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Fathers of the Church

Epistle IX: to Amphilochius the Younge

Description

A brief letter asking Amphilochius to to protect Euthalius from having to pay the military tax.

Provenance

Constantine and Constantius had granted exemption from the military tax to all clerics. This privilege was, however, abolished by Julian, and was restored by Valentinian and Valens: but the collectors of revenue often tried to levy it on them in spite of the exemption. The collector at Nazianzus tried to do this in the case of a Deacon named Euthalius, in whose behalf Gregory wrote the following letter to Amphilochius, who was at the time one of the principal magistrates of the province. The date of the letter is given as A.D. 372, the year of Gregory's Ordination to the Priesthood.

by Gregory Nazianzen in 372 | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

Support a wellbuilt chamber with columns of gold, as Pindar(a) says, and make yourself from the beginning known to us on the right side in our present anxiety, that you may build yourself a notable palace, and shew yourself in it with a good fame. But how will you do this? By honouring God and the things of God, than Whom there can be nothing greater in your eyes. But how, and by what act can you honour Him? By this one act, by protecting the servants of God and ministers of the altar. One of these is our fellow deacon Euthalius, on whom, I know not how, the officers of the Prefecture are trying to impose a payment of gold after his promotion to the higher rank. Pray do not allow this. Reach a hand to this deacon and to the whole clergy, and above all to me, for whom you care; for otherwise he would have to endure a grievous wrong, alone of men deprived of the kindness of the time and the privilege granted by the Emperor to the Clergy, and would even be insulted and fined, possibly on account of my weakness. It would be well for you to prevent this even if others are not well disposed.

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.