St. Justinian on the Mia Physis Terminology

St. Justinian the Emperor ca. 483-565

The following comes from the time of St. Cyril’s condemnation of Nestorius; we will show, both from his synodal letter to the Orientals and his writings to Eulogius, that even after Nestorius’ condemnation his teaching on the confession concerning the two natures in Christ is the same, and he receives those who are the same mind. He says in his letter to Eulogius:

“There are some who receive the definition of faith drawn up by the Orientals and say; ‘why does the Alexandrian uphold and commend those who say two natures? For those who are of the opinion of Nestorius say that they, too, believe this.’ But those [who say this] are being carried away by things they don’t accurately understand. We must say this to those who condemn us: it is not necessary to flee from, or to avoid everything heretics say, for they confess many things we confess. Whenever the Arians say that the Father is the Creator and Lord of all things, will we therefore no longer hold this confession? The same is true in the case of Nestorius; although he said that there are two natures and understood that the flesh and the Divine Logos are different — for the nature of the Logos is different from the nature of the flesh — yet he did not confess with us the union.”

Notice the father clearly teaches us that Nestorius was not condemned because he said two natures, but because he denied the hyspostatic union of the two natures, thereby producing two sons. And so, wishing to put an end to such impiety, St. Cyril said, “One nature of the Son,” and he added the term “incarnate” to indicate that the nature of the divinity is one [nature], and the nature of the flesh is another, out of which the Christ is one, the same Son of God and Son of Man, and there are not two Christs or two Sons. And the holy Church of God rightly receives all the words spoken by St. Cyril, including the formula, “One nature of God the Word incarnate,” since it indicates that the nature of the flesh is another, out of which the one single Christ is produced. (Against the Monophysites)

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