the Vicar of Bray of the Arian controversies, who
probably subscribed more creeds than any other prominent bishop of his
age, see Letters cxxx. and ccxliv., and p. 171, n.
 1 Cor. i. 5.
 Marcellus of Ancyra (Angora) was represented to teach that the
Son had no real personality, but was only the outward manifestation
(Porphorikos Logos) of the Father, but he could always defend himself
on the ground that he was in communion with Julius and Athanasius,
popes of Rome and Alexandria. cf. Jer., De Vir. Ill. chap. lxxxvi.
 cf. Letters xxxviii. and xcii. Basil is anxious to show that
his own view is identical with the Nicene, and does not admit a
development and variation in the meaning of the word hypostasis; but
on comparing such a passage as that in Athan. c. Afros, "hypostasis is
substance, and means nothing else but very being" (he de hupostasis
ousia esti kai ouden allo semainomenon echei e auto to on) with St.
Basil's words in the text it appears plain that hypostasis is not used
throughout in the same sense. An erroneous sense of "three
hypostases" was understood to be condemned at Nicæa, though
Athanasius, e.g. "In illud omnia," etc., Schaff and Wace's ed., p. 90,
does himself use the phrase, writing probably about ten years after
Nicæa; but he more commonly treats ousia and hupostasis as identical.
See specially the Tomus ad Antiochenos of a.d. 362 on the possible use
of either "three hypostases" or "one hypostasis." cf. also n. on p.
 I give the creed in the original Greek. The passages in
brackets indicate the alterations of the Constantinopolitan revision
according to the text of Chalcedon.
 "Deum de Deo" is inserted in the Sarum Breviary.
 cf. pp. 27 and 39, notes.
 cf. De Sp. S. § 25, p. 17. On those who described the Spirit
as merely a ministering spirit, vide Athan., Ad Serap. i. (legonton
auto me monon ktisma, alla kai ton leitourgikon pneumaton hen auto
einai). This new party arose in the Delta about 362, and was first
known as "Tropici." They were condemned at the synod held at
Alexandria on the return of Athanasius from his third exile. Its
Synodical Letter is the Tomus ad Antiochenos.
 Heb. i. 14.
 Matt. xxviii. 14.
Letter CXXVI. 
To Atarbius. 
On arriving at Nicopolis in the double hope of settling the
disturbances which had arisen, and applying a remedy, as far as
possible, to measures taken in a disorderly manner and in violation of
the law of the Church, I was exceedingly disappointed at failing to
meet you. I heard that you had hurriedly withdrawn, and actually from
the very synod which was being held by you. I am, therefore, under
the necessity of having recourse to writing, and by this letter I bid
you present yourself before me, that you may in person apply some
remedy to the pain which I felt, even unto death, on hearing that you
had ventured on action, in the very middle of the church, of the like
of which I hitherto have never heard. All this, although painful and
serious, is endurable, as having happened to a man who has committed
the punishment due for his sufferings to God, and is wholly devoted to
peace and to preventing harm falling from any fault of his on God's
people. Since, however, some honourable brethren, worthy of all
credit, have told me that you have introduced certain innovations into
the faith, and have spoken against sound doctrine, I am under the
circumstances the more agitated, and above measure anxious, lest, in
addition to the countless wounds which have been inflicted on the
Church by traitors to the truth of the Gospel, yet a further calamity
should spring up in the renewal of the ancient heresy of Sabellius,
the enemy of the Church; for to this the brethren have reported your
utterances to be akin. I have, therefore, written to charge you not
to shrink from undertaking a short journey to come to me, and, by
giving me full assurance in the matter, at once to alleviate my pangs,
and to solace the Churches of God, which are now pained to a grave,
nay an unendurable extent, at your actions and your reported words.
 Placed in 373.
 Bishop of Neocæsarea. VideLetter lxv.
Letter CXXVII. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
Our merciful God, Who makes comfort match trouble, and consoles the
lowly, lest they be drowned unawares in exceeding grief, has sent a
consolation, equivalent to the troubles I have suffered in Nicopolis,
in seasonably bringing me the God-beloved bishop Jobinus. He must
tell you himself how very opportune his visit was. I shrink from a
long letter, and will hold my peace. And I am the more inclined to
silence, lest I seem as it were to put a mark on men, who have turned
round and begun to show regard to me, by mentioning their fall.
God grant that you may come to see me in my own home, so that I may
embrace your reverence and tell you everything in detail. For we
often find some comfort in telling what is painful in actual
experience. However, for all that the very godly bishop has done,
fully as far as regards his affection for me, and preeminently and
stoutly as regards the exact observance of the canons, commend him.
Moreover, thank God that your pupils everywhere exhibit your
 Placed in 373.
 On Basil's difficulties while at Nicopolis, with a request for
the sympathy of Eusebius.
Letter CXXVIII. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
1. Hitherto I have been unable to give any adequate and practical
proof of my earnest desire to pacify the Churches of the Lord. But in
my heart I affirm that I have so great a longing, that I would gladly
give up even my life, if thereby the flame of hatred, kindled by the
evil one, could be put out. If it was not for the sake of this
longing for peace that I consented to come to Colonia,  may my
life be unblessed by peace. The peace I seek is the true peace, left
us by the Lord Himself; and what I have asked that I may have for my
assurance belongs to one who desires nothing but the true peace,
although some perversely interpret the truth into another sense. Let
them use their tongues as they will, but assuredly they will one day
be sorry for their words.
2. Now I beseech your holiness to remember the original propositions,
and not to be led away by receiving answers that do not fit the
questions, nor yet to give practical weight to the quibbles of men
who, without any power of argument, very cleverly pervert the truth,
from their own ideas alone. I set out propositions which were
perfectly simple, clear and easy to remember; do we decline to receive
into communion those who refuse to accept the Nicene Creed? Do we
refuse to have part or lot with those who have the hardihood to assert
that the Holy Ghost is a creature? He, however,  instead of
answering my questions word for word, has concocted the statement
which you have sent me:--and this not from simplemindedness, as might
be imagined, nor yet from his inability to see the consequences. What
he reckons is that, by repudiating my proposition, he will expose his
true character to the people; while, if he agrees to it, he will
depart from that via media which has hitherto seemed to him preferable
to any other position. Let him not try to beguile me, nor, with the
rest, deceive your intelligence. Let him send a concise answer to my
question, whether he accepts or repudiates communion with the enemies
of the faith. If you get him to do this and send me such a distinct
answer as I pray for, I own myself in error in all that has gone
before; I take all the blame upon myself; then ask from me a proof of
humility. But, if nothing of the kind come to pass, pardon me, most
God-beloved father, in my inability to approach God's altar with
hypocrisy. Were it not for this dread, why should I separate myself
from Euippius, so learned a man, so advanced in age, and bound to me
by so many ties of affection? If, however, in this case I acted
rightly, it would, I am sure, be absurd to appear united with those
who maintain the same views as Euippius, through the mediation of
these amiable and charming persons.
3. Not that I think it is absolutely our duty to cut ourselves off
from those who do not receive the faith, but rather to have regard to
them in accordance with the old law of love, and to write to them with
one consent, giving them all exhortation with pity, and to propose to
them the faith of the fathers, and invite them to union. If we
succeed we should be united in communion with them; if we fail we must
be content with one another and purge our conduct of this uncertain
spirit, restoring the evangelical and simple conversation followed by
those who accepted the Word from the beginning. "They," it is said,
"were of one heart and of one soul." If they obey you, this
will be best; if not, recognise the real authors of the war, and, for
the future do not write me any more letters about reconciliation.
 Placed in 373.
 On the difficulty of reconciliation with Eustathius.
 Maran supposes this to be the place referred to in Letter
 i.e. Eustathius.
 Acts iv. 32.
Letter CXXIX. 
To Meletius Bishop of Antioch. 
1. I knew that the charge which had lately sprung up against the
loquacious Apollinarius would sound strange in the ears of your
excellency. I did not know myself, till now, that he was accused; at
the present time, however, the Sebastenes, after search in some
quarter or another, have brought these things forward, and they are
carrying about a document for which they are specially trying to
condemn me on the ground that I hold the same sentiments. It contains
the following phrases. "Wherefore it is everywhere necessary to
understand the first identity in conjunction with, or rather in union
with, the second, and to say that the second and the third are the
same. For what the Father is firstly, the Son is secondly, and the
Spirit thirdly. And, again, what the Spirit is firstly, the Son is
secondly, in so far as the Spirit is the Lord; and the Father thirdly,
in so far as the Spirit is God. And, to express the ineffable with
greatest force, the Father is Son in a paternal sense, and the Son
Father in a filial sense, and so in the case of the Spirit, in so far
as the Trinity is one God." This is what is being bruited about. I
never can believe it to have been invented by those through whom it
has been published, although, after their slanders against me, I can
regard nothing as beyond their audacity. For writing to some of their
party, they advanced their false accusation against me, and then added
the words I have quoted, describing them as the work of heretics, but
saying nothing as to the author of the document, in order that it
might vulgarly be supposed to have come from my pen. Nevertheless, in
my opinion, their intelligence would not have gone far enough in
putting the phrases together. On this account, in order to repudiate
the growing blasphemy against myself, and shew to all the world that I
have nothing in common with those who make such statements, I have
been compelled to mention Apollinarius as approximating to the impiety
of Sabellius. Of this subject I will say no more.
2. I have received a message from the court that, after the first
impulse of the Emperor, to which he was impelled by my calumniators, a
second decree has been passed, that I am not to be delivered to my
accusers, nor given over to their will, as was ordered at the
beginning; but that there has been in the meanwhile some delay. If
then this obtains, or any gentler measure is determined on, I will let
you know. If the former prevails, it shall not be so, without your
3. Our brother Sanctissimus has certainly been with you a long time,
and you have learnt the objects he has in view. If, then, the letter
to the Westerns seems to you to contain at all what is requisite, be
so good as to have it written out and conveyed to me, that I may get
it signed by those who think with us, and may keep the subscription
ready, and written out on a separate paper, which we can fasten on to
the letter which is being carried about by our brother and fellow
presbyter. As I did not find in the minute anything conclusive, I was
in a difficulty on what point to write to the Westerns. Necessary
points are anticipated, and it is useless to write what is
superfluous, and on such points would it not be ridiculous to show
feeling? One subject, however, did appear to me to be hitherto
untouched, and to suggest a reason for writing, and that was an
exhortation to them not indiscriminately to accept the communion of
men coming from the East; but, after once choosing one side, to
receive the rest on the testimony of their fellows, and not to assent
to every one writing a form of creed on the pretext of orthodoxy. If
they do so, they will be found in communion with men at war with one
another, who often put forward the same formulæ, and yet battle
vehemently against one another, as those who are most widely
separated. To the end, then, that the heresy may not be the more
widely kindled, while those who are at variance with one another
mutually object to their own formulæ, they ought to be exhorted to
make a distinction between the acts of communion which are brought
them by chance comers, and those which are duly drawn up according to
the rule of the Church. 
 Placed in 373.
 A refutation of a charge that he was the author of an
 The Ben. note adduces this letter and Letter ccxxiv. as shewing
two kinds of communion, (1) Personal in the Eucharist and prayer, and
(2) by letter.
Letter CXXX. 
To Theodotus bishop of Nicopolis.
1. You have very rightly and properly blamed me, right honourable and
well beloved brother, in that ever since I departed from your
reverence, conveying to Eustathius those propositions about the faith,
I have told you neither much nor little about his business. This
neglect is really not due to any contempt on my part for the way in
which he has treated me, but simply to the fact that the story is now
published abroad in all men's ears, and nobody needs any instructions
from me in order to learn what his intentions are. For this he has
had good heed, as though he were really afraid that he would have few
witnesses of his opinion, and has sent to the ends of the earth the
letter which he has written against me. He has therefore severed
himself from communion with me. He did not consent to meet me at the
appointed spot, and did not bring his disciples, as he had promised.
On the contrary, he publicly stigmatized me in the public synods, with
the Cilician Theophilus,  by the open and undisguised slander of
sowing in the souls of the people doctrines at variance with his own
teaching. This was quite enough to break up all union between us.
Afterwards he came to Cilicia, and, on meeting with a certain
Gelasius, showed him the creed which only an Arian, or a thorough
disciple of Arius, could subscribe. Then, indeed, I was yet more
confirmed in my alienation from him. I felt that the Ethiopian will
never change his skin, nor the leopard his spots,  nor a man
nurtured in doctrines of perversity ever be able to rub off the stain
of his heresy.
2. In addition to all this he has had the impudence to write against
me, or rather to compose long discourses full of all kinds of abuse
and calumny. To these, up to this time, I have answered nothing,
taught as we are by the Apostle, not to avenge ourselves, but to give
place unto wrath. Moreover, at the thought of the depth of
the hypocrisy with which he has all along approached me, I have, in a
way, become speechless with amazement. But, if all this had never
happened, who would not feel horror and detestation of the fellow at
this fresh piece of audacity? Now, as I hear, if the report is really
true and not a slanderous invention, he has ventured to re-ordain
certain men; a proceeding on which so far no heretic has ventured.
How then can I quietly endure such treatment? How can I look upon the
errors of the man as curable? Beware, then, of being led away by
lies; do not be moved by the suspicions of men who are prone to look
at everything in a bad light, as though I were making little of such
things. For, be sure, my very dear and honourable friend, that I have
never at any time been so grieved as I am now, on hearing of this
confusion of the laws of the Church. Pray only that the Lord grant me
to take no step in anger, but to maintain charity, which behaveth
itself not unseemly and is not puffed up. Only look how men
without charity have been lifted up beyond all human bounds and
conduct themselves in an unseemly manner, daring deeds which have no
precedent in all the past. 
 Placed in 373.
 Bishop of Castabala, whither he was translated from
Eleutheropolis. cf. Letters ccxliv. and ccxlv.
 cf. Jer. xiii. 23.
 Rom. xii. 19.
 1 Cor. xiii. 5 and 4.
 There is no other mention in Basil's letters of Eustathius
being guilty of re-ordination. The Ben. note, however, states that
Basil is not accurate in saying that there was no heretical precedent
for such proceedings. The Arians are charged with it in the Book of
Prayers of Faustus and Marcellinus, Bib. Patr.v. 655. cf. also the
letter of Constantius to the Ethiopians against Frumentius. Athan.,
Apol. ad Const. § 31.
Letter CXXXI. 
To Olympius. 
1. Truly unexpected tidings make both ears tingle. This is my case.
These compositions against me, which are being carried about, have
fallen upon ears by this time pretty well seasoned, on account of my
having formerly received the letter, appropriate enough to my sins,
but which I should never have expected to be written by those who sent
it. Nevertheless what followed did seem to me so extraordinarily
cruel as to blot out all that had gone before. How could I fail to be
driven almost out of my senses when I read the letter addressed to the
reverend brother Dazinas, full of outrageous insults and calumnies and
of attacks against me, as though I had been convicted of much
pernicious designs against the Church? Moreover proofs were forthwith
offered of the truth of the calumnies against me, from the document of
whose authorship I am ignorant. Parts I recognise, I own, as having
been written by Apollinarius of Laodicea. These I had purposely not
even ever read, but I had heard of them from the report of others.
Other portions I found included, which I had never either read or
heard of from any one else; of the truth of this there is a faithful
witness in heaven. How then can men who shun lies, who have learnt
that love is the fulfilling of the law, who profess to bear the
burdens of the weak, have consented to bring these calumnies against
me and to condemn me out of other men's writings? I have often asked
myself this question, but I cannot imagine the reason, unless it be,
as I have said from the beginning, that my pain in all this is a part
of the punishment which is due to my sins.
2. First of all I sorrowed in soul that truths were lessened by the
sons of men; in the second place I feared for my own self, lest in
addition to my other sins, I should become a misanthrope, believing no
truth and honour to be left in any man; if indeed those whom I have
most greatly trusted are proved to be so disposed both to me and to
the truth. Be sure then, my brother, and every one who is a friend of
the truth, that the composition is not mine; I do not approve of it,
for it is not drawn up according to my views. Even if I did write, a
good many years ago, to Apollinarius or to any one else, I ought not
to be blamed. I find no fault myself if any member of any society has
been cut off into heresy (and you know perfectly well whom I mean
though I mention nobody by name), because each man will die in his own
This is my reply to the document sent me, that you may know the truth,
and make it plain to all who wish not to hold the truth in
unrighteousness. If it prove necessary to defend myself more at
length on each separate count, I will do so, God being my helper. I,
brother Olympius, neither maintain three Gods, nor communicate with
 Placed in 373.
 cf. Letters xii. and xiii.
 cf. Letter cxxv. and Greg. Naz., Orat. i. and xxix.
Letter CXXXII. 
To Abramius, bishop of Batnæ. 
Ever since the autumn I have been quite ignorant of the whereabouts of
your reverence; for I kept hearing uncertain rumours, some saying that
you were stopping at Samosata, and some in the country, while others
maintained that they had seen you at Batnæ. This is the reason of my
not writing frequently. Now, on hearing that you are staying at
Antioch, in the house of the honourable Count Saturninus, I have been
glad to give this letter to our beloved and reverend brother
Sanctissimus, our fellow presbyter, by whom I salute you, and exhort
you, whereever you be, to remember firstly God, and secondly myself,
whom you determined from the beginning to love and to reckon among
your most intimate friends.
 Placed in 373.
 cf. Letter xcii. He was present at the Council of
To Peter, bishop of Alexandria. 
The sight of the eyes brings about bodily friendship, and long
companionship strengthens it, but genuine regard is the gift of the
Spirit, Who unites what is separated by long distances, and makes
friends known to one another, not by bodily qualities, but by the
characteristics of the soul. The grace of the Lord has granted me
this favour, by permitting me to see you with the soul's eye, and to
embrace you with genuine affection, and as it were, to be drawn very
near to you, and to come into close union with you in the communion of
faith. I am sure that you, disciple as you are of so great a man, and
long associated with him, will walk in the same spirit and follow the
same doctrines of true religion. Under these circumstances I address
your excellency, and beseech you that among the other things in which
you have succeeded that great man, you will succeed him in love to me,
that you will frequently write me news of you, and will give heed to
the brotherhood all over the world with the same affection and the
same zeal which that most blessed man always showed to all that love
God in truth.
 Peter II. succeeded Athanasius in May, 373. Athanasius died
Letter CXXXIV. 
To the presbyter Poeonius.
You may conjecture from what it contains, what pleasure you have given
me by your letter. The pureness of heart, from which such expressions
sprang, was plainly signified by what you wrote. A streamlet tells of
its own spring, and so the manner of speech marks the heart from which
it came. I must confess that an extraordinary and improbable thing
has happened to me. For deeply anxious as I always was to receive a
letter from your excellency, when I had taken your letter into my hand
and had read it, I was not so much pleased at what you had written, as
annoyed at reckoning up the loss I had suffered in your long silence.
Now that you have begun to write, pray do not leave off. You will
give me greater pleasure than men can give by sending much money to
misers. I have had no writer with me, neither caligraphist, nor
short-hand. Of all those whom I happen to employ, some have returned
to their former mode of life, and others are unfit for work from long
 Placed in 373.
Letter CXXXV. 
To Diodorus, presbyter of Antioch. 
1. I have read the books sent me by your excellency. With the second
I was delighted, not only with its brevity, as was likely to be the
case with a reader out of health and inclined to indolence, but,
because it is at once full of thought, and so arranged that the
objections of opponents, and the answers to them, stand out
distinctly. Its simple and natural style seems to me to befit the
profession of a Christian who writes less for self-advertisement than
for the general good. The former work, which has practically the same
force, but is much more elaborately adorned with rich diction, many
figures, and niceties of dialogue, seems to me to require considerable
time to read, and much mental labour, both to gather its meaning and
retain it in the memory. The abuse of our opponents and the support
of our own side, which are thrown in, although they may seem to add
some charms of dialectic to the treatise, do yet break the continuity
of the thought and weaken the strength of the argument, by causing
interruption and delay. I know that your intelligence is perfectly
well aware that the heathen philosophers who wrote dialogues,
Aristotle and Theophrastus, went straight to the point, because they
were aware of their not being gifted with the graces of Plato. Plato,
on the other hand, with his great power of writing, at the same time
attacks opinions and incidentally makes fun of his characters,
assailing now the rashness and recklessness of a Thrasymachus, the
levity and frivolity of a Hippias, and the arrogance and pomposity of
a Protagoras. When, however, he introduces unmarked characters into
his dialogues, he uses the interlocutors for making the point clear,
but does not admit anything more belonging to the characters into his
argument. An instance of this is in the Laws.
2. It is well for us too, who betake ourselves to writing, not from
any vain ambition, but from the design of bequeathing counsels of
sound doctrine to the brethren, if we introduce some character well
known to all the world for presumption of manners, to interweave into
the argument some points in accordance with the quality of the
character, unless indeed we have no right at all to leave our work and
to accuse men. But if the subject of the dialogue be wide and
general, digressions against persons interrupt its continuity and tend
to no good end. So much I have written to prove that you did not send
your work to a flatterer, but have shared your toil with a real
brother. And I have spoken not for the correction of what is
finished, but as a precaution for the future; for assuredly one who is
so accustomed to write, and so diligent in writing, will not hesitate
to do so; and the more so that there is no falling off in the number
of those who give him subjects. Enough for me to read your books. I
am as far from being able to write anything as, I had very nearly
said, I am from being well, or from having the least leisure from my
work. I have however now sent back the larger and earlier of the two
volumes, after perusing it as far as I have been able. The second I
have retained, with the wish to transcribe it, but, hitherto, without
finding any quick writer. To such a pitch of poverty has come the
enviable condition of the Cappadocians!
 Placed in 373.
 cf. Letter clx. Theodoret, Hist. Ecc. iv. 24. He was a pupil
of Silvanus, bishop of Tarsus. Letter ccxliv. Theodoret, Ep. xvi.,
refers to his obligations to him as a teacher. In 378 he became
bishop of Tarsus. Only some fragments of his works remain, the bulk
having been destroyed, it is said, by the Arians.
Letter CXXXVI. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
1. In what state the good Isaaces has found me, he himself will best
explain to you; though his tongue cannot be tragic enough to describe
my sufferings, so great was my illness. However, any one who knows me
ever so little, will be able to conjecture what it was. For, if when
I am called well, I am weaker even than persons who are given over,
you may fancy what I was when thus ill. Yet, since disease is my
natural state, it would follow (let a fever have its jest) that in
this change of habit, my health became especially flourishing. But it
is the scourge of the Lord which goes on increasing my pain according
to my deserts; therefore I have received illness upon illness, so that
now even a child may see that this shell of mine must for certain
fail, unless perchance, God's mercy vouchsafe to me, in His long
suffering, time for repentance, and now, as often before, extricate me
from evils beyond human cure. This shall be, as it is pleasing to Him
and good for myself.
2. I need hardly tell you how deplorable and hopeless is the
condition of the Churches. Now, for the sake of our own safety, we
neglect our neighbour's, and do not even seem able to see that general
disaster involves individual ruin. Least of all need I say this to
one who, like yourself, foresaw the future from afar, and has foretold
and proclaimed it and has been among the first to be roused, and to
rouse the rest, writing letters, coming yourself in person, leaving no
deed undone, no word unspoken. I remember this in every instance, but
yet we are none the better off. Now, indeed, were not my sins in the
way, (first of all, my dear brother the reverend deacon Eustathius
fell seriously ill and detained me two whole months, looking day by
day for his restoration to health; and then all about me fell sick;
brother Isaaces will tell you the rest; then last of all I myself was
attacked by this complaint) I should long ago have been to see your
excellency, not indeed thereby to try to improve the general state of
affairs, but to get some good for myself from your society. I had
made up my mind to get out of the reach of the ecclesiastical
artillery, because I am quite unprepared to meet my enemies' attacks.
May God's mighty hand preserve you for all of us, as a noble guardian
of the faith, and a vigilant champion of the Churches; and grant me,
before I die, to meet you for the comfort of my soul.
 Placed in 373.
 On his own sickness and the troubles of the Church. On his bad
health, cf. Letters ix., xxvii., cxcviii., ccii., cciii., and ccxvi.
The translation of the first section is Newman's.
Letter CXXXVII. 
To Antipater, on his assuming the governorship of Cappadocia. 
I do now really feel the loss which I suffer from being ill; so that,
when such a man succeeds to the government of my country, my having to
nurse myself compels me to be absent. For a whole month I have been
undergoing the treatment of natural hot springs, in the hope of
drawing some benefit from them. But I seem to be troubling myself to
no purpose in my solitude, or indeed to be deservedly a laughing stock
to mankind, for not heeding the proverb which says "warmth is no good
to the dead." Even situated as I am, I am very anxious to put aside
everything else, and betake myself to your excellency, that I may
enjoy the benefit of all your high qualities, and through your
goodness settle all my home affairs here in a proper manner. The
house of our reverend mother Palladia is my own, for I am not only
nearly related to her, but regard her as a mother on account of her
character. Now, as some disturbance has been raised about her house,
I ask your excellency to postpone the enquiry for a little while, and
to wait till I come; not at all that justice may not be done, for I
had rather die ten thousand times than ask a favour of that kind from
a judge who is a friend of law and right, but that you may learn from
me by word of mouth matters which it would be unbecoming for me to
write. If you do so you will in no wise fail in fealty to the truth,
and we shall suffer no harm. I beg you then to keep the individual in
question  in safe custody under the charge of the troops, and
not refuse to grant me this harmless favour.
 Placed in 373.
 Compare Letters clxxxvi. and clxxxvii.
 Possibly the person to whom the disturbance at Palladia's house
Letter CXXXVIII. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
1. What was my state of mind, think you, when I received your piety's
letter? When I thought of the feelings which its language expressed,
I was eager to fly straight to Syria; but when I thought of the bodily
illness, under which I lay bound, I saw myself unequal, not only to
flying, but even to turning on my bed. This day, on which our beloved
and excellent brother and deacon, Elpidius, has arrived, is the
fiftieth of my illness. I am much reduced by the fever. For lack of
what it might feed on, it lingers in this dry flesh as in an expiring
wick, and so has brought on a wasting and tedious illness. Next my
old plague, the liver, coming upon it, has kept me from taking
nourishment, prevented sleep, and held me on the confines of life and
death, granting just life enough to feel its inflictions. In
consequence I have had recourse to the hot springs, and have availed
myself of help from medical men.
But for all these the mischief has proved too strong. Perhaps another
man might endure it, but, coming as it did unexpectedly, no one is so
stout as to bear it. Long troubled by it as I have been, I have never
been so distressed as now at being prevented by it from meeting you
and enjoying your true friendship. I know of how much pleasure I am
deprived, although last year I did touch with the tip of my finger the
sweet honey of your Church.
2. For many urgent reasons I felt bound to meet your reverence, both
to discuss many things with you and to learn many things from you.
Here it is not possible even to find genuine affection. And, could
one even find a true friend, none can give counsel to me in the
present emergency with anything like the wisdom and experience which
you have acquired in your many labours on the Church's behalf. The
rest I must not write. I may, however, safely say what follows. The
presbyter Evagrius,  son of Pompeianus of Antioch, who set out
some time ago to the West with the blessed Eusebius, has now returned
from Rome. He demands from me a letter couched in the precise terms
dictated by the Westerns. My own he has brought back again to me, and
reports that it did not give satisfaction to the more precise
authorities there. He also asks that a commission of men of repute
may be promptly sent, that they may have a reasonable pretext for
visiting me. My sympathisers in Sebasteia have stripped the covering
from the secret sore of the unorthodoxy of Eustathius, and demand my
ecclesiastical care. 
Iconium is a city of Pisidia, anciently the first after the greatest,
 and now it is capital of a part, consisting of an union of
different portions, and allowed the government of a distinct
province. Iconium too calls me to visit her and to give her a bishop;
for Faustinus  is dead. Whether I ought to shrink from
consecrations over the border; what answer I ought to give to the
Sebastenes; what attitude I should show to the propositions of
Evagrius; all these are questions to which I was anxious to get
answers in a personal interview with you, for here in my present
weakness I am cut off from everything. If, then, you can find any one
soon coming this way, be so good as to give me your answer on them
all. If not, pray that what is pleasing to the Lord may come into my
mind. In your synod also bid mention to be made of me, and pray for
me yourself, and join your people with you in the prayer that it may
be permitted me to continue my service through the remaining days or
hours of my sojourning here in a manner pleasing to the Lord.
 Placed in 373.
 The translation of Sec. 1, down to "medical men," is partly
 On Evagrius, known generally as Evagrius of Antioch, to
distinguish him from Evagrius the historian, see especially Theodoret,
Ecc. Hist. v. 23. He had travelled to Italy with Eusebius of
Vercellæ. His communication to Basil from the Western bishops must
have been disappointing and unsatisfactory. On his correspondence
with Basil, after his return to Antioch, see Letter clvi. His
consecration by the dying Paulinus in 388 inevitably prolonged the
disastrous Meletian schism at Antioch.
 i.e. that Basil, as primate, should either consecrate them an
orthodox bishop, or, if this was impossible under Valens, should take
them under his own immediate episcopal protection.
 i.e. Antioch.
 He was succeeded by John I. cf. Letter clxi. and note.
Letter CXXXIX. 
To the Alexandrians. 
1. I have already heard of the persecution in Alexandria and the rest
of Egypt, and, as might be expected, I am deeply affected. I have
observed the ingenuity of the devil's mode of warfare. When he saw
that the Church increased under the persecution of enemies and
flourished all the more, he changed his plan. He no longer carries on
an open warfare, but lays secret snares against us, hiding his
hostility under the name which they bear, in order that we may both
suffer like our fathers, and, at the same time, seem not to suffer for
Christ's sake, because our persecutors too bear the name of
Christians. With these thoughts for a long time we sat still, dazed
at the news of what had happened, for, in sober earnest, both our ears
tingled on hearing of the shameless and inhuman heresy of your
persecutors. They have reverenced neither age, nor services to
society,  nor people's affection. They inflicted torture,
ignominy, and exile; they plundered all the property they could find;
they were careless alike of human condemnation and of the awful
retribution to come at the hands of the righteous Judge. All this has
amazed me and all but driven me out of my senses. To my reflections
has been added this thought too; can the Lord have wholly abandoned
His Churches? Has the last hour come, and is "the falling away" thus
coming upon us, that now the lawless one "may be revealed, the son of
perdition who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called
God and is worshipped"? But if the temptation is for a
season, bear it, ye noble athletes of Christ. If the world is being
delivered to complete, and final destruction, let us not lose heart
for the present, but let us await the revelation from heaven, and the
manifestation of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. If all
creation is to be dissolved, and the fashion of this world
transformed, why should we be surprised that we, who are apart of
creation, should feel the general woe, and be delivered to afflictions
which our just God inflicts on us according to the measure of our
strength, not letting us "be tempted above that we are able, but with
the temptation giving us a way to escape that we may be able to bear
it"? Brothers, martyrs' crowns await you. The companies of
the confessors are ready to reach out their hands to you and to
welcome you into their own ranks. Remember how none of the saints of
old won their crowns of patient endurance by living luxuriously and
being courted; but all were tested by being put through the fire of
great afflictions. "For some had trial of cruel mockings and
scourgings, and others were sawn asunder and were slain with the
sword." These are the glories of saints. Blessed is he who
is deemed worthy to suffer for Christ; more blessed is he whose
sufferings are greater, since "the sufferings of this present time are
not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in
2. Had it but been possible for me to travel to you I should have
liked nothing better than to meet you, that I might see and embrace
Christ's athletes, and share your prayers and spiritual graces. But
now my body is wasted by long sickness, so that I can scarcely even
leave my bed, and there are many who are lying in wait for me, like
ravening wolves, watching the moment when they may be able to rend
Christ's sheep. I have therefore been compelled to visit you by
letter; and I exhort you first of all most earnestly to pray for me,
that for the rest of my remaining days or hours I may be enabled to
serve the Lord, in accordance with the gospel of His kingdom. Next I
beg you to pardon me for my absence and for my delay in writing to
you. I have only with great difficulty found a man able to carry out
my wishes. I speak of my son, the monk Eugenius, by whom I beseech
you to pray for me and for the whole Church, and to write back news of
you so that, when I hear, I may be more cheerful.
 Placed in 373.
 On the cruel persecution roused by Valens in Alexandria shortly
after the death of Athanasius in 373, and the horrors perpetrated
there, see the letter of Peter, Athanasius' successor, in Theod. iv.
 en te politei& 139; kamatous; or, possibly, labours in life,
i.e. ascetic life. The Ben. ed. prefer the latter.
 2 Thess. ii. 4.
 1 Cor. x. 13.
 cf. Heb. xi. 36, 37.
 Rom. viii. 18.
Letter CXL. 
To the Church of Antioch.
1. "Oh that I had wings like a dove for then would I fly away" 
to you, and satisfy my longing to meet you. But now it is not only
wings that I want, but a whole body, for mine has suffered from long
sickness, and now is quite worn away with continuous affliction. For
no one can be so hard of heart, so wholly destitute of sympathy and
kindness, as to hear the sigh that strikes my ear from every quarter,
as though from some sad choir chanting a symphony of lamentation,
without being grieved at heart, being bent to the ground, and wasting
away with these irremediable troubles. But the holy God is able to
provide a remedy for the irremediable, and to grant you a respite from
your long toils. I should like you to feel this comfort and,
rejoicing in the hope of consolation, to submit to the present pain of
your afflictions. Are we paying the penalty of our sins? Then our
plagues are such as to save us for the future from the wrath of God.
Are we called upon through these temptations to fight for the truth?
Then the righteous Giver of the prizes will not suffer us to be tried
above that which we are able to bear, but, in return for our previous
struggles, will give us the crown of patience and of hope in Him. Let
us, therefore, not flinch from fighting a good fight on behalf of the
truth, nor, in despair, fling away the labours we have already
achieved. For the strength of the soul is not shewn by one brave
deed, nor yet by effort only for a short time; but He Who tests our
hearts wishes us to win crowns of righteousness after long and
protracted trial. Only let our spirit be kept unbroken, the firmness
of our faith in Christ be maintained unshaken, and ere long our
Champion will appear; He will come and will not tarry. Expect
tribulation after tribulation, hope upon hope; yet a little while; yet
a little while. Thus the Holy Ghost knows how to comfort His
nurslings by a promise of the future. After tribulations comes hope,
and what we are hoping for is not far off, for let a man name the
whole of human life, it is but a tiny interval compared with the
endless age which is laid up in our hopes.
2. Now I accept no newer creed written for me by other men, nor do I
venture to propound the outcome of my own intelligence, lest I make
the words of true religion merely human words; but what I have been
taught by the holy Fathers, that I announce to all who question me.
In my Church the creed written by the holy Fathers in synod at Nicæa
is in use. I believe that it is also repeated among you; but I do not
refuse to write its exact terms in my letter, lest I be accused of
taking too little trouble. It is as follows: This is our
faith. But no definition was given about the Holy Ghost, the
Pneumatomachi not having at that date appeared. No mention was
therefore made of the need of anathematizing those who say that the
Holy Ghost is of a created and ministerial nature. For nothing in the
divine and blessed Trinity is created.
 Placed in 373.
 Ps. lv. 6.
 Here follows in the text the Nicene Creed with the anathemas.
The Ben. note points out that the Nicene Creed was brought to Cæsarea
by St. Leontius, and was vigorously defended by his successor
Hermogenes. cf. Letter lxxxi. Dianius, who next followed in the see,
signed several Arian formulæ. The Nicene Creed, however, had been
maintained at Cæsarea, and in Letter li. Dianius is described as
Letter CXLI. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
1. I have now received two letters from your divine and most
excellent wisdom, whereof the one told me clearly how I had been
expected by the laity under the jurisdiction of your holiness, and
what disappointment I had caused by failing to attend the sacred
synod. The other, which from the writing I conjecture to be of the
earlier date, though it was delivered later, gave me advice, at once
honourable to yourself and necessary to me, not to neglect the
interests of God's Churches, nor little by little to allow the
guidance of affairs to pass to our opponents, whereby their interests
must win, and ours lose. I think that I answered both. But, as I am
uncertain whether my replies were preserved by those who were
entrusted with the duty of conveying them, I will make my defence over
again. As to my absence, I can put in an unimpeachable plea, as to
which I think intelligence must have reached your holiness, that I
have been detained by illness which has brought me to the very gates
of death. Even now as I write about it, the remains of sickness are
still upon me. And they are such as to another man might be
2. As to the fact of its not being owing to my neglect that the
interests of the Churches have been betrayed to our opponents, I wish
your reverence to know that the bishops in communion with me, from
lack of earnestness, or because they suspect me and are not open with
me, or because the devil is always at hand to oppose good works, are
unwilling to cooperate with me. Formerly, indeed, the majority of us
were united with one another, including the excellent Bosporius.
In reality they give me no aid in what is most essential.
The consequence of all this is, that to a great extent my recovery is
hindered by my distress, and the sorrow I feel brings back my worst
symptoms. What, however, can I do alone and unaided, when the canons,
as you yourself know, do not allow points of this kind to be settled
by one man? And yet what remedy have I not tried? Of what
decision have I failed to remind them, some by letter and some in
person? They even came to the city, when they heard a report of my
death; when, by God's will, they found me yet alive I made them such a
speech as was proper to the occasion. In my presence they respect me,
and promise all that is fit, but no sooner have they got back again
than they return to their own opinion. In all this I am a sufferer,
like the rest, for the Lord has clearly abandoned us, whose love has
grown cold because iniquity abounds. For all this may your great and
powerful intercession with God be sufficient for me. Perhaps we shall
either become of some use, or, even if we fail in our object, we may
 Placed in 373.
 On his being hindered from traveling by ill health, and on his
difficulties with the bishops in communion with him.
 cf. Letter li.
 The Ben. note is: "Canones illos qui apostolis afficti fuere,
nonnunquam citat Basilius in Epistolis canonicis. Videtur hoc loco
respicere ad vigesimum (?xxxvii.) septimum, ubi præscribitur, ut in
unaquaque provincia episcopi nihil majoris rei incipiant sine
sententia illius, qui inter eos primus, ac unus quisque iis contentus
sit, quæ ad paroeciam suam pertinent: sed nec ille absque omnium
voluntate quidquam faciat. Erat Basilius hujus canonis observandi
studiosus, et quamvis nominis fama et sedis dignitate plurimum posset,
nunquam ab eo communionis restitutionem impetrare potuerunt Marcelli
discipuli, antequam Petri Alexandrini auctoritates accessisset: et
cum ab Episcopis in Palæstina Exsulantibus non ex spectato aliorum
Episcoporum consensu restituti fuissent, factum moleste tulit et
libere reprehendit." Epist. cclxv.
Letter CXLII. 
To the prefects' accountant. 
I assembled all my brethren the chorepiscopi at the synod of the
blessed martyr Eupsychius  to introduce them to your
excellency. On account of your absence they must be brought before
you by letter. Know, therefore, this brother as being worthy to be
trusted by your intelligence, because he fears the Lord. As to the
matters on behalf of the poor, which he refers to your good-will,
deign to believe him as one worthy of credit, and to give the
afflicted all the aid in your power. I am sure you will consent to
look favourably upon the hospital of the poor which is in his
district, and exempt it altogether from taxation. It has already
seemed good to your colleague to make the little property of the poor
not liable to be rated.
 Placed in 373.
 On the exemption of hospitals from taxation.
 cf. Letters c. and cclii., and note on p. 184.
Letter CXLIII. 
To another accountant. 
Had it been possible for me to meet your excellency I would have in
person brought before you the points about which I am anxious, and
would have pleaded the cause of the afflicted, but I am prevented by
illness and by press of business. I have therefore sent to you in my
stead this chorepiscopus, my brother, begging you to give him your aid
and use him and to take him into counsel, for his truthfulness and
sagacity qualify him to advise in such matters. If you are so good as
to inspect the hospital for the poor, which is managed by him, (I am
sure you will not pass it without a visit, experienced as you are in
the work; for I have been told that you support one of the hospitals
at Amasea out of the substance wherewith the Lord has blessed you), I
am confident that, after seeing it, you will give him all he asks.
Your colleague has already promised me some help towards the
hospitals. I tell you this, not that you may imitate him, for you are
likely to be a leader of others in good works, but that you may know
that others have shown regard for me in this matter.
 Of the same date as the preceding.
 On the same subject.
Letter CXLIV. 
To the prefects' officer. 
You know the bearer from meeting him in the town. Nevertheless I
write to commend him to you, that he may be useful to you in many
matters in which you are interested, from his being able to give pious
and sensible advice. Now is the time to carry out what you have said
to me in private; I mean when this my brother has told you the state
of the poor.
 Placed in 373.
 On the same subject.
Letter CXLV. 
To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata. 
I know the countless labours which you have undergone for the Churches
of God; I know your press of occupation, while you discharge your
responsibilities, not as though they were of mere secondary
importance, but in accordance with God's will. I know the man 
who is, as it were, laying close siege to you and by whom you are
forced, like birds crouching in cover under an eagle, not to go far
from your shelter. I know all this. But longing is strong, both in
hoping for the impracticable and attempting the impossible. Rather I
should say, hope in God is the strongest of all things. For
it is not from unreasonable desire, but from strength of faith, that I
expect a way out, even from the greatest difficulties, and that you
will find a way to get over all hindrances, and to come to see the
Church that loves you best of all, and to be seen by her. What she
values most of all good things is to behold your face and to hear your
voice. Beware then of making her hopes vain. When last year, on my
return from Syria, I reported the promise which you had given me, you
cannot think how elated with her hopes I made her. Do not, my friend,
postpone your coming to another time. Even if it may be possible for
you to see her one day, you may not see her and me too, for sickness
is hurrying me on to quit this painful life.
 Placed in 373.
 On a possible visit of Eusebius to Cæsarea.
 i.e. Valens.
 "Vita vere mortalis spes est vitæ immortalis." St. Augustine
in Ps. iii. "Spes æternitatem animum erigit, et idcirco nulla mala
sentit." St. Greg., Moral. cf. Ovid. i. Pont. 7: Quamvis est igitur
meritis indebita nostris, Magna tamen spes est in bonitate Dei.
Letter CXLVI. 
To Antiochus. 
I cannot accuse you of carelessness and inattention, because, when an
opportunity of writing occurred, you said nothing. For I count the
greeting which you have sent me in your own honoured hand worth many
letters. In return I salute you, and beg you earnestly to give heed
to the salvation of your soul, disciplining all the lusts of the flesh
by reason, and ever keeping the thought of God built up in your soul,
as in a very holy temple. In every deed and every word hold before
your eyes the judgment of Christ, so that every individual action,
being referred to that exact and awful examination may bring you glory
in the day of retribution, when you win praise from all creation. If
that great man  should be able to pay me a visit, it would be a
pleasure to me to see you here with him.
 Placed in 373.
 Nephew of Eusebius, who had written a salutation in his uncle's
letter. cf. Letter clxviii.
 i.e. his uncle Eusebius.
Letter CXLVII. 
To Aburgius. 
Up to this time I used to think Homer a fable, when I read the second
part of his poem, in which he narrates the adventures of Ulysses. But
the calamity which has befallen the most excellent Maximus has led me
to look on what I used to think fabulous and incredible, as
exceedingly probable. Maximus was governor of no insignificant
people, just as Ulysses was chief of the Cephallenians. Ulysses had
great wealth, and returned stripped of everything. To such straits
has calamity reduced Maximus, that he may have to present himself at
home in borrowed rags. And perhaps he has suffered all this because
he has irritated some Læstrygones against him, and has fallen in with
some Scylla, hiding a dog's fierceness and fury under a woman's form.
Since then he has barely been able to swim out of this inextricable
whirlpool. He supplicates you by my means for humanity's sake to
grieve for his undeserved misfortunes and not be silent about his
needs, but make them known to the authorities. He hopes thus that he
may find some aid against the slanders which have been got up against
him: and if not, that at all events the intention of the enemy who
has shewn such an intoxication of hostility against him may be made
public. When a man has been wronged it is a considerable comfort to
him if the wickedness of his enemies can be made plain.
 Placed in 373.
 To commend Maximus, late prefect of Cappadocia and in great
Letter CXLVIII. 
To Trajan. 
Even the ability to bewail their own calamities brings much comfort to
the distressed; and this is specially the case when they meet with
others capable, from their lofty character, of sympathizing with their
sorrows. So my right honourable brother Maximus, after being prefect
of my country, and then suffering what no other man ever yet suffered,
stripped of all his belongings both inherited from his forefathers and
collected by his own labours, afflicted in body in many and various
ways, by his wanderings up and down the world, and not having been
able to keep even his civil status free from attack, to preserve which
freemen are wont to leave no labour undone, has made many complaints
to me about all that has happened to him, and has begged me to give
you a short description of the Iliad of woes in which he is involved.
And I, being quite unable to relieve him in any other way in his
troubles, have readily done him the favour shortly to relate to your
excellency a part of what I have heard from him. He, indeed, seemed
to me to blush at the idea of making a plain tale of his own
calamity. If what has happened shews that the inflicter of the wrong
is a villain, at all events it proves the sufferer to be deserving of
great pity; since the very fact of having fallen into troubles
inflicted by Divine Providence, seems in a manner to shew that a man
has been devoted to suffering. But it would be a sufficient comfort
to him if you will only look at him kindly, and extend also to him
that abundant favour which all the recipients of it cannot exhaust,--I
mean your clemency. We are all of us convinced that before the
tribunal your protection will be an immense step towards victory. He
who has asked for my letter as likely to be of service is of all men
most upright. May it be granted me to see him, with the rest,
proclaiming aloud the praises of your lordship with all his power.
 Placed in 373.
 A Trajan was commander-in-chief under Valens. cf. Theod. iv.
30 and Amm. Marcellinus xxxi. He was killed at the battle of
Adrianople in 378. This may have been the same officer.
Letter CXLIX. 
To Trajan. 
You yourself have seen with your own eyes the distressing condition of
Maximus, once a man of high reputation, but now most of all to be
pitied, formerly prefect of my country. Would that he had never been
so! Many, I think, would be likely to shun provincial governorships,
if their dignities are likely to issue in such an end. To a man,
then, from the quickness of his intelligence, able from a few
circumstances to conjecture the rest, I need hardly narrate in detail
all that I have seen and all that I have heard. Perhaps, however, I
shall not seem to be telling a superfluous story if I mention that,
though many and terrible things were audaciously done against him
before your coming, what went on afterwards was such as to cause the
former proceedings to be reckoned as kindness; to such an excess of
outrage and injury and actually of personal cruelty did the
proceedings go which were afterwards taken against him by the person
in authority. Now he is here with an escort to fill up the measure of
his evil deeds unless you are willing to stretch out your strong hand
to protect the sufferer. In urging your goodness to an act of
kindness I feel that I am undertaking an unnecessary task. Yet since
I desire to be serviceable to Maximus I do beg your lordship to add
something for my sake to your natural zeal for what is right, to the
end that he may clearly perceive that my intervention on his behalf
has been of service to him.
 Placed in 373.
 The Ben. note points out that though in all the mss. the
inscription is to auto, to the same, that is to Trajan, the internal
evidence points to its having been written to some one else. Trajan
had had no personal knowledge of the troubles of Maximus.
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