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The Fourth Ecumenical Council

Concerning the Monophysites

The Third Ecumenical Council, held at Ephesus, did not put an end to the debate over the Person of the God-man, failing to reconcile those sympathetic to Nestorius with the Orthodox. Not long afterwards, however, in the 430s, just such a reconciliation was attained by means of a union, i.e., a unification which, for all intents and purposes, brought an end to the division within the Church.

Immediately after the Council of Ephesus, Emperor Theodosius the Younger, seeing that it had failed to achieve the pacification of the Church, addressed to John of Antioch the demand that he enter into communion with Saint Cyril of Alexandria. At first, John and his supporters wished to establish this peace at an unfair cost-the cost of demanding that Saint Cyril repudiate all his writings in which he laid bare the doctrine of the God-man. Such a repudiation would have been tantamount to a rejection of the dogmatic activity of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, which had just concluded.

Saint Cyril, however, would not agree to this, and, on the contrary, sent to the bishops of Antioch a meek and equable letter, proposing that they renounce their heretical (Nestorian) ideas, embrace the decision of the Council of Ephesus to depose Nestorius, and acknowledge as the legitimate pastor of the Imperial City Archbishop Maximian of Constantinople , who had been chosen by the Council from among the partisans of Saint Cyril to occupy the place from which Nestorius had been deposed.

In reply to this, as Saint Cyril himself describes it, "a letter was sent from John, unseemly of content and expression, written in a tone of mockery, and not of agreement. For," said the saint, "instead of comforting me in my grief over events of the recent past and their own behavior [i.e., that of the bishops of Antioch] at Ephesus, they took advantage of the occasion to vent upon me their rage, which was engendered, they would have me believe, by their zeal for the holy dogmas."

Yet in his quest for the peace of the Church, the holy Cyril did not cease to apply his efforts toward its attainment. And the Lord blessed the labors of the great archpastor, for they eventually bore fruit: John of Antioch, in the name of all the bishops of the region of Antioch, sent to Saint Cyril a confession of faith, the essence of which is included in the following excerpt: "We [wrote the Antiochian bishops] confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, perfect God, and perfect man of a reasonable soul and flesh consisting; begotten before the ages of the Father according to His divinity, and in the last days, for us and for our salvation, [was born] of the Virgin Mary according to His humanity; that He is consubstantial with the Father according to divinity and consubstantial with us according to humanity, for in Him there is a perfect unity of two natures. For this reason do we also confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of such an unconfused union, we confess the all-holy Virgin to be the Theotokos; because God the Word was incarnate and became man, and in His very conception He united Himself to the [bodily] temple received from her. We know the theologians make some things of the evangelical and the apostolic teaching about the Lord common as pertaining to the one Person, and other things they divide as to the two natures, and attribute the worthy ones to God on account of the Divinity of Christ, and the lowly ones to His humanity."

At the end of the epistle there is an anathematization of Nestorius and his doctrine, with a declaration to the effect that Maximian is received into communion. Cyril of Alexandria accepted this confession of John and the bishops of like mind with him as a gift from heaven, acknowledging it as wholly Orthodox. Peace began to spread throughout the ecclesiastical world, and disputes began to die down, as is apparent from the following expressions of the epistle of John of Antioch (dated 437): "All the bishops of the East [i.e., those subject toAntioch], as well as the bishops of the rest of the world, have condemned Nestorius and agreed to his deposition. We have done and have declared what we ought to have done already these four years past. All the bishops of the coastal regions have consented and signed. The bishops of Phnicia Minor and Cilicia did so last year; the Arabs [have done so] through their bishop Antiochus; the lands of Mesopotamia, Osrhoene, Euphratensis and Syria Minor have approved all that we have done. We have long since received a [favorable] reply from the land of the Isaurians; and all the bishops of Syria Major have signed with us."

Yet with the extreme tension in ecclesiastical life surrounding the questions raised by the Nestorians, a union could not fail to encounter disapprobation on the part of certain people, both in Antioch and in Alexandria, who were dissatisfied with it. Particularly dangerous for the ecclesiastical world were those opponents of ecclesiastical agreement between Alexandria and Antioch who were among the ranks of those who held Saint Cyril in high respect. These people were the forerunners of the soon to be revealed Monophysite heresy. They considered the communion between Saint Cyril and John of Antioch to be a betrayal of Orthodoxy and perceived heresy in the teaching of Saint Cyril on the two natures in Christ. For his part, Saint Cyril did everything possible to "impose silence upon [his] enemies who had formerly been his friends." When discussing their views, he never ceased to explain that the doctrine of two natures in Christ does not exclude the doctrine of their conjoining. But, stubbornly adhering to their error, the former friends of Saint Cyril paid no heed to his explanations and exhortations, and the great hierarch went to his grave without the assurance that the union which had been achieved to his great joy would be a lasting one.

The more time passed, the more the number of both the proponents and the defenders of the union grew, which increased the malice of its enemies, who had formerly been among the ranks of those who honored and respected Saint Cyril. Despite their great number, they behaved with restraint while Saint Cyril was alive, for he enjoyed tremendous respect with the Church. But with his death matters changed. In Alexandria, enemies of the union began openly and forcefully to act against it in the name of Orthodoxy, yet in actual fact in the name of their own heretical doctrine, which has become known in the history of the Church under the name Monophysism.* The principal representative of the Monophysite heresy was Eutyches, the abbot of one of the monasteries in Constantinople. At the time of the Third Ecumenical Council, Eutyches showed himself to be a zealous partisan of Saint Cyril of Alexandria in his struggle against the heresy of Nestorius: "When Nestorius opposed the Truth, Eutyches stood up for it." Thus Eutyches' activity earned for him the respect of Saint Cyril, and after the Third Ecumenical Council the saint sent Eutyches a copy of his description of the activity of the just-concluded Council. But Eutyches, like all the Alexandrians who were opposed to the union, only respected Saint Cyril as the champion of Orthodoxy against Nestorius; he considered the holy father's activity during and after the union as a mistake, if not a betrayal of Orthodoxy. For this reason, Eutyches did not recognize the treatises authored by the famous Archbishop of Alexandria in preparation for the Union and in defense of it. In these treatises the idea of two natures in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ was developed and forcefully maintained.

This completely contradicted the heretical Monophysite views of Eutyches, who taught: "After the incarnation of God the Word I worship one nature-the nature of God Who took on flesh and became man"; "I confess that our Lord consists of two natures before [their] union, and after [their] union I confess one nature". One should note that these words are also encountered in the writings of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, who himself borrowed them from the writings of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria; thus, they were not devised by Eutyches, but extracted by him from the treatises of Saint Cyril without tying them in with his other views: they therefore take on a heretical character which they do not have when read in context. However, the circumstance that the expressions cited were to be found in the writings of Saint Cyril lent credibility to the heretical teaching of the Monophysites and attracted short-sighted Christians to them. The case of Eutyches aroused the interest of Eusebius, Bishop of Dorylum, famous for his opposition to Nestorius. At one of the councils of bishops which were so frequent in antiquity, and which in this case took place in Constantinople in the year 448, Eusebius stated publicly that Eutyches, the abbot of a renowned monastery of the capital, was reasoning heretically, not in accordance with the Tradition of the apostles and the Nican Creed, concerning the Redeemer and the mystery of man's redemption. In a special memorandum containing this statement, which he sent to Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople and the council of bishops, Eusebius wrote, among other things: "I have asked Eutyches, priest and archimandrite, that he not give rein to such a rout of the senses, to such an intoxication of the thoughts and frenzy of the mind, so that he even forgets the fear of God and dares to call heretics those fathers who are considered to be among the saints, and us, their followers in the Faith; but he, having unrestrained lips and an unbridled tongue, does not cease to reject the pious dogmas of Orthodoxy. I beg and beseech Your Holiness: Do not leave my request without attention, but instruct Eutyches, the priest and archimandrite, to appear before your holy council and defend himself against that of which I accuse him. I am prepared to denounce him for falsely calling himself Orthodox and for being totally alien to the Orthodox Faith." Not wishing to call public attention to the case, yet considering it impossible to ignore Eusebius' statement, Flavian, the president of the council, proposed that Eusebius confront Eutyches in a private meeting.

But the fact was, Eusebius had gone to admonish Eutyches several times, but without affect. "Now," Eusebius resolutely declared, "it is impossible for me, having gone to him often and been unable to persuade him, to go to him again and listen to blasphemous words." Seeing that Eusebius could not be dissuaded, the council found itself forced to send to Eutyches a deputation consisting of the priest John and the deacon Andrew; the deputation was obliged to present Eutyches with the memorandum of Eusebius of Dorylum and to invite the archimandrite to the council to give an explanation.

On returning from Eutyches, the deputation stated the following to the council: "We went to him at his monastery, read to him the memorandum of accusation, gave him a copy thereof, declared to him the name of his accuser, and announced that they were summoning him to justify himself before Your Holiness. He utterly refused to come and justify himself, saying that he had a particular custom, as it were established by law from the beginning, never to part from his brethren to go anywhere, but to live in the monastery, almost as if in a tomb. He asked us to inform Your Holiness that Bishop Eusebius, supposedly beloved of God, who from of old has been his enemy, has lodged this accusation against him out of jealousy and hatred. He maintained that he is ready to agree with the exposition of the holy fathers who comprised the councils in Nica and Ephesus, and promised to sign their interpretations. After the incarnation of the Word of God, i.e. the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, he worships the one essence, the essence of God, Who was incarnate and became man. That our Lord Jesus Christ consists of two natures united hypostatically, this he has not encountered in the expositions of the holy fathers, and were he to chance to read anything similar in someone's writings, he would not accept it, because the divine Scriptures are more sublime than the teaching of the fathers. He confessed that He Who was born of the Virgin Mary is perfect God and perfect man, but does not have flesh which is consubstantial with ours."

"The proofs which we have heard," said Eusebius after the report of the deputation, "suffice to make clear what ungodly opinion, contrary to the expositions of the holy fathers, Eutyches holds. I ask that Eutyches be again summoned hither." It was decided to send a second deputation to Eutyches, consisting of two priests, Mammas and Theophilus; the deputies were given a writ of summons calling Eutyches to appear before the council "without any delay." From the report to the council of this second deputation, it is evident that Eutyches twice refused to receive the deputation on excuse of illness, and that it was only thanks to their persistence that the deputation gained the needed access.

"When we went in [to Eutyches]," the deputies said, "we gave him the signed paper; he ordered it read in our presence, and after it had been read, he said: "I have set it as a rule not to leave the monastery save for some deadly necessity; the holy council and the God-loving bishop see that I am old and decrepit; let the archbishop and the council do with me what they want; I ask only one thing-that no one be bothered here again, for it is my rule not to leave the monastery." When they heard this statement, the council decided: "We must urge Eutyches a third time to come to this holy council. If he will not do so, he accuses himself." The third deputation consisted of the priests and keepers of the sacred vessels, Memnon and Epiphanius, and the deacon Germanus. With these persons Eutyches was again sent a writ of summons, which read, in part: "You know that it is determined by the holy canons against the disobedient and those who do not wish to appear so as to justify themselves, when a third summons is sent to them. Hasten to come tomorrow morning, i.e. the fourth day of the week, the seventeenth day of the month of November." On the eve of this day, a deputation from Eutyches, consisting of Archimandrite Abramius and three deacons, appeared before the fathers of the council. The archimandrite reported to the council on the illness of Eutyches and was called upon to give certain explanations on behalf of the sick man. Archbishop Flavian promised to await the recovery of Eutyches, but declined the request of the archimandrite.

On November 17th, the third deputation, returning from Eutyches, transmitted to the fathers of the council the latter's request: "I beg leave to ask my lord, the archbishop, and the holy council, to give me the space of this week; and the following week, if it please God, I will come and justify myself before my lord and the holy council." This request was taken under consideration, and Archbishop Flavian, in the name of the council, decided: "We grant [Eutyches] the space of time he requests. But if, contrary to his own promise, Eutyches does not appear on the second day of the following week [November 22nd], he will be utterly deprived both of his rank as priest and the abbacy of his monastery."

November 22nd arrived. The members of the council assembled in the judgment hall of the archepiscopal residence. Eutyches appeared before the council with a multitude of soldiers, monks and underlings of the Prtorian Prefect; furthermore, Eutyches was accompanied by the Silentarius Magnus, a high-ranking palace official sent by the emperor to place before the council the following proposal: "We are concerned for the peace of the holy Churches and the Orthodox Faith, and we desire to preserve the Faith which was truly, under the inspiration of God, set forth by our holy fathers who assembled in Nica in 318 and were in Ephesus at the condemnation of Nestorius. We desire this, so that scandal not intrude upon the aforementioned Orthodoxy. And since we know the most renowned Patrician Florentius to be faithful and tested in Orthodoxy, we desire that he be present at the session of the council, since the discourse will concern the Faith." "We all know our lord Florentius to be faithful and tested in Orthodoxy," said Archbishop Flavian after reading the emperor's decree, "and we desire that he be present."

After Florentius arrived at the council, the investigation of Eutyches' case commenced. At the session dedicated to Eutyches, the Council of Constantinople of 448 bases its decision on the question of the union of two natures in Christ Jesus principally on the epistle of Saint Cyril of Alexandria "To Those in the East", where the progress of the union is set forth, the confession of faith of John of Antioch is confirmed, and-what is especially important for the council-the false theology of the Monophysites is expressly overturned: "Let the mouths of those be closed," says the epistle, "who confess either the identity or the blending or the confusion of the Son of God with the flesh." From among other of Saint Cyril's writings the council was guided by one of his epistles to Nestorius, in which the teaching of the two natures in Christ was confessed with full clarity. In investigating the case of Eutyches, the council strove mainly to ascertain whether Eutyches was in agreement with the epistle of Saint Cyril referred to above and with the words of the confession of John of Antioch where were contained therein.

The deacon who declaimed the epistle of Saint Cyril "To Those in the East" at the council read without being stopped until he reached the following words: "We confess that the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is perfect God and perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a body; that He was begotten by the Father before the ages in His divinity, and the latter times, for our sake and the sake of our salvation, [was born] of the Virgin Mary in His humanity; that He is consubstantial with the Father in divinity and consubstantial with us in humanity, for in Him was the union of two natures accomplished. This is why we also confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord; and on the basis of such an unblended union we confess the all-holy Virgin to be the Theotokos, because God the Word was incarnate and became man, and in His very conception united with Himself the temple He received from her."

At this point the reading of the epistle was interrupted when Eusebius of Dorylum cried out: "Eutyches does not confess this and has never been in agreement with this; rather, he has thought and taught contrary to this!" This exclamation resulted in Eutyches debating, first with the Prefect Florentius, and afterwards with Archbishop Flavian and Eusebius of Dorylum. These debates ultimately led Eutyches to make the following statement: "I confess that our Lord consisted of two natures before [their] unification, and I confess one nature after [their] unification." There no longer remained any doubt that Eutyches was a heretic.

To prevent the heresy of Eutyches from resulting in grievous consequences for the Church, the fathers of the council proposed that he anathematize all that was contrary to the dogmas read out at the council. But Eutyches rejected this proposal in a bitter tone of voice. Then the fathers of the council, rising up, proclaimed: "Let Eutyches be anathema!" Later, after a conference, a statement was made regarding Eutyches, signed by Archbishop Flavian, 31 bishops and 23 archimandrites: "From everything-the actions which have taken place and the present acknowledgment of Eutyches-it has been discovered that he is suffering from the errors of Valentinus and Apollinarius. Not moved to shame by our exhortations and admonitions, he has not wished to agree with the true dogmas; for this reason, sighing and weeping over his utter damnation, we have determined in our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom he [Eutyches] has spoken evil, to cut him off from all priestly ministry, communion with us and the leadership of monasteries.

Let all those who after this will converse or have fellowship with him know that they themselves will deserve the punishment of excommunication, as ones who have not avoided converse with him." The Council of Constantinople in 448 did not, however, bring an end to the disputes: it was not recognized by the Church of Alexandria or Egypt, which was the focus of the enemies of union; or the Church of Jerusalem, which from of old, from the days of the First Ecumenical Council, had gone hand in hand with the Church of Alexandria in resolving disputed questions of dogma; or even the Church of Rome, which in the person of Pope Leo the Great at first comported itself with disapproval regarding the Council of Constantinople, being poorly acquainted with the details of disputes taking place in the remote East. The Council of Constantinople was accepted by the Church of Constantinople and those Churches in Asia Minor and Syria which before were sympathetic to the union. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the Council of Constantinople did not encounter the sympathy it needed among the exalted secular authorities, difficult times befell the Orthodox Church: the friends of the union, the defenders of the Orthodox Faith, were considered enemies of Orthodoxy, and the Monophysites became as powerful as the Arians had been during the lamented days of the Emperor Constantius.

Such being the state of affairs, the resolutions of the Council of Constantinople did not break the hardened obduracy of Eutyches. Relying on the Court's sympathetic relations with him, he determined to wage war on the council and his own archbishop: he submitted a petition to Emperor Theodosius, in which he asked for a review of his case at a new council.

At the same time, Eutyches sent a complaint to Saint Leo the Great in Rome, to the effect that among those in the East, i.e. in Constantinople, "through the efforts of certain men, the Nestorian heresy is being resurrected anew." By this Eutyches wished to tell the pope that at the Council of Constantinople he, Eutyches, was condemned (he alleged) as one who defended and honored Saint Cyril, who had dedicated himself, as they saw, to war on Nestorianism. In his written reply to Eutyches, Pope Leo expressed his approval of his pious zeal, though at the same time stating that he was little acquainted with the matter: "As soon as we know more fully those who have impiously done this," writes the holy pope, "we will consider what is necessary, with God's help, to assure, as it were, that the ungodly infection, which has long since been condemned, be extirpated." Saint Leo then addressed a request to Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople for a clarification of the matter: "Let thy brotherliness inform us in a most detailed report," the pope proposes to Flavian in his letter, what new thing has arisen among us against the ancient Faith." Flavian did not delay in making his reply. He elucidated for the pope the essence of the case against Eutyches, informed him of the intrigues of the latter after his condemnation by the Council of Constantinople, and asked the pope to strengthen the faith of the "most pious emperor". Not long afterwards, Flavian sent the pope a second letter with a more detailed exposition of Eutyches' heretical teaching. The pope's reply to this was The Encyclical or Conciliar Epistle of His Holiness Leo, Archbishop of the City of Rome, Written to Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople (Against the Heresy of Eutyches)", which is famous in the history of the Church. [Note: The following translation of this epistle is quoted verbatim, with minor editorial alterations, from A Select Library of the Christian Church: Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. XIV: The Seven Ecumenical Councils (New York: Charles Scribers Sons, 1900; reprinted Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994), pp. 254-258.]

"Leo the bishop, to his most dear brother Flavian. "Having read your Affection's letter, the late arrival of which is matter of surprise to us, and having gone through the record of the proceedings of the bishops, we have now, at last, gained a clear view of the scandal which has risen up among you, against the integrity of the Faith; and what at first seemed obscure has now been elucidated and explained. By this means Eutyches, who seemed to be deserving of honor under the title of presbyter, is now shown to be exceedingly thoughtless and sadly nexperienced, so that to him also we may apply the prophet's words: "He hath not willed to understand how to do good: iniquity hath he devised upon his bed" [Ps. 35: 4-5]. What, indeed, is more unrighteous than to entertain ungodly thoughts, and not to yield to persons wiser and more learned? But into this folly do they fall who, when hindered by some obscurity from apprehending the truth, have recourse, not to the words of the prophets, nor to the letters of the apostles, nor to the authority of the Gospels, but to themselves; and become teachers of error, just because they have not been disciples of the truth.

For what learning has he received from the sacred pages of the New and the Old Testament, who does not so much as understand the very beginning of the very Symbol [of Faith]? And that which, all the world over, is uttered by the voices of all applicants for regeneration, is still not grasped by the mind of this aged man. If, then, he knew not what he ought to think about the Incarnation of the Word of God, and was not willing, for the sake of obtaining the light of intelligence, to make laborious search through the whole extent of the Holy Scriptures, he should at least have received with heedful attention that general Confession common to all, whereby the whole body of the faithful profess that they 'believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.' "By which three clauses the engines of almost all heretics are shattered. For when God is believed to be both 'Almighty' and 'Father', it is proved that the Son is everlasting together with Himself, differing in nothing from the Father, because He was born as 'God from God', Almighty from Almighty, Coëternal from Eternal; not later in time, nor inferior in power, not unlike Him in glory, not divided from Him in essence, but the same only-begotten and everlasting Son of an everlasting Parent was 'born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary'. This birth in time in no way detracted from, in no way added to, that divine and everlasting birth; but expended itself wholly in the work of restoring man, who had been deceived; so that it might both overcome death, and by its power 'him who had the power of death, that is, the devil' [Heb. 2: 14]. For we could not have overcome the author of sin and of death, unless He Who could neither be contaminated by sin, nor detained by death, had taken upon Himself our nature, and made it His own. For, in fact, He was 'conceived of the Holy Spirit' within the womb of a Virgin Mother, who bore Him as she had conceived Him, without loss of virginity.

"But if he [Eutyches] was not able to obtain a true conception from this pure fountain of Christian Faith, because by his own blindness he had darkened for himself the brightness of a truth so clear, he should have submitted himself to the Evangelist's teaching; and after reading what Matthew says: 'The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham' [Mt. 1: 1], he should also have sought instruction from the Apostle's preaching; and after reading the Epistle to the Romans: 'Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, (which He had promised before by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures), concerning His Son, Who was made [unto Him] of the seed of David according to the flesh,' he should have bestowed some devout study on the pages of the prophets; and finding that God's promise said to Abraham, 'in thy seed shall all nations [of the earth] be blessed' [Gen. 22: 18], in order to avoid all doubt as to the proper meaning of this 'seed', he should have attended to the apostle's words, 'To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, "And to seeds," as of many; but as of one, "And to thy seed," which isChrist' [Gal. 3: 16]. He should also have apprehended with his inward ear the declaration of Isaiah: 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted is, God with us' [Is. 7: 14; Mt. 1: 23]; and should have read with faith the words of the same prophet: 'For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, Whose government is upon His shoulder; and His name is called the Angel of great Counsel, wonderful, Counsellor, mighty God, Prince of peace, Father of the age to come' [Is. 9: 6]. And he should not have spoken idly to the effect that the Word was in such a sense made flesh, that the Christ Who was brought forth from the Virgin's womb had the form of a man, and had not a body really derived from His Mother's body. Possibly his reason for thinking that our Lord Jesus Christ was not of our nature was this-that the Angel Who was sent to the blessed and Ever-virgin Mary said: 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, and therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God' [Lk. 1: 35]; as if, because the Virgin's conception was caused by a divine act, therefore the flesh of Him Whom she conceived was not of the nature of her who conceived Him. But we are not to understand that 'generation', peerlessly wonderful and wonderfully peerless, in such a sense as that the newness of the mode of production did away with the proper character of the kind.

"For it was the Holy Spirit Who gave fecundity to the Virgin, but it was from a body that a real body was derived; and 'when Wisdom was building herself a house', the "Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us' [Jn. 1: 14], that is, in that flesh which He assumed from a human being, and which He animated with the spirit of rational life. "Accordingly, while the distinctness of both natures and substances was preserved, and both met in one Person, lowliness was assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity; and, in order to pay the debt of our condition, the inviolable nature was united to the passible, so that as the appropriate remedy for our ills, one and the same 'Mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus' [I Tim. 2: 5], might from one element be capable of dying and also from the other be incapable. Therefore, in the entire and perfect nature of true man was born true God, whole in what was His, whole in what was ours. By 'ours' we mean what the Creator formed in us at the beginning and what He assumed in order to restore. "For of that which the deceiver brought in, and man, thus deceived, admitted, there was not a trace in the Savior.

"And the fact that He took on Himself a share in our infirmities did not make Him a partaker in our transgressions. He assumed 'the form of a servant' without the defilement of sin, enriching what was human, not impairing what was divine: because that 'emptying of Himself', whereby the Invisible made Himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things willed to be one among mortals, was a stepping down in compassion, not a failure of power. Accordingly, the Same Who, remaining in the form of God, made man, became man in the form of a servant. For each of the natures retains its proper character without defect; and as the form of God does not take away the form of a servant, so the form of a servant does not impair the form of God. For since the devil was glorying in the fact that man, deceived by his craft, was bereft of divine gifts and, being stripped of his endowment of immortality, had come under the grievous sentence of death, and that he himself, amid his miseries, had found a sort of consolation in having a transgressor as his companion, and that God, according to the requirements of the principle of justice, had changed His own resolution in regard to man, whom He had created in so high a position of honor; there was need of a dispensation of secret counsel, in order that the unchangeable God, Whose will could not be deprived of its own benignity, should fulfill by a more secret mystery His original plan of loving kindness toward us, and that man, who had been led into fault by the wicked subtlety of the devil, should not perish contrary to God's purpose. Accordingly, the Son of God, descending from His seat in heaven, and not departing from the glory of the Father, enters this lower world, born after a new order, by a new mode of birth. After a new order; because He Who in His own sphere is invisible, became visible in ours; He Who could not be enclosed in space, willed to be enclosed; continuing to be before times, He began to exist in time; the Lord of the universe allowed His infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and took upon Him the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to be passible Man, and the Immortal One to be subjected to the laws of death.

And born by a new mode of birth; because inviolate virginity, while ignorant of concupiscence, supplied the matter of His flesh. What was assumed from the Lord's Mother was nature, not fault. "Nor does the wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as born of a Virgin's womb, imply that His nature is unlike ours. For the Selfsame, Who is true God, is also true man; and there is no illusion in this union, while the lowliness of man and the loftiness of Godhead meet together. For as 'God' is not changed by the compassion [exhibited], so 'Man' is not consumed by the dignity [bestowed]. For each 'form' does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these shines out in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries. And as the Word does not withdraw from equality with the Father in glory, so the flesh does not abandon the nature of our kind. For, as we must often be saying, He is one and the same, truly Son of God, and truly Son of Man. God, inasmuch as 'in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' [Jn. 1: 1]. Man, inasmuch as 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us' [Jn. 1: 14]. God, inasmuch as 'all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made' [Jn. 1: 3]. Man, inasmuch as He was 'made of a woman, made under the law' [Gal. 4: 4]. The nativity of the flesh is a manifestation of human nature; the Virgin's child-bearing is an indication of divine power. the infancy of the Babe is exhibited by the humiliation of swaddling clothes: the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of angels. 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. Now when He came to the baptism of John His forerunner, lest the fact that the Godhead was covered with a veil of flesh should be concealed, the voice of the Father spake in thunder from heaven: 'This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased' [Mt. 3: 17]. 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 obviously 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. As then-to pass by many points-it does not belong to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity over a dead friend and, after the mass of stone had been removed from the grave where he had lain four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life again; or to hang on the wood, and to make all the elements tremble after daylight had been turned into night; or to be transfixed with nails, and to open the gates of paradise to the faith of the robber; so it does not belong to the same nature to say, 'I and the Father are one' [Jn. 10: 30], and to say, 'the Father is greater than I' [Jn. 14: 28]. For although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one Person of God and man, yet that whereby contumely attaches to both is one thing, and that whereby glory attaches to both is another.

"For from what belongs to us He has that manhood which is inferior to the Father; while from the Father He has equal Godhead with the Father. Accordingly, on account of this unity of Person which is to be understood as existing in both the natures, we read, on the one hand, that 'the Son of man came down from heaven', inasmuch as the Son of God took flesh from that Virgin of whom He was born; and on the other hand, the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, inasmuch as He underwent this, not in His actual Godhead; wherein the Only-begotten is coëternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of human nature. Wherefore, we all, in the very Symbol of Faith, confess that 'the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and buried', according to that saying of the apostle, 'for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory' [I Cor. 2: 8]. But when our Lord and Savior Himself was by His questions instructing the faith of the disciples, He said, 'Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?', that is, 'I Who am Son of Man, and Whom ye see in the form of a servant, and in reality of flesh, Whom say ye that I am?'

Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God' [Mt. 16: 13-16]. Not undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and to his name, who through revelation from the Father confessed the Selfsame to be both the Son of God and the Christ; because one of these truths, accepted without the other, would not profit unto salvation, and it was equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be merely God and not man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of the Lord-which was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other person was raised again than He Who had been crucified and had died-what else was accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith entire and clear of all darkness? For while He conversed with His disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed himself to be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt, for this end he came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, and by his breath gave them the Holy Spirit, and opened the secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in His selfsame Person showed to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the fresh tokens of the Passion, saying, 'Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself; handle Me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have' [Lk. 24: 39]: that the properties of the Divine and the human nature might be acknowledged to remain in Him without causing a division, and that we might in such sort know that the Word is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the one Son of God is both Word and flesh. On which mystery of the Faith this Eutyches must be regarded as unhappily having no hold, who does not recognize our nature to exist in the only-begotten Son of God, either by way of the lowliness of mortality, or of the glory of resurrection. "Nor has he been overawed by the declaration of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist John, saying, 'Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist' [cf. I Jn. 4: 2, 3]. Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate the human nature from Him, and to make void by shameless inventions that mystery by which alone we have been saved? Moreover, being in the dark as to the nature of Christ's body, he must needs be involved in the like senseless blindness with regard to His Passion also. For if he does not think the Lord's crucifixion to be unreal, and does not doubt that He really accepted suffering, even unto death, for the sake of the world's salvation; as he believes in His death, let him acknowledge His flesh also, and not doubt that He Whom he recognizes as having been capable of suffering is also Man with a body like ours; since to deny His true flesh is also to deny His bodily sufferings. If then he accepts the Christian Faith, and does not turn away his ear from the preaching of the Gospel, let him see what nature it was that was transfixed with nails and hung on the wood of the Cross; and let him understand whence it was that, after the side of the Crucified had been pierced by the soldier's spear, blood and water flowed out, that the Church of God might be refreshed both with a Laver and with a Cup. "Let him listen also to the blessed Apostle Peter when he declares, that 'sanctification of the Spirit' takes place through the 'sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ' [I Pet. 1: 2], and let him not give a mere cursory reading to the words of the same apostle, 'Knowing that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot' [I Pet. 1: 18-19]. Let him also not resist the testimony of Blessed John the Apostle, 'And the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, cleanseth us from all sin' [I Jn. 1: 7]. And again, 'This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our Faith,' and 'Who is this that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He Who came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in water only, but in water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

And there are three that bear witness-the Spirit, water, and the blood; and the three are one' [I Jn. 5: 4-6, 8]. That is, the Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism; which three things are one, and remain undivided, and not one of them is disjoined from connection with the others; because the Catholic Church lives and advances by this Faith, that in Christ Jesus we should believe neither manhood to exist without true Godhead, nor Godhead without true manhood.

"But when Eutyches, on being questioned in your examination of him, answered, 'I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union, but after the union I confess one nature'; I am astonished that so absurd and perverse a profession as this of his was not rebuked by a censure on the part of any of his judges, and that an utterance extremely foolish and extremely blasphemous was passed over, just as if nothing had been heard which could give offense: seeing that it is as impious to say that the only-begotten Son of God was of two natures before the Incarnation as it is shocking to affirm that, since the Word became flesh, there has been in Him one nature only. But lest Eutyches should think that what he said was correct, or was tolerable, because it was not confuted by any assertion of yours, we exhort your earnest solicitude, dearly beloved brother, to see that, if by God's merciful inspiration the case is brought to a satisfactory issue, the inconsiderate and inexperienced man be cleansed also from the pestilent notion of his; seeing that, as the record of the proceedings has clearly shown, he had fairly begun to abandon his own opinion when on being driven into a corner by authoritative words of yours, he professed himself ready to say what he had not said before, and to give his adhesion to that faith from which he had previously stood aloof. But when he would not consent to anathematize the impious dogma, you understood, brother, that he continued in his own misbelief, and deserved to receive sentence of condemnation. For which if he grieves sincerely and to good purpose, and understands, even though too late, how properly the episcopal authority has been put in motion, or if, in order to make full satisfaction, he shall condemn orally, and under his own hand, all that he has held amiss, no compassion, to whatever extent, which can be shown him when he has been set right, will be worthy of blame, for our Lord, the true and good Shepherd, Who laid down His life for His sheep, and Who came to save men's souls and not to destroy them, wills us to initiate His own loving kindness; so that justice should indeed constrain those who sin, but mercy should not reject those who are converted."For then indeed is the true Faith defended with the best results, when a false opinion is condemned even by those who have followed it. "We trust that the divine assistance will be with you, so that he who has gone astray may be saved by condemning his own unsound opinion.

"May God keep you in good health, dearly beloved brother. The epistle concluded with the pope's statement: "But in order that the whole matter may be piously and faithfully carried out, we have appointed our brethren, Julius, bishop, and Reatus, priest", and also my son, the deacon Hilarius, to represent us. And with them we have associated our notarius, Dulcitius, of whose fidelity we have had good proof." From this statement by the pope it is apparent that Eutyches' intercession before the imperial power for a new council was honored. In fact, enjoying the protection of Archbishop Flavian's enemy, the powerful minister Chrysaphius, who manipulated the will of the weak and characterless Emperor Theodosius, Eutyches managed, within four months of his condemnation, to have the emperor declare the convocation of a new, Church-wide council to investigate contrary dogmatic views on the Person of the God-man and the manner of the uniting within Him of the two natures, and for a review of the decisions of the Council of Constantinople regarding the case of Eutyches. It was proposed that the newly convoked council would be Ecumenical, as was the council of 431-to it were summoned hierarchal representatives from all the major Churches of that time. But such was not the judgment of the Providence of God: in history this council has not come to be known as the Fourth Ecumenical Council, but rather the "Robbers' Council", for the activity it directed not for the triumph of Orthodoxy, but for heretical beliefs. That the council was convoked at the desire of Eutyches and his adherents bode ill for Orthodoxy and its defenders. For some reason the principal champions of Orthodox Truth, such as, for example, Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople and Pope Leo, did not incline sympathetically to the convocation of a new council, foreseeing what troubles and disorders it would bring into the Church. The basis for their minute apprehensions was to be found in the directives of the supreme civil authority which preceded the opening of the council.

Thus, by imperial edict, the blessed Theodoretus, a perspicacious enemy of Monophysism, who had bitter misunderstandings and altercations with Saint Cyril, was banned from attending the coming council; and he was banned, of course, not because he was an opponent of Saint Cyril, but as a powerful and mighty opponent of Eutyches. Also, a deliberate decree was issued allowing Archimandrite Barsum from Syria to vote at the council, even though according to the canons only bishops could be members. Such an exception was made for Barsum because, as the decree stated, he "is waging a war against certain Eastern bishops infected with the ungodliness of Nestorius" (though it would be more accurate to say that he was against Orthodox bishops, whom the Monophysites called Nestorians because, unlike Eutyches, they taught that there are two natures in Christ following the incarnation).

By the emperor's decree, the president of the council was to be Archbishop Dioscorus of Alexandria, who sided with the partisans of Eutyches and had ties with Chrysaphius. Elpidius, a member of the imperial council, and Eulogius, a prtorian tribune and notarius, received special instructions from the emperor: "Follow what will be done at the council in Ephesus, and under no circumstances permit any disorder. If you see that anyone is causing tumult or disorder [at the council], to the disgrace of the Holy Faith, place such a person under arrestŠ Those who before condemned Archimandrite Eutyches must be present at the council, but must remain silent, not having the title of judges, but are to await the general opinion of all the other fathers, because that which before was defined by them themselves is now to be condemned." That is, Archbishop Flavian and his partisans were not even permitted the right to speak in their own defense, lest by violating the emperor's will they be placed under arrest.

The instructions concluded with a directive to the effect that Elpidius and Eulogius were to be assigned a detachment of soldiers, and through them it was to be placed at the service of the Monophysites who had gained control of the council.

These preconciliar directives by the emperor culminated in his epistle to the council itself. The epistle explained the reasons for the convocation of the council and indicated the general aim of its activity thus: "Since the God-loving Bishop Flavian desired to raise a question of the Holy Faith against the most honorable Archimandrite Eutyches and, having convoked a council, began to do something, we, applying several times to this most God-loving bishop, desired to prevent the disorder which was stirred up, being sufficiently firm in the Orthodox Faith bequeathed us by the holy fathers who were at Nica, and confirmed by the holy Council which was held in Ephesus. Yet although we repeatedly urged this right most honorable bishop to leave off such investigation, lest it become a cause of disorders throughout the whole world, he, however, was not pacified. Mindful that to conduct such an investigation into the Faith without your holy council and without representatives of the Holy Churches would not be without danger, we have considered it necessary to gather Your Holinesses together, that you might uproot every diabolical root from the Holy Churches and cast out those who incline to the blasphemy of the ungodly Nestorius or those who favor him, and might make the inviolability of the Orthodox Faith soundly unshakable, because all our hope and the might of our empire depends on the Orthodox Faith in God and on your holy prayers."

Under such unfavorable conditions for the defenders of Orthodox Truth, the council convened in Ephesus on August 8th, 449; its sessions were held in the Church of the All-holy Virgin Mary, which had been the site of the sessions of the Third Ecumenical Council. The number of fathers participating in the council fluctuated between 122 and 130. From the acts of the council which preceded the appearance of Eutyches at it, one must note that the epistle of Leo the Great was not permitted to be read, obviously since it was unfavorable for Eutyches and Dioscorus, since it was directed against their heretical teachings. When, at the suggestion of Elpidius, Eutyches was summoned to the council, they suggested to him that he set forth before the council "justifications beneficial for him". Eutyches began his explanation with words which show that he saw among the fathers of the council those who shared his opinions:

"I have entrusted myself to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," Eutyches said, "and I have you as witnesses to the faith for which together with you, I have struggled." Afterward, he submitted to the fathers of the council two written articles containing his confession of faith. In them Eutyches first of all complains against the Council of Constantinople's "slanders" against him, that he "would not agree to think contrary to that Faith which was set forth by the holy fathers in Nica." Further on, without directly voicing his teachings concerning the unity of the two natures in Christ, Eutyches quoted in full the Nican Symbol of Faith and added that he held firmly to the resolutions of the Councils of Nica and Ephesus and anathematized all heretics, beginning with Simon Magus. After this confession there followed a series of Eutyches' complaints against Archbishop Flavian and the Council of Constantinople-that (he alleged) Eusebius of Dorylum, accusing him of heresy at the council, did not prove the latter directly and definitively; that the council, knowing of Eutyches' promise not to leave his monastery, and nevertheless summoning him for court examination, wanted only to condemn him as a man disobedient to the Church on the basis of the fact that he would not come to the council; that at the council itself, when he appeared unexpectedly, he was not given the possibility to justify himself, but "suddenly," Eutyches falsely alleges, "a previously composed condemnation was read against me"; and that the very acts of the Council of Constantinople were subsequently reworked to his detriment. "I therefore request," Eutyches says at the end of his confession (or more accurately his slanderous accusations against the Council of Constantinople and its presiding hierarch), "that we discuss the calumny and injustice raised against me, the disorder which for this reason has arisen in all the churches and has resulted in much scandal; to commit to ecclesiastical punishments those guilty of all of this; and to cut off every root of blasphemy and impiety."

Archbishop Flavian, accused by Eutyches, demanded that Eusebius of Dorylum be summoned to the council to set forth the points of accusation against Eutyches. But Elpidius, the imperial bureaucrat, would not permit this, announcing the emperor's edict that the judges of Eutyches (at the Council of Constantinople) stand among those under investigation, without the right to speak. Instead of fulfilling the request of Flavian, he ordered that the acts of the Council of Constantinople of 448 be read and condemned. During the reading of these acts, the heresy (Monophysism) of the council's president, Dioscorus, and of the greater part of the bishops who comprised it, was shown to be quite blatant. When the reading reached the question put to Eutyches by Eusebius at the Council of Constantinople, "Do you confess two natures after the incarnation?", many of the members of the council cried out: "Take and burn Eusebius [of Dorylum]! Let him be burned alive! Let him be cut in twain! As he has divided Christ, let him be divided himself!" Seeing that the turn of events was favorable to him, Dioscorus addressed to the bishops the question: "Is this expression, where two natures are spoken of after the incarnation, acceptable to us?" "Anathema to him who speaks thus!" cried the council. Thus was the Monophysite heresy proclaimed instead of the Truth at the unlawful council, and Orthodoxy was trampled underfoot. Of course, Eutyches, as the principal champion of the Monophysite heresy, was thereafter declared to be Orthodox and was restored to the dignity of archimandrite and the rank of priest.

Then followed the trial of Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople. Following a previously devised plan, at precisely that moment several monks from the monastery of Eutyches appeared at the council with a petition containing the most unjust accusations against the archbishop. "Flavian," said the petition, which was read before the council on the orders of Dioscorus, "has rained slanders and blasphemies upon our pastor Eutyches, and under the guise of piety has found an unjust pretext for condemning him; and he has commanded us to avoid our pastor and not speak to him, and has ordered the monastery's possessions to be taken over by himself under pretext of helping the poor, for he has sold them. The holy altar which Eutyches raised up six months prior to his denunciation stands without the divine oblationŠ And we ourselves have been bound by his unjust condemnation. For this reason," the petition concludes, "we entreat your holy council to have pity on us who have endured such an unjust punishment, and return to us the ecclesial fellowship unjustly taken away, and wreak vengeance upon him who has done this [i.e., upon Flavian] because he has judged unjustly."

Of the three hundred monks of Eutyches' monastery only thirty-five signed the petition, so that the whole affair would appear to be dishonest. The monks were received into ecclesial communion by the council, and their petition provided Dioscorus with a suitable basis for further machinations against the innocent Archbishop of Constantinople. Dioscorus ordered the decisions of the Third Ecumenical council read, and then asked: "I think that all are pleased with the Nican definition of the Faith, which the Council of Ephesus confirmed, ordering that it alone be held. We know that the fathers of that council resolved that if anyone speak or think or introduce anything contrary to it, he is to be subjected to condemnation.

What do you think of this? Can we examine or introduce anything new contrary to this? If anyone has investigated anything above and beyond what has been said, defined and approved, will he not in all justice fall under the condemnation of the fathers? Let everyone say whether he is of this opinion"*

A majority of votes at the council confirmed this. Then Dioscorus, rising from his seat, proposed in the following words that the canon of Ephesus be applied to Flavian and to Eusebius of Dorylum: "Flavian, former bishop of the Church of Constantinople, and Eusebius of Dorylum, as this holy and Ecumenical council clearly sees, show themselves to be ones who reject and misconstrue almost everything, and have given occasion for scandal and the troubling of the Holy Churches and all the Orthodox people. It is clear that they have subjected themselves to the punishments once prescribed by our holy fathers in council. For this reason, basing ourselves on the decisions of the fathers, we sentence the aforementioned Flavian and Eusebius to deprivation of every priestly and episcopal dignity." The opinion of Dioscorus was unanimously accepted by the Monophysites and was subscribed to by all the members of the council. Flavian and Eusebius were deposed from their hierarchal rank. Afterwards, Flavian was banished and ended his life in exile. After the council, Eusebius of Dorylum endured so many misfortunes that he later referred to Dioscorus as his murderer. The Deacon Hilarius, the legate of the pope, "barely managed to escape" from the council and reached Rome by roundabout ways. The blessed Theodoretus, who was not present at the council, was deposed from his rank and incarcerated in a monastery. Ibas, Metropolitan of Edessa, was anathematized. Thus did the Monophysite heresy triumph over the Truth of Orthodoxy, yet it triumphed, as was later revealed at the true Fourth Ecumenical Council, by way of dishonesty and violence.

The dark cloud of heresy hung over nearly the entire East. But the Lord did not delay in coming to the help of His Church through His worthy servant, Saint Leo the Great. Having received word from Deacon Hilarius and Archbishop Flavian concerning the acts of the "Robbers' Council", Leo the Great addressed an epistle to the Emperor Theodosius and his sister, Pulcheria, in which, noting the illegal actions of the recently concluded council, he pointed out the necessity of convoking a new Ecumenical council "which would so resolve or check all the injustices which have arisen, that there would no longer remain the least doubt as to the Faith, or division in love."

Saint Leo also sent two epistles, one after the other, to the clergy and people of Constantinople. "He who thinks as a Monophysite," the zealous champion of Orthodoxy suggests in his epistles, "is drawn into fellowship with Arius, to whose corruption this ungodliness, which denies the human nature in God the Word, is greatly pleasing.Š He who does not acknowledge the human nature assumed by the only-begotten Son of God within the womb of the Daughter of David, cuts himself off from every mystery of the Christian Faith, and not recognizing the Bridegroom [Christ], and failing also to recognize the Bride [the Church], he cannot be a participant in the fraternal banquet [i.e., the Eucharist]. The Blood of Christ is the covering of the Word, wherewith everyone who confesses this Word is clothed. And he who is ashamed of Him and denies [His flesh] as though it were something unworthy, cannot receive from Him any adornment, even if such a one were to come to the banquet of the King and audaciously join in the sacred meal. On the contrary, as a dishonorable interloper he will not be able to hide from the fastidiousness of the King, but, as the Lord Himself has borne witness, he will be taken and, bound hand and foot, will be cast into the outermost darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 22: 13). Therefore, he who does not confess a human body in Christ has acknowledged himself to be unworthy of the Mystery of the incarnation and cannot have any part in this Mystery." "Do not think, beloved," the holy pope wrote in an epistle to the Eastern Churches, "that divine Providence does not suffice for the Holy Church now or henceforth, in the future. The purity of the Faith will shine forth when the admixture of errors is removed from her. Providence always shows the necessary help to His own."  

And the omnipotent Head of the Church did not delay in justifying the faith placed in His providential activity: Emperor Theodosius, the protector of the Monophysites, soon died; his place was taken by General Marcian in August of 450, by the election of the army and the senate. Deeply committed to Orthodoxy, Marcian subsequently married Theodosius' sister Pulcheria, who was also renowned for her zeal for Orthodoxy. For the Orthodox, the affairs of the Church thus took a turn for the better. Leo the Great's idea for the convocation of a new Ecumenical council was realized. The council was appointed to be held in Nica, but later, to make it easier for the emperor to oversee its course, it was moved to Chalcedon, which is separated from Constantinople only by the width of the straits of the Bosphorus. There the council opened its sessions on October 8th, in the magnificent and vast Church of the Holy Martyr Euthymia. The number of fathers at the council was very great - between 600 and 630, more than had attended any of the other councils. The most prominent of its members were: Anatolius, Archbishop of Constantinople, Maximus, Archbishop of Antioch, Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem, Thalassius, Bishop of Cappadocia, and the legates of the pope, Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the Priest Boniface. A multitude of military and civil officers also attended, though they took no part in the acts of the council when purely ecclesiastical matters were being considered, as for example the trial of bishops. The activity of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon consisted of 1) judgment over the "Robbers' Council" of 449 and Dioscorus of Alexandria, its head; and 2) an investigation into the true teaching concerning the two natures in the Person of the God-man.

At the first session of the council, which took place on October 8th, at the insistence of the pope's legates, Dioscorus of Alexandria, who was sitting among the other fathers, had to leave their ranks and sit in the middle, as one under judgment, who had lost the right to vote. Then Eusebius of Dorylum also went to the middle of the church, to act as plaintiff, since he had endured much at the "Robbers' Council". "I have been insulted and offended by Dioscorus; and the Faith has also been insulted and offended," declared Eusebius; "He is responsible for the death of Bishop Flavian and unjustly condemned him and me. I ask that you accept my petition." In Eusebius' petition, Dioscorus is accused principally of "having assembled a riotous mob and, having acquired the might which comes from money, offended the Faith of the Orthodox as far as he was able, and confirmed the impiety of the Monk Eutyches." "Since his [Dioscorus'] encroachment upon the Faith and upon us [i.e., Eusebius himself and Flavian] is great, we ask that Dioscorus be commanded to defend himself against that of which we accuse him." Then began a review of the acts of the Council of Constantinople of 448 and of the "Robbers' Council" of Ephesus. The reading of the acts of the latter council was interrupted when the imperial edict permitting Theodoretus of Cyrrhus to be present at the council, if the council itself so desired, was read. When Theodoretus of Cyrrhus was mentioned, they demanded that this zealous defender of Orthodoxy against Monophysism be permitted at the sessions of the council. The appearance of Theodoretus provoked a storm among the fathers: some, partisans of Dioscorus, cried aloud that Theodoretus should be driven out; others, defenders of Orthodoxy, demanded that Dioscorus be expelled. The cries traded back and forth between both sides resulted in no little tumult and disorder, which had to be quelled by the senators and functionaries, who addressed the disorderly parties thus: "For the sake of God, it would be better not to prevent [the proceedings] from being heard. Permit everything to be read in order!"

When they reached the emperor's edict which appointed Dioscorus as president of the council, and when the latter tried to place part of the blame for the illicit actions on Bishops Juvenal, Thalassius, on the whole council and the emperor, the bishops of the Antioch area declared: "None of the Orthodox bishops at the Council of Ephesus was in agreement with the condemnation of Bishop Flavian and Bishop Eusebius; our assent was given under threat of violence. Under threat of blows we signed the required paper on which, afterwards, the condemnation of the aforementioned bishops was written. They threatened us with condemnation; they threatened us with banishment. Soldiers were standing by with staves and swords, and we were terrorized by them. Where there are staves and swords, what kind of [Church] council can there be? The soldiers cast Flavian and Eusebius down more than we did, and what we did, we did out of fear."

This general statement concerning the intimidations and threats made by Dioscorus were confirmed by Bishops Stephen of Ephesus, Theodore of Claudiopolis and Basil of Isaurian Seleucia, who clarified the more individual and truly crying details of violations of justice. By the statements of many it was likewise determined that the famous epistle of Pope Leo was "intentionally prevented by Dioscorus [from being read]", even though he swore seven times that he would order it to be read." By the conclusion of the reading of the acts of the Council of Ephesus, which revealed more and more of Dioscorus' abuses, bringing to light all his criminal acts, the bishops who took part in the Council of Ephesus, and were to one degree or another guilty of illegal actions, repented profoundly of their sin and many times cried out in the presence of the council: "We all ask forgiveness!" Only Dioscorus and certain Egyptian bishops continued to remain stubbornly in their heresy and even openly, in the presence of the entire council, declared their heretical Monophysite views.

Convinced of the abuses of the "Robbers'" Synod, the fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council pronounced their sentence over them, but in such a way that the majority of the men who comprised its membership would not be deposed from their episcopal rank, in view of their sincere repentance. The sentence was greeted by the fathers of the council with cries of rapture. The question of Dioscorus, by reason of his stiff-necked refusal to forsake his heresy, was examined in particular at the session which took place on October 13th. At this session, Eusebius of Dorylum presented the council with the request that Dioscorus be punished for his unjust treatment of him [Eusebius] and Archbishop Flavian, and for violating "piety and the sacred canons", so that for the remainder of his life Dioscorus might "serve as an example and warning to those who might consider acting as he has."

At the same time, a multitude of complaints were lodged against Dioscorus by the clergy and one layman of the Church of Alexandria-one complaint accusing Dioscorus of persecuting the relatives and friends of Saint Cyril, and another of having misappropriated church property. All of these petitions were accepted by the council, which also decided to invite Dioscorus to make personal explanations. But despite being summoned three times, Dioscorus refused to appear at the council, citing various reasons. The council, therefore, laid down its sentence concerning him in absentia. "The council has learned," Paschasius, the pope's legate, said before the council, "that Bishop Dioscorus, who has been summoned three times to answer his accusers, knowing himself to be guilty, has disdained the council's order to come hither. Let the holy fathers declare with their own mouths what one who thus spurns the will of the council deserves." The council answered: "The deposition prescribed by the canons against those who will not submit!" Dioscorus was deposed, and the sentence of the council was confirmed by the emperor. Afterwards, Dioscorus was banished to the city of Gangra in Paphlagonia, where he died in the year 454. The fathers' deliberation over the question of the union in Christ Jesus of two natures opened with a proposal being set before the council for the composition of a new definition of the Faith which would eliminate the false teaching of the Monophysites and reconcile everyone: "We must investigate, deliberate and try to confirm the true Faith," said the proposal, "for the sake of which this council has primarily been convoked; it would be desirable that the teaching of the articles of the Faith be correct, and that every doubt be removed by the concordant exposition and teaching of all the fathers [of the council]; strive without fear, without obsequiousness and enmity, to set forth the Faith in purity, so that even those whose ideas are not in agreement with those of all [of us] may again be brought into oneness of mind through a knowledge of the Truth."

During the exchange of opinions regarding this proposal, the council reached the unanimous decision to read certain writings of the councils and fathers of the Church, where the truth of Orthodoxy was expressed with particular clarity. First of all, the Nican Creed was read, at the conclusion of which the fathers of the council cried out: "This is the Faith of the Orthodox! By this do we all believe, in it have we been baptized, and therein do we baptize!" The Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, whose ecclesiastical authority had hitherto not been firmly established, likewise found unanimous recognition when it was read. All the bishops of the council, when they had listened to the Constantinopolitan Creed, cried aloud: "This is the Faith of us all! This is the Faith of the Orthodox!" Following the reading of the Creeds, the council proceeded to the reading of the works of the holy fathers, in which was found a clear and definite teaching concerning the wholeness and fullness in Christ Jesus of two natures, and also an indication of their unity was noted not with such force, as an indication of their distinction. First to be read were those writings of Saint Cyril of Alexandria which had earlier been read at the Council of Constantinople of 448: the epistle of Saint Cyril to Nestorius and the famous epistle he wrote after the union had been effected. The reading of these works of Saint Cyril was accompanied by cries of joy: "Thus do we believe! As Cyril does, so do we also believe!" Following these writings of Saint Cyril of Alexandria the encyclical epistle of Saint Leo the Great was read. This was accompanied by arguments, for several of the bishops who were partisans of Dioscorus found the epistle dubious in places with regard to Orthodoxy; for this reason, the council was compelled to elucidate the true sense of the suspect portions of the epistle by collating them with the writings of Saint Cyril, which the doubters held authoritative. The doubters, however, were not satisfied with this and demanded that the fathers who accepted the epistle of Saint Leo the Great anathematize those who separated the two natures in Christ in the sense of the Nestorians, and only after this did they accept the epistle. Then followed citations from the works of the fathers in which, as in the epistle of Leo the Great, the doctrine of two natures in Christ was noted with particular expressiveness. Thus the following were read: from the writings of Hilary of Poitiers (+366): "Do you see that Christ is confessed to be God and man so that death might be ascribed to man and the resurrection of the flesh to God? Recognize the nature of God in the power of the resurrection, and understand the œconomy of man in the flesh. Yet remember that the one Christ Jesus is both the one and the other"; from the writings of Saint Gregory the Theologian: "God issued forth from the Virgin, assuming [human nature], one of the two things-flesh and Spirit-which are contrary to each other, from which one was elevated to divine dignity, and the other imparted the grace of deification"; "True, He was sent, but not as a man, for in Him was a twofold nature; which is why He grew weary, and hungered and thirsted, and struggled, and wept, in accordance with the law of the human body".

Among the citations made from the writings of Saint Ambrose of Milan they read: "We hold that there is a distinction between the Godhead and the flesh. In the one and the other the Son of God speaks, for in Him are one and the other nature. Although He speaks as one and the same, yet He does not always do so in an identical manner. Note in Him both the glory of God and the sufferings of man. As God, He speaks of what is divine, because He is the Word [of God]; as man He speaks of what is human, because He speaks in this [human] nature." From the writings of Saint John Chrysostom the following passage was chosen to be read: "Thus, He brought the firstfruits of our nature to the Father: the Father was so moved to pity by the gift, both by the great dignity of the Giver, and also by the purity of Him Who was offered, that He received His [gift] with His own hands, shared His throne with Him, and, what is more, set Him at His right hand." In conclusion, citations were read by the council from the writings of Saint Cyril's treatise On the Resurrection, among them these dicta of the holy father: "He [i.e. Christ] appeared on earth, not forsaking what He was, but assuming our nature, which is perfect in its own sense"; "that which indwells is usually understood as something different within something which differs from it, i.e. within humanity the divine nature, which did not endure admixture or confusion of any kind, or transformation into that which before it was not. For that which is spoken of as abiding within something else did not became that in which it dwells; on the contrary, it is considered something different within something that differs from it."

Finally, the council proceeded to the composition of a definition of the Faith, so as to proclaim the Orthodox doctrine of the God-man. During this there were many debates and disputes, and much distrust and dissatisfaction was expressed; yet all of this did not hinder the council from attaining the desired end: to proclaim the most pure doctrine of the God-man. The debates and disputes were, as it were, a crucible in which the worthiness of the Truth was tried. After this testing, the Truth could only shine forth in all its brilliance, could only became a Truth unquestionable for all time. A debate of short duration put an end to the hundred-year old controversy which had been present in the Church until this time, and has prevented disputes in the Church for the future. No sooner did the fifth session open than the definition of the Faith, evidently composed not in the presence of the whole council and not at its official sessions, was read aloud for the fathers of the council.

The reading of this doctrinal definition elicited heated and lengthy discussions among the fathers of the council: John, Bishop of Germanicia, was the first to protest, saying of the reading of the definition that "The definition of the faith is not well composed and must be amended." Then Patriarch Anatolius posed to the fathers of the council the question: "Are you satisfied with the definition?" The majority of the bishops exclaimed: "The definition pleases everyone. This is the Faith of the fathers. He who thinks other than this is a heretic. If anyone thinks otherwise, let him be anathema. Away with the Nestorians!"

But the Roman legates and certain bishops from the East were not satisfied with the doctrinal definition, since it did not set forth the teaching of the fullness of the two natures in Jesus Christ with that sensible clarity which they desired. Seeing this difference of opinion, and desiring to eliminate it, Patriarch Anatolius noted that the day before "everyone had been pleased with the definition." The bishops who accepted the definition again cried out: "The definition is pleasing to all; we do not believe otherwise! Anathema to him who believes otherwise! Let the Faith not endure falsification! Let the holy Virgin be described as Theotokos; let us add this to the Symbol of Faith!" By this demand for the addition of the word "Theotokos", the bishops apparently desired to indicate the indivisible unity of the natures in Christ. For their part, the legates again declared: "If they will not agree with the epistle of Pope Leo, then issue the order that we be given formal leave to return, and thus let the council be brought to an end." Obviously, the legates found little correspondence between the doctrinal definition as it was composed and the epistle of Pope Leo, which definitely and decisively expressed the concept of two perfect natures in Christ. Seeing that the debates among the bishops were dragging on and that there seemed to be no easy way to terminate them, the imperial functionaries who were present at the sessions intervened.

Taking the side of those who were protesting, the officers suggested that the doctrinal definition be reviewed by a panel of six bishops especially empowered by the council, selected from three of the most important groups, under the presidency of Anatolius, in the presence of the legates, and in a place agreed upon. But this proposal was rejected vociferously by those bishops who accepted the doctrinal definition. Then the imperial functionaries addressed an admonition to the bishops who did not want a review, urging the fathers of the council to remove from the definition the expression "and from two natures", in that it had been employed by the condemned heretic Dioscorus, and in its place to insert the phrase "two natures", for which the champion of Orthodoxy Flavian had suffered, and which, for its precision, was used also by Leo and the Council of Chalcedon. "Do you not know," they said, "that you have all accepted the epistle of Leo?"; and when they had received an affirmative response to this question, they noted: "Therefore, introduce into the definition that which is contained therein." Yet even the admonition of the imperial officers could not persuade the fathers who desired that the definition remain without alteration to leave off their opposition.

When the Emperor Marcian was informed of this, he addressed a special edict to the council, decreeing that the doctrinal definition be reviewed either by the method suggested by the imperial functionaries, or by the ranking metropolitans at the council itself. In the event that this proposal was not assented to, the council would be declared closed. But even the stern decision of the emperor had no effect upon the bishops who did not desire a review; they said: "Let the definition remain in force, or we will leave."

Thus, the matter became even more complicated. Yet what was all but unattainable by human means was in the simplest manner achieved through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The imperial functionaries again repeated the words they had spoken previously to the council, "and the fullest, most sacred unanimity, which had been so desired, was established at the council." "Dioscorus said," quoth the officers: "'I accept [that Christ is fused] from two natures; but two [unconfused] natures I do not accept.' But the holy Leo says that in Christ there are two unconfused, immutable and indivisible natures in the only-begotten Son, our Savior. Therefore: who will you follow: Leo or Dioscorus?" "We believe as Leo does! Those who speak otherwise are Eutychians! Leo has set this forth in Orthodox manner!", the fathers of the council exclaimed unanimously.

Utilizing this unanimity, the functionaries proposed that the concept of Leo the Great be introduced into the doctrinal definition, viz. that in Christ the two natures are united without confusion, change or division. This proposal was accepted without comment. Immediately, at the request of all, a committee of bishops-the primates of the most important regions-was selected, which withdrew from the council for a short time to make the changes in the definition. When the members of the committee returned , the doctrinal definition of the Council of Chalcedon was read aloud, to unanimous and rapturous acclamations. This document, remarkable in the history of Christianity, consists of a lengthy introduction and a short doctrinal definition. In the introduction those doctrinal works of the Christian Church are indicated, which each believer who desires truly, and not only in name, to bear the name Orthodox, must necessarily acknowledge. Here was noted the Nican Symbol of Faith, and after it that of the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople. This latter Creed is spoken of in the doctrinal definition with particular praise and respect. Thus, "the Constantinopolitan Symbol, after a protracted and stormy voyage through disputes and disagreements over it, reached a calm harbor thanks to the Council of Chalcedon."

The doctrinal definition also confirmed the resolutions of the Third Ecumenical Council, about which there were still disputes as to whether it was Ecumenical or not. Then the definition singled out the following patristic writings which have importance for the resolution of the question concerning the person of the God-man: the epistle of Saint Cyril of Alexandria to Nestorius, read at the Council of Constantinople in 448, and his epistle "To Those of the East", written after the achievement of union. Thus, the holy men who espoused the union "did not suffer in vain at the hands of the Robbers' Council: their blood cried out to heaven, and the Holy Spirit, through the mouths of the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, blessed their work and crowned their labors." After the writings of Saint Cyril high praise was accorded the encyclical epistle of Saint Leo the Great.

After this introduction came the following definition of faith by the Fourth Ecumenical Council: "Following the holy fathers, we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that He is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, true God and true man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching His Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching His manhood; having become like us in all things save sin only; begotten of His Father before the ages according to His Godhead; but in these last days, for us men and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to His manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets of old have spoken concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the fathers has delivered unto us."

The fathers of the council expressed their unanimous agreement with the Symbol, crying out: "This is the Faith of the fathers! Let the archbishops sign immediately! Let not what has been defined well be subjected to postponement! We all agree with this faith! This is how we all think!" The fathers of the council informed the emperor of the confirmation of the definition by a special report, as follows:

"Epistle of the Council of Chalcedon to the Emperors Valentinian and Marcian. "To Valentinian and Marcian, the most pious, most noble and most Christian emperors, victorious and triumphant, the holy and great council assembled, by the grace of God and at the command of your piety, in the city of Chalcedon (for intense illnesses powerful remedies and a wise physician are required). For this reason, the Lord of all has provided your piety as the best physician for the sufferings of the world, that you might heal them with the best remedies. And you, the most Christian ones, having accepted the divine decision, before all others showed exemplary care for the Church, prescribing for the foremost hierarchs the therapy of concord. For, having gathered us together from all over, you used every means to annihilate the disagreement which had arisen, and to strengthen the teaching of the Faith of the fathers.

"And we, pondering and examining the reason for the tempest which smote the whole world, found that the culprit in this matter was Dioscorus, former Bishop of Alexandria. First of all, because he forbade the reading to the most honorable bishops assembled in Ephesus, of the epistle of the most holy Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, which had been sent to Flavian, late bishop of the city of Constantinople, of holy memory; and this after his promises and many vows, as we know well, having been present there. Secondly, because he illegally restored to Eutyches, who suffers from the ungodliness of Manes and has been lawfully deposed, from both the priesthood and the oversight of monks, prior to a decision by the council, and also whereas the most holy and most blessed Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, in the same epistle determined what was necessary for him and condemned the criminal ungodliness of Eutyches, who said: 'I confess our Lord Jesus Christ [to be] of two natures before the union, but after the union of a single nature'.

"Furthermore, because he caused insult to the most God-loving bishop Eusebius. And also because he on his own authority received into communion certain men who had been condemned by various councils, whereas the holy canons prescribe that those who have been excommunicated by some must not be received into communion by others. Yet he might have been able to receive forgiveness for these many misdemeanors had he through fitting repentance sought healing from this Ecumenical council. But since he, above and beyond his other indecencies, fought against the Apostolic See itself and tried to compose a document of deposition against the most holy and most blessed Leo, arrogantly persisting in his former misdeeds, and showed himself defiant towards this present holy Ecumenical council, because he did not wish to answer the accusations made against him, utterly disdaining them, and also, having been summoned once, and then a second and third time, in accordance with the holy canons, he disdained this also and did not appear, he has been justly deposed from the priesthood by the Ecumenical council and sentenced to deprivation of the episcopal dignity, so that an example of order and strictness might be provided for others who are tempted to act in a like manner, for the divine laws command us, saying: 'Put away from among yourselves that wicked person' [I Cor. 5: 13]. What can be worse than one who sins in such deeds, thus trampling underfoot the divine canons, filling the whole world with turbulence and tempest, scattering the members of the Church and spurring them to make war upon one another? Truly, every man who, seeing that one of his members has contracted a serious illness and could infect his whole body, seeks out a physician who is able to use a scalpel and excise the ailing part, so as to preserve the other parts of the body in health. We are making true report of this to Your Piety, so that you also might perceive his criminality and the purity of the just sentence pronounced over him, as before the very face of God. We are certain that you also, O most pious and most Christian emperors, will agree with us; we know what fear your honored authority inspires in the wicked and what concern you show for the peace of the Church, being taught by experience. And so that your most Christian authority might know more clearly that what has been decided is faithful to and in accordance with the holy canons and the will of God, we have appended to this report the very documents of the acts, bearing the signatures of us all."

The definition of the Faith was given its final form and read out at the council on 22 October 451. At the following, sixth session, on October 25th, the solemn confirmation of the definition of Faith took place in the presence of the Emperor Marcian, the Empress Pulcheria, and a vast assembly of palace functionaries. The emperor opened this joyous session with a speech to the fathers of the council in which, among other things, he said: "In recent times certain men were to be found-some out of greed for money, others out of evil attachments-who reasoned in a different manner and set forth a mass of teachings full of harmful errors. Desiring to heal the evil, we convoked your holy council, confident that thanks to your labors there would be great success in the matter of the confirmation of the worship of God, so that the darkness which lay on the minds of the people who had been led astray would be removed. Therefore, let the truth which lies in your expositions be laid bare. And in order to impart confirmation to the acts of the council, and not for show of force, we have decided to be present at the council, taking as our model Constantine of blessed memory." After the emperor's speech, to which the fathers of the council responded with cries of approbation, there followed the reading of the definition of the Faith, after which the sovereign requested of the fathers of the council: "Let the holy council say whether the definition now read has been proclaimed with the assent of all the bishops." And the reply was heard: "We all believe thus; we all think in this manner. Many years to Marcian, the new Constantine, the new Paul, the new David! You are the peace of the whole world; you are the lamp of Orthodoxy! O Lord, preserve the luminaries of the whole world! Pulcheria, O new Helen, you have shown the zeal of Helen! Anathema to Nestorius, Eutyches and Dioscorus! The Trinity has rejected all three of them!"

After this solemn confirmation of the definition of the Faith by the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the Emperor Marcian issued a number of edicts intended to eradicate heresies and to strengthen Orthodox teaching. Yet such edicts were powerless to bring an end to the turbulence within the Church, which continued in various areas even after the Council of Chalcedon. The goal of the ultimate pacification of the Church, which was troubled by disputes over the two natures in Christ, was assumed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council, which was to follow.

The Orthodox Church commemorates the Fourth Ecumenical Council on the 16th of July.

Translated from the Russian by the reader Isaac E. Lambertsen, from The Seven Ecumenical Councils (Based on the Menology of St. Dimitri of Rostov), (Jordanville, NY: St. Job of Pochaev Press, 1968), pp. 40-73.