Puchkova Sof'ia

"The Catechetical Homilies" of Theodore of Mopsuestia: the Publishing History and Their Contents

Puchkova Sof'ia (2016) ""The Catechetical Homilies" of Theodore of Mopsuestia: the Publishing History and Their Contents ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2016, vol. 66, pp. 24-43 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201666.24-43


The present article shows the history of the discovery and publishing the manuscript contained the only fully survived dogmatic writing of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Also, the article provides the short description of the homilies’ contents and denotes the significance of the discovered text for patrology and liturgical studies. Although the Greek text of the Catechetical Homilies is missed, the work is preserved in the Syriac translation and is available thanks to publication of Alphonse Mingana in 1932 and 1933. The full text of the Catechetical Homilies allows us to put the quotations which were the basis for Theodore’s condemnation on the Fifth Ecumenical Council in their original context and to clarify their meaning, making them sound more acceptable. The homilies help us rightly understand the vague and ambiguous places in other Theodore’s writings and have more complete idea of his christology. The author of the Catechetical Homilies rejects the doctrine of the “Two Sons” and affirms the unity of Christ’s Person. He teaches of imperishability of “the perfect union” of two natures, so the existence of Christ as “mere man” is seemed to be impossible. Moreover, the text of the Catechetical Homilies gives us the rich evidence of Theodore’s sacramental theology that was not much treated before Mingana’s discovery. The Catechetical Homilies is, in addition, a source for the history of Liturgy, because they contain a detailed description of the Sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist.


Patrology, Catechism, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Catechetical Homilies, Symbol of Faith, Lord’s Prayer, Sacrament of Baptism, Sacrament of Eucharist, Christology, The Fifth Ecumenical Council.


1. Gavriljuk P., diak. Istorija katehizacii v drevnej cerkvi (History of Catechization in Ancient Church), Moscow, 2001.
2. Seleznev N. N. Hristologija Assirijskoj Cerkvi Vostoka (Christology of Assyrian Church of East), Moscow, 2002.
3. Jang F. M. Ot Nikei do Halkidona. Vvedenie v grecheskuju patristicheskuju literaturu i ee istoricheskij kontekst (From Nicaea to Chalcedon. Introduction in Greek Patristic Literature and Its Historical Context), Moscow, 2013.
4. Abramowski L. 1957 “Reste von Theodorets Apologie fur Diodore und Theodore bei Facundus“, in Studia Patristica, Berlin, 1957, vol. 1, pp. 61–69.
5. Abramowski L. 1961 “Zur Theologie Theodors von Mopsuestia“, in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, Stuttgart, 1961, vol. 72, pp. 263–293.
6. Amann É. 1946 “Théodore de Mopsueste”, in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, Paris, 1946, vol. 15/1, col. 235–279.
7. Bruns P. 1994 “Einleitung“, in Theodor von Mopsuestia. Katechetische Homilien, Freiburg, 1994, pp. 1–75.
8. Clemens L. 2004 “Did Theodore of Mopsuestia quote an ancient ordo?”, in Studia Liturgica, 2004, vol. 34, pp. 191–204.
9. Daniélou J. La cathéchèse aux premiers siècles, Fayard, 1968.
10. Devreesse R. Essai sur Théodore de Mopsueste, Città del Vaticano, 1948.
11. De Vries W. 1941 “Der ‘Nestorianismus’ Theodor von Mopsuestia in seiner Sakramentenlehre“, in OCP, Roma, 1941, vol. 7, pp. 91–148.
12. Ferguson E. Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Cambridge, 2009.
13. Greer R. A. Theodore of Mopsuestia. Exegete and Theologian, London, 1961.
14. Jugie M. 1935 “Le «Liber ad baptizandos» de Théodore de Mopsueste”, in Échos d’Orient, Paris, 1935, vol. 38, pp. 257–271.
15. Kelly J. N. D. Early Christian Creeds, London, 1972.
16. Lera J. M. 1991 “Théodore de Mopsueste”, in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, Paris, 1991, vol. 15, col. 386–400.
17. Lietzmann H. Die Liturgie des Theodor von Mopsuestia, Berlin, 1933.
18. McKenzie J.L. 1949 “A New Study of Theodore of Mopsuestia”, in Texts and Studies, Cambridge, 1949, vol. 10, pp. 394–408.
19. McKenzie J.L. 1958 “Annotation on the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia”, in Theological Studies, Baltimore, 1958, vol. 15, pp. 345–373.
20. McLeod Fr. 2002 “The Christological Ramification of Theodore of Mopsuestia’s Understanding of Baptism and the Eucharist”, in Journal of Early Christian Studies, Baltimore (Maryland), 2002, vol. 10, pp. 37–75.
21. Mingana A. 1932 “Prefatory Note”, in Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Niceen Creed, Cambridge, 1932, pp. 1–18.
22. Mingana A. 1933 “Prefatory Note”, in Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Niceen Creed, Cambridge, 1933, pp. IX–XXV.
23. Norris R. A. Manhood and Christ: A Study in the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Oxford, 1963.
24. Oñatibia I. 1954 “La vida christiana, tipo de las realidades celestes. Un concepto basico de la teologia de Teodore de Mopsuestia”, in Scriptorium Victoriense, 1954, vol. 1, pp. 100–133.
25. Piédanel A., Doutreleau L. 1990 “Introduction”, in Jean Chrysostome. Trois Catéchèses baptismales, Paris, 1990, pp. 13–106.
26. Reine F. J. The Eucharistic Doctrine and Liturgy of the Mystagogical Catecheses of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Washington, 1942.
27. Riley H. M. Christian initiation: a comparative study of the interpretation of the baptismal liturgy in the mystagogical writings of Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Amborse of Milan, Washington (DC), 1974.
28. Saxer V. Les rite de l’initiation chrétienne du IIe au IVe siècle. Esquisse historique et signification d’après leur principaux témoins, Spoleto, 1988.
29. Sullivan Fr. 1959 “Further Note on Theodore of Mopsuestia: A Replay to Fr. McKeinzie”, in Theological Studies, Baltimore, 1959, vol. 20, pp. 264–279.
30. Sullivan Fr. 1951 “Some Reactions to Devreesse’s New Study on Theodore of Mopsuestia”, in Theological Studies, Baltimore, 1951, vol. 12, pp. 179–207.
31. Sullivan Fr. The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Rome, 1956.
32. Tonneau R., Devreesse R. 1949 “Introdution”, in Les Homelies Catéchétiques de Théodore de Mopsueste. Reproduction phototypique du Ms. Mingana Syr. 561. Studi e Testi, no. 145, Città del Vaticano, 1949, pp. XV–XXXIX.

Information about the author

Puchkova Sof'ia

Place of work: graduate student of Ss Cyril and Methodius School of Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies;
Email: puchkovasonya@mail.ru.