ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA
To the deaconesses, the daughters of Count Terentius.
On coming to Samosata I expected to have the pleasure of meeting your excellencies, and when I was disappointed I could not easily bear it. When, I said, will it be possible for me to be in your neighbourhood again? When will it be agreeable to you to come into mine? All this, however, must be left to the Lord's will. As to the present, when I found that my son Sophronius was setting out to you, I gladly delivered him this letter, to convey you my salutation, and to tell you how, by God's grace, I do not cease to remember you, and to thank the Lord on your behalf, in that you are goodly scions of a goodly stock, fruitful in good works, and verily like lilies among thorns. Surrounded as you are by the terrible perversity of them that are corrupting the word of truth, you do not give in to their wiles; you have not abandoned the apostolic proclamation of faith, you have not gone over to the successful novelty of the day. Is not this cause of deep thankfulness to God? Shall not this rightly bring you great renown? You have professed your faith in Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Do not abandon this deposit; the Father— origin of all; the Son— Only begotten, begotten of Him, very God, Perfect of Perfect, living image, showing the whole Father in Himself; the Holy Ghost, having His subsistence of God, the fount of holiness, power that gives life, grace that makes perfect, through Whom man is adopted, and the mortal made immortal, conjoined with Father and Son in all things in glory and eternity, in power and kingdom, in sovereignty and godhead; as is testified by the tradition of the baptism of salvation.
But all who maintain that either Son or Spirit is a creature, or absolutely reduce the Spirit to ministerial and servile rank, are far removed from the truth. Flee their communion. Turn away from their teaching. They are destructive to souls. If ever the Lord grant us to meet, I will discourse to you further concerning the faith, to the end that you may perceive at once the power of the truth and the rottenness of heresy by Scriptural proof.
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/3202105.htm>.
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