Athanasius 21200

Letter XII. (Probably for 340 a.d.)

To the Beloved Brother, and our fellow Minister Serapion1 .

Thanks be to Divine Providence for those things which, at all times, it vouchsafes to us; for it has vouchsafed to us now to come to the season of the festival. Having, therefore, according to custom, written the Letter respecting the festival, I have sent it to you, my beloved; that through you all the brethren may be able to know the day of rejoicing. But because some Meletians, being come from Syria, have boasted that they had received what does not belong to them, I mean, that they also were reckoned in the Catholic Church; on this account, I have sent to you a copy of one letter of our fellow-ministers who are of Palestine, that when it reaches you, you may know the fraud of the pretenders in this matter. For because they boasted, as I have said before, it was necessary for me to write to the Bishops who are in Syria, and immediately those of Palestine sent us a reply, having agreed in2 the judgment against them, as you may learn from this example. That you may not have to consider the letters of all the Bishops one after the other, I have sent you one, which is of like character with the rest, in order that from it you may know the purport of all of them. I know also that when they are convicted in this matter, they will incur perfect odium at the hands of all men. And thus far concerning the pretenders. But I have further deemed it highly necessary and very urgent, to make known to your modesty—for i have written this to each one—that you should proclaim the fast of forty days to the brethren, and persuade them to fast, lest, while all the world is fasting, we who are in Egypt should be derided, as the only people who do not fast, but take our pleasure in these days. For if, on account of the Letter [not] being yet read, we do not fast, we should take away this pretext, and it should be read before the fast of forty days, so that they may not make this an excuse for neglect or fasting. Also, when it is read, they may be able to learn about the fast. But O, my beloved, whether in this way or any other, persuade and teach them to fast the forty days. For it is a disgrace that when all the world does this, those alone who are in Egypt, instead of fasting, should find their pleasure. For even I being grieved because men deride us for this, have been constrained to write to you. When therefore you receive the letters, and have read them and given the exhortation, write to me in return, my beloved, that I also may rejoice upon learning it.

2. But I have also thought it necessary to inform3 you of the fact, that Bishops have succeeded those who have fallen asleep. In Tanis in the stead of Elias4 , is Theodorus. In Arsenoitis, Silvanus5 instead of Calosiris. In Paralus, Nemesion is instead of Nonnus6 . In Bucolia7 is Heraclius. In Tentyra, Andronicus is instead of Saprion8 , his father. In Thebes, Philon instead of Philon. In Maximianopolis, Herminus instead of Atras. In the lower Apollon is Sarapion instead of Plution. In Aphroditon, Serenus is in the place of Theodorus. In Rhinocoruron, Salomon. In Stathma, Arabion, and in Marmarica. In the eastern Garyathis, Andragathius9 in the place of Hierax. In the southern Garyathis, Quintus10 instead of Nicon11 . So that to these you may write, and from these receive the canonical Letters.

Salute one another with a holy kiss.All the brethren who are with me salute you.

(He wrote this from Rome. There is no twelfth Letter.

1 This Letter being introduced (as it is in the ms.) after the eleventh, with the remark at the end of it, that there is no twelfth; together with the exhortations concerning fasting contained in it, was probably written in lieu of a twelfth. Serapion was doubtless the Bishop of Thmuis (see (Letter 54).
2 Or, ‘fulfilled the judgment.’ Cureton.
3 There is a similar notification of the appointment of fresh Bishops appended to the nineteenth Letter).
4 Larsow writes ‘Ilius.’ Tanis is situate in Augustamnica Prima. Vid. Quatremère Mémoires geogr. et histor. sur l’Egypte, tom. 1,p, 284, &c. (L). The word Tani" is the LXX. rendering of ‘Zoan.’ In the Apol. c. Ar. 50, we have a list of ninety-four Egyptian Bishops, among others, who subscribed to the letter of the Council of Sardica. A reference to this list explains some names which otherwise would have been obscure. For a list of the Egyptian Bishoprics, the reader is referred to Neale’s Hist. of the Holy Eastern Church. Gen. Introd. vol. 1,pp. 115, 116. To the list there given must be added the names of Butolia, Stathma, the Eastern Garyathis, the Southern Garyathis. There were two Egyptian Bishops named Elias who subscribed their names to the letter of the Council of Sardica.
5 Silvanus was succeeded by Andreas, as we learn from the postscript to the nineteenth Letter.
6 An Egyptian Bishop named Nonnus was present at the Synod of Tyre). Apol. c. Ar. §79.
7 For a dissertation on the situation of Bucolia, see the treatise by Quatremère, already referred, to (tom. 1,pp. 224–233). In p. 233, he writes; La contrée de l’Elearchie ou des Bucolies est, si je ne me trompe, parfaitement identique avec la province de Baschmour.
8 An Egyptian Bishop of the name of Saprion was at the Synod of Tyre). Apol. c. Ar. §79. He is ‘Scrapion’ in Vit. Pach. 20.
9 Apol. Ar. 50.
10 Apol. Ar. 79.
11 Vid). Letter 10,1.

Letter XIII. (for 341).

Coss. Marcellinus, Probinus; Praef. Longinus; Indict. xiv; Easter-day, xiii Kal. Maii, xxiv Pharmuthi; Aera Dioclet. 57.

Again, my beloved brethren, I am ready to notify to you the saving feast1 , which will take place according to annual custom. For although the opponents of Christ2 have oppressed you together with us with afflictions and sorrows; yet, God having comforted us by our mutual faith3 , behold, I write to you even from Rome. Keeping the feast here with the brethren, still I keep it with you also in will and in spirit, for we send up prayers in common to God, ‘Who hath granted us not only to believe in Him, but also now to suffer for His sake4 .’ For troubled as we are, because we are so far from you, He moves us to write, that by a letter we might comfort ourselves, and provoke one another to good5 . For, indeed, numerous afflictions and bitter persecutions directed against the Church have been against us. For heretics, corrupt in their mind, untried in the faith, rising against the truth, violently persecute the Church, and of the brethren, some are scourged and others torn with stripes, and hardest of all, their insults reach even to the Bishops. Nevertheless, it is not becoming, on this account, that we should neglect the feast. But we should especially remember it, and not at all forget its commemoration from time to time. Now the unbelievers do not consider that there is a season for feasts, because they spend all their lives in revelling and follies; and the feasts which they keep are an occasion of grief rather than of joy. But to us in this present life they are above all an uninterrupted passage [to heaven]—it is indeed our season. For such things as these serve for exercise and trial, so that, having approved ourselves zealous and chosen servants of Christ, we may be fellow-heirs with the saints6 . For thus Job: ‘The whole world is a place of trial to men upon the earth7 .’ Nevertheless, they are proved in this world by afflictions, labours, and sorrows, to the end that each one may receive of God such reward as is meet for him, as He saith by the prophet, ‘I am the Lord, Who trieth the hearts, and searcheth the reins, to give to every one according to his ways8 .’

2. Not that He first knows the things of a man on his being proved (for He knows them all before they come to pass), but because He is good and philanthropic, He distributes to each a due reward according to his actions, so that every man may exclaim, Righteous is the judgment of God! As the prophet says again, ‘The Lord trieth the just, and discerneth the reins9 .’ Again, for this cause He tries each one of us, either that to those who know it not, virtue may be manifested by means of those who are proved, as was said respecting Job; ‘Thinkest thou that I was revealed to thee for any other cause, than that thou shouldest be seen righteous10 ?’ or that, when men come to a sense of their deeds, they may be able to know of what manner they are, and so may either repent of their wickedness, or abide confirmed in the faith. Now the blessed Paul, when troubled by afflictions, and persecutions, and hunger and thirst, ‘in everything was a conqueror, through Jesus Christ, Who loved us11 .’ Through suffering he was weak indeed in body, yet, believing and hoping, he was made strong in spirit, and his strength was made perfect in weakness12 .

3. The other saints also, who had a like confidence in God, accepted a like probation with gladness, as Job said, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord13 .’ But the Psalmist, ‘Search me, O Lord, and try me: prove my reins and my heart14 .’ For since, when the strength is proved, it convinceth the foolish, they perceiving the cleansing and the advantage resulting from the divine fire, were not discouraged in trials like these, but they rather delighted in them, suffering no injury at all from the things which happened, but being seen to shine more brightly, like gold from the fire15 , as he said, who was tried in such a school of discipline as this; ‘Thou hast tried my heart, Thou hast visited me in the night-season; Thou hast proved me, and hast not found iniquity in me, so that my mouth shall not speak of the works of men16 .’ But those whose actions are not restrained by law, who know of nothing beyond eating and drinking and dying, account trials as danger. They soon stumble at them, so that, being untried in the faith, they are given over to a reprobate mind, and do those things which are not seemly17 . Therefore the blessed Paul, when urging us to such exercises as these, and having before measured himself by them, says, ‘Therefore I take pleasure in afflictions, in infirmities.’ And again, ‘Exercise thyself unto godliness18 .’ For since he knew the persecutions that befel those who chose to live in godliness, he wished his disciples to meditate beforehand on the difficulties connected with godliness; that when trials should come, and affliction arise, they might be able to bear them easily, as having been exercised in these things. For in those things wherewith a man has been conversant in mind, he ordinarily experiences a hidden joy. In this way, the blessed martyrs, becoming at first conversant with difficulties, were quickly perfected in Christ, regarding as nought the injury of the body, while they contemplated the expected rest.

4. But all those who ‘call their lands by their own names19 ,’ and have wood, and hay, and stubble20 in their thoughts; such as these, since they are strangers to difficulties, become aliens from the kingdom of heaven. Had they however known that ‘tribulation perfecteth patience, and patience experience, anti experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed,’ they would have exercised themselves, after the example of Paul, who said, ‘I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, test when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway21 .’ They would easily have borne the afflictions which were brought upon them to prove them from time to time, if the prophetic admonition22 had been listened to by them; ‘It is good for a man to take up Thy yoke in his youth; he shall sit alone and shall be silent, because he hath taken Thy yoke upon him. He will give his cheek to him who smiteth him; he will be filled with reproaches. Because the Lord does not cast away for ever; for when He abases, He is gracious, according to the multitude of His tender mercies23 .’ For though all these things should proceed from the enemies, stripes, insults, reproaches, yet shall they avail nothing against the multitude of God’s tender mercies; for we shall quickly recover from them since they are merely temporal, but God is always gracious, pouring out His tender mercies on those who please [Him]. Therefore, my beloved brethren, we should not look at these temporal things, but fix our attention on those which are eternal. Though affliction may come, it will have an end, though insult and persecution, yet are they nothing to the hope which is set [before us]. For all present matters are trifling compared with those which are future; the sufferings of this present time not being worthy to be compared with the hope that is to come24 . For what can be compared with the kingdom? or what is there in comparison with life eternal? Or what is all we could give here, to that which we shall inherit yonder? For we are ‘heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ25 .’ Therefore it is not right, my beloved, to consider afflictions and persecutions, but the hopes which are laid up for us because of persecutions.

5. Now to this the example of Issachar, the patriarch, may persuade, as the Scripture26 saith, ‘Issachar desires that which is good, resting between the heritages; and when he saw that the rest was good, and the land fertile27 , he bowed his shoulder to labour, and became a husbandman.’ Being consumed by divine love, like the spouse in the Canticles, he gathered abundance from the holy Scriptures, for his mind was captivated not by the old alone, but by both the heritages. And hence as it were, spreading his wings, he beheld afar off ‘the rest’ which is in heaven, and,— since this ‘land’ consists of such beautiful works,—how much more truly the heavenly [country] must also [consist] of such28 ; for the other is ever new, and grows not old. For this ‘land’ passes away, as the Lord said; but that which is ready to receive the saints is immortal. Now when Issachar, the patriarch, saw these things, he joyfully made his boast of afflictions and toils, bowing his shoulders that he might labour. And he did not contend with those who smote him, neither was he disturbed by insults; but like a strong man triumphing the more by these things, and the more earnestly tilling his land, he received profit from it. The Word scattered the seed, but he watchfully cultivated it, so that it brought forth fruit, even a hundred-fold.

6. Now what does this mean, my beloved, but that we also, when the enemies are arrayed against us, should glory in afflictions29 , and that when we are persecuted, we should not be discouraged, but should the rather press after the crown of the high calling30 in Christ Jesus our Lord? and that being insulted, we should not be disturbed, but should give our cheek to the smiter, and bow the shoulder? For the lovers of pleasure and the lovers of enmity are tried, as saith the blessed Apostle James, ‘when they are drawn away by their own lusts and enticed31 .’ But let us, knowing that we suffer for the truth, and that those who deny the Lord smite and persecute us, ‘count it all joy, my brethren,’ according to the words of James, ‘when we fall into trials of various temptations, knowing that the trial of our faith worketh patience32 .’ Let us rejoice as we keep the feast, my brethren, knowing that our salvation is ordered in the time of affliction. For our Saviour did not redeem us by inactivity, but by suffering for us He abolished death. And respecting this, He intimidated to us before, saying, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation33 .’ But He did not say this to every man, but to those who diligently and faithfully perform good service to Him, knowing beforehand, that they should be persecuted who would live godly toward Him.

7. ‘But evil-doers and sorcerers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived34 .’ If therefore, like those expounders of dreams and false prophets who professed to give signs, these ignorant men being drunk, not with wine, but with their own wickedness, make a profession of priesthood, and glory in their threats, believe them not; but since we are tried, let us humble ourselves, not being drawn away by them. For so God warned His people by Moses, saying, ‘If there shall rise up among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and shall give signs and tokens, and the sign or the token shall come to pass which he spake to thee, saying, Let us go and serve strange gods, which ye have not known; ye shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God trieth you, that He may know whether you will love the Lord your God with all your heart35 .’ So we, when we are tried by these things, will not separate ourselves from the love of God. But let us now keep the feast, my beloved, not as introducing a day of suffering, but of joy in Christ, by Whom we are fed every day. Let us be mindful of Him Who was sacrificed in the days of the Passover; for we celebrate this, because Christ the Passover was sacrificed36 . He Who once brought His people out of Egypt, and hath now abolished death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil37 , will likewise now turn him to shame, and again grant aid to those who are troubled, and cry unto God day and night38 .

8. We begin the fast of forty days on the thirteenth of Phamenoth (9 Mar)., and the holy week of Easter on the eighteenth of Pharmuthi (Apr. 13); and resting on the seventh day, being the twenty-third (Apr. 18), and the first of the great week having dawned on the twenty-fourth of the same month Pharmuthi (Apr. 19),, let us reckon from it till Pentecost. And at all times let us sing praises, calling on Christ, being delivered from our enemies by Christ Jesus our Lord, through Whom to the Father be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All those who are here with me salute you. I pray, my beloved brethren, that ye may have health in the Lord.He wrote this also from Rome. Here endeth the thirteenth Letter.

1 The Arians (oi cristomacoi).
2 Cf.
Rm 1,12.
3 (Ph ??. 29.
4 Cf. He 10,24
5 Cf. Col 1,12.
6 (Jb 7,1, LXX.
7 (Jr 17,10,
8 Jr 20,12.
9 (Jb 40,8-9, (Jb 40,3-4, LXX).
10 (Rm 8,37).
11 1Co 12,9.
12 (Jb 1,21,
13 (Ps 26,2,
14 Cf. Ml 3,3 1P 1,7.
15 (Ps 17,3-4,
16 (Rm 1,28
17 (2Co 12,10 1Tm 4,7,
18 (Ps 49,11 (Larsow mistakes the reference)
19 Cf. 1Co 3,12.
20 (Rm 5,3 1Co 9,27,
21 (Lm 3,27,
22 Cf. Serapion Epistola ad Monachos, in Mai Spicileg. Rom. tom, 4,p. 51,(L).
23 Cf. Rm 8,18 2Co 4,17.
24 (Rm 8,17,
25 (Gn 49,14,
26 Jarchi interprets the passage figuratively of Issachar being Strong to hear tile yoke of the law. The Jerusalem Targum thus paraphrases the verse. ‘And he saw the rest of the world to come, that it was good, and the portion of the land of Israel, that it was pleasant; therefore he inclined his shoulders to work in the law. and his brethren brought gifts unto him).
27 Larsow’s rendering of the above is followed.
28 (Rm 5,3,
29 Cf. Ph 14 brabeion th" anw klhsew".
30 (Jc 1,14,
31 Jc 1,2.
32 (Jn 16,33,
33 (2Tm 3,13,
34 (.
35 (1Co 5,7,
36 (He 2,14,
37 (Lc 18,7,
38 Cf). Letter 5,1).

Letter XIV. (for 342).

Cuss. Augustus Constantius III, Constans II, Praef. the same Zonginus; Indict. xv; Easter-day iii Id. Apr., xvi Pharmuthi; Aera Dioclet. 58.

The gladness of our feast, my brethren, is always near at hand, and never fails those who wish to celebrate it1 . For the Word is near, Who is all things on our behalf, even our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, having promised that His habitation with us should be perpetual, in virtue thereof cried, saying, ‘Lo, I am with you all the days of the world2 .’ For as He is the Shepherd, and the High Priest, and the Way and the Door, and everything at once to us, so again, He is shewn to us as the Feast, and the Holy day, according to the blessed Apostle; ‘Our Passover, Christ, is sacrificed3 .’ He it was who was expected, He caused a light to shine at the prayer of the Psalmist, who said, ‘My Joy, deliver me from those who surround me4 ;’ this being indeed true rejoicing, this being a true feast, even deliverance from wickedness, whereto a man attains by thoroughly adopting an upright conversation, and being approved in his mind of godly submission towards God5 . For thus the saints all their lives long were like men rejoicing at a feast. One found rest in prayer to God, as blessed David6 , who rose in the night, not once but seven times. Another gave glory in songs of praise, as great Moses, who sang a song of praise for the victory over Pharaoh, and those task-masters7 . Others performed worship with unceasing diligence, like great Samuel and blessed Elijah; who have ceased from their course, and now keep the feast in heaven, and rejoice in what they formerly learnt through shadows, and from the types recognise the truth.

2. But what sprinklings shall we now employ, while we celebrate the feast? Who will be our guide, as we haste to this festival? None can do this, my beloved, but Him Whom you will name with me, even our Lord Jesus Christ Who said, ‘I am the Way.’ For it is He Who, according to the blessed John, ‘taketh away the sin of the world8 .’ He purifies our souls, as Jeremiah the prophet says in a certain place, ‘Stand in the ways and see, and enquire, and look which is the good path, and ye shall find in it cleansing for your souls9 .’ Of old time, the blood of he-goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled upon those who were unclean, were fit only to purify the flesh10 ; but now, through the grace of God the Word, every man is thoroughly cleansed. Following Him, we may, even here, as on the threshold of the Jerusalem which is above, meditate beforehand on the feast which is eternal, as also the blessed Apostles, together following the Saviour Who was their Leader, have now become teachers of a like grace, saying, ‘Behold, we have left all, and followed Thee11 .’ For the following of the Lord, and the feast which is of the Lord, is not accomplished by words only, but by deeds, every enactment of laws and every command involving a distinct performance. For as great Moses, when administering the holy laws, exacted a promise from the people12 , respecting the practice of them, so that having promised, they might not neglect them, and be accused as liars, thus also, the celebration of the least of the Passover raises no question, and demands no reply; but when the word is given, the performance of it follows, for He saith, ‘And the children of Israel shall keep the Passover13 ;’ intending that there should be a ready performance of the commandment, while the command should aid its execution. But respecting these matters, I have confidence in your wisdom, and your care for instruction. Such points as these have been touched upon by us often and in various Letters.

3. But now, which is above all things most necessary, I wish to remind you, and myself with you, how that the command would have us come to the Paschal feast not profanely and without preparation, but with sacramental and doctrinal rites, and prescribed observances, as indeed we learn from the historical account, ‘A man who is of another nation, or bought with money, or uncircumcised, shall not eat the Passover14 .’ Neither should it be eaten in ‘any’ house, but He commands it to be done in haste; inasmuch as before we groaned and were made sad by the bondage to Pharaoh, and the commands of the task-masters. For when in former time the children of Israel acted in this way, they were counted worthy to receive the type, which existed for the sake of this feast, nor is the feast now introduced on account of the type. As also the Word of God, when desirous of this, said to His disciples, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you15 .’ Now that is a wonderful account, for a man might have seen them at that time girded as for a procession or a dance, and going out with staves, and sandals, and unleavened bread. These things, which took place before in shadows, were typical But now the Truth is nigh unto us, ‘the Image of the invisible God16 ,’ our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light, Who instead of a staff, is our sceptre, instead of unleavened bread, is the bread which came down from heaven, Who, instead of sandals, hath furnished us with the preparation of the Gospel17 , and Who, to speak briefly, by all these hath guided us to His Father. And if enemies afflict us and persecute us, He again, instead of Moses, will encourage us with better words, saying, ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the wicked one18 .’ And if after we have passed over the Red Sea heat should again vex us or some bitterness of the waters befall us, even thence again the Lord will appear to us, imparting to us of His sweetness, and His life-giving fountain, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink19 .’

4. Why therefore do we tarry, and why do we delay, and not come with all eagerness and diligence to the feast, trusting that it is Jesus who calleth us? Who is all things for us, and was laden in ten thousand ways for our salvation; Who hungered and thirsted for us, though He gives us food and drink in His saving gifts20 . For this is His glory, this the miracle of His divinity, that He changed our sufferings for His happiness. For, being life, He died that He might make us alive, being the Word, He became flesh, that He might instruct the flesh in the Word, and being the fountain of life, He thirsted our thirst, that thereby He might urge us to the feast, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink21 .’ At that time, Moses proclaimed the beginning of the feast, saying, ‘This month is the beginning of months to you22 .’ But the Lord, Who came down in the end of the ages23 , proclaimed a different day, not as though He would abolish the law, far from it, but that He should establish the law, and be the end of the law. ‘For Christ is the end of the law to every one that believeth in righteousness;’ as the blessed Paul saith, ‘Do we make void the law by faith? far from it: we rather establish the law24 .’ Now these things astonished even the officers who were sent by the Jews, so that wondering they said to the Pharisees, ‘No man ever thus spake25 .’ What was it then that astonished those officers, or what was it which so affected the men as to make them marvel? It was nothing but the boldness and authority of our Saviour. For when of old time prophets and scribes studied the Scriptures, they perceived that what they read did not refer to themselves, but to others. Moses, for instance, ‘A prophet will the Lord raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; to him hearken in all that he commands you.’ Isaiah again, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and ye shall call his name Emmanuel26 .’ And others prophesied in different and various ways, concerning the Lord. But by the Lord, of Himself, and of no other, were these things prophesied; to Himself He limited them all, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me27 ’—not to any other person, but to ‘Me.’ A man may indeed hear from those concerning My coming, but he must not henceforth drink from others, but from Me.

5. Therefore let us also, when we come to the feast, no longer come as to old shadows, for they are accomplished, neither as to common feasts, but let us hasten as to the Lord, Who is Himself the feast28 , not looking upon it as an indulgence and delight of the belly, but as a manifestation of virtue. For the feasts of the heathen are full of greediness, and utter indolence, since they consider they celebrate a feast when they are idle29 ; and they work the works of perdition when they feast. But our feasts consist in the exercise of virtue and the practice of temperance; as the prophetic word testifies in a certain place, saying, ‘The fast of the fourth, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and thefast of the tenth [month], shall be to the house of Judah for gladness, anti rejoicing, and for pleasant feasts30 .’ Since therefore this occasion for exercise is set before us, and such a day as this is come, and the prophetic voice has gone forth that the feast shall be celebrated, let us give all diligence to this good proclamation, and like those who contend on the race course, let us vie with each other in observing the purity of the fast31 , by watchfulness in prayers, by study of the Scriptures, by distributing to the poor, and let us be at peace with our enemies. Let us bind up those who are scattered abroad, banish pride, and return to lowliness of mind, being at peace with all men, and urging the brethren unto love. Thus also the blessed Paul was often engaged in fastings and watchings, and was willing to be accursed for his brethren. Blessed David again, having humbled himself by fastings, used boldness, saying, ‘O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is any iniquity in my hands, if I have repaid those who dealt evil with me, then may I fall from my enemies as a vain man32 .’ If we do these things, we shall conquer death; and receive an earnest33 of the kingdom of heaven.

6. We begin the holy Easter feast on the tenth of Pharmuthi (April 5), desisting from the holy fasts on the fifteenth of the same month Pharmuthi (April 10), on the evening of the seventh day. And let us keep the holy feast on the sixteenth of the same month Pharmuthi (April 11); adding one by one The days] till the holy Pentecost, passing on to which, as through a succession of feasts, let us keep the festival to the Spirit, Who is even now near us, in Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom to the Father be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.The fifteenth and sixteenth are wanting.

1 (
Mt 28,20,
2 (1Co 5,7,
3 (Ps 31,7, LXX.
4 Cf). Letter 3,2.
5 (Ps 119,62 Ps 119,164,
6 (Ex 15.
7 (Jn 14,6 Jn 1,29,
8 (Jr 6,16,
9 (He 9,13,
10 (Mc 10,28,
11 (Ex 19,8,
12 Ex 12,47.
13 .
14 (Lc 22,15,
15 (Col 1,15,
16 (Ep 6,15).
17 (Jn 16,33 1Jn 2,13,
18 Jn 7,37.
19 Cf). supr. p. 88.
20 (Jn 7,37,
21 (Ex 12,2,
22 (He 9,26,
23 (Rm 10,4 Rm 3,31,
24 (Jn 7,46,
25 (Dt 18,15 Is 7,14, two texts are also quoted together in Orat. 1,§54.
26 (Jn 7,37,
27 Cf. 1Co 5,7.
28 Cf). Letter 7, 3.
29 (Za 8,19,
30 Cf .
31 (Rm 9,3 Ps 7,3-4, LXX.
32 Syr). AEArrabwn. Cf. Ep 1,13-14, &c).
33 Observe that Athan. gives notice notice at Easter, a.d. 344, upon what day Easter is to be observed in a.d. 345, and not immediately after the succeeding Epiphany, as Cassian asserts to have been the custom of the Patriarch of Alexandria. (Cassion). Collat. 10,1). Cf. Letters 2, 4, 10, 18, &c.

Letter XVII. (for 345).

Coss. Amantius, Albinus; Praef. Nestorius of Gaza; Indict. iii; Easter-day, vii Id. Apr., xii Pharmuthi; Moon 19; Aera Dioclet. 61.

Athanasius to the Presbyters and Deacons of Alexandria, and to the beloved brethren, greeting in Christ.

According to custom, I give you notice respecting Easter, my beloved, that you also may notify the same to the districts of those who are at a distance, as is usual. Therefore, after this present festival1 , I mean this which is on the twentieth of the month Pharmuthi, the Easter-day following will be on the vii Id. April, or according to the Alexandrians on the twelfth of Pharmuthi. Give notice therefore in all those districts, that Easter-day will be on the vii Id. April, or according to the Alexandrian reckoning on the twelfth of Pharmuthi. That you may be in health in Christ, I pray, my beloved brethren.

1 The number vii is omitted in the ms.

Athanasius 21200