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206The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril Against Nestorius.

(Found in St. Cyril’s Opera.  Migne, Pat. Græc, Tom. LXXVII., Col. 119; and the Concilia.)


If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Θεοτόκος), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, “The Word was made flesh”] let him be anathema.


The Anathematisms of the Heretic Nestorius Against Cyril.

(Found best in Migne’s edition of Marius Mercator.)


If anyone says that the Emmanuel is true God, and not rather God with us, that is, that he has united himself to a like nature with ours, which he assumed from the Virgin Mary, and dwelt in it; and if anyone calls Mary the mother of God the Word, and not rather mother of him who is Emmanuel; and if he maintains that God the Word has changed himself into the flesh, which he only assumed in order to make his Godhead visible, and to be found in form as a man, let him be anathema.

Petavius.245245    Petavius gives a scholion on every anathematism and a résumé of the Orientals’ objections and of Theodoret’s criticisms, with answers.

(De Incarnatione, Lib. vj. cap. xvij.)

In this anathematism certain words are found in the Greek copy of Dionysius which are lacking in the ordinary copies, viz. “according as it is written, ‘And the Word was made flesh’;” unless forsooth Dionysius supplied them of his own authority.  For in the Lateran Synod in the time of Martin I. this anathematism was quoted without the appended words.

This anathematism breaks to pieces the chief strength of the Nestorian impiety.  For it sets forth two facts.  The one that the Emmanuel, that is he who was born of a woman and dwelt with us, is God:  the other, that Mary who bare such an one is Mother of God.  That Christ is God is clearly proved from the Nicene Creed, and he shews that the same that was in the beginning the Son of God, afterwards took flesh and was born of Mary, without any change or confusion of natures.

St. Cyril explains that by σαρκικῶς, carnaliter, he meant nothing else than κατα σάρκα, secundum carnem, “according to the flesh.”  And it was necessary to use this expression to overthrow the perfidy of Nestorius; so that we may understand that the most holy Virgin was the parent not of a simple and bare man, but of God the Word, not in that he was God, but in that he had taken flesh.  For God the Father was the parent of the same Son θεϊκῶς246246    This is a late form of θείως, but used only in its secondary sense. (divinely) as his mother was σαρκικῶς (after the flesh).  And the word (σαρκικῶς) in no degree lessens the dignity of his begetting and bringing forth; for it shews that his flesh was not simulated or shadowed forth; but true and like to ours.  Amphilochius distinctly uses the word, saying “Except he had been born carnally (σαρκικῶς), never wouldest thou have been born spiritually (πνευματικῶς ).”  Cf. St. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 51).

Theodoret misunderstood St. Cyril to teach in this first anathematism that the Word was changed into the flesh he assumed.  But Cyril rightly treated this whole accusation as a foolish calumny.

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