Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXXI. to Longinus, Archimandrite of Doliche

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 Theodoret thanks his correspondent for comforting him in his exile.

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

You have shewn alike your zeal for the true religion, and your love for your neighbour, both of which are at the present time clearly connected, for it is for the sake of the apostolic decrees that I am being attacked, because I refuse to give up the heritage of my fathers, and prefer to undergo any suffering to looking lightly on the robbery of one tittle from the faith of the Gospel. You have accepted fellowship in my sufferings, not only by comforting me by means of your letter, but further by sending to me the very honourable and pious Matthew and Isaac. You shall hear, I am well assured. from the lips of the righteous Lord, "I was in prison, and ye visited me." We are small and of no account, and burdened by a great load of sins, but the Lord is bountiful and generous. He remembers the small rather than the great, and says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these" "which believe in me" "ye have done it unto me." I pray you in that you are conspicuous for right doctrine, and shine by worthiness of life, and therefore have great boldness before God, help me in your prayers, that I may be able "to stand," to use the words of the Apostle, "against the wiles of error," escape the sins of the destroyer, and stand, though with little boldness, in the day of the appearing before the righteous Judge.

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.