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Fathers of the Church

Letter XXX. to Aerius the Sophist

Description

Theodoret’s letters are a mine of information for the history of the fifth century, of the author’s life and of the history of dogma in general. This large correspondence is distinguished for its unpretentious learning, felicitous diction and perfect grace of style. (Quasten) Here he asks the recipient, the leader of a group of local intellectuals, to find among them someone who will receive Celestinianus and his family (see letter XXIX).

Provenance

Theodoret of Cyrus (c. 393-466), the wise and zealous bishop of Cyrus, a small town near Antioch, was the last great theologian of the school of Antioch. Although he first considered Alexandrian Christology dangerous, and refused to condemn Nestorius until the Council of Chalcedon, his commitment to the correct doctrine of the Incarnation should not be questioned. As late as the 14th century more than 500 of his letters were extant, of which we still have 232.

by Theodoret in Unknown | translated by Blomfield Jackson

Now is the time for your Academy to prove the use of your discussions. I am told that a brilliant assemblage collects at your house, of which the members are both illustrious by birth and polished of speech, and that you debate about virtue and the immortality of the soul, and other kindred subjects. Show now opportunely your nobility of soul and wealth of virtue, and receive the most admirable and honourable Celestinianus in the spirit of men who have learnt the rapid changes of human prosperity. He was formerly an ornament of the city of Carthage, where he flung open the doors of his house to many priests, and never thought to need a stranger's kindness. Be his spokesman, my friend, and aid him in his need of your voice, for he cannot suffer the advice of the poet which bids him that needeth speak though he be ashamed.

Persuade I beg you any of your society who are capable of so doing to emulate the hospitality of Alcinous, to remove the poverty which has unexpectedly befallen him, and to change his evil fortune into good. Let them praise our kindly Lord for making us wise by other men's calamities, not having sent us to strangers' houses and having brought stranger's to our doors. To men that shew kindness He promises to give what words cannot express and no intelligence can understand.

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. (NPNF II/III, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.