The Info List - Nestorius

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(/ˌnɛsˈtɔːriəs/; in Greek: Νεστόριος; c. 386 – 450[1]) was Archbishop of Constantinople
Archbishop of Constantinople
(now Istanbul) from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II
Theodosius II
confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus
Council of Ephesus
on 22 June. His teachings included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos, "Mother of God", for Mary, mother of Jesus, and they were considered by many to imply that he did not believe that Christ was truly God. That brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, whom he accused of heresy. Nestorius
sought to defend himself at the First Council of Ephesus
Council of Ephesus
in 431 but instead found himself formally condemned for heresy by a majority of the bishops and was subsequently removed from his see. On his own request, he retired to his former monastery, in or near Antioch. In 435, Theodosius II
Theodosius II
sent him into exile in Upper Egypt, where he lived on until 450, strenuously defending his orthodoxy. His last major defender within the Roman Empire, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, finally agreed to anathematize him in 451 during the Council of Chalcedon. From then on, he had no defenders within the empire, but the Church of the East never accepted his condemnation. That led later to western Christians giving the name Nestorian Church to the Church of the East where his teachings were deemed Orthodox and in line with its own teachings. Nestorius
is revered as among three "Greek Teachers" of the Church (in addition to Diodore of Tarsus
Diodore of Tarsus
and Theodore of Mopsuestia). Parts of the Church of the East's Eucharistic Service, which is known to be among the oldest in the world, is contributed to with prayers attributed to Nestorius
himself. The Second Council of Constantinople
Second Council of Constantinople
of AD 553 confirmed the validity of the condemnation of Nestorius, refuting the letter of Ibas of Edessa that affirms that Nestorius
was condemned without due inquiry.[2] The discovery, translation and publication of his Bazaar of Heracleides at the beginning of the 20th century have led to a reassessment of his theology in western scholarship. It is now generally agreed that his ideas were not far from those that eventually emerged as orthodox, but the orthodoxy of his formulation of the doctrine of Christ is still controversial.


1 Life 2 Nestorian controversy 3 Later events 4 Writings 5 Legacy 6 Bazaar of Heracleides 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links

Life[edit] Sources place the birth of Nestorius
in either 381 or 386 in the city of Germanicia
in the Province of Syria, Roman Empire (now Kahramanmaraş
in Turkey).[3] He received his clerical training as a pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia in Antioch. He was living as a priest and monk in the monastery of Euprepius near the walls, and he gained a reputation for his sermons that led to his enthronement by Theodosius II, as Patriarch of Constantinople, following the 428 death of Sisinnius I. Nestorian controversy[edit] Shortly after his arrival in Constantinople, Nestorius
became involved in the disputes of two theological factions, which differed in their Christology. Nestorius
tried to find a middle ground between those that emphasized the fact that in Christ, God had been born as a man and insisted on calling the Virgin Mary Theotokos
(Greek: Θεοτόκος, "God-bearer") and those that rejected that title because God, as an eternal being, could not have been born. Nestorius suggested the title Christotokos (Χριστοτόκος, "Christ-bearer"), but he did not find acceptance on either side. "Nestorianism" refers to the doctrine that there are two distinct hypostases in the Incarnate Christ, the one Divine and the other human. The teaching of all churches that accept the Council of Ephesus is that in the Incarnate Christ is a single hypostasis, God and man at once.[4] That doctrine is known as the Hypostatic union. Nestorius's opponents charged him with detaching Christ's divinity and humanity into two persons existing in one body, thereby denying the reality of the Incarnation. It is not clear whether Nestorius
actually taught that. Eusebius, a layman who later became the bishop of the neighbouring Dorylaeum, was the first to accuse Nestorius
of heresy[5] but the most forceful opponent of Nestorius
was Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria. This naturally caused great excitement at Constantinople, especially among the clergy, who were clearly not well disposed to Nestorius, the stranger from Antioch.[5] Cyril appealed to Celestine of Rome to make a decision, and Celestine delegated to Cyril the job of excommunicating Nestorius
if he did not change his teachings within 10 days. Nestorius
had arranged with the emperor in the summer of 430 for the assembling of a council. He now hastened it, and the summons had been issued to patriarchs and metropolitans on 19 November, before the pope's sentence, delivered though Cyril of Alexandria, had been served on Nestorius.[5] Emperor Theodosius II
Theodosius II
convoked a general church council, at Ephesus, itself a special seat for the veneration of Mary, where the Theotokos formula was popular. The Emperor and his wife supported Nestorius, but Pope Celestine supported Cyril. Cyril took charge of the First Council of Ephesus
Council of Ephesus
in 431, opening debate before the long-overdue contingent of Eastern bishops from Antioch
arrived. The council deposed Nestorius
and declared him a heretic. In Nestorius' own words,

When the followers of Cyril saw the vehemence of the emperor... they roused up a disturbance and discord among the people with an outcry, as though the emperor were opposed to God; they rose up against the nobles and the chiefs who acquiesced not in what had been done by them and they were running hither and thither. And... they took with them those who had been separated and removed from the monasteries by reason of their lives and their strange manners and had for this reason been expelled, and all who were of heretical sects and were possessed with fanaticism and with hatred against me. And one passion was in them all, Jews and pagans and all the sects, and they were busying themselves that they should accept without examination the things which were done without examination against me; and at the same time all of them, even those that had participated with me at table and in prayer and in thought, were agreed... against me and vowing vows one with another against me.... In nothing were they divided.

While the council was in progress, John I of Antioch
and the eastern bishops arrived and were furious to hear that Nestorius
had already been condemned. They convened their own synod, at which Cyril was deposed. Both sides then appealed to the emperor. Initially, the imperial government ordered both Nestorius
and Cyril to be deposed and exiled. Nestorius
was made to return to his monastery at Antioch, and Maximian was consecrated Archbishop of Constantinople in his place. Cyril was eventually allowed to return after bribing various courtiers.[6] Later events[edit] In the following months, 17 bishops who supported Nestorius's doctrine were removed from their sees. Eventually, John I of Antioch
was obliged to abandon Nestorius, in March 433. On August 3, 435, Theodosius II
Theodosius II
issued an imperial edict that exiled Nestorius
from the monastery in Antioch
in which he had been staying to a monastery in the Great Oasis of Hibis (al-Khargah), in Egypt, securely within the diocese of Cyril. The monastery suffered attacks by desert bandits, and Nestorius
was injured in one such raid. Nestorius
seems to have survived there until at least 450 (given the evidence of The Book of Heraclides), but the date of his death is not known.[7] Writings[edit] Very few of Nestorius' writings survive. There are several letters preserved in the records of the Council of Ephesus, and fragments of a few others. About 30 sermons are extant, mostly in fragmentary form. The only complete treatise is the lengthy defence of his theological position, The Bazaar of Heraclides, written in exile at the Oasis, which survives in Syriac translation. It must have been written no earlier than 450, as he knows of the death of the Emperor Theodosius II (29 July 450).[8][9] Legacy[edit]

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Though Nestorius
had been condemned by the church, there was a faction loyal to him and his teachings. Following the Nestorian Schism
Nestorian Schism
and the relocation of many Nestorian Christians to Persia, Nestorian thought became ingrained in the native Christian community, known as the Church of the East, to the extent that it was often known as the "Nestorian Church". In modern times, the Assyrian Church of the East, a modern descendant of the historical Church of the East, reveres Nestorius
as a saint, but the modern church does not subscribe to the entirety of the Nestorian doctrine, as it has traditionally been understood in the West. Parts of the doctrine were explicitly repudiated by Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, on the occasion of his accession in 1976.[10] During the process of restoration of the Syro-Malabar Rite in 1957, Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
of Rome requested the restoration of the Anaphorae of Mar Theodore and Mar Nestorius. The Syro-Malabar Church
Syro-Malabar Church
had historically made use of the Anaphora of Mar Nestorius
until it was forcibly latinized by the Portuguese in the Synod of Diamper
Synod of Diamper
in 1599 against the expressed will of the Pope. In the Roman Empire, the doctrine of Monophysitism
developed in reaction to Nestorianism. The new doctrine asserted that Christ had but one nature, his human nature being absorbed into his divinity. It was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
and was misattributed to the non-Chalcedonian Churches. Today, it is condemned as heresy in the modern Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodox
churches. Bazaar of Heracleides[edit] In 1895, a 16th-century book manuscript containing a copy of a text written by Nestorius
was discovered by American missionaries in the library of the Nestorian patriarch in the mountains at Konak, Hakkari. This book had suffered damage during Muslim
conquests, but was substantially intact, and copies were taken secretly. The Syriac translation had the title of the Bazaar of Heracleides.[11] The original 16th-century manuscript was destroyed in 1915 during the Turkish massacres of Assyrian Christians. Edition of this work is primarily to be attributed to the German scholar, Friedrich Loofs, of Halle University. In the Bazaar, written about 451, Nestorius
denies the heresy for which he was condemned and instead affirms of Christ "the same one is twofold"—an expression that some consider similar to the formulation of the Council of Chalcedon. Nestorius' earlier surviving writings, however, including his letter written in response to Cyril's charges against him, contain material that has been interpreted by some to imply that at that time he held that Christ had two persons. Others view this material as merely emphasising the distinction between how the pre-incarnate Logos
is the Son of God and how the incarnate Emmanuel, including his physical body, is truly called the Son of God. References[edit]

^ Nestorius
Ecumenical Patriarchate ^ Anathematism XIV, Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta ^ Andrew Louth, ' John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
to Theodoret of Cyrrhus', in Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Young, eds, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p348, states 381; Nestorius – Britannica Online Encyclopedia states 386. Both are based on Socrates Scholasticus 7.29, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf202.ii.x.xxix.html. ^ "Nestorius", Oxford Reference ^ a b c Chapman, John. " Nestorius
and Nestorianism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 21 Jan. 2014 ^ John I., McEnerney (1998). St. Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Letters 51–110. Fathers of the Church Series. 77. Catholic University of America Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8132-1514-3.  ^ Andrew Louth, ' John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
to Theodoret of Cyrrhus', in Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Young, eds, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p348 ^ Andrew Louth, ' John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
to Theodoret of Cyrrhus', in Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Young, eds, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p. 349. ^ There is an English translation of this work, Godfrey Rolles Driver and L. Hodgson, trans., Nestorius, The Bazaar of Heraclides, (Oxford, 1925), but it is notoriously inaccurate. The older French translation by F. Nau, La livre d'Héraclide de Damas, avec la concours du R. P. Bedjan et de M. Brière: suivi du texte grec des trois Homélies de Nestorius
sur les tentations de Notre-Seigneur, et de trois appendices, Lettre à Cosme, Présents envoyés d'Alexandrie, Lettre de Nestorius
aux habitants de Constantinople, 1969 reprint, Farnborough, England: Gregg International Publishers, is a better substitute. ^ Henry Hill, Light from the East, (Toronto Canada: Anglican Book Centre, 1988) p107. ^ http://www.tertullian.org/fathers#Nestorius


Meyendorff, John (1989). Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The Church 450-680 A.D. The Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. ISBN 978-0-88-141056-3.  Artemi, Eirini,«Τό μυστήριο της Ενανθρωπήσεως στούς δύο διαλόγους «ΠΕΡΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΗΣΕΩΣ ΤΟΥ ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΟΥΣ» και «ΟΤΙ ΕΙΣ Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ» του Αγίου Κυρίλλου Αλεξανδρείας», in Εκκλησιαστικός Φάρος, ΟΕ (2004), 145–277. St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy ISBN 0-88141-259-7 by John Anthony McGuckin—includes a history of the Council of Ephesus
Council of Ephesus
and an analysis of Nestorius' Christology. Edward Walford, translator, The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius: A History of the Church from AD 431 to AD 594, 1846. Reprinted 2008. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-88-6. http://www.evolpub.com/CRE/CREseries.html#CRE5—includes an account of the exile and death of Nestorius, along with correspondence purportedly written by Nestorius
to Theodosius II. Bishoy Youssef (2011). "Lecture II: The Nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ." http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/christlecture2.pdf Seleznyov, Nikolai N., " Nestorius
of Constantinople: Condemnation, Suppression, Veneration, with special reference to the role of his name in East-Syriac Christianity" in: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 62:3–4 (2010): 165–190. Chesnut, Roberta C. (1978). "The Two Prosopa in Nestorius' Bazaar of Heracleides". The Journal of Theological Studies (29): 392–409. 

External links[edit]

From Orthodoxwiki.org Dialogue between the Syrian and Assyrian Churches from the Coptic Church The Coptic Church's View Concerning Nestorius English translation of the Bazaar of Heracleides. Writing of Nestorius "The lynching of Nestorius" by Stephen M. Ulrich, concentrates on the political pressures around the Council of Ephesus
Council of Ephesus
and analyzes the rediscovered Bazaar of Nestorius. The Person and Teachings of Nestorius
of Constantinople
by Mar Bawai Soro.

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 12387551 LCCN: n50081482 ISNI: 0000 0001 2141 0533 GND: 118943170 SUDOC: 032754302 BNF: