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Fathers of the Church

Epistle CXLII: to Olympius


The people of Nazianzus had in some way incurred the loss of civic rights; and the Order for the forfeiture of the title of City had been signed by Olympius. This led to something like a revolt on the part of a certain number of the younger citizens: and this Olympius determined to punish by the total destruction of the place. S. Gregory was again prevented by sickness from appearing in person before the Governor: but he pleaded the cause of his native city (using its official Latin name of Diocaesarea) in several letters so successfully as to induce Olympius to pardon the outbreak.


Olympius was Prefect of Cappadocia Secunda in 382, to whom Gregory wrote many letters asking favors for people or even cities.

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

Though my desire to meet you is warm, and the need of your petitioners is great, yet my illness is invincible. Therefore I am bold to commit my intercession to writing. Have respect to our gray hair, which you have already often reverenced by good actions. Have respect also to my infirmity, to which my labours for God have in part contributed, if I may swagger a little. For this cause spare the citizens who look to me because I use some freedom of speech with you. And spare also the others who are under any care. For public affairs will suffer no damage through mercy, since you can do more by fear than others by punishment. May you, as your reward for this, obtain such a Judge as you shew yourself to your petitioners and to me their intercessor.

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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