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Monophysitism (from the Greek monos meaning 'one' and physis meaning 'nature') is the christological position that Christ has only one nature, as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human. There are three major doctrines that can be called monophysite:

  • Eutychianism holds that the human nature of Christ was essentially obliterated by the Divine, "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea".
  • Apollinarism holds that Christ had a human body and human "living principle" but that the Divine Logos had taken the place of the nous, or "thinking principle", analogous but not identical to what might be called a mind in the present day.
  • Miaphysitism, the "monophysite" Christology of extant "monophysite" Churches, holds that in Christ the divine and human nature become one nature, the natures being united without separation, without confusion, and without change.

Monophysitism emerged in Egypt as a response to Nestorianism. It was rejected at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Later, monothelitism was developed as an attempt to bridge the gap between Monophysitism and the Chalcedonian position, but it too was rejected by the Chalcedonians, despite at times having the support of the Byzantine Emperors.

Monophysite churches are still found today, and include the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, sometimes referred to as Jacobite,Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (tewahido being an Ethiopian word meaning "being made one"), and the newly autocephalous Eritrean Orthodox Church. These are considered branches of Oriental Orthodoxy.

See also

Acephali, Henotikon, the Three-Chapter Controversy


Last updated: 10-19-2005 04:26:03
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