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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 37

Letter 37

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

Without address.

I look with suspicion on the multiplication of letters. Against my will, and because I cannot resist the importunity of petitioners, I am compelled to speak. I write because I can think of no other means of relieving myself than by assenting to the supplications of those who are always asking letters from me. I am really afraid lest, since many are carrying letters off, one of the many be reckoned to be that brother. I have, I own, many friends and relatives in my own country, and I am placed in loco parentis by the position which the Lord has given me. Among them is this my foster brother, son of my nurse, and I pray that the house in which I was brought up may remain at its old assessment, so that the sojourn among us of your excellency, so beneficial to us all, may turn out no occasion of trouble to him. Now too I am supported from the same house, because I have nothing of my own, but depend upon those who love me. I do then entreat you to spare the house in which I was nursed as though you were keeping up the supply of support for me. May God in return grant you His everlasting rest. One thing however, and it is most true, I think your excellency ought to know, and that is that the greater number of the slaves were given him from the outset by us, as an equivalent for my sustenance, by the gift of my father and mother. At the same time this was not to be regarded as an absolute gift; he was only to have the use for life, so that, if anything serious happen to him on their account, he is at liberty to send them back to me, and I shall thus in another way be responsible for rates and to collectors.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202037.htm>.

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