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St Maximos the Confessor, Letter to John of Kyzikos

Prologue (Letter to John of Kyzikos) Greetings in the Lord from Maximos to John, the Archbishop of Kyzikos. Those who more ardently desire to apprehend beautiful things, and who exercise themselves with greater diligence in the science that pertains to them, are praised by all—and rightly so, it seems to me—when, on account of their love of  learning, they seek out the best teachers of the greatest truths. For by asking questions they acquire (without incurring any shame) the knowledge and science of what had previously eluded them, and, by bringing an end to their ignorance, they clear themselves of the stigma occasioned by their former deficiencies in theory and practice. But as for you, what speech could worthily praise you? Or who among men could encompass, even with his mind, the magnitude of your virtue? For being a seasoned shepherd of rational sheep, you lead and restore them to the heavenly sheepfold by the sounds of your spiritual pipe. And you are able to do this because you have acquired what most men fail to obtain, namely, a state of mind receptive to the mystical knowledge of God. Because of this, your hand has been placed on the rudder