Fathers of the Church

Letter CLIV: to Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica

Description

Basil commends Ascholius for his disposition and fervor.

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 done well, and in accordance with the law of spiritual love, in writing to me first, and by your good example challenging me to like energy. The friendship of the world, indeed, stands in need of actual sight and intercourse, that thence intimacy may begin. All, however, who know how to love in the spirit do not need the flesh to promote affection, but are led to spiritual communion in the fellowship of the faith. Thanks, then, to the Lord Who has comforted my heart by showing me that love has not grown cold in all, but that there are yet in the world men who show the evidence of the discipleship of Christ. The state of affairs with you seems to be something like that of the stars by night, shining some in one part of the sky and some in another, whereof the brightness is charming, and the more charming because it is unexpected. Such are you, luminaries of the Churches, a few at most and easily counted in this gloomy state of things, shining as in a moonless night, and, besides being welcome for your virtue, being all the more longed for because of its being so seldom that you are found. Your letter has made your disposition quite plain to me. Although small, as far as regards the number of its syllables, in the correctness of its sentiments it was quite enough to give me proof of your mind and purpose. Your zeal for the cause of the blessed Athanasius is plain proof of your being sound as to the most important matters. In return for my joy at your letter I am exceedingly grateful to my honourable son Euphemius, to whom I pray that all help may be given by the Holy One, and I beg you to join in my prayers that we may soon receive him back with his very honourable wife, my daughter in the Lord. As to yourself, I beg that you will not stay our joy at its beginning, but that you will write on every possible opportunity, and increase your good feeling towards me by constant communication. Give me news, I beg you, about your Churches and how. they are situated as regards union. Pray for us here that our Lord may rebuke the winds and the sea, and that with us there may be a great, calm.

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.