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.

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Letter CX.

From Marcian Augustus.

(Expressing surprise that Leo has not by now confirmed the acts of the Synod, and asking for a speedy confirmation.)

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Letter CXI.

To Marcian Augustus.

(About Anatolius' mistake in deposing Actions from the office of archdeacon and putting in Andrew instead.)

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Letter CXII.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

(On the same subject more briefly.)

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Letter CXIII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

Leo, bishop of Rome, to Julian, bishop of Cos.

I. After thanks for Julian's sympathy he complains of the deposition of Aetius from the archdeaconry.

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I acknowledge in your letter, beloved, the feelings of brotherly love, in that you sympathize with us in true grief at the many grievous evils we have borne. But we pray that these things which the Lord has either allowed or wished us to suffer, may avail to the correction of those who live through them [475] , and that adversities may cease through the cessation of offences. Both which results will follow through the mercy of God, if only He remove the scourge and turn the hearts of His people to Himself. But as you, brother, are saddened by the hostilities which have raged around us, so I am made anxious because, as your letter indicates, the treacherous attacks of heretics are not set at rest in the church of Constantinople, and men seek occasion to persecute those who have been the defenders of the catholic Faith. For so long as Aetius is removed from his office of archdeacon under pretence of promotion [476] and Andrew is taken into his place, who had been cast off for associating with heretics; so long as respect is shown to the accusers of Flavian of holy memory, and the partners or disciples of that most pious confessor are put down, it is only too clearly shown what pleases the bishop of the church itself. Towards whom I put off taking action till I hear the merits of the case and await his own dealing with me in the letter our son Aetius tells me he will send, giving opportunity for voluntary correction, whereby I desire my vexation to be appeased. Nevertheless, I have written to our most clement Prince and the most pious Augusta about these things which concern the peace of the Church; and I do not doubt they will in the devoutness of their faith take heed lest a heresy already condemned should succeed in springing up again to the detriment of their own glorious work.

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II. He asks Julian to act for him as Anatolius is deficient in vigour.

See then, beloved brother, that you bestow the necessary thought on the cares of the Apostolic See, which by her rights as your mother commends to you, who were nourished at her breast, the defence of the catholic Truth against Nestorians and Eutychians, in order that, supported by the Divine help, you may not cease to watch the interests of the city of Constantinople, lest at any time the storms of error arise within her. And because the faith of our glorious Princes is so great that you may confidently suggest what is necessary to them, use their piety for the benefit of the universal Church. But if ever you consult me, beloved, on things which you think doubtful, my reply shall not fail to supply instruction, so that, apart from cases which ought to be decided by the inquiries of the bishops of each particular church, you may act as my legate and undertake the special charge of preventing the Nestorian or Eutychian heresy reviving in any quarter; because the bishop of Constantinople does not possess catholic vigour, and is not very jealous either for the mystery of man's salvation or for his own reputation: whereas if he had any spiritual activity, he ought to have considered by whom he was ordained, and whom he succeeded in such a way as to follow the blessed Flavian rather than the instruments of his promotion. And, therefore, when our most religious Princes deign in accordance with my entreaties to reprimand our brother Anatolius on those matters, which deservedly come under blame, join your diligence to theirs, beloved, that all causes of offences may be removed by the application of the fullest correction and he cease from injuring our son Aetius. For with a catholic-minded bishop even though there was something which seemed calculated to annoy in his archdeacon, it ought to have been passed over from regard for the Faith, rather than that the most worthless heretic should take the place of a catholic. And so when I have learnt the rest of the story, I shall then more clearly gather what ought to be done. For, meanwhile, I have thought better to restrain my vexation and to exercise patience that there might be room for forgiveness.

III. He asks for further information about the rioting in Palestine and in Egypt.

But with regard to the monks of Palestine, who are said this long time to be in a state of mutiny, I know not by what spirit they are at present moved. Nor has any one yet explained to me what reasons they seem to bring forward for their discontent: whether for instance, they wish to serve the Eutychian heresy by such madness, or whether they are irreconcilably vexed that their bishop could have been misled into that blasphemy, whereby, in spite of the very associations of the holy spots, from which issued instruction for the whole world, he has alienated himself from the Truth of the Lord's Incarnation, and in their opinion that cannot be venial in him which in others had to be wiped out by absolution. And therefore I desire to be more fully informed about these things that proper means may be taken for their correction; because it is one thing to arm oneself wickedly against the Faith, and another thing to be immoderately disturbed on behalf of it. You must know, too, that the documents which Aetius the presbyter told me before had been dispatched, and the epitome of the Faith which you say you have sent, have not yet arrived. Hence, if an opportunity offers itself of a more expeditious messenger, I shall be glad for any information that may seem expedient to be sent me as soon as possible. I am anxious to know about the monks of Egypt [477] , whether they have regained their peacefulness and their faith, and about the church of Alexandria, what trustworthy tidings reaches you: I wish you to know what I wrote to its bishop or his ordainers, or the clergy, and have therefore sent you a copy of the letter. You will learn also what I have said to our most clement Prince and our most religious Empress from the copies sent.

IV. He asks for a Latin translation of the acts of Chalcedon.

I wish to know whether my letter [478] has been delivered to you, brother, which I sent you by Basil the deacon, upon the Faith of the Lord's Incarnation, while Flavian of holy memory was still alive; for I fancy you have never made any comment on its contents. We have no very clear information about the acts of the Synod, which were drawn up at the time of the council at Chalcedon, on account of the difference of language [479] . And therefore I specially enjoin upon you, brother, that you have the whole collected into one volume, accurately translated of course into Latin, that we may not be in doubt on any portion of the proceedings, and that there may be no manner of uncertainty after you have taken pains to bring it fully within my understanding. Dated March 11th, in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio (453).


Footnotes

[475] Servatorum. I am not sure whether this is the right sense; others read multorum. [476] In Lett. CXI., chap. ii., he is said to have been coemeterio deputatis, and, according to Quesnel, when the cemeteries (or catacombs) had no longer to be used as refuges for the persecuted Christians, the custom had grown up of putting priests in charge to perpetuate the memory of the martyrs therein buried; in process of time, when love grew cold, this was looked upon as a sort of exile, and an onerous duty in consequence. [477] There had been riots among the monks of Egypt about the appointment of Proterius as bishop, instead of Dioscorus, deposed. [478] This is Letter XXXV. (q.v.). [479] It is, of course, well known that Leo knew no Greek whatever.

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Letter CXIV.

To the Bishops Assembled in Synod at Chalcedon.

(In answer to their Letter (XCVIII.), approving of their acts in the general so long as nothing is contrary to the canons of Nicæa.)

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Letter CXV.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Congratulating him upon the restoration of peace to the Church, and the suppression of the riotous monks; giving his consent also, as a liege subject of the Emperor's, to the acts of Chalcedon, and asking him to make this known to the Synod.)

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Letter CXVI.

To Pulcheria Augusta.

(Commending her pious zeal and informing her of his assent to the acts of Chalcedon.)

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Letter CXVII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

Leo to Julian the bishop.

I. He wishes his assent to the acts of Chalcedon to be widely known.

How watchfully and how devotedly you guard the catholic Faith, brother, the tenor of your letter shows, and my anxiety is greatly relieved by the information it contains; supplemented as it is by the most religious piety of our religious Emperor, which is clearly shown to be prepared by the Lord for the confirmation of the whole Church; so that, whilst Christian princes act for the Faith with holy zeal, the priests of the Lord may confidently pray for their realm.

What therefore our most clement Emperor deemed needful I have willingly complied with, by sending letters to all the brethren who were present at the Synod of Chalcedon, in which to show that I approved of what was resolved upon by our holy brethren about the Rule of Faith; on their account to wit, who in order to cloke their own treachery, pretend to consider invalid or doubtful such conciliar ordinances as are not ratified by my assent: albeit, after the return of the brethren whom I had sent in my stead, I dispatched a letter to the bishop of Constantinople; so that, if he had been minded to publish it, abundant proof might have been furnished thereby how gladly I approved of what the synod had passed concerning the Faith. But, because it contained such an answer as would have run counter to his self-seeking, he preferred my acceptance of the brethren's resolutions to remain unknown, lest at the same time my reply should become known on the absolute authority of the Nicene canons. Wherefore take heed, beloved, that you warn our most gracious prince by frequent reminders that he add his words to ours and order the letter of the Apostolic See to be sent round to the priests of each single province, that hereafter no enemy of the Truth may venture to excuse himself under cover of my silence.

II. He expresses his thanks for the zeal shown by the Emperor and the Empress.

And as to the edict of the most Christian Emperor, in which he has shown what the ignorant folly of certain monks deserved and as to the reply of the most gracious Augusta, in which she rebuked the heads of the monasteries, I wish my great rejoicing to be known, being assured that this fervour of faith is bestowed upon them by Divine inspiration, in order that all men may acknowledge their superiority to rest not only on their royal state but also on their priestly holiness: whom both now and formerly I have asked to treat you with full confidence, being assured of their good will, and that they will not refuse to give ear to necessary suggestions.

III. He wishes to know the effect of his letter to the Empress Eudocia.

And, because the most clement Emperor has been pleased to charge me secretly by our son Paulus with the task of admonishing our daughter the most clement Augusta Eudocia [480] , I have done what he wished, in order that from my letter she may learn how profitable it will be to her if she espouses the cause of the catholic Faith, and have managed that she should further be admonished by a letter from that most clement prince her son; nothing doubting that she herself, too, will set to work with pious zeal to bring the leaders of sedition to a knowledge of the consequences of their action, and, if they understand not the utterances of those who teach them, to make them at least afraid of the powers of those who will punish them. And so what effect this care of ours produces, I wish to know at once by a letter from you, beloved, and whether their ignorant contumacy has at length subsided: as to which if they think there is any doubt about our teaching, let them at least not reject the writings of such holy priests as Athanasius, Theophilus and Cyril of Alexandria, with whom our statement of the Faith so completely harmonizes that any one who professes consent to them disagrees in nothing with us.

IV. Aetius must be content at present with the Emperor's favour.

With our son Aetius [481] the presbyter we sympathize in his sorrow; and, as one has been put into his place who had previously been judged worthy of censure, there is no doubt that this change tends to the injury of catholics. But these things must be borne patiently meanwhile, lest we should be thought to exceed the measure of our usual moderation, and for the present Aetius must be content with the encouragement of our most clement prince's favour, to whom I have but lately so commended him by letter that I doubt not his good repute has been increased in their most religious minds.

V. Anatolius shows no contrition in his subsequent acts.

This too we would have you know, that bishop Anatolius after our prohibition so persisted in his rash presumption as to call upon the bishops of Illyricum to subscribe their names: this news was brought us by the bishop who was sent by the bishop of Thessalonica [482] to announce his consecration. We have declined to write to Anatolius about this, although you might have expected us to do so, because we perceived he did not wish to be reformed. I have made two versions of my letter to the Synod, one with a copy of my letter to Anatolius subjoined, one without it; leaving it to your judgment to deliver the one which you think ought to be given to our most clement prince and to keep the other. Dated 21st March, in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio (453).


Footnotes

[480] This is Eudocia, the widow of Theodosius II., and the Prince, her son, mentioned below, is Valentinianus III., who had married her daughter Eudoxia. The letter of Leo here mentioned is probably not Letter CXXIII. below. For a graphic sketch of the elder lady see Gore's Life of Leo, pp. 131, 2. [481] Cf. Letter CXIII. above. [482] This is Euxitheus, the successor of Anastasius: Letter CL. is addressed to him.

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Letter CXVIII.

To the Same Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(In which, after speaking of his own efforts for the Faith, he objects to monks being permitted to preach, especially if heretically inclined, and asks Julian to stir up the Emperor's zeal for the Faith.)

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Letter CXIX.

To Maximus, Bishop of Antioch, by the hand of Marian the Presbyter, and Olympius the Deacon.

Leo to Maximus of Antioch.

I. The Faith is the mean between the two extremes of Eutyches and Nestorius.

How much, beloved, you have at heart the most sacred unity of our common Faith and the tranquil harmony of the Church's peace, the substance of your letter shows, which was brought me by our sons, Marian the presbyter and Olympius the deacon, and which was the more welcome to us because thereby we can join as it were in conversation, and thus the grace of God becomes more and more known and greater joy is felt through the whole world over the revelation of catholic Truth. And yet we are sore grieved at some who still (so your messengers indicate) love their darkness; and though the brightness of day has arisen everywhere, even still delight in the obscurity of their blindness, and abandoning the Faith, remain Christians in only the empty name, without knowledge to discern one error from another, and to distinguish the blasphemy of Nestorius from the impiety of Eutyches. For no delusion of theirs can appear excusable, because they contradict themselves in their perverseness. For, though Eutyches' disciples abhor Nestorius, and the followers of Nestorius anathematize Eutyches, yet in the judgment of catholics both sides are condemned and both heresies alike are cut away from the body of the Church: because neither falsehood can be in unison with us. Nor does it matter in which direction of blasphemy they disagree with the truth of the Lord's Incarnation, since their erroneous opinions hold neither with the authority of the Gospel nor with the significance of the mystery [483] .

II. Maximus is to keep the churches of the East free from these two opposite heresies.

And therefore, beloved brother, you must with all your heart consider over which church the Lord has set you to preside, and remember that system of doctrine of which the chief of all the Apostles, the blessed Peter, laid the foundation, not only by his uniform preaching throughout the world, but especially by his teaching in the cities of Antioch and Rome: so that you may understand that he demands of him who is set over the home of his own renown those institutions which he handed down, as he received them from the Truth Itself, which he confessed. And in the churches of the East, and especially in those which the canons of the most holy Fathers at Nicæa [484] assigned to the See of Antioch, you must not by any means allow unscrupulous heretics to make assaults on the Gospel, and the dogmas of either Nestorius or Eutyches to be maintained by any one. Since, as I have said, the rock (petra) of the catholic Faith, from which the blessed Apostle Peter took his name at the Lord's hands, rejects every trace of either heresy; for it openly and clearly anathematizes Nestorius for separating the nature of the Word and of the flesh in the blessed Virgin's conception, for dividing the one Christ into two, and for wishing to distinguish between the person of the Godhead and the person of the Manhood: because He is altogether one and the same who in His eternal Deity was born of the Father without time, and in His true flesh was born of His mother in time; and similarly it eschews Eutyches for ignoring the reality of the human flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ, and asserting the transformation of the Word Himself into flesh, so that His birth, nurture, growth, suffering, death and burial, and resurrection on the third day, all belonged to His Deity only, which put on not the reality but the semblance of the form of a slave.

III. Antioch as the third See in Christendom is to retain her privileges.

And so it behoves you to use the utmost vigilance, lest these depraved heretics dare to assert themselves; for you must resist them with all the authority of priests, and frequently inform us by your reports what is being done for the progress of the churches. For it is right that you should share this responsibility with the Apostolic See, and realize that the privileges of the third See in Christendom [485] give you every confidence in action, privileges which no intrigues shall in any way impair: because my respect for the Nicene canons is such that I never have allowed nor ever will the institutions of the holy Fathers to be violated by any innovation. For different sometimes as are the deserts of individual prelates, yet the rights of their Sees are permanent: and although rivalry may perchance cause some disturbance about them, yet it cannot impair their dignity. Wherefore, brother, if ever you consider any action ought to be taken to uphold the privileges of the church of Antioch, be sure to explain it in a letter of your own, that we may be able to reply to your application completely and appropriately.

IV. Anatolius' attempts to subvert the decisions of Nicæa are futile.

But at the present time let it be enough to make a general proclamation on all points, that if in any synod any one makes any attempt upon or seems to take occasion of wresting an advantage against the provisions of the Nicene canons, he can inflict no discredit upon their inviolable decrees: and it will be easier for the compacts of any conspiracy to be broken through than for the regulations of the aforesaid canons to be in any particular invalidated. For intrigue loses no opportunity of stealing an advantage, and whenever the course of things brings about a general assembly of priests, it is difficult for the greediness of the unscrupulous not to try to gain some unfair point: just as in the Synod of Ephesus which overthrew the blasphemous Nestorius with his dogma, bishop Juvenal believed that he was capable of holding the presidency of the province of Palestine, and ventured to rally the insubordinate by a lying letter [486] . At which Cyril of blessed memory, bishop of Alexandria, being properly dismayed, pointed out in his letter to me [487] to what audacity the other's cupidity had led him: and with anxious entreaty begged me hard that no assent should be given his unlawful attempts. For be it known to you that we found the original document of Cyril's letter which was sought for in our book-case, and of which you sent us copies. On this, however, my judgment lays especial stress that, although a majority of priests through the wiliness of some came to a decision which is found opposed to those constitutions of the 318 fathers, it must be considered void on principles of justice: since the peace of the whole Church cannot otherwise be preserved, except due respect be invariably shown to the canons.

V. If Leo's legates in any way exceeded their instructions, they did so ineffectually.

Of course, if anything is alleged to have been done by those brethren whom I sent in my stead to the holy Synod, beyond that which was germane to the Faith, it shall be of no weight at all: because they were sent by the Apostolic See only for the purpose of extirpating heresy and upholding the catholic Faith. For whatever is laid before bishops for inquiry beyond the particular subjects which come before synodal councils may admit of a certain amount of free discussion, if the holy Fathers have laid down nothing thereon at Nicæa. For anything that is not in agreement with their rules and constitutions can never obtain the assent of the Apostolic See. But how great must be the diligence with which this rule is kept, you will gather from the copies of the letter which we sent to the bishop of Constantinople, restraining his cupidity; and you shall take order that it reach the knowledge of all our brethren and fellow-priests.

VI. No one but priests are allowed to preach.

This too it behoves you, beloved, to guard against, that no one except those who are the Lord's priests dare to claim the right of teaching or preaching, be he monk or layman [488] , who boasts himself of some knowledge. Because although it is desirable that all the Church's sons should understand the things which are right and sound, yet it is permitted to none outside the priestly rank to assume the office of preacher, since in the Church of God all things ought to be orderly, that in Christ's one body the more excellent members should fulfil their own duties, and the lower not resist the higher. Dated the 11th of June, in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio (453).


Footnotes

[483] Ratio sacramenti. [484] These were apparently twenty in number, but include no very important towns except Seleucia the seaport of Antioch. [485] Privilegia tertiæ sedis. Leo here still assigns to Antioch the third place in order of precedence, Rome and Alexandria being first and second respectively; but since 381, as we have seen, e.g. in Lett. XCVIII., chap. iv., it had been lowered to the 4th place by the insertion of Constantinople between Rome and Alexandria: see Schaff's Hist., Vol. II. § 56, pp. 277 and following, and Gore's Leo, pp. 119 and foll. [486] It is a curious fact in the history of Church government that the bishopric of Jerusalem for the first centuries never had the first place in Palestine: this was assigned to the metropolitan of Cæsarea, although on great occasions the Bishop of Jerusalem sat next to the patriarch of Antioch: cf. Schaff's Hist., Vol. II. 56, p. 283, and the viith. Nicene canon: mos antiquus obtineat ut Aeliæ, id est Ierosolymæ, episcopus honoretur salva metropolis propria dignitate. [487] The Ballerinii point out that the 1st Council of Ephesus was held in 431, at which Cyril presided for Celestinus I. of Rome and that Leo was not bishop till 441; this letter was probably addressed to him when archdeacon of Rome, in which case the authority which he had already gained is remarkably illustrated. [488] See Lett. CXX., chap. vi., note 7.

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Letter CXX.

To Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, on Perseverance in the Faith.

Leo, the bishop, to his beloved brother Theodoret, the bishop.

I. He congratulates Theodoret on their joint victory, and expresses his approval of an honest inquiry which leads to good results.

On the return of our brothers and fellow-priests, whom the See of the blessed Peter sent to the holy council, we ascertained, beloved, the victory you and we together had won by assistance from on high over the blasphemy of Nestorius, as well as over the madness of Eutyches. Wherefore we make our boast in the Lord, singing with the prophet: "our help is in the name of the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth [489] :" who has suffered us to sustain no harm in the person of our brethren, but has corroborated by the irrevocable assent of the whole brotherhood what He had already laid down through our ministry: to show that, what had been first formulated by the foremost See of Christendom, and then received by the judgment of the whole Christian world, had truly proceeded from Himself: that in this, too, the members may be at one with the Head. And herein our cause for rejoicing grows greater when we see that the more fiercely the foe assailed Christ's servants, the more did he afflict himself. For lest the assent of other Sees to that which the Lord of all has appointed to take precedence of the rest might seem mere complaisance, or lest any other evil suspicion might creep in, some were found to dispute our decisions before they were finally accepted [490] . And while some, instigated by the author of the disagreement, rush forward into a warfare of contradictions, a greater good results through his fall under the guiding hand of the Author of all goodness. For the gifts of God's grace are sweeter to us when they are gained with mighty efforts: and uninterrupted peace is wont to seem a lesser good than one that is restored by labours. Moreover, the Truth itself shines more brightly, and is more bravely maintained when what the Faith had already taught is afterwards confirmed by further inquiry. And still further, the good name of the priestly office gains much in lustre where the authority of the highest is preserved without it being thought that the liberty of the lower ranks has been at all infringed. And the result of a discussion contributes to the greater glory of God when the debaters exert themselves with confidence in overcoming the gainsayers: that what of itself is shown wrong may not seem to be passed over in prejudicial silence.

II. Christ's victory has won back many to the Faith.

Exult therefore, beloved brother, yes, exult triumphantly in the only-begotten Son of God. Through us He has conquered for Himself the reality of Whose flesh was denied. Through us and for us He has conquered, in whose cause we have conquered. This happy day ranks next to the Lord's Advent for the world. The robber is laid low, and there is restored to our age the mystery of the Divine Incarnation which the enemy of mankind was obscuring with his chicaneries, because the facts would not let him actually destroy it. Nay, the immortal mystery had perished from the hearts of unbelievers, because so great salvation is of no avail to unbelievers, as the Very Truth said to His disciples: "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned [491] ." The rays of the Sun of Righteousness which were obscured throughout the East by the clouds of Nestorius and Eutyches, have shone out brightly from the West, where it has reached its zenith in the Apostles and teachers of the Church. And yet not even in the East is it to be believed that it was ever eclipsed where noble confessors [492] have been found among your ranks: so that, when the old enemy was trying afresh, through the impenitent heart of a modern Pharaoh [493] , to blot out the seed of faithful Abraham and the sons of promise, he grew weary, through God's mercy, and could harm no one save himself. And in regard to him the Almighty has worked this wonder also, in that He has not overwhelmed with the founder of the tyranny those who were associated with him in the slaughter of the people of Israel, but has gathered them into His own people; and as the Source of all mercy knew to be worthy of Himself and possible for Himself alone, He has made them conquerors with us who were conquered by us. For whilst the spirit of falsehood is the only true enemy of the human race, it is undoubted that all whom the Truth has won over to His side share in His triumph over that enemy. Assuredly it now is clear how divinely authorized are these words of our Redeemer, which are so applicable to the enemies of the Faith that one may not doubt they were said of them: "You," He says, "are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to fulfil. He was a murderer from the beginning and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father thereof [494] ."

III. Dioscorus, who in his madness has attacked even the bishop of Rome, has shown himself the instrument of Satan.

It is not to be wondered, then, that they who have accepted a delusion as to our nature in the true God agree with their father on these points also, maintaining that what was seen, heard, and in fact, by the witness of the gospel, touched and handled in the only Son of God, belonged not to that to which it was proved to belong [495] , but to an essence co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father: as if the nature of the Godhead could have been pierced on the Cross, as if the Unchangeable could grow from infancy to manhood, or the eternal Wisdom could progress in wisdom, or God, who is a Spirit, could thereafter be filled with the Spirit. In this, too, their sheer madness betrayed its origin, because, as far as it could, it attempted to injure everybody. For he, who afflicted you with his persecutions, led others wrong by driving them to consent to his wickedness. Yea, even us too, although he had wounded us in each one of the brethren (for they are our members), even us he did not exempt from special vexation in attempting to inflict an injury upon his Head with strange and unheard of and incredible effrontery [496] . But would that he had recovered his senses even after all these enormities, and had not saddened us by his death and eternal damnation. There was no measure of wickedness that he did not reach: it was not enough for him that, sparing neither living nor dead, and forswearing truth and allying himself with falsehood, he imbrued his hands, that had been already long polluted, in the blood of a guiltless, catholic priest [497] . And since it is written: "he that hateth his brother is a murderer [498] :" he has actually carried out what he was said already to have done in hate, as if he had never heard of this nor of that which the Lord says, "learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls: for My yoke is easy and My burden is light [499] ." A worthy preacher of the devil's errors has been found in this Egyptian plunderer, who, like the cruellest tyrant the Church has had, forced his villainous blasphemies on the reverend brethren through the violence of riotous mobs and the blood-stained hands of soldiers. And when our Redeemer's voice assures us that the author of murder and of lying is one and the same, He has carried out both equally: as if these things were written not to be avoided but to be perpetrated: and thus does he apply to the completion of his destruction the salutary warnings of the Son of God, and turns a deaf ear to what the same Lord has said, "I speak that which I have seen with My Father; and ye do that which ye have seen with your father [500] ."

IV. Those who undertake to speak authoritatively on doctrine, must preserve the balance between the extremes.

Accordingly while he strove to cut short Flavian of blessed memory's life in the present world, he has deprived himself of the light of true life. While he tried to drive you out of your churches, he has cut off himself from fellowship with Christians. While he drags and drives many into agreement with error, he has stabbed his own soul with many a wound, a solitary convicted offender beyond all, and through all and for all, for he was the cause of all men's being accused. But, although, brother, you who are nurtured on solid food, have little need of such reminders, yet that we may fulfil what belongs to our position according to that utterance of the Apostle who says, "Besides these things that are without, that which presseth on me daily, anxiety for all the churches. Who is weakened and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble and I burn not [501] ?" we believe this admonition ought to be given especially on the present occasion, that whenever by the ministration of the Divine grace we either overwhelm or cleanse those who are without, in the pool of doctrine, we go not away in aught from those rules of Faith which the Godhead of the Holy Ghost brought forward at the Council of Chalcedon, and weigh our words with every caution so as to avoid the two extremes of new false doctrine [502] : not any longer (God forbid it) as if debating what is doubtful, but with full authority laying down conclusions already arrived at; for in the letter which we issued from the Apostolic See, and which has been ratified by the assent of the entire holy Synod, we know that so many divinely authorised witnesses are brought together, that no one can entertain any further doubt, except one who prefers to enwrap himself in the clouds of error, and the proceedings of the Synod whether those in which we read the formulating of the definition of Faith, or those in which the aforesaid letter of the Apostolic See was zealously supported by you, brother, and especially the address of the whole Council to our most religious Princes, are corroborated by the testimonies of so many fathers in the past that they must persuade any one, however unwise and stubborn his heart, so long as he be not already joined with the devil in damnation for his wickedness.

V. Theodoret's orthodoxy has been happily and thoroughly vindicated.

Wherefore this, too, it is our duty to provide against the Church's enemies, that, as far as in us lies, we leave them no occasion for slandering us, nor yet, in acting against the Nestorians or Eutychians, ever seem to have retreated before the other side, but that we shun and condemn both the enemies of Christ in equal measure, so that whenever the interests of the hearers in any way require it, we may with all promptitude and clearness strike down them and their doctrines with the anathema that they deserve, lest if we seem to do this doubtfully or tardily, we be thought to act against our will [503] . And although the facts themselves are sufficient to remind your wisdom of this, yet now actual experience has brought the lesson home. But blessed be our God, whose invincible Truth has shown you free from all taint of heresy in the judgment of the Apostolic See [504] . To whom you will repay due thanks for all these labours, if you keep yourself such a defender of the universal Church as we have proved and do still prove you. For that God has dispelled all calumnious fallacies, we attribute to the blessed Peter's wondrous care of us all, for after sanctioning the judgment of his See in defining the Faith, he allowed no sinister imputation to rest on any of you, who have laboured with us for the catholic Faith: because the Holy Spirit adjudged that no one could fail to come out conqueror of those whose Faith had now conquered.

VI. He asks Theodoret for his continued cooperation, and refers him to a letter which he has written to the bishop of Antioch.

It remains that we exhort you to continue your co-operation with the Apostolic See, because we have learnt that some remnants of the Eutychian and Nestorian error still linger amongst you. For the victory which Christ our Lord has vouchsafed to His Church, although it increases our confidence, does not yet entirely destroy our anxiety, nor is it granted us to sleep but to work on more calmly. Hence it is we wish to be assisted in this too by your watchful care, that you hasten to inform the Apostolic See by your periodic reports what progress the Lord's teaching makes in those regions; to the end that we may assist the priests of that district in whatever way experience suggests.

On those matters which were mooted in the often-quoted council, in unlawful opposition to the venerable canons of Nicæa, we have written to our brother and fellow-bishop, the occupant of the See of Antioch [505] , adding that too which you had given us verbal information about by your delegates with reference to the unscrupulousness of certain monks, and laying down strict injunctions that no one, be he monk [506] or layman, that boasts himself of some knowledge, should presume to preach except the Lord's priests. That letter, however, we wish to reach all men's knowledge for the benefit of the universal Church through our aforesaid brother and fellow-bishop Maximus; and for that reason we have not thought fit to add a copy of it to this; because we have no doubt of the due carrying out of our injunctions to our aforesaid brother and fellow-bishop. (In another hand.) God keep thee safe, beloved brother. Dated 11 June in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio (453).


Footnotes

[489] Ps. cxxiii. 8. [490] These were, of course, the bishops of Illyricum and Palestine, who raised objections at various points in the reading of Leo's Tome at Chalcedon. They were allowed five days to reconsider the matter, and ultimately yielded their consent. See Introduction, p. x., and Bright's notes to the Tome, who gives their objections and answers in detail, esp. nn. 148, 156, 160, and 173. [491] S. Mark xvi. 16. [492] He is thinking especially of the martyred Flavian. [493] Dioscorus of Alexandria is meant. [494] S. John viii. 44. [495] Viz., to human nature. [496] A reference to Letter XCVIII. (from the Synod of Chalcedon to Leo), chap. ii. shows that Dioscorus had threatened Leo with excommunication; excommunicationem meditatus est contra te qui corpus ecclesiæ unire festinas. [497] This was of course Flavian. Quesnel quotes Liberatus the deacon (chap. x. of the Breviary) as asserting that no sooner was Dioscorus made bishop of Alexandria than oppressit Cyrilli heredes et per calumnias multas ab eis abstulit pecunias. His accusers at Chalcedon charge him with being an Origenist, an Arian, a murderer, an incendiary, and an evil liver generally. [498] 1 John iii. 15. [499] S. Matt. xi. 29, 30. [500] S. John viii. 38. [501] 2 Cor. xi. 28, 29. [502] Inter utrumque hostem novellæ perfidiæ, sc. Nestorianism and Eutychianism. [503] The Ballerinii remind us that all these allusions to keeping the balance of Truth in this and the last chapter, and here to acting promptissme et evidentissime were intended for Theodoret's especial benefit, who from his former defence of Nestorius and attacks on Cyril had been suspected of the Nestorian taint, but had expressly cleared himself at the Council of Chalcedon. This explains the res ipsæ and the experimenta of the next sentence, and the solemn adjuration of the sentence next but one. [504] See the Acts of Chalcedon I, ingrediatur et reverendissimus episcopus Theodoretus ut sit particeps synodi, quia et restituit ei episcopatum sanctissimus archiepiscopus Leo, and 8, where the judges ask for a verdict, "sicut et sanctissimus Leo archiepiscopus iudicavit," to which the whole council replied Post Deum Leo iudicavit. [505] This is Letter CXIX. to Maximus, bishop of Antioch (q.v.). [506] It must be remembered that monachus esse in those days meant complete withdrawal from all active life in the world, the preaching orders being a much later institution. The Ballerinii suggest that it may have been a certain abbot Barsumas, who with his followers is said (Act. Chalc. 4) totam Syriam commovisse. See also Lett. CXIX., chap. vi.

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Letters CXXI. and CXXII.

The former to Marcian Augustus, and the other to Julian the Bishop.

Asking him for further inquiries and information about the proper date for Easter in 455; cf. Letter LXXXVIII. chap. 4, above.

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Letter CXXIII.

To Eudocia Augusta [507] , about the Monks of Palestine [508] .

Leo, the bishop, to Eudocia Augusta.

I. A request that she should use her influence with the monks of Palestine in reducing them to order.

I do not doubt that your piety is aware how great is my devotion to the catholic Faith, and with what care I am bound, God helping me, to guard against the Gospel of truth being withstood at any time by ignorant or disloyal men. And, therefore, after expressing to you my dutiful greetings which your clemency is ever bound to receive at my hands, I entreat the Lord to gladden me with the news of your safety, and to bring aid evermore and more by your means to the maintenance of that article of the Faith over which the minds of certain monks within the province of Palestine have been much disturbed; so that to the best of your pious zeal all confidence in such heretical perversity may be destroyed. For what but sheer destruction was to be feared by men who were not moved either by the principles of God's mysteries [509] , or by the authority of the Scriptures, or by the evidence of the sacred places themselves [510] . May it advantage then the Churches, as by God's favour it does advantage them, and may it advantage the human race itself which the Word of God adopted at the Incarnation, that you have conceived the wish to take up your abode in that country [511] where the proofs of His wondrous acts and the signs of His sufferings speak to you of our Lord Jesus Christ as not only true God but also true Man.

II. They are to be told that the catholic Faith rejects both the Eutychian and the Nestorian extremes. He wishes to be informed how far she succeeds.

If then the aforesaid revere and love the name of "catholic," and wish to be numbered among the members of the Lord's body, let them reject the crooked errors which in their rashness they have committed, and let them show penitence [512] for their wicked blasphemies and deeds of bloodshed [513] . For the salvation of their souls let them yield to the synodal decrees which have been confirmed in the city of Chalcedon. And because nothing but true faith and quiet humility attains to the understanding of the mystery of man's salvation, let them believe what they read in the Gospel, what they confess in the Creed, and not mix themselves up with unsound doctrines. For as the catholic Faith condemns Nestorius, who dared to maintain two persons in our one Lord Jesus Christ, so does it also condemn Eutyches and Dioscorus [514] who deny that the true human flesh was assumed in the Virgin Mother's womb by the only-begotten Word of God.

If your exhortations have any success in convincing these persons, which will win for you eternal glory, I beseech your clemency to inform me of it by letter; that I may have the joy of knowing that you have reaped the fruit of your good work, and that they through the Lord's mercy have not perished. Dated the 15th of June, in the consulship of the illustrious Opilio (453).


Footnotes

[507] See Letter CXVII., chap. iii., n. 8. [508] See Letter CIX. above. [509] Ratio sacramentorum, it cannot be too often repeated that to Leo and other early Fathers, all nature, and all its phenomena, and all God's dealings with mankind are sacramenta, and capable of a sacramental (i.e. higher, inner) interpretation: the particular sacramentum he is thinking of here is the incarnation, which he speaks of just below, as often elsewhere, as the sacramentum salutis humanæ (the sacrament or mystery whereby man is saved). [510] Viz., the places in Palestine where these monks themselves lived, which trustworthy history or tradition connects with the various incidents in our Lord's life. [511] Eudocia had just made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. [512] Agant poenitentiam: this is the regular and very expressive translation in the Latin Versions and among the Fathers of the Greek metanoein. [513] They had seized Jerusalem, and deposed Juvenal, the Bishop, setting up a partisan of their own in his stead. [514] Leo not unfrequently joins these two together as equally responsible (e.g. Lett. CIX. 3).

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Letter CXXIV.

To the Monks of Palestine.

Leo, the bishop, to the whole body of monks settled throughout Palestine.

I. They have possibly been misled by a wrong translation of his letter on the Incarnation to Flavian.

The anxious care, which I owe to the whole Church and to all its sons, has ascertained from many sources that some offence has been given to your minds, beloved, through my interpreters [515] , who being either ignorant, as it appears, or malicious, have made you take some of my statements in a different sense to what I meant, not being capable of turning the Latin into Greek with proper accuracy, although in the explanation of subtle and difficult matters, one who undertakes to discuss them can scarcely satisfy himself even in his own tongue. And yet this has so far been of advantage to me, that by your disapproving of what the catholic Faith rejects, we know you are greater friends to the true than to the false: and that you quite properly refuse to believe what I myself also abhor, in accordance with ancient doctrine [516] . For although my letter addressed to bishop Flavian, of holy memory, is of itself sufficiently explicit, and stands in no need either of correction or explanation, yet other of my writings harmonize with that letter, and in them my position will be found similarly set forth. For necessity was laid upon me to argue against the heretics who have thrown many of Christ's peoples into confusion, both before our most merciful princes and the holy synodal Council, and the church of Constantinople, and thus I have laid down what we ought to think and feel on the Incarnation of the Word according to the teaching of the Gospel and Apostles, and in nothing have I departed from the creed of the holy Fathers: because the Faith is one, true, unique, catholic, and to it nothing can be added, nothing taken away: though Nestorius first, and now Eutyches, have endeavoured to assail it from an opposite standpoint, but with similar disloyalty, and have tried to impose on the Church of God two contradictory heresies, which has led to their both being deservedly condemned by the disciples of the Truth; because the false view which they both held in different ways was exceedingly mad and sacrilegious.

II. Eutyches, who confounds the persons, is as much to be rejected as Nestorius, who separates them [517] .

Nestorius, therefore, must be anathematized for believing the Blessed Virgin Mary to be mother of His manhood only, whereby he made the person of His flesh one thing, and that of His Godhead another, and did not recognize the one Christ in the Word of God and in the flesh, but spoke of the Son of God as separate and distinct from the son of man: although, without losing that unchangeable essence which belongs to Him together with the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity and without respect of time, the "Word became flesh" within the Virgin's womb in such wise that by that one conception and one parturition she was at the same time, in virtue of the union of the two substances, both handmaid and mother of the Lord. This Elizabeth also knew, as Luke the evangelist declares, when she said: "Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me [518] ?" But Eutyches also must be stricken with the same anathema, who, becoming entangled in the treacherous errors of the old heretics, has chosen the third dogma of Apollinaris [519] : so that he denies the reality of his human flesh and soul, and maintains the whole of our Lord Jesus Christ to be of one nature, as if the Godhead of the Word had turned itself into flesh and soul: and as if to be conceived and born, to be nursed and grow, to be crucified and die, to be buried and rise again, and to ascend into heaven and to sit on the Father's right hand, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead--as if all those things belonged to that essence only which admits of none of them without the reality of the flesh: seeing that the nature of the Only-begotten is the nature of the Father, the nature of the Holy Spirit, and that the undivided unity and consubstantial equality of the eternal Trinity is at once impassible and unchangeable. But if [520] this heretic withdraws from the perverse views of Apollinaris, lest he be proved to hold that the Godhead is passible [521] and mortal: and yet dares to pronounce the nature of the Incarnate Word that is of the Word made Flesh one, he undoubtedly crosses over into the mad view of Manichæus [522] and Marcion [523] , and believes that the man Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and men, did all things in an unreal way, and had not a human body, but that a phantom-like apparition presented itself to the beholders' eyes.

III. The acknowledgment of our nature in Christ is necessary to orthodoxy.

As these iniquitous lies were once rejected by the catholic Faith, and such men's blasphemies condemned by the unanimous votes of the blessed Fathers throughout the world, whoever these are that are so blinded and strange to the light of truth as to deny the presence of human, that is our, nature in the Word of God from the time of the Incarnation, they must show on what ground they claim the name of Christian, and in what way they harmonize with the true Gospel, if the child-bearing of the blessed Virgin produced either the flesh without the Godhead or the Godhead without the flesh. For as it cannot be denied that "the Word became flesh and dwelt in us [524] ," so it cannot be denied that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself [525] ." But what reconciliation can there be, whereby God might be propitiated for the human race, unless the mediator between God and man took up the cause of all? And in what way could He properly fulfil His mediation, unless He who in the form of God was equal to the Father, were a sharer of our nature also in the form of a slave: so that the one new Man might effect a renewal of the old: and the bond of death fastened on us by one man's wrong-doing [526] might be loosened by the death of the one Man who alone owed nothing to death. For the pouring out of the blood of the righteous on behalf of the unrighteous was so powerful in its effect [527] , so rich a ransom that, if the whole body of us prisoners only believed in their Redeemer, not one would be held in the tyrant's bonds: since as the Apostle says, "where sin abounded, grace also did much more abound [528] ." And since we, who were born under the imputation [529] of sin, have received the power of a new birth unto righteousness, the gift of liberty has become stronger than the debt of slavery.

IV. They only benefit by the blood of Christ who truly share in His death and resurrection.

What hope then do they, who deny the reality of the human person in our Saviour's body, leave for themselves in the efficacy of this mystery? Let them say by what sacrifice they have been reconciled, by what blood-shedding brought back. Who is He "who gave Himself for us an offering and a victim to God for a sweet smell [530] :" or what sacrifice was ever more hallowed than that which the true High priest placed upon the altar of the cross by the immolation of His own flesh? For although in the sight of the Lord the death of many of His saints has been precious [531] , yet no innocent's death was the propitiation of the world. The righteous have received, not given, crowns: and from the endurance of the faithful have arisen examples of patience, not the gift of justification. For their deaths affected themselves alone, and no one has paid off another's debt by his own death [532] : one alone among the sons of men, our Lord Jesus Christ, stands out as One in whom all are crucified, all dead, all buried, all raised again. Of them He Himself said "when I am lifted from the earth, I will draw all (things) unto Me [533] ." True faith also, that justifies the transgressors and makes them just, is drawn to Him who shared their human natures and wins salvation in Him, in whom alone man finds himself not guilty; and thus is free to glory in the power of Him who in the humiliation of our flesh engaged in conflict with the haughty foe, and shared His victory with those in whose body He had triumphed.

V. The actions of Christ's two natures must be kept distinct.

Although therefore in our one Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God and man, the person of the Word and of the flesh is one, and both beings have their actions in common [534] : yet we must understand the character of the acts themselves, and by the contemplation of sincere faith distinguish those to which the humility of His weakness is brought from those to which His sublime power is inclined: what it is that the flesh without the Word or the Word without the flesh does not do. For instance, without the power of the Word the Virgin would not have conceived nor brought forth: and without the reality of the flesh His infancy would not have laid wrapt in swaddling clothes. Without the power of the Word the Magi would not have adored the Child that a new star had pointed out to them: and without the reality of the flesh that Child would not have been ordered to be carried away into Egypt and withdrawn from Herod's persecution. Without the power of the Word the Father's voice uttered from the sky would not have said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased [535] :" and without the reality of the flesh John would not have been able to point to Him and say: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him that beareth away the sins of the world [536] ." Without the power of the Word there would have been no restoring of the sick to health, no raising of the dead to life: and without the reality of the flesh He would not have hungered and needed food, nor grown weary and needed rest. Lastly, without the power of the Word, the Lord would not have professed Himself equal to the Father, and without the reality of the flesh He would not also have said that the Father was greater than He: for the catholic Faith upholds and defends both positions, believing the only Son of God to be both Man and the Word according to the distinctive properties of His divine and human substance.

VI. There is no confusion of the two natures in Christ [537] .

Although therefore from that beginning whereby in the Virgin's womb "the Word became flesh," no sort of division ever arose between the Divine and the human substance, and through all the growth and changes of His body, the actions were of one Person the whole time, yet we do not by any mixing of them up confound those very acts which were done inseparably: and from the character of the acts we perceive what belonged to either form. For neither do His Divine acts affect [538] His human, nor His human acts His Divine, since both concur in this way and to this very end that in their operation His twofold qualities be not absorbed the one by the other, nor His individuality doubled. Therefore let those Christian phantom-mongers [539] tell us, what nature of the Saviour's it was that was fastened to the wood of the Cross, that lay in the tomb, and that on the third day rose in the flesh when the stone was rolled away from the grave: or what kind of body Jesus presented to His disciples' eyes entering when the doors were shut upon them: seeing that to drive away the beholders' disbelief, He required them to inspect with their eyes and to handle with their hands the still open prints of the nails and the flesh wound of His pierced side. But if in spite of the truth being so clear, their persistence in heresy will not abandon their position in the darkness, let them show whence they promise themselves the hope of eternal life, which no one can attain to, save through the mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. For "there is not another name given to men under heaven, in which they must be saved [540] ." Neither is there any ransoming of men from captivity, save in His blood, "who gave Himself a ransom for all [541] :" who, as the blessed apostle proclaims, "when He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery that He was equal with God; but emptied Himself, receiving the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself, being made obedient even unto death, the death of the cross. For which reason God also exalted Him, and gave Him a name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee may bow of things in heaven, of things on the earth, and of things under the earth, and that every tongue may confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father [542] ."

VII. It was as being "in form of a slave," not as Son of God that he was exalted.

[543] Although therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is one, and the true Godhead and true Manhood in Him forms absolutely one and the same person, and the entirety of this union cannot be separated by any division, yet the exaltation wherewith "God exalted Him," and "gave Him a name which excels every name," we understand to belong to that form which needed to be enriched by this increase of glory [544] . Of course "in the form of God" the Son was equal to the Father, and between the Father and the Only-begotten there was no distinction in point of essence, no diversity in point of majesty: nor through the mystery [545] of the Incarnation had the Word been deprived of anything which should be restored Him by the Father's gift. But "the form of a slave" by which the impassible Godhead fulfilled a pledge of mighty loving-kindness [546] , is human weakness which was lifted up into the glory of the divine power, the Godhead and the manhood being right from the Virgin's conception so completely united that without the manhood the divine acts, and without the Godhead the human acts were not performed. For which reason as the Lord of majesty is said to have been crucified, so He who from eternity is equal with God is said to have been exalted. Nor does it matter by which substance Christ is spoken of, since the unity of His person inseparably remaining He is at once both wholly Son of man according to the flesh and wholly Son of God according to His Godhead, which is one with the Father. Whatever therefore Christ received in time, He received in virtue of His manhood, on which are conferred whatsoever it had not. For according to the power of the Word, "all things that the Father hath" the Son also hath indiscriminately, and what "in the form of a slave" He received from the Father, He also Himself gave in the form of the Father. He is in Himself at once both rich and poor; rich, because "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. This was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was made nothing:" and poor because "the Word became flesh and dwelt in us [547] ." But what is that emptying of Himself, or that poverty except the receiving of the form of a slave by which the majesty of the Word was veiled, and the scheme for man's redemption carried out? For as the original chains of our captivity could not be loosed, unless a man of our race and of our nature appeared who was not under the prejudice of the old debt, and who with his untainted blood might blot out the bond of death [548] , as it had from the beginning been divinely fore-ordained, so it came to pass in the fulness of the appointed time that the promise which had been proclaimed in many ways might reach its long expected fulfilment, and that thus, what had been frequently announced by one testimony after another, might have all doubtfulness removed.

VIII. A protest against their faithlessness and inconsistency in this matter.

And so, as all these heresies have been destroyed, which through the holy devotion of the presiding Fathers have been cut off from the body of the catholic unity, and which deserved to be exiles from Christ, because they have made the Incarnation of the Word, which is the one salvation of those who believe aright, a stone of offence and a stumbling-block to themselves, I am surprised that you, beloved, have any difficulty in discerning the light of the Truth. And since it has been made clear by numerous explanations that the Christian Faith was right in condemning both Nestorius and Eutyches with Dioscorus, and that a man cannot be called a Christian who gives his assent to the blasphemous opinion of either the one or the other, I am grieved that you are, as I hear, doing despite to the teaching of the Gospel and the Apostles by stirring up the various bodies of citizens with seditions, by disturbing the churches, and by inflicting not only insults, but even death, upon priests and bishops, so that you lose sight of your resolves and profession [549] through your fury and cruelty. Where is your rule of meekness and quietness? where is the long-suffering of patience? where the tranquillity of peace? where the firm foundation of love and courage of endurance? what evil persuasion has carried you off, what persecution has separated you from the gospel of Christ? or what strange craftiness of the Deceiver has shown itself that, forgetting the prophets and apostles, forgetting the health-giving creed and confession which you pronounced before many witnesses when you received the sacrament of baptism you should give yourselves up to the Devil's deceits? what effect would "the Claws [550] " and other cruel tortures have had on you if the empty comments of heretics have had so much weight in taking the purity of your faith by storm? you think you are acting for the Faith and yet you go against the Faith. You arm yourselves in the name of the Church and yet fight against the Church. Is this what you have learnt from prophets, evangelists, and apostles? to deny the true flesh of Christ, to subject the very essence of the Word to suffering and death, to make our nature different from His who repaired it, and to reckon all that the cross uplifted, that the spear pierced, that the stone on the tomb received and gave back, to be only the work of Divine power, and not also of human humility? It is in reference to this humility that the Apostle says, "For I do not blush for the Gospel [551] ," inasmuch as he knew what a slur was cast upon Christians by their enemies. And, therefore, the Lord also made proclamation, saying: "he that shall confess Me before men him will I also confess before My Father [552] ." For these will not be worthy of the Son and the Father's acknowledgment in whom the flesh of Christ awakens no respect: and they will prove themselves to have gained no virtue from the sign of the cross [553] who blush to avow with their lips what they have consented to bear upon their brows.

IX. An exhortation to accept the catholic view of the Incarnation.

Give up, my sons, give up these suggestions of the devil. God's Truth nothing can impair, but the Truth does not save us except in our flesh. For, as the prophet says, "truth is sprung out of the earth [554] ," and the Virgin Mary conceived the Word in such wise that she ministered flesh of her substance to be united to Him without the addition of a second person, and without the disappearance of her nature: seeing that He who was in the form of God took the form of a slave in such wise that Christ is one and the same in both forms: God bending Himself to the weak things of man, and man rising up to the high things of the Godhead, as the Apostle says, "whose are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh is Christ, who is above all things God blessed for ever. Amen [555] ."


Footnotes

[515] It will be remembered that Leo himself knew not a word of the language, which will account for his uncertainty, consequent helplessness, and uneasiness in this and other cases where a knowledge of the language would have served him in excellent stead. [516] I.e. so much good at all events has come from your objection that we know you are strongly opposed to Eutyches, at present my own special abhorrence. [517] The whole of chap. ii. will be found repeated in Ep. clxv. chap. ii. [518] Luke i. 43. [519] Cf. Ep. xxii. chap. 3 "conatus-antiqua impii Valentini" (the adherent of Apollinaris and head of one of the sections of the Apollinarians after his death) "et Apollinaris mala dogmata renovare." The third dogma of Apollinaris was that "Christ's manhood was formed out of a divine substance." Bright, 147. [520] Eutyches had expressly tried to guard himself against this imputation: Ep. xxi. chap. 3, "anathematizans Apollinarium Valentinum, Manem et Nestorium, &c." See Bright's valuable notes 32, 33, 34, and esp. 35, where he shows that "it was polemical rhetoric to say that he was reviving Apollinarian or Valentinian theories." [521] It must be clearly understood that this ugly word is here and elsewhere employed to translate passibilis (pathetos) for no reason, except the necessity of the case: pati and paschein are both of far wider and broader signification than "suffer" or its synonyms: they are simply the passive of facere and poiein (prassein), and there is no proper equivalent in ordinary English parlance. This tendency of terms to become more and more narrow and of particular application is constantly meeting and baffling one in translating the Latin and Greek languages. [522] Leo elsewhere also makes this hardly justifiable inference that Eutychianism is a new form of Docetism as this view was called; chap. vi. below, and Serm. lxv. c. 4 "isti phantasmatici Christiani," also xxviii. 4, and lxiv. 1, 2. That the Manichæans naturally held Docetic views on the Incarnation is obvious when we remember that their fundamental misconception was that matter is identical with evil. [523] Marcion was the founder of one of the most formidable Gnostic sects towards the close of the second century: Tertullian wrote a famous treatise (still extant) against him. Like other Gnostics, his views involved him in Docetism. [524] S. John i. 14. [525] 2 Cor. v. 19. [526] Prævaricatio: this is a legal term which is often used of sin (esp. in connexion with Adam's transgression). Its original technical meaning is the action of an advocate who plays into the enemy's hand. In theology the devil (diabolos) is man's adversary, and man himself is befooled into collusion with him by breaking God's Law. [527] Potens ad privilegium: privilegium is another legal term signifying technically a bill framed to meet an individual case generally in a detrimental way, such bills being against the spirit of the Roman law: here Leo uses it in a sense more nearly approaching our English idea of "privilege." [528] Rom. v. 20. [529] Sub peccati præiudicio: yet a third legal term: præiudicium in Roman law was a semi-formal and anticipatory verdict by the judge before the case came on for final decision in court; in chapter vi. we have the verb præiudicare. [530] Eph. v. 2. [531] Cf. Ps. cxv. 5. [532] The idea of vicarious death was not unfamiliar to the Greeks and Romans: e.g. Alkestis dying for her husband Admetos, and the fairly numerous examples of "devotion" of Roman Generals on the battlefield. [533] S. John xii. 32, omnia: with the Vulgate. [534] It is scarcely necessary to point out that the old story of the `communicatio idiomatum' is here again discussed: cf. the Tome, chapters iv. and v. [535] S. Matt. iii. 17, and Bright's note 5. [536] S. John i. 29: the repetition of the Ecce (behold) is in accordance with the old Latin versions: cf. Westcott in loc. [537] Considerable portions of this chapter are found repeated word for word in Sermon LXIV. chap. i. and iv. [538] Lat. præiudicant, see note 3 to chap. iii., above. [539] Isti phantasmatici Christiani, cf. note 5, above. [540] Acts iv. 12. [541] 1 Tim. ii. 6. [542] Phil. ii. 6-11. [543] The whole of this chapter is repeated with slight variations in his letter (CLXV.) to Leo the Emperor (chaps. 8 and 10). [544] Quæ ditanda erat tantæ glorificationis augmento acc. to Leo's use of the gerundive, see Tome, chap. i quod...omnium regenerandorum voce depromitur. [545] Here the word is actually mysterium, not, as usual, sacramentum. [546] Sacramentum magnæ pietatis, 1 Tim. iii. 16: cf. Bright's note 8. [547] S. John i. 1-3, 14. [548] The reference is to Col. ii. 14. [549] Viz. as monks as well as baptized members of the church. [550] The Ungulæ (Claws) were among the numerous instruments with which Christians were tortured: cf. Tert. Apol. xii. 57, ungulis deraditis latera christianorum; Cypr. de lapsis chap. xiii. (cum) ungula effoderet, caro me in colluctatione deseruit. [551] Rom. i. 16. [552] S. Matt. x. 32. [553] Viz. in Baptism. [554] Ps . lxxxv. 12. [555] Rom. ix. 5.

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Letter CXXV.

To Julian, the Bishop, by Count Rodanus.

(Asking him to write quickly, and not keep him in suspense.)

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Letter CXXVI.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Congratulating him on the restoration of peace in Palestine.)

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Letter CXXVII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(About (1) affairs in Palestine, (2) a letter from Proterius, (3) the date of Easter, (4) his reply to the Synod of Chalcedon, (5) the deposition of Aetius.)

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Letter CXXVIII.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Professing readiness to be reconciled to Anatolius if he will abide by the canons and not infringe the prerogatives of others.)

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Letter CXXIX.

To Proterius, Bishop of Alexandria.

Leo to Proterius, bishop of Alexandria.

I. He commends his persistent loyalty to the Faith.

Your letter, beloved, which our brother and fellow-bishop Nestorius duly brought us, has caused me great joy. For it was seemly that such an epistle should be sent by the head of the church of Alexandria to the Apostolic See, as showed that the Egyptians had from the first learnt from the teaching of the most blessed Apostle Peter through his blessed disciple Mark [556] , that which it is agreed the Romans have believed, that beside the Lord Jesus Christ "there is no other name given to men under heaven, in which they must be saved [557] ." But because "all men have not faith [558] " and the crafty Tempter never delights so much in wounding the hearts of men as when he can poison their unwary minds with errors that are opposed to Gospel Truth, we must strive by the mighty teaching of the Holy Ghost to prevent Christian knowledge from being perverted by the devil's falsehoods. And against this danger it behoves the rulers of the churches especially to guard and to avert from the minds of simple folk lies which are coloured by a certain show of truth [559] . "For narrow and steep is the way which leads to life [560] ." And they seek to entrap men not so much by watching their actions as by nice distinctions of meaning, corrupting the force of sentences by some very slight addition or alteration, whereby sometimes a statement, which made for salvation, by a subtle change is turned to destruction. But since the Apostle says, "there must be heresies, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you [561] ," it tends to the progress of the whole Church, that, whenever wickedness reveals itself in setting forth wrong opinions, the things which are harmful be not concealed, and that what will inevitably end in ruin may not injure the innocence of others. Wherefore they must put down their blind wanderings and downfalls to themselves, who with rash obstinacy prefer to glory in their shame than to accept the offered remedy. You do right, brother, to be displeased at their stubbornness, and we commend you for holding fast that teaching which has come down to us from the blessed Apostles and the holy Fathers.

II. Let him fortify the faithful by the public reading aloud of quotations from the Fathers bearing on the question and of the Tome.

For there is no new preaching in the letter which I wrote in reply to Flavian of holy memory, when he consulted me about the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ; for in nothing did I depart from that rule of Faith which was outspokenly maintained by your ancestors and ours. And if Dioscorus had been willing to follow and imitate them, he would have abided in the Body of Christ, having in the works of Athanasius [562] of blessed memory the materials for instruction, and in the discourses of Theophilus [563] and Cyril [564] of holy remembrance the means rather of praise-worthily opposing the already condemned dogma than of choosing to consort with Eutyches in his blasphemy. This therefore, beloved brother, I advise in my anxiety for our common Faith that, because the enemies of Christ's cross lie in watch for all our words and syllables, we give them not the slightest occasion for falsely asserting that we agree with the Nestorian doctrine. And you must so diligently exhort the laity and clergy and all the brotherhood to advance in the Faith as to show that you teach nothing new but instil into all men's breasts those things, which the Fathers of revered memory have with harmony of statement taught, and with which in all things our epistle agrees. And this must be shown not only by your words but also by the actually reading aloud of previous statements, that God's people may know that what the Fathers received from their predecessors and handed on to their descendants, is still instilled into them in the present day. And to this end, when the statements of the aforesaid priests have first been read, then lastly let my writings also be recited, that the ears of the faithful may attest that we preach nothing else than what we received from our forefathers. And because their understandings are but little practised in discerning these things, let them at least learn from the letters of the Fathers, how ancient this evil is, which is now condemned by us in Nestorius as well as in Eutyches, who have both been ashamed to preach the gospel of Christ according to the Lord's own teaching.

III. The ancient precedents are to be maintained throughout.

Accordingly, both in the rule of Faith and in the observance of discipline, let the standard of antiquity be maintained throughout, and do thou, beloved, display the firmness of a prudent ruler, that the church of Alexandria may get the benefit of my earnest resistance to the unprincipled ambition of certain people in maintaining its ancient privileges, and of my determination that all metropolitans should retain their dignity undiminished, as you will ascertain from the tenor of my letters, which I have addressed, whether to the holy Synod or to the most Christian Emperor, or to the Bishop of Constantinople; for you will perceive that I have made it my special care to allow no deviation from the rule of Faith in the Lord's churches, nor any diminution of their privileges through any individual's unscrupulousness. And as this is so, hold fast, brother, to the custom of your predecessors, and keep due authority over your comprovincial bishops, who by ancient constitution are subject to the See of Alexandria; so that they resist not ecclesiastical usage, and refuse not to meet together under your presidency, either at fixed times or when any reasonable cause demands it: and that if anything has to be discussed in a general meeting which will be to the benefit of the Church, when the brethren have thus met together, they may unanimously come to some resolution thereupon. For there is nothing which ought to recall them from this obedience, seeing that both for faith and conduct we have such good knowledge of you, brother, that we will not allow you to lose any of your predecessor's authority, nor to be slighted with impunity. Dated March 10th, in the consulship of the illustrious Aetius and Studius (454).


Footnotes

[556] S. Mark was the reputed founder of the church of Alexandria. Cf. Letter IX. chap. 1. [557] Acts iv. 12. [558] 2 Thess. iii. 2. [559] See chap. ii. and more particularly Lett. CXXX. chap. 3 from which it is evident that the Eutychians had sought to foist upon certain passages in the Tome a Nestorian interpretation. [560] S. Matt. vii. 14. [561] 1 Cor. xi. 19. [562] Who as he himself says in the next letter, eidem ecclesiæ præfuerunt (CXXX. ii.). [563] Who as he himself says in the next letter, eidem ecclesiæ præfuerunt (CXXX. ii.). [564] Who as he himself says in the next letter, eidem ecclesiæ præfuerunt (CXXX. ii.).

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Letter CXXX.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Praising the orthodoxy of Proterius, advocating the public recital by him of passages bearing on the present controversy from the writings of Athanasius and others, and also of the Tome itself in a new Greek translation.)

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Letter CXXXI.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Telling him he has received Proterius' letter, and asking for (1) a new Greek translation of the Tome; (2) a report on the Easter difficulty of the next year (455)).

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Letter CXXXII.

From Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople, to Leo.

(In which he complains of the intermission in their correspondence, maintains his allegiance to Rome, announces the restitution of Aetius, deprecates the charge of personal ambition, and remits the proceedings of Chalcedon for his approval.)

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Letter CXXXIII.

From Proterius, Bishop of Alexandria, to Leo.

(Upon the Easter difficulty of 455.)

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Letter CXXXIV.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Suggesting that Eutyches should be banished to a still remoter place, where he cannot do so much harm by his false teaching.)

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Letter CXXXV.

To Anatolius.

(In Answer to CXXXII.)

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Letter CXXXVI.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Simultaneously with CXXXV., on the subject of his reconciliation with Anatolius.)

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Letter CXXXVII.

To the same, and on the same day.

(On the subject of Easter, acknowledging the trouble Proterius has taken,--to which is joined a request that the accounts of the oeconomi [565] should be audited by priests, not lay persons.)


Footnotes

[565] OEconomi(stewards) were officers appointed to manage the revenues of each diocese under the bishops' direction, when the bishops and their archdeacons had enough to do otherwise: cf. Bingham, Antiq., Bk. III. chap. xii.

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Letter CXXXVIII.

To the Bishops of Gaul and Spain.

(On Easter.)

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Letter CXXXIX.

To Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem.

Leo, bishop of the city of Rome, to Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem.

I. He rejoices over Juvenal's return to orthodoxy, though chiding him for having gone astray.

When I received your letter, beloved, which our sons Andrew the presbyter and Peter the deacon brought me, I rejoiced indeed that you had been allowed to return to the seat of your bishopric; but when all the reasons came to my remembrance, which brought you into such excessive troubles, I grieved to think you had been yourself the source of your adversities by failing in persistency of opposition to the heretics: for men can but think you were not bold enough to refute those with whom when in error you professed yourself satisfied. For the condemnation of Flavian of blessed memory, and the acceptance of the most unholy Eutyches, what was it but the denial of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh? which He Himself of His great mercy caused to be overthrown, when by the authority of the holy Council of Chalcedon He brought to nought that accursed judgment of the Synod of Ephesus without debarring any of the attainted from being healed by correction. And therefore, because in the time of long-suffering, you have chosen return to wisdom rather than persistency in folly, I rejoice that you have so sought the heavenly remedies as at last to have become a defender of the Faith which is assailed by heretics. For, though no priest ought to be ignorant of that which he preaches [566] , yet any Christian living at Jerusalem is more inexcusable than all the ignorant, seeing that he is taught to understand the power of the Gospel, not only by the written word but by the witness of the places themselves, and what elsewhere may not be disbelieved, cannot there remain unseen. Why is the understanding in difficulty, where the eyes are its instructors? And why are things read or heard doubtful, where all the mysteries of man's salvation obtrude themselves upon the sight and touch? As if to each individual doubter the Lord still used His human voice and said, why are "ye disturbed and why do thoughts arise into your hearts? see My hands and My feet that it is I myself. Handle Me and see because (or that) a spirit hath not bones and flesh, as ye see Me have [567] ."

II. Let him be strengthened in his faith by the holy associations of the place where he lives.

Make use, therefore, beloved brother, of these incontrovertible proofs of the catholic Faith and support the preaching of the Evangelists by the testimony of the holy places in which you live. In your country is Bethlehem, in which the Light of Salvation sprang from the womb of the Virgin of the house of David [568] , whom wrapped in swaddling clothes the manger of the crowded inn received. In your country was the Saviour's infancy announced by angels, adored by magi, sought by Herod through the death of many infants. In your country was it that His boyhood grew, His youth ripened, and His true man's nature reached to perfect manhood by the increase of the body, not without food for hunger, not without sleep for rest, not without tears of pity, not without fear and dread: for He is one and the same Person, who in the form of God wrought great miracles of power, and in the form of a slave underwent the cruelty of the passion. This the very cross unceasingly says to you: this the stone of the sepulchre cries out, under which the Lord in human condition lay, and from which by Divine power He rose. And when you approach the mount of Olivet, to venerate the place of the Ascension, does not the angel's voice ring in your ears, which says to those who were dumb-founded at the Lord's uplifting, "ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? this Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as ye saw Him going into heaven [569] ."

III. The facts of the Gospel attest the Incarnation.

The true birth of Christ, therefore, is confirmed by the true cross; since He is Himself born in our flesh, Who is crucified in our flesh, which, as no sin entered into it, could not have been mortal, unless it had been that of our race. But in order that He might restore life to all, He undertook the cause of all and rendered void the force of the old bond, by paying it for all, because He alone of us all did not owe it: that, as by one man's guilt all had become sinners, so by one man's innocence all might become innocent, righteousness being bestowed upon men by Him Who had undertaken man's nature. For in no way is He outside our true bodily nature, of Whom the Evangelist in beginning his story says, "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham [570] ," with which the blessed Apostle Paul's teaching agrees, when he says "whose are the fathers and of whom is Christ according to the flesh, Who is above all God blessed for ever [571] ," and so to Timothy "remember," he says, "that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, of the seed of David [572] ."

IV. Those who are still in error must be thoroughly instructed in the historic Faith.

But how many are the authorities, both in the New and Old Testaments, by which this truth is declared, as befits the antiquity of your See, you clearly understand, seeing that the belief of the Fathers and my letter written to Flavian, of holy memory, of which you yourself made mention, confirmed, as they have been, by the universal synod, are sufficient for you. And therefore it behoves you, beloved, to take heed that no one raise a murmur against the unspeakable mystery of our Redemption and Hope. But if there are any who are still in the darkness of ignorance or the discord of perversity, let them be instructed by the authority of those whose doctrine in God's Church was apostolical and clear, that they may recognize that on the Incarnation of God's Word we believe what they did, and may not by their obstinacy place themselves outside the Body of Christ, in which we died and rose with Him: because neither loyalty to the Faith nor the plan of the mystery admits that either the Godhead should be possible in its own essence, or the reality be falsified in His taking on Him of our flesh. Dated 4th September, in the consulship of the illustrious Aetius and Studius (454).


Footnotes

[566] Quod prædicat, some mss. quid prædicat (what to preach): some also add quoniam qui ignorat, ignorabitur (from 1 Cor. xiv. 38). [567] S. Luke xxiv. 38, 39. [568] Salutifer Davidicæ Virginis partus illuxit. [569] Acts i. 11. [570] S. Matt. i. 1. [571] Rom. ix. 5. [572] 2 Tim. ii. 8.

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Letter CXL.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Now that Dioscorus is dead, the peace of the Church will be more easily restored.)

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Letter CXLI.

To the Same.

(On several minor points of detail.)

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Letter CXLII.

To Marcian Augustus.

(Inter alia thanking him for the trouble he has taken about the Easter of 455.)

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Letter CXLIII.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Briefly asking him to extirpate all remains of heresy.)

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Letter CXLIV.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Speaking of rumours which have reached him of disturbances at Alexandria, and begging of him to be on the alert.)

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Letter CXLV.

To Leo Augustus [573] .

(Asking him to help the church of Alexandria in appointing a good bishop in place of the murdered Proterius [574] .)


Footnotes

[573] Marcian died in 457, and was succeeded by Leo of Thrace. [574] On Marcian's death there had been a rising, in which Proterius had been brutally murdered, and a monk named Timothy Ælurus set up in his stead.

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Letter CXLVI.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Begging him to take precautions lest the change of Emperor should be made the occasion for fresh outbreaks of heresy.)

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Letter CXLVII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos, and Aetius, the Presbyter.

(Charging him to uphold the acts of Chalcedon, and to help in choosing a good successor to Proterius.)

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Letter CXLVIII.

To Leo Augustus.

(Thanking him for assurances made that he would guard the interests of the Church.)

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Letter CXLIX.

To Basil, Bishop of Antioch.

(Asking him to give no countenance to the demand for a new Synod.)

.


Letter CL.

To Euxitheus, Bishop of Thessalonica (and Others).

(To the same effect.)

.


Letter CLI.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(He is to keep the church of Constantinople free from all heresy.)

.


Letter CLII.

To Julian, Bishop of Cos.

(Charging him to see that the preceding letters reach their destination.)

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Letter CLIII.

To Aetius, Presbyter of Constantinople.

(Asking him to assist in the distribution of these letters.)

.


Letter CLIV.

To the Egyptian Bishops.

(See Letter CLVIII.)

.


Letter CLV.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(In which he incites him to watchfulness, and complains that certain of the clergy in Constantinople are in collusion with the adversary.)

.


Letter CLVI.

To Leo Augustus.

Leo, the bishop, to Leo Augustus.

I. There is no need to open the question of doctrine again now.

Your clemency's letter, which was full of vigorous faith and of the light of truth, I have respectfully received, which I wish I could obey, even in the matter of my personal attendance, which your Majesty thinks necessary; for then I should gain the greater advantage from the sight of your splendour. But I believe you will approve of my view when reason has shown it preferable. For since with holy and spiritual zeal you consistently maintain the Church's peace, and nothing is more conducive to the defence of the Faith than to adhere to those things which have been incontrovertibly defined under the unceasing guidance of the Holy Spirit, we shall seem [575] to be doing our best to upset the decrees, and at the bidding of a heretic's petition to overthrow the authorities which the universal Church has adopted, and thus to remove all limits from the conflicts of Churches, and giving full rein to rebellion, to extend rather than appease contentions. And hence because after the disgraceful scenes at the synod of Ephesus, whereat through the wickedness of Dioscorus the catholic Faith was rejected, and Eutyches' heresy accepted, nothing more useful could be devised for the preservation of the Christian Faith than that the holy Synod of Chalcedon should rescind his wicked acts, and that such care should be bestowed thereat on heavenly doctrine, that nothing should linger in any one's mind in disagreement with the utterances of either the Prophets or the Apostles, such moderation of course being observed that only the persistent rebels should be cast off from the unity of the Church, and no one who was penitent should be denied pardon, what more in accordance with men's expectations or with religion will your Majesty be able to decree, than that no one henceforth be permitted to attack what has been determined by decrees which are Divine rather than human, lest they be truly worthy but to lose God's gift, who have dared to doubt concerning His Truth?

II. The proposal to reconsider the question proceeds from Antichrist or the Devil himself.

Since, therefore, the universal Church has become a rock (petra) through the building up of that original Rock [576] , and the first of the Apostles, the most blessed Peter, heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock (petra) I will build My Church [577] ," who is there who dare assail such impregnable strength, unless he be either antichrist or the devil, who, abiding unconverted in his wickedness, is anxious to sow lies by the vessels of wrath which are suited to his treachery, whilst under the false name of diligence he pretends to be in search of the Truth. And his unrestrained madness and blind wickedness has deservedly brought contempt and disrepute on himself, so that while he rages against the holy church of Alexandria with diabolical purpose, men may learn the character of those who desire to reconsider the Synod of Chalcedon. For it cannot possibly have been that an opinion was there expressed contrary to the holy Synod of Nicæa, as the heretics falsely maintain, who pretend that they hold the faith of the Nicene Council, in which our holy and venerable fathers, being assembled against Arius, affirmed not that the Lord's Flesh, but that the Son's Godhead was homoousion with the Father, whereas in the Council of Chalcedon against the blasphemy of Eutyches, it was defined that the Lord Jesus Christ took the reality of our body from the substance of the Virgin-mother.

III. All the bishops of Christendom agree with him in this.

Therefore in addressing our most Christian Emperor, who is worthy to be classed among the champions of Christ, I use the freedom of the catholic Faith and fearlessly exhort you to throw in your lot with Apostles and Prophets; firmly to despise and reject those who have deprived themselves of their Christian name, and not to let blasphemous parricides, who, it is agreed, wish to annul the Faith, discuss that Faith under treacherous pretexts. For since the Lord has enriched your clemency with such insight into His mystery, you ought unhesitatingly to consider that the kingly power has been conferred on you not for the governance of the world alone but more especially for the guardianship of the Church: that by quelling wicked attempts you may both defend that which has been rightly decreed, and restore true peace where there has been disturbance, that is to say by deposing usurpers [578] of the rights of others and reinstating the ancient Faith in the See of Alexandria, that by your reforms God's wrath may be appeased, and so He take not vengeance for their doings on a people hitherto religious, but forgive them. Set before the eyes of your heart, venerable Emperor, the fact that all the Lord's priests which are in all the world, are beseeching you on behalf of that Faith, wherein is Redemption for the whole world. In which those maintainers of the Apostolic Faith more particularly appeal to you who have presided over the Church of Alexandria, entreating your Majesty not to allow heretics who have rightfully been condemned for their perversity, to continue in their usurpation [579] ; for, whether you look at the wickedness of their error or consider the deed which their madness has perpetrated, not only are they unable to be admitted to the dignity of the priesthood, but they even deserve to be cut off from the name of Christian. For--and I entreat your Majesty's forgiveness for saying so--they to some extent dim your own splendour, most glorious Emperor, when such treacherous parricides dare to ask for that which even the guiltless could not lawfully obtain.

IV. The difference between the two petitions which have been presented to the Emperor.

Petitions have been presented to your Majesty [580] , copies of which you subjoined to your letter. But in that which comes in deprecation from the catholics, a list of signatures is contained: and because their case had good reason in it, the names of individuals, and even their dignified rank is confidently disclosed. But in that, which heretical intrusion has not feared to offer to our orthodox Emperor under the vague sanction of a motley body, all particular names are withheld for this reason, lest not only the paucity of members but also their worth might be discovered. For they think it expedient to conceal their number, though their quality is indicated, and not improperly they are afraid to proclaim their position, seeing that they deserve to be condemned. In the one document therefore is contained the petition of catholics, in the other the fictions of heretics are set forth. Here the overthrow of the Lord's priests, of the whole Christian people, and of the monasteries is bemoaned: there is displayed the continuance of gigantic wrongs, so that what ought never to have been heard of [581] is allowed to be widely extended.

V. It is a great opportunity for the Emperor to show his faith.

Is it not clear which side you ought to support and which to oppose, if the Church of Alexandria, which has always been the "house of prayer," is not now to be "a den of robbers [582] ?" For surely it is manifest that through the cruellest and maddest savagery all the light of the heavenly mysteries is extinguished. The offering of the sacrifice is cut off, the hallowing of the chrism has failed [583] , and from the murderous hands of wicked men all the mysteries have withdrawn themselves. Nor can there be any manner of doubt what decree ought to be passed on these then, who after unutterable acts of sacrilege, after shedding the blood of a most highly reputed priest, and scattering the ashes of his burnt body to be the sport of the winds of heaven, dare to demand for themselves the rights of a usurped dignity and to arraign before councils the inviolable Faith of the Apostolic teaching. Great, therefore, is the opportunity for you to add to your diadem from the Lord's hand the crown of faith also, and to triumph over the Church's foes: for, if it be matter of praise to you to vanquish the armies of opposing nations, how great will be the glory of freeing from its mad tyrant the church of Alexandria, the affliction of which is an injury to all Christians?

VI. He promises more detailed statements on the Faith subsequently, and begs him to correct certain things in which Anatolius is remiss.

But in order that my correspondence may have the effect on your Majesty of a mouth to mouth colloquy, I have seen that whatever suggestions I would make about our common Faith, must be conveyed in subsequent communications [584] . And lest the pages of this epistle reach too great a length, I have comprised in another letter what is agreeable to the maintenance of the catholic Faith, in order that, though the published statements of the Apostolic See were sufficient, yet these additional statements might also break down the snares of the heretics. For your Majesty's priestly and Apostolic mind ought to be still further kindled to righteous vengeance by this pestilential evil, which mars the purity of the church of Constantinople, in which are found certain clerics, who agree with the interpretations of the heretics and within the very heart of the Church assist them by their support [585] . In removing whom if my brother Anatolius is found remiss through too good-natured leniency, vouchsafe to show your faith by administering this remedy also to the Church, that such men be driven not only from the ranks of the clergy, but also from dwelling in the city. I commend to you your Majesty's loyal subjects, bishop Julian and presbyter Aetius, with a request that you will deign to listen quietly to their suggestions in defence of the catholic Faith, because they are in good truth men who may be found helpful to your faith in all things. Dated the 1st of Dec. in the consulship of the illustrious Constantine and Rufus (457).


Footnotes

[575] i.e. by carrying out your plan. The appeal to the Emperor's orthodoxy must be regarded as diplomatic rather than accurate: for Leo was the nominee of Arianism, if not himself an Arian. [576] Per illius principalis petræ ædificationem: here petra is apparently Christ Himself, cf. Letter XXVIII. chap. 5, and Bright's n. 64. [577] S. Matt. xvi. 18. [578] Sc. Timothy Ælurus. [579] Pervasione, others read persuasione (false opinion). [580] These had come, one from either side, as the sequel shows: that of the catholics was signed by fourteen bishops, four presbyters, and two deacons (Ball.). [581] Audiri: others auderi (to have been ventured on). [582] S. Luke xix. 46. [583] Cf. Serm. LXVI. chap. 2, nobiscum est signaculum circumcisionis, sanctificatio chrismatum, consecratio sacerdotum: see Bright's n. 90, from which we learn that "this chrism was that which, from the second century, had been administered in connection with Confirmation." This rite, which had at first been part of the Baptism itself, was now apparently performed at a shorter or longer interval after Baptism according to the convenience of the Bishop: cf. Serm. LXXVII. 1. [584] Viz. Letters CLXII., CLXIV., and esp. CLXV. (which last is in a large measure a rescription of Letter CXXIV. q.v.). [585] Two of these are mentioned by name subsequently, e.g. in Lett. CLVII. (to Anatolius), chap. 4, viz. Atticus a presbyter and Andrew, in which chapter he blames Anatolius severely for his double-dealing (cogor vehementius de tua dissimulatione causari, etc.).

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Letter CLVII.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople.

(Urging him to active measures in certain specified matters.)

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Letter CLVIII [586] .

To the Catholic Bishops of Egypt Sojourning in Constantinople.

Leo to the catholic Egyptian bishops sojourning in Constantinople.

He encourages them in their sufferings for the Faith, and in their entreaties for redress to the Emperor.

I have before now been so saddened by tidings of the crimes committed in Alexandria, and my spirit has been so wounded by the atrocity of the deed itself, that I know not what tears to show and what lamentation to utter over it, and am fain to use the prophet's language, "who will give waters to my head and a fountain of tears to my eyes [587] ?" Yet anticipating your complaint, beloved, I have entreated our most clement and Christian Emperor for a remedy of these great evils, and by our sons and assistants Gerontius and Olympius have at a different time demanded that he should make haste to purge of a heresy already condemned the church of that city, in which so many Catholic teachers have flourished, and not allow murderous spirits whom no reverence for place or time [588] could deter from shedding their ruler's blood, to gain anything from his clemency, more particularly when they desire to reconsider the council of Chalcedon to the overthrow of the Faith. Accordingly the same reason, beloved, which drove you from your own Sees, ought to console you for your sufferings; for it is certain that afflicted souls, that suffer adversity for His name, are in no wise deprived of the Lord's protection. Bear it therefore bravely, and mindful of that country which is yours, rejoice over your present sojourn in a strange land. Abstain from grieving over your exile and indulge not in sorrow for your present weariness, ye who know that the Apostle glories even in his many perils on behalf of the Lord's Faith. You have One who knows your conflicts and has prepared the rewards of recompense. Let no one shrink from this labour, whose guerdon is to reign and [589] live for ever. Let the feet of all who fight be fixed in the halls of Jerusalem; for in the hope of that retribution they will have no cause to fear the camp nor the onsets of the enemy. Victory is never hard nor triumph difficult over the remnants of an abject foe who has been routed by the whole world alike, especially over those whose ringleaders you see already prostrate. With unceasing prayers, therefore (even as I also have not failed to do), entreat the favour of the most Christian Emperor, who in God's mercy is ready to hear: that in accordance with the letter I have sent [590] , he may strengthen the cause of the common Faith with that devotion of mind, which we are well assured he possesses, and in his piety may remove all the harmful charges which the madness of heretics has invented, and arrange for your return, beloved, and so may cause each several province and all the churches with their priests to rejoice in the unshaken peace of Christ. Dated the 1st of Dec. in the consulship of Constantine and Rufus (457).


Footnotes

[586] One of three Letters, the other two being CLIV. and CLX., first printed by Quesnel on the authority apparently of a single ms. (Codex Grimanicus), and addressed to the bishops (and clergy) who had fled out of Egypt to Constantinople in consequence of the recent disturbances. Letter CLX. mentions fifteen of them by name but is not otherwise so interesting as CLVIII., the one selected for translation. [587] Jer. ix. 1 (Vulg.). [588] Proterius had been slain in the baptistery die Cænæ Domini (? Thursday in Holy Week). [589] The ms. reads vel here, but I think the Ball. are right in maintaining that Leo does at times use vel for et. [590] Viz. Lett. CLVI q.v.

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Letter CLIX.

To Nicætas, Bishop of Aquileia.

(Leo, the bishop, to Nicætas, bishop of Aquileia, greeting.)

I. Prefatory.

My son Adeodatus, deacon of our See, on returning to us has delivered your request, beloved, to receive from us the authority of the Apostolic See upon matters which seem indeed to be hard to decide, but which we must make provision for with a view to the necessities of the times that the wounds which have been inflicted by the attacks of the enemy may be healed chiefly by the agency of religion.

II. About the women who married again when their husbands were taken prisoners.

As then you say that through the disasters of war and through the grievous inroads of the enemy families have in certain cases been so broken up that the husbands have been carried off into captivity and their wives remain forsaken, and these latter thinking their own husbands either dead or never likely to be freed from their masters, have contracted another marriage under stress of loneliness, and as, now that the state of things has im proved through the Lord's help, some of those who were thought to have perished have returned, you seem, dear brother, naturally to be in doubt what ought to be settled by us about women thus joined to other husbands. But because we know it is written that "a woman is joined to a man by God [591] ," and again, we are aware of the precept that "what God hath joined, man may not put asunder [592] ," we are bound to hold that the compact of the lawful marriage must be renewed, and after the removal of the evils inflicted by the enemy, what each lawfully had must be restored to him; and we must take every pains that each should recover what is his own.

III. Whether he is blameable who has taken the prisoner's wife?

But notwithstanding let him not be held blameable and treated as the invader of another's right, who took the place of the husband, who was thought no longer alive. For thus many things which belonged to those led into captivity happened to pass into the possession of others, and yet it is altogether fair that on their return their property should be restored. And if this is duly observed in the case of slaves or of lands, or even of houses and personal goods, how much more ought it to be done in the restoration of wives, that what has been disturbed by the necessities of war may be restored by the remedy of peace?

IV. The wife must be restored to her first husband.

And, therefore, if husbands who have returned after a long captivity still feel such affection for their wives as to desire them to return to partnership [593] , that, which necessity brought about, must be passed over and judged blameless and the demands of fidelity satisfied.

V. Women must be excommunicated who refuse to return.

And if any women are so possessed by love of their later husbands as to prefer to remain with them than to return to their lawful partners, they are deservedly to be branded: so that they be even deprived of the Church's communion; for in a pardonable matter they have chosen to taint themselves with crime, showing that they have sought their own pleasure in their incontinence, when a rightful restitution could have obtained their forgiveness. Let them return then to their former state and make voluntary reparation, nor let that which a condition of necessity extorted from them be by any means turned into disgrace through evil desires; because, as those women who refuse to return to their husbands are to be held unholy, so they who return to an affection entered on with God's sanction are deservedly to be praised.

VI. About captives, who were compelled to eat of sacrificial food.

Concerning those Christians who are asserted to have been polluted with sacrificial food, while among those by whom they were taken prisoners, we have thought it right to make this reply to your enquiry, dear brother, that they be purged by a satisfactory penitence which is to be measured not so much by the duration of the process as by the intensity of the feeling. And whether their compliance was wrung from them by terror or hunger, there need be no hesitation at acquitting them, since the food was taken from fear or want, not from superstitious reverence.

VII. About those who in fear or by mistake were re-baptized.

But as to those about whom you thought, beloved, we ought likewise to be consulted who were either forced by fear or led by mistake to repeat their baptism, and now understand that they acted contrary to the ordinances of the catholic Faith, such moderation must be observed towards them that they be received into full communion with us, but not without the healing of penitence and the imposition of the bishop's hands, the length of the penance (with due regard to moderation) being left to your judgment, as you shall perceive the minds of the penitents to be disposed: in which you must not forget to consider old age, illness, and other risks. For if a man be in so dangerous a case that his life is despaired of, while he is still under penance, he should receive the gracious aid of communion by the priest's tender care.

VIII. About baptism by heretics.

For they who have received baptism from heretics, not having been previously baptized, are to be confirmed by imposition of hands with only the invocation of the Holy Ghost, because they have received the bare form of baptism without the power of sanctification [594] . And this regulation, as you know, we require to be kept in all the churches, that the font once entered may not be defiled by repetition, as the Lord says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." And that washing may not be polluted by repetition, but, as we have said, only the sanctification of the Holy Ghost invoked, that what no one can receive from heretics may be obtained from catholic priests. This letter of ours, which we have sent in reply to the inquiries of the brotherhood you shall bring to the knowledge of all your brethren and fellow-bishops of the province, that our authority, now that it is given, may avail for the general observance. Dated 21st March, in the consulship of Majorian Augustus (458).


Footnotes

[591] Prov. xix. 14. (LXX.). [592] Matt. xix. 6. [593] There is little doubt, I think, that the return of the wife was at the husband's option in Leo's opinion, and could not be forced upon him. [594] Leo repeats this injunction in Letter CLXVI. chap. 2. and Lett. CLXVII., inquiry 18. Quesnel identifies this ceremony with the right of Confirmation, but the Ballerinii are probably right in thinking this a mistake, and in identifying it with the manuum impositio in poenitentiam mentioned by Cyprian and other fathers. See Lett. CLXVI. chap. 2, n. 5b.

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Letter CLX.

(See Letter CLVIII.)

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Letter CLXI.

To the Presbyters, Deacons and Clergy of the Church of Constantinople.

(Exhorting them to remain stedfast in the Faith as fixed at Chalcedon, and to have no dealings with Atticus and Andrew unless they recant.)

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Letter CLXII.

To Leo Augustus.

By the hand of Philoxenus agens in rebus [595] . Leo the Bishop to Leo Augustus.

I. The decrees of Chalcedon and Nicæa are identical and final.

With much joy my mind exults in the Lord, and great is my cause for thankfulness, now that I perceive your clemency's most excellent faith to be in all things enlarged by the gifts of heavenly grace, and I experience by increased diligence the devotion of a priestly mind in you. For in your Majesty's communications it is beyond doubt revealed what the Holy Spirit is working through you for the good of the whole Church, and how greatly it is to be desired by the prayers of all the faithful that your empire may be everywhere extended with glory, seeing that besides your care for things temporal you so perseveringly exercise a religious foresight in the service of what is divine and eternal: to wit that the catholic Faith, which alone gives life to and alone hallows mankind, may abide in the one confession, and the dissensions which spring from the variety of earthly opinions may be driven away, most glorious Emperor, from that solid Rock, on which the city of God is built. And these gifts of God will at last be granted us from Him, if we be not found ungrateful for what has been vouchsafed, and as though what we have gained were naught, we seek not rather the very opposite. For to seek what has been discovered, to reconsider what has been completed, and to demolish what has been defined, what else is it but to return no thanks for things gained and to indulge the unholy longings of deadly lust on the food of the forbidden tree? And hence by deigning to show a more careful regard for the peace of the universal Church, you manifestly recognize what is the design of the heretics' mighty intrigues that a more careful discussion should take place between the disciples of Eutyches and Dioscorus and the emissary of the Apostolic See, as if nothing had already been defined, and that what with the glad approval of the catholic priests of the whole world was determined at the holy Synod of Chalcedon should be rendered invalid to the detriment also of the most sacred Council of Nicæa. For what in our own days at Chalcedon was determined concerning our Lord Jesus Christ's Incarnation, was also so defined at Nicæa by that mystic number of Fathers [596] , lest the confession of catholics should believe that God's Only-begotten Son was in aught unequal to the Father, or that when He was made Son of man He had not the true nature of our flesh and soul.

II. The wicked designs of heretics must be stedfastly resisted.

Therefore we must abhor and persistently avoid what heretical deceit is striving to obtain, nor must what has been well and fully defined be brought again under discussion, lest we ourselves should seem at the will of condemned men to have doubts concerning things which it is clear agree throughout with the authority of Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles. And hence, if there are any who disagree with these heaven-inspired decisions, let them be left to their own opinions and depart from the unity of the Church with that perverse sect which they have chosen. For it can in no wise be that men who dare to speak against divine mysteries are associated in any communion with us. Let them pride themselves on the emptiness of their talk and boast of the cleverness of their arguments against the Faith: we are pleased to obey the Apostle's precepts, where he says, "See that no one deceive you with philosophy and vain seductions of men [597] ." For according to the same Apostle, "if I build up those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor [598] ," and subject myself to those conditions of punishment which not only the authority of Prince Marcian of blessed memory, but I myself also by my consent have accepted. Because as you have justly and truthfully maintained perfection admits of no increase nor fulness of addition. And hence, since I know you, venerable Prince, imbued as you are with the purest light of truth, waver in no part of the Faith, but with just and perfect judgment distinguish right from wrong, and separate what is to be embraced from what is to be rejected, I beseech you not to think that my humility is to be blamed for want of confidence, since my cautiousness is not only in the interests of the universal Church but also for the furtherance of your own glory, that under your reign the unscrupulousness of heretics may not seem to be advanced and the security of catholics disturbed.

III. He promises to send envoys not to discuss with the Eutychians, but to explain the Faith to the Emperor.

Although, therefore, I am very confident of the piety of your heart in all things, and perceive that through the Spirit of God dwelling in you, you are sufficiently instructed, nor can any error delude your faith, yet I will endeavour to follow your bidding so far as to send certain of my brothers to represent my person before you, and to set forth what the Apostolic rule of Faith is, although, as I have said, it is well known to you, in all things making it clear and certain that they are not in any way to be reckoned among catholics, who do not accept the definitions of the venerable Synod of Nicæa or the ordinances of the holy Council of Chalcedon, inasmuch as it is evident the holy decrees of both proceed from the Evangelical and Apostolical source, and whatever is not of Christ's watering is like a snake-poisoned draught [599] . Your Majesty should understand beforehand, most venerable Emperor, that those whom I undertake to send will come from the Apostolic See, not to fight with the enemies of the Faith nor to strive against any, because of matters already settled as it has pleased God both at Nicæa and at Chalcedon we dare not enter upon any discussion, as if what so great an authority has fixed by the Holy Spirit were doubtful or weak.

IV. The heretics must be forced to give up their usurpations and left to the judgment of God.

But we do not refuse the assistance of our ministry for the instruction of our little ones, who after being fed with milk desire to be satisfied with more solid food: and as we do not scorn the simple folk, so we will have no dealings with rebel heretics, remembering the Lord's command, who says, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine [600] ." Surely it is altogether unworthy and unjust to admit to freedom of discussion men whom the Holy Spirit describes in the words of the prophet, "the sons of the stranger have lied unto me [601] ." For even though they resist not the Gospel, yet they have shown themselves to be of those of whom it is written "they profess that they know God but by their deeds they deny Him [602] ," while the blood of just Abel [603] still cries against wicked Cain [604] , who being rebuked by the Lord did not set quietly about his repentance but burst forth into murder. Whose punishment we wish to be reserved for the Lord's judgment in such a way that, unprincipled plunderer and blood-thirsty murderer as he is, he may be thrown back upon himself and relinquish what is ours. We pray you also not to suffer the lamentable captivity of the holy church of Alexandria to be any further prolonged, which by the help of your faith and Justice ought to be restored to its liberty, that through all the cities of Egypt the dignity of the Fathers and their priestly rights may be restored. Dated 21st of March in the consulship of Leo and Majorian Augusti (458).


Footnotes

[595] Cf. Lett. XCV. n. 6. [596] The number was 318: cf. Lett. CVI. 2, where the exact number is quoted and the explanation perhaps is given of Leo's epithet "mystic" here applied to it. [597] Col. ii. 8. [598] Gal. ii. 18. [599] Poculi esse viperei. [600] S. Matt. vii. 6. [601] Ps. xviii. 44 (Vulg.). [602] Tit. i. 16. [603] Sc. in the persons of Proterius and Timothy Ælurus. [604] Sc. in the persons of Proterius and Timothy Ælurus.

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Letter CLXIII.

To Anatolius, Bishop of Constantinople. By Patritius the Deacon the Deacon.

(Glorying over the harshness of his former letter, to which Anatolius had objected, but persisting that he is not satisfied with the explanation Atticus had furnished of his orthodoxy.)

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Letter CLXIV. [605]

To Leo Augustus.

Leo, the bishop, to Leo Augustus.

I. He sends envoys but deprecates any fresh discussion of the Faith.

Rejoicing that it has been proved to me by many clear proofs with what earnestness you consult the interests of the universal Church, I have not delayed to obey your Majesty's commands on the first opportunity, by despatching Domitian and Geminian my brothers and fellow-bishops, who in furtherance of my earnest prayers, shall entreat you for the peaceful acceptance of the gospel-teaching and obtain the liberty of the Faith in which through the instruction of the Holy Spirit you yourself are so conspicuously eminent, now that the enemies of Christ are driven far away, who even if they had wished to conceal their madness, could not lie hid, because the holy simplicity of the Lord's flock is very different from the pretences of beasts who hide themselves in sheeps' clothing, nor can they creep in by hypocrisy now that their exceeding madness has revealed them. Recognize, therefore, august and venerable Emperor, how that you are called by Divine providence to the guardianship of the whole world, and understand what aid you owe to your Mother, the Church, who makes especial boast of you. Disputes that are ended must not be allowed to rise with renewed vigour against the triumphs of the Almighty's right hand, especially when this can in no wise be allowed to heretics, whose attempts have long ago been condemned and the labours of the faithful have a just claim to this result, that all the fulness of the Church shall remain secure in the completeness of her unity, and that nothing whatever of what has been well laid down shall be reconsidered, because, after constitutions have been legitimately framed under Divine guidance, to wish still to wrangle is the sign not of a peace-making but of a rebellious spirit, as says the Apostle, "for to strive with words is profitable for nothing, but for the subverting of them that hear [606] ."

II. In matters of Faith human rhetoric is out of place.

For if it be always free for human fancies to assert themselves in dispute, there never will be wanting men who will dare to oppose the Truth, and to put their trust in the glib utterances of this world's wisdom, whereas the Christian Faith and wisdom knows from the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself how strictly it ought to shun this most harmful vanity. For when Christ was about to summon all nations to the illumination of the Faith, He chose those who were to devote themselves to the preaching of the Gospel not from among philosophers or orators, but took humble fishermen as the instruments by which He would reveal Himself, lest the heavenly teaching, which was of itself full of mighty power, should seem to need the aid of words. And hence the Apostle protests and says, "For Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel, not in wisdom of words lest the cross of Christ should be made void; for the word of the cross is to them indeed that perish foolishness, but to those which are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the prudence of the prudent will I reject. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the inquirer of this age? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world [607] ?" For rhetorical arguments and clever debates of man's device make their chief boast in this, that in doubtful matters which are obscured by the variety of opinions they can induce their hearers to accept that view which each has chosen for his own genius and eloquence to bring forward; and thus it happens that what is maintained with the greatest eloquence is reckoned the truest. But Christ's Gospel needs not this art; for in it the true teaching stands revealed by its own light: nor is there any seeking for that which shall please the ear, when to know Who is the Teacher is sufficient for true faith.

III. Eutyches' dogma is condemned by the testimony of Scripture and cannot further be entertained.

But nothing severs those who are deceived by their own inventions, from the light of the Gospel so much as their not thinking that the Lord's Incarnation appertains in a true sense to man's, that is, our, nature: as if it were unworthy of God's glory that the majesty of the impassible Word should have taken the reality of human flesh, whereas men's salvation could not otherwise have been restored had not He Who is in the form of God deigned also to take the form of a slave. And hence since the holy Synod of Chalcedon, which was attended by all the provinces of the Roman world and obtained universal acceptance for its decisions, and is in complete harmony therein with the most sacred council of Nicæa, has cut off all the wicked followers of the Eutychian dogma from the body of the catholic communion, how shall any of the lapsed regain the peace of the church, without purging himself by a full course of penitence? For what licence can be granted them for discussing, when they have deserved to be condemned by a just and holy judgment, so that they might most truly fall under that sentence of the blessed Apostle, wherewith at the very outset of the infant Church he overthrew the enemies of Christ's cross, saying: "every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ to have come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which dissolves Jesus is not of God, but this is antichrist [608] ." And this pre-existent teaching of the Holy Ghost we must faithfully and stedfastly make use of, lest, by admitting the discussions of such men the authority of the divinely inspired decrees be diminished, when in all parts of your kingdom and in all borders of the earth that Faith which was confirmed at Chalcedon is being established on the surest basis of peace, nor is any one worthy of the name of Christian who cuts himself off from communion with us. Of whom the Apostle says, "a man that is heretical after a first and a second admonition, avoid, knowing that such a one is perverse and condemned by his own judgment [609] ."

IV. If the Divine mercy is to be exercised, the heretics must cease entirely from the error of their ways.

What therefore the unholy parricide has perpetrated by seizing on the holy Church and cruelly murdering its very ruler, cannot be expiated by man's forgiveness, unless He Who alone can rightly punish such things, and alone can of His unspeakable mercy remit them, be propitiated. But though we are not anxious for vengeance, we cannot in any way be allied with the devil's servants. Yet if we learn they are quitting the ranks of heresy, repenting them of their error and turning from the weapons of discord to the lamentations of sorrow, we also can intercede for them, lest they perish for ever, thus following the example of the Lord's loving-kindness, who, when nailed to the wood of the cross prayed for His persecutors, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do [610] ." And that Christian love may do this profitably for its enemies, wicked heretics must cease to harass God's ever religious and ever devout Church; they must not dare to disturb the souls of the simple by their falsehoods, to the end that, where in all former times the purest faith has flourished, the teaching of the Gospel and of the Apostles may now also have free course; because we also imitating, so far as we can, the Divine mercy desire no one to be punished by justice, but all to be released by mercy.

V. Let him restore the refugee clergy and laity and utterly reject those who persist in heresy.

I entreat your clemency, listen to the suggestions of my brethren already mentioned, whom, as I some time ago have said in a former letter [611] , I have sent not to wrangle with the condemned, but merely to intercede with you for the stability of the catholic Faith. And in accordance with your faith in and regard for the Divine Majesty this especially you should grant, that completely setting aside the contentions of heretics you should deign to bestow a merciful attention on those who have fallen upon such evil days, and, after restoring the liberty of the church of Alexandria to its pristine state, should set up there a bishop who, upholding the decrees of the Synod of Chalcedon and agreeing with the ordinances of the Gospel, shall be able to restore peace among that greatly disturbed people. Those bishops and clergy also whom the unholy parricide has driven out of their churches, should be recalled at your Majesty's command, all others also, whom a like maliciousness has banished from their dwellings, being restored to their former estate, to the end that we may have due cause fully and perfectly to rejoice in the grace of God and your faith without any further noise of strife. For if any one is so forgetful of the Christian hope and his own salvation as to venture by any dispute to assail the Evangelical and Apostolical decrees of the holy Synod of Chalcedon, thus overthrowing the most sacred Council of Nicæa also, him with all heretics who have held blasphemous and abominable views on the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ we condemn by a like anathema and equal curse, so that, without refusing the remedy of repentance to those who make full and legitimate atonement, the sentence of the Synod, which is based on truth, may rest upon those who still resist. Dated 17th of August, in the consulship of Leo and Majorian Augusti (458).


Footnotes

[605] Portions of this letter are found quoted by various ancient Fathers, e.g. by Popes Vigilius and Pelagius II. in the sixth cent; by Facundus, bishop of Hermiæ, in the same century, and almost one half of the whole by Prudentius, bishop of Troyes (ninth cent.) in his famous treatise on Predestination against John Scotus Erigena. Quesnel, however, appears to have been the first to print it as a whole ex codice Grimanico; after which the Ball. also discovered it in the Ratisbon ms. [606] Loosely quoted from 2 Tim. ii. 14. [607] 1 Cor. i. 17-20. [608] 1 John iv. 2, 3. For the reading solvit (dissolves), cf. Lett. XXVIII. (Tome), chap. 5 and note. [609] Tit. iii. 10, 11. [610] S. Luke xxiii. 34. [611] Viz. Lett. CLXII. chap. iii.

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Letter CLXV.

To Leo Augustus.

[This letter, which is sometimes called the Second Tome, contains the detailed statement of the catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, which Leo had promised the Emperor in Letter CLVI. It consists of 9 chapters, but, as chaps. iii. to viii. and parts of ii. and ix. are almost identical in language with Letter CXXIV., already given in full, I have not thought it necessary to reproduce the letter here. At the end a long series of quotations from Hilary, Ambrose and other Fathers bearing upon the doctrine are also added, but these also are dispensed with in accordance with our general practice, as we are now presenting Leo and no one else to the reader.]

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Letter CLXVI.

To Neo, Bishop of Ravenna.

Leo, the bishop, to Neo, bishop of Ravenna, greeting.

I. Those, who being taken captives in infancy cannot remember or bring witnesses of their baptism, must not be denied this sacrament.

We have indeed frequently, God's Spirit instructing us, steadied the brethren's hearts, when they were tottering on the slippery places of doubtful questions, by formulating an answer either out of the teaching of the Holy Scriptures or from the rules of the Fathers: but lately in Synod a new and hitherto unheard-of subject of debate has arisen. For at the instance of certain brethren we have discovered that some of the prisoners of war, on their free return to their own homes, such to wit as went into captivity at an age when they could have no sure knowledge of anything, crave the healing waters of baptism, but in the ignorance of infancy cannot remember whether they have received the mystery and rites of baptism, and that therefore in this uncertainty of defective recollection their souls are brought into jeopardy, so long as under a show of caution they are denied a grace, which is withheld, because it is thought to have been bestowed. And so, since certain brethren in a not unjustifiable fear have hesitated to perform the rites of the Lord's mystery, at a synodal meeting, as we have said, we have received a formal request for advice on this matter, and in carefully discussing it, we have desired to weigh each members opinion, and to handle it in so cautious a manner as to arrive with certainty at the truth by making use of the knowledge of many. Consequently the same things, which have come into our mind by the Divine inspiration, have received the assent and confirmation of a large number of the brethren. And so we are bound before all things to take heed lest, while we hold fast to a certain show of caution, we incur a loss of souls who are to be regenerated. For who is so given over to suspicions as to decide that to be true which without any evidence he suspects by mere guesswork? And so wherever the man himself who is anxious for the new birth does not recollect his baptism, and no one can bear witness about him being unaware of his consecration to God, there is no possibility for sin to creep in, seeing that, so far as their knowledge goes, neither the bestower or receiver of the consecration is guilty. We know indeed that an unpardonable offence is committed, whenever in accordance with the institutions of heretics which the holy Fathers have condemned, any one is forced twice to enter the font, which is but once available for those who are to be reborn, in opposition to the Apostle's teaching [612] , which speaks to us of One Godhead in Trinity, one confession in Faith, one sacrament in Baptism. But in this nothing similar is to be apprehended, since, what is not known to have been done at all, cannot come under the charge of repetition. And so, whenever such a case occurs, first sift it by careful investigation, and spend a considerable time, unless his last end is near, in inquiring whether there be absolutely no one who by his testimony can assist the other's ignorance. And when it is established that the man who requires the sacrament of baptism is prevented by a mere baseless suspicion, let him come boldly to obtain the grace, of which he is conscious of no trace in himself. Nor need we fear thus to open the door of salvation which has not been shown to have been entered before.

II. Baptism by heretics must not be invalidated by second baptism.

But if it is established that a man has been baptized by heretics, on him the mystery of regeneration must in no wise be repeated, but only that conferred which was wanting before, so that he may obtain the power of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the Bishop's hands [613] . This decision, beloved brother, we wish to be brought to the knowledge of you all generally, to the end that God's mercy may not be refused to those who desire to be saved through undue timidity. Dated the 24th of Oct., in the consulship of Majorian Augustus (458).


Footnotes

[612] Viz. Eph. iv. 5. It will be remembered that the practice of rebaptism was very definitely condemned in the times of S. Cyprian (3rd cent.), who himself went wrong in advocating it in the case of heretics. [613] See n. 2 to Lett. CLIX. chap. 8.

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Letter CLXVII [614] .

To Rusticus, Bishop of Gallia Narbonensis, with the replies to his Questions on various points.

Leo, the bishop, to Rusticus, bishop of Gallia Narbonensis.

I. He exhorts him to act with moderation towards two bishops who have offended him.

Your letter, brother, which Hermes your archdeacon [615] brought, I have gladly received; the number of different matters it contains makes it indeed lengthy, but not so tedious to me on a patient perusal that any point should be passed over, amid the cares that press upon me from all sides. And hence having grasped the gist of your allegation and reviewed what took place at the inquiry of the bishops and leading men [616] , we gather that Sabinian and Leo, presbyters, lacked confidence in your [617] action, and that they have no longer any just cause for complaint, seeing that of their own accord they withdrew from the discussion that had been begun. What form or what measure of justice you ought to mete out to them I leave to your own discretion advising you, however, with the exhortation of love that to the healing of the sick you ought to apply spiritual medicine, and that remembering the Scripture which says "be not over just [618] ," you should act with mildness towards these who in zeal for chastity seem to have exceeded the limits of vengeance, lest the devil, who deceived the adulterers, should triumph over the avengers of the adultery.

II. He expostulates with him for wishing to give up his office, which would imply distrust of God's promises.

But I am surprised, beloved, that you are so disturbed by opposition in consequence of offences, from whatever cause arising, as to say you would rather be relieved of the labours of your bishopric, and live in quietness and ease than continue in the office committed to you. But since the Lord says, "blessed is he who shall persevere unto the end [619] ," whence shall come this blessed perseverance, except from the strength of patience? For as the Apostle proclaims, "All who would live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution [620] ." And it is not only to be reckoned persecution, when sword or fire or other active means are used against the Christian religion; for the direst persecution is often inflicted by nonconformity of practice and persistent disobedience and the barbs of ill-natured tongues: and since all the members of the Church are always liable to these attacks, and no portion of the faithful are free from temptation, so that a life neither of ease nor of labour is devoid of danger, who shall guide the ship amidst the waves of the sea, if the helmsman quit his post? Who shall guard the sheep from the treachery of wolves, if the shepherd himself be not on the watch? Who, in fine, shall resist the thieves and robbers, if love of quietude draw away the watchman that is set to keep the outlook from the strictness of his watch? One must abide, therefore, in the office committed to him and in the task undertaken. Justice must be stedfastly upheld and mercy lovingly extended. Not men, but their sins must be hated [621] . The proud must be rebuked, the weak must be borne with; and those sins which require severer chastisement must be dealt with in the spirit not of vindictiveness but of desire to heal. And if a fiercer storm of tribulation fall upon us, let us not be terror-stricken as if we had to overcome the disaster in our own strength, since both our Counsel and our Strength is Christ, and through Him we can do all things, without Him nothing, Who, to confirm the preachers of the Gospel and the ministers of the mysteries, says, "Lo, I am with you all the days even to the consummation of the age [622] ." And again He says, "these things I have spoken unto you that in me ye may have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world [623] ." The promises, which are as plain as they can be, we ought not to let any causes of offence to weaken, lest we should seem ungrateful to God for making us His chosen vessels, since His assistance is powerful as His promises are true.

III. Many of the questions raised could be more easily settled in a personal interview than on paper.

On those points of inquiry, beloved, which your archdeacon has brought me separately written out, it would be easier to arrive at conclusions on each point face to face, if you could grant us the advantage of your presence. For since some questions seem to exceed the limits of ordinary diligence, I perceive that they are better suited to conversation than to writing: for as there are certain things which can in no wise be controverted, so there are many things which require to be modified either by considerations of age or by the necessities of the case; always provided that we remember in things which are doubtful or obscure, that must be followed which is found to be neither contrary to the commands of the Gospel nor opposed to the decrees of the holy Fathers.

Question I. Concerning a presbyter or deacon who falsely claims to be a bishop, and those whom they have ordained.

Reply. No consideration permits men to be reckoned among bishops who have not been elected by the clergy, demanded by the laity, and consecrated by the bishops of the province with the assent of the metropolitan [624] . And hence, since the question often arises concerning advancement unduly obtained, who need doubt that that can in no wise be which is not shown to have been conferred on them. And if any clerics have been ordained by such false bishops in those churches which have bishops of their own, and their ordination took place with the consent and approval of the proper bishops, it may be held valid on condition that they continue in the same churches. Otherwise it must be held void, not being connected with any place nor resting on any authority.

Question II. Concerning a presbyter or deacon, who on his crime being known asks for public penance, whether it is to be granted him by laying on of hands?

Reply. It is contrary to the custom of the Church that they who have been dedicated to the dignity of the presbyterate or the rank of the diaconate, should receive the remedy of penitence by laying on of hands for any crime; which doubtless descends from the Apostles' tradition, according to what is written, "If a priest shall have sinned, who shall pray for him [625] ?" And hence such men when they have lapsed in order to obtain God's mercy must seek private retirement, where their atonement may be profitable as well as adequate.

Question III. Concerning those who minister at the altar and have wives, whether they may lawfully cohabit with them?

Reply. The law of continence is the same for the ministers [626] of the altar as for bishops and priests, who when they were laymen or readers, could lawfully marry and have offspring. But when they reached to the said ranks, what was before lawful ceased to be so. And hence, in order that their wedlock may become spiritual instead of carnal, it behoves them not to put away their wives but to "have them as though they had them not [627] ," whereby both the affection of their wives may be retained and the marriage functions cease.

Question IV. Concerning a presbyter or deacon who has given his unmarried daughter in marriage to a man who already had a woman joined to him, by whom he had also had children.

Reply. Not every woman that is joined to a man is his wife, even as every son is not his father's heir. But the marriage bond is legitimate between the freeborn and between equals: this was laid down by the Lord long before the Roman law had its beginning. And so a wife is different from a concubine, even as a bondwoman from a freewoman. For which reason also the Apostle in order to show the difference of these persons quotes from Genesis, where it is said to Abraham, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac [628] ." And hence, since the marriage tie was from the beginning so constituted as apart from the joining of the sexes to symbolize the mystic union of Christ and His Church, it is undoubted that that woman has no part in matrimony, in whose case it is shown that the mystery of marriage has not taken place. Accordingly a clergyman of any rank who has given his daughter in marriage to a man that has a concubine, must not be considered to have given her to a married man, unless perchance the other woman should appear to have become free, to have been legitimately dowered and to have been honoured by public nuptials.

Question V. Concerning young women who have married men that have concubines.

Reply. Those who are joined to husbands by their fathers' will are free from blame, if the women whom their husbands had were not in wedlock.

Question VI. Concerning those who leave the women by whom they have children and take wives.

Reply. Seeing that the wife is different from the concubine, to turn a bondwoman from one's couch and take a wife whose free birth is assured, is not bigamy but an honourable proceeding.

Question VII. Concerning those who in sickness accept terms of penitence, and when they have recovered, refuse to keep them.

Reply. Such men's neglect is to be blamed but not finally to be abandoned, in order that they may be incited by frequent exhortations to carry out faithfully what under stress of need they asked for. For no one is to be despaired of so long as he remain in this body, because sometimes what the diffidence of age puts off is accomplished by maturer counsels.

Question VIII. Concerning those who on their deathbed promise repentance and die before receiving communion.

Reply. Their cause is reserved for the judgment of God, in Whose hand it was that their death was put off until the very time of communion. But we cannot be in communion with those, when dead, with whom when alive we were not in communion.

Question IX. Concerning those who under pressure of great pain ask for penance to be granted them, and when the presbyter has come to give what they seek, if the pain has abated somewhat, make excuses and refuse to accept what is offered.

Reply. This tergiversation cannot proceed from contempt of the remedy but from fear of falling into worse sin. Hence the penance which is put off, when it is more earnestly sought must not be denied in order that the wounded soul may in whatever way attain to the healing of absolution.

Question X. Concerning those who have professed repentance, if they begin to go to law in the forum.

Reply. To demand just debts is indeed one thing and to think nothing of one's own property from the perfection of love is another. But one who craves pardon for unlawful doings ought to abstain even from many things that are lawful, as says the Apostle, "all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient [629] ." Hence, if the penitent has a matter which perchance he ought not to neglect, it is better for him to have recourse to the judgment of the Church than of the forum.

Question XI. Concerning those who during or after penance transact business.

Reply. The nature of their gains either excuses or condemns the trafficker, because there is an honourable and a base kind of profit. Notwithstanding it is more expedient for the penitent to suffer loss than to be involved in the risks of trafficking, because it is hard for sin not to come into transactions between buyer and seller.

Question XII. Concerning those who return to military service after doing penance.

Reply. It is altogether contrary to the rules of the Church to return to military service in the world after doing penance, as the Apostle says, "No soldier in God's service entangles himself in the affairs of the world [630] ." Hence he is not free from the snares of the devil who wishes to entangle himself in the military service of the world.

Question XIII. Concerning those who after penance take wives or join themselves to concubines.

Reply. If a young man under fear of death or the dangers of captivity has done penance, and afterwards fearing to fall into youthful incontinence has chosen to marry a wife lest he should be guilty of fornication, he seems to have committed a pardonable act, so long as he has known no woman whatever save his wife. Yet herein we lay down no rule, but express an opinion as to what is less objectionable. For according to a true view of the matter nothing better suits him who has done penance than continued chastity both of mind and body.

Question XIV. Concerning monks who take to military service or to marriage.

Reply. The monk's vow being undertaken of his own will or wish cannot be given up without sin. For that which a man has vowed to God, he ought also to pay. Hence he who abandons his profession of a single life and betakes himself to military service or to marriage, must make atonement and clear himself publicly, because although such service may be innocent and the married state honourable, it is transgression to have forsaken the higher choice.

Question XV. Concerning young women who have worn the religious habit for some time but have not been dedicated, if they afterwards marry.

Reply. Young women, who without being forced by their parents' command but of their own free-will have taken the vow and habit of virginity, if afterwards they choose wedlock, act wrongly, even though they have not received dedication: of which they would doubtless not have been defrauded, if they had abided by their vow.

Question XVI. Concerning those who have been left as infants by christian parents, if no proof of their baptism can be found whether they ought to be baptized?

Reply. If no proof exist among their kinsfolk and relations, nor among the clergy or neighbours whereby those, about whom the question is raised, may be proved to have been baptized, steps must be taken for their regeneration: lest they evidently perish; for in their case reason does not allow that what is not shown to have been done should seem to be repeated.

Question XVII. Concerning those who have been captured by the enemy and are not aware whether they have been baptized but know they were several times taken to church by their parents, whether they can or ought to be baptized when they come back to Roman territory [631] ?

Reply. Those who can remember that they used to go to church with their parents can remember whether they received what used to be given to their parents [632] . But if this also has escaped their memory, it seems that that must be bestowed on them which is not known to have been bestowed because there can be no presumptuous rashness where the most loyal carefulness has been exercised.

Question XVIII. Concerning those who have come from Africa or Mauretania and know not in what sect they were baptized, what ought to be done in their case [633] ?

Reply. These persons are not doubtful of their baptism, but profess ignorance as to the faith of those who baptized them: and hence since they have received the form of baptism in some way or other, they are not to be baptized but are to be united to the catholics by imposition of hands, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit's power, which they could not receive from heretics.

Question XIX. Concerning those who after being baptized in infancy were captured by the Gentiles, and lived with them after the manner of the Gentiles, when they come back to Roman territory as still young men, if they seek Communion, what shall be done?

Reply. If they have only lived with Gentiles and eaten sacrificial food, they can be purged by fasting and laying on of hands, in order that for the future abstaining from things offered to idols, they may be partakers of Christ's mysteries. But if they have either worshipped idols or been polluted with manslaughter or fornication, they must not be admitted to communion, except by public penance.


Footnotes

[614] The date of this important letter has been variously conjectured, Quesnel assigning it to the years 442-4, Sirmond and Baluze to 452, and the Ball. preferring 458 or 9. [615] In an inscription quoted from Gruter and Baluze by Quesnel, Hermes is mentioned as diacunus to Rusticus episcopus. He was afterwards made bp. of Biterra, but being unfairly expelled by that city, he succeeded Rusticus in Narbonensis. [616] Honorati. [617] Tuæ, others suæ (the bishops). [618] Eccl. vii. 17 (A.V. overwicked). [619] S. Matt. xxiv. 13. [620] 2 Tim. iii. 12. [621] The thought of this fine passage is more fully worked out in Sermon XLVIII., chaps. 2 and 3. Cf. esp. the remark, bellum vitiis potius quam hominibus indicunt, "nulli malum pro malo reddentes" sed correctionem peccantium semper optantes. [622] S. Matt. xxviii. 20. [623] S. John xvi. 33. [624] The same requisites of ordination of bishops are laid down in Lett. X. chap. 6. [625] 1 Sam. ii. 25. [626] The order of sub-deacons (acc. to Quesnel) is here particularly meant: cf. Lett. XIV. chap. 4. The readers (lectores) mentioned below were of course one of the Minor Orders of clergy: cf. Bingham, Antiq. Bk. V. chap. iii. [627] 1 Cor. vii. 29. This was also provided by the Apostolic canons (quoted by Quesnel), episcopus aut presbyter uxorem propriam nequaquam sub obteniu religionis abiciat. [628] Gal. iv. 30, from Gen. xxi. 10. [629] 1 Cor. vi. 12. [630] 2 Tim. ii. 4. [631] On these points, cf. Letter CLXVI., to Neo, bp. of Ravenna. [632] Viz. the sacred elements of the Eucharist. [633] On these points, cf. Letter CLXVI., to Neo, bp. of Ravenna.

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Letter CLXVIII.

To all the Bishops of Campania, Samnium and Picenum.

(Rebuking them first for performing baptisms without due preparation or sufficient cause on ordinary saints'-days (Easter and Whitsuntide being the only recognized times), and secondly for requiring from penitents that a list of their offences should be read out publicly, a practice which is in many ways objectionable.)

.


Letter CLXIX.

To Leo Augustus.

Leo, the bishop, to Leo Augustus.

I. He heartily thanks the Emperor for what he has done, and asks him to complete the work in any way he can.

If we should seek to reward your Majesty's glorious resolution in defence of the Faith with all the praise that the greatness of the issue demands, we should be found unequal to the task of giving thanks and celebrating the joy of the universal Church with our feeble tongue. But His worthier recompense awaits your acts and deserts, in whose cause you have shown so excellent a zeal, and are now triumphing gloriously over the attainment of the wished-for end. Your clemency must know therefore that all the churches of God join in praising you and rejoicing that the unholy parricide has been cast off from the neck of the Alexandrine church, and that God's people, on whom the abominable robber has been so great a burden, restored to the ancient liberty of the Faith, can now be recalled into the way of salvation by the preaching of faithful priests, when it sees the whole hotbed of pestilence done away with in the person of the originator himself. Now therefore, because you have accomplished this by firm resolution and stedfast will, complete your tale of work for the Faith by passing such decrees as shall be well-pleasing to God in favour of this city's catholic ruler [634] , who is tainted by no trace of the heresy now so often condemned: lest, perchance, the wound apparently healed but still lurking beneath the scar should grow, and the Christian laity, which by your public action has been freed from the perversity of heretics, should again fall a prey to deadly poison.

II. Good works as well as integrity of faith is required in a priest.

But you see, venerable Emperor, and clearly understand, that in the person, whose excommunication is contemplated, it is not only the integrity of his faith that must be considered; for even if that could be purged by any punishments and confessions, and completely restored by any conditions, yet the wicked and bloody deeds that have been committed can never be done away by the protestations of plausible words: because in God's pontiff, and particularly in the priest of so great a church, the sound of the tongue and the utterance of the lips is not enough, and nothing is of avail, if God makes proclamation with His voice and the mind is convicted of blasphemy. For of such the Holy Ghost speaks by the Apostle, "having an appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof," and again elsewhere, "they profess that they know God, but in deeds they deny Him [635] ." And hence, since in every member of the Church both the integrity of the true Faith and abundance of good works is looked for, how much more ought both these things to predominate in the chief pontiff, because the one without the other cannot be in union with the Body of Christ.

III. Timothy's request for indulgence on the score of orthodoxy must not be allowed.

Nor need we now state all that makes Timothy accursed, since what has been done through him and on his account, has abundantly and conspicuously come to the knowledge of the whole world, and whatever has been perpetrated by an unruly mob against justice, all rests on his head, whose wishes were served by its mad hands. And hence, even if in his profession of faith he neglects nothing, and deceives us in nothing, it best consorts with your glory absolutely to exclude him from this design of his [636] , because in the bishop of so great a city the universal Church ought to rejoice with holy exultation, so that the true peace of the Lord may be glorified not only by the preaching of the Faith, but also by the example of men's conduct. Dated 17th of June, in the consulship of Magnus and Apollonius (460). (By the hand of Philoxenus agens in rebus [637] .)


Footnotes

[634] This is another Timothy surnamed Solophaciolus, supposed to be the same as that Timotheos presbyter et oeconomus Ecclesiæ, mentioned among the Egyptian refugees who petitioned the Emperor against Ælurus. [635] 2 Tim. iii. 5, and Tit. i. 16. [636] Apparently to be allowed to reside in Constantinople (or perhaps at this stage to remain in Alexandria). [637] See Lett. CLXII. n. 2a.

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Letter CLXX.

To Gennadius, Bishop of Constantinople [638] .

(Complaining of Timothy Ælurus having been allowed to come to Constantinople, and saying that there is no hope of his restitution.)


Footnotes

[638] He had succeeded to the see on the death of Anatolius in 458.

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Letter CLXXI.

To Timothy, Bishop of Alexandria.

Leo, the bishop, to Timothy, catholic bishop of the church of Alexandria.

I. He congratulates him on his election, and bids him win back wanderers to the fold.

It is clearly apparent from the brightness of the sentiment quoted by the Apostle, that "all things work together for good to them that love God [639] ," and by the dispensation of God's pity, where adversities are received, there also prosperity is given. This the experience of the Alexandrine church shows, in which the moderation and long suffering of the humble has laid up for themselves great store in return for their patience: because "the Lord is nigh them that are of a contrite heart, and shall save those that are humble in spirit [640] ," our noble Prince's faith being glorified in all things, through whom "the right-hand of the Lord hath done great acts [641] ," in preventing the abomination of antichrist any longer occupying the throne of the blessed Fathers; whose blasphemy has hurt no one more than himself, because although he has induced some to be partners of his guilt, yet he has inexpiably stained himself with blood. And hence concerning that which under the direction of Faith your election, brother, by the clergy, and the laity, and all the faithful, has brought about, I assure you that the whole of the Lord's Church rejoices with me, and it is my strong desire that the Divine pity will in its loving-kindness confirm this joy with manifold signs of grace, your own devotion ministering thereto in all things, so that you may sedulously win over, through the Church's prayers, those also who have hitherto resisted the Truth, to reconciliation with God, and, as a zealous ruler, bring them into union with the mystic body of the catholic Faith, whose entirety admits of no division, imitating that true and gentle Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep, and, when one sheep wandered, drove it not back with the lash, but carried it back to the fold on His own shoulders.

II. Let him be watchful against heresy and send frequent reports to Rome.

Take heed, then, dearly beloved brother, lest any trace of either Nestorius' or Eutyches' error be found in God's people: because "no one can lay any foundation except that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus [642] ;" who would not have reconciled the whole world to God the Father, had He not by the regeneration of Faith adopted us all in the reality of our flesh [643] . Whenever, therefore, opportunities arise which you can use for writing, brother, even as you necessarily and in accordance with custom have done in sending a report of your ordination to us by our sons, Daniel the presbyter and Timothy the deacon, so continue to act at all times and send us, who will be anxious for them, as frequent accounts as possible of the progress of peace, in order that by regular intercourse we may feel that "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us [644] ." Dated the 18th of August, in the consulship of Magnus and Apollonius (460).


Footnotes

[639] Rom. viii. 28. [640] Ps. xxxiv. 18, and cxviii. 16. [641] Ps. xxxiv. 18, and cxviii. 16. [642] 1 Cor. iii. 11. [643] Per fidei regenerationem omnes in nostræ carnis veritate susciperet. The doctrine of the Atonement in the light of the Incarnation is here expressed in a rather unusual way, and I have therefore translated the expression as literally as possible. [644] Rom. v. 5.

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Letter CLXXII.

To the Presbyters and Deacons of the Church of Alexandria.

(Inviting them to aid in confirming the peace of the Church, and in winning those who had given way to heresy.)

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Letter CLXXIII.

To Certain Egyptian Bishops.

(Congratulating them on the election of Timothy, and begging them to assist in maintaining unity and bringing back wanderers to the fold.)



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