c.393-c.458. Bishop of Cyrrhus (Syria). Born in Antioch, he seems to have been early intended for the religious life, and duly entered a nearby monastery about 416. Seven years later he became bishop of Cyrrhus (an unwanted elevation), where he spent all but two years of the rest of his life, making for himself a reputation not only as theologian, historian, and controversialist, but as a faithful and diligent pastor. In the christological controversy sparked by Cyril* of Alexandria, Theodoret accepted neither of the extreme positions, but held that Christ had two natures, united in one person but not in essence. At the Council of Ephesus* (431) Theodoret protested against both Cyril's procedural opportunism and his doctrine, and afterward wrote a refutation of the anathemas directed by Cyril against Nestorius (see Nestorianism; Three Chapters Controversy; Constantinople, Second Council of). Theodoret's continued opposition led to his deposition and exile at the Robber Synod of Ephesus* in 449, but he was restored at the Council of Chalcedon* in 451, though obliged to participate in condemning Nestorius and to accept Theotokos as the title of the Virgin Mary.*

As an exegete Theodoret was of the Antiochene* School, and this is reflected in his highly commended short commentaries on the Song of Solomon, the Prophets, Psalms, and the Pauline epistles. His other works included a collection of thirty biographies of monks, and a church history which continues the work of Eusebius down to 428. Of his letters 232 have survived.