Writings of Leo the Great. Letters and Sermons

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The Letters and Sermons of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome

Translated, with Introduction, Notes, and Indices,

by the Rev. Charles Lett Feltoe, M.A.,
Late Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.


Letter XL.

To the Bishops of the Province of Arles in Gaul.

To his well-beloved brethren Constantinus Audentius, Rusticus, Auspicius, Nicetas, Nectarius, Florus, Asclepius, Justus, Augustalis, Ynantius, and Chrysaphius [364] , Leo the pope.

He approves of their having unanimously elected Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.

We have just and reasonable reason for rejoicing, when we learn that the Lord's priests have done what is agreeable both to the rules of the Father's canons and to the Apostles' institutions. For the whole body of the Church must needs increase with a healthy growth, if the governing members excel in the strength of their authority, and in peaceful management. Accordingly, we ratify with our sanction your good deed, brethren, in unanimously, on the death of Hilary [365] of holy memory, consecrating our brother Ravennius, a man well approved by us, in the city of Arles, in accordance with the wishes of the clergy, the leading citizens, and the laity. Because a peace-making and harmonious election, where neither personal merits nor the good will of the congregation are wanting, is we believe the expression not only of man's choice, but of God's inspiration. So dearly beloved brethren, let the said priest use God's gift, and understand what self-devotion is expected of him, that by diligently and prudently carrying out the office entrusted to him, he may prove himself equal to your testimony, and fully worthy of our favour. God keep you safe, beloved brethren. Dated 22 August in the consulship of Asturius and Protogenes (449).

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Footnotes

[364] These twelve bishops do not include the Bishop of Vienne, according to Perthel (p. 29), following apparently Quesnel, whose wish-fathered thought, though possibly right, has little evidence to go upon. Cf. Letters LXV. and LXVI. below. [365] It will be noticed that Leo speaks of Hilary not only with respect, but as if he acquiesced in his sentence (passed against Hilary in Lett. X. above) not having been carried out.

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Letter XLI.

To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.

(He congratulates him on his appointment, exhorts him to firm but gentle government, and advises him frequently to consult the Apostolic See. Undated, but no doubt sent about the same time as XL.)

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Letter XLII.

To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.

Leo the Pope to his well-beloved brother Ravennius.

He asks him to deal with the imposture of a certain Petronianus.

We wish you to be circumspect and careful lest any blameworthy presumption should put forth undue claims: for, when it once finds an entrance by crafty stealth, it spreads itself into greater rashness in the name of the dignity it has assumed. We have learnt, on the trustworthy evidence of your clergy, that a certain wandering and vagabond Petronianus has boasted himself throughout the provinces of Gaul as our deacon, and under cover of this office is going about the various churches of that country. We desire you, beloved brother, so to check his abominable effrontery, as to disclose his imposture, by warning the bishops of the whole district, and to expel him from communion with all the Churches, lest he continue his claim. The Lord keep you safe, dearly beloved brother. Dated 26th, August, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).

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Letter XLIII [366] .

To Theodosius Augustus.

To the most glorious and serene Emperor Theodosius, Leo the bishop.

I. He complains of the conduct of Dioscorus at the Council of Ephesus.

Already and from the beginning, in the synods which have been held, we have received such freedom of speech from the most holy Peter, chief of the Apostles, as to have the power both to maintain the Truth in the cause of peace, and to allow no one to disturb it in its firm position, but at once to repel the mischief. Since then the council of bishops which you ordered to be held in the city of Ephesus on account of Flavian, does mischief to the Faith itself and inflicts wounds on all the churches---- [367] ; and this has been brought to our knowledge not by some untrustworthy messenger, but by the most reverend bishops [368] themselves who were sent by us and by the most trusty Hilarus our deacon, who have narrated to us what took place. And the occurrences are to be put down to the fault of those who met, not having, as is customary, with a pure conscience and right judgment made a definite statement about the faith and those who erred therefrom. For we have learnt that all did not come together in the conference who ought, some being ejected and others received: who were ensnared into an ungodly act of subscription by the designs of the aforesaid priest [369] . For the declaration effected by him is of such a nature as to injure all the churches. For when those who were sent by us saw how exceedingly impious and hostile to the Faith it was, they notified it to us.

II. He asks him to restore the ancient catholic doctrine.

Wherefore, most peace-loving prince, vouchsafe for the Faith's sake to avert this danger from your Godly conscience, and let not man's presumption use violence upon Christ's Gospel. In my sincere desire, which is shared by the bishops that are with me, that you, most Christian and revered prince, should before all things please God, to whom the prayers of the whole Church are poured with one accord for your empire, I give you counsel, for fear lest, if we keep silence on so great a matter, we incur punishment before the tribunal of Christ. I entreat you therefore before the undivided Trinity of the one Godhead, which is injured by these evil doings, and which is the guardian of your kingdom, and before Christ's holy angels that all things remain intact as they were before the judgment, and that they await the weightier decision of the Synod at which the whole number of the bishops in the whole world is gathered together: and do not allow yourselves to bear the weight of others' misdoing. We are constrained to say this plainly by the fear of a constraining necessity [370] . But keep before your eyes the blessed Peter's glory, and the crowns which all the Apostles have in common with him, and the joys of the martyrs who had no other incentive to suffering but the confession of the true Godhead and the perfect continuance in Christ [371] .

III. And asks for another Synod to be summoned.

And now that this confession is being godlessly impugned by some few men, all the churches of our parts and all the priests implore your clemency with tears in accordance with the request which Flavian makes in his appeal, to command the assembling together of a special Synod in Italy, in order that all opposition may be expelled or pacified, and that there may be no deviation from or ambiguity in the Faith: and to it should also come the bishops of all the Eastern provinces, that, if any have wandered out of the way of Truth, they may be recalled to their allegiance by wholesome remedies, and they who are under a more grievous charge may either be reduced to submission by counsel or cut off from the one Church. So that we are bound to preserve both what the Nicene canon enjoins and what the definitions of the bishops of the whole world enjoin according to the custom of the catholic Church, and also (to maintain) the freedom of our fathers' Faith, on which your tranquillity rests. For we pray that when those who harm the Church are driven out, and your provinces enjoy the possession of justice, and vengeance has been executed on these heretics your royal power also may be defended by Christ's right hand.


Footnotes

[366] No satisfactory conclusion can be reached about this letter as it has come down to us, the Ballerinii not thinking that the Latin version extant is the original on which the Gk. version is based. On the whole I have thought it safer to make my translation chiefly from the Gk., though I am not at all sure that there is sufficient ground for the Ballerinii's suspicion of the Latin. [367] A lacuna is here visible in the sense though not in the mss. [368] The Gk. and the Lat. both read plural here episkopon (episcopis) which the Ballerinii alter to the singular. As far as we know, Julius was the only bishop in the party, but the greater includes the less. [369] Viz., Dioscorus, who must have been mentioned in the lacuna above, if anywhere. [370] The old Lat. version has here something very different quia quod necesse est nos dicere, veremur ne cuius religio dissipatur, indignatio provocetur (for we are bound to say we fear lest He whose religion is being undermined, should have His wrath aroused). [371] he en Christo teleia diamone: here again the Latin Version diverges, reading veræ humanitatis (sc. confessio) in Christo. So too the next sentence begins with cui sacramento, instead of the Gk. es tinos homologias, and elsewhere.

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Letter XLIV.

To Theodosius Augustus.

Leo, the bishop, and the holy Synod which is assembled at Rome to Theodosius Augustus.

I. He exposes the unscrupulous nature of the proceedings at Ephesus.

From your clemency's letter, which in your love of the catholic Faith you sent sometime ago to the see of the blessed Apostle Peter, we drew such confidence in your defence of truth and peace that we thought nothing harmful could happen in so plain and well-ordered a matter; especially when those who were sent to the episcopal council, which you ordered to be held at Ephesus, were so fully instructed that, if the bishop of Alexandria had allowed the letters, which they brought either to the holy synod or to Flavian the bishop, to be read in the ears of the bishops, by the declaration of the most pure Faith, which being Divinely inspired we both have received and hold, all noise of disputings would have been so completely hushed that neither ignorance could any longer disport itself, nor jealousy find occasion to do mischief. But because private interests are consulted under cover of religion, the disloyalty of a few has wrought that which must wound the whole Church. For not from some untrustworthy messenger, but from a most faithful narrator of the things which have been done, Hilary, our deacon, who, lest he should be compelled by force to subscribe to their proceedings, with great difficulty made his escape, we have learnt that a great many priests came together at the synod, whose numbers would doubtless have assisted the debate and decision, if he who claimed for himself the chief place had consented to maintain priestly moderation, in order that, according to custom, when all had freely expressed their opinion, after quiet and fair deliberation, that might be ordained which was both agreeable to the Faith and helpful to those in error. But we have been told that all who had come were not present at the actual decision: for we have learnt that some were rejected while others were admitted, who at the aforesaid priest's requisition surrendered themselves to an unrighteous subscription, knowing they would suffer harm unless they obeyed his commands, and that such a resolution was brought forward by him that in attacking one man he might wreak his fury of the whole Church. Which our delegates from the Apostolic See saw to be so blasphemous and opposed to the catholic Faith that no pressure could force them to assent; for in the same synod they stoutly protested, as they ought, that the Apostolic See would never receive what was being passed: since the whole mystery of the Christian Faith is absolutely destroyed (which Heaven forfend in your Grace's reign), unless this abominable wickedness, which exceeds all former blasphemies, be abolished.

II. And entreats the Emperor to help in reversing their decision.

But because the devil with wicked subtlety deceives the unwary, and so mocks the imprudence of some by a show of piety as to persuade them to things harmful instead of profitable, we pray your Grace, renounce all complicity in this endangering of religion and Faith, and afford in the treatment of Divine things that which is granted in worldly matters by the equity of your laws, that human presumption may not do violence to Christ's Gospel. Behold, I, O most Christian and honoured Emperor, with my fellow-priests [372] fulfilling towards your revered clemency the offices of sincere love, and desiring you in all things to please God, to whom prayers are offered for you by the Church, lest before the Lord Christ's tribunal we be judged guilty for our silence,--we beseech you in the presence of the Undivided Trinity of the One Godhead, Whom such an act wrongs (for He is Himself the Guardian and the Author of your empire), and in the presence of Christ's holy angels, order everything to be in the position in which they were before the decision until a larger number of priests be assembled from the whole world. Suffer not yourself to be weighted with another's sin because (and we must say it) we are afraid lest He, Whose religion is being destroyed, be provoked to wrath. Keep before your eyes, and with all your mental vision gaze reverently upon the blessed Peter's glory, and the crowns which all the Apostles have in common with him and the palms of all the martyrs, who had no other reason for suffering than the confession of the true Godhead and the true Manhood in Christ.

III. He asks for a Council in Italy.

And because this mystery is now being impiously opposed by a few ignorant persons, all the churches of our parts, and all the priests entreat your clemency, with groans and tears seeing that our delegates faithfully protested, and bishop Flavian gave them an appeal in writing, to order a general synod to be held in Italy, which shall either dismiss or appease all disputes in such a way that there be nothing any longer either doubtful in the Faith or divided in love, and to it, of course, the bishops of the Eastern provinces must come, and if any of them were overcome by threats and injury, and deviated from the path of truth, they may be fully restored by health-giving measures, and they themselves, whose case is harder, if they acquiesce in wiser counsels, may not fall from the unity of the Church. And how necessary this request is after the lodging of an appeal is witnessed by the canonical decrees passed at Nicæa by the bishops of the whole world, which are added below [373] . Show favour to the catholics after your own and your parents' custom. Give us such liberty to defend the catholic Faith as no violence, no fear of the world, while your revered clemency is safe, shall be able to take away. For it is the cause not only of the Church but of your Kingdom and prosperity that we plead, that you may enjoy the peaceful sway of your provinces. Defend the Church in unshaken peace against the heretics, that your empire also may be defended by Christ's right hand. Dated the 13th of October, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).


Footnotes

[372] Cum consacerdotibus meis. The Gk. version here reads the singular (meta tou sulleitourgou mou). This, if intentional and not a slip, is, I suppose, Flavian, of whose death Leo was not yet apprized. [373] Both Quesnel and the Ball. agree that the Canon here quoted by Leo really belongs not to the Nicene collection, but to that of Sardica (about 344), in which it stands as no. 4. (Exactly the same mistake is made in Letter LVI., where Galla Placidia Augusta quotes Canon 5 of Sardica to Theodosius as secundum definitiones Nicoeni concilii). Cf. Gore's Leo, pp. 113, 114. The wording of this fourth Canon is as follows: "Gaudentius, the bishop said, If it please you to add to this admirable declaration which you have passed, I propose that whensoever one bishop has been deposed by the judgment of other bishops, and appeals for his case to be heard in Civitas Novorum, the other bishop cannot by any means be considered confirmed in the same See after the appeal of the one who appears to be deposed, until he receive the decision of the judges there." In applying this to the present case, Leo no doubt proposed to substitute Urbs Roma for Civitas Novorum , though this was hardly the same thing.

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Letter XLV.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

Leo, the bishop, and the holy Synod which is assembled in the City of Rome to Pulcheria Augusta.

I. He sends a copy of the former letter which failed to reach her.

If the letters respecting the Faith which were despatched to your Grace by the hands of our clergy had reached you, it is certain you would have been able, the Lord helping you, to provide a remedy for these things which have been done against the Faith. For when have you failed either the priests or the religion or the Faith of Christ? But when those who were sent were so completely hindered from reaching your clemency that only one of them, namely Hilary our deacon, with difficulty fled and returned, we thought it necessary to rewrite our letter: and that our prayers may deserve to receive more weight, we have subjoined a copy of the very document which did not reach your clemency, entreating you even more earnestly than before to take under protection that religion in which you excel which will win you the greater glory in proportion to the heinousness of the crimes against which your royal faith requires you to proceed, lest the integrity of the Christian Faith be violated by any plot of man's devising. For the things which were believed to require setting at rest and healing by the meeting of a Synod at Ephesus, have not only resulted in still greater disturbances of peace but, which is the more to be regretted, even in the overthrow of the very Faith whereby we are Christians.

II. He also sends a copy of his letter to the Emperor and explains its contents.

And they indeed, who were sent, and one of whom, escaping the violence of the bishop of Alexandria who claims everything for himself, faithfully reported to us what took place in the Synod, opposed, as it became them, what I will call the frenzy not the judgment of one man, protesting that those things which were being carried through by violence and fear could not reverse the mysteries of the Church and the Creed itself composed by the Apostles, and that no injuries could sever them from that Faith which they had brought fully set forth and expounded from the See of the blessed Apostle Peter to the holy synod. And since this statement was not allowed to be read out at the bishop's request, in order forsooth that by the rejection of that Faith which has crowned patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, the birth according to the flesh of Jesus Christ our Lord and the confession of His true Death and Resurrection (we shudder to say it) might be overthrown, we have written [374] on this matter according to our ability, to our most glorious and (what is far greater) our Christian Prince, and at the same time have subjoined a copy of the letter to you to the end that he may not allow the Faith, in which he was re-born and reigns through God's grace, to be corrupted by any innovation, since Bishop Flavian continues in communion with us all, and that which has been done without regard to justice and contrary to all the teaching of the canons can, under no consideration, be held valid. And because the Synod of Ephesus has not removed but increased the scandal of disagreement (I have asked him) to appoint a place and time for holding a council within Italy, all quarrels and prejudices on both sides being suspended, that everything which has engendered offence may be the more diligently reconsidered and without wounding the Faith, without injuring religion those priests may return into the peace of Christ, who through irresolution were forced to subscribe, and only their errors be removed.

III. He asks her to assist his petition with the Emperor.

And that we may be worthy to obtain this, let your well-tried faith and protection, which has always helped the Church in her labours, deign to advance our petition with our most clement Prince, under a special commission so to act from the blessed Apostle Peter; so that before this civil and destructive war gains strength within the Church, he may grant opportunity of restoring unity by God's aid, knowing that the strength of his empire will be increased by every extension of catholic freedom that his kindly will affects.

Dated 13th of October in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).


Footnotes

[374] This is, of course, Letter XLIV.

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Letter XLVI.

From Hilary, then Deacon (afterwards Bishop of Rome) to Pulcheria Augusta.

(Describing his ill-treatment, as Leo's delegate, by Dioscorus.)

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Letter XLVII.

To Anastasius, Bishop of Thessalonica.

(Congratulating him on being present at the synod of Ephesus.)

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Letter XLVIII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Consoling him after the riots at Ephesus and exhorting him to stand firm.)

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Letter XLIX.

To Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Whose death he is unaware of, promising him all the support in his power.)

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Letter L.

To the people of Constantinople, by the hand of Epiphanius and Dionysius, Notary of the Church of Rome.

(Exhorting them to stand firm and consoling them for Flavian's deposition.)

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Letter LI.

To Faustus and other Presbyters and Archimandrites in Constantinople.

(With the same purport as the last.)

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Letter LII.

From Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, to Leo. (See vol. iii. of this Series, p. 293.)

To Leo, bishop of Rome.

I. If Paul appealed to Peter how much more must ordinary folk have recourse to his successor.

If Paul, the herald of the Truth, the trumpet of the Holy Ghost, had recourse to the great Peter, in order to obtain a decision from him for those at Antioch who were disputing about living by the Law, much more do we small and humble folk run to the Apostolic See to get healing from you for the sores of the churches. For it is fitting that you should in all things have the pre-eminence, seeing that your See possesses many peculiar privileges. For other cities get a name for size or beauty or population, and some that are devoid of these advantages are compensated by certain spiritual gifts: but your city has the fullest abundance of good things from the Giver of all good. For she is of all cities the greatest and most famous, the mistress of the world and teeming with population. And besides this she has created an empire which is still predominant and has imposed her own name upon her subjects. But her chief decoration is her Faith, to which the Divine Apostle is a sure witness when he exclaims "your faith is proclaimed in all the world [375] ;" and if immediately after receiving the seeds of the saving Gospel she bore such a weight of wondrous fruit, what words are sufficient to express the piety which is now found in her? She has, too, the tombs of our common fathers and teachers of the Truth, Peter and Paul [376] , to illumine the souls of the faithful. And this blessed and divine pair arose indeed in the East, and shed its rays in all directions, but voluntarily underwent the sunset of life in the West, from whence now it illumines the whole world. These have rendered your See so glorious: this is the chief of all your goods. And their See is still blest by the light of their God's presence, seeing that therein He has placed your Holiness to shed abroad the rays of the one true Faith.

II. He commends Leo's zeal against the Manichees, and latterly against Eutychianism, as evidenced especially in the Tome.

Of which thing indeed, though there are many other proofs to be found, your zeal against the ill-famed Manichæans is proof enough, that zeal which your holiness has of late years displayed [377] , thereby revealing the intensity of your devotion to God in things Divine. Proof enough, too, of your Apostolic character is what you have now written. For we have met with what your holiness has written about the Incarnation of our God and Saviour, and have admired the careful diligence of the work [378] . For it has proved both points equally well, viz., the Eternal Godhead of the Only-begotten of the Eternal Father, and at the same time His manhood of the seed of Abraham and David, and His assumption of a nature in all things like ours, except in this one thing, that He remained free from all sin: for sin is engendered not of nature, but of free will [379] . This also was contained in your letter, that the only-begotten Son of God is One and His Godhead impassible, irreversible, unchangeable even as the Father who begat Him and the All-holy Spirit. And since the Divine nature could not suffer, He took the nature that could suffer to this end, that by the suffering of His own Flesh He might give exemption from suffering to those that believed on Him. These points, and all that is akin thereto, the letter contained. And we, admiring your spiritual wisdom, extolled the grace of the Holy Ghost which spoke through you, and ask and pray, and beg and beseech your holiness to come to the rescue of the churches of God that are now tempest tossed.

III. He complains of Dioscorus' ill-treatment of himself.

For when we expected a stilling of the waves through those who were sent to Ephesus from your holiness, we have fallen into yet worse storm. For the most righteous [380] prelate of Alexandria was not satisfied with the illegal and most unrighteous deposition of the Lord's most holy and God-loving bishop of Constantinople, Flavian, nor was his wrath appeased by the slaughter of the other bishops likewise. But me, too, he murdered with his pen in my absence, without calling me to judgment, without passing judgment on me in person, without questioning me on what I hold about the Incarnation of our God and Saviour. But even murderers, tomb-breakers, and ravishers of other men's beds, those who sit in judgment do not condemn until they either themselves corroborate the accusations by their confessions, or are clearly convicted by others. But us, when five and thirty days' journey distant, he, though brought up on Divine laws, has condemned at his will. And not now only has he done this, but also last year, after that two persons infected with the Apollinarian disorder had come hither and laid false information against us, he rose up in church and anathematized us, and that when I had written to him and expressed what I hold in a letter.

IV. This ill-treatment has come after 20 years' good work in his diocese of Cyrus.

I bemoan the distress of the Church and yearn after its peace. For having ruled through your prayers the church committed to me by the God of the universe for 20 years, neither in the time of the blessed Theodotus, president of the East, nor in the time of those who have succeeded him in the See of Antioch, have I received the slightest blame, but, the Divine Grace working with me, have freed more than 1,000 souls from the disease of Marcion, and have won over many others from the company of Arius and Eunomius to the Master, Christ. And 800 churches have I had to shepherd: for that is the number of parishes in Cyrus, in which not a single tare through your prayers has lingered. But our flock has been freed from every heretical error. He that sees all things knows how I have been stoned by the ill-famed heretics that have been sent against me, and what struggles I have had in many cities of the East against Greeks, Jews, and every heretical error. And after all these toils and troubles, I have been condemned without a hearing.

V. He appeals to the Apostolic See with confidence.

I however await the verdict of your Apostolic See, and beg and pray your Holiness to succour me when I appeal to your upright and just tribunal, and bid me come to you and show that my teaching follows in the track of the Apostles. For there are writings of mine some 20 years ago, some 18, some 15, and some 12, some again against the Arians and Eunomians, some against the Jews and Greeks some against the Magi in Persia, some also about the universal Providence, others about the nature of God and about the Divine Incarnation. I have interpreted, through the Divine grace, both the Apostolic writings and the prophetic utterances, and it is easy therefrom to gather whether I have kept unswervingly the standard of the Faith, or have turned aside from its straight path. And I beg you not to spurn my petition, nor to overlook the insults heaped on my poor white hairs.

VI. Ought he to acquiesce in his deposition?

First of all, I beg you to tell me, whether I ought to acquiesce in this unrighteous deposition or not. For I await your verdict and, if you bid me abide by my condemnation, I will abide by it, and will trouble no one hereafter, but await the unerring verdict of our God and Saviour. I indeed, the Master God is my witness, care nought for honour and glory, but only for the stumbling-block that is put in men's way: because many of the simpler folk, and especially those who have been rescued by us from divers heresies, will give credence to those who have condemned us, and perchance reckon us heretics, not being able to discern the exact truth of the dogma, and because, after my long episcopate, I have acquired neither house, nor land, nor obol, nor tomb, only a voluntary poverty, having straightway distributed even what came to me from my fathers after their death, as all know who live in the East.

VII. Being prevented himself, he has sent delegates to plead his cause.

And before all things I entreat you, holy and God-loved brother, render assistance to my prayers. These things I have brought to your Holiness' knowledge, by the most religious and God-beloved presbyters, Hypatius and Abramius the chorepiscopi [381] , and Alypius, superintendent [382] of the monks in our district: seeing that I was hindered from coming to you myself by the Emperor's restraining letter, and likewise the others. And I entreat your holiness both to look on them with fatherly regard, and to lend them your ears in sincere kindness, and also to deem my slandered and falsely attacked position worthy of your protection, and above all to defend with all your might the Faith that is now plotted against, and to keep the heritage of the fathers intact for the churches, so shall your holiness receive from the Bountiful Master a full reward. (Date about the end of 449.)


Footnotes

[375] Rom. i. 8. [376] It is sufficient here to quote Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. ii. 25) as one of the earliest (before 340) maintainers of this tradition. In this passage he again quotes Gaius of Rome (3rd cent.) and Dionysius of Corinth (2nd cent.) as corroborative authorities. Eusebius's own words are these: "Paul is recorded to have been beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter likewise to have been impaled. And this statement is supported by their names, which remain to this day inscribed in the cemeteries there." [377] Viz., in 444: cf. Letter VII. supra, together with the Emperor's decree (Lett. VIII.). [378] This is, of course, the Tome (Lett. XXVIII.). [379] Here `nature' must mean `man's original nature before the Fall,' when it was still in the image of Him who so created it, to which nature Christ's manhood was a triumphant return. Otherwise it's hard to see how Theodoret escapes the pitfall of Pelagianism. [380] The epithet is shown by the context to be bitterly sarcastic. [381] Chorepiscopi (country bishops) were a kind of suffragan bishop to assist the town bishops in the remoter parts of their diocese. They continued in use from the end of the 3rd till the 9th century, when they were abolished. [382] Exarchus.

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Letter LIII.

A fragment of a letter from Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople, to Leo (about his consecration).

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Letter LIV.

To Theodosius Augustus (asking for a synod in Italy).>

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Letters LV. to LVIII.

A series of Letters.

(1) From Valentinian the Emperor to Theodosius Augustus.

(2) From Galla Placidia Augusta to Theodosius Augustus.

(3) From Licinia Eudoxia Augusta to Theodosius Augustus.

(4) From Galla Placidia Augusta to Pulcheria Augusta, all graphically describing how Leo had appealed to them in public to press his suit with Theodosius. Of these, LVI. is subjoined as perhaps the most interesting specimen.

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Letter LVI.

(From Galla Placidia Augusta to Theodosius).

To the Lord Theodosius, Conqueror and Emperor, her ever august son, Galla Placidia, most pious and prosperous, perpetual Augusta and mother.

When on our very arrival in the ancient city, we were engaged in paying our devotion to the most blessed Apostle Peter, at the martyr's very altar, the most reverend Bishop Leo waiting behind awhile after the service uttered laments over the catholic Faith to us, and taking to witness the chief of the Apostles himself likewise, whom we had just approached, and surrounded by a number of bishops whom he had brought together from numerous cities in Italy by the authority and dignity of his position, adding also tears to his words, called upon us to join our moans to his own. For no slight harm has arisen from those occurrences, whereby the standard of the catholic Faith so long guarded since the days of our most Divine father Constantine, who was the first in the palace to stand out as a Christian, has been recently disturbed by the assumption of one man, who in the synod held at Ephesus is alleged to have rather stirred up hatred and contention, intimidating by the presence of soldiers, Flavianus, the bishop of Constantinople, because he had sent an appeal to the Apostolic See, and to all the bishops of these parts by the hands of those who had been deputed to attend the Synod by the most reverend Bishop of Rome, who have been always wont so to attend, most sacred Lord and Son and adored King, in accordance with the provisions of the Nicene Synod [383] . For this cause we pray your clemency to oppose such disturbances with the Truth, and to order the Faith of the catholic religion to be preserved without spot, in order that according to the standard and decision of the Apostolic See, which we likewise revere as pre-eminent, Flavianus may remain altogether uninjured in his priestly office, and the matter be referred to the Synod of the Apostolic See, wherein assuredly he first adorned the primacy, who was deemed worthy to receive the keys of heaven: for it becomes us in all things to maintain the respect due to this great city, which is the mistress of all the earth; and this too we must most carefully provide that what in former times our house guarded seem not in our day to be infringed, and that by the present example schisms be not advanced either between the bishops or the most holy churches.


Footnotes

[383] See no. 9a to Lett. XLIV., 3, where it is shown that this is a mistake, willful or otherwise, on Leo's part.

.


Letter LIX.

To the Clergy and People of the City of Constantinople.

Leo the bishop to the clergy, dignitaries, and people, residing at Constantinople.

I. He congratulates them on their outspoken resistance to error.

Though we are greatly grieved at the things reported to have been done recently in the council of priests at Ephesus, because, as is consistently rumoured, and also demonstrated by results, neither due moderation nor the strictness of the Faith was there observed, yet we rejoice in your devoted piety and in the acclamations of the holy people [384] , instances of which have been brought to our notice, we have approved of the right feeling of you all; because there lives and abides in good sons due affection for their excellent Father, and because you suffer the fulness of catholic teaching to be in no part corrupted. For undoubtedly, as the Holy Spirit has unfolded to you, they are leagued with the Manichæans' error, who deny that the only-begotten Son of God took our nature's true Manhood, and maintain that all His bodily actions were the actions of a false apparition. And lest you should in aught give your assent to this blasphemy, we have now sent you, beloved, by my son Epiphanius and Dionysius, notary of the Roman Church, letters of exhortation wherein we have of our own accord rendered you the assistance which you sought, that you may not doubt of our bestowing all a father's care on you, and labouring in every way, by the help of God's mercy, to destroy all the stumbling-blocks which ignorant and foolish men have raised. And let no one venture to parade his priestly dignity who can be convicted of holding such detestably blasphemous opinions. For if ignorance seems hardly tolerable in laymen, how much less excusable or pardonable is it in those who govern; especially when they dare even to defend their mendacious and perverse views, and persuade the unsteadfast to agree with them either by intimidation or by cajoling.

II. They are to be rejected who deny the truth of Christ's flesh, a truth repeated by every recipient at the Holy Eucharist.

Let such men be rejected by the holy members of Christ's Body, and let not catholic liberty suffer the yoke of the unfaithful to be laid upon it. For they are to be reckoned outside the Divine grace, and outside the mystery of man's salvation, who, denying the nature of our flesh in Christ, gainsay the Gospel and oppose the Creed. Nor do they perceive that their blindness leads them into such an abyss that they have no sure footing in the reality either of the Lord's Passion or His Resurrection: because both are discredited in the Saviour, if our fleshly nature is not believed in Him. In what density of ignorance, in what utter sloth must they hitherto have lain, not to have learnt from hearing, nor understood from reading, that which in God's Church is so constantly in men's mouths, that even the tongues of infants do not keep silence upon the truth of Christ's Body and Blood at the rite of Holy Communion [385] ? For in that mystic distribution of spiritual nourishment, that which is given and taken is of such a kind that receiving the virtue of the celestial food we pass into the flesh of Him, Who became our flesh [386] . Hence to confirm you, beloved, in your laudably faithful resistance to the foes of Truth, I shall fully and opportunely use the language and sentiments of the Apostle, and say: "Therefore I also hearing of your faith, which is in the Lord Jesus, and love towards all saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your hearts being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power in us, who believed according to the working of His mighty power which he has wrought in Christ, raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at His right hand in heavenly places above every principality, and power, and strength, and dominion, and every name which is named not only in this age, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and given Him to be the head over all the Church which is His body, and the fulness of Him Who filleth all in all [387] ."

III. Perfect God and perfect Man were united in Christ.

In this passage let the adversaries of the Truth say when or according to what nature did the Almighty Father exalt His Son above all things, or to what substance did He subject all things. For the Godhead of the Word is equal in all things, and consubstantial with the Father, and the power of the Begetter and the Begotten is one and the same always and eternally. Certainly, the Creator of all natures, since "through Him all things were made, and without Him was nothing made [388] ," is above all things which He created, nor were the things which He made ever not subject to their Creator, Whose eternal property it is, to be from none other than the Father, and in no way different to the Father. If greater power, grander dignity, more exalted loftiness was granted Him, then was He that was so increased less than He that promoted Him, and possessed not the full riches of His nature from Whose fulness He received. But one who thinks thus is hurried off into the society of Arius, whose heresy is much assisted by this blasphemy which denies the existence of human nature in the Word of God, so that, in rejecting the combination of humility with majesty in God, it either asserts a false phantom-body in Christ, or says that all His bodily actions and passions belonged to the Godhead rather than to the flesh. But everything he ventures to uphold is absolutely foolish: because neither our religious belief nor the scope of the mystery admits either of the Godhead suffering anything or of the Truth belying Itself in anything. The impassible Son of God, therefore, whose perpetually it is with the Father and with the Holy Spirit to be what He is in the one essence of the Unchangeable Trinity, when the fullness of time had come which had been fore-ordained by an eternal purpose, and promised by the prophetic significance of words and deeds, became man not by conversion of His substance but by assumption of our nature, and "came to seek and to save that which was lost [389] ." But He came not by local approach nor by bodily motion, as if to be present where He had been absent, or to depart where He had come: but He came to be manifested to onlookers by that which was visible and common to others, receiving, that is to say, human flesh and soul in the Virgin mother's womb, so that, abiding in the form of God, He united to Himself the form of a slave, and the likeness of sinful flesh, whereby He did not lessen the Divine by the human, but increased the human by the Divine.

IV. The Sacrament of Baptism typifies and realizes this union to each individual believer.

For such was the state of all mortals resulting from our first ancestors that, after the transmission of original sin to their descendants, no one would have escaped the punishment of condemnation, had not the Word become flesh and dwelt in us, that is to say, in that nature which belonged to our blood and race. And accordingly, the Apostle says: "As by one man's sin (judgment passed) upon all to condemnation, so also by one man's righteousness (it) passed upon all to justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man's obedience shall many be made righteous [390] ;" and again, "For because by man (came) death, by man also (came) the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive [391] ." All they to wit who though they be born in Adam, yet are found reborn in Christ, having a sure testimony both to their justification by grace, and to Christ's sharing in their nature [392] ; for he who does not believe that God's only-begotten Son did assume our nature in the womb of the Virgin-daughter of David, is without share in the Mystery of the Christian religion, and, as he neither recognizes the Bridegroom nor knows the Bride, can have no place at the wedding-banquet. For the flesh of Christ is the veil of the Word, wherewith every one is clothed who confesses Him unreservedly. But he that is ashamed of it and rejects it as unworthy, shall have no adornment from Him, and though he present himself at the Royal feast, and unseasonably join in the sacred banquet, yet the intruder will not be able to escape the King's discernment, but, as the Lord Himself asserted, will be taken, and with hands and feet bound, be cast into outer darkness; where will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [393] . Hence whosoever confesses not the human body in Christ, must know that he is unworthy of the mystery of the Incarnation, and has no share in that sacred union of which the Apostle speaks, saying, "For we are His members, of His flesh and of His bones. For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and there shall be two in one flesh [394] ." And explaining what was meant by this, he added, "This mystery is great, but I speak in respect of Christ and the Church." Therefore, from the very commencement of the human race, Christ is announced to all men as coming in the flesh. In which, as was said, "there shall be two in one flesh," there are undoubtedly two, God and man, Christ and the Church, which issued from the Bridegroom's flesh, when it received the mystery of redemption and regeneration, water and blood flowing from the side of the Crucified. For the very condition of a new creature which at baptism puts off not the covering of true flesh but the taint of the old condemnation, is this, that a man is made the body of Christ, because Christ also is the body of a man [395] .

V. The true doctrine of the Incarnation restated and commended to their keeping.

Wherefore we call Christ not God only, as the Manichæan heretics, nor Man only, as the Photinian [396] heretics, nor man in such a way that anything should be wanting in Him which certainly belongs to human nature, whether soul or reasonable mind or flesh which was not derived from woman, but made from the Word turned and changed into flesh; which three false and empty propositions have been variously advanced by the three sections of the Apollinarian heretics [397] . Nor do we say that the blessed Virgin Mary conceived a Man without Godhead, Who was created by the Holy Ghost and afterwards assumed by the Word, which we deservedly and properly condemned Nestorius for preaching: but we call Christ the Son of God, true God, born of God the Father without any beginning in time, and likewise true Man, born of a human Mother, at the ordained fulness of time, and we say that His Manhood, whereby the Father is the greater, does not in anything lessen that nature whereby He is equal with the Father. But these two natures form one Christ, Who has said most truly both according to His Godhead: "I and the Father are one [398] ," and according to His manhood "the Father is greater than I [399] ." This true and indestructible Faith, dearly-beloved, which alone makes us true Christians, and which, as we hear with approval, you are defending with loyal zeal and praiseworthy affection, hold fast and maintain boldly. And since, besides God's aid, you must win the favour of catholic Princes also, humbly and wisely make request that the most clement Emperor be pleased to grant our petition, wherein we have asked for a plenary synod to be convened; that by the aid of God's mercy the sound may be increased in courage, and the sick, if they consent to be treated, have the remedy applied. (Dated October 15, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes, 449.)


Footnotes

[384] Sanctæ plebis acclamationibus. It seems that the people had openly expressed their disapproval of the maltreatment to which Flavian had been subjected. [385] Two things are here to be noticed: (1) that the allusion appears to be to the formula of reception then in use at the Eucharist, the priest saying Corpus Christi, and the recipient answering Amen. Cf. Serm. xci. 3, sic sacræ mensæ communicare debetis ut nihil prorsus de veritate corporis Christi et sanguinis ambigatis. Hoc enim ore sumitar quod fide creditur: et frustra ab illis Amen respondetur a quibus contra id quod accipitur disputatur; (2) that infant communion is implied as regular: this we know to have been the case in much earlier days. Cf. Apost. Const. viii. 13, Cyprian de Lapsis, ix. and xxv. &c., also Bingham's Antiq. xv. chap. iv. § 7. [386] Cf. Sermon LXIII. 7, where much the same language is used. [387] Ephes. i. 15-23. [388] S. John i. 3. [389] S. Luke xix. 10. [390] Rom. v. 18, 19. [391] 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. [392] Habentes fidei testimonium et de justificatione gratiæ et ae communione naturæ. [393] The reference is to S. Matt. xxii. 11-13. [394] Eph. v. 30, 31, 32. [395] Ipsa est enim novæ condiiio creaturæ quæ in baptismate non indumento veræ carnis sed contagio damnatæ vetustatis exuitur ut efficiatur homo corpus Christi, quia et Christus corpus est hominis. The most crabbed of the several crabbed passages in this letter. The mystical transmutation of the believer's body into the body of Christ is here referred to the sacrament of Baptism, while earlier in the letter (chap. ii.) it is described as one of the effects of Holy Communion. [396] The followers of Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium (circ. 410 a.d.): for an account of his heretical opinions see Schaff's History of the Christian Church, in loc. Cf. Letter XV. 4. [397] Apollinaristarum tres partes; see Sermon xxviii. chap. 4 (end) with Bright's n. 32 on Apollinarianism generally. [398] S. John x. 30; xiv. 28. [399] S. John x. 30; xiv. 28.

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Letter LX.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

(He hopes for her intercession to procure the condemnation of Eutyches.)

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Letter LXI.

To Martinus and Faustus, Presbyters.

(Reminding them of a former letter he has written to them, viz. Lett. LI.)

(Letters LXII., LXIII., LXIV., are the Emperor Theodosius' answers (a) to Valentinian, (b) to Galla Placidia, and (c) to Licinia Eudoxia (assuring them of his orthodoxy and care for the Faith.)

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Letter LXV.

From the Bishops of the Province of Arles.

(Asking Leo to confirm the privileges of that city, which they allege date from the mission of Trophimus, by S. Peter, and more recently ratified by the Emperor Constantine.)

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Letter LXVI.

Leo's Reply to Letter LXV.

Leo, the pope, to the dearly-beloved brethren Constantinus, Armentarius, Audientius, Severianus, Valerianus, Ursus, Stephanus, Nectarius, Constantius, Maximus, Asclepius, Theodorus, Justus Ingenuus, Augustalis, Superventor, Ynantius, Fonteius, and Palladius.

I. The Bishop of Vienne has anticipated their appeal. He proposes to arbitrate with impartiality.

When we read your letter, beloved, which was brought to us by our sons Petronius the presbyter and Regulus the deacon, we recognized how affectionate is the regard in which you hold our brother and fellow-bishop, Ravennius: for your request is that what his predecessor [400] deservedly lost for his excessive presumption may be restored to him. But your petition, brothers, was forestalled by the bishop of Vienne, who sent a letter and legates with the complaint that the bishop of Arles had unlawfully claimed the ordination of the bishop of Vasa. Accordingly, as we had to show such respect both for the canons of the fathers and for your good opinion of us, that in the matter of the churches' privileges we should allow no infringement or deprivation, it were incumbent on us to preserve the peace within the province of Vienne by employing such righteous moderation as should disregard neither ancient usage nor your desires.

II. The bishop of Vienne is to retain jurisdiction over four neighbouring cities: the rest to belong to Arles.

For after considering the arguments advanced by the clergy present on either side, we find that the cities of Vienne and Arles within your province have always been so famous, that in certain matters of ecclesiastical privilege, now one, now the other, has alternately taken precedence, though the national tradition is that formerly they had community of rights. And hence we suffer not the city of Vienne to be altogether without honour, so far as concerns ecclesiastical jurisdiction, especially as it already possesses the authority of our decree for the enjoyment of its privilege: to wit the power which, when taken away from Hilary, we thought proper to confer on the bishop of Vienne. And that he seem not suddenly and unduly lowered, he shall hold rule over the four neighbouring towns, that is, Valentia, Tarantasia, Genava and Gratianopolis, with Vienne herself for the fifth, to the bishop of which shall belong the care of all the said churches. But the other churches of the same province shall be placed under the authority and management of the bishop of Arles, who from his temperate moderation we believe will be so anxious for love and peace as by no means to consider himself deprived of that which he sees conceded to his brother. Dated 5th of May, in the consulship of Valentinianus Augustus (7th time), and the most famous Avienus (450.)


Footnotes

[400] This, it will be remembered, was Hillary: see Letter X. above.

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Letter LXVII [401] .

To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.

To his dearly-beloved brother Ravennius, Leo the pope.

We have kept our sons Petronius the presbyter, and Regulus the deacon, long in the City, both because they deserved this from their favour in our eyes, and because the needs of the Faith, which is now being assailed by the error of some, demanded it. For we wished them to be present when we discussed the matter, and to ascertain everything which we desire through you, beloved, should reach the knowledge of all our brethren and fellow-bishops, specially deputing this to you, dear brother, that through your watchful diligence our letter, which we have issued to the East in defence of the Faith, or else [402] that of Cyril of blessed memory, which agrees throughout with our views, may become known to all the brethren; in order that being furnished with arguments they may fortify themselves with spiritual strength against those who think fit to insult the Lord's Incarnation with their misbeliefs. You have a favourable opportunity, beloved brother, of recommending the commencement of your episcopacy to all the churches and to our God, if you will carry out these things in the way we have charged and enjoined you. But the matters which were not to be committed to paper, in reliance on God's aid, you shall carry out effectually, as we have said, and laudably, when you have learnt about them from the mouths of our aforesaid sons. God keep you safe, dearest brother. Dated 5th of May, in the consulship of the most glorious Valentinianus (for the 7th time) and of the famous Avienus (450).


Footnotes

[401] This letter, together with Letters XL., LXV. and LXVI., are found only in the Collection of Arles (numbered XV. by the Ballerinii). [402] Vel can hardly equal et as the Ball. would wish. So that here Leo recommends either his own Tome or Cyril's second letter to Nestorius. Cf. Letter LXIX., chap. i. below; also Letter LXX.

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Letter LXVIII.

From Three Gallic Bishops to St. Leo.

Ceretius, Salonius and Veranus to the holy Lord, most blessed father, and pope most worthy of the Apostolic See, Leo.

I. They congratulate and thank Leo for the Tome.

Having perused your Excellency's letter, which you composed for instruction in the Faith, and sent to the bishop of Constantinople, we thought it our duty, being enriched with so great a wealth of doctrine, to pay our debt of thanks by at least inditing you a letter. For we appreciate your fatherly solicitude on our behalf, and confess that we are the more indebted to your preventing care because we now have the benefit of the remedy before experiencing the evils. For knowing that those remedies are well-nigh too late which are applied after the infliction of the wounds, you admonish us with the voice of loving forethought to arm ourselves with those Apostolic means of defence. We acknowledge frankly, most blessed pope [403] , with what singular loving-kindness you have imparted to us the innermost thoughts of your breast, by the efficacy of which you secure the safety of others: and while you extract the old Serpent's infused poison from the hearts of others, standing as it were on the watch-tower of Love, with Apostolic care and watchfulness you cry aloud, lest the enemy come on us unawares and off our guard, lest careless security expose us to attack, O holy Lord, most blessed father and pope, most worthy of the Apostolic See. Moreover we, who specially belong to you [404] , are filled with a great and unspeakable delight, because this special statement of your teaching is so highly regarded wherever the Churches meet together, that the unanimous opinion is expressed that the primacy of the Apostolic See is rightfully there assigned, from whence the oracles of the Apostolic Spirit still receive their interpretations.

II. They ask him to correct or add to their copy of the Tome.

Therefore, if you deem it worth while, we entreat your holiness to run through and correct any mistake of the copyist in this work, so valuable both now and in the future, which we have had committed to parchment [405] , in our desire to preserve it, or if you have devised anything further in your zeal, which will profit all who read, give orders in your loving care that it be added to this copy, so that not only many holy bishops our brethren throughout the provinces of Gaul, but also many of your sons among the laity, who greatly desire to see this letter for the revelation of the Truth, may be permitted, when it is sent back to us, corrected by your holy hand, to transcribe, read and keep it. If you think fit, we are anxious that our messengers should return soon, in order that we may the speedier have an account of your good health over which to rejoice: for your well-being is our joy and health.

May Christ the Lord long keep your eminence mindful of our humility, O holy Lord, most blessed father and pope most worthy of the Apostolic See.

I, Ceretius, your adopted (son?), salute your apostleship, commending me to your prayers.

I, Salonius, your adorer, salute your apostleship, entreating the aid of your prayers.

I, Veranus, the worshipper of your apostleship, salute your blessedness, and beseech you to pray for me.


Footnotes

[403] Cf. Lett. XVII. n. 2^a. [404] Peculiares tui. So in each one's autograph subscription at the end of the letter Ceretius calls himself susceptus vester, Salonius venerator vester, and Veranus cultor vestri apostolatus. [405] Foliis.

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Letter LXIX.

(To Theodosius Augustus.)

Leo, the bishop, to Theodosius ever Augustus.

I. He suspends his opinion on the appointment of Anatolius till he has made open confession of the catholic Faith.

In all your piously expressed letters amid the anxieties, which we suffer for the Faith, you have afforded us hope of security by supporting the Council of Nicæa so loyally as not to allow the priests of the Lord to budge from it, as you have often written us already. But lest I should seem to have done anything prejudicial to the catholic defence, I thought nothing rash on either side ought meanwhile to be written back on the ordination of him who has begun to preside over the church of Constantinople, and this not through want of loving interest, but waiting for the catholic Truth to be made clear. And I beg your clemency to bear this with equanimity that when he has proved himself such as we desire towards the catholic Faith, we may the more fully and safely rejoice over his sincerity. But that no evil suspicion may assail him about our disposition towards him, I remove all occasion of difficulty, and demand nothing which may seem either hard or controvertible but make an invitation which no catholic would decline. For they are well known and renowned throughout the world, who before our time have shone in preaching the catholic Truth whether in the Greek or the Latin tongue, to whose learning and teaching some even of our own day have recourse, and from whose writings a uniform and manifold statement of doctrine is produced: which, as it has pulled down the heresy of Nestorius, so has it cut off this error too which is now sprouting out again. Let him then read again what is the belief on the Lord's Incarnation which the holy fathers guarded and has always been similarly preached, and when he has perceived that the letter of Cyril of holy memory, bishop of Alexandria, agrees with the view of those who preceded him [wherein he wished to correct and cure Nestorius, refuting his wrong statements and setting out more clearly the Faith as defined at Nicæa, and which was sent by him and placed in the library of the Apostolic See [406] ], let him further reconsider the proceedings of the Ephesian Synod [407] wherein the testimonies of catholic priests on the Lord's Incarnation are inserted and maintained by Cyril of holy memory. Let him not scorn also to read my letter [408] over, which he will find to agree throughout with the pious belief of the fathers. And when he has realized that that is required and desired from him which shall serve the same good end, let him give his hearty assent to the judgment of the catholics, so that in the presence of all the clergy and the whole people he may without any reservation declare his sincere acknowledgment of the common Faith, to be communicated to the Apostolic See and all the Lord's priests and churches, and thus the world being at peace through the one Faith, we may all be able to say what the angels sang at the Saviour's birth of the Virgin Mary, "Glory in the highest to God and on earth peace to men of good will [409] ."

II. He promises to accept Anatolius on making this confession, and asks for a council in Italy to finally define the Faith.

But because both we and our blessed fathers, whose teaching we revere and follow, are in concord on the one Faith, as the bishops of all the provinces attest, let your clemency's most devout faith see to it that such a document as is due may reach us as soon as may be from the bishop of Constantinople, as from an approved and catholic priest, that is, openly and distinctly affirming that he will separate from his communion any one who believes or maintains any other view about the Incarnation of the Word of God than my statement and that of all catholics lays down, that we may fairly be able to bestow on him brotherly love in Christ. And that swifter and fuller effect, God aiding us, may be given through your clemency's faith to our wholesome desires, I have sent to your piety my brethren and fellow-bishops Abundius and Asterius, together with Basilius and Senator presbyters, whose devotion is well proved to me, through whom, when they have displayed the instructions which we have sent, you may be able properly to apprehend what is the standard of our faith, so that, if the bishop of Constantinople gives his hearty assent to the same confession, we may securely, as is due, rejoice over the peace of the Church and no ambiguity may seem to lurk behind which may trouble us with perhaps ungrounded suspicions. But if any dissent from the purity of our Faith and from the authority of the Fathers, the Synod which has met at Rome for that purpose joins with me in asking your clemency to permit a universal council within the limits of Italy; so that, if all those come together in one place who have fallen either through ignorance or through fear, measures may be taken to correct and cure them, and no one any longer may be allowed to quote the Synod of Nicæa in a way which shall prove him opposed to its Faith; since it will be of advantage both to the whole Church and to your rule, if one God, one Faith and one mystery of man's Salvation, be held by the one confession of the whole world.

Dated 17th July in the consulship of the illustrious Valentinianus for the seventh time) and Avienus (450).


Footnotes

[406] Wherein--see, probably a gloss by way of identifying the letter: it is the second letter to Nestorius. See Letter LXVII above. [407] Viz., the third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus 431, in which Nestorius was condemned. [408] Viz., XXVIII (The Tome). [409] S. Luke ii. 14.

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Letter LXX.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

(In which he again says he is waiting for Anatolius' acceptance of Cyril's and his own statement of the Faith, and looks forward to a Synod in Italy.)

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Letter LXXI.

To the Archimandrites of Constantinople.

(Complaining of Anatolius' silence.)

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Letter LXXII.

To Faustus, One of the Archimandrites at Constantinople.

(Commending his faith and exhorting him to steadfastness.)

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Letter LXXIII.

From Valentinian and Marcian.

(Announcing their election as Emperors [410] (a.d. 450), and asking his prayers that (per celebrandam synodum, te auctore), peace may be restored to the Church.)


Footnotes

[410] Valentinian III. had been nominally Emperor of the West since 425, but his mother's (Galla Placidia) death this year compelled him to rule as well as have the name of ruler: almost simultaneously in the East the death of Theodisius II. brought to the front his sister Pulcheria and her soldier husband Marcian.

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Letter LXXIV.

To Martinus, Another of the Archimandrites at Constantinople.

(Commending his steadfastness in the Faith.)

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Letter LXXV.

To Faustus and Martinus Together.

(Condemning the Latrocinium and maintaining that Eutyches equally with Nestorius promotes the cause of Antichrist.)

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Letter LXXVI.

From Marcianus Augustus to Leo.

(Proposing that he should either attend a Synod at Constantinople or help in arranging some other more convenient place of meeting.)

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Letter LXXVII.

From Pulcheria Augusta to Leo.

(In which she expresses her assurance that Anatolius is orthodox, and begs him to assist her husband in arranging for the Synod, and announces that Flavian's body has been buried in the Basilica of the Apostles at Constantinople and the exiled bishops restored.)

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Letter LXXVIII.

Leo's Answer to Marcianus.

(Briefly thanking him.)

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Letter LXXIX.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

Leo, bishop of the city of Rome to Pulcheria Augusta.

I. He rejoices at Pulcheria's zeal both against Nestorius and Eutyches.

That which we have always anticipated concerning your Grace's holy purposes, we have now proved fully true, viz. that, however varied may be the attacks of wicked men upon the Christian Faith, yet when you are present and prepared by the Lord for its defence, it cannot be disturbed. For God will not forsake either the mystery of His mercy or the deserts of your labours, whereby you long ago repelled the crafty foe of our holy religion from the very vitals of the Church: when the impiety of Nestorius failed to maintain his heresy because it did not escape you the handmaid and pupil of the Truth, how much poison was instilled into simple folk by the coloured falsehoods of that glib fellow. And the sequel to that mighty struggle was that through your vigilance the things which the devil contrived by means of Eutyches, did not escape detection, and they who had chosen to themselves one side in the twofold heresy, were overthrown by the one and undivided power of the catholic Faith. This then is your second victory over the destruction of Eutyches' error: and, if he had had any soundness of mind, that error having been once and long ago routed and put to confusion in the person of his instigators, he would easily have been able to avoid the attempt to rekindle into life the smouldering ashes, and thus only share the lot of those, whose example he had followed, most glorious Augusta. We desire, therefore, to leap for joy and to pay due vows for your clemency's prosperity to God, who has already bestowed on you a double palm and crown through all the parts of the world, in which the Lord's Gospel is proclaimed.

II. He thanks her for her aid to the catholic cause, and explains his wishes about the restoration of the lapsed bishops.

Your clemency must know, therefore, that the whole church of Rome is highly grateful for all your faithful deeds, whether that you have with pious zeal helped our representatives throughout and brought back the catholic priests, who had been expelled from their churches by an unjust sentence, or that you have procured the restoration with due honour of the remains of that innocent and holy priest, Flavian, of holy memory, to the church, which he ruled so well. In all which things assuredly your glory is increased manifold, so long as you venerate the saints according to their deserts, and are anxious that the thorns and weeds should be removed from the Lord's field. But we learn as well from the account of our deputies as from that of my brother and fellow-bishop, Anatolius, whom you graciously recommend to me, that certain bishops crave reconciliation for those who seem to have given their consent to matters of heresy, and desire catholic communion for them: to whose request we grant effect on condition that the boon of peace should not be vouchsafed them till, our deputies acting in concert with the aforesaid bishop, they are corrected, and with their own hand condemn their evil doings; because our Christian religion requires both that true justice should constrain the obstinate, and love not reject the penitent.

III. He commends certain bishops and churches to her care.

And because we know how much pious care your Grace deigns to bestow on catholic priests, we have ordered that you should be informed that my brother and fellow-bishop, Eusebius, is living with us, and sharing our communion, whose church we commend to you; for he that is improperly asserted to have been elected in his place, is said to be ravaging it. And this too we ask of your Grace, which we doubt not you will do of your own free will, to extend the favour which is due as well to my brother and fellow-bishop, Julian, as to the clergy of Constantinople, who clung to the holy Flavian with faithful loyalty. On all things we have instructed your Grace by our deputies as to what ought to be done or arranged. Dated April 13, in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).

.


Letter LXXX.

(To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.)

Leo, the bishop, to Anatolius, the bishop.

I. He rejoices at Anatolius having proved himself orthodox.

We rejoice in the Lord and glory in the gift of His Grace, Who has shown you a follower of Gospel-teaching as we have found from your letter, beloved, and our brothers' account whom we sent to Constantinople: for now through the approved faith of the priest, we are justifying in presuming that the whole church committed to him will have no wrinkle nor spot of error, as says the Apostle, "for I have espoused you to one husband to present you a pure virgin to Christ [411] ." For that virgin is the Church, the spouse of one husband Christ, who suffers herself to be corrupted by no error, so that through the whole world we have one entire and pure communion in which we now welcome you as a fellow, beloved, and give our approval to the order of proceedings which we have received, ratified, as was proper, with the necessary signatures. In order, therefore, that your spirit in turn, beloved, might be strengthened by words of ours, we sent back after the Easter festival with our letters, our sons, Casterius, the Presbyter, and Patricius and Asclepias, the Deacons, who brought your writings to us, informing you, as we said above, that we rejoice at the peace of the church of Constantinople, on which we have ever spent such care that we wish it to be polluted by no heretical deceit.

II. The penitents among the backsliding bishops are to be received back into full communion upon some plan to be settled by Anatolius and Leo's delegates.

But concerning the brethren whom we learn from your letters, and from our delegates' account, to be desirous of communion with us, on the ground of their sorrow that they did not remain constant against violence and intimidation, but gave their assent to another's crime when terror had so bewildered them, that with hasty acquiescence they ministered to the condemnation of the catholic and guiltless bishop (Flavian), and to the acceptance of the detestable heresy (of Eutyches), we approve of that which was determined upon in the presence and with the co-operation of our delegates, viz., that they should be content meanwhile with the communion of their own churches, but we wish our delegates whom we have sent to consult with you, and come to some arrangement whereby those who condemn their ill-doings with full assurances of penitence, and choose rather to accuse than to defend themselves, may be gladdened by being at peace and in communion with us; on condition that what has been received against the catholic Faith is first condemned with complete anathema. For otherwise in the Church of God, which is Christ's Body, there are neither valid priesthoods nor true sacrifices, unless in the reality of our nature the true High Priest makes atonement for us, and the true Blood of the spotless Lamb makes us clean. For although He be set on the Father's right hand, yet in the same flesh which He took from the Virgin, he carries on the mystery of propitiation, as says the Apostle, "Christ Jesus Who died, yea, Who also rose, Who is on the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us [412] ." For our kindness cannot be blamed in any case where we receive those who give assurance of penitence, and at whose deception we were grieved. The boon of communion with us, therefore, must neither harshly be withheld nor rashly granted, because as it is fully consistent with our religion to treat the oppressed with a Christlike charity, so it is fair to lay the full blame upon the authors of the disturbance.

III. The Names of Dioscorus, Juvenal, and Eustathius are not to be read aloud at the holy altar.

Concerning the reading out of the names of Dioscorus, Juvenal, and Eustathius [413] at the holy altar, it beseems you, beloved, to observe that which our friends who were there present said ought to be done, and which is consistent with the honourable memory of S. Flavian, and will not turn the minds of the laity away from you. For it is very wrong and unbecoming that those who have harassed innocent catholics with their attacks, should be mingled indiscriminately with the names of the saints, seeing that by not forsaking their condemned heresy, they condemn themselves by their perversity: such men should either be chastised for their unfaithfulness; or strive hard after forgiveness.

IV. One or two instructions about individuals.

But our brother and fellow-bishop, Julian, and the clergy who adhered to Flavian of holy memory, rendering him faithful service, we wish to adhere to you also beloved, that they may know him who we are sure lives by the merits of his faith with our God to be present with them in you. We wish you to know this too, beloved, that our brother and fellow-bishop Eusebius [414] , who for the Faith's sake endured many dangers and toils, is at present staying with us and continuing in our communion; whose church we would that your care should protect, that nothing may be destroyed in his absence, and no one may venture to injure him in anything until he come to you bearing a letter from us. And that our or rather all Christian people's affection for you may be stirred up in greater measure, we wish this that we have written to you, beloved, to come to all men's knowledge, that they who serve our God may give thanks for the consummation of the peace of the Apostolic See with you. But on other matters and persons you will be more fully instructed, beloved, by the letter you will have received through our delegates. Dated 13 April, in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[411] 2 Cor. xi. 2. [412] Rom. viii. 34. [413] Juvenal (Bishop of Jerusalem), and Eustathius (Bishop of Berytus), had been two of the principal abettors of Dioscorus in the Latrocinium. The "reading out of their names at the altar" alludes to the practice in the early Church of keeping registers (called "diptychs") of the members (alive and dead) of the Church, from which one or two of the more prominent names (clerical and lay) were read out at the celebration of the Holy mysteries: cf. the modern "Bidding" prayer, &c. [414] This is the Bishop of Dorylæum in Phrygia, Eutyches former friend, but more recently his relentless accuser of heresy.

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Letter LXXXI.

To Bishop Julian.

(Warning him to be circumspect in receiving the lapsed.)

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Letter LXXXII.

To Marcian Augustus.

I. After congratulating the Emperor on his noble conduct, he deprecates random inquiries into the tenets of the Faith.

Although I have replied [415] already to your Grace by the hand of the Constantinopolitan clergy, yet on receiving your clemency's mercy through the illustrious prefect of the city, my son Tatian, I found still greater cause for congratulation, because I have learnt your strong eagerness for the Church's peace. And this holy desire as in fairness it deserves, secures for your empire the same happy condition as you seek for religion. For when the Spirit of God establishes harmony among Christian princes, a twofold confidence is produced throughout the world, because the progress of love and faith makes the power of their arms in both directions unconquerable, so that God being propitiated by one confession, the falseness of heretics and the enmity of barbarians are simultaneously overthrown, most glorious Emperor. The hope, therefore, of heavenly aid being increased through the Emperor's friendship, I venture with the greater confidence to appeal to your Grace on behalf of the mystery of man's salvation, not to allow any one in vain and presumptuous craftiness to inquire what must be held, as if it were uncertain. And although we may not in a single word dissent from the teaching of the Gospels and Apostles, nor entertain any opinion on the Divine Scriptures different to what the blessed Apostles and our Fathers learnt and taught, now in these latter days unlearned and blasphemous inquiries are set on foot, which of old the Holy Spirit crushed by the disciples of the Truth, so soon as the devil aroused them in hearts which were suited to his purpose.

II. The points to be settled are only which of the lapsed shall be restored, and on what terms.

But it is most inopportune that through the foolishness of a few we should be brought once more into hazardous opinions, and to the warfare of carnal disputes, as if the wrangle was to be revived, and we had to settle whether Eutyches held blasphemous views, and whether Dioscorus gave wrong judgment, who in condemning Flavian of holy memory struck his own death-blow, and involved the simpler folk in the same destruction. And now that many, as we have ascertained, have betaken themselves to the means of amendment, and entreat forgiveness for their weak hastiness, we have to determine not the character of the Faith, but whose prayers we shall receive, and on what terms. And hence that most religious anxiety which you deign to feel for the proclamation of a Synod, shall have fully and timely put before it all that I judge pertinent to the needs of the case, by means of the deputies who will with all speed, if God permit, reach your Grace. Dated the 23rd of April in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[415] i.e. Lett. LXXVIII. of the series.

.


Letter LXXXIII.

To the Same Marcian.

(Congratulating him on his benefits to the Church, and deprecating a Synod as inopportune.)

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Letter LXXXIV.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

(Announcing the despatch of his legates to deal with the lapsed, and asking that Eutyches should be superseded in his monastery by a catholic, and dismissed from Constantinople.)

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Letter LXXXV.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

Leo, the bishop, to the bishop Anatolius.

I. Anatolius with Leo's delegates is to settle the question of the receiving back of those who had temporarily gone astray after Eutyches.

Although I hope, beloved, you are devoted to every good work, yet that your activity may be rendered the more effective, it was needful and fitting to despatch my brothers Lucentius the bishop and Basil the presbyter, as we [416] promised, to ally themselves with you, beloved, that nothing may be done either indecisively or lazily in matters, which concern the welfare of the universal Church; for as long as you are on the spot, to whom we have entrusted the carrying out of our will, all things can be conducted with such moderation that the claims of neither kindness nor justice may be neglected, but without the accepting of persons, the Divine judgment may be considered in everything. But that this may be properly observed and guarded, the integrity of the catholic Faith must first of all be preserved, and, because in all cases "narrow" and steep "is the way that leadeth unto life [417] ," there must be no deviation from its track, either to the right hand or to the left. And because the evangelical and Apostolic Faith has to combat all errors, on the one side casting down Nestorius, on the other crushing Eutyches and his accomplices, remember the need of observing this rule, that all those who in that synod [418] , which cannot, and does not deserve to have the name of Synod, and in which Dioscorus displayed his bad feeling, and Juvenal [419] his ignorance, grieve as we learn from your account, beloved, that they were conquered by fear, and being overcome with terror, were able to be forced to assent to that iniquitous judgment, and who now desire to obtain catholic communion, are to receive the peace of the brethren after due assurance of repentance, on condition that in no doubtful terms they anathematize, execrate and condemn Eutyches and his dogma and his adherents.

II. The case of the more serious offenders must be reserved for the present.

But concerning those who have sinned more gravely in this matter, and claimed for themselves a higher place in the same unhappy synod, in order to irritate the simple minds of their lowlier brethren by their pernicious arrogance, if they return to their right mind, and ceasing to defend their action, turn themselves to the condemnation of their particular error, if these men give such assurance of penitence as shall seem indisputable, let their case be reserved for the maturer deliberations of the Apostolic See, that when all things have been sifted and weighed, the right conclusion may be arrived at about their real actions. And in the Church over which the Lord has willed you to rule, let none such as we have already written [420] have their names read at the altar until the course of events shows what ought to be determined concerning them.

III. Anatolius is requested to co-operate loyally with Leo's delegates.

But concerning the address [421] presented to us by your clergy, beloved, there is no need to put my sentiments into a letter: it is sufficient to entrust all to my delegates, whose words shall carefully instruct you on every point. And so, dearest brother, do you endeavour with these brethren whom we have chosen as suitable agents in so great a matter faithfully and effectually to carry out what is agreeable to the Church of God: especially as the very nature of the case, and the promise of Divine aid incite you, and our most gracious princes show such holy faith, such religious devotion, that we find in them not only the general sympathy of Christians, but even that of the priesthood. Who assuredly in accordance with that piety, whereby they boast themselves to be servants of God, will receive all your suggestions for the benefit of the catholic Faith in a worthy spirit, so that by their aid also the peace of Christendom can be restored and wicked error destroyed. And if on any points more advice is needed, let word be quickly sent to us, that after investigating the nature of the case, we may carefully prescribe the rightful measures. Dated 9th of June in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[416] Viz., in Letter LXXX., chap, iv.: see also chap. iii. [417] S. Matt. vii. 14. [418] Sc. the so-called Latrocinium. [419] See n. 8 to Letter LXXX., chap. iii. [420] Viz., in Letter LXXX., chap. iii., where see note. [421] Commonitorium. Nothing further seems known of this.

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Letter LXXXVI.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Begging him for friendship's and the Church's sake to assist his legates in quelling the remnants of heresy.)

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Letter LXXXVII.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Commending to him two presbyters, Basil and John, who being accused of heresy had come to Rome, and quite convinced Leo of their orthodoxy.)

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Letter LXXXVIII.

To Paschasinus, Bishop of Lilybæum.

Leo, the bishop, to Paschasinus, bishop of Lilybæum.

I. He sends a copy of the Tome and still further explains the heterodoxy of Eutyches.

Although I doubt not all the sources of scandal are fully known to you, brother, which have arisen in the churches of the East about the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet, lest anything might have chanced to escape your care, I have despatched for your attentive perusal and study our letter [422] , which deals with this matter in the fullest way, which we sent to Flavian of holy memory, and which the universal Church has accepted; in order that, understanding how completely this whole blasphemous error has with God's aid been destroyed, you yourself also in your love towards God may show the same spirit, and know that they are utterly to be abhorred, who, following the blasphemy and madness of Eutyches, have dared to say there are not two natures, i.e. perfect Godhead and perfect manhood, in our Lord, the only-begotten Son of God, who took upon Himself to restore mankind; and think they can deceive our wariness by saying they believe the one nature of the Word to be Incarnate, whereas the Word of God in the Godhead of the Father, and of Himself, and of the Holy Spirit has indeed one nature; but when He took on Him the reality of our flesh, our nature also was united to His unchangeable substance: for even Incarnation could not be spoken of, unless the Word took on Him the flesh. And this taking on of flesh forms so complete a union, that not only in the blessed Virgin's child-bearing, but also in her conception, no division must be imagined between the Godhead and the life-endowed flesh [423] , since in the unity of person the Godhead and the manhood came together both in the conception and in the childbearing of the Virgin.

II. Eutyches might have been warned by the fate of former heretics.

A like blasphemy, therefore, is to be abhorred in Eutyches, as was once condemned and overthrown by the Fathers in former heretics: and their example ought to have benefited this foolish fellow, in putting him on his guard against that which he could not grasp by his own sense, lest he should render void the peerless mystery of our salvation by denying the reality of human flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ. For, if there is not in Him true and perfect human nature, there is no taking of us upon Him, and the whole of our belief and teaching according to his heresy is emptiness and lying. But because the Truth does not lie and the Godhead is not passible, there abides in God the Word both substances in one Person, and the Church confesses her Saviour in such a way as to acknowledge Him both impassible in Godhead and passible in flesh, as says the Apostle, "although He was crucified through (our) weakness, yet He lives by the power of God [424] ."

III. He sends quotations from the Fathers, and announces that the churches of the East have accepted the Tome.

And in order that you may be the fuller instructed in all things, beloved, I have sent you certain quotations from our holy Fathers, that you may clearly gather what they felt and what they preached to the churches about the mystery of the Lord's Incarnation, which quotations our deputies produced at Constantinople also together with our epistle. And you must understand that the whole church of Constantinople, with all the monasteries and many bishops, have given their assent to it, and by their subscription have anathematized Nestorius and Eutyches with their dogmas. You must also understand that I have recently received the bishop of Constantinople's letter, which states that the bishop of Antioch has sent instructions to all the bishops throughout his provinces, and gained their assent to my epistle, and their condemnation of Nestorius and Eutyches in like manner.

IV. He asks him to settle the discrepancy between the Alexandrine and the Roman calculation of Easter for 455, by consulting the proper authority.

This also we think necessary to enjoin upon your care that you should diligently inquire in those quarters where you are sure of information concerning that point in the reckoning of Easter, which we have found in the table [425] of Theophilus, and which greatly exercises us, and that you should discuss with those who are learned in such calculations, as to the date, when the day of the Lord's resurrection should be held four years hence. For, whereas the next Easter is to be held by God's goodness on March 23rd, the year after on April 12th, the year after that on April 4th, Theophilus of holy memory has fixed April 24th to be observed in 455, which we find to be quite contrary to the rule of the Church; but in our Easter cycles [426] as you know very well, Easter that year is set down to be kept on April 17th. And therefore, that all our doubts may be removed, we beg you carefully to discuss this point with the best authorities, that for the future we may avoid this kind of mistake. Dated June 24th in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[422] Sc. Letter XXVIII. (Tome). [423] Caro animata. [424] 2 Cor. xiii. 4. [425] His Laterculum Pashale is meant, in which he calculated Easter for 100 years from 375. A similar dispute had ocurred in 444, in which we have S. Cyril's and Paschasinus' Letters (II and III. of series) to Leo, but not Leo's answers. [426] The Latin Easter cycles were calculated for 84 years.

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Letter LXXXIX.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Appointing Paschasinus the bishop and Boniface a presbyter, and Julian the bishop, his representatives at the Synod, as the Emperor is determined it should be held at once.)

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Letter XC.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Assenting perforce to the meeting of the Synod, but begging him to see that the Faith be not discussed as doubtful.)

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Letter XCI.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Telling him that he has appointed Paschasinus, Boniface, and Julian, bishop of Cos, to represent him at the Synod.)

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Letter XCII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Asking him to act as one of his representatives at the Synod.)

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Letter XCIII.

To the Synod of Chalcedon.

Leo, the bishop of the city of Rome, to the holy Synod, assembled at Nicæa [427] .

I. He excuses his absence from the Synod, and introduces his representatives.

I had indeed prayed, dearly beloved, on behalf of my dear colleagues that all the Lord's priests would persist in united devotion to the catholic Faith, and that no one would be misled by favour or fear of secular powers into departure from the way of Truth; but because many things often occur to produce penitence and God's mercy transcends the faults of delinquents, and vengeance is postponed in order that reformation may have place, we must make much of our most merciful prince's piously intentioned Council, in which he has desired your holy brotherhood to assemble for the purpose of destroying the snares of the devil and restoring the peace of the Church, so far respecting the rights and dignity of the most blessed Apostle Peter as to invite us too by letter to vouchsafe our presence at your venerable Synod. That indeed is not permitted either by the needs of the times or by any precedent. Yet in these brethren, that is Paschasinus and Lucentius, bishops, Boniface and Basil, presbyters, who have been deputed by the Apostolic See, let your brotherhood reckon that I am presiding [428] at the Synod; for my presence is not withdrawn from you, who am now represented by my vicars, and have this long time been really with you in the proclaiming of the catholic Faith: so that you who cannot help knowing what we believe in accordance with ancient tradition, cannot doubt what we desire.

II. He entreats them to re-State the Faith as laid down in the Tome.

Wherefore, brethren most dear, let all attempts at impugning the Divinely-inspired Faith be entirely put down, and the vain unbelief of heretics be laid to rest: and let not that be defended which may not be believed: since in accordance with the authoritative statements of the Gospel, in accordance with the utterances of the prophets, and the teaching of the Apostles, with the greatest fulness and clearness in the letter which we sent to bishop Flavian of happy memory, it has been laid down what is the loyal and pure confession upon the mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ's Incarnation.

III. The ejected bishops must be restored, and the Nestorian canons retain their force.

But because we know full well that through evil jealousies the state of many churches has been disturbed, and a large number of bishops have been driven from their Sees for not receiving the heresy and conveyed into exile, while others have been put into their places though yet alive, to these wounds first of all must the healing of justice be applied, nor must any one be deprived of his own possession that some one else may enjoy it: for if, as we desire, all forsake their error, no one need lose his present rank, and those who have laboured for the Faith ought to have their rights restored with every privilege. Let the decrees specially directed against Nestorius of the former Synod of Ephesus, at which bishop Cyril of holy memory presided, still retain their force, lest the heresy then condemned flatter itself in aught because Eutyches is visited with condign execration. For the purity of the Faith and doctrine which we proclaim in the same spirit as our holy Fathers, equally condemns and impugns the Nestorian and the Eutychian misbelief with its supporters. Farewell in the Lord, brethren most dear. Dated 26th [429] of June, in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[427] In accordance with instructions, the bishops, to the number of 529, first met at Nicæa, in Bithynia, the scene of the famous First General Council: but the Emperor Marcian was afraid to go so far from Constantinople, and so they were summoned to Chalcedon, which was much nearer, on the eastern shore of the Bosporus. There the Council opened on Oct. 8, 451. [428] The right of presiding, which he here virtually claims for his delegates, seems actually to have been accorded to them by the council. [429] The Ball. think the date should be the 27th.

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Letter XCIV.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Commending his legates to him and praying for the full success of the Synod, if it adhere to the Faith once delivered to the saints.)

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Letter XCV.

To Pulcheria Augusta by the Hand of Theoctistus the Magistrian [430] .

Leo, the bishop to Pulcheria Augusta.

I. He informs the Empress that he has loyally recognized the Council ordered by her, and sent representatives with letters to it.

Your clemency's religious care which you unceasingly bestow on the catholic Faith, I recognize in everything, and give God thanks at seeing you take such interest in the universal Church, that I can confidently suggest what I think agreeable to justice and kindness, and so what thus far your pious zeal through the mercy of Christ has irreproachably accomplished, may the more speedily be brought to an issue which we shall be thankful for, O most noble Augusta. Your clemency's command, therefore, that a Synod should be held at Nicæa [431] , and your gently expressed refusal of my request that it should be held in Italy, so that all the bishops in our parts might be summoned and assemble, if the state of affairs had permitted them, I have received in a spirit so far removed from scorn as to nominate two of my fellow-bishops and fellow-presbyters respectively to represent me, sending also to the venerable synod an appropriate missive from which the brotherhood therein assembled might learn the standard necessary to be maintained in their decision, lest any rashness should do detriment either to the rules of the Faith, or to the provisions of the canons, or to the remedies required by the spirit of loving kindness.

II. In the settlement of this matter that moderation must be observed which was entirely absent at Ephesus.

For, as I have very often stated in letters from the beginning of this matter, I have desired that such moderation should be observed in the midst of discordant views and carnal jealousies that, whilst nothing should be allowed to be wrested from or added to the purity of the Faith, yet the remedy of pardon should be granted to those who return to unity and peace. Because the works of the devil are then more effectually destroyed when men's hearts are recalled to the love of God and their neighbours. But how contrary to my warnings and entreaties were their actions then, it is a long story to explain, nor is the need to put down in the pages of a letter all that was allowed to be perpetrated in that meeting, not of judges but of robbers, at Ephesus; where the chief men of the synod spared neither those brethren who opposed them nor those who assented to them, seeing that for the breaking down of the catholic Faith and the strengthening of execrable heresy, they stripped some of their rightful rank and tainted others with complicity in guilt; and surely their cruelty was worse to those whom by persuasion they divorced from innocence, than to those whom by persecution they made blessed confessors.

III. Those who recant their error must be treated with forbearance.

And yet because such men have harmed themselves most by their wrong-doing, and because the greater the wounds, the more careful must be the application of the remedy, I have never in any letter maintained that pardon must be withheld even from them if they came to their right mind. And although we unchangeably abhor their heresy, which is the greatest enemy of Christian religion, yet the men themselves, if they without any doubt amend their ways and clear themselves by full assurances of repentance, we do not judge to be outcasts from the unspeakable mercy of God: but rather we lament with those that lament, "we weep with those that weep [432] ," and obey the requirements of justice in deposing without neglecting the remedies of loving-kindness: and this, as your piety knows, is not a mere word-promise, but is also borne out by our actions, inasmuch as nearly all who had been either misled or forced into assenting to the presiding bishops, by rescinding what they had decreed and by condemning what they had written, have obtained complete acquittal from guilt and the boon of Apostolic peace.

IV. Even the authors of the mischief may find room for forgiveness by repentance.

If, therefore, your clemency deigns to reflect upon my motives, it will be satisfied that I have acted throughout with the design of bringing about the abolition of the heresy without the loss of one soul; and that in the case of the authors of these cruel disturbances I have modified my practice somewhat in order that their slow minds might be aroused by some feelings of compunction to ask for lenient treatment. For although since their decision, which is no less blasphemous than unjust, they cannot be held in such honour by the catholic brotherhood as they once were, yet they still retain their sees and their rank as bishops, with the prospect either of receiving the peace of the whole Church, after true and necessary signs of repentance or, if (which God forbid) they persist in their heresy, of reaping the reward of their misbelief. Dated 20th of July, in the consulship of the illustrious Adelfius (451).


Footnotes

[430] The Magistriani were what would now be called King's Messengers: another name for them was agentes in rebus. and they were under the direction of the Imperial Magister Officiorum. [431] See n. 4 on Letter XCIII. i. [432] Rom. xii. 15.

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Letter XCVI.

To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.

(Requesting him to keep Easter on March 23 in 452.)

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Letter XCVII.

From Eusebius, Bishop of Milan, to Leo.

(Informing him that the Tome has been approved by the Synod of Milan, and containing the subscriptions of the bishops there assembled.)

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Letter XCVIII.

From the Synod of Chalcedon to Leo.

The great and holy and universal Synod, which by the grace of God and the sanction of our most pious and Christ-loving Emperors has been gathered together in the metropolis of Chalcedon in the province of Bithynia, to the most holy and blessed archbishop of Rome, Leo.

I. They congratulate Leo on taking the foremost part in maintaining the Faith.

"Our mouth was filled with joy and our tongue with exultation [433] ." This prophecy grace has fitly appropriated to us for whom the security of religion is ensured. For what is a greater incentive to cheerfulness than the Faith? what better inducement to exultation than the Divine knowledge which the Saviour Himself gave us from above for salvation, saying, "go ye and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things that I have enjoined you [434] ." And this golden chain leading down from the Author of the command to us, you yourself have stedfastly preserved, being set as the mouthpiece unto all of the blessed Peter, and imparting the blessedness of his Faith unto all. Whence we too, wisely taking you as our guide in all that is good, have shown to the sons of the Church their inheritance of Truth, not giving our instruction each singly and in secret, but making known our confession of the Faith in conceit, with one consent and agreement. And we were all delighted, revelling, as at an imperial banquet, in the spiritual food, which Christ supplied to us through your letter: and we seemed to see the Heavenly Bridegroom actually present with us. For if "where two or three are gathered together in His name," He has said that "there He is in the midst of them [435] ," must He not have been much more particularly present with 520 priests, who preferred the spread of knowledge concerning Him to their country and their ease? Of whom you were chief, as the head to the members, showing your goodwill [436] in the person of those who represented you; whilst our religious Emperors presided to the furtherance of due order, inviting us to restore the doctrinal fabric of the Church, even as Zerubbabel invited Joshua to rebuild Jerusalem [437] .

II. They detail Dioscorus' wicked acts.

And the adversary would have been like a wild beast outside the fold, roaring to himself and unable to seize any one, had not the late bishop of Alexandria thrown himself for a prey to him, who, though he had done many terrible things before, eclipsed the former by the latter deeds; for contrary to all the injunctions of the canons, he deposed that blessed shepherd of the saints at Constantinople, Flavian, who displayed such Apostolic faith, and the most pious bishop Eusebius, and acquitted by his terror-won votes Eutyches, who had been condemned for heresy, and restored to him the dignity which your holiness had taken away from him as unworthy of it, and like the strangest of wild beasts, falling upon the vine which he found in the finest condition, he uprooted it and brought in that which had been cast away as unfruitful, and those who acted like true shepherds he cut off, and set over the flocks those who had shown themselves wolves: and besides all this he stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Saviour, we mean of course your holiness, and purposed excommunication against one who had at heart the unifying of the Church. And instead of showing penitence for this, instead of begging mercy with tears, he exulted as if over virtuous actions, rejecting your holiness' letter and resisting all the dogmas of the Truth.

III. We have deposed Eutyches, treating him as mercifully as we could.

And we ought to have left him in the position where he had placed himself: but, since we profess the teaching of the Saviour "who wishes all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the Truth [438] ," as a fact we took pains to carry out this merciful policy towards him, and called him in brotherly fashion to judgment, not as if trying to cut him off but affording him room for defence and healing; and we prayed that he might be victorious over the many charges they had brought against him, in order that we might conclude our meeting in peace and happiness and Satan might gain no advantage over us. But he, being absolutely convicted by his own conscience [439] , by shirking the trial gave countenance to the accusations and rejected the three lawful summonses he received. In consequence of which, we ratified with such moderation as we could the vote which he had passed against himself by his blunders, stripping the wolf of his shepherd's skin, which he had long been convicted of wearing for a pretence. Thereupon our troubles ceased and straightway a time of welcome happiness set in: and having pulled up one tare, we filled the whole world to our delight with pure grain: and having received, as it were, full power to root up and to plant, we limited the up-rooting to one and carefully plant a crop of good fruit. For it was God who worked, and the triumphant Euphemia who crowned the meeting as for a bridal [440] , and who, taking our definition of the Faith as her own confession, presented it to her Bridegroom by our most religious Emperor and Christ-loving Empress, appeasing all the tumult of opponents and establishing our confession of the Truth as acceptable to Him, and with hand and tongue setting her seal [441] to the votes of us all in proclamation thereof. These are the things we have done, with you present in the spirit and known to approve of us as brethren, and all but visible to us through the wisdom of your representatives.

IV. They announce their decision that Constantinople should take precedence next to Rome, and ask Leo's consent to it.

And we further inform you that we have decided on other things also for the good management and stability of church matters, being persuaded that your holiness will accept and ratify them, when you are told. The long prevailing custom, which the holy Church of God at Constantinople had of ordaining metropolitans for the provinces of Asia, Pontus and Thrace, we have now ratified by the votes of the Synod, not so much by way of conferring a privilege on the See of Constantinople as to provide for the good government of those cities, because of the frequent disorders that arise on the death of their bishops, both clergy and laity being then without a leader and disturbing church order. And this has not escaped your holiness, particularly in the case of Ephesus, which has often caused you annoyance [442] . We have ratified also the canon of the 150 holy Fathers who met at Constantinople in the time of the great Theodosius of holy memory, which ordains that after your most holy and Apostolic See, the See of Constantinople shall take precedence, being placed second: for we are persuaded that with your usual care for others you have often extended that Apostolic prestige which belongs to you, to the church in Constantinople also, by virtue of your great disinterestedness in sharing all your own good things with your spiritual kinsfolk. Accordingly vouchsafe most holy and blessed father to accept as your own wish, and as conducing to good government the things which we have resolved on for the removal of all confusion and the confirmation of church order. For your holiness' delegates, the most pious bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and with them the right Godly presbyter Boniface, attempted vehemently to resist these decisions, from a strong desire that this good work also should start from your foresight, in order that the establishment of good order as well as of the Faith should be put to your account. For we duly regarding our most devout and Christ loving Emperors, who delight therein, and the illustrious senate and, so to say, the whole imperial city, considered it opportune to use the meeting of this ecumenical Synod for the ratification of your honour, and confidently corroborated this decision as if it were initiated by you with your customary fostering zeal, knowing that every success of the children rebounds to the parent's glory. Accordingly, we entreat you, honour our decision by your assent, and as we have yielded to the head our agreement on things honourable, so may the head also fulfil for the children what is fitting. For thus will our pious Emperors be treated with due regard, who have ratified your holiness' judgment as law, and the See of Constantinople will receive its recompense for having always displayed such loyalty on matters of religion towards you, and for having so zealously linked itself to you in full agreement. But that you may know that we have done nothing for favour or in hatred, but as being guided by the Divine Will, we have made known to you the whole scope of our proceedings to strengthen our position and to ratify and establish what we have done [443] .


Footnotes

[433] Ps. cxxvi. 2. [434] S. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. [435] Ibid. xviii. 20. [436] eunoian: others read euboulian (good advice). [437] The reference is to Ezra iii. 2. [438] 1 Tim. ii. 4. [439] en heauto akraton tou suneidotos echon ton elenchon. There seems, however, some grounds, but no actual necessity for the reading engraphon = written (instead of akraton) adopted by the Ball. [440] he ton sullogon to numphoni (lit. bride-chamber) stephanousa kallinikos Euphemia; this obscure passage is to a certain extent elucidated by Letter CI., chap. iii. (q.v.). The martyr, Euphemia, seems to have been a sort of patron saint of Chalcedon. [441] episphragisasa; others epipsephisasa, which seems meaningless here. [442] The reference (acc. to Ball.) is to the dispute about the bishopric between Bassian and Stephen, in which Leo interfered, though the letter is not extant. [443] One of the Latin versions adds the names and titles of the subscribing bishops here. For the subject matter of Chap. iv., see Introduction, p. viii.

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Letter XCIX.

From Ravennus and Other Gallic Bishops.

(Announcing that the Tome has been accepted in Gaul also as a definitive statement of the Faith, with the bishops' subscriptions.)

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Letter C.

From the Emperor Marcian.

(Dealing much more briefly with the same subjects as Letter XCVIII. above.)

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Letter CI.

From Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople, to Leo.

(Dealing with much the same subjects as Letter XCVIII. from Anatolius' own standpoint: Chap. iii. is translated in extenso as illustrating XCVIII., chap. iii.)

III. He describes the circumstances under which the doctrine of the Incarnation had been formulated by the Synod.

But since after passing judgment upon him we had to come to an agreement with prayers and tears upon a definition of the right Faith; for that was the chief reason for the Emperor's summoning the holy Synod, at which your holiness was present in the spirit with us, and wrought with us by the God-fearing men who were sent from you; we, having the protection of the most holy and beautiful martyr Euphemia, have all given ourselves to this important matter with all deliberateness. And as the occasion demanded that all the assembled holy bishops should publish a unanimous decision for clearness and for an explicit statement of the Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ the Lord God who is found and revealed even to those who seek Him not, yes, even to those who ask not for Him [444] , in spite of some attempts to resist at first, nevertheless showed us His Truth, and ordained that it should be written down and proclaimed by all unanimously and without gainsaying, which thus confirmed the souls of the strong, and invited into the way of Truth all who were swerving therefrom. And, indeed, after unanimously setting our names to this document, we who have assembled in this ecumenical Synod in the name of the Faith of the same most holy and triumphant martyr, Euphemia, and of our most religious and Christ-loving Emperor Marcian, and our most religious and in all things most faithful daughter the Empress Pulcheria Augusta, with prayer and joy and happiness, having laid on the holy altar the definition written in accordance with your holy epistle for the confirmation of our Fathers' Faith, presented it to their pious care; for thus they had asked to receive it, and, having received it, they glorified with us their Master Christ, who had driven away all the mist of heresy and had graciously made clear the word of Truth. And in this way was simultaneously established the peace of the Church and the agreement of the priests concerning the pure Faith by the Saviour's mercy.


Footnotes

[444] Cf. Is. lxv. 1.

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Letter CII.

To the Gallic Bishops.

(Thanking them for their letter (viz. XCIX.) to him, and announcing the result of the Synod of Chalcedon.)

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Letter CIII.

To the Gallic Bishops.

(Written later: enclosing a copy of the sentence against Eutyches and Dioscorus.)

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Letter CIV.

Leo, the Bishop, to Marcian Augustus.

(To Marcian Augustus, about the presumption of Anatolius, by the hand of Lucian the bishop and Basil the deacon.)

I. He congratulates the Emperor on his share in the triumph of the catholic Faith.

By the great bounty of God's mercy the joys of the whole catholic Church were multiplied when through your clemency's holy and glorious zeal the most pestilential error was abolished among us; so that our labours the more speedily reached their desired end, because your God-serving Majesty had so faithfully and powerfully assisted them. For although the liberty of the Gospel had to be defended against certain dissentients in the power of the Holy Ghost, and through the instrumentality of the Apostolic See, yet God's grace has shown itself more manifestly (than we could have hoped) by vouchsafing to the world that in the victory of the Truth only the authors of the violation of the Faith should perish [445] and the Church restored to her soundness. Accordingly the war which the enemy of our peace had stirred up, was so happily ended, the Lord's right hand fighting for us, that when Christ triumphed all His priests shared in the one victory, and when the light of Truth shone forth, only the shades of error, with its champions, were dispelled. For as in believing the Lord's own resurrection, with a view to strengthen the beginnings of Faith, confidence was much increased by the fact that certain Apostles doubted of the bodily reality of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by examining the prints of the nails and the wound of the spear with sight and touch removed the doubts of all by doubting; so now, too, while the misbelief of some is refuted, the hearts of all hesitaters are strengthened, and that which caused blindness to some few avails for the enlightenment of the whole body. In which work your clemency duly and rightly rejoices, having faithfully and properly provided that the devil's snares should do no hurt to the Eastern churches, but that to propitiate God everywhere more acceptable holocausts should be offered; seeing that through the mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, one and the self-same creed is held by people, priests, and princes, O most glorious son and most clement Augustus.

II. Considering all the circumstances Anatolius might have been expected to show more modesty.

But now that these things, about which so great a concourse of priests assembled, have been brought to a good and desirable conclusion, I am surprised and grieved that the peace of the universal Church which had been divinely restored is again being disturbed by a spirit of self-seeking. For although my brother Anatolius seems necessarily to have consulted his own interest in forsaking the error of those who ordained him, and with salutary change of mind accepting the catholic Faith, yet he ought to have taken care not to mar by any depravity of desire that which he is known to have obtained through your means [446] . For we, having regard to your faith and intervention, though his antecedents were suspicious on account of those who consecrated him [447] , wished to be kind rather than just towards him, that by the use of healing measures we might assuage all disturbances which through the operations of the devil had been excited; and this ought to have made him modest rather than the opposite. For even if he had been lawfully and regularly ordained for conspicuous merit, and by the wisest selection yet without respect to the canons of the Fathers, the ordinances of the Holy Ghost, and the precedents of antiquity, no votes could have availed in his favour. I speak before a Christian and a truly religious, truly orthodox prince (when I say that) Anatolius the bishop detracts greatly from his proper merits in desiring undue aggrandizement.

III. The city of Constantinople, royal though it be, can never be raised to Apostolic rank.

Let the city of Constantinople have, as we desire, its high rank, and under the protection of God's right hand, long enjoy your clemency's rule. Yet things secular stand on a different basis from things divine: and there can be no sure building save on that rock which the Lord has laid for a foundation. He that covets what is not his due, loses what is his own. Let it be enough for Anatolius that by the aid of your piety and by my favour and approval he has obtained the bishopric of so great a city. Let him not disdain a city which is royal, though he cannot make it an Apostolic See [448] ; and let him on no account hope that he can rise by doing injury to others. For the privileges of the churches determined by the canons of the holy Fathers, and fixed by the decrees of the Nicene Synod, cannot be overthrown by any unscrupulous act, nor disturbed by any innovation. And in the faithful execution of this task by the aid of Christ I am bound to display an unflinching devotion; for it is a charge entrusted to me, and it tends to my condemnation if the rules sanctioned by the Fathers and drawn up under the guidance of God's Spirit at the Synod of Nicæa for the government of the whole Church are violated with my connivance (which God forbid), and if the wishes of a single brother have more weight with me than the common good of the Lord's whole house.

IV. He asks the Emperor to express his disapproval of Anatolius' self-seeking spirit.

And therefore knowing that your glorious clemency is anxious for the peace of the Church and extends its protection and approval to those measures which conduce to pacific unity, I pray and beseech you with earnest entreaty to refuse all sanction and protection to these unscrupulous attempts against Christian unity and peace, and put a salutary check upon my brother Anatolius' desires, which will only injure himself, if he persists: that he may not desire things which are opposed to your glory and the needs of the times, and wish to be greater than his predecessors, and that it may be free for him to be as pre-eminent as he can in virtues, in which he will be partaker only if he prefer to be adorned with love rather than puffed up with ambition. The conception of this unwarrantable wish he ought indeed never to have received within the secret of his heart, but when my brothers and fellow-bishops who were there to represent me withstood him, he might at least have desisted from his unlawful self-seeking at their wholesome opposition. For both your gracious Majesty and his own letter affirm that the legates of the Apostolic See opposed him as they ought with the most justifiable resistance, so that his presumption was the less excusable in that not even when rebuked did it restrain itself.

V. And to try to bring him to a right mind.

And hence, because it becomes your glorious faith that, as heresy was overthrown, God acting through you, so now all self-seeking should be defeated, do that which beseems both your Christian and your kingly goodness, so that the said bishop may obey the Fathers, further the cause of peace, and not think he had any right to ordain a bishop [449] for the Church of Antioch, as he presumed to do without any precedent and contrary to the provisions of the canons: an act which from a longing to re-establish the Faith and in the interests of peace we have determined not to cancel. Let him abstain therefore from doing despite to the rules of the Church and shun unlawful excesses, lest in attempting things unfavourable to peace he cut himself off from the universal Church. I had much liefer love him for acting blamelessly than find him persist in this presumptuous frame of mind which may separate him from us all. My brother and fellow-bishop, Lucian, who with my son, Basil the deacon, brought your clemency's letter to me, has fulfilled the duties he undertook as legate with all devotion: for he must not be reckoned to have failed in his mission, the course of events having rather failed him. Dated the 22nd of May in the consulship of the illustrious Herculanus (452).


Footnotes

[445] Perish spiritually he means, as the sequel shows, for at least one great and good man on the catholic side, Flavian perished corporeally. [446] Viz., the See of Constantinople. [447] Dioscorus in particular. [448] The chief Apostolicæ sedes were Rome and Antioch, according to tradition founded by S. Peter, and Alexandria founded by his disciple S. Mark, and the See of Constantinople could not exercise jurisdiction over them. [449] One Maximus by name.

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Letter CV.

(To Pulcheria Augusta about the self-seeking of Anatolius.)

Leo the bishop to Pulcheria Augusta.

I. He congratulates the Empress on the triumph of the Faith, but regrets the introduction of a new controversy into the Church.

We rejoice ineffably with your Grace that the catholic Faith has been defended against heretics and peace restored to the whole Church through your clemency's holy and God-pleasing zeal: giving thanks to the Merciful and Almighty God that He has suffered none save those who loved darkness rather than light to be defrauded of the gospel-truth: so that by the removal of the mists of error the purest light might arise in the hearts of all, and that darkness-loving foe might not triumph over certain weak souls, whom not only those who stood unhurt but also those whom he had made to totter have overcome, and that by the abolition of error the true Faith might reign throughout the world, and "every tongue might confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father [450] ." But when the whole world had been confirmed in the unity of the Gospel, and the hearts of all priests had been guided into the same belief, it had been better that besides those matters for which the holy Synod was assembled, and which were brought to a satisfactory agreement through your Grace's zeal, nothing should be introduced to counteract so great an advantage, and that a council of bishops should not be made an occasion for the inopportune advancing of an illegitimate desire.

II. The Nicene canons are unalterable and binding universally.

For my brother and fellow-bishop Anatolius not sufficiently considering your Grace's kindness and the favour of my assent, whereby he gained the priesthood of the church of Constantinople, instead of rejoicing at what he has gained, has been inflamed with undue desires beyond the measure of his rank, believing that his intemperate self-seeking could be advanced by the assertion that certain persons had signified their assent thereto by an extorted signature: notwithstanding that my brethren and fellow-bishops, who represented me, faithfully and laudably expressed their dissent from these attempts which are doomed to speedy failure. For no one may venture upon anything in opposition to the enactments of the Fathers' canons which many long years ago in the city of Nicæa were founded upon the decrees of the Spirit, so that any one who wishes to pass any different decree injures himself rather than impairs them. And if all pontiffs will but keep them inviolate as they should, there will be perfect peace and complete harmony through all the churches: there will be no disagreements about rank, no disputes about ordinations, no controversies about privileges, no strifes about taking that which is another's; but by the fair law of love a reasonable order will be kept both in conduct and in office, and he will be truly great who is found free from all self-seeking, as the Lord says, "Whosoever will become greater among you, let him be your minister, and whosoever will be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister [451] ." And yet these precepts were at the time given to men who wished to rise from a mean estate and to pass from the lowest to the highest things; but what more does the ruler of the church of Constantinople covet than he has gained? or what will satisfy him, if the magnificence and renown of so great a city is not enough? It is too arrogant and intemperate thus to step beyond all proper bounds and trampling on ancient custom to wish to seize another's right: to increase one man's dignity at the expense of so many metropolitans' primacy, and to carry a new war of confusion into peaceful provinces which were long ago set at rest by the enactments of the holy Nicene Synod: to break through the venerable Fathers' decrees by alleging the consent of certain bishops, which even the course of so many years has not rendered effective. For it is boasted that this has been winked at for almost 60 years now, and the said bishop thinks that he is assisted thereby; but it is vain for him to look for assistance from that which, even if a man dared to wish for it, yet he could never obtain.

III. Only by imitating his predecessor will he regain Leo's confidence: the assent of the bishops is declared null and void.

Let him realize what a man he has succeeded, and expelling all the spirit of pride let him imitate Flavian's faith, Flavian's modesty, Flavian's humility, which has raised him right to a confessor's glory. If he will shine with his virtues, he will merit all praise, and in all quarters he will win an abundance of love not by seeking human advancement but by deserving Divine favour. And by this careful course I promise he will bind my heart also to him, and the love of the Apostolic See, which we have ever bestowed on the church of Constantinople, shall never be violated by any change. Because if sometimes rulers fall into errors through want of moderation, yet the churches of Christ do not lose their purity. But the bishops' assents, which are opposed to the regulations of the holy canons composed at Nicæa in conjunction with your faithful Grace, we do not recognize, and by the blessed Apostle Peter's authority we absolutely dis-annul in comprehensive terms, in all ecclesiastical cases obeying those laws which the Holy Ghost set forth by the 318 bishops for the pacific observance of all priests in such sort that even if a much greater number were to pass a different decree to theirs, whatever was opposed to their constitution would have to be held in no respect.

IV. He requests the Empress to give his letter her favourable consideration.

And so I request your Grace to receive in a worthy spirit this lengthy letter, in which I had to explain my views, at the hands of my brother and fellow-bishop Lucianus, who, as far as in him lies, has faithfully executed the anxious duties of his undertaking as my delegate, and of my son Basil, the deacon. And because it is your habit to labour for the peace and unity of the Church, for his soul's health keep my brother Anatolius the bishop, to whom I have extended my love by your advice, within those limits which shall be profitable to him, that as your clemency's glory is magnified already for the restoration of the Faith, so it may be published abroad for the restraint of self-seeking. Dated the 22nd of May, in the consulship of the illustrious Herculanus (452).


Footnotes

[450] Phil. i. 11. [451] S. Matt. xx. 26-28.

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Letter CVI.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople, in rebuke of his self-seeking.

Leo, the bishop, to Anatolius, the bishop.

I. He commends Anatolius for his orthodoxy, but condemns him for his presumption.

Now that the light of Gospel Truth has been manifested, as we wished, through God's grace, and the night of most pestilential error has been dispelled from the universal Church, we are unspeakably glad in the Lord, because the difficult charge entrusted to us has been brought to the desired conclusion, even as the text of your letter announces, so that, according to the Apostle's teaching, "we all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among us: but that we be perfect in the same mind and in the same knowledge [452] ." In devotion to which work we commend you, beloved, for taking part: for thus you benefited those who needed correction by your activity, and purged yourself from all complicity with the transgressors. For when your predecessor Flavian, of happy memory, was deposed for his defence of catholic Truth, not unjustly it was believed that your ordainers seemed to have consecrated one like themselves, contrary to the provision of the holy canons. But God's mercy was present in this, directing and confirming you, that you might make good use of bad beginnings, and show that you were promoted not by men's judgment, but by God's loving-kindness: and this may be accepted as true, on condition that you lose not the grace of this Divine gift by another cause of offence. For the catholic, and especially the Lord's priest, must not only be entangled in no error, but also be corrupted by no covetousness; for, as says the Holy Scripture, "Go not after thy lusts, and decline from thy desire. [453] " Many enticements of this world, many vanities must be resisted, that the perfection of true self-discipline may be attained the first blemish of which is pride, the beginning of transgression and the origin of sin. For the mind greedy of power knows not either how to abstain from things forbidden nor to enjoy things permitted, so long as transgressions go unpunished and run into undisciplined and wicked excesses, and wrong doings are multiplied, which were only endured in our zeal for the restoration of the Faith and love of harmony [454] .

II. Nothing can cancel or modify the Nicene canons.

And so after the not irreproachable beginning of your ordination, after the consecration of the bishop of Antioch, which you claimed for yourself contrary to the regulations of the canons, I grieve, beloved, that you have fallen into this too, that you should try to break down the most sacred constitutions of the Nicene canons [455] : as if this opportunity had expressly offered itself to you for the See of Alexandria to lose its privilege of second place, and the church of Antioch to forego its right to being third in dignity, in order that when these places had been subjected to your jurisdiction, all metropolitan bishops might be deprived of their proper honour. By which unheard of and never before attempted excesses you went so far beyond yourself as to drag into an occasion of self-seeking, and force connivance from that holy Synod which the zeal of our most Christian prince had convened, solely to extinguish heresy and to confirm the catholic Faith: as if the unlawful wishes of a multitude could not be rejected, and that state of things which was truly ordained by the Holy Spirit in the canon of Nicæa could in any part be overruled by any one. Let no synodal councils flatter themselves upon the size of their assemblies, and let not any number of priests, however much larger, dare either to compare or to prefer themselves to those 318 bishops, seeing that the Synod of Nicæa is hallowed by God with such privilege, that whether by fewer or by more ecclesiastical judgments are supported, whatever is opposed to their authority is utterly destitute of all authority.

III. The Synod of Chalcedon, which met for one purpose, ought never to have been used for another.

Accordingly these things which are found to be contrary to those most holy canons are exceedingly unprincipled and misguided. This haughty arrogance tends to the disturbance of the whole Church, which has purposed so to misuse a synodal council, as by wicked arguments to over-persuade, or by intimidation to compel, the brethren to agree with it, when they had been summoned simply on a matter of Faith, and had come to a decision on the subject which was to engage their care. For it was on this ground that our brothers sent by the Apostolic see, who presided in our stead at the synod with commendable firmness, withstood their illegal attempts, openly protesting against the introduction of any reprehensible innovation contrary to the enactments of the Council of Nicæa. And there can be no doubt about their opposition, seeing that you yourself in your epistle complain of their wish to contravene your attempts. And therein indeed you greatly commend them to me by thus writing, whereas you accuse yourself in refusing to obey them concerning your unlawful designs, vainly seeking what cannot be granted, and craving what is bad for your soul's health, and can never win our consent. For may I never be guilty of assisting so wrong a desire, which ought rather to be subverted by my aid, and that of all who think not high things, but agree with the lowly.

IV. The Nicene Canons are for universal application and not to be wrested to private interpretations.

These holy and venerable fathers who in the city of Nicæa, after condemning the blasphemous Arius with his impiety, laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world, survive not only with us but with the whole of mankind in their constitutions; and, if anywhere men venture upon what is contrary to their decrees, it is ipso facto null and void; so that what is universally laid down for our perpetual advantage can never be modified by any change, nor can the things which were destined for the common good be perverted to private interests; and thus so long as the limits remain, which the Fathers fixed, no one may invade another's right but each must exercise himself within the proper and lawful bounds, to the extent of his power, in the breadth of love; of which the bishop of Constantinople may reap the fruits richly enough, if he rather relies on the virtue of humility than is puffed up with the spirit of self-seeking.

V. The sanction alleged to have been accorded 60 years ago to the supremacy of Constantinople over Alexandria and Antioch is worthless.

"Be not highminded," brother, "but fear [456] ," and cease to disquiet with unwarrantable demands the pious ears of Christian princes, who I am sure will be better pleased by your modesty than by your pride. For your purpose is in no way whatever supported by the written assent of certain bishops given, as you allege, 60 years ago [457] , and never brought to the knowledge of the Apostolic See by your predecessors; and this transaction, which from its outset was doomed to fall through and has now long done so, you now wish to bolster up by means that are too late and useless, viz., by extracting from the brethren an appearance of consent which their modesty from very weariness yielded to their own injury. Remember what the Lord threatens him with, who shall have caused one of the little ones to stumble, and get wisdom to understand what a judgment of God he will have to endure who has not feared to give occasion of stumbling to so many churches and so many priests. For I confess I am so fast bound by love of the whole brotherhood that I will not agree with any one in demands which are against his own interests, and thus you may clearly perceive that my opposition to you, beloved, proceeds from the kindly intention to restrain you from disturbing the universal Church by sounder counsel. The rights of provincial primates may not be overthrown nor metropolitan bishops be defrauded of privileges based on antiquity. The See of Alexandria may not lose any of that dignity which it merited through S. Mark, the evangelist and disciple of the blessed Peter, nor may the splendour of so great a church be obscured by another's clouds, Dioscorus having fallen through his persistence in impiety. The church of Antioch too, in which first at the preaching of the blessed Apostle Peter the Christian name arose [458] , must continue in the position assigned it by the Fathers, and being set in the third place must never be lowered therefrom. For the See is on a different footing to the holders of it; and each individual's chief honour is his own integrity. And since that does not lose its proper worth in any place, how much more glorious must it be when placed in the magnificence of the city of Constantinople, where many priests may find both a defence of the Fathers' canons and an example of uprightness in observing you?

VI. Christian love demands self-denial not self-seeking.

In thus writing to you, brother, I exhort and admonish you in the Lord, laying aside all ambitious desires to cherish rather a spirit of love and to adorn yourself to your profit with the virtues of love, according to the Apostle's teaching. For love "is patient and kind, and envies not, acts not iniquitously, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeks not its own [459] ." Hence if love seeks not its own, how greatly does he sin who covets another's? From which I desire you to keep yourself altogether, and to remember that sentence which says, "Hold what thou hast, that no other take thy crown [460] ." For if you seek what is not permitted, you will deprive yourself by your own action and judgment of the peace of the universal Church. Our brother and fellow-bishop Lucian and our son Basil the deacon, attended to your injunctions with all the zeal they possessed, but justice refused to give effect to their pleadings. Dated the 22nd of May in the consulship of the illustrious Herculanus (452).


Footnotes

[452] 1 Cor. i. 10. [453] Ecclesiasticus xviii. 30. The application of the description "Holy Scripture" to an Apocryphal book will not escape notice. [454] Cf. Letter CIV., chap. v. [455] The wording of Canon 6 is as follows: mos antiquus perduret, in Ægypto vel Libya et Pentapoli, ut Alexandrinus episcopus horum omnium habeat potestatem, quoniam quidem et episcopo Romano parilis mos est. Similiter autem et apud Antiochiam ceterasque provincias (eparchias) honor suus unicuique servetur ecclesiæ: where, it will be noticed, no mention is made of Constantinople at all, so that its position is not explicitly defined either way. [456] Rom. xi. 20. [457] Cf. Letter CV., chap. ii. (end). [458] Acts xi. 26. [459] 1 Cor. xiii. 4. [460] Revel. iii. 11.

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Letter CVII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Expostulating with him for putting personal considerations before the good of the Church in the matter of the precedence of the See of Constantinople.)

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Letter CVIII.

To Theodore, Bishop of Forum Julii.

Leo, the bishop, to Theodore, bishop of Forum Julii.

I.Theodorus should not have approached him except through his metropolitan.

Your first proceeding, when anxious, should have been to have consulted your metropolitan on the point which seemed to need inquiry, and if he too was unable to help you, beloved, you should both have asked to be instructed (by us); for in matters, which concern all the Lord's priests as a whole, no inquiry ought to be made without the primates. But in order that the consulter's doubts may in any case be set at rest, I will not keep back the Church's rules about the state of penitents.

II. The grace of penitence is for those who fall after baptism.

The manifold mercy of God so assists men when they fall, that not only by the grace of baptism but also by the remedy of penitence is the hope of eternal life revived, in order that they who have violated the gifts of the second birth, condemning themselves by their own judgment, may attain to remission of their crimes, the provisions of the Divine Goodness having so ordained that God's indulgence cannot be obtained without the supplications of priests. For the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, has transmitted this power to those that are set over the Church that they should both grant a course of penitence [461] to those who confess, and, when they are cleansed by wholesome correction admit them through the door of reconciliation to communion in the sacraments. In which work assuredly the Saviour Himself unceasingly takes part and is never absent from those things, the carrying out of which He has committed to His ministers, saying: "Lo, I am with you all the days even to the completion of the age [462] :" so that whatever is accomplished through our service in due order and with satisfactory results we doubt not to have been vouchsafed through the Holy Spirit.

III. Penitence is sure only in this life.

But if any one of those for whom we entreat God be hindered by some obstacle and lose the benefit of immediate absolution, and before he attain to the remedies appointed, end his days in the course of nature, he will not be able when stripped of the flesh to gain that which when yet in the body he did not receive. And there will be no need for us to weigh the merits and acts of those who have thus died, seeing that the Lord our God, whose judgments cannot be found out, has reserved for His own decision that which our priestly ministry could not complete: for He wishes His power to be so feared that this fear may benefit all, and every one may dread that which happens to the lukewarm or careless. For it is most expedient and essential that the guilt of sins should be loosed by priestly supplication before the last day of life.

IV. And yet penitence and reconciliation must not be refused to men in extremis.

But to those who in time of need and in urgent danger implore the aid first of penitence, then of reconciliation, must neither means of amendment nor reconciliation be forbidden: because we cannot place limits to God's mercy nor fix times for Him with whom true conversion suffers no delay of forgiveness, as says God's Spirit by the prophet, "when thou hast turned and lamented, then shalt thou be saved [463] ;" and elsewhere, "Declare thou thy iniquities beforehand, that thou may'st be justified [464] ;" and again, "For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption [465] ." And so in dispensing God's gifts we must not be hard, nor neglect the tears and groans of self-accusers, seeing that we believe the very feeling of penitence springs from the inspiration of God, as says the Apostle, "lest perchance God will give them repentance that they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will [466] ."

V. Hazardous as deathbed repentance is, the grace of absolution must not be refused even when it can be asked for only by signs.

Hence it behoves each individual Christian to listen to the judgment of his own conscience, lest he put off the turning to God from day to day and fix the time of his amendment at the end of his life; for it is most perilous for human frailty and ignorance to confine itself to such conditions as to be reduced to the uncertainty of a few hours, and instead of winning indulgence by fuller amendment, to choose the narrow limits of that time when space is scarcely found even for the penitent's confession or the priest's absolution. But, as I have said, even such men's needs must be so assisted that the free action of penitence and the grace of communion be not denied them, if they demand it even when their voice is gone, by the signs of a still clear intellect. And if they be so overcome by the stress of their malady that they cannot signify in the priest's presence what just before they were asking for, the testimony of believers standing by must prevail for them, that they may obtain the benefit of penitence and reconciliation simultaneously, so long as the regulations of the Fathers' canons be observed in reference to those persons who have sinned against God by forsaking the Faith.

VI. He is to bring this letter to the notice of the metropolitan.

These answers, brother, which I have given to your questions in order that nothing different be done under the excuse of ignorance, you shall bring to the notice of your metropolitan; that if there chance to be any of the brethren who before now have thought there was any doubt about these points, they may be instructed by him concerning what I have written to you. Dated June 11th in the consulship of the illustrious Herculanus (452).


Footnotes

[461] Actionem (others not so well sanctionem) poeitentioe. [462] S. Matt. xxviii. 20. [463] Is. xxx. 15 (LXX.). [464] Is. xliii. 26 (LXX). [465] Ps. cxxx. 7. [466] 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.

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Letter CIX.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

Leo, the pope, to Julian, the bishop.

I. He laments over the recent rioting in Palestine.

The information which you give, brother, about the riotous doings of the false monks [467] is serious and to no slight degree lamentable; for they are due to the war which the wicked Eutyches by the madness of deceivers is waging against the preaching of the Gospel and the Apostles, though it will end in his own destruction and that of his followers: but this is delayed by the long-suffering of God, in order that it may appear how greatly the enemies of the cross of Christ are enslaved to the devil; because heretical depravity, breaking through its ancient veil of pretence can no longer restrain itself within the limits of its hypocrisy, and has poured forth all its long-concealed poison, raging against the disciples of the Truth not only with pen but also with deeds of violence [468] , in order to wrest consent from unlearned simplicity or from panic-stricken faith. But the sons of light ought not to be so afraid of the sons of darkness, as being sane to acquiesce in the ideas of madmen or to think that any respect should be shown to men of this kind; for, if they would rather perish than recover their senses, provision must be made lest their escape from punishment should do wider harm, and long toleration of them should lead to the destruction of many.

II. The ringleaders must be removed to a distance.

I am not unaware what love and favour is due to our sons, those holy and true monks, who forsake not the moderation of their profession, and carry into practice what they promised by their vows. But these insolent disturbers, who boast of their insults and injuries to priests [469] , are to be held not the slaves of Christ, but the soldiers of Antichrist, and must be chiefly humiliated in the person of their leaders, who incite the ignorant mob to uphold their insubordination. And hence, seeing that our most merciful Prince loves the catholic Faith with all the devotion of a religious heart, and is greatly offended at the effrontery of these rebel heretics, as is everywhere reported, we must appeal to his clemency that the instigators of these seditions be removed from their mad congregations; and not only Eutyches and Dioscorus but also any who have been forward in aiding their wrongheaded madness, be placed where they can hold no intercourse with their partners in blasphemy: for the simpleness of some may chance to be healed by this method, and men will be more easily recalled to soundness of mind, if they be set free from the incitements of pestilential teachers.

III. He sends a letter of S. Athanasius to show that the present heresy is only a revival of former exploded heresies.

But lest the instruction necessary for the confirmation of faithful spirits or the refutation of heretics should be wanting or not expressed, I have sent the letter of bishop Athanasius of holy memory addressed to bishop Epictetus [470] , whose testimony Cyril of holy memory made use of at the Synod of Ephesus against Nestorius, because it has so clearly and carefully set forth the Incarnation of the Word, as to overthrow both Nestorius and Eutyches by anticipation in the heresies of those times. Let the followers of Eutyches and Dioscorus dare to accuse such an authority as this of ignorance or of heresy, who assert that our preaching goes astray from the teaching and the knowledge of the Fathers. But it ought to avail for the confirmation of the minds of all the Lord's priests, who, having been already detected and condemned of heresy in respect of the authorities they followed, now begin more openly to set forth their blasphemous dogma, lest, if their meaning were hid beneath the cloke of silence it might still be doubtful whether the triple error of Apollinaris [471] , and the mad notion of the Manichees was really revived in them. And as they no longer seek to hide themselves but rise boldly against the churches of Christ, must we not take care to destroy all the strength of their attempts, observing, as I have said, such discrimination as to separate the incorrigible from the more docile spirits: for "evil conversations corrupt good manners [472] ," and "the wise man will be sharper than the pestilent person who is chastised [473] ;" in order that in whatever way the society of the wicked is broken up, some vessels may be snatched from the devil's hand? For we ought not to be so offended at scurrilous and empty words as to have no care for their correction.

IV. He expresses a hope that Juvenal's timely acknowledgment of error will be imitated by the rest.

But bishop Juvenal, whose injuries are to be lamented, joined himself too rashly to those blasphemous heretics, and by embracing Eutyches and Dioscorus, drove many ignorant folk headlong by his example, albeit he afterwards corrected himself by wiser counsels. These men, however, who drank in more greedily the wicked poison, have become the enemies of him, whose disciples they had been before, so that the very food he had supplied them was turned to his own ruin: and yet it is to be hoped they will imitate him in amending his ways, if only the holy associations of the neighbourhood in which they dwell will help them to recover their senses. But the character of him [474] who has usurped the place of a bishop still living cannot be doubted from the character of his actions, nor is it to be disputed that he who is loved by the assailants of the Faith must be a misbeliever. Meanwhile, brother, do not hesitate to continue with anxious care to keep me acquainted with the course of events by more frequent letters. Dated November 25th in the consulship of Herculanus (452).


Footnotes

[467] These were the monks of Palestine who immediately on Theodosius' return from the Synod stirred up great riots first in Jerusalem and then throughout Palestine. [468] Letters of the Emperor Marcion (quoted by Ball.) speak (1) of a letter written by Theodosius quas solus poterat fingere diabolus; and (2) of cruelties, tortures, and insults committed particularly in mulieres honestas et nobiles, whereby the rioters had not hesitated to force many to acquiesce in their wicked teaching. [469] They had slain Severian, Bishop of Scythopolis, and would also have slain Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, if he had not taken refuge in flight (Ball.). [470] A portion of this letter is among the quotations added at the end of Letter CLXV. See also Vol. IV. p. 570. [471] What this triple error was will be found in Lett. LIX., chap. v. (q.v.): cf. also Lett. CXXIV. and CLXVII. [472] 1 Cor. xv. 33. [473] Prov. xxi. 11, LXX [474] Sc. Theodosius


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