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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 8

Letter 8

To Eugraphia.

It is needless for me to bring once more to bear upon your grief the spells of the spirit. The mere mention of the sufferings that wrought our salvation is enough to quench distress, even at its worst. Those sufferings were all undergone for humanity. Our Lord did not destroy death to make one body victorious over death, but through that one body to effect our common resurrection, and make our hope of it a sure and certain hope. And if even while our holy celebrations are bringing you manifold refreshment of soul, you cannot overcome your sense of sorrow, let me beg you, my honoured friend, to read the very words of the marriage contract which follow on the mention of the dowry, and to see how the wedding is preceded by the reminder of death. Knowing as we do that men are mortal, and bethinking us of the peace of survivors, it is customary to lay down what are called conditions, and for no hesitation to be shown at the mention of death before the joining together in marriage. These are the plain words If the husband should die first it is agreed that so and so be done; if this lot should first fall to the wife, so and so. We knew all this before the wedding; we are waiting for it so to say everyday. Why then take it amiss? The union must needs be broken either by the death of the husband or the departure of the wife. Such is the course of life. You know, my excellent friend, alike God's will and human nature; dispel then your despondency and wait for the fulfilment of the common hope of the just.

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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. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2707008.htm>.

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