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Fathers of the Church

Epistle CXLIV: to Olympius


Gregory points out that Verianus' daughter seems to be torn between respect for her parents and affection for her husband. Thus he does not believe the divorce should take place, but he advises Olypmius to act according to the law.


Verianus, a citizen of Nazianzus, had been offended by his son-in-law, and on this account wished his daughter to sue for a divorce. Olympius (Prefect of Cappadocia) referred the matter to the Episcopal arbitration of St. Gregory, who refused to countenance the proceeding, and wrote two letters, the first to the Prefect (included here), the second to Verianus himself.

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

Haste is not always praiseworthy. For this reason I have deferred my answer until now about the daughter of the most honorable Verianus, both to allow for time setting matters right, and also because I conjecture that Your Goodness does not approve of the divorce, inasmuch as you entrusted the enquiry to me, whom you knew to be neither hasty nor uncircumspect in such matters. Therefore I have refrained myself till now, and, I venture to think, not without reason. But since we have come nearly to the end of the allotted time, and it is necessary that you should be informed of the result of the examination I will inform you. The young lady seems to me to be of two minds, divided between reverence for her parents and affection for her husband. Her words are on their side, but her mind, I rather think, is with her husband, as is shewn by her tears. You will do what commends itself to your justice, and to God who directs you in all things. I should most willingly have given my opinion to my son Verianus that he should pass over much of what is in question, with a view not to confirm the divorce, which is entirely contrary to our law,(a) though the Roman law may determine otherwise. For it is necessary that justice be observed—which I pray you may ever both say and do.

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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