Leo, bishop, to the holy Synod which is assembled at Ephesus.
I. He commends the Emperor's appeal to the chair of Peter. The devout faith of our most clement prince, knowing that it especially concerns his glory to prevent any seed of error from springing up within the catholic Church, has paid such deference to the Divine institutions as to apply to the authority of the Apostolic See for a proper settlement: as if he wished it to be declared by the most blessed Peter himself what was praised in his confession, when the Lord said, "whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am 5?" and the disciples mentioned various people's opinion: but, when He asked what they themselves believed, the chief of the apostles, embracing the fulness of the Faith in one short sentence, said, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living Godhyperlink :" that is, Thou who truly art Son of man art also truly Son of the living God: Thou, I say, true in Godhead, true in flesh and one altogetherhyperlink , the properties of the two natures being kept intact. And if Eutyches had believed this intelligently and thoroughly, he would never have retreated from the path of this Faith. For Peter received this answer from the Lord for his confession. "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church: and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against ithyperlink ." But he who both rejects the blessed Peter's confession, and gainsays Christ's Gospel, is far removed from union with this building; for he shows himself. never to have had any zeal for understanding the Truth, and to have only the empty appearance of high esteem, who did not adorn the hoary hairs of old age with any ripe judgment of the heart.
II. The Heresy of Eutyches is to Be Condemned Though His Full Repentance May Lead to His Restitution.
But because the healing even of such men must not be neglected, and the most Christian Emperor has piously and devoutly desired a council of bishops to be held, that all error may be destroyed by a fuller judgment, I have sent our brothers Julius the bishop, Renatus the presbyter, and my son Hilary the deacon, and with them Dulcitius the notary, whose faith we have proved, to be present in my stead at your holy assembly, brethren, and settle in common with you what is in accordance with the Lord's will. To wit, that the pestilential error may be first condemned, and then the restitution of him, who has so unwisely erred, discussed, but only if embracing the true doctrine he fully and openly with his own voice and signature condemns those heretical opinions in which his ignorance has been ensnared: for this he has promised in the appeal which he sent to us, pledging himself to follow our judgment in all thingshyperlink . On receiving our brother and fellow-bishop Flavian's letter, we have replied to him at some length on the points which he seems to have referred to ushyperlink : that when this error which seems to have arisen, has been destroyed, there may be one Faith and one and the same confession throughout the whole world to the praise and glory of God, and that "in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Fatherhyperlink ." Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 This letter has a note prefixed to it in some Gk. and Latin mss. to the effect that it was produced but suppressed, and not allowed to be read through Dioscorus. Bishop Of Alexandria.
2 S. Matt. xvi. 13 and 16
3 Utrumque (Gk.e9ka/teron) unus.
4 S. Matt. xvi. 17, 18.
5 Cf. Lett. XXI. ,chaps. i. And ii.
6 See Lett. XXVII. , n.7.
7 Phil. ii. 10.
Letter XXXIV. To Julian, Bishop of Cos.
Leo, the bishop, to Julian, the bishop, his well-beloved brother.
I. Eutyches is Now Clearly, Seen to Have Deviated from the Faith.
Your letter, beloved, which has just reached me, shows with what spiritual love of the Catholic Faith you are inspired: and it makes me very glad that devout hearts all agree in the same opinion, so that according to the teaching of the Holy Ghost there may be fulfilled in us what the Apostle says: "Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same things, and there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgmenthyperlink ." But Eutyches has put himself quite outside this unity, if he perseveres in his perversity, and still does not understand the bonds with which the devil has bound him, and thinks any one is to be reckoned among the Lord's priests, who is a party to his ignorance and madness. For some time we were uncertain in what he was displeasing to catholics: and when we received no letter from our brother Flavian, and Eutyches himself complained in his letterhyperlink that the Nestorian heresy was being revived, we could not fully learn the source or the motive of so crafty an accusation. But as soon as the minutes of the bishops' proceedings reached us, all those things which were hidden beneath the veil of his deceitful complaints were revealed in their abomination.
II. He Announces the Appointment of Legates a Latere.
And because our most clement Emperor in the loving-kindness and godliness of his mind wished a more careful judgment to be passed about the position of one who hitherto has seemed to be in high esteem, and for this purpose has thought fit to convene a council of bishops, by the hands of our brothers Julius the bishop, and Renatus the presbyter, and also my son Hilary, the deacon whom I have sent ex laterehyperlink in my stead, I have addressed a letter suited to the needs of the case to our brother Flavian. from which you also, beloved, and the whole Church may know about the ancient and unique Faith, which this unlearned opponent has assailed, what we hold as handed down from God and what we preach without alteration. Yet, because we must not forget the duty of mercy, we have considered it consonant with our moderation as priests, that, if the condemned presbyter corrects himself unreservedly, the sentence by which he is bound should be remitted: if, however, he chooses to lie in the mire of his foolishness, let the decree remain, and let him have his lot with those whose error he has followed. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449)hyperlink .
1 1 Cor. i. 10.
2 See Lett. XX. , above.
3 See Lett,XXXII., n. 9, above.
4 This letter (XXXIV.) is written on the same day and subject and to the same person as the next letter (XXXV.): the differences between them being (l) the greater length and fuller treatment of the second; and (2) that the one is entrusted to Leo's legates, the other to Julius' own messenger, Basil the deacon; and (3) that the shorter has no Gk. version as the longer has. I think the Ballerinii are undoubtedly right in facing the difficulty boldly, the evidence of the mss. being invariable, except that XXXIV. is only found in a few collections: and I would suggest that XXXIV. is a formal, official communication, and XXXV. a private, confidential one. This will account for the difference of messengers, and the identity of date, subject and person addressed, and is justifiable as a piece of necessary diplomatic secrecy. In XXX. and XXXI. we have another instance of two letters. to the same person on the same day, one of these (XXXI.) being also without a Gk. version this time the longer one : but here we have adopted the Ballerinii's suggestion that only the first was sent. It should further be noticed that out of the very large batch of letters that are dated the 13th of June which includes the Tome (8 in all. XXVIII.-XXXV.), it may well have been convergent to delay one and send it by another hand.
Leo, bishop of the city of Rome to his well-beloved brother, Julian the bishop.
I. Eutyches' Heresy Involves Many Other Heresies.
Although by the hands of our brothers, whom we have despatched from the city on behalf of the Faith, we hare sent a most full refutation of Eutyches' excessive heresy to our brother Flavian, yet because we have received, through our son Basil, your letter, beloved, which has given us much pleasure from the fervour of its catholic spirit, we have added this page also which agrees with the other document, that you may offer a united and strenuous resistance to those who seek to corrupt the gospel of Christ, since the wisdom and the teaching of the Holy Spirit is one and the same in you as in us: and whosoever does not receive it, is not a member of Christ's body and cannot glory in that Head in which he denies the presence of his own nature. What advantage is it to that most unwise old man under the name of the Nestorian heresy to mangle the belief of those, whose most devout faith he cannot tear to pieces: when in declaring the only-begotten Son of God to have been so born of the blessed Virgin's womb that He wore the appearance of a human body without the reality of human flesh being united to the Word, he departs as far from the right path as did Nestorius in separating the Godhead of the Word from the substance of His assumed Manhoodhyperlink ? From which prodigious falsehood who does not see what monstrous opinions spring? for he who denies the true Manhood of Jesus Christ, must needs be filled with many blasphemies, being claimed by Apollinaris as his own, seized upon by Valentinus, or held fast by Manichaeus: none of whom believed that there was true human flesh in Christ. But, surely, if that is not accepted, not only is it denied that He. who was in the form of God, but yet abode in the form of a slave, was born Man according to the flesh and reasonable soul: but also that He was crucified, dead, and buried, and that on the third day He rose again, and that, sitting at the right hand of the Father, he will come to judge the quick and the deadhyperlink in that body in which He Himself was judged,: because these pledgeshyperlink of our redemption are rendered void if Christ is not believed to have the true and whole nature of true Manhood.
II. The Two Natures are to Be Found in Christ.
Or because the signs of His Godhead were undoubted, shall the proof of his having a human body be assumed false, and thus theindications of both natures be accepted to prove Him Creator, but not be accepted for the salvation of the creaturehyperlink ? No, for the flesh did not lessen what belongs to His Godhead, nor the Godhead destroy what belongs to His flesh. For He is at once both eternal from His Father and temporal from His mother, inviolable in His strength, possible in our weakness: in the Triune Godhead, of one and the same substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but in taking Manhood on Himself, not of one substance but of one and the same person [so that He was at once rich in poverty, almighty in submission, impossible in punishment, immortal in deathhyperlink ]. For the Word was not in any part of It turned either into flesh or into soul, seeing that the absolute and unchangeable nature of the Godhead is ever entire in its Essence, receiving no loss nor increase, and so beatifying the nature that It had assumed that that nature remained for ever glorified in the person of the Glorifier. [But why should it seem unsuitable or impossible that the Word and flesh and soul should be one Jesus Christ, and that the Son of God and the Son of Man should be one, if flesh and soul which are of different natures make one person even without the Incarnation of the Word: since it is much easier for the power of the Godhead to produce this union of Himself and man than for the weakness of manhood by itself to effect it in its own substance.] Therefore neither was the Word changed into flesh nor flesh into the Word: but both remains in one and one is in both, not divided by the diversity and not confounded by intermixture: He is not one by His Father and another by His mother, but the same, in one way by His Father before every beginning, and in another by His mother at the end of the ages: so that He was "mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesushyperlink ," in whom dwelt "the fulness of the Godhead bodilyhyperlink :" because it was the assumed (nature) not the Assuming (nature) which was raised, because God "exalted Him and gave Him the Name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ the Lord is in the glory of God the Fatherhyperlink ."
III. The Soul of Christ and the Body of Christ Were Real in the Full Human Sense, Though the Circumstances of His Birth Were Unique.
[But as to that which Eutyches dared to say in the court of bishops "that before the Incarnation there were two natures in Christ, but after the Incarnation onehyperlink ,"he ought to have been pressed by the frequent and anxious questions of the judges to render an account of his acknowledgment, lest it should be passed over as something trivial, though it was seen to have issued from the same fount as his other poisonous opinions. For I think that in saying this he was convinced that the soul, which the Saviour assumed, had had its abode in the heavens before He was born of the Virgin Mary, and that the Word joined it to Himself in the womb. But this is intolerable to catholic minds and ears: because the Lord who came down from heaven brought with Him nothing that belonged to our state: for He did not receive either a soul which had existed before nor a flesh which was not of his mother's body. Undoubtedly our nature was not assumed in such a way that it was created first and then assumed, but it was created by the very assumption. And hence that which was deservedly condemned in Origen must be punished in Eutyches also, unless he prefers to give up his opinion, viz. the assertion that souls have had not only a life but also different actions before they were inserted in men's bodieshyperlink ]. For although the Lord's nativity according to the flesh has certain characteristics wherein it transcends the ordinary beginnings of man's being, both because He alone was conceived and born without concupiscence of a pure Virgin, and because He was so brought forth of His mother's womb that her fecundity bare Him without loss of virginity: yet His flesh was not of another nature to ours: nor was the soul breathed into Him from another source to that of all other men, and it excelled others not in difference of kind but in superiority of power. For He had no opposition in His flesh [nor did the strife of desires give rise to a conflict of wisheshyperlink ]. His bodily senses were active without the law of sin, and the reality of His emotions being under the control of His Godhead and His mind, was neither assaulted by temptations nor yielded to injurious influences. But true Man was united to God and was not brought down from heaven as regards a pro-existing soul, nor created out of nothing as regards the flesh: it wore the same person in the Godhead of the Word and possessed a nature in common with us in its body and soul. For He would not be "the mediator between God and man," unless God and man had co-existed in both natures forming one true Person. The magnitude of the subject urges us to a lengthy discussion: but with one of your learning there is no need for such copious dissertations, especially as we have already sent a sufficient letter to our brother Flavian by our delegates for the confirmation of the minds, not only of priests but also of the laity. The mercy of God will, we believe, provide that without the loss of one soul the sound may be defended against the devil's wiles, and the wounded healed. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 See Lett. XXXIV., chap. ii. n. 5.
2 The Gk. version here adds and "from the very conception of the Virgin," but this is probably only a repetition of the words "of the Virgin's womb," just above.
3 It can escape no one that he is here, and frequently throughout this letter, quoting from the Creed.
5 i.e. shall the signs of His being God. Which are undoubted, and the signs that He had a body of some sort be allowed to prove Him one with the Creator of the world, but not go so far as to show that that body which He had was a fully human one ?
6 So that-in death, bracketed by the editors as not being translated in the Gk. version, and perhaps here we have a gloss to explain the somewhat obscure words that precede it: but throughout this letter large portions are so bracketed in each case the Gk. Version omitting them. ,
7 1 Tim. ii. 5.
8 Col. ii. 9.
9 Phil. ii. 9-11.
10 Cf. the Tome, Lett. XXVII., chap. vi., n. 5.
11 Cf. Lett. XV., chap. xi., n. 6.
12 Here again the second clause (in brackets) seems a gloss on the first, see n. 2, above: what is meant will be seen by comparing S. Paul's famous disquisition (Rom. vii.)
Letter XXXVI. To Flavlan, Bishop of Constantinople.
(He acknowledges the receipt of Flavian's second letter (xxvi) and protests against the necessity for a general council, though at the same time he acquiesces in it. Dated 21 June, a week after the Tome).
Leo to Theodosius Augustus. Unity of Faith is essential but the point at issue hardly required a general council, it is so clear.
On receiving your clemency's letter, I perceived that the universal Church has much cause for joy, that you will have the Christian Faith, whereby the Divine Trinity is honoured and worshipped, to be different or out of harmony with itself in nothing. For what more effectual support can be given to human affairs in calling upon God's mercy than when one thanksgiving, and the sacrifice of one confession is offered to His majesty by all. Wherein the devotions of the priests and all the faithful will reach at last their completeness, if in what was done for our redemption by God the Word, the only Son of God nothing else be believed than what He Himself ordered to be preached and believed. Wherefore although every consideration prevents my attendance on the day which your piety has fixed for the councils of bishopshyperlink : for there are no precedents for such a thing, and the needs of the times do not allow me to leave the city, especially as the point of Faith at issue is so clear, that it would have been more reasonable to abstain from proclaiming a synod: yet as far as the Lord vouchsafes to help me, I have bestowed my zeal upon obeying your clemency's commands, by appointing my brethren who are competent to act as the case requires in removing offences, and who can represent me: because no question has arisen on which there can or ought to be any doubt. Dated 21st of June, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes, (449).
1 This letter is on the same subject as Lett. XXIX. above, but as the wording of it contains some interesting matter, it is here given in full. There is no Gk. version extant, and how there came to be two letters within a week of one another on the same topic is not clear.
2 Cf. Lett. XXIX. above, and especially XXXI., chap. iv., where the reasons are given rather more fully.
Letter XXXVIIIhyperlink . To Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople.
Leo to Flavian, bishop of Constantinople. He acknowledges the receipt of a letter and advises mercy if Eutyches will recant.
When our brethren had already started whom we despatched to you in the cause of the Faith, we received your letter, beloved, by our son Basil the deacon, in which you rightly said very little on the subject of our common anxiety, both because the accounts which had already arrived had given us full information on every thing, and because for purposes of private inquiry it was easy to converse with the aforesaid Basil, by whom now through the grace of God, in whom we trust, we exhort you, beloved, in reply, using the Apostle's words, and saying: "Be ye in nothing affrighted by the adversaries; which is for them a cause of perdition, but to you of salvationhyperlink ." For what is so calamitous as to wish to destroy all hope of man's salvation by denying the reality of Christ's Incarnation, and to contradict the Apostle who says distinctly: "great is the mystery of Godliness which was manifest in the fleshhyperlink ?" What so glorious as to fight for the Faith of the gospel against the enemies of Christ's nativity and cross? About whose most pure light and unconquered power we have already disclosed what was in our heart, in the letter which has been sent to you belovedhyperlink : lest anything might seem doubtful between us on those things which we have learnt, and teach in accordance with the catholic doctrine. But seeing that the testimonies to the Truth are so clear and strong that a man must be reckoned thoroughly blind and stubborn, who does not at once shake himself free from the mists of falsehood in the bright light of reason; we desire you to use the remedy of long-suffering in curing the madness of ignorance that through your fatherly admonitions they who though old in years are infants in mind, may learn to obey their elders. And if they give up the vain conceits of their ignorance and come to their senses, and if they condemn, all their errors and receive the one true Faith, do not deny them the mercifulness of a bishop's kind heart: although your judgment must remain, if their impiety which you have deservedly condemned persists in its depravity. Dated 23 July in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 If we are right in thinking that Lett. XXXVI. is Leo's acknowledgment of Flavian's second letter (XXVI.), this (which again has no Gk. version) must be an acknowledgment of yet a third, not extant, sent by the hand of one Basil, the deacon who is probably the same as Julian's messenger (XXXV., chap. I ).
2 Phil. i. 28.
3 1 Tim. iii. 16: the reading here is quod manifestum est in carne , in agreement with the general Western usage.
4 Sc. the Tome (XXVIII.).
Letter XXXIX. To Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople.
Leo, the bishop, to Flavian, the bishop. He rebukes Flavian for not answering his repeated letters.
Our anxiety is increased by your silence, for it is long now since we received a letter from you, beloved: while we who bear a chief share in your careshyperlink , through our anxiety for the defence of the Faith, have several timeshyperlink , as occasion served, sent letters to you: that we might aid you with the comfort of our exhortations not to yield to the assaults of your adversaries in defence of the Faith, but to feel that we were the sharers in your labour. Some time since we believe our messengers have reached you, brother, through whom you find yourself fully instructed by our writings and injunctions, and we have ourselves sent back Basil to you as you desiredhyperlink . Now, lest you should think we had omitted any opportunity of communicating with you, we have sent this note by our son Eupsychius, a man whom we hold in great honour and affection, asking you to reply to our letter with all speed, and inform us at once about your own actions and those of our representatives, and about the completion of the whole matter: so that we may allay the anxiety which we now feel in defence of the Faith, by happier tidings. Dated 11th August in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 Curarum tuarum principes.
2 Frequenter, four times in all ( Letters XXVII., XXVIII., XXXVI. and XXXVIII.).
3 This must be in the third lost letter to which we have assumed Lett. XXXVIII. to be an answer.
Letter XL.to the Bishops of the Province of Arles in Gaul.
To his well-beloved brethren Constantinus Audentius, Rusticus, Auspicius, Nicetas, Nectarius, Florus, Asclepius, Justus, Augustalis, Ynantius, and Chrysaphiushyperlink , Leo the pope. He approves of their having unanimously elected Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.
We have just and reasonable reason for rejoicing, when we learn that the Lord's priests have done what is agreeable both to the rules of the Father's canons and to the Apostles' institutions. For the whole body of the Church must needs increase with a healthy growth, if the governing members excel in the strength of their authority, and in peaceful management. Accordingly, we ratify with our sanction your good deed, brethren, in unanimously, on the death of Hilaryhyperlink of holy memory, consecrating our brother Ravennius, a man well approved by us, in the city of Aries, in accordance with the wishes of the clergy, the leading citizens, and the laity. Because a peace-making and harmonious election, where neither personal merits nor the good will of the congregation are wanting, is we believe the expression not only of man's choice, but of God's inspiration. So dearly beloved brethren, let the said priest use God's gift, and understand what self-devotion is expected of him, that by diligently and prudently carrying out the office entrusted to him, he may prove himself equal to your testimony, and fully worthy of our favour. God keep you safe, beloved brethren. Dated 22 August in the consulship of Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 These twelve bishops do not include the Bishop of Vienne, according to Perthel (p. 29). following apparently Quesnel, whose wish-fathered thought, though possibly right, has little evidence to go upon. Cf. Letters LXV. and LXVI. below.
2 It will be noticed that Leo speaks of Hilary not only with respect, but as if he acquiesced in his sentence (passed against Hilary in Lett. X. above) not having been carried out.
Letter XLI. To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.
(He congratulates him on his appointment, exhorts him to firm but gentle government, and advises him frequently to consult the Apostolic See. Undated, but no doubt sent about the same time as XL.)
Letter XLII. To Ravennius, Bishop of Arles.
Leo the Pope to his well-beloved brother Ravennius. He asks him to deal with the imposture of a certain Petronianus.
We wish you to be circumspect and careful lest any blameworthy presumption should put forth undue claims: for, when it once finds an entrance by crafty stealth, it spreads itself into greater rashness in the name of the dignity it has assumed. We have learnt, on the trustworthy evidence of your clergy, that a certain wandering and vagabond Petronianus has boasted himself throughout the provinces of Gaul as our deacon, and under cover of this office is going about the various churches of that country. We desire you, beloved brother, so to check his abominable effrontery, as to disclose his imposture, by warning the bishops of the whole district. and to expel him from communion with all the Churches, lest he continue his claim. The Lord keep you safe, dearly beloved brother. Dated 26th, August, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).