Monophysites


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Related to Monophysites: Dyophysitism, Council of Chalcedon, Nestorians

Monophysites

 

advocates of a Christian religiophilosophical doctrine propounded in Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) in the fifth century by the archimandrite of Constantinople, Eutyches, as a reaction against Nestorianism. The term “Monophysite” is not encountered until the end of the seventh century.

The Monophysites put forward the problem of the union of the divine and human natures in Christ. Rejecting (in accordance with Stoic principles) the possibility of a blending of the two natures, they treated the union as the absorption of the human element by the divine in Christ. Thus, according to Monophysite doctrine, it was not the god-man who suffered for humanity (as the orthodox theologians asserted) but god.

The Monophysite doctrine spread widely throughout the eastern provinces of Byzantium (Egypt, Syria, and Armenia), where the traditions of a cult of a god who dies were still alive, and it became the banner of a separatist movement. At the Council of Ephesus in 449 the Monophysites triumphed, but their doctrine was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. This led to an intense religiopolitical struggle. In the late fifth century the Monophysites occupied patriarchal thrones in Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; in the sixth century their teaching spread to Nubia and Arabia. During this period purely theological disputes receded into the background and a rapprochement was attempted between Monophysite doctrine and orthodox Christianity. At the same time, the political side of the Monophysite movement came to the fore—the drive of the eastern provinces to separate from the empire. The tendency of the Byzantine emperors to compromise with the Monophysites contributed to the formation of the Monophelite doctrine in the seventh century. When the Arabs conquered the empire’s eastern provinces, the Monophysites lost their base in Byzantium but became established in Armenia (the Armenian Apostolic Church), Syria (the Jacobite Church), Egypt, and Ethiopia.

A. P. KAZHDAN

Monophysites

heretical Christian sect who questioned the divine and human nature of Jesus. [Christian Hist.: EB, VI: 1003]
References in periodicals archive ?
Rosemary Arthur's Pseudo-Dionysius as Polemicist looks at the Corpus Dionysiacum (CD) in its sixth century milieu, with an interest in Dionysius's place in the Monophysite movement.
Over the next few years, the Monophysites became more and more extreme until finally some of them claimed Christ is just God and not human.
He came to think that if in principle the Monophysites were heretical and in schism then so was he.
Continuing opposition between the Dyophysites and the Monophysites in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria, was one of the factors that seriously weakened the Byzantines when they were confronted with an Arab invasion.
The picture of the Ghassanids that emerges in the end is that of a refined society of sedentary and urbanized Arabs, who are zealous Christians of the Monophysite conviction, living in Oriens under the rule of their king, and who are Arab foederati of the Byzantine empire and its supporters against the Sasanid Persians and their Lakhmid Arab supporters in al-Hira, and against the encroachments of the pastoralist Arab nomads of the Arabian peninsula.
In working out this line of thought, John composed at least four treatises defending the dual-nature of Christ: conveniently referred to by Rorem and Lamoreaux as his Apology for Chalcedon, Against the Aposchists, Against the Nestorians, and Against Severus (538), the leading Monophysite of his day and the First we know to have quoted from the Dionysian corpus.
characterizes the positions of Nestorians and monophysites in ways that do not take account of the complexities of christological language in the fourth and fifth centuries.
Their names are vaguely familiar from early church councils anal heresiology: Chalcedonian and anti-Chalcedonian churches, including the Monophysites and Jacobites, the Nestorian churches of Eastern Syria and Persia, and various other splinter groups.
13) Finally, modern interpreters are left to wonder how intervening events such as the Origenist crisis of 400 and the bitter feuds between Chalcedonians and Monophysites after 451 have impinged on what the early editors included and excluded.
Did he have only a divine nature, as the Monophysites proposed?
Rome and the orthodox who accepted Rome's fiat defended the dogma that Christ possessed two natures, human and divine, while the Monophysites held the view, more or less passionately, that the divine nature predominated.
They represent, like many of the fly-by-night monophysites and dilettantes who are allotted air time on Vision TV, merely a small minority of disgruntled persons who falsely claim to represent the majority of Canadian Catholics.