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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCCXLII: Basil to Libanius

Description

Among the letters of recommendation that Basil wrote are his communications with Libanius of Antioch. Basil's missives to Libanius introduce young Cappadocian students to the distinguished Greek sophist and rhetorician; Libanius' letters to Basil are notes of thanks. The entire correspondence is interesting for the history of the personalities involved as well as for the fact that such an exchange between a priest and a pronounced pagan was at all possible. (Quasten)

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

ALL who are attached to the rose, as might be expected in the case of lovers of the beautiful, are not displeased even at the thorns from out of which the flower blows. I have even heard it said about roses by some one, perhaps in jest, or, it may be, even in earnest, that nature has furnished the bloom with those delicate thorns, like stings of love to lovers, to excite those who pluck them to intenser longing by these ingeniously adapted pricks. But what do I mean by this introduction of the rose into my letter? You do not need telling, when you remember your own letter. It had indeed the bloom of the rose, and, by its fair speech, opened out all spring to me; but it was bethorned with certain fault findings and charges against me. But even the thorn of your words is delightful to me, for it enkindles in me a greater longing for your friendship.

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.