Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 12: 32.01.06 Letter XXVIII-XXXII

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 12: 32.01.06 Letter XXVIII-XXXII

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Letter XXVIII. To Flavian Commonly Called "The Tome"

I. Eutyches Has Been Driven into His Error by Presumption and Ignorancehyperlink .

Having read your letter, beloved, at the late arrival of which we are surprisedhyperlink , and having perused the detailed account of the bishops' actshyperlink , we have at last found out what the scandal was which had arisen among you against the purity of the Faith: and what before seemed concealed has now been unlocked and laid open to our view: from which it is shown that Eutyches, who used to seem worthy of all respect in virtue of his priestly office, is very unwary and exceedingly ignorant, so that it is even of him that the prophet has said: "he refused to understand so as to do well: he thought upon iniquity in his bedhyperlink ." But what more iniquitous than to hold blasphemous opinionshyperlink , and not to give way to those who are wiser and more learned than ourself. Now into this unwisdom fall they who, finding themselves hindered from knowing the truth by some obscurity, have recourse not to the prophets' utterances, not to the Apostles' letters, nor to the injunctions of the Gospel but to their own selves: and thus they stand out as masters of error because they were never disciples of truth. For what learning has he acquired about the pages of the New and Old Testament, who has not even grasped the rudiments of the Creed? And that which, throughout the world, is professed by the mouth of every one who is to be born againhyperlink , is not yet taken in by the heart of this old man.

II. Concerning the Twofold Nativity and Nature of Christ.

Not knowing, therefore, what he was bound to think concerning the incarnation of the Word of God, and not wishing to gain the light of knowledge by researches through the length and breadth of the Holy Scriptures, he might at least have listened attentively to that general and uniform confession, whereby the whole body of the faithful confess that they believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only Sonhyperlink , our Lord, who was born of the Holy Spirit andhyperlink the Virgin Mary. By which three statements the devices of almost all heretics are overthrown. For not only is God believed to be both Almighty and the Father, but the Son is shown to be co-eternal with Him, differing in nothing from the Father because He is God from. Godhyperlink , Almighty from Almighty, and being born from the Eternal one is co-eternal with Him; not later in point of time, not lower in power, not unlike in glory, not divided in essence: but at the same time the only begotten of the eternal Father was born eternal of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. And this nativity which took place in time took nothing from, and added nothing to that divine and eternal birth, but expended itself wholly on the restoration of man who had been deceivedhyperlink : in order that he might both vanquish death and overthrow by his strengthhyperlink , the Devil who possessed the power of death. For we should not now be able to overcome the author of sin and death unless He took our nature on Him and made it His own, whom neither sin couldpollute nor death retain. Doubtless then, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit within the womb of His Virgin Mother, who brought Him forth without the loss of her virginity, even as she conceived Him without its loss.

But if He could not draw a rightful understanding (of the matter) from this pure source of the Christian belief, because He had darkened the brightness of the clear truth by a veil of blindness peculiar to Himself, He might have submitted Himself to the teaching of the Gospels. And when Matthew speaks of "the Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abrahamhyperlink ," He might have also sought out the instruction afforded by the statements of the Apostles. And reading in the Epistle to the Romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, which He had promised before by His prophets in the Holy Scripture concerning His son, who was made unto Himhyperlink of the seed of David after the fleshhyperlink ," he might have bestowed a loyal carefulness upon the pages of the prophets. And finding the promise of God who says to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all nations be blesthyperlink ," to avoid all doubt as to the reference of this seed, he might have followed the Apostle when He says, "To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not and to seeds, as if in many, but as it in one, and to thy seed which is Christhyperlink ." Isaiah's prophecy also he might have grasped by a closer attention to what he says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is interpreted "God with ushyperlink ." And the same prophet's words he might have read faithfully. "A child is born to us, a Son is given to us, whose power is upon His shoulder, and they shall call His name the Angel of the Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the age to comehyperlink ." And then he would not speak so erroneously as to say that the Word became flesh in such a way that Christ, born of the Virgin's womb, had the form of man, but had not the reality of His mother's bodyhyperlink . Or is it possible that he thought our Lord Jesus Christ was not of our nature for this reason, that the angel, who was sent to the blessed Mary ever Virgin, says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore that Holy Thing also that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of Godhyperlink ," on the supposition that as the conception of the Virgin was a Divine act, the flesh of the conceived did not partake of the conceiver's nature? But that birth so uniquely wondrous and so wondrously unique, is not to be understood in such wise that the properties of His kind were removed through the novelty of His creation. For though the Holy Spirit imparted fertility to the Virgin, yet a real body was received from her body; and, "Wisdom building her a househyperlink ," "the Word became flesh and dwelt in ushyperlink ," that is, in that flesh which he took from man and which he quickened with the breath of a higher lifehyperlink .

III. The Faith and Counsel of God In Regard to the Incarnation of the Word are Set Forth.

Without detriment therefore to the properties of either nature and substance which then came together in one personhyperlink , majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality: and for the paying off of the debt belonging to our condition inviolable nature was united with possible nature, so that, as suited the needs of our casehyperlink , one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and not die with the other.hyperlink Thus in the whole and perfect nature of true man was true God born, complete in what was His own, complete in what was ours. And by "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us from the beginning and what He undertook to repair. For what the Deceiver brought in and man deceived committed, had no trace in the Saviour. Nor, because He partook of man's weaknesses, did He therefore share our faults. He took the form of a slavehyperlink without stain of sin, increasing the human and not diminishing the divine: because that emptying of Himself whereby the Invisible made Himself visible and, Creator and Lord of all things though He be, wished to be a mortal, was the bending downhyperlink of pity, not the failing of power. Accordingly He who while remaining in the form of God made man, was also made man in the form of a slave. For both natures retain their own proper character without loss: and as the form of God did not do away with the form of a slave, so the form of a slave did not impair the form of God. For inasmuch as the Devil used to boast that man had been cheated by his guile into losing the divine gifts, and bereft of the boon of immortality had undergone sentence of death, and that he had found some solace in his troubles from having a partner in delinquencyhyperlink , and that God also at the demand of the principle of justice had changed His own purpose towards man whom He had created in such honour: there was need for the issue of a secret counsel, that the unchangeable God whose will cannot be robbed of its own kindness, might carry out the first design of His Fatherly carehyperlink towards us by a more hidden mysteryhyperlink ; and that man who had been driven into his fault by the treacherous cunning of the devil might not perish contrary to the purpose of Godhyperlink .

IV. The Properties of the Twofold Nativity and Nature of Christ are Weighed One Against Another.

There enters then these lower parts of the world the Son of God, descending from His heavenly home and yet not quitting His Father's glory, begotten in a new order by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in His own nature, He became visible in ours, and He whom nothing could contain was content to be containedhyperlink : abiding before all time He began to be in time: the Lord of all things, He obscured His immeasurable majesty and took on Him the form of a servant: being God that cannot suffer, He did not disdain to be man that can, and, immortal as He is, to subject Himself to the laws of death. The Lord assumed His mother's nature without her faultiness: nor in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin's womb, does the wonderfulness of His birth make His nature unlike ours. For He who is true God is also true man: and in this union there is no liehyperlink , since the humility of manhood and the loftiness of the Godhead both meet there. For as God is not changed by the showing of pity, so man is not swallowed up by the dignity. For each form does what is proper to it with the co-operation of the otherhyperlink ; that is the Word performing what appertains to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what appertains to the flesh. One of them sparkles with miracles, the other succumbs to injuries. And as the Word does not cease to be on an equality with His Father's glory, so the flesh does not forego the nature of our race. For it must again and again be repeated that one and the same is truly Son of God and truly son of man. God in that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was Godhyperlink ;" man in that "the Word became flesh and dwelt in ushyperlink ." God in that "all things were made by Himhyperlink , and without Him was nothing made:" man in that "He was made of a woman, made under lawhyperlink ." The nativity of the flesh was the manifestation of human nature: the childbearing of a virgin is the proof of Divine power. The infancy of a babe is shown in the humbleness of its cradlehyperlink : the greatness of the Most High is proclaimed by the angels' voiceshyperlink . He whom Herod treacherously endeavours to destroy is like ourselves in our earliest stagehyperlink : but He whom the Magi delight to worship on their knees is the Lord of all. So too when He came to the baptism of John, His forerunner, lest He should not be known through the veil of flesh which covered His Divinity, the Father's voice thundering from the sky, said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleasedhyperlink ." And thus Him whom the devil's craftiness attacks as man, the ministries of angels serve as God. To be hungry and thirsty, to be weary, and to sleep, is clearly human: but to satisfy 5,000 men with five loaves, and to bestow on the woman of Samaria living water, droughts of which can secure the drinker from thirsting any more, to walk upon the surface of the sea with feet that do not sink, and to quell the risings of the waves by rebuking the winds, is, without any doubt, Divine. Just as therefore, to pass over many other instances, it is not part of the same nature to be moved to tears of pity for a dead friend, and when the stone that closed the four-days' grave was removed, to raise that same friend to life with a voice of command: or, to hang on the cross, and turning day to night, to make all the elements tremble: or, to be pierced with nails, and yet open the gates of paradise to the robber's faith: so it is not part of the same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is greater than Ihyperlink ." For although in the Lord Jesus Christ God and man is one person, yet the source of the degradation, which is shared by both, is one, and the source of the glory, which is shared by both, is another. For His manhood, which is less than the Father, comes from our side: His Godhead, which is equal to the Father, comes from the Father.

V. Christ's Flesh is Proved Real from Scripture.

Therefore in consequence of this unity of person which is to be understood in both natureshyperlink , we read of the Son of Man also descending from heaven, when the Son of God took flesh from the Virgin who bore Him. And again the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, although it was not actually in His Divinity whereby the Only-begotten is co-eternal and con-substantial with the Father, but in His weak human nature that He suffered these things. And so it is that in the Creed also we all confess that the Only-begotten Son of God was crucified and buried, according to that saying of the Apostle: "for if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of gloryhyperlink ." But when our Lord and Saviour Himself would instruct His disciples' faith by His questionings, He said, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" And when they had put on record the various opinions of other people, He said, "But ye, whom do ye say that I am?" Me, that is, who am the Son of Man, and whom ye see in the form of a slave, and in true flesh, whom do ye say that I am? Whereupon blessed Peter, whose divinely inspired confession was destined to profit all nations, said, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living Godhyperlink ." And not undeservedly was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, drawing from the chief corner-stonehyperlink the solidity of power which his name also expresses, he, who, through the revelation of the Father, confessed Him to be at once Christ and Son of God: because the receiving of the one of these without the other was of no avail to salvation, and it was equally perilous to have believed the Lord Jesus Christ to be either only God without man, or only man without God. But after the Lord's resurrection (which, of course, was of His true body, because He was raised the same as He had died and been buried), what else was effected by the forty days' delay than the cleansing of our faith's purity from all darkness? For to that end He talked with His disciples, and dwelt and ate with them, He allowed Himself to be handled with diligent and curious touch by those who were affected by doubt, He entered when the doors were shut upon the Apostles, and by His breathing upon them gave them the Holy Spirithyperlink , and bestowing on them the light of understanding, opened the secrets of the Holy Scriptureshyperlink . So again He showed the wound in His side, the marks of the nails, and all the signs of His quite recent suffering, saying, "See My hands and feet, that it is I. Handle Me and see that a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me havehyperlink ;" in order that the properties of His Divine and human nature might be acknowledged to remain still inseparable: and that we might know the Word not to be different from the flesh, in such a sense as also to confess that the one Son of God iS both the Word and fleshhyperlink . Of this mystery of the faithhyperlink your opponent Eutyches must be reckoned to have but little sense if he bus recognized our nature in the Only-begotten of God neither through the humiliation of His having to die, nor through the glory of His rising again. Nor has he any fear of the blessed apostle and evangelist John's declaration when he says, "every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ to have come in the flesh, is of God: and every spirit which destroys Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichristhyperlink ." But what is "to destroy Jesus," except to take away the human nature from Him, and to render void the mystery, by which alone we were saved, by the most barefaced fictions. The truth is that being in darkness about the nature of Christ's body, he must also be befooled by the same blindness in the matter of His sufferings. For if he does not think the cross of the Lord fictitious, and does not doubt that the punishment He underwent to save the world is likewise true, let him acknowledge the flesh of Him whose death he already believes: and let him not disbelieve Him man with a body like ours, since he acknowledges Him to have been able to suffer: seeing that the denial of His true flesh is also the denial of His bodily suffering. If therefore he receives the Christian faith, and does not turn away his ears from the preaching of the Gospel: let him see what was the nature that hung pierced with nails on the wooden cross, and, when the side of the Crucified was opened by the soldier's spear, let him understand whence it was that blood and water flowed, that the Church of God might be watered from the font and from the cuphyperlink . Let him hear also the blessed Apostle Peter, proclaiming that the sanctification of the Spirit takes place through the sprinkling of Christ's bloodhyperlink . And let him not read cursorily the same Apostle's words when he says, "Knowing that not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, have ye been redeemed from your vain manner of life which is part of your fathers' tradition, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as of a lamb without spot and blemishhyperlink ." Let him not resist too the witness of the blessed Apostle John, who says: "and the blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanseth us from all sinhyperlink ." And again: "this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith." And "who is He that overcometh the world save He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. This is He that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that testifieth, because the Spirit is the truthhyperlink , because there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water and the blood, and the three are onehyperlink ." The Spirit, that is, of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism: because the three are one, and remain undivided, and none of them is separated from this connection; because the catholic Church lives and progresses by this faith, so that in Christ Jesus neither the manhood without the true Godhead nor the Godhead without the true manhood is believed in.

VI. The Wrong and Mischievous Concession of Eutyches. The Terms on Which He May Be Restored to Communion. The Sending of Deputies to the East.

But when during your cross-examination Eutyches replied and said, "I confess that our Lord had two natures before the union but after the union I confess but onehyperlink ," I am surprised that so absurd and mistaken a statement of his should not have been criticised and rebuked by his judges, and that an utterance which reaches the height of stupidity and blasphemy should be allowed to pass as if nothing offensive had been heard: for the impiety of saying that the Son of God was of two natures before His incarnation is only equalled by the iniquity of asserting that there was but one nature in Him after "the Word became flesh." And to the end that Eutyches may not think this a right or defensible opinion because it was not contradicted by any expression of yourselves, we warn you beloved brother, to take anxious care that if ever through the inspiration of God's mercy the case is brought to a satisfactory conclusion, his ignorant mind be purged from this pernicious idea as well as others. He was, indeed, just beginning to beat a retreat from his erroneous conviction, as the order of proceedings showshyperlink , in so far as when hemmed in by your remonstrances he agreed to say what he had not said before and to acquiesce in that belief to which before he had been opposed. However, when he refused to give his consent to the anathematizing of his blasphemous dogma, you understood, brotherhyperlink , that he abode by his treachery and deserved to receive a verdict of condemnation. And yet, if he grieves over it faithfully and to good purpose, and, late though it be, acknowledges how rightly the bishops' authority has been set in motion; or if with his own mouth and hand in your presence he recants his wrong opinions,no mercy that is shown to him when penitent can be found fault withhyperlink : because our Lord,that true and "good shepherd" who laid downHis life for His sheephyperlink and who came to save not lose men's soulshyperlink , wishes us to imitate His kindnesshyperlink ; in order that while justice constrains us when we sin, mercy may prevent our rejection when we have returned. For then at last is the true Faith most profitably defended when a false belief is condemned even by the supporters of it.

Now for the loyal and faithful execution of the whole matter, we have appointed to represent us our brothers Juliushyperlink Bishop and Renatushyperlink priest [of the Title of S. Clement], as well as my son Hilaryhyperlink , deacon. And with them we have associated Dulcitius our notary, whose faith is well approved: being sure that the Divine help will be given us, so that he who had erred may be saved when the wrongness of his view has been condemned. God keep you safe, beloved brother.

The 13 June, 449, in the consulship of the most illustrious Asturius and Protogenes.


1 The original word (imperitia) "implies that a recluse like Eutyches (an archimandrite of a convent) ought never to have entered into a nice controversy like the present: he has not enough savoir faire, and his knowledge is not quite up to date, is a little old-fashioned.

2 The exact reason of the delay is not altogether certain: we know Flavian had written much earlier than the date of arrival warranted: it is No. XXII. in the series.

3 Viz., the proceedings of the su/nodoj e0ndhmou=sa summoned by Flavian at Constantinople.

4 Ps. xxxvi. 4.

5 Impiaia sapere, to think disloyal things against God: cf. the recta sapere, "to have a right judgment" of the Collect for Whitsunday.

6 Knowledge of and belief in the principles of the Faith as contained in the Creed (symbolum) have of course always been required before Baptism from very early times. Leo here calls catechumons regenerandi, just as those who are being baptized are spoken of as , renascentes (e.g. Lett. XVII. 8), those who have been baptized as renati (passim) and the rite itself as sacramentum regenerationis (e.g. Lett. IX. 2)

7 The Latin unicus is not so exact as the Greek original monogenh/j : elsewhere, however, unigenitus is used.

8 N.B. et(and)not ex (out of).

9 The language of the Nicene Creed.

10 I.e. by the Devil: the allusion is to Adam's fall in Paradise.

11 Sua virtute : in patristic Latin virtus is, as is well known, usually the translation of the Greek du/namij and has a much wider meaning than moral excellence, our virtue.

12 S. Matt. i. 1.

13 ei. So the Vulgate.

14 Rom. i. 1-3.

15 Gen. xii 3.

16 Gal. iii. 16.

17 Is. vii. 14. and S. Matt. i. 23.

18 Is. ix. 6 "The angel of the great counsel" (magni consilii angelus) is a translation of the LXX. (which in the rest of the verse either represents a very different original text, or contents itself with a loose paraphrase), and is again repeated in the "Counsellor" (Consiliarius), two words farther on (which is also the Vulgate reading).

19 This was the third dogma of Apollinaris (more fully stated in Lett. CXXIV. 2 and CLXV. 2) that our Lord's acts and sufferings as man belonged entirely to His Divine nature, and were not really human at all.

20 S. Luke i. 35.

21 Prov. ix 1.

22 In nobis, which he seems from the immediately following words to interpret as meaning "in our flesh," and not "amongst us," as the R.V. and others.

23 Quam spiritu vitoe rationalis (logikou=) animavit.

24 A famous passage quoted by Hooker Eccl. Pol. v. 53,2, and Liddon Bampt. Lect., p. 267. Compare Serm. lxii. 1 unam personam concurrat proprietas utriusque substantioe (Bright), also xxii. 2, xxiii. 2.

25 Quod nostris remediis congruebat, where remedia must mean the disease which needs remedies (a sort of passive use).

26 This passage from "Thus in the whole" to "not the failingof power"is repeated again in Sermon xxiii. 2, almost word for word.

27 The reference, of course, is to Phil. ii. 6. no passage is a greater favourite with the Fathers than this.

28 Compare S. Aug. ad Catech. § 6, humilitas Christi quid est? manum Deus homini iacenti porrexit: nos cecidimus, ille descendit: nos iacebamus, ille se inclinavit. Prendamus et surgamus ut non in poenam cadamus.

29 De proevaricatoris consortio : proevaricator originally is a legal term, signifying "a shuffler" in a suit, an advocate who play's into the hands of the other side.

30 Pietas, as in the collect for xvi. S. aft. Trin., where the English ,"pity" represents the Latin "pietas" philologically as well as in meaning. Cf. n. 2 in chap. vi.

31 Sacramento, (musthri/w): what the "mystery" was is finely set forth by Canon Bright's hymn, No. 172, H. A. and M. (new edition)

32 The whole of the end of this chapter from "For inasmuch as," and the beginning of the next down to "laws of death,"is repeated word for word in Sermon XXII., chaps. i. and ii.

33 Incomprehensibilis voluit comprehendi. Canon Bright's references are most apposite: "compare Serm. lxviii 1,: and Serm. xxxvii. 1., idem est qui impiorum manibus comprehenditur et qui nullo fine concluditur : This `antithesis'

0' has been grandly expressed in Milman's, `Martyr of Antioch.

0'"`And Thou wast laid within the tomb. . . Whom heaven could not contain, Nor the immeasurable plain Of vast infinity enclose or circle round.


34 I.e. , there is no fancy, no pretending: each nature is in equal reality present, the human as well as the Divine, thus opposing all Docetic and Monophysite heresies.

35 This passage (which is repeated in Serm. Iiv., chap. 2, down to "injuries"), was objected to by the Illyrian and Palestinin bishops as savouring on the heresy of Nestorius who "divided the substance:" but it is obvious that the same words might have an orthodox meaning in the mouth of one who was orthodox and to the unorthodox would bear an unorthodox construction.

36 S. John i. l.

37 Ibid. 14.

38 Ibid. 3, the Latin is per ipsum (Gk. di autou=)(through Him).

39 Gal. iv.4

40 Vis., that it was laid "in a manger :" the Gk. version has sparya/nwn, "swaddling c1othes," to represent cunarum and thismeaning is adopted by Bright [and Heurt1ey], S. Luke ii. 7.

41 Ibid. 13.

42 Similis est rudimentis hominum.

43 S. Matt. iii. 17.

44 S. John xiv. 28; x. 30: the reconciliation of this class of apparently contradictory statements is often undertaken by Leo [e.g. Sermon xxiii. 2 and lxxvii. 5 ; Ep. xxviii. 4 and lix. 3], and by other fathers (e.g. by Augustine de Fide et Symbola, 18).

45 This is what theologians call, communicatio idiomatum, or in Gk.a0nti/dosij , the interchange of the properties of the two natures in Christ. The passage from the beginning of the chapter to "the Lord of glory" is somewhat freely adapted from S. Aug., c. Serm. Arian., cap. 8.

46 1 Cor. ii. 8.

47 S. Matt. xvi.13-16.

48 A principali petra . The Gk. version giving a0po9 th=j prwtotu/pou pe/traj :others translate it "from the original (or archetypal) rock," but it seems better to link the passage more closely with Eph ii. 20;1 Pet. ii. 6, &c., although the Greek rendering is against this: see Serm. iv. chap. 2, where Leo is expounding the same favourite text. Bright's note 64 is most useful in explaining the Leonine exposition. "Three elements," he says, combine in the idea; (1 ) Christ Himself (2) the faith in Christ; and (3) Peter considered as the chief of the Apostles and under Christ, the head of the Church." Hence petra is applied to each of these at different times.

49 S. John xx. 22.

50 S. Luke xxiv. 27.

51 Ibid 39.

52 i.e. not to fall into the Charybdis of Nestorianism in avoiding the Scylla of Eutychianism.

53 Fidei sacramento .

54 John iv. 2, 3. the Lat. for "destroys" (or "dissolves," Bright) is solvit (see also in Lett. CXLIV. 3), which appears to be an exclusively Western reading: for Socrates, "the only Greek authority for lu/ei" (the Gk. equivalent), according to Dr. Westcott, quotes no Gk. mss. as giving it, thou he unhesitatingly makes use of that reading. The Gk. version here however, gives diairei=n which simply begs the question (in Leo's favour) as to the original meaning of the phrase solvere Jesum, though on the face of it that is not at all necessarily obvious.

55 Et lavacro rigaretur et poculo : that is by the two great "Generally necessary" sacraments of which he takes the water and the blood "from His riven side which flowed" to be a symbol.

56 This refers to 1 Pet. i. 2 (q.v).

57 1 Pet.i. l8.

58 1 S. John i. 7.

59 Some of the mss. here give Christus for Spiritus(the reading adopted also by the Vulgate): in this case you must translate that Christ is the Truth instead of, because of the Spirit ,&c.but see Westcott's note in loc.

60 1 S. John v. 4-8, The absence of the verse on the "Heavenly witnesses" (distinctly a western insertion) is to be noticed. On Leo's interpretation of this mysterious passage Canon Bright's note 168 should be consulted.

61 This was the only compromise of his views which Eutyches could be brought to make at the synod of Constantinople. Though it was rejected, and did not hinder his condemnation, it was never met with a direct, categorical refutation.

62 Gestorum ordo , as before, in chap. 1. A report of the proceedings had accompanied Flavian's letter.

63 Fraternitas vestra : or, as the Gk. version apparently took it, "you and the rest of the brethren."(h9 u9mw=n a0delfo/thj ).

64 It will be remembered that he had been degraded from the priesthood and deprived of his monastery, as well as excommunicated : he might be reinstated in all these privileges, the mercifulness of Leo hints, if he recant his errors.

65 S. John x. 11 and 15.

66 S. Luke ix. 50.

67 Pietatis, a beautiful word expressing now tbe Father's pitying protection, now the children's loyal affection, and here the Elder Brother's love for the younger and weaker. Cf. n. I. on chap. iii.

68 Bishop of Puteoli.

69 Died at Delos on the way. Tbe words "of the title of S. Clement" are of doubtful authenticity, and not found in the Gk version. The parish churches of Rome seem to have been called tituli at their founding about the beginning of the 4th cent. a.d. Cf. our Eng. term "title," and refer to Bingham, Bk. viii. § 1.

70 Afterwards Leo's successor in tbe see of Rome, 461-8.

Letter XXIX. To Theodosius Augustus.

To Caesar Theodosius, the most religious and devout Augustus Leo pope of the Catholic Church of the city of Romehyperlink . He notifies the appointment of his representatives at the Council of Ephesus.

How much God's providence vouchsafes to consult for the interests of men is shown by your merciful care which, incited by God's Spirit, is unwilling that thereshould be any disturbance or difference: since the Faith, which is absolutely one, cannot be different from itself in any thing. Hence although Eutyches, as the minutes of the bishops' proceeds reveals, has been detected in an ignorant and unwise error, and ought to have withdrawn from his conviction which is rightly condemned, yet since your piety which loves the Catholic Truth with great jealousy for God's honour, has determined on a synodal judgment at Ephesus, that that Truth on which he is blind may be brought home to the ignorant old man; I have sent my brothers Julius the Bishop, Renatus the presbyter, and my son Hilary the deacon to act as my representatives as the matter requires, and they shall bring with them such a spirit of justice and kindness that while the whole misguided error is condemned (for there can be no doubt as to what is the integrity of the Christian Faith), yet if he who has gone astray repents and entreats for pardon, he may receive the succour of priestly indulgence: seeing that in his appealhyperlink which he sent us, he reserved to himself the right of earning our forgiveness by promising to correct whatever our opinion disapproved of in his opinion. But what the catholic Church universally believes and teaches on the mystery of the Lord's Incarnation is contained more fully in the letter which I have sent to my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).


1 This is the title retained by Quesnel and the Ballerenii, though many mss. exhibit the simpler gloriosissimo et clementissimo Theodosio Augusto Leo episcopus , which is favoured by the Gk. version tw= e0ndocota/tw kai\ filanqrwpota/tw k.t.l. Quesnel takes occasion to warn us to distinguish between this use of the title papa and that adopted later when it was equivalent to oecumenicus et universalis episcopus.

2 Viz., Lett. XXI., chaps. i. nnd iii.

Letter XXX. To Pulcheria Augusta.

Much shorter than, but to nearly the same effect as, xxxi., which was written on the same day as this. As xxx. has a Greek translation accompanying it and is duly dated, whereas xxxi. has neither, the Ballerinii would seem to be correct in thinking that xxx. was despatched but did not reach Pulcheria (cf. Lett. xlv. i.) and that xxxi. was for some reason never used. Of the two we have printed xxxi. by preference, as being the fuller discussion of the subject.

Letter XXXI. To Pulcheria Augustahyperlink .

Leo to Pulcheria Augusta.

I. He Reminds Pulcheria of Her Former Services to the Church, and Suggests Her Interference in the Eutychian Controversy.

How much protection the Lord has extended to His Church through your clemency, we have often tested by many signs. And whatever stand the strenuousness of the priesthood has made in our times against the assailers of the catholic Truth, has redounded chiefly to your glory: seeing that, as you have learnt from the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you submit your authority in all things to Him, by whose favour and under whose protection you reign. Wherefore, because I have ascertained from my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian's report, that a certain dispute has been raised through the agency of Eutyches in the church of Constantinople against the integrity of the Christian faith (and the text of the synod's minutes has shown me the exact nature of the whole matter), it is worthy of your great name that the error which in my opinion proceeds rather from ignorance than ingenuity, should be dispelled before, with the pertinacity of wrong-headedness, it gains any strength from the support of the unwise. Because even ignorance sometimes falls into serious mistakes, and very frequently the simple-minded rush through unwariness into the devil's pit: and it is thus, I believe, that the spirit of falsehood has crept over Eutyches: so that, whilst he imagines himself to appreciate the majesty of the Son of God more devoutly, by denying in Him the real presence of our nature, he came to the conclusion that the whole of that Word which "became flesh" was of one and the same essence. And greatly as Nestorius fell away from the Truth, in asserting that Christ was only born man of His mother, this man also departs no less far from the catholic path, who does not believe that our substance was brought forth from the same Virgin: wishing it of course to be understood as belonging to His Godhead only; so that that which took the form of a slave, and was like us and of the same formhyperlink , was a kind of image, not the reality of our nature.

II. Man's Salvation Required the Union of the Two Natures in Christ.

But it is of no avail to say that our Lord, the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, was true and perfect man, if He is not believed to be Man of that stock which is attributed to Him in the Gospel. For Matthew says, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abrahamhyperlink :" and follows the order of His human origin, so as to bring the lines of His ancestry down to Joseph to whom the Lord's mother was espoused. Whereas Luke going backwards step by step traces His succession to the first of the human race himself, to show that the first Adam and the last Adam were of the same nature. No doubt the Almighty Son of God could have appeared for the purpose of teaching, and justifying men in exactly the same way that He appeared both to patriarchs and prophets in the semblance of fleshhyperlink ; for instance, when He engaged in a struggle, and entered into conversation (with Jacob), or when He refused not hospitable entertainment, and even partook of the food set before Him. But these appearances were indications of that Man whose reality it was announced by mystic predictions would be assumed from the stock of preceding patriarchs. And the fulfilment of the mystery of our atonement, which was ordained from all eternity, was not assisted by any figures because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin, and the power of the Most High had not over-shadowed her: so that "Wisdom building herself a househyperlink " within her undefiled body, "the Word became flesh;" and the form of God and the form of a slave coming together into one person, the Creator of times was born in time; and He Himself through whom all things were made, was brought forth in the midst of all things. For if the New Man had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and taken on Him our old nature, and being consubstantial with the Father, had deigned to be consubstantial with His mother also, and being alone free from sin, had united our nature to Him the whole human race would be held in bondage beneath the Devil's yokehyperlink , and we should not be able to make use of the Conqueror's victory, if it had been won outside our nature.

III. From the Union of the Two Natures Flows the Grace of Baptism. He Makes a Direct Appeal to Pulcheria for Her Help.

But from Christ's marvellous sharing of the two natures, the mystery of regeneration shone upon us that through the self-same spirit, through whom Christ was conceived and born, we too, who were born through the desire of the flesh, might be born again from a spiritual source: and consequently, the Evangelist speaks of believers as those "who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of Godhyperlink ." And of this unutterable grace no one is a partaker, nor can be reckoned among the adopted sons of God, who excludes from his faiththat which is the chief means of our salvation. Wherefore, I am much vexed and saddened that this man, who seemed before so laudably disposed towards humility, dares to make these empty and stupid attacks on the one Faith of ourselves and of our fathers. When he saw that his ignorant notion offended the ears of catholics, he ought to have withdrawn from his opinion, and not to have so disturbed the Church's rulers, as to deserve a sentence of condemnation: which, of course, no one will be able to remit, if he is determined to abide by his notion. For the moderation of the Apostolic See uses its leniency in such a way as to deal severely with the contumacious, while desiring to offer pardon to those who accept correction. Seeing then that I possess great confidence in your lofty faith and piety, I entreat your illustrious clemency, that, as the preaching of the catholic Faith has always been aided by your holy zeal, so now, also, you will maintain its free action. Perchance the Lord allowed it to be thus assailed for this reason that we might discover what sort of persons lurked within the Church. And clearly, we must not neglect to look after such, lest we be afflicted with their actual loss.

IV. His Personal Presence at the Council Must Be Excused.the Question at Issue is a Verygrave One.

But the most august and Christian Emperor, being anxious that the disturbances may be set at rest with all speed, has appointed too short and early a date for the council of bishops, which he wishes held at Ephesus, in fixing the first of August for the meeting: for from the fifth of May, on which we received His Majesty's letter, most of the time remaining has to be spent in making complete arrangements for the journey of such priests as are competent to represent me. For as to the necessity of my attending the council also, which his piety suggested, even if there were any precedent for the request, it could by no means be managed now: for the very uncertain state of things at present would not permit my absence from the people of this great city: and the minds of the riotously-disposed might be driven to desperate deeds, if they were to think that I took occasion of ecclesiastical business to desert my countryhyperlink and the Apostolic See. As then you recognize that it concerns the public weal that with your merciful indulgence I should not deny myself to the affectionate prayers of my people, consider that in these my brethren, whom I have sent in my stead, I also am present with the rest who appear: to them I have clearly and fully explained what is to be maintained in view of the satisfactory exposition of the case which has been given, me by the detailed report, and by the defendant's own statement to me. For the question is not about some small portion of our Faith on which no very distinct declaration has been made: but the foolish opposition that is raised ventures to impugn that which our Lord desired no one of either sex in the Church to be ignorant of. For the short but complete confession of the catholic creed which contains the twelve sentences of the twelve apostleshyperlink is so well furnished with the heavenly panoply, that all the opinions of heretics can receive their death-blow from that one weapon. And if Eutyches had been content to receive that creed in its entirety with a pure and simple heart, he would at no point go astray from the decrees of the most sacred council of Nicaea, and he would understand that the holy Fathers laid this down, to the end that no mental or rhetorical ingenuity should lift itself up against the Apostolic Faith which is absolutely one. Deign then, with your accustomed piety to do your best endeavour, that this blasphemous and foolish attack upon the one and only sacrament of man's salvation may be driven from all men's minds. And if the man himself, who has fallen into this temptation, recover his senses, so as to condemn his own error by a written recantation, let him not be denied communion with his orderhyperlink . Your clemency is to know that I have written in the same strain to the holy bishop Flavian also: that loving-kindness be not lost sight of, if the error be dispelled. Dated 13 June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).


1 This was the Emperor Theodosius the younger's sister a woman of noted zeal in the cause of the Church: for many years she had practically ruled the empire owing to her brother's youthfulness. When the intrigues of Chrysaphius had brought about a quarrel between brother and sister, she retired for a time from public life. But becoming the virgin wife of Marcian, she, throughhim, helped to effect the victory of the Catholic cause at the Council of Chalcedon 451).

2 Quod nostri similis fuit atque conformis.

3 S. Matt. i. 1.

4 Gen. xxxii. 24 and xviii 1. It will be noticed that Leo unhesitatingly pronounces these and similar appearances to be manifestations of the Second Person in the Trinity.

5 Prov. ix. 1. Cf. Letter XXVIII. (The Tome), chap. ii., towards the end.

6 Sub iugo diaboli generaliter teneretur humana captivitas : for the word generaliter , cf. Letter XVI., chap. iv.,no. 3.

7 S. John i. 13.

8 Patriam. I can see very little ground for pressing this quite general expression to mean that he was a native of Rome, or even a native of Italy. The most that can be said is that it does not forbid the supposition.

9 Let the reader beware of accepting the plausible account here suggested of the formation of the Apostles' Creed, and still more so of accepting the popular derivation of the word symbolum(su/mbolon) as the twelve Apostles' twelve "contributions " (one each) to the Church's rule of faith.

10 Communio sui ordinis .

Letter XXXII. To the Archimandrites of Constantinoplehyperlink .

To his well-beloved sons Faustus, Martinus, and the rest of the archimandrites, Leo the bishop. He acknowledges their zeal and refers them to the Tome.As on behalf of the faith which Eutyches has tried to disturb, I was sending legates de laterehyperlink to assist the defence of the Truth, I thought it fitting that I should address a letter to you also, beloved: whom I know for certain to be so zealous in the cause of religion that you can by no means listen calmly to such blasphemous and profane utterances: for the Apostle's command lingers in your hearts, in which it is said, "If any man hath preached unto you any gospel other than that which he received, let him be anathemahyperlink ." And we also decide that the opinion of the said Eutyches is to be rejected, which, as we have learnt from perusing the proceedings, has been deservedly condemned: so that, if its foolish maintainer will abide by his perverseness, he may have fellowship with those whose error he has followed. For one who says that Christ had not a human, that is our, nature, is deservedly put out of Christ's Church. But, if he be corrected through the pity of God's Spirit and acknowledge his wicked error, so as to condemn unreservedly what catholics reject, we wish him not to be denied mercy, that the Lord's Church may suffer no loss: for the repentant can always be readmitted, it is only error that must be shut out. Upon the mystery of great godlinesshyperlink , whereby through the Incarnation of the Word of God comes our justification and redemption, what is our opinion, drawn from the tradition of the fathers, is now sufficiently explained according to my judgment in the letter which I have sent to our brother Flavian the bishophyperlink : so that through the declaration of your chief you may know what, according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we desire to be fixed in the hearts of all the faithful. Dated 13th June, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).


1 It will be remembered that 23 abbots signed the condemnation of Eutyches: cf. Lett. XXI. chap. 2.

2 De latere meo .This is interesting as an early instance of the use of this expression for the legates of the pope (now so familiar): even though Quesnel is incorrect in saying for certain that Leo is the first Bishop of Rome who employed them. He himself quotes Concil. Sardic., canon 7, where the fathers ask the Roman bishop to send some one e latere suo (a.d. 347).

3 Gal. i. 9.

4 I cannot doubt he has 1 Tim. iii. 27, me/ga e0sti to\ th=j e\usebei/aj musth/rion (here sacramentum as usual) in his mind, though the Gk. translator apparently did not see it, his version being utterly inaccurate (peri\ de\ thj= a9gio/thtoj pi/stewj ).

5 Viz. ,LetterXXVIII.(TheTome).