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Fathers of the Church

Letter LVII: to Meletius, Bishop of Antioch

Description

Basil had a great longing for friendship and loyalty. Thus the letters addressed to friends for the exchange of ideas, for consolation, encouragement and advice are especially numerous. He is always anxious to hear from his friends and often asks them to write. (Quasten) Here he informs Meletius of the great pleasure he takes in his letter.

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

IF your holiness only knew the greatness of the happiness you cause me whenever you write to me, I know that you would never have let slip any opportunity of sending me a letter; nay, you would have written me many letters on each occasion, knowing the reward that is kept in store by our loving Lord for the consolation of the afflicted. Everything here is still in a very painful condition, and the thought of your holiness is the only tiring that recalls me from my own troubles; a thought made more distinct to me by my communication with you through that letter of yours which is so full of wisdom and grace. When, therefore, I take your letter into my hand, first of all, I look at its size, and I love it all the more for being so big; then, as I read it, I rejoice over every word I find in it; as I draw near the end I begin to feel sad; so good is every word that I read, in what you write. The overflowing of a good heart is good. Should I, however, be permitted, in answer to your prayers, while I live on this earth, to meet you face to face, and to enjoy the profitable instruction of your living voice, or any aids to help me in the life that now is, or that which is to come, I should count this indeed the best of blessings, a prelude to the mercy of God. I should, ere now, have adhered to this intention, had I not been prevented by true and loving brothers. I have told my brother Theophrastus to make a detailed report to yon of matters, as to which I do not commit my intentions to writing.

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.