Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXXIII: to Peter, Bishop of Alexandria

Description

Basil writes a letter of friendship to the successor of St. Athanasius.

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

THE sight of the eyes brings about bodily friendship, and long companionship strengthens it, but genuine regard is the gift of the Spirit, Who unites what is separated by long distances, and makes friends known to one another, not by bodily qualities, but by the characteristics of the soul. The grace of the Lord has granted me this favour, by permitting me to see you with the soul's eye, and to embrace you with genuine affection, and as it were, to be drawn very near to you, and to come into close union with you in the communion of faith. I am sure that you, disciple as you are of so great a man, and long associated with him, will walk in the same spirit and follow the same doctrines of true religion. Under these circumstances I address your excellency, and beseech you that among the other things in which you have succeeded that great man, you will succeed him in love to me, that you will frequently write me news of you, and will give heed to the brotherhood all over the world with the same affection and the same zeal which that most blessed man always showed to all that love God in truth.

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.