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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 193

Letter 193

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To Meletius the Physician.

I am not able to flee from the discomforts of winter so well as cranes are, although for foreseeing the future I am quite as clever as a crane. But as to liberty of life the birds are almost as far ahead of me as they are in the being able to fly. In the first place I have been detained by certain worldly business; then I have been so wasted by constant and violent attacks of fever that there does seem something thinner even than I was—I am thinner than ever. Besides all this, bouts of quartan ague have gone on for more than twenty turns. Now I do seem to be free from fever, but I am in such a feeble state that I am no stronger than a cobweb. Hence the shortest journey is too far for me, and every breath of wind is more dangerous to me than big waves to those at sea. I have no alternative but to hide in my hut and wait for spring, if only I can last out so long, and am not carried off beforehand by the internal malady of which I am never rid. If the Lord saves me with His mighty hand, I shall gladly betake myself to your remote region, and gladly embrace a friend so dear. Only pray that my life may be ordered as may be best for my soul's good.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202193.htm>.

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