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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCCVI: to the Governor of Sebasteia

Description

Basil asks that the governor allow and assist the removal of a dead man from Sebasteia by his relatives.

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. Always ready to help, Basil addressed a great number of letters to high authorities and wealthy persons in order to recommend the poor and oppressed, to intercede for cities and towns, for relatives and friends. (Quasten)

by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A

I AM aware that your excellency is favourably receiving my letters, and I understand why. You love all that is good; you are ready in doing kindnesses. So whenever I give you the opportunity of shewing your magnanimity, you are eager for my letters, because you know that they furnish an occasion for good deeds. Now, once more, behold an occasion for your shewing all the signs of rectitude, and at the same time for the public exhibition of your virtues !Certain persons have come from Alexandria for the discharge of a necessary duty which is due from all men to the dead. They ask your excellency to give orders that it may be permitted them to have conveyed away, under official sanction, the corpse of a relative who departed this life at Sebasteia, while the troops were quartered there. They further beg that, as far as possible, aid may be given them for travelling at the public expense, so that, of your bounty, they may find some help and solace in their long journey. The tidings of this will travel as far as to great Alexandria. and will convey thither the report of your excellency's astonishing kindness. This you well understand without my mentioning it. I shall add gratitude for this one more favour to that which I feel for all which you have done me.

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.