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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 284

Letter 284

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To the assessor in the case of monks.

Concerning the monks, your excellency has, I believe, already rules in force, so that I need ask for no special favour on their behalf.

It is enough that they share with others the enjoyment of your general beneficence; still I feel it incumbent upon me too to interest myself in their case. I therefore submit it to your more perfect judgment, that men who have long since taken leave of this life, who have mortified their own bodies, so that they have neither money to spend nor bodily service to render in the interests of the common good, should be exempted from taxation. For if their lives are consistent with their profession, they possess neither money nor bodies; for the former is spent in communicating to the needy; while their bodies are worn away in prayer and fasting.

Men living such lives you will, I know, regard with special reverence; nay you will wish to secure their intervention, since by their life in the Gospel they are able to prevail with God.

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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/3202284.htm>.

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