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Letter CCCLX. 3289

Of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the invocation of Saints, and their Images.

According to the blameless faith of the Christians which we have obtained from God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. 3290   I confess to the œconomy of the Son in the flesh, 3291 and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. 3292   I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins.  Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.



This letter is almost undoubtedly spurious, but it has a certain interest, from the fact of its having been quoted at the so-called 7th Council (2d of Nicæa) in 787.  Maran (Vit. Bas. xxxix.) is of opinion that it is proved by internal evidence to be the work of some Greek writer at the time of the Iconoclastic controversy.  The vocabulary and style are unlike that of Basil.


Neuter sc. πρόσωπα, not ποστάσεις, as we should expect in Basil.


νσαρκον οἰκονομίαν, an expression I do not recall in Basil’s genuine writings.


Θεοτόκον, the watchword of the Nestorian controversy, which was after Basil’s time.