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Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXXVII: to Antipater, on His Assuming the Governorship of cappadocia

Description

Basil asks the new governor to look after the house of a friend until he can come himself.

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 DO now really feel the loss which I suffer from being ill; so that, when such a man succeeds to the government of my country, my having to nurse myself compels me to be absent. For a whole month I have been undergoing the treatment of natural hot springs, in the hope of drawing some benefit from them. But I seem to be troubling myself to no purpose in my solitude, or indeed to be deservedly a laughing stock to mankind, for not heeding the proverb which says "warmth is no good to the dead." Even situated as I am, I am very anxious to put aside everything else, and betake myself to your excellency, that I may enjoy the benefit of all your high qualities, and through your goodness settle all my home affairs here in a proper manner. The house of our reverend mother Palladia is my own, for I am not only nearly related to her, but regard her as a mother on account of her character. Now, as some disturbance has been raised about her house, I ask your excellency to postpone the enquiry for a little while, and to wait till I come; not at all that justice may not be done, for I had rather die ten thousand times than ask a favour of that kind from a judge who is a friend of law and right, but that you may learn from me by word of mouth matters which it would be unbecoming for me to write. If you do so you will in no wise fall in fealty to the truth, and we shall suffer no harm. I beg you then to keep the individual in question in safe custody under the charge of the troops, and not refuse to grant me this harmless favour.

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.