Third Council of Ephesus

Last updated
Third Council of Ephesus
Date475
Accepted by Oriental Orthodox Church
Previous council
Council of Chalcedon (not accepted by the Oriental Orthodox)
Next council
Second Council of Constantinople (not accepted by the Oriental Orthodox)
Convoked byEmperor Basiliscus
President Pope Timothy II of Alexandria
Attendance500-700
Topics Christology, Monophysitism, Restored the complete autonomy of the Exarchate of Ephesus
Documents and statements
Condemnations of Eutyches, the Council of Chalcedon and the Tome of Leo
Chronological list of ecumenical councils

The Third Council of Ephesus was held in the Anatolian city of Ephesus in 475. It was presided over by Pope Timothy II of Alexandria, and also attended by Peter the Fuller, then Patriarch of Antioch, and Paul the Exarch of Ephesus. It ratified a recent Encyclical of Emperor Basiliscus, reportedly signed by 500-700 bishops throughout the Empire, which condemned the Council of Chalcedon and particularly the Tome of Leo. This council thus constitutes one of the most significant synodical condemnations of Chalcedon for the Oriental Orthodox. In response to the accusations of certain Chalcedonians that they, the Non-Chalcedonians, had adopted the erroneous teachings of Eutyches, the attendees of Ephesus III summarily anathematized all teachings which compromised the humanity of Christ, but without any explicite mention of Eutyches. Additionally, the council restored the complete autonomy of the Ecclesiastical Exarchate of Ephesus (corresponding to the civil Diocese of Asia), which had been compromised at Chalcedon by ascribing authority to the Patriarch of Constantinople over Thrace, Pontus, and Asia. [1] [2]

Ephesus Ancient city in Anatolia

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

Pope Timothy II of Alexandria, also known as Αἴλουρος/Aelurus, succeeded twice in supplanting the Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria.

Peter Fullo was Patriarch of Antioch (471–488) and Non-Chalcedonian.

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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.

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. 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 and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria major transnational Oriental Orthodox church led by the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of St. Mark

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Alexandrian Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With 20–25 million members worldwide, whereof about 18 to 22 million are in Egypt, it is the country's largest Christian church.

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 of Jesus Christ were joined by will rather than nature. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophisitism. 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.

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.

Monothelitism

Monothelitism or monotheletism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus. The Christological doctrine formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism is the view that Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will. That is contrary to the Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills that correspond to his two natures (dyothelitism). Monothelitism is a development of the Neo-Chalcedonian position in the Christological debates. Formulated in 638, it enjoyed considerable popularity, even garnering patriarchal support, before being rejected and denounced as heretical in 681, at the Third Council of Constantinople.

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.

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.

Severus of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch

Saint Severus the Great of Antioch, also known as Severus of Gaza, was the Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, from 512 until his death in 538. He is venerated as a saint in the Oriental Orthodox Church, and his feast day is 8 February.

The Henotikon was a christological document issued by Byzantine emperor Zeno in 482, in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of the Council of Chalcedon and the council's opponents. It was followed by the Acacian schism.

Maximus II was a 5th-century patriarch of Antioch. After the deposition of Domnus II by the Second Council of Ephesus, 449, Dioscorus persuaded the emperor Theodosius II to fill the vacancy with one of the clergy of Constantinople. Maximus was selected and ordained, in violation of canon law, by Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople, without the official sanction of the clergy or people of Antioch.

Miaphysitism Christological formula of the Oriental Orthodox Churches

Miaphysitism is Cyril of Alexandria's Christological formula holding that in the person of Jesus Christ, divine nature and human nature are united in a compound nature ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without mixture, without confusion and without alteration.

Non-Chalcedonianism is a religious doctrine of those Christian churches that do not accept the Confession of Chalcedon as defined at the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. The doctrine contrasts with Chalcedonian Christianity, which accepts the doctrines of the first seven Ecumenical Councils. Some Christian denominations do not accept the Confession of Chalcedon, for varying reasons, but accept the doctrines of the previous council at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

Hieromartyr Proterius of Alexandria was Patriarch of Alexandria from 451 to 457. He had been appointed by the Council of Chalcedon to replace the depose Dioscorus.

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.

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.

Coptic history

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.

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 Orthodoxy Branch of Eastern Christianity

Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has 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 communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.

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John Meyendorff was a leading theologian of the Orthodox Church of America as well as a writer and teacher. He served as the dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States until June 30, 1992.