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107bEpistle XXVII.

To Rusticiana, Patrician14141414    Other letters addressed to this patrician lady are IV. 46; VIII. 22; XI. 44; XIII. 22.  She appears to have been a widow, no husband being alluded to, who had migrated with her family from Rome to Constantinople (cf. VIII. 22, and XIII. 22).  She is spoken of in subsequent letters as a person of slender frame and weak health, and subject to gout.  Her family, to whom greetings are always sent, being her children either by birth or marriage, were Appio and Eusebia, Eudoxius and Gregoria, the former, and perhaps the latter also, being a married couple.  Strategius also, a son of Appio and Eusebia, apparently a child, has afterwards greetings sent to him.  They had daughters also, whose names are not given..

Gregory to Rusticiana, &c.

On receiving the epistle of your Excellency I was relieved by the welcome news of your welfare, hoping that the Lord in His mercy may protect and direct your life and doings.  But I wondered much why you have turned from your intention and vow to accomplish a good work in respect of your meditated journey to the holy places14151415    Two years later (see IV. 46, Indict. XII. i.e. a.d. 593–4) she appears to have made a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai., seeing that, when anything good is by the gift of the Creator conceived in the heart, it is needful that it be carried out with quick devotion, lest, while the cunning plotter strives to ensnare the soul, he should afterwards suggest impediments, whereby the mind, weakened by occupations, may fail to carry its desires into effect.  Whence it is necessary that your Excellency should anticipate all impediments that come in the way of pious designs, and gasp after the fruit of good work with all the efforts of your heart, that so you may succeed in living tranquilly in the present world and gaining possession of a heavenly kingdom in the future.  But as to what you have written to us of Passivus having attempted to spread some calumnies against you, consider, on the other hand, that the most pious emperors have not only been unwilling to listen to them, but have also received the author of them roughly; and turn the whole hope of your soul to Him Who powerfully prevents men in this world from doing as much harm as they long to do, that so He may beat back the wicked intentions of men by the opposition of His arm, and Himself mercifully shatter their attempts, as He has been wont to do.  I entreat that the glorious Lord Appio and the lady Eusebia, the Lord Eudoxius and the lady Gregoria, be greeted in my name through you.

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