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E00771: Basil of Caesarea, in his Letter 95 of 372/373 (to Eusebios of Samosata), writes of a recent meeting he had with two bishops, during a festival held in mid-June at a prominent shrine of martyrs at the village of Phargamoun (probably near Nikopolis/Nicopolis of Armenia). Written in Greek at Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor).

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posted on 2015-10-13, 00:00 authored by erizos
Basil of Caesarea, Letters (CPG 2900), Letter 95


(.........) Ὁ γάρ τοι θεοφιλέστατος ἐπίσκοπος Μελέτιος καὶ Θεόδοτος ἐπέταξαν ἡμῖν πρὸς αὐτοὺς διαβῆναι, ἀγάπης τε ἐπίδειγμα τὴν συντυχίαν ποιούμενοι καί τινα καὶ διόρθωσιν γενέσθαι τῶν νῦν παραλυπούντων βουλόμενοι. Ἀπέδειξάν τε ἡμῖν χρόνον μὲν τῆς συντυχίας τὰ μέσα τοῦ προσιόντος μηνὸς Ἰουνίου, τόπον δὲ Φαργαμοῦν τὸ χωρίον ἐπίσημον μαρτύρων περιφανείᾳ καὶ πολυανθρωπίᾳ συνόδου τῆς κατὰ ἔτος ἕκαστον παρ’ αὐτοῖς τελουμένης. (.........)

‘To bishop Eusebios of Samosata

(.........) For the most God-beloved bishops, Meletios and Theodotos, bade us go over to them, making of our meeting a proof of love, and also desiring that some amendment might be formed of the things which now trouble them. And they set as the time of our meeting the middle of the approaching month of June, and as the place the village of Phargamoun, distinguished by the fame of its martyrs and by the size of the festival held there every year. (..........)’

Text: Courtonne vol. 1 (1957), 207.
Translation: Deferrari Vol. 2, 154-157 (modified).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Basil of Caesarea

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Born around 330 to an aristocratic Christian family of Neokaisareia/Neocaesarea of Pontus Polemoniacus (Anatolia), Basil was educated in Kaisareia/Caesarea, Antioch, and Athens. After his studies, he spent time in the monasteries in Egypt, before returning to Pontus, where he organised an ascetic community on his family estate in Pontus. In the 360s, Basil was ordained in Kaisareia/Caesarea, and, on 14 June 370, he was consecrated bishop there. He died on 1 January 379. Basil was a prolific writer, composing homilies, theological, ascetical, and liturgical works. His 369 letters form a major corpus on ecclesiastical politics and the broader history of Anatolia and the Christian East. This letter forms part of Basil’s extensive correspondence with Eusebios of Samosata (died c. 379), concerning doctrinal controversies. On the manuscript tradition, editions and translations of the text, see: Fedwick, P.J., Bibliotheca Basiliana Universalis. 5 vols. Vol. I (Corpus Christianorum; Turnhout: Brepols, 1993), 425-426.


Basil refers here to his meeting with two other Nicene bishops, Meletios of Antioch (then exiled in Asia Minor) and Theodotos of Nicopolis of Armenia, during a festival held at a shrine of martyrs at Phargamous/Phargamoun, very probably a village within the jurisdiction of Nikopolis/Nicopolis in Armenia. The invitation of neighbouring bishops to the festivals of martyrs was a common practice, with a dual practical purpose: to assist the local bishop in directing worship for an unusually large congregation of pilgrims, and to provide an opportunity for bishops to convene and discuss ecclesiastical matters. Basil is known to have invited bishops to Kaisareia/Caesarea on the occasion of local festivals, and it seems that he also travelled himself to neighbouring regions for the same purpose. In this particular case, it is interesting that the meeting of the three dissident Nicene bishops was organised to take place during a rural festival in a village, rather than in a city.


Text edition and French Translation: Courtonne, Y., Saint Basile. Lettres. vol. 1 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1957), 207. Text and English Translations: Deferrari, R.J., Saint Basil, the Letters. 4 vols. Vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University Press, 1928), 154-157. Way, A.C., Saint Basil. Letters, Volume 1 (1‒185) (Fathers of the Church 13; Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1951), 212-213. Further Reading: Courtonne, Y., Un témoin du IVe siècle oriental: saint Basile et son temps d'après sa correspondance (Collection d'études anciennes; Paris: Les Belles lettres, 1973), esp. 356-359. Radde-Gallwitz, A., "The Letter Collection of Basil of Caesarea," in: C. Sogno, B.K. Storin, and E. Watts (eds.), Late Antique Letter Collections: A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), 69-80. Rousseau, P., Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

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