Click to View

Early Church Fathers
Click to ViewMaster Index
Click to ViewPower Search

 Click to View

697 This letter is to be found complete in Latin in Mans. Synod. 840, Schulze's Index inscribing it to Andreas the Constantinopolitan monk. cf. Ep. CLXII. and note.

698 The complete letter is given in another Latin version Baluz. Synod. LXVI. Garnerius makes it the conclusion of the letter to Andrew of Samosata.

699 The order of events is reversed. John and his friends went from Ephesus to Chalcedon, from Chalcedon via Ancyra to Tarsus, where he was in his own patriarchate, and held a council, confirming Cyril's deposition, and pledging its members never to abandon Nestorius. Again at Antioch the same course was repeated.

700 Vide Migne LXXVII. 327. Cyril. Ep. lxiii.

701 This letter is inserted in the Act. Synod. (vide Mans. ix. 295) as addressed to John, but Garnerius, with general acceptance, has substituted Domnus. Its genuineness was contested by Baronius (an. vi. 23) not only on the ground of its ascription to John who predeceased Cyril four years; but also because its expressions are at once too Nestorian in doctrine and too extreme in bitterness to have been penned by Theodoret. Garnerius is of opinion that the extreme Nestorianism and bitterness of feeling are no arguments against the authorship of Theodoret; and, as we have already had occasion to notice, our author can on occasion use very strong language, as for instance in Letter CL. p. 324, where he alludes to Cyril as a shepherd not only plague smitten himself but doing his best to inflict more damage on his flock than that caused by beast of prey, by infecting his charge with his disease.

"It must be needless to add that Cyril's character is not to be estimated aright by ascribing any serious value to a coarse and ferocious invective agains this memory, which was quoted as Theodoret's in the fifth Geueral Council (Theodor. Ep. 180; see Tillemont, xiv. 784). If it were indeed the production of the pen of Theodoret, the reputation which would suffer from it would assuredly be his own." Canon Bright. Dict. Christ. Bios. I.

"The long and bitter controversy in which both parties did and said many things they must have had cause deeply to regret, was closed by the death of Cyril, June 9, or 27, 444. With Baronius, `the cautious 0' Tillemont, Cardinal Newman and Dr. Bright, we should be glad to `utterly scout 0' the idea, that the `atrocious letter 0' on Cyril's death ascribed to Theodoret by the Fifth Oecumenical Council (Theod. ed Schulze, Ep. 180; Labbe, v. 507) which he was said to have delivered by way of paean (Bright u. s. 176) and `the scarcely less scandalous 0' sermon (ib.) can have been written by him. `To treat it as genuine would be to vilify Theodoret. 0' `The Fathers of the Council 0' writes Dr. Newman `are no authority on such a matter 0' (Hist. Sketches p. 359). A painful suspicion of their genuineness, however, still lingers and troubles our conception of Theodoret. The documents may have been garbled, but the general tone too much resembles that of undisputed polemical writings of Theodoret's to allow us entirely to repudiate them. We wish we could. Neander (vol. iv. p. 13, note, Clark's tr.) is inclined to accept the genuineness of the letter, the arguments against which he does not regard as carrying conviction, and to a large extent deriving their weight from Tillemont's `Catholic standpoint. 0' That Theodoret should speak in this manner of Cyril's character and death cannot, he thinks, appear surprising to those who, without prejudice, contemplate Cyril and his relations to Theodoret. The playful description, after the manner of Lucian, of a voyage to the Shades below, is not to be reckoned a very sharp thing even in Theodoret. The advice to put a heavy stone over his grave to keep Cyril down is sufficient proof that the whole is a bitter jest. The world felt freer now Cyril was gone; and he does not shrink from telling a friend that he could well spare him. `The exaggeration of rhetorical polemics requires many grains of allowance. 0'" Canon Venables. Dict. Christ. Biog. iv.

702 I. Sam. xvii. 26.

703 Lucian. "Cataplus sive Tyrannus."Cyniscus and Megapenthes come to the shore of Styx in the same batch of ghosts.

Megapenthes begs hard of Clotho to let him go back again, but Cyniscus the philosopher, who professes great delight at having died at last, refuses to get into the boat. "No; by Zeus, not till we have bound this fellow here, and set him on board, for I am afraid he will get over you by his entrearies."

704 Ps. cxlvi. 4.

705 Isaiah xxxvii. 29.

706 This letter may be dated from Nicerte in the autumn of 450 when Abundius was at Constantinople on a mission from Leo, after the failure to get Theodosius to agree to the summary of the Council in the West. Theodosius died a few days after the arrival of the envoys at Constantinople. Theodoret is anxious to encourage the Roman Legates to support the orthodox cause in the Imperial city, to repair the mischief caused by the Latrocinium, and to show the court that he and his friends Ibas and Aquilinus had the support of Leo. Abundius, fourth bishop of Como (450-469) represented Leo at Chalcedon. Manzoni, in the Promessi Sposi, reminds us of the local survival of the name.

707 Isaiah i. 9.

708 After all the storms of controversy and quarrel which we have followed in the course of the dialogues and letters of the Blessed Bishop of Cyrus; after the lurid leap of grim pleasantry which, if not actually penned by Theodoret, indicates a temper that must have often shown itself in these troubled times; there is something pathetic and encouraging in the concilatory conclusion of this last letter. Cyril has been dead for years, and his weaknesses are forgotten in a confession which his more moderate opponents could accept. The subscription of Theodoret to the tome of Leo is an earnest of harmony and concord. The calmer wisdom of the West asserts the truth which underlay the furious disputes of the subtler East. The last word of the drama is Peace.

Click Your Choice