A report on Christology and Monophysitism

Paolo Veronese, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (ca. 1560).
Christ Pantocrator, Holy Trinity's monastery, Meteora, Greece
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).

Monophysitism ( or ) or monophysism is a Christological term derived from the Greek μόνος (monos, "alone, solitary") and φύσις (physis, a word that has many meanings but in this context means "nature").

- Monophysitism

Monophysitism (Monophysite controversy, 3rd–8th centuries) After the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ had only a single nature. Monophysitism was condemned as heretical by the Council of Chalcedon (451).

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

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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

Such heresies attempted to dismantle and separate Christ's divine nature from his humanity (Nestorianism) and further, to limit Christ as solely divine in nature (Monophysitism).

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.

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.

Others interpret the Miaphysite term physis in line with its use by the Council of Chalcedon and speak of "Miaphysitism" as "Monophysitism", a word used of all forms of denial of the Chalcedonian doctrine.

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.

It can be seen as the antithesis to Eutychian Monophysitism, which emerged in reaction to Nestorianism.

Icon of Christ the Pantocrator. The Icon represents the dual nature of Christ, illustrating traits of both man and God.

Dyophysitism

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Icon of Christ the Pantocrator. The Icon represents the dual nature of Christ, illustrating traits of both man and God.
Mirrored composites of left and right sides of image.

In Christian theology, dyophysitism (Greek: δυοφυσιτισμός, from δυο (dyo), meaning "two" and φύσις (physis), meaning "nature") is the Christological position that two natures, divine and human, exist in the person of Jesus Christ.

It contrasts with monophysitism and miaphysitism.

Chalcedonian Definition

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Declaration of Christ's nature, adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

Declaration of Christ's nature, adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

The Chalcedonian Definition was written amid controversy between the Western and Eastern churches over the meaning of the Incarnation (see Christology).

This miaphysite position, historically characterised by Chalcedonian followers as "monophysitism" though this is denied by the dissenters, formed the basis for the distinction of the Coptic Church of Egypt and Ethiopia and the "Jacobite" churches of Syria, and the Armenian Apostolic Church (see Oriental Orthodoxy) from other churches.

Miniature which depicts Leo I, contained in the Menologion of Basil II (c. undefined 1000 AD, Vatican Library)

Pope Leo I

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Pope Leo I (c.

Pope Leo I (c.

Miniature which depicts Leo I, contained in the Menologion of Basil II (c. undefined 1000 AD, Vatican Library)
Priest celebrating Mass at the Altar of Leo the Great with the Fuga d'Attila relief by Alessandro Algardi in St. Peter's Basilica
Saint Leo Magnus, painting by Francisco Herrera the Younger (17th century, Prado Museum, Madrid)
Sermones
Raphael's The Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila depicts Leo, escorted by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, meeting with the Hun king outside Rome

That meeting dealt primarily with Christology and elucidated the orthodox definition of Christ's being as the hypostatic union of two natures, divine and human, united in one person, "with neither confusion nor division".

It was followed by a major schism associated with Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Dyophysitism.

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.

In the Roman Empire, the doctrine of Monophysitism developed in reaction to Nestorianism.

The ongoing debates about the nature of Christ caused controversy within the Church for centuries.

Monothelitism

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Theological doctrine in Christianity, that holds Christ as having only one will.

Theological doctrine in Christianity, that holds Christ as having only one will.

The ongoing debates about the nature of Christ caused controversy within the Church for centuries.
Emperor Heraclius, who defeated Persian King Khosrau II in this allegory, had a desire to secure internal harmony within his empire that made him adopt the doctrine of Monothelitism.
Emperor Constantine IV, who convened the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 678.
Pope Honorius I

The doctrine is thus contrary to dyothelitism, a Christological doctrine that holds Christ as having two wills (divine and human).

Theological notions related to the oneness of Christ's will emerged as a result of some earlier Christological controversies, that were related to monophysitism as formulated by Eutyches (d.

Docetism

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Heterodox doctrine that the phenomenon of Jesus, his historical and bodily existence, and above all the human form of Jesus, was mere semblance without any true reality.

Heterodox doctrine that the phenomenon of Jesus, his historical and bodily existence, and above all the human form of Jesus, was mere semblance without any true reality.

Ernst Käsemann controversially defined the Christology of the Gospel of John as "naïve docetism" in 1968.

The opponents against whom Ignatius of Antioch inveighs are often taken to be Monophysite docetists.