Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Third Ecumenical Council: The Council of Ephesus.: Anathematism IV
If anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions (φωνάς) which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God: let him be anathema.
If any one assigns the expressions of the Gospels and Apostolic letters, which refer to the two natures of Christ, to one only of those natures, and even ascribes suffering to the divine Word, both in the flesh and in the Godhead; let him be anathema.
(Apol. contra Orientales.)
For we neither teach the division of the hypostases after the union, nor do we say that the nature of the Deity needs increase and growth; but this rather we hold, that by way of an economical appropriation (κατ᾽ οἰκείωσιν οἰκονομικὴν), he made his own the p. 212 properties of the flesh, as having become flesh.
(Quod unus est Christus.)
For the wise Evangelist, introducing the Word as become flesh, shows him economically submitting himself to his own flesh and going through the laws of his own nature. But it belongs to humanity to increase in stature and in wisdom, and, I might add, in grace, intelligence keeping pace with the measure of the body, and differing according to age. For it was not impossible for the Word born of the Father to have raised the body united to himself to its full height from the very swaddling-clothes. I would say also, that in the babe a wonderful wisdom might easily have appeared. But that would have approached the thaumaturgical, and would have been incongruous to the laws of the economy. For the mystery was accomplished noiselessly. Therefore he economically allowed the measures of humanity to have power over himself.
A. B. Bruce.
(The Humiliation of Christ. Appendix to Lect. II.)
The accommodation to the laws of the economy, according to this passage, consisted in this—in stature, real growth; in wisdom, apparent growth. The wonderful wisdom was there from the first, but it was not allowed to appear (ἐκφῆναι), to avoid an aspect of monstrosity.
Therefore there would have been shown to all an unwonted and strange thing, if, being yet an infant, he had made a demonstration of his wisdom worthy of God; but expanding it gradually and in proportion to the age of the body, and (in this gradual manner) making it manifest to all, he might be said to increase (in wisdom) very appropriately.
(Ad Reginas de recta fide, Orat. II., cap. xvi.)
“But the boy increased and waxed strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” And again: “Jesus increased in stature and wisdom, and in favour with God and men.” In affirming our Lord Jesus Christ to be one, and assigning to him both divine and human properties, we truly assert that it was congruous to the measures of the kenosis, on the one hand, that he should receive bodily increase and grow strong, the parts of the body gradually attaining their full development; and, on the other hand, that he should seem to be filled with wisdom, in so far as the manifestation of the wisdom dwelling within him proceeded, as by addition, most congruously to the stature of the body; and this, as I said, agreed with the economy of the Incarnation, and the measures of the state of humiliation.
(Apol. contra Theod., ad Anath. iv.)
And if he is one and the same in virtue of the true unity of natures, and is not one and another (two persons) disjunctively and partitively, to him will belong both to know and to seem not to know. Therefore he knows on the divine side as the Wisdom of the Father. But since he subjected himself to the measure of humanity, he economically appropriates this also with the rest, although, as I said a little ago, being ignorant of nothing, but knowing all things with the Father.
Next: Anathematism V
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: https://st-takla.org / Contact us at