Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: To Domnus, Bishop of Antioch.
CXII. To Domnus, Bishop of Antioch. 1868
When news was brought to me that the pettiness of the victorious emperor had been put an end to, a reconciliation effected between him and the very godly bishop, 1869 the summons to the council cancelled, and the peace of the churches restored, I hoped that our troubles were a thing of the past. But I am deeply distressed at what I hear from your holiness. It is impossible to hope for any good from this notorious council, unless the merciful Master with His wonted providence shall undo the riotous demons devices. Even in the great synod, I mean that of Nicæa, the Arian party voted with the orthodox and set their hands to the apostolic exposition. But they did not cease to war against the truth till they had torn asunder the body of the Church. For thirty years the supporters of the apostolic doctrines and they who were infected with the Arian blasphemy continued in communion with one another. But at Antioch, 1870 when the latest council was finished, when they had seated the man of God, the great Meletius, on the apostolic throne, and then after a few days ejected him by the imperial authority, Euzoius who was affected with the undoubted plague of Arius was put forward, and straightway the champions of apostolic doctrines seceded and thereafter the division continued.
As I look back on what happened then, p. 292 and look forward to similar events in the future, my wretched spirit sighs and wails, for I see no prospect of good. The men of the other dioceses do not know the poison which lies in the Twelve Chapters; 1871 having regard to the celebrity of the writer of them, they suspect no mischief, and his successor in the see 1872 is I think adopting every means to confirm them in a second synod. For supposing he who lately wrote them at command, and anathematized all who did not wish to abide by them, were presiding over an œcumenical council, what could he not effect? And be well assured, my lord, that no one who knows the heresy they contain will brook to accept them, though twice as many men of this sort decree them. Before now, though a larger number have rashly confirmed them, I resisted at Ephesus, and refused to communicate with the writer of them till he had agreed to the points laid down by me, and had harmonized his teaching with them, without making any mention of the Chapters. This your holiness can ascertain without any difficulty if you order the acts of the synod to be investigated; for they are preserved as is customary with the synodical signatures, and there are extant more than fifty synodic acts shewing the accusation of the Twelve Chapters. For before the journey to Ephesus the blessed John 1873 had written to the very godly bishops Eutherius of Tyana, Firmus of Cæsarea, and Theodotus of Ancyra, denouncing these Chapters as Apollinarian. 1874 And at Ephesus the exposition and confirmation of these Chapters was the cause of our deposition of the Alexandrian and of the Ephesian. 1875 Moreover at Ephesus many synodic letters were written both to the victorious emperor, and to the great officers, about these Chapters; and in like manner to the laity at Constantinople and to the reverend clergy. Moreover when we were summoned to Constantinople we had five discussions in the imperial presence, and afterwards sent the emperor three protestations. And to the very godly bishops of the West, of Milan I mean, of Aquileia, and of Ravenna, we wrote on the same subject, protesting that the Chapters were full of the Apollinarian novelty. Furthermore their writer received a letter from the blessed John by the hands of the blessed Paul, 1876 openly blaming them; and in like manner from Acacius of blessed memory. And to give your holiness concise information on the subject I have sent you both the letter of the blessed Acacius, as well as that of the blessed John to the blessed Cyril, in order that you may perceive that though they were writing to him on the subject of agreement they blamed these Chapters. And the blessed Cyril himself, in his letter to the blessed Acacius plainly indicated the drift of these Chapters in the words “I have written this against his innovations and when peace is made they will be made manifest.” The very defence proves the accusation. I have sent you the copy of what he wrote at the time of the agreement, that you may see, my lord, that he made no mention of them, and that those who attend the Council are under an obligation to bring forward what was written at the time of the agreement, and to state plainly what had caused the difference and on what terms the sundered parts were atoned. For they who are summoned to fight for the truth must flinch from no toil, and must invoke the divine aid, that we may preserve unimpaired the heritage bequeathed us by our forefathers.
Your holiness must look out for men of like mind among the godly bishops and make them companions of your journey; and likewise of the reverend clergy those who are zealous for the truth, lest betrayed even by them of our own side we are either driven to do something displeasing to the God of all, or, in our abandonment, fall an easy prey to our foes.
It is faith in which we have our hopes of salvation, and we must leave no means untried to prevent aught spurious being brought into it, and the apostolic teaching from being corrupted.
I write you these words from far away, with sighs and with groans, and I beseech our common Master to scatter this dark cloud and bestow on us once more the boon of the bright sunshine.
Garnerius points out that the indications of the date of this letter are clear. It mentions the imperial summons to the Latrocinium, and contains Theodorets advice to Domnus as to what companions he should take with him. It must therefore be placed between the arrival of the summons at Antioch and the departure of Domnus for Ephesus. The summons is dated the 30th of March, and appointed the 1st of August for the meeting. Antioch is a clear thirty days journey from Ephesus and Domnus had not yet chosen his companions. We may therefore date the letter in the May of 449.291:1869
Presumably Irenæus of Tyre.291:1870
i.e., in 361. For Theodorets account of the circumstances vide pp. 92, 93.292:1871
Cyril wrote his IIIrd letter to Nestorius probably on Nov. 3, 430. “To the end of the letter were appended twelve articles or chapters, couched in the form of anathematisms against the various points of the Nestorian theory.” “These propositions were not well calculated to reclaim Nestorius; nor were they indeed so worded throughout as to approve themselves to all who essentially agreed with Cyril as to the personal Deity of Christ. On the contrary the abruptness of their tone, and a certain one-sidedness…made some of them open, prima facie, to serious criticism from persons who, without being Nestorians, felt that in the attack on Nestorianism the truth of Christs real and permanent manhood might be in danger of losing its due prominence.” Canon Bright, Dict. Christ. Biog. i. 766.292:1872
Dioscorus succeeded Cyril at Midsummer, 444.292:1873
i.e. John of Antioch. He reached Ephesus June 27, 431.292:1874
Eutherius of Tyana (Kiliss Hissar in Karamania) was a strong Nestorian, and signed the appeal of Nestorius after his deposition in 431. On July 17th John and his adherents were deposed. Firmus of the Cappadocian Cæsarea (still “Kasaria”) himself a graceful letter writer, was an anti-Nestorian. Theodotus of Ancyra also sided with Cyril.292:1875
i.e. Cyril and Memnon. “No sooner had John reached Ephesus, than before he had washed and dressed after his journey, in the inn itself, late at night, in secret session, by the connivance of the Count Candidianus, a sentence was passed on Cyril and Memnon—on Cyril on the accusation of Theodoret.” Cf. Garnerius Hist. Theod., and Cyril. Ep. ad Cœlest. Labbe iii. 663.292:1876
John of Antioch sent Paul of Emesa to confer with Cyril on terms of peace in 432.
Next: To Leo, Bishop of Rome.
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