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“Gregory of Nyssa Oratio Contra Usurarios

Excerpts from Gregory's sermon against those who lend money with interest.

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Click here to read at in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation is by the Revd Andrew Maguire, the Early Church Texts webmaster. Further extracts are given through the link above.

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Relevant books available at Amazon

Many Gregory of Nyssa studies
and translations with links to Amazon


A selection below


Presence and Thought
Hans Urs von Balthasar


Re-thinking Gregory of Nyssa
Sarah Coakley


Gregory of Nyssa, Ancient and (Post)modern
Morwenna Ludlow



Gregory of Nyssa
Anthony Meredith


Ascetical Works
Virginia Woods Callahan


.... You to whom this is addressed, whoever you are, as a human being, show contempt for roguish ways. Love people, not riches. Keep on resisting this sin. Say to usury, once so dear to you, the utterance of John the Baptist, "Get away from me, 'you brood of vipers'" (Mt 3.7). You are the ruin of those who take and hold you. You bring a brief moment of pleasure, but as time goes by your poison is noxious to the soul. You block the way that leads to life and close the gates of the kingdom. Having briefly delighted the eye and been a topic of conversation you are the cause of endless woe. When you have uttered these words say farewell to profit and usury and commit yourself to love of the poor: "Do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow from you" (Mt 5.42). Because of poverty somebody is sitting at your door, pleading with you; at a loss he flees for refuge to your wealth, hoping that you might bring relief to his need. But you do just the opposite: you should be an ally, but you become an enemy, for you do not help him so that he can be freed both from the distress which is pressing on him and his indebtedness to you. Rather, you sow evils for this man who has come on hard times, strip the naked, injure the wounded, and pile care upon care and woe upon woe. Whoever receives money through usury takes a pledge of poverty and under the pretence of a good deed brings ruin on someone's home. You might perforce give wine out of charity to someone who is sick with a raging fever, if he is overcome with thirst and asks you for a drink. It brings him relief for a while when he takes the cup, but after a little while it makes his fever strong and ten times worse. In the same way if you give money laden with poverty to a poor man you are not relieving his distress but adding to his misfortune.

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Gregorius Nyssenus
Contra Usurarios
Sermon on usury Greek
Against Usury
Against money-lenders
Against lending money with interest
Gregory of Nyssa in Greek with English Translation
Migne Greek Text
Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Graeca







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