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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCXXX: to the Magistrates of Nicopolis

Description

St. Basil gives some advice to the magistrates regarding the new bishop.

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 government of the Churches is carried on by those to whom the chief offices in them have been entrusted, but their hands are strengthened by the laity. The measures which lay with the God-beloved bishops have been taken. The rest concerns you, if you deign to accord a hearty reception; to the bishop who has been given you, and to make a vigorous resistance to attacks from outside. For nothing is so likely to cause discouragement to all, whether rulers or the rest who envy your peaceful position, as agreement in affection to the appointed bishop, and firmness in maintaining your ground. They are likely to despair of every evil attempt, if they see that their counsels are accepted neither by clergy nor by laity. Bring it about then that your own sentiments as to the right may be shared by all the city, and so speak to the citizens, and to all the inhabitants of the district, in confirmation of their good sentiments, that the genuineness of your love to God may be everywhere known. I trust that it may be permitted me one day to visit and inspect a Church which is the nursing mother of true religion, honoured by me as a metropolis of orthodoxy, because it has from of old been under the government of men right honourable and the elect of God, who have held fast to " the faithful word as we have been taught." You have approved him who has just been appointed as worthy of these predecessors, and I have agreed. May you be preserved by God's grace. May He scatter the evil counsels of our enemies, and fix in your souls strength and constancy to preserve what has been rightly determined on.

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.