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St. Basil the Great, From his Letters

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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Page 35

 Letter 210, To the notables of Neocaesarea


I AM really under no obligation to publish my own mind to you, or to state the reasons for my present sojourn where I am; it is not my custom to indulge in self advertisement, nor is the matter worth publicity. I am not, I think, following my own inclinations; I am answering the challenge of your leaders. I have always striven to be ignored more earnestly than popularity hunters strive after notoriety. But, I am told, the ears of everybody in your town are set a thrilling, while certain tale-mongers, creators of lies, hired for this very work, are giving you a history of me and my doings. I therefore do not think that I ought to overlook your being exposed to the teaching of vile intention and foul tongue; I think that I am bound to tell you myself in what position I am placed. From my childhood I have been familiar with this spot, for here I was brought up by my grandmother; hither I have often retreated, and here I have spent many years, when endeavouring to escape from the hubbub of public affairs, for experience has taught me that the quiet and solitude of the spot are favourable to serious thought. Moreover as my brothers are now living here, I have gladly retired to this retreat, and have taken a brief breathing time from the press of the labours that beset me, not as a centre from which I might give trouble to others, but to indulge my own longing.

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