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Epistle XLVI.

To Rusticiana, Patrician.

Gregory to Rusticiana, &c.

On receiving your Excellency’s letters I was glad to hear that you had reached Mount Sinai.  But believe me, I too should have liked to go with you, but by no means to return with you.  And yet I find it very difficult to believe that you have been at the holy places and seen many Fathers.  For I believe that, if you had seen them, you would by no means have been able to return so speedily to the city of Constantinople.  But now that the love of such a city has in no wise departed from your heart, I suspect that your Excellency did not from the heart devote yourself to the holy things which you saw with the bodily eye.  But may Almighty God illuminate your mind by the grace of His lovingkindness and give unto you to be wise, and to consider how fugitive are all temporal things, since, while we are thus speaking, both time runs on and the Judge approaches, and lo the moment is even now near when against our will we must give up the world which of our own accord we will not.  I beg that the 161blord Apio and the lady Eusebia, and their daughters, be greeted in my behalf.  As to that lady my nurse, whom you commend to me by letter, I have the greatest regard for her, and desire that she should be in no way incommoded.  But we are pressed by such great straits that we cannot excuse even ourselves from exactions (angariis)15691569    The word angaria, which is of frequent occurrence, denotes exactions and forced services of various kinds. and burdens at this present time.

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