Theodore of Mopsuestia

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Theodore of Mopsuestia

(mŏp'syo͞oĕs`chə), c.350–428, Syrian Christian theologian, bishop of Mopsuestia (from 392). Together with his lifelong friend, St. John ChrysostomJohn Chrysostom, Saint
[Gr.,=golden-mouth], c.347–407, Doctor of the Church, one of the greatest of the Greek Fathers. He was born in Antioch and studied Greek classics there. As a young man he became an anchorite monk (374), a deacon (c.381) and a priest (386).
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, he studied at the school of Antioch, adopted its exegetical methods, and became a diligent writer and preacher. His commentaries on the various books of the Bible were historical and rationalistic; he was one of the first Christians to consider the Song of Songs a marriage poem rather than an allegory, and he was opposed to a Messianic interpretation of the Psalms. Many of his theological treatises are lost or fragmentary. He seems to have been influenced by dynamistic monarchianismmonarchianism
[Gr.,=belief in the rule of one], the concept of God that maintains his sole authority even over Christ and the Holy Spirit. Its characteristic tenet, that God the Father and Jesus are one person, was developed in two forms in early Christianity.
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, which emphasized the humanity of Jesus; he argued that Jesus progressively received the Logos and the Holy Spirit and that there was never a complete, essential (hypostatic) union of divine and human natures in the second person of the Christian Trinity. Much of his work was orthodox, and he was considered orthodox for many years, although his pupil Nestorius directly derived his views, considered heretical, from Theodore (see NestorianismNestorianism,
Christian heresy that held Jesus to be two distinct persons, closely and inseparably united. In 428, Emperor Theodosius II named an abbot of Antioch, Nestorius (d. 451?), as patriarch of Constantinople.
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). The Pelagians (see PelagianismPelagianism
, Christian heretical sect that rose in the 5th cent. challenging St. Augustine's conceptions of grace and predestination. The doctrine was advanced by the celebrated monk and theologian Pelagius (c.355–c.425). He was probably born in Britain.
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) also drew from his works. He and his writings were condemned in 544 by Justinian (see MonophysitismMonophysitism
[Gr.,=belief in one nature], a heresy of the 5th and 6th cent., which grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. It was anticipated by Apollinarianism and was continuous with the principles of Eutyches, whose doctrine had been rejected in 451 at Chalcedon (see
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) along with the other works of the so-called Three Chapters. Pope VigiliusVigilius
, pope (537–55), a Roman; successor of St. Silverius. Empress Theodora exiled Silverius and made Vigilius pope in the expectation that he would compromise with the Monophysites. After Silverius' death Vigilius' pontificate was legalized.
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, under pressure, reluctantly concurred.