CPG 3738
Author unknown
Greek Text Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule: Texte und Untersuchungen, 303-307.

1. The holy synod was grieved by the innovation of Paul the Samosatean, which attempts to overturn the great mystery of Christ. And now those who hold on to the holy faith are grieved by the innovation which hinders many with regard to their blasphemies, especially the lesser people with regard to the understanding. For great and difficult matters are received by faith in God. Because of this those who are incapable with regard to knowledge fall away unless they are persuaded to remain in the faith and turn away from the superfluous enquiries. Because of this the blessed Paul said, “By common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He was revealed in flesh, declared righteous in spirit, seen by messengers, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Tim 3:16).

2. Now since we heard also from you that some are disturbed and seeking letters from us concerning the common faith introduced even from the apostles, we write that it belongs to a few to seek out precision, but to all who are well-convinced towards God, even those carried off by a desire for great praise, to hold on to the faith. For the one who seeks things beyond him is in danger. But the one who remains in the things passed down to him is not in danger. We advise you to do the very thing which we advise ourselves: Guard the faith passed down and turn away from the impure and empty talk and give this command to all: fear the enquiry with regard to this great mystery, but confess that God was revealed in flesh according to the apostolic tradition and the righteousness which the Lord had in spirit, that is, not in a human way but in divine purity. For it is impossible for what is pure and sinless to be received upon human nature in any other way unless God is believed to be in flesh, God who introduces into the world the sinless righteousness which we share and are saved. For “there is no one righteous on the earth who does what is good and does not sin” (Ecc 7:2) is clearly common in the case of all men. Because of this he says, “The Word which gives undefiled righteousness from himself has come down from heaven.” And he clearly says “No one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man” (Jn 3:13). And again, “If you see the Son of Man going up to where he was before” (Jn 6:62) and “I am the bread which has come down from heaven, which lives and gives life to the world” (Jn 6:51,53). Through these he very clearly teaches us his own deity, without destroying what he has taken on according to the flesh but uniting himself to the flesh. For, according to Paul, “he has become in the likeness of men and was found in appearance as a man” (Phil 2:7). But the man is one person and one living thing from both spirit and flesh. According to his likeness Christ must be considered as one and not two persons, which is what the current unbelief now forces, clearly leaving behind the greatness of the divine grace and falling over the Greek offense. For since it does not believe it is possible for God to become a man in keeping with John’s voice from the beginning, saying, “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14), because of this it says that it was a man who was born of the Virgin and had nothing divine by nature but God has come down to him. But those who say these things say the very opposite, as if contradicting the word, saying that the Son of Man did not come down from heaven but rose up from the earth and received God from heaven.

3. So we can follow well the divine sayings and not betray things so clearly proclaimed by exercises of reasonings. So when the Samosteans say only that the man is one and God is another, let us not accept this. For if they also say that God dwells in the man, let us not accept this. He dwells in us, as it is written, “I will dwell in them and walk in them” (Lev 26:12). Then according to their word nothing is different from us. Therefore if you worship the man with God the Word according to the indwelling, you will also worship the saints because of the one dwelling in them. And how is this not out of place? It is of the ultimate godlessness for a man to be glorified before the Holy Spirit, that is, before God. So we have believed that our Lord is God in spirit and man in flesh, even if the unbelievers mock the birth from a woman, and that this birth is of the flesh and not of the deity. So we say that God was united to the flesh and according to this has been formed and born of a woman, being one. As the apostle teaches, “God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law” (Gal 4:4-5). And they mock the divine cross similar to Greeks. We say the same thing on account of the flesh without it being divided from God or misinterpreted as another person. For it was not possible for the Lord of glory to be a mere man. “The Lord of powers, he is the king of glory” (Ps 24:10). Afraid to say that the Lord of powers is a man having the same nature as us and nothing greater, we confess in keeping with the apostolic speech that the Lord of glory who was crucified is God, and we use this cross as a trophy against the devil, and our seal is the power of Christ for salvation. And this salvation, which is above the law and the righteousness from the law, is by being crucified with Christ. This sanctifies the world. And because of this we are baptized into his death, because his death was not the penalty of his sin or equal to the death of Adam but the redemption from sin and the death it causes.

4. Now clearly the proclamation of the apostles must be set forth, as also you want, the very thing which also has been handed down from the holy fathers. Concerning the deity, that the Triad is one nature and according to this one essence, and the current synods write apostolically. The Word of God, being the Demiurge of all things, having created man from the beginning in his own likeness, brought it back into likeness with himself by being made to be like his own product because he became incarnate from the holy God-bearing Virgin Mary and became a man while remaining God in order to appoint men as gods while remaining men. One person both before the incarnation and after the incarnation, God uncircumscribed by flesh, undivided in flesh, impassible in the passions of the flesh, he conquered death and rose on the third day. He went up into heaven in physical glory and not by grace. He is coming manifestly in his deity, shining from his holy body from Mary the ineffable glory, as also he showed on the mountain in part, teaching us that both previously and now he is the same and was not later deified, as the current blasphemy forces, nor did he stop being the Son of Man or put off the flesh. For also when the Only-begotten begins to be the Son of Man, he is sending out his angels, being always immutable and having no change concerning the deity, but being formed like us according to the flesh and forming us like himself.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 6-13-2013

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