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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 172

Letter 172

Letter of Theodoretus to Nestorius.

To the very reverend and religious lord and very holy Father, Nestorius, the bishop Theodoretus sends greeting in the Lord. Your holiness is, I think, well aware that I take no pleasure in cultivated society, nor in the interests of this life, nor in reputation, nor am I attracted by other sees. Had I learned this lesson from no other source, the very solitude of the city over which I am called to preside would suffice to teach me this philosophy. It is not indeed distinguished only for solitude, but also by very many disturbances which may check the activity even of those who most delight in them.

Let no one therefore persuade your holiness that I have accepted the Egyptian writings as orthodox, with my eyes shut, because I covet any see. For really, to speak the truth, after frequently reading and carefully examining them, I have discovered that they are free from all heretical taint, and I have hesitated to put any stress upon them, though I certainly have no love for their author, who was the originator of the disturbances which have agitated the world. For this I hope to escape punishment in the day of Judgment, since the just Judge examines motives. But to what has been done unjustly and illegally against your holiness, not even if one were to cut off both my hands would I ever assent, God's grace helping me and supporting my infirmity. This I have stated in writing to those who require it. I have sent to your holiness my reply to what you wrote to me, that you may know that, by God's grace, no time has changed me like the centipedes and chameleons who imitate by their colour the stones and leaves among which they live. I and all with me salute all the Brotherhood who are with you in the Lord.

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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/2707172.htm>.

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