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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 270

Letter 270

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

Without Address. Concerning Raptus.

I am distressed to find that you are by no means indignant at the sins forbidden, and that you seem incapable of understanding, how this raptus, which has been committed, is an act of unlawfulness and tyranny against society and human nature, and an outrage on free men. I am sure that if you had all been of one mind in this matter, there would have been nothing to prevent this bad custom from being long ago driven out of your country. Do thou at the present time show the zeal of a Christian man, and be moved as the wrong deserves. Wherever you find the girl, insist on taking her away, and restore her to her parents, shut out the man from the prayers, and make him excommunicate. His accomplices, according to the canon which I have already put forth, cut off, with all their household, from the prayers. The village which received the girl after the abduction, and kept her, or even fought against her restitution, shut out with all its inhabitants from the prayers; to the end that all may know that we regard the ravisher as a common foe, like a snake or any other wild beast, and so hunt him out, and help those whom he has wronged.

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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/3202270.htm>.

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