Fathers of the Church
Letter CXVII: to Julian, Bishop of Cos
by Leo the Great in 453 | translated by Charles Lett Feltoe, M.A
Leo to Julian the bishop.
I. He wishes his assent to the Acts of Chalcedon to be widely known.
How watchfully and how devotedly you guard the catholic Faith, brother, the tenor of your letter shows, and my anxiety is greatly relieved by the information it contains; supplemented as it is by the most religious piety of our religious Emperor, which is clearly shown to be prepared by the Lord for the confirmation of the whole Church; so that, whilst Christian princes act for the Faith with holy zeal, the priests of the Lord may confidently pray for their realm.
What therefore our most clement Emperor deemed needful I have willingly complied with, by sending letters to all the brethren who were present at the Synod of Chalcedon, in which to show that I approved of what was resolved upon by our holy brethren about the Rule of Faith; on their account to wit, who in order to cloke their own treachery, pretend to consider invalid or doubtful such conciliar ordinances as are not ratified by my assent albeit, after the return of the brethren whom I had sent in my stead, I dispatched a letter to the bishop of Constantinople; so that, if he had been minded to publish it, abundant proof might have been furnished thereby how gladly I approved of what the synod had passed concerning the Faith. But, because it contained such an answer as would have run counter to his self-seeking, he preferred my acceptance of the brethren's resolutions to remain unknown, lest at the same time my reply should become known on the absolute authority of the Nicene canons. Wherefore take heed, beloved, that you warn our most gracious prince by frequent reminders that he add his words to ours and order the letter of the Apostolic See to be sent round to the priests of each single province, that hereafter no enemy of the Truth may venture to excuse himself under cover of my silence.
II. He expresses his thanks for the zeal shown by the Emperor and the Empress.
And as to the edict of the most Christian Emperor, in which he has shown what the ignorant folly of certain monks deserved and as to the reply of the most gracious Augusta, in which she rebuked the heads of the monasteries, I wish my great rejoicing to be known, being assured that this fervour of faith is bestowed upon them by Divine inspiration, in order that all men may acknowledge their superiority to rest not only on their royal state but also on their priestly holiness: whom both now and formerly I have asked to treat you with full confidence, being assured of their good will, and that they will not refuse to give ear to necessary suggestions.
III. He wishes to know the effect of his letter to the Empress Eudocia.
And, because the most clement Emperor has been pleased to charge me secretly by our son Paulus with the task of admonishing our daughter the most clement Augusta Eudocia, I have done what he wished, in order that from my letter she may learn how profitable it will be to her if she espouses the cause of the catholic Faith, and have managed that she should further be admonished by a letter from that most clement prince her son; nothing doubting that she herself, too, will set to work with pious zeal to bring the leaders of sedition to a knowledge of the consequences of their action, and, if they understand not the utterances of those who teach them, to make them at least afraid of the powers of those who will punish them. And so what effect this care of ours produces, I with to know at once by a letter from you, beloved, and whether their ignorant contumacy has at length subsided: as to which if they think there is any doubt about our teaching, let them at least not reject the writings of such holy priests as Athanasius, Theophilus and Cyril of Alexandria, with whom our statement of the Faith so completely harmonizes that any one who professes consent to them disagrees in nothing with us. IV. Aetius must be content at present with the Emperor's favour.
With our son Aetius the presbyter we sympathize in his sorrow; and, as one has been put into his place who had previously been judged worthy of censure, there is no doubt that this change tends to the injury of catholics. But these things must be borne patiently meanwhile, lest we should be thought to exceed the measure of our usual moderation, and for the present Aetius must be content with the encouragement of our most clement prince's favour, to whom I have but lately so commended him by letter that I doubt not his good repute has been increased in their most religious minds.
V. Anatolius shows no contrition in his subsequent acts.
This too we would have you know, that bishop Anatolius after our prohibition so persisted in his rash presumption as to call upon the bishops of Illyricum to subscribe their names: this news was brought us by the bishop who was sent by the bishop of Thessalonica to announce his consecration. We have declined to write to Anatolius about this, although you might have expected us to do so, because we perceived he did not wish to be reformed. I have made two versions of my letter to the Synod, one with a copy of my letter to Anatolius subjoined, one without it; leaving it to your judgment to deliver the one which you think ought to be given to our most clement prince and to keep the other. Dated 21st March, in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio.
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. (LNPF II/XII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.