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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 80

Letter 80

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To the Prefect Eutrechius.

I have been much astonished that no information has been sent me by your lordship of the plots against me. To counteract them would very likely have been a difficult matter to any one not having the means of convicting their promoters of lies; but to give information of what was going on needed not so much power as friendliness, and we had hoped that when your excellency had been summoned to the imperial city, and had been chosen to adorn the prefect's exalted seat, every tempest of the Church would be calmed down. But we suffer from such disturbances as we did not see even in the beginning of the dispute. The churches of Phœnicia are in trouble; in trouble are those of Palestine, as all unanimously report; and the distress is proved by the letters of the most pious bishops. All the saints among us groan and every pious congregation is lamenting. While looking for a cessation of our former troubles we have been afflicted with new ones. I myself have been forbidden to quit the coasts of Cyrus, if the dispatch is true which has been shown me, and which is said to be an autograph of our victorious emperor. It runs as follows Since so and so the bishop of this city is continually assembling synods and this is a cause of trouble to the orthodox, take heed with proper diligence and wisdom that he resides at Cyrus, and does not depart from it to another city. I have accepted the sentence, and remain still. Your lordship can bear witness to my sentiments, for you know how on my arrival at Antioch I departed in a hurry, on account of those who wished to detain me there. And those were unquestionably wrong who gave both their ears to my calumniators and would not keep one for me. Even to murderers, and to them that despoil other men's beds, an opportunity is given of defending themselves, and they do not receive sentence till they have been convicted in their own presence, or have made confession of the truth of the charges on which they are indicted. But a high priest who has held the office of bishop for five and twenty years after passing his previous life in a monastery, who has never troubled a tribunal, nor yet on any single occasion been prosecuted by any man, is treated as a mere plaything of calumny, without being allowed even the common privilege of grave-robbers of being questioned as to the truth of the accusations brought against them. Yet they have done wrong; I have done no wrong. But I am ready for even more serious troubles. Though they be ever so much annoyed at my bewailing the calamities of Phœnicia I shall not cease so to do so long as I behold them. The only judgment that is awful to me is the judgment of God. For them, nevertheless, I pray that from the God of all they may obtain forgiveness; for your excellency, that you may ever live in honour, excel in all good things, speak boldly against lies, and fight on the side of the truth. And let the contrivers of this plot know that, though I depart to the uttermost ends of the earth, God will not suffer the confirmation of impious doctrines, but will nod His head and destroy them that bow down to doctrines of abomination.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

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