Action Alert!

Fathers of the Church

Letter XCII. to Anatolius the Patrician

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 is the second letter to Anatolius (cf. letter LXXIX) during this period; it informs him of the bishops’ mission and asks Anatolius to use his influence in favor of orthodoxy.

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 LXXIX-CXI date from 448 and 449, and chronicle the growing agitation in the Eastern Church during the Monophysite crisis, including the slanders that led to Theodoret’s illegitimate deposition at the “Robber-Council” of Ephesus in 449. Among these, most or all of XCII-CIX were sent with a group of Antiochene bishops who had gone to Constantinople to defend themselves and especially Theodoret against charges of heresy.

by Theodoret in c. 449 | translated by Blomfield Jackson

The very holy lord archbishop Domnus has arranged for the most pious bishops to repair to the imperial city, with a view to the complete refutation of the false accusation made against us all. At this time we stand in especial need of the aid of your magnificence, since the Lord of all has endowed you with the gifts of pure faith, of warm zeal in its behalf, of intelligence and capacity, and power withal to carry out your prudent counsels. I beg you therefore to defend the cause of the wronged, to contend against lies, and champion the apostolic teaching now assailed. Without doubt the master and guide of the churches will bless your endeavour, will scatter the lowering cloud, and bless the nurslings of the faith with clear sky. Even should He permit the tempest to prevail, your greatness will reap your perfect reward, and we shall bow our heads before the storm, ready to live with cheerfulness wheresoever it may drive us, and waiting the judgment of God and his true and righteous sentence.

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.