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Nature of Christ, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

6- Widely Known Heresies Concerning the Nature of Christ: 3: The Heresy of Nestorus (Nestorianism)

 

C) The Heresy of Nestorus (Nestorianism):

Nestorus was Patriarch of Constantinople in 428 AD, he was excommunicated by the Holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus held in 431 AD because he refused to name the Virgin St. Mary

"Mother of God" (Theotokos), as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. He believed that St. Mary gave birth to a mere human and that Divinity descended and filled this human; Thus the Virgin Mary would be called the "Mother of Jesus" (Christokos), and not the "Mother of God" (Theotokos).

St-Takla.org         Image: Nestorius the Heretic or Nastour صورة: تمثال نسطور الهرطوقي أو نستور

St-Takla.org Image: Nestorius the Heretic or Nastour

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: تمثال نسطور الهرطوقي أو نستور

Nestorus priest, Anastasius, spread this teaching; and Nestorus then confirmed it and wrote five books to refute the idea that the Virgin was the "Mother of God".

In so doing he is considered to have denied the Divinity of Christ.

His theory that Divinity descended and filled Our Lord meant that there was no Hypostatic union, but rather meant that the Divinity descended to accompany Him or to fill Him as in the case of saints.

In other words, Nestorus' concept meant that Christ became a dwelling for God just as He became a dwelling for the Holy Spirit through His Baptism. As such, Christ is considered a "Carrier of God" (Theophorus), which is the same title given to St. Ignatius of Antioch.

He Explained that it was impossible for the Virgin to give birth to God, as the creation never gives birth to the Creator. Besides, whatever is born of flesh will merely be flesh.

Thus the opinion of Nestorus was that the relation between the human nature of Christ and the Divine nature started just after His Birth from the Virgin and it was not a Hypostatic union. He explicitly said: "I distinguish between the two natures". In this way the Nestorian belief is against the Propitiation Creed, because if Christ has not united with the Divine nature it would have been impossible for Him to offer an unlimited propitiation (or sacrifice) sufficient for the forgiveness of all sins of all people throughout the ages.

When our Church says that the Virgin is the "Mother of God", it confirms that she gave birth to the Incarnate Logos and not that she was the source of the Divine nature. Certainly not.

God the Logos is the Creator of the Virgin, but He, in the fullness of time, descended and filled her and she became pregnant and carried Him united with the human nature and she gave birth to Him.

The twelve Anathemas which St. Cyril issued include answers to all the Nestorian heresies. He condemned those who said that the two natures resulted from being joined together and those who said that God the Logos was working in the man Jesus or that God the Logos was dwelling in Jesus. He also condemned those who distinguished between Jesus and God the Logos claiming that He was merely a man born of a woman.


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