Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XII/Leo the Great/Letters/Letter 32
To the Archimandrites of Constantinople.
To his well-beloved sons Faustus, Martinus, and the rest of the archimandrites, Leo the bishop.
He acknowledges their zeal and refers them to the Tome.
As on behalf of the faith which Eutyches has tried to disturb, I was sending legates de latere to assist the defence of the Truth, I thought it fitting that I should address a letter to you also, beloved: whom I know for certain to be so zealous in the cause of religion that you can by no means listen calmly to such blasphemous and profane utterances: for the Apostle’s command lingers in your hearts, in which it is said, “If any man hath preached unto you any gospel other than that which he received, let him be anathema.” And we also decide that the opinion of the said Eutyches is to be rejected, which, as we have learnt from perusing the proceedings, has been deservedly condemned: so that, if its foolish maintainer will abide by his perverseness, he may have fellowship with those whose error he has followed. For one who says that Christ had not a human, that is our, nature, is deservedly put out of Christ’s Church. But, if he be corrected through the pity of God’s Spirit and acknowledge his wicked error, so as to condemn unreservedly what catholics reject, we wish him not to be denied mercy, that the Lord’s Church may suffer no loss: for the repentant can always be readmitted, it is only error that must be shut out. Upon the mystery of great godliness, whereby through the Incarnation of the Word of God comes our justification and redemption, what is our opinion, drawn from the tradition of the fathers, is now sufficiently explained according to my judgment in the letter which I have sent to our brother Flavian the bishop: so that through the declaration of your chief you may know what, according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we desire to be fixed in the hearts of all the faithful. Dated 13th June, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
- It will be remembered that 23 abbots signed the condemnation of Eutyches: cf. Lett. XXI. chap. 2.
- De latere meo. This is interesting as an early instance of the use of this expression for the legates of the pope (now so familiar): even though Quesnel is incorrect in saying for certain that Leo is the first Bishop of Rome who employed them. He himself quotes Concil. Sardic., canon 7, where the fathers ask the Roman bishop to send some one e latere suo (a.d. 347).
- Gal. i. 9.
- I cannot doubt he has 1 Tim. iii. 27, μέγα ἐστί τὸ τῆς ἐυσεβείας μυστήριον (here sacramentum as usual) in his mind, though the Gk. translator apparently did not see it, his version being utterly inaccurate (περὶ δὲ τῆς ἁγιότητος τῆς μεγάλης πίστεως).
- Viz., Letter XXVIII. (The Tome).