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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:
Letters of Athanasius with Two Ancient Chronicles of His Life.: To Diodorus (fragment).

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Letter LXIV.—To Diodorus (fragment).

To my lord, son, and most beloved fellow-minister Diodorus [bishop of Tyre4805 , Athanasius greeting in the Lord.

I thank my Lord, Who is everywhere establishing His doctrine, and chiefly so by means of His own sons, such as actual fact shews you to be. For before your Reverence wrote, we knew how great grace has been brought to pass in Tyre by means of your perseverance. And we rejoice with you that by your means Tyre also has learned the right word of piety. And I indeed took an opportunity of writing to you, longed-for and beloved: but I marvel at your not having replied to my letter. Be not then slow to write at once, knowing that you give me refreshment, as a son to his father, and make me exceeding glad, as a herald of truth. And enter upon no controversy with the heretics, but overcome their argumentativeness with silence, their ill-will with courtesy. For thus your speech shall be ‘with grace, seasoned with salt 4806 ,’ while they [will be judged] by the conscience of all.…



This fragment (Migne xxvi. 1261) is given by Facundus, Def. Tr. Cap. iv. 2, who claims it as addressed to Diodorus of Tarsus, the famous Antiochene confessor and master of Chrysostom and Theodore. Unfortunately this is impossible, as Diodore became bishop of Tarsus not before 378, i.e. after Athan. was dead. The letter itself decides for Diodorus of Tyre, whom Paulinus of Antioch had quite unwarrantably ordained to this see (cf. Rufin, H. E. ii. 21). Whether (as has been held on the authority of Rufinus) Diodorus, or (as Le Quien, Or. Chr. ii. 865 sq. holds) Zeno, the nominee of Meletius, was first in the field in the unseemly scramble, is doubtful. Zeno is already bishop in 365 (Soz. vi. 12); the date of the appointment of Diodorus, whose claim is at any rate no better than that of Paulinus himself, is quite uncertain (see also Prolegg. ch. ii. §§9, 10). Diodorus was the friend and correspondent of Epiphanius, and of Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, second from Athanasius. Facundus confuses him in these particulars also with his namesake of Tarsus, but the mistake is thoroughly sifted by Tillemont, Mem. viii. pp. 238, 712. The letter is important, along with Letter 56, and the correspondence of S. Basil, as illustrating the attitude of Athanasius with regard to the unhappy schism of Antioch.


Col. iv. 6.

Next: Memorandum.

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