ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA
To Peter, bishop of Alexandria.
The sight of the eyes brings about bodily friendship, and long companionship strengthens it, but genuine regard is the gift of the Spirit, Who unites what is separated by long distances, and makes friends known to one another, not by bodily qualities, but by the characteristics of the soul. The grace of the Lord has granted me this favour, by permitting me to see you with the soul's eye, and to embrace you with genuine affection, and as it were, to be drawn very near to you, and to come into close union with you in the communion of faith. I am sure that you, disciple as you are of so great a man, and long associated with him, will walk in the same spirit and follow the same doctrines of true religion. Under these circumstances I address your excellency, and beseech you that among the other things in which you have succeeded that great man, you will succeed him in love to me, that you will frequently write me news of you, and will give heed to the brotherhood all over the world with the same affection and the same zeal which that most blessed man always showed to all that love God in truth.
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/3202133.htm>.
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