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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 114

Letter 114

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To Cyriacus, at Tarsus.

I need hardly tell the sons of peace how great is the blessing of peace. But now this blessing, great, marvellous, and worthy as it is of being most strenuously sought by all that love the Lord, is in peril of being reduced to the bare name, because iniquity abounds, and the love of most men has waxed cold. I think then that the one great end of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the Churches now at sundry times and in various manners divided from one another. In attempting myself to effect this, I cannot fairly be blamed as a busybody, for nothing is so characteristically Christian as the being a peacemaker, and for this reason our Lord has promised us peacemakers a very high reward.

When, therefore, I had met the brethren, and learned how great was their brotherly love, their regard for you, and yet more their love for Christ, and their exactitude and firmness in all that concerns the faith, and moreover their earnestness in compassing two ends, the not being separated from your love, and the not abandoning their sound faith, I approved of their good disposition; and I now write to your reverence beseeching you with all love to retain them in true union, and associated with you in all your anxiety for the Church. I have moreover pledged myself to them for your orthodoxy, and that you too by God's grace are enrolled to fight with all vigour for the truth, whatever you may have to suffer for the true doctrine. My own opinion is that the following conditions are such as will not run counter to your own feeling and will be quite sufficient to satisfy the above mentioned brethren; namely, that you should confess the faith put forth by our Fathers once assembled at Nicæa, that you should not omit any one of its propositions, but bear in mind that the three hundred and eighteen who met together without strife did not speak without the operation of the Holy Ghost, and not to add to that creed the statement that the Holy Ghost is a creature, nor hold communion with those who so say, to the end that the Church of God may be pure and without any evil admixture of any tare. If this full assurance is given them by your good feeling, they are prepared to offer proper submission to you. And I myself promise for the brethren that they will offer no opposition, but will show themselves entirely subordinate, if only your excellency shall have readily granted this one thing which they ask for.

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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/3202114.htm>.

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