Aug 02nd - Eusebius of Vercelli
Not to be confused with his probably wider known contemporary and fellow bishop Eusebius (of Caesarea -- best known for his early history of the Church), Eusebius took part in many of the same upheavals at that time but unlike Eusebius the historian, is acknowledged as a saint. He refused to condemn Athanasius against the Arian-leaning Emperor and fellow bishops, purportedly proffering a copy of the Nicean Creed (decided 30 years earlier) for all to sign at the Council of Milan in reply to their push for him to sign the condemnation -- making his feelings n the matter very clear. He suffered exile and abuse for his orthodoxy.
Eusebius the historian could never quite bring himself to reject the Arian theology and so is remembered more by the world for his human actions and less for his spiritual ones. Though a saint, Eusebius' tenacity probably would have gotten him in trouble at other times in history, showing that God uses our gifts at the precise moment He needs them. Our job is to live that vocation amidst the trials and triumphs of daily life.
Today we would do well to ask for his intercession that the workings of politics may not affect the Church or its teaching again.
His epistles, I believe all written from exile, show a man in love, a shepherd pining for his flock, an example for monks and bishops everywhere.
Dearly beloved, I know now that you are safe, as I was hoping, and I felt that I had paid you a visit, by being suddenly transported over the face of the earth like Habakkuk, when the angel brought him to Daniel. When I receive a letter from one of you and see in your writings your goodness and love, joy mingles with tears, and my desire to continue reading is checked by my weeping. Both emotions are inescapable, as they vie with each other in discharging their duty of affection, when such a letter satisfies my longing for you.
Days pass in this way as I imagine myself in conversation with you, and so I forget my past sufferings. Consolations surround me on all sides: your firm faith, your love, your good works. In the midst of so many great blessings I soon imagine myself in your company, in exile no longer.
Dearly beloved, I rejoice in your faith, in the salvation that comes from faith, in your good works, which are not confined to your own surroundings but spread far and wide. Like a farmer tending a sound tree, untouched by ax or fire because of its fruit, I want not only to serve you in the body, good people that you are, but also to give my life for your well-being.
Somehow or other I have managed with difficulty to complete this letter. I asked God constantly to keep the guards away hour by hour, and to allow the deacon to bring you some kind of greeting in writing, not simply news of my suffering. So I beg you to keep the faith with all vigilance, to preserve harmony, to be earnest in prayer, to remember me always, so that the Lord may grant freedom to his Church which is suffering throughout the world, and that I may be set free from the sufferings that weigh upon me, and so be able to rejoice with you.
I also ask and beseech you in God’s mercy, that each one of you should add his own name to the greeting in this letter. Of necessity I cannot write to each of you as was my custom. So in this letter I ask you all - brothers and holy sisters, sons and daughters, men and women, old and young - to be content with this greeting and to be good enough to give my respectful good wishes to those who are outside the community and are kind enough to be my friends.
-- Selections from Epistle 2
Leave a Reply.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.