Fathers of the Church

Letter XCIII. to Senator 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 letter (for an earlier letter to the same correspondent see letter XLIV) informs it informs the recipient of the bishops’ mission, and asks him 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

I cherish an indelible memory of your magnificence, and now by very religious and holy bishops I salute you. The very holy lord bishop Domnus has arranged for them to journey to the imperial city in order to put an end to the false charges raised against me. For certain men have contrived manifest calumnies against me, and have grievously disturbed the churches for whose sake the Lord Christ "endured the Cross despising the shame"; in whose behalf the band of the divine apostles and companies of victorious martyrs were delivered to many kinds of death. On behalf of their peace I call on your magnificence to contend. It had been easy for the God of all to have nodded His head and scattered the lowering clouds; but He bides His time, and thereby at once shews the endurance of them that are assailed, and gives us opportunities of doing good.

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.