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Letter XLVIII. 2163

To Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata 2164 .

I have had considerable difficulty in finding a messenger to convey a letter to your reverence, for our men are so afraid of the winter that they can hardly bear even to put their heads outside their houses.  We have suffered from such a very heavy fall of snow that we have been buried, houses and all, beneath it, and now for two months have been living in dens and caves.  You know the Cappadocian character and how hard it is to get us to move. 2165   Forgive me then for not writing sooner and bringing to the knowledge of your excellency the latest news from Antioch.  To tell you all this now, when it is probable that you learnt it long ago, is stale and uninteresting.  But as I do not reckon it any trouble to tell you even what you know, I have sent you the letters conveyed by the reader.  On this point I shall say no more.  Constantinople has now for some time had Demophilus, 2166 as the bearers of this letter will themselves tell you, and as has doubtless been reported to your holiness.  From all who come to us from that city there is unanimously reported about him a certain counterfeit of orthodoxy and sound religion, to such an extent that even the divided portions of the city have been brought to agreement, and some of the neighbouring bishops have accepted the reconciliation.  Our men here have not turned out better than I expected.  They came directly you were gone, 2167 said and did many painful things, and at last went home again, after making their separation from me wider. 2168   Whether anything better will happen in the future, and whether they will give up their evil ways, is unknown to all but God.  So much for our present condition.  The rest of the Church, by God’s grace, stands sound, and prays that in the spring we may have you with us again, and be renewed by your good counsel.  My health is no better than it ever is.



Placed at the beginning of the episcopate.


cf. Letters xxxi., xxxiv.


The Cappadocians were of notoriously bad character, and shared with the Cretans and Cilicians the discredit of illustrating τρία κάππα κάκισταcf. note on Theodoret, Ecc. Hist. II. xi. p. 75.  It was Phrygians, however, who were specially notorious for cowardice.  cf. the proverb:  “More cowardly than a Phrygian hare.”  cf. Lightfoot, Coloss., etc., p 378 n.  But Cappadocia may claim the counter credit of having given birth to three of the most famous divines, Basil and the two Gregorys.


On the death of Eudoxius, in 370, Demophilus was elected by the Arians to fill the vacant see.  Eustathius, the deposed bishop of Antioch, ordained Evagrius.  Eustathius and Evagrius were both banished by Valens, and their adherents cruelly treated.  Soc., Ecc. Hist. iv. 14, 16; Soz., Ecc. Hist. vi. 13, 14, and Philost., Ecc. Hist. ix. 10.


After the departure of Eusebius at the close of the visit which he had undertaken, in accordance with the request of the previous letter, in order to secure Basil’s consecration to the vacant see.


On the difficulties thrown in Basil’s way by the bishops who had opposed his election, cf. Letters xcviii., cxli., and cclxxxii.

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