Fathers of the Church

Letter CCXXXI: to Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium

Description

Basil recommends Elpidius to Amphilochius, and says that he will be sending his "book on the Spirit" (On the Holy spirit) shortly.

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 FIND few opportunities of writing to your reverence, and this causes me no little trouble. It is just the same as if, when it was in my power to see you and enjoy your society very often. I did so but seldom. But it is impossible for me to write to you because so few travel hence to you, otherwise there is no reason why my letter should not be a kind of journal of my life, to tell you, my dear friend, everything that happens to me day by day. It is a comfort to me to tell you my affairs, and I know that you care for nothing more than for what concerns me. Now, however, Elpidius is going home to his own master, to refute the calumnies falsely got up against him by certain enemies, and he has asked me for a letter. I therefore salute your reverence by him and commend to you a man who deserves your protection, at once for the sake of justice and for my own sake. Although I could say nothing else in his favour, yet, because he has made it of very great importance to be the bearer of my letter, reckon him among our friends, and remember me and pray for the Church.

You must know that my new God-beloved brother is in exile, for he could not endure the annoyance caused him by shameless persons. Doara is in a state of agitation, for the fat sea monster is throwing everything into confusion. My enemies, as I am informed by those who know, are plotting against me at court. But hitherto the hand of the Lord has been over me. Only pray that I be not abandoned in the end. My brother is taking things quietly Doara has received the old muleteer. She can do no more. The Lord will scatter the counsels of my enemies. The out cure for all my troubles present and to come is to set eyes on you. If you possibly can, while I am still alive, do come to see me. The book on the Spirit has been written by me, and is finished, as you know, My brethren here have prevented me from sending it to you written on paper, and have told me that they had your excellency's orders to engross it on parchment.' Not, then, to appear to do anything against your injunctions, I have delayed now, but I will send it a little later, if only I find any suitable person to convey it. May you be granted to me and to God's Church by the kindness of the Holy One, in all health and happiness, and praying for me to the Lord.

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.