Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXVII. to Jobius, Presbyter and Archimandrite

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) In this brief letter he congratulates an aged priest for defending the true faith against Monophysitism, and asks for his prayers.

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. Letters CXIV-CXXXII were written during his exile from Cyrus after the “Robber-Council” of Ephesus.

by Theodoret in 449-450 | translated by Blomfield Jackson

The patriarch Abraham won a victory in his old age. The great Moses was now an old man when, so long as he stretched out his hands in prayer, he vanquished Amalek. The divine Samuel was an old man when he put the aliens to flight. These are emulated by your venerable old age. In our wars for true religion's sake you are playing the man, and championing the cause of the gospel doctrines, and putting young men in the shade by the vigour of your spirit.

I rejoice to hear it, and am glad, and long to embrace your right venerable gray hairs. This I cannot do, for your reverence is kept at home by your years, and I am kept in durance here by the imperial decree. But I cheat my love by this letter, and give your piety this most loving embrace. I call upon you in your prayers to help the churches now whelmed in the storm, and to win for me the divine support, assailed as I am for the sake of the doctrines of the gospel, and standing sorely in need of help from above.

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.