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Fathers of the Church

Letter XIII. to Cyrus

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 thanks Cyrus for his gift of wine from Lesbos, and sends him in return some local honey.

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

I had heard of the island of Lesbos, and its cities Mitylene, Methymna, and the rest; but I was ignorant of the fruit of the vine cultivated in it. Now, thanks to your diligence, I have become acquainted with it, and I admire both its whiteness and the delicacy of its flavour. Perhaps time may even improve it, unless it turns it sour; for wine, like the body, and plants, and buildings, and other things made by hand, is damaged by time. If, as you say, it makes the drinker longlived, I am afraid it will be of little use to me, for I have no desire to live a long life, when life's storms are so many and so hard.

I was however much pleased to hear of the health of the monk. Really my anxiety about him was quite distressing, and I wrongly blamed the doctors, for his complaint required the treatment they gave. I have sent you a little pot of honey which the Cilician bees make from storax flowers.

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.