Letters 186-248

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1930 - Christian saints - 512 pages

Basil the Great was born ca. 330 CE at Caesarea in Cappadocia into a family noted for piety. He was at Constantinople and Athens for several years as a student with Gregory of Nazianzus and was much influenced by Origen. For a short time he held a chair of rhetoric at Caesarea, and was then baptized. He visited monasteries in Egypt and Palestine and sought out the most famous hermits in Syria and elsewhere to learn how to lead a pious and ascetic life; but he decided that communal monastic life and work were best. About 360 he founded in Pontus a convent to which his sister and widowed mother belonged. Ordained a presbyter in 365, in 370 he succeeded Eusebius in the archbishopric of Caesarea, which included authority over all Pontus. He died in 379. Even today his reform of monastic life in the east is the basis of modern Greek and Slavonic monasteries.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Basil's Letters is in four volumes.

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About the author (1930)

St. Basil, also known as Basil the Great, is included as one of the Cappadocian Fathers, the leaders of philosophical Christian orthodoxy in the later fourth century. Basil was born in Cappadocia, in present-day Turkey. He was educated according to the best Christian and non-Christian culture of his day. He briefly pursued the monastic life in Syria and Egypt. Although he returned to his homeland, he remained influential in the monastic life of Asia Minor. In 370 he succeeded Eusebius as bishop of Caesarea, a post he held until his death. Basil was continuously involved in defending orthodoxy against many of the significant controversies of the fourth century. His most important work was as leader in the intellectual defense of Nicene Christianity. He was a champion of the term homoiousios which means "like in substance to the Father." Basil argued that the term had the same implications as the term homoousios, meaning "of one substance" in the Nicene Creed. One of his most important treatises, "On the Holy Spirit," argued against the belief of those denying the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Basil died in 379 A.D.

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