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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/549

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MONOPHYSITES


495


MONOPHYSITES


if each Hypostasis is therefore still a ^uo-is (the one 0i>(ns) yet the 01/0-15 is not one but three Hj^jostases. The words retain their old sense (connotation) yet have received a new sense in a new relation. It is obvious that this is the phenomenon to which Severus referred. Catholics would add that in the Incar- nation conversely two natures are one hypostasis. Thus the meanings of <pv(ns (abstract =oi)<ria) and virbnTaaii (subsistent 0u<ris, i/iucris iitpeaTuKra or ivvTrb- (TTaTos) in the Holy Trinity were a common pos- session; and all agreed further that in the created universe there cannot exist a nature which does not subsist, there is no such thing as a 0wis avvirbnTaTo^. (a) But Catholics hold the Human Nature of Christ considered in itself to be imTrda-TaTot, to have no human uTrio-Tao-is, but that the second Person of the Holy Trinity is its v-n-bcraais. As the infinity of the Divine Nature is capable of a threefold subsistence, so the infinity of the Hypostasis of the Word is able to be the Hypostasis of the Human Nature assumed as well as of the Divine. The union in Christ is not a union of two natures directly with one another, but a union of the two in one hjTiostasis; thus they are distinct yet. inseparable, and each acts in communion with the other. (/3) The Ncstorians argued thus: There are, according to the Fathers, two natures in Christ; but since every nature is a hypostasis, the Human Nature in Christ is a hypostasis. In order to make one Christ, they tried (in vain) to explain how two hypostases could be united in one person (jrpi- aw-trov). They did not mean to divide Christ, but their prosopic union leaked at every seam; it was difficult to express it or argue about it without falling into heresy. The Antiochenes were glad to drop sucfi inadequate formulae, for it was certain that "person" in the Holy Trinity was only another name for "hy- postasis". The Cyrillians were shocked, and could not be induced to believe (though St. Cyril himself did) that the Nestorianizers did not really mean two Christs, two Sons. (7) Conversely, starting from the same proposition that every 0i5ffis is a mdcrTacns, the Monophysites argued that as Christ is one Person, one Hypostasis, so He is one Nature, and they pre- ferred "is one nature" to the equivalent "has one nature". They alleged high authority for their formula, not only St. Cyril, but behind him St. Atha- nasius, Pope St. Julius, and St. Gregory the Wonder- worker. These authorities, however, were but Apol- linarian forgeries; the favourite formula of St. Cyril, the m'" v<m <Tt<rapKuix^vri, had been borrowed un- wittingly from an Apollinarian source, and had been meant by its original inventor in a heretical sense. Nay, the "one nature" went back to the .\rians, and had been used by Eudoxius himself to express the incompleteness of the Human Nature of Christ.

Yet the Monophysites were far from being Apol- linarians, still less were they Arians; they were careful from the beginning to explain that Christ is perfect Man, and that He assumed a coniplc^te Human Nature like ours. Dioscurus is emphatic on this point in his letter to Secundinus (Hist. Mi.sc, III, i) and with need, since he had acquitted Eutyches who had de- nied our Lord's "consubstantiality with us". JDlurus is just as clear in the letters by which he re- futed and excommunicated Isaias of Herraopoli-s and Theophilus as " F^utychians " (Hist. Mi.sc, IV, xii), and Severus had an acute controversy with Sergius the Grammarian on this very point. They all de- clared with one voice that Christ is lita ^i/o-is, but iK Siio 0iS(rewi', that His I)i\'ine Nature is combined with a complete Human Nature in one hypostasis, and hence the two liav(^ become together the One Nature of that one hypostasis, howbeit without mixture or confusion or diminution. ^Elurus insists that after union the properties of each nature remain unchanged; but they spoke of "the divine and human things", divina el humana, not natures; each nature re-


mains in its natural state with its own characteristics (^i- IdiiryiTi tij Kara, (piiTiv) yet not as a unity but as a part, a quality (iroibT-qi ^urri/c^), not as a 0iiffis. All the qualities of the two natures are combined into one ii7r6(rra(ris cri/i-eeros and form the one nature of that one hypostasis. So far there is no heresy in in- tention, but only a wrong definition: — that one hy- postasis can have only one nature.

But however harmless the formula "one nature" might look at first sight, it led in fact immediately to serious and disastrous consequences. The Divine Nature of the Word is not merely specifically but numerically one with the Divine Nature of the Son and the Holy Ghost. This is the meaning of the word o^ooiyo-ios applied to the Three Persons, and if Har- nack were right in supposing that at the Council of Con.stantinople in 381 the word was taken to imply only three Persons of one species, then that Council accepted three Gods, and not three distinct but in- separable Persons in one God. Now if the Divine and Human Natures are united in the Word into one Nature, it is impossible to avoid one of two conclu- sions, either that the whole Divine Nature became man and suffered and died, or else that each of the three Persons had a Divine Nature of His own. In fact the Monophysites split upon this question, ^lurus and Severus seem to have avoided the diffi- culty, but it was not long before those who refused the latter alternative were taunted with the necessity of embracing the former, and were nicknamed The- opaschites, as making God to suffer. Vehemently Severus and his school declared that they made the Divinity to suffer not as God, but only as man; but this was insufficient as a reply. Theu' formula was not "The Word made flesh", "the Son of God made man", but "one Nature of the Word made flesh"; — the Nature became flesh, that is the whole Di\'ine Nature. They did not reply: "We mean hypostasis when we say nature, we do not mean the Divine Nature (which the Word has in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost) but His Divine Person, which in the present case we call His ^uo-is", for the ipvaii Tou GeoO A6701;, before the word ataapKutxlvri has been added, is in the sphere of "theology" not of "the economy", and its signification could not be doubted.

Just as there were many "Eutychians" among the Monophysites who denied that Christ is consubstan- tial with us, so there were found many to embrace boldly the paradox that the Divine Nature has be- come incarnate. Peter Fullo added to the praise of the Trinity the words "who was crucified for us", and refused to allow the natural inference to be explained away. Stephen Niobes and the Niobites expressly denied all distinction between the Human and the Divine Natures after the union. The Actisteta; de- clared that th(! Human Nature became "uncreated" by the union. If the greatest thrnlojiians of the sect, Severus and Philoxenus, a\'Mi|.-.i tiicsc excesses, it was by a refusal to be logically .Miiiici|iliysite.

It was not only the orthodox wlio were scandalized by these extreme views. An influential and very learned section of the schi.sm rebelled, and cho.se the second of the two alternatives, — that of making the Divine Nature itself threefold, in order to ensure that the Human Nature in Christ was made one with the Nature of the .Son alone and not with the whole Divine N.alure. John Pliiloiioiius, the .Aristotelian commen- tator, therefore taught that there are in the Trinity three p.artia! substances {fupiKal ovalai) and one com- mon substance (m'" "oipt)), thus falling into Polythe- ism, with three, or rather four, gods. This Tritheistic party was treated with leniency. It split into sections. Though they were excoinm\mi(^ated .at Alexandria, the Patriarch Damian held ,a view not far different. He so distinguished between the Divine' oiata and the three Hypostases which partake {lurixoxxnv) in it, that he conceded the oiala to be existent of Itself (ivimapKroi)^