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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCXLV: to Theophilus the Bishop

Description

A brief letter assuring Theophilus that he has not changed his views.

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

IT is some time since I received your letter, but I waited to be able to reply by some fit person; that so the bearer of my answer might supply whatever might be wanting in it. Now there has arrived our much beloved and very reverend brother Strategius, and I have judged it well to make use of his services, both as knowing my mind and able to convey news of me with due propriety and reverence. Know, therefore, my beloved and honoured friend, that I highly value my affection for you, and am not conscious so far as the disposition of lay heart goes, of having at any time failed in it, although I have had many serious causes of reasonable complaint. But I have decided to weigh the good against the bad, as in a balance, and to add my own mind where the better inclines. Now changes have been made by those who should least of all have allowed anything of the kind. Pardon me, therefore, for I have not changed my mind, if I have shifted any side, or rather I should say, I shall still be on the same side, but there are others who are continually changing it, and are now openly deserting to the foe. You yourself know what a value I put on their communion, so long as they were of the sound party. If now I refuse to follow these, and shun all who think with them, I ought fairly to be forgiven. I put truth and my own salvation before everything.

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.