Fathers of the Church

Letter XXXII: to the Archimandrites of Constantinople

Description

He acknowledges their zeal and refers them to the Tome. 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. Leo then sent a letter to Flavian, commonly referred to as "The Tome", defending the doctrine of the Incarnation and the twofold nature of Christ.

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

To his well-beloved sons Faustus, Martinus, and the rest of the archimandrites, Leo the bishop.

As on behalf of the faith which Eutyches has tried to disturb, I was sending legates de latere(9a) to assist the defence of the Truth, I thought it fitting that I should address a letter to you also, beloved: whom I know for certain to be so zealous in the cause of religion that you can by no means listen calmly to such blasphemous and profane utterances: for the Apostle's command lingers in your hearts, in which it is said, "If any man hath preached unto you any gospel other than that which he received, let him be anathema." And we also decide that the opinion of the said Eutyches is to be rejected, which, as we have learnt from perusing the proceedings, has been deservedly condemned: so that, if its foolish maintainer will abide by his perverseness, he may have fellowship with those whose error he has followed. For one who says that Christ had not a human, that is our, nature, is deservedly put out of Christ's Church. But, if he be corrected through the pity of God's Spirit and acknowledge his wicked error, so as to condemn unreservedly what catholics reject, we wish him not to be denied mercy, that the Lord's Church may suffer no loss: for the repentant can always be readmitted, it is only error that must be shut out. Upon the mystery of great godliness, whereby through the Incarnation of the Word of God comes our justification and redemption, what is our opinion, drawn from the tradition of the fathers, is now sufficiently explained according to my judgment in the letter which I have sent to our brother Flavian the bishop a: so that through the declaration of your chief you may know what, according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we desire to be fixed in the hearts of all the faithful. 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.