Are the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox?

People cite Vladyka John [Maximovitch]… To that which has been said above concerning him, I will add yet the following. Two days ago I was conversing about Vladyka John with a man whom Vladyka knew while still in Yugoslavia. When war broke out in the 1940s, and then during the post-war upheavals, this man was forced, “in the struggle for existence”, to roam quite a bit about this wide world. When, after the passage of several years, he again met with Vladyka, he began to recount to him concerning his “tribulations”. In particular, he said: “For three years I had to live where there was no Orthodox church, and I went to the Copts.” “What? You went to the Copts?” inquired Vladyka John. The man, having cringed, as he himself related, at Vladyka’s severe tone, replied: “Yes, I did, but I didn’t attend their liturgies”. “But you did attend the vigils?” “I did, Vladyka.” “But did you repent of it?” “No, but then, I didn’t pray there, I was only present.” “Well, the next time you go to confession, without fail repent of the fact that you were present at the services of the heretics,” concluded Vladyka John. (Metropolitan Philaret [Voznesensky]: Two Letters to Archbishop Averky)

Blessed Elder Paisios considered the anti-Chalcedonians (that is, the Monophysites) — along with the other heretics and those of other religions — to be creatures of God and our brothers according to the flesh, in terms of our common descent from Adam; but he didn’t consider them childern of God and our brothers according to the Spirit, characterizations he applied only to Orthodox Christians. Regarding the Monophysite’s sympathizers and their fervent supporters among the Orthodox, he observed, “They don’t say that the Monophysites didn’t understand the Holy Fathers — they say that the Holy Fathers did not understand them. In other words, they talk as if they are right and and the fathers misunderstood them”. He considered proposals to erase from the liturgical books statements identifying Dioscorus and Severus as heretics to be a blasphemy against the holy fathers. He said, “So many divinely enlightened holy fathers who were there at the time didn’t understand them, took them the wrong way, and now we come along after so many centuries to correct the holy fathers? And they don’t take the miracle of Saint Euphemia into account? Did she misunderstand the heretics’ tome too? (Hieromonk Isaac: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos; 2012 For the English Language by the Holy Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian , pp. 659-660)

…How is it possible to accept as correct that which has now been understood by twenty-one representatives of the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches – that is, that for fifteen hundred years the Orthodox and Monophysites had the same Christological Faith – when it is a fact that four Ecumenical Councils condemned the latter as heretical? Is it possible that the Holy Fathers who took part in them were mistaken, and were unjust towards the Monophysites? Was there not to be found even one of the 630 Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, of the 165 Fathers of the Fifth, of the 227 of the Sixth, or of the 367 of the Seventh, to understand this which the ecumenist Orthodox of Chambésy have now understood – that is, that the Monophysites are not heretics? So it is that 1,389 Holy Fathers are in error, and the twenty-one representatives of the innovative Orthodox are right? Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit did not enlighten the Holy Fathers? Are we to deny the divine inspiration of the Holy Councils? Heretical and blasphemous! Even more boldly, are we to assert that St. Euphemia, who sealed with a miracle the Definition of Faith of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, misunderstood the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Monophysites because she did not understand the language? A fearsome thing! (*) (Archbishop Chrysostom Kiousis, Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece excerpted from Vladimir Moss, New Zion in Babylon Part 6 pg. 29)

(*) The Council of Chalcedon sat in the cathedral consecrated in the name of the Great-martyr St. Euphemia (+ ca. 307 ad). Present at the council were 630 representatives from all the local Christian Churches. Both the Monophysite and Orthodox parties were well-represented at the council, so the meetings were quite contentious, and no decisive consensus could be reached. Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople suggested that the council submit the decision to the Holy Spirit, acting through Saint Euphemia.

Both parties wrote a confession of their faith and placed them in the tomb of the saint Euphemia which was sealed in the presence of the emperor Marcian (450-457), who placed the imperial seal on it and set a guard to watch over it for three days. During these days both sides fasted and prayed. After three days the tomb was opened and the scroll with the Orthodox confession was seen in the right hand of St Euphemia while the scroll of the Monophysites lay at her feet.

This miracle is attested by a letter sent by the council to Pope St. Leo the Great: For it was God who worked, and the triumphant Euphemia who crowned the meeting as for a bridal , and who, taking our definition of the Faith as her own confession, presented it to her Bridegroom by our most religious Emperor and Christ-loving Empress, appeasing all the tumult of opponents and establishing our confession of the Truth as acceptable to Him, and with hand and tongue setting her seal to the votes of us all in proclamation thereof. (Letter 98.3)

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem also attests to St. Euphemia’s support of Chalcedon in his Synodical Letter ca. 634 a.d.: And the fourth gathering, full of divine wisdom, after the three only in time, was assembled with 639 Fathers, worthy of praise and torch-bearers of the faith. It held its godly convocation by God in Chalcedon and the martyr Euphemia sharing its labors (the one who also up to the present fights on behalf of their definition of faith and speaks unceasingly and mightily about their far-famed and very great assembly). It dispatched that unhallowed pair, I mean Eutyches and Dioscorus, and blocked up their malevolence, hostile to God, which flowed as if from the spring of Apollinaris… (Synodical Letter 2.5.1)

In reality there is not a Father and Saint of the Church throughout the age-long Tradition of the fifteen centuries, from the Fourth Ecumenical Synod until today, who would believe and teach that we do not have differences in faith with the Non-Chalcedonians and that they are essentially Orthodox as we are. On the contrary, there are many great Saints of our Church, after the Synod of Chalcedon, who set forth the depth and the breadth, in any case the extent, of the heresy of the Non-Chalcedonians. Among them are colossi and giants of theology, pillars of Orthodoxy, whose multifarious wisdom, apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is astonishing and undeniable, so much superior to the wisdom of those conducting the dialogue today, that it appears risible to argue that they did not understand the reasoning and the positions of the Non-Chalcedonians and that we understand them better today. (Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis, Professor at the University of Thessaloniki: St. John of Damascus and the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Non-Chalcedonians)

More than anything else, the spirit of the system distinguishes the Monophysites from St. Cyril. It was not at all easy to reshape Cyril’s inspired doctrine into a logical system, and the terminology made this problem more difficult. Hardest of all was intelligibly defining the form and character of the human “traits” in the God-Man synthesis. The followers of Severus could not speak of Christ’s humanity as a “nature.” It broke down into a system of traits, for the doctrine of the Logos “taking” humanity was still not developed fully by Monophysitism into the idea of “inter-hypostasisness.” The Monophysites usually spoke of the Logos’ humanity as oikonomia. It is not without foundation that the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon detected here a subtle taste of original Docetism. Certainly this is not the Docetism of the ancient Gnostics at all, nor is it Apollinarianism. However, to the followers of Severus the “human” in Christ was not entirely human, for it was not active, was not “self-motivated.” In the contemplation of the Monophysites the human in Christ was like a passive object of Divine influence. Divinization or theosis seems to be a unilateral act of Divinity without sufficiently taking into count the synergism of human freedom, the assumption of which in no way supposes a “second subject.” In their religious experiment the element of freedom in general was not sufficiently pronounced and this could be called anthropological minimalism. (Fr. Georges Florovsky: The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth Through Eighth Centuries)

The “monophysite” position consisted essentially in a sort of “Cyrillian fundamentalism” which allowed no compromise at all. The Chalcedonian orthodox camp was making major terminological concessions and clarifications: the antichalcedonians were making none. Even the great Severus of Antioch, who saw the dangers of unabashed Monophysitism and understood the importance of affirming the full reality of Christ’s manhood, stopped short from accepting “two natures after the union”. Several individual leaders of Monophysitism eventually accepted Chalcedon, but they were disavowed by their flocks.

Essentially a conservative or “fundamentalist” schism, Monophysitism rejected the “catholic” dimension of Chalcedon. Indeed, in the view of Chalcedonian and Neo-Chalcedonian orthodoxy, the catholicity of the Church requires that the one Truth be expressed in different terminologies; that some legitimacy be granted not only to Alexandrian expressions of salvation in Christ, but also to the Antiochian and the Western Latin tradition found in the Tome of Leo (provided there was agreement in substance); that a clearly “diphysite” christology was necessary to refute Eutychianism, and that it did not amount to a disavowal of St. Cyril. By standing for their theology, their formulas only, the Monophysites were moving in the direction of deliberate and exclusive sectarianism. This trend resulted in further grouping and splits, each group affirming its own exclusivity, rejecting other groups by always remaining opposed to Chalcedonian unity…In Egypt alone, by the end of the sixth century, the anti-chalcedonian opposition was split into twenty groups, each claiming canonical and doctrinal purity, and, in many cases, counting adepts in Syria, Arabia and Persia (Fr. John Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Christian East After Justinian, pp. 252-253)

Strictly speaking, it is not fair to characterize the anti-Chalcedonians as Monophysites. Most of them were clearly far from being at one with Eutyches. However, it seems doubtful that their Monophysitism was totally verbal and that they were absolutely clear of monophysitizing tendencies and traits. At any rate, it is difficult to be other than negative in our judgment of the Christology of Severus and the anti-Chalcedonians overall. Their Christology seems to have been one-sided, emphasizing the unity of Christ and failing to safeguard equally well the distinction between the divine and human elements in him. Their rejection of the Chalcedonian distinction between person/hypostasis and nature/essence, related as it was to a certain interpretation of Cyril and a kind of Cyrillian fundamentalism, kept them from taking advantage of the Council’s terminological achievements, which, by comparison with the language of Cyril, unquestionably marked a step forward. As Grillmeier has observed, the fact that the anti-Chalcedonians sought unity and distinction on the same level, the level of nature, inevitably led them into a contradiction, which seems to be relevant to the fact that in their various camp various Trinitarian and Christological heresies evolved together with internal schisms, fractions, and splinter groups. Their prejudice against the number two is as suspicious as their relegation of the humanity of Christ to a set of qualities of the Logos. Their unwavering opposition to Chalcedon and it’s post-Chalcedonian exponents indicates that in all probability their Christology differed from theirs. Finally, their monothelitism and monoenergism exerted a negative influence on those theologians of the official Church who, by trying to bridge the gap between the Church and the anti-Chalcedonians, ended up by adopting those positions that led to the outburst of the monothelite controversy of the seventh century. (Fr. Demetrius Bathrellos: The Byzantine Christ/ Person, Nature and Will in the Christology of St. Maximus the Confessor, pg. 33-34)

The condemnation of Eutychius by the Non-Chalcedonians does not constitute in our view a guarantee of their Orthodoxy. They also must condemn the moderate monophysitism of Severos and Dioscoros. It is a very delicate point but nevertheless a fundamental one. Perhaps on this delicate point lies our difference with today’s Non-Chalcedonians. Because of this difference they must explicitly confess the term of the 4th Ecumenical Synod. (Suggestions of a Committee from the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain Athos – Concerning the Dialogue of the Orthodox with the Non-Chalcedonians)

Fourth Ecumenical Council: Chalcedon 451

And the adversary would have been like a wild beast outside the fold, roaring to himself and unable to seize any one, had not the late bishop of Alexandria thrown himself for a prey to him, who, though he had done many terrible things before, eclipsed the former by the latter deeds; for contrary to all the injunctions of the canons, he deposed that blessed shepherd of the saints at Constantinople, Flavian, who displayed such Apostolic faith, and the most pious bishop Eusebius, and acquitted by his terror-won votes Eutyches, who had been condemned for heresy, and restored to him the dignity which your holiness had taken away from him as unworthy of it, and like the strangest of wild beasts, falling upon the vine which he found in the finest condition, he uprooted it and brought in that which had been cast away as unfruitful, and those who acted like true shepherds he cut off, and set over the flocks those who had shown themselves wolves: and besides all this he stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Saviour, we mean of course your holiness, and purposed excommunication against one who had at heart the unifying of the Church. And instead of showing penitence for this, instead of begging mercy with tears, he exulted as if over virtuous actions, rejecting your holiness’ letter and resisting all the dogmas of the Truth. (Pope St. Leo, Epistles: Letter 98 From the Council of Chalcedon to Leo)

Fifth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople II 553

…[I]f anyone shall calumniate the holy Council of Chalcedon, pretending that it made use of this expression [one hypostasis] in this impious sense, and if he will not recognize rather that the Word of God is united with the flesh hypostatically, and that therefore there is but one hypostasis or one only Person, and that the holy Council of Chalcedon has professed in this sense the one Person of our Lord Jesus Christ: let him be anathema. For since one of the Holy Trinity has been made man, viz.: God the Word, the Holy Trinity has not been increased by the addition of another person or hypostasis. (Canon 5)

The term ‘Orthodox’ originally came into popular usage in the Eastern Christian world as a descriptor of the church communities in the sixth century, to distinguish those who accepted the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon (451 ad) from those who refused them. It grew up as a party term, therefore, meant to distinguish the Byzantine Christians (and the Latins along with them) from those dissenting from the Christological settlement of Chalcedon. (Fr. John McGuckin: The Orthodox Church pg. 24)

It is well known that among the dialogues that the Orthodox Catholic Church is conducting with the heterodox is the one with the Monophysites, or “Non-Chalcedonians,” or “Pre-Chalcedonians,” or the “Ancient Orientals,” or—as they have recently been called, contrary to Tradition—, “Oriental Orthodox.” …[A] fruit of this theological relativism and syncretism that they have been cultivating was the prettified picture of our differences with the Monophysites, who are no longer called such, but at first “Non-Chalcedonians,” then “Pre-Chalcedonians” or “Ancient Orientals,” and now “Orthodox,” since we have demolished the boundaries and the frontiers, despite the advice of the Fathers “not to remove the eternal boundaries which our Fathers established,” and have allowed the Monophysites, who have been heretics for fifteen centuries in the conscience of the Church, to become fellow-heirs of Orthodoxy and be called Orthodox after ourselves, without return and repentance. The theological confusion and muddle is really astonishing, as is the demolition of all the boundaries. If someone just ten years earlier were to read or hear the term “Inter-Orthodox Commission” or “Orthodox Churches,” he would surely understand a commission of Orthodox or local Orthodox Churches that belong to the Orthodox Eastern Catholic Church, which comprises the autocephalous Orthodox Churches of the East with the Church of Constantinople occupying the first place. However, this is not self-evident now; after many years of organized work by the draughtsmen of Ecumenism an “Inter-Orthodox Commission” can include Non-Chalcedonians, since with our acquiescence the Monophysite Churches of the Copts, the Syro-Jacobites, the Armenians, the Ethiopians, et al., are now numbered among the Orthodox Churches of the East. (Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis, Professor at the University of Thessaloniki: St. John of Damascus and the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Non-Chalcedonians)

[T]he lack of recognition by the so-called Anti-Chalcedonians of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, and the theory of some Orthodox theologians of Neo-Chalcedonianism, in essence have a common denominator and cannot be accepted by the Orthodox Church.

It is precisely for this reason that we cannot, on the Orthodox side, speak of Anti-Chalcedonians or Pre-Chalcedonians, but only of Monophysites, since the so-called Anti-Chalcedonians believe that, although the union in Christ was of two natures, after the union there is one nature in Christ. Some so-called Anti-Chaldedonians argue that, although after the union there is one nature in Christ, the human nature has not disappeared. And this view is paradoxical. How can it be one nature in Christ after the union “without the human nature disappearing”, and how does this human nature stand by itself, without this being considered Nestorianism, which the Anti-Chalcedonians want to fight? This is the reason that moves me to call them Monophysites and not Anti-Chalcedonians or Pre-Chalcedonians. (Met. Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos and St. Blasios, Dialogue with the Monophysites)

Sixth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople III 680-681

Wherefore this our holy and Ecumenical Synod having driven away the impious error which had prevailed for a certain time until now, and following closely the straight path of the holy and approved Fathers, has piously given its full assent to the five holy and Ecumenical Synods (that is to say, to that of the 318 holy Fathers who assembled in Nicea against the raging Arius; and the next in Constantinople of the 150 God-inspired men against Macedonius the adversary of the Spirit, and the impious Apollinaris; and also the first in Ephesus of 200 venerable men convened against Nestorius the Judaizer; and that in Chalcedon of 630 God-inspired Fathers against Eutyches and Dioscorus hated of God; and in addition to these, to the last, that is the Fifth holy Synod assembled in this place, against Theodore of Mopsuestia, Origen, Didymus, and Evagrius, and the writings of Theodoret against the Twelve Chapters of the celebrated Cyril, and the Epistle which was said to be written by Ibas to Maris the Persian), renewing in all things the ancient decrees of religion, and chasing away the impious doctrines of irreligion. And this our holy and Ecumenical Synod inspired of God has set its seal to the Creed which was put forth by the 318 Fathers, and again religiously confirmed by the 150, which also the other holy synods cordially received and ratified for the taking away of every soul-destroying heresy. (The Definition of the Faith)

And as we recognize two natures, so also we recognize two natural wills and two natural operations. For we dare not say that either of the natures which are in Christ in His incarnation is without a will and operation: lest in taking away the proprieties of those natures, we likewise take away the natures of which they are the proprieties. For we neither deny the natural will of his humanity, or its natural operation: lest we also deny what is the chief thing of the dispensation for our salvation, and lest we attribute passions to the Godhead. For this they were attempting who have recently introduced the detestable novelty that in him there is but one will and one operation, renewing the malignancy of Arius, Apollinaris, Eutyches and Severus. (The Prosphoneticus to the Emperor)

Council in Trullo 692

Moreover we confirm that faith which at Chalcedon, the Metropolis, was set forth in accordance with orthodoxy by the six hundred and thirty God-approved fathers in the time of Marcian, who was our Emperor, which handed down with a great and mighty voice, even unto the ends of the earth, that the one Christ, the son of God, is of two natures, and must be glorified in these two natures, and which cast forth from the sacred precincts of the Church as a black pestilence to be avoided, Eutyches, babbling stupidly and inanely, and teaching that the great mystery of the incarnation (οἰκονωμίας) was perfected in thought only. And together with him also Nestorius and Dioscorus of whom the former was the defender and champion of the division, the latter of the confusion [of the two natures in the one Christ], both of whom fell away from the divergence of their impiety to a common depth of perdition and denial of God. (Canon 1)

Whereas we have heard that in some places in the hymn Trisagion there is added after Holy and Immortal, Who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us, and since this as being alien to piety was by the ancient and holy Fathers cast out of the hymn, as also the violent heretics who inserted these new words were cast out of the Church; we also, confirming the things which were formerly piously established by our holy Fathers, anathematize those who after this present decree allow in church this or any other addition to the most sacred hymn; but if indeed he who has transgressed is of the sacerdotal order, we command that he be deprived of his priestly dignity, but if he be a layman or monk let him be cut off. (Canon 81)

…[T]he Manichæans, and Valentinians and Marcionites and all of similar heresies must give certificates and anathematize each his own heresy, and also Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, and the other chiefs of such heresies, and those who think with them, and all the aforesaid heresies; and so they become partakers of the holy Communion. (Canon 95)

Pope St. Gregory the Dialogist on the method of receiving Monophysites into the Church: Monophysites and others are received by a true confession only, because holy baptism, which they have received among heretics, then acquires in them the power of cleansing, when either the former receive the Holy Spirit by imposition of hands, or the latter are united to the bowels of the holy and universal Church by reason of their confession of the true faith. (Epistles, Bk. 11: Epistle 67)

Seventh Ecumenical Council: Nicea II 787

We detest and anathematize Arius and all the sharers of his absurd opinion; also Macedonius and those who following him are well styled Foes of the Spirit (Pneumatomachi). We confess that our Lady, St. Mary, is properly and truly the Mother of God, because she was the Mother after the flesh of One Person of the Holy Trinity, to wit, Christ our God, as the Council of Ephesus has already defined when it cast out of the Church the impious Nestorius with his colleagues, because he taught that there were two Persons [in Christ]. With the Fathers of this synod we confess that he who was incarnate of the immaculate Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary has two natures, recognizing him as perfect God and perfect man, as also the Council of Chalcedon has promulgated, expelling from the divine Atrium [αὐλῆς] as blasphemers, Eutyches and Dioscorus; and placing in the same category Severus, Peter and a number of others, blaspheming in various fashions. Moreover, with these we anathematize the fables of Origen, Evagrius, and Didymus, in accordance with the decision of the Fifth Council held at Constantinople. We affirm that in Christ there be two wills and two operations according to the reality of each nature, as also the Sixth Synod, held at Constantinople, taught, casting out Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Macarius, and those who agree with them, and all those who are unwilling to be reverent. (The Decree)

And now having carefully traced the traditions of the Apostles and Fathers, we are bold to speak. Having but one mind by the inbreathing of the most Holy Spirit, and being all knit together in one, and understanding the harmonious tradition of the Catholic Church, we are in perfect harmony with the symphonies set forth by the six, holy and ecumenical councils; and accordingly we have anathematised the madness of Arius, the frenzy of Macedonius, the senseless understanding of Appolinarius, the man-worship of Nestorius, the irreverent mingling of the natures devised by Eutyches and Dioscorus, and the many-headed hydra which is their companion. We have also anathematised the idle tales of Origen, Didymus, and Evagrius; and the doctrine of one will held by Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, and Pyrrhus, or rather, we have anathematised their own evil will. Finally, taught by the Spirit, from whom we have drawn pure water, we have with one accord and one soul, altogether wiped out with the sponge of the divine dogmas the newly devised heresy, well-worthy to be classed with those just mentioned, which springing up after them, uttered such empty nonsense about the sacred icons. And the contrivers of this vain, but revolutionary babbling we have cast forth far from the Church’s precincts. (Letter of the Synod to the Emperor and Empress)

Fr. Georges Florovsky: “It is not a case of lifting some simple canonical anathema. The case is much more difficult when the anathema is of theological nature.”(quote excerpted from Suggestions of a Committee from the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain Athos Concerning the Dialogue of the Orthodox with the Non-Chalcedonians)

Lateran Council 649

If anyone according to the holy Fathers, harmoniously with us and likewise with the Faith, does not with mind and lips reject and anathematize all the most abominable heretics together with their impious writings even to one least portion, whom the holy Catholic and apostolic Church of God, that is, the holy and universal five Synods and likewise all the approved Fathers of the Church in harmony, rejects and anathematizes, we mean Sabellius, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Polemon, Eutyches, Dioscurus, Timothy Aelurus, Severus, Theodosius, Colluthus, Themistius, Paul of Samosata , Diodorus, Theodore, Nestorius, Theodulus the Persian, Origen, Didymus, Evagrius, and briefly all the remaining heretics, who have been condemned and cast out by the Catholic Church; whose teachings are the fruit of diabolical operation, and those, who unto the end have obstinately suggested (ideas) similar to these, or do suggest (them), or are believed to suggest (them), with whom (they are) justly (associated), inasmuch as (they are) like them and (are) possessed of a similar error, according to which they are known to teach and by their own error determine their lives…(Canon 18)

St. Maximus the Confessor, who organized this synod presided over by Pope St. Martin, referred to the Lateran Council of 649 as the “sixth synod, which through the divine inspiration of God set forth with all pure piety the doctrines of the holy Fathers”. Although Pope St. Martin and St. Maximus were abducted after the council by Emperor Constans II and tried in Constantinople for their role in the council (Martin being replaced as pope before his death in exile and Maximus having his tongue and right hand cut off), their position was ultimately endorsed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680.

Synodikon of Orthodoxy

To them who reject the teachings which were pronounced for the establishment of the true doctrines of the Church of God by the Holy Fathers Athanasios, Cyril, Ambrose, Amphilochios the God-proclaiming, Leo the most holy Archbishop of Old Rome, and by all the others, and furthermore, who do not embrace the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils, especially those of the Fourth, I say, and of the Sixth, ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA….To Peter the Fuller and insane, who says, ‘Holy Immortal Who was crucified for us,’ ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA… To Peter the Paltry, the heretic, who was surnamed Lycopetrus, or ‘the Wolf,’ to the evil-minded Eutychius and Sabellios, ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA!. To James Stanstalus the Armenian, to Dioscorus the Patriarch of Alexandria, to the godless Severus, as well as to the like-minded Sergius, Paul and Pyrrus, and to Sergius, the disciple of Lycopetrus… ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! To all the Eutychians and Monothelites and Jacobites and Artzibourziter, and simply all heretics,…ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA!

Professor G. Mantzaridis notes: It is not possible under the light of new dogmatic agreement for Synods that were condemned by Ecumenical Synods to be viewed as Orthodox in their teaching content, for a teaching is not exhausted only in the formulation of the dogma but also expresses the unity and identity of the Church. Neither is it possible for people who are anathematized in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy to be regarded as fathers of another Orthodox Church which is finally to be accepted as identical with the Church that formed the Synodicon. Always and especially in crucial times as in the present, attention to the through-the-ages identity and conscious of Orthodoxy is imperative. (G. Mantzaridis, Orthodoxy and European Unity, Thessalonika 1994, p.157-8)

St. Euthymias the Great ca. 377-473

When the news had circulated, as people reported that the great Euthymius had accepted the definition of the faith proclaimed at Chalcedon, all the monks were about to accept it, had they not been prevented by one Theodosius, in appearance a monk but in reality a precursor of Antichrist…Noting Theodosius’ utter shamelessness, the great Euthymius told the fathers not to share in his apostasy and so departed to the utter desert; on hearing of this, many anchorites adopted the same policy. At that time there was a great anchorite of Lycian origin, called Gerasimus (St. Gerasimus of the Jordan died ca. 475), who after succeeding in the monastic life in his own homeland and displaying many combats against the spirits of wickedness had recently left his homeland and was practicing the anchoritic life in the desert by the Jordan. He with the other anchorites had been seduced by the false teaching of Theodosius; but on hearing from almost all the anchorites of the resplendent grace of the great Euthymius he went to him at Rouba, and after staying with him for a considerable time was persuaded to assent to the definition issued by the council of Chalcedon and break off his association with Theodosius, as did other anchorites also…’ (Life of Euthymius, Cyril of Scythopolis: Lives of the Monks of Palestine)

St. Symeon Stylites the Elder ca. 390-459

On this account, I also, though mean and worthless, the refuse of the monks, have conveyed to his majesty my judgment respecting the creed of the six hundred and thirty holy Fathers assembled at Chalcedon, firmly resolving to abide by the faith then revealed by the Holy Spirit: for if, in the midst of two or three who are gathered in His name, the Saviour is present, how could it be otherwise, than that the Holy Spirit should be throughout in the midst of so many and so distinguished holy fathers? (Reply to Emperor Leo I, Evagrius Scholasticus: Ecclesiastical History Bk. 2.10)

St. Sabas the Sanctified ca. 439-532

The patriarch having sent letters in advance to the emperor (St. Justinian) announcing godly Sabas’ arrival, our divinely protected emperor, overjoyed, sent the imperial galleys to meet him; with them went out to meet him the patriarch Epiphanius, Father Eusebius and Bishop Hypatius of Ephesus. Receiving him, they led him to the emperor, and God revealed the grace accompanying his servant to the emperor as he had done previously in the time of Anastasius. For as he entered the palace with the said bishops and came within the curtain, God opened the emperor’s eyes; he saw the radiance of divine favor in the shape of a crown blazing forth and emitting sunlike beams from the head of the old man. Running up, he greeted him with reverence, kissing his godly head with tears of joy; on obtaining his blessing, he took from his hand the petition of Palestine and pressed him to go in and bless the Augusta Theodora. The elder went in and was received with joy by the Augusta, who greeted him respectfully and made this request: ‘Pray for me, father, that God grant me fruit of the womb.’ The Augusta said again, ‘Pray, father, that God give me a child.’ The elder said in reply, ‘The God of glory will maintain your empire in piety and victory.’ The Augusta was grieved at his not granting her request. So when he left her presence, the fathers with him expressed their doubts by asking, ‘Why did you distress the Augusta by not praying as she requested?’ The elder answered them, ‘Believe me, fathers, fruit will never come forth from her womb, lest it suck in the doctrines of Severus and cause worse upheaval to the Church than Anastasius.’ (Life of Sabas, Cyril of Scythopolis: Lives of the Monks of Palestine)

…[I]n the sixty-third year of the life of the great Sabas…He then transfered the Armenians from the little oratory to performing the office of psalmody in the Armenian language…But when some of them to recite the Trisagion hymn with the addition ‘who was crucified for us’ concocted by Peter nicknamed the Fuller, the godly man was rightly indignant and ordered them to chant this hymn in Greek according to the ancient tradition of the catholic Church and not according to the innovation of the said Peter, who had shared the opinions of Eutyches… (Life of Sabas 32, Cyril of Scythopolis: The Lives of the Monks of Palestine)

 The originator and perpetrator of all this is Severus, Acephelos and Apochist (*) from the original beginning, who for the destruction of his own soul and of the commonwealth has by God’s leave for our sins been appointed bishop of Antioch and has anathematized our holy fathers who in every way confirmed the apostolic faith defined and transmitted to us by the holy fathers assembled at Nicea and baptize all in it. Shunning and utterly rejecting communion with this Acephalos, we entreat your Piety to have pity on Sion, the mother of all the churches and protector of your rule dear to God, who is being so ignominiously maltreated and ravaged. (Ss. Sabas and Theodosius the Cenobiarch Petition to the Emperor, Life of Sabas 57)

(*) “Aposchist” means “a separatist” or schismatic. W.H.C. Frend in his work “The Rise of the Monophysite Movement” writes: There could be no greater mistake than to try to see the Monophysites as Donatism in Egyptian or Syrian form. Chalcedon was followed by a schism of hearts and minds throughout the whole of the east, but no ‘altar was set up against altar’ (phraseology of Augustine of Hippo and Optatus of Milevis) as it had been in Africa in 312. No formal break occured until a very considerable number of Christians throughout the east came to feel that it was intolerable to receive sacraments at the hands of one who was not strictly orthodox, especially when in some areas in the east these were received once a year. It was not until the time of Severus of Antioch, and due largely to his ‘strictness’ (akribeia) in relation to the reception of sacraments from Chalcedonians that permanent division between supporters and opponents of Chalcedon was rendered inevitable, and even then the organization of a rival Monophysite hierarchy took a very long while. For the generation following the council this step was not even considered, a fact which must influence any assessment of the nationalist or particularist and indeed any non-theological element in Monophysitism. (Chap. 2 The Emperor and His Church, pg. 62)

St. Justinian the Emperor ca. 483-565

So then, in that Apollinaris and Manichaeus deny the truth of the two natures in Christ, i.e. of His divinity and His humanity, it is clearly confirmed that those who have earned the name “Acephaloi” are of the same mind as these godless men, even though they may resist being called “Apollinarian” or “Manichaean” so that they may continue their deception. Following from this, it is clearly confirmed that Dioscorus and Timothy Aelurus, to whom the Acephaloi subscribe as fathers and teachers, follow the evil teachings of Apollinaris and Manichaeus, and believe and teach what is contrary to the teachings of Athanasius and Cyril, which we will now show. For instance, in the letter he sent from Gangros to Alexandria, Dioscorus says this:

“Unless the blood of Christ is by nature the blood of God and not of man, how will it differ from the blood of he-goats, young bulls, and heifers? These are earthly and corruptible, and the blood of men is also earthly and corruptible by nature. But as for the blood of Christ, we will never say that it belongs to one of those who is [earthly and corruptible] by nature.”

What could be harder to bear than this blasphemy of Dioscorus? For in denying that the blood of Christ is of the same essence as human nature, it is discovered that he does not confess the flesh of our Lord to be of the same essence as we, and he nullifies the salvation of man because he says that [the Logos’] body is of the same essence as the Logos’ divinity.

…In the same way we will show that Timothy Aelurus also agrees with Manichaeus, and that he also is of a different mind than our holy fathers Athanasius and Cyril. For instance, this Timothy says in the eighth chapter of the third book which he wrote when [exiled] in Cherson: “The nature of Christ is divine only even though it was incarnate.” Manichaeus writes the same thing in his letter to Cyndorus saying: “The whole is one nature although his form was seen as flesh.” To this we say that if, according to the nonsense of Timothy, the nature of Christis divine only, then the Father and the Holy Spirit also are Christ for there is one nature of the Godhead which we attribute to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, this man’s stupidity would mean that [Christ’s] Passion is common [to all three Persons]. (Letter to the Monks of Alexandria Against the Monophysites)

Dioscorus sometimes has wrongly been accused of misinterpreting Cyril’s mind on this point, but in fact he consistently applied Cyril’s ideas and interpreted all christology on the basis of the pure Cyrilline canon, with one significant exception. What he did was to attempt to delete Cyril’s Antiochene negotiations from the picture. He came to regard all Syrian ‘variations’ on the Cyrilline theme as dispensable. This was a fatal emendation of his teacher’s life’s work. Dioscorus regarded the rapprochement of 433 as merely the result of imperial pressure placed on a sick old man, whose judgment had accordingly lapsed. In consequence, he cut across the diphysite literature of Cyril and thus abandoned the policy of mutual search for an agreed terminology that had been slowly bringing the churches together in common agreement after the council of Ephesus. In this, he not only abandoned a part of Cyril’s legacy, but made a large departure from Proclus too. (Fr. John McGuckin: Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controvery pg. 229)

In fact, it seems that Severus understands neither the holy fathers nor the reason for which Nestorius was condemned. For while the holy fathers confessed that the two natures of divinity and humanity were united in Christ, they forbad anyone to say that there in Him two hypostases or two prosopa or two sons. Nestorius, however, confessed that “nature,” “hypostasis,” and “prosopon” are the same thing; he therefore denied the hypostatic union of the two natures and said that each nature had its own hypostasis separate from the other, thereby producing two Christs and two Sons. It was for this blasphemy of his that he was condemned by the holy fathers. St. Cyril refuted this Judaizing madman at the Council of Ephesus by bringing forth the holy fathers who forbid speaking of two sons, but rather proclaim two natures and one son. (Against the Monophysites)

Leontius of Jerusalem ca. 485-543

Since we publicly assert and maintain the statement that the Lord is ‘out of two natures’ along with the statement that He is ‘in two natures’, since we speak of a combination, and of an entire nature, and since we anathematize even an angel from heaven if he doesn’t think likewise, what possible reason can these people have for refusing to agree with us on these, using both ‘out of two’ and ‘in two’, and electing to anathematize Severus, Dioscorus, and those with them, if they don’t think the same? Since blessed Flavian’s explanation says, ‘We are not looking for an excuse not to speak of one nature of the Word of God — made flesh, of course, and become man — because our one Lord Jesus Christ is out of both’, and since the synod loudly proclaims this, in what way, in light of all this, does the synod not agree with these assertions? (Testimonies of the Saints, 1844c)

Pope St. Gregory the Dialogist ca. 540-604

Besides, since with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, I confess that I receive and revere, as the four books of the Gospel so also the four Councils: to wit, the Nicene, in which the perverse doctrine of Arius is overthrown; the Constantinopolitan also, in which the error of Eunomius and Macedonius is refuted; further, the first Ephesine, in which the impiety of Nestorius is condemned; and the Chalcedonian, in which the pravity of Eutyches and Dioscorus is reprobated. These with full devotion I embrace, and adhere to with most entire approval; since on them, as on a four-square stone, rises the structure of the holy faith; and whosoever, of whatever life and behaviour he may be, holds not fast to their solidity, even though he is seen to be a stone, yet he lies outside the building. The fifth council also I equally venerate, in which the epistle which is called that of Ibas, full of error, is reprobated; Theodorus, who divides the Mediator between God and men into two subsistences, is convicted of having fallen into the perfidy of impiety; and the writings of Theodoritus, in which the faith of the blessed Cyril is impugned, are refuted as having been published with the daring of madness. But all persons whom the aforesaid venerable Councils repudiate I repudiate; those whom they venerate I embrace; since, they having been constituted by universal consent, he overthrows not them but himself, whosoever presumes either to loose those whom they bind, or to bind those whom they loose. Whosoever, therefore, thinks otherwise, let him be anathema. But whosoever holds the faith of the aforesaid synods, peace be to him from God the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, Who lives and reigns consubstantially God with Him in the Unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. (Bk. 1, Letter 25 to John of Constantinople, Eulogius of Alexandria, Gregory of Antioch, John of Jerusalem, and Anastasias, Ex-Patriarch of Antioch)

St. John the Almsgiver of Alexandria died ca. 616

To help this glorious man towards attaining his purpose which was indeed wholly divine, the Lord sent him John and Sophronius, [Sts. John Moschos and Sophronius of Jerusalem] who were wise in the things of God and worthy of perpetual remembrance. They were really honest counselors, and the Patriarch gave unquestioning ear to them as though they were his fathers, and was grateful to them for being most brave and valiant soldiers in the cause of the true faith. For trusting in the might of the Holy Spirit they engaged in a war of dialectics, setting their own wisdom against that of the mad followers of Severus and of the other unclean heretics who were scattered about the country; they delivered many villages and very many churches, and monasteries, too, like good shepherds saving the sheep from the jaws of these evil beasts, and for this reason above others the saintly Patriarch showed special honor to these saintly men. (Leontius of Neapolis, Life of St. John the Almsgiver, 32)

St. John Moschus ca. 550-619

About twenty miles from the city of Aegion in Cilicia there were two stylites located about six miles from each other. One of them was in communion with the holy catholic and apostolic church. The other, who had been the longer time on his column (which was near an estate called Cassiodora) adhered to the Severan sect. The heretical stylite disputed with the orthodox one in various ways, contriving and desiring to win over to his own sect. And having disseminated many words, he seemed to have got the better of him. The orthodox stylite, as though by divine inspiration, intimated that he would like the heretic to send him a portion of his eucharist. The heretic was delighted, thinking that he had led the other astray and he sent the required portion immediately without the slightest delay. The orthodox took the portion which was sent to him by the heretic (the sacrament of the Severan sect, that is) and cast it into a pot which he had brought to a boil before him — it was dissolved by the boiling of the pot. Then he took the holy eucharist of the orthodox church and cast it into the pot. Immediately the pot was cooled. The holy communion remained safe and undampened. He still keeps, for he showed it to us when we visited him. (The Spiritual Meadow 29)

Anastasios, priest and treasurer at the holy Church of the Resurrection of Christ our God told us that Cosmiana, the wife of Germanos the Patrician, came one night, wishing to worship alone at the holy and life-giving sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ, the true God. When she approached the sanctuary, our Lady the holy Mother of God, together with other women, met her in visible form, and said to her: ‘As you are not one of us, you are not to come in here, for you are none of ours.’ The woman was in fact a member of the sect of Severus Acephalos. She begged hard for permission to enter but the holy Mother of God: ‘Believe me, woman, you shall not come in here until you are in communion with us.’ The woman realized that it was because she was a heretic that she was being refused entry; and that nor would she be allowed in until she join the catholic an apostolic church of Christ our God. She sent for the deacon and when the holy chalice arrived, she partook of the holy body and blood of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; and thus she was found worthy to worship unimpeded at the holy and life-giving sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ. (The Spiritual Meadow 48)

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem ca. 560-638

Accordingly, by the holy and consubstantial and worshipful Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, let there be anathema and condemnation forever: …Eutyches, Dioscorus, the protector and advocate of Eutyches; Barsumas, Zooras, Timothy called the Cat, Peter the Stammerer, and Acacius who crafted the Kenotikon (*) of Zeno; …Peter the Fuller, who dared to attach the cross to the Trisagion Hymn; another Peter, the defilement of Iberia of barbarian mind, who introduced another headless heresy among the Headless Ones, and Isaiah, the associate of this Peter. With all these, and before all and after all and according to all on behalf of all, let Severus be anathema, their thoroughly mad disciple, who of all the Headless Ones, new and old, is called a most cruel tyrant and a most hostile enemy of the holy catholic church, and a most disgusting seducer; and Theodosius of Alexandria, Anthimus of Trebizond, Jacob the Syrian; Julian of Halicarnassus… (Synodical Letter 2.6.1)

(*) St. Sophronius puns on the title of the Hen-otikon, Zeno’s document of “unity”, by calling it Ken-oticon, an “empty” document or a purgative. Additionally, St. Sophronius’ Synodical Letter was fully endorsed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council: “We have also examined the synodal letter of Sophronius of holy memory, some time Patriarch of the Holy City of Christ our God, Jerusalem, and have found it in accordance with the true faith and with the Apostolic teachings, and with those of the holy approved Fathers. Therefore we have received it as orthodox and as salutary to the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and have decreed that it is right that his name be inserted in the diptychs of the Holy Churches.” (Session XIII: Sentence Against the Monothelites)

St. Maximus the Confessor ca. 580-662

Severus knavishly says that hypostasis is the same as nature. (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. XCI, Col. 40A.)

Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos comments: For Maximus, the distinction between person/hypostasis, on the one hand, and nature/essence on the other, is indispensible for the articulation of a proper Christology. Severus’ fatal mistake consists precisely in his refusal to distinguish between them, because, without this distinction, it is not possible to denote unity and and distinction in a satisfactory way. Maximus argues that by identifying hypostasis with nature, Severus confuses divinity and humanity. By the same token, by arguing that there is a distinction in the natural qualities too, because, since nature and hypostasis are the same, ‘natural qualities’ equals ‘hypostatic qualities’; thus, for Maximus, Severus falls into Nestorianism (Ep. 15, 568D) (Byzantine Christ, pg. 101)

Nestorius and Severus, therefore, have one aim in their ungodliness, even though the mode is different. For the one, afraid of confusion, flees from the hypostatic union and makes the essential difference a personal division. The other, afraid of division, denies the essential difference and turns the hypostatic union into a natural confusion. It is necessary to confess neither confusion in Christ, nor division, but the union of those that are essentially different, and the difference of those that are hypostatically united, in order that the principle of the essences and the mode of the union might be proclaimed. But they break asunder both of these: Nestorius only confirms a union of gnomic qualities, Severus only confirms the difference of natural qualities after the union, and both of them have missed the truth of things. The one recklessly scribes division to the mystery, the other confusion. (Opuscule 3: 56D)

St. Anastasios the Sinaite died ca. 700

Aristotle says that persons are particular essences; going by this vain rule, Arius said that there were three essences, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Going by this iniquitous definition, Severus said that Christ was one nature formed from two particular essences, that is, separate hypostases. (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. LXXXIX, Col. 108B.)

St. John Damascene ca. 676-749

The Egyptians, who are also called schematics and Mononphysites: separated from the Orthodox Church on the pretext of the document approved at Chalcedon and known as the Tome. They have been called Egyptians, because it was the Egyptians who first started this form of heresy during the reigns of the Emperors Marcian and Valentinian; in every other way they are Orthodox. Because they were attached to Dioscoros of Alexandria, who was deposed by the Synod in Chalcedon for advocating the teachings of Eutyches, they opposed the Synod and fabricated countless charges against it to the best of their ability. We have taken up these charges in this book and sufficiently refuted them, showing them to be clumsy and stupid. Their leaders were Theodosios of Alexandria, from whom derive the Theodosians, and James [Baradaios] of Syria, from whom the Jacobites derive. Privy to them, and supporters and champions, were Severos, the corrupter from Antioch, and John [Philoponos] the Tritheite, who toiled on vain things; they denied the mystery of our common salvation. They wrote many things against the God-inspired teaching of the 630 Fathers of Chalcedon, and laid many snares, so to speak, and “stumbling blocks by the path” (Ps. 139:6) for those who were perishing by their pernicious heresy. Nevertheless, even though they teach that there are particular substances, they confound the mystery of the Incarnation. We considered it necessary to discuss their impiety in brief, adding short notes in refutation of their godless and abominable heresy. I shall set forth the teachings, or rather, ravings, of their champion John, in which they take so much pride. (Concerning Heresies 83)

Dioscorus and Severus and the multitudinous mobs of both accepted that there was one and the same hypostasis, defining in a similar way that there was one nature, ‘not knowing what they say nor understanding what they assert.’ The disease or deception in their mind lay in this, that they conceived nature and hypostasis to be the same. (Greek Fathers of the Church Vol. 4 pg. 346, Thessaloniki: 1990)

…[W]e declare that the addition which the vain-minded Peter the Fuller made to the Trisagium or Thrice Holy Hymn is blasphemous; for it introduces a fourth person into the Trinity, giving a separate place to the Son of God, Who is the truly subsisting power of the Father, and a separate place to Him Who was crucified as though He were different from the Mighty One, or as though the Holy Trinity was considered passible, and the Father and the Holy Spirit suffered on the Cross along with the Son. Have done with this blasphemous and nonsensical interpolation! For we hold the words Holy God to refer to the Father, without limiting the title of divinity to Him alone, but acknowledging also as God the Son and the Holy Spirit: and the words Holy and Mighty we ascribe to the Son, without stripping the Father and the Holy Spirit of might: and the words Holy and Immortal we attribute to the Holy Spirit, without depriving the Father and the Son of immortality. For, indeed, we apply all the divine names simply and unconditionally to each of the subsistences in imitation of the divine Apostle’s words. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him: and one Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things, and we by Him 1 Cor. 8:5. And, nevertheless, we follow Gregory the Theologian when he says, But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in Whom are all things: for the words of Whom and through Whom and in Whom do not divide the natures (for neither the prepositions nor the order of the names could ever be changed), but they characterise the properties of one unconfused nature. And this becomes clear from the fact that they are once more gathered into one, if only one reads with care these words of the same Apostle, Of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen Rom. 11:36.

For that the Trisagium refers not to the Son alone , but to the Holy Trinity, the divine and saintly Athanasius and Basil and Gregory, and all the band of the divinely-inspired Fathers bear witness: because, as a matter of fact, by the threefold holiness the Holy Seraphim suggest to us the three subsistences of the superessential Godhead. But by the one Lordship they denote the one essence and dominion of the supremely-divine Trinity. Gregory the Theologian of a truth says , Thus, then, the Holy of Holies, which is completely veiled by the Seraphim, and is glorified with three consecrations, meet together in one lordship and one divinity. This was the most beautiful and sublime philosophy of still another of our predecessors. (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith Bk. 3.10: Concerning the Trisagion)

St. Photios the Great ca. 810-893

Countless have been the evils devised by the cunning devil against the race of men, from the beginning up to the coming of the Lord. But even afterwards, he has not ceased through errors and heresies to beguile and deceive those who listen to him. Before our times, the Church, witnessed variously the godless errors of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Discorus, and a foul host of others, against which the holy Ecumenical Synods were convened, and against which our holy and God-bearing Fathers battled with the sword of the Holy Spirit. Yet, even after these heresies had been overcome and peace reigned, and from the Imperial Capital the streams of Orthodoxy flowed throughout the world; after some people who had been afflicted by the Monophysite heresy returned to the True Faith because of your holy prayers(Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs)

Holy Saints Euphemia, Cyril, Leo, Sophronius and Maximus, pray for us!


  1. the Formula of Reunion of 433, which St. Cyril accepted reads: “As to the evangelical and apostolic expressions about the Lord, we know that theologians treat some in common as of one person and distinguish others as of two natures, and interpret the god-befitting ones in connection with the godhead of Christ and the lowly ones with his humanity.”

    Conversely, Pope Shenouda writes: “If the divine nature is different from the human nature, then how do they unite? The reply is that the nature of the soul is different from that of the body, but they still unite in one human nature. All man’s acts are attributed to him as a whole being. All Christ’s actions are similiarly attributed to Him – not to this nature or that nature.” (On the Nature of Christ, p. 20)

    and before him, several Oriental “Saints” condemned this two nature language, and even Cyril himself:

    449: Dioscoros presides over the Robber Synod and exonerates Eutyches, and deposes St. Flavian (who is beaten to death and replaced by an Alexandrian), and condemns all who accept the Agreements and anathematizes all who confess two natures [Fr. Geoges Florovsky, The Byzantine Fathers of the Fifth Century (Thessaloniki:1992), p 470; referenced in The Non-Chalcedonian Heretics, p. 13].

    457: Timothy Ailouros (another Monophysite “saint”) condemns Saint Cyril on account of the agreements:
    “Cyril… having excellently articulated the wise proclamation of Orthodoxy, showed himself to be fickle and is to be censured for teaching contrary doctrine: after previously proposing that we should speak of one nature of God the Word, he destroyed the dogma that he had formulated and is caught professing two Natures of Christ” [Timothy Ailouros, “Epistles to Kalonymos,” Patrologia Graeca, Vol LXXXVI, Col. 276; quoted in The Non Chalcedonian Heretics, p. 13].

    Severos also condemns St. Cyril’s Agreements:
    “The formulae used by the Holy Fathers concerning two Natures united in Christ should be set aside, even if they be Cyril’s” [Patrologia Graeca, Vol. LXXXIX, Col. 103D. Saint Anastasios of Sinai preserves this quote of Severos in his works; quoted in The Non-Chalcedonian Heretics, p. 12].

  2. Anba Gregorius, who is considered to be one of the most accredited Coptic scholars in the 20th century, and the teacher of the patriarch Shenouda, rejects St. Leo’s distinction between the two natures even after acknowledging unity.[14] Moreover, he states clearly that the Coptic Church condemns the Chalcedonian church’s confessing that Christ is a perfect God and perfect Man.[15] Gregorius goes still further by asserting that, “ I before God I reject the term Double Consubstantiality if it means the duality of essences[…] we admit that these essences after unity became one.”[16] Meanwhile, Romanides’ whole argument for supporting the orthodoxy of Copts is their alleged acceptance of the duality of essences, since they distinguish between nature and essence. This doesn’t fit with Gregorius’ own definition here.

    Metropolitan Bishoy, the General Co-secretary of the Joint-Committee of the Dialogue, showed a clear rejection of Orthodox Christology.[17] In his paper presented to the 3rd meeting between the Russian Orthodox Church and Oriental Churches in Lebanon, he declared that they refuse considering Chalcedon to be an Ecumenical Council. Furthermore, he tied accepting the acceptance of Chalcedon’s ecumenicity with the acceptance of the Robber Synod of Ephesus in 449 by the Orthodox Church![18]

    While he considered that the Orthodox deliberately misunderstood it, Shenouda III, the Patriarch of the Coptic Church, dares to label his Church with the term “Monophysites”, instead of the term Miaphysites.[19] He repeats the same condemnations of Gregorius against confessing Christ as a perfect God and perfect man [20]


    [14] Anba Gregorius, Mowso’at allahoat al Anba Gregorius, vol.I. Anba Gregorius Library : Egypt 2003. p.208

    [15] Ibid.

    [16] Ibid. p.288

    [17] Recently, he published a book collecting poetry about himself written by priests appreciating his ecumenical efforts. In one of these poems, the Orthodox are described as the Sick Nestorians, al-Nasatera al-Seqam. [Anba Bishoy: Sham’a Modee’a fe Kanesetna al Qebteya , Damietta 1997 chapter 15]

    [18] “The Four later Councils of the Orthodox” says Bishoy, “can be considered as local Councils concerning their Family of Churches.The same applies to the Second Council at Ephesus 449 AD which the Oriental Orthodox did not oblige any Church to accept as an Ecumenical Council although it was a great defence against the propagation of Nestorianism and was defended by St. Severus of Antioch.”. Bishoy of Damietta, The Council of Chalcedon 451 AD. The Third Meeting of The Joint Commission for the Relations Between the Russian Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East December 12-16, 2005The Catholicosate of The Great House of Cilicia Antelias, Lebanon.

    [19] Shenouda says: “…The term “Monophysites” used for the believers in the One Nature has been intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted throughout certain periods of history. Consequently, the Coptic and the Syrian Churches in particular were cruelly persecuted because of their belief…”. Shenouda III, The Nature of Christ, Dar El-Tebaa El-Kawmia, 2nd English edition Cairo 1991. P.9

    [20] Ibid. p. 18

  3. Many Orthodox remain completely unaware of post-Chalcedonian history and theology and I made this post so as demonstrate how the Holy Fathers of the Church fought against Non-Chalcedonian theology. We’re aware of Chalcedon and Nicea II but not the Councils and theology in-between the two. Many brothers also do not choose to accept this post, considering that it’s “unloving” and “heresy hunting”. Many even believe that this is nothing but a schism over phyletism, semantics and imperial politics and that the Ecumenical Councils condemned innocent men! Thereby, exonerating the heretics and accussing the Church. They are either unaware of the theology involved OR they don’t care. As for me, I’ll continue to believe in the Church of the Ecumenical Councils…

  4. Great article!

    Thank you so much.

  5. The quote supposedly by Timothy Aelurus has long been rejected by scholars as not being his at all, and it is odd that the one quotation from Severus of Antioch is not from any of his voluminous works which are all available, but is provided by one who takes a polemical view.

    Have you read any of the authentic works of Timothy Aelurus, or Severus, or even Dioscorus. I am sure that you would hesitate to promote this article if you were aware how deeply flawed it is, and how much filled with a rather scandalous ignorance of the teachings of those you criticise.

    You are free to believe as you choose, but if you base your belief on ignorance, misrepresentation and polemics then it is based on a lie.

  6. Greetings Fr. Peter,

    At Classical Christianity we ultimately base our belief on the Seven Ecumenical Councils and not a quote which may or may not belong to Timothy or Severus. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. Why did Chalcedon read the letter of Ibas and declare it most Orthodox, and then Constantinople declare it obvious blasphemy?

    Why did Chalcedon over turn the condemnation of Ibas (he was busy translating the heretical works of Theodore of Mopsuestia into Syrian for distribution in his see), and then be be condemned again at Constantinople?

    Why did Chalcedon choose to use the Nestorian language of Theodore, while rejecting the language of St Cyril?

    Since Dioscorus was not condemned at Chalcedon for any heresy, and how could he be, why was he then condemned as one a hundred years later?

    Why was Nestorius invited to attend Chalcedon, but was unable to as he died before he could set out?

    There are lots of questions about Chalcedon which are not raised in your articles.

  8. Their heterodoxy is evident, and so is our modern rebellion.

    The previous two generations, more than any others, have believed themselves to be greater than the Fathers. The height of arrogance. Lord have mercy.

  9. Thank you Fr., for showing us how “heretical” Chalcedon is. For all those who agree with the Miaphysites look and see how they calumniate the Fathers of the Fourth Council.

  10. @ Adam,


  11. Modernists – those who have embraced modern philosophical concepts of reality – always believe that unity reduces to “agreement”.

    The mystical Body of Christ is a theanthropic assembly who’s life is far more than doctrinal ideas, and propositions. One cannot merely claim to be in ideological agreement and expect that agreement to suffice as true membership in the one Body. That one body is a living family, and like every other family who knows their own, they don’t let strangers in their doors merely because they agree with the family motto.

    There’s more to Orthodoxy than orthodoxy, and there is more to unity than doctrinal agreement. Chalcedon was not merely a setting forth of orthodoxy, but it was, in itself, an orthopraxy of the Church.

    It is good to agree, but it is better to repent and perform works worthy of repentance.

  12. For everyone interested, the terms ‘mia physis’ and ‘of two natures’ are also used by the Orthodox Church:

    St. Justinian – Nevertheless these enemies of the truth, by going beyond all the teachings of the fathers…interpret the formula “One nature of God the Word incarnate,” out of context and in accordance with their own opinions…for having said the nature of the Word is one when contemplated without the flesh, he did not stop there, but he added the term ‘incarnate’, to show us by this word the other, human nature. (Against the Monophysites)

    The translator of “Against the Monophysites”, Kenneth P. Wesche, states this in the footnotes: ‘This formula was at the heart of the controversy between those Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians who were both disciples of St. Cyril. Chalcedonians sought to demonstrate the affinity between St. Cyril’s formula and Chalcedon’s, “one hypostasis in two natures,” by arguing that the term “incarnate” refers to the human nature of Christ.’

    5th Ecumenical Council:

    (Canon 7) If anyone using the expression, “in two natures,” does not confess that our one Lord Jesus Christ has been revealed in the divinity and in the humanity, so as to designate by that expression a difference of the natures of which an ineffable union is unconfusedly made, [a union] in which neither the nature of the Word was changed into that of the flesh, nor that of the flesh into that of the Word, for each remained that it was by nature, the union being hypostatic; but shall take the expression with regard to the mystery of Christ in a sense so as to divide the parties, or recognising the two natures in the only Lord Jesus, God the Word made man, does not content himself with taking in a theoretical manner the difference of the natures which compose him, which difference is not destroyed by the union between them, for one is composed of the two and the two are in one, but shall make use of the number [two] to divide the natures or to make of them Persons properly so called: let him be anathema.

    (Canon 8) If anyone uses the expression “of two natures,” confessing that a union was made of the Godhead and of the humanity, or the expression “the one nature made flesh of God the Word,” and shall not so understand those expressions as the holy Fathers have taught, to wit: that of the divine and human nature there was made an hypostatic union, whereof is one Christ; but from these expressions shall try to introduce one nature or substance [made by a mixture] of the Godhead and manhood of Christ; let him be anathema.

    Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald in his mp3s on Orthodox history states that the Church allows “of two natures” AND “in two natures” if understood correctly BUT disallows them if understood in a perverse manner.

    Fr. Romanides: “I think a very basic difficulty which we Chalcedonians of the Greek tradition face is that there is a peculiar theological alliance between the Latin (including Protestant) and non-Chalcedonian scholars in regard to Chalcedon. For the same reasons that the Westerners can accept Chalcedon, the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon. Both sides try to prove that Chalcedon rejected the Twelve Chapters of St. Cyril and accepted Leo’ s Tome either as a correction (so say the Westerners) or as a distortion (so say the non-Chalcedonians) of Cyrillian Christology. Contrary to both these approaches (which do not represent the central tradition of Chalcedon) the Chalcedonian Greeks read the documents of Chalcedon in the light of Ephesus I (431) and Constantinople II (553). The usual Latin and non-Chalcedonian picture whereby our Illyrian, Thracian, Asian, Pontian, Cappadocian, Palestinian, and Egyptian Fathers are presented as capitulating before a few Latin and Antiochene bishops is caricature and not history.”

    Fr. Demetrius Bathrellos also adds: “… in sharp contradistiction to anti-Chalcedonian Cyrillian fundamentalism, the Council showed showed a flexibility in the use of various Christological expressions. It is noteworthy, for example, that it accepted the Cyrillian formula ‘one incarnante nature of God the Logos’ as a legitimate Christological expression. It did so, on the proviso that the Cyrillian formula be interpreted on the basis of, and in light of, Chalcedon…Chalcedonians had two options: either to understand the word ‘nature’ as equivalent to hypostasis, or to take the word ‘enfleshed’ as an indication of a second nature.”(Byzantine Christ)

    THEREFORE, it was the Orthodox Church which allowed for freedom of expression whether Alexandrian or Latin/Antiochian. St. Cyril set the tone for this in the reconciliation of 433. The Miaphysites are historically the ones demanding the Mia Physis to the exclusion of all else. St. Maximus himself brilliantly encapsulated all this theology when he turned the formula of Leontius of Byzantium, “Christ is out of two natures, in two natures and two natures” into an oft-repeated tripartite formula. One can even see “Cyrillianism” at Rome in the canons of the Lateran Synod of 649:

    Canon 5. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers one incarnate nature of God the Word, in this way, that our substance is called incarnate perfectly in Christ God and without diminution, provided substance is signified without sin, let him be condemned.

    Canon 6. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers, that from two and in two natures substantially united unconfusedly and undividedly there is one and the same Lord and God, Jesus Christ, let him be condemned.

  13. These issues were answered by Fr. J. Romanides in consultation with the Miaphysites:

    “It is noteworthy that even Cyril had to defend himself against the accusation that he accepted a new Creed in his reconciliatory correspondence with John of Antioch. Theodoret and Ibas were restored to the episcopacy because they accepted Ephesus I and especially the Twelve Chapters, which acceptance is in itself a condemnation of what they had written about and against Cyril and his anathemas.”

    “In his letter to Acacius of Melitene Cyril is quite emphatic about the fact that this Antiochene confession of the double birth and double consubstantiality of the One and the Same Logos cannot be suspected of Nestorianism since this is exactly what Nestorius denies. [ 7 ] To the objection that two natures after the union means a predication of two separate kinds of names, divine and human, to two separate natures, Cyril replies that to divide names does not mean necessarily a division of natures, hypostases, or persons, since all names are predicated of the one Logos.”

    “In the light of the evidence it is clear that Cyril’s Third letter to Nestorius, including the Twelve Chapters, was not repudiated by Chalcedon as many claim. On the contrary, the Twelve Chapters, were used as the very basis of the Council’s attitudes toward Nestorianism and Leo’s Tome. It is too bad that the Chalcedonians themselves present at the Council of 531 in Constantinople did not fully realize the crucial role played at Chalcedon by Cyrill’s Twelve Chapters. Their answer to Severus accusation (Fr. Peter’s arguments are the same used by Severos of Antioch 1500 yrs. ago) that the Twelve Chapters were laid aside in 451 was that it was accepted and approved as part of Ephesus i. This, of course, is incontestable, but not anywhere near the reality of the matter. The significance of the use made of the Twelve Chapters at Chalcedon should be obvious enough to those who claim that they fail to find the terms characteristic of Cyrillian Christology in the definition. Groundless also are the theories (brought forward by many Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars embarrassed by the Cyrillianism of the Fifth Ecumenical Council) concerning an alleged neo Chalcedonian rnovement which was supposed to have put Leo’s Tome aside and returned to the Twelve Chapters of Ephesus I, especially to the twelfth anathema. The truth of the matter is that in pronouncing anathema on those who do not accept the Twelve Chapters of Cyril, the Fifth Ecumenical Council of 553 is simply repeating what was done at Ephesus in 431 and again at Chalcedon in 451.”

    “It should be noted that One Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate and not One Physis of God the Logos Incarnate is to be found in Cyril’s Third Letter to Nestorius approved by Ephesus and Chalcedon. These terms are, of course, absolutely synonymous for Cyril.”

    “We should not overlook the fact that the overwhelming majority of bishops at Chalcedon were Cyrillians and so were able to force the issue of the Twelve Chapters as the criterion of Leo’ s faith. After Chalcedon even Leo attempted to calm his enemies with the claim that he himself was absolutely Cyrillian (see e.g. his Ep. cxvii, 3). I think one should simply check the references to the minutes in my paper for documentation of the evaluations made… Ibas was reinstated on the basis of his formal acceptance, sincere or not, of the Twelve Chapters.”

    “It is easy for you to use the Latin interpretation of Chalcedon as a stick against us, but if we are to get anywhere you will have to take the Greek Chalcedonian interpretation of the place of Leo’s Tome at the Fourth Council more seriously.”

    Fr. Romanides went a long way to explain to them about Chalcedon, too far in my opinion, and yet we still have to hear these 1500 year old accusations yet again?

  14. Brilliant Adam. Thanks for your input! Look forward to more future posts on your blog.

  15. I find it shocking that this far on the side of Chalcedon that anyone could argue against it? What is it that people think that the Fathers got it wrong? St. Cyril’s words are not hard to understand and if read carefully do not walk both sides of the fence. Truth is, to believe differently than what the fathers already have determined is to be an outright heretic!

  16. …while Christ is a single, undivided person, He is not only from two natures but in two natures. The bishops acclaimed the Tome of St. Leo the Great, Pope of Rome (died 461), in which the distinction between the two natures is clearly stated, although the unity of Christ’s person is also emphasized. In their proclamation of faith they stated their belief in ‘one and the same son, perfect in Godhead and perfect in humanity, truly God and truly human… acknowledged in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference between the natures is in no way removed because of the union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature is preserved, and both combine in one person and in one hypostasis.

  17. I forgot to address one other thing that Fr. Peter said. He stated the Chalcedon utilized Theodore’s language whereas Fr. John McGuckin in ‘Christological Controversy’ explains this about about the Chalcedonian decree:

    The imperial commission of eighteen commanded by the emperor to draw up a conciliar draft statement, was instructed to affirm the enduring identity of the ‘two natures’. The bishops would accept this, however, only on the basis of the strictest qualifications and safeguards (such as those agreed by Cyril himself in the Succensus letters). The adverbs of Cyril they had in mind were that the two natures endured in the one Christ: unchangeably (atreptos), undividedly (ameristos), and unconfusedly(asynchtos)…in fact, Leo’s attribution of separate actions to natures had been decidedly dropped, and his terms only inserted as one key sentence: the phrase ‘the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in one prosopon’.

    To have supplied, in substance, three of the four so-called ‘Chalcedonian adverbs’ already, and with the fourth missing adverbs emphasizing Cyril’s basic point of the inseparability of the natures, is hardly, on anyone’s terms, a ‘triumph’ of western and Antichene christology.

    …the verbal form which drives that whole central clause containing four adverbs qualifying ‘in two natures’. It is none other ‘gnorizomenon’: ‘made known (to the intellect) in two natures’. It does not simply teach ‘Christ is in two natures’ as the Antiochian system had suggested. Those who do not recognize the importance of the difference are those who have not followed the whole fifth century christological debate, but this certainly did not include the bishops present at Chalcedon. And so, the Chalcedonian decree, at this critical juncture, is clearly, and deliberately, a profession of Cyril’s understanding of the union and, again, largely on his terms. The ‘made known’ of Chalcedon is substantially the ‘notional scrutiny'(oson men heken eis ennoian) of Cyril’s First Letter to Succensus. Even when Cyril’s terminology was felt to be in need of correction, or clarification, whether to placate the West, or to exclude a Eutyches or a Dioscorus, it was instinctively to Cyril that they turned to supply the correction.

  18. We at Classical Christianity would love to have all Christians (and non-Christians too!) united in one Church, reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in it’s original form and accepting the dogmas of the Seven Councils in communion with canonical bishops.

    This is what the OCA declared in the 2012 Spring Session of their Holy Synod:

    “In response to questions of a pastoral nature vis-à-vis non-Chalcedonian Christians, the members of the Holy Synod reaffirmed that they are received into the Church through the sacraments of Confession and Communion. However, should they later return to their own Church, they no longer would be admitted to communion in the Orthodox Church.”

    RAS, this is exactly the way prescribed by the Council of Trullo in the East and Pope St. Gregory the Great in the West:

    …[T]he Manichæans, and Valentinians and Marcionites and all of similar heresies must give certificates and anathematize each his own heresy, and also Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, and the other chiefs of such heresies, and those who think with them, and all the aforesaid heresies; and so they become partakers of the holy Communion.(Canon 95)

    Monophysites and others are received by a true confession only, because holy baptism, which they have received among heretics, then acquires in them the power of cleansing, when either the former receive the Holy Spirit by imposition of hands, or the latter are united to the bowels of the holy and universal Church by reason of their confession of the true faith. (Epistles, Bk. 11: Epistle 67)

    I’m really puzzled why you placed the word “Fathers” in quotations…

    God bless!

  19. thats what it seemed to say to me. welcome to the slippery slope of ecumenism. now RAS is endorsing an article that proclaims we are the same as the Nestorian community and the Papist community, etc. Quite a drastic difference from St. Justin Popovich who said that the Papacy is one of the great falls of man. and to pick out the Anglo-Catholic part of the Anglican Church and to leave the rest, as if that makes even the slightest bit of sense ecclesiologically (same goes for those who pick out the Uniates as somehow the same as us but NOT the Latin Rite, as if that makes even the slightest bit of sense …). this is absurdity.

  20. Here is an answer to yet another misrepresention pertaining to the anathemas of the Church.

    Met. Philaret (ROCOR): The Holy Orthodox Church is the repository of the divinely revealed Truth in all its fullness and fidelity to apostolic Tradition. Hence, he who leaves the Church, who intentionally and consciously falls away from it, joins the ranks of its opponents and becomes a renegade as regards apostolic Tradition. The Church dreadfully anathematized such renegades, in accordance with the words of the Saviour Himself (Matt. 18:17) and of the Apostle Paul (Gal. 1:8-9), threatening them with eternal damnation and calling them to return to the Orthodox fold. It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who knowingly pervert the truth…They have been born and raised and are living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The Lord, “Who will have all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4) and “Who enlightens every man born into the world” (Jn. 1.43), undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation In His own way.
    With reference to the above question, it is particularly instructive to recall the answer once given to an inquirer by the Blessed Theophan the Recluse. The blessed one replied more or less thus: “You ask, will the heterodox be saved… Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins… I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever.”
    We believe the foregoing answer by the saintly ascetic to be the best that can be given in this matter.

  21. Jesse,

    Here’s more interesting Non-Chalcedonian history pertaining to the Jacob Baradeus and the Armenian Church. It seems as though the Armenians condemned Severos of Antioch at least at one time. I wonder if this canon is still authoritative. I also think they are actually referring to the Syrian Jacobites instead of the “Assyrians” who are extreme dyophysites.

    There are numerous stories related of his (ie Jacob Baradeus) miracles. For example, how he healed and even restored a dead youth to life by invoking the name of Jesus Christ and the Monophysite formula. “In the name of Jesus Christ, one indivisible nature that was crucified for us upon the cross, rise and walk!” Many of the miracles, typical of the time and the hagiographical tradition, stretch the imagination. One incident is worth relating. The people of Amida had relapsed to Chalcedonianism and had become lunatics. In despair, they sent for Jacob who told them that “if you are so mad as to say ‘two natures,’ naturally you go mad.” Allegedly he was able to restore their sanity. (Fr. Georges Florovsky, Byzantine Fathers of the 6th-8th Centuries)

    The Council of Manazkert (719)

    At this council some dogmatic questions were discussed which had been raised in the Assyrian Church, and led to divergence. The famous Armenian Theologian Translator Khosrovik took part in this Council. The goal of this council was to amend the divergences that had occurred between the two churches concerning the purity of the Savior’s body. The Assyrians accused the Armenians of following the teaching of Julian of Halicarnassus and the Armenians in their turn accused the Assyrians of following the teachings of Severus of Antioch.

    The Council established 10 anathemas which refuted the teachings of Julian of Halicarnas and Severus of Antioch and their followers and reestablished the orthodox teaching of the Holy Trinity. As a result an alliance was created between the Armenian and Assyrian churches.

    The Council of Shirakavan

    The primary reason for convening the Council of Shirak was a letter to the Armenians received from Patriarch Photius of Constantinople concerning the adoption of chalcedony. Patriarch Photius had repeatedly tried to convert the Armenians living in his territory to Chalcedony and had unleashed persecution against Armenians. Catholicos Zachariah I of Dzak wrote a letter to Patriarch Photius stating that the Armenian faith was in agreement with the decisions of the first three Ecumenical Councils. In his reply letter Patriarch Photius tried to prove the orthodox character of Chalcedony and once again suggested that the Armenians should adopt Chalcedony. The Council of Shirak renounced Patriarch Photius’ suggestion and after stating the faith of the Armenian Church in 15 anathemas, sent the reply to Patriarch Photius.

  22. Regarding the miracle of St. Euphemia: I’m not able to find it in the minutes of Chalcedon. Can someone find it for me and tell me where it is? Thanks. :-)

  23. The miracle is attested to by the letter from the Synod of Chalcedon to Pope St. Leo the Great. Letter 98, Chap. 3 in the Letters of Leo. I also made reference to this in the post.

    “For it was God who worked, and the triumphant Euphemia who crowned the meeting as for a bridal , and who, taking our definition of the Faith as her own confession, presented it to her Bridegroom by our most religious Emperor and Christ-loving Empress, appeasing all the tumult of opponents and establishing our confession of the Truth as acceptable to Him, and with hand and tongue setting her seal to the votes of us all in proclamation thereof. These are the things we have done, with you present in the spirit and known to approve of us as brethren, and all but visible to us through the wisdom of your representatives.”

  24. The problem that the legend refers to the Eutychians/Monophysites/anti-Chalcedonians submitting a creed. No such submission can be found in the Acts of Chalcedon.

  25. Neither does the miracle appear in the acts. Perhaps some minutes are no longer extant.

  26. The letter to Pope Leo, though, doesn’t actually describe the miracle. It seems to be referring to St. Euphemia’s intercession, since the council took place at her church. Chalcedon was a very well documented event, and at least a few different copies of the voluminous minutes have come down to us today. There is no indication that the miracle was edited out, and why would it be? And as Isa Almisry says, the Anti-Chalcedonians never submitted a creed. I can’t figure it out. :-) What is the earliest actual description of the miracle?

  27. Salpy,

    I disagree with your interpretation. I interpret the letter to Leo as the first description of it because it states that she set her seal to the votes in “hand” (the miracle with scroll in her right hand) “and tongue” (her intercessions before Christ which energizes her holy relics). Also, I didn’t say that the miracle was “edited out”; I said that maybe it was no longer extant. For instance, there are no traces of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed or the canons extant in the few remaining documents which remain from the Second Ecumenical Council. This fact has enabled scholars to now deny that the Creed is even a product of that council. I disagree with them and accept the traditional view which ascribes the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed to Constantinople I 381 ad. There is also another heavenly affirmation of Chalcedon which I wholeheartedly believe recorded by St. John Moschos, the spiritual father of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem:

    St. John Moschos ca. 550-619

    Abba Menas, ruler of the same community also told us that he had heard this from the same Abba Eulogios, Pope of Alexandria: When I went to Constantinople, [I was a guest in the house of] master Gregory the archdeacon of Rome, a man of distinguished virtue. He told me of a written tradition preserved in the Roman church concerning the most blessed Leo, Pope of Rome. It tells how, when he had written to Flavian, the saintly Patriarch of Constantinople, condemning those impious men, Eutyches and Nestorius, he laid the letter on the tomb of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. He gave himself to prayer and fasting, lying on the ground invoking the chief of the disciples in these words: ‘If I, a mere man, have done anything amiss, do you, to whom the church and the throne are entrusted by our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, set it to rights’. Forty days later, the Apostle appeared to him as he was praying and said: ‘I have read it and I have corrected it’. The pope took the letter from Saint Peter’s tomb, unrolled it and found it corrected in the Apostle’s hand. (The Spiritual Meadow, 147.)

    I sense that you’ll probably discount this one, but I believe in this one as well. Thanks for commenting.

  28. Or rather, an affirmation of St. Leo’s Tome.

  29. Can you please tell us when the term Orthodox was given to the Non-Chalcedonians? You have said only recently but we are very interested to know when and why the term orthodox was given to the non-chalcedonians. For instance why is the alexandiran’s church called orthodox rather than coptic or the Ethiopian church called Orthodox rather than Tewahedo? When did the Ethiopians, The coptics, etc..churches get the name Orthodox? I really look forward to know the answer. Because recently, a news broke out in Ethiopia that the term orthodox was imposed on the Ethiopian Tewahedo church to mix wheat with tares. Thank you for your help. It means a lot to us if someone can tell us why the term orthodox started to be widely used by non chalcedonians.

  30. Merawi,

    I don’t have the answer to that question. Perhaps you should ask some Ethiopians. I’m shocked that they would be upset at the name “Orthodox”, since it means “right glorying” or “right believing”.

  31. Dear Admin,

    The Ethiopian synod refused to answer the question. Some hermits came from the wilderness and said that the prophet Elijah returned to this earth and that he revealed some news to them. One of the things they said he told them was that, Sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday, In Ethiopia, we used to observe two sabbath days. Saturday as the old testament sabbath day and Sunday as the new testament sabbath day. But the hermits came out and said that the prophet Elijah told them that there is only one sabbath and that sabbath day is Saturday. The other thing is about the name orthodox. They said that the name orthodox was imposed on the Ethiopian church to mix the true faith with the false faith. In any case, the hermits were arrested by the police for saying what the prophet Elijah told them. The Ethiopian synod has refused to say anything about sabbath or the name orthodox. So I was wondering if someone from the outside world can point me in the right direction. And also any information on the return of Elijah. Thank you. And by the way, the hermits said that the prophet Elijah has no problem with the meaning of the name Orthodox. The problem is with the religion that is called Orthodox because there is a big difference in beliefs. For instance, the name catholic means universal but if that name some how was imposed on the orthodox church, they would be upset because there is a difference in beliefs.

  32. Merawi,

    Thanks for the info.

    in ICXC,

  33. Here is the Hypocrisy of the Monophysites:

    Today they wish to claim:

    “We have the same faith!”

    And yet WE, the Orthodox are willing to confess the formula of St Cyril of Alexandria, “One incarnate nature of the Logos.”

    If we really have the same faith, O Monophysites, then confess the faith of St Leo, as we confess as our own the faith of St Cyril.

    If you will not, then your heresy and hypocrisy remain. For how can you say we have the same faith and not subscribe to our definitions of the faith, when we clearly subscribe to “yours”?

    The answer is simple: what truth you have does not belong to you by right or by conviction, but by theft and deceit and a warped fundamentalism, as if there were no other father than St Cyril!

  34. Daniel,

    Anyone who reads the history will see that we repeatedly tried to make every effort to reconcile with them. The Orthodox Church uses Alexandrian, Roman and Antiochian christological terminology because it’s catholic. St. Cyril himself accepted Antiochian terminology as a valid medium for expressing the Mystery. St. Maximus said that each way of speaking was necessary to stay on the royal path.

    Anti-Chalcedonianism is the foundation on which their confession rises or falls. To accept Chalcedon would negate their tradition, which they received from schismatics like Severos. Not to mention, their theology is monoenergetic and monothelite. Fr. Florovsky compared their one-sided christology to Augustinian soteriology: the divine is over-emphasized. He also warned the Church against practicing an ‘eastern ecumenism’ based solely on St. Cyril to the exclusion of St. Leo. I see no way out of this except for the Orthodox to make Chalcedon a matter of indifference (which is happening due to ignorance and lukewarmness), OR for them to repent (like everyone who joins the Church has to do).

    Thanks for commenting!

  35. It’s not like Monophysites haven’t converted en masse to Orthodoxy:

    Hello, the Church of Georgia! There is a model for unity and rapprochement.

  36. Oh yeah! That completely escaped me. Platina has a book on Georgian Saints and it details the struggles that some of them faced against the Monophysites.

  37. Regardless of difference in theology, ‘Saint” Leo, “Saint” Justinian, and “Saint” Hercules have so much non-Chalcedonian blood on their hands!! Forget about being patristics now, we are talking about being “Christian”. Faith is not about “theological precision” and as far as “miracles” (which are by standard impossible to validate their authenticity) quoted as a prove of “orthodoxy”, numerous miracles were reported in “heretical” oriental, catholic, and (wait to hear this one) protestant churches!! Despite all their martyrs and history of violent abuse, the non-Chalcedonian “heretics” assuming a more Christ-like attitude are reaching out to their Chalcedonian brethren for reconciliation! Unless the Chalcedonian are actually worshiping their Church Fathers and Mount Athos elders and not Christ and the Holy Trinity! If you are offended, it may give you some peace of mind knowing that among the non-Chalcedonian there are similar zealous like yourself. “Is Christ divided? Was crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of ?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). Those kinds of attitudes makes one question what “orthodoxy” actually means? Why do I have to believe Leo or Dioscorus? What makes your fathers holier than my fathers? Those kinds of attitude support the Lutheran Doctrine of Sola Sciptura! God bless!!

  38. Here are the words of one famous “Heretic” who was a “Believer” in the “Grand heresy of ecumenism”. Do you recall who was that “Heretic” (Capitalization intended!!)

    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

  39. Lets not forgot that Ephesus deposed Ibas/Theodoret in 449 due to their writings & Chalcedon restored Ibas & theodoret in 451

    One significant reason that Dioscorus rejected Chalcedon at 451 was due to the restoration of Ibas et al.,
    As Dioscorus mentions here:
    “Chalcedon is anathematised because it has accepted the communion of the partisans of Nestorius, such as Ibas.”

    In the minutes of the council of Chalcedon, Ibas was accepted as orthodox upon the reading of his letter and his material is deemed Orthodox.

    Paschasinus and Lucentius(legates on behalf of Leo of Rome).

    “from the reading of his letter we have found him to be Orthodox.”

    Anatolius, archbishop of Constantinople,

    “the reading of all the accompanying material prove the most devout Ibas innocent of the accusations brought against him.”

    Maximus of Antioch

    “from what has just been read it has become clear that the most devout Ibas is guiltless of everything charged against him; and from the reading of the transcript of the letter produced by his adversary his writing has been seen to be Orthodox.”

    This same letter conflicts with Ephesus 431.

    In contrast compare the reception of Ibas here in 451, to the reception of Eutyches

    Dioscorus received Eutyches in 449 based on this confession “Christ is consubstantial with his mother.” Dioscours even said this in the minutes of Chalcedon “If Eutyches holds opinions contrary to the doctrines of the church, he deserves not only punishment but hell fire. For my concern is for the catholic and apostolic faith and not for any human being. “

    Receiving Eutyches based on a orthodox confession is wrong but receiving Ibas based on his letter(that rejects the 12 chapters) is right? Chalcedonian logic haha

    And Chalcedonians restored Theodoret in 451, who by sheer content alone, has written more heretical things than Eutyches. Theodoret denies that “God the Word suffered in the flesh”(which conflicts with the 12 chapters accepted at Ephesus) multiple times Theodoret wrote this in 447 and this was the reason he was deposed in 449. In contrast, all we know is rearding the error of Eutyches, was that he failed to affirm dual consubstantiality, that’s what the minutes in Flavian’s synod indicate. Yes he was accused of saying that the humanity was swallowed up by the divinity, but there is no proof of primary writings of him saying or confessing this….just accusations. Based on primary writings Theodoret wrote more heretical content than Eutyches.

    it also took the Chalcedonians 100 years to condemn the writings of theodoret & ibas. this is the gap between 451-553.

    Compare this to the non-chalcedonian in contrast, who condemned Eutyches once it was known that he denied dual consubstantiality

    Dioscorus condemned the teachings of Eutyches, by condemning those who rejected dual consubstantiality. Severus condemned Eutyches. Eutyches was condemned formally by name in Ephesus 475. Eutyches was condemned again formally when the OO accepted the Henotikon in 482.

    the gap between Ephesus 449 & Ephesus 475, is smaller than Chalcedon 451 & Constantinople II 553.

    And again, Dioscorus condemned the teachings of Eutyches

    “They have banished [and anathemized] from the hope of Christians those who do not confess God the Word to be consubstantial with the Father, because He became consubstantial with man, taking flesh, although He remained unchangeably what He was before”

    In contrast, the Chalcedonians condemned the writings of Ibas and theodoret 100 years AFTER Diosocrus disciplined Theodoret/Ibas in 449. It looks like Dioscorus was more decisive & had better foresight than those of chalcedon in 451

    Severus of Antioch wrote this before the Chalcedonians had their council in 553. I think this perspective applies.(hiba is just a syriac word for Ibas btw)

    “The holy synod which assembled at Ephesus with the saintly witness of the truth Dioscorus taught nothing new whatever with regard to the faith, but only effected the deprivation of those who were infected with the Jewish poison of Nestorius and cast them off: but Eutyches, who presented a petition and anathematized his heresy, on account of which he was accused, it accepted on the ground of the actual petition itself and on the ground of the minutes that were written at Constantinople before Flavian, since it did not recognize the poison that was in his heart, and the disease hard to be discovered was in accordance with the human standard properly hidden from it; for the divine Scripture plainly teaches that ‘man looks on the face, but God looks on the heart’. But what will anyone say about those who assembled at Chalcedon, who received Theodoret and Hiba, who not merely hid the foul heresy of Nestorius in the heart, but actually displayed it with open face. When the contents of the minutes’ on account of which Hiba’s deprivation took place had been read, and his letter to Mari the Persian, which was full of many blasphemies (a copy of which I have also sent to you), the representatives of Leo, who had become prelate of the church of the Romans, pronounced him blameless, making the following declaration `Pascasinus and Lucentius the reverend bishops and Boniface the presbyter representing the apostolic throne said by the mouth of Pascasinus, ‘From the reading of the documents , and from the statement of the reverend bishops we know that the reverend Hiba has been shown to be innocent. For, when his letter was read, we recognized that it is orthodox; and therefore our decision is that the episcopal rank also and the church from which he was wrongfully ejected in his absence be restored’. And to these things the whole synod assented; and they promulgated the same decision. How then can those who defend those men dare to make the reception of Eutyches, which took place according to the canons, a charge against the holy Dioscorus and the synod which assembled with him?”

  40. “St. Cyril himself accepted Antiochian terminology as a valid medium for expressing the Mystery.”

    No. Cyril united with the 5th century Antiochians based on the formula of reunion. He did not endorse the “in two natures” terminology. “In two natures” isn’t used in the formula of reunion outlined in 433.

    this is what 433 says on the question regarding two natures

    ‘There has occurred a union of two natures’,

    And as as Richard Price has commented in the acts, Flavian’s synod breached the terms of 433:

    “The demand by the synod that Eutyches should affirm two natures after the union breached the terms of the accord of 433, since the Formula of Reunion was ambiguous on this point: it stated, ‘There has occurred a union of two natures’, which left it ambiguous whether after the union there are two natures or one.”,+since+the+Formula+of+Reunion+was+ambiguous+on+this+point:+it+stated,+%E2%80%98There+has+occurred+a+union+of+two+natures%E2%80%99,+which+left+it+ambiguous+whether+after+the+union+there+are+two+natures+or+one.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=xt8u4tLjLQ&sig=cnHUmE-MHoGtoIGQDZU1G9bFNS8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuq6jU0svXAhUD7iYKHXEwDpsQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20demand%20by%20the%20synod%20that%20Eutyches%20should%20affirm%20two%20natures%20after%20the%20union%20breached%20the%20terms%20of%20the%20accord%20of%20433%2C%20since%20the%20Formula%20of%20Reunion%20was%20ambiguous%20on%20this%20point%3A%20it%20stated%2C%20%E2%80%98There%20has%20occurred%20a%20union%20of%20two%20natures%E2%80%99%2C%20which%20left%20it%20ambiguous%20whether%20after%20the%20union%20there%20are%20two%20natures%20or%20one.%E2%80%9D&f=false

    “of two natures” in 433 has a ambiguous interpretation that doesn’t lend to the exclusivity of “in two natures” used at Chalcedon.

    So, you can’t take the formula of reunion with the folks in 433 to be a indicator of Cyril’s acceptance of “in two natures” exclusivity at Chalcedon.

    Why was “of two natures” not used in Chalcedon, if they were truly committed to the terminology that Cyril endorsed in 433? Interpretation aside, Cyril didn’t agree to “in two natures” terminology in 433, and this is why you don’t see “in two natures” outlined in 433.

  41. “Anti-Chalcedonianism is the foundation on which their confession rises or falls. To accept Chalcedon would negate their tradition, which they received from schismatics like Severos. Not to mention, their theology is monoenergetic and monothelite.”

    Monoenergetic and monothelite? How? That’s not true. Serverus is not Monoenergetic /monothelite. Severus wrote this way before the chalcedonians(which includes Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus et al) articulated their theology regarding wills/energy(activity). This opposes Monoenergetic /monothelite

    Excerpts from Severus of Antioch:

    He is indeed one from two, from divinity and humanity, one person and hypostasis, the one nature of the Logos, become flesh and perfect human being. For this reason he also displays two wills in salvific suffering, the one which requests, the other which is prepared, the one human, the other divine. As he voluntarily took upon himself death in the flesh, which was able to take over suffering and dissolved the domination of death by killing it through immortality—which the resurrection had shown clearly to all—so in the flesh, whose fruit he could take over—it was indeed rationally animated—he voluntarily took upon himself the passio of fear and weakness and uttered words of request, in order through the divine courage to destroy the power of that fear and to give courage to the whole of humanity, for he became after the first Adam the second beginning of our race. (Contra Grammarian III.33, Hovorun 26)

    But [Christ’s soul] was not without intelligence and imperfect, according to the statement of the proverbs of Apollinaris, but was in fact intelligent, as indeed the very term ‘boy’ and the fact that he was named ‘man’ is enough to show this same thing: for a boy’s soul is not without reason, but it is reasonable because it is human. However this very same thing is also clearly shown even by the sacred writings of the gospel; for it said of him, “Then he began to be distressed and grieved, and to say, ‘My soul is sorrowful, even unto death’”. But it is plain to everyone that distress and grief happen to a rational and intellectual soul. But, if they say that the Godhead of the Only one took the place of intellect, this is in truth a thing without intellect, for us to assign the passion of distress to the impassible nature of God. (Letter LXV, second question)

    The words ‘he scorned’, and ‘he did not obey’, and this other, ‘he chose’, show us that the Word of God is united hypostatically not only to flesh, but still to a soul endowed with will and reason, for the purpose of making our souls, bent towards sinfulness, incline toward the choice of good and the aversion to evil. (Homily LXXXIII, Chesnut 26)

    God the Word who brought us into being, through whom the Father made all things, when by his grace alone he willed to restore him who had fallen to the original order to give back to him who had fallen to the original order the grace of immortality, did not exercise force by using divine power. On the contrary, in accordance with the word of justice, he made him who had fallen to fight again the battle. … It was necessary for man to obtain the crown of victory over satan who had formerly deceived and defeated him. (La Polemique p. 36F, from Samuel 339)

    The Lord suffered the vehement feeling of hunger, which arouses the yearning for food. Therefore, the voluntary passions permitted by the Word were not without any operation; but there was in him the stirring up of operations. These were, however, subjected to the power of the invincible God. (La Polemique p. 134, Samuel 341)

  42. The tome of leo was accepted at chalcedon in 451

    Nestorius wrote interesting things in “The Bazaar of Heracleides”

    Nestorius agrees with the tome of leo accepted at Chalcedon

    “In this work he claims that his faith is that of the celebrated “Tome”, or letter of Leo the Great to Flavian, and excuses his failure to appeal to Rome by the general prejudice of which he was the victim.”

    here is the primary source

  43. “Fr. Florovsky compared their one-sided christology to Augustinian soteriology: the divine is over-emphasized. ”

    one-sided christology was demonstrated in Flavian’s synod in 448. This was before 449/451.

    As documented in the minutes of 448

    “543. The most magnificent and glorious former prefect, former consul and patrician Florentius said: ‘Do you acknowledge two natures after the union? Speak! If you do not, you will be deposed.’:

    We know that this was a breach in 433:

    “The demand by the synod that Eutyches should affirm two natures after the union breached the terms of the accord of 433, since the Formula of Reunion was ambiguous on this point: it stated, ‘There has occurred a union of two natures’, which left it ambiguous whether after the union there are two natures or one.”,+since+the+Formula+of+Reunion+was+ambiguous+on+this+point:+it+stated,+%E2%80%98There+has+occurred+a+union+of+two+natures%E2%80%99,+which+left+it+ambiguous+whether+after+the+union+there+are+two+natures+or+one.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=xt8u4tLjLQ&sig=cnHUmE-MHoGtoIGQDZU1G9bFNS8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuq6jU0svXAhUD7iYKHXEwDpsQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20demand%20by%20the%20synod%20that%20Eutyches%20should%20affirm%20two%20natures%20after%20the%20union%20breached%20the%20terms%20of%20the%20accord%20of%20433%2C%20since%20the%20Formula%20of%20Reunion%20was%20ambiguous%20on%20this%20point%3A%20it%20stated%2C%20%E2%80%98There%20has%20occurred%20a%20union%20of%20two%20natures%E2%80%99%2C%20which%20left%20it%20ambiguous%20whether%20after%20the%20union%20there%20are%20two%20natures%20or%20one.%E2%80%9D&f=false

    So it’s clear the one-sided application was applied by the Dyophysites in 448 way before Ephesus 449 took place.

    Also why the “in two natures” exclusivity at Chalcedon? why not allow “from two natures” as Cryil has used. if Chalcedonians are committed to the terminology of 433, why not use “of two natures” outlined in 433 than? “in two natures” is not outlined in the formula of reunion.

    The original draft had “from two natures” but the committee at Chalcedon went to great lengths to replace it with “in two natures”? Why would the committee do that? Why would they exclude “from two natures” terminology here? Where is the pressure to replace “from” with “in” coming from? Could it be that theodoret was on the committee & “from” didn’t satisfy Theodoret?

    “The amending committee was obliged to assert a continuing duality in Christ, but the formula it used to do so – ‘acknowledged in two natures’ (replacing the ‘from two natures’ of the draft) “.

    The error of Eutyches was failure to affirm dual consubstantiality. confessing “in two natures” or “from two natures” does not preclude this error. so use of “in two natures” exclusivity at Chalcedon was one-sided approach.

    Cyril himself also uses “from two natures”

    “For we are composed of body and soul and we perceive two natures; there is one nature of the body, and a different nature of the soul, and yet one man from both of them in terms of the union. This composition from two natures does not turn the one man into two, but as I have said there is one man by the composition of body and soul. If we deny that there is one single Christ from two different natures, being indivisible after the union, then the enemies of orthodoxy will ask: “If the entirety amounts to one nature then how was he incarnated or what kind of flesh did he make his own?”

    ” Given that we understand this, we do no harm to that concurrence into union when we say that it took place out of two natures. After the union has occurred, however, we do not divide the natures from one another, nor do we sever the one and indivisible into two sons, but we say that there is One Son, and as the holy Fathers have stated: One Incarnate Nature of The Word.”

    ‘In respect of the elements from which is the one and only Son and Lord Jesus Christ, as we accept them in thought, we say that two natures have been united, but after the union, when the division into two has now been removed, we believe that the nature of the Son is one’.

    “This is why the two are no longer two, but through both of them the one living creature is rendered complete.”

    It’s no different than Dioscorus confessed:

    Below is what Dioscorus confessed in the minutes of Chalcedon 451

    Dioscorus the most devout bishop of Alexandria said: ‘Clearly Flavian was deposed for this reason, that he spoke of two natures after the union. But I have quotations from the holy fathers Athanasius, Gregory and Cyril saying in numerous passages that one should not speak of two natures after the union but of one incarnate nature of the Word.

    Dioscorus the most devout bishop of Alexan- dria said: ‘I accept “from two [natures]”; I do not accept “two”. I am com- pelled to speak brashly: my soul is at stake.’

    Dioscorus even rejcetd mixture and confusion at Chalcedon

    Dioscorus the most devout bishop of Alexandria said: ‘We speak of neither confusion nor division nor change. Anathema to whoever speaks of confusion or change or mixture.’

    but terminology aside, the reason that Dioscorus rejected chalcedon was not simply the use of terminiology. One significant reason Dioscorus rejected Chalcedon was due to the restoration of theodoret/ibas in 451.

    As Dioscorus mentions here:
    “Chalcedon is anathematised because it has accepted the communion of the partisans of Nestorius, such as Ibas.”

    Keep in mind, Dioscorus deposed Theodoret/Ibas at Ephesus 449. Reducing this to terminology is just that.

  44. If we confess St. Cyril confession. What was the confession of St. Leo?

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