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Chalcedon - Printable Version

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Chalcedon - randomtradguy - 04-26-2011

From...everybody sigh with me...wikipedia.

The Confession of Chalcedon provides a clear statement on the human and divine nature of Christ:[9]

    We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; (ἐν δύο φύσεσιν ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀχωρίστως - in duabus naturis inconfuse, immutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter) the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Interestingly enough, this goes against the teaching of Cyril from the previous council stating that it is incorrect to speak of Christ as existing in two natures after the union
.[citation needed] The reasoning adopted by the Eastern Orthodox Church is that further clarification of Cyril's position was required.

What did Cyril say, and what is the Catholic thought of this claim?


Re: Chalcedon - spasiisochrani - 04-26-2011

Well, St. Cyril did speak of "one incarnate nature of God the Word", but he was not denying that Christ was both God and Man.  He seems, instead, to mean, in opposition to Nestorius, that Christ is not two persons.  By "nature", Cyril seems to mean "person" (hypostasis). 

One reason for the post-Chalcedonian schism seems to be that the Alexandrian Church misinterpreted the Chalcedonian formula as being Nestorian, which is certainly was not.

An interesting paper on the subject, by an Eastern Orthodox scholar, can be found here:

http://www.transfigcathedral.org/faith/corner/ChalcedonSchism.pdf


Re: Chalcedon - SaintSebastian - 04-26-2011

I'm sure some Copt or other non-Chalcedonian apologist added that tidbit to the wiki. Basically they claim the Chalcedonian Council and the Tome of St. Leo to be Nestorian. They focus on the 4th Anathema of St. Cyril adopted by the Council of Ephesus which says:

Ephesus Wrote:"4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema."

They say it contradicts this part:

Chalcedon Wrote:"consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood."

There are some similar passages in St. Leo's Tome which they say contradict Ephesus:

St. Leo Wrote:"He whom Herod impiously designs to slay is like humanity in its beginnings; but he whom the Magi rejoice to adore on their knees is Lord of all."

"Accordingly, he who, as man, is tempted by the devil's subtlety, is the same to whom, as God, angels pay duteous service. To hunger, to thirst, to be weary, and to sleep, is evidently human. But to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves, and give to the Samaritan woman that living water, to draw which can secure him that drinks of it from ever thirsting again; to walk on the surface of the sea with feet that sink not, and by rebuking the storm to bring down the "uplifted waves," is unquestionably Divine."

The key is the phrase in the Ephesian anathema “thought of separately.” The Nestorians separated the Word from the flesh. This is why they could not call the Blessed Virgin the Mother of God; they said it was only humanity in her womb. They said it was only humanity on the Cross. They said it was only the divinity in Heaven that worked the miracles. They basically introduced another person, dividing the incarnate Word into a divine Person and a human one.

The Eutychian Monophysites on the other hand, basically claimed the divinity swallowed up the humanity resulting in but one nature. What St. Leo and Chalcedon were affirming was that the humanity and divinity were both always together in the same person. St. Leo does this by showing how Christ exhibited both human and divine attributes in His same Person—in other words, both natures remained united together in one Person, one was not lost. The Chalcedonian quote above is merely ruling out the human nature of Christ pre-existing His incarnation in the Virgin. The inclusion of the phrase “Mother of God” and the subsequent phrase “one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably” makes it clear the intent is not to separate, but rather to show the unity of both natures.

I hope that helps!



Re: Chalcedon - Melkite - 04-26-2011

I like miaphysitism, that's not contrary to Catholicism, is it?  I asked my priest about about miaphysitism once, and all he said was 'Jesus is God, he is man, and he is one.'  I think that about sums it up.  Everything else is scholastic.


Re: Chalcedon - SaintSebastian - 04-26-2011

I'm not completely sure. Here's how I understand it:

The Oriental Orthodox (to use current nomenclature) identify "physis" as the same as "hypostasis"--or as one OO I spoke with explained, nature and identity are interchangeable to them. This is why they reject Chalcedon as adding a fourth hypostasis to the Trinity. It does not appear to me that they subscribe to Eutyches' monophysitism.

The issue of whether their mia physitism falls into monothelitism seems somewhat more complicated to me. They seem to recoil from the phrase "two wills" because it implies independent wills and therefore two subjects or identites, thus, again, becoming Nestorianism. However, while they say His will is one, they say it is expressed through His divine faculty of will (which is incomprehensible) and his human faculty of will which he shares with us and that there is always a unity between the two (the human and divine faculties are never at odds).  Is saying two faculties of will different than the definition of St. Agatho and Constantinople III of two natural wills and two principles of action (again, taking into acount their linguistic issues with nature and identity)? I could see it argued either way.



Re: Chalcedon - Vetus Ordo - 04-26-2011

(04-26-2011, 04:26 PM)Melkite Wrote: Everything else is scholastic.

Which you abhor, right?


Re: Chalcedon - Resurrexi - 04-26-2011

(04-26-2011, 04:26 PM)Melkite Wrote: I like miaphysitism, that's not contrary to Catholicism, is it?  I asked my priest about about miaphysitism once, and all he said was 'Jesus is God, he is man, and he is one.'  I think that about sums it up.  Everything else is scholastic.

It's good to be scholastic.


Re: Chalcedon - Walty - 04-26-2011

Chalcedon didn't have the nuance of language that we now have in theology.  When Cyril spoke of only one "nature" it is clear that he was referring to what we now call as "person".  He was not deviating, only speaking in less developed language, from the orthodox Christological teaching.

The Church has always maintained that Christ is one Person, two natures.


Re: Chalcedon - Walty - 04-26-2011

(04-26-2011, 04:26 PM)Melkite Wrote: I like miaphysitism, that's not contrary to Catholicism, is it?  I asked my priest about about miaphysitism once, and all he said was 'Jesus is God, he is man, and he is one.'  I think that about sums it up.  Everything else is scholastic.

Miaphysitism is just another form of Monophysitism and is thus a heresy.


Re: Chalcedon - Resurrexi - 04-26-2011

Accept Chalcedon or take a beatin'.