Nestorianism

Last updated

Nestorianism is a Christian theological doctrine that upholds several distinctive teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology. It opposes the concept of hypostatic union and emphasizes that the two natures (human and divine) of Jesus Christ were joined by will rather than personhood. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophysitism. [1] Nestorianism was named after Christian theologian Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who was influenced by Christological teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

Christology Study of Jesus Christ in Christian theology

Christology, translated literally from Greek as "the word of Christ", is the study of the nature (person) and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, and the relation between these two natures; and the role he plays in salvation.

Mariology branch of theology about Mary the mother of Jesus

Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically relates teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church on Mary. In the context of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.

Contents

Nestorius' teachings brought him into conflict with other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who criticized especially his rejection of the title Theotokos ("Mother of God") for Mary, the mother of Jesus, and issued 12 anathemas against him at a council in Rome in 430. Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and again at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which led to the Nestorian Schism; churches supporting Nestorian teachings broke with the rest of the Christian Church.

Cyril of Alexandria Pope of Alexandria from 412 to 444

Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He was enthroned when the city was at the height of its influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the late-4th and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the Council of Ephesus in 431, which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople.

<i>Theotokos</i> Title given to Mary in Eastern Christianity

Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genetrix or Deipara, are "Mother of God" or "God-bearer".

Mary, mother of Jesus Mother of Jesus, according to the Christian New Testament

Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Qur'an.

Following that, many of Nestorius's supporters relocated to the Sasanian Empire, where they affiliated with the local Christian community, known as the Church of the East. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading to it becoming known alternatively as the Nestorian Church.

Sasanian Empire last Persian empire before the rise of Islam

The Sasanian Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ,, also called the Neo-Persian Empire by the historians, was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.

Church of the East an Eastern Christian Church that in 410 organised itself within the Sasanid Empire and in 424 declared its leader independent of other Christian leaders; from the Persian Empire it spread to other parts of Asia in late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church or Nestorian Church, was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite established c. 410. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Since the Schism of 1552, there have been several different churches claiming the heritage of the Church of the East.

Following the schism of 1552, the Church of the East saw secessions, with the Chaldean Catholic Church emerging as the most prominent, which would eventually drop Nestorianism.[ citation needed ] Yet in opposition to this, two denominations persist in accordance with Nestorianism doctrine still: Assyrian Church of the East (since 1692), and the Ancient Church of the East (since 1968).[ citation needed ] FBA However, some such as Sebastian Brock consider referring to the Assyrian Church of the East as the "Nestorian Church" to be "inappropriate and misleading." [2]

The Schism of 1552 was an important event in the history of the Church of the East. It divided the church into two factions, of which one entered into communion with Rome becoming part of the Catholic Church at this time and the other remained independent until the 19th century. Although the Eliya line, which emerged as a result of this schism, did eventually enter into communion with Rome, various Spiritual Christian sects with their origins in the Church of the East emerged as a result of this schism. Ironically, the Shimon line whose entry into full communion with Rome caused this schism, in fact became independent again by the 17th century. The circumstances of the 1552 schism were controversial at the time and have been disputed ever since.

Chaldean Catholic Church Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic particular church in full communion with the Holy See and the rest of the Catholic Church, with the Chaldean Patriarchate having been originally formed out of the Church of the East in 1552. Employing the East Syriac Rite in Syriac language in its liturgy, it is part of Syriac Christianity by heritage. Headquartered in the Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq, since 1950, it is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako. It comprises 628,405 (2017) mostly Chaldean Christians living in northern Iraq, with smaller numbers in adjacent areas in northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran, a region roughly corresponding to ancient Assyria. There are also many Chaldeans in diaspora in the Western world.


Christology

In the Nestorian view, the human and divine persons of Christ are separate. Nestorianism.svg
In the Nestorian view, the human and divine persons of Christ are separate.

Nestorianism is a radical form of dyophysitism, [1] differing from the orthodox dyophysitism on several points, mainly by opposition to the concept of hypostatic union. It can be seen as the antithesis to monophysitism, which emerged in reaction to Nestorianism. Where Nestorianism holds that Christ had two loosely united natures, divine and human, monophysitism holds that he had but a single nature, his human nature being absorbed into his divinity. A brief definition of Nestorian Christology can be given as: "Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human." [4] This contrasts with Nestorius' own teaching that the Word, which is eternal, and the Flesh, which is not, came together in a hypostatic union, 'Jesus Christ', Jesus thus being both fully man and God, of two ousia (Ancient Greek : οὐσία ) but of one prosopon . [5] Both Nestorianism and monophysitism were condemned as heretical at the Council of Chalcedon.

In Christian theology, dyophysitism is the Christological position that two natures, divine and human, exist in the person of Jesus Christ. It contrasts with monophysitism and miaphysitism.

Hypostatic union

Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.

Monophysitism is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.

History

Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a seventh- or eighth-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in Qocho, China Palm Sunday (probably), Khocho, Nestorian Temple, 683-770 AD, wall painting - Ethnological Museum, Berlin - DSC01741.JPG
Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a seventh- or eighth-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in Qocho, China

Nestoranism was condemned as heresy at the Council of Ephesus. The Armenian Church rejected the Council of Chalcedon (451) because they believed Chalcedonian Definition was too similar to Nestorianism. The Persian Nestorian Church, on the other hand, supported the spread of Nestorianism in Persarmenia. The Armenian Church and other eastern churches saw the rise of Nestorianism as a threat to the independence of their Church. Peter the Iberian, a Georgian prince, also strongly opposed the Chalcedonian Creed. [6] Thus, in 491, Catholicos Babken I of Armenia, along with the Albanian and Iberian bishops met in Vagharshapat and issued a condemnation of the Chalcedonian Definition. [7]

Council of Ephesus ecumenical council in Ephesus in June–July 431, convened by Emperor Theodosius II; confirmed the Nicene Creed; condemned Nestorianism and Pelagianism; condemned interference by the Bishop of Antioch in affairs of the church in Cyprus

The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus in AD 431 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius II. This third ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, confirmed the original Nicene Creed, and condemned the teachings of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who held that the Virgin Mary may be called the Christotokos, "Birth Giver of Christ" but not the Theotokos, "Birth Giver of God". It met in June and July 431 at the Church of Mary in Ephesus in Anatolia.

Armenian Apostolic Church National church of Armenia

The Armenian Apostolic Church is the national church of the Armenian people. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy, it is one of the most ancient Christian communities. The Kingdom of Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion under the rule of King Tiridates in the early 4th century. According to tradition, the church originated in the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century.

Council of Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451; not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy

The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon, a town of Bithynia in Asia Minor. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches; that is Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

Nestorians held that the Council of Chalcedon proved the orthodoxy of their faith and had started persecuting non-Chalcedonian or monophysite Syrian Christians during the reign of Peroz I. In response to pleas for assistance from the Syrian Church, Armenian prelates issued a letter addressed to Persian Christians reaffirming their condemnation of the Nestorianism as heresy. [6]

Following the exodus to Persia, scholars expanded on the teachings of Nestorius and his mentors, particularly after the relocation of the School of Edessa to the (then) Persian city of Nisibis (modern-day Nusaybin in Turkey) in 489, where it became known as the School of Nisibis.[ citation needed ] Nestorian monasteries propagating the teachings of the Nisbis school flourished in 6th century Persarmenia. [6]

Despite this initial Eastern expansion, the Nestorians' missionary success was eventually deterred. David J. Bosch observes, "By the end of the fourteenth century, however, the Nestorian and other churches—which at one time had dotted the landscape of all of Central and even parts of East Asia—were all but wiped out. Isolated pockets of Christianity survived only in India. The religious victors on the vast Central Asian mission field of the Nestorians were Islam and Buddhism". [8]

Nestorian doctrine

Nestorius developed his Christological views as an attempt to understand and explain rationally the incarnation of the divine Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as the man Jesus. He had studied at the School of Antioch where his mentor had been Theodore of Mopsuestia; Theodore and other Antioch theologians had long taught a literalist interpretation of the Bible and stressed the distinctiveness of the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius took his Antiochene leanings with him when he was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople by Byzantine emperor Theodosius II in 428.

Nestorius's teachings became the root of controversy when he publicly challenged the long-used title Theotokos [9] ("God-Bearer") for Mary. He suggested that the title denied Christ's full humanity, arguing instead that Jesus had two persons (dyoprosopism), the divine Logos and the human Jesus. As a result of this prosopic duality, he proposed Christotokos (Bringer forth of Christ) as a more suitable title for Mary.

Nestorius' opponents found his teaching too close to the heresy of adoptionism – the idea that Christ had been born a man who had later been "adopted" as God's son. Nestorius was especially criticized by Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, who argued that Nestorius's teachings undermined the unity of Christ's divine and human natures at the Incarnation. Some of Nestorius's opponents argued that he put too much emphasis on the human nature of Christ, and others debated that the difference that Nestorius implied between the human nature and the divine nature created a fracture in the singularity of Christ, thus creating two Christ figures. [10] Nestorius himself always insisted that his views were orthodox, though they were deemed heretical at the Council of Ephesus in 431, leading to the Nestorian Schism, when churches supportive of Nestorius and the rest of the Christian Church separated. A more elaborate Nestorian theology developed from there, which came to see Christ as having two natures united, or hypostases, [11] [ citation needed ][ dubious ] the divine Logos and the human Christ. However, this formulation was never adopted by all churches termed "Nestorian". Indeed, the modern Assyrian Church of the East, which reveres Nestorius, does not fully subscribe to Nestorian doctrine, though it does not employ the title Theotokos. [12]

Nestorian Schism and early history

Christianity Branches without text.svg
Major denominational families in Christianity:
Western Christianity
Eastern Christianity
Protestantism
Evangelicalism
Anabaptism
Anglicanism
Calvinism
Lutheranism
(Latin Church)
Catholic Church
(Eastern Catholic Churches)
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Church of the East
Nestorianism
Schism (1552)
Assyrian Church of the East
Ancient Church of the East
Protestant Reformation
(16th century)
Great Schism
(11th century)
Council of Ephesus (431)
Council of Chalcedon (451)
Early Christianity
State church of the
Roman Empire
"Great Church"
(Full communion)

Nestorianism became a distinct sect following the Nestorian Schism, beginning in the 430s. Nestorius had come under fire from Western theologians, most notably Cyril of Alexandria. Cyril had both theological and political reasons for attacking Nestorius; on top of feeling that Nestorianism was an error against true belief, he also wanted to denigrate the head of a competing patriarchate.[ citation needed ] Cyril and Nestorius asked Pope Celestine I to weigh in on the matter. Celestine found that the title Theotokos [9] was orthodox, and authorized Cyril to ask Nestorius to recant. Cyril, however, used the opportunity to further attack Nestorius, who pleaded with Emperor Theodosius II to call a council so that all grievances could be aired. [12]

In 431 Theodosius called the Council of Ephesus. However, the council ultimately sided with Cyril, who held that the Christ contained two natures in one divine person (hypostasis, unity of subsistence), and that the Virgin Mary, conceiving and bearing this divine person, is truly called the Mother of God (Theotokos, meaning, God-bearer). The council accused Nestorius of heresy, and deposed him as patriarch. [13] Upon returning to his monastery in 436, he was banished to Upper Egypt. Nestorianism was officially anathematized, a ruling reiterated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. However, a number of churches, particularly those associated with the School of Edessa, supported Nestorius – though not necessarily his doctrine – and broke with the churches of the West. Many of Nestorius' supporters relocated to the Sasanian Empire of Iran, home to a vibrant but persecuted Christian minority. [14] In Upper Egypt, Nestorius wrote his Book of Heraclides, responding to the two councils at Ephesus (431, 449). [15]

The Church of the East

Da Qin Pagoda.jpg
The Daqin Pagoda, controversially claimed to be part of an early Nestorian church in what was then Chang'an, now Xi'an, China, built during the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD)
Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, with a Female Figure in T'ang Costume, Chotscho, Sinkiang.jpg
Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, with a female figure dressed in a T'ang dynasty costume, 683–770 A.D.
Chinese stone inscription of a Nestorian Cross from a monastery of Fangshan District in Beijing (then called Dadu, or Khanbaliq), dated to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD) of medieval China. Yuan stone Nestorian inscription (rep).JPG
Chinese stone inscription of a Nestorian Cross from a monastery of Fangshan District in Beijing (then called Dadu, or Khanbaliq), dated to the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368 AD) of medieval China.
Epitaph of a Nestorian, unearthed at Chifeng, Inner Mongolia An epitaph of a Nestorian Christian.jpg
Epitaph of a Nestorian, unearthed at Chifeng, Inner Mongolia

Persia had long been home to Christian communities that had been persecuted by the Zoroastrian majority, which had accused local Christians of pro-Roman leanings. In 424, the Church in Persia declared itself independent of the Byzantine Church and all other churches, in order to ward off allegations of foreign allegiance. Following the Nestorian Schism, the Persian Church increasingly aligned itself with the Nestorians[ who? ], a measure encouraged by the Zoroastrian ruling class. The Persian Church became increasingly Nestorian[ citation needed ] in doctrine over the next decades, furthering the divide between Chalcedonian Christianity and the Nestorians[ who? ]. In 486 the Metropolitan of Nisibis, Barsauma, publicly accepted Nestorius' mentor, Theodore of Mopsuestia, as a spiritual authority. In 489 when the School of Edessa in Mesopotamia was closed by Byzantine Emperor Zeno for its Nestorian teachings, the school relocated to its original home of Nisibis, becoming again the School of Nisibis, leading to a wave of Nestorian[ who? ] immigration into Persia. The Persian patriarch Babai (497–502) reiterated and expanded upon the church's esteem for Theodore, solidifying the church's adoption of Nestorianism. [14] [ better source needed ]

Now firmly established in Iran, with centers in Nisibis, Ctesiphon, and Gundeshapur, and several metropoleis, the Nestorian Persian Church began to branch out beyond the Sasanian Empire. However, through the sixth century, the church was frequently beset with internal strife and persecution by Zoroastrians. The infighting led to a schism, which lasted from 521 until around 539 when the issues were resolved. However, immediately afterward Roman-Persian conflict led to the persecution of the church by the Sassanid emperor Khosrow I; this ended in 545. The church survived these trials under the guidance of Patriarch Aba I, who had converted to Christianity from Zoroastrianism. [14]

The church emerged stronger after this period of ordeal, and increased missionary efforts farther afield. Missionaries established dioceses in the Arabian Peninsula and India (the Saint Thomas Christians). They made some advances in Egypt, despite the strong miaphysite presence there. [16] Missionaries entered Central Asia and had significant success converting local Turkic tribes. Nestorian missionaries were firmly established in China during the early part of the Tang dynasty (618–907); the Chinese source known as the Nestorian Stele records a mission under a Persian proselyte named Alopen as introducing Nestorian Christianity to China in 635. Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, completed in 644, the Persian Church became a dhimmi community under the Rashidun Caliphate. The church and its communities abroad grew larger under the Caliphate. By the 10th century it had 15 metropolitan sees within the Caliphate's territories, and another five elsewhere, including in China and India. [14] After that time, however, Nestorianism[ disputed ] went into decline.

Sebastian Brock, Fellow of the British Academy published an article in a 1996 journal and stated that the term 'Nestorian' when applied to the Assyrian Church of the East is both inappropriate and misleading. [2]


(Assyrian) Church of the East as the 'Nestorian Church'

Sebastian Brock, in a 1996 article published in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, wrote that "..the term 'Nestorian Church' has become the standard designation for the ancient oriental church which in the past called itself 'The Church of the East', but which today prefers the fuller title 'The Assyrian Church of the East'. Such a designation ['Nestorian Church'] is not only discourteous to modern members of this venerable church, but also--as this paper aims to show--both inappropriate and misleading." [2]

In a 2017 paper, Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, stated the position of the Assyrian Church: "After the Council of Ephesus (431), when the Nestorius the patriarch of Constantinople was condemned for his views on the unity of the Godhead and the humanity in Christ, the Church of the East was branded as 'Nestorian' on account of its refusal to anathematize the patriarch." [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Chalcedonian Definition was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. Chalcedon was an early centre of Christianity located in Asia Minor. The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and most Protestant churches. It was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox church; these churches may be classified as non-Chalcedonian.

Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the Christian denominations adhering to the christological definitions and ecclesiological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451. Chalcedonian Christians follow the Definition of Chalcedon, a religious doctrine concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. The great majority of Christian communions and confessions in the 21st century are Chalcedonian, but from the 5th to the 8th centuries the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology was not always certain.

Nestorius Archbishop of Constantinople

Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June.

Eutyches was a presbyter and archimandrite at Constantinople. He first came to notice in 431 at the First Council of Ephesus, for his vehement opposition to the teachings of Nestorius; his condemnation of Nestorianism as heresy led him to an equally extreme, although opposite view, which precipitated his being denounced as a heretic himself.

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria 5th-century Coptic/Orthodox pope

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria, 25th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 but was recognized as Patriarch by the Coptic Church until his death. He died on the Island of Gangra, Paphlagonia, in September 454. He is venerated as a saint by the Coptic and other Oriental Orthodox churches.

Nestorian Schism schism between the Christian churches of Sassanid Persia affiliated with Nestorius and churches that rejected him, arising out of a Christological dispute, caused by the Council of Ephesus (431)

The Nestorian Schism (431–544), in church history, involved a split between the Christian churches of Sassanid Persia, which affiliated with Nestorius, and churches that rejected him. The schism rose out of a Christological dispute, notably involving Cyril and Nestorius. The First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 condemned Nestorius and his doctrine, which emphasized the radical distinctness between Christ's human and divine natures.

The School of Nisibis, for a time absorbed into the School of Edessa, was an educational establishment in Nisibis. It was an important spiritual centre of the early Church of the East, and like the Academy of Gondishapur, it is sometimes referred to as the world's first university. The school had three primary departments teaching: theology, philosophy and medicine. Its most famous teacher was Narsai, formerly head of the School of Edessa.

Nicene Christianity A set of Christian doctrinal traditions reflecting the Nicene Creed

Nicene Christianity is a set of Christian doctrinal traditions which reflect the Nicene Creed, which was formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and amended at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381.

Eutychianism specific understanding of how the human and divine relate within the person of Jesus

Eutychianism refers to a set of Christian theological doctrines derived from the ideas of Eutyches of Constantinople. Eutychianism is a specific understanding of how the human and divine relate within the person of Jesus Christ.

The Second Council of Ephesus was a Christological church synod in 449 AD convened by Emperor Theodosius II under the presidency of Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria. It was intended to be an ecumenical council, and it is accepted as such by the miaphysite churches but was rejected by the Chalcedonian dyophysites. It was explicitly repudiated by the next council, the Council of Chalcedon of 451, recognised as the fourth ecumenical council by Chalcedonian Christians, and it was named the Latrocinium or "Robber Council" by Pope Leo I. The Chalcedonian churches, particularly the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communions, continue to accept this designation, while the Oriental Orthodox repudiate it.

Coptic history aspect of the history of Egypt focusing on the history of the Copts

Coptic history is part of history of Egypt that begins with the introduction of Christianity in Egypt in the 1st century AD during the Roman period, and covers the history of the Copts to the present day. Many of the historic items related to Coptic Christianity are on display in many museums around the world and a large number is in the Coptic Museum in Coptic Cairo.

First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. They reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches.

Oriental Orthodox Churches Branch of Eastern Christianity

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to miaphysite Christology and theology, and together have 60 to 70 million members worldwide. As some of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Oriental Orthodox Churches have played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian body of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarized in that the churches recognize the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.

Christianity in the 5th century Christianity-related events during the 5th century

In the 5th century in Christianity, there were many developments which led to further fracturing of the State church of the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius II called two synods in Ephesus, one in 431 and one in 449, that addressed the teachings of Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius and similar teachings. Nestorius had taught that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons, and hence Mary was the mother of Christ but not the mother of God. The Council rejected Nestorius' view causing many churches, centered on the School of Edessa, to a Nestorian break with the imperial church. Persecuted within the Roman Empire, many Nestorians fled to Persia and joined the Sassanid Church thereby making it a center of Nestorianism. By the end of the 5th century, the global Christian population was estimated at 10-11 million. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon was held to clarify the issue further. The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches, that is today known as Oriental Orthodoxy. In spite of these schisms, however, the imperial church still came to represent the majority of Christians within the Roman Empire.

References

  1. 1 2 Burgess 1989, p. 90, 229, 231.
  2. 1 2 3 Brock, S. P. (1996). "The 'Nestorian' Church: a lamentable misnomer". Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 1996;78(3):23-35. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  3. Hogan, Dissent from the Creed. pages 123–125.
  4. Martin Lembke, lecture in the course "Meetings with the World's Religions", Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, Spring Term 2010.
  5. Nestorius. The Bazaar of Heracleides.
  6. 1 2 3 Stopka, Krzysztof (2016-12-16). Armenia Christiana: Armenian Religious Identity and the Churches of Constantinople and Rome (4th–15th Century). Wydawnictwo UJ. pp. 62–68. ISBN   978-83-233-9555-3.
  7. Kleinbauer, W. Eugene (September 1972). "Zvartnots and the Origins of Christian Architecture in Armenia". The Art Bulletin. Vol. 54 no. 3. p. 261.
  8. Bosch, David (1991). Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Orbis Books. p. 204. ISBN   978-1-60833-146-8.
  9. 1 2 Artemi, Eirini (December 2012). "Cyril of Alexandria's critique of the term Theotokos by Nestorius Constantinople". Acta Theologica. 32 (2): 1–16. doi:10.4314/actat.v32i2.1 . Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  10. Bentley, Jerry (1993). Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times . New York: Oxford University Press. p.  105.
  11. "Nestorius and Nestorianism". The Catholic Encyclopedia via New Advent.
  12. 1 2 "Nestorius". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  13. "Cyril of Alexandria, Third Epistle to Nestorius, with 'Twelve Anathemas'". Monachos.net. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "Nestorianism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  15. Patte, Daniel, ed. (2010). The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. p. 862.
  16. Campbell, Ted (1996). Christian Confessions: A Historical Introduction. Westminster: John Knox Press. ISBN   978-0-664-25650-0., page 62.
  17. "The Assyrian Church of the East: A Panoramic View of a Glorious History- Mar Awa Royel". Church of Beth Kokheh Journal. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2019-10-25.

Further reading