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Epistle III.

To Constantius, Bishop.

Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum.

It has come to my knowledge that certain bishops of your diocese, seeking out rather than finding an occasion, have attempted to sever themselves from the unity of your Fraternity, saying that thou hadst given a security 1524 at the Roman city for thy condemnation of the three Chapters.  And the fact is that they say this because they do not know how I am accustomed to trust thy Fraternity even without security.  For if there had been need for anything of the kind, your mere word of mouth could have been trusted.  I, however, do not recollect any mention between us of the three Chapters either in word or in writing.  But as for them, if they soon return from their error, they should be spared, because, according to the saying of the Apostle Paul, They understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim. i. 7).  For we, truth guiding us and our conscience bearing witness, declare that we keep the faith of the holy synod of Chalcedon in all respects inviolate, and venture not to add anything to, or to subtract anything from, its definition 1525 .  But, if any one would fain take upon himself to think anything, either more or less, contrary to it, and to the faith of this same synod, we anathematize him without any hesitation, and decree him to be alien from the bosom of Mother Church.  Any one, therefore, whom this my confession does not bring to a right mind, no longer loves the synod of Chalcedon, but hates the bosom of Mother Church.  If then those who appear to have been thus daring have presumed thus to speak in zeal of soul, it remains for them, having received this satisfaction, to return to the unity of thy Fraternity, and not divide themselves from the body of Christ, which is the holy universal Church.



Cautionem fecisse.  See Ep. 2, note 2.


The contention of those who disapproved of the condemnation of “The Three Chapters” by the fifth council was not only that the condemnation of deceased persons was wrong as well as useless, but also that it impugned the faith of the Council of Chalcedon.  For that Council had not condemned the writers who were now condemned; and two of them, Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa, had even appeared before it, and been accepted as orthodox.  Further, the condemnation was regarded as a concession to the Monophysites who had been condemned at Chalcedon, the writers in question having been peculiarly obnoxious to the Monophysite party.  And it does appear to be the case that a main motive of the Emperor Justinian in forcing the condemnation of The Three Chapters on the Church had been to conciliate the Monophysites, and to induce them to conform.  Hence Gregory’s anxiety to shew that what had been done at the fifth did not touch the faith as previously defined.

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