« Nestorius, bishop of Side Nestorius and Nestorianism Nicarete, a lady of Nicomedia »

Nestorius and Nestorianism

Nestorius (3) and Nestorianism. One of the most far-reaching controversies in the history of the church is connected with the name of Nestorius, who became patriarch of Constantinople in A.D. 428, in succession to Sisinnius. So protracted has it been that even to the present day Nestorian churches, as they are called, exist in Assyria and India, and their members are not in communion with those of the other Christian churches in the East. The history of the form of thought which produced such far-reaching results must be interesting to every student of theology. Nestorius himself was brought up in the cloister, and had, as Neander remarks, imbibed the tendencies to narrowness, partisanship, impatience, and ignorance of mankind which are not unfrequently found among those who have been educated apart from their fellows. He was brought from Antioch, we are told—a fact of which the significance will presently be seen. He appears to have been eloquent and sincere, and his austerity of life had won for him the admiration of man. Socrates, a specially well-informed contemporary, and a layman of judgment and fairness, speaks with some severity of his first steps after he became patriarch (H. E. vii. 29). He is described as addressing the emperor (Theodosius II.) immediately after his appointment, "before all the people," with the words, "Give me, O prince, a country purged of heretics, and I will give you heaven as a recompense. Assist me in destroying heretics, and I will assist you in vanquishing the Persians." Such language was more enthusiastic than wise. It was no doubt pleasing to the multitude, but (Socr. l.c.) it made a very bad impression on thoughtful hearers. "Before he had tasted of the waters of the city," the historian proceeds, using a proverbial phrase, he had flung himself headlong into acts of violence and persecution. On the fifth day after his consecration, he resolved to destroy the oratory in which the Arians were wont to celebrate their worship, and thereby he not only drove them to desperation, but, as Socrates adds, he alienated thinking men of his own communion. He next attacked the Quartodecimans and the Novatianists with equal violence, although neither sect was involved in heresy by its schism from the church, and the Novatianists had steadily supported the church in its controversy with the Arians. He then turned his attention to the Macedonians. [MACEDONIUS.] For his treatment of this sect there is more excuse. The bp. of Germa, on the Hellespont, had treated them with such severity that, driven to desperation, they had sent two assassins to murder him. For this rash act they were deprived of their churches in Constantinople and the neighbourhood. It was at least unwise to convert the members of four "denominations," as we should now call them, into bitter antagonists, and it was not very long before an occasion arose for them to display their hostility.

The development of theology in Syria had for some time taken a different direction from that which it had taken in Egypt, where the tendency had been to lay stress on the divine, and therefore mysterious, side of Christianity. But in Syria a school had arisen, of which Diodorus of Tarsus and the celebrated Theodore of Mopsuestia were the leaders, which devoted itself to the critical interpretation of Scripture, and favoured the application of logical investigation to the facts and doctrines of Christianity. These two tendencies were certain some day to come into collision, and when reinforced by the personal jealousy felt by successive patriarchs of Alexandria at the elevation in 381 of Constantinople, as New Rome, to the second place among the patriarchates, over the head of a church which could boast of St. Mark as its founder, there was plenty of material for a conflagration. Already premonitions of the approaching conflict between Alexandria and Constantinople had appeared in the successful intrigues of THEOPHILUS, patriarch of Alexandria, against the renowned JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, patriarch of Constantinople. The violence of Nestorius and his supporters set fire to the material already provided; the immediate occasion being the sermon of a presbyter named Anastasius, whom Nestorius had brought with him from Antioch, and in whom he reposed much confidence. Anastasius is said to have used the words (Socr. H. E. vii. 32), "Let no man call Mary θεοτόκος, for Mary was human, and it is impossible that God could be born from a human being." This utterance naturally caused amazement and distress, for the word θεοτόκος had been applied to the Virgin by authorities as high as Origen, Athanasius, and Eusebius of Caesarea, and it was insisted on with some vehemence by Gregory of Nazianzus. It is also found in the letter of Alexander of Alexandria to Alexander of Constantinople. [ARIUS.] Nestorius supported his protégé, and delivered several discourses, in which he maintained the thesis of his subordinate with ability and energy, and with some heat. He was promptly charged with having involved himself in the heresies of Photinus or Paul of Samosata. Socrates denies that this was the case. But he remarks on the unreasonable antipathy of Nestorius to a word to which orthodox churchmen were well accustomed. This antipathy may partly, perhaps, be explained by a dislike on the part of Nestorius to the tendency to undue honour to the Virgin which had already displayed itself. But it was still more due to the teaching of Theodore of Mopsuestia and his school, which had laid undue stress on the humanity of Christ, and had not shrunk from representing the inhabitation of the Man Christ Jesus by the Divine Logos as differing rather in degree than 754in kind from that by which God was pleased to dwell in the prophets and other holy men of old. If, they contended, there were any union of natures in Christ, it was not a personal union, but an ἕνωσις σχετική (a union of things diverse in a close relation). Such teaching had a dangerous tendency to humanitarianism, and to the division of Christ into two hypostases [ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF], as well as implying the existence in Him of two separate and possibly antagonistic sources of will and action.

The ferment caused by these injudicious utterances spread far and wide, and soon reached Alexandria. Cyril, the patriarch, who had succeeded his uncle Theophilus, was by no means disinclined to lower the credit of a rival whose elevation he at once envied and despised. We must not suppose, however, that Cyril had no convictions of his own on the point, for, as Dorner very properly reminds us, he had already published his opinions on it. Not content, however, with assailing with rare theological ability the opinions of Nestorius, he condescended to less worthy expedients. Not only did he exaggerate and misrepresent the language of his antagonist, but he tried to involve him in charges of Apollinarianism [APOLLINARIS] and Pelagianism [PELAGIUS]. Theodore, from whom Nestorius had imbibed his theology, was in the most direct antagonism to Apollinaris, whose teaching, while insisting strongly on the Godhead of Christ, involved the denial of His Perfect Manhood. And the divines of all schools of thought in the East, in the opinion of the disciples of Augustine, were more or less tinged with Pelagianism. As Nestorius had shewn some kindness to Pelagians who had fled to him from the West, the accusation of Pelagianism suited Cyril's purpose.

Before entering into the history of the controversy, we must pause for a moment and endeavour to understand the questions involved, and the different aspects from which they were approached by the disputants. The Syrian school, as we have seen, approached these questions from the human side, and favoured inductive methods. The starting-point of Theodore was man, in the sphere of the visible and tangible. The starting-point of Cyril was God, in the sphere of the mysterious and unknown. The development (for of such a development Scripture unquestionably speaks) of the Manhood of Christ when inhabited by the Godhead seems to have been the prominent idea on the part of the Syrian school. It inquired whether the indwelling of the Godhead in Jesus Christ was one of Nature or simply of energy, and it undoubtedly leaned too much toward the assertion of a dual personality in Christ. The watchword (as Neander calls it) of the Alexandrians, on the other hand, was the ineffable and (to human reason) inconceivable nature of the inhabitation of the Man Christ Jesus by the Divine Logos. We must not forget that the Syrians, though not of course unacquainted with Greek, habitually thought in Syriac, and used a Syrian version of the Scriptures, which had been in existence in their churches in one form or another ever since the 2nd cent. The use of the term θεοτόκος had been approved by Theodore himself, under certain limitations, which makes the passionate protest of Nestorius against it the more unfortunate. Nestorius, unfortunately for himself, was not a clear thinker or reasoner, and was therefore no match for his antagonist Cyril. Great confusion, it should be remarked in passing, has been caused by the inaccurate translation of θεοτόκος into modern languages by the words Mother of God. Whether the soul of an infant is derived from its parents is an old and still debated question. But the term "mother" unquestionably involves in many minds the idea of transmission of essence, whereas the title θεοτόκος, as Theodoret does not fail to point out in his reply to Cyril's anathemas, simply means that she to whom it was applied was the medium through which a Divine Being was introduced into this world in human form. The controversy raised the question whether the term συνάφεια (connexion or conjunction) or ἕνωσις (union) were the better fitted to denote the nature of the relation between the Godhead and the Manhood in Christ. The Syrians inclined to the former, the Alexandrians to the latter. Some confusion of thought continued to exist about the use of the terms πρόσωτον and ὑπόστασις to signify what we in English express by the one inadequate word "person." These two Greek words [ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF] were, from the council of Constantinople onward, usually understood to signify respectively the appearance, as regarded by one outside it, and the inward distinction, or, as Gregory of Nazianzus puts it, "speciality" (ιδιότης), which distinguishes one individual of a genus or species from another. But when the word ὑπόστασις is applied to the conditions of Being in God, the caution of our own Hooker is verb necessary (Eccl. Pot. V. lvi. 2), that the Divine Nature is itself unique. It seems pretty plain that even so clear a thinker as Cyril, in his defence of his anathemas as well as elsewhere, does not distinguish sufficiently between the use of the word ὑπόστασις at Nicaea, and the signification which had come to be attached to it in the first council of Constantinople. Nor should it be forgotten that though many modern divines are wont to represent Theodore of Mopsuestia as a dangerous heretic, he was rather, like Origen at an earlier period, a pioneer of theological inquiry [ARIUS], and that, like Origen, he lived and died m the communion of the church, though some of the propositions laid down by him were afterwards shewn to be erroneous. It may not be amiss to sum up these remarks on the question at issue in the words of Canon Bright, who certainly cannot be charged with undue tenderness for Nestorius, on the title θεοτόκος. "It challenged objection; it was open to misconstruction; it needed some theological insight to do it justice; it made the perception of the true issue difficult; it stimulated that 'cultus' which has now, in the Roman church, attained proportions so portentous."

History of the Controversy.—There was considerable ferment in Constantinople in 755consequence of the utterances of Nestorius and his followers, even before the intervention of Cyril. One Proclus, who had been appointed bp. of Cyzicus but had not been accepted by the church there, was residing in Constantinople, and raised a storm by inveighing not a little indecently, in the very presence of the patriarch, against the doctrines promulgated by him. Proclus was probably giving expression to real convictions, but was clearly not in a position which justified him in undertaking the task. Nestorius replied, and attacked the extravagant laudation of the Virgin by Proclus, describing it as derogatory to the honour of her Son. But, as was usual with him, he deprecated all noisy applause on the part of his hearers—therein displaying better taste than most of his contemporaries—and went on to declare that he did not object to the term θεοτόκος, provided Mary were not made into a goddess. The dispute grew warm. Placards were affixed to the walls of the churches in Constantinople, and sermons preached against the patriarch. The opportunity thus given was not one which Cyril was likely to neglect. Though a man of ability and a theologian far above the average, he was ambitious, violent, and unscrupulous. Socrates does not conceal his sense of Cyril's unfairness toward Nestorius, strongly as he animadverts on the lack of judgment and self-control displayed by the latter. Cyril wrote to the monks of Constantinople commenting severely on the action of Nestorius, and insisting strongly that the union of the Godhead and Manhood in Jesus Christ was a real union, and not a mere conjunction. When he learned that his letter was resented, he wrote one to Nestorius himself. He complained that the unfortunate language of Nestorius had reached Celestine of Rome, and was thus throwing the whole church into confusion. The affected moderation of his language did not deceive Nestorius, who defended himself with spirit and moderation, and maintained that χριστότοκος would be a more suitable appellation for the Virgin than θεοτόκος. Approached by an Alexandrian presbyter named Lampon, who came to Constantinople in the interests of peace, Nestorius professed himself much touched by Lampon's tone, and wrote to Cyril in a more friendly spirit. But it was too late. Cyril had already taken action against Nestorius, and when the latter suggested a council at Constantinople, took measures to undermine still further the influence of his antagonist. He wrote two treatises on the controversy, one addressed to the emperor and empress (Eudocia), and the other to Pulcheria and the other sisters of the emperor. Then he wrote to Celestine of Rome an unfair account of what had occurred. He contended that Nestorius had represented the Logos as two separate beings, knit closely together. Nestorius complained that Cyril garbled his quotations He was, however, pronounced a heretic by two synods held at Rome and Alexandria (430). Whether Cyril acted as craftily as Neander supposes, or whether Nestorius maintained too lofty a tone in his letter to Celestine, and thus offended one who was anxious to secure his supremacy over the church of God, must be left undecided. Certain it is that the high-handed action of Celestine in requiring that Nestorius should at once readmit to communion the presbyters whom he had repelled from it, and that he himself should sign a written recantation within 12 days, was quite unprecedented in the history of the church. Another patriarch, John of Antioch, now appears on the scene. Cyril had endeavoured to intimidate him by representing that the whole West was united in condemnation of Nestorius, and John wished to act as a mediator. Cyril next issued 12 anathemas against the teaching of Nestorius. In one of these he seems to unite the flesh of Christ with the Logos, according to His Person (καθ᾿ ὑπόστασιν), and in the 3rd he appears to speak of the union of the two hypostases in Him. Nestorius replied by 12 counter-anathemas. It is unfortunate for our full comprehension of the position that these are only to be found in a Latin translation by Marius Mercator, a layman from N. Africa, who was at Constantinople while the controversy was going on. But, as usual in theological controversy, each of the disputants replies rather to the inferences he himself draws from the propositions of his antagonist than to the propositions themselves. The famous Theodoret, bp. of Cyrus, now (430) came forward, at the request of John of Antioch, in defence of Nestorius. He laid his finger on the weak spot of Cyril's anathemas—his union of two hypostases in Christ; and condemned them as "foreign to Christianity." Cyril seems also to have contended that nothing could be unknown to the humanity of Christ which was known to Him as God. The doctrine, too, of the ἕνωσις φυσική (natural union) maintained by Cyril seemed perilously near to Monophysitism. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that Nestorius publicly stated that he had no objection to the word θεοτόκος, provided it was properly explained. The emperor at last resolved to call a council. Ephesus was chosen as the place of meeting (probably because of the excitement prevalent at Constantinople), and the meeting was fixed for Whitsuntide 431. The assembly was confined to the bishops of the more important sees (metropolitans, as they were now called), and the emperor sent a warning letter to Cyril, condemning his intemperate proceedings. Nestorius came at the appointed time, but fearing the violence of his adversary, requested a guard from the emperor. His request was granted. Cyril and his adherents were also present. But some 40 Syrian bishops were detained by floods, famine, and the riots consequent on the latter. Cyril, seizing the opportunity, and supported by Memnon, bp. of Ephesus, opened the synod, which consisted of some 200 metropolitans, and proceeded to condemn and depose Nestorius in the absence of the Syrian contingent. This sentence of deposition was affixed to the public buildings and proclaimed by the heralds. Meanwhile Cyril had contrived to remove from the emperor's mind the unfavourable impression his previous action had produced. Nestorius declined, 756though thrice summoned, to attend the synod in the absence of his Syrian supporters, and sent a complaint to the emperor of the illegality and unfairness of Cyril's proceedings, which was supported by ten bishops and the imperial commissioner. (Socrates, however, says that Nestorius attended one meeting, and left it after having expressed himself in somewhat unfortunate language.) Cyril pretended that the Syrian bishops had purposely stayed away. But this is neither probable in itself nor consistent with the subsequent conduct of the patriarch John.

When John and the Syrian bishops arrived, they, though only between 30 and 40 in number, held a counter-synod, which was ridiculed by Cyril and his party for its great inferiority in numbers. John, however, persisted, alleging that the rest of the bishops were simply creatures of Cyril and Memnon. John's party then excommunicated Cyril and Memnon, posted up their sentence and transmitted their report to the emperor. A letter had meanwhile arrived from Celestine in condemnation of Nestorius. This letter was read by Cyril to the bishops of his party, but Nestorius replied that it had only been obtained by gross perversions of his language. Cyril now resorted to other means of attaining his purpose. He endeavoured to gain over the emperor, a task which was only too easy. He contrived to bring the ladies of the court, including Pulcheria, over to his side. To attain this end, there is evidence extant—though Canon Bright has failed to notice it—(in a letter from Epiphanius, Cyril's archdeacon and syncellus, to the patriarch Maximian, see below), that he made a lavish use of money and presents of other kinds. He also stirred up the monks at Constantinople to tumult through an agent of his, one Dalmatius, who had immured himself in his cell for 48 years, and was in high repute for his ascetic practices. Dalmatius now represented himself as drawn from his retirement by a voice from heaven, in order to rescue the church from the peril of heresy. A torchlight procession to the emperor was organized. The excitement in Constantinople was general. The emperor was terrified at the furious riots which broke out, in which many persons were injured. So the influence of the court was now openly exerted in favour of Cyril, and the Oriental bishops began to waver. Nestorius himself lost heart. Even at the council he had gone so far as to say, "Let Mary be called θεοτόκος, and let all this tumult cease." He had throughout been less illiberal than his antagonists, and he was probably terrified at their violent and unscrupulous proceedings. He may also have discovered, when it was too late, that he had rushed into controversy without having been sufficiently sure of his ground. Therefore although a deputation of 8 bishops from each side were sent to Constantinople, the result was a foregone conclusion. A compromise was arrived at. Cyril and Memnon were reinstated in their sees. John of Antioch signed a condemnation of Nestorius, while Cyril consented in 432 to sign an Antiochene formulary which had been submitted by Theodoret to the Syrian bishops at Ephesus and was afterwards transmitted to the emperor. It is worth noting that this formulary contains the ἔνωσις φυσική (see above), but guards it by a definite assertion of both the divinity and humanity of Christ. The sentence on Nestorius was carried out. He was deposed, and Maximian became patriarch in his stead, but soon died, and was succeeded by Proclus, the old antagonist of Nestorius. The controversy continued to rage, Rabbulas, bp. of Edessa, went so far as to attack Theodore of Mopsuestia, and raised a storm of opposition in the East by so doing. Cyril, writing to Acacius of Melitene (not to be confounded with the aged Acacius of Beroea), declared that though it was possible theoretically (ἐν ἐννοίαις) to conceive of the two natures in Christ as distinct, yet after their union in His Person they became but one nature. This doctrine, essentially Monophysite as it was, he did not scruple to attribute to his Syrian opponents in order to magnify the concessions he made to them (Neander, iv. p. 176). Meanwhile Theodoret still held out, though he offered to condemn those who denied the divinity of Christ, or divided Him into two Sons. And he implored John of Antioch and count (comes) Irenaeus, a friend of the emperor, to accept the word θεοτόκος. But he maintained that to condemn Nestorius would be unjust. Yet even he had become weary of the controversy, and was at last prevailed upon to exert himself in favour of a reconciliation. He had great difficulty in bringing over the Oriental bishops. So he went so far as to beseech Nestorius to yield for the sake of peace. It has been felt that the extent to which he carried his submission has left a stain on his otherwise high character. In his Commentary on the Psalms (written c. 433) he calls Nestorius δυσσέβης, and a worshipper of a foreign and new God, and classes his followers with Jews, Arians, and Eunomians; but he earnestly begged that the venerable age of Nestorius might be exempt from violence or cruelty, and besought the patriarch John to use his influence to prevent this; and [MONOPHYSITISM] he retrieved by his later conduct his reputation for courage and impartiality.

John, however, was not to be softened. He had thrown his influence on the side of the court, and he was determined to persevere in his policy. Nestorius was banished to a convent just outside the gates of Antioch, and Meletius of Mopsuestia, Alexander of Hierapolis, and Helladius of Tarsus, strong supporters of the school of Theodore, were involved in the fate of Nestorius. In 435 it was thought that Nestorius was nearer the patriarch of Antioch than was convenient, so his exile to Petra in Arabia was decreed, though he was actually taken to Egypt instead. An assault was made on his place of residence by a horde of Libyan barbarians, who carried him off. When released, he made his way to the Thebaid, and gave himself up to the prefect, begging for kindness and protection. This modest request was not granted. He was dragged about from place to place, with every sign of contempt and hatred. The historian Evagrius, who loses no opportunity of loading 757his memory by the use of opprobrious language and represents his fate as a judgment of God analogous to that which befel Arius, gives us a sketch of a second and most pathetic letter addressed by Nestorius to the prefect and known as his "Tragedy." In this he implores the protection of the Roman laws, and enlarges on the reproach which would fall on the Roman name if he received better treatment from barbarians than when seeking the protection of the Roman government. He gives a moving picture of the hardships to which, though "afflicted by disease and age," he had been subjected. But all was in vain. He obtained no mercy, and only death released him from his sufferings.

Though his enemies might remove him from this world, they could not so easily destroy his influence. The extent of his error had been much exaggerated. His opponents went ultimately to greater extremes than he had ever done, though it must be confessed that his utterances were often ill-considered, as when he denied without qualification that the Son could be said to have suffered. For the history of the immediate results of their victory see MONOPHYSITISM. Cyril, in his Ep. to Acacius of Melitene, had, before his death in 444, committed himself to the doctrine that the two natures (φύσεις) of Christ became one after the union had been effected. This doctrine, in the days of his successor, brought about a strong reaction in favour of the Syrian interpretation of the word θεοτόκος. Meanwhile the party of Nestorius was very rigorously treated by the emperor. In 435 laws were enacted ordaining that the Nestorians should be called Simonians (their own name for themselves was Chaldeans); that the writings of Nestorius should be burnt; that all bishops who defended his opinions should be deposed; punishments were decreed against any one who should copy, keep, or even read his writings or those of his supporters; and all meetings of Nestorians for public worship were rigorously proscribed.

The after-history of Nestorianism is extremely interesting, but cannot be treated in detail here. The rigorous measures above mentioned were fiercely resisted in Syria and Babylonia, and when Rabbulas sought to prohibit the reading of the works of Diodorus and Theodore, the Nestorian teachers crossed the border into Persia. Barsumas, bp. of Nisibis from 435 to 489, did much to spread Nestorianism in the far East, and his work received an additional impulse from the policy of the emperor Zeno, who persecuted Nestorians and Monophysites alike. [MONOPHYSITISM.] Thence Nestorianism spread to Chaldea, India, and even China. It has even been stated that there was a time when the disciples of Nestorius outnumbered the members of all the other communions in the Christian church. Of the progress of Nestorianism in China there can be no doubt, for the Jesuits found a monument there, recording the fact. Their statement has been disputed, but it is hardly likely that they would have pretended to have made a discovery which tended to glorify what they regarded as a deadly heresy. The Nestorian doctrines, however, in the extreme form they assumed when interpreted by their later exponents, did not contain the "seeds of eternity." The spread of Mohammedanism ultimately destroyed the once flourishing Nestorian churches outside the limits of the Roman empire, though the Arab caliphs, as distinguished from the Turks, shewed them some favour. At present only a few down-trodden communities in Assyria (to the assistance of which the Anglican church has lately sent a mission), and the so-called Christians of St. Thomas on the Malabar coast, remain to represent the church once dominant in the far East. The latter were harassed and all but destroyed in the 16th cent. by Portuguese Romanists, with the aid of the Inquisition; and the object of the Anglican mission to the struggling churches of Assyria—a purely educational one—has been very seriously hindered by the political protection promised, and often afforded, by Roman Catholic powers on the one hand, and by adherents of the Orthodox Russian church on the other. [NESTORIAN CHURCH.]

The revival of the persecution of the Nestorian churches still existing in the Eastern empire in the reign of Justinian (527–565) must be briefly mentioned. The empress Theodora favoured Monophysitism; the emperor inclined to the doctrines of Origen. The two parties, after having been in conflict for some years, agreed to put an end to their mutual hostility, and to turn their efforts against the remnant of the Nestorians. In 544 Justinian issued an edict against what were called the Three Chapters, a series of extracts from the writings of Theodore, Theodoret, and Ibas. This step led to a prolonged controversy, which in 547 brought Vigilius, bp. of Rome, to Constantinople. Justinian ordered him to take an oath condemning the Three Chapters. He consented to do this, but afterwards retracted his consent. In 551 the relations between Vigilius and the emperor had become so strained that the former, who had for some time been detained in Constantinople, was compelled to take sanctuary in a church. A council, known as the fifth oecumenical council, was summoned at Constantinople, in which the Three Chapters were condemned. Vigilius refused to submit to the decision on the grounds (1) that Theodore had died in full communion with the church, and (2) that the doctrines of Theodoret and Ibas had been approved by the council of Chalcedon. He afterwards yielded to pressure, submitted to the decrees of the council, and was released from captivity, but died on his way back to Rome. This was the last attack on Nestorianism on the part of members of the Christian church. As in the original controversy, a strong reaction followed, and Monotheletism, an offshoot of MONOPHYSITISM, was condemned at another council held at Constantinople, and Nestorianism henceforth ceased to attract the attention of the rulers of the Catholic church.

Bibliography.—Of contemporary writers the historians Socrates and Evagrius may be mentioned. The former is thoughtful, impartial, and generally accurate, and his History was published while Nestorius was still living. Evagrius published his History in the 12th year of the reign of the emperor 758Maurice, i.e. in 594. He is painstaking and accurate, and a devout believer in the decisions both of Ephesus and Chalcedon. But his language is often violent, and he is credulous as regards the miraculous. Cyril and Theodoret, who were actively engaged in the controversy, have left abundant details of what took place; their own letters are especially valuable, and with the writings of Theodoret are pub. a collection of important letters from most of the principal persons concerned in it. Marius Mercator, who was at Constantinople when the conflict was at its height, has left an account of it in Latin. Of later authorities Mansi, Hardouin, and Hefele have handed down the proceedings of the council of Ephesus, and commented upon them. Assemani's learned work, pub. in the 18th cent., is a mine of information on Nestorianism. Neander and Dorner [ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF] give full accounts of the struggle. Gieseler passes over the events more briefly. Mr. Percy Badger published a useful work on Nestorians and their ritual in 1852. Loof's Nestoriana ( Halle, 1905) should also be consulted. Canon Bright's Age of the Fathers gives a most valuable account of the controversy, though he is somewhat inclined to favour Cyril. Mr. Bethune-Baker's recent work on the early heresies contains much useful information, imparted with great clearness and impartiality.

[Since these words were written, the Editor has called the attention of the writer to a work by Mr. Bethune-Baker, entitled Nestorius and his Teaching, pub. in 1908. It is strange that the discovery which it has made public has not elicited the enthusiasm which greeted the previous discoveries of the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles and the Apology of Aristides. It is nothing less than a resurrection of Nestorius from the dead to plead his cause before a fairer tribunal than that which pronounced upon him when living. A treatise has lately come to light called the Bazaar (or more properly Emporium or Store, i.e. a collection of merchandize) of Heracleides. This treatise appears to have been written in Greek, and translated into Syriac. It is this Syrian translation which has recently been recovered. The work is evidently that of the patriarch Nestorius himself, and its somewhat strange title is explained by the fact that all copies of the works of Nestorius were ordered to be seized and destroyed. The treatise has a peculiar interest for us, because it shews, as Mr. Bethune-Baker puts it, and as has been suggested in the above article, that "Nestorius was not a Nestorian." Thus the doctrinal decision reached at Ephesus is vindicated, while its personal application to the patriarch himself is shewn to be unfair. In his preface Mr. Bethune-Baker expresses the same respect for the decisions of the four great oecumenical councils which has been expressed by the writer in his summary of their general doctrinal bearing at the end of the art. MONOPHYSITISM—namely, that they were "more likely to give us a true theory of the relation between God and man than are the reflexions of any individual thinker or school of theologians." They do this because they" express the communis sensus fide licun," and "their decisions need to be confirmed by subsequent acceptance by the church as a whole."]

[J.J.L.]

« Nestorius, bishop of Side Nestorius and Nestorianism Nicarete, a lady of Nicomedia »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |