Fathers of the Church

Epistle XLIX: to Basil

Description

Shortly after the events described in Epistle XLVII, Basil determined to strengthen his own hands by creating a number of new Bishoprics in the disputed Province, to one of which, Sasima, he consecrated Gregory, very much against the will of the latter, who felt that he had been hardly used, and did not attempt to disguise his reluctance.

Provenance

Gregory was the first Greek author to publish a collection of his letters; he did so at the request of Nicobulus, a grandson of his sister Gorgonia. Incidentally, he also sets forth a theory of epistolography; he demands that a good letter should have four characteristics: shortness, clearness, charm and simplicity. Although he refuses to present his own epistles as models, they are carefully written, in many cases not without humor, and most of them are brief and pointed. (Quasten)

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

You accuse me of laziness and idleness, because I did not accept your Sasima, and because I have not bestirred myself like a Bishop, and do not arm you against each other like a bone thrown into the midst of dogs. My greatest business always is to keep free from business. And to give you an idea of one of my good points, so much do I value freedom from business, that I think I might even be a standard to all men of this kind of magnanimity, and if only all men would imitate me the Churches would have no troubles; nor would the faith, which every one uses as a weapon in his private quarrels, be pulled in pieces.

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.