This letter has been sent in identical terms to the Bishops of Palestine and to those of Cyprus. We reproduce the headings of both copies. That to the Bishops of Palestine commences thus: To the well-beloved lords, brothers, and fellow-bishops, Eulogius, John, Zebianus, Auxentius, Dionysius, Gennadius, Zeno, Theodosius, Dicterius, Porphyry, Saturninus, Alan, Paul, Ammonius, Helianus, Eusebius, the other Paul, and to all the Catholic bishops gathered together at the dedication festival of Ælid, 2638 Theophilus [sends] greeting in the Lord.
The Cyprians he addresses thus: To the well-beloved lords, brothers, and fellow-bishops, Epiphanius, Marcianus, Agapetus, Boethius, Helpidius, Entasius, Norbanus, Macedonius. Aristo, Zeno, Asiaticus, Heraclides, the other Zeno, Cyriacus, and Aphroditus, Theophilus [sends] greeting in the Lord.
We have personally visited the monasteries of Nitria and find that the Origenistic heresy has made great ravages among them. It is accompanied by a strange fanaticism: men even maim themselves or cut out their tongues 2639 to show how they despise the body. I find that some men of this kind have gone from Egypt into Syria and other countries 2640 where they speak against us and the truth.
The Origenists have tried to coerce me; they have even stirred up the heathen by denouncing the destruction of the Serapeum; and have sought to withdraw from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction two persons accused of grave crimes. One of these is the woman 2641 p. 186 who was wrongly placed on the list of widows by Isidore, the other Isidore himself. He is the standard-bearer of the heretical faction, and his wealth supplies them with unbounded resources for their violent enterprises. They have tried to murder me; they seized the monastery church at Nitria, and for a time prevented the bishops from entering and the offices from being performed. Now, like Zebul (Beelzebub) they go to and fro on the earth.
I have done them no harm; I have even protected them. But I would not let an old friendship (with Isidore) impair our faith and discipline. I implore you to oppose them wherever they come, and to prevent them from unsettling the brethren committed to you.
This woman is said to have brought a charge of immorality against Isidore and then suppressed it on being placed by him on the list of widows who received the churchs bounty. Isidore was now eighty years old, and there were many causes for the quarrel. Palladius, Socrates and Sozomen intimate that the real cause of Theophilus enmity to his old confidant Isidore was that Isidore knew secrets unfavorable to Theophilus. He afterwards went with the Long Monks to Constantinople, where Chrysostom by his reception of them incurred the hatred of Theophilus. See Jerome Letter CXIII.
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