Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bl. Theodoret Is A Church Father

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Theodoret of Cyrus is not a Church Father
In the eighth session of Chalcedon (the Fourth Ecumenical Council) on 10/26/451, the Holy Fathers, with papal approbation, declared the "very reverend bishop Theodoret" to be an "orthodox doctor" [Mansi VII:190CD] after the latter anathematized the heresiarchs Nestorios and Eutyches. Popes Vigilius, Pelagius I, Pelagius II, and the Doctor St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (9/3) all praised Bl. Theodoret, as did Patriarch Photius of Constantinople (2/6), who called him a "divine man" [Bibliotheca 204 in PG 102:676B]. Even though in 553 Constantinople II (the Fifth Ecumenical Council) anathematized Thedoret's confused writings [PG 76:392B-449C] against Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria [Canon 13 in Mansi IX:386CD], it did not condemn the person of Theodoret, who shunned the Nestorian heresy and is and will always be, thanks to Chalcedon, a Father of the Church.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

I was glad to see this post. Even if one goes back to the early writings in which he defends Nestorius and attacks Cyril, one notices that he always interprets Nestorius's claims in a very un-Nestorian way, and attacks Cyril because he thinks Cyril confuses the divine and human nature. (The writings really are confusing in that way: he reads Nestorius as if he held something like Cyril's position and Cyril as if he were a Monophysite; and Theodoret insists vehemently -- against Cyril, of all people -- that Mary is the Mother of God. It's surreal.) I've always thought he's a good case of a genuinely orthodox and holy man who acted on the wrong side because he misunderstood the terminology of both sides (perhaps because he had originally regarded Nestorius as a friend who was subject to an arrogant attack). Very good to remember him.