Fathers of the Church

Letter Ccl: to Patrophilus, Bishop of Aegae

Description

Basil discusses the possibility of peace with faction not in communion with him.

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

THERE has been some delay in my receiving your answer to my former letter; but it has reached me through the well-beloved Strategius, and I have given thanks to the Lord for your continuance in your love to me. What you have now been kind enough to write on the same subject proves your good intentions, for you think as you ought, and you counsel me to my gain. But I see that my words will be extending too far, if I am to reply to everything written to me by your excellency. I therefore say no more than this, that, if the blessing of peace goes no further than the mere name of peace, it is ridiculous to go on picking out here one and there another, and allow them alone a share in the boon, while others beyond number are excluded from it. But if agreement with mischievous men, under the appearance of peace, really does the harm an enemy might do to all who consent to it, then only consider who those men are who have been admitted to their companionship, who have conceived an unrighteous hatred against me; who but men of the faction not in communion with me. There is no need now for me to mention them by name. They have been invited by them to Sebasteia; they have assumed the charge of the Church; they have performed service at the altar: they have given of their own bread to all the people, being proclaimed bishops by the clergy there, and escorted through all the district as saints and in communion. If one must adopt the faction of these men, it is absurd to begin at the extremities, and not rather to hold intercourse with those that are their heads. If then we are to count heretic and shun no one at all, why, tell the, do you separate yourself from the communion of certain persons? But if any are to be shunned, let me be told by these people who are so logically consistent in everything, to what party those belong whom they have invited over from Galatia to join them? If such things seem greivous to you, charge the separation on those who are responsible for it. If you judge them to be of no importance, forgive me for declining to be of the leaven of the teachers of wrong doctrine. Wherefore, if you will, have no more to do with those specious arguments, but with all openness confute them that do not walk aright in the truth of the Gospel.

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.