Fathers of the Church

Letter XXXV. to the Bishop Irenaeus

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 Irenaeus 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

You are conspicuous, my Lord, for many forms of goodness, and your holiness is beautified in an especial degree by loving-kindness, by contempt of riches, and by a generosity that gushes forth for the help of them that need. I know too that you deem worthy of more than ordinary attention those who have been brought up in prosperity and have fallen from it into trouble. Knowing this as well as I do I venture to make known to you the very admirable and excellent Celestinianus. He was once well known in Carthage for wealth and position, now stripped of these he is favourably known by his piety and philosophy, for he bears what men call misfortune with resignation because it has brought him to the salvation of his soul. He came to me with a letter which described his former prosperity, and after he had passed several days with me I proved the truth of what was said of him by experience. I have therefore no hesitation in commending him to your Holiness, and begging you to make him known to the well-to-do men of the city. It is probable that when they have learnt what has befallen him, in fear of a like fate befalling themselves, they will endeavour to escape judgment by shewing mercy. He has no resource but to go about begging, as he is put to the greater expense because he has with him his wife and children, and the domestics who with him escaped the violence of the barbarians.

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.