Fathers of the Church

Letter XX. to the Presbyter Martyrius

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 comments on his acquaintance with the orator Athanasius mentioned in letter XIX.

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

Natural disposition appears in us before resolution of character, and, in this sense, takes the lead; but disposition is overcome by resolution, as is plainly proved by the right eloquent orator Athanasius. Though an Egyptian by birth, he has none of the Egyptian want of self-control, but shews a character tempered by gentleness. He is moreover a warm lover of divine things. On this account he has spent many days with me, expecting to reap some benefit from his stay. But I, as you know, most God-beloved friend, shrink from trying so to derive good from others, and am far from being able to impart it to those who seek it, and this not because I grudge, but because I have not the wherewithal, to give. Wherefore let your holiness pray that what is said of me may be confirmed by fact, and that not only may good things be reported of me by word, but proved in deed.

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.