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Fathers of the Church

Letter CLXII: to Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata

Description

Basil explains that constant illness has prevented him from meeting with Eusebius.

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 same cause seems to make me hesitate to write, and to prove that I must write. When I think of the visit which I owe, and reckon up the gain at meeting you, I cannot help despising letters, as being not even shadows in comparison with the reality. Then, again, when I reckon that my only consolation, deprived as I am of all that is best and most important, is to salute such a man and beg him, as I am wont, not to forget me in his prayers, I bethink me that letters are of no small value. I do not, myself, wish to give up all hope of my visit, nor to despair of seeing you. I should be ashamed not to seem to put so much confidence in your prayers as even to expect to be turned from an old man into a young one, if such a need were to arise, and not merely from a sick and emaciated one, as I am now, into one a little bit stronger. It is not easy to express in words the reason of my not being with you already, because I am not only prevented by actual illness, but have not even force of speech enough at any time to give you an account of such manifold and complex disease. I can only say that, ever since Easter up to now, fever, diarrhoea, and intestinal disturbance, drowning me like waves, do not suffer me to lift my head above them. Brother Barachus may be able to tell you the character of my symptoms, if not as their severity deserves, at least clearly enough to make you understand the reason of my delay. If you join cordially in my prayers, I have no doubt that my troubles will easily pass away.

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.