Dear In Communion reader,
This first issue of the year 2010 makes a special link with St. Basil the Great, one of the towering figures of fourth-century Christianity, a saint who not only helped lay the theological foundations of Orthodox Christianity, but also provided an astonishing model of what love of neighbor involves.
Down though the centuries there have been countless Christians who have responded in remarkable ways to the needs of suffering people accounts of several contemporary examples are featured in this issue but I can think of no other saint who founded not only houses of hospitality but a city of hospitality. It was known throughout the Christian world as the Basilead.
In his funeral oration for St. Basil, St. Gregory the Theologian described the legacy of Basil’s endeavors in these words: “Go forth a little way from the city, and behold the New City, the storehouse of piety, the common treasury of the wealthy where disease is regarded in a religious light, and disaster is thought a blessing, and sympathy is put to the test.”
It is a rare Orthodox parish without an icon of St. Basil, but it is nearly as rare to find an Orthodox Christian who knows about the heroic efforts Basil undertook, demonstrating in so extraordinary a way that love of God is impossible apart from love of neighbor.
A major part of the work of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship has been to help revive the memory of what such saints as Basil said and did and to explore the implications in the world today. How many people estranged from Christianity would think of the Church in a different light if it gave a Basil-like example of hospitality to those desperately in need.
We cannot carry on our work without your help. One way to do this is to make more than one donation per year to OPF, or give more than the minimum. (We are deeply grateful to those who are manage to make monthly or quarterly donations such help makes a huge difference.) Or you might consider giving someone a friend? your parish priest? a subscription to In Communion.
Thank you for whatever you can manage.
In Christ’s peace,
Winter Issue IC 55 2010
IN COMMUNION 55 / FEAST OF ST. BASIL THE GREAT / JANUARY 2010