Fathers of the Church

Epistle CXLIII: to Olympius

Description

The people of Nazianzus had in some way incurred the loss of civic rights; and the Order for the forfeiture of the title of City had been signed by Olympius. This led to something like a revolt on the part of a certain number of the younger citizens: and this Olympius determined to punish by the total destruction of the place. S. Gregory was again prevented by sickness from appearing in person before the Governor: but he pleaded the cause of his native city (using its official Latin name of Diocaesarea) in several letters so successfully as to induce Olympius to pardon the outbreak.

Provenance

Olympius was Prefect of Cappadocia Secunda in 382, to whom Gregory wrote many letters recommending certain persons to his patronage.

by Gregory Nazianzen in Unknown | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

What does much experience, and experience of good do for men? It teaches kindness, and inclines them to those who entreat them. There is no such education in pity as the previous reception of goodness. This has happened to myself among others. I have learned compassion by the things which I have suffered. And do you see my greatness of soul when I myself need your gentleness in my own affairs? I intercede for others, and do not fear lest I should exhaust all your kindness on other men's concerns. I am writing thus on behalf of the Presbyter Leontius—or, if I may so describe him, the ex-Presbyter. If he has suffered sufficiently for what he has done, let us stop there, lest excess become injustice. And if there is still any balance of punishment due, and the consequences of his crime have not yet equalled his offence, yet remit it for our sake and God's, and that of the sanctuary, and the general assembly of the priests, among whom he was once numbered, even though he has now shewn himself unworthy of them, both by what he has done and by what he has suffered. If I can prevail with you it will be best; but if not, I will bring to you a more powerful intercessor, her who is the partner both of your rule and of your good fame.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/VII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.