Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Fathers of the Church

Epistle XII: to Nicobulus


Gregory reminds Nicobulus of his wife's virtues.


This Nicobulus was a man of great wealth and ability, but much disinclined for public life. Gregory was constantly writing to one and another high official to get him excused from appointments which had been thrust upon him.

by Gregory Nazianzen in 365 | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

You joke me about Alypiana as being little and unworthy of your size, you tall and immense and monstrous fellow both in form and strength. For now I understand that soul is a matter of measure, and virtue of Weight, and that rocks are more valuable than pearls, and crows more respectable than nightingales. Well, well! rejoice in your bigness and your cubits, and be in no respect inferior to the famed sons of Aloeus.(a) You ride a horse, and shake a spear, and concern yourself with wild beasts. But she has no such work; and no great strength is needed to carry a comb,(b) or to handle a distaff, or to sit by a loom, "For such is the glory of woman."(g) And if you add this, that she has become fixed to the ground on account of prayer, and by the great movement of her mind has constant communion with God, what is there here to boast of in your bigness or the stature of your body? Take heed to seasonable silence: listen to her voice: mark her unadornment, her womanly virility, her usefulness at home, her love of her husband. Then you will say with the Laconian, that verily soul is not a subject for measure, and the outer must look to the inner man. If you look at the things in this way you will leave off joking and deriding her as little, and you will congratulate yourself on your marriage.

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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