Fathers of the Church

Epistle XXXIX: to Sophronius, Prefect of Constantinople

Description

A recommendation of one Amazonius, whose learning was much respected by Gregory.

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

I wish well to all my friends. And when I speak of friends, I mean honourable and good men, linked with me in virtue, if indeed I myself have any claim to it. Therefore at the present time when seeking how I might do a kindness to my excellent brother Amazonius (for I was very much pleased with the man in some intercourse which has lately taken place between us), I thought I might return him one favour for all,—in your friendship and protection. For in a short time he shewed proof of an extensive education, both of the kind which I used once to be very zealous for, when I was shortsighted, and of that for which I am zealous in its place since I have been able to contemplate the summit of virtue. Whether I in my turn have appeared to him to be worth anything in respect of virtue is his affair. At any rate I shewed him the best things I have, namely, my friends to him as my friend. Of these I reckon you as the first and truest, and want you to shew yourself so to him—as your common Country demands, and my desire and promise begs; for I promised him your patronage in return for all his kindness.

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.