HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Hstory Of The Councils Of The Church Volumes 1 to 5 by Charles Joseph Hefele D.D.

SEC. 151. The Rupture still continues. Synods at Constantinople, Tarsus, and Antioch

THE rupture which had taken place during the Ephesine Synod unfortunately lasted on after its dissolution for several years, as the Antiochenes persevered in their peculiarly perverse attitude. In the first place, they would not decidedly defend the doctrine of Nestorius, but came forward occasionally as its advocates, and endeavoured to protect and cover their own doctrinal indecision by the formally Catholic bulwark: Nil innovetur (on the Nicene Creed). In a similar way, the point of view which they occupied in reference to the person of Nestorius was purely formal. That materially he had been deposed with justice they would neither concede nor deny; but they persistently declared the sentence against him to be formally invalid, because it was pronounced by the Synod too early, before the arrival of the Antiochenes. Thence it resulted that they in like manner disapproved the election of the new Bishop Maximian for Constantinople, which had taken place on the 25th of October 431, and were compelled decisively to reject it, as the chair was, in their opinion, not vacant. Positively and dogmatically they pronounced only upon one point,—namely, the teaching of Cyril,—since they took single expressions of his, which were inadequate to convey his meaning, and liable to be misunderstood, disregarding all the explanations which he had given, and by arbitrary inference charged them with Apollinarianism, Arianism, Eunomianism, and all other possible heresies. It is peculiar that Walch and other historians have not the slightest word of disapprobation to utter over this imputation of heresy in the gross, while no phrase is strong enough, in their view, to scourge Cyril with for his attitude towards Nestorius. Finally, the Antiochenes persisted in the assertion: Cyril and Memnon were deposed by us, and can no longer hold their sees.

As we have already seen, the appointment of a new bishop for Constantinople was accomplished by the deputies of the orthodox majority of Ephesus, whom the Emperor had summoned to the metropolis for that purpose. At first they thought of the learned priest, Philippus Sidetes, and of Bishop Proclus, who had been unjustly refused possession of his diocese of Cyzicus, and had always distinguished himself by his anti-Nestorian zeal (see p. 14). At last they came to an agreement in the person of the monk and priest Maximian, who, according to the Greek Menologies, was born at Rome, had served long among the clergy at Constantinople, and had gained a very good name by his piety and unpretentiousness. Socrates says of him that he was not exactly learned, and that he was addicted to the quiet and contemplative life. A nature thus peaceful and free from ambition was a real benefit to Constantinople, and well adapted to reconcile parties, so that only one small Nestorian congregation continued for a short time to exist there.

In union with the orthodox deputies of the Synod, and forming with them a kind of Synod (at Constantinople), Maximian communicated immediately to the rest of the bishops intelligence of the election which had taken place, and transmitted to them the decrees of Ephesus, as we learn from his letter to the Bishops of Epirus. A second letter he addressed to Cyril, in which he congratulated him on his final victory, and his unchangeable, martyr-like stedfastness for the good cause. In his answer Cyril explained to his new colleague in all brevity the orthodox doctrine on the union of the two natures (without mixture), and indeed this letter alone would suffice to prove the groundlessness of the charges of the Antiochenes, that Cyril mingled the two natures, and thus impaired both. At the same time, Cyril expressed his joy at the election of Maximian in a short letter to the orthodox synodal deputies who had co-operated in securing it. Similar sentiments were expressed by Pope Cœlestine in his letters to Maximian, to the Church of Constantinople, and to the Emperor Theodosius II. They are all dated on the 15th of March 432, and on the same day Cœlestine despatched a fourth letter, full of praise and appreciation, to the Synod of Ephesus, which he regarded as still existing in the deputies present at Constantinople, and which he commended for the election of Maximianus.

In the meantime the Antiochenes had, on their return from the Council, gone as far as Ancyra in Galatia, and were here, to their great annoyance, already treated practically as excommunicated men. Bishop Theodotus of Ancyra, who belonged to the orthodox party of Ephesus and to the synodal deputies, had, in union with his colleague Firmus of Cæsarea, despatched a letter from Constantinople to Ancyra, in which he gave instructions to this effect. John of Antioch complained of this to the Prefect Antiochus, and apparently about the same time addressed in writing to the Emperor the request that he would suppress the heretical teaching of Cyril.

On their way home the Antiochenes held a Conciliabulum at Tarsus in Cilicia, where they pronounced anew a sentence of anathema on Cyril and at the same time on the seven orthodox synodal deputies, and published this decision in a circular letter. We learn this from two letters of Bishop Meletius of Mopsueste (who belonged to the Antiochene party) to Count Neotherius and the Vicar Titus, and Theodoret of Cyrus also refers repeatedly to the same. A second similar Conciliabulum took place somewhat later at Antioch, and after excommunication had here too been repeatedly pronounced upon Cyril and his adherents, John of Antioch and some of his party proceeded to Berœa, in order to give the aged Bishop Acacius information of what had been done by word of mouth, and to obtain his assent, in which they succeeded. At the same time Theodoret of Cyrus, Andrew of Samosata, and Eutherius of Tyana took all pains in writings and in learned letters to represent the views and statements of Cyril as heretical, and to defend those bishops who, on account of their open leaning to heresy, had been recently deposed by Archbishop Maximian of Constantinople and Archbishop Firmus of Cæsarea, namely, Helladius of Tarsus, Eutherius of Tyana, Himerius of Nicomedia, and Dorotheus of Marcianopolis. Bishop Rabulas of Edessa, on the contrary, who was so celebrated afterwards, now seceded from the Antiochene party and joined that of Cyril.

SEC. 152. The Pope and the Emperor attempt to mediate. Synods at Constantinople and Antioch

On the 26th of July 432, Pope Cœlestine I. died, and Sixtus III. was his successor. Gennadius relates, that in the year 430, when he was still a priest at Rome, he had required of Nestorius to yield to Cyril; but this statement has been pronounced to be inaccurate by later scholars. It is certain, on the other hand, that Sixtus, soon after his entrance upon office, by circular writings and separate letters, particularly to Cyril, solemnly approved the decisions of the Synod of Ephesus, and at the same time endeavoured again to restore the peace of the Church, on the basis that John of Antioch and his adherents should, without further difficulties, be received into communion, if they rejected all which had been rejected by the holy Synod of Ephesus. This mildness and placableness brought him indeed, in some quarters, an ill report, as though he had even regarded the deposition of Nestorius with dissatisfaction; but his letters show the reverse, and Cyril defended him with decision against this accusation.

The Emperor Theodosius II. also took part in the attempt to mediate, and for that purpose, about the middle of the year 432, held a consultation with Maximian of Constantinople and the other bishops and clergy who were present there (in a kind of Synod), on the ways which might lead to peace. By their advice he wrote to John of Antioch, saying, “It was sad that bishops who are one in faith should fall into such discord, and very sad that the teachers of peace themselves should need an exhortation to peace. John and Cyril should therefore be reconciled, and the holy bishops assembled at Constantinople had declared that, if John would subscribe the deposition of Nestorius, and anathematize his doctrine, then all cause for strife would be removed. Cyril and Pope Cœlestine (who is thus shown to have been then alive, or, at least, whose death was not yet known at Constantinople) and all the other bishops would then immediately return into Church communion with him, and all further smaller scruples could easily be set aside. John should now come to Nicomedia as soon as possible for the conclusion of peace, whither also Cyril was ordered to go by an imperial letter; but neither of them was to bring with him other bishops (who might perhaps destroy the good understanding), but only a few confidential clerics as attendants; nor would either be received by the Emperor until they were reconciled. Finally, until then no new bishop was to be appointed and none was to be deposed.” This letter was sent to Antioch by the hand of the tribune and notary Aristolaus, so that he might personally urge on the affair.

In a second letter, the Emperor requested S. Simeon Stylites, afterwards so highly honoured, that he would by powerful prayer and exhortation co-operate for the peace of the Church. A similar letter, also asking for intercession with God, he addressed to the aged Bishop Acacius of Berœa and others. The imperial letter to Cyril, on the contrary, is lost, and its exact contents unknown. We know only that it required of him a forgetting and a forgiving of the ill-treatment which he had endured at Ephesus. Tillemont (l.c. p. 516) supposes, further, that the Emperor had in it suggested to Cyril that he should repudiate his own anathematisms in the same way as he had required of John the repudiation of the counter-anathematisms of Nestorius (of his teaching generally). But Walch (l.c. S. 581 f.) has already declared this to be improbable, because the Emperor certainly regarded Nestorius, but not Cyril, as heretical. And this comes out still more clearly from what follows. John of Antioch was placed in great embarrassment by the arrival of the imperial letter, and wrote to Alexander of Hierapolis, that he was too weak and infirm to travel to Constantinople (properly to Nicomedia, and thence, after peace was concluded, to the Emperor at Constantinople). Besides, he had been told that his enemies might easily do him an injury upon the journey. Alexander, however, with Theodoret and other bishops, after they had held their conference at Cyrus, should come as quickly as possible to him and advise him as to what was to be done, for he did not know what he should answer to the Emperor. His propositions were aperte impiæ, since the chapters of Cyril in an indirect manner contained that which was wrong (the Emperor then had not demanded their repudiation of Cyril), and he was required to pronounce anathema on those who recognize two natures in Christ (no one had required this, and John misrepresents the matter). He adds that the Magister Militum (Plinthas) urged him greatly to accept the imperial propositions.

John, however, sought to gain time, and held a Synod, first at Antioch and then in a city of Syria which is unknown to us, with the Bishops Alexander of Hierapolis, Acacius of Berœa, Macarius of Laodicea, Andrew of Samosata, and Theodoret of Cyrus. They here drew up six propositions, probably framed by Theodoret, with the condition that they would receive into Church communion whoever would accept one of them, without, however, on their side recognizing the deposition of Nestorius. They themselves describe, as the first and most important, the proposition: “That the creed of Nicæa must be maintained without any additions, and with the rejection of all other explanations, which were given in letters and chapters (of Cyril), and only that explanation of it must be accepted which S. Athanasius had drawn up in his letter to Epictetus of Corinth (against the Apollinarians).” This first proposition alone is still preserved, and it was placed before Cyril and his friends, together with the epistle of Athanasius in question, as we learn from a letter of the Antiochenes to Bishop Helladius of Tarsus.

SEC. 153. Aristolaus travels to Alexandria. The Hopes of Peace increase

With this first proposition and a letter of the aged Acacius to Cyril the State official, Aristolaus, who has already been named, travelled to Alexandria in order the better to advance the work of peace in this place by carrying on negotiations with Cyril. Cyril speaks of his arrival in his letters to Bishop Acacius of Melitene, to Bishop Donatus of Nicopolis in Epirus, and to Bishop Rabulas of Edessa, to the effect that “the friends of Nestorius had abused the venerable Acacius of Berœa by writing to him that which was unfitting, and requiring of him that he should withdraw and repudiate all that he had written against Nestorius, and should hold merely to the Nicene Creed. But that he had answered them, We hold firmly by all that is in the Nicene Creed; but what I have rightly written against Nestorius it is impossible that I should declare to be false, and it is, on the contrary, necessary that you should, in accordance with the imperial command and the decree of Ephesus, repudiate Nestorius, anathematize his teaching, and recognize the election of Maximian.”

He gives here in brief the substance of that which in fact he explained more fully in his answer to Acacius of Berœa (for this letter, too, we still possess), with the remark that from love to God and the Emperor he willingly forgave all the injuries inflicted upon him by the Antiochenes. In proceeding further, he asserts that he is unjustly accused of Apollinarianism or Arianism, etc.; on the contrary, he anathematizes Arianism and all other heresies, confesses (in opposition to Apollinaris) that Christ had a reasonable human soul (πνεῦμα), further, that no mixing and mingling and no confusion of the natures in Christ had taken place; but, on the contrary, that the Logos of God is in its own nature unchangeable and incapable of suffering. But in the flesh one and the same Christ and only-begotten Son of God suffered for us.—Further, that his (Cyril’s) chapters had their strength and power only in opposition to the errors of Nestorius, were intended only to overthrow his false statements, and that he who condemned the latter should certainly cease to find fault with the chapters. If Church communion were again restored, he would by letters pacify all, and explain all the misunderstood passages of his writings to their satisfaction; but repudiate them he could not, for they were doctrinally accurate, and in accordance with truth, and approved by the whole of the rest of the Church. In conclusion, he speaks of the earnest efforts for peace of Aristolaus, and greets the receiver of his letter, together with all the bishops assembled around him.

Cyril had consented to give the more exact explanations which were sent, in consequence of the urgent wish of Aristolaus, as his archdeacon, Epiphanius, informs the bishop of Constantinople, and these were in fact very well adapted to rebut the false reproaches and accusations of his opponents. Besides, Cyril could give them without in the least departing from his original teaching, as is clear from a comparison with what was said before (pp. 21 and 29 ff.), and only ignorance or prejudice can accuse him of a departure from his original principles.

Aristolaus sent his companion and assistant Maximus to the East with this letter of Cyril’s, along with the request that the Antiochenes would now collectively anathematize Nestorius and his teaching. At the same time, the Pope also and some other bishops addressed letters to Acacius for the promotion of peace. Acacius handed the documents which he received over to his Oriental colleagues, and at the same time, in his letter to Alexander of Hierapolis, expressed his present satisfaction with Cyril without the least reserve. As was to be foreseen, this decided friend of Nestorius was of a quite different view, and maintained in his answer to Acacius that Cyril, notwithstanding the explanation which he had given, was still an Apollinarian, and that Nestorius should not be anathematized before it was proved that he had taught that which was contrary to Scripture. He wrote in a still more violent style to his fellow-partisan, Andrew of Samosata, full of astonishment at the changeableness of Acacius, and declaring that “he would rather give up his office, yes, rather lose a hand, than have communion with Cyril, unless he anathematized his errors, and acknowledged that Christ is God and man, and that He suffered in His manhood” (it is well known that Cyril did not deny this).

Andrew of Samosata now adopted the same tone in his answer to this letter. Cyril is to him a deceiver, and he supposes that they are already giving in at Antioch, and that it was not wrongly that he had lately dreamt that Bishop John of Antioch had allowed himself to pronounce a eulogy upon Apollinaris.

Acacius had also written to Theodoret, and invited him to a personal interview; but the latter, being prevented by sickness and visitors, expressed himself in writing to the effect that the most recent explanations of Cyril did not please him badly. They were less in harmony with his earlier utterances, and more with the teaching of the Fathers. On the other hand, it was very blameworthy that Cyril, instead of simply accepting one of the six propositions thus modified, which had been drawn up, had given out much verbiage and circumlocution, and had not chosen the short and simple way to peace. He also required that the Antiochenes should sign the deposition of Nestorius, but they had not even been present at his condemnation, and it would be imposing a great burden upon their conscience to do anything which they regarded as unjust. In conclusion, Acacius should so manage the affair that the peace should be pleasing to all, but especially to God.

Theodoret expressed himself somewhat more exactly in his letter to Andrew of Samosata. He commends the act of Cyril in pronouncing anathema upon Apollinarianism, etc.; but, he said, it was not possible that the Antiochenes should anathematize the teaching of Nestorius en bloc (indeterminate), as it appeared to them correct. It would be something quite different if Cyril had required an anathema on those who teach that Christ was a mere man, or who divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons. Theodoret knew well that such statements were decidedly heretical, but he professed to see in them, particularly in the latter, not a consequence of Nestorianism, but only an unfounded charge which was brought against it. His offer to repudiate these propositions, without, however, alluding to Nestorius himself, has accordingly no other foundation than the Jansenistic distinction between question du fait and du droit—that is, that those propositions should be as of right (du droit) repudiated, but the quæstio facti, as to whether Nestorius taught them, was to be answered in the negative.

Andrew of Samosata hereupon answered that he was quite in agreement with Theodoret’s proposition, that they should promise Cyril to pronounce anathema on those who call Christ a mere man, and on those who divide the one Lord into two Sons. Moreover, if Cyril should persist in requiring that they should subscribe the deposition of Nestorius, but should be satisfied if they did not all give their signature, but only some of them, it was probable that some would do this. In conclusion, he asked that Theodoret would pray that peace should be hindered by no obstacle.

We see how much more placably Andrew here speaks than formerly in his answer to the violent Alexander of Hierapolis. In order, however, to bring the latter to greater mildness, he now sent him the letter of Theodoret, recommends submission, depicts the disadvantages of persisting in schism, and wishes that Alexander too would accept the new proposal. The latter, however, again expressed himself fanatically and bitterly in two letters to Andrew and Theodoret, and saw only a temptation of Satan in the whole of the proceedings for peace. He is peculiarly indignant at John of Antioch, and swears by his soul’s salvation not to yield a foot’s breadth. Theodoret replied to him quietly and calmly, that he knew the patriarch better, and that neither he nor himself would agree to the condemnation of Nestorius. On the other hand, the new declaration of Cyril seemed to him to tend to peace, and he was curious to learn how it could be contradictory to the gospel. As for the rest, he agreed that it did not yet suffice to justify the reception of Cyril into communion again; in order to this, more exact expressions in the sense of the Nicene Creed would be necessary.

Bishop Maximin of Anazarbus inclined to the side of Alexander, and informed him by letter that John of Antioch had commended the latest explanations of Cyril; while in the copy which a friend had given him, Cyril expressed his resolution of simply maintaining his previous assertions. He hoped then that Alexander would give him an explanation on this point.—We may remark that Maximin had seen correctly, for in fact it was only the perverse meanings which were attributed to the earlier words of Cyril, and not these words themselves, which were contradictory to his latest explanations. Hence it comes that Theodoret and John of Antioch, and all those who had falsely apprehended the earlier words of Cyril, were certainly compelled to assume that there was a considerable difference between his present and his earlier utterances, while in the eyes of a genuine Nestorian they were equally Apollinarian, and made too little distinction between the natures of Christ.

The third violent zealot and decided Nestorian was Bishop Helladius of Tarsus, who, in his letter to Alexander of Hierapolis, already treats those of the Antiochenes who were disposed for peace as traitors. Alexander commends him for this, and rejoices that the Churches of both Cilicias are so distinctly on the side of the preacher of truth—namely, Nestorius.

On the other side, Theodoret sought to win this Helladius of Tarsus for his more peaceful view, and therefore wrote to him that the new explanations of Cyril might be accepted, but not his demand that they should anathematize Nestorius. Besides, all deposed bishops of the Antiochene side (see above, pp. 67 f. and 118) must be restored again before they could receive Cyril into Church communion. Helladius would please soon to communicate to him his view on this subject, and would also win over Bishop Himerius of Nicomedia to the same views, and convince him that he (Theodoret) had not betrayed the cause of religion. At the same time, he explained to this Himerius, in a separate letter, his view, with which we are acquainted, of the new explanations of Cyril and the possible acceptance of them, with the addition, that this was not merely his view, but also that of John of Antioch, and of all the bishops with whom he had held a Synod. In a subsequent letter to the head of the violent party, Alexander of Hierapolis, Theodoret defends himself against the reproach of treachery, and against the suspicion that he had become submissive for the sake of a better position, or in order to escape persecutions.

Finally, Archbishop Eutherius of Tyana, in Cappadocia in two letters to John of Antioch and to Helladius of Tarsus, expressed himself very decidedly against the party of peace, and very violently against reconciliation with Cyril.

We see that, on the question of the peace of the Church, the Antiochenes were divided into two great parties. The peace-seeking majority, who had John of Antioch and the venerable Acacius at their head, were opposed by a minority disinclined for reconciliation; but the majority, too, fell into two divisions, while Theodoret and Andrew of Samosata formed a kind of middle party, and wished to make new proposals (see above, p. 124 f.).

SEC. 154. Paul of Emisa is sent to Alexandria as Mediator

In union with his partisans the Patriarch John immediately sent the aged Bishop Paul of Emisa as envoy to Alexandria, so that he might by word of mouth have further communication with Cyril, and obtain still clearer explanations from him. At the same time the Patriarch John now for the first time since the outbreak of the rupture came into personal correspondence by letter with Cyril, in the letter of introduction written for Paul of Emisa, and still extant in Latin, saying that, “although personally unknown to each other, he and Cyril had been united in love with one another, but unfortunately the twelve anathematisms of Cyril had destroyed this unity, and it would have been good if their publication had never taken place. He had at the beginning been unable to believe that they proceeded from Cyril. By his most recent explanations, however, they had been essentially improved, and it might be hoped that this would be completely accomplished. Cyril himself had promised, after the restoration of peace, still further to remove disquiet, and some few additions were in fact necessary. John and his friends were in a high degree rejoiced by the letter of Cyril to Acacius (which contained the explanations referred to), especially because he had so readily accepted the letter of S. Athanasius to Epictetus, which so correctly explained the Nicene Creed, and removed all difficulties. The work of peace thus begun should now be continued, and the mutual revilings and accusations of heresy of the Christians among themselves must cease. Cyril might receive Paul in a friendly manner, and trust him fully, as though John himself were present.” According to an expression of Cyril’s archdeacon, Epiphanius, the Patriarch John had also explained that the Orientals would never consent to the condemnation of Nestorius; the letter now before us, however, does not contain, at least directly, a syllable of this. On the other hand, we may say with Theodoret, that John therein decidedly repudiated the anathematisms of Cyril.

With this step, the sending of Paul of Emisa, the Patriarch John made Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis, the head of the strict party, acquainted, in reply to a letter of the latter which is now lost. John blames his dialectical subtlety, which is disposed to see Apollinarianism everywhere in Cyril, and shows briefly and incisively that the confession of Cyril, that the natures of Christ are not mingled, is entirely opposed to the principle of Apollinarianism. None of those who dwell in Pontus (probably Firmus of Cæsarea and other opponents of the Antiochenes) had thus expressed themselves. It were indeed well if he, who was in Alexander’s neighbourhood (probably Rabulas of Edessa), and those beyond the Taurus (a mountain range in the south of Asia Minor), would make the same confession. Alexander must not be pusillanimous, but trust in God. He was always speaking of not drawing back, even of being prepared for martyrdom, but this was not now necessary, but only the restoration of the peace of the Church. The other contents of the letter have to do with little belonging to this subject, consisting of scarcely intelligible details.

Alexander answered in an unfriendly spirit, and tried to show that Cyril, even in his new explanations, was still heretical. If, however, John and Acacius could find them orthodox, then the journey of Paul of Emisa was really superfluous. He, for his part, would hold communion neither with Cyril nor with those who were reconciled with him, so long as he had not spoken out in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. The matter was simple: “Cyril offers us communion if we become heretics.”

The patriarch answered quite calmly and quietly that he would not go into all the bitternesses in the letter of Alexander, but would pray for one thing, that he might still put some hope in the journey of Paul, since he would have to lay before Cyril the ten propositions of the Antiochenes, and communication by word of mouth often led to a better result than was accomplished by writing.

The Patriarch John had, moreover, acquainted not merely the bishops of his province, but also foreign friends and partisans, e.g. Archbishop Dorotheus of Marcianopolis in Mœsia (in Europe), with his latest steps, and had received from him and his suffragans a very sympathetic letter in return, in which John was only still asked to see that Cyril acknowledged two unmingled natures, and repudiated his anathematisms.

SEC. 155. The Union-Creed of the Antiochenes: it is accepted by Cyril

John of Antioch had given to Paul of Emisa, along with the above-mentioned letter, a form of faith drawn up by him and his friends, which Cyril was to be required to accept. We learn this from the subsequent letter of Cyril to John, and from a letter of John to Cyril; and it is clear at the first glance that this, apart from the introduction and some concluding words, is quite the same formula which the Antiochenes at Ephesus had previously presented through Count John to the Emperor Theodosius, and of which we have already spoken above (p. 93 f.). It falls into two divisions—the introduction and the creed itself. In the first it is said, “That which we believe and teach concerning the virgin God-bearer, and concerning the manner of the incarnation of the only-begotten Son of God, we will now, because it is necessary, briefly set forth in accordance with Scripture and tradition, not in order to add anything, but in order to give satisfaction to others, without adding anything whatever to the faith explained at Nicæa. As in fact we said before, that is quite sufficient for the knowledge of religion, and for the refutation of heretical error. And we give this new explanation, not because we venture to explain the incomprehensible, but in order by the confession of our own weakness to refute those who reproach us with discussing that which is to man incomprehensible.”

Next followed the second part, the creed itself: “We confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, true God and true man, consisting of a reasonable soul and a body, was begotten before all time by the Father according to the Godhead, but at the end of the days, for us and for our salvation, was born of the Virgin, according to the manhood, of one substance with the Father as touching the Godhead, and of one substance with us as touching the manhood. For two natures are united together (δύο γὰρ φύσεων ἕνωσις γέγονε). Therefore we acknowledge one Christ, one Lord, and one Son. On account of this union, which, however, is remote from all mingling (κατὰ ταύτην τὴν τῆς ἀσυγχύτου ἑνώσεως ἔννοιαν), we acknowledge also that the holy Virgin is the God-bearer, because God the Logos was made flesh and man, and before conception united with Himself the temple (the manhood), which He assumed from her (the Virgin).” As regards, however, the evangelical and apostolical utterances respecting Christ, we know that theologians apply them differently: the one class, having reference to the one person, apply them to both natures in common; the other class, referring to the two natures, separate them. The confessions which are suitable to God they refer to the Godhead, and those which apply to the humiliation to the manhood.

We have already remarked (p. 94) that this formula was quite orthodox in meaning, and therefore Cyril consented without difficulty to further its acceptance, and gave his adhesion to it, which he afterwards repeated in his celebrated letter to John of Antioch after the actual conclusion of peace. After Cyril had done this, he then first began to discuss with Paul the outrages which had been inflicted upon him at Ephesus; but after a considerable time had elapsed in discussing them, and also on account of his illness, he allowed this personal matter to drop, and turned to the more important question as to whether the Orientals were now inclined to agree to the condemnation of Nestorius, which was the conditio sine qua non of their Church communion; and whether Paul had with him a letter from John on this subject. Paul then communicated to Cyril the letter of his patriarch, which we have already described, and Cyril was so little satisfied with it that he declared that this paper did not at all contain what it ought (namely, the agreement on the subject of Nestorius), and that it embittered the controversy rather than softened it, since it sought to justify all that had been done at Ephesus as having proceeded from a dutiful zeal for pure doctrine. Cyril therefore refused to receive this document, and was at last induced to do so only by the apologetic explanations of Bishop Paul, who made oath that it was not so intended. Paul then declared that he was ready to anathematize the heresies of Nestorius, and that this should suffice as though all the Oriental bishops had done the same. Cyril replied with justice that Paul could act for himself, and that then he could be, without delay, received into communion, but that this could not possibly suffice for the rest of the Oriental bishops, particularly for their patriarch, since there needed an express commission from him for that purpose, and therefore he must be asked to give a written declaration on the subject. Paul of Emisa then in his own behalf presented a written document to the effect that he acknowledged Maximian as bishop of Constantinople, and Nestorius as deposed, and that he excommunicated his heresy, and was then not only solemnly received into Church communion by Cyril, but was also repeatedly invited to preach in Alexandria. We have still (parts of) three homilies of his, which he preached there at that time.

When, however, Paul abandoned Nestorius, he requested in return that the deposition pronounced upon Helladius, Eutherius, Himerius, and Dorotheus (four Nestorians) by Cyril and Maximian (see above, p. 118) should be removed. Without this concession, he maintained, peace could not possibly take place. Cyril, however, replied that this could never be, and that on his part he would not agree to it, so that Paul let this point drop.

All this, especially on account of Cyril’s illness, had taken up a good deal of time, and the Orientals were complaining already that it was so long since they had any intelligence from Alexandria, and that the whole transaction seemed to have no result. We see this from a letter of Bishop Andrew of Samosata to Alexander of Hierapolis. Now, however, the imperial commissioner Aristolaus sent a letter to the Antiochenes, in which he urgently demanded of them the wished-for declaration respecting Nestorius.

SEC. 156. Synod of the Antiochenes: Cyril’s Presents

The Orientals upon this held a new Synod at Antioch, and drew up new resolutions of which we have no very definite knowledge, and made Aristolaus acquainted with them through Verius (the Antiochene deputy at Constantinople), adding that soon Bishop Alexander (probably of Apamea) would appear with the new resolutions at Alexandria. That these were not favourable is shown by that which followed; but even Cyril’s own friends at Constantinople sent him, about this time, highly disagreeable information, and they had become very languid in their zeal for the good cause, as we learn from the frequently quoted letter of Cyril’s archdeacon, Epiphanius. It is certain that the latter, with Cyril’s knowledge and consent, wrote now to Bishop Maximian of Constantinople, informing him that Cyril had fallen ill again in consequence of this bad news, blamed the lukewarmness of Maximian and other friends, and exhorted them to new zeal. In particular, he urged that they should bring it about that Aristolaus should once more go in person to Antioch (that the obscure words, hinc exire faciatis Aristolaum, are to be taken in this sense, is shown by the course of the history). At the same time he mentions that Cyril has written to Pulcheria, the Præpositus Paulus, the Chamberlain Romanus, and the two court ladies Marcella and Droseria, and has sent them valuable benedictiones (presents). To the Præpositus Chrysoretes, who was unfavourable to the Church, Aristolaus was ready to write, and to him also were eulogia (presents) sent. Further, Cyril had entreated Scholasticus and Arthebas, at the same time sending them presents, to influence Chrysoretes at last to abstain from his persecution of the Church. Bishop Maximian himself was asked to pray the Empress Pulcheria again to show zeal for Christ, for she and all the persons at court at present had but little care for Cyril, perhaps because the presents, although not of trifling value, were yet insufficient to satisfy the covetousness of the courtiers. Pulcheria should write to the Antiochene, ordering him to submit; but Aristolaus must be required to be urgent with John. Further, Maximian should entreat the Archimandrites Dalmatius and Eutyches (afterwards the heretic), to adjure the Emperor and the court officials in reference to Nestorius, and to support Cyril with all their might. The little note which accompanied this mentioned the presents which had been given to each, so that Maximian might see how much the Alexandrian Church had sacrificed. They had even been compelled to obtain a loan for the purpose. Now the Church of Constantinople should also do its duty and satisfy the cupidity of certain persons. Finally, Pulcheria should use her influence to have Lausus made præpositus soon, so that the power of Chrysoretes might be weakened.

That Cyril put every engine in motion, so as to obtain a victory for the cause of orthodoxy, will hardly be imputed to him as a fault by the unprejudiced. That he also had recourse to presents is a circumstance which we will defend as little as did Tillemont (l.c. p. 541); while, at the same time, we must explain it and excuse it, as we have said already (p. 113 f.), by the peculiar customs of the East.

SEC. 157. The Union takes place

Cyril now in fact attained his end. Aristolaus allowed himself to be induced to go again with Paul of Emisa to Antioch, and two of Cyril’s clergy, Cassius and Anmon, had to accompany them and present for his subscription to the Patriarch John a document on the deposition of Nestorius and the anathematizing of his teaching, and in case of his subscribing, to hand him the document of his restoration to Church communion. This way appeared to Cyril to lead much more quickly to the goal, especially as Paul of Emisa and Aristolaus of Alexandria carried on the affair too slowly. Besides, this way seemed safe enough, since Aristolaus declared on oath that the document of union should certainly not be given up before the signature of the other document, and if John of Antioch refused to sign, he would immediately travel to Constantinople and explain that it was not the Church of Alexandria, but the Bishop of Antioch, that was the disturber of the peace.

The proceedings at Antioch came to a happy termination. John on his part wished still for a few slight and insignificant alterations in the document which he had to sign, and as, according to his own statement, and as his subsequent letters show, the sense was not thereby altered, the two delegates of Cyril, with the concurrence of Aristolaus and Paul of Emisa, consented to them. Thereupon the Patriarch John, together with the bishops assembled around him, addressed friendly letters to Cyril, to Pope Sixtus, and to Bishop Maximian of Constantinople, which are still extant, and are interesting evidences of the restored unity. The most important of them is directed to the three heads of the Church just named, and says: “In the year which has just passed, at the command of the pious Emperors, the holy Synod of the God-beloved bishops came together at Ephesus in order to oppose the Nestorian heresy, and, in accord with the legates of the blessed Pope Cœlestine, deposed the aforenamed Nestorius, because he used unholy doctrine (βεβήλῳ διδασκαλίᾳ χρώμενον), scandalized many (σκανδαλίσαντα πολλούς), and in regard to the faith did not stand upright (οὐκ ὀρθοποδήσαντα). We arrived subsequently at Ephesus, found that the matter had been already settled, and were dissatisfied therewith. For this reason there arose a difference between us and the holy Synod, and after much had been done and spoken backwards and forwards, we returned to our Churches and cities without having subscribed the sentence of the holy Synod on Nestorius, and the Churches were disunited by a difference of opinion. As, however, all must really have had it in view to seek restoration of union by the removal of differences of opinion, and the God-fearing Emperors required this, and in order to bring it about sent the tribune and notary Aristolaus, we also determined to agree to the judgment pronounced against Nestorius, to recognize him as deposed, and to anathematize his infamous doctrines (δυσφήμους διδασκαλίας), since our Church, like your Holiness, has always had the true doctrine, and will ever preserve it and transmit it to the nations. We also agree to the consecration of the most holy and God-fearing bishop, Maximian of Constantinople, and have communion with all the God-fearing bishops of the world who retain and hold fast the orthodox and pure doctrine.”

The second letter of John is addressed to Cyril alone, and begins, like the first, with the remark that the Antiochenes had not taken part in the Council of Ephesus, but considers it now, in the time of peace, superfluous to go into the causes of the past discord, and prefers to go on to the efforts for the restoration of peace which followed, particularly to the sending of Aristolaus and Paul of Emisa, repeats the declaration of faith asked by the Antiochenes from Cyril, and proceeds as follows: “After thou hast received this formula of faith, we, in order to remove all controversy, to unite all the Churches of the world, and to remove all offences, have resolved to acknowledge that Nestorius is deposed, and to anathematize his evil and corrupt new doctrines (τὰς φαύλας αὐτοῦ καὶ βεβήλους καινοφωνίας),” and so forth, as in the first letter.

The third letter of John is again, addressed only to Cyril, and is of a more confidential nature. He begins with the joyful exclamation: “We are again united,” then says that Paul of Emisa is returning to Alexandria with the documents of peace, speaks of his great services in the cause of union, as well as of those of Aristolaus and the two Alexandrian clerics, assures Cyril of his most friendly disposition, prays him to accept this peace with goodwill, and promises to do all he can to induce all the other Oriental bishops to join it.—He did this honestly, and we still possess a letter belonging to this time from him to Theodoret, in which he joyfully informs him that Cyril has now made it impossible falsely to explain his words as teaching only one nature, and has recognized the diversity of the natures. The complete confession of his orthodoxy, however, Paul of Emisa would soon bring back from Alexandria.

Cyril did in fact now transmit, by the medium mentioned, his celebrated letter Lætcntur Cœli to John of Antioch, as answer to his Eirenicon, in which, according to the wish of the Orientals, he repeated verbally not only the introductory declaration given by them, which we adduced above at p. 130, and the creed of the Antiochenes which followed upon it, but also added still further doctrinal explanations, in order to completely remove all suspicion.

As this letter of Cyril’s, often also called “Ephesine Creed,” has obtained great celebrity, we quote the following portions of it. After Cyril had, as has been said, expressed his full agreement with the above-mentioned introduction and the creed of the Antiochenes, he designates as slanderers those who accuse him of maintaining that the body of Christ comes from heaven, and not from the holy Virgin. The whole controversy, he says, has arisen from this, that he called Mary the “God-bearer.” But this expression he could not possibly have used, if he had regarded the body of Christ as having come down from heaven. Whom else had Mary then borne, but Emmanuel after the flesh? If, however, we say that “our Lord Jesus Christ is from heaven,” we mean not that His flesh came down from heaven, but we follow the holy Paul, who exclaims: “Ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκὸς, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ” (1 Cor. 15:47). Christ is also called ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, as He, perfect according to the Godhead, and perfect also according to His manhood, is to be comprehended as one Person. For the Lord Jesus Christ is One, although the difference of the natures, from which the unutterable union took place, is not to be ignored. Those, however, who speak of a mixture (κρᾶσις ἤ σύγχυσις ἤ φυρμὸς) of the Logos with the flesh, must be checked by thee. I know that some accuse me of such language; I am, however, so far removed from it, that I hold as senseless those who suppose that any change can take place in the divine nature. Moreover, we all teach that the Logos of God is incapable of suffering, although He attributes to Himself the suffering of His flesh (κατʼ οἰκείωσιν οἰκονομικήν).… We do not in any wise allow that any one should alter a single word or omit a syllable in the Nicene Creed, for it was not those (318) Fathers who spoke there, but the Spirit of God and the Father, who proceeds from Him, but is also not foreign to the Son in regard to His essence (οὐσία).… Finally, Cyril remarks, as the letter (so often quoted in the Nestorian question) of S. Athanasius to Epictetus was circulating in falsified copies (falsified by the Nestorians), he appended accurate copies of the original which was at Alexandria.

To his own Church Cyril announced the joyful event of the restoration of peace in a sermon, of which a fragment in a Latin translation, and with the date 28th of Pharmut, i.e. April 23 (probably of the year 433), has come down to us. Tillemont infers from this that the union in question was probably concluded in March 433, which, besides, is not in itself improbable, even if that date in the superscription of a mere translation can have no great importance.

The happy restoration of peace was immediately communicated by Cyril to Pope Sixtus and to Bishops Maximian of Constantinople and Donatus of Nicopolis. The Patriarch John, however, in announcing the fact to the two Emperors, Theodosius II. and Valentinian III., added a petition that they would see to the restoration of the deposed bishops. In a circular letter to the rest of the Oriental bishops, he informed these also of what had been done, communicated to them the letters of reconciliation which had been exchanged between Cyril and him, assured them that Cyril was quite orthodox, and entreated them not again to break this beautiful unity. Finally, Pope Sixtus also, greatly rejoiced at their being won back, wrote at last, on September 11, 433, to Cyril, and four days later to John of Antioch, to acquaint them with the sympathy of the Holy See With that which had been accomplished.

SEC. 158. The Union finds Opponents, but is defended by Cyril

The judgments which were soon pronounced upon this work of pacification were very different. The great majority of Christians were in a high degree delighted at it, and congratulated Cyril on his meritorious efforts in the good cause. But there were four classes who were discontented; two classes of his own previous adherents, and two classes of his previous opponents. Of the latter, the one—the enraged Nestorians—decidedly refused, as we shall see more particularly hereafter, to enter the union; while the others affirmed that Nestorius himself had taught nothing different from that which Cyril now acknowledged, and endeavoured to conceal their Nestorianism under the expressions of the creed subscribed by Cyril. Cyril therefore found himself under the necessity of opposing them and their tergiversations, in a comprehensive letter to Bishop Valerian of Iconium. But even of his own previous adherents there were many who were dissatisfied with Cyril, and thought that he had yielded more than was right, had sacrificed his original doctrine, had allowed himself to accept Nestorian terms, and had not imitated those great men of the ancient Church, who endured lifelong banishment rather than give up one iota of the dogma. This reproach was brought against him peculiarly by S. Isidore of Pelusium, the same who had previously blamed him for passionateness against Nestorius (see above, p. 83). According to the testimony of Liberatus, similar accusations were made by Bishop Acacius of Melitene and Valerian of Iconium, as well as by several persons at the imperial court.

As already indicated, these accusers of Cyril, who came from his own camp, also fell into two classes, those who brought these reproaches merely from a misunderstanding, as undoubtedly was the case with Isidore of Pelusium; and those who, really holding Monophysite or Monothelite opinions, understood correctly indeed the new explanations of Cyril, but thought themselves decidedly bound to disapprove of them. The ecclesiastical mean represented by Cyril appeared to them, from their extreme point of view, to be Nestorian. To this class perhaps belongs Acacius of Melitene, who in a letter to Cyril, still extant, commends his efforts for the anathematizing of Nestorianism (and Theodore of Mopsuestia), but at the same time adjures him to pronounce anathema also upon those who maintain that, after the union of the natures in Christ, there still remain two natures, and that each of them has its own operation or activity. This evidently, he said, led to Nestorianism.—He was wrong, for that which here seems to him to be Nestorianism is the orthodox doctrine; he himself, however, stood, although probably without knowing it, at the Monothelite point of view, when he refused to ascribe two operations to the two natures of Christ, or even at the Monophysite, if he meant entirely to deny the duality of the natures.

All this led Cyril to defend himself and the union which had been concluded in a series of treatises. (1) First of all he met the accusation of having required from any one, or having accepted, a new (altered) creed. The matter, on the contrary, stood thus: As the Oriental bishops at Ephesus had fallen under suspicion of holding Nestorian opinions, it had been necessary that they should give an explanation of their faith for their own vindication. (2) Secondly, he shows that this declaration of faith of the Orientals was in fact satisfactory, and that there was a great difference between their faith and that of Nestorius. The latter really denied the Incarnation of the Logos, and rent the one Son in two. The Orientals, on the contrary, because of the unutterable and unmingled union of the Godhead and the manhood (διὰ τὴν ἄφραστον καὶ ἀσύγχυτον ἕνωσιν), call the holy Virgin “the God-bearer,” and confess one Son and Christ and Lord, perfect in the Godhead and perfect in the manhood, because His flesh was quickened by a reasonable soul (in opposition to Apollinarianism). Thus they in no way divide the one Son, Christ, and Lord Jesus into two, but they say: He who was from eternity and who appeared on earth in the last time is one and the same; the former is of God the Father as God, the latter is of woman after the flesh as man. We teach that an union of the two natures has taken place (δύο φύσεων ἕνωσιν γενέσθαι), and acknowledge openly only one Christ, one Son and Lord. We say not, as the heretics, that the Logos prepared for Himself a body out of His own divine nature, but we teach that He assumed flesh of the holy Virgin. If we now regard (hold in our thoughts) that from which He is, the one Son and Lord, we say that two natures are united; but after the union we believe that, while the division into two is now removed (ὡς ἀνῃρημένης ἤδη τῆς εἶς δύο διατομῆς), the nature of the Son is one, as that of the one, but incarnate (μίαν εἶναι πιστεύομεν τὴν τοῦ υἱοῦ φύσιν ὡς ἑνὸς πλὴν ἐνανθρωπήσαντος), and far be all suspicion of a transformation (of the natures) having taken place. The ἕνωσις is an ἀσύγχυτος. (3) Some said: “How can Cyril commend those (the Orientals) who accept two natures? That is certainly a Nestorian expression.” Cyril replies: “That Nestorius teaches two natures is quite true, for in fact the nature of the Logos is different from that of the flesh; but he is wrong in this, that he does not acknowledge with us an ἕνωσις of the natures. We unite them and thus receive one Christ, one Son, and one incarnate nature of God (μίαν τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ φύσιν σεσαρκωμένην). Something similar may be said in reference to every man. Every human being consists of two different parts, body and soul, and the intelligence and the perception (θεωρία) separate the two; but uniting them we make only one nature of man (ποιοῦμεν μίαν ἀνθρώπου φύσιν). To recognize the difference of natures, then, is not to divide the one Christ into two.” In another place he says: “The φύσις of the Logos is recognized as only one: merely in reference to the Incarnation of the Logos can the difference of the natures or hypostases be thought of (ἡ τῶν φύσεων ἥγουν ὑποστάσεων διαφορά). If the question is asked as to the manner of the Incarnation, the human intelligence sees two things unutterably united with each other, but unmingled; yet it in nowise separates that which is united (ὅταν τοίνυν ὁ τῆς σαρκώσεως πολυπραγμονῆται τρόπος͵ δύο τὰ ἀλλήλοις ἀποῤῥήτως τε καὶ ἀσυγχύτως συνηνεγμένα καθʼ ἕνωσιν ὁρᾷ δὴ πάντως ὁ ἀνθρώπινος νοῦς͵ ἑνωθέντα γε μὴν διΐστησιν οὐδαμῶς), but recognizes in both one God and Son and Christ.”

We can see that Cyril held firmly the traditional expression: μία φύσις τοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, but in such a way that he does not thereby deny the distinction of natures. On the contrary, he says expressly: “Godhead and manhood are not alike in natural quality” (ἐν ποιότητι φυσικῇ), and will only assert: “The one and unique principle or subject or Ego in the God-man is the Logos, He is also the bearer of the human in Christ.” As with Athanasius, so with Cyril, as often as he uses the expression, the idea of φύσις approaches to that of nature or personality (see above, p. 3); as we have seen, with reference to this subject he uses φύσις and ὑπόστασις as identical. It is true that Cyril says repeatedly: Only when one holds firmly in thought that of which Christ consists, can two natures be distinguished (ἐν ψιλαῖς καὶ μόναις ἐνοίαις δεχόμενοι); but it would be wrong to understand this as though in his view the two natures were not real, but were mere abstractions, φωναὶ, verba, and that, after the union, only one nature really remained. Against this notion we have (α) The example used by Cyril of the union of soul and body in man, where, however, both factors remain after the union as always real. Besides, (β) Cyril repeatedly asserts that no mingling or transmutation of the natures of the Christ consists, is to be received, which is the same as to say that neither of them has lost its reality through the union. To this we must add (γ) that the whole accusation, that Cyril regarded the two natures in Christ as only φωναὶ, rests upon a mere misunderstanding, for he understands by this not the natures, but the attributes and predicates (ἰδιώματα), as that which follows shows. (4) The opponents had represented to Cyril that “the Antiochenes speak of two natures, and mean that in reference to this the φωναὶ of those who speak of God (i.e. the predicates used of Christ) are distinct. Is this not a contradiction of your doctrine? You certainly do not allow these φωνὰς to be divided into two πρόσωπα or ὑποστάσεις.” Cyril replied that he had certainly, in his fourth anathematism, anathematized those who so separate the φωνὰς as to attribute the one merely to the Logos, and the other merely to the man; but he had certainly not denied the difference of the φωναὶ (φωνῶν διαφορὰς). The Orientals accept (in thought ἐν ἐννοίαις) a difference (διαφορὰν) of natures, but allow no separation of them (διαίρεσιν φυσικὴν), like Nestorius, and only allow a division of the φωναὶ which are used with reference to our Lord. They do not say: “The one class of these φωναὶ refer only to the Logos of God, the other only to the Son of man” (for the Son of God and the Son of man are one), but: “The one refer only to the Godhead, the other to the manhood.” Other φωναὶ, however, they say again, are common and apply to both natures. And in all this they are right, for some φωναὶ refer principally to the Godhead, others more to the manhood, others are of an intermediate kind; but both those winch refer to the Godhead and those which refer to the manhood are ascribed only to one Son. (5) John of Antioch had written in a letter to some acquaintances that “Cyril now recognizes the difference of the natures, and divides (διαιρεῖν) the φωναὶ between the natures.” Former friends of Cyril took offence at this, on which account he declared as follows, that his opponents had suspected him as though, like Apollinaris, he had denied to the manhood of Christ a reasonable soul, and asserted a mingling or transmutation of the Logos into flesh. In the same way they had said that he agreed with Arius, because he would not recognize the διαφορὰ of the φωναί. He had defended himself against these accusations, and had written to John that he maintained neither a transmutation of the Logos into flesh nor of the flesh into the divine nature, nor had he denied the διαφοραὶ of the φωναί. The words quoted, however, διαιρεῖν, etc., were not his, but proceeded from the Antiochenes.

The apology for his Eirenicon was put forth by Cyril principally in his letters to Bishop Acacius of Melitene, and to his own envoy at Constantinople, the priest Eulogius, in the letter already quoted to Valerian of Iconium, and also in two letters to Bishop Successus or Succensus of Diocæsarea in Isauria. The latter appears to have partially occupied the Apollinarian point of view, and from this to have addressed reproaches to Cyril, in two admonitions which he sent to him. Cyril, in answer to the first, defends the Antiochene expression, “two natures,” clearly explains his own doctrinal position, and in conclusion opposes the Apollinarian or Eutychian proposition advanced by Succensus, that after the resurrection the body of Christ was transformed into the Godhead. In his second letter, on the contrary, which at the conclusion corresponds with that addressed to Acacius of Melitene, he shows that his words: μία φύσις τοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, did not lead to the Apollinarian (better, Monophysite) consequences which, in the first admonition of Succensus, had been deduced from them. At the same time Cyril speaks in two letters of the Nestorians as then circulating various spurious letters drawn up by themselves, particularly one from the Roman priest and legate Philippus, according to which Pope Sixtus had disapproved of the deposition of Nestorius; a second from Cyril himself, full of professed regret for his conduct at Ephesus, and others again from distinguished Oriental bishops containing their renunciation of the reconciliation which had been effected. Cyril asserts most distinctly that the first two are entire forgeries, and that the latter are also certainly spurious.

As we have already seen, John of Antioch had informed all the Oriental bishops of the conclusion of the union by an encyclical letter, and had invited them to accept it, and in particular had informed Theodoret of Cyrus, but at an earlier period, of the now undoubted orthodoxy of Cyril. Theodoret’s answer was unfriendly. The union in itself (from the dogmatic point of view) he did not blame, and thus implicitly recognized the orthodoxy of Cyril, but he demanded that all the bishops who had taken sides in the controversy with the Antiochenes, and had for that reason been deposed (see above, p. 118), should be restored to their sees, otherwise the peace would be dishonourable and he could not come into it. But the Patriarch John must use his influence with the Emperors to secure that restoration. At the same time he informed him that Bishop Himerius of Nicomedia (one of the four deposed) went much further, and declared him, Theodoret, together with the patriarch, to be a traitor to their cause.

The Eirenicon of Andrew of Samosata, Meletius of Mopsuestia, and Dorotheus of Marcianopolis in Mœsia, was attacked more from the doctrinal side, and most strongly by Alexander, bishop of Hierapolis, and charged with too great a leaning to Apollinarianism. Alexander, as violent as ever, added, moreover, invectives against his Patriarch, John, declaring that he would refuse communion to him and all the allies of Cyril, even if it should cost him his life. He had already prepared a memorial on the subject, and had not yet circulated it publicly, only because he wished first to communicate it to Andrew of Samosata and Theodoret. In a second letter, addressed to the latter, he reminds him how he had protested at Ephesus against the word θεοτόκος, and now he would rather a thousand times suffer death than hold communion with Cyril and those who accepted the blasphemous word. This word alone contained a complete heresy, however many explanations might be appended to it. In a third letter, also intended for Theodoret, he accuses Paul of Emisa of having from the first mutilated the document of the Orientals which had been transmitted to Alexandria (i.e. the declaration of faith which they presented to Cyril), in order that Cyril might the more easily accept it. Theodoret confirmed this accusation, and invited Alexander and Andrew of Samosata, with other colleagues, to a Synod at Hierapolis or at Zeugma (both lay in the Syrian province of Euphratensis), in order to take counsel with them as to what was further to be done in reference to the union.

Informed of this by Alexander, Andrew of Samosata declared himself quite ready to go to Zeugma, remarking that he had no need to deliberate on the subject of Nestorius, because he was quite convinced of his innocence. It was quite otherwise with Alexander. Theodoret besought him to come to Zeugma as soon as possible; but he answered evasively, and while he would not directly withdraw from participation, at the same time he does not believe that John of Antioch will, as Theodoret requires, pronounce an anathema on the propositions of Cyril, and just as little that Cyril had, as Theodoret reported, altered his teaching. On the contrary, the new declarations of Cyril were as impious as the old. For the rest, he would come to the Synod if Theodoret would first obtain from John of Antioch an anathema on the propositions of Cyril, and a refusal to accede to the deposition of Nestorius. These were the two points on which John had given him offence, and if Theodoret and the others did not take the same offence at them, then a meeting with them would be superfluous. In fact, although he was metropolitan of the province of Euphratensis, he did not appear at the Synod at Zeugma, as we learn from the still extant documents of the Synod. These are, first, a letter of Theodoret to John of Antioch, which undoubtedly belongs to this subject, in which it is said that the assembled bishops recognized the recent declarations of Cyril as orthodox, and had seen in them a recantation of the error contained in his anathematisms. Whilst they rejoiced at this, they could not, however, concede that Cyril should require that the Orientals should pronounce an anathema on Nestorius, and John should inform them whether such was actually demanded. In conclusion, Bishop Alexander was requested to reconsider his violence.

The other documents belonging to this subject are: a letter of Bishop Andrew of Samosata to Alexander, two letters of Alexander to him, and a letter from Alexander to John of Germanicia. We see from these that Alexander had not been present at the Synod of Zeugma, and did not approve of its resolutions; that, on the contrary, Andrew of Samosata, John of Germanicia, and Theodoret acknowledged, at the Synod, the orthodoxy of Cyril, but not the deposition of Nestorius. Theodoret, in particular, explained in a still extant letter to Nestorius, that he had found the writings of Cyril free from every stain of heresy, but that, on the other hand, he was equally convinced of the innocence of Nestorius, and would rather lose both hands than agree to his deposition. He wrote the same to Bishop Theosebius of Chios in Bithynia. Another and much more violent letter, which is equally attributed to Theodoret, cannot, as Tillemont long ago pointed out, have proceeded from him, since in it Cyril is distinctly charged with heresy. Such was the view of Alexander of Hierapolis, who persisted in this opinion and refused communion not only to his Patriarch, John,1 but also to Theodoret of Cyrus, Andrew of Samosata, and all who regarded Cyril as orthodox, and summoned them before the judgment-seat of God.1

His point of view was taken by many other Oriental bishops of the province of Euphratensis, of the two Cilicias, of Cappadocia Secunda, Bithynia, Thessaly, and Mœsia, chiefly Bishops Eutherius of Tyana and Helladius of Tarsus, who now wrote to Pope Sixtus, asking him to make common cause with them against the union. They invited also the accession of Alexander of Hierapolis and Theodoret of Cyrus, and that of the former with success. At the same time the bishops of Cilicia Secunda assembled in a Synod at Anazarbus, in which they declared that the union was void, that Cyril was a heretic as before, and that every one should be excommunicated who was in communion with him until he had completely repudiated his impious chapters. To this resolution the bishops of Cilicia Prima also assented.

SEC. 159. The Union is at last, although not without constraint, accepted universally

In consequence of what has been mentioned, Theodoret and his friends took an intermediate position between this party of utter hostility to the union on the one side, and the Patriarch John with the decided friends of union on the other side. While Alexander of Hierapolis and the Synod of Anazarbus entirely repudiated the union, and persistently declared Cyril to be a heretic, Theodoret and the Synod of Zeugma did not deny the orthodoxy of Cyril, but would accept the union only upon the condition of saving Nestorius. John of Antioch was dissatisfied with both sides, and thought it the best way to compel the universal acceptance of the union in his patriarchate by the application of punishments and threats. In this he thought the Emperor should help him and apply the secular arm for the purpose. He therefore addressed a letter to the prefect of the Pretorian guard, Taurus, expressing his satisfaction that, after the death of Maximian, the (anti-Nestorian) Proclus of Cyzicus had been raised to the see of Constantinople, and praying that the court would take measures to re-establish peace and to bridle the obstinate. At the same time Verius, his secretary at Constantinople, of whom we have already heard, exerted himself to obtain an imperial Sacra, to the effect that the Oriental bishops must be in communion with John or leave their sees. The Nestorian Meletius of Mopsuestia (see above, p. 145) reproaches him with having spent much money for this purpose on the court officials, and adds that he has certainly attained his end, but that the carrying out of the decree was still postponed for some time, until peaceful efforts for the re-establishment of union should once more be made. Others, on the contrary, professed to know that the Emperor had recalled the command which he had given, in order to avoid making the excitement still greater in some of the provinces.

In order to induce the bishop of Cilicia to reunite with the Patriarch John, the imperial Quæstor Domitian now wrote to the Cilician Metropolitan Helladius of Tarsus, who was hostile to union, with reference to the imperial rescript. John of Antioch, however, informed Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis, that, in accordance with the imperial command, no bishop must appear at court (where they would intrigue against the union), and that he should communicate this to the bishops who were subject to him. Alexander certified that this letter had been read in his presence, but he had not received it personally, as it came from the Bishop of Antioch.

Andrew of Samosata acted quite differently. Hitherto belonging to the middle party, he found, by the influence of the earnest friends of union, and especially of Bishop Rabulas of Edessa, a feeling of hostility stirred up against him among a number of his own diocesans, and therefore had left his diocese, in order, as it appears, to visit Rabulas, and to take counsel with him. At the same time he also left the middle party of Theodoret and came into full communion with his patriarch, without wishing to make any further stand on the condition in reference to Nestorius. Indeed he now became a zealous promoter of union, and endeavoured to induce the clergy of Hierapolis, in opposition to their bishop, Alexander, to take part in the work of pacification.

Theodoret continued longer in his middle position, and for a time was even driven by some violent steps on the part of John further to the left side. In a letter to Meletius of Neocæsarea, he complains particularly that John illegally appointed bishops in foreign dioceses (over which he was patriarch, but not metropolitan), and even chose for them unworthy persons. He had for this reason broken off communion with him. A second letter he, in common with Alexander, Abbibus, and others, addressed to the bishops of Syria, Cilicia Prima and Secunda, and Cappadocia Secunda, again full of complaints respecting the attempts at union, and the arbitrary ordinations of John. The bishops of Cilicia Prima and Secunda answered, with letters full of sympathy, in the like spirit of hostility to the union. Theodoret further addressed a letter of complaint to a Magister Militum, and described how his opponents had endeavoured to set fire to his basilica of SS. Cosmas and Damian, but had been prevented by the people. They had also driven from his house Bishop Abbibus of Doliche in Syria, who was at the point of death, and had declared him to be mad; and in his place John of Antioch had set up the vicious Athanasius, and in another see the ill-famed Marinian, in defiance of all the canons. Abbibus himself had before given information of what had been done to Theodoret and other friends, with the addition that John had required a recantation of him; but that he had neither conceded this, nor voluntarily resigned his bishopric. About the same time Dorotheus of Marcianopolis transmitted to Alexander and Theodoret a copy of the pastoral letter in which the new bishop of Constantinople, Proclus, had declared the Orientals to be heretics, and asks whether they should not with one accord address the Emperor; and, in fact, Alexander of Hierapolis and his suffragans Theodoret, Abbibus, etc., in short, the bishops of the Provincia Euphratensis, now addressed a letter of complaint against John of Antioch to the Empress Pulcheria. They did not, however, attain their end in the least; on the contrary, there appeared an imperial Sacra (of which we now possess only a fragment), in which the efforts for peace are commended, and the disturbers of unity threatened. In particular, Meletius of Mopsuestia was exhorted (although in vain), by the imperial Count Neotherius, to be reconciled to John; the like exhortation was addressed by Dionysius, Magister Militum (for the East), to Alexander, Theodoret, Helladius (of Tarsus), and Maximinus (of Anazarbus), with the alternative either to surrender their episcopal sees, or to come into communion with John.

At the same time the Emperor entrusted to Count and Vicar Titus a commission to hasten the execution of these alternatives. This was effectual. First, the bishops of Cilicia Secunda, with their Metropolitan, Maximin of Anazarbus, returned to communion with Cyril and John of Antioch. The same was requested by nearly all the bishops and clergy of Cilicia Prima, and even their Metropolitan, Helladius of Tarsus, began now to waver. This is shown by his letter to Meletius of Mopsuestia, whom he asks for counsel; and although the answer dissuaded him, yet Helladius found himself constrained, by the example of Cilicia Secunda and by the wish of his own suffragans, to come into the union, although, as he declares, with a heavy heart. Theodoret, too, the spiritual head of the middle party, had counselled him to it,1 since, after long hesitation and negotiation, he had now become friendly to the union. The Count and Vicar Titus, already named, had sent a special official to him with a letter to the then famous monks, Jacob of Nisibis, Simeon Stylites, and Bardatus, and had threatened them all with deposition unless they would be reconciled with John. Theodoret at first laughed at this threat, and intended to resign his bishopric, but the monks so urged him that he yielded so far as to have a conference with John of Antioch.1 Alexander of Hierapolis, with whom he was still in accord, and to whom he communicated this (l.c.), was very much annoyed with these monks, and persisted in his opinion as to Cyril’s heresy. Theodoret replied to him that the formularies (the union documents) had been laid before him, and that one of the provisions seemed less insidious, inasmuch as it required no approval of that which had been wrongly done at Ephesus (the deposition of Nestorius). As for the rest, he heard that the present bishop of Constantinople, Proclus, was orthodox in his teaching. Alexander would, he hoped, impart to him his view of the conditions of peace which the bishop of Antioch had laid down. The bishops illegally ordained by him must be deposed. That John had consented to the condemnation of Nestorius was incorrect; but he had certainly done so in a mild form, and had not condemned his teaching directly, but had only said: “We anathematize whatsoever he has taught or thought in opposition to the sense of the Church.”

Alexander replied, that it was not the unlawful depositions and the like, but the doctrinal point, which he regarded as the principal matter; and so long as Cyril did not recant his heresy, he would not have communion with him or with those who recognized him. Theodoret endeavoured again to make him more submissive, but Alexander remained obstinate, and Theodoret now concluded peace with the Patriarch, after he had, in the interview just mentioned, satisfied himself of his orthodoxy, and John had conceded, that, whoever was unwilling, should not be required to subscribe the deposition of Nestorius.

On the same conditions the bishops of Isauria also joined the union, but Alexander of Hierapolis, Meletius of Mopsuestia, Abbibus of Doliche, Zenobius of Zephyrium in Cilicia Prima, Eutherius of Tyana, Anastasius of Tenadus, Pausianus of Hypata, Julianus of Sardica, Basilius of Larissa, Theosebius of Chios, Acilinus of Barbolissus, Maximinus of Demetrias in Thessaly, and the three Mœsian bishops, Dorotheus of Marcianopolis, Valeanius, and Eudocius, were deposed and expelled from their sees.

The Emperor (Theodosius II.) further gave command, in the year 435, that Nestorius, who since the year 432 had lived in his former monastery at Antioch, should be banished to Petra in Arabia. Probably in consequence of a second decree he was, however, brought to Oasis (perhaps to the city of Great Oasis) in Egypt. He still lived there in the year 439, at the time when Socrates wrote his Church history. The irruptions of barbarous tribes caused him to leave this place again and flee to the Thebaid; but the imperial governor had him conveyed, against his will and not without severe constraint, to Elephantis, at the outermost boundary of the Thebaid, and subsequently to Panopolis. When and where he died is unknown. The anti-Nestorian zeal of the Emperor was now, however, so great that he ordered all the writings of Nestorius to be burnt, and his adherents for the future to be called by the nickname of Simonians (from Simon Magus), in the same way as the Arians were called Porphyrians by command of Constantine the Great. For the rest, he sent anew the tribune and notary Aristolaus, of whom we have already heard, to the East, in order further to bring all the bishops who had entered the union to the positive acceptance of the anathema on Nestorius. That the bishops of Cilicia Prima acceded, they tell us themselves in a letter still extant, and besides, John of Antioch remarks that also in Paralia (Cyprus), Phœnicia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Osrhœne, Euphratesia, the two Syrias, and Isauria, the same took place. At the same time Cyril sent to Aristolaus and the patriarch John a new declaration of faith, which the Orientals should be required to subscribe, along with the anathema on Nestorius. The information, that many Orientals had accepted the expression θεοτόκος and the anathema on Nestorius, and yet retained the Nestorian doctrine, had induced him to do this. John, however, would hear nothing of a new formula, and Cyril now restricted himself to the request that Aristolaus would urge the acceptance of the three propositions: (a) Mary is the God-bearer; (b) there are not two, but only one Christ; and (c) the Logos, although in His nature incapable of suffering, suffered in the flesh.

SEC. 160. Attack upon Theodore of Mopsuestia. Synods in Armenia and Antioch. Overthrow of Nestorianism

In order thoroughly to eradicate Nestorianism, Cyril and his friends, especially Bishop Rabulas of Edessa, now also began the war against the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the now long deceased teacher of Nestorius (see above, p. 5 ff.). Since the Emperor had so strictly prohibited the books of Nestorius, his adherents had circulated those of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and of the still older Diodorus of Tarsus, and had translated them into Syriac, Armenian, and Persian. Rabulas of Edessa, therefore, pronounced in church an anathema on Theodore, as Ibas the priest and subsequently the bishop of Edessa tells us in his letter to Maris, which afterwards became so famous. Rabulas further drew Cyril’s attention to the fact that Theodore was peculiarly the father of the Nestorian heresy, and, in union with Acacius of Melitene, warned the Armenian bishops of the books of Theodore; while, on the other hand, Cilician bishops assured the Armenians that Rabulas was denouncing the writings of Theodore merely out of personal spite, because the latter had once convicted him of an error. The Armenians now held a Synod, and sent two clerics, Leontius and Aberius, to Bishop Proclus of Constantinople, in order to obtain information as to whether the genuine doctrine was that of Theodore or that of Rabulas and Acacius. Proclus, in an excellent letter, which is still extant, wrote decisively against Theodore, of whose errors he earnestly warned them. This letter was also signed by Cyril and John of Antioch, with his bishops. At the same time Cyril, on his own behalf, wrote a work, of which we possess only fragments, against Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, whom he described as the source of the Nestorian heresy. When he afterwards visited Jerusalem he heard here also complaints of the writings of Theodore, and of many Orientals, who, through using them, propagated errors worse than those of Nestorius, so that he now found it necessary to explain the true sense of the Nicene formula, and asked his colleague John, by letter, not to allow the impious doctrines of Theodore to be propagated in Antioch. In the same sense he also addressed the Emperor. As, however, many, especially Armenian monks, went much further than Cyril, and declared decidedly orthodox expressions of Theodore to be heretical, inasmuch as they themselves occupied the Monophysite point of view, not only did John of Antioch take up his defence in a Synod and in several letters, but also Cyril and Proclus of Constantinople opposed his unjust accusers, and resisted their demand for an anathema on Theodore. The Emperor, moreover, gave order, in an edict addressed to John of Antioch, that the peace of the Church should be maintained, and that it should not be permitted that men who had died in the communion of the Catholic Church should be calumniated. With this the controversy rested for several years, especially as Bishop Rabulas died about this time, in the year 435, and the most declared admirer of Theodore, the priest Ibas, who has been already mentioned, became his successor. The Nestorian heresy, however, in consequence of stringent imperial edicts, and by the deposition of the bishops who were hostile to union, was, after a few years, suppressed throughout the whole Roman Empire. It died out, so to speak, with the exiled bishops; and its last relics were annihilated by the Emperor Zeno in the year 489, when he ordered the closing of the school at Edessa, their last refuge. Some traces of Nestorians have been discovered by Tillemont as late as towards the end of the sixth century; but their special home was no longer in the Roman Empire, but in the kingdom of Persia, where they continued to exist under the name of Chaldæan Christians, and whence they have spread into other countries of the East, to India, Arabia, China, and among the Tartars. For a long time Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and later Bagdad, was the residence of the Nestorian Patriarch, who, in the thirteenth century, was owned by no fewer than twenty-five metropolitans as their spiritual head. The terrible Tamerlane almost exterminated them; and only on the heights and in the valleys of Kurdistan have about 700,000 Nestorians maintained an existence under a Patriarch of their own, who resided on to the seventeenth century at Mosul, and more recently at Cochanes, near Djulamerk in Central Kurdistan. A portion of the Nestorians, on the other hand, particularly those in the cities, have, at different times and in different sections, become again united with the Catholic Church, and are likewise under a special patriarch as “Chaldæan Christians.” Their number, however, has been reduced to an extraordinary extent by wars, pestilence, and cholera.

Much more dangerous for the faith of the Church than the Nestorians were their extreme opponents, the Monophysites, whose heresy was soon discovered, and was smitten with anathema at the fourth Œcumenical Synod at Chalcedon in the year 451, scarcely twenty years after the holding of the Council of Ephesus. Before, however, this new heresy became the subject of synodal proceedings, several other less important ecclesiastical assemblies took place in the meantime, of which we must give an account in the next book.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com