Fathers of the Church

Letter CXVII. to the Bishop Florentius

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) This letter to a Western bishop was sent along with Theodoret’s appeal to Pope Leo I (letter CXIII).

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. Letters CXIV-CXXXII were written during his exile from Cyrus after the “Robber-Council” of Ephesus.

by Theodoret in 449-450 | translated by Blomfield Jackson

Truly the grace of our God and Saviour has not yet abandoned the human race, but has left us a seed in your holiness "lest we should become as Sodom, and be made like unto Gomorrah." This seed suffers us not altogether to faint, but charges us to wait for the passing away of the dire storm; this renders us hopeful.

We have therefore sent to your holiness the very godly presbyters Hypatius and Abramius, chorepiscopi, and Alypius, exarch of our monks, that you may put an end to the disaster which has befallen the churches of the East; that in the first place you may confirm the faith handed down to us from the first by the holy Apostles, may proscribe the heresy that has started up, and openly convict the men who have the hardihood to debase the preaching of the Oeconomy; and secondly may fight as champion of them who are being attacked for the truth's sake. For it is in the cause of the apostolic Faith, most holy, that we have undergone that unrighteous massacre, because we refused to abandon the truth of the Gospel doctrines. Now it behoves your holiness not to overlook the unjust persecution of men of like mind with yourself, but by your just help to put a stop to injustice, and teach the assailants of the truth that men who strive to act unscrupulously at their own good pleasure cannot be allowed to work out their ends.

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.