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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VIII:
The Letters.: Without Address.  Concerning Raptus.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Letter CCLXX. 3221

Without Address.  Concerning Raptus. 3222

I am distressed to find that you are by no means indignant at the sins forbidden, and that you seem incapable of understanding, how this raptus, which has been committed, is an act of unlawfulness and tyranny against society and human nature, and an outrage on free men.  I am sure that if you had all been of one mind in this matter, there would have been nothing to prevent this bad custom from being long ago driven out of your country.  Do thou at the present time shew the zeal of a Christian man, and be moved as the wrong deserves.  Wherever you find the girl, insist on taking her away, and restore her to her parents, shut out the man from the prayers, and make him excommunicate.  His accomplices, according to the canon 3223 which I have already put forth, cut off, with all their household, from the prayers.  The village which received the girl after the abduction, and kept her, or even fought against her restitution, shut out with all its inhabitants from the prayers; to the end that all may know that we regard the ravisher as a common foe, like a snake or any other wild beast, and so hunt him out, and help those whom he has wronged.



Placed after 374.


On this subject see before Letters cxcix. and ccxvii. pp. 238 and 256.  See Preb. Meyrick in D.C.A. ii. 1102:  “It means not exactly the same as our word ravishment, but the violent removal of a woman to a place where her actions are no longer free, for the sake of inducing her or compelling her to marry.…By some raptus is distinguished into the two classes of raptus seductionis and raptus violentiæ.”  cf. Cod. Theod. ix. tit. xxiv. legg. 1, 2, and Cod. Justin. ix.–xiii. leg. 1 Corp. Juris. ii. 832.


κήρυγυα.  The Ben. note is no doubt right in understanding the word not to refer to any decree on this particular case, but to Basil’s general rule in Canon xxx.  cf. p. 239.  On the use of κήρυγμα by Basil, see note on p. 41.

Next: To Eusebius, my comrade, to recommend Cyriacus the presbyter.

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