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Fathers of the Church

Letter LXXV. to the Clergy of Beraea

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 writes an affectionate and encouraging letter to the clergy of a neighboring diocese.

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

I perceive that it is with reason that I am well disposed to your reverences, for I have been assured by your kindly letter that my affection was returned. For this affection of mine towards you I have many reasons. First of all there is the fact that your father, that great and apostolic man, was my father too. Secondly I look upon that truly religious bishop, who now rules your church, as I might on a brother both in blood and in sympathy. Thirdly there is the near neighbourhood of our cities, and fourthly our frequent intercourse with one another, which naturally begets friendship and increases it when it is begotten. If you like, I will name yet a fifth, and that is that we have the same close connexion with you as the tongue has with the ears, the former uttering speech, and the latter receiving it; for you most gladly listen to my words, and I am delighted to let fall my little drop upon you. But the colophon of our union is our harmony in faith; our refusal to accept any spurious doctrines; our preservation of the ancient and apostolic teaching, which has been brought to you by hoary wisdom and nurtured by virtue's hardy toil. I beseech you therefore to take greater care of the flock, to preserve it unharmed for the Shepherd, and boldly to utter the famous words of the patriarch "that which was born of beasts I offered not unto Thee."

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.