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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 76

Letter 76

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To Sophronius the Master.

The greatness of the calamities, which have befallen our native city, did seem likely to compel me to travel in person to the court, and there to relate, both to your excellency and to all those who are most influential in affairs, the dejected state in which Cæsarea is lying. But I am kept here alike by ill-health and by the care of the Churches. In the meantime, therefore, I hasten to tell your lordship our troubles by letter, and to acquaint you that never ship, drowned in sea by furious winds, so suddenly disappeared, never city shattered by earthquake or overwhelmed by flood, so swiftly vanished out of sight, as our city, engulfed by this new constitution, has gone utterly to ruin. Our misfortunes have passed into a tale. Our institutions are a thing of the past; and all our men of high civil rank, in despair at what has happened to our magistrates, have left their homes in the city and are wandering about the country. There is a break therefore in the necessary conduct of affairs, and the city, which ere now gloried both in men of learning and in others who abound in opulent towns, has become a most unseemly spectacle. One only consolation have we left in our troubles, and that is to groan over our misfortunes to your excellency and to implore you, if you can, to reach out the helping hand to Cæsarea who falls on her knees before you. How indeed you may be able to aid us I am not myself able to explain; but I am sure that to you, with all your intelligence, it will be easy to discover the means, and not difficult, through the power given you by God, to use them when they are found.

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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/3202076.htm>.

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