Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Fathers of the Church

Epistle LX: to Basil


Gregory was not able, owing to the serious illness of his Mother, to carry out the promise at the end of Epistle LIX (to go to Basil's aid); so he writes to explain and excuse himself.


Gregory was the first Greek author to publish a collection of his letters; he did so at the request of Nicobulus, a grandson of his sister Gorgonia. Incidentally, he also sets forth a theory of epistolography; he demands that a good letter should have four characteristics: shortness, clearness, charm and simplicity. Although he refuses to present his own epistles as models, they are carefully written, in many cases not without humor, and most of them are brief and pointed. (Quasten)

by Gregory Nazianzen in Unknown | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

The Carrying Out of your bidding depends partly on me; but partly, and I venture to think principally, on your Reverence. What depends on me is the good will and eagerness, for I never yet avoided meeting you, but have always sought opportunities, and at the present moment am even more desirous of doing so. What depends on your Holiness is that my affairs be set straight. For I am sitting by my lady Mother, who has for a long time been suffering from illness. And if I could leave her out of danger you might be well assured that I would not deprive myself of the pleasure of going to you. So give me the help of your prayers for her restoration to health, and for my journey to you.

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. (LNPF II/VII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.

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