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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 148

Letter 148

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To Trajan.

Even the ability to bewail their own calamities brings much comfort to the distressed; and this is specially the case when they meet with others capable, from their lofty character, of sympathizing with their sorrows. So my right honourable brother Maximus, after being prefect of my country, and then suffering what no other man ever yet suffered, stripped of all his belongings both inherited from his forefathers and collected by his own labours, afflicted in body in many and various ways, by his wanderings up and down the world, and not having been able to keep even his civil status free from attack, to preserve which freemen are wont to leave no labour undone, has made many complaints to me about all that has happened to him, and has begged me to give you a short description of the Iliad of woes in which he is involved. And I, being quite unable to relieve him in any other way in his troubles, have readily done him the favour shortly to relate to your excellency a part of what I have heard from him. He, indeed, seemed to me to blush at the idea of making a plain tale of his own calamity. If what has happened shows that the inflicter of the wrong is a villain, at all events it proves the sufferer to be deserving of great pity; since the very fact of having fallen into troubles inflicted by Divine Providence, seems in a manner to show that a man has been devoted to suffering. But it would be a sufficient comfort to him if you will only look at him kindly, and extend also to him that abundant favour which all the recipients of it cannot exhaust—I mean your clemency. We are all of us convinced that before the tribunal your protection will be an immense step towards victory. He who has asked for my letter as likely to be of service is of all men most upright. May it be granted me to see him, with the rest, proclaiming aloud the praises of your lordship with all his power.

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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/3202148.htm>.

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