May 2009 - Vol. 30

Quotes From Early Church Fathers on Pentecost

Easter Treeof Life  - painting by Jamie Treadwell

The Spirit Restores Paradise to Us 

.by Basil the Great

“The Spirit restores paradise to us and the way to heaven and adoption as children of God; he instills confidence that we may call God truly Father and grants us the grace of Christ to be children of the light and to enjoy eternal glory. In a word, he bestows the fullness of blessings in this world and the next; for we may contemplate now in the mirror of faith the promised things we shall someday enjoy. 
If this is the foretaste, what must the reality be? If these are the first fruits, what must be the harvest?” 


Basil of Caesarea, also known as Basil the Great, was born in Cappadocia (now present day Turkey) in 330 AD. He studied at Constantinople and then at Athens (351-356) where two of his classmates were Gregory of Nazianzus  (who became a close friend) and the future Emperor Julian the Apostate. Basil wanted to be an lawyer and orator, but his sister Macrina persuaded him to seek the monastic life instead. After making a tour of the monasteries of Egypt in 357, he founded a monastic settlement near his home where he lived for five years. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labor. Basil expressed a preference for the communal life of the monastery over the solitary life of the hermit, arguing that the Christian life of mutual love and service is communal by its nature. His Rules became the standard for monastic life in the East.Together with Pachomius he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity.

Basil returned to public life at the call of his bishop, Eusebius of Caesarea, to join in the battle against Arianism. He was ordained priest and then succeeded Eusebius as bishop in 370 AD. In addition to his work as a theologian and defender of the faith, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. In 367-8, when Cappadocia suffered a severe and widespread famine, Basil sold his family's extensive land holdings in order to buy food for the starving, persuading many others to follow his example, and putting on an apron to work in the soup kitchen himself. In this crisis, he refused to allow any distinction to be made between Jew and Christian, saying that the digestive systems of the two are indistinguishable. He also built a hospital for the care of the sick, housing for the poor, and a hospice for travelers.

Quotes from Early Church Fathers on Pentecost

> The Glory of the Holy Spirit, by Gregory of Nyssa
> Pentecost and the Sending of the Holy Spirit, by Irenaeus of Lyons
> The Anointing with the Holy Spirit, by Cyril of Jerusalem
> The Spirit Restores Paradise to Us, by Basil the Great 

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