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Catholic Culture Solidarity

Fathers of the Church

Epistle XLIV


Gregory lavishly praises Eusebius, mentioning the great effect that his presence will have on Caesarea.


Eusebius, having in response to Gregory's appeal betaken himself to Caesarea, the Elder Gregory, though in very feeble health, resolved to attend the Synod in person, that Basil's Election might be secured by their joint exertions. Gregory the Younger sent the following letter by his father to explain to Eusebius the reason why he had not come too.

by Gregory Nazianzen in 379 | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

Whence shall I begin your praises, and by what name shall I give you your right appellation? The pillar and ground of the church, or a light in the world, using the very words of the apostle, or a crown of glory to the remaining portion of christendom;(a) or a gift of God, or the bulwark of your country, or the standard of faith, or the ambassador of truth, or all these at once, and more than all? And these excessive praises I will prove by what we shall see. What rain ever came so seasonably to a thirsty land, what water flowing out of the rock to those in the wilderness? What such Bread of Angels did ever man eat? When did Jesus the common Lord ever so seasonably present Himself to His drowning disciples, and tame the sea, and save the perishing, as you have shewn yourself to us in our weariness and distress, and in our immediate danger as it were of shipwreck? I need not speak of other points, with what courage and joy you filled the souls of the orthodox, and how many you delivered from despair.

But our mother church, Caesarea I mean, is now really putting off the garments of her widowhood at the sight of you, and putting on again her robe of cheerfulness, and will be yet more resplendent when she receives a pastor worthy of herself and of her former Bishops and of your hands. For you yourself see what is the state of our affairs, and what a miracle your zeal has wrought, and your toil, and your godly plainness of speech. Age is renewed, disease is conquered,(a) they leap who were in their beds, and the weak are girded with power. By all this I guess that our matters too will turn out as we desire. You have my father, moreover, representing both himself and me, to put a glorious close to his whole life and to his venerable age by this present struggle on behalf of the Church. And I shall receive him back, I am well assured, strengthened by your prayers, and with youth renewed, for one must confidently commit all in faith to them. But if he should end his life in this anxiety, it would be no calamity to attain to such an end in such a cause. Pardon me, I beg of you, if I give way a little to the tongues of evil men, and delay a little to come and embrace you, and to complete in person what I now pass over of the praises due 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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