Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Select Letters of Saint Gregory Nazianzen.: Letter CLXXXIII
(Helladius, Archbishop of Cæsarea, contested the validity of the election of Eulalius to the Bishopric of Nazianzus, and accused Bosporius of heresy. S. Gregory here throws the whole weight of his authority into the other scale. It is however manifest from the very terms of the letter that the person addressed is not Theodore of Tyana. It was conjectured by Clémencet that perhaps he was Theodore of Mopsuestia.)
Envy, which no one easily escapes, has got some foothold amongst us. See, even we Cappadocians are in a state of faction, so to speak—a calamity never heard of before, and not to be believed—so that no flesh may glory 4773 in the sight of God, but that we may be careful, since we are all human, not to condemn each other rashly. For myself, there is some gain even from the misfortune (if I may speak somewhat p. 475 paradoxically), and I really gather a rose out of thorns, as the proverb has it. Hitherto I have never met Your Reverence face to face, nor conversed with you by letter, but have only been illuminated by your reputation; but now I am of necessity compelled to approach you by letter, and I am very grateful to him who has procured me this privilege. I omit to write to the other Bishops about whom you wrote to me, as the opportunity has not yet arisen. Moreover my weak health makes me less active in this matter; but what I write to you I write to them also through you. My Lord the God-beloved Bishop Helladius 4774 must cease to waste his labour on our concerns. For it is not through spiritual earnestness, but through party zeal, that he is seeking this; and not for the sake of accurate compliance with the canons, but for the satisfaction of anger, as is evident by the time he has chosen, and because many have moved with him unreasonably, for I must say this, and not trouble myself about it. If I were physically in a condition to govern the Church of Nazianzus, to which I was originally appointed, and not to Sasima as some would falsely persuade you, I should not have been so cowardly or so ignorant of the Divine Constitutions as either to despise that Church, or to seek for an easy life in preference to the prizes which are in store for those who labour according to Gods will, and work with the talent committed to their care. For what profit should I have from my many labours and my great hopes, if I were ill advised in the most important matters? But since my bodily health is bad, as everyone can plainly see, and I have not any responsibility to fear on account of this withdrawal, for the reason I have mentioned, and I saw that the Church through cleaving to me was suffering in its best interests and almost being destroyed through my illness, I prayed both before and now again my Lords the God-beloved Bishops (I mean those of our own Province) to give the Church a head, which they have done by Gods Grace, worthy both of my desire and of your prayers. This I would have you both know yourself, most honourable Lord, and also inform the rest of the Bishops, that they may receive him and support him by their votes, and not bear heavily on my old age by believing the slander. Let me add this to any letter. If your examination finds my Lord the God-beloved Priest Bosporius guilty concerning the faith—a thing which it is not lawful even to suggest—(I pass over his age and my personal testimony) judge him so yourselves. But if the discussion about the dioceses is the cause of this evil report and this novel accusation, do not be led away by the slander, and do not give to falsehoods a greater strength than to the truth, I beg you, lest you should cast into despair those who desire to do what is right. May you be granted good health and spirits and courage and continual progress in the things of God to us and to the Church, whose common boast you are.
1 Cor. i. 29.475:4774
Next: Letter CXXXIX
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