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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: To the Presbyter Renatus.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

CXVI. 1893 To the Presbyter Renatus.

We have heard of the warm and righteous zeal of your holiness, and the just and lawful boldness of speech which you employed in condemning the audacious proceedings at Ephesus. Nor is this known to us alone, but the fame of your orthodoxy has gone out into all lands, and all men are celebrating your righteousness, your zeal, your boldness, and your denunciation of my unfair treatment. And your holiness took this course after seeing one massacre. If you had seen the others which took place after your departure you would perhaps have emulated the fervour of the famous Phinehas. 1894 I am one of those who was subsequently condemned, being forbidden by the imperial order to attend the council, and sentenced in my absence. 1895

Six and twenty years have I been a bishop; innumerable labours have I undergone; I have struggled hard for the truth; I have freed tens of thousands of heretics from their errors and brought them to the Saviour; and now they have stripped me of my priesthood; they are exiling me from the city. For my old age, for my hairs grown gray in the truth, they have no respect. Wherefore, I beseech your sanctity, persuade the very sacred and holy archbishop 1896 to bid me hasten to your council. For that holy see has precedence over all churches in the world, for many reasons; and above all for this, that it is free from all taint of heresy, and that no bishop of heterodox opinion has ever sat upon its throne, but it has kept the grace of the apostles undefiled. 1897 Confident in your justice I shall accept your decisions, whatever they may be, and shall claim to be judged by my writings. More than thirty books have I written against Arius and Eunomius, against Marcion, against Macedonius, against the heathen and against Jews; I have interpreted the holy Scriptures, and any one who likes may easily learn that I have followed in the steps of the apostles, proclaiming the one Son, one Father, and one Holy Ghost; one Godhead of the Trinity, one sovereignty, one power, eternity, immutability, impassibility, one will; 1898 that the Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect, perfect the p. 296 manhood taken for our salvation and for our sakes delivered unto death. I do not know one Son of man and another Son of God, but one and the same, Son of God and God begotten of God, and Son of man, through the form of the servant, of the seed of Abraham and David. These and like doctrines I continue to teach; these also I have found in the writings of the most holy and sacred lord archbishop Leo, and I praise the Lord of all that I agree with his apostolic doctrines. Receive, I beseech you, my supplication, and do not overlook the wrongs under which I suffer. On this account I have sent to your holiness the godly presbyters Hypatius and Abramius, chorepiscopi, and Alypius exarch of our monks, adorned as they are by good lives, and able by word of mouth to give you exact information as to the affairs of my insignificant self.



This letter will be of the same date as CXIII. Theodoret was aware that Leo was to be represented at the Latrocinium by Renatus as well as by Julius of Puteoli and the archdeacon Hilarius, but had not heard that he had never reached Ephesus. We are told on the authority of Felix, the author of the “Breviarium Hæresis Eutychianæ” that Renatus died at Delos on the way out. This death is however discredited by Quesnel and some other authorities.


Numbers xxv. 7


Hilarius did leave Ephesus before the second session of the council (Cf. Leo Ep. XLVI) and before the deposition of Theodoret. The “massacre” may refer to the brutal treatment of Flavian by the adherents and bullies of Dioscorus.


i.e. Leo.


This is more or less true up to the time of Leo the great, but Leo the great was the first pope who was an eminent theologian. Liberius is a doubtful case. Cf. page 76.


The Monothelite Controversy dates from two centuries after Theodoret, when Heraclius was trying to bring about religious union in his empire. Pope Honorius asserted two energies, but one will. Monothelitism was definitely condemned at Constantinople in 681, and Honorius anathematized.

Next: To the Bishop Florentius.

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