|« Prev||2. The Eutychian Controversy.||Next »|
§ 2. The Eutychian Controversy.
Cyril died in the year 444; there were in his own party some who so far as he was concerned had never forgiven him the union of 433 which had led Cyril to agree to the expression “δύο φύσεις”.366366See Isidor Pelus. epp. I., Nos. 323, 334; Acacius of Melitene, ep. ad Cyril. in Mansi V., p. 860 (998 sq.). Cyril himself (ep. ad Eulog. Migne, Vol. 97, p. 225) says that people are now speaking reproachfully of him: διὰ τί δύο φύσεις ὀνομαζόντων αὐτῶν ἡνέσχετο ἢ καὶ ἐπῇνεσε ὁ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας. Fuller details in Ehrhard, op. cit., p. 42 f. His successor was Dioscurus who, according to the testimony of his own adherents, though not indeed the equal of his predecessor, was also not unlike him. The Alexandrian bishops from Athanasius to Dioscurus have something in common. They strove to make themselves the masters of Egypt and the leaders of the Church of the East.367367See, above all, the Church History of Socrates, who thoroughly understood this aspiration of theirs. Their resistance to the power of the State was not less strong than their hatred of the 191parvenu, the bishop of New Rome, whose aspirations after power they wished to put a stop to. We can only compare them with the great Popes, and the comparison is so far a just one inasmuch as they aimed at making Egypt a sort of independent ecclesiastical State. Each bishop in the series from Athanasius to Dioscurus came nearer accomplishing this design.368368Of all the great bishops of the Empire the Roman and Alexandrian bishops alone possessed a traditional policy which was strictly adhered to, and acted in accordance with it. They accordingly really became forces in history. The Chair of Antioch never had a policy; in the conflicts with the Arians it became a mere puppet after the Church already sixty years before this had had to come to its assistance, and it possessed no fixed traditions. The position taken up in the Nestorian controversy by the feeble and unreliable John is typical of the bishops of Antioch (see his letter to Sixtus of Rome). It is customary to complain of the hierarchial imperiousness of Athanasius, of the violent actions of Theophilus, Cyril, and Dioscurus, and of the unfeeling policy of the Roman bishops, and to contrast them with the Bishops of Antioch. But people do not reflect that when forces manifest themselves they have to adapt themselves to the material upon which they are to work, and quite as little do they try to imagine what appearance the history of the Church would have presented without the “violences” of the Roman and Alexandrian bishops. Those who at the present day complain, together with their dogmatic system, would not at all events have been here at all if these tyrannical and unfeeling princes of the Church had not existed, and the tame dogmatic of the present time would never have made its appearance apart from the fanatical dogmatic of those despots. It may be incidentally remarked that we ought hardly to conclude from Mansi VI., p. 1008, that Dioscurus wished to restore Origen’s reputation. In following out this policy they relied upon three powerful forces, on Greek piety and monasticism, on the masses of the lower classes, and on the Roman Bishop who had an equal interest in keeping down the bishop of Constantinople, and in making head against the State. In the respect first mentioned, Theophilus’ change of front is specially characteristic. He abandoned science, i.e., Origenism, as soon as he perceived that a stronger force was present in the Church,—namely, the orthodoxy of the monks and of the religious communities. From that time onwards the Alexandrian bishop stood at the head of ecclesiastical traditionalism; he decisively rejected Greek science. But in doing this he surrendered what was an important element in the influence he could exercise on the rest of the churches, and the loss of this was a momentous one. He became a national Coptic bishop. This brings us to the second point. Like all 192despots, the great Alexandrian bishops sought the support of the masses. They were demagogues. They flattered the people and sought to please them, while they hampered and crushed the aristocracy composed of the bishops, the scholars and the upper classes.
Athanasius had already begun this policy, in fact he was not in all probability the first to follow it. Each of his successors went a step further on these lines. But the Copts were not the Romans; the master of the eternal city could always think of ruling the world. A Coptic despot, however, who had rejected all that belonged to the Greek world, could only dream of world-empire.369369Hellenism in the East received its death-blow owing to the downfall of the Alexandrian bishop in the year 451; with Theophilus the process of estrangement between the Church and Hellenism had undoubtedly already begun. Cyril had the Egyptian clergy and people completely under his power; but the less wise Dioscurus by his unconcealed despotism created an aristocratic reaction in the country. In him we see the downfall and overthrow of the policy of the Alexandrian chair. Had he been a man like Leo I., Christianity might perhaps have got a second Rome in Alexandria.370370The unique position of the Alexandrian Chair till 450 and its policy, have up till now not had justice done them in our histories. The bishop of Alexandria ranked as the second in Christendom (see above, at the Council of 381) and corresponding to this position was a certain right which is indeed difficult to define—of oversight, or better, the exercise of an oversight over the churches of the East in the Fourth and Fifth centuries, which was being more and more widely recognised. The Alexandrian bishops attempted to develop the position which they thus occupied to a position of primacy. But there was no room in the world for two such chairs. The traditional policy of common action which had for so long united Rome and Alexandria, was bound to reach a point at which it turned into bitter enmity. The Byzantine patriarch accordingly turned this enmity to account. It is indeed possible to trace back the whole difference between the Roman and the Alexandrian bishop to the brusque and imprudent conduct of Dioscurus, or, with a still greater show of justice, to Leo’s love of power;371371Sixtus III., Cœlestin’s successor, as his letters prove, continued on the best of terms with Cyril and silently repulsed the attempt made by two Nestorian bishops, Eutherius and Helladius, to break up the union between Rome and Alexandria (see the letter of the two amongst the letters of Sixtus). His epistle to John of Ephesus proves (ep. 6) that he had inherited his predecessor’s hatred of Nestorius. On the other hand the sole letter of Leo I. to Dioscurus which we possess, and which was written soon after his enthronement (445), surprises us by its tone which recalls the letters of Victor and Stephanus, and by its demands. Dioscurus could not have forgotten a letter such as this. Still it is not till the time of the Council of Ephesus that we have plain evidence of the dissension between the two bishops (see Leo’s ep. 43 sq.). The way in which Dioscurus treated Leo’s epistle and the legates secured for him the bitter enmity of the Pope. The question now was: Rome or Alexandria? Previous to this Leo himself, like his predecessors, had in Christology used a form of statement which was Cyrillian, or Tertullian-Augustinian. He says Serm. 34. 4: “dei filius naturæ carnis immixtus”, and 23. 1: “naturæ alteri altera miscebatur.” but this would be to take a narrow view of the 193matter. About the middle of the fifth century the Alexandrian bishop was on the point of becoming master of Egypt and at the same time master of the East. Rome would not have been Rome if she had looked calmly on at a result such as this, to which indeed she had herself contributed so long as she was concerned in defending herself against a more powerful enemy. It is here that we have the key to the proper understanding of the direction taken by Roman policy in the East, and it is owing to it that the history of dogma too has taken a wholly unexpected turn. For once that opposition had sprung up between Rome and Alexandria it could not be but that the profound dogmatic difference between the two which Cœlestin had disregarded in order to humble the Emperor and the Constantinopolitan bishop, should find expression. But if Rome came off victorious, then the dogmatic development of the East was bound to enter a new, and what was essentially, a foreign channel. Conversely again, the permanent victory of the Second Council of Ephesus (449) would, owing to the weakness of the State, have been equivalent to the victory of Egypt in the Church and probably also in the Empire; for Empire and Emperor had come to be entirely dependent on the Church which culminated in the Alexandrian chair and its monks. Pope and Emperor therefore made common cause; in the years 450-451 they had a common enemy and realised the solidarity of their interests. But the political victory of Rome did not correspond with the victory of Leo in the dogmatic question over the East under the leadership of Alexandria. The Emperor went about the matter in an extremely clever way. While making use of 194the Roman bishop in so far as he found him necessary in order to carry out his purpose, which was to deliver the Empire and the Church from the despotism of Alexandria based as it was on dogmatics, he at the same time deprived him of the power of extending in any way his influence in the East by raising his own court-patriarch to a position of equal rank and importance with the Pope. Simultaneously with the downfall of his Alexandrian colleague Leo I. had to direct his attention once more to his Constantinopolitan colleague, behind whom stood no less a person than the Emperor himself—the Byzantine idea of the state. He now promptly resumed the traditional policy of his chair and sought to form a connection with Proterius, the successor of Dioscurus. He, however, no longer found in Alexandria a powerful monarch, but only the shadow of such a ruler, the Melchitian bishop of a small party who soon fell a victim to the fanaticism of the Egyptians. But on the other hand the Emperor had dearly bought his victory over the hankering after independence on the part of the Church in the East, in the form in which it had been fostered by the monkish church of the Copts under the Alexandrian patriarchs. He plunged the East into a state of frightful confusion, and his policy, which was a clever one for the moment, resulted in being the direst calamity for the Eastern Empire, since it set free the centrifugal and national forces of the Eastern provinces. It was possible to overthrow the Egyptian ecclesiastical State, but this done, it was no longer possible permanently to retain Egypt. It was possible to deliver the Empire and Constantinople from the domination of a dogmatic which was hostile to the State, but it was not possible to force a foreign dogmatic on the people of the East. The Roman bishop, however, also soon saw that he was further from the attainment of his aim than ever, and the proud language employed by Leo’s successors towards the Emperor and the East and which reminds us of the mediæval Popes, is not so much a token of actual power as a proof of the breach and estrangement between East and West which had occurred, and so of the actual powerlessness of Rome. The Emperor could no longer get at the Pope, but neither could the Pope get at the Emperor and the East; he came to have no influence. 195A section of the Easterns could come to terms with the dogmatic decree of Chalcedon—it is always possible to come to terms with dogmatic decrees—and while acknowledging its authority could nevertheless give expression to what was truly essential in the Faith of the East; but the twenty-eighth Canon of Chalcedon, which had reference to the Roman bishop, was no “noumenon” which could be got over by scholastic refinement. Rome had the satisfaction of having dictated its Christological formula to the Byzantine State-Church, just as it had previously taken the biggest share in the work of getting the Trinitarian formula accepted, but this very Church now took up a position of extreme isolation relatively to Rome and the West. The Byzantine Patriarch, although his power was always more and more restricted within the domain in the East over which he ruled, was an invincible opponent; for he was simply the exponent of all the peculiar powers still possessed at the time by the State of Constantine and Theodosius I. and by the Greek Church.
This is the general outline of the circumstances we have to take into account in studying the history of the “Eutychian Controversy.” What happened here was, mutatis mutandis, repeated in the controversy about images in so far as the State in this struggle in the same way resisted the authority of the Church which sought to crush it. It was successful in both instances. The power which had opposed the State in Egyptian Monophysitism and set itself against it in the matter of the adoration of images, was one and the same. But the nature of the victory was different in the two cases. In the middle of the Fifth Century the State, unfortunately for itself, did not possess the power of putting up with the dogmatic teaching of its opponent while humiliating the opponent himself; or shall we say: it did not think of the power it had, and to its own loss lent an ear to the suggestions of a foreign power, namely, the Roman bishop. In the ninth century, however, it was able to let its opponent have its own way in the domain of dogma and worship—for the adoration of images was restored,—and yet to make it submit to its laws and attach it to its interests. A powerful ruler, who would have accepted the dogmatic decree 196of the second Council of Ephesus but who would have been at the same time able to break the political power of Dioscurus and to compel the monks and Copts to submit—would perhaps—if it is permissible to make such a reflection—have been able to maintain the unity of the Empire of Constantius and to preserve for the Eastern provinces the Græco-Christian culture. Of what incalculable importance this would have been! But it is useless to pursue a line of thought such as this.
It follows from these considerations that the history of dogma has to be regarded almost exclusively in its connection with politics, not merely after the Council of Chalcedon, but already previous to this. The forces which from 444 onwards determined the great decisions and actions were throughout political. It was individuals only who really thought of the Faith when they spoke of the Faith; they brought about crises, but they no longer determined the course things were to take. Nor is it the case that what was dogmatically “the right thing” gained acceptance here as if by a wonderful arrangement of things; for if, as is reasonable to suppose, “the right thing” here can only be what is in harmony with Greek religious feeling, then it did not gain entire acceptance. And in pronouncing an opinion on this, whether we take our stand at a very much earlier or at a very much later period, it may certainly be maintained that the decision of Chalcedon was the happiest amongst those that were at all possible at the time; but to see this can in no way alter the opinion that the Council of Chalcedon, which to distinguish it from the Robber Council372372Thomasius (Dogmengesch. I. 2, p. 367) also pronounces the Council of Chalcedon “hardly less stormy” than that of the year 449. we might call the Robber and Traitor Council, betrayed the secret of Greek Faith. It is only with the forces of history that the historian is concerned; and so, from about 444 onwards, the political historian almost entirely takes the place of the historian of dogmas. If the latter is willing to keep strictly to his own domain but a small extent of ground is left to him, which, since what does not change awakens no interest, gets smaller and smaller from century to century.197
If it be asked, what is the saddest and most momentous event in the history of dogma since the condemnation of Paul of Samos ata, we must point to the union of the year 433. The shadow of this occurrence rests on the whole subsequent history of dogma.373373The documentary material bearing on the Eutychian controversy has been for the most part printed in Mansi T. V. sq.; where also will be found the letters of Leo I. (cf. the edition of Ballerini) and those of Theodoret having reference to the subject. Historical accounts in Prosper, Liberatus, Facundus, in the hist. eccl. of Zacharias of Mytilene hitherto published only in Syrian, in the breviculus hist. Eutych. (Sirmond’s App. ad Cod. Theodos.), in Euagrius, Theophanes, and many later Greek and particularly Oriental chroniclers. To these have been added in recent times, apart from Zacharias (see Krüger, Monophys. Streitigkeiten, 1884) first of all the hitherto unknown Appellations of Flavian and Eusebius of Doryläum to Leo I. (see Guerrino Amelini, S. Leone magno e l’Oriente. Roma 1882, Grisar i. d. Ztschr. f. Kath. Theo]. VII., 1883, p. 191 f., Mommsen, Neues Archiv. XI. 2, 1886, p. 361 f.); second, the Acts of the Robber-Council according to a Syrian MS., in German by Hoffmann (Kiel 1873), in an English translation with rich additions from other Syrian MSS, by Perry, The Second Synod of Ephesus 1881, and previously published by the same writer, An Ancient Syriac Docum. etc., Oxford 1867; Martin, Actes du Brigand. d’Éphese, traduct. faite sur le texte Syriaque, 1875 by the same, Le Pseudo-Synode connu dans l’hist. sous le nom de Brigandage d’Éphese, étudié d’après ses actes retrouvés en Syriaque, 1875, thirdly the publication of Révillout, Récits de Dioscore, exilé à Gangres, sur le concile de Chalcédoine, translated into French from the Coptic, (Rev. Egyptol. 1880, p. 187 sq., 1882, p. 21 sq., 1883, p. 17 sq.); see Krüger op, cit. p. 12 f. Accounts in Baronius, Tillemont, Gibbon, Walch, Schröckh, Neander and Hefele; cf. the works on Leo I. by Quesnel, Arendt, Perthel. Spite of these works we do not yet possess a critical account of the history of the Church and of dogma for the all important years previous to the Council of Chalcedon. The most important preliminary work in this direction would be a monograph on Theodoret, the man who in my opinion was the most truth-loving and the least guided by considerations of policy of the Fathers of that period. This has been done by a Russian, Glubokowski (see above); but it is unfortunately not accessible to German science. It bore two sorts of evil fruit. In the first place it permanently prohibited Greek piety from establishing the formula which was alone appropriate to it: μία φύσις θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη—one incarnate nature of the divine Logos. (The relief which the Creed of Ephesus of 449 was supposed to bring, came too late.) In the second place it introduced such a stagnation into the dogmatic question that every one who attempted to state his Christological views ran the risk of being regarded as a heretic, while on the other hand people found it possible when they so desired, to give a favourable turn to every dogmatic utterance. It threw the East into 198a state of confusion and made of Christology an armoury of poisoned weapons for the warfare of ecclesiastical politics. A middle party was formed from each of the two sides. To one of these Theodoret belonged, and to another Dioscurus (Cyril). But the representatives of these middle parties were no nearer each other than the two extremes. If they employed the same formulæ they nevertheless gave them a different meaning, and they were at the same time intent upon protecting their extreme associates so far as possible.
The Alexandrians had acquired the sovereignty of the East at the price of union. The “high-priest Emperor” and his eunuchs abandoned themselves more and more to their guidance. Under the feeble Theodosius the Empire was in danger of becoming an ecclesiastical state led by Alexandria. In addition to this, under cover of the formula of concord the doctrine of the one nature was propagated, and even the extravagances of earlier times again made their appearance. Cyril himself who was so cautious otherwise in his use of formulae, had not been able to avoid the use of the questionable Apollinarian conception, according to which the nature or hypostasis of the incarnate Logos is a “certain middle something”,374374See, e.g., de recte fida ad Theodos. (Mansi IV., p. 693): Ἰ. Χρ. ἀνθρωπίνοις τε αὖ καὶ τοῖς ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον ἰδιώμασιν εἰς ἕν τι τὸ μεταξὺ συγκείμενος. and accordingly it is not astonishing to find that his followers went still further. The brave and indefatigable Theodoret375375See, above all, his “Eranistes”. The work of the Catholic Bertram, Theodoreti doctrina christologica, 1883, is painstaking but biassed; sec. Theol. Lit. Ztg., 1883, No. 24; Möller in Herzog’s R.-Encyklop. sec ed. XV., p. 401 ff., The question of Theodoret’s orthodoxy is certainly a very troublesome one for a Catholic. did indeed keep a look-out against the ἕνωσις φυσική, “the suffering God”, the κρᾶσις or mixture, in short, against the anathemas of Cyril, while at the same time he parried the attacks of Cyril on Theodore of Mopsuestia. But spite of the great prudence shewn by Theodoret in keeping to a middle path Dioscurus succeeded in calumniating him at the Court, after he had himself in his character as supreme bishop interfered in the affairs of Antioch.376376Dioscurus treated the metropolitan Irenæus of Tyre, and Theodoret in the year 448, in the style of one who was primate of the whole Greek Church and was recognised by the Emperor as such. Theodoret was instructed to keep to his diocese. 199Still greater was the hatred of the Alexandrians against the bold and worldly-minded Bishop Ibas of Edessa, Theodore’s enthusiastic supporter. Dioscurus had apparently made up his mind to bring the East under his authority and gradually to exterminate all who in a half way or who wholly accepted the Antiochian theology. The formula: two natures or hypostases, one Christ, was to disappear from the Church.
In the capital the old and respected Archimandrite Eutyches supported his views, taking his stand on the Christology of Cyril. Still it was no mere calumny when his opponents maintained that in the course of the violent attack on the Nestorians he had himself fallen into the error of making Apollinarian statements. Already in the year 448 Bishop Domnus of Antioch had denounced him on these grounds to the Emperor. But no action was taken until Bishop Eusebius of Dorylaum brought a similar charge against him before Flavian who was bishop of Constantinople at the time. Eutyches afterwards asserted that he had done this from personal hatred, and one cannot get rid of the suspicion that he was right; for Eusebius himself had formerly been one of most bitter opponents of Nestorius. In any case a certain obscurity hangs over the outbreak of the controversy, and the energy too with which Flavian at once took the matter up is strange. He was on bad terms with the court and particularly with the all-powerful Chrysaphius with whom Eutyches stood in high favour. The bishop probably felt that he was hampered by the Archimandrite and wanted to get rid of him. It is useless to look for any religious motives in the case of Flavian, whose Christological statements bear a pretty close resemblance to those of Cyril, though they did actually fall short of them.377377Flavian takes his stand on the Union of 433 though he inclines to the Antiochian interpretation of it; see his confession in Mansi VI., p. 541: καὶ γὰρ ἐν δύο φύσεσιν ὁμολογοῦντες τὸν Χριστον μετὰ τὴν σάρκωσιν τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἁγίας παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρώπησιν, ἐν μιᾷ ὑποστάσει καὶ ἐν ἑνὶ προσώπῳ (a distinction is thus drawn between φύσις and ὑπόστασις, while ὑπόστασις and πρόσωπον are regarded as parallel terms, and accordingly the way is paved for the Chalcedonian formula in the East also), ἕνα Χριστόν, ἕνα υἱόν, ἕνα κύριον ὁμολογοῦμεν, καὶ μίαν μὲν τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγου φύσιν σεσαρκωμένην μέντοι καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσασαν λέγειν οὐκ ἀρνούμεθα—the letter is addressed to Leo, and Flavian was apparently not yet aware what Leo’s views were and whether perhaps he did not adhere entirely to the doctrine of Cyril. The prudent patriarch accordingly “confesses” two natures after the incarnation also and yet one!—διὰ τὸ ἐξ ἀμφοῖν ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰ. τὸν Χρ. Τοὺς δὲ δύο υἱοὺς ἢ δύο ὑποστάσεις etc.; a condemnation of Nestorius follows. Here at all events the way is paved for the Chalcedonian formula but, characteristically enough, by a bishop who sought to take up a safe position relatively to both sides. The Council of Constantinople 200(448) which followed on this and with whose procedure we are well acquainted, shewed the frivolity of the attack on Eutyches, though it shewed too how the influential archimandrite set his bishop at defiance. In reference to the dogmatic question Eutyches acted with great prudence, and, though indeed with some hesitation, gave his assent to the formula of the Creed of Union, “of two natures, one Christ” (one hypostasis, one person). But one can plainly see that this formula, in so far as it was taken as implying the continued existence of the two natures after the union, was one which Eutyches would regard as objectionable. “Two natures after the union” was rightly felt to be Nestorian and above all to be an “innovation”. Eutyches, indeed, corrected the incautious statements he had made at an earlier time, divergent from the middle path of the formula of unity—my God is not of the same substance with us;378378The statement when compared with Cyril’s doctrine can scarcely be regarded as open to suspicion. Eutyches recognised the existence of two natures previous to the incarnation, i.e., allowed that the distinction in thought was an ideal moment, but he could not admit the perfect homousia of the body of the Logos with our body after the incarnation, since that body was to be thought of as having been deified. Cyril had not indeed openly said that the actual body of the Logos was not ὁμοούσιος with our body, but still he could scarcely avoid that conclusion. Eutyches rejected as a calumny the charge brought against him of teaching that Christ brought his flesh from heaven, on the contrary indeed he was the first to declare in the course of the debate that the Holy Virgin is homousios with us and that from her our God became flesh. He wished in this way to escape making any direct admission. He has no “body of a man” (σῶμα ἀνθρώπου), but only a “human body” (σῶμα ἀνθρώπινον). But this was of no avail. It was insisted that he taught a “blending” (σύγκρασις) and “confusion” (σύγχυσις), and after the most disgraceful proceedings the records of which were besides falsified, he was deposed “amid tears” on account of Valentinian and Apollinarian heresy. This was done by people who themselves professed to acknowledge Cyril’s second letter to Nestorius and its approval by the Synod of Ephesus, 201as well as the epistle of Cyril to John of Antioch. Both parties laboured to secure the favour of the Court, the capital, and the Roman bishop, and the Court sided with Eutyches. People’s views were still everywhere ruled by the condemnation of Nestorius and there was no inclination to change sides. Flavian, “the moderate Antiochian” played a dangerous game when he sought to increase the authority of his chair in face of the court and the ruling system of dogma. Leo I. who was applied to by Eutyches first, was for some weeks uncertain which course to take (Leon. epp. 20 sq.). He was disposed to regard the Constantinopolitan Patriarch as his born enemy; but he had soon to recognise the fact that his strongest enemy was to be looked for elsewhere. Dioscurus, who substantially agreed with Eutyches and who long ere this took an active part in different provincial Synods in the East as supreme bishop, had already annexed the question and moved the Emperor to summon a Council. The Pope’s policy was now marked out for him. He must not strike either upon the Constantinopolitan Scylla or upon the Alexandrian Charybdis, but on the contrary, as his predecessor Julius had done, he must attempt to bring the true faith and with it himself to the East. Dioscurus was determined to use every means to exploit the Council in his own interests. It was to establish the authority of the Alexandrian Patriarch and of the Alexandrian Christology in the Church of the East. He was prudent enough all the same to employ no new formula while attempting this. The Nicene Creed was alone to be regarded as authoritative, of course according to the interpretation put upon it by the anathemas of Cyril. Whoever went a word beyond this was to be considered an innovator, a heretic. This was his standpoint and he found a pliant Emperor and a minister who were favourably disposed toward him and who were prepared to hand over the Church to him in order to humiliate the occupant of the episcopal chair of the capital for the time being whom they hated, a policy which was treachery to the State.379379See the letter of the Empress Eudokia to Theod. II. (Leo. ep 57): ἐγράφη γὰρ ἐνταῦθα πᾶσαν φιλονεικείαν κεκινῆσθαι, ὥστε φλαυιανὸν τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἐκ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων ἐπαρθῆναι. Dioscurus was equipped with full 202powers as master of the Synod. It was called together in accordance with his ideas, even a representative of the monastic order was present—a novelty at a Council—and Theodoret was excluded.
Leo had meanwhile discovered that Eutyches was a heretic380380Leo’s admission is amusing reading (ep. 34 I): “Diu apud nos uncertum fuit,
quid in ipso Eutyche catholicis displiceret.” Now Eutyches is the child of the
devil who denies the reality of the body of Christ. Leo represents him in the
bluntest fashion as the out and out doketist. (ep. 27) and
bethought himself of the Western Christological form of doctrine which his
predecessors, Cœlestin and Sixtus, and he himself seem up to this time to have
forgotten. The summoning of a Council caused him grave anxiety; Flavian, who
had seriously displeased the Pope by his independent attitude, nevertheless
suddenly became his dear friend who had been attacked, and along with the
legates who attended the Council Leo sent numerous letters to all in the East
concerned in the affair (epp. 28-38), to Flavian (28, 36, 38), to the Emperor
(29, 37), to Pulcheria (30, 31), to the Constantinopolitan archimandrites (32),
to the Council (33) and to Bishop Julian of Kos (34, 35). He repeatedly observes
that a synodal decision was not at all necessary, and that the Council was
superfluous.381381Ep. 36 ad Flav.: “Et quia clementissimus imperator pro ecclessiæ pace sollicitus
synodum voluit congregari, quamvis evidenter appareat, rem, de qua agitur,
nequaquam synodali indigere tractatu” etc.; ep. 37 ad Theod. II.: “præsertim
cum tam evidens fidei causa sit, ut rationabilius ab indicenda synodo fuisset
abstinendum” etc. But what he was now above all concerned with was to furnish
Flavian with dogmatic instructions and to draw the attention of the Council to
the unique dignity of the Roman Chair which had already decided the question.
The latter of these two things he did in Epistle 33, which contains a daring
attempt to misrepresent382382Leo writes here as if in this affair of Eutyches the Emperor had had recourse
to him first as the successor of Peter, and as if he had at once unfolded the
true doctrine of the Incarnation on the basis of the confession of Peter and
thereby refuted Eutyches (“religiosa clementissimi principis fides sciens ad
suam gloriam maxime pertinere, si intra ecclesiam catholicam nullius erroris
germen exsurgeret, hanc reverentiam divinis detulit institutis, ut ad sanctæ dispositionis effectum auctoritatem apostolicæ
sedis adhiberet, tamquam ab ipso
Petro cuperet declarari, quid in eius confessione laudatum sit, quando dicente
domino: quem me esse dicunt homines filium hominis?” etc.). The Council is
merely an opus superadditum,
“ut pleniori iudicio omnis possit error aboleri.” Thus the condemnation of
Eutyches is already decided upon and the Council has merely to repeat it. The Pope enjoins this. the conditions under which the Council had come
203together, while he accomplished the former by the dogmatic epistle he sent to
Flavian. It contains a paraphrase of the Christological section of the work of
Tertullian adv. Prax. (cf. Novatian de trinitate) in accordance with the views,
and in part in the words, of Ambrose and Augustine, with special reference to
Eutyches, and in combating the views of the latter it accordingly undeniably
goes a step beyond what had hitherto been accepted in the West, though not any
further than the situation for the moment demanded. This document, which was
highly lauded in subsequent times and is to the present day, contains nothing
new. What, however, is of importance in it is that the West, i.e., the Pope, has
here kept in view the peculiar character of its Church. It is consequently an
evidence of power, and the Christology set forth in it may at the same time have
actually corresponded with the inclinations of the Pope. But on the other hand
it ought not to be forgotten that the situation, as represented by Nestorianism
already condemned and Eutychianism about to be rejected, appeared directly to
call for the old Western formula “duæ substantiæ (naturæ) in una persona”,
and that the Pope expressed himself more fully regarding it than tradition
justified.383383 The letter to which not till a later date, however, (see Mansi VI., p. 962
sq.) though by Leo himself, proofs were appended from Hilary, Augustine, Gregory
of Nazianzus, Chrysostom and Cyril, begins with a reference to the Roman Creed
which in the view of Leo decides the whole question in its opening words; for
the three statements: “Credere in patrem omnipotentem, et in Christum Iesum
filium eius unicum dominum nostrum, qui natus est de spiritu sancto et Maria
virgine”, demolish “the devices of almost all heretics.” They involve the
nativitas divina, and the nativitas temporalis which in no way injures the
former. We should not have been able to overcome the author of sin and death if
the deus ex deo had not assumed our nature. If Eutyches was unable to recognise
that this was taught in the Creed, then certain passages (which the Pope now
adduces) ought to have convinced him—as if Eutyches had ever denied the truth of
this thought! The idea of a non-human body of Christ cannot be proved from the
miraculous birth; for the Holy Spirit merely gave the impulse; the reality of
the body of Christ was got from the body of Maria semper virgo (c. 2). This is
followed by the proposition in the style of Tertullian: “Salva igitur
proprietate utriusque naturæ et substantiæ (both words should be noted) et in
unam coeunte personam suscepta est a maiestate humilitas”, attached to which we
have a series of expressions which are supported by statements in Damasus, Ambrose, Augustine, and partly
also in Tertullian; thus, “natura inviolabilis unita est naturæ passibili”,
“mediator dei et hominum homo Iesus Christus”, “mori potest ex uno, mori non
potest ex altero”, “in integra veri hominis perfectaque natura verus natus est
deus, totus in suis, totus in nostris”, “assumpsit formam servi sine sorde
peccati, humana augens, divina non minuens”, “exinanitio inclinatio fuit
miserationis, non defectio potestatis”, “tenet sine defectu proprietatem suam
utraque natura, et sicut formam servi dei forma non adimit, ita formam dei servi
forma non minuit” This was the way in which God met the cunning of the devil, in
order that we should not be lost contra dei propositum (c. 3). Next follow the
old Western paradoxes of the “invisibilis factus visibilis” etc. The fourth
chapter contains the detailed development of the doctrine. The human nature in
Christ was not absorbed by the divine; on the contrary “agit utraque forma cum alterius communione, quod proprium est verbo scilicet operante quod verbi est
et carne exsequente quod carnis est.” The flesh never loses the “natura nostri
generis”. In accordance with this the evangelic history is apportioned between
the human and the divine nature of him “qui unus idemque est”. “Quamvis enim
in domino T. Chr. dei et hominis (!) una persona sit, aliud tamen est, unde in
utroque communis est contumelia, aliud unde communis est gloria”. “Propter
hanc unitatem personæ”, as it is put in c. 5, “in utraque natura intelligendam
et filius hominis legitur descendisse de cœlo” etc., that means as Leo now
shews, that we can and must interchange the opera. “That the Son of God was
crucified and buried, we all confess in the Creed.” Christ established this
article of faith in the 40 days after the Resurrection, after Peter had already
before this acknowledged the identity of the Son of God and the Son of Man. All
ought accordingly to see that the “proprietas divinæ humanæque naturæ”
“individua permanet” in Him, and consequently know that “Word” and “Flesh” are
not the same, but that the one Son of God is Word and Flesh. Eutyches, who has
by the most barefaced fictions emptied of its meaning the mystery to which alone
we owe our redemption and separates the human nature from Jesus, incurs the
sentence pronounced in 1 John IV. 2, 3. He must also necessarily deny the
reality of the passion and death of Christ and thus subvert everything, the
Spirit of sanctification, the water and the blood.
In his concluding chapter Leo discusses the statement of Eutyches that before the union there were two natures and one after it and expresses his astonishment that “none of the judges censured such a foolish and perverse avowal and passed over such an absurd and blasphemous utterance as if they had heard nothing to which to take exception.” The first half of the statement is as impious as the second; this statement which had been passed over ought “si per inspirationem misericordiæ dei ad satisfactionem causa perducitur,” to be made a clean sweep of as a pestilential opinion. The Pope hopes that Eutyches will amend and in this case the greatest mercy will be shewn him. The statements in this twenty-eighth letter were further supplemented in letter 35 addressed to Julian. Here (c. 1) Nestorius too is regarded as a heretic; as against Eutyches the view is made good that it is not only a question of the Creator being known, but also of the creature being redeemed. Here we meet with the statement “in susceptione hominis non unius substantiæ, sed unius eiusdemque personæ”, here the unity of the person is made intelligible (see Cyril) by pointing to unity of body and soul in man, and here finally the statement of Eutyches examined in the sixth chapter of letter 28 and which was not censured at Constantinople, is further dealt with. Leo understands it as meaning that the human nature of Christ had been already created before the Incarnation and accordingly classes it along with the statement of Origen regarding the pre-existence of the soul which had been already condemned. See also letter 59.
A few remarks on the catchwords ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως will perhaps not be out of place here. (The words ἀδιαιρέτως and ἀχωρίστως do not require any special genetic explanation.) They have sprung from two sources in the history of dogma. The first of these is to be found in Tertullian’s work adv. Prax. Tertullian c. 27 wrote in opposition to certain monarchian ideas, according to which the spiritus (= deus = pater = Christus) was either changed into the caro (= homo = filius = Jesus) or else was united and mingled with the caro so as to form a tertium quid and therefore a new being, and thus disappeared in the new being. The view thus developed became universally known through Novatian who adopted it in part, but particularly by means of Leo’s doctrinal letter. It runs: “Si enim sermo ex transfiguratione et demutatione substantiæ caro factus est, una iam erit substantia ex duabus, ex carne et spiritu, mixtura quædam, ut electrum ex auro et argento et incipit nec aurum esse, id est spiritus, neque argentum, id est caro, dum alterum altero mutatur et tertium quid efficitur.” Thus Jesus would be no longer either God or Man: ita ex utraque neutrum est; aliud longe tertium est quam utrumque. But both the passages in the Psalms (LXXXVII. 5) and the Apostle (Rom. I. 3) teach de utraque eius substantia. Videmus duplicem statum, non confusum sed coniunctum, in una persona, deum et hominem Iesum . . . Et adeo salva est utriusque proprietas substantiæ, ut et spiritus res suas egerit in illo, i.e., virtutes et opera et signa, et caro passiones suas functa sit, esuriens sub diabolo, sitiens sub Samaritide . . . denique et mortua est. Quodsi tertium quid esset, ex utroque confusum, ut electrum, non tam distincta documenta parerent utriusque substantiæ. Sed et spiritus carnalia et caro spiritalia egisset ex translatione aut neque carnalia neque spiritalia, sed tertiæ alicuius forma ex confusione . . . Sed quia substantiæ ambæ in statu suo quæque distincte agebant, ideo illis et operæ et exitus sui occurrerunt.” The second source is to be found in the Eastern and Western authors who wrote against Apollinaris; these maintained the ἀσυγχύτως and ἀτρέπτως, and this was quite the current view in the time of Cyril. Cyril, in a great number of passages asserts that according to his doctrine the two natures are joined together ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀναλλοιώτως, ἀμεταβλήτως, without there having been any kind of mingling (σύγχυσις, σύγκρασις, συνουσίωσις) (see adv. Nest. 1. 5, c. 4—ad Theodos. n. 6, 10—ep. 3 ad Nestor. Migne, Vol. 77, p. 109—adv. neg. deip. n. 2—epil. ad. I—adv. Theodoret. ad. 4, 5, 8, 10—adv. Orient, ad 1, 10, 11—ep. ad Maxim., Vol. 77, p. 152—ad Acac. Ber. 160—ad Joan. 180—ad Acac. Mel. 192—ad Eulog. 225—ad Valerian. 257—1 ad Succ. 232, 36—2 ad Succ. 237, 40—ad Euseb. 288—Explan. Symb. 304—Quod un. Christ. Vol. 75, p. 1361—Hom. XV., Vol. 77, p. 1092—in Luc., Vol. 72, p. 909—c. Julian. I., 10, Vol. 76, p. 1012—Hom. ad Alex., Vol. 77, pp. 1112, 1113—in ep. ad Hebr., Vol. 74, p. 1004—Resp. ad Tiberium ed. Pusey c. 6, 7, III., p. 587 sq. Cyril devoted a special work to this subject entitled κατὰ συνουσιαστῶν which I regard as one of his last). Nevertheless he defended the word κρᾶσις as against Nestorius (adv. Nestor. c. 3) as an expression used by the fathers to bring out the closeness of the union of the two natures, and unhesitatingly employs certain forms of speech compounded of it or its synonyms. (Ehrhard op. cit., p. 44.) Further, both of these, the amplifications of Tertullian and those of the anti-Apollinarian Greek fathers, refer back to philosophical usage, but this usage explains at the same time why Cyril and others could indeed adopt the expression κρᾶσις but not σύγχυσις. The Stoics (see Zeller. Philos. d. Griechen III. 3, p. 127) drew a distinction between παράθεσις, μῖξις, κρᾶσις and σύγχυσις. “The παράθεσις is the σωμάτων συναφὴ κατὰ τὰς ἐπιφανείας, as in the case of the mixing of different kinds of grain”—they have the Nestorians in view—: μῖξις on the contrary is δύο ἢ καὶ πλειόνων σωμάτων ἀντιπαρέκτασις δἰ ὅλων, ὑπομενουσῶν τῶν συμφυῶν περί αὐτὰ ποιοτήτων, as in the case of the union of fire with iron and of the soul with the body; but speaking more accurately a mingling of this sort of dry bodies should be called μῖξις, and of fluid bodies κρᾶσις (the κρᾶσις δἰ ὅλων of the Stoics presupposes the permeability of the bodies and assumes that the smaller body when mingled with a larger body spreads itself over the entire extent of the latter and is thus to be found in every particle of it [ὡς μηδὲν μόριον ἐν ἀυτοῖς εἶναι μὴ μετέχον πάντων τῶν ἐν τῷ μίγματι], but that both preserve their own peculiarities in the mingling; thus the “mixtio” does not exclude, but on the contrary includes the salva proprietas utriusque substantiæ). The σύγχυσος finally is δύο ἢ καὶ πλειόνων ποιοτήτων περὶ τὰ σώματα μεταβολὴ εἰς ἑτέρας διαφερούσης τούτων ποιότητος γένεσιν, i.e., the old substances and their qualities cease to exist (φθείρεσθαι) and a third body comes into existence.” Tertullian, the Stoic, rested his ideas apparently on these philosophical theorems and first of all applied this materialistic view to the relation of the two substances in Christ (he and Novatian, who was also a Stoic, accept the μῖξις and reject the σύγχυσις; but along with this Tertullian has further a juristic set of conceptions (una persona, duæ substantiæ). In his treatise “Ammonius Sakkas and Plotinus” (Archiv. f. Gesch. d. Philos. VII. Vol. H. 3) Zeller, however, has called attention to the fact that Ammonius Sakkas (Plotinus) described the relation of body and soul in man in the sense of the Stoic κρᾶσις (μῖξις) (the soul entirely permeates the body and unites itself with it so as to form one substance, but nevertheless remains unchanged and retains its proprietas salva) and that Nemesius expressly says that this view of the matter, in support of which he appeals to Porphyry, is to be applied to the relation of the two natures in Christ. Now, however, not only the Eastern bishops but also Leo I. expressly appeal in support of their Christology to the relation between body and soul. There can therefore be no doubt but that this is to be traced back to the Neo-Platonic school which had adopted a Stoic terminology. Plotinus calls the soul not only ἀπαθής but also ἄτρεπτος (because in the union it undergoes no change); but, as Zeller observes, he never speaks of ἀσύγχυτος. This word, however, once more occurs in Porphyry and is used to designate the union. Consequently so far as the Easterns are concerned the ἀτρέπτως is to be referred to Plotinus and the ἀσυγχύτως to Porphyry (Zeller), while the West through Tertullian took the “non confusus” direct from the Stoa. The Pope 204throughout puts the interests of our salvation in the foreground; he wants exactly what Cyril and Eutyches also want, but he goes on to give an explanation which Cyril at any rate would have entirely repudiated, [Cyril said that the idea of redemption demands the deification of the human nature, Leo went on to shew that this same idea demands a true human nature which 205remains absolutely unchanged], and which, so far, goes beyond the use and wont doctrine of the West and actually approaches Nestorianism, inasmuch as the Pope uses by preference “nature” in place of substance and speaks of a peculiar mode of action on the part of each nature, and thus really hypostatises each nature. In Leo’s view the “Person” is no longer entirely the 206one subject with two “properties”, but the union of two hypostatic natures. In a word, the unity is neither made intelligible by Leo nor did he consider what was the supreme concern of the pious Greeks in this matter, namely, to see in the humanity of Christ the real deification of human nature generally. Nor is there any trace in the doctrinal letter of anything 207like an express repudiation of Nestorius, not to speak of the Antiochian Christology.384384It may also be said that the speculations of Cyril and the Alexandrian theologians begin where Leo leaves off, and for this reason it is altogether astonishing to read in Thomasius (Dogmengesch., Vol. I., p. 365) that Leo in his epistle seeks to gather up both negatively and positively the results of the Christological movement so far as it had gone. Leo did not think of this. He contents himself with making the thought definite and confessing with full assurance that Christ was perfect God and perfect man, and points out that redemption demands the divinity and the humanity. But the question as to the relation into which the divinity and the humanity have come to each other, was one which really never gave him any concern when he thought of redemption. This, however, was the main question with Cyril, Eutyches and Dioscurus. It cannot accordingly be said that Leo and they are in direct contradiction. On the contrary, Cyril and his followers further developed the problem in concrete fashion in the name of the Faith, ex necessitate fidei so to speak, while with Leo it was in true Western fashion left in the indefinite form of conceptions. This is how the matter stands on a favourable view of Leo’s position; for as soon as we take his development of the doctrine in a concrete sense and transfer it into the region of the Eastern controversy it can be understood only as Nestorian. With Leo it is not at all a question of a union of the two natures. It may, however, help towards forming a fair and correct estimate of Leo’s position to note that he (mistakenly) saw in Eutychianism the recurrence of a danger which he had so energetically warded off in his struggle with Manichæism (see his sermon). He in fact opposes “Eutychianism” as if it were Manichæism.
The Council was opened at Ephesus in August 449. Dioscurus presided and assigned the second place to the representative 208of the Roman bishop. There were one hundred and thirty-five members present. The bishops who had sat in judgment on Eutyches were not allowed to vote, since the Synod meant to proceed with a revision of that process. Dioscurus put the Pope’s letter to the Council amongst the Acts, but did not have it read out, and in fact treated Rome as non-existent. Not Rome but Alexandria was to speak. It was a bold stroke, but Dioscurus had got authority from the Emperor. As regards its proceedings the Council does not compare unfavourably with other Councils. What gave it its peculiar character was the fact that it was guided by a powerful and determined will, that of Dioscurus. The latter got the Council simply to resolve not to go beyond the conclusions come to at Nicæa and Ephesus. The affair of Eutyches was next taken up; he declared that he took his stand on the teaching of these Councils and repudiated Manes, Valentin, Apollinaris, and Nestorius. In the course of the debate it became evident that those present regarded the formula “after the Incarnation one nature”, as alone orthodox—with the addition: “made flesh and made man” (σεσαρκωμένην καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσασαν), and that they condemned the doctrine of two natures after the Incarnation. In this sense Eutyches was declared by all to be orthodox. Rome’s legates refrained from voting. Domnus of Antioch and Juvenal of Jerusalem also concurred, and even three of the bishops who had condemned Eutyches at Constantinople did the same. Dioscurus now proceeded to take aggressive steps. Each bishop was required to state in writing whether he considered that those should be punished who in the course of their theological investigations had gone beyond the Nicene Creed. Dioscurus got the answer he wished, and even the Roman legate did not oppose the question when put in this form. On the basis of this resolution the Council pronounced sentence of deposition on Flavian and Eusebius of Doryläum, Domnus and Juvenal concurring. Both of the deposed bishops were present and soon after appealed to the Pope, whose legates, moreover, had at least shewn some hesitation at the Council, though after the first session they took no further share in the proceedings. In the second and third sessions Dioscurus got the detested Ibas 209deposed (to whom the saying was currently attributed “I do not envy Christ because He became God; for I too can become God if I wish”), the Sabinian bishop of Perrha and several others;385385This has reference to the proceedings of the year 448 (Irenæus of Tyre) into which I cannot enter. The Syrian Acts first threw light on them as well as on the Councils of Tyre and Berytus. also Theodoret,386386See Martin, op. cit. p. 186 sq. the pillar of the East, and finally even Domnus of Antioch.387387See Martin, p. 196 sq. The fact that he had for so long sided with Dioscurus availed him nothing. He had latterly drawn back, was unwilling to take part in the ecclesiastico-political revision of the Canons of Nicæa and Constantinople which Dioscurus was contemplating, and was generally in his road.
Never before at any Council had a Patriarch scored such a victory, The atmosphere was cleared; the triumph of the old Confession of Nicæa and Ephesus (431) which alone was recognised by the pious Greeks as embodying their faith, had been secured; the Christology of Cyril, the one incarnate nature of the God-Logos, had been acknowledged as the true one; those who opposed it had partly been deposed and partly had submitted; arrangements had already been made for securing suitable successors to those who had been deposed, and an Alexandrian priest, Anatolius, was appointed to Constantinople. The Church of the East lay at the feet of the Alexandrian Patriarch and he had attained everything with the concurrence of the Emperor.388388The charges brought against him by Egyptians at the third sitting of the Council of Chalcedon (Mansi VI. p. 1006-1035) even after making all due allowance for the calumnies in them, afford interesting proofs of how he disregarded the imperial authority in Egypt and how he weakened the authority of the State there and also of the extent to which he was master of Egypt and now threatened to become master of the State. Tillemont XV. p. 589, very justly says: “Dioscore règne partout.” See, above all, p. 1032: Διόσκορος πάντα ἀκαθοσιώτως πράττων, νομίζων τε ἀνωτέρω πάντων εἶναι, οὔτε τοὺς θείους τύπους οὔτε τὰς μεγίστας ἀποφάσεις συνεχώρησεν ἐκβιβασθῆναι, ἑαυτοῦ τὴν χώραν μᾶλλον ἤ τῶν κρατούντων εἶναι λέγων. He had doubtless made use of force; but it was the State in fact which stood behind him; the police and the monks of Barsumas had, to be sure, over-awed the Fathers; but far worse than the terrors of this Council were the calumnies 210spread regarding it on the part of those who two years later had to extenuate their dastardly treachery. If we consider who were present at the Council we must conclude that Dioscurus, to whom even Theodoret on one occasion (ep. 60) bore favourable testimony, cannot have found it necessary to employ any very great amount of actual force. That Flavian was trampled on and left half dead is anything but certain, and a Council which more than any other gave expression to the tradition of the religious feeling of the time and to what it considered of vital importance, does not deserve the name “Robber-Council” (Leo, ep. 95). Regarded from the standpoint of the Church of the East something of importance had actually been attained, and what had been thus attained had the guarantee of permanence so long as foreign elements did not come in to disturb it.
But Dioscurus had not reckoned on the death of the Emperor which was near at hand, nor with the Roman bishop, nor finally on the widespread aversion felt towards the right wing of his army which was Apollinarian in disguise. He had rehabilitated Eutyches without, however, getting the questionable statements to which the latter had formerly given utterance, proscribed, though the allegation that he endorsed them is a falsehood asserted by his embittered opponents at Chalcedon. This was a blunder in policy which was calculated to bring on a reaction introduced from the outside, and the reaction taking its start from this, might in the state in which matters then were, overthrow the great work which had been accomplished without in appearance abandoning the position gained in the year 431. At first Dioscurus was still master of the situation. While all those who felt themselves injured by him betook themselves to Leo as the only refuge,389389See Theodoret’s letters 113 and ff. Theodoret speaks in terms of high praise of Leo’s ep. dogmatica, and as a matter of fact he had no reason for suspecting it in any way. In letter 121 he expressly says that Leo’s letter agrees with τοῖς παρ᾽ ἡμῶν καὶ συγγραφεῖσι καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἐκκλησίας κηρυχθεῖσιν ἀεί. and while the latter hastened to reject the resolutions of the Council, Dioscurus pronounced sentence of excommunication upon Leo,390390See the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon in Mansi VI., p. 1009; the matter is, however, not quite certain. It is even probable that Dioscurus did not excommunicate Leo till shortly before the Council of Chalcedon. prepared 211now to measure his strength with the last remaining opponent too, whom he had treated at Ephesus as a nonentity. Leo was in an extremely difficult position, as letters 43-72 prove. If the decree of Ephesus were to become permanent it was all over with his orthodoxy as well as with the primacy of his chair. He assembled a Council and at the same time got all the members of the imperial family of the Western Empire, when they came to Rome, to write letters to Theodosius against the “episcopus Alexandrinus sibi omnia vindicans” (45, 2), against the Council in support of his just claim to be considered supreme judge in matters of faith,391391Valentinian III. writes to Theod. II. (ep. Leon. 55): “The Faith must get into confusion, ἣν ἡμεῖς ἀπὸ τῶν προγόνων παραδοθεῖσαν ὀφείλομεν μετὰ τῆς προσηκούσης καθοσιώσεως ἐκδικεῖν καὶ τῆς ἰδίας εὐλαβείας τὴν ἀξίαν τῷ μακαρίῳ ἀπστόλῳ Πέτρῳ ἄτρωτον καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις χρόνοις διαφυλάττειν, ἵνα ὁ μακαριώτατος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς Ῥωμαίων πόλεως, ᾧ τὴν ἱερωσύνην κατὰ πάντων ἡ ἀρχαιότης παρέσχε, χώραν καὶ εὐπορίαν ἔχειν περί τε πίστεως καὶ ἱερέων κρίνειν. Flavian was right in appealing to him. It is a curious spectacle! Both Emperors are entirely in the hands of their Patriarchs, the one in the hands of Dioscurus, and the other as here in the hands of Leo. Never yet had the State been so much under priestly authority. The Emperors who were powerless to do anything themselves played the one primate against the other. and in favour of calling a new Council to meet in Italy. He saw himself under the necessity of repeatedly assuring the Emperor of the East that he also held firmly to the Nicene Faith; he took care not to mention what it was exactly that he found fault with in the dogmatic decrees of Ephesus; he simply insisted on the condemnation of Eutyches as a Manichean and a Doketist, and was slow about recognising the new bishop of Constantinople, the creature of Dioscurus. He yielded nothing as the successor of Peter, but neither did he gain anything. Theodosius stood firm, maintained that the Council had merely defended antiquity against the innovations of Flavian, and coldly replied to the letters of his imperial relations in the West, declining to take any action. A less politic Pope than he was, would have brought on a breach backed up as he would have been by the whole West and by the Emperor of the West, but Leo waited and did not wait in vain.212
Theodosius II.392392He had, however, begun to shew a certain amount of hesitation during the last months, as is evident from the recall of Pulcheria and the banishment of his minister Chrysaphius. See Krüger, op. cit. p. 56. died on the 28th of July, 450, and the situation was at once altered. Pulcheria who mounted the throne and offered her hand to Marcian, had always deplored her brother’s miserable misrule, and his proteges were her enemies. She specially guided the ecclesiastical policy of the Government, while Marcian fought its enemies outside. The Court resolved to free itself and the State from the Alexandrian despot. This could not be done without the help of Rome, for—and this is a fact of the highest importance—the Council of 449 had really pacified the Church of the East. Of course there were some who were discontented, but they were in the minority. The Court could not in carrying out its new policy reckon on the support of any united and reliable party. It was only in Constantinople that it was able to make way quickly, for there Flavian was not yet forgotten. The Church of the East had enjoyed peace since August. In order that the State might get back its independence, this Church which had been pacified, had to be disturbed anew and reduced to the most lamentable condition.
Marcian, whose recognition as Emperor Dioscurus had sought to prevent in Egypt, at once addressed a letter to Leo. He formally handed over to the latter the primacy with which his predecessor had actually invested Dioscurus, and announced besides his readiness to summon the Council desired by Leo.393393Marcian ep. in Leon. epp. 73: “Pro reverenda et catholica religione fidei Christianorum tuam sanctitatem principatum in episcopatu divinæ fidei possidentem sacris litteris in principio justum credimus alloquendam . . . omni impio errore sublato per celebrandam synodum te auctore maxime pax circa omnes episcopos fidei catholicæ fiat!” It was in these terms that Marcian wrote to Leo! But he had in view merely an Eastern Council; see the second letter (ep. 76). Soon after an epistle reached Leo from Pulcheria which announced the change of view on the part of the bishop of Constantinople. He had subscribed Leo’s dogmatic letter, that sent to Flavian, and had condemned the erroneous doctrine of Eutyches; the Emperor had also ordered the recall of the bishops who had been deposed by the Council, and their reinstatement 213in office was reserved for the Council over which, if possible, Leo was to preside in person and which was to be held in the East. As a matter of fact in the capital itself, after a local Synod had been called, everything was already going as the Emperor, or rather, as the Empress, desired. The wretched toady, the patriarch, the creature and the betrayer of Dioscurus, was prepared to do everything the Court wished. In view of the completely changed circumstances Leo had no longer any wish for a Council, because a Council might always mean action which was dangerous for the Pope. He now took up the position that his letter was sufficient, that the bishops were individually to bind themselves to accept the doctrine set forth in it, and that by their return to orthodoxy and the erasure of the names of Dioscurus, Juvenal, etc., from the Diptychs, the Robber-Council would be rendered powerless for harm. He wished on his own initiative and apart from any Council, but with the assistance of his legates, to act the part of judge and to receive to favour or punish as impenitent each individual bishop; the bishop of Constantinople was to act with him in the matter as his mandatory. He therewith made an actual beginning with the business and it was now fairly on its way. And as a matter of fact Leo may have been naïve enough to imagine that the solution of the dogmatic difficulty of the East was contained in his sorry letter, for it seems never to have occurred to the Pope that there could be any other Christologies besides the “correct” one, Doketism, and the doctrine of Paul of Samosata. He had no appreciation of the subtle, though no doubt partly incorrect formulæ of the Greek theologians; but he was sure of his ground, and it was with this feeling that the letters 82-86 were composed, in which the Pope sought at all costs to prevent the calling of a Council as being unnecessary and inopportune.394394The Westerns could not come, he writes, because of the distress occasioned by the Huns. But Marcian required the Council for himself and for the Eastern Church, in which, since the change of rulers, no one knew what he should believe, and in which, for the time, many bishoprics were held by two bishops or had no bishop at all. The Emperor had no desire 214to surrender to the Pope while claiming his help. He issued an edict ordaining the Council to meet at Nicæa in September 451, and Leo had to acquiesce, though with a very bad grace (ep. 89). He arranged to send four legates and deputed to one of them, Bishop Paschasinus, the duty of presiding in his stead; for Marcian had designated Leo himself as leader of the future Council, and so what Dioscurus had got for himself in 449 after a struggle, the Pope now secured without taking any trouble.395395Still the presidency was only an honorary presidency; even Hefele admits that “the official conducting of the business” was looked after by the Imperial Commissioners. As a matter of fact the Romish Legates were merely the first to record their vote. Still Leo was extremely uneasy. His numerous letters (89-95) prove that he was afraid of “innovations contrary to the Nicene Creed”, i.e., divergences from his doctrinal letter. He accordingly kept constantly counselling mildness and forgiveness; whoever would only condemn Eutyches and recognise the Nicene Creed was to be regarded as orthodox. The controversy regarding the Faith was in no case to be renewed, everything was clear and finally decided. In his letter to the Council (93) he expressly guarded his position by hinting that besides the condemnation of Eutyches, that of Nestorius also in the year 431, must remain in force. This request was rather an act of self-justification than a demand; for there were very few in the East who were disposed to rehabilitate Nestorius, but then there was no actual repudiation of the “heretic” in the epistola dogmatica. But all this did not in fine constitute the Pope’s greatest anxiety. What he dreaded above all was the restoration of the power of the bishop whom his predecessors in alliance with the Alexandrians had humbled, the bishop of Constantinople, behind whom was Constantius’ idea of the State. Now, however, he was at enmity with the old ally and had in fact humiliated him to the dust,396396One of the instructions given by Leo to his legates is to the effect that Dioscurus ought not to have a seat in the Council, but should only be heard as a defendant; Mansi VI , p. 580 sq. but with the downfall of the enemy the support he had given disappeared too. The Pope’s anxiety comes out in the precise instructions given to the legates:397397Mansi VII., p. 443. “You may not permit the constitution set up by 215the holy Fathers (the sixth Canon of Nicæa according to the Roman forgery) to be violated or diminished by any rash action. . . . and if perchance some trusting to the dignity of their cities shall have attempted to appropriate anything for themselves, this you may check with befitting firmness.” (“Sanctorum patrum constitutionem prolatam nulla patiamini temeritate violari vel imminui . . . ac si qui forte civitatum suarum splendore confisi aliquid sibi tentaverint usurpare, hoc qua dignum est constantia retundatis”). In order to ensure the Emperor’s personal presence which the Roman legates insisted upon, the Council was at the last moment transferred to Chalcedon in the neighbourhood of the capital, and was opened on the eighth of October, 451.
As regards the number of those who took part in it—between 500 and 600 and perhaps over 600—no earlier Council can compare with this one, which was “politically and ecclesiastically one of the most important of all”,398398Ranke, Weltgesch. IV. 1, p. 324. 399399Luther, who is, speaking generally, not favourably disposed towards the Chalcedonian Council, says of it (von Conciliis and Kirchen, Erl. Ed., Vol., 25, p. 351): “The Fourth Council of Chalcedon had 630 members, almost as many as all the others, and yet they were quite unequal to the Fathers at Nicæa and Constantinople.” a memorial of the restoration of the authority of the State accomplished by Pulcheria and Marcian, but for this very reason a memorial of the enslavement of the spirit of the Eastern Church which here, in connection with the most important doctrinal question, surrendered to the Western supreme bishop allied with the Emperor. We have no right at all to say that possibly the “authorised moment of truth” of the Antiochian Christology triumphed at Chalcedon over the dogmatic ideas of the Alexandrians and the monks, for the representatives of this Christology had long ere this succumbed to the power of the Alexandrian Confession. The unspeakably pitiful behaviour too of the Patriarchs of Antioch and of the largest section of the bishops who were theologians in sympathy with them,—the Antiochian middle-party which dates from 433—proves that the members of this school conscious of their miserable powerlessness, had of their own free will long ere this renounced all attempts to influence the Church. The disgrace attaching to this Council consists in 216the fact that the great majority of the bishops who held the same views as Cyril and Dioscurus finally allowed a formula to be forced upon them which was that of strangers, of the Emperor and the Pope, and which did not correspond to their belief. Judging by the Acts of the Council we can be in no doubt as regards the following points:400400From the Récits de Dioscore (Krüger op. cit. 12 ff. 61-68) we gather—what was hitherto not known—that Dioscurus was to be won over in a friendly way by the Court after he had arrived at Constantinople from Alexandria. accompanied by fewer bishops than he had intended to have with him, in consequence of an intrigue. We now know that he was conducted to a meeting of ecclesiastical notables and that there he also met the Emperor and Pulcheria. Every effort was made to get him to agree to the ep. Leonis; but he remained firm and it is said that by his glowing words against the two natures he for the time being again won over the bishops (Anatolius, Juvenal, Maximus of Antioch and others) as well as the Senate to his doctrine. This is very probable. The story given in Krüger, p. 62, shews by what a spirit of rebellion against the State and Emperor he and his followers were animated. It follows from the Acts that during the first session of the Council of Chalcedon he was still a power. (1) that the views of the great majority of the Fathers assembled at Chalcedon agreed neither with those of Leo nor with those of Flavian who represented the Antiochian middle-party, that on the contrary they, and above all the Illyrian, Palestinian, and Egyptian bishops, wished for nothing else beyond the ratification of the Creeds of Nicæa and Ephesus as understood by Cyril;401401Those too who held Antiochian views were undoubtedly no small number, namely, bishops from Syria, Asia, Pontus, and Thrace; they could accept Leo’s letter: but (1) they were in the minority. (2) Partly by their repudiation of Nestorius and partly by what they did at Ephesus in 449 they had made the sacrifcium intellectus fidei and were thus spiritually demoralised. Others might without trouble have gained all they wanted so far as they were concerned. (2) that for this reason the formula, “out of two natures Christ is,” with the addition either expressed or understood, that after the Incarnation the God-Logos had only one nature which had become flesh, alone answered to the faith of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Anatolius and of the majority of the bishops; (3) that far from Theodoret and his friends possessing the sympathy of the majority of the members of the Council, they had to endure the worst forms of abuse, being called “Jews”, while Theodoret succeeded in saving his orthodoxy only by allowing his opponents to extort from him the condemnation of Nestorius;402402The threatening and abusive language (“Whoever divides Christ ought to be divided himself; dismember them, cast them out, etc.”) used at Chalcedon was not any milder than that used at Ephesus in 449. Theodoret condemned Nestorius at the eighth sitting, Mansi VII., p. 185 sq. From the time of Leo I., moreover, the orthodox and those whose views were more of the type of the school of Antioch, applied the worst term of abuse, “Jew”, to the Eutychians (Monophysites) because they ostensibly denied the Incarnation. (4) 217that the Imperial Commissioners directed all the proceedings and were resolved from the first to get the deposition of Dioscurus carried through at the Council, although they gave the Council the show of freedom; (5) that the Imperial Commissioners had been at the same time instructed to press for the establishment of a new doctrinal formula on the basis of Leo’s letter in order to bring to an end the intolerable state of things which had prevailed in the Church of the East owing to the annulling of the resolution of 449; (6) that the Roman legates were at one with the Commissioners in their determination to get the Council to decree the deposition of Dioscurus and the setting up of a dogmatic confession, but that they differed from them so far in that they wished Dioscurus to be described as a heretic, in other words, as a rebel against the Pope, and at the same time exerted themselves simply towards getting Leo’s ep. dogmatica accepted in the Church; (7) that Dioscurus had to submit to a judicial process of an extremely disgraceful and unjust kind, that he acquitted himself worthily, and firmly maintained his position as the successor of Athanasius, and that in the end he was in no sense deposed on the ground of heresy, nor on account of murder, but on the ground of certain irregularities, including contempt for the divine canon, and disobedience to the Council,403403Dioscurus protested that he did not assume that there was any mixing of the natures; and nobody was able to prove the opposite against him; see Mansi VI., p. 676: Διόσκορος εἶπεν· οὔτε σύγχυσιν λέγομεν οὔτε τομὴν οὔτε τροπήν. ἀνάθεμα τῷ λέγοντι σύγχυσιν ἢ τροπὴν ἢ ἄνάκρασιν. On the other hand he was not refuted when he (p. 683) asserted: “Flavian was justly condemned because he still maintained two natures after the union. I can prove from Athanasius, Gregory, and Cyril that after the union we ought rather to speak only of one incarnate nature of the Logos. I will be rejected together with the Fathers, but I am defending the doctrine of the Fathers, and yield on no point.” He approved of the expression “out of two natures”; one can readily understand how as early as the second session he no longer wished to appear at the Council. while his deceased opponent Flavian 218was on the other hand rehabilitated;404404In connection with this affair Juvenal and the Palestinian bishops changed their opinion in the most disgraceful fashion. (8) that the bishops who had met together with him at Ephesus at first attempted to make out that the vote they gave there had been extorted by force, but that afterwards when they found they could not prove this they described themselves in the most dishonourable way as erring men who had gone wrong and begged forgiveness, although as a matter of fact they did not deny their faith at Ephesus in the year 449, but now at Chalcedon;405405Some of them had agreed with Flavian in 448, with Dioscurus in 449, and now they agreed with the Council! Even the Imperial Commissioners blamed the bishops for the contradiction in which they entangled themselves when they gave out that their vote of the year 449 had been purely extorted from them; see Mansi VI., p. 637 fin. It has to be noted, moreover, that throughout the proceedings it was much more—in fact it was almost exclusively—a question of persons, of their standing, or of the right or wrong of their condemnation, and therefore as to Nestorius, Cyril, Flavian, Eutyches, Theodoret, Dioscurus, Leo, than a question of the actual matter in hand. In the first place everyone took care not to touch the real point or to have anything to do with constructing formula., and in the second place the personal question was with most of them the main thing. (9) that, considering the views of the faith prevailing at the time, the great majority of the bishops were able to comply with a new rule of faith even though it might be expressed in the usual terms, only by doing violence to their consciences, and that they finally deceived themselves by drawing the delusive distinction that it was not a question of an exposition (ἔκθεσις) but of an interpretation (ἑρμηνεία); (10) that spite of all the pressure put on them by the Roman legates and the commissioners, the majority under the guidance of Anatolius while expressly emphasing the fact that Dioscurus was not deposed on account of heresy—Anatolius had always in his heart agreed with the views of Dioscurus—further attempted to set up a doctrinal formula in which the distinction between the two natures was made one in thought only, and which made it possible to speak of one nature after the Incarnation,406406See the proceedings in Mansi VII., p. 97 sq. and that three statements particularly, in the third and fourth chapters of Leo’s letter to Flavian, (see above) appeared to the bishops 219to be intolerably Nestorian;407407The expression so frequently used by the Westerns, God has assumed “a man”, was also found fault with, but not officially. (11) that the bishops abandoned their proposed formula only after the most violent threats on the part of the Emperor, among which too was a threat to transfer the Council to Italy, and that they outwardly reconciled themselves to the statements of Leo with which they had found fault by deluding themselves with the false idea that Cyril said very much what Leo said and that both were in agreement; (12) that the new doctrinal formula408408The formula was probably already drawn up when the Chalcedonian Council began; that commission cannot have got it ready in the short time it had; it even appears to follow from what is said in the Récits de Dioscore that it had already been laid before the Court previous to the meeting of the Council. would nevertheless not have been carried through if it had not finally been established under severe pressure at a secret commission, and that this formula is so far lacking in veracity in that it is intended to contain the genuine doctrine of Cyril and recognises the resolution of the Cyrillian Council of 431, while it gives it the go-bye in so far as it sets aside the unity and union of the natures.
The imperial-papal formula was proclaimed and adopted at the fifth sitting.409409See Mansi VII., p. 107 sq. It first of all confirms the decision of Nicæa a, Constantinople, and Ephesus, it then explains that the Creed which had been handed down is sufficient in itself, but that on account of the teachers of false doctrine who on the one hand reject the designation θεοτόκος and on the other wish to introduce the idea of a confusion (σύγχυσις) and mixing (κρᾶσις) of the natures, “and absurdly fabricate only one nature for the flesh and the Godhead,”410410Rarely had any one to my knowledge expressed himself in this way after Apollinaris (μίαν εἶναι τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῆς θεότητος φύσιν), but the Bishops had first to distort the faith which they themselves had avowed and which they now nevertheless rejected, in order to turn it into a heresy. The “Eranistes” of Theodoret, however, attacks those who “make the divinity and humanity into one nature.” and consider the divine nature of the only-begotten to be capable of suffering, the Council has adopted both the letters of Cyril to Nestorius411411The Anathemas of Cyril are also implicitly to be understood as included in these; see Loofs, op. cit. p. 50 f. and the Easterns, as 220well as the letter of Leo. It is therefore directed both against those who break up the mystery of the Incarnation into two sons, and also against those who consider the Godhead of the only-begotten to be capable of suffering, who imagine a mingling and a fusion and declare the human substance of Christ to be a heavenly substance: “those who on the one hand assert two natures in the Lord before the union and those on the other hand who imagine one after the union, be anathema.” (καὶ τοὺς δύο μὲν πρὸ τῆς ἑνώσεως φύσεις τοῦ κυρίου μυθεύοντας, μίαν δὲ μετὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν ἀναπλάττοντας, ἀναθεματίζει). (This was the sacrifice of the thought of Faith.) “Following therefore the holy Fathers, we all agree in teaching plainly that it is necessary to confess one and the same Son our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect alike in His divinity and perfect in his humanity, alike truly God and truly man,” (Ἑπομενοι τοίνον τοῖς ἁγίοις πατράσιν ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν ὁμολογεῖν υἱὸν τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χρ. συμφώνως ἅπαντες ἐκδιδάσκομεν, τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν θεότητι καὶ τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν ἀνθρωπὸτητι, Θεὸν ἀληθῶς καὶ ἄνθρωπον ἀληθῶς τὸν αὐτόν). This is further developed in detail, then we have: “We acknowledge one and the same Christ in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; nowhere is the difference of the natures annulled because of the union, but on the contrary the property of each of the two natures is preserved; each nature coming together into one person and one hypostasis, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God-Logos.” (ἕνα καί τὸν αὐτὸν Χριστὸν . . . ἐν δύο φύσεσιν412412It is here that the difficulty occurs which has been so much discussed, namely, that the Greek text gives ἐκ δύο φύσεων and the Latin “in duabus naturis”. Judging from all that preceded this, one cannot but hold that Tillemont, Walch, Gieseler, Neander, Hefele and others are right (as against Baur and Dörner) and look for the original reading in the latter phrase. The form in which we have the Greek text is of course not a mere error, but is an ancient falsification. In the period from the fifth to the seventh century the falsification of acts was an important weapon for the defence of what was sacred. ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀχωρίστως γνωρίζομεν· οὐδαμοῦ τῆς τῶν φύσεων διαφορᾶς ἀνῃρημένης διὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν, σωζομένης δὲ μᾶλλον τῆς ἰδιότητος ἑκατέρας φύσεως. καὶ εἰς ἓν πρόσωπον καὶ μίαν ὑπόστασιν συντρεχούσης, οὐκ εἰς δύο πρόσωπα μεριζόμενον ἢ διαιρούμενον, ἀλλὰ ἕνα 221καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν υἱὸν καὶ μονογενῆ, Θεὸν λόγου). The decree appeals in support of these statements to the Old Testament, to Jesus Christ Himself, and—to the Nicene Creed; at the close it is said that no one is to accept or teach any other creed, that on the contrary only this form of belief is to be handed down in connection with the instruction of Jews, heathen, and heretics.
The Emperor had now got what he wished. He had shewn that he ruled the Church, and he had got a formula according to which he was able henceforth to decide what was orthodox and what was heretical.413413This prospect was indeed a delusive one; for since the Council had expressly appealed both to Cyril and to Leo, its decree could be interpreted according to the views either of the one or of the other, and consequently the old trouble was really there again. The three decrees of February 7th, March 13th, and July 28th, 452, (Mansi VII., pp. 476, 477, 501) are a proof of the energy and vigour with which the Emperor purposed to enforce the Chalcedonian Creed. According to the first of these all controversy was to cease, nobody was to dispute publicly regarding the faith. Whoever does this is looking in broad daylight for a false light, commits an act of sacrilege, insults the holy Council and betrays the secret to the Jews and the heathen. He must accordingly expect severe punishment, which has been already fixed and which will he of different degrees for the separate classes of the community. According to the third edict Eutychians and Apollinarians are forbidden to have pastors; those who contravene this order are to be punished with confiscation of their goods and exile. The right of assemblage, the right of building churches, and of being together in monasteries, is withdrawn from them. Their property is to go to the Exchequer. So too they are deprived of the power of inheriting anything and of bequeathing anything. Eutychian monks are to be treated as Manicheans, are to be driven from their “stalls” and removed from the soil of the Empire. Eutychian writings are to be burned, etc. Eutyches and Dioscurus themselves must go into exile. An end was put to the uncertain state of things which permitted everyone to appeal to the 318 bishops and in doing this to think whatever he liked. In the full consciousness of his triumph Marcian appeared in person along with Pulcheria at the sitting immediately following (6), and addressed the Council, making express reference to Constantine. He was greeted with acclamations from the whole Council: “We all so believe; we are all orthodox; this Faith has saved the world; hail to Marcian, the new Constantine, the new Paul, the new David! You are the peace of the world; Pulcheria is the new Helena!” But the Pope too had got what he wanted, if not everything. His letter had not been 222given straight off the place of a doctrinal ordinance, but the Conciliar-decree had proceeded from this letter; his dogmatic teaching was acknowledged, and in his address to the Council Marcian had given expression to this fact. The truth is that without the help of the Papal legates Marcian could not have effected anything. But the Church of the East had been deprived of its faith.414414In respect of its relation to the orthodox faith and of the fact that it owed its origin to the Emperor, the Chalcedonian Creed may be compared with the decrees of the last Councils of Constantius. It is true that orthodoxy afterwards found it easier to reconcile itself to the two natures than to the “likeness”. Still perhaps it might have come to terms with the latter also. The ἕνωσις φυσική, the natural union, was not mentioned; no one could any longer unhesitatingly teach that the God-Logos had taken up the human nature into the unity of his unique substance and made it the perfect organ of His deity. The construction of a Christology based on the God-Logos was severely shaken; the “two hypostases” (δύο ὑποστάσεις) were not expressly condemned. In the “coming together” (συντρέχειν) each nature continues to exist in its own mode of being; the divinity has not absorbed the humanity nor has the humanity been exalted to the height of the divinity, but the human and divine natures are simply united in the person of the Redeemer, and therefore only mediately and in an individual (individuum). No pious Greek who had had Athanasius and Cyril for his teachers could acknowledge that to be “the right mean”; it was not even a formula of compromise like that of the year 433; it was the abandonment of the work of developing the Christological formula strictly in accordance with soteriology. The latter itself now became uncertain. If humanity was not deified in Christ, but if in His case His humanity was merely united with the divinity by the prosopon or person, then what effect can a union such as that have for us? That formula can only be of advantage either to the detested “moralism” of the Antiochians, or to mysticism, which bases its hope of redemption on the idea that the God-Logos continually unites Himself anew with each individual soul so as to form a union. The four bald negative terms (ἀσυγχύτως etc.,) which are supposed to express the whole truth, are in the view of the classical theologians amongst the Greeks, profoundly 223irreligious. They are wanting in warm, concrete substance; of the bridge which his faith is to the believer, the bridge from earth to heaven, they make a line which is finer than the hair upon which the adherents of Islam one day hope to enter Paradise. One may indeed say that the Chalcedonian Creed preserved for the East the minimum of historical conception which the Church still possessed regarding the person of Christ, by cutting short the logical results of the doctrine of redemption, which threatened completely to destroy the Christ of the Gospels. But the Fathers who accepted the Creed did not think of that. They in fact accepted it under compulsion, and if they had thought of this, the price which they paid would have been too dear; for a theology which, in what is for it the most important of all questions, has recourse to mere negatives, is self-condemned. Nor is it of any use to point to the fact that the Council merely gave the mystery a definite standing and thereby furthered the interests of the Greek Church and the Greek theology. The true mystery on the contrary was contained in the substantial union of the two natures themselves. It was seriously damaged by being banished from its place here, and when in place of it the conception of the union, a conception which was supposed at the same time to involve a state of separation, was raised to the position of the secret of faith. The real mystery was thus shoved aside by a pseudo-mystery which in truth no longer permitted theology to advance to the thought of the actual and perfect union. Monophysitism which holds to the statement that, without prejudice to the homoousia of the body of Christ with our body, the God-Logos made this body His own body and for this reason took it up into the unity of His substance, is without doubt the legitimate heir of the theology of Athanasius and the fitting expression of Greek Christianity.415415We can only adduce one consideration here, namely, that it was essential to this Christianity which had the New Testament beside it, that it should never, just because of this, develop in a logical way as a mystical doctrine of redemption. Understood in this sense no objection can be taken to the statement that the logical development of the monophysite faith even in its least extravagant form, was bound to come into conflict with certain elements of the ecclesiastical tradition, or with certain New Testament passages which could not be given up. The proposition, however, which was 224now to pass for orthodox, “each nature in communion with the other does what is proper to it,” (agit utraque forma cum alterius communione, quod proprium est) actually makes two subjects out of one and betokens a lapse from the ancient faith. That the view we have here expressed is correct is attested by the previous history of the formula of the two natures and the one person. Up to this time scarcely anything had been known in the East of a “nature without hypostasis” (φύσις ἀνυπόστατος), although the Antiochians had distinguished between φύσις and πρόσωπον. It is attested further by the melancholy proceedings at the Council itself, and, as will be shewn, it is attested above all by the history which follows. A formula was now introduced which could ultimately be traced to a legal source and which for that reason could be transformed into a philosophical-theological formula only by a scholastic.
At Chalcedon only a part of the deputation of monks who had approached the Council with the prayer that the ancient faith might not suffer harm, and also the majority of the Egyptian monks, remained firm.416416See the proceedings of the fourth sitting. We cannot say, however, whether the action of the latter was an instance of the courage of faith. Their request that the Council should not compel them to accept the formula since in this case they would be killed after their return to Egypt, their despairing cry, “We shall be killed, if we subscribe Leo’s epistle; we would rather be put to death here by you than there; have pity on us: we would rather die at the hands of the Emperor and at your hands than at home,” proves that they were still more afraid of Coptic fanaticism than of the Emperor’s police. They were allowed to postpone their subscription till a new bishop should be appointed to Alexandria, since they had explained that without a new bishop they could do nothing. They were not, however, to stir from Constantinople till then.
The Council was to be a Council of peace after the downfall of Dioscurus. All were pardoned, even Ibas himself, and on the other hand, the traitorous associates of Dioscurus at whose head stood Juvenal of Jerusalem. All were restored to their bishoprics so far as that was at all feasible. A series of Canons 225was then issued dealing with the regulation of ecclesiastical matters. The seventeenth Canon asserted in a blunt fashion what was a fundamental Byzantine principle: “let the arrangement also of the ecclesiastical districts follow that of the civil and state places.” (τοῖς πολιτικοῖς καὶ δημοσίοις τόποις καὶ τῶν ἐκκκλησιαστικῶν παροικιῶν ἡ τάξις ἀκολουθείτω). The twenty-eighth, under cover of an appeal to the third Canon417417The Romans before this had no official knowledge whatever of this Canon, and in praxi it had not been entirely enforced, even in the East itself, as the Robber-Synod shews. of 381, struck a blow at Rome by ordaining that the patriarch of Constantinople was to enjoy similar privileges to those possessed by the bishop of Rome, was to be second to him in rank, and was to get an enormous extension of his diocese—namely, over Pontus, Asia, and Thrace. The proceedings in connection with this matter do not belong to the history of dogma, although Leo combated the resolution with dogmatic arguments drawn from tradition. The Roman legates, we may note, entered their protest. The Emperor once more created for himself a patriarch primi ordinis, after that the patriarch of Alexandria had had to be overthrown, and it was the bishop of his own capital whom he put alongside of the Roman bishop. The Council had to ask the Pope to confirm the twenty-eighth Canon by way of return, as it was openly put, for the acknowledgment of his dogmatic letter in the East.418418Leo, ep. 98. The letter is full of flattery of the Pope; see c. I. It follows too from the formally very submissive epistle of Anatolius to Leo (ep. 100) that an attempt had been made to induce Leo by flattery to acknowledge the 28th Canon. We gather from Marcian’s epistle to Leo (ep. 100) that the Emperor considered that Canon as the most important ordinance of the Council together with the doctrinal decision. For details see Kattenbusch, op. cit. I., p. 87 ff., where the Canons 9 and 17 are discussed. But the Pope remained firm; his letters 104-107 prove that he had no intention of surrendering the grand success he had secured just in the East. A primacy of the East in Constantinople was the greatest possible danger, and for this reason Leo at once again took up the cause of the chairs of Alexandria and Antioch. In fact he now even shewed some hesitation in giving his approval of the resolutions of the great Councils generally, so that the Monophysites came to be 226under the pleasing delusion that he was inclined to side with them. (!)419419See ep. 110; the approval followed in ep. 114, with certain reservations because of Canon 28; see ep. 115-117. He soon entirely broke with Anatolius and entered into negotiations with the new bishop of Alexandria (ep. 129) and with the bishop of Antioch (ep. 119) whose position in their patriarchates he sought to strengthen, and whom he begged to send him more frequently information regarding their affairs that he might be able to render them assistance. Soon, however, the Constantinopolitan bishop Anatolius found himself in such a difficult position owing to the new dogmatic controversies, that he preferred to shelve the Canon complained of and once more to seek the friendship of Leo which he did indeed secure.
|« Prev||2. The Eutychian Controversy.||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version