Fathers of the Church

Letter LXXV: to Aburgius

Description

Basil asks Aburgius to help the citizens of Caesarea, since the city has been taken over by Podandus and many of the magistrates exiled.

Provenance

St. Basil's correspondence is a copious and invaluable store of information for the history of the Eastern Church in the fourth century, particularly in Cappadocia. Since he never found a real biographer, his letters represent the best source for his life and times, for his many activities and far-reaching influence, especially for his personality and his character. (Quasten)

by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A

YOU have many qualities which raise you above the common run of men, but nothing is more distinctly characteristic of you than your zeal for your country. Thus you, who have risen to such a height as to become illustrious throughout all the world, pay a righteous recompense to the land that gave you birth. Yet she, your mother city, who bore you and nursed you, has fallen into the incredible condition of ancient story; and no one visiting Caesarea; not even those most familiar with her, would recognise her as she is; to such complete abandonment has she been suddenly transformed, many of her magistrates having been previously removed, and now nearly all of them transferred to Podandus. The remainder, torn from these like mutilated extremities, have themselves fallen into complete despair, and have caused such a general weight of despondency, that the population of the city is now but scanty; the place looks like a desert, a piteous spectacle to all who love it, and a cause for delight and encouragement to all who have long been plotting for our fall. Who then will reach out a hand to help us? Who will drop a tear of pity over our faith? You have sympathised with a stranger city in like distress; will not your kindly excellency feel for her who gave you birth? If you have any influence, show it in our present need. Certainly you have great help from God, Who has never abandoned you, and has given you many proofs of His kindness. Only be willing to exert yourself in our behalf, and use all the influence you have for the succour of your fellow citizens.

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. (PNPF II/VIII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.