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Fathers of the Church

Letter XXXI. to Domnus Bishop of Antioch

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 Bishop Domnus to find a home for 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

The most admirable and honourable Celestinianus is a native of the famous Carthage, and of an illustrious family in that city. Now he has been exiled from it. He is wandering in foreign parts, and has to look to the benevolence of them that love God. He carries with him a burden from which he cannot escape and which increases his care—I mean his wife, his children and his servants, for whom he is at great expense. I wonder at his spirit. For he praises the great Pilot as though he were being borne by favourable breezes, and cares nothing for the terrible storm. From his calamity he has reaped the fruit of piety, and this thrice blessed gain has been brought him by his misfortune; for while he was in prosperity he never accepted this teaching, but when the evil day left him bare, among the rest of his losses he lost his impiety too, and now possesses the wealth of the faith, and for its sake thinks little of his ruin.

I therefore beseech your holiness to let him find a fatherland in these foreign parts, and to charge them that abound in riches to comfort one who once was endowed like themselves, and to scatter the dark cloud of his calamity. It is only right and proper that among men of like nature, where all have erred, they that have escaped chastisement should bring comfort to them that have fallen on evil days, and by their sympathy for these latter propitiate the mercy of God.

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.