Fathers of the Church

Letter LXI: to Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria

Description

Basil assures Athanasius that, according to his direction, the governor of Libya shall be condemned by all the faithful for his wicked ways.

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 HAVE read the letter of your holiness, in which you have expressed your distress at the unhappy governor of Libya. I am grieved that my own country should have given birth to and nurtured such vices. I am grieved too that Libya, a neighbouring country, should suffer from our evils, and should have been delivered to the inhumanity of a man whose life is marked at once by cruelty and crime. This however is only m accordance with the wisdom of the Preacher, "Woe to thee O land when thy King is a child;" (a still further touch of trouble) and whose " Princes" do not "eat" after night but revel at mid-day, raging after other men's wives with less understanding than brute beasts. This man must surely look for the scourges of the righteous Judge, repaid him in exact requital for those which he himself has previously inflicted on the saints. Notice has been given to my Church in accordance with the letter of your reverence, and he shall be held by all as abominable, cut off from fire, water and shelter, if indeed in the case of men so possessed there is any use in general and unanimous condemnation. Notoriety is enough for him, and your own letter, which has been read in all directions, for I shall not fail to show it to all his friends and relatives. Assuredly, even if retribution does not reach him at once, as it did Pharaoh, certainly it will bring on him hereafter a heavy and hard requital.

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.