Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Report of the Council of (the Bishops of) the East to the Victorious Emperor, announcing a second time the deposition of Cyril and of Memnon.
CLVII. Report of the Council of (the Bishops of) the East to the Victorious Emperor, announcing a second time the deposition of Cyril and of Memnon. 2264
Your piety, which shines forth for the good of the empire and of the churches of God, has commanded us to assemble at Ephesus, in order to bring about peace and gain for the Church, rather than to confuse and disturb it. And the commands of your majesty plainly and distinctly indicate your pious and peaceful intentions for the churches of Christ. But Cyril of Alexandria, a man, it would seem, born and bred for the bane of the churches, after taking into partnership the audacity of Memnon of Ephesus, has first of all transgressed against your quieting and pious decree, and has so shewed his general depravity. Your majesty had ordered an investigation and careful testing to be made concerning the faith, and that with the consent and concord of all. Cyril, challenged, or rather himself convicting himself, on the count of the Apollinarian doctrines, by means of the letter which he lately sent to the imperial city, with anathematisms, whereby he is convicted of sharing the views of the impious and heretic Apollinarius, pays no heed to this condition of things, and, as though we were living with no emperor to govern us, is proceeding to every kind of lawlessness. He ought himself to be called to account for his unsound opinion about our Lord Jesus Christ; but, usurping an authority given him neither by the canons, nor by your edicts, he is hurrying headlong into every kind of disorder and illegality.
Moved by these things the holy Synod, which has refused to accept his devices for the damage of the faith, for the aforesaid reasons deposes him. It deposes Memnon also, who has been his counsellor and abettor through all, who has kept up constant agitation against the very holy bishops for refusing to assent to his pernicious heterodoxy; who has shut the churches and every place of prayer, as if we were living among the heathen and the enemies of God; who has brought in the Ephesian mob, so that every day we are in supreme danger, while we look not to defence, but heed the right doctrines of true religion. For the destruction of these men is identical with the establishment of orthodoxy.
From his own Chapters your majesty can have no difficulty in perceiving his impious mind. He is convicted of trying, so to say, to raise from Hades the impious Apollinarius, who died in his heresy, and of attacking the churches and the orthodox faith. He is shewn in his publications to anathematize at once evangelists and apostles and them that succeeded them as forefathers of the Church, who, moved not by their own imaginations, but by the holy Spirit, have preached the true faith, and proclaimed the gospel; a faith and gospel indeed opposed to what this man holds and teaches and by inculcating which he wishes to give his own private iniquity the mastery of the world. Since this is intolerable to us we have followed the proper course, relying at once on the divine grace and on your majestys good will.
We know that you give to nothing higher honour than to the sacred faith in which both you and your thrice blessed forefathers have been brought up. From them you have received the perpetual sceptre of empire, ever p. 335 putting down the opponents of the apostolic doctrines. Such an opponent is the aforesaid Cyril, who, with the aid of Memnon, has captured Ephesus as he might some fortress, and justly shares with his ally the sentence of deposition. Justly: for, besides all that has been said, they have boldly tried every means of assault and every violence against us, who, to come together in council in ratification of your edict, have disregarded every claim of home and country and self.
We are now the prey of tyranny, unless your piety intervene and order us to assemble in some other place, near at hand, where we shall be able, from the scriptures, and from the writings of the Fathers, to refute beyond contradiction both Cyril and the victims of his ingenuity. We have mercifully expelled these men from communion with the suggested hope of salvation in case they should repent; although, as if on some campaign of uncivilized soldiery, they have up to this moment furnished him with the means of his illegality. Some were deposed long ago, and have been restored by Cyril. Some have been excommunicated by their own metropolitans, and admitted by him again into communion. Others have been impaled on various accusations, and have been promoted by him to honour. All through, the main motive of his action has been the endeavour to achieve his heretical purpose by the force of numbers, for he does not reckon as he ought that in what relates to true religion, it is not numbers that are required, but rather correctness of doctrine and the truth of the doctrine of the apostles. Men are needed who are competent to establish these points not by audacity and masterful self-assertion but by pious use of apostolic testimony and example.
For all these reasons we beseech and implore your majesty to bear prompt aid to assaulted truth, and to remedy without delay these mens masterful readiness; for, like a hurricane, it is sweeping the less moderate among us into pernicious heresy. Your piety has had care for the churches in Persia and among the barbarians; it is only right that you should not neglect those which are tossed by the storm within the boundaries of the Roman empire.
The Latin version of the title begins “Relatio orientalis conciliabuli.” So the rival and hurried gathering of the Easterns was styled. The following letter is a further justification of their action, and illustrates the readiness and ability, if not the temper and prudence, of the bishop of Cyrus, its probable author.
Next: Report of (the Bishops of) the East to the Very Pious Emperor, which they delivered with the preceding Report to the Right Honourable Count Irenæus.
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