Reference: CPG 5666/8628
Incipit: Οὐδὲν ἐπιεικείας Χριστιανικῆς βιαιότερον.
Date: mid 429
Greek Text: ACO 1.1.1:25
Latin Text: ACO 1.3:17
Other Ancient Versions:
English Translation: FCC: R. Read; CE 115; FC 76:37-38

During the summer of 429 Cyril sent his first letter to Nestorius (5302) asking him to heal the growing christological debate by calling the Virgin Mary theotokos. It seems that it was an Egyptian priest named Lampon who carried that letter to Nestorius and who then waited to carry Nestorius’s response back to Cyril. Nestorius initially refused, but Lampon made repeated requests and refused to leave without such a letter. Eventually Nestorius became exasperated and dashed off a very curt reply (CPG 5666), consisting essentially in a complaint about Lampon’s behavior. Besides the standard greeting and farewell, the only additional sentence was a complaint about the “many things” Cyril had done that were “not in keeping with brotherly love.” Nothing is said about the debate itself.

The texts of the Greek original and a Latin translation are provided below, adapted from ACO. The English translation is an adaptation for FCC by R. Read from that of McEnerney in FC 76.

Τῷ δεσπότῃ µου θεοφιλεστάτῳ καὶ ἁγιωτάτῳ συλλειτουργῷ Κυρίλλῳ Νεστόριος ἐν κυρίῳ χαίρειν. To my most God-loving and most holy fellow bishop, Cyril, Nestorius sends greetings in the Lord. Domino meo deoamantissimo et sanctissimo comministro Cyrillo Nestorius in domino salutem.
Οὐδὲν ἐπιεικείας Χριστιανικῆς βιαιότερον. ὑπὸ ταύτης γοῦν νῦν διὰ τοῦ εὐλαβεστάτου πρεσβυτέρου Λάμπωνος πρὸς τὸ παρὸν βεβιάσμεθα γράµµα, πολλὰ μὲν εἰπόντος ἡμῖν περὶ τῆς σῆς εὐλαβείας, πολλὰ δὲ ἀκούσαντος, τὸ δὲ τελευταῖον οὐκ ἐνδόντος ἡμῖν, ἕως τὸ παρ᾽ ἡμῶν εἰσεπράξατο γράμμα. καὶ τῇ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς νενικήµεθα βίᾳ· φόβον γὰρ ὁμολογῶ κεκτῆσθαι πολὺν περὶ πᾶσαν παντὸς ἀνδρὸς Χριστιανικὴν ἐπιείκειαν, ὡς ἐγκαθήμενον αὐτῇ τὸν θεὸν κεκτηµένην. τὰ μὲν οὖν παρ’ ἡμῶν, καίτοι πολλῶν παρὰ τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας οὐ κατὰ ἀδελφικὴν ἀγάπην (δεῖ γὰρ εἰπεῖν εὐφημότερον) γεγονότων, ἐν µακροθυµίᾳ τε καὶ γραμμάτων ἀγάπῃ προρρητικῇ· δείξει δὲ ἡ πεῖρα ποταπὸς ἡμῖν ὁ τῆς παρὰ τοῦ εὐλαβεστάτου πρεσβυτέρου Λάμπωνος βίας καρπός. 1. Nothing is more forceful than Christian patience. By it now, that most pious priest Lampon has compelled us to write this letter, for he said much to us about your piety and heard much. In the end, he did not give way until he had extracted the letter from us—we have been conquered by the forcefulness of the man. I confess that I have ample respect for every man’s Christian patience, since it possesses God dwelling in it. As far as we are concerned, although your reverence has done many things not in keeping with brotherly love (to put it gently), we write this salutation with patience and love. The attempt will show what sort of fruit we will attain as a result of the pressure of the most pious priest Lampon. Nihil mansuetudine Christiana uiolentius. Ab hac itaque nunc per reuerentissimum presbyterum Lamponem ad praesentes compulsi litteras sumus, multa quidem dicente nobis de tua reuerentia, plurima autem audiente, nouissime uero non sinente nos, donec praesentes a nobis exigeret litteras. Et uiri uiolentia uicti sumus; timorem namque profiteor habere me multum circa omnem totius uiri Christianam mansuetudinem, tamquam insedentem ei deum possidentem. Haec itaque sint a nobis, licet plurima a tua reuerentia non secundum fraternam caritatem (oportet enim dicere clarius) facta sint, in longanimitate et litterarum caritate allocutoria; monstrabit autem experimentum quantus nobis a reuerentissimo presbytero Lampone uiolentiae fructus erit.
Πάσαν τὴν σὺν σοὶ ἀδελφότητα ἐγώ τε καὶ οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ προσαγορεύοµεν. 2. I and those with me greet all the brothers who are with you. Omnem quae tecum est, fraternitatem et ego et qui mecum sunt, plurimum salutamus.

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