Select Writings from the Christological Controversies


I. Cyril of Alexandria (Alexandria/Ephesus)

A. Cyril of Alexandria , HOMILY 1 (LUKE 2:4-8)

Christ, therefore, was born in Bethlehem at the time when Augustus Caesar gave orders that the first enrollment should be made. But what necessity was there, some one may perhaps say, for the very wise Evangelist to make special mention of this? Yes, I answer: it was both useful and necessary for him to mark the period when our Savior was born; for it was said by the voice of the Patriarch: The head shall not depart from Judah, nor a governor from his thighs until He come, for Whom it is laid up: and He is the expectation of the Gentiles. [Gen. 49:10] That we might learn that the Israelites then had no king of the tribe of David, and that their own native governors had failed, with good reason he mentions the decrees of Caesar, as now having Judea and the rest of the nations beneath his scepter, for it was as their ruler that he commanded the census to be made.

Because he was of the house and lineage of David. [Luke 2:4] The book of the sacred Gospels referring the genealogy to Joseph, who was descended from David's house, has proved through him that the Virgin also was of the same tribe as David, inasmuch as the Divine law commanded that marriages should be confined to those of the same tribe; and the interpreter of the heavenly doctrines, the great apostle Paul, clearly declares the truth, bearing witness that the Lord arose out of Juda. [Heb. 7:14] The natures, however, which combined unto this union were different, but from the two together is one God the Son, without the diversity of the natures being destroyed by the union. For a union of two natures was made, and therefore we confess One Christ, One Son, One Lord. And it is with reference to this notion of a union without confusion that we proclaim the holy Virgin to be the mother of God, because God the Word was made flesh and became man, and by the act of conception united to Himself the temple that He received from her. For we perceive that two natures, by an inseparable union, met together in Him without confusion, and indivisibly. For the flesh is flesh, and not deity, even though it became the flesh of God; and in like manner also the Word is God, and not flesh, though for the dispensation's sake He made the flesh His own. But although the natures which concurred in forming the union are both different and unequal to one another, yet He Who is formed from them both is only One; nor may we separate the One Lord Jesus Christ into man severally and God severally, but we affirm that Christ Jesus is One and the Same, acknowledging the distinction of the natures, and preserving them free from confusion with one another.

With Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.[ Luke 2:5] The sacred Evangelist says that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, to show that the conception had taken place upon her betrothal solely, and that the birth of the Emmanuel was miraculous, and not in accordance with the laws of nature. For the holy Virgin did not bear from the immission of man's seed. And what, therefore, was the reason for this? Christ, Who is the first-fruits of all, the second Adam according to the Scriptures, was born of the Spirit, that he might transmit the grace (of the spiritual birth) to us also; for we too were intended no longer to bear the name of sons of men, but of God rather, having obtained the new birth of the Spirit in Christ first, that he might be foremost among all [Col. 1:15], as the most wise Paul declares.

And the occasion of the census most opportunely caused the holy Virgin to go to Bethlehem , that we might see another prophecy fulfilled. For it is written, as we have already mentioned, And thou Bethlehem , house of Ephratah, art very small to be among the thousands of Judah : from thee shall come forth for me to be Ruler in Israel ! [Micah 5:2]

But in answer to those who argue that, if He were brought forth in the flesh, the Virgin was corrupted; and if she were not corrupted, that He was brought forth only in appearance, we say, the prophet declares, the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in and gone out, and the gate remaineth closed. [Ezekiel 44:2] If, moreover, the Word was made flesh without sexual intercourse, being conceived altogether without seed, then He was born without injury to her virginity.

(And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, (and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.) [Luke 2:7-8]

In what sense then her firstborn? By firstborn she here means, not the first among several brethren, but one who was both her first and only son; for some such sense as this exists among the significations of 'first-born.' For sometimes also the Scripture calls that the first which is the only one; as I am God, the First, and with Me there is no others. [Isaiah 44:6] To show then that the Virgin did not bring forth a mere man, there is added the word firstborn; for as she continued to be a virgin, she had no other son but Him Who is of the Father; concerning Whom God the Father also proclaims by the voice of David, And I will set Him Firstborn high among the kings of the earth. [Psalm 88(89):27] Of Him also the all-wise Paul makes mention, saying But when He brought the First-Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. [Heb. 1:6] How then did He enter into the world? For He is separate from it, not so much in respect of place as of nature; for it is in nature that He differs from the inhabitants of the world; but He entered into it by being made man, and becoming a portion of it by the incarnation. For though He is the Only-begotten as regards His divinity, yet as having become our brother, He has also the name of the Firstborn; that, being made the first-fruits as it were of the adoption of men, He might make us also the sons of God.

Consider, therefore, that He is called the Firstborn in respect of the economy; for with respect to His divinity He is the Only-begotten. Again, He is the Only-begotten in respect of His being the Word of the Father, having no brethren by nature, nor being co-ordinate with any being; for the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, is One and Alone; but He becomes the Firstborn by descending to the level of created things. When, therefore, He is called the Only-begotten, He is so with no cause assigned by reason of which He is the Only-begotten, being the Only-begotten God into the bosom of the Father [John 1:18]; but when the divine Scriptures call Him Firstborn, they immediately also add of whom He is the first-born, and assign the cause of His bearing this title; for they say, Firstborn among many brethren [Rom. 8:29]; and Firstborn from the dead [Col. 1:18]; the one, because He was made like unto us in all things except sin; and the other, because He first raised up His own flesh unto incorruption. Moreover, He has ever been the Only-begotten by nature, as being the Sole begotten of the Father, God of God, and Sole of Sole, having shone forth God of God, and Light of Light; but He is the Firstborn for our sakes, that by His being called the Firstborn of things created, whatever resembles Him may be saved through Him; for if He must of necessity be the Firstborn, assuredly those must also continue to exist of whom He is the Firstborn. But if, as Ennamios argues, He is called God's Firstborn, as born the first of many; and He is also the Virgin's Firstborn; then as regards her also, He must be the first as preceding another child; but if He is called Mary's Firstborn, as her only child, and not as preceding others, then is He also God's Firstborn, not as the first of many, but as the Only One born.

Moreover, if the first are confessedly the cause of the second, but God and the Son of God are first, then the Son is the cause of those who have the name of sons, inasmuch as it is through Him that they have obtained the appellation. He, therefore, who is the cause of the second sons may justly be called the Firstborn, not as being the first of them, but as the first cause of their receiving the title of sonship. And just as the Father being called the first- for I, He saith, am the first, and I am after these things [Isaiah 41:4] -assuredly will not compel us to regard Him as similar in nature to those that are after Him; so also, though the Son be called the first of creation, or the Firstborn before all creation, it by no means follows that He is one of the things made; but just as the Father said I am the first, to show that He is the origin of all things, in the same sense the Son also is called the first of creation. For all things were made by Him [John 1:3]. As the Creator and Maker of the world, He is the beginning of all created things.

And she laid him in the manger [because there was no room for them in the inn.] [Luke 2:7]

He found man reduced to the level of the beasts; therefore is He placed like fodder in a manger, that we, having left off our bestial life, might mount up to that degree of intelligence which befits man's nature; and whereas we were brutish in soul, by now approaching the manger, even His own table, we find no longer fodder, but the bread from heaven, which is the body of life.


B. Correspondence of Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius


·  Second letter of Cyril to Nestorius

[Declared by the council of Ephesus to be in agreement with Nicaea ]

Cyril sends greeting in the Lord to the most religious and reverend fellow-minister Nestorius

I understand that there are some who are talking rashly of the reputation in which I hold your reverence, and that this is frequently the case when meetings of people in authority give them an opportunity. I think they hope in this way to delight your ears and so they spread abroad uncontrolled expressions. They are people who have suffered no wrong, but have been exposed by me for their own profit, one because he oppressed the blind and the poor, a second because he drew a sword on his mother, a third because he stole someone else's money in collusion with a maidservant and since then has lived with such a reputation as one would hardly wish for one's worst enemy. For the rest I do not intend to spend more words on this subject in order not to vaunt my own mediocrity above my teacher and master or above the fathers. For however one may try to live, it is impossible to escape the malice of evil people, whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness and who will have to defend themselves before the judge of all.

But I turn to a subject more fitting to myself and remind you as a brother in Christ always to be very careful about what you say to the people in matters of teaching and of your thought on the faith. You should bear in mind that to scandalise even one of these little ones that believe in Christ lays you open to unendurable wrath. If the number of those who are distressed is very large, then surely we should use every skill and care to remove scandals and to expound the healthy word of faith to those who seek the truth. The most effective way to achieve this end will be zealously to occupy ourselves with the words of the holy fathers, to esteem their words, to examine our words to see if we are holding to their faith as it is written, to conform our thoughts to their correct and irreproachable teaching.

The holy and great synod, therefore, stated that

·  1. the only begotten Son, begotten of God the Father according to nature, true God from true God, the light from the light, the one through whom the Father made all things, came down, became incarnate, became man,

·  2. suffered, rose on the third day and ascended to heaven.

·  1. We too ought to follow these words and these teachings and consider what is meant by saying that the Word from God took flesh and became man. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, nor that he was turned into a whole man made of body and soul. Rather do we claim that the Word in an unspeakable, inconceivable manner united to himself hypostatically flesh enlivened by a rational soul, and so became man and was called son of man, not by God's will alone or good pleasure, nor by the assumption of a person alone. Rather did two different natures come together to form a unity, and from both arose one Christ, one Son. It was not as though the distinctness of the natures was destroyed by the union, but divinity and humanity together made perfect for us one Lord and one Christ, together marvellously and mysteriously combining to form a unity. So he who existed and was begotten of the Father before all ages is also said to have been begotten according to the flesh of a woman, without the divine nature either beginning to exist in the holy virgin, or needing of itself a second begetting after that from his Father. (For it is absurd and stupid to speak of the one who existed before every age and is coeternal with the Father, needing a second beginning so as to exist.) The Word is said to have been begotten according to the flesh, because for us and for our salvation he united what was human to himself hypostatically and came forth from a woman. For he was not first begotten of the holy virgin, a man like us, and then the Word descended upon him; but from the very womb of his mother he was so united and then underwent begetting according to the flesh, making his own the begetting of his own flesh.

·  2. In a similar way we say that he suffered and rose again, not that the Word of God suffered blows or piercing with nails or any other wounds in his own nature (for the divine, being without a body, is incapable of suffering), but because the body which became his own suffered these things, he is said to have suffered them for us. For he was without suffering, while his body suffered. Something similar is true of his dying. For by nature the Word of God is of itself immortal and incorruptible and life and life-giving, but since on the other hand his own body by God's grace, as the apostle says, tasted death for all, the Word is said to have suffered death for us, not as if he himself had experienced death as far as his own nature was concerned (it would be sheer lunacy to say or to think that), but because, as I have just said, his flesh tasted death. So too, when his flesh was raised to life, we refer to this again as his resurrection, not as though he had fallen into corruption--God forbid--but because his body had been raised again.

So we shall confess one Christ and one Lord. We do not adore the man along with the Word, so as to avoid any appearance of division by using the word "with". But we adore him as one and the same, because the body is not other than the Word, and takes its seat with him beside the Father, again not as though there were two sons seated together but only one, united with his own flesh. If, however, we reject the hypostatic union as being either impossible or too unlovely for the Word, we fall into the fallacy of speaking of two sons. We shall have to distinguish and speak both of the man as honoured with the title of son, and of the Word of God as by nature possessing the name and reality of sonship, each in his own way. We ought not, therefore, to split into two sons the one Lord Jesus Christ. Such a way of presenting a correct account of the faith will be quite unhelpful, even though some do speak of a union of persons. For scripture does not say that the Word united the person of a man to himself, but that he became flesh. The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that he partook of flesh and blood like us; he made our body his own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside his deity, or his generation from God the Father, but rather in his assumption of flesh remaining what he was.

This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word or his godhead received the origin of their being from the holy virgin, but because there was born from her his holy body rationally ensouled, with which the Word was hypostatically united and is said to have been begotten in the flesh. These things I write out of love in Christ exhorting you as a brother and calling upon you before Christ and the elect angels, to hold and teach these things with us, in order to preserve the peace of the churches and that the priests of God may remain in an unbroken bond of concord and love.

Second letter of Nestorius to Cyril

[condemned by the council of Ephesus ]

Nestorius sends greeting in the Lord to the most religious and reverend fellow-minister Cyril. I pass over the insults against us contained in your extraordinary letter. They will, I think, be cured by my patience and by the answer which events will offer in the course of time. On one matter, however, I cannot be silent, as silence would in that case be very dangerous. On that point, therefore avoiding longwindedness as far as I can, I shall attempt a brief discussion and try to be as free as possible from repelling obscurity and undigestible prolixity. I shall begin from the wise utterances of your reverence, setting them down word for word. What then are the words in which your remarkable teaching finds expression ?

"The holy and great synod states that the only begotten Son, begotten of God the Father according to nature, true God from true God, the light from the light, the one through whom the Father made all things, came down, became incarnate, became man, suffered, rose."

These are the words of your reverence and you may recognise them. Now listen to what we say, which takes the form of a brotherly exhortation to piety of the type of which the great apostle Paul gave an example in addressing his beloved Timothy: "Attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. For by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers". Tell me, what does "attend" mean? By reading in a superficial way the tradition of those holy men (you were guilty of a pardonable ignorance), you concluded that they said that the Word who is coeternal with the Father was passible. Please look more closely at their language and you will find out that that divine choir of fathers never said that the consubstantial godhead was capable of suffering, or that the whole being that was coeternal with the Father was recently born, or that it rose again, seeing that it had itself been the cause of resurrection of the destroyed temple. If you apply my words as fraternal medicine, I shall set the words of the holy fathers before you and shall free them from the slander against them and through them against the holy scriptures.

"I believe", they say, "also in our Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son". See how they first lay as foundations "Lord" and "Jesus" and "Christ" and "only begotten" and "Son", the names which belong jointly to the divinity and humanity. Then they build on that foundation the tradition of the incarnation and resurrection and passion. In this way, by prefixing the names which are common to each nature, they intend to avoid separating expressions applicable to sonship and lordship and at the same time escape the danger of destroying the distinctive character of the natures by absorbing them into the one title of "Son". In this Paul was their teacher who, when he remembers the divine becoming man and then wishes to introduce the suffering, first mentions "Christ", which, as I have just said, is the common name of both natures and then adds an expression which is appropriate to both of the natures. For what does he say ? "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped", and so on until, "he became obedient unto death, even death on a cross". For when he was about to mention the death, to prevent anyone supposing that God the Word suffered, he says "Christ", which is a title that expresses in one person both the impassible and the passible natures, in order that Christ might be called without impropriety both impassible and passible impassible in godhead, passible in the nature of his body.

I could say much on this subject and first of all that those holy fathers, when they discuss the economy, speak not of the generation but of the Son becoming man. But I recall the promise of brevity that I made at the beginning and that both restrains my discourse and moves me on to the second subject of your reverence. In that I applaud your division of natures into manhood and godhead and their conjunction in one person. I also applaud your statement that God the Word needed no second generation from a woman, and your confession that the godhead is incapable of suffering. Such statements are truly orthodox and equally opposed to the evil opinions of all heretics about the Lord's natures. If the remainder was an attempt to introduce some hidden and incomprehensible wisdom to the ears of the readers, it is for your sharpness to decide. In my view these subsequent views seemed to subvert what came first. They suggested that he who had at the beginning been proclaimed as impassible and incapable of a second generation had somehow become capable of suffering and freshly created, as though what belonged to God the Word by nature had been destroyed by his conjunction with his temple or as though people considered it not enough that the sinless temple, which is inseparable from the divine nature, should have endured birth and death for sinners, or finally as though the Lord's voice was not deserving of credence when it cried out to the Jews: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.'' He did not say, "Destroy my godhead and in three days it will be raised up."

Again I should like to expand on this but am restrained by the memory of my promise. I must speak therefore but with brevity. Holy scripture, wherever it recalls the Lord's economy, speaks of the birth and suffering not of the godhead but of the humanity of Christ, so that the holy virgin is more accurately termed mother of Christ than mother of God. Hear these words that the gospels proclaim: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham." It is clear that God the Word was not the son of David. Listen to another witness if you will: "Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ. " Consider a further piece of evidence: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, she was found to be with child of the holy Spirit." But who would ever consider that the godhead of the only begotten was a creature of the Spirit? Why do we need to mention: "the mother of Jesus was there"? And again what of: "with Mary the mother of Jesus"; or "that which is conceived in her is of the holy Spirit"; and "Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt "; and "concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh"? Again, scripture says when speaking of his passion: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh"; and again "Christ died for our sins" and "Christ having suffered in the flesh"; and "This is", not "my godhead", but "my body, broken for you".

Ten thousand other expressions witness to the human race that they should not think that it was the godhead of the Son that was recently killed but the flesh which was joined to the nature of the godhead. (Hence also Christ calls himself the lord and son of David: " 'What do you think of the Christ ? Whose son is he ?' They said to him, 'The son of David.' Jesus answered and said to them, 'How is it then that David inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand"?'". He said this as being indeed son of David according to the flesh, but his Lord according to his godhead.) The body therefore is the temple of the deity of the Son, a temple which is united to it in a high and divine conjunction, so that the divine nature accepts what belongs to the body as its own. Such a confession is noble and worthy of the gospel traditions. But to use the expression "accept as its own" as a way of diminishing the properties of the conjoined flesh, birth, suffering and entombment, is a mark of those whose minds are led astray, my brother, by Greek thinking or are sick with the lunacy of Apollinarius and Arius or the other heresies or rather something more serious than these.

For it is necessary for such as are attracted by the name "propriety" to make God the Word share, because of this same propriety, in being fed on milk, in gradual growth, in terror at the time of his passion and in need of angelical assistance. I make no mention of circumcision and sacrifice and sweat and hunger, which all belong to the flesh and are adorable as having taken place for our sake. But it would be false to apply such ideas to the deity and would involve us in just accusation because of our calumny.

These are the traditions of the holy fathers. These are the precepts of the holy scriptures. In this way does someone write in a godly way about the divine mercy and power, "Practise these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress''. This is what Paul says to all. The care you take in labouring for those who have been scandalised is well taken and we are grateful to you both for the thought you devote to things divine and for the concern you have even for those who live here. But you should realise that you have been misled either by some here who have been deposed by the holy synod for Manichaeism or by clergy of your own persuasion. In fact the church daily progresses here and through the grace of Christ there is such an increase among the people that those who behold it cry out with the words of the prophet, "The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the water covers the sea". As for our sovereigns, they are in great joy as the light of doctrine is spread abroad and, to be brief, because of the state of all the heresies that fight against God and of the orthodoxy of the church, one might find that verse fulfilled "The house of Saul grew weaker and weaker and the house of David grew stronger and stronger".

This is our advice from a brother to a brother. "If anyone is disposed to be contentious", Paul will cry out through us to such a one, "we recognize no other practice, neither do the churches of God". I and those with me greet all the brotherhood with you in Christ. May you remain strong and continue praying for us, most honoured and reverent lord.

Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius

[Read at the council of Ephesus and included in the proceedings . We omit the preface of the letter]

We believe in one God . . .[Nicene Creed]

Following in all points the confessions of the holy fathers, which they made with the holy Spirit speaking in them, and following the direction of their opinions and going as it were in the royal way, we say that the only-begotten Word of God, who was begotten from the very essence of the Father, true God from true God, the light from the light and the one through whom all things in heaven and earth were made, for our salvation came down and emptying himself he became incarnate and was made man. This means that

·  he took flesh from the holy virgin and made it his own, undergoing a birth like ours from her womb and coming forth a man from a woman.

·  He did not cast aside what he was, but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in nature and truth.

·  We do not say that his flesh was turned into the nature of the godhead or that the unspeakable Word of God was changed into the nature of the flesh. For he (the Word) is unalterable and absolutely unchangeable and remains always the same as the scriptures say. For although visible as a child and in swaddling cloths, even while he was in the bosom of the virgin that bore him, as God he filled the whole of creation and was fellow ruler with him who begot him. For the divine is without quantity and dimension and cannot be subject to circumscription.

We confess the Word to have been made one with the flesh hypostatically, and we adore one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We do not divide him into parts and separate man and God in him, as though the two natures were mutually united only through a unity of dignity and authority; that would be an empty expression and nothing more. Nor do we give the name Christ in one sense to the Word of God and in another to him who was born of woman, but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own flesh. As man he was anointed with us, even though he himself gives the Spirit to those who are worthy to receive it and not in measure, as the blessed evangelist John says.

But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt as in an ordinary man born of the holy virgin, in order that Christ may not be thought of as a God-bearing man. For even though "the Word dwelt among us", and it is also said that in Christ dwelt "all the fullness of the godhead bodily", we understand that, having become flesh, the manner of his indwelling is not defined in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints, he was united by nature and not turned into flesh and he made his indwelling in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.

There is therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, but not with the sort of conjunction that a man might have with God as unity of dignity or authority. Equality of honour by itself is unable to unite natures. For Peter and John were equal in honour to each other, being both of them apostles and holy disciples, but they were two, not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be one of juxtaposition for this is not enough for natural union. Nor yet is it a question of relative participation, as we ourselves, being united to the Lord, are as it is written in the words of scripture "one spirit with him". Rather do we deprecate the term "conjunction" as being inadequate to express the idea of union.

Nor do we call the Word from God the Father, the God or Lord of Christ. To speak in that way would appear to split into two the one Christ and Son and Lord and we might in this way fall under the charge of blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For, as we have already said, the Word of God was united hypostatically with the flesh and is God of all and Lord of the universe, but is neither his own slave or master. For it is foolish or rather impious to think or to speak in this way. It is true that he called the Father "God" even though he was himself God by nature and of his being, we are not ignorant of the fact that at the same time as he was God he also became man, and so was subject to God according to the law that is suitable to the nature of manhood. But how should he become God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man and as far as it was fitting for him within the limits of his self-emptying it is said that he was subject to God like ourselves. So he came to be under the law while at the same time himself speaking the law and being a lawgiver like God.

When speaking of Christ we avoid the expression: "I worship him who is carried because of the one who carries him; because of him who is unseen, I worship the one who is seen." It is shocking to say in this connexion: "The assumed shares the name of God with him who assumes." To speak in this way once again divides into two Christs and puts the man separately by himself and God likewise by himself. This saying denies openly the union, according to which one is not worshipped alongside the other, nor do both share in the title "God", but Jesus Christ is considered as one, the only begotten Son, honoured with one worship, together with his own flesh.

We also confess that the only begotten Son born of God the Father, although according to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, suffered in the flesh for us according to the scriptures, and was in his crucified body, and without himself suffering made his own the sufferings of his own flesh, for "by the grace of God he tasted death for all". For that purpose he gave his own body to death though he was by nature life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his own unspeakable power, he might first in his own flesh become the firstborn from the dead and "the first fruits of them that sleep". And that he might make a way for human nature to return to incorruption by the grace of God, as we have just said, "he tasted death for all" and on the third day he returned to life, having robbed the underworld. Accordingly, even though it is said that "through man came the resurrection of the dead", yet we understand that man to have been the Word which came from God, through whom the power of death was overcome. At the right time he will come as one Son and Lord in the glory of the Father, to judge the world in justice, as it is written.

We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death according to the flesh of the only begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, and professing his return to life from the dead and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody worship [sacrificii servitutem] in the churches and so proceed to the mystical thanksgivings and are sanctified having partaken of the holy flesh [corpus] and precious blood of Christ, the saviour of us all. This we receive not as ordinary flesh, heaven forbid, nor as that of a man who has been made holy and joined to the Word by union of honour, or who had a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and real flesh of the Word [ut vere vivificatricem et ipsius Verbi propriam factam.]. For being life by nature as God, when he became one with his own flesh, he made it also to be life-giving, as also he said to us: "Amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood" . For we must not think that it is the flesh of a man like us (for how can the flesh of man be life-giving by its own nature?), but as being made the true flesh [vere proprium eius factam] of the one who for our sake became the son of man and was called so.

For we do not divide up the words of our Saviour in the gospels among two hypostases or persons. For the one and only Christ is not dual, even though he be considered to be from two distinct realities, brought together into an unbreakable union. In the same sort of way a human being, though he be composed of soul and body, is considered to be not dual, but rather one out of two. Therefore, in thinking rightly, we refer both the human and divine expressions to the same person. For when he speaks about himself in a divine manner as "he that sees me sees the Father", and "I and the Father are one", we think of his divine and unspeakable nature, according to which he is one with his own Father through identity of nature and is the "image and impress and brightness of his glory". But when, not dishonouring the measure of his humanity, he says to the Jews: "But now you seek to kill me, a man who has spoken the truth to you", again no less than before, we recognise that he who, because of his equality and likeness to God the Father is God the Word, is also within the limits of his humanity. For if it is necessary to believe that being God by nature he became flesh, that is man ensouled with a rational soul, whatever reason should anyone have for being ashamed at the expressions uttered by him should they happen to be suitable to him as man ? For if he should reject words suitable to him as man, who was it that forced him to become a man like us? Why should he who submitted himself to voluntary self-emptying for our sake, reject expressions that are suitable for such self-emptying? All the expressions, therefore, that occur in the gospels are to be referred to one person, the one enfleshed hypostasis of the Word. For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures.

Even though he is called "the apostle and high priest of our confession", as offering to the God and Father the confession of faith we make to him and through him to the God and Father and also to the holy Spirit, again we say that he is the natural and only-begotten Son of God and we shall not assign to another man apart from him the name and reality of priesthood. For he became the "mediator between God and humanity" and the establisher of peace between them, offering himself for an odour of sweetness to the God and Father. Therefore also he said: "Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body you have prepared for me; [in burnt offerings and sacrifice for sin you have no pleasure]. Then I said, 'Behold I come to do your will, O God', as it is written of me in the volume of the book". For our sake and not for his own he brought forward his own body in the odour of sweetness. Indeed, of what offering or sacrifice for himself would he have been in need, being as God superior to all manner of sin? For though "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", and so we are prone to disorder and human nature has fallen into the weakness of sin, he is not so and consequently we are behind him in glory. How then can there be any further doubt that the true lamb was sacrificed for us and on our behalf? The suggestion that he offered himself for himself as well as for us is impossible to separate from the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at all, nor did he sin in any way. What sort of offering would he need then since there was no sin for which offering might rightly be made?

When he says of the Spirit, "he will glorify me", the correct understanding of this is not to say that the one Christ and Son was in need of glory from another and that he took glory from the holy Spirit, for his Spirit is not better than he nor above him. But because he used his own Spirit to display his godhead through his mighty works, he says that he has been glorified by him, just as if any one of us should perhaps say for example of his inherent strength or his knowledge of anything that they glorify him. For even though the Spirit exists in his own hypostasis and is thought of on his own, as being Spirit and not as Son, even so he is not alien to the Son. He has been called "the Spirit of truth", and Christ is the truth, and the Spirit was poured forth by the Son, as indeed the Son was poured forth from the God and Father. Accordingly the Spirit worked many strange things through the hand of the holy apostles and so glorified him after the ascension of our lord Jesus Christ into heaven. For it was believed that he is God by nature and works through his own Spirit. For this reason also he said: "He (the Spirit) will take what is mine and declare it to you". But we do not say that the Spirit is wise and powerful through some sharing with another, for he is all perfect and in need of no good thing. Since he is the Spirit of the power and wisdom of the Father, that is the Son, he is himself, evidently, wisdom and power.

Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh (for "the Word was in the beginning and the Word was God and the Word was with God", and he made the ages and is coeternal with the Father and craftsman of all things), but because, as we have said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth according to the flesh from her womb. This was not as though he needed necessarily or for his own nature a birth in time and in the last times of this age, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, in order that seeing that it was a woman that had given birth to him united to the flesh, the curse against the whole race should thereafter cease which was consigning all our earthy bodies to death, and in order that the removal through him of the curse, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children", should demonstrate the truth of the words of the prophet: "Strong death swallowed them Up", and again, "God has wiped every tear away from all face". It is for this cause that we say that in his economy he blessed marriage and, when invited, went down to Cana in Galilee with his holy apostles.

We have been taught to hold these things by

·  the holy apostles and evangelists and by

·  all the divinely inspired scriptures and by the true confession of

·  the blessed fathers.

To all these your reverence ought to agree and subscribe without any deceit. What is required for your reverence to anathematise we subjoin to this epistle.

Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus

1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, let him be anathema.

2. If anyone does not confess that the Word from God the Father has been united by hypostasis with the flesh and is one Christ with his own flesh, and is therefore God and man together, let him be anathema.

3. If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema.

4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.

5. If anyone dares to say that Christ was a God-bearing man and not rather God in truth, being by nature one Son, even as "the Word became flesh", and is made partaker of blood and flesh precisely like us, let him be anathema.

6. If anyone says that the Word from God the Father was the God or master of Christ, and does not rather confess the same both God and man, the Word having become flesh, according to the scriptures, let him be anathema.

7. If anyone says that as man Jesus was activated by the Word of God and was clothed with the glory of the Only-begotten, as a being separate from him, let him be anathema.

8. If anyone dares to say that the man who was assumed ought to be worshipped and glorified together with the divine Word and be called God along with him, while being separate from him, (for the addition of "with" must always compel us to think in this way), and will not rather worship Emmanuel with one veneration and send up to him one doxology, even as "the Word became flesh", let him be anathema.

9. If anyone says that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Spirit, as making use of an alien power that worked through him and as having received from him the power to master unclean spirits and to work divine wonders among people, and does not rather say that it was his own proper Spirit through whom he worked the divine wonders, let him be anathema.

10. The divine scripture says Christ became "the high priest and apostle of our confession"; he offered himself to God the Father in an odour of sweetness for our sake. If anyone, therefore, says that it was not the very Word from God who became our high priest and apostle, when he became flesh and a man like us, but as it were another who was separate from him, in particular a man from a woman, or if anyone says that he offered the sacrifice also for himself and not rather for us alone (for he who knew no sin needed no offering), let him be anathema.

11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving and belongs to the Word from God the Father, but maintains that it belongs to another besides him, united with him in dignity or as enjoying a mere divine indwelling, and is not rather life-giving, as we said, since it became the flesh belonging to the Word who has power to bring all things to life, let him be anathema.

12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema.


C. The Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch

(Written between the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon to persuade John to reject Nestorianism and accept the Christological position of Ephesus : the letter was successful)

Cyril to my lord, beloved brother, and fellow minister John, greeting in the Lord.

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" for the middle wall of partition has been taken away, and grief has been silenced, and all kind of difference of opinion has been removed; Christ the Saviour of us all having awarded peace tohis churches, through our being called to this by our most devout and beloved of God kings, who are the best imitators of the piety of their ancestors in keeping the right faith in their souls firm and immovable, for they chiefly give their mind to the affairs of the holy Churches, in order that they may have the noted glory forever and show forth their most renowned kingdom, to whom also Christ himself the Lord of powers distributes good things with plenteous hand and gives to prevail over their enemies and grants them victory. For he does not liein saying: "As I live saith the Lord, them that honour me, I will honour." For when my lord, my most-beloved-of-God, fellow-minister and brother Paul, had arrived in Alexandria, we were filled with gladness, and most naturally at the coming of such a man as a mediator, who was ready to work beyond measure that he might overcome the envy of the devil and heal our divisions, and who by removing the offences scattered between us, would crown your Church and ours with harmony and peace.

Of the reason of the disagreement it issuperfluous to speak. I deem it more useful both to think and speak of things suitable to the time of peace. We were therefore delighted at meeting with that distinguished and most pious man, who expected perhaps to have no small struggle, persuading us that it is necessary to form a an alliance for the peace of the Church, andto drive away the laughter of the heterodox, and for this end to blunt the goads of the stubbornness of the devil. He found us ready for this, so as absolutely to need no labour to be bestowed upon us. For we remembered the Saviour's saying; "Mypeace I give unto you, my peace I leave with you." We have been taught also to say in prayers: "O Lord our God give us peace, for thou hast given us all things." So that if anyone should be in the participation of the peace furnished from God, he is not lacking in any good. That as a matter of fact, the disagreement of the Churches happened altogether unnecessarily and in-opportunely, we now have been fully satisfied by the document brought by my lord, the most pious bishop Paul, which contains an unimpeachable confession of faith, and this he asserted to have been prepared, by your holiness and by the God-beloved Bishops there. The document is as follows, and is set down verbatim in this our epistle.Concerning the Virgin Mother of God, we thus think and speak; and of the man-net of the Incarnation of the Only Begotten Son of God, necessarily, not by way of addition but for the sake of certainty, as we have received from the beginning from the divine Scriptures and from the tradition of the holy fathers, we will speak briefly, adding nothing whatever to the Faith set forth by the holy Fathers in Nice. For, as we said before, it suffices for all knowledge of piety and the refutation of all false doctrine of heretics. But we speak, not presuming on the impossible; but with the confession of our own weakness, excluding those who wish us to cling to those things which transcend human consideration.

We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, perfect God, and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and flesh consisting; begotten before the ages of the Father according to his Divinity, and in the last days, for us and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, of the same substance with his Father according to his Divinity, and of the same substance with us according to his humanity; for there became a union of two natures. Wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord.According to this understanding of this unmixed union, we confess the holy Virgin to be Mother of God; because God the Word was incarnate and became Man, and from this conception he united the temple taken from her with himself.

For we know the theologians make some things of the Evangelical and Apostolic teaching about the Lord common as per-raining to the one person, and other flyings they divide as to the two natures, and attribute the worthy ones to God on account of the Divinity of Christ, and the lowly ones on account of his humanity [to his humanity].

These being your holy voices, and finding ourselves thinking the same with them ("One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,") we glorified God the Saviour of all, congratulating one another that our churches and yours have the Faith which agrees with the God-inspired Scriptures and the traditions of our holy Fathers.

Since I learned that certain of those accustomed to find fault were humming around like vicious wasps, and vomiting out wretched words against me, as that I say the holy Body of Christ was brought from heaven, and not of the holy Virgin, I thought it necessary to say a few words concerning this to them:

O fools, and only knowing how to misrepresent, how have ye been led to such a judgment, how have ye fallen into so foolish a sickness? For it is necessary, it is undoubtedly necessary, to understand that almost all the opposition to us concerningthe faith, arose from our affirming that the holy Virgin is Mother of God. But if from heaven and not from her the holy Body of the Saviour of all was born, how then is she understood to be Mother of God? What then did she bring forth except it be true that she brought forth the Emmanuel according to the flesh? They are to be laughed at who babble such things about me. For the blessed prophet Isaiah does not lie in saying "Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us." Truly also the holy Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin:"Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall save his people from their sins."

For when we say our Lord Jesus Christ descended from heaven, and from above, we do not so say this as if from above and from heaven was his Holy Flesh taken, but rather by way of following the divine Paul, who distinctly declares: "the first man is of the earth, earthy; the Second Man is the Lord from heaven."

We remember too, the Saviour himself saying, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man." Although he was born according to his flesh, as just said, of the holy Virgin, yet God the Word came down from above and from heaven. He "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant," and was called the Son of Man, yet remaining what he was, that is to say God. For he is unchanging and unchangeable according to nature; considered already as one with his own Flesh, he is said to have come down from heaven.

He is also called the Man from heaven, being perfect in his Divinity and perfect in his Humanity, and considered as in one Person. For one is the Lord Jesus Christ, although the difference of his natures is not unknown, from which we say the ineffable union was made.

Will your holiness vouchsafe to silence those who say that a crasis, or mingling or mixture took place between the Word of God and flesh. For it is likely that certain also gossip about me as having thought or said such things.

But I am far from any such thought as that, and I also consider them wholly to rave who think a shadow of change could occur concerning the Nature of the Word of God. For he remains that which he always was, and has not been changed, nor can he ever be changed, nor is he capable of change. For we all confess in addition to this, that the Word of God is impassible, even though when he dispenses most wisely this mystery, he appears to ascribe to himself the sufferings endured in his own flesh. To the same purpose the all-wise Peter also said when he wrote of Christ as having "suffered in the flesh," and not in the nature of his ineffable godhead. In order that he should be believed to be the Saviour of all, by an economic appropriation to himself, as just said, he assumed the sufferings of his own Flesh.

Like to this is the prophecy through the voice of the prophet, as from him, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Let your holiness be convinced nor let anyone else be doubtful that we altogether follow the teachings of the holy fathers, especially of our blessed and celebrated Father Athanasius, deprecating the least departure from it.

I might have added many quotations from them also establishing my words, but that it would have added to the length of my letter and it might become wearisome. And we will allow the defined Faith, the symbol of the Faith set forth by our holy Fathers who assembled some time ago at Nice, to be shaken by no one. Nor would we permit ourselves or others, to alter a single word of those set forth, or to add one syllable, remembering the saying: "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set," for it was not they who spoke but the Spirit himself of God and the Father, who proceedeth also from him, and is not alien from the Son, according to his essence. And this the words of the holy initiators into mysteries confirm to us. For in the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "And after they were come to Mysia , they assayed to go into Bithynia ; but the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not." And the divine Paul wrote: "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

When some of those who are accustomed to turn from the right, twist my speech to their views, I pray your holiness not to wonder; but be well assured that the followers of every heresy gather the occasions of their error from the God-inspired Scriptures, corrupting in their evil minds the things rightly said through the Holy Spirit, and drawing down upon their own heads the unquenchable flame.

Since we have leaned that certain, after having corrupted it, have set forth the orthodox epistle of our most distinguished Father Athanasius to the Blessed Epictetus, so as thereby to injure many; therefore it appeared to the brethren to be useful and necessary that we should send to your holiness a copy of it from some correct ancient transcripts which exist among us. Farewell.


II. Christological Writings of Theodoret of Cyrus (Antiochene/Nestorian Christology)

A. Counter-Statements of Theodoret to Cyril’s 12 Anathema’s against Nestorius

(Opp. Ed. Schulze. V. I. seq. Migne, Lat. 76. col. 391.)

Against I.-But all we who follow the words of the evangelists state that God the Word was not made flesh by nature, nor yet was changed into flesh; for the Divine is immutable and invariable. Wherefore also the prophet David says, "Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."174 And this the great Paul, the herald of the truth, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, states to have been spoken of the Son.175 And in another place God says through the Prophet, "I am the Lord: I change not."176 If then the Divine is immutable and invariable, it is incapable of change or alteration. And if the immutable cannot be changed, then God the Word was not made flesh by mutation, but took flesh and tabernacled in us, according to the word of the evangelist. This the divine Paul expresses clearly in his Epistle to the Philippians in the words, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant."177 Now it is plain from these words that the form of God was not changed into the form of a servant, but, remaining what it was, took the form of the servant. So God the Word was not made flesh, but assumed living and reasonable flesh. He Himself is not naturally conceived of the Virgin, fashioned, formed, and deriving beginning of existence from her; He who is before the ages, God, and with God, being with the Father and with the Father both known and worshipped; but He fashioned for Himself a temple in the Virgin's womb, and was with that which was formed and begotten. Wherefore also we style that holy Virgin qeotokoj, not because she gave birth in natural manner to God, but to man united to the God that had fashioned Him. Moreover if He that was fashioned in the Virgin's womb was not man but God the Word Who is before the ages, then God the Word is a creature of the Holy Ghost. For that which was conceived in her, says Gabriel, is of the Holy Ghost.178 But if the only begotten Word of God is uncreate and of one substance and co-eternal with the Father it is no longer a formation or creation of the Spirit. And if the Holy Ghost did not fashion God the Word in the Virgin's womb, it follows that we understand the form of the servant to have been fashioned, formed, conceived, and generated. But since the form was not stripped of the form of God, but was a Temple containing God the Word dwelling in it, according to the words of Paul "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell" "bodily,"179 we call the Virgin not mother of man (anqrwpotokoj) but mother of God (qeotokoj), applying the former title to the fashioning and conception, but the latter to the union. For this cause the child who was born is called Emmanuel, neither God separated from human nature nor man stripped of Godhead. For Emmanuel is interpreted to mean "God with us", according to the words of the Gospels; and the expression "God with us" at once manifests Him Who for our sakes was assumed out of us, and proclaims God the Word Who assumed. Therefore the child is called Emmanuel on account of God Who assumed, and the Virgin qeotokoj on account of the union of the form of God with the conceived form of a servant. For God the Word was not changed into flesh, but the form of God took the form of a servant.

Against II.-We, in obedience to the divine teaching of the apostles, confess one Christ; and, on account of the union, we name the same both God and man. But we are wholly ignorant of the union according to hypostasis180 as being strange and foreign to the divine Scriptures and the Fathers who have interpreted them. And if the author of these statements means by the union according to hypostasis that there was a mixture of flesh and Godhead, we shall oppose his statement with all our might, and shall confute his blasphemy, for the mixture is of necessity followed by confusion; and the admission of confusion destroys the individuality of each nature. Things that are undergoing mixture do not remain what they were, and to assert this in the case of God the Word and of the seed of David would be most absurd. We must obey the Lord when He exhibits the two natures and says to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."181 But if there had been mixture then God had not remained God, neither was the temple recog-nised as a temple; then the temple was God and God was temple. This is involved in the theory of the mixture. And it was quite superfluous for the Lord to say to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He ought to have said, Destroy me and in three days I shall be raised, if there had really been any mixture and confusion. As it is, He exhibits the temple undergoing destruction and God raising it up. Therefore the union according to hypostasis, which in my opinion they put before us instead of mixture, is superfluous. It is quite sufficient to mention the union, which both exhibits the properties of the natures and teaches us to worship the one Christ.

Against III.-The sense of the terms used is misty and obscure. Who needs to be told that there is no difference between conjunction and concurrence? The concurrence is a concurrence of the separated parts; and the conjunction is a conjunction of the distinguished parts. The very clever author of the phrases has laid down things that agree as though they disagreed. It is wrong, he says, to conjoin the hypostases by conjunction; they ought to be conjoined by concurrence, and that a natural concurrence. Possibly he states this not knowing what he says; if he knows, he blasphemes. Nature has a compulsory force and is involuntary; as for instance, if I say we are naturally hungry, we do not feel hunger of free-will but of necessity; and assuredly paupers would have left off begging if the power of ceasing to be hungry had lain in their own will; we are naturally thirsty; we naturally sleep; we naturally breathe; and all these actions, I repeat, belong to the category of the involuntary, and he who is no longer capable of them necessarily ceases to exist. If then the concurrence in union of the form of God and the form of a servant was natural, then God the Word was trotted to the form of the servant under the compulsion of necessity, and not because He put in force His loving kindness, and the Lawgiver of the Universe will be found to be a follower of the laws of necessity. Not thus have we been taught by the blessed Paul; on the contrary, we have been taught that He took the form of a servant and "emptied Himself;"182 and the expression "emptied Himself" indicates the voluntary act. If then He was united by purpose and will to the nature assumed from us, the addition of the term natural is superfluous. It suffices to confess the union, and union is understood of things distinguished, for if there were no division an union could never be apprehended. The apprehension then of the union implies previous apprehension of the division. How then can he say that the hypostases or natures ought not to be divided? He knows all the while that the hypostasis of God the Word was perfect before the ages; and that the form of the servant which was assumed by It was perfect; and this is the reason why he said hypostases and not hypostasis. If therefore either nature is perfect, and both came together, it is obvious that after the form of God had taken the form of a servant, piety compels us to confess one son and Christ; while to speak of the trotted hypos-tases or natures as two, so far from being absurd, follows the necessity of the case. For if in the case of the one man we divide the natures, and call the mortal nature body, but the immortal nature soul, and both man, much more consonant is it with right reason to re-cognise the properties alike of the God who took and of the man who was taken. We find the blessed Paul dividing the one man into two where he says in one passage, "Though our outward man perish yet the inward man is renewed,"183 and in another "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man."184 And again "that Christ may dwell in the inner man."185 Now if the apostle divides the natural conjunction of the synchronous natures, with what reason can the man who describes the mixture to us by means of other terms indite us as impious when we divide the properties of the natures of the everlasting God and of the man assumed at the end of days?

Against IV.-These statements, too, are akin to the preceding. On the assumption that there has been a mixture, he means that there is a distinction of terms as used both in the holy Gospels and in the apostolic writings. And he uses this language while glorifying himself that he is at war at once with Arius and Eunomius and the rest of the heresiarchs. Let then this exact professor of theology tells us how he would confute the blasphemy of the heretics, while applying to God the Word what is uttered humbly and appropriately by the form of the servant. They indeed while thus doing lay down that the Son of God is inferior, a creature, made, and a servant. To whom then are we, holding as we do the opposite opinion to theirs, and confessing the Son to be of one substance and co-eternal with God the Father, Creator of the Universe, Maker, Beautifier, Ruler, and Governor, All-wise, Almighty, or rather Himself, Power, Life and Wisdom, to refer the words "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me;"186 or "Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me;"187 or "Father save me from this hour;"188 or "That hour no man knoweth, not even the Son of Man;"189 and all the other passages spoken and written in lowliness by Him and by the holy apostles about Him? To whom shall we apply the weariness and the sleep? To whom the ignorance and the fear? Who was it who stood in need of angelic succour? If these belong to God the Word, how was wisdom ignorant? How could it be called wisdom when affected by the sense of ignorance? How could He speak the truth in saying that He had all that the Father hath,190 when not having the knowledge of the Father? For He says, "The Father alone knoweth that day."191 How could He be the unchanged image of Him that begat Him if He has not all that the Begetter hath? If then He speaks the truth when saying that He is ignorant, any one might suppose this of Him. But if He knoweth the day, but says that He is ignorant with the wish to hide it, you see in what a blasphemy the conclusion issues. For the truth lies and could not properly be called truth if it has any quality opposed to truth. But if the truth does not lie, neither is God the Word ignorant of the day which He Himself made, and which He Himself fixed, wherein He purposes to judge the world, but has the knowledge of the Father as being unchanged image. Not then to God the Word does the ignorance belong, but to the form of the servant who at that time knew as much as the indwelling Godhead revealed. The same position may be maintained about other similar cases. How for instance could it be reasonable for God the Word to say to the Father, "Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt"?192 The absurdities which necessarily thence follow are not a few. First it follows that the Father and the Son are not of the same mind, and that the Father wishes one thing and the Son another, for He said, "Nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt." Secondly we shall have to contemplate great ignorance in the Son, for He will be found ignorant whether the cup can or cannot pass from Him; but to say this of God the Word is utter impiety and blasphemy. For exactly did He know the end of the mystery of the oeconomy Who for this very reason came among us, Who of His own accord took our nature, Who emptied Himself. For this cause too He foretold to the Holy Apostles, "Behold we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed ...into the hands of the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify Him, and the third day He shall rise again."193 How then can He Who foretold these things, and, when Peter deprecated their coming to pass, rebuked him, Himself deprecate their coming to pass, when He clearly knows all that is to be? Is it not absurd that Abraham many generations ago should have seen His day and have been glad,194 and that Isaiah in like manner, and Jeremiah, and Daniel, and Zechariah, and all the fellowship of the prophets, should have foretold His saving passion, and He Himself be ignorant, and beg release from and deprecate it, though it was destined to come to pass for the salvation of the world? Therefore these words are not the words of God the Word, but of the form of the servant, afraid of death because death was not yet destroyed.195 Surely God the Word permitted the utterance of these expressions allowing room for fear, that the nature of Him that had to be born may be plain, and to prevent our supposing the Son of Abraham and David to be an unreality or appearance. The crew of the impious heretics has given birth to this blasphemy through entertaining these sentiments. We shall therefore apply what is divinely spoken and acted to God the Word; on the other hand what is said and done in humility we shall connect with the form of a servant, lest we be tainted with the blasphemy of Arius and Eunomius.

Against V.-We assert that God the Word shared like ourselves in flesh and blood, and in immortal soul, on account of the union relating to them; but that God the Word was made flesh by any change we not only refuse to say, but accuse of impiety those who do, and it may be seen that this is contrary to the very terms laid down. For if the Word was changed into flesh He did not share with us in flesh and blood: but if He shared in flesh and blood He shared as being another besides them: and if the flesh is anything other besides Him, then He was not changed into flesh. While therefore we use the term sharing196 we worship both Him that took and that which was taken as one Son. But we reckon the distinction of the natures. We do not object to the term man bearing God, as employed by many of the holy Fathers, one of whom is the great Basil, who uses this term in his argument to Amphilochius about the Holy Ghost, and in his interpretation of the fifty-ninth psalm. But we call Him man bearing God, not because He received some particular divine grace, but as possessing all the Godhead of the Son united. For thus says the blessed Paul in his interpretation, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."197

Against VI.-The blessed Paul calls that which was assumed by God the Word "form of a servant,"198 but since the assumption was prior to the union, and the blessed Paul was discoursing about the assumption when be called the nature which was assumed "form of a servant," after the making of the union the name of "servitude" has no longer place. For seeing that the Apostle when writing to them that believed in Him said, "So thou art not a servant but a son"199 and the Lord said to His disciples, "Henceforth I will not call you servants but friends;"200 much more the first fruits of our nature, through whom even we were guerdoned with the boon of adoption, would be released from the title of servant. We therefore confess even "the form of the servant" to be God on account of the form of God united to it; and we bow to the authority of the prophet when he calls the babe also Emmanuel, and the child which was born, "Angel of great counsel, wonderful Counsellor, mighty God, powerful, Prince of peace, and Father of the age to come."201 Yet the same prophet, even after the union, when proclaiming the nature of that which was assumed, calls him who is of the seed of Abraham "servant" in the words "Thou art my servant O Israel and in thee will I be glorified;"202 and again, "Thus says the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant;"203 and a little further on, "Lo I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."204 But what was formed from the womb was not God the Word but the form of the servant. For God the Word was not made flesh by being changed, but He assumed flesh with a rational soul.

Against VII.-If the nature of man is mortal, and God the Word is life and giver of life, and raised up the temple which had been destroyed by the Jews, and carried it into heaven, how is not the form of the servant glorified through the form of God? For if being originally and by nature mortal it was made immortal through its union with God the Word, it therefore received what it had not; and after receiving what it had not, and being glorified, it is glorified by Him who gave. Wherefore also the Apostle exclaims, "According to the working of His mighty power which he wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead."205

Against VIII.-As I have often said, the doxology which we offer to the Lord Christ is one, and we confess the same to be at once God and man, as the method of the union has taught us; but we shall not shrink from speaking of the properties of the natures. For God the Word did not undergo change into flesh, nor yet again did the man lose what he was and undergo transmutation into the nature of God. Therefore we worship the Lord Christ, while we maintain the properties of either nature.

Against IX.-Here he has plainly had the hardihood to anathematize not only those who at the present time hold pious opinions, but also those who were in former days heralds of truth; aye even the writers of the divine gospels, the band of the holy Apostles, and, in addition to these, Gabriel the archangel. For he indeed it was who first, even before the conception, announced the birth of the Christ according to the flesh; saying in reply to Mary when she asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."206 And to Joseph he said, "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."207 And the Evangelist says, "When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph...she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."208 And the Lord Himself when He had come into the synagogue of the Jews and had taken the prophet Isaiah, after reading the passage in which he says, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me" and so on, added, "This day is this scripture ful-filled in your ears."209 And the blessed Peter in his sermon to the Jews said, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost."210 And Isaiah many ages before had predicted, "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;"211 and again, "Behold my servant whom I uphold, my beloved in whom my soul delighteth. I will put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."212 This testimony the Evangelist too has inserted in his own writings. And the Lord Himself in the Gospels says to the Jews, "If I with the spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come ripen you."213 And John says, "He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."214 So this exact examiner of the divine decrees has not only anathematized prophets, apostles, and even the archangel Gabriel, but has suffered his blasphemy to reach even the Saviour of the world Himself. For we have shewn that the Lord Himself after reading the passage "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me," said to the Jews, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." And to those who said that He was casting out devils by Beelzebub He replied that He was casting them out by the Spirit of God. But we maintain that it was not God the Word, of one substance and co-eternal with the Father, that was formed by the Holy Ghost and anointed, but the human nature which was assumed by Him at the end of days. We shall confess that the Spirit of the Son was His own if he spoke of it as of the same nature and proceeding from the Father, and shall accept the expression as consistent with true piety. But if he speaks of the Spirit as being of the Son, or as having its origin through the Son we shall reject this statement as blasphemous and impious. For we believe the Lord when He says, "The spirit which proceedeth from the Father;"215 and likewise the very divine Paul saying, "We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God."216

Against X.-The unchangeable nature was not changed into nature of flesh, but assumed human nature and set it over the common high priests, as the blessed Paul teaches in the words, "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is encompassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people so also for himself."217 And a little further on interpreting this he says, "As was Aaron so also was the Christ."218 , Then pointing out the infirmity of the assumed nature he says, "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard for His godly fear, though He was a son yet learned obedience by the things that He suffered: and having been made perfect He became unto all that obey Him the author of eternal salvation; named of God a high priest of the order of Me lchisedec."219 Who then is He who was perfected by toils of virtue and who was not perfect by nature? Who is He who learnt obedience by experience, and before his experience was ignorant of it? Who is it that lived with godly fear and offered supplication with strong crying and tears,not able to save Himself but appealing to Him that is able to save Him and asking for release from death? Not God the Word, the impassible, the immortal, the incorporeal, whose memory is joy and release from tears, "For he has wiped away tears from off all faces,"220 and again the prophet says, "I remembered God and was glad,"221 Who crowneth them that live in godly fear, "Who knoweth all things before they be,"222 "Who hath all things that the Father hath;"223 Who is the unchangeable image of the Father,"224 "Who sheweth the Father in himself."225 It is on the contrary that which was assumed by Him of the seed of David, mortal, passible, and afraid of death; although this itself afterwards destroyed the power of death throughunion with the God who had assumed it;226 which walked through all righteousness and said to John, "Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."227 This took the name of the priesthood of Me lchisedec, for it put on infirmity of nature;-not the Almighty God the Word. Wherefore also, a little before, the blessed Paul said, "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin."228 It was the nature taken from us for our sakes which experienced our feelings without sin, not He that on account of our salvation assumed it. And in the beginning of this part of his subject he teaches us in the words "Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus, who was faithful to Him that appointed Him as also Moses was faithful in all His house."229 But no one holding the right faith would call the unmade the uncreate, God the Word coeternal with the Father, a creature; but on the contrary, Him of David's seed Who being free from all sin was made our high priest and victim, after Himself offering Himself on our behalf to God having in Himself the Word, God of God, united to Himself and inseparably conjoined.

Against XI.-In my opinion he appears to give heed to the truth, in order that, by concealing his unsound views by it, he may not be detected in asserting the same dogmas as the heretics. But nothing is stronger than truth, which by its own rays uncovers the darkness of falsehood. By the aid of its illumination we shall make his heterodox belief plain. In the first place he has nowhere made mention of intelligent flesh, nor confessed that the assumed man was perfect, but everywhere in accordance with the teaching of Apollinarius he speaks of flesh. Secondly, after introducing the conception of the mixture under other terms, he brings it into his arguments; for there he clearly states the flesh of the Lord to be soulless. For, he says, if any one states that the flesh of the Lord is not proper flesh of the very Word who is of God the Father, but that it is of another beside Him, let him be anathema. Hence it is plain that he does not confess God the Word to have assumed a soul, but only flesh, and that He Himself stands to the flesh in place of soul. We on the contrary assert that the flesh of the Lord having in it life230 was life-giving and reasonable, on account of the life-giving Godhead united to it. And he himself unwillingly confesses the difference between the two natures, speaking of flesh, and "God the Word" and calling it "His own flesh." Therefore God the Word was not changed into nature of flesh, but has His own flesh, the assumed nature, and has made it life-giving by the union.

Against XII.-Passion is proper to the passible; the impassible is above passions. It was then the form of the servant that suffered, the form of God of course dwelling with it, and permitting it to suffer on account of the salvation brought forth of the sufferings, and making the sufferings its own on account of the union. Therefore it was not the Christ231 who suffered, but the man assumed of us by God. Wherefore also the blessed Isaiah exclaims in his prophecy, "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."232 And the Lord Christ Himself said to the Jews, "Why seek ye to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth?"233 But what is threatened with death is not the very life, but he that hath a mortal nature. And giving this lesson in another place the Lord said to the Jews, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."234 Therefore what was destroyed was the (temple descended) from David, and, after its destruction, it was raised up by the only begotten Word of God impassibly begotten of the Father before the ages.


B. Theodoret of Cyrus, Demonstrations by Syllogisms

That God the Word is Immutable

1. We have confessed one substance of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and have agreed that it is immutable. If then there is one substance of the Trinity, and it is immutable, then the only begotten Son, who is one person of the Trinity, is immutable. And, if He is immutable, He was not made flesh by mutation, but is said to have been made flesh after taking flesh.

2. If God the Word was made flesh by undergoing mutation into flesh, then He is not immutable. For no one in his senses would call that which undergoes alteration immutable. And if He is mutable He is not of one substance with Him that begat Him. How indeed is it possible for one part of an uncompounded substance to be mutable and the other immutable? If we grant this we shall fall headlong into the blasphemy of Arius and Eunomius, who assert that the Son is of another substance.

3. If the Lord is consubstantial with the Father, and the Son was made flesh by undergoing change into flesh, then the substance is at once mutable and immutable, which blasphemy if any one has the hardihood to maintain, he will no doubt make it worse by his blasphemy against the Father, for inasmuch as the Father shares the same substance, he will assuredly call Him mutable.

4. It is written in the divine Scriptures that God the Word took flesh, and also a soul. And the most divine Evangelist says the Word was made flesh.1 We must therefore perforce do one of two things: either we must admit the mutation of the Word into flesh, and reject all divine Scripture, both Old and New, as teaching lies, or in obedience to the divine Scripture, we must confess the assumption of the flesh, banishing mutation from our thoughts, and piously regarding the word of the Evangelist. This latter we must do inasmuch as we confess the nature of God the Word to be immutable, and have countless testimonies to the assumption of the flesh.

5. That which inhabits a tabernacle is distinct from the tabernacle which is inhabited.2 The Evangelist calls the flesh a tabernacle, and says that God the Word tabernacled therein. "The Word," he says, "was made flesh and dwelt among us."3 Now if He was made flesh by mutation, He did not dwell in flesh. But we have been taught that He dwelt in flesh; for the same Evangelist in another place calls His body a temple.4 We must therefore believe the Evangelist's explanation and interpretation of what to some seemed ambiguous.

6. If when the Evangelist wrote "the Word was made flesh" he had added nothing which could remove the ambiguity, perhaps the controversy about the passage might have had some reasonable excuse, from the obscurity of the terms used. But since he immediately went on to say "and dwelt in us," the combatants contend to no purpose. The former clause is explained by the latter.7. The immutability of God the Word is plainly proclaimed by the most wise Evangelist, for after saying "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," he immediately adds, "And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."5 But if, according to the foolish, He had undergone mutation into flesh, He would not have remained what He was, but if even when enveloped in the flesh He emitted the rays of His Father's nobility, it follows that the nature which He has is immutable, and it shines even in the body and sends abroad the brightness of the nature which is unseen. For that light nothing can dim. "For the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not,"6 as saith the very divine John.

8. The illustrious Evangelist was desirous of explaining the glory of the only-begotten, but was unable to carry out his purpose. He therefore shews it by His fellowship with the Father. For he says He is of that nature; just as though any one to persons beholding Joseph sunk in a slavery inconsistent with his rank, and unaware of the splendour of his descent, were to point out that Jacob was his father, and his forefather Abraham. So in this sense the Evangelist said that when He dwelt among us He did not dim the glory of His nature, "For we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father." So if even when He was made flesh it was plain who He was, then He remained who he was, and did not undergo the mutation into flesh.

9. We have confessed that God the Word took not a body only but also a soul. Why then did the divine Evangelist omit in this place mention of the soul and mention the flesh alone? Is it not plain that he exhibited the visible nature and by its means signified the nature united to it? For the mention of the soul is understood of course in that of the flesh. For when we hear the prophet saying "Let all flesh bless His holy name,"7 we do not understand the prophet to be exhorting bodies of flesh without souls, but believe the whole to be summoned to give praise in the summoning of a part.

10. The words "the Word was made flesh" are plainly indicative not of mutation, but of His unspeakable loving-kindness. For after the illustrious Evangelist had said "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God," and had declared Him to be Creator of the visible and invisible, and had called Him life and true light, adding other similar expressions, and had spoken concerning the Godhead in such terms as human reason can take in and the language at its command can express, he went on "And the Word was made flesh," as though smitten with amazement and astounded at the boundless loving-kindness. His existence is eternal; He is God; He made all things; He is source of eternal life and of true light; and on account of the salvation of men He put about Him the tabernacle of flesh. And He was supposed to be only that which He appeared. So for this reason he did not even mention a soul but only the perishable and mortal flesh. Of the soul as being immortal he said nothing in order to exhibit the boundlessness of the kindness.

11. The divine Apostle calls8 the Lord Christ seed of Abraham. But if this is true, as true it is, then God the Word was not changed into flesh, but took on Him the seed of Abraham, according to the teaching of the Apostle himself.

12. God swore to David that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ, as the prophet9 said and as the great Peter interpreted.10 But if God the Word was called Christ after mutation into flesh, we shall nowhere find the truth in the oaths. Yet we have been taught that God cannot lie; nay rather is Himself the truth. Therefore God the Word did not undergo change into flesh, but in accordance with the promise, took firstfruits of David's seed.

Proofs that the Union Was Without Confusion.

1. Those who believe that after the union there was one nature both of Godhead and of manhood, destroy by this reasoning the peculiarities of the natures; and their destruction involves denial of either nature. For the confusion of the united natures prevents us from recognising either that flesh is flesh or that God is God. But if even after the union the difference of the united natures is clear, it follows that there is no confusion and that the union is without confusion. And if this is confessed then the Master Christ is not one nature, but one Son shewing either nature unimpaired.

2. We too assert the union, and ourselves confess that it took place at the conception; if then by the union the natures were mixed and confounded, how was the flesh after the birth not seen to possess any new quality, but exhibited the human character, preserved the dimensions of the babe, was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and sucked a mother's breast? And if all this did not come to pass in mere phantasy and seeming, then they admit of neither phantasy nor seeming; then what was seen was truly a body. And if this be granted then the natures were not confounded by the union, but each remained unimpaired.

3. The authors of this patchwork and incongruous heresy at one time assert that God the Word was made flesh, and at another declare that the flesh underwent a change into nature of Godhead. Either statement is futile and vain and full of falsehood, for if God the Word, as they argue, was made flesh, why then do they call Him God, and this alone, and refuse to name Him man as well, and find great fault with us who in addition to confessing Him as God also call Him man? But if the flesh was changed into the nature of Godhead, wherefore do they substitute the antitypes of the body? For the type is superfluous when the reality is destroyed.

4. An incorporeal nature is not corporeally circumcised, but the word corporeally is added on account of the spiritual circumcision of the heart; so then the circumcision is of a body; but the Master Christ is circumcised after the union. And if this is granted then the argument of the confusion is confuted.

5. We have learnt that the Saviour Christ hungered and thirsted, and we have believed that this was so really and not in seeming, but such conditions belong not to a bodiless nature but to a body. The Master Christ then had a body which before the resurrection was affected according to its nature. And to this the divine Apostle bears testimony when he says "For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin."11 For the sin is not of the nature but of the evil will.12

6. Of the divine nature the prophet David says, "Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."13 But the narrative of the Evangelist describes the Master Christ as sleeping in the boat. Now not sleeping and being asleep are two contrary ideas, so the prophet contradicts the Gospels if, as they argue, the Master Christ was God alone. There is no contradiction, for both prophecies and gospels flow from one and the same spirit. The Master Christ therefore had a body, akin to all other bodies, affected by the need of sleep. So the argument for the confusion is proved a fable.

7. Of the divine nature the prophet Isaiah said, "He shall neither be hungry nor weary"14 and so on. But the Evangelist says "Jesus being weary with his journey sat thus on the well;"15 and "shall not be weary" is contrary to "being weary." Therefore the prophecy is contrary to the narrative of the gospels. But they are not contrary, for both are of one God. Not being weary is of the uncircumscribed nature which fills all things. But moving from place to place is of the circumscribed nature; and when that which moves is constrained to travel it is subject to the weariness of the wayfarer. Therefore what walked and was weary was a body, for the union did not confound the natures.

8. To the divine Paul when shut up in prison the Master Christ said "Be not afraid Paul"16 and so on. But the same Christ, who drove away Paul's fear, Himself so feared, as testifies the blessed Luke that He sweated from all His body drops of blood, and with them sprinkled all the ground about His body, and was strengthened by angelic succour,17 and these statements are opposed to one another, for how can fearing be other than contrary to driving away fear? Yet they are not contrary. For the same Christ is by nature God and man; as God He strengthens them that need consolation; as man He receives consolation through an angel. And although the Godhead and the Spirit were present as an anointing, the body and the soul were not then supported either by the Godhead united to them or by the Holy Ghost, but this service was entrusted to an angel in order to exhibit the infirmity both of the soul and of the body and that through the infirmity might be seen the natures of the infirm. Now these things plainly happened by the permission of the divine nature, that, among them that were to live in future times, believers in the assumption of the soul and of the body might be vindicated by these demonstrations, and their opponents by plain proof convicted. If then the union was effected by the conception, and, as they argue, made both natures one, how could the properties of the natures continue unimpaired, the soul agonize, and the body sweat so as to sweat bloody drops from excess of fear? But if the one is natural to the body and the other to the soul, then the union did not effect one nature of flesh and Godhead, but one Son appeared shewing forth in Himself both the human and the divine.

9. Should they say that after the resurrection the body underwent mutation into Godhead they may properly be answered thus. Even after the resurrection the body was seen circumscribed with hands and feet and all the body's parts; it was tangible and visible; it had wounds and scars, as it had before the resurrection. One then of two alternatives must be maintained. Either these parts must be attributed to the divine nature, if the body when changed into the divine nature had these parts; or on the other hand it must be confessed that the body remained within the bounds of its own nature. Now the divine nature is simple and incomposite, but the body is composite and divided into many parts; therefore it was not changed into the nature of Godhead, but even after the resurrection though immortal, incorruptible and full of divine glory, it remains a body with its own circumscription.

10. To the unbelieving apostles the Lord after His resurrection shewed His hands, His feet, and the prints of the nails; then further to teach them that what they saw was not a vision He added "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have."18 Therefore the body was not changed into spirit it was flesh and bones and hands and feet. Consequently even after the resurrection the body remained a body.

11. The divine nature is invisible, but the thrice blessed Stephen said that he saw the Lord,19 so even after the resurrection the Lord's body is a body, and it was seen by the victorious Stephen, since the divine nature cannot be seen.

12. If all mankind shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven, according to the Lord's own words,20 and He said to Moses "No man shall see me and live,"21 and both are true, then He will come with the body with which He ascended into heaven. For that body is visible, and of this the angel spoke to the Apostles "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven."22 If this is true, as true it is, then there is not one nature of flesh and Godhead, but the union is without confusion.

Proof that the Divinity of the Saviour is Impassible.

1. Alike by the divine Scripture and by the holy Fathers assembled at Nicaae we have been taught to confess that the Son is of one substance with God the Father. The impassibility of the Father is also taught by the nature and proclaimed by the divine Scripture. We shall then further confess the Son to be impassible, for this definition is enforced by the identity of substance. Whenever then we hear the divine Scripture proclaiming the cross and the death of the Master Christ we attribute the passion to the flesh, for in no wise is the Godhead, being by nature impassible, capable of suffering.

2. "All things that the Father hath are mine"23 says the Master Christ, and one out of all is impassibility. If therefore as God He is impassible, He suffered as man. For the divine nature does not undergo suffering.

3. The Lord said "the bread which I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world,"24 and again "I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine ...and I lay down my life for the sheep."25 So body and soul are both given by the good shepherd for the sheep who have soul and body.

4. The nature of men is compounded of body and soul. But it sinned and stood in need of a sacrifice free from every spot. So the Creator took a body and a soul, and keeping them clean from the stains of sin for men's bodies gave His body and for their souls His soul. If this is true, and true it is, for these are words of truth itself, then wild and blasphemous are they who ascribe passion to the divine nature.

5. The blessed Paul called the Christ "the first born of the dead;"26 and I suppose the first born has the same nature as they of whom He is called first born. As man then He is first born of the dead, for He first destroyed the pangs of death and gave to all the sweet hope of another life. As He rose so He suffered. As man then He suffered but as awful God He remained impassible.

6. The divine Apostle calls our Saviour Christ "the firstfruits of them that slept,"27 but the firstfruits are related to the whole whereof they are firstfruits. He is not therefore called firstfruits as God, for what relationship is there between Godhead and manhood? The former is an immortal nature, the latter mortal. Such is the nature of them that sleep, of whom Christ is called firstfruits. To this nature belong death and resurrection, and in its resurrection we have a proof of the general resurrection.

7. When the Master Christ wished to persuade the doubting Apostles that He had destroyed death and risen, He shewed them parts of His body, His side, His hands, His feet and the marks of the passion preserved therein. This body then rose, and this, I ween, was shown to the disbelievers. What rose is what was buried, and what was buried is what had died, and what had died is of course what was nailed to the cross. So the divine nature united to the body remained impassible.

8. They who describe the flesh of the Lord as giver of life make life itself mortal by their words. They ought to have seen that it was giver of life through the life united to it. But if according to their argument the life is mortal, how could the flesh being itself by nature mortal, and made life-giving through the life, remain life-giving?

9. God the Word is by nature immortal, and the flesh by nature mortal, but after the passion by union with the Word the flesh itself became immortal. How then is it not absurd to say that the giver of such immortality shared death?

10. They who maintain that God the Word suffered in the flesh should be asked the meaning of what they say, and should they have the hardihood to reply that when the body was pierced with nails the divine nature was sensible of pain, let them learn that the divine nature did not fill the part of a soul. God the Word had assumed a soul with the body. Should they reject this argument as blasphemous, and should they assert that the flesh suffered by nature, and that God the Word made the passion His own as of His own flesh, let them not propound puzzling and murky phrases, but let them clearly propound the meaning of the ill sounding phrase. They will have all those who wish to follow the divine Scripture as their supporters in this interpretation.

11. The divine Peter in his Catholic Epistle says that Christ suffered in the flesh.28 But he who hears that Christ suffered does not understand God the Word incorporeal, but incarnate. The name of Christ indicates both natures; but the word "flesh" connected with the passion signifies not that both, but that one of the two, suffered. For he that hears that Christ suffered in the flesh thinks of Him as impassible in that He was God, and attributes the passion to the flesh alone. For just as when we hear him saying that God had sworn to David of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh to raise up the Christ, we do not say that God the Word derived His origin from David, but that the flesh which God the Word took was akin to David, so must he who hears that Christ suffered in the flesh, recognise that the passion belongs to the flesh, and confess the impassibility of the Godhead.

12. When on the cross the Lord Christ said, "Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit,"29 this spirit is said by the Arians and the Eunomians to be the Godhead of the only-begotten, for they hold that the body which He took was without a soul, but the heralds of the truth say that the soul was so called and they base their opinion on the following passages. The right wise Evangelist immediately adds "And having said thus He gave up the ghost."30 So says Luke, and the blessed Mark similarly adds "He gave up the ghost."31 The divine Matthew writes, "yielded up the Ghost,"32 and the divine John, "gave up the Ghost."33 All speak according to the usage of men, for we are accustomed to use all these expressions about those who die; none of them conveys any meaning of Godhead, but they all signify the soul, and if any one were to receive the Arian sense of the passage none the less even thus will it shew the immortality of the divine nature. For Christ commended it to the Father. He did not yield it to death. If then they that deny the assumption of the soul, and maintain God the Word to be a creature, and assert that He was in the body in place of a soul, deny that He was delivered to death, how can they obtain pardon who while they confess one substance of the Trinity, and leave the soul in its own immortality, impudently dare to say that God the Word of one substance with the Father tasted death?

13. If Christ is both God and man, as the divine Scripture teaches, and the illustrious Fathers persistently preached, then He suffered as man, but as God remained impassible.

14. If they acknowledge the assumption of the flesh, and declare it to be passible before the resurrection, and preach that the nature of the Godhead is impassible, why, leaving the passible nature, do they attribute the passion to the impassible?

15. If our Lord and Saviour nailed the handwriting to the cross, as says the divine Apostle,34 He then nailed the body, for on his body every man like letters marks the prints of his sins, wherefore on behalf of sinners He gave up the body that was free from all sin.

16. When we say that the body or the flesh or the manhood suffered, we do not separate the divine nature, for as it was united to one hungering, thirsting, aweary, even asleep, and undergoing the passion, itself affected by none of these but permitting the human nature to be affected in its own way, so it was conjoined to it even when crucified, and permitted the completion of the passion, that by the passion it might destroy death; not indeed receiving pain from the passion, but making the passion its own, as of its own temple, and of the flesh united to it, on account of which flesh also the faithful are called members of Christ, and He Himself is styled the head of them that believed.


III. Leo of Rome ( Chalcedon )

The Tome of Leo

Leo [the bishop] to his [most] dear brother Flavian.

Having read your Affection's letter, the late arrival of which is matter of surprise to us, and having gone through the record of the proceedings of the bishops, we have now, at last, gained a clear view of the scandal which has risen up among you, against the integrity of the faith; and what at first seemed obscure has now been elucidated and explained. By this means Eutyches, who seemed to be deserving of honour under the title of Presbyter, is now shown to be exceedingly thoughtless and sadly inexperienced, so that to him also we may apply the prophet's words, "He refused to understand in order to act well: he meditated unrighteousness on his bed." What, indeed, is more unrighteous than to entertain ungodly thoughts, and not to yield to persons wiser and more learned? But into this folly do they fall who, when hindered by some obscurity from apprehending the truth, have recourse, not to the words of the Prophets, not to the letters of the Apostles, nor to the authority of the Gospels, but to themselves; and become teachers of error, just because they have not been disciples of the truth. For what learning has he received from the sacred pages of the New and the Old Testament, who does not so much as understand the very beginning of the Creed? And that which, all the world over, is uttered by the voices of all applicants for regeneration, is still not grasped by the mind of this aged man.

If, then, he knew not what he ought to think about the Incarnation of the Word of God, and was not willing, for the sake of obtaining the light of intelligence, to make laborious search through the whole extent of the Holy Scriptures, he should at least have received with heedful attention that general Confession common to all, whereby the whole body of the faithful profess that they "believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ Iris only Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." By which three clauses the engines of almost all heretics are shattered. For when God is believed to be both "Almighty" and "Father," it is proved that the Son is everlasting together with himself, differing in nothing from the Father, because he was born as "God from God," Almighty from Almighty, Coeternal from Eternal; not later in time, not inferior in power, not unlike him in glory, not divided from him in essence, but the same Only-begotten and Everlasting Son of an Everlasting Parent was" born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." This birth in time in no way detracted from, in no way added to, that divine and everlasting birth; but expended itself wholly in the work of restoring man, who had been deceived; so that it might both overcome death, and by its power "destroy the devil who had the power of death." For we could not have overcome the author of sin and of death, unless he who could neither be contaminated by sin, nor detained by death, had taken upon himself our nature, and made it his own. For, in fact, he was "conceived of the Holy Ghost" within the womb of a Virgin Mother, who bore him as she had conceived him, without loss of virginity.

But if he (Eutyches) was not able to obtain a true conception from this pure fountain of Christian faith because by his own blindness he had darkened for himself the brightness of a truth so clear, he should have submitted himself to the Evangelist's teaching; and after reading what Matthew says, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," he should also have sought instruction from the Apostle's preaching; and after reading in the Epistle to the Romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an Apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised before by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was made unto him of the seed of David according to the flesh," he should have bestowed some devout study on the pages of the Prophets; and finding that God's promise said to Abraham, "in thy seed shall all nations be blessed," in order to avoid all doubt as to the proper meaning of this "seed," he should have at-tended to the Apostle's words, "To Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He saith not, 'and to seeds,' as in the case of many, but as in the case of one, 'and to thy seed,' which is Christ." He should also have apprehended with his inward ear the declaration of Isaiah, "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us;" and should have read with faith the words of the same prophet, "Unto us a Child has been born, unto us a Son has been given, whose power is on his shoulder; and they shall call his name Angel of great counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, Strong God, Prince of Peace, Father of the age to come."

And he should not have spoken idly to the effect that the Word was in such a sense made flesh, that the Christ who was brought forth from the Virgin's womb had the form of a man, and had not a body really derived from his Mother's body. Possibly his reason for thinking that our Lord Jesus Christ was not of our nature was this--that the Angel who was sent to the blessed and ever Virgin Mary said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of rite Highest shall overshadow thee, and therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;" as if, because the Virgin's conception was caused by a divine act, therefore the flesh of him whom she conceived was not of the nature of her who conceived him. But we are not to understand that "generation," peerlessly wonderful, and wonderfully peerless, in such a sense as that the newness of the mode of production did away with the proper character of the kind. For it was the Holy Ghost who gave fecundity to the Virgin, but it was from a body that a real body was derived; and "when Wisdom was building herself a house," the "Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,that is, in that flesh which he assumed from a human being, and which he animated with the spirit of rational life. Accordingly while the distinctness of both natures and substances was preserved, and both met in one Person, lowliness was assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity; and, in order to pay the debt of our condition, the inviolable nature was united to the passible, so that as the appropriate remedy for our ills, one and the same " Me diator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus," might from one element be capable of dying and also from the other be incapable. Therefore in the entire and perfect nature of very man was born very God, whole in what was his, whole in what was ours. By "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us at the beginning and what he assumed in order to restore; for of that which the deceiver brought in, and man, thus deceived, admitted, there was not a trace in the Saviour; and the fact that he took on himself a share in our infirmities did not make him a partaker in our transgressions. He assumed "the form of a servant" without the defilement of sin, enriching what was human, not impairing what was divine: because that "emptying of himself," whereby the Invisible made himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things willed to be one among mortals, was a stooping down in compassion, not a failure of power. Accordingly, the same who, remaining in the form of God, made man, was made man in the form of a servant. For each of the natures retains its proper character without defect; and as the form of God does not take away the form of a servant, so the form of a servant does not impair the form of God. For since the devil was glorying in the fact that man, deceived by his craft, was bereft of divine gifts and, being stripped of his endowment of immortality, had come under the grievous sentence of death, and that he himself, amid 'his miseries, had found a sort of consolation in having a transgressor as his companion, and that God, according to the requirements of the principle of justice, had changed his own resolution in regard to man, whom he had created in so high a position of honour; there was need of a dispensation of secret counsel, in order that the unchangeable God, whose will could not be deprived of its own benignity, should fulfil by a more secret mystery his original plan of loving kindness toward us, and that man, who had been led into fault by the wicked subtlety of the devil, should not perish contrary to God's purpose. Accordingly, the Son of God, descending from his seat in heaven, and not departing from the glory of the Father, enters this lower world, born after a new order, by a new mode of birth. After a new order; because he who in his own sphere is invisible, became visible in ours; He who could not be enclosed in space, willed to be enclosed; continuing to be before times, he began to exist in time; the Lord of the universe allowed his infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and took upon him the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to be passible Man and the immortal One to be subjected to the laws of death. And born by a new mode of birth; because inviolate virginity, while ignorant of concupiscence, supplied the matter of his flesh. What was assumed from the Lord's mother was nature, not fault; nor does the wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as born of a Virgin's womb, imply that his nature is unlike ours. For the selfsame who is very God, is also very man; and there is no illusion in this union, while the lowliness of man and the loftiness of Godhead meet together. For as "God" is not changed by the compassion [exhibited], so "Man" is not consumed by the dignity [bestowed]. For each "form" does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these shines out in miracles, the other succumbs' to injuries. And as the Word does not withdraw from equality with the Father in glory, so the flesh does not abandon the nature of our kind. For, as we must often be saying, he is one and the same, truly Son of God, and truly Son of Man. God, inasmuch as "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Man, inasmuch as "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." God, inasmuch as "all things were made by him, and without him nothing was made." Man, inasmuch as he was "made of a woman, made under the law." The nativity of the flesh is a manifestation of human nature; the Virgin's child-bearing is an indication of Divine power. The infancy of the Babe is exhibited by the humiliation of swaddling clothes: the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of angels. He whom Herod impiously designs to slay is like humanity in its beginnings; but he whom the Magi rejoice to adore on their knees is Lord of all. Now when he came to the baptism of John his forerunner, lest the fact that the Godhead was covered with a veil of flesh should be concealed, the voice of the Father spake in thunder from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Accordingly, he who, as man, is tempted by the devil's subtlety, is the same to whom, as God, angels pay duteous service. To hunger, to thirst, to be weary, and to sleep, is evidently human. But to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves, and give to the Samaritan woman that living water, to draw which can secure him that drinks of it from ever thirsting again; to walk on the surface of the sea with feet that sink not, and by rebuking the storm to bring down the "uplifted waves," is unquestionably Divine. As then--to pass by many points --it does not belong to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity over a dead friend and, after the mass of stone had been removed from the grave where he had lain four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life again; or to hang on the wood, and to make all the elements tremble after daylight had been turned into night; or to be transfixed with nails, and to open the gates of paradise to the faith of the robber; so it does not belong to the same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is greater than I." For although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one Person of God and man, yet that whereby contumely attaches to both is one thing, and that whereby glory attaches to both is another; for from what belongs to us he has that manhood which is inferior to the Father; while from the Father he has equal Godhead with the Father. Accordingly, on account of this unity of Person which is to be understood as existing in both the natures, we read, on the one hand, that "the Son of Man came down from heaven," inasmuch as the Son of God took flesh from that Virgin of whom he was born; and on the other hand, the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, inasmuch as he underwent this, not in his actual Godhead; wherein the Only-begotten is coeternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of human nature. Wherefore we all, in the very Creed, confess that" the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and buried," according to that saying of the Apostle, "for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Majesty." But when our Lord and Saviour himself was by his questions instructing the faith of the disciples, he said, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" And when they had mentioned various opinions held by others, he said, "But whom say ye that I am?" that is, "I who am Son of Man, and whom you see in the form of a servant, and in reality of flesh, whom say ye that I am?" Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Not undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and to his name, who through revelation from the Father confessed the selfsame to be both the Son of God and the Christ; because one of these truths, accepted without the other, would not profit unto salvation, and it was equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be merely God and not man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of the Lord--which was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other person was raised again than he who had been crucified and had died--what else was accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith entire and clear of all darkness ? For while he conversed with his disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed himself to be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt, for this end he came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, and by his breath gave them the Holy Ghost, and opened the secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in his selfsame person showed to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the flesh tokens of the Passion, saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have:" that the properties of the Divine and the human nature might be acknowledged to remain in him without causing a division, and that we might in such sort know that the Word is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the one Son of God is both Word and flesh. On which mystery of the faith this Eutyches must be regarded as unhappily having no hold, who does not recognise our nature to exist in the Only-begotten Son of God, either by way of the lowliness of mortality, or of the glory of resurrection. Nor has he been overawed by the declaration of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist John, saying, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist."

Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate the human nature from him, and to make void by shameless inventions that mystery by which alone we have been saved? Moreover, being in the dark as to the nature of Christ's body, he must needs be involved in the like senseless blindness with regard to his Passion also. For if he does not think the Lord's crucifixion to be unreal, and does not doubt that he really accepted suffering, even unto death, for the sake of the world's salvation; as he believes in his death, let him acknowledge his flesh also, and not doubt that he whom he recognises as having been capable of suffering is also Man with a body like ours; since to deny his true flesh is also to deny Iris bodily sufferings. If then he accepts the Christian faith, and does not turn away his ear from the preaching of the Gospel, let him see what nature it was that was transfixed with nails and hung on the wood of the cross; and let him understand whence it was that, after the side of the Crucified had been pierced by the soldier's spear, blood and water flowed out, that the Church of God might be refreshed both with a Laver and with a Cup. Let him listen also to the blessed Apostle Peter when he declares, that "sanctification by the Spirit" takes place through the "sprinkling of the blood of Christ," and let him not give a mere cursory reading to the words of the same Apostle, "Knowing that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain way of life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot." Let him also not resist the testimony of Blessed John the Apostle, "And the blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanseth us from all sin." And again, "This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith;" and, "who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in water only, but in water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness--the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are one."

That is, the Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism; which three things are one, and remain undivided, and not one of them is disjoined from connection with the others; because the Catholic Church lives and advances by this faith, that Christ Jesus we should believe neither manhood to exist without true Godhead, nor Godhead without true manhood. But when Eutyches, on being questioned in your examination of him, answered, "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union, but after the union I confess one nature;"

I am astonished that so absurd and perverse a profession as this of his was not rebuked by a censure on the part of any of his judges, and that an utterance extremely foolish and extremely blasphemous was passed over, just as if nothing had been heard which could give offence: seeing that it is as impious to say that the Only-begotten Son of God was of two natures before the Incarnation as it is shocking to affirm that, since the Word became flesh, there has been in him one nature only. But lest Eutyches should think that what he said was correct, or was tolerable, because it was not confuted by any assertion of yours, we exhort your earnest solicitude, dearly beloved brother, to see that, if by God's merciful inspiration the case is brought to a satisfactory issue, the inconsiderate and inexperienced man be cleansed also from this pestilent notion of his; seeing that, as the record of the proceedings has clearly shown, he had fairly begun to abandon his own opinion when on being driven into a corner by authoritative words of yours, he professed himself i ready to say what he had not said before, and to give his adhesion to that faith from which he had previously stood aloof. But when he would not consent to anathematize the impious dogma you understood, brother, that he continued in his own misbelief, and deserved to receive sentence of condemnation. For which if he grieves sincerely and to good purpose, and understands, even though too late, how properly the Episcopal authority has been put in motion, or if, in order to make full satisfaction, he shall condemn viva voce, and under his own hand, all that he has held amiss, no compassion, to whatever extent, which can be shown him when he has been set right, will be worthy of blame, for our Lord, the true and good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and who came to save men's souls and not to destroy them, wills us to imitate his own loving kindness; so that justice should indeed constrain those who sin, but mercy should not reject those who are converted. For then indeed is the true faith defended with the best results, when a false opinion is condemned even by those who have followed it. But in order that the whole matter may be piously and faithfully carried out, we have appointed our brethren, Julius, Bishop, and Reatus, Presbyter (of the title of St. Clement) and also my son Hilarus, Deacon, to represent us; and with them we have associated Dulcitius, our Notary, of whose fidelity we have had good proof: trusting that the Divine assistance will be with you, so that he who has gone astray may be saved by condemning his own unsound opinion. May God keep you in good health, dearly beloved brother. Given on the Ides of June, in the Consulate of the illustrious men, Asterius and Protogenes.