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Monks of Syria Secunda

Apostolic See, St. Peter, Shepherd

“To Hormisdas, the most holy and blessed patriarch of the whole world, the holder of the See of Peter, the leader of the apostles, the earnest petition and humble prayer of the least (important) archimandrites and of other monks of your province Syria Secunda:

“The grace of Christ, the Redeemer of us all, has instigated us to take refuge to your blessedness as if from the winter storm to the stillness of an harbor and we are admonished to and indeed believe that even though disasters encompass us on all sides we are in no way caught in. For even if we suffer, we endure it with rejoicing, knowing that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy of the future glory, which will be revealed in us [Rom 8:18]. Since, however, Christ, our God, has appointed a leading shepherd, teacher, and physician of souls, it is right that we should lay open to your holy angel the sufferings which affect us, and make known the merciless wolves, which scatter the flock of Christ, so that through the scepter of his authority he may drive them out from the midst of the sheep, and through the word of his teaching he may heal the soul and appease it through the relief of his speech. But who those are and who he is who has armed them against us, you, most blessed one, you have certainly heard: That Severus and Peter, who have never been counted among the number of Christians, who on each single day have attacked and publicly anathematized the holy synod at Chalcedon and our most holy and blessed father Leo, who think nothing of God's judgment and trample under foot the venerable canons of the holy Fathers, bringing it about that bishops, indeed, are shown as holding the prime authority and forcing us to ridicule the aforementioned holy synod and humiliating us by worthless public prayers.

“Therefore also certain ones of those, who in no way endure the blows brought upon them have gone over because of this and our not so small number of people has in fact almost completely vanished. For when we were going to the pen of the Lord Simeon for the cause of the Church, they were lying in wait for us on the way as it had been announced, defiling us, and when they came upon us by surprise, they killed three hundred and fifty men from among us, certain ones they wounded; but others, who could take refuge to the venerable altars, they slayed there and set the monasteries on fire, inciting throughout the night a multitude of unsettled people and contractors and they were wasting all the poverty of the Church through destructive trouble makers of this kind. About the details, however, the writings may instruct your blessedness, which were brought over by the venerable brothers, John and Sergius, whom we had sent to Constantinople, because we believed that revenge might take place for those things which had been committed. Yet he did not think them worth a word, but rather he expelled them with great mistreatment and he violently threatened those, who would present these (things). Therefore it is from here that we, perhaps (too) late, know that all the depravity and recklessness of such evil people, which is committed against the churches, is arranged through his incitation.

“We pray, therefore, most blessed one, we go on our knees and ask, that you stand up with fervor and zeal and rightly have pity for the body that is torn to pieces (for you are the head of all) and that you avenge the faith that has been despised, the canons that have been trodden under foot, the fathers who have been blasphemed and such a great synod that has been attacked with anathema.

“To you God has given the power and authority to bind and to loosen [Matt 16:19]. Not the healthy ones have need of the physician but the sick [Matt 9:12]. Arise, holy Fathers, come to save us! Be imitators of the Lord Christ, who has come down from the heavens onto the earth to seek the sheep that is going astray, Peter, that leader of the apostles, whose seat you adorn, and Paul, who is the vessel of election, the ones who are going around and have illuminated the world. Great wounds, namely, are in need of greater remedies. For the hired shepherds, when they see the wolves come against the sheep, abandon them so that they are scattered by them [cf. John 10:12], but to you, the true shepherds and teachers, to whom the care for the well-being of the sheep has been committed, the flock come who know their shepherd when they have been freed from the pitiless wild animals and they are following the voice of the shepherd, as the Lord says: "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me." [John 10:3] Therefore, do not despise us, most holy one, since daily we are being wounded by wild beasts.

“But so that your holy angel may have complete knowledge, we courageously anathematize with our very petition both all the ones who have been put forth in the libellus and the ones who have been excommunicated by your Apostolic See: We speak, however, of Nestorius, who was bishop of Constantinople, Eutyches, Dioscorus, and Peter of Alexandria, who also has the name Balbus, and Peter, who was named "the Fuller," of Antioch, and last not least Acacius, who was bishop of Constantinople, the one in communion with them and all, who defend any one of those heretics.” (The Correspondence Between the Monks of Syria Secunda and Pope Hormisdas [A.D. 517/518]).

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