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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XII:
The Letters and Sermons of Leo the Great.: To Theodosius Augustus II.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Letter XXIV.

To Theodosius Augustus II.

Leo the bishop, to Theodosius Augustus.

I.  He praises the Emperor’s piety and mentions Eutyches’ appeal.

How much protection the Lord has vouchsafed His Church through your clemency and faith, is shown again by this letter which you have sent me:  so that we rejoice at there being not only a kingly, but also a priestly mind within you.  Seeing that, besides your imperial and public cares, you have a most devout anxiety for the Christian religion, lest schisms or heresies or other offences should grow up among God’s people.  For your realm is then in its best state when men serve the eternal and unchangeable Trinity by the confession of one Godhead 234 .  What the disturbance was which occurred in the Church of Constantinople, and which could have so moved my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian, that he deprived Eutyches, the presbyter, of communion, I have not yet been able to understand clearly.  For although the aforesaid presbyter sent in writing a complaint concerning his trouble to the Apostolic See, yet he only briefly touched on some points, asserting that he kept the constitutions of the Nicene synod and had been vainly blamed for difference of faith.

II.  He finds fault with Flavian’s silence.

But the statement of bishop Eusebius, his accuser, copies of which the said presbyter has sent us, contained nothing clear about his objections, and though he charged a presbyter with heresy, he did not say expressly what opinion he disapproved of in him:  although the bishop himself also professed that he adhered to the decrees of the Nicene synod:  for which reason we had no means of learning anything more fully.  And because the method of our Faith and the laudable anxiety shown by your piety requires the merits of the case to be known, there must now be no place allowed for deception, but we must be informed of the points on which he considers him unsound, that the right judgment may be passed after full information.  I have sent a letter to the aforesaid bishop, from which he may gather that I am displeased at his still keeping silence upon what has been done in so grave a matter, when he ought to have been forward in disclosing all to us at the outset:  and we believe that even after the reminder he will acquaint us with the whole, in order that, when what now seems obscure, has been brought into the light, judgment may be passed agreeably to the teaching of the Gospels and the Apostles.  Dated the 18th of February 235 , in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).



Is it fanciful to trace an analogy between these words and the language of the Collect for Trinity Sunday (out of the Sacramentary of Gregory), “grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the Eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity?”


Quesnel reads the 1st of March as the date.

Next: From Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna, to Eutyches, the Presbyter.

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