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Fathers of the Church

Letter LXXXVI: to the Governor

Description

Basil was continually interceding for his friends with various public officials. Here he asks that the corn of which Dorotheus was robbed be returned to him.

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

I KNOW that a first and foremost object of your excellency is in every way to support the right; and after that to benefit your friends, and to exert yourself in behalf of those who have fled to your lordship's protection. Both these pleas are combined in the matter before us. The cause is right for which we are pleading; it is dear to me who am numbered among your friends; it is due to those who are invoking the aid of your constancy in their sufferings. The corn, which was all my very, dear brother Dorotheus had for the necessaries of life, has been carried off by some of the authorities at Berisi, entrusted with the management of affairs, driven to this violence of their own accord or by others' instigation. Either way it is an indictable offence. For how does the man whose wickedness is his own do less wrong than he who is the mere minister of other men's wickedness? To the sufferers the loss is the same. I implore you, therefore, that Dorotheus may have his corn returned by the men by whom he has been robbed, and that they may not be allowed to lay the guilt of their outrage on other men's shoulders. If you grant me my request I shall reckon the value of the boon conferred by your excellency in proportion to the necessity of providing one's self with food.

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.