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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 288

Letter 288

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

Without address. Excommunicatory.

When public punishment fails to bring a man to his senses, or exclusion from the prayers of the Church to drive him to repentance, it only remains to treat him in accordance with our Lord's directions— as it is written, If your brother shall trespass against you....tell him his fault between you and him;...if he will not hear you, take with you another; and if he shall then neglect to hear, tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear even the Church, let him be unto you henceforth as an heathen man, and as a publican. Matthew 18:15-17 Now all this we have done in the case of this fellow. First, he was accused of his fault; then he was convicted in the presence of one or two witnesses; thirdly, in the presence of the Church. Thus we have made our solemn protest, and he has not listened to it. Henceforth let him be excommunicated.

Further, let proclamation be made throughout the district, that he be excluded from participation in any of the ordinary relations of life; so that by our withholding ourselves from all intercourse with him he may become altogether food for the devil.

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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/3202288.htm>.

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