Fathers of the Church

Letter CCV: to Elpidius the Bishop

Description

Basil relates that he has sent Meletius to meet with Elpidius in his stead.

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

Once again I have started the well-beloved presbyter Meletius to carry my greeting to you. I had positively determined to spare him, on account of the weakness which he has voluntarily brought upon himself, by bringing his body into subjection for the sake of the gospel of Christ. But I have judged it fitting to salute you by the ministry of such men as he is, able to supply of themselves all the shortcomings of my letter, and to become, alike to writer and recipient, a kind of living epistle. I am also carrying out the very strong wish, which he has always had, to see your excellency, ever since he has had experience of the high qualities you possess. So now I have besought him to travel to you, and through him I discharge the debt of the visit I owe you, and beseech you to pray for me and for the Church of God, that the Lord may grant me deliverance from the injuries of the enemies of the Gospel, and to pass my life in peace and quiet. Nevertheless, if you in your wisdom, think it needful that we should travel to the same spot, and meet the rest of oar fight honourable brother bishops of the sea board regions, do you yourself point out a suitable place and time where and when this meeting may take place. Write to our brethren to the end that each and all may, at the appointed time, leave the business they may have in hand, and may be able to effect something for the edification of the Churches of God, do away with the pain which we now suffer from our mutual suspicions, and establish love, without which the Lord Himself has ordained that obedience to every commandment must be of none effect.

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.