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Pope St. Celestine I

Apostolic See, Papal Authority

“We enjoin upon you [my legates to the Council of Ephesus] the necessary task of guarding the authority of the Apostolic See. And if the instructions handed to you have to mention this and if you have to be present in the assembly, if it comes to controversy, it is not yours to join the fight but to judge of the opinions [on my behalf]” (Letters 17, written to Saint Patrick of Ireland, [A.D. 431].

“Take heed that unless you teach, about Jesus Christ our God, what the Roman, Alexandrian, and universal church holds, and what up to your time was held by the Holy Church of Constantinople; and if within ten days after the receipt of this you do not openly and in writing condemn this impious novelty, which tends to undo what the ancient scriptures join, you are excluded from the communion of the whole Catholic Church. We have directed this our sentence to be taken by my son, the deacon Possidonius, with all the documents, to the holy pontiff of the city of Alexandria, my felloiv priest, that he may act in our room; and that our decree may be known to you and to all our brethren.” (Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 429).

“We are replying briefly to your holiness… You ask whether the holy Synod [of Ephesus] ought to receive a man who condemns what it preaches; or, because the time of delay has elapsed, whether the sentence already delivered is in force. Concerning this matter let us consult the Lord in whose worship we are united. Will he not answer us straightway through the prophet, ‘I do not desire the death of the one who dies’; and through the apostle Paul that he ‘willeth all men to be saved and come to know the truth’? Never is a quick repentance displeasing to God in any man.” (Epistle 16, to St. Cyril of Alexandria).

“If he, Nestorius, persists, an open sentence must be passed on him, for a wound, when it affects the whole body, must be cut away at once. For what has he to do with those who are of one mind, he who considers that he alone knows best, and dissents from our faith? Let those therefore remain in our communion whom this man has excluded from communion for opposing him; and tell him that he himself will be unable to retain our communion, if he continues in his way of error, opposing the apostolic teaching. 4. And so, appropriaiing to yourself the authority of our see, and 1 using our position,l you shall with resolute severity carry out this sentence, that eitherhe shall within ten days, counted from the day of your notice, condemn in writing this wicked assertion of his, and shall give assurance that he will hold, concerning the birth of Christ our God, the faith which the Romans, and the church of your holiness, and the universal religion holds; or if he will not do this (your holiness having at once provided for that church) he will know that he is in every way removed from our body. We have written the same to our brothers and fellow bishops John, Rufus, Juvenal, and Flavian, so our judgement about him, or rather the divine sentence of our Christ, may be known.” (Tristitiae nostrae, Epistle 11, to Cyril of Alexandria [A.D. 430]).

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