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Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXXIV: to the Presbyter Poeonius

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)

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 may conjecture from what it contains, what pleasure you have given me by your letter. The pureness of heart, from which such expressions sprang, was plainly signified by what you wrote. A streamlet tells of its own spring, and so the manner of speech marks the heart from which it came. I must confess that an extraordinary and improbable thing has happened to me. For deeply anxious as I always was to receive a letter from your excellency, when I had taken your letter into my hand and had read it, I was not so much pleased at what you had written, as annoyed at reckoning up the loss I had suffered in your long silence. Now that you have begun to write, pray do not leave off. You will give me greater pleasure than men can give by sending much money to misers. I have had no writer with me, neither caligraphist, nor short-hand. Of all those whom I happen to employ, some have returned to their former mode of life, and others are unfit for work from long sickness.

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.