Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1766
Presbyters Basilius and John of Constantinople, accused of heresy, travelled to Rome to appeal to the Pope. Leo the Great is convinced of their orthodoxy and sends a letter to Bishop Anatolius of Constantinople in which he asks him to admit them back to the communion. Letter 87 of Pope Leo the Great, written in Rome, AD 451.
Letter 87 [inc. "Ad declinandam erroris"]
Ad declinandam erroris maculam, qua nonnullos aut Nestoriana impietas, aut Eutychiana labefactavit insania, laudabilem curam filii nostri Basilius et Ioannes presbyteri suae aestimationis habuerunt: ut inter compugnantia dogmata falsitatis vera catholicae fidei pace gauderent. Siquidem longinquae peregrinationis labore suscepto, sensum cordis sui in apostolica sede patefecerunt, damnantes utramque haeresim, quarum supra fecimus mentionem, et de incarnatione Domini nostri Iesu Christi non aliud recipientes, quam quod, instruente sancto Spiritu, et didicimus, et docemus. Per hos ergo, frater charissime, cum testimonio nostro ad propria revertentes, dilectioni tuae nostra scripta direximus, fidenter hortantes ut qui gratia apostolicae communionis ornantur, etiam tuo favore per omnia se gaudeant adiuvari. Data decimo tertio kalendas Iulii, Adelfio viro clarissimo consule.
(Patrologia Latina 54, 924-925 = Ballerini 1753: 1052-1053)
Letter 87
Our sons, the Presbyters Basilius and John had taken a praise-worthy care, in their opinion, to shun a stain of the error in which some people were pushed by the impiety of either Nestorius or Eutyches, so that the true Catholic faith could enjoy peace among the assaulting dogmas of falsity. Since then having undertaken a toil of long peregrination, they revealed in the Apostolic See the thoughts of their hearts and condemned both aforementioned heresies. In regard to the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ they received nothing else than that which we have learnt by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and which we teach. We sent this letter with our testimony through those presbyters to Your Love, o dearest brother, exhorting you with certainty to give joy of being supported by your favour in everything to those who are decorated with the grace of Apostolic communion. Given on the 13th day before the Kalends of July in the consulship of the vir clarissimus Adelfius [= 19 VI 451].
(trans. M. Szada)


It is uncertain what exactly the Presbyters Basilius and John were accused of, but it surely concerned the Christological doctrine. Pope Leo confirms only that they agreed with the Christology approved by Rome and did not fall either in Nestorianism (according to which human and divine natures are divided in Christ) or in Eutychianism (according to which the divine and human nature of Christ were combined into the single nature).

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • East
  • Rome
  • Constantinople

About the source:

Author: Leo the Great
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Leo the Great was the bishop of Rome from AD 440 to his death in AD 461. We have the collection of 173 letters of Leo.
Anatolius succeeded in the see of Constantinople Flavianus, deposed by the Second Council of Ephesus in AD 449. Leo the Great considered the decisions of the council void, but after the death of Flavianus in AD 449, he informed the Emperor that he could accept Anatolius as the Bishop of Constantinople if he confesses the faith as defined by the councils of Nicea and Ephesus I, the letter of Cyril of Alexandria and the Tome to Flavianus. Anatolius complied to that, and in AD 451 he presided over the Council of Chalcedon. He died in AD 458. See Wessel 2008: 42-43.
P. and G. Ballerini eds., Sancti Leoni Magni Romani pontificis opera, vol. 1, Venice 1753
Patrologia Latina, vol. 54
S. Wessel, Leo the Great and the spiritual rebuilding of a universal Rome, Leiden ; Boston 2008.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Unspecified 'heretic'
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1766,