Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.67 Letters XVII - XVIII

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.67 Letters XVII - XVIII

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 25.01.67 Letters XVII - XVIII

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Letter XVII. To Eustathia, Ambrosia, and Basilissahyperlink .

To the most discreet and devout Sisters, Eustathia and Ambrosia, and to the most discreet and noble Daughter, Basilissa, Gregory sends greeting in the Lord.

The meeting with the good and the beloved, and the memorials of the immense love of the Lord for us men, which are shown in your localities, have been the source to me of the most intense joy and gladness. Doubly indeed have these shone upon divinely festal days; both in beholding the saving tokenshyperlink of the God who gave us life, and in meeting with souls in whom the tokens of the Lord's grace are to be discerned spiritually in such clearness, that one can believe that Bethlehem and Golgotha, and Olivet, and the scene of the Resurrection are really in the God-containing heart. For when through a good conscience Christ has been formed in any, when any has by dint of godly fear nailed down the promptings of the flesh and become crucified to Christ, when any has rolled away from himself the heavy stone of this world's illusions, and coming forth from the grave of the body has begun to walk as it were in a newness of life, abandoning this low-lying valley of human life, and mounting with a soaring desire to that heavenly countryhyperlink with all its elevated thoughts, where Christ is, no longer feeling the body's burden, but lifting it by chastity, so that the flesh with cloud-like lightness accompanies the ascending soul-such an one, in my opinion, is to be counted in the number of those famous ones in whom the memorials of the Lord's love for us men are to be seen. When, then, I not only saw with the sense of sight those Sacred Places, but I saw the tokens of places like them, plain in yourselves as well, I was filled with joy so great that the description of its blessing is beyond the power of utterance. But because it is a difficult, not to say an impossible thing for a human being to enjoy unmixed with evil any blessing, therefore something of bitterness was mingled with the sweets I tasted: and by this, after the enjoyment of those blessings, I was saddened in my journey back to my native land, estimating now the truth of the Lord's words, that "the whole world lieth in wickednesshyperlink ," so that no single part of the inhabited earth is without its share of degeneracy. For if the spot itself that has received the footprints of the very Life is not clear of the wicked thorns, what are we to think of other places where communion with the Blessing has been inculcated by hearing and preaching alonehyperlink . With what view I say this, need not be explained more fully in words; facts themselves proclaim more loudly than any speech, however intelligible, the melancholy truth.

The Lawgiver of our life has enjoined upon us one single hatred. I mean, that of the Serpent: for no other purpose has He bidden us exercise this faculty of hatred, but as a resource against wickedness. "I will put enmity," He says, "between thee and him." Since wickedness is a complicated and multifarious thing, the Word allegorizes it by the Serpent, the dense array of whose scales is symbolic of this multiformity of evil. And we by working the will of our Adversary make an alliance with this serpent, and so turn this hatred against one anotherhyperlink , and perhaps not against ourselves alone, but against Him Who gave the commandment; for He says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy," commanding us to hold the foe to our humanity as our only enemy, and declaring that all who share that humanity are the neighbours of each one of us. But this gross-hearted age has disunited us from our neighbour, and has made us welcome the serpent, and revel in his spotted scaleshyperlink . I affirm, then, that it is a lawful thing to hate God's enemies, and that this kind of hatred is pleasing to our Lord: and by God's enemies I mean those who deny the glory of our Lord, be they Jews, or downright idolaters, or those who through Arius' teaching idolize the creature, and so adopt the error of the Jews. Now when the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are with orthodox devotion being glorified and adored by those who believe that in a distinct and unconfused Trinity there is One Substance, Glory, Kingship, Power, and Universal Rule, in such a case as this what good excuse for fighting can there be? At the time, certainly, when the heretical views prevailed, to try issues with the authorities, by whom the adversaries' cause was seen to be strengthened, was well; there was fear then lest our saving Doctrine should be over-ruled by human rulers. But now, when over the whole world from one end of heaven to the other the orthodox Faith is being preached, the man who fights with them who preach it, fights not with them, but with Him Who is thus preached. What other aim, indeed, ought that man's to be, who has the zeal for God, than in every possible way to announce the glory of God? As long, then, as the Only-begotten is adored with all the heart and soul and mind, believed to be in everything that which the Father is, and in like manner the Holy Ghost is glorified with an equal amount of adoration, what plausible excuse for fighting is left these over-refined disputants, who are rending the seamless robe, and parting the Lord's name between Paul and Cephas, and undisguisedly abhorring contact with those who worship Christ, all but exclaiming in so many words, "Away from me, I am holy"?

Granting that the knowledge which they believe themselves to have acquired is somewhat greater than that of others: yet can they possess more than the belief that the Son of the Very God is Very God, seeing that in that article of the Very God every idea that is orthodox, every idea that is our salvation, is included? It includes the idea of His Goodness, His Justice, His Omnipotence: that He admits of no variableness nor alteration, but is always the same; incapable of changing to worse or changing to better, because the first is not His nature, the second He does not admit of; for what can be higher than the Highest, what can be better than the Best? In fact, He is thus associated with all perfection, and, as to every form of alteration, is unalterable; He did not on occasions display this attribute, but was always so, both before the Dispensation that made Him man, and during it, and after it; and in all His activities in our behalf He never lowered any part of that changeless and unvarying character to that which was out of keeping with it. What is essentially imperishable and changeless is always such; it does not follow the variation of a lower order of things, when it comes by dispensation to be there; just as the sun, for example, when he plunges his beam into the gloom, does not dim the brightness of that beam; but instead, the dark is changed by the beam into light; thus also the True Light, shining in our gloom, was not itself overshadowed with that shade, but enlightened it by means of itself. Well, seeing that our humanity was in darkness, as it is written, 'They know not, neither will they understand, they walk on in darknesshyperlink ," the Illuminator of this darkened world darted the beam of His Divinity through the whole compound of our nature, through soul, I say, and body too, and so appropriated humanity entire by means of His own light, and took it up and made it just that thing which He is Himself. And as this Divinity was not made perishable, though it inhabited a perishable body, so neither did it alter in the direction of any change, though it healed the changeful in our soul: in medicine, too, the physician of the body, when he takes hold of his patient, so far from himself contracting the disease, thereby perfects the cure of the suffering part. Let no one, either, putting a wrong interpretation on the words of the Gospel, suppose that our human nature in Christ was transformed to something more divine by any gradations and advance: for the increasing in stature and in wisdom and in favour, is recorded in Holy Writ only to prove that Christ really was present in the human compound, and so to leave no room for their surmise, who propound that a phantom, or form in human outline, and not a real Divine Manifestation, was there. It is for this reason that Holy Writ records unabashed with regard to Him all the accidents of our nature, even eating, drinking, sleeping, weariness, nurture, increase in bodily stature, growing up-everything that marks humanity, except the tendency to sin. Sin, indeed, is a miscarriage, not a quality of human nature: just as disease and deformity are not congenital to it in the first instance, but are its unnatural accretions, so activity in the direction of sin is to be thought of as a mere mutilation of the goodness innate in us; it is not found to be itself a real thing, but we see it only in the absence of that goodness. Therefore He Who transformed the elements of our nature into His divine abilities, rendered it secure from mutilation and disease, because He admitted not in Himself the deformity which sin works in the will. "He did no sin," it says, "neither was guile found in his mouthhyperlink ." And this in Him is not to be regarded in connection with any interval of time: for at once the man in Mary (where Wisdom built her house), though naturally part of our sensuous compound, along with the coming upon her of the Holy Ghost, and her overshadowing with the power of the Highest, became that which that overshadowing power in essence was: for, without controversy, it is the Less that is blest by the Greater. Seeing, then, that the power of the Godhead is an immense and immeasurable thing, while man is a weak atom, at the moment when the Holy Ghost came upon the Virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her, the tabernacle formed by such an impulse was not clothed with anything of human corruption; but, just as it was first constituted, so it remained, even though it was man, Spirit nevertheless, and Grace, and Power; and the special attributes of our humanity derived lustre from this abundance of Divine Powerhyperlink .

There are indeed two limits of human life: the one we start from, and the one we end in: and so it was necessary that the Physician of our being should enfold us at both these extremities, and grasp not only the end, but the beginning too, in order to secure in both the raising of the sufferer. That, then, which we find to have happened on the side of the finish we conclude also as to the beginning. As at the end He caused by virtue of the Incarnation that, though the body was disunited from the soul, yet the indivisible Godhead which had been blended once for all with the subject (who possessed them) was not stripped from that body any more than it was from that soul, but while it was in Paradise along with the soul, and paved an entrance there in the person of the Thief for all humanity, it remained by means of the body in the heart of the earth, and therein destroyed him that had the power of Death (wherefore His body too is called "the Lordhyperlink " on account of that inherent Godhead)-so also, at the beginning, we conclude that the power of the Highest, coalescing with our entire nature by that coming upon (the Virgin) of the Holy Ghost, both resides in our soul, so far as reason sees it possible that it should reside there, and is blended with our body, so that our salvation throughout every element may be perfect, that heavenly passionlessness which is peculiar to the Deity being nevertheless preserved both in the beginning and in the end of this life as Manhyperlink . Thus the beginning was not as our beginning, nor the end as our end. Both in the one and in the other He evinced His Divine independence; the beginning had no stain of pleasure upon it, the end was not the end in dissolution.

Now if we loudly preach all this, and testify to all this, namely that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, always changeless, always imperishable, though He comes in the changeable and the perishable; never stained Himself, but making clean that which is stained; what is the crime that we commit, and wherefore are we hated? And what means this opposing arrayhyperlink of new Altars? Do we announce another Jesus? Do we hint at another? Do we produce other scriptures? Have any of ourselves dared to say "Mother of Man" of the Holy Virgin, the Mother of Godhyperlink : which is what we hear that some of them say without restraint? Do we romance about three Resurrectionshyperlink ? Do we promise the gluttony of the Millennium? Do we declare that the Jewish animal-sacrifices shall be restored? Do we lower men's hopes again to the Jerusalem below, Imagining its rebuilding with stones of a more brilliant material? What charge like these can be brought against us, that our company should be reckoned a thing to be avoided, and that in some places another altar should be erected in opposition to us, as if we should defile their sanctuaries? My heart was in a state of burning indignation about this: and now that I have set foot in the Cityhyperlink again, I am eager to unburden my soul of its bitterness, by appealing, in a letter, to your love. Do ye, whithersoever the Holy Spirit shall lead you, there remain; walk with God before you; confer not with flesh and blood; lend no occasion to any of them for glorying, that they may not glory in you, enlarging their ambition by anything in your lives. Remember the Holy Fathers, into whose hands ye were commended by your Father now in blisshyperlink , and to whom we by God's grace were deemed worthy to succeed and remove not the boundaries which our Fathers have laid down, nor put aside in any way the plainness of our simpler proclamation in favour of their subtler school. Walk by the primitive rule of the Faith: and the God of peace shall be with you, and ye shall be strong in mind and body. May God keep you uncorrupted, is our prayer.


1 This Letter was published, Paris 1606, by R. Stephens (not the great lexicographer), who also translated On Pilgrimages into French for Du Moulin (see p. 382): and this edition was reprinted a year after at Hanover, with notes by Isaac Casaubon, "viro docto, sed quod dolendum, in castris Calvinianis militanti" (Gretser). Heyns places it in 382, and Rupp also.

2 swthria sumbola. Casaubon remarks "hoc est tou swthroj, Salvatoris, non autem swthriaj poihtika." This is itself doubtful; and he also makes the astounding statement that both Jerome, Augustine, and the whole primitive Church felt that visits to the Sacred Places contributed nothing to the alteration of character. But see especially Jerome, De Peregrinat., and Epistle to Marcella. Fronto Ducaeus adds, "At, velis nolis, swthria sunt illa loca: turn quia aspectu sui corda ad poenitentiam et salutares lacrymas non taro commovent, ut patet de Mariâ Aegyptiacâ; tum quia ..."

3 epouranion politeian. Even Casaubon (against Du Moulin here) allows this to mean the ascetic or monastic Life; "sublimius propositum." Cf. Macarius. Hom. v. p. 85. enaretoj politeia: Isidore of Pelusium, lib. 1, c. xiv, pneumatikh politeia.

4 1 S. John v. 19.

5 yilhj: this word expresses the absence of something, without implying any contempt: cf. yiloj anqrwpoj, yiloj logoj (prose).

6 kat allhlwn.

7 toij twn folidwn stigmasin. For stigma with this meaning and connexion, see Hesiod, Scutum. 166

8 Ps. lxxxii. 5.

9 1 Pet. ii. 22.

10 Compare Gregory against Apollinaris (Ad Theophil. iii. 265): "The first-fruits of humanity assumed by omnipotent Deity were, like a drop of vinegar merged in a boundless ocean, found still in that Deity, but not in their own distinctive properties: otherwise we should be obliged to think of a duality of Sons." In Orat. Cat. c. 10, he says that the Divine nature is to be conceived as having been so united with the human, as flame is with its fuel, the former extending beyond the latter, as our souls also overstep the limits of our bodies. The first of these passages appeared to Hooker (V. liii. 2) to be "so plain and direct for Eutyches," that he doubted whether the words were Gregory's. But at the Council of Ephesus, S. Cyril (of Alexandria), in his contest with the Nestorians, had showed that these expressions were capable of a Catholic interpretation, and pardonable in discussing the difficult and mysterious question of the union of the Two Natures.

11 S Matt. xxviii. 6. "Come see the place where the Lord lay." Cf. S. John xx. 2, John xx. 13.

12 "Here is the trite vicariousness of the Atonement, which consisted not in the substitution of His punishment for ours, but in His offering the sacrifice which man had neither the purity nor the power to offer. From out of the very heart or centre of human nature ...there is raised the sinless sacrifice of perfect humanity by the God Man. ...It is a representative sacrifice, for it consists of no unheard-of experience, of no merely symbolic ceremony, but of just those universal incidents of suffering, which, though he must have felt them with a bitterness unknown to us, are intensely human." Lux Mundi, p. 218.

13 antecagwgh.

14 As early as 250, Dionysius of Alexandria, in his letter to Paul of Samosata, frequently speaks of h qeotokoj Maria. Later, in the Council of Ephesus (430), it was decreed that "the immaculate and ever-Virgin mother of our Lord should be called properly (kuriwj) and really qeotokoj," against the Nestorian title xristotokoj. Cf. Theodoret. Anath. I. tom. iv. p. 709, "We call Mary not Mother of Man, but Mother of God;" and Greg. Naz. Or. li. p. 738. "If any one call not Mary Mother of God he is outside `divinity.


15 mh treij anastaseij muqopoioumen; For the first Resurrection (of the Soul in Baptism) and the second (of the Body), see Rev. xx. 5, with Bishop Wordsworth's note.

16 i.e. Caersarea in Cappadocia.

17 Basil, probably: who after Cyril's exile had been called in to heal the heresy of Apollinaris, which was spreading in the convents at Jerusalem. The factious purism, however, which Gregory deplores here, and which led to rival altars, seems to have evinced itself amongst the orthodox themselves. "quo majorem apud omnes opinionem de suâ praestantiâ belli isti cathari excitarent" (Casaubon). Cyril, it is true, had returned this year, 382; and spent the last years of his life in his see; but with more than twenty years interval of Arian rule (Herennius, Heraclius, and Hilarius, according to Sozomen) the communities of the Catholics must have suffered from want of a constant control: and unity was always difficult to maintain in a city frequented by all the ecclesiastics of the world. Gregory must have "succeeded" to this charge in his visit to Jerusalem after the `Council of Antioch in 379, to which he refers in his letter On Pilgrimages: but it is possible that he had paid even an earlier visit: see Letter XIV. p. 539, note 5.

Letter XVIII. To Flavianhyperlink .

Things with us, O man of God, are not in a good way. The development of the bad feeling existing amongst certain persons who have conceived a most groundless and unaccountable hatred of us is no longer a matter of mere conjecture; it is now evinced with an earnestness and openness worthy only of some holy work. You meanwhile, who have hitherto been beyond the reach of such annoyance, are too remiss in stifling the devouring conflagration on your neighbour's land; yet those who are well-advised for their own interests really do take pains to check a fire close to them, securing themselves, by this help given to a neighbour, against ever needing help in like circumstances. Well, you will ask, what do I complain of? Piety has vanished from the world; Truth has fled from our midst; as for Peace, we used to have the name at all events going the round upon men's lips; but now not only does she herself cease to exist, but we do not even retain the word that expresses her. But that you may know more exactly the things that move our indignation, I will briefly detail to you the whole tragic story.

Certain persons had informed me that the Right Reverend Helladius had unfriendly feelings towards me, and that he enlarged in conversation to every one upon the troubles that I had brought upon him. I did not at first believe what they said, judging only from myself, and the actual truth of the matter. But when every one kept bringing to us a tale of the same strain, and facts besides corroborated their report, I thought it my duty not to continue to overlook this ill-feeling, while it was still without root and development. I therefore wrote by letter to your piety, and to many others who could help me in my intention, and stimulated your zeal in this matter. At last, after I had concluded the services at Sebasteia inhyperlink commemoration of Peterhyperlink of most blessed memory, and of the holy martyrs, who had lived in his times, and whom the people were accustomed to commemorate with him, I was returning to my own See, when some one told me that Helladius himself was in the neighbouring mountain district, holding martyrs' memorial services. At first I held on my journey, judging it more proper that our meeting should take place in the metropolis itself. But when one of his relations took the trouble to meet me, and to assure me that he was sick, I left my carriage at the spot where this news arrested me; I performed on horseback the intervening journey over a road that was like a precipice, and well-nigh impassable with its rocky ascents. Fifteen milestones measured the distance we had to traverse. Painfully travelling, now on foot, now mounted, in the early morning, and even employing some part of the night, I arrived between twelve and one o'clock at Andumocina; for that was the name of the place where, with two other bishops, he was holding his conference. From a shoulder of the hill overhanging this village, we looked down, while still at a distance, upon this outdoor assemblage of the Church. Slowly, and on foot, and leading the horses, I and my company passed over the intervening ground, and we arrived at the chapelhyperlink just as he had retired to his residence.

Without any delay a messenger was despatched to inform him of our being there; and a very short while after, the deacon in attendance on him met us, and we requested him to tell Helladius at once, so that we might spend as much time as possible with him, and so have an opportunity of leaving nothing in the misunderstanding between us unhealed. As for myself, I then remained sitting, still in the open air, and waited for the invitation indoors; and at a most inopportune time I became, as I sat there, a gazing stock to all the visitors at the conference. The time was long; drowsiness came on, and languor, intensified by the fatigue of the journey and the excessive heat of the day; and all these things, with people staring at me, and pointing me out to others, were so very distressing that in me the words of the prophet were realized: "My spirit within me was desolatehyperlink ." I was kept in this state till noon, and heartily did I repent of this visit, and that I had brought upon myself this piece of discourtesy; and my own reflection vexed me worse than this injury done me by my enemieshyperlink , warring as it did against itself, and changing into a regret that I had made the venture. At last the approach to the Altars was thrown open, and we were admitted to the sanctuary; the crowd, however, were excluded, though my deacon entered along with me, supporting with his arm my exhausted frame. I addressed his Lordship, and stood for a moment, expecting from him an invitation to be seated; but when nothing of the kind was heard from him, I turned towards one of the distant seats, and rested myself upon it, still expecting that he would utter something that was friendly, or at all events kind; or at least give one nod of recognition.

Any hopes I had were doomed to complete disappointment. There ensued a silence dead as night, and looks as downcast as in tragedy, and daze, and dumbfoundedness, and perfect dumbness. A long interval of time it was, dragged out as if it were in the blackness of night. So struck down was I by this reception, in which he did not deign to accord me the merest utterance even of those common salutations by which you discharge the courtesies of a chance meetinghyperlink ,-"welcome," for instance, or "where do you come from?" or "to what am I indebted for this pleasure?" or "on what important business are you here?"-that I was inclined to make this spell of silence into a picture of the life led in the underworld. Nay, I condemn the similitude as inadequate. For in that underworld the equality of conditions is complete, and none of the things that cause the tragedies of life on earth disturb existence. Their glory, as the Prophet says, does not follow men down there; each individual soul, abandoning the things so eagerly clung to by the majority here, his petulance, and pride, and conceit, enters that lower world in simple unencumbered nakedness; so that none of the miseries of this life are to be found among them. Stillhyperlink , notwithstanding this reservation, my condition then did appear to me like an underworld, a murky dungeon, a gloomy torture-chamber; the more so, when I reflected what treasures of social courtesies we have inherited from our fathers, and what recorded deeds of it we shall leave to our descendants. Why, indeed, should I speak at all of that affectionate disposition of our fathers towards each other? No wonder that, being all naturally equalhyperlink , they wished for no advantage over one another, but thought to exceed each other only in humility. But my mind was penetrated most of all with this thought; that the Lord of all creation, the Only-begotten Son, Who was in the bosom of the Father, Who was in the beginning, Who was in the form of God, Who upholds all things by the word of His power, humbled Himself not only in this respect, that in the flesh He sojourned amongst men, but also that He welcomed even Judas His own betrayer, when he drew near to kiss Him, on His blessed lips; and that when He had entered into the house of Simon the leper He, as loving all men, upbraided his host, that He had not been kissed by him: whereas I was not reckoned by him as equal even to that leper; and yet what was I, and what was he? I cannot discover any difference between us. If one looks at it from the mundane point of view, where was the height from which he had descended, where was the dust in which I lay? If, indeed, one must regard things of this fleshly life, thus much perhaps it will hurt no one's feelings to assert that, looking at our lineage, whether as noble or as free, our position was about on a par; though, if one looked in either for the true freedom and nobility, i. e. that of the soul, each of us will be found equally a bondsman of Sin; each equally needs One Who will take away his sins; it was Another Who ransomed us both from Death and Sin with His own blood, Who redeemed us, and yet showed no contempt of those whom He has redeemed, calling them though He does from deadness to life, and healing every infirmity of their souls and bodies.

Seeing, then, that the amount of this conceit and overweening pride was so great, that even the height of heaven was almost too narrow limits for it (and yet I could see no cause or occasion whatever for this diseased state of mind, such as might make it excusable in the case of some who in certain circumstances contract it; when, for instance, rank or education, or pre-eminence in dignities of office may have happened to inflate the vainer minds), I had no means whereby to advise myself to keep quiet: for my heart within me was swelling with indignation at the absurdity of the whole proceeding, and was rejecting all the reasons for enduring it. Then, if ever, did I feel admiration for that divine Apostle who so vividly depicts the civil war that rages within us, declaring that there is a certain "law of sin in the members, warring against the law of the mind," and often making the mind a captive, and a slave as well, to itself. This was the very array, in opposition, of two contending feelings that I saw within myself: the one, of anger at the insult caused by pride, the other prompting to appease the rising storm. When by God's grace, the worse inclination had failed to get the mastery, I at last said to him, "But is it, then, that some one of the things required for your personal comfort is being hindered by our presence, and is it time that we withdrew?" On his declaring that he had no bodily needs, I spoke to him some words calculated to heal, so far as in me lay, his ill-feeling. When he had, in a very few words, declared that the anger he felt towards me was owing to many injuries done him, I for my part answered him thus: "Lies possess an immense power amongst mankind to deceive: but in the Divine Judgment there will be no place for the misunderstandings thus arising. In my relations towards yourself, my conscience is bold enough to prompt me to hope that I may obtain forgiveness for all my other sins, but that, if I have acted in any way to harm you, this may remain for ever unforgiven." He was indignant at this speech, and did not suffer the proofs of what I had said to be added.

It was now past six o'clock, and the bath had been well prepared, and the banquet was being spread, and the day was the sabbathhyperlink , and a martyr's commemoration. Again observe how this disciple of the Gospel imitates the Lord of the Gospel: He, when eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, answered to those who found fault with Him that He did it for love of mankind: this disciple considers it a sin and a pollution to have us at his board, even after all that fatigue which we underwent on the journey, after all that excessive heat out of doors, in which we were baked while sitting at his gates; after all that gloomy sullenness with which he treated us to the bitter end, when we had come into his presence. He sends us off to toil painfully, with a frame now thoroughly exhausted with the over-fatigue, over the same distance, the same route: so that we scarcely reached our travelling company at sunset, after we had suffered many mishaps on the way. For a storm-cloud, gathered into a mass in the clear air by an eddy of wind, drenched us to the skin with its floods of rain; for owing to the excessive sultriness, we had made no preparation against any shower. However, by God's grace we escaped, though in the plight of shipwrecked sailors from the waves: and right glad were we to reach our company.

Having joined our forces we rested there that night, and at last arrived alive in our own district; having reaped in addition this result of our meeting him, that the memory of all that had happened before was revived by this last insult offered to us; and, you see, we are positively compelled to take measures, for the future, on our own behalf, or rather on his behalf; for it was because his designs were not checked on former occasions that he has proceeded to this unmeasured display of vanity. Something, therefore, I think, must be done on our part, in order that he may improve upon himself, and may be taught that he is human, and has no authority to insult and to disgrace those who possess the same beliefs and the same rank as himself. For just consider; suppose we granted for a moment, for the sake of argument, that it is true that I have done something that has annoyed him, what trialhyperlink was instituted against us, to judge either of the fact or the hearsay? What proofs were given of this supposed injury? What Canons were cited against us? What legitimate episcopal decision confirmed any verdict passed upon us? And supposing any of these processes had taken place, and that in the proper way, my standinghyperlink in the Church might certainly have been at stake, but what Canons could have sanctioned insults offered to a free-born person, and disgrace inflicted on one of equal rank with himself? "Judge righteous judgment," you who look to God's law in this matter; say wherein you deem this disgrace put upon us to be excusable. If our dignity is to be estimated on the ground of priestly jurisdiction, the privilege of each recorded by the Councilhyperlink is one and the same; or rather the oversight of Catholic correctionhyperlink , from the fact that we possess an equal share of it, is so. But if some are inclined to regard each of us by himself, divested of any priestly dignity, in what respect has one any advantage over the other; in education for instance, or in birth connecting with the noblest and most illustrious lineage, or in theology? These things will be found either equal, or at all events not inferior, in me. "But what about revenue?" he will say. I would rather not be obliged to speak of this in his case; thus much only it will suffice to say, that our own was so much at the beginning, and is so much now; and to leave it to others to enquire into the causes of this increase of our revenue , nursed as it is up till now, and growing almost daily by means of noble undertakings. What licence, then, has he to put an insult upon us, seeing that he has neither superiority of birth to show, nor a rank exalted above all others, nor a commanding power of speech, nor any previous kindness done to me? While, even if he had all this to show, the fault of having slighted those of gentle birth would still be inexcusable. But he has not got it; and therefore I deem it right to see that this malady of puffed-up pride is not left without a cure; and it will be its cure to put it down to its proper level, and reduce its inflated dimensions, by letting off a little of the conceit with which he is bursting. The manner of effecting this we leave to God.


1 The date of this letter is probably as late as 393. Flavian's authority at Antioch was now undisputed, by his reconciliation, after the deaths of Paulinus and Evagrius, with the Bishops of Alexandria and Rome, and, through them, with all his people. Gregory writes to him not only as his dear friend, but one who had known how to appease wrath, and to check opposition from the Emperor downward. He died in 404. The litigiousness of Helladins is described by Greg. Naz., Letter ccxv. He it was who a few years later, against Ambrose's authority, and for mere private interest, consecrated the physician Gerontius (Sozomen, viii. 6).

2 Sebasteia (Sivâs) was in Pontus on the tipper Halys: and the "mountain district" between this and Helladius' "metropolis" (Caesarea, ad Argaeum) must have been some offshoots of the Anti-Taurus.

3 His brother, who had urged him to write the books against Eunomius, and to whom he sent On the Making of Man.

4 marturiw, i. e. dedicated in this case to Peter; but the word is used even of a chapel dedicated to Christ.

5 hkhdiasen. Ps. cxliii. 4 (LXX.).

6 xalepwteron thj para twn exqrwn moi genomenhj ubrewj. The Latin does not express this, "quam si ab hostibus profecta fuisset."

7 twn kathmaceumenwn (so Paris Editt. and Migne, but it must be kaqhmaceumenwn, from amaca) toutwn thn suntuxian afosioumenwn.

8 plhn all' emoi, k. t. l. See note, p. 313.

9 en omotimw th fusei. Cf. oi omotimoi, the peers of the Persian kingdom.

10 Cf. Dies Dominica (by Thomas Young, tutor of Milton the poet): 'It's without controversie that the Oriental Christians, and others, did at that time hold assemblies on the Sabbath day. ...Yet did they not hold the Sabbath day holy," p. 35. Again, "Socrates doth not record that they of Alexandria and Rome did celebrate those mysteries on the Sabbath. While Chrysostom requireth it of the rich Lords of Villages, that they build Churches in them (Hom. 18 in Act.), he distinguisheth those congregations that were on other days from those that were held upon the Lord's day. `Upon those congregations (sunaceij) Prayers and hymns were had in these an oblation was made on every Lord's day,

0' and for that" cause the Lord's day is in Chrysostom called, `dies panis`. Athanasius purgeth himself of a calumny imputed to him, for breaking the cup, because it was not the time of administering the holy mysteries; `for it is not,

0' saith he, `the Lord's day.


0' A law of Constantine had enacted that the first day of the week, "the Lord's day," should be observed with greater solemnity than formerly; which shows that the seventh day, the Sabbath, still held its place; and it does not follow that in remoter places, as here, both were kept. The hour of service was generally "in the evening after sunset; or in the morning before the dawn," Mosheim.

11 krithrion.

12 ton baqmon i. e. "a grade of honour": cf. 1 Tim. iii. 13. baqmon eautoij kalon peripoiounrai. So in the Canons often.

13 The Council of Constantinople.

14 the oversight of Catholic correction. "On July 30, 381, the Bishop of Nyssa received the supreme honour of being named by Theodosius as one of the acknowledged authorities in all matters of theological orthodoxy: and he was appointed to regulate the affairs of the Church in Asia Minor, conjointly with Helladius of Caesarea, and Otreius of Melitene:" Farrar's Lives of the Fathers, 1889.