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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/559

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MONOTHELITISM


505


MONOTHELITISM


introduced, which is impious, for it is impossible that in the same subject there should be two wills at once, and contrary to one another as to the same thing". So far he is right ; but he continues: " For the saving doctrine of the holy Fathers clearly teaches that the intellectually animated flesh of the Lord never per- forms its natural movement apart from, and by its own impetus contrariwise to, the direction of the Word of God hypostatically united to it, but only at the time and in the manner and to the extent that the Word of God wishes," just as our body is moved by our rational soul. Here Sergius speaks of the natural will of the flesh, and of the Divine will, but makes no mention of the higher free will, which indeed is wholly subject to the Divine will. He may indeed be under- stood to include this intellectual will in "the intellec- tually animated flesh", but his thought is not clear, and his words simply express the heresy of one will. He concludes that it is best simply to confess that " the only begotten Son of God, who is truly both God and Man, works both the Divine and the human works, and from one and the same incarnate Word of God proceed indivisibly and inseparably both the Di\Tne and the human opeiations as St. Leo teaches: Agit enim utraque, etc." If these words and the quotation from St. Leo mean anything, they mean two operations; but Sergius's error lies precisely in deprecating this expression. It cannot be too carefully borne in mind that theological accuracy is a matter of definition, and definition is a matter of words. The prohibition of the right words is always heresy, even though the author of the prohibition has no heretical intention and is merely shortsighted or confused. Honorius replied reproving Sophronius, and praising Sergius for reject- ing his "new expression" of "two operations". He approves the recommendations made by Sergius, and has no blame for the capitula of Cyrus. In one point he goes further than either, for he uses the words: "Wherefore we acknowledge one Will of our Lord Jesus Christ." We may easily believe the testimony of Abbot John Symponus, who wrote the letter for Honorius. that he intended only to deny a lower will of the flesh in Christ which contradicted His highe: will, and that he was not referring at all to His Divine will; but in connexion with the letter of Sergius such an interpretation is scarcely the more obvious one. It is clear that Honorius was not any more a wilful heretic than was Sergius, but he was equally iniorrect in his decision, and his position made the mistake far more disastrous. In another letter to Sergius he says he has informed Cyrus that the new ex^pressions, one and two operations, are to be dropped, their use being most foolish.

In one of the last four months of 638 efi'ect was given to the pope's letter by the i.ssue of an "Exposition" composed by Sergius and authorized by the emperor; it is known as the Ecthesi-s of Heraclius. Sergius died 9 Dec, a few days after having celebrated a council in which the Ecthesis was acclaimed as "truly agreeing with the Apostolic teaching", words which .seem to be a reference to its being founded on the letter of Hono- rius. Cyrus received the news of this council with great rejoicings. The Ecthesis itself is a complete profession of Faith according to the five General Councils. Its peculiarity consists in adding a prohi- bition of the expression one and two operations, and an assertion of one will in Christ lest contrary wills should be held. The letter of Honorius had been a grave document, but not a definition of Faith binding on the whole Church. The Ecthesis was a definition. But Honorius had no cognizance of it, for he had died on 12 Oct. The envoys who came for the em[)cror's confirmation of the new Pope Sevcrinus refused to recommend the Ecthesis to the latter, but promised to lay it before him for judgment (.see M.\ximi s ok Constantinople). Severinus, not consecrated until May, 640, died two months later, but not without


having condemned the Ecthesis. John IV, who suc- ceeded him in December, lost no time in holding a synod to condemn it formally. When Heraclius, who had merely intended to give efTect to the teaching of Honorius, heard that the document was rejected at Rome, he disowned it in a letter to John IV, and laid the blame on Sergius. He died Feb., 641. The pope wrote to the elder son of Heraclius, saying that the Ecthesis would doubtless now be withdrawn, and apologizing for Pope Honorius, who had not meant to teach one human will in Christ. St. Maximus Con- fessor published a similar defence of Honorius, but neither of these apologists says anything of the orig- inal error, the forbidding of the "two operations", which was soon to become once more the principal point of controversy. In fact on this point no defence of Honorius was possible. But Pyrrhus, the new Pa- triarch of Constantinople, was a supporter of the Ecthesis and confirmed it in a great council, which St. Maximus, however, reproves as irregularly convoked. After the death of Constant ine and the exile of his brother Heracleonas, Pyrrhus himself was exiled to Africa. Here he was persuaded in a famous contro- versy with St. Maximus (q. v.) to renounce the appeal to Vigilius and Honorius and to condemn the Ecthesis; he went to Rome and made his submission to Pope Theodore, John IV having died (Oct., 642).

Meanwhile protests from the East were not want- ing. St. Sophronius, who, after becoming Patriarch of Jeru.salem, died just before Sergius, had yet had time to publish at his enthronization a formal defence of the dogma of two operations and two wills, which was afterwards approved by the sixth council. This re- markable document was the first full exposition of the Catholic doctrine. It was sent to all the patriarchs, and St. Sophronius humbly asked for corrections. His references to St. Leo are interesting, especially his statement: "I accept all his letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and embrace them with all my soul". Further on he speaks of receiving St. Leo's definitions as those of Peter, and St. Cyril's as those of Mark. He also made a large collection of testimonies of the Fathers in favour of two operations and two wills. He finally sent to Rome Stephen, Bishop of Dora, the first bishop of the patriarchate, who has given us a moving description of i.he w.ay in which the saint led him to the holy place of Calvary and there charged him, saying: "Thou shalt give an account to the God who was crucified for us in this holy place, in His glorious and awful advent, when He shall come to judge the living and the dead, if thou delay and allow His Faith to be endangered, since, as thou knowest, I am myself let, by reason of the invasion of the Sara- cens which is come upon us for our sins. Swiftly pass, then, from end to end of the world, until thou come to the .-Vpostolic See, where are the foundations of the holy doctrines. Not once, not twice, but many times, make clearly known to all those holy men there all thai has been done; and tire not instantly urging and beseeching, until out of their apostolic wisdom they bring forth judgment unto victory." Trgcd bv almost all the orthodox bishops of the East, Stephen inade his first journey to Rome. On the(leatli of .St., Sophronius, his jiatriarchal see was invaded by the Hi.shop of Jo|)pa, a supporter of the Ecthesis. Another heretic sat in the See of .\niioch. .\t .\lexandria the union with the Monophysites was shortlived. In 640 the city fell into the hands of the .\rabians under Amru, and the unfortunate heretics have remained until to- day (save for a few months in 646) under the rule of the infidel. Thus the whole of the Patriarchates of Constantinople, .\ntioch, .Jerusalem, and .Mexandria were separated from Rome. Yet no doubt, excejit in ICgypt, the great, number of the bishops and the whole of their flocks were orthodox and had no wish to accept the Ecthesis,