Reference: CPG 5302/8627
Incipit: Ἂνδρες αἰδέσιμοι καὶ πίστεως ἄξιοι
Date: early summer 429
Greek Text: ACO 1.1.1:23-25
Latin Text: ACO 1.2:36-37; 1.3:16-17; 1.5:51-52
Other Ancient Versions:  
English Translation: FCC (below); CE 113-115; FC 76:34-36

During the spring of 429 word kept arriving in Egypt that Nestorius had seen Cyril’s letter to the monks and was fulminating against it, spreading word that the entire controversy was rather of Cyril’s making. This led Cyril to open direct communication with Nestorius on this subject for the first time (CPG 5302). Cyril explains that his letter to the monks was a response to the problem that already existed in Constantinople, and whose leaven was spreading throughout his own diocese of Egypt. Therefore, he had no choice but to get involved. Because of what Nestorius has either said or not said, some were coming very close to denying that Christ is God, but implying rather that he was just a divine “tool or instrument” (2). Both at Rome and in the East the sermons of Nestorius have created an uproar, and this could be corrected if Nestorius were only to call the Virgin Mary the theotokos (3).

The Greek text and Latin translation below are adapted from the ACO. The English translation was done for FCC is an adaptation of previous translations by G. Thompson.

Τῷ εὐλαβεστάτῳ καὶ θεοσεβεστάτῳ συλλειτουργῷ Νεστορίῳ Κύριλλος ἐν κυρίῳ χαίρειν. To his most pious and most God-loving fellow bishop Nestorius, Cyril sends greetings in the Lord. 1. Reuerentissimo et dei cultori consacerdoti Nestorio Cyrillus.
1. Ἄνδρες αἰδέσιμοι καὶ πίστεως ἄξιοι παραγεγόνασιν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ, εἶτα μετέδοσαν ὡσανεὶ τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας ἀγανακτούσης σφόδρα καὶ πάντα κινούσης κάλων εἰς τὸ λυπεῖν ἐμέ. βουλομένῳ δέ μοι τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας τὴν λύπην ἀναμαθεῖν ἔφασαν ὅτι τὴν πρὸς μοναστὰς ἁγίους γενομένην ἐπιστολὴν περιφέρουσι τινὲς τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας καὶ ἡ τοῦ μίσους ἀφορμὴ καὶ τῆς ἀηδίας αὕτη γέγονεν. 1. Respected and trustworthy men have arrived in Alexandria and reported that your reverence is both extremely annoyed and is leaving no stone unturned to vex me. When I wanted to find out what was so vexing your reverence, they told me that some Alexandrian men are carrying around the letter I sent to the holy monks and that this is what occasioned your dislike and displeasure. Viri modesti et fide digni peruenerunt Alexandriam, deinde rettulerunt nobis quasi quod tua reuerentia indignetur satis et omnia conmoueat ad contristandum me. Volenti uero mihi tuae reuerentiae tristitiam agnoscere dixerunt quia epistolam quae facta est ad sanctos monachos, circumferunt quidam Alexandrinorum et odii occasio et molestiae haec facta sit.
2. Τεθαύμακα τοίνυν εἰ μὴ ἐκεῖνο μᾶλλον ἡ σὴ θεοσέβεια καθ᾽ ἑαυτὴν ἐλογίσατο· οὐ γὰρ πρότερον ἐμῆς γραφείσης ἐπιστολῆς ὁ ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει γέγονε θόρυβος, ἀλλ᾽ ἢ εἰρημένων τινῶν παρὰ τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας ἢ καὶ μή. πλὴν χαρτίων ἢ γοῦν ἐξηγήσεων περιφερομένων, κάμνομεν ἡμεῖς ἐπαγορθοῦν ἐθέλοντες τοὺς διεστραμμένους. 2. I am amazed that your reverence has not by yourself considered this—that this uproar came about before I wrote that letter, because of what you, your reverence, said and refrained from saying. Besides, when documents and interpretations are being circulated, we are pained because we desire to correct those who have gone astray. 2. Miratus sum igitur si non illud magis tua reuerentia apud se cogitauit; non enim primum ex mea scripta epistola de fide facta est perturbatio, sed dictis quibusdam a tua reuerentia siue non dictis. Verumtamen chartis uel expositionibus quae circumferuntur, laboramus nos, uolentes corrigere peruersos.
ἐγγὺς γὰρ γεγόνασι τινὲς τοῦ μὴ ἀνέχεσθαι λοιπὸν ὁμολογεῖν ὅτι θεός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός, ὄργανον δὲ μᾶλλον καὶ ἐργαλεῖον θεότητος καὶ ἄνθρωπος θεοφόρος καὶ τί γὰρ οὐχὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἐπέκεινα; For some have come close to refusing to confess any longer that Christ is God, but rather an instrument and a tool of divinity, and a man bearing God. What could be more extreme than such ideas? Prope enim ad hoc quidam uenerunt, ut non patiantur iam confiteri quia deus est Christus, organum autem magis et instrumentum deitatis et homo deum ferens, et quid amplius quam haec?1
ἧν οὖν ἄρα τὸ χαλεπαινεῖν ἡμῶν ἐφ᾽ οἷς εἴρηκεν ἢ οὐκ εἴρηκεν ἡ σὴ θεοσέβεια· τοῖς γὰρ περιφερομένοις χαρτίοις οὐ σφόδρα πιστεύω. πῶς οὖν ἔνι σιωπῆσαι πίστεως ἀδικουμένης καὶ τοσούτων διεστραμμένων; Therefore, our anger was at the things which your reverence had said or had not said. For I do not greatly trust the documents being circulated. How, therefore, is it possible to be silent when the faith is being damaged and so many have been misled? Erat ergo irasci nostrum pro his quae dixit aut non dixit tua reuerentia; chartis enim quae circumferuntur, non nimis credo. Quomodo igitur tacendum est fide iniuriam perferente et tantis peruersis?
ἢ οὐ παραστησόμεθα τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ, οὐκ ἀπολογησόμεθα δὲ τῆς ἀκαίρου σιωπῆς ἕνεκα, καίτοι τεταγμένοι παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸ λέγειν ἃ δεῖ; Or shall we not stand before the tribunal of Christ? Shall we not defend ourselves against unseasonal silence, since we have been appointed by him to say what ought to be said? An non adstabimus ante tribunal Christi et non satisfaciemus pro inepta taciturnitate, dum ordinati sumus ab ipso ad dicenda quae oporteat?
3. Τί δὲ ποιήσω νῦν (δεῖ με γὰρ βουλεύσασθαι μετὰ τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας), μηνύοντος τοῦ εὐλαβεστάτου καὶ θεοσεβεστάτου τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐπισκόπου Κελεστίνου καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ θεοσεβεστάτων ἐπισκόπων περὶ τῶν ἀπενεχθέντων οὐκ οἵδ᾽ ὅπως ἐκεῖ χαρτίων, πότερόν ποτε τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας ἢ μή; γράφουσι γὰρ ὡς πάνυ σκανδαλισθέντες. πῶς δὲ τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς ἐκ πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ἐρχομένους θεραπεύσομεν καὶ τῶν χαρτίων καταγογγύζοντας; ἤ τάχα που νομίζει ἡ σὴ θεοσέβεια ὅτι μικρὸς ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις ἀνεφύη θόρυβος ἐκ τῶν τοιούτων ὁμιλιῶν; πάντες ἐσμὲν ἐν ἀγῶσι καὶ πόνοις τοὺς ἕτερα φρονεῖν οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως ἀναπεπεισμένους μεθιστάντες εἰς τὸ ἀληθές. ὅτε τοίνυν ἡ τὴν ἀνάγκην ἅπασιν τοῦ γογγύζειν ἐπενεγκοῦσα ἡ σὴ θεοσέβειά ἐστιν, πῶς αἰτιᾶται δικαίως; τί δέ μου καὶ μάτην καταβοᾷ καὶ οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἐπανορθοῖ τὸν ἑαυτῆς λόγον, ἵνα παύσῃ σκάνδαλον οἰκουμενικόν; εἰ γὰρ καὶ παρερρύη λόγος ὡς ἐπὶ λαοῦ΄ τρέχων, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπανορθούσθω ταῖς ἐπισκέψεσιν, καὶ λέξιν χαρίσασθαι τοῖς σκανδαλιζομένοις καταξίωσον, θεοτόκον ὀνομάζων τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον, ἵνα θεραπεύσαντες τοὺς λελυπημένους καὶ ὀρθὴν παρὰ πᾶσιν δόξαν ἔχοντες ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ ὁμοψυχίᾳ τῶν λαῶν τὰς συνάξεις ἐπιτελῶμεν. 3. But what shall I do now? I must take counsel with your reverence. For the most pious and most God-loving Bishop of Rome, Celestine, and those most God-loving bishops with him are considering documents which were brought there (I don’t know how) to determine whether they are your reverence’s work or not. For the writers have been completely shocked. How shall we take care of those who come from all the churches of the East and murmur against the documents? Or perhaps your reverence thinks that little disturbance was produced in the churches in consequence of such sermons. We are all in struggles and labors, bringing back to the truth those who have been persuaded, I do not know how, to think the opposite. When it is your reverence that inflicted on all the necessity of murmuring, how do you rightly censure me? Why do you cry out against me without reason? And might you not rather amend your utterance in order that a worldwide scandal might stop? For even if an utterance has escaped your lips, passing, so to speak, from mouth to mouth among the people, yet let it be corrected by study and deign to furnish a statement for those being scandalized, by you yourself calling the holy virgin the mother of God, in order that by taking care of those saddened and by having sound doctrine in the eyes of all, we may bring it to pass that the people assemble in peace and unity of spirit. 3. Quid autem faciam nunc (cogitare enim debeo cum tua reuerentia), nuntiante reuerentissimo et beatissimo Romanae ecclesiae episcopo Caelestino et reuerentissimis cum eo episcopis de perlatis nescio quomodo illuc chartis antea tuae reuerentiae; scribunt enim tamquam satis scandalizati. Quomodo autem ab Orientalibus omnibus ecclesiis uenientes curabimus et contra chartas murmurantes? An forte arbitratur tua reuerentia quia modica ecclesiis exorta est perturbatio ex huiusmodi sermonibus? Omnes sumus in anxietate et laboribus, eos qui alia sapiunt, nescio quomodo suasos transferentes ad uerum. Cum igitur necessitatem omnibus murmurandi tua reuerentia intulerit, quomodo iuste accusat? Quomodo autem odit et inaniter adclamat et non magis emendat suum sermonem, ut compescat scandalum uniuersale? Si enim praeterfluxit sermo utpote in populo currens, sed retractationibus corrigatur, et dignare donare uerbum scandalizatis, dei genetricem nominans sanctam uirginem, ut sanantes contristatos et rectam apud omnes opinionem habentes in pace et unanimitate populorum collectiones celebremus.
ὅτι δὲ ὑπὲρ τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν πίστεως πάντα ἕτοιμοι παθεῖν ἐσμὲν καὶ δεσμωτηρίων εἰς πεῖραν ἐλθεῖν καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θανάτου, μὴ ἀμφιβαλλέτω ἡ σὴ θεοσέβεια. But do not let your reverence doubt that we are ready to suffer all things for the sake of the faith in Christ, both the trial of imprisonment and death itself. Quoniam autem pro fide quae in Christo est, omnia parati sumus pati et ad uinculorum experientiam uenisse et ad ipsam mortem, non ambigat tua reuerentia.
4. Ἐπ᾽ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὅτι καὶ περιόντος ἔτι τοῦ τῆς μακαρίας μνήμης Ἀττικοῦ συντέθειταί μοι βιβλίον περὶ τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ὁμοουσίου τριάδος, ἐν ᾧ καὶ λόγος περὶ τῆς ἐνανθρωπήσεως τοῦ μονογενοῦς, οἷς νῦν γέγραφα, συνῳδός, καὶ ὑπανέγνωμεν αὐτὰ καὶ ἐπισκόποις καὶ κλήρῳ καὶ τοῖς φιλακροάμοσι τῶν λαῶν, ἐκδέδωκα δὲ τέως οὐδενί. εἰκὸς οὖν ἐκδοθέντος τοῦ λόγου πάλιν ἐγκαλεῖσθαί με ὅτι καὶ πρὸ τῆς χειροτονίας τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας συντέθεικα τὸ λογίδιον. 4. In fact, I say that, while Atticus of happy memory still lived, a little book on the holy and consubstantial Trinity was composed by me in which also is a section about the incarnation of the only-begotten that is in harmony with what I have written now. I read it to him, to bishops, to clerics, and to those of the faithful who listened eagerly. But I have still not given a copy to anyone. When that treatise is published, it is likely that I will be accused again, because even before the election of your reverence, I had composed the little treatise. 4. Veraciter autem dico quia et superstite adhuc beatae memoriae Attico conscriptus est a me codex de sancta et consubstantiali trinitate, in quo et liber est de incarnatione unigeniti, quibus nunc scripsi consona; et relegi quidem ea et episcopis et clero et amorem habentibus audiendi laicis, edidi uero adhuc nulli. Et fortasse edito libro incusabor quia ante ordinationem reuerentiae tuae composui libellum.
  Greet the brotherhood which is with you. Those who are with us greet you in the Lord. Saluta fraternitatem quae apud te est. Te in domino qui nobiscum sunt, salutant.
  1. ACO 1.5 has in this section: prope enim fuerunt quidam ut iam confiteri minime patiantur quia deus est Christus, sed potius οργανον μαλλον δε και εργαλειον θεοτητος <και ανθρωπος θεοφορος και τι γαρ ουχι> των τοιουτων επεκεινα, quae Latini instrumentum magis autem armamentum uel ferramentum deitatis et homo indutus seu utens déo uel portans deum possumus dicere, quid autem non horum et ulterius?

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