Now, as to the Question which You Raise, when it was that I Began to Admit the Authority of the Pope Theophilus, and was Associated with Him in Community of Belief. You Make Answer to Yourself: "Then, I Suppose, when You were the Supporter of Paul whom He had Condemned and Made the Greatest Effort to Help Him, and Instigated Him to Recover through an Imperial Rescript the Bishopric from which He had Been Removed by the Episcopal Tribunal. " I Will not Begin by Answering for Myself, but First Speak of the Injury which You have Here done to Another. What Humanity or Charity is There in Rejoicing Over the Misfortunes of Others and in Exhibiting their Wounds to the World? is that the Lesson You have Learned from that Samaritan who Carried Back the Man that was Half Dead to the Inn? is this what You Understand by Pouring Oil into his Wounds, and Paying the Host his Expenses? is it Thus that You Interpret the Sheep Brought Back to the Fold, the Piece of Money Recovered, the Prodigal Son Welcomed Back? Suppose that You had a Right to Speak Evil of Me, Because I had Injured You, And, to Use Your Words, had Goaded You to Madness and Stimulated You to Evil Speaking: what Harm had a Man who Remains in Obscurity done You, that You Should Lay Bare his Scars, and when they were Skinned Over, Should Tear them Open by Inflicting this Uncalled for Pain? Even if He was Worthy of Your Reproaches, were You Justified in Doing This? if I am not Mistaken, those whom You Wish to Strike at through Him (And I Speak the Open Opinion of Many) are the Enemies of the Origenists; You Use the Troubles of one of them to Show Your violence against Both. If the Decisions of the Pope Theophilus So Greatly Please You, and You Think it Impious that an Episcopal Decree Should be Nullified, what do You Say About the Rest of those whom He Has Condemned? and what do You Say About the Pope Anastasius, About whom You Assert Most Truly that no one Thinks Him Capable as the Bishop of So Great a City, of Doing an Injury to an Innocent or an Absent Man? I do not Say this Because I Set Myself up as a Judge of Episcopal Decisions, or Wish what they have Determined to be Rescinded; but I Say, Let Each of them do what He Thinks Right at his Own Risk, it is for Him Alone to Consider How his Judgment Will be Judged. Our Duties in Our Monastery are those of Hospitality; we Welcome all who Come to us with the Smile of Human Friendliness. We must Take Care Lest it Should Again Happen that Mary and Joseph do not Find Room in the Inn, and that Jesus Should be Shut Out and Say to Us, "I was a Stranger and Ye Took Me not In. " the Only Persons we do not Welcome are Heretics, who are the Only Persons who are Welcomed by You: for Our Profession Binds us to Wash the Feet of those who Come to Us, not to Discuss their Merits. Bring to Your Remembrance, My Brother, How He whom we Speak of had Confessed Christ: Think of that Breast which was Gashed by the Scourges: Recall to Mind the Imprisonment He had Endured, the Darkness, the Exile, the Work in the Mines, and You Will not be Surprised that we Welcomed Him as a Passing Guest. Are we to be Thought Rebels by You Because we Give a Cup of Cold Water to the Thirsty in the Name of Christ? Perhaps Both Paul and Jerome. CI Can Tell You of Something which May Make Him Still Dearer to Us, Though More Odious to You. A Short Time Ago, the Faction of the Heretics which was Scattered Away from Egypt and Alexandria came to Jerusalem, and Wished to Make Common Cause with Him, So that as they Suffered Together, they Might have the Same Heresy Imputed to Them. But He Repelled their Advances, He Scorned and Cast them from Him: He Told them that He was not an Enemy of the Faith and was not Going to Take up Arms against the Church: that his Previous Action had Been the Result of Vexation not of Unsoundness in the Faith; and that He had Sought Only to Prove his Own Innocence, not to Attack that of Others. You Profess to Consider an Imperial Rescript Upsetting an Episcopal Decree to be an Impiety. That is a Matter for the Responsibility of the Man who Obtained It. But what is Your Opinion of Men Who, when they have Been Themselves Condemned, Haunt the Palaces of the Great, and in a Serried Column Make an Attack on a Single Man who Represents the Faith of Christ? However, as to My Own Communion with the Pope Theophilus, I Will Call no Other Witness than the Very Man whom You Pretend that I Injured. His Letters were Always Addressed to Me, as You Well Know, Even at the Time when You Prevented their Being Forwarded to Me, and when You Used Daily to Send Letter Carriers to Him Repeating to Him with Vehemence that his Opponent was My Most Intimate Friend, and Telling the Same Falsehoods which You Now Shamelessly Write, So that You Might Stir up his Hatred against Me and that his Grief at the Supposed Injury done Him Might Issue in Oppression against Me in Matters of Faith. But He, Being a Prudent Man and a Man of Apostolical Wisdom, came through Time and Experience to Understand Both Our Loyalty to Him and Your Plots against Us. If, as You Declare, My Followers Stirred up a Plot against You at Rome and Stole Your Uncorrected Manuscripts While You were Asleep; who was it that Stirred up the Pope Theophilus against the Public Enemy in Egypt? who Obtained the Decrees of the Princes against Them, and the Consent of the Whole of this Quarter of the World? yet You Boast that You from Your Youth were the Hearer and Disciple of Theophilus, Although He, Before He Became a Bishop, through his Native Modesty, Never Taught in Public, and You, after He Became a Bishop, were Never at Alexandria. Yet You Dare, in Order to Deal a Blow at Me, to Say "I do not Accuse, or Change, My Masters. " if that were True it Would in My Opinion Throw a Grave Suspicion on Your Christian Standing. As for Myself, You have no Right to Charge Me with Condemning My Former Teachers: but I Stand in Awe of those Words of Isaiah: "Woe unto them that Call Evil Good and Good Evil, that Put Darkness for Light and Light for Darkness, that Call Bitter Sweet and Sweet Bitter. " but it is You who Drink Alike the Honeywine of Your Masters and their Poisons, who have Fallen Away from Your True Master the Apostle, who Teaches that Neither He Himself or an Angel, if they Err in Matters of Faith, must not be Followed. Theophilus Himself.
17. Now, as to the question which you raise, when it was that I began to admit the authority of the pope Theophilus, and was associated with him in community of belief. You make answer to yourself: "Then, I suppose, when you were the supporter of Paul whom he had condemned and made the greatest effort to help him, and instigated him to recover through an imperial rescript the bishopric from which he had been removed by the episcopal tribunal." I will not begin by answering for myself, but first speak of the injury which you have here done to another. What humanity or charity is there in rejoicing over the misfortunes of others and in exhibiting their wounds to the world? Is that the lesson you have learned from that Samaritan who carried back the man that was half dead to the inn? Is this what you understand by pouring oil into his wounds, and paying the host his expenses? Is it thus that you interpret the sheep brought back to the fold, the piece of money recovered, the prodigal son welcomed back? Suppose that you had a right to speak evil of me, because I had injured you, and, to use your words, had goaded you to madness and stimulated you to evil speaking: what harm had a man who remains in obscurity done you, that you should lay bare his scars, and when they were skinned over, should tear them open by inflicting this uncalled for pain? Even if he was worthy of your reproaches, were you justified in doing this? If I am not mistaken, those whom you wish to strike at through him (and I speak the open opinion of many) are the enemies of the Origenists; you use the troubles of one of them to show your violence against both. If the decisions of the pope Theophilus so greatly please you, and you think it impious that an episcopal decree should be nullified, what do you say about the rest of those whom he has condemned? And what do you say about the pope Anastasius, about whom you assert most truly that no one thinks him capable as the bishop of so great a city, of doing an injury to an innocent or an absent man? I do not say this because I set myself up as a judge of episcopal decisions, or wish what they have determined to be rescinded; but I say, Let each of them do what he thinks right at his own risk, it is for him alone to consider how his judgment will be judged. Our duties in our monastery are those of hospitality; we welcome all who come to us with the smile of human friendliness. We must take care lest it should again happen that Mary and Joseph do not find room in the inn, and that Jesus should be shut out and say to us, "I was a stranger and ye took me not in." The only persons we do not welcome are heretics, who are the only persons who are welcomed by you: for our profession binds us to wash the feet of those who come to us, not to discuss their merits. Bring to your remembrance, my brother, how he whom we speak of had confessed Christ: think of that breast which was gashed by the scourges: recall to mind the imprisonment he had endured, the darkness, the exile, the work in the mines, and you will not be surprised that we welcomed him as a passing guest. Are we to be thought rebels by you because we give a cup of cold water to the thirsty in the name of Christ?
Perhaps both Paul and Jerome. c18. I can tell you of something which may make him still dearer to us, though more odious to you. A short time ago, the faction of the heretics which was scattered away from Egypt and Alexandria came to Jerusalem, and wished to make common cause with him, so that as they suffered together, they might have the same heresy imputed to them. But he repelled their advances, he scorned and cast them from him: he told them that he was not an enemy of the faith and was not going to take up arms against the Church: that his previous action had been the result of vexation not of unsoundness in the faith; and that he had sought only to prove his own innocence, not to attack that of others. You profess to consider an imperial rescript upsetting an episcopal decree to be an impiety. That is a matter for the responsibility of the man who obtained it. But what is your opinion of men who, when they have been themselves condemned, haunt the palaces of the great, and in a serried column make an attack on a single man who represents the faith of Christ? However, as to my own communion with the Pope Theophilus, I will call no other witness than the very man whom you pretend that I injured. His letters were always addressed to me, as you well know, even at the time when you prevented their being forwarded to me, and when you used daily to send letter carriers to him repeating to him with vehemence that his opponent was my most intimate friend, and telling the same falsehoods which you now shamelessly write, so that you might stir up his hatred against me and that his grief at the supposed injury done him might issue in oppression against me in matters of faith. But he, being a prudent man and a man of apostolical wisdom, came through time and experience to understand both our loyalty to him and your plots against us. If, as you declare, my followers stirred up a plot against you at Rome and stole your uncorrected manuscripts while you were asleep; who was it that stirred up the pope Theophilus against the public enemy in Egypt? Who obtained the decrees of the princes against them, and the consent of the whole of this quarter of the world? Yet you boast that you from your youth were the hearer and disciple of Theophilus, although he, before he became a bishop, through his native modesty, never taught in public, and you, after he became a Bishop, were never at Alexandria. Yet you dare, in order to deal a blow at me, to say "I do not accuse, or change, my masters." If that were true it would in my opinion throw a grave suspicion on your Christian standing. As for myself, you have no right to charge me with condemning my former teachers: but I stand in awe of those words of Isaiah: "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness, that call bitter sweet and sweet bitter." But it is you who drink alike the honeywine of your masters and their poisons, who have fallen away from your true master the Apostle, who teaches that neither he himself or an angel, if they err in matters of faith, must not be followed.
Theophilus himself. Is. v.20