A report on Christology and Cyril of Alexandria

Paolo Veronese, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (ca. 1560).
''St Cyril of Alexandria, Patriarch, and Confessor
Christ Pantocrator, Holy Trinity's monastery, Meteora, Greece
Icon of St. Cyril of Alexandria
Saint Paul delivering the Areopagus sermon in Athens, by Raphael, 1515
The Four Evangelists, by Pieter Soutman, 17th century
Christological spectrum during the 5th–7th centuries showing the views of the Church of the East (light blue), the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches (light purple), and the Miaphysite Churches (pink).

Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading antagonist in the Christological controversies of the late-4th and 5th centuries.

- Cyril of Alexandria

Pope Celestine I (who was already upset with Nestorius due to other matters) wrote about this to Cyril of Alexandria, who orchestrated the council.

- Christology
Paolo Veronese, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (ca. 1560).

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Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a seventh- or eighth-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in Qocho, China

Nestorianism

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Term used in Christian theology and Church history to refer to several mutually related but doctrinarily distinct sets of teachings.

Term used in Christian theology and Church history to refer to several mutually related but doctrinarily distinct sets of teachings.

Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a seventh- or eighth-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in Qocho, China
Christological spectrum during the 5th–7th centuries showing the views of the Church of the East (light blue), the Chalcedonian Churches (light purple), and the Miaphysite Churches (pink).
An historical misinterpretation of the Nestorian view was that it taught that the human and divine persons of Christ are separate.
Chinese stone inscription of a Nestorian Cross from a monastery of Fangshan District in Beijing (then called Dadu, or Khanbaliq), dated to the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1368) of medieval China.
Epitaph of a Nestorian, unearthed at Chifeng, Inner Mongolia
Saint Mary Church: an ancient Assyrian church located in the city of Urmia, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran.

c. undefined 450), who promoted specific doctrines in the fields of Christology and Mariology.

Such teachings brought Nestorius into conflict with other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who issued 12 anathemas against him (430).

Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, 1876 painting by Vasily Surikov

Council of Chalcedon

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The fourth ecumenical council of the Christian Church.

The fourth ecumenical council of the Christian Church.

Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, 1876 painting by Vasily Surikov
Council of Chalcedon
Spectrum of Christological views in late antiquity
Council of Chalcedon in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Whilst this judgment marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates, it also generated heated disagreements between the Council and the Oriental Orthodox Church, who did not agree with such conduct or proceedings.

The council's other responsibilities included addressing controversy, dealing with issues such as ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction, and approving Statements of Belief such as the Creed of Nicaea (325), the Creed of Constantinople (381 subsequently known as the Nicene Creed), two letters of St. Cyril of Alexandria against Nestorius, and the Tome of Pope Leo.

Portrait of Nestorius

Nestorius

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The Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431.

The Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431.

Portrait of Nestorius
Christological spectrum during the 5th–7th centuries showing the views of the Church of the East (light blue), the Chalcedonian Churches (light purple), and the Miaphysite Churches (pink).

A Christian theologian, several of his teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology were seen as controversial and caused major disputes.

That brought him into conflict with Cyril of Alexandria and other prominent churchmen of the time, who accused him of heresy.

Council of Ephesus

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Council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus in AD 431 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

Council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus in AD 431 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

Council of Ephesus in 431, in the Basilica of Fourvière, Lyon
Cyril of Alexandria
Christological spectrum during the 5th–7th centuries showing the views of The Church of the East (light blue), Miaphysite (light red) and the western churches i.e. Eastern Orthodox and Catholic (light purple)

Nestorius' doctrine, Nestorianism, which emphasized the distinction between Christ's human and divine natures and argued that Mary should be called Christotokos (Christ-bearer) but not Theotokos (God-bearer), had brought him into conflict with other church leaders, most notably Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria.

Shortly after his arrival in Constantinople, Nestorius became involved in the disputes of two theological factions, which differed in their Christology.

Christological spectrum 5th–7th centuries (Miaphysitism in red)

Miaphysitism

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Christological spectrum 5th–7th centuries (Miaphysitism in red)

Miaphysitism is the Christological doctrine upheld by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which include the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Miaphysite teaching is based on Cyril of Alexandria's formula μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, meaning "one physis of the Word of God made flesh" (or "... of God the Word made flesh").

Mother of God of Kazan

Theotokos

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Title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity.

Title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity.

Mother of God of Kazan
An 18th-century Russian chart of the various types of Bogoroditsa (Mother-of-God) icons
Byzantine mosaic of the enthroned Theotokos, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, ca. AD 560
Salus Populi Romani, Rome (5th or 6th century)
Theotokos icon of Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai (6th century)
Blachernae Icon of the Theotokos (7th century)
Mother of God, mosaic icon, Hagia Sophia (12th century)
Trojeručica, ( c.  8th century), Serbia
mosaic (ca 1130), Gelati Monastery, Georgia (12th century)
Theotokos icon (17-18. century), National Museum of Serbia
The Iveron Theotokos (Iverskaya), an 11th-century Russian icon based on the 10th-century Hodegetria type, Iviron Monastery, Mount Athos.
Theotokos Panachranta from Svensky Monastery, by St. Alypios of Kiev (11th century)
Panachranta Theotokos, mid-11th-century Kievan illumination from the Gertrude Psalter.
Theotokos of Vladimir (c. 1100)
Theotokos of St. Theodore (12th century)
Our Lady Derzhavnaya (18th century)
Bogomater of the "Unfading Flower" (Неувядаемый Цвет) type (18th century, Tretyakov Gallery)

the topic of Christology, and the titles of God the Son and Son of man).

Cyril of Alexandria wrote, "I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave [Him] birth, not [Theotokos]?"

Saint George's Cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey

Eastern Orthodox Church

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Second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members.

Second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members.

Saint George's Cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey
Christ Pantocrator, sixth century, Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai; the oldest known icon of Christ, in one of the oldest monasteries in the world
Emperor Constantine presents a representation of the city of Constantinople as tribute to an enthroned Mary and baby Jesus in this church mosaic (Hagia Sophia, c. 1000)
An icon of Saint John the Baptist, 14th century, North Macedonia
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Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine and the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325) holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
Hagia Sophia, the largest church in the world and patriarchal basilica of Constantinople for nearly a thousand years, later converted into a mosque, then a museum, then back to a mosque.
The baptism of Princess Olga in Constantinople, a miniature from the Radzivill Chronicle
Latin Crusaders sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Orthodox controlled Byzantine Empire, in 1204.
Timeline showing the main autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, from an Eastern Orthodox point of view, up to 2021
Canonical territories of the main autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions as of 2020
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Percentage distribution of Eastern Orthodox Christians by country
John of Damascus
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Our Lady of Tinos is the major Marian shrine in Greece.
The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of the Virgin Mary
Last Judgment: 12th-century Byzantine mosaic from Torcello Cathedral
David glorified by the women of Israel from the Paris Psalter, example of the Macedonian art (Byzantine) (sometimes called the Macedonian Renaissance)
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Chanters singing on the kliros at the Church of St. George, Patriarchate of Constantinople
An illustration of the traditional interior of an Orthodox church.
Shards of pottery vases on the street, after being thrown from the windows of nearby houses. A Holy Saturday tradition in Corfu.
An Eastern Orthodox baptism
Eucharistic elements prepared for the Divine Liturgy
The wedding of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Eastern Orthodox subdeacon being ordained to the diaconate. The bishop has placed his omophorion and right hand on the head of the candidate and is reading the Prayer of Cheirotonia.
The consecration of the Rt Rev. Reginald Heber Weller as an Anglican bishop at the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle in the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, with the Rt. Rev. Anthony Kozlowski of the Polish National Catholic Church and Saint Tikhon, then Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska (along with his chaplains Fr. John Kochurov and Fr. Sebastian Dabovich) of the Russian Orthodox Church present
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, 2014
The Constantinople Massacre of April 1821: a religious persecution of the Greek population of Constantinople under the Ottomans. Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople was executed.
The Pan-Orthodox Council, Kolymvari, Crete, Greece, June 2016
Cathedral of Evangelismos, Alexandria
Patriarchate of Peć in Kosovo, the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century when its status was upgraded into a patriarchate
Traditional Paschal procession by Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church
Greek Orthodox massacred during the Greek Genocide in Smyrna in 1922.

Before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, the Church of the East also shared in this communion, as did the various Oriental Orthodox Churches before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, all separating primarily over differences in Christology.

The Oriental Orthodox Church denies that it is monophysite and prefers the term "miaphysite", to denote the "united" nature of Jesus (two natures united into one) consistent with Cyril's theology: "The term union ... signifies the concurrence in one reality of those things which are understood to be united" and "the Word who is ineffably united with it in a manner beyond all description" (Cyril of Alexandria, On the Unity of Christ).