Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXIX. to Magnus Antoninus the Presbyter

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 Theodoret praises the recipient for his efforts in defense of the truth faith against the Monophysites, encourages him to keep fighting, 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

Sailors at night are cheered by the sight of the harbour lights, and so are they who are in peril for the sake of the apostolic faith by the zeal of them that share the faith. We have great comfort in what we hear of your godliness's efforts on behalf of the divine doctrines, for this mind has been given you by the Giver of all good gifts and for the safe keeping of these doctrines you undergo every toil. Now I, comforted by your zeal, make an insignificant return, calling on you to persevere in your divine labours, to despise your adversaries as an easy prey, (for what is weaker than they who are destitute of the truth?) and to trust in Him who said "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee," and "Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Help me too with your prayers that I may confidently say "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"

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.