Fathers of the Church

Epistle XXII: to Sophronius, Prefect of Constantinople

Description

Gregory sends a letter regarding Amphilochius, who, through the roguery of a partner, had got into some trouble at Constantinople about money matters, and for whom he asks aid and advice.

Provenance

Sophronius, a native of the Cappadocian Caesarea, was an early friend and fellow-student of Gregory and Basil. He entered the Civil Service, and soon rose to high office. In A.D. 365 he was appointed Prefect of Constantinople, as a reward for timely intimation which he gave to the Emperor Valens of the usurpation attempted by Procopius. He is chiefly known to us by the letters of Gregory and Basil, invoking his good offices for various persons.

by Gregory Nazianzen in 369 | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

As we know gold and stones by their look, so too we may distinguish good men from bad in the same way, and do not need a very long trial. For I should not have needed many words in pleading for my most honourable son Amphilochius with Your Magnanimity. I should rather have expected some strange and incredible thing to happen than that he would do anything dishonourable, or think of such a thing, in a matter of money; such a universal reputation has he as a gentleman, and as wiser than his years. But what must he suffer? Nothing escapes envy, for some word of blame has touched even him, a man who has fallen under accusation of crime through simplicity rather than depravity of disposition. But do not allow it to be tolerable to you to overlook him in his vexations and trouble. Not so, I entreat your sacred and great mind, but honour your country(a) and aid his virtue, and have a respect for me who have attained to glory by and through you; and be everything to this man, adding the will to the power, for I know that there is nothing of equal power with Your Excellency.

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.