2 On this title Benedictine editors remark that no careful reader can fail to note that the letter is written not by Basil but about Basil. "Hodie," they write, "inter eruditos fere convenit eam a Gregorio patre, filii monu, ad Eusebium Samosatensem scrptam fuisse. Nam senem se esse declarat auctor Epistolae et in Cappadocia Episcopum, ut qui litteris cleri ad electionem Episcopi, et Ecclesiae Caesarienis defesionem invitatus fuerit. Is autem ad quem scribit et eadem dignitate praeditus erat, et laboribus pro Ecclesia susceptis clarus, et amicus Basilio, nec Cappadociae vicinus. Omnia in Eusebium Sammosatensem mirifice conveniunt, quem Basilii ordinationi scimus interfuisse, and they give, moreover, as their descriptive heading: "Gregorius Theologi pater eusebium Samosatensem, misso Eustathio diacono, invitat ad electionem Episcopi Caesariensis ut eo adjuvante Basilius elgi possit." Fialon, however, apparently forgetting the reference to old age, writes (Etude Hist. p. 87, n.): "Cette lettre est évidemment de Grégoire de Nazianze," meaning the younger. The election of St. Basil, who probably "voluit episcopari" to the archiepiscopal throne, was indeed mainly due to the intervention of the elder Gregory. Basil's unfortunate and indefensible disingenuousness in summoning the younger Gregory to Caesarea on the plea of his own severe illness defeated its object. But for the prompt and practical intervention of Gregory the elder, and this appeal to Eusebius of Samosata, the archbishopric might have fallen into unworthy, or at least inferior, hands. Vide Biog. Notice in Proleg.,
4 Esebius, at the time of his election an unbaptized layman, was elevated to the throne of Caesarea on the death of Dianius in 362. In this case too it was due to the counsels of the elder Gregory that the objections both of Eusebius and of the bishops, forced by the opposing party to consecrate him, were finally overcome. It was he who ordained Basil to the presbyterate and chafed against the ascendancy of his more able and brilliant subordinate.
5 In 365 Valens came to Caesarea with Arian bishops, and endeavoured to put down the Catholics. Basil returned from his retreat in order to aid Eusebius in resisting the attack, and seems to have shown much tact and good feeling as well as vigour and ability. cf. Greg. Naz., Or. xx. 340.
6 cf. Letter cxxxvi., where it appears that Basil kindly nursed a deacon Eustathius. The fact of an Eustathius being one of Basil's deacons is so far in favour of Basil's having written the letter. But Eustathius was a common name, and Eustathius, a monk, is mentioned in the will of Gregory of Nazianzus.
3 The Cappadocians were of notoriously bad character, and shared with the Cretans and Cilcians the discredit of illustrating tri/a ka/ppa ka/kista. cf. 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.
4 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.
2 The Benedictine title runs, Basilius gratias agit Episcopo cuidam, and a Ben. note points out that the common addition of "of Rome" to the title must be an error, because Damasus, not Innocent, was Bishop of Rome at the time. Combefis supposed that the letter was written to Innocent, then a presbyter, and that the allusion at the end of the letter is to Damasus; the Ben. note says absurde. Innocent did not become Bishop of Rome till 402, three years after Basil's death. Whatever was the see of the recipient of this letter, it was one of importance. cf. Letter lxxxi.
2 Bosporius, an intimate friend of Basil and of Gregory of Nazianzus, was bishop of Colonia, in Cappadocia Secunda. Basil left Caesarea in 360 in distress at hearing that Dianius had subscribed the creed of Ariminum, but was hurt at the charge that he had anathematized his friend and bishop. Dianius died in Basil's arms in 363.
8 i.e. the Homoean creed of Ariminum, as revised at Nike and accepted at theAcacian Synod of Constantinople in 360. George is presumably the George bp. of Laodicea, who at Seleucia opposed the Acacians, but appeears afterwards to have become reconciled to that party, and to have joined them in persecuting the Catholics at Constantinople. cf. Basil, Ep. ccli.
2 Canonicae, in the early church, were women enrolled in a list in the churches, devoted to works of charity, and living apart from men, though not under vows, nor always in a coenobium. In Soc., H.E. i. 17 they are described as the recipients of St. Helena's hospitality. St. Basil is supposed to refuse to recognise marriage with them as legitimate in Ep. cclxxxviii. The word kanonikw=n may stand for either gender, but the marriage of Canonici was commonly allowed. Letter clxxiii. is addressed to the canonica Theodora.
5 i.e. the two remarkable Antiochene synods of 264 and 269, to enforce the ultimate decisions of which against Paul of Samosata appeal was made to the pagan Aurelian. On the explanation of how the Homoousion came to be condemned in one sense by the Origensit bishops at Antioch in 260, and asserted in another by the 318 at Nicaea in 325, see prolegomena to Athanasius in Schaff and Wace's ed. p. xxxi.
6 cf.Ath., De Syn. § 45, Hil., De Trin. iv. 4, and Basil, Cont. Eunom. i. 19. "Wurde seiner Lehre: 'Gott sey mit dem Logos zugleich Eine Person, e$n proswpon Iwie der Mensch mit seiner Vernunft Eines sey,' entgegengehalteh, die Kirchenlehre verlange Einen Gott, aber mehrere pro/swpa desselben, so sagte er. da auch ihm Christus eine Person (nämlich als Mensch) sey, so habe auch sein Glaube mehrere pro/swpa, Gott und Christus stehen sich als o 9mo ou/sioi, d. h. wahrscheinlich gleich persönliche gegenüber, Diese veratorische Dialetik konnte zwar nicht täuschen; wohl aber wurde das Wort o 9moou/sioj, so gerbraucht und auf die Person überhaupt bezogen, dadurcheine Weile verdächtig (man fürchtete nach Athan. De Syn. Ar. et Sel. c. 45. eine menschliche Person nach Paul in die Trinität einlassen zu müssen), bis das vierte Jahrhundert jenem Wort bestimmten kirchlichen Stempel gab." Dorner, Christologie. B. i. 513.
2 "A class of ministers between bishops proper and presbyters, defined in the Arabic version of the Nicene canons to be 'loco episcopi super villas et monasteria et sacerdotes villarmum; called into existence in the latter part of the third century, and first in Asia Minor, in order to meet the wants of episcopal supervision in the country parts of the now enlarged dioceses without subdivision: first mentioned in the Councils of Ancyra and Neo-Caesera a.d. 314." D.C.A. i. 354. Three mss. give the title "to the bishops under him." The Ben. Ed. remarks: "Liquet Basilium agere de episcopis sibi subditis. Nam qui proprie dicebantur chorepiscopi, manus non ponebant, sed clero inferiores ministros ascribeant, ut videre est in epist. sequenti. Sed tamen ipsi etiam episcopi, qui Ecclesias metropoli subjectas regebant, interdum vocabuntur chorepiscopi. Queritur enim Gregorius Naz. in carmine De vita sua. quod a Basilio, qui quinquaginta chorepiscopos sub se habebat, vilissimi oppiduli constitutus episcopus fuisset.
tou/toij m0 o/ penth/konta xwrepisko/poij
Hoc exemplo confirmatur vetustissimorun codicum scriptura quam secuti summus.