Fathers of the Church

Letter LXXIII. to Apollonius

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 brief letter to a talented pagan invites him to faith in God.

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

Themistocles the son of Neocles, the far-famed and admirable general, is described by the admiring historian as endowed with natural virtue alone. Of Pericles, however, the son of Xanthippus, it is said that he also derived ability from his education to charm his hearers by his persuasive eloquence, and was gifted with the power alike of knowing what measures should be taken and of enforcing them by word of mouth. In writing about him there is no impropriety in my using his own words. These things illustrate your magnificence, for God, our Creator, hath given you natural capacity, and your education makes its brilliance the more conspicuous. Nothing then is wanting to the full complement of your high qualities save only knowledge of their Author; be but this added, and the tale of virtues which we shall have will be complete. Thus I write to you on receiving news of your arrival, beseeching the Giver of all good to grant a beam of light to your soul's eye, to show you the greatness of His boon, to kindle your love of that possession, and to grant the longed for favour to him that longs for it.

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.