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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCLXXXVII: Without Address

Description

Basil writes forbidding the subject of the letter from communion in the Church.

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 difficult to deal with this man. I scarcely know how to treat so shifty, and, to judge from the evidence, so desperate a character. When summoned before the court, he fails to appear; and if he does attend, he is gifted with such volubility of words and oaths, that I think myself well off to be quickly rid of him. I have often known him twist round his accusations upon his accusers. In a word, there is no creature living upon earth so subtile and versatile in villainy. A slight acquaintance with him suffices to prove this. Why then do you appeal to me? Why not at once bring yourselves to submit to his ill-treatment, as to a visitation of God's anger?

At the same time you must not be contaminated by contact with wickedness.

I enjoin therefore that he and all his household be forbidden the services of the Church, and all other communion with her ministers. Being thus made an example of, he may haply be brought to a sense of his enormities.

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.