Letter CCXXXII. 2947
To Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium.
Every day that brings me a letter from you is a feast day, the very greatest of feast days. And when symbols of the feast are brought, what can I call it but a feast of feasts, as the old law used to speak of Sabbath of Sabbaths? I thank the Lord that you are quite well, and that you have celebrated the commemoration of the economy of salvation 2948 in a Church at peace. I have been disturbed by some troubles; and have not been without distress from the fact of my God-beloved brother being in exile. Pray for him that God may one day grant him to see his Church healed from the wounds of p. 273 heretical bites. Do come to see me while I am yet upon this earth. Act in accordance with your own wishes and with my most earnest prayers. I may be allowed to be astonished at the meaning of your blessings, inasmuch as you have mysteriously wished me a vigorous old age. By your lamps 2949 you rouse me to nightly toil; and by your sweet meats you seem to pledge yourself securely that all my body is in good case. But there is no munching for me at my time of life, for my teeth have long ago been worn away by time and bad health. As to what you have asked me there are some replies in the document I send you, written to the best of my ability, and as opportunity has allowed.
Placed in 376. Maran, Vit. Bas. xxxv., thinks that this letter is to be placed either in the last days of 375, if the Nativity was celebrated on December 25, or in the beginning of 376, if it followed after the Epiphany. The Oriental usage up to the end of the fourth century, was to celebrate the Nativity and Baptism on January 6. St. Chrysostom, in the homily on the birthday of our Saviour, delivered c. 386, speaks of the separation of the celebration of the Nativity from that of the Epiphany as comparatively recent. cf. D.C.A., 1, pp. 361, 617.272:2948
i.e.the incarnation. cf. pp. 7 and 12, n.273:2949
The reading of the Ben. ed. is λαμπηνῶν. The only meaning of λαμπήνη in Class. Greek is a kind of covered carriage, and the cognate adj. λαμπήνικος is used for the covered waggons of Numb. vii. 3 in the LXX. But the context necessitates some such meaning as lamp or candle. Ducange s.v. quotes John de Janua “Lampenæ sunt stellæ fulgentes.” cf. Italian Lampana, i.e. lamp.