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Fathers of the Church

Letter XI. to Flavianus Bishop of Constantinople

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 praises Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, for his vigor and constancy in defending the faith.

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 Creator and Guide of the Universe has made you a luminary of the world, and changed the deep moonless night into clear noon. Just as by the haven's side, the beacon light shews sailors in the night time the harbour mouth, so shines the bright ray of your holiness to give great comfort to all that are attacked for true religion's sake, and shews them the safe port of the Apostles' faith. They that know it already are filled with comforts and they that knew it not are saved from being dashed upon the rocks. I indeed am especially bound to praise the giver of all good, because I have found a noble champion who drives away fear of men by the power of the fear of God, fights heartily in the front rank for the doctrines of the Gospel, and gladly bears the brunt of the apostolic war. So to-day every tongue is moved in eulogy of your holiness, for it is not only the nurslings of true religion who admire the purity of your faith, but the praises of your courage are sung even by the enemies of the truth. Falsehood vanishes at truth's lightning flash.

I write thus knowing that the very reverend and pious Hypatius the reader, both readily obeys the bidding of your holiness, and constantly, my Lord, mentions your laudable deeds. I salute you as holy and right dear to God. I exhort you to support us with your prayers that we may lead the rest of our lives according to God's laws.

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.