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Fathers of the Church

Letter CCXVI: to Meletius, Bishop of Antioch


A brief letter concerning the situation with Paulinus.


Basil's main concern was the unity of the Church. The almost total lack of unity among the Christians in the East and West caused him to enlist the patronage of Athanasius in his attempt to establish better relations between Rome and the Orient. He was convinced that orthodoxy could succeed only if there were no dissensions and no waste of strength among the believers. Unfortunately, one obstacle stood out prominently in the way of the desired harmony between East and West, namely, the dispute of Paulinus and Meletius as to which of the two was the rightful bishop of Antioch. Basil's appeal to Athanasius and to Rome for the healing of this schism was rejected, mainly because the hierarchy of the West was opposed to Meletius whom he favored, and recognized Paulinus. (Quasten)

by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A

MANY other journeys have taken me from home. I have been as far as Pisidia to settle the matters concerning the brethren in Isauria in concert with the Pisidian bishops. Thence I journeyed into Pontus, for Eustathius had caused no small disturbance at Dazimon, and had caused there a considerable secession from our church. I even went as far as the home of my brother Peter, and, as this is not far from Neocaesarea, there was occasion of considerable trouble to the Neocaesareans, and of much rudeness to myself. Some men fled when no one was in pursuit. And I was supposed to be intruding uninvited, simply to get compliments from the folk there. As soon as I got home, after contracting a severe illness from the bad weather and my anxieties. I straightway received a letter from the East to tell me that Paulinus had had certain letters from the West addressed to him, in acknowledgement of a sort of higher claim; and that the Antiochene rebels were vastly elated by them, and were next preparing a form of creed. and offering to make its terms a condition of union with our Church. Besides all this it was reported to me that they had seduced to their faction that most excellent man Terentius. I wrote to him at once as forcibly as I could. to induce him to pause; and I tried to point out their disingenuousness.

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. (PNPF II/VIII, 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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