Fathers of the Church

Letter LII. to Ibas, Bishop of Edessa

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 recommends to the bishop of Edessa a fellow bishop from Africa, Cyprianus, who had been forced to flee from barbarian incursions.

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

It is, I think, of His providential care for our common salvation that the God of all brings on some men certain calamities, that chastisement may prove to be to them that have erred a healing remedy; to virtue's athletes an encouragement to constancy; and to all who look on a beneficial exemplar. For it is natural that when we see others punished we should be filled with fear ourselves. In view of these considerations I look on the trouble of Africa as a general advantage. In the first place when I bear in mind their former prosperity and now took on their sudden overthrow, I see how variable are all human affairs, and learn a twofold lesson;—not to rejoice in felicity as though it would never come to an end, nor be distressed at calamities as hard to bear. Then I recall the memory of past errors, and tremble lest I fall into like sufferings. My main motive in now writing to you is to introduce to your holiness the very God-beloved bishop Cyprianus, who starting from the famous Africa is now compelled, by the savagery of the barbarians, to travel in Foreign lands.

He has brought a letter to us from the very holy bishop the lord Eusebius, who wisely rules the Galatians. When your piety has received him with your wonted kindness I beg you to send him with a letter to whatever pious bishops you may think fit so that while he enjoys their kindly consolation he may be the means of their receiving heavenly and lasting benefits.

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.