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Fathers of the Church

Epistle CXXXV: to Sophronius, Prefect of Constantinople

Description

About the middle of A.D. 382 Theodosius, on the recommendation of S. Damasus, summoned a new Synod of Eastern Bishops to meet at Constantinople, to try and heal the schism which had been embittered by the election of Flavian at Antioch. As soon as Gregory heard of the convocation of this Synod he wrote to several of his influential friends at Court, to beg them to do their utmost for the promotion of peace.

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 382 | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

I am philosophizing at leisure. That is the injury my enemies have done me, and I should be glad if they would do more of the same sort, that I might look upon them still more as benefactors. For it often happens that those who are wronged get a benefit, while they, whom we would treat well, suffer injury. That is the state of my affairs. But if I cannot make every one believe this, I am very anxious, that at all events you, for them all, to whom I most willingly give an account of my affairs, should know, or rather I feel certain that you do know it, and can persuade those who do not. You, however, I beg to give all diligence, now at any rate, if you have not done so before, to bring together to one voice and mind the sections of the world that are so unhappily divided; and above all if you should perceive, as I have observed, that they are divided not on account of the Faith, but by petty private interests. To succeed in doing this would earn you a reward; and my retirement would have less to grieve over if I could see that I did not grasp at it to no purpose, but was like a Jonas, willingly casting myself into the sea, that the storm might cease and the sailors be saved. If, however, they are still as storm-tost as ever, I at all events have done what I could.

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.