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Fathers of the Church

Letter XXIX: to Theodosius Augustus

Description

Leo notifies the emperor of the appointment of his representatives at the Council of Ephesus. See also Letters XXIII-XXIV, XXVII-XXXVIII.

Provenance

Bishop Flavian of Constantinople had excommunicated the presbyter Eutyches for his adherence to the Monophysite heresy, which claimed that Christ had only one nature after the Incarnation. Emperor Theodosius Augustus convened a synod at Ephesus to determine whether the excommunication was just, and Leo agreed to it.

by Leo the Great in 449 | translated by Charles Lett Feltoe, M.A

To Caesar Theodosius, the most religious and devout Augustus Leo pope of the Catholic Church of the city of Rome.

How much GOD'S providence vouchsafes to consult for the interests of men is shown by your merciful care which, incited by GOD'S Spirit, is unwilling that there should be any disturbance or difference: since the Faith, which is absolutely one, cannot be different from itself in any thing. Hence although Eutyches, as the minutes of the bishops' proceeds reveals, has been detected in an ignorant and unwise error, and ought to have withdrawn from his conviction which is rightly condemned, yet since your piety which loves the Catholic Truth with great jealousy for GOD's honour, has determined on a synodal judgment at Ephesus, that that Truth on which he is blind may be brought home to the ignorant old man; I have sent my brothers Julius the Bishop, Renatus the presbyter, and my son Hilary the deacon to act as my representatives as the matter requires, and they shall bring with them such a spirit of justice and kindness that while the whole misguided error is condemned (for there can be no doubt as to what is the integrity of the Christian Faith), yet if he who has gone astray repents and entreats for pardon, he may receive the succour of priestly indulgence: seeing that in his appeal which he sent us, he reserved to himself the right of earning our forgiveness by promising to correct whatever our opinion disapproved of in his opinion. But what the catholic Church universally believes and teaches on the mystery of the LoRD's Incarnation is contained more fully in the letter which I have sent to my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes .

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/XII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.