The Seven Ecumenical Councils. The Third Ecumenical Council.

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Edited with Notes Gathered from the Writings of the Greatest Scholars

by Henry R. Percival, M.A., D.D.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

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The Third Ecumenical Council.

The Council of Ephesus.

a.d. 431.

Emperors.--Theodosius II. and Valentinian III.

Pope.--Celestine I.

Elenchus.

Historical Introduction.

Note on the Emperor's Edict to the Synod.

Extracts from the Acts, Session I.

St. Cyril's Letter to Nestorius, Intelligo quos dam

Continuation of Session I.

Historical Introduction to Cyril's Anathematisms.

The Canonical Epistle of St. Cyril, Cum Salvator noster

The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril, and Nestorius's Counter-anathematisms, with Notes.

Excursus to Anath. I., On the word Theotokos .

Excursus to Anath. IX., On how our Lord worked Miracles, with Theodoret's Counter-statement.

Extracts from the Acts, Session I. continued.

Decree against Nestorius, with Notes.

Extracts from the Acts, Session II.

St. Celestine's Letter to the Synod.

Continuation of Session II.

Session III.

The Canons, with the Ancient Epitome, and Notes.

Excursus to Canon j., On the Conciliabulum of John of Antioch.

Excursus to Canon iv., On Pelagianism.

Excursus to Canon vii., On the words pistin heteran

A Letter from the Synod to the Synod in Pamphylia.

The Letter of the Synod to Pope Celestine.

The Definition against the Messalians, with Notes.

The Decree reEupreprius and Cyril.

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Historical Introduction.

(Bossuet, Def. Cler. Gall., Lib. vii., Cap. ix. et seqq. Abridged. Translation by Allies.)

The innovation of Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, is known; how he divided into two the person of Christ. Pope St. Celestine, watchful, according to his office, over the affairs of the Church, had charged the blessed Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, to send him a certain report of the doctrine of Nestorius, already in bad repute. Cyril declares this in his letter to Nestorius; and so he writes to Celestine a complete account, and sets forth the doctrines of Nestorius and his own; he sends him two letters from himself to Nestorius, who likewise, by his own letters and explanations, endeavoured to draw Celestine to his side. Thus the holy Pontiff, having been most fully informed by letters from both sides, is thus inquired of by Cyril. "We have not confidently abstained from Communion with him (Nestorius) before informing you of this; condescend, therefore, to unfold your judgment, that we may clearly know whether we ought to communicate with him who cherishes such erroneous doctrine." And he adds, that his judgment should be written to the other Bishops also, "that all with one mind may hold firm in one sentence." Here is the Apostolic See manifestly consulted by so great a man, presiding over the second, or at least the third, Patriarchal See, and its judgment awaited; and nothing remained but that Celestine, being duly consulted, should perform his Apostolic office. But how he did this, the Acts have shewn. In those Acts he not only approves the letters and doctrine of Cyril, but disapproves, too, the perverse dogma of Nestorius, and that distinctly, because he was unwilling to call the blessed Virgin Mother of God: and he decrees that he should be deprived of the Episcopate and Communion unless, within ten days from the date of the announcing of the sentence, he openly rejects this faithless innovation, which endeavours to separate what Scripture joineth together--that is, the Person of Christ. Here is the doctrine of Nestorius expressly disapproved, and a sentence of the Roman Pontiff on a matter of Faith most clearly pronounced under threat of deposition and excommunication: then, that nothing be wanting, the holy Pope commits his authority to Cyril to carry into execution that sentence "associating," he saith to Cyril, "the authority of our See, and using our person, and place, with power." So to Cyril; so to Nestorius himself; so to the clergy of Constantinople; so to John of Antioch, then the Bishop of the third or fourth Patriarchal See; so to Juvenal, Bishop of the Holy City, whom the Council of Nice had ordered to be especially honoured: so he writes to the other Bishops also, that the sentence given may be duly and in order made known to all. Cyril proceeds to execute his office, and performs all that he had been commanded. He promulgates and executes the decrees of Celestine; declares to Nestorius, that after the ten days prescribed and set forth by Celestine, he would have no portion, intercourse, or place with the priesthood. Nothing evidently is wanting to the Apostolical authority being most fully exercised.

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But Nestorius, bishop of the royal city, possessed such influence, had deceived men's minds with such an appearance of piety, had gained so many bishops and enjoyed such favour with the younger Theodosius and the great men, that he could easily throw everything into commotion; and thus there was need of an Ecumenical Council, the question being most important, and the person of the highest dignity; because many bishops, amongst these almost all of the East--that is, of the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Patriarch John himself--were ill disposed to Cyril, and seemed to favour Nestorius: because men's feelings were divided, and the whole empire of the East seemed to fluctuate between Cyril and Nestorius. Such was the need of an Ecumenical Council.

The Emperor, moved by these and other reasons, wrote to Cyril,--"It is our will that the holy doctrine be discussed and examined in a sacred Synod, and that be ratified which appeareth agreeable to the right faith, whether the wrong party be pardoned by the Fathers or no."

Here we see three things: First, after the judgment of St. Celestine, another is still required, that of the Council; secondly, that these two things would rest with the Fathers, to judge of doctrine and of persons; thirdly, that the judgment of the Council would be decisive and final. He adds, "those who everywhere preside over the Priesthood, and through whom we ourselves are and shall be professing the truth, must be judges of this matter." See on whose faith we rest. See in whose judgment is the final and irreversible authority.

Both the Emperor affirmed, and the bishops confessed, that this was done according to the Ecclesiastical Canons. And so all, and Celestine himself, prepared themselves for the Council. Cyril does no more, though named by Celestine to execute the pontifical decree, Nestorius remained in his original rank; the sentence of the universal Council is awaited; and the Emperor had expressly decreed, "that before the assembling and common sentence of the most holy Council, no change should be made in any matter at all, on any private authority." Rightly, and in order; for this was demanded by the majesty of an universal Council. Wherefore, both Cyril obeyed and the bishops rested. And it was established, that although the sentence of the Roman Pontiff on matters of Faith, and on persons judged for violation of the Faith, had been passed and promulged, all was suspended, while the authority of the universal Council was awaited.

Having gone over what preceded the Council, we review the acts of the Council itself, and begin with the first course of proceeding. After, therefore, the bishops and Nestorius himself were come to Ephesus, the universal Council began, Cyril being president, and representing Celestine, as being appointed by the Pontiff himself to execute his sentence. In the first course of proceeding this was done. First, the above-mentioned letter of the Emperor was read, that an Ecumenical Council should be held, and all proceedings in the mean time be suspended; this letter, I say, was read, and placed on the Acts, and it was approved by the Fathers, that all the decrees of Celestine in the matter of Nestorius had been suspended until the holy Council should give its sentence. You will ask if it was the will of the Council merely that the Emperor should be allowed to prohibit, in the interim, effect being given to the sentence of the Apostolic See. Not so, according to the Acts; but rather, by the intervention of a General Council's authority (the convocation of which, according to the discipline of those times, was left to the Emperor), the Council itself understood that all proceedings were of course suspended, and depended on the sentence of the Council. Wherefore, though the decree of the Pontiff had been promulged and notified, and the ten days had long been past, Nestorius was held by the Council itself to be a bishop, and called by the name of most religious bishop, and by that name, too, thrice cited and summoned to take his seat with the other bishops in the holy Council; for this expression, "to take his seat," is distinctly written; and it is added, "in order to answer to what was charged against him." For it was their full purpose that he should recognise in whatever way, the Ecumenical Council, as he would then afterwards be, beyond doubt, answerable to it; but he refused to come, and chose to have his doors besieged with an armed force, that no one might approach him.

Thereupon, as the Emperor commanded, and the Canons required, the rule of Faith was set forth, and the Nicene Creed read, as the standard to which all should be referred, and then the letters of Cyril and Nestorius were examined in order. The letter of Cyril was first brought before the judgment of the Council. That letter, I mean, concerning the Faith, to Nestorius, so expressly approved by Pope Celestine, of which he had declared to Cyril, "We see that you hold and maintain all that we hold and maintain"; which, by the decree against Nestorius, published to all Churches, he had approved, and wishes to be considered as a canonical monition against Nestorius: that letter, I repeat, was examined, at the proposition of Cyril himself, in these words: "I am persuaded that I have in nothing departed from the orthodox Faith, or the Nicene Creed; wherefore I beseech your Holiness to set forth openly whether I have written this correctly, blamelessly, and in accordance with that holy Council."

And are there those who say that questions concerning the Faith, once judged by the Roman Pontiff on his Apostolical authority, are examined in general Councils, in order to understand their contents, but not to decide on their substance, as being still a matter of question? Let them hear Cyril, the President of the Council; let them attend to what he proposes for the inquiry of the Council; and though he were conscious of no error in himself yet, not to trust himself, he asked for the sentence of the Council in these words "whether I have written correctly and blamelessly, or not." This Cyril, the chief of the Council, proposes for their consideration. Who ever even heard it whispered that, after a final and irreversible judgment of the Church on a matter of Faith, any such inquiry or question was made? It was never done, for that would be to doubt about the Faith itself, when declared and discussed. But this was done after the judgment of Pope Celestine; neither Cyril, nor anyone else, thought of any other course: that, therefore, was not a final and irreversible judgment.

In answer to this question the Fathers in order give their judgment--"that the Nicene Creed, and the letter of Cyril, in all things agree and harmonise." Here is inquiry and examination, and then judgment. The Acts speak for themselves--we say not here a word.

Next that letter of Nestorius was produced, which Celestine had pronounced blasphemous and impious. It is read: then at the instance of Cyril it is examined, "whether this, too, be agreeable to the Faith set forth by the holy Council of the Nicene Fathers, or not." It is precisely the same form according to which Cyril's letter was examined. The Fathers, in order, give judgment that it disagreed from the Nicene Creed, and was, therefore, censurable. The letter of Nestorius is disapproved in the same manner, by the same rule, by which that of Cyril was approved. Here, twice in the same proceeding of the Council of Ephesus, a judgment of the Roman Pontiff concerning the Catholic Faith, uttered and published, is reconsidered. What he had approved, and what he had disapproved, is equally examined, and, only after examination, confirmed.

In the mean time, the bishops Arcadius and Projectus, and the presbyter Philip, had been chosen by Celestine to be present at the Council of Ephesus, with a special commission from the Apostolic See, and the whole Council of the West. So they come from Rome to Ephesus, and appear at the holy Council, and here the second procedure commences.

After reading the letter of Celestine, the Legates, in pursuance, say to the bishops: "Let your Holiness consider the form of the letters of the holy and venerable Pope Celestine the Bishop, who hath exhorted your Holiness, not as instructing those who are ignorant, but as reminding those who are aware: in order that you may command to be completely and finally settled according to the Canon of our common Faith, and the utility of the Catholic Church, what he has before determined, and has now the goodness to remind you of." This is the advantage of a Council; after whose sentence there is no new discussion, or new judgment, but merely execution. And this the Legates request to be commanded by the Council, in which they recognise that supreme authority.

It behoved, also, that the Legates, sent to the Council on a special mission, should understand whether the proceedings against Nestorius had been pursued according to the requisition of the Canons, and due respect to the Apostolic See. This we have already often said. Wherefore, with reason, they require the Acts to be communicated, "that we, too," say they, "may confirm them." The proceedings themselves will declare what that confirmation means. After that, at the request of the Legates, the Acts against Nestorius were given them, they thus report about them at the third procedure: "We have found all things judged canonically, and according to the Church's discipline." Therefore judgments of the Apostolic See are canonically and, according to the Church's discipline, reconsidered, after deliberation, in a General Council, and judgment passed upon them. After the Legates had approved the Acts against Nestorius communicated to them, they request that all which had been read and done at Ephesus from the beginning, should be read afresh in public Session, "in order," they say, "that obeying the form of the most holy Pope Celestine, who hath committed this care to us, we may be enabled to confirm the judgment also of your Holiness." After these all had been read afresh, and the Legates agreed to them, Cyril proposes to the holy Council, "That the Legates, by their signature, as was customary, should make plain and manifest their canonical agreement with the Council." To this question of Cyril the Council thus answers, and decrees that the Legates, by their subscription, confirm the Acts; by which place this confirmation, spoken of by the Council, is clearly nothing else but to make their assent plain and manifest, as Cyril proposed.

Finally, Celestine himself, after the conclusion of the whole matter, sends a letter to the holy Council of Ephesus, which he thus begins: "At length we must rejoice at the conclusion of evils." The learned reader understands where he recognizes the conclusion; that is, after the condemnation of Nestorius by the infallible authority of an Ecumenical Council, viz., of the whole Catholic Church. He proceeds: "We see, that you, with us, have executed this matter so faithfully transacted." All decree, and all execute, that is, by giving a common judgment. Whence Celestine adds, "We have been informed of a just deposition, and a still juster exaltation:" the deposition of Nestorius, begun, indeed, by the Roman See, but brought to a conclusion by the sentence of the Council; to a full and complete settlement, as we have seen above: the exaltation of Maximianus, who was substituted in place of Nestorius immediately after the Ephesine decrees; this is the conclusion of the question. Even Celestine himself recognises this conclusion to lie not in his own examination and judgment, but in that of an Ecumenical Council. And this was done in that Council in which it is admitted that the authority of the Apostolic See was most clearly set forth, not only by words, but by deeds, of any since the birth of Christ. At least the Holy Council gives credence to Philip uttering these true and magnificent encomiums, concerning the dignity of the Apostolic See, and "Peter the head and pillar of the Faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, and by Christ's authority administering the keys, who to this very time lives ever, and exercises judgment, in his successors." This, he says, after having seen all the Acts of the Council itself, which we have mentioned, so that we may indeed understand, that all these privileges of Peter and the Apostolic See entirely agree with the decrees of the Council, and the judgment entered into afresh, and deliberation upon matters of Faith held after the Apostolic See.

Note on the Emperor's Edict to the Synod.

Neither of the Emperors could personally attend the Council of Ephesus and accordingly Theodosius II. appointed the Count Candidian, Captain of the imperial bodyguard, the protector of the council, to sit in the room of the Emperors. In making this appointment he addressed an edict to the synod which will be found in the Concilia and of which Hefele gives the following synopsis.

(Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 43.)

Candidian is to take no immediate part in the discussions on contested points of faith, for it is not becoming that one who does not belong to the number of the bishops should mix himself up in the examination and decision of theological controversies. On the contrary, Candidian was to remove from the city the monks and laymen who had come or should afterwards come to Ephesus out of curiosity, so that disorder and confusion should not be caused by those who were in no way needed for the examination of the sacred doctrines. He was, besides, to watch lest the discussions among the members of the Synod themselves should degenerate into violent disputes and hinder the more exact investigation of truth; and, on the contrary, see that every statement should be heard with attention, and that every one put forward in view, or his objections, without let or hindrance, so that at last an unanimous decision might be arrived at in peace by the holy Synod. But above all, Candidian was to take care that no member of the Synod should attempt, before the close of the transactions, to go home, or to the court, or elsewhere. Moreover, he was not to allow that any other matter of controversy should be taken into consideration before the settlement of the principal point of doctrine before the Council. .

Extracts from the Acts.

Session I.

[Before the arrival of the Papal Legates.]

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia Tom. III., col. 459 et seqq.)

The Nicene Synod set forth this faith:

We believe in one God, etc.

When this creed had been recited, Peter the Presbyter of Alexandria, and primicerius of the notaries said:

We have in our hands the letter of the most holy and most reverend archbishop Cyril, which he wrote to the most reverend Nestorius, filled with counsel and advice, on account of his aberration from the right faith. I will read this if your holiness [i.e., the holy Synod] so orders....The letter began as follows:

Kataphluarousi men, hos akouo, k.t.l.

Intelligo quosdam meæ, etc.

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The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius.

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 315; Migne, Patr. Græc., Tom. LXXVII. [Cyril., Opera, Tom. X.]; Epist. iv., col. 43.)

To the most religious and beloved of God, fellow minister Nestorius, Cyril sends greeting in the Lord.

I hear that some are rashly talking of the estimation in which I hold your holiness, and that this is frequently the case especially at the times that meetings are held of those in authority. And perchance they think in so doing to say something agreeable to you, but they speak senselessly, for they have suffered no injustice at my hands, but have been exposed by me only to their profit; this man as an oppressor of the blind and needy, and that as one who wounded his mother with a sword. Another because he stole, in collusion with his waiting maid, another's money, and had always laboured under the imputation of such like crimes as no one would wish even one of his bitterest enemies to be laden with. [239]I take little reckoning of the words of such people, for the disciple is not above his Master, nor would I stretch the measure of my narrow brain above the Fathers, for no matter what path of life one pursues it is hardly possible to escape the smirching of the wicked, whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, and who at the last must give an account to the Judge of all.

But I return to the point which especially I had in mind. And now I urge you, as a brother in the Lord, to propose the word of teaching and the doctrine of the faith with all accuracy to the people, and to consider that the giving of scandal to one even of the least of those who believe in Christ, exposes a body to the unbearable indignation of God. And of how great diligence and skill there is need when the multitude of those grieved is so great, so that we may administer the healing word of truth to them that seek it. But this we shall accomplish most excellently if we shall turn over the words of the holy Fathers, and are zealous to obey their commands, proving ourselves, whether we be in the faith according to that which is written, and conform our thoughts to their upright and irreprehensible teaching.

The holy and great Synod therefore says, that the only begotten Son, born according to nature of God the Father, very God of very God, Light of Light, by whom the Father made all things, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. These words and these decrees we ought to follow, considering what is meant by the Word of God being incarnate and made man. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, or that it was converted into a whole man consisting of soul and body; but rather that the Word having personally united to himself flesh animated by a rational soul, did in an ineffable and inconceivable manner become man, and was called the Son of Man, not merely as willing or being pleased to be so called, neither on account of taking to himself a person, but because the two natures being brought together in a true union, there is of both one Christ and one Son; for the difference of the natures is not taken away by the union, but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord Jesus Christ by their ineffable and inexpressible union. So then he who had an existence before all ages and was born of the Father, is said to have been born according to the flesh of a woman, not as though his divine nature received its beginning of existence in the holy Virgin, for it needed not any second generation after that of the Father (for it would be absurd and foolish to say that he who existed before all ages, coeternal with the Father, needed any second beginning of existence), but since, for us and for our salvation, he personally united to himself an human body, and came forth of a woman, he is in this way said to be born after the flesh; for he was not first born a common man of the holy Virgin, and then the Word came down and entered into him, but the union being made in the womb itself, he is said to endure a birth after the flesh, ascribing to himself the birth of his own flesh. On this account we say that he suffered and rose again; not as if God the Word suffered in his own nature stripes, or the piercing of the nails, or any other wounds, for the Divine nature is incapable of suffering, inasmuch as it is incorporeal, but since that which had become his own body suffered in this way, he is also said to suffer for us; for he who is in himself incapable of suffering was in a suffering body. In the same manner also we conceive respecting his dying; for the Word of God is by nature immortal and incorruptible, and life and life-giving; since, however, his own body did, as Paul says, by the grace of God taste death for every man, he himself is said to have suffered death for us, not as if he had any experience of death in his own nature (for it would be madness to say or think this), but because, as I have just said, his flesh tasted death. In like manner his flesh being raised again, it is spoken of as his resurrection, not as if he had fallen into corruption (God forbid), but because his own body was raised again. We, therefore, confess one Christ and Lord, not as worshipping. a man with the Word (lest this expression "with the Word" should suggest to the mind the idea of division), but worshipping him as one and the same, forasmuch as the body of the Word, with which he sits with the Father, is not separated from the Word himself, not as if two sons were sitting with him, but one by the union with the flesh. If, however, we reject the personal union as impossible or unbecoming, we fall into the error of speaking of two sons, for it will be necessary to distinguish, and to say, that he who was properly man was honoured with the appellation of Son, and that he who is properly the Word of God, has by nature both the name and the reality of Sonship. We must not, therefore, divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons. Neither will it at all avail to a sound faith to hold, as some do, an union of persons; for the Scripture has not said that the Word united to himself the person of man, but that he was made flesh. This expression, however, "the Word was made flesh," can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin, the Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word being personally united is said to be born according to the flesh. These things, therefore, I now write unto you for the love of Christ, beseeching you as a brother, and testifying to you before Christ and the elect angels, that you would both think and teach these things with us, that the peace of the Churches may be preserved and the bond of concord and love continue unbroken amongst the Priests of God.


Footnotes

[239] Rohrbacher, in his famous Histoire Universelle de l'Élise Catholique, Tome IV. (Septième Edition), Livre xxxix., p. 394, informs us that this letter gives the names of some of Cyril's calumniators! The text he used must have been different from the one now accessible to scholars.

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Extracts from the Acts.

Session I. (Continued).

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 462.)

And after the letter was read, Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, said: This holy and great Synod has heard what I wrote to the most religious Nestorius, defending the right faith. I think that I have in no respect departed from the true statement of the faith, that is from the creed set forth by the holy and great synod formerly assembled at Nice. Wherefore I desire your holiness [i.e. the Council] to say whether rightly and blamelessly and in accordance with that holy synod I have written these things or no.

[A number of bishops then gave their opinion, all favourable to Cyril; after these individual opinions the Acts continue (col. 491):]

And all the rest of the bishops in the order of their rank deposed to the same things, and so believed, according as the Fathers had set forth, and as the Epistle of the most holy Archbishop Cyril to Nestorius the bishop declared.

Palladius, the bishop of Amasea, said, The next thing to be done is to read the letter of the most reverend Nestorius, of which the most religious presbyter Peter made mention; so that we may understand whether or no it agrees with the exposition of the Nicene fathers....

And after this letter was read, Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, said, What seems good to this holy and great synod with regard to the letter just read? Does it also seem to be consonant to the faith set forth by the holy Synod assembled in the city of Nice?

[The bishops, then as before, individually express their opinion, and at last the Acts continue (col. 502):]

All the bishops cried out together: Whoever does not anathematize Nestorius let him be anathema. Such an one the right faith anathematizes; such an one the holy Synod anathematizes. Whoever communicates with Nestorius let him be anathema! We anathematize all the apostles of Nestorius: we all anathematize Nestorius as a heretic: let all such as communicate with Nestorius be anathema, etc., etc.

Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem said: Let the letter of the most holy and reverend Cælestine, archbishop of the Church of Rome, be read, which he wrote concerning the faith.

[The letter of Cælestine was read and no opinion expressed.]

Peter the presbyter of Alexandria, and primicerius of the notaries said: Altogether in agreement with the things just read are those which his holiness Cyril our most pious bishop wrote, which I now have at hand, and will read if your piety so shall order.

[The letter was read which begins thus:]

Tou Soteros hemon legontos enargos, k.t.l.

Cum Salvator noster, etc.

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Historical Introduction to St. Cyril's Anathematisms.

There has been some difference of opinion among the learned as to whether St. Cyril's Synodal letter which has at its end the anathemas against Nestorius, which hereafter follow, was formally approved at the Council of Ephesus. The matter is one only of archeological and historical interest, for from a theological point of view the question is entirely uninteresting, since there is no possible doubt that the synod endorsed St. Cyril's teaching and for that express reason proceeded at their first session to excommunicate Nestorius. Further there is no one that disputes that the anathematisms were received at the next General Council. i.e., of Chalcedon, only twenty years later, and that Theodoret was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council because he wrote against these very Anathemas. This being the case, to those who value the decrees of Ecumenical Councils because of their ecumenical character, it is quite immaterial whether these anathematisms were received and approved by the third Council or no, provided, which is indisputably the case, they have been approved by some one council of ecumenical authority, so as to become thereby part and parcel of the ecumenical faith of the Church.

But the historical question is one of some interest, and I shall very briefly consider it. We have indeed the "Acta" of this council, but I cannot but agree with the very learned Jesuit Petavius and the Gallican Tillemont in thinking them in a very unsatisfactory condition. I am fully aware of the temerity of making such a suggestion, but I cannot help feeling that in the remarks of the Roman representatives, especially in those of the presbyter-legate, there is some anachronism. Be this as it may, it is a fact that the Acts do not recite that this letter of Cyril's was read, nor do they state that the Anathemas were received. I would suggest, however, that for those who defend John of Antioch, and criticise the action of St. Cyril, it is the height of inconsistency to deny that the Council adopted the Anathemas. If it was the bitterly partisan assembly that they would have us believe, absolutely under the control of Cyril, there is nothing that, a priori, they would have been more sure to do than adopt the Anathemas which were universally looked upon as the very fulcrum on which the whole matter turned.

Bishop Hefele was at first of opinion that the letter was merely read, being led to this conclusion by the silence of the Acts with regard to any acceptance of it, and indeed at first wrote on that side, but he afterwards saw grounds to change his mind and expresses them with his usual clearness, in the following words:

(Hefele, Hist. of Councils. Vol. III., p. 48, note 2.)

We were formerly of opinion that these anathematisms were read at Ephesus, but not expressly confirmed, as there is hardly anything on the subject in the Acts. But in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (collatio vi.) it is said: "The holy Council at Chalcedon approved this teaching of Cyril of blessed memory, and received his Synodical letters, to one of which are appended the xii. anathemas" (Mansi, t. ix., p. 341; Hardouin, t. iii., p. 167). If, however, the anathematisms of Cyril were expressly confirmed at Chalcedon, there was even more reason for doing so at Ephesus. And Ibas, in his well-known letter to Maris, says expressly that the Synod of Ephesus confirmed the anathematisms of Cyril, and the same was asserted even by the bishops of Antioch at Ephesus in a letter to the Emperor.

From all these considerations it would seem that Tillemont's [240] conclusion is well founded that the Synod certainly discussed the anathemas of Cyril in detail, but that here, as in many other places, there are parts of the Acts lacking. I shall add the opinion of Petavius.

(Petavius, De Incarnatione, Lib. VI., cap. xvii.)

The Acts do not tell us what judgment the Synod of Ephesus gave with respect to the third letter of Cyril, and with regard to the anathemas attached to it. But the Acts in other respects also have not come down to us in their integrity. That that third letter was received and approved by the Ephesine Council there can be no doubt, and this the Catholics shewed in their dispute with the Acephali in the Collation held at Constantinople under the Emperor Justinian in the year of Christ 811. For at that memorable meeting something was shewn forth concerning this letter and its anathemas, which has a connexion with the matter in hand, and therefore must not be omitted. At that meeting the Opposers, that is the Acephali, the enemies of the Council of Chalcedon, made this objection against that Council: "The [letter] of the Twelve Anathemas which is inserted in the holy Council of Ephesus, and which you cannot deny to be synodical, why did not Chalcedon receive it?" etc., etc.

From this it is evident that the prevailing opinion, then as now, was that the Twelve Anathemas were defined as part of the faith by the Council of Ephesus. Perhaps I may close this treatment of the subject in the words of Denziger, being the caption he gives the xii. Anathematisms in his Enchiridion, under "Decrees of the Third Ecumenical Council, that of Ephesus." "The Third Synod received these anathematisms; the Fourth Synod placed them in its Acts and styled the Epistles of Cyril `Canonical'; the Fifth Synod defended them."


Footnotes

[240] Tillemont, Mémoires. Tom. XIV., p. 405.

.

The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius with the XII. Anathematisms.

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 395; Migne, Patr. Græc., Tom. LXXVII. [Cyril, Opera, Tom. X.], col. 105 et seqq.)

To the most reverend and God-loving fellow-minister Nestorius, Cyril and the synod assembled in Alexandria, of the Egyptian Province, Greeting in the Lord.

When our Saviour says clearly: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," what is to become of us, from whom your Holiness requires that we love you more than Christ the Saviour of us all? Who can help us in the day of judgment, or what kind of excuse shall we find for thus keeping silence so long, with regard to the blasphemies made by you against him? If you injured yourself alone, by teaching and holding such things, perhaps it would be less matter; but you have greatly scandalized the whole Church, and have cast among the people the leaven of a strange and new heresy. And not to those there [i.e. at Constantinople] only; but also to those everywhere [the books of your explanation were sent]. How can we any longer, under these circumstances, make a defence for our silence, or how shall we not be forced to remember that Christ said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." For if faith be injured, let there be lost the honour due to parents, as stale and tottering, let even the law of tender love towards children and brothers be silenced, let death be better to the pious than living; "that they might obtain a better resurrection," as it is written.

Behold, therefore, how we, together with the holy synod which met in great Rome, presided over by the most holy and most reverend brother and fellow-minister, Celestine the Bishop, also testify by this third letter to you, and counsel you to abstain from these mischievous and distorted dogmas, which you hold and teach, and to receive the right faith, handed down to the churches from the beginning through the holy Apostles and Evangelists, who "were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word." And if your holiness have not a mind to this according to the limits defined in the writings of our brother of blessed memory and most reverend fellow-minister Celestine, Bishop of the Church of Rome, be well assured then that you have no lot with us, nor place or standing (logon) among the priests and bishops of God. For it is not possible for us to overlook the churches thus troubled, and the people scandalized, and the right faith set aside, and the sheep scattered by you, who ought to save them, if indeed we are ourselves adherents of the right faith, and followers of the devotion of the holy fathers. And we are in communion with all those laymen and clergymen cast out or deposed by your holiness on account of the faith; for it is not right that those, who resolved to believe rightly, should suffer by your choice; for they do well in opposing you. This very thing you have mentioned in your epistle written to our most holy and fellow-bishop Celestine of great Rome.

But it would not be sufficient for your reverence to confess with us only the symbol of the faith set out some time ago by the Holy Ghost at the great and holy synod convened in Nice: for you have not held and interpreted it rightly, but rather perversely; even though you confess with your voice the form of words. But in addition, in writing and by oath, you must confess that you also anathematize those polluted and unholy dogmas of yours, and that you will hold and teach that which we all, bishops, teachers, and leaders of the people both East and West, hold. The holy synod of Rome and we all agreed on the epistle written to your Holiness from the Alexandrian Church as being right and blameless. We have added to these our own letters and that which it is necessary for you to hold and teach, and what you should be careful to avoid. Now this is the Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church to which all Orthodox Bishops, both East and West, agree:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father, that is, of the substance of the Father; God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those in the earth. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man. He suffered, and rose again the third day. He ascended into the heavens, from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost: But those that say, There was a time when he was not, and, before he was begotten he was not, and that he was made of that which previously was not, or that he was of some other substance or essence; and that the Son of God was capable of change or alteration; those the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes."

Following in all points the confessions of the Holy Fathers which they made (the Holy Ghost speaking in them), and following the scope of their opinions, and going, as it were, in the royal way, we confess that the Only begotten Word of God, begotten of the same substance of the Father, True God from True God, Light from Light, through Whom all things were made, the things in heaven and the things in the earth, coming down for our salvation, making himself of no reputation (katheis heauton eis kenosin), was incarnate and made man; that is, taking flesh of the holy Virgin, and having made it his own from the womb, he subjected himself to birth for us, and came forth man from a woman, without casting off that which he was; but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in essence and in truth. Neither do we say that his flesh was changed into the nature of divinity, nor that the ineffable nature of the Word of God was laid aside for the nature of flesh; for he is unchanged and absolutely unchangeable, being the same always, according to the Scriptures. For although visible and a child in swaddling clothes, and even in the bosom of his Virgin Mother, he filled all creation as God, and was a fellow-ruler with him who begat him, for the Godhead is without quantity and dimension, and cannot have limits.

Confessing the Word to be made one with the flesh according to substance, we adore one Son and Lord Jesus Christ: we do not divide the God from the man, nor separate him into parts, as though the two natures were mutually united in him only through a sharing of dignity and authority (for that is a novelty and nothing else), neither do we give separately to the Word of God the name Christ and the same name separately to a different one born of a woman; but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own Flesh. For as man he was anointed with us, although it is he himself who gives the Spirit to those who are worthy and not in measure, according to the saying of the blessed Evangelist John.

But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt in him as in a common man born of the holy Virgin, lest Christ be thought of as a God-bearing man; for although the Word tabernacled among us, it is also said that in Christ "dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"; but we understand that he became flesh, not just as he is said to dwell in the saints, but we define that that tabernacling in him was according to equality (kata ton ison en auto tropon). But being made one kata phusin, [241] and not converted into flesh, he made his indwelling in such a way, as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.

One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as consists in a unity [242] of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of honour which unites natures; for then Peter and John, who were of equal honour with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples [would have been one, and], yet the two are not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be apposition, for this does not suffice for natural oneness (pros henoson phusiken). Nor yet according to relative participation, as we are also joined to the Lord, as it is written "we are one Spirit in him." Rather we deprecate the term of "junction" (sunapheias) as not having sufficiently signified the oneness. But we do not call the Word of God the Father, the God nor the Lord of Christ, lest we openly cut in two the one Christ, the Son and Lord, and fall under the charge of blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For the Word of God, as we have said already, was made hypostatically one in flesh, yet he is God of all and he rules all; but he is not the slave of himself, nor his own Lord. For it is foolish, or rather impious, to think or teach thus. For he said that God was his Father, although he was God by nature, and of his substance. Yet we are not ignorant that while he remained God, he also became man and subject to God, according to the law suitable to the nature of the manhood. But how could he become the God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man, and with regard to the measure of his humiliation, it is said that he is equally with us subject to God; thus he became under the Law, although as God he spake the Law and was the Law-giver.

We are careful also how we say about Christ: "I worship the One clothed on account of the One clothing him, and on account of the Unseen, I worship the Seen." It is horrible to say in this connexion as follows: "The assumed as well as the assuming have the name of God." For the saying of this divides again Christ into two, and puts the man separately by himself and God also by himself. For this saying denies openly the Unity according to which one is not worshipped in the other, nor does God exist together with the other; but Jesus Christ is considered as One, the Only-begotten Son, to be honoured with one adoration together with his own flesh.

We confess that he is the Son, begotten of God the Father, and Only-begotten God; and although according to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, yet he suffered for us in the flesh according to the Scriptures, and although impassible, yet in his Crucified Body he made his own the sufferings of his own flesh; and by the grace of God he tasted death for all: he gave his own Body thereto, although he was by nature himself the life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his unspeakable power, first in his own flesh, he might become the first born from the dead, and the first-fruits of them that slept. And that he might make a way for the nature of man to attain incorruption, by the grace of God (as we just now said), he tasted death for every man, and after three days rose again, having despoiled hell. So although it is said that the resurrection of the dead was through man, yet we understand that man to have been the Word of God, and the power of death was loosed through him, and he shall come in the fulness of time as the One Son and Lord, in the glory of the Father, in order to judge the world in righteousness, as it is written.

We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the Unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Saviour of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving, as also he said to us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood. For we must not think that it is flesh of a man like us (for how can the flesh of man be life-giving by its own nature?) but as having become truly the very own of him who for us both became and was called Son of Man. Besides, what the Gospels say our Saviour said of himself, we do not divide between two hypostases or persons. For neither is he, the one and only Christ, to be thought of as double, although of two (ek duo) and they diverse, yet he has joined them in an indivisible union, just as everyone knows a man is not double although made up of soul and body, but is one of both. Wherefore when thinking rightly, we transfer the human and the divine to the same person (par' henos eiresthai).

For when as God he speaks about himself: "He who hath seen me hath seen the Father," and "I and my Father are one," we consider his ineffable divine nature according to which he is One with his Father through the identity of essence--"The image and impress and brightness of his glory." But when not scorning the measure of his humanity, he said to the Jews: "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth." Again no less than before we recognize that he is the Word of God from his identity and likeness to the Father and from the circumstances of his humanity. For if it is necessary to believe that being by nature God, he became flesh, that is, a man endowed with a reasonable soul, what reason can certain ones have to be ashamed of this language about him, which is suitable to him as man? For if he should reject the words suitable to him as man, who compelled him to become man like us? And as he humbled himself to a voluntary abasement (kenosin) for us, for what cause can any one reject the words suitable to such abasement? Therefore all the words which are read in the Gospels are to be applied to One Person, to One hypostasis of the Word Incarnate. For the Lord Jesus Christ is One, according to the Scriptures, although he is called "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession," as offering to God and the Father the confession of faith which we make to him, and through him to God even the Father and also to the Holy Spirit; yet we say he is, according to nature, the Only-begotten of God. And not to any man different from him do we assign the name of priesthood, and the thing, for he became "the Mediator between God and men," and a Reconciler unto peace, having offered himself as a sweet smelling savour to God and the Father. Therefore also he said: "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." For on account of us he offered his body as a sweet smelling savour, and not for himself; for what offering or sacrifice was needed for himself, who as God existed above all sins? For "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," so that we became prone to fall, and the nature of man has fallen into sin, yet not so he (and therefore we fall short of his glory). How then can there be further doubt that the true Lamb died for us and on our account? And to say that he offered himself for himself and us, could in no way escape the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at all, neither did he sin. What offering then did he need, not having sin for which sacrifices are rightly offered? But when he spoke about the Spirit, he said: "He shall glorify me." If we think rightly, we do not say that the One Christ and Son as needing glory from another received glory from the Holy Spirit; for neither greater than he nor above him is his Spirit, but because he used the Holy Spirit to show forth his own divinity in his mighty works, therefore he is said to have been glorified by him just as if any one of us should say concerning his inherent strength for example, or his knowledge of anything, "They glorified me." For although the Spirit is the same essence, yet we think of him by himself, as he is the Spirit and not the Son; but he is not different from him; for he is called the Spirit of truth and Christ is the Truth, and he is sent by him, just as, moreover, he is from God and the Father. When then the Spirit worked miracles through the hands of the holy apostles after the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, he glorified him. For it is believed that he who works through his own Spirit is God according to nature. Therefore he said: "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." But we do not say this as if the Spirit is wise and powerful through some sharing with another; for he is all perfect and in need of no good thing. Since, therefore, he is the Spirit of the Power and Wisdom of the Father (that is, of the Son), he is evidently Wisdom and Power.

And since the holy Virgin brought forth corporally God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh.

For "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God," and he is the Maker of the ages, coeternal with the Father, and Creator of all; but, as we have already said, since he united to himself hypostatically human nature from her womb, also he subjected himself to birth as man, not as needing necessarily in his own nature birth in time and in these last times of the world, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, and that that which sent the earthly bodies of our whole race to death, might lose its power for the future by his being born of a woman in the flesh. And this: "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children," being removed through him, he showed the truth of that spoken by the prophet, "Strong death swallowed them up, and again God hath wiped away every tear from off all faces." [243]For this cause also we say that he attended, having been called, and also blessed, the marriage in Cana of Galilee, with his holy Apostles in accordance with the economy. We have been taught to hold these things by the holy Apostles and Evangelists, and all the God-inspired Scriptures, and in the true confessions of the blessed Fathers.

To all these your reverence also should agree, and give heed, without any guile. And what it is necessary your reverence should anathematize we have subjoined to our epistle. [244]


Footnotes

[241] Vide notes on this expression. [242] This passage is very difficult and I have followed the Latin in omitting one Theon. [243] There is a most curious blunder in the editing of this Epistle in Migne, where this passage, which is but one text, viz.: Isaiah xxv. 8 is made into two, the first few words being assigned in the margin to Hosea xiii. 14. As a matter of fact the whole sentence is turned into nonsense by making the words kai palin as a connective supplied by St. Cyril. What the text really says is that Death prevailed indeed, but God wiped away again the tears death had caused. The same error is found in the letter as it occurs in Labbe and Cossart, and it should be remarked that it is both in the Greek and Latin. I rather suspect that St. Cyril had a purer text of the LXX. than ours which read--"And he hath swallowed death up and hath wiped away, etc.," as the Vulgate and A.V. read. This is the reading the context certainly seems to call for. [244] For critical notes and proposed emendations of the text, see Routh's Scriptorum Eccles. Opuscula. Tom. II. (Ed. III.), p. 17.

.

The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril Against Nestorius.

(Found in St. Cyril's Opera. Migne, Pat. Græc, Tom. LXXVII., Col. 119; and the Concilia.)

I.

If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, "The Word was made flesh"] let him be anathema.

Notes.

The Anathematisms of the Heretic Nestorius Against Cyril.

(Found best in Migne's edition of Marius Mercator.)

I.

If anyone says that the Emmanuel is true God, and not rather God with us, that is, that he has united himself to a like nature with ours, which he assumed from the Virgin Mary, and dwelt in it; and if anyone calls Mary the mother of God the Word, and not rather mother of him who is Emmanuel; and if he maintains that God the Word has changed himself into the flesh, which he only assumed in order to make his Godhead visible, and to be found in form as a man, let him be anathema.

Petavius. [245]

(De Incarnatione, Lib. vi. cap. xvii.)

In this anathematism certain words are found in the Greek copy of Dionysius which are lacking in the ordinary copies, viz. "according as it is written, `And the Word was made flesh';" unless forsooth Dionysius supplied them of his own authority. For in the Lateran Synod in the time of Martin I. this anathematism was quoted without the appended words.

This anathematism breaks to pieces the chief strength of the Nestorian impiety. For it sets forth two facts. The one that the Emmanuel, that is he who was born of a woman and dwelt with us, is God: the other, that Mary who bare such an one is Mother of God. That Christ is God is clearly proved from the Nicene Creed, and he shews that the same that was in the beginning the Son of God, afterwards took flesh and was born of Mary, without any change or confusion of natures.

St. Cyril explains that by sarkikos, carnaliter, he meant nothing else than kata sarka, secundum carnem, "according to the flesh." And it was necessary to use this expression to overthrow the perfidy of Nestorius; so that we may understand that the most holy Virgin was the parent not of a simple and bare man, but of God the Word, not in that he was God, but in that he had taken flesh. For God the Father was the parent of the same Son theikos [246] (divinely) as his mother was sarkikos (after the flesh). And the word (sarkikos) in no degree lessens the dignity of his begetting and bringing forth; for it shews that his flesh was not simulated or shadowed forth; but true and like to ours. Amphilochius distinctly uses the word, saying "Except he had been born carnally (sarkikos), never wouldest thou have been born spiritually (pneumatikos )." Cf. St. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 51).

Theodoret misunderstood St. Cyril to teach in this first anathematism that the Word was changed into the flesh he assumed. But Cyril rightly treated this whole accusation as a foolish calumny.


Footnotes

[245] Petavius gives a scholion on every anathematism and a résumé of the Orientals' objections and of Theodoret's criticisms, with answers. [246] This is a late form of theios, but used only in its secondary sense.

.

Excursus on the Word Theotokos

There have been some who have tried to reduce all the great theological controversies on the Trinity and on the Incarnation to mere logomachies, and have jeered at those who could waste their time and energies over such trivialities. For example, it has been said that the real difference between Arius and Athanasius was nothing more nor less than an iota, and that even Athanasius himself, in his more placid, and therefore presumably more rational moods, was willing to hold communion with those who differed from him and who still rejected the homousion. But however catching and brilliant such remarks may be, they lack all solid foundation in truth. It is perfectly manifest that a person so entirely lacking in discrimination as not to see the enormous difference between identity and likeness is not one whose opinion on such a point can be of much value. A brilliant historian is not necessarily an accurate historian, far less need he be a safe guide in matters of theological definition. [247]

A similar attempt to reduce to a logomachy the difference between the Catholic faith and Nestorianism has been made by some writers of undoubted learning among Protestants, notably by Fuchs and Schröckh. But as in the case of the homousios so, too, in the case of the theotocos the word expresses a great, necessary, and fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith. It is not a matter of words, but of things, and the mind most unskilled in theology cannot fail to grasp the enormous difference there is between affirming, as does Nestorianism, that a God indwelt a man with a human personality of his own distinct from the personality of the indwelling god; and that God assumed to himself human nature, that is a human body and a human soul, but without human personality.

(Wm. Bright, St. Leo on the Incarnation, pp. 160, 161.)

It is, then, clear that the question raised by the wide circulation of the discourses of Nestorius as archbishop of Constantinople was not verbal, but vital. Much of his language was irrelevant, and indicated some confusedness of thought: much would, of itself, admit of an orthodox construction; in one of the latest of his sermons, which Garnier dates on Sunday, December 14, 430, he grants that "Theotocos" might be used as signifying that "the temple which was formed in Mary by the Holy Spirit was united to the Godhead;" but it was impossible not to ask whether by "the temple" he meant the body of Jesus, or Jesus himself regarded as a human individual existing idia, idikos, ana meros--as Cyril represents his theory--and whether by "union" he meant more than a close alliance, ejusdem generis, in the last analysis, with the relation between God and every saint, or, indeed, every Christian in true moral fellowship with him--an alliance which would amount, in Cyril's phrase, to no more than a "relative union," and would reduce the Saviour to a "Theophoros," the title claimed of old by one of his chief martyrs. And the real identity of Nestorius's view with that of Theodore [of Mopsuestia] was but too plainly exhibited by such statements as occur in some of the extracts preserved in Cyril's treatise Against Nestorius--to the effect that Christ was one with the Word by participation in dignity; that "the man" was partaker of Divine power, and in that sense not mere man; that he was adored together with the Word; and that "My Lord and my God" was a doxology to the Father; and above all, by the words spoken at Ephesus, "I can never allow that a child of three months old was God."

It is no part of my duty to defend the truth of either the Catholic or Nestorian proposition--each has found many adherents in most ages since it was first started, and probably what is virtually Nestorianism is to-day far more widely held among persons deemed to be orthodox than is commonly supposed. Be this as it may, Nestorianism is clearly subversive of the whole Catholic Doctrine of the Incarnation, and therefore the importance of the word Theotokos cannot be exaggerated.

I shall treat the word Theotocos under two heads; (1) Its history (2) its meaning, first however quoting Bp. Pearson's words on its Conciliar authority. (Pearson, Exp. of the Creed, Art. III., n. 37). "It is plain that the Council of Ephesus which condemned Nestorius confirmed this title Theotokos; I say confirmed it; for it is evident that it was before used in the Church, by the tumult which arose at the first denial of it by Anastasius [Nestorius's presbyter]; and so confirmed it as received before, because they approved the Epistles of St. Cyril, who proved it by the usage of those Fathers which preceded him."

(1) History of Word Theotokos.

It has not been unfrequently assumed that the word Theotocos was coined to express the peculiar view of the Incarnation held by St. Cyril. Such however, is an entire mistake. It was an old term of Catholic Theology, and the very word was used by bishop Alexander in a letter from the synod held at Alexandria in a.d. 320, [248] to condemn the Arian heresy (more than a hundred years before the meeting of the Council of Ephesus); "After this, we receive the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; who bore a body in truth, not in semblance, which he derived from Mary the Mother of God (ek tes Theotokou Marias)." [249]

The same word had been used by many church writers among whom may be mentioned St. Athanasius, who says, "As the flesh was born of Mary, the Mother of God, so we say that he, the Word, was himself born of Mary" (Orat. c. Arian., iii., 14, 29, 33; also iv., 32). See also Eusebius (Vit. Const., iii., 43); St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat., x., 9); and especially Origen, who (says Bp. Pearson) "did not only use, but expound at large the meaning of that title Theotokos in his first tome on the Epistle to the Romans, as Socrates and Liberatus testify." [250](Cf. Origen in Deut. xxii., 23; vol. ii., p. 391. A; in Luc. apud Galland, Bib. Patr., vol. xiv., append., p. 87, D). A list is given by Dr. Routh, in his Reliquiæ Sacræ. Vol. ii., p. 215 (1st Ed.), 332 (2d Ed.).

In fact Theodore of Mopsuestia was the first to object to it, so far as we know, writing as follows: "Mary bare Jesus, not the Word, for the Word was and remained omnipresent, although from the beginning he dwelt in Jesus in a peculiar manner. Thus Mary is properly the Mother of Christ (Christotocos) but not the mother of God (Theotocos). Only figuratively, per anaphoram, can she be called Theotocos also, because God was in Christ in a remarkable manner. Properly she bare a man, in whom the union with the Word was begun, but was still so little completed, that he was not yet called the Son of God." And in another place he says: "It is madness to say that God is born of the Virgin....Not God, but the temple in which God dwelt, is born of Mary." [251]How far Theodore had departed from the teaching of the Apostolic days may be seen by the following quotations from St. Ignatius. "There is one only physician, of flesh and spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord." [252] Further on in the same epistle he says: "For our God, Jesus the Christ, was borne in the womb by Mary etc." [253]With the first of these passages Bp. Lightfoot very aptly compares the following from Melito. "Since he was incorporeal, he fashioned a body for himself of our likeness...he was carried by Mary and clothed by his Father, he trod the earth and he filled the heavens." [254]

Theodore was forced by the exigencies of his position to deny the doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum which had already at that early date come to be well understood, at least so far as practice is concerned.

(Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. iii., p. 8.)

This doctrine, as is well known is predicating the same properties of the two natures in Christ, not in abstracto (Godhead and manhood), but in concreto (God and man). Christ himself had declared in St. John iii., 16: "God...gave his only begotten Son" (namely, to death), and similarly St. Peter declared (Acts iii., 15): "ye...killed the Prince of Life," when in fact the being given up and being killed is a property (idioma = predicate) of man, not of God (the only begotten, the Prince of Life). In the same way Clement of Rome, for example, spoke of "the sufferings of God" (pathemata Theou) (1 Ad Cor. 2), Ignatius of Antioch (Ad Ephes., c. 1, and Ad Rom., 6) of an haima and pathos Theou, Tatian of a Theos peponthos (Ad Græcos, c. 13); Barnabas teaches (c. 7) that "the Son of God could not suffer except on our behalf...and on our behalf he has brought the vessel of his Spirit as a sacrifice." Similarly Irenæus (iii., 16, 6) says, "The Only-begotten impassible Word (unigenitus impassibilis) has become passible" (passibilis); and Athanasius, estauromenon einai Theon (Ep. ad Epictet., n. 10, t. j., p. 726. ed. Patav.)

It is, however, to be remarked that the properties of the one nature were never transferred to the other nature in itself, but always to the Person who is at the same time both man and God. Human attributes were not ascribed to the Godhead, but to God, and vice versâ.

For a full treatment of the figure of speech called the communicatio idiomatum the reader is referred to the great works on Theology where it will be found set forth at large, with its restrictions specified and with examples of its use. A brief but interesting note on it will be found in St. John Damascene's famous treatise De Fide Orthodoxa, Book III., iii. (Migne's Pat. Græc., col. 994).

(2) Meaning of the Word Theotokos.

We pass now to the meaning of the word, having sufficiently traced the history of its use. Bishop Pearson says: "This name was first in use in the Greek Church, who, delighting in the happy compositions of that language, called the blessed Virgin Theotocos. From whence the Latins in imitation styled her Virginem Deiparam et Deigenitricem." [255] In the passage to which the words just quoted are a portion of a footnote, he says: "Wherefore from these three, a true conception, nutrition, and parturition, we must acknowledge that the blessed Virgin was truly and properly the Mother of our Saviour. And so is she frequently styled the Mother of Jesus in the language of the Evangelists, and by Elizabeth particularly the `Mother of her Lord,' as also by the general consent of the Church (because he which was so born of her was God,) the Deipara; which being a compound title begun in the Greek Church, was resolved into its parts by the Latins and so the Virgin was plainly named the Mother of God."

Pearson is mistaken in supposing that the resolution of the compound Theotocos into meter tou Theou was unknown to the early Greek writers. Dionysius expressly calls Mary he meter tou Theou mou (Contr. Paul. Samos., Quæst. viii.); and among the Latins Mater Dei and Dei Genetrix were (as Pearson himself confesses in note 37) used before the time of St. Leo I. It is not an open question whether Mater Dei, Dei Genetrix, Deipara, meter tou Theou are proper equivalents for Theotokos. This point has been settled by the unvarying use of the whole Church of God throughout all the ages from that day to this, but there is, or at least some persons have thought that there was, some question as to how Theotocos should be translated into English.

Throughout this volume I have translated it "Mother of God," and I propose giving my reasons for considering this the only accurate translation of the word, both from a lexico-graphical and from a theological point of view.

(a) It is evident that the word is a composite formed of Theos = God, and tiktein = to be the mother of a child. Now I have translated the verbal part "to be the mother of a child" because "to bear" in English does not necessarily carry the full meaning of the Greek word, which (as Bp. Pearson has well remarked in the passage cited above) includes "conception, nutrition, and parturition." It has been suggested that "God-bearer" is an exact translation. To this I object, that in the first place it is not English; and in the second that it would be an equally and, to my mind, more accurate translation of Theophoros than of Theotokos.

Another suggestion is that it be rendered "the bringer forth of God." Again I object that, from a rhetorical standpoint, the expression is very open to criticism; and from a lexicographical point of view it is entirely inadequate, for while indeed the parturition does necessarily involve in the course of nature the previous conception and nutrition, it certainly does not express it.

Now the word Mother does necessarily express all three of these when used in relation to her child. The reader will remember that the question I am discussing is not whether Mary can properly be called the Mother of God; this Nestorius denied and many in ancient and modern times have been found to agree with him. The question I am considering is what the Greek word Theotocos means in English. I do not think anyone would hesitate to translate Nestorius's Christotocos by "Mother of Christ" and surely the expressions are identical from a lexicographical point of view.

Liddell and Scott in their Lexicon insert the word theotokos as an adjective and translate "bearing God" and add: "especially he Theotokos, Mother of God, of the Virgin, Eccl."

(b) It only remains to consider whether there is from a theological point of view any objection to the translation, "Mother of God." It is true that some persons have thought that such a rendering implied that the Godhead has its origin in Mary, but this was the very objection which Nestorius and his followers urged against the word Theotocos, and this being the case, it constitutes a strong argument in favour of the accuracy of the rendering. Of course the answer to the objection in each case is the same, it is not of the Godhead that Mary is the Mother, but of the Incarnate Son, who is God. "Mother" expresses exactly the relation to the incarnate Son which St. Cyril, the Council of Ephesus, and all succeeding, not to say also preceding, ages of Catholics, rightly or wrongly, ascribe to Mary. All that every child derives from its Mother that God the Son derived from Mary, and this without the co-operation of any man, but by the direct operation of the Holy Ghost, so that in a fuller, truer, and more perfect sense, Mary is the Mother of God the Son in his incarnation, than any other earthly mother is of her son.

I therefore consider it certain that no scholar who can and will divest himself of theological bias, can doubt that "Mother of God" is the most accurate translation of the term Theotocos.


Footnotes

[247] Cf. Bp. Lightfoot's criticism on Gibbon as an historian, The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. I., p. 46 n. Macaulay's History of England will of course instantly present itself to the reader as a sample of the brilliant variety of histories referred to in the text. [248] The date is not certain, it may have been a year or so different. [249] Theod., Hist. Eccl., I., 4. [250] Pearson, An Expos. of the Creed, Art. III., n. 36. [251] I take this passage as cited by Hefele, Hist. Counc., Vol. III., 9, [252] Ignat., Ad. Eph., vii. [253] Ibid. xviii. [254] Melito, Fragm. 14 (ed. Otto); cit. Lightfoot, Apost. Fath., II., 1, p. 48, n. [255] Pearson, An Expos. of the Creed, Art. III., n. 36.

II.

If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God the Father is united hypostatically to flesh, and that with that flesh of his own, he is one only Christ both God and man at the same time: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

II.

If any one asserts that, at the union of the Logos with the flesh, the divine Essence moved from one place to another; or says that the flesh is capable of receiving the divine nature, and that it has been partially united with the flesh; or ascribes to the flesh, by reason of its reception of God, an extension to the infinite and boundless, and says that God and man are one and the same in nature; let him be anathema.

III.

If anyone shall after the [hypostatic] union divide the hypostases in the one Christ, joining them by that connexion alone, which happens according to worthiness, or even authority and power, and not rather by a coming together (sunodo), which is made by natural union (henosin phusiken): let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

III.

If any one says that Christ, who is also Emmanuel, is One, not [merely] in consequence of connection, but [also] in nature, and does not acknowledge the connection (sunapheia) of the two natures, that of the Logos and of the assumed manhood, in one Son, as still continuing without mingling; let him be anathema.

Hefele.

(Hist. of the Counc., Vol. III., p. 7.)

Theodore [of Mopsuestia, and in this he was followed by Nestorius,] (and here is his fundamental error,) not merely maintained the existence of two natures in Christ, but of two persons, as, he says himself, no subsistence can be thought of as perfect without personality. As however, he did not ignore the fact that the consciousness of the Church rejected such a double personality in Christ, he endeavoured to get rid of the difficulty, and he repeatedly says expressly: "The two natures united together make only one Person, as man and wife are only one flesh....If we consider the natures in their distinction, we should define the nature of the Logos as perfect and complete, and so also his Person, and again the nature and the person of the man as perfect and complete. If, on the other hand, we have regard to the union (sunapheia), we say it is one Person." The very illustration of the union of man and wife shows that Theodore did not suppose a true union of the two natures in Christ, but that his notion was rather that of an external connection of the two. The expression sunapheia, moreover, which he selected here instead of the term henosin, which he elsewhere employs, being derived from sunapto [to join together], expresses only an external connection, a fixing together, and is therefore expressly rejected in later times by the doctors of the Church. And again, Theodore designates a merely external connection also in the phrase already quoted, to the effect that "the Logos dwells in the man assumed as in a temple." As a temple and the statue set up within it are one whole merely in outward appearance, so the Godhead and manhood in Christ appear only from without in their actuality as one Person, while they remain essentially two Persons.

IV.

If anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions (phonas) which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

IV.

If any one assigns the expressions of the Gospels and Apostolic letters, which refer to the two natures of Christ, to one only of those natures, and even ascribes suffering to the divine Word, both in the flesh and in the Godhead; let him be anathema.

St. Cyril.

(Apol. contra Orientales.)

For we neither teach the division of the hypostases after the union, nor do we say that the nature of the Deity needs increase and growth; but this rather we hold, that by way of an economical appropriation (kat' oikeiosin oikonomiken), he made his own the properties of the flesh, as having become flesh.

(Quod unus est Christus.)

For the wise Evangelist, introducing the Word as become flesh, shows him economically submitting himself to his own flesh and going through the laws of his own nature. But it belongs to humanity to increase in stature and in wisdom, and, I might add, in grace, intelligence keeping pace with the measure of the body, and differing according to age. For it was not impossible for the Word born of the Father to have raised the body united to himself to its full height from the very swaddling-clothes. I would say also, that in the babe a wonderful wisdom might easily have appeared. But that would have approached the thaumaturgical, and would have been incongruous to the laws of the economy. For the mystery was accomplished noiselessly. Therefore he economically allowed the measures of humanity to have power over himself.

A. B. Bruce.

(The Humiliation of Christ. Appendix to Lect. II.)

The accommodation to the laws of the economy, according to this passage, consisted in this--in stature, real growth; in wisdom, apparent growth. The wonderful wisdom was there from the first, but it was not allowed to appear (ekphenai), to avoid an aspect of monstrosity.

St. Cyril.

(Adversus Nestorium.)

Therefore there would have been shown to all an unwonted and strange thing, if, being yet an infant, he had made a demonstration of his wisdom worthy of God; but expanding it gradually and in proportion to the age of the body, and (in this gradual manner) making it manifest to all, he might be said to increase (in wisdom) very appropriately.

(Ad Reginas de recta fide, Orat. II., cap. xvi.)

"But the boy increased and waxed strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him." And again: "Jesus increased in stature and wisdom, and in favour with God and men." In affirming our Lord Jesus Christ to be one, and assigning to him both divine and human properties, we truly assert that it was congruous to the measures of the kenosis, on the one hand, that he should receive bodily increase and grow strong, the parts of the body gradually attaining their full development; and, on the other hand, that he should seem to be filled with wisdom, in so far as the manifestation of the wisdom dwelling within him proceeded, as by addition, most congruously to the stature of the body; and this, as I said, agreed with the economy of the Incarnation, and the measures of the state of humiliation.

(Apol. contra Theod., ad Anath. iv.)

And if he is one and the same in virtue of the true unity of natures, and is not one and another (two persons) disjunctively and partitively, to him will belong both to know and to seem not to know. Therefore he knows on the divine side as the Wisdom of the Father. But since he subjected himself to the measure of humanity, he economically appropriates this also with the rest, although, as I said a little ago, being ignorant of nothing, but knowing all things with the Father.

V.

If anyone shall dare to say that the Christ is a Theophorus [that is, God-bearing] man and not rather that he is very God, as an only Son through nature, because "the Word was made flesh," and "hath a share in flesh and blood as we do:" let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

V.

If any one ventures to say that, even after the assumption of human nature, there is only one Son of God, namely, he who is so in nature (naturaliter filius = Logos), while he (since the assumption of the flesh) is certainly Emmanuel; let him be anathema.

Petavius.

It is manifest that this anathematism is directed against the blasphemy of Nestorius, by which he said that Christ was in this sense Emmanuel, that a man was united and associated with God, just as God had been said to have been with the Prophets and other holy men, and to have had his abode in them; so that they were properly styled Theophoroi, because, as it were, they carried God about with them; but there was no one made of the two. But he held that our Lord as man was bound and united with God only by a communion of dignity.

Nestorius [in his Counter Anathematism] displays the hidden meaning of his heresy, when he says, that the Son of God is not one after the assumption of the humanity; for he who denied that he was one, no doubt thought that he was two.

Theodoret in his criticism of this Anathematism remarks that many of the Ancients, including St. Basil had used this very word, Theophoros, for the Lord; but the objection has no real foundation, for the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of such a word must be determined by the context in which it is used, and also by the known opinions of him that uses it. Expressions which are in a loose sense orthodox and quite excusable before a heresy arises, may become afterwards the very distinctive marks and shibboleths of error. Petavius has pointed out how far from orthodox many of the earliest Christian writers were, at least verbally, and Bp. Bull defended them by the same line of argument I have just used and which Petavius himself employs in this very connection.

VI.

If anyone shall dare say that the Word of God the Father is the God of Christ or the Lord of Christ, and shall not rather confess him as at the same time both God and Man, since according to the Scriptures, "The Word was made flesh": let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

VI.

If anyone, after the Incarnation calls another than Christ the Word, and ventures to say that the form of a servant is equally with the Word of God, without beginning and uncreated, and not rather that it is made by him as its natural Lord and Creator and God, and that he has promised to raise it again in the words: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up again"; let him be anathema.

Hefele.

This [statement of Nestorius's that any should call "another than Christ the Word"] has no reference to Cyril; but is a hyper-Nestorianism, which Nestorius here rejects. This [that "the form of a servant is without beginning and uncreated"] was asserted by some Apollinarists; and Nestorius accused St. Cyril of Apollinarianism.

Petavius.

As Nestorius believed that in Christ there were two distinct entities (re ipsa duos) that is to say two persons joined together; it was natural that he should hold that the Word was the God and Lord of the other, that is of the man. Cyril contradicts this, and since he taught that there was, not two, but one of two natures, that is one person or suppositum, therefore he denied that the Word was the God or Lord of the man; since no one should be called the Lord of himself.

Theodoret in his answer shuffles as usual, and points out that Christ is styled a servant by the Prophet Isaiah, because of the form of a servant which he had received. But to this Cyril answers; that although Christ, inasmuch as he was man, is called the servant of the Father, as of a person distinct from himself; yet he denies that the same person can be his own lord or servant, lest a separation of the person be introduced.

VII.

If anyone shall say that Jesus as man is only energized by the Word of God, and that the glory of the Only-begotten is attributed to him as something not properly his: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

VII.

If any one says that the man who was formed of the Virgin is the Only-begotten, who was born from the bosom of the Father, before the morning star was (Ps. cix., 3) [256] , and does not rather confess that he has obtained the designation of Only-begotten on account of his connection with him who in nature is the Only-begotten of the Father; and besides, if any one calls another than the Emmanuel Christ let him be anathema.

St. Cyril.

(Declaratio Septima.)

When the blessed Gabriel announced to the holy Virgin the generation of the only-begotten Son of God according to the flesh, he said, "Thou shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." But he was named also Christ, because that according to his human nature he was anointed with us, according to the words of the Psalmist: "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." For although he was the giver of the Holy Spirit, neither did he give it by measure to them that were worthy (for he was full of the Holy Ghost, and of his fulness have we all received, as it is written), nevertheless as he is man he was called anointed economically, the Holy Spirit resting upon him spiritually (noetos) and not after the manner of men, in order that he might abide in us, although he had been driven forth from us in the beginning by Adam's fall. He therefore the only begotten Word of God made flesh was called Christ. And since he possessed as his own the power proper to God, he wrought his wonders. Whosoever therefore shall say that the glory of the Only-begotten was added to the power of Christ, as though the Only-begotten was different from Christ, they are thinking of two sons; the one truly working and the other impelled (by the strength of another, Lat.) as a man like to us; and all such fall under the penalty of this anathematism.


Footnotes

[256] The editor of the English translation to this reference adds the following note: "This is the reference in the original; but the editor is unable to say to what it refers." (!) (Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. III. p. 36, n. 3.) "Ex utero ante Luciferum genui te," the third verse of the Psalm Dixit Dominus, cix., by the Hebrew numbering cx.

VIII.

If anyone shall dare to say that the assumed man (analephthenta ) ought to be worshipped together with God the Word, and glorified together with him, and recognised together with him as God, and yet as two different things, the one with the other (for this "Together with" is added [i.e., by the Nestorians] to convey this meaning); and shall not rather with one adoration worship the Emmanuel and pay to him one glorification, as [it is written] "The Word was made flesh": let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

VIII.

If any one says that the form of a servant should, for its own sake, that is, in reference to its own nature, be reverenced, and that it is the ruler of all things, and not rather, that [merely] on account of its connection with the holy and in itself universally-ruling nature of the Only-begotten, it is to be reverenced; let him be anathema.

Hefele.

On this point [made by Nestorius, that "the form of a servant is the ruler of all things"] Marius Mercator has already remarked with justice, that no Catholic had ever asserted anything of the kind.

Petavius notes that the version of Dionysius Exiguus is defective.

Petavius.

Nestorius captiously and maliciously interpreted this as if the "form of a servant" according to its very nature (ratio) was to be adored, that is should receive divine worship. But this is nefarious and far removed from the mind of Cyril. Since to such an extent only the human nature of Christ is one suppositum with the divine, that he declares that each is the object of one and an undivided adoration; lest if a double and dissimilar cultus be attributed to each one, the divine person should be divided into two adorable Sons and Christs, as we have heard Cyril often complaining.

IX.

If any man shall say that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Holy Ghost, so that he used through him a power not his own and from him received power against unclean spirits and power to work miracles before men and shall not rather confess that it was his own Spirit through which he worked these divine signs; let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

IX.

If anyone says that the form of a servant is of like nature with the Holy Ghost, and not rather that it owes its union with the Word which has existed since the conception, to his mediation, by which it works miraculous healings among men, and possesses the power of expelling demons; let him be anathema.

Petavius.

The scope of this anathematism is to shew that the Word of God, when he assumed flesh remaining what he was, and lacking nothing which the Father possessed except only paternity, had as his own the Holy Spirit which is from him and substantially abides in him. From this it follows that through him, as through a power and strength which was his own, and not one alien or adventitious, he wrought his wonders and cast forth devils, but he did not receive that Holy Spirit and his power as formerly the Prophets had done, or as afterwards his disciples did, as a kind of gift (beneficii loco).

The Orientals objected that St. Cyril here contradicts himself, for here he says that Christ did not work his wonders by the Holy Ghost and in another place he frankly confesses that he did so work them. But the whole point is what is intended by working through the Holy Ghost. For the Apostles worked miracles through the Holy Ghost but as by a power external to themselves, but not so Christ. When Christ worked wonders through the Holy Ghost, he was working through a power which was his own, viz.: the Third Person of the Holy Trinity; from whom he never was and never could be separated, ever abiding with him and the Eternal Father in the Divine Unity.

The Westerns have always pointed to this anathematism as shewing that St. Cyril recognized the eternal relation of the Holy Spirit as being from the Son.

.

Excursus on How Our Lord Worked Miracles.

In view of the fact that many are now presenting as if something newly discovered, and as the latest results of biblical study, the interpretations of the early heretics with regard to our Lord's powers and to his relation to the Holy Ghost, I have here set down in full Theodoret's Counter-statement to the faith accepted by the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

Theodoret.

(Counter Statement to Anath. IX. of Cyril.)

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

In the foregoing will be found the very same arguments used and the same texts cited against the Catholic faith as are urged and cited by the Rev. A. J. Mason, The Conditions of Our Lord's Life on Earth, and by several other recent writers.

X.

Whosoever shall say that it is not the divine Word himself, when he was made flesh and had become man as we are, but another than he, a man born of a woman, yet different from him (idikos anthropon), who is become our Great High Priest and Apostle; or if any man shall say that he offered himself in sacrifice for himself and not rather for us, whereas, being without sin, he had no need of offering or sacrifice: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

X.

If any one maintains that the Word, who is from the beginning, has become the high priest and apostle of our confession, and has offered himself for us, and does not rather say that it is the work of Emmanuel to be an apostle; and if any one in such a manner divides the sacrifice between him who united [the Word] and him who was united [the manhood] referring it to a common sonship, that is, not giving to God that which is God's, and to man that which is man's; let him be anathema.

St. Cyril.

(Declaratio decima.)

But I do not know how those who think otherwise contend that the very Word of God made man, was not the apostle and high-priest of our profession, but a man different from him; who was born of the holy Virgin, was called our apostle and high-priest, and came to this gradually; and that not only for us did he offer himself a sacrifice to God and the Father, but also for himself. A statement which is wholly contrary to the right and undefiled faith, for he did no sin, but was superior to fault and altogether free from sin, and needed no sacrifice for himself. Since those who think differently were again unreasonably thinking of two sons, this anathematism became necessary that their impiety might appear.

XI.

Whosoever shall not confess that the flesh of the Lord giveth life and that it pertains to the Word of God the Father as his very own, but shall pretend that it belongs to another person who is united to him [i.e., the Word] only according to honour, and who has served as a dwelling for the divinity; and shall not rather confess, as we say, that that flesh giveth life because it is that of the Word who giveth life to all: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

XI.

If any one maintains that the flesh which is united with God the Word is by the power of its own nature life-giving, whereas the Lord himself says, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (St. John vi. 61), let him be anathema. [He adds, "God is a Spirit" (St. John iv. 24). If, then, any one maintains that God the Logos has in a carnal manner, in his substance, become flesh, and persists in this with reference to the Lord Christ; who himself after his resurrection said to his disciples, "Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having" (St. Luke xxiv. 39); let him be anathema.]

Hefele.

The part enclosed in brackets is certainly a spurious addition and is wanting in many manuscripts. Cf. Marius Mercator [ed. Migne], p. 919.

St. Cyril.

(Declaratio undecima.)

We perform in the churches the holy, lifegiving, and unbloody sacrifice; the body, as also the precious blood, which is exhibited we believe not to be that of a common man and of any one like unto us, but receiving it rather as his own body and as the blood of the Word which gives all things life. For common flesh cannot give life. And this our Saviour himself testified when he said: "The flesh profiteth nothing, it is the Spirit that giveth life." For since the flesh became the very own of the Word, therefore we understand that it is lifegiving, as the Saviour himself said: "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me shall live by me." Since therefore Nestorius and those who think with him rashly dissolve the power of this mystery; therefore it was convenient that this anathematism should be put forth.

XII.

Whosoever shall not recognize that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that he was crucified in the flesh, and that likewise in that same flesh he tasted death and that he is become the first-begotten of the dead, for, as he is God, he is the life and it is he that giveth life: let him be anathema.

Notes.

Nestorius.

XII.

If any one, in confessing the sufferings of the flesh, ascribes these also to the Word of God as to the flesh in which he appeared, and thus does not distinguish the dignity of the natures; let him be anathema.

St. Cyril.

(Adv. Orientales, ad XII. Quoting Athanasius.)

For if the body is of another, to him also must the sufferings be ascribed. But if the flesh is the Word's (for "The Word was made flesh") it is necessary that the sufferings of the flesh be called his also whose is the flesh. But whose are the sufferings, such especially as condemnation, flagellation, thirst, the cross, death, and other such like infirmities of the body, his also is the merit and the grace. Therefore rightly and properly to none other are these sufferings attributed than to the Lord, as also the grace is from him; and we shall not be guilty of idolatry, but be the true worshippers of God, for we invoke him who is no creature nor any common man, but the natural and true Son of God, made man, and yet the same Lord and God and Saviour.

As I think, these quotations will suffice to the learned for the proof of the propositions advanced, the Divine Law plainly saying that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." But if after this any one would still seem to be contentious, we would say to him: "Go thine own way. We however shall follow the divine Scriptures and the faith of the Holy Fathers."

The student should read at full length all Cyril's defence of his anathematisms, also his answers to the criticisms of Theodoret, and to those of the Orientals, all of which will be found in his works, and in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., 811 et seqq.

.

Extracts from the Acts.

Session I. (Continued).

(L. and C., Conc., Tom. III., Col. 503.)

[No action is recorded in the Acts as having been taken. A verbal report was made by certain who had seen Nestorius during the past three days, that they were hopeless of any repentance on his part. On the motion of Flavian, bishop of Philippi, a number of passages from the Fathers were read; and after that some selections from the writings of Nestorius. A letter from Capreolus, Archbishop of Carthage, was next read, excusing his absence; after the reading of the letter, which makes no direct reference to Nestorius whatever, but prays the Synod to see to it that no novelties be tolerated, the Acts proceed. (Col. 534).]

Cyril, the bishop of the Church of Alexandria, said: As this letter of the most reverend and pious Capreolus, bishop of Carthage, which has been read, contains a most lucid expression of opinion, let it be inserted in the Acts. For it wishes that the ancient dogmas of the faith should be confirmed, and that novelties, absurdly conceived and impiously brought forth, should be reprobated and proscribed.

All the bishops at the same time cried out: These are the sentiments (phonai) of all of us, these are the things we all say--the accomplishment of this is the desire of us all.

[Immediately follows the sentence of deposition and the subscriptions. It seems almost certain that something has dropped out here, most probably the whole discussion of Cyril's XII. Anathematisms.]

.

Decree of the Council Against Nestorius.

(Found in all the Concilia in Greek with Latin Versions.)

As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter (anankaios katepeichthentes apo te ton kanonon, kai ek tes epistoles, k.t.l.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant Coelestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion.

Notes.

The words for which I have given the original Greek, are not mentioned by Canon Bright in his Article on St. Cyril in Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography; nor by Ffoulkes in his article on the Council of Ephesus in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. They do not appear in Canon Robertson's History of the Church. And strangest of all, Dean Milman cites the sentence in English in the text and in Greek in a note but in each case omits all mention of the letter of the Pope, marking however in the Greek that there is an omission. (Lat. Chr., Bk. II., Chap. III.) [257]I also note that the translation in the English edition of Hefele's History of the Councils (Vol. III., p. 51) is misleading and inaccurate, "Urged by the canons, and in accordance with the letter etc." The participle by itself might mean nothing more than "urged" (vide Liddell and Scott on this verb and also epeigo) but the adverb which precedes it, anankaios , certainly is sufficient to necessitate the coacti of the old Latin version which I have followed, translating "compelled thereto." It will also be noticed that while the prepositions used with regard to the "canons" and the "letter" are different, yet that their grammatical relation to the verb is identical is shewn by the te--kai, which proves the translation cited above to be utterly incorrect.

Hefele for the "canons" refers to canon number lxxiv. of the Apostolic Canons; which orders an absent bishop to be summoned thrice before sentence be given against him.


Footnotes

[257] Complaint of all this has very justly been made recently by the Rev. Luke Rivington, a Roman Catholic writer, in his work The Primitive Church and the See of Peter, p. 336.

.

Extracts from the Acts.

Session II.

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 609.)

The most pious and God-beloved bishops, Arcadius and Projectus, as also the most beloved-of-God Philip, a presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, then entered and took their seats. [258]

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: We bless the holy and adorable Trinity that our lowliness has been deemed worthy to attend your holy Synod. For a long time ago (palai) our most holy and blessed pope Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic See, through his letters to that holy and most pious man Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, gave judgment concerning the present cause and affair (horisen) which letters have been shown to your holy assembly. And now again for the corroboration of the Catholic (katholikes) faith, he has sent through us letters to all your holinesses, which you will bid (kelousate) to be read with becoming reverence (prepontos) and to be entered on the ecclesiastical minutes.

Arcadius, a bishop and legate of the Roman Church said: May it please your blessedness to give order that the letters of the holy and ever-to-be-mentioned-with-veneration Pope Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic See, which have been brought by us, be read, from which your reverence will be able to see what care he has for all the Churches.

Projectus, a bishop and legate of the Roman Church said, May it please, etc. [The same as Arcadius had said verbatim!]

And afterwards the most holy and beloved-of-God Cyril, bishop of the Church of Alexandria, spoke as is next in order contained; Siricius, notary of the holy Catholic (katholikes) Church of Rome read it.

Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: Let the letter received from the most holy and altogether most blessed Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic See of Rome be read to the holy Synod with fitting honour.

Siricius, notary of the holy Catholic (katholikes) Church of the city of Rome read it.

And after it was read in Latin, Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem said: Let the writings of the most holy and blessed bishop of great Rome which have just been read, be entered on the minutes.

And all the most reverend bishops prayed that the letter might be translated and read.

Philip, the presbyter of the Apostolic See and Legate said: The custom has been sufficiently complied with, that the writings of the Apostolic See should first be read in Latin. [259]But now since your holiness has demanded that they be read in Greek also, it is necessary that your holiness's desire should be satisfied; We have taken care that this be done, and that the Latin be turned into Greek. Give order therefore that it be received and read in your holy hearing.

Arcadius and Projectus, bishops and legates said, As your blessedness ordered that the writings which we brought should be brought to the knowledge of all, for of our holy brethren bishops there are not a few who do not understand Latin, therefore the letter has been translated into Greek and if you so command let it be read.

Flavian, the bishop of Philippi said: Let the translation of the letter of the most holy and beloved of God, bishop of the Roman Church be received and read.

Peter, the presbyter of Alexandria and primicerius of the notaries read as follows:


Footnotes

[258] It should be noted that in the Acts Cyril is described as having "the place of the most holy and sacred Archbishop of the Roman Church Coelestine." Hefele says "that Cyril presided as Pope's vicar is asserted also by Mennas of Constantinople and other Greek bishops in their letter to Pope Vigilius, in Mansi, t. ix., p. 62; Hardouin, t. iii., p. 10." (Hef., Hist. of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 46, n. 4.) [259] This seems to me to be the climax of improbable statements. There are many other things which will induce the curious reader to suspect that the Acts are not in good shape.

.

The Letter of Pope Coelestine to the Synod of Ephesus.

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 613. Also Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. L, col. 505. [260] )

Coelestine the bishop to the holy Synod assembled at Ephesus, brethren beloved and most longed for, greeting in the Lord.

A Synod of priests gives witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit. For true is that which we read, since the Truth cannot lie, to wit, the promise of the Gospel; "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And since this is so, if the Holy Spirit is not absent from so small a number how much more may we believe he is present when so great a multitude of holy ones are assembled together! Every council is holy on account of a peculiar veneration which is its due; for in every such council the reverence which should be paid to that most famous council of the Apostles of which we read is to be had regard to. Never was the Master, whom they had received to preach, lacking to this, but ever was present as Lord and Master; and never were those who taught deserted by their teacher. For he that had sent them was their teacher; he who had commanded what was to be taught, was their teacher; he who affirms that he himself is heard in his Apostles, was their teacher. This duty of preaching has been entrusted to all the Lord's priests in common, for by right of inheritance we are bound to undertake this solicitude, whoever of us preach the name of the Lord in divers lands in their stead for he said to them, "Go, teach all nations." You, dear brethren, should observe that we have received a general command: for he wills that all of us should perform that office, which he thus entrusted in common to all the Apostles. We must needs follow our predecessors. Let us all, then, undertake their labours, since we are the successors in their honour. And we shew forth our diligence in preaching the same doctrines that they taught, beside which, according to the admonition of the Apostle, we are forbidden to add aught. For the office of keeping what is committed to our trust is no less dignified than that of handing it down.

They sowed the seed of the faith. This shall be our care that the coming of our great father of the family, to whom alone assuredly this fulness of the Apostles is assigned, may find fruit uncorrupt and many fold. For the vase of election tells us that it is not sufficient to plant and to water unless God gives the increase. We must strive therefore in common to keep the faith which has come down to us to-day, through the Apostolic Succession. For we are expected to walk according to the Apostle. For now not our appearance (species) but our faith is called in question. Spiritual weapons are those we must take, because the war is one of minds, and the weapons are words; so shall we be strong in the faith of our King. Now the Blessed Apostle Paul admonishes that all should remain in that place in which he bid Timothy remain. The same place therefore, the same cause, lays upon us the same duty. Let us now also do and study that which he then commanded him to do. And let no one think otherwise, and let no one pay heed to over strange fables, as he himself ordered. Let us be unanimous, thinking the same thing, for this is expedient: let us do nothing out of contention, nothing out of vain glory: let us be in all things of one mind, of one heart, when the faith which is one, is attacked. Let the whole body grieve and mourn in common with us. He who is to judge the world is called into judgment; he who is to criticise all, is himself made the object of criticism, he who redeemed us is made to suffer calumny. Dear Brethren, gird ye with the armour of God. Ye know what helmet must protect our head, what breast-plate our breast. For this is not the first time the ecclesiastical camps have received you as their rulers. Let no one doubt that by the favour of the Lord who maketh twain to be one, there will be peace, and that arms will be laid aside since the very cause defends itself.

Let us look once again at these words of our Doctor, which he uses with express reference to bishops, saying, "Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, over which the Holy Ghost has placed you as bishop, that ye rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his blood."

We read that they who heard this at Ephesus, the same place at which your holiness is come together, were called thence. To them therefore to whom this preaching of the faith was known, to them also let your defence of the same faith also be known. Let us shew them the constancy of our mind with that reverence which is due to matters of great importance; which things peace has guarded for a long time with pious understanding.

Let there be announced by you what things have been preserved intact from the Apostles; for the words of tyrannical opposition are never admitted against the King of Kings, nor can the business of truth be oppressed by falsehood.

I exhort you, most blessed brethren, that love alone be regarded in which we ought to remain, according to the voice of John the Apostle whose reliques we venerate in this city. Let common prayer be offered to the Lord. For we can form some idea of what will be the power of the divine presence at the united intercession of such a multitude of priests, by considering how the very place was moved where, as we read, the Twelve made together their supplication. And what was the purport of that prayer of the Apostles? It was that they might receive grace to speak the word of God with confidence, and to act through its power, both of which they received by the favour of Christ our God. And now what else is to be asked for by your holy council, except that ye may speak the Word of the Lord with confidence? What else than that he would give you grace to preserve that which he has given you to preach? that being filled with the Holy Ghost, as it is written, ye may set forth that one truth which the Spirit himself has taught you, although with divers voices.

Animated, in brief, by all these considerations (for, as the Apostle says: "I speak to them that know the law, and I speak wisdom among them that are perfect"), stand fast by the Catholic faith, and defend the peace of the Churches, for so it is said, both to those past, present, and future, asking and preserving "those things which belong to the peace of Jerusalem."

Out of our solicitude, we have sent our holy brethren and fellow priests, who are at one with us and are most approved men, Arcedius, and Projectus, the bishops, and our presbyter, Philip, that they may be present at what is done and may carry out what things have been already decreed be us (quæ a nobis antea statuta sunt, exequantur).

To the performing of which we have no doubt that your holiness will assent when it is seen that what has been decreed is for the security of the whole church. Given the viii of the Ides of May, in the consulate of Bassus and Antiochus.


Footnotes

[260] This letter we know was originally written in Latin, and that it was translated into Greek and then read afterwards in that language to the Council. There would seem to be no doubt that the Greek text we now find in the Acts is that first translation, but whether the Latin is the original or whether it is a translation back again from the Greek is not known, so far as I am aware. Certainly the Latin is of the most extraordinary character, and suggests that it was the work of one not skilled in that tongue. The text in several places is manifestly corrupt and the Greek and Latin do not always agree. If I may venture to express an opinion I should say that the Greek was more lucid. Although in nineteen places Labbe considers the true reading uncertain.

.

Extracts from the Acts.

Session II. (Continued.)

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 617.)

And all the most reverend bishops at the same time cried out. This is a just judgment. To Coelestine, a new Paul! To Cyril a new Paul! To Coelestine the guardian of the faith! To Coelestine of one mind with the synod! To Coelestine the whole Synod offers its thanks! One Coelestine! One Cyril! One faith of the Synod! One faith of the world!

Projectus, the most reverend bishop and legate, said: Let your holiness consider the form (tupon) of the writings of the holy and venerable pope Coelestine, the bishop, who has exhorted your holiness (not as if teaching the ignorant, but as reminding them that know) that those things which he had long ago defined, and now thought it right to remind you of, ye might give command to be carried out to the uttermost, according to the canon of the common faith, and according to the use of the Catholic Church.

Firmus, the bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia said: The Apostolic and holy see of the most holy bishop Coelestine, hath previously given a decision and type (tupon) in this matter, through the writings which were sent to the most God beloved bishops, to wit to Cyril of Alexandria, and to Juvenal of Jerusalem, and to Rufus of Thessalonica, and to the holy churches, both of Constantinople and of Antioch. This we have also followed and (since the limit set for Nestorius's emendation was long gone by, and much time has passed since our arrival at the city of Ephesus in accordance with the decree of the most pious emperor, and thereupon having delayed no little time so that the day fixed by the emperor was past; and since Nestorius although cited had not appeared) we carried into effect the type (tupon) having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolical judgment.

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate, said: Although our sailing was slow, and contrary winds hindered us especially, so that we did not know whether we should arrive at the destined place, as we had hoped, nevertheless by God's good providence...Wherefore we desire to ask your blessedness, that you command that we be taught what has been already decreed by your holiness.

Philip, presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable Synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members by our [or your] holy voices, [261] ye joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the Apostles, is blessed Peter the Apostle. And since now our mediocrity, after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, has arrived, we ask that ye give order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy Synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination.

Theodotus, the bishop of Ancyra said: The God of the whole world has made manifest the justice of the judgment pronounced by the holy Synod by the writings of the most religious bishop Coelestine, and by the coming of your holiness. For ye have made manifest the zeal of the most holy and reverend bishop Coelestine, and his care for the pious faith. And since very reasonably your reverence is desirous of learning what has been done from the minutes of the acts concerning the deposition of Nestorius your reverence will be fully convinced of the justice of the sentence, and of the zeal of the holy Synod, and the symphony of the faith which the most pious and holy bishop Coelestine has proclaimed with a great voice, of course after your full conviction, the rest shall be added to the present action.

[In the Acts follow two short letters from Coelestine, one to the Emperor and the other to Cyril, but nothing is said about them, or how they got there, and thus abruptly ends the account of this session.]


Footnotes

[261] This seems to be certainly corrupt. I have literally followed the Greek.

.

Extracts from the Acts.

Session III.

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 621.)

Juvenal the bishop of Jerusalem said to Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend bishops, and to Philip the most reverend presbyter; Yesterday while this holy and great synod was in session, when your holiness was present, you demanded after the reading of the letter of the most holy and blessed bishop of Great Rome, Coelestine, that the minutes made in the Acts with regard to the deposition of Nestorius the heretic should be read. And thereupon the Synod ordered this to be done. Your holiness will be good enough to inform us whether you have read them and understand their power.

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: From reading the Acts we have found what things have been done in your holy synod with regard to Nestorius. We have found from the minutes that all things have been decided in accordance with the canons and with ecclesiastical discipline. And now also we seek from your honour, although it may be useless, that what things have been read in your synod, the same should now again be read to us also; so that we may follow the formula (tupo) of the most holy pope Coelestine (who committed this same care to us), and of your holiness also, and may be able to confirm (bebaiosai) the judgment.

[Arcadius having seconded Philip's motion, Memnon directed the acts to be read which was done by the primicerius of the notaries.]

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (exarchos) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (themelios) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Coelestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc.

[There is no further reference in the speech to the papal prerogatives.]

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See said: Nestorius hath brought us great sorrow....And since of his own accord he hath made himself an alien and an exile from us, we following the sanctions handed down from the beginning by the holy Apostles, and by the Catholic Church (for they taught what they had received from our Lord Jesus Christ), also following the types (tupois) of Coelestine, most holy pope of the Apostolic See, who has condescended to send us as his executors of this business, and also following the decrees of the holy Synod [we give this as our conclusion]: Let Nestorius know that he is deprived of all episcopal dignity, and is an alien from the whole Church and from the communion of all its priests.

Projectus, bishop and legate of the Roman Church said: Most clearly from the reading, etc....Moreover I also, by my authority as legate of the holy Apostolic See, define, being with my brethren an executor (ekbibastes) of the aforesaid sentence, that the beforenamed Nestorius is an enemy of the truth, a corrupter of the faith, and as guilty of the things of which he was accused, has been removed from the grade of Episcopal honour, and moreover from the communion of all orthodox priests.

Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: The professions which have been made by Arcadius and Projectus, the most holy and pious bishops, as also by Philip, the most religious presbyter of the Roman Church, stand manifest to the holy Synod. For they have made their profession in the place of the Apostolic See, and of the whole of the holy synod of the God-beloved and most holy bishops of the West. Wherefore let those things which were defined by the most holy Coelestine, the God-beloved bishop, be carried into effect, and the vote cast against Nestorius the heretic, by the holy Synod, which met in the metropolis of Ephesus be agreed to universally; for this purpose let there be added to the already prepared acts the proceedings of yesterday and today, and let them be shewn to their holiness, so that by their subscription according to custom, their canonical agreement with all of us may be manifest.

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Roman Church, said: According to the acts of this holy Synod, we necessarily confirm with our subscriptions their doctrines.

The Holy Synod said: Since Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend and most religious bishops and legates and Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, have said that they are of the same mind with us, it only remains, that they redeem their promises and confirm the acts with their signatures, and then let the minutes of the acts be shewn to them.

[The three then signed.]


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