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Related to Monophysites: Dyophysitism, Council of Chalcedon, Nestorians
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


heretical Christian sect who questioned the divine and human nature of Jesus. [Christian Hist.: EB, VI: 1003]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(11) Eutyches of Constantinople, the chief proponent of what eventually came to be known as the Monophysite heresy, took the Christological position that Christ had only one nature-divine-and that any humanity he seemed to have was fully subsumed within the divine.
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.
The Alexandrians, who were Monophysites, said Nestorius leaned too far toward two-nature thinking, though later Nestorius agreed to what we today would call orthodox Catholic doctrine.
In Egypt Islam was helped by the in-fighting between the Orthodox and the Monophysites. However, in spite of many years of oppression and discrimination by the dominant Muslim government, in 1987 the Orthodox and Coptic churches reached a christological agreement that was also formally acknowledged by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Later came persecutions of Christians who were against the doctrines of the early councils of the imperial church (Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites).
Yet it cannot properly be called an ethnic or linguistic movement, because Egyptian Monophysites included speakers of both Greek and Coptic (the native Egyptian language).
The journey from Rome to Ascalon could be made even more quickly-in little over a week, assisted by the prevailing north-westerly winds.(7) Nor is it hard to divine why Sophronios should have made a journey to Rome at this juncture: having had little joy in Constantinople, Sophronios might well have taken his anxieties about the betrayal of conciliar orthodoxy by Cyrus' (and, as he would have now realized, Sergius') ecumenical accord with the Monophysites to Rome.(8) Part of Follieri's article is devoted to making this temporally tight fit even tighter: by advancing arguments to show that Sophronios probably did not arrive in the Holy Land as late as September, but perhaps as early as May.
For thirty-one years, the imperial forces tried to impose the Chalcedonian creed upon the empire, and the people in many disaffected sections fought against this imposition Finally in 482, the Emperor Zeno together with the Patriarch Acacius issued the Henoticon, or Instrument of Union.(59) Its purposed was to reunited the orthodox and Monophysites by putting the two-natures-in Christ problem into words that both sides could agree upon -- a fantastically impossible task.
After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Orthodox church (ch = 2, one Person "in two Natures") persecuted the Monophysites of Egypt (Copts), Syria Jacobites), and Armenia (ch = 1 and wholly divine).
Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople; supervised the restructuring of Roman law, producing the Codex (a collection of existing laws), the Digest (a collation of jurists' opinions), and the Institutes (a handbook for use in law schools), which together presented a Christianized and more humane body of Roman civil law for the empire; his attempts to bring the Monophysites of the Levant and Egypt back into the Orthodox fold (540-560) were unsuccessful; repelled a serious incursion by the Bulgars and their allies only by calling Belisarius out of retirement (559); jailed Belisarius on unfounded charges of treason (562) but rehabilitated him (563); died in Constantinople (November 14, 565) and was succeeded by his nephew Justin II.
Those Familiar with the Newman's life know all about that apocalyptic analogy (described so dramatically in the Apologia) which propelled Newman toward Catholicism, the analogy between the Monophysites of the fifth century and the Anglicans of the nineteenth (Apologia, 9597).