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Fathers of the Church

Letter XLVII. to Proclus, Bishop of Constantinople

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 asks Proclus, patriarch of Constantinople, to exercise his influence in the matter of the taxation of Cyrus, mentioned in the previous letters.

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

A year ago, thanks to your holiness, the illustrious Philip governor of our city was delivered from serious danger. After entering into the enjoyment of the security which he owed to your kindness, he filled our ears with your praises. But all your labour a certain most pious personage was endeavouring to make null and void. The visitation made several times twelve years ago he calumniates, and has adopted a style of slander which would be unbecoming even in a respectable slave. Now I beseech your sanctity to put a stop to his lies, and to induce the illustrious prefects to ratify the decision which they duly and mercifully gave. As a matter of fact our city was taxed more severely than all the cities of the provinces, and after every city had been relieved ours continued to this day assessed at over sixty-two thousand acres. At last the occupants of that seat of honour were with difficulty induced to send inspectors of the district; their report was first received by Isidorus of famous memory and confirmed by the glorious and Christ-loving lord Florentius, and tile whole matter was very carefully enquired into by our present ruler, whose equity adorns the throne, and he confirmed the assessment by an imperial decree. But this truth-loving person, all for his hatred of one single individual, the excellent Philip, has declared war against the poor. Under these circumstances I implore your holiness to array the forces of your righteous eloquence against his eloquence of wrong, to throw your shield over the truth which is attacked and at once prove her strength and the futility of lies.

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.