Reference: CPG 5309/8622
Incipit: Ἀνέγνων τὸ ὑπομνηστικὸν τὸ ἀποσταλὲν παρ᾽ ὑμῶν
Date: mid-429
Greek Text: ACO 1.1.1:110-112
Latin Text: ACO 1.5:52-55
Other Ancient Versions:  
English Translation: FCC: R. Read and G. Thompson;1 CE :104-108; FC 76:55-59

By mid-429, Cyril’s letter to the Egyptian monks (CPG 5301) had begun circulating in Constantinople, and several writings of Nestorius and his followers had been read in Egypt. The Alexandrian church had a permanent legation of envoys stationed in Constantinople to represent the Egyptian church before the emperor. These envoys were called apocrisiarii2 in both Greek and Latin. After these men had forwarded the latest news to Cyril in late spring, Cyril responded with this letter of instruction (CPG 5309). It informed them how to act as Nestorius increasingly laid the blame for the tumult at Cyril’s doorstep. This private letter is especially valuable in giving us an inside look at Cyril and his position at this early stage of the controversy. It shows Cyril trying to concentrate on the doctrinal issues and seeking a God-pleasing solution that would avoid the personal attacks that were now widespread. The Latin version has some significant variation (especially in sections 7-8).

The Greek original and Latin translation below are both based on the texts in the ACO. The English translation was prepared for FCC by R. Read and G. Thompson.

Κυρίλλου ἐπισκόπου Ἀλεξανδρείας πρὸς τοὺς κληρικοὺς τοὺς στασιάζοντας ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει A letter from Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, to his apocrisiarii in Constantinople. ITEM EIUSDEM EPISCOPI CYRILLI AD CLERICOS SUOS CONSTANTINOPOLIM CONSTITUTOS EX GRAECO SERMONE
1. Ἀνέγνων τὸ ὑπομνηστικὸν τὸ ἀποσταλὲν παρ᾽ ὑμῶν, δι᾽ οὗ ἐμάνθανον ὅτι Ἀναστάσιος ὁ πρεσβύτερος συντυχὼν ὑμῖν προσεποιεῖτο ζητεῖν καὶ φιλίαν καὶ εἰρήνην καὶ ἔλεγεν ὅτι “Ὡς ἔγραψεν τοῖς μονάζουσιν, οὕτως φρονοῦμεν·” εἶτα πρὸς ἴδιον σκοπὸν βλέπων ἔλεγε περὶ ἐμοῦ ὅτι “Καὶ αὐτὸς εἴρηκε τὴν ἁγίαν σύνοδον μὴ μεμνῆσθαι τῆς λέξεως (τῆς θεοτόκου φημί).” ἐγὼ δὲ γέγραφα ὅτι εἰ καὶ μὴ ἐμνήσθη ἡ σύνοδος τῆς λέξεως, καλῶς ἐποίησεν· οὔτε γὰρ ἐκινήθη τοιοῦτόν τι κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνο καιροῦ, δι᾽ ὃ οὔτε ἦν ἀνάγκη τὰ μὴ ζητούμενα φέρειν εἰς μέσον, εἰ καὶ τὰ μάλιστα τῇ δυνάμει τῶν ἐννοιῶν οἶδε θεοτόκον τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον. αὐτὸν γὰρ λέγει τὸν γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ πατρός, τὸν δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο, σαρκωθῆναι ἐνανθρωπῆσαι παθεῖν ἀναστῆναι ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἀνελθεῖν εἰς οὐρανούς, ἥξειν δὲ καὶ κριτὴν ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ οὐχ ὅτι πάντως αὐτὸς ὁ ἐκ θεοῦ κατὰ φύσιν γεννηθεὶς λόγος ἀπέθανεν ἢ ἐνύχθη τῇ λόγχῃ εἰς τὴν πλευράν (ποίαν γὰρ ἔχει πλευρὰν τὸ ἀσώματον ἢ πῶς ἂν ἀπέθανεν ἡ ζωὴ̀;), ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι ἐνωθεὶς τῇ σαρκί, εἶτα πασχούσης αὐτῆς, ὡς τοῦ ἰδίου πάσχοντος σώματος, αὐτὸς πρὸς ἑαυτὸν οἰκειούται τὸ πάθος. σοφιζόμενοι τοίνυν καὶ ἀπατῶντες ἑαυτοὺς ταῦτα λέγουσιν· ὅτι γὰρ ψεύδονται καὶ τὸν ἴδιον ἰὸν ἔχουσιν εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ἔστιν καὶ διὰ τούτου ἰδεῖν. By reading the memorandum you sent I learned that Anastasius, the priest who met with you, pretended to seek both friendship and peace. He said, “Our thoughts are the same as what he [Cyril] wrote to the monks.” Then, turning to his own purpose, he said about me. “Even he said that the holy council did not mention that word (I am speaking about the word theotokos [God-bearer]).” But what I wrote was that the council had done well even if it had not mentioned that particular word, for at that time, nothing of this sort had taken place yet. It was not necessary to discuss a question which had not yet been asked, but the council certainly thought of the holy virgin as God-bearer. For it said that he who was begotten of the Father, through whom all things were made, took on flesh, became man, suffered, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead; and the council did not say that the Word, who was begotten of God according to nature, died or was pierced in the side by a spear (for what sort of side does one without a body have? Or how could Life die?), but that since he was united to the flesh, when the flesh suffered, he appropriated the suffering to himself as of his own body. Therefore, they play tricks and deceive themselves when they say these things. From what follows, one can see that they are lying and are suffering in their hearts from their own poison. 1. Legi litteras missas a uobis, quibus didici quia inuidi nostri conueniendo uos fingebant se pacem atque amicitiam quaerere, et dicere quia, “Sicut scripsi ad monachos, sic se fidem tenere.” Deinde ad proprium sensum respicientes, “Dicere eosdem quia et ipse dixerim sanctum concilium non meminisse illius locutionis, dico autem puerperae dei id est ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΣ.” Ego autem scripsisse memini quod etiamsi non posuit illud concilium glossulam hanc, nihil horum tunc fuerat motum, nec in medium fuisse opus adferri quod illo in tempore minime quaerebatur; uerumtamen potentia et ui intellectus arbitror genetricem dei, id est ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΣ ab illis sanctam uirginem dictam. Ipsum enim dicit qui natus est de deo patre, per quem omnia facta sunt, incarnatum, hominem factum, passum, surrexisse a mortuis, in caelum ascendisse, iudicem quoque esse uenturum, non quod omni modo uerbum quod secundum naturam de deo genitum est, mortuum esse credendum sit aut lancea in latere uulneratum (quod enim habet latus incorporea natura aut quo pacto mortua est uita uitarum?), sed quoniam unitum carni hoc uerbum est, ideo ea carne patiente tamquam proprio eius uidelicet corpore in se hanc reuocat passionem. 2. Argumentantur igitur et se ipsos seducunt, cum dicunt pacem se uelle, et adsensibus mentiuntur; habere enim eos proprium uirus in corde et per hoc facile est intellegere.
2. Ἀπεστάλησαν γὰρ τῷ Βουφᾶ Μαρτυρίῳ τῷ διακόνῳ τῷ φροντίζοντι τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν πραγμάτων δύο χαρτία, ἓν μὲν συνταχθὲν παρὰ Φωτίου ἢ παρ᾽ ἑτέρου τινὸς κατὰ τοῦ τόμου τοῦ πρὸς τοὺς μονάζοντας, ἓν δὲ ὡς ἐν σχήματι τετράδος, ἀλλόκοτον ἔχον τὴν ἐπιγραφήν, ἔχει δὲ οὕτως Πρὸς τοὺς διὰ τὴν συνάφειαν ἢ τὴν θεότητα τοῦ μονογενοῦς νεκροῦντας ἢ ἀποθεοῦντας τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα. τὸ δὲ προοίμιον “εἰς τὰς παρὰ τῶν αἱρετικῶν λοιδορίας ὡς ἐπὶ λήρων γενομένας·” εἶτ᾽ ἀποτείνεται καὶ δῆθεν πειρᾶται δεικνύειν ὅτι τὸ σῶμά ἐστι τὸ πεπονθὸς, καὶ οὐχ ὁ θεὸς λόγος, ὡς τινῶν λεγόντων ὅτι ὁ ἀπαθὴς τοῦ θεοῦ λόγος παθητός ἐστιν. ἀλλ᾽ οὐδεῖς οὕτω μαίνεται· ὡς δὲ πολλάκις εἴπομεν, ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος αὐτὸν ἔφη παθεῖν τὸν λόγον τὸν “δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο,”3 παθεῖν δὲ σαρκὶ κατὰ τὰς γραφάς. παθόντος γὰρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ αὐτὸς λέγεται παθεῖν, ὅτι καὶ ἡ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ψυχή, καίτοι πάσχουσα μηδὲν εἰς ἰδίαν φύσιν, πάσχειν λέγεται τοῦ αὐτῆς παθόντος σώματος. ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ σκοπὸς ἐκείνοις δύο λέγειν Χριστοὺς καὶ δύο υἱοὺς καὶ τὸν μὲν ἄνθρωπον ἰδικῶς, τὸν δὲ θεὸν ἰδικῶς, εἶτα μόνων τῶν προσώπων ποιοῦσιν τὴν ἕνωσιν, … 2. For they sent two documents to the deacon Bouphas Martyrius, who attends to the affairs of the church. One, by Photius or perhaps by someone else, was written against my treatise to the monks.4 The other took the form of a small booklet with the strange title To those who on account of the union [of the natures] either make the divine nature of the Son subject to death or make his human nature divine. And its preface adds, “Against the abuses which are being nonsensically imposed by the heretics…”; then it goes on and tries to prove that the body suffered and not the divine Word, as if some people were saying that the unchangeable Word of God is subject to suffering. But nobody is that insane. As we have said many times, the holy council said that the Word himself, through whom all things were made, suffered in the flesh, according to the Scriptures. When his body suffered, it reports that he himself suffered; for even when the soul of a human suffers nothing in its own nature, it is said to suffer when its body suffers. But because the goal of these men is to speak of two Sons and two Christs, and of the human in its own way and of the divine in its own way, therefore they assert that the union pertains only to the persons [prosōpa]. Miserunt etenim etiam huc diacono, qui rerum ecclesiasticarum curam gerit, duas chartulas, unam quidem conpositam a Photio forsitan aut ab alio quolibet aduersus librum meum quem ad monachos edidi, aliam ueluti in speciem quaternionis, inconuenientem habentem etiam titulum hoc modo: Ad eos, inquit, qui propter coniunctionem aut deitatem uel societatem filii mortificant aut humanitatem in deum transferunt. Praefatio autem eius sic habet: “In contumelias quae ab haereticis durissime inrogantur;” deinde conatur ostendere quod corpus passum sit et non deus uerbum, quasi uel nobis uel quibuslibet dicentibus uerbum illud quod est inpassibile, passibilitatis capax esse potuisse. Nemo est qui sic prorsus insanit; sed, sicut saepe diximus, sanctum concilium ipsum uerbum dixit carne sua esse passum secundum scribturas, per quod facta sunt omnia. Corpore enim eius patiente, ipse dicitur passus, quia et anima hominis, cum nihil in sua substantia et natura patiatur, pati tamen ipsa dicitur suo corpore patiente. Sed quoniam propositum illis est duos filios et duos Christos introducere, unum quidem specialiter hominem, alterum uero proprie deum, deinde in personis tantum faciunt uel sentiunt unitatem, …
  They do not want to acknowledge that the divine Word of God has taken up humanity properly and substantially, has been united to man, has been made man. deum dei uerbum nolentes proprie et substantialiter unitum homini, hominem factum hominem suscepisse, …
διὰ τοῦτο ποικίλλονται καὶ “προφάσεις” πλάττονται “ἐν ἁμαρτίαις,” καθὰ γέγραπται. Therefore, they speak evasively and, as it is written, forge “their pretexts in their sins” [Ps. 141:4]. propterea et tergiuersantur et “occasiones,” sicut scribtum est, fingunt “in peccatis.”
3. Συντυχόντες τοίνυν αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖνα λέγετε ὅτι “Ποιεῖτε μὲν κακῶς εἰσβάλλοντες τινὰς καταφλυαρεῖν τοῦ ἐπισκόπου ἡμῶν καὶ τούτους θάλποντες καὶ συγκροτοῦντες καὶ ὄργανα τῆς ἑαυτῶν μοχθηρίας ποιούμενοι. πλὴν οὐχ αὕτη τῆς λύπης ἐστὶν ἡ πρόφασις, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ ὅλως ἐχθρός ἐστιν ὁ ἐπίσκοπος ἡμῶν τοῦ ἐνταῦθα· λυπεῖ δὲ πάντας τοὺς κατὰ τὴν Ἀνατολὴν καὶ Δύσιν ἐπισκόπους τὸ μὴ γίνεσθαι ὀρθῶς τὸν περὶ Χριστοῦ λόγον, ἀλλὰ διεστραμμένως.” ἀρκεῖ δὲ πρὸς ἀπόδειξιν καὶ ἔλεγχον αὐτῶν τὸ μηδὲ πώποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις ταῦτα παρά τινος εἰρῆσθαι οἷον δὴ τὸ κείμενον ἐν ταῖς αὐτοῦ ἐξηγήσεσιν, ἔχει δὲ οὕτως· … 3. Therefore, when you meet them, say, “You are acting poorly by allowing people to gossip about our bishop and by encouraging and helping them, making them tools of your own wickedness. But this is not the reason for our grief. Nor is our bishop at all an enemy of the one there. Rather it grieves all the bishops throughout the East and West that the teaching about Christ has not been correct but distorted.” It is a sufficient explanation and rebuke for them that never in any of the churches has anyone spoken things such as are contained in his [Nestorius’] sermons, as follows: … 3. Vos igitur conuenientes cum eis haec dicite, “Facere eos male quod intromittant quosdam loquaces et garrulos aduersum nos et hos fouendo ac defendendo causa fiunt malignitatis suae. Sed non haec proprie nostrae laesionis est causa, sed nec huic dicite qui ibi degens praeest, esse me inimicum; laedit autem hoc tam Orientales quam Occidentales uenerandos episcopos, quod rectus de Christo doctrinae sermo non fiat, sed omnino peruersus.” Sufficit autem hoc documentum ad confutandos eos, quod numquam a quoquam tale quid in ecclesiis dictum sit, quod in eius expositionibus continetur, quod sic se habet: …
4. “Οὐ ταῖς κραυγαῖς κρίνω τὴν περὶ ἐμὲ φιλοστοργίαν, ἀλλὰ τῷ περὶ τὰ δόγματα πόθῳ καὶ τῷ μεμνῆσθαι τῆς τοῦ δεσπότου καὶ θεότητος ἅμα καὶ ἀνθρωπότητος·” καὶ μετ᾿ ὀλίγα· “Καὶ προσέχω τοῖς ἡμετέροις δήμοις εὐλάβειαν μὲν πολλὴν κεκτημένοις καὶ θερμοτάτην εὐσέβειαν, ὑπὸ δὲ τῆς περὶ τὸ δόγμα θεογνωσίας ἀγνοίας πεπηρωμένοις. τοῦτο δὲ οὐκ ἔγκλημα τῶν λαῶν, ἀλλὰ (πῶς ἂν εὐπρεπῶς εἴποιμι;) τῷ μὴ ἔχειν τοὺς διδασκάλους καιρὸν καί τι τῶν ἀκριβεστέρων ὑμῖν παραθέσθαι δογμάτων.” 4. “I do not judge your affection towards me by your shouts, but by your love of doctrine and your concern for both the deity and humanity of the Lord.” And a bit later, “I see that our people are very pious and reverent but have been debilitated by their ignorance of the doctrine of God. This is not a criticism of the people, but (how can I say this politely?) the teachers have not had occasion to explain doctrines to you more precisely.” 4. “Non clamoribus adprobo erga me studium uestrum, sed laudo circa dogmata desiderium, in quo deitatis et humanitatis domini meministis;” et post pauca: “Et aspicio populos multam quidem reuerentiam et pietatem prudentissimam possidentes, ignorantia uero dogmatis caecutire. Hoc autem non crimen est plebium, sed, ut uerecunde aut decenter dicam, propter quod doctores elimatius et liquidius uobis aliquid etiam de dogmatibus tempus non habuerint adponendi.”
5. Πῶς γὰρ οὐκ ἐσχόλασαν οἱ πρὸ αὐτοῦ; ἆρά γε εὐστομώτερός ἐστιν Ἰωάννου, ἴσος δὲ τοῦ μακαρίου Ἀττικοῦ ἢ συνετώτερος; τίς ἡ ὀφρὺς αὕτη; μᾶλλον δὲ πῶς οὐχ ὡμολόγησεν ἐναργῶς ὅτι ξένην καὶ ἀσυνήθη διδασκαλίαν εἰσήγαγεν καὶ τοῖς πρὸ αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐγνωσμένην διὰ τὴν ἀτοπίαν μήτε ἐν συλλόγῳ πιστῶν μήτε ἐν ἁγίαις ἐκκλησίαις; ἐμοὶ τοίνυν πρὸς αὐτὸν περὶ πραγμάτων τέως λόγος οὐδὲ εἷς, γένοιτο δὲ μᾶλλον μετανοῆσαι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν ὀρθὴν ὁμολογῆσαι πίστιν, καὶ ὑπὲρ ὧν εἰς ἐμὲ πεποίηκεν ἐρεθίζων καὶ ἐπαλείφων κατ᾽ ἐμοῦ τοὺς ἐχθρούς, ἀπολογήσεται τῷ θεῷ. 5. How then can his predecessors not have had time? Is he more eloquent than John? Is he equally wise or even wiser than blessed Atticus? What arrogance! Why does he not openly acknowledge that he has introduced a foreign and unfamiliar teaching, which, due to its absurdity, was not known to his predecessors either in an assembly of the faithful or among the holy churches? So far I have not addressed a single word to him on these matters. I would rather that he repent and confess the true faith. As for the fact that he has created enemies against me with his smears, he will answer to God. 5. Rogo dicatur quomodo non habuerint tempus docendi praecessores eius? Eloquentior Iohanne est aut beato Attica comparandus aut aequalis ei aut prudentior inuenitur? Quod est hoc supercilium? Aut quomodo non euidenter confitetur, haec dicens nouam se et inconsuetam adferre doctrinam et prorsus ignotam praecessoribus eius et ob hoc ipsum nefandam in ecclesiam hanc uelle introducere. Mihi autem nullus aduersus eum sermo de aliis causis est, sed contingat eum paenitere et rectam aliquando confiteri fidem, et de his quae aduersum me molitur, irritans inimicos et prouocans, satisfaciet deo.
6. Οὐδὲν δὲ θαυμαστὸν εἰ κακῶς ἡμᾶς λέγουσιν αἱ κοπρίαι τῆς πόλεως, Χαιρήμων Οὐΐκτωρ Σωφρονᾶς καὶ τὸ τοῦ φυρατοῦ Φλαυνιανοῦ παιδαρύλλιον· ἀεὶ γὰρ γεγόνασιν καὶ περὶ ἑαυτοὺς καὶ περὶ πάντας κακοί. ἴστω δὲ ὁ εἰσβαλὼν αὐτοὺς ὅτι οὔτε ἀποδημίαν φοβούμεθα οὔτε ἀπολογίαν τὴν πρὸς ἐκείνους, καὶ εἰ γένοιτο τούτου καιρὸς (συμβαίνει γὰρ ὅτι ἡ τοῦ σωτῆρος οἰκονομία διὰ μικρῶν καὶ εὐτελεστάτων πραγμάτων συνάγει σύνοδον, ἵνα καθαρίσῃ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐκκλησίαν ἄσπιλον καὶ ἀσύγχυτον ἔχουσαν τὴν εὐγενῆ πίστιν), μὴ προσδοκάτω [δὲ] ὁ δείλαιος [ὅτι] εἰ καὶ πλείους καὶ ἀξιόλογοι εἶεν οἱ διὰ τῆς αὐτοῦ σπουδῆς κατηγορεῖν ἡμῶν μέλλοντες, δικαστὴς ἔσεσθαι τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς, κἂν τοῦτο προσταχθῇ ἐξ ἀμβιτίωνος, παραιτησόμεθα ἐκεῖσε ἐλθόντες καί, σὺν θεῷ φάναι, ταῖς ἑαυτοῦ δυσφημίαις ἀπολογήσεται. 6. It is not shocking if the scumbags of the city—Chaeremon, Victor, Sophronas, and that little slave of deceitful Flavianus—speak evil of us. They have brought nothing but evil both to themselves and to others. But he who provokes them should know that we have no fear either of exile nor of answering their accusations, and if such a time should come—for the Savior’s plan of salvation may bring about a council together for insignificant and simple reasons in order to purify his church, making it blameless and eliminating confusion so that it holds to the true faith—the wretch should not expect to be our judge, even if there be many important people who intend to accuse us because of his zeal. And if in his vanity this is decreed, we will go there and make entreaty, and, by God’s favor, he will need to defend his own blasphemies. 6. Nihil autem mirum si male de nobis loquuntur sterquilinia ciuitatis, Chaeremon et Victor et Sofronas et decoctoris Flauiani mancupium. Semper enim et circa se fuerunt et erga alios nequam. Nouerit autem qui eos irritat, quod nos numquam formidabimus peregrinationem nec illorum intentionibus respondere, etiamsi tempus hoc exigat. Potest enim euenire, saluatoris dei nostri dispensatione faciente, ob leues forte etiam et uilissimas causas ad purgandam ecclesiam iuberi concilium conuocari. Non igitur speret, etiamsi adhuc nos plures et uelut fide digniores accusent, se nostrum iudicem fore, quia etiamsi iubeatur illuc nos uenire debere, refutabimus audientiam uel iudicium eius et dei fauore dilucidabimus magis quatenus de suis blasphemiis debeat satisfacere.
7. Ὅθεν φεύγομεν τὴν εἰρήνην οὐδαμῶς, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον ἁρπάζομεν, ἐὰν ὁμολογηθῇ ἡ πίστις ὀρθὴ καὶ παύσωνται τοῦ λέγειν τοιαῦτα ἅπερ ξενοεποῦντες ἐπικαλοῦνται θάνατον· τοσαύτην γὰρ διαστροφὴν ἔχει τὸ ἀποσταλὲν τετράδιον τῶν αὐτοῦ δυσφημιῶν, ὡς μολύνεσθαι τὸν ἀναγινώσκοντα. ἐπειδὴ δὲ αἰτιᾶται ὡς λέξιν ἀσυνήθη εἴρηκεν ἡ γραφὴ ἢ γοῦν ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος θεοτόκον ὀνομάσασα τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον, ἐρωτάσθωσαν αὐτοὶ ποῦ Χριστοτόκον ἢ θεοδόχον εὗρον γεγραμμένον. 7. Therefore, we are not at all trying to flee from making peace but rather we are taking hold of it—if the true faith be confessed and they stop saying outlandish things which invite death. For the book of his blasphemies that was sent out has such great distortions that it defiles the reader! But because it alleges that Scripture and the holy council do not call the holy virgin ‘God-bearer,’ let them be asked where they have found ‘Christ-bearer’ or ‘receiver of God’ written in Scripture. Neque igitur refugimus pacem, sed et rapimus, si fides recta fuerit adnuntiata atque professa uel si talia cesset tandem aliquando praedicare. 7. Tantam enim peruersitatem ille eius quaternio habet, ut merito de his qui eum scripserunt, dicatur quia principatum in blasphemiis tenent. Nam quia causatur locutionem inconsuetam flagitari, dei puerperam, id est theotocon uirginem sanctam, dicat nobis ipse interrogatus ubi genetricem Christi id est ΧΡΙΣΤΟΤΟΚΟΝ, scribtura loquatur?
  Or has any council of bishops called Christ ‘receiver of God’, that is, the receiver of the deity or form capable of containing it? Aut ullum episcopale concilium ΘΕΟΔΟΧΟΝ, id est susceptricem uel capacem deitatis formam nominauerit Christum?
πρὸς τούτῳ κἀκεῖνο ἐνέθηκεν αὐταῖς λέξεσιν οὕτως· … He put both of these words in his book.  
  For in that book which he sent us, he strongly hits out, as follows: “We worship the form which received God together with the divine Word,” that is, we worship the received form of God, one and the same as the divine Word, by reason of its deity. Similarly, concerning that blessed perpetual virgin, he asserted as follows: … In illo enim quaternione quem huc misit nosque uehementer offendit, ita est, “ΤΗΝ ΘΕΟΔΟΧΟΝ Τῼ ΘΕῼ ΛΟΓῼ ΣΥΝΘΕΟΛΟΓΩΜΕΝ ΜΟΡΦΗΝ,” id est susceptricem dei formam una ac pari qua deum uerbum, deitatis ratione ueneremur. Similiter de illa quoque uenerabili semper uirgine ita posuit: …
“Τὴν θεοδόχον τῷ θεῷ μὴ συνθεολογῶμεν παρθένον,” οὐκ εἰδὼς ὃ λέγει. εἰ γὰρ μὴ τέτοκε θεὸν μηδὲ ἔσχεν ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ θεὸν ὄντα Χριστόν, πῶς ἔτι θεοδόχος ἐστίν; καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ τὸν πατέρα εἶπεν θεοτόκον. “We should not exalt the virgin who received God together with God,” not knowing what he is saying. For if she has not borne God and did not have God, that is, Christ, in her womb, how can she still be the receiver of God? He himself has called the Father Theotokos “ΤΗΝ ΘΕΟΔΟΧΟΝ Τῼ ΘΕῼ ΜΗ ΣΥΝΘΕΟΛΟΓΩΜΕΝ ΠΑΡΘΕΝΟΝ,” id est susceptricem deitatis uirginem cum deo ad diuina non adtollamus, nesciens quid loquatur. si enim, ut uult, non peperit deum, ne sit ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΣ, neque suscipere potuit deum in utero, qui est Christus, quomodo saltem ΘΕΟΔΟΧΟΣ est, ut ipsi iterum placet, qui in dictis suis patrem ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΝ magis dici mauult …
  rather than that holy virgin. The Father is more rightly and properly called the begetter of God. quam illam uirginem sanctam, qui rectius et conpetentius ΘΕΟΥ ΓΕΝΝΗΤΩΡ, ut et Latini dei genitorem dicerent, enuntiare debuerit?
ποῦ τοίνυν ἀνέγνω τὰς λέξεις ταύτας, ἀγνοῶ· πλὴν ἐπειδὴ καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ ἐπισύρονται ἐγκλήματα ἐκ τῶν ἐξηγήσεων αὐτοῦ, φυλαχθήσονται ἕως καιροῦ, εἰ μή τις γένηται μετάγνωσις. However, I really don’t know where he read those terms. Though many other charges can be extracted from his interpretations, I will keep them to myself until the proper occasion—unless he has a change of heart. Dicat ergo nobis ubi legerit haec uerba uel a quibus audierit. Multa sunt quidem crimina expositionum eius; sed seruabuntur et proferentur in tempore oportuno, nisi forte paenitudo aliqua subsequatur.
  Moreover, I am writing again to inform you of my plan. I am very peaceful and am rather ignorant of lawsuits. But I want the churches to have rest and the priests of God, living in peace, to be mindful of us. The Savior of all, our Lord Jesus Christ, says, “My peace I give you; my peace I leave with you” [John 14:27]. Therefore if anything can improve stability (for just as I want to have discretion and to prove upright before God, I also want this for all the bishops), say it. They have led the way in damaging our reputations. Nevertheless say to him, “There will be peace when you stop teaching and thinking such things.” For they produce and exacerbate the imagined hostility when they injure the faith. If he professes the true faith, peace will be ample and robust. And if he takes an oath, he should write the orthodox faith and send it to Alexandria. In fact, if he writes with the disposition of his inmost heart, I too am prepared to write for my men and produce a book saying that none of our fellow priests ought not to be oppressed, because, we will say, his words have an intention and a manifest purpose. But if he persists in the depravity of vain glory yet seeks peace, do not resist unless it would seem that we agree with him and think impious thoughts. For my greatest desire is to work and live and endure death for my faith in Christ. 8. Oportet autem et meum propositum facere manifestum, et ideo iterum scribo. nam ego sum ualde pacificus et litium satis ignarus, sed opto ecclesias quietem habere et sacerdotes dei in pace degentes nostri memores esse, dicente omnium saluatore domino Iesu Christo: “Pacem meam do uobis, pacem meam relinquo uobis.” Si quid ergo est quo stabilitas roboretur (uere enim dico quia sicut opto mihi sanitatem et me probum inueniri apud deum, sic etiam omnes episcopos), in conloquiis ergo hoc dicite quia multa ab eis quae nos laederent, praecesserunt; “uerumtamen erit pax,” dicite illi, “cum docere destiteris talia uel sentire.” Fides enim cum laeditur, inimicitias, quae putantur, excitant et exaggerant; si rectam fidem profiteatur, fiet plenaria et firmissima pax, quam si in uoto gerit, scribat catholicam fidem et mittat Alexandriam. Sed si haec ex adfectu cordis intimi scribantur, paratus sum et ego pro uiribus meis similia scribere et edere librum ac dicere nullum debere grauari consacerdotum nostrum quia eius uoces, dicemus, habent intentionem et propositum manifestum. Sin uero in prauitate inanis gloriae permanet et petit pacem, nihil restat nisi ut et nos consentire illi putemur et quae sunt nefanda, sentire. Nam mihi pro fide quae in Christo est, et laborare et uiuere et mortem maximum uotum est experiri.
8. Τὸ δέ γε σχεδάριον τῆς δεήσεως τὸ παρ᾽ ὑμῶν ἀποσταλὲν ὡς ὀφεῖλον ἐπιδοθῆναι μὲν βασιλεῖ, οὐκ ἄνευ δὲ γνώμης ἡμῶν, λαβῶν ἀνέγνων. ἐπειδὴ δὲ πολλὴν εἶχεν καταδρομὴν κατὰ τοῦ ἐκεῖσε ἢ ἀδελφοῦ ἢ πῶς ἂν εἴποιμι; τέως ἐπέσχον, ἵνα μὴ ἐπέρχοιτο ἡμῖν λέγων· “Κατηγορήσατέ μου ἐπὶ τοῦ βασιλέως ὡς αἱρετικοῦ.” ὑπηγορεύσαμεν δὲ ἑτέρως μετὰ τοῦ καὶ παραιτεῖσθαι τὴν αὐτοῦ κρίσιν, εἰπόντες καὶ τῆς ἔχθρας τὸν τρόπον, καὶ τὴν δίκην μετασπάσαι, εἰ ἐνίστανται ὅλως ἐκεῖνοι, εἰς ἑτέρους ἄρχοντας. ἀναγνόντες τοίνυν τὸ σχεδάριον ἐπίδοτε, εἰ καλέσειεν χρεία, κἂν ἴδητε ὅτι ἐπιβουλεύων ἐμμένει καὶ ἀληθῶς πάντα κινεῖ τρόπον τὸν καθ᾽ ἡμῶν ὁρῶντα, σπουδαίως γράψατε καὶ ἐπιλεξάμενος ἄνδρας εὐλαβεῖς καὶ φρονίμους ἐπισκόπους τε καὶ μονάζοντας ἐξαποστελῶ πρώτῳ καιρῷ. “Οὐ γὰρ μὴ δώσω ὕπνον,” κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, “τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς βλεφάροις μου νυσταγμὸν καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν τοῖς κροτάφοις μου” ἕως οὗ ἀγωνίσωμαι τὸν ὑπὲρ τῆς ἁπάντων σωτηρίας ἀγῶνα. τοιγάρτοι μεμαθηκότες τὴν ἡμῶν γνώμην, ἀνδρίσασθε· ἤδη γὰρ καὶ γενήσονται παρ᾽ ἡμῶν γράμματα ἃ δεῖ καὶ πρὸς οὓς δεῖ. σκοπὸς γάρ μοι διὰ τὴν εἰς Χριστὸν πίστιν καὶ καμεῖν καὶ ὑποστῆναι πᾶν ὁτιοῦν τῶν νομιζομένων εἶναι δεινῶν ἐν βασάνοις, ἕως οὗ καὶ τὸν ἡδύν μοι διὰ τοῦτο ὑπομείνω θάνατον. 8. I received and read the draft petition which you sent, just as it ought to be given to the emperor (but not without our knowledge). But because it contained much invective against that person there, or the brother, or whatever I should call him, I have for the present held it back, so that he might not attack us, saying, “You accused me before the emperor as a heretic!” But we will write in a different way—both rejecting the verdict he has made with his hostile words, and, if they are entirely set in their ways, moving the trial to other judges. Therefore, read my draft and hand it over, if it becomes necessary. And if you see that he continues conspiring and events are truly unfolding against us, write us immediately and I will select pious and prudent men—bishops and monks—and send them at the first opportunity. For, as it is written, “I will not allow my eyes to sleep or my eyelids to close or my forehead to rest” [Ps. 132:4 LXX], as long as I am fighting the fight for the salvation of everyone. Therefore, now that you have learned our opinion, stand up like men. Soon we will produce the letters that are needed for those who need them. For it is my goal both to toil continually for the Christian faith and to endure every kind of torment thought to be dreadful, until as a result I face a sweet death.  
  1. We have also consulted the translations of R. Price, The Council of Ephesus of 431, pp. 104-108, and of McEnerney, pp. 55-59.
  2. An apocrisiarius (plural apocrisiarii) was an official representative, legate, or envoy, in this case representing the Alexandrian bishop at the imperial court in Constantinople. Several of the manuscripts simply say to his “clergy in Constantinople”, but ms. O (Oxford Baroc. 26, 10th c.) uses the more specific term. The contents of the letter show that this is correct.
  3. A quotation from the Nicene Creed as it was expanded in the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381.
  4. Cyril’s Letter 1, to the monks of Egypt (CPG 5301) was written in early 429

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