Nestorius & Nestorianism

The heresiarch

Nestorius, who gave his name to the Nestorian heresy, was born at Germanicia, in Syria Euphoratensis (date unknown); died in the Thebaid, Egypt, c. 451. He was living as a priest and monk in the monastery of Euprepius near the walls, when he was chosen by the Emperor Theodosius II to be Patriarch of Constantinople in succession to Sisinnius. He had a high reputation for eloquence, and the popularity of St. Chrysostom’s memory among the people of the imperial city may have influenced the Emperor’s choice of another priest from Antioch to be court bishop. He was consecrated in April, 428, and seems to have made an excellent impression. He lost no time in showing his zeal against heretics. Within a few days of his consecration Nestorius had an Arian chapel destroyed, and he persuaded Theodosius to issue a severe edict against heresy in the following month. He had the churches of the Macedonians in the Hellespont seized, and took measures against the Quartodecimans who remained in Asia Minor. He also attacked the Novatians, in spite of the good reputation of their bishop. Pelagian refugees from the West, however, he did not expel, not being well acquainted with their condemnation ten years earlier. He twice wrote to Pope St. Celestine I for information on the subject. He received no reply, but Marius Mercator, a disciple of St. Augustine, published a memoir on the subject at Constantinople, and presented it to the emperor, who duly proscribed the heretics. At the end of 428, or at latest in the early part of 429, Nestorius preached the first of his famous sermons against the word Theotokos, and detailed his Antiochian doctrine of the Incarnation. The first to raise his voice against it was Eusebius, a layman, afterwards Bishop of Dorylaeum and the accuser of Eutyches. Two priests of the city, Philip and Proclus, who had both been unsuccessful candidates for the patriarchate, preached against Nestorius. Philip, known as Sidetes, from Side, his birthplace, author of a vast and discursive history now lost, accused the patriarch of heresy. Proclus (who was to succeed later in his candidature) preached a flowery, but perfectly orthodox, sermon, yet extant, to which Nestorius replied in an extempore discourse, which we also possess. All this naturally caused great excitement at Constantinople, especially among the clergy, who were clearly not well disposed towards the stranger from Antioch. St. Celestine immediately condemned the doctrine. Nestorius had arranged with the emperor in the summer of 430 for the assembling of a council. He now hastened it on, and the summons had been issued to patriarchs and metropolitans on 19 Nov., before the pope’s sentence, delivered though Cyril of Alexandria, had been served on Nestorius (6 Dec.). At the council Nestorius was condemned, and the emperor, after much delay and hesitation, ratified its finding. It was confirmed by Pope Sixtus III.

The lot of Nestorius was a hard one. He had been handed over by the pope to the tender mercies of his rival, Cyril; he had been summoned to accept within ten days under pain of deposition, not a papal definition, but a series of anathemas drawn up at Alexandria under the influence of Apollinarian forgeries. The whole council had not condemned him, but only a portion, which had not awaited the arrival of the bishops from Antioch. He had refused to recognize the jurisdiction of this incomplete number, and had consequently refused to appear or put in any defence. He was not thrust out of his see by a change of mind on the part of the feeble emperor. But Nestorius was proud: he showed no sign of yielding or of coming to terms; he put in no plea of appeal to Rome. He retired to his monastery at Antioch with dignity and apparent relief. His friends, John of Antioch, and his party, deserted him, and at the wish of the Emperor, at the beginning of 433, joined hands with Cyril, and Theodoret later did the same. The bishops who were suspected of being favourable to Nestorius were deposed. An edict of Theodosius II, 30 July, 435, condemned his writings to be burnt. A few years later Nestorius was dragged from his retirement and banished to the Oasis. He was at one time carried off by the Nubians (not the Blemmyes) in a raid, and was restored to the Thebaid with his hand and one rib broken. He gave himself up to the governor in order not to be accused of having fled.

The recent discovery of a Syriac version of the (lost) Greek apology for Nestorius by himself has awakened new interest in the question of his personal orthodoxy. The (mutilated) manuscript, about 800 years old, known as the “Bazaar of Heraclides”, and recently edited as the “Liber Heraclidis” by P. Bedjan (Paris, 1910), reveals the persistent odium attached to the name of Nestorius, since at the end of his life he was obliged to substitute for it a pseudonym. In this work he claims that his faith is that of the celebrated “Tome”, or letter of Leo the Great to Flavian, and excuses his failure to appeal to Rome by the general prejudice of which he was the victim. A fine passage on the Eucharistic Sacrifice which occurs in the “Bazaar” may be cited here: “There is something amiss with you which I want to put before you in a few words, in order to induce you to amend it, for you are quick to see what is seemly. What then is this fault? Presently the mysteries are set before the faithful like the mess granted to his soldiers by the king. Yet the army of the faithful is nowhere to be seen, but they are blown away together with the catechumens like chaff by the wind of indifference. And Christ is crucified in the symbol [kata ton tupon], sacrificed by the sword of the prayer of the Priest; but, as when He was upon the Cross, He finds His disciples have already fled. Terrible is this fault,–a betrayal of Christ when there is no persecution, a desertion by the faithful of their Master’s Body when there is no war” (Loofs, “Nestoriana”, Halls, 1905, p. 341).

The writings of Nestorius were originally very numerous. As stated above, the “Bazaar” has newly been published (Paris, 1910) in the Syriac translation in which alone it survives. The rest of the fragments of Nestorius have been most minutely examined, pieced together and edited by Loofs. His sermons show a real eloquence, but very little remains in the original Greek. The Latin translations by Marius Mercator are very poor in style and the text is ill preserved. Batiffol has attributed to Nestorius many sermons which have come down to us under the names of other authors; three of Athanasius, one of Hippolytus, three of Amphilochius, thirty-eight of Basil of Selleucia, seven of St. Chrysostom; but Loofs and Baker do not accept the ascription. Mercati has pointed out four fragments in a writing of Innocent, Bishop of Maronia (ed. Amelli in “Spicil. Cassin.”, I, 1887), and Armenian fragments have been published by Ludtke.

The heresy

Nestorius was a disciple of the school of Antioch, and his Christology was essentially that of Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, both Cilician bishops and great opponents of Arianism. Both died in the Catholic Church. Diodorus was a holy man, much venerated by St. John Chrysostom. Theodore, however, was condemned in person as well as in his writings by the Fifth General Council, in 553. In opposition to many of the Arians, who taught that in the Incarnation the Son of God assumed a human body in which His Divine Nature took the place of soul, and to the followers of Apollinarius of Laodicea, who held that the Divine Nature supplied the functions of the higher or intellectual soul, the Antiochenes insisted upon the completeness of the humanity which the Word assumed. Unfortunately, they represented this human nature as a complete man, and represented the Incarnation as the assumption of a man by the Word. The same way of speaking was common enough in Latin writers (assumere hominem, homo assumptus) and was meant by them in an orthodox sense; we still sing in the Te Deum: “Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem”, where we must understand “ad liberandum hominem, humanam naturam suscepisti”. But the Antiochene writers did not mean that the “man assumed” (ho lephtheis anthropos) was taken up into one hypostasis with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. They preferred to speak of synapheia, “junction”, rather than enosis, “unification”, and said that the two were one person in dignity and power, and must be worshipped together. The word person in its Greek form prosopon might stand for a juridical or fictitious unity; it does not necessarily imply what the word person implies to us, that is, the unity of the subject of consciousness and of all the internal and external activities. Hence we are not surprised to find that Diodorus admitted two Sons, and that Theodore practically made two Christs, and yet that they cannot be proved to have really made two subjects in Christ. Two things are certain: first, that, whether or no they believed in the unity of the subject in the Incarnate Word, at least they explained that unity wrongly; secondly, that they used most unfortunate and misleading language when they spoke of the union of the manhood with the Godhead — language which is objectively heretical, even were the intention of its authors good.
Nestorius, as well as Theodore, repeatedly insisted that he did not admit two Christs or two Sons, and he frequently asserted the unity of the prosopon. On arriving at constantinople he came to the conclusion that the very different theology which he found rife there was a form of Arian or Apollinarian error. In this he was not wholly wrong, as the outbreak of Eutychianism twenty years later may be held to prove. In the first months of his pontificate he was implored by the Pelagian Julian of Eclanum and other expelled bishops of his party to recognize their orthodoxy and obtain their restoration He wrote at least three letters to the pope, St. Celestine I, to inquire whether these petitioners had been duly condemned or not, but he received no reply, not (as has been too often repeated) because the pope imagined he did not respect the condemnation of the Pelagians by himself and by the Western emperor, but because he added in his letters, which are extant, denunciations of the supposed Arians and Apollinarians of Constantinople, and in so doing gave clear signs of the Antiochene errors soon to be known as Nestorian. In particular he denounced those who employed the word Theotokos, though he was ready to admit the use of it in a certain sense: “Ferri tamen potest hoc vocabulum proper ipsum considerationem, quod solum nominetur de virgine hoc verbum hoc propter inseparable templum Dei Verbi ex ipsa, non quia mater sit Dei Verbi; nemo enim antiquiorem se parit.” Such an admission is worse than useless, for it involves the whole error that the Blessed Virgin is not the mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It is therefore unfortunate that Loofs and others who defend Nestorius should appeal to the frequency with which he repeated that he should accept the Theotokos if only it was properly understood. In the same letter he speaks quite correctly of the “two Natures which are adored in the one Person of the Only-begotten by a perfect and unconfused conjunction”, but this could not palliate his mistake that the blessed Virgin is mother of one nature, not of the person (a son is necessarily a person not a nature), nor the fallacy: “No one can bring forth a son older than herself.” The deacon Leo, who was twenty years later as pope to define the whole doctrine, gave these letters to John Cassian of Marseilles, who at once wrote against Nestorius his seven books, “De incarnatione Christi”. Before he had completed the work he had further obtained some sermons of Nestorius, from which he quotes in the later books. He misunderstands and exaggerates the teaching of his opponent, but his treatise is important because it stereotyped once for all a doctrine which the Western world was to accept as Nestorianism. After explaining that the new heresy was a renewal of Pelagianism and Ebionitism, Cassian represents the Constantinoplitan patriarch as teaching that Christ is a mere man (homo solitarius) who merited union with the Divinity as the reward of His Passion. Cassian himself brings out quite clearly both the unity of person and the distinction of the two natures, yet the formula “Two Natures and one Person” is less plainly enunciated by him than by Nestorius himself, and the discussion is wanting in clear-cut distinctions and definitions.
Meanwhile Nestorius was being attacked by his own clergy and simultaneously by St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, who first denounced him, though without giving a name, in an epistle to all the monks of Egypt, then remonstrated with him personally by letter, and finally wrote to the pope. Loofs is of the opinion that Nestorius would never have been disturbed but for St. Cyril. But there is no reason to connect St. Cyril with the opposition to the heresiarch at Constantinople and at Rome. His rivals Philip of Side and Proclus and the layman Eusebius (afterwards Bishop of Dorylaeum), as well as the Roman Leo, seem to have acted without any impulse from Alexandria. It might have been expected that Pope Celestine would specify certain heresies of Nestorius and condemn them, or issue a definition of the traditional faith which was being endangered. Unfortunately he did nothing of the kind. St. Cyril had sent to Rome his correspondence with Nestorius, a collection of that Patriarch’s sermons, and a work of his own which he had just composed, consisting of five books “Contra Nestorium”. The pope had them translated into Latin, and then, after assembling the customary council, contented himself with giving a general condemnation of Nestorius and a general approval of St. Cyril’s conduct, whilst he delivered the execution of this vague decree to Cyril, who as Patriarch of Alexandria was the hereditary enemy both of the Antiochene theologian and the Constantinoplitan bishop. Nestorius was to be summoned to recant within ten days. The sentence was as harsh as can well be imagined. St. Cyril saw himself obliged to draw up a form for the recantation. With the help of an Egyptian council he formulated a set of twelve anathematisms which simply epitomize the errors he had pointed out in his five books “Against Nestorius”, for the pope appeared to have agreed with the doctrine of that work. It is most important to notice that up to this point St. Cyril had not rested his case upon Apollinarian documents and had not adopted the Apollinarian formula mia physis sesarkomene from Pseudo-Anathasius. He does not teach in so many words “two natures after the union”, but his work against Nestorius, with the depth and precision of St. Leo, is an admirable exposition of Catholic doctrine, worthy of a Doctor of the church, and far surpassing the treatise of Cassian. The twelve anathematisms are less happy, for St. Cyril was always a diffuse writer, and his solitary attempt at brevity needs to be read in connection with the work which it summarizes.
The Anathematisms were at once attacked, on behalf of John, Patriarch of Antioch, in defence of the Antiochene School, by Andrew of Samosata and the great Theodoret of Cyrus. The former wrote at Antioch; his objections were adopted by a synod held there, and were sent to Cyril as the official view of all the Oriental bishops. St. Cyril published separate replies to these two antagonists, treating Andrew with more respect than Theodoret, to whom he is contemptuous and sarcastic. The latter was doubtless the superior of the Alexandrian in talent and learning, but at this time he was no match for him as a theologian. Both Andrew and Theodoret show themselves captious and unfair; at best they sometimes prove that St. Cyril’s wording is ambiguous and ill-chosen. They uphold the objectionable Antiochene phraseology, and they respect the hypostatic union (enosis kath hypostasin) as well as the physike enosis as unorthodox and unscriptural. The latter expression is indeed unsuitable, and may be misleading. Cyril had to explain that he was not summarizing or defining the faith about the Incarnation, but simply putting together the principal errors of Nestorius in the heretic’s own words. In his books against Nestorius he had occasionally misrepresented him, but in the twelve anathematisms he gave a perfectly faithful picture of Nestorius’s view, for in fact Nestorius did not disown the propositions, nor did Andrew of Samosata or Theodoret refuse to patronize any of them. The anathematisms were certainly in a general way approved by the Council of Ephesus, but they have never been formally adopted by the Church. Nestorius for his part replied by a set of twelve contra-anathematisms. Some of them are directed against St. Cyril’s teaching, others attack errors which St. Cyril did not dream of teaching, for example that Christ’s Human Nature became through the union uncreated and without beginning, a silly conclusion which was later ascribed to the sect of Monophysites called Actistetae. On the whole, Nestorius’s new programme emphasized his old position, as also did the violent sermons which he preached against St. Cyril on Saturday and Sunday, 13 and 14 December, 430. We have no difficulty in defining the doctrine of Nestorius so far as words are concerned: Mary did not bring forth the Godhead as such (true) nor the Word of God (false), but the organ, the temple of the Godhead. The man Jesus Christ is this temple, “the animated purple of the King”, as he expresses it in a passage of sustained eloquence. The Incarnate God did not suffer nor die, but raised up from the dead him in whom He was incarnate. The Word and the Man are to be worshipped together, and he adds: dia ton phorounta ton phoroumenon sebo (Through Him that bears I worship Him Who is borne). If St. Paul speaks of the Lord of Glory being crucified, he means the man by “the Lord of Glory”. There are two natures, he says, and one person; but the two natures are regularly spoken of as though they were two persons, and the sayings of Scripture about Christ are to be appropriated some of the Man, some to the Word. If Mary is called the Mother of God, she will be made into a goddess, and the Gentiles will be scandalized.
This is all bad enough as far as words go. But did not Nestorius mean better than his words? The Oriental bishops were certainly not all disbelievers in the unity of subject in the Incarnate Christ, and in fact St. Cyril made peace with them in 433. One may point to the fact that Nestorius emphatically declared that there is one Christ and one Son, and St. Cyril himself has preserved for us some passages from his sermons which the saint admits to be perfectly orthodox, and therefore wholly inconsistent with the rest. For example: “Great is the mystery of the gifts! For this visible infant, who seems so young, who needs swaddling clothes for His body, who in the substance which we see is newly born, is the Eternal Son, as it is written, the Son who is the Maker of all, the Son who binds together in the swathing-bands of His assisting power the whole creation which would otherwise be dissolved.” And again: “Even the infant is the all-powerful God, so far, O Arius, is God the Word from being subject to God.” And: “We recognize the humanity of the infant, and His Divinity; the unity of His Sonship we guard in the nature of humanity and divinity.” It will probably be only just to Nestorius to admit that he fully intended to safeguard the unity of subject in Christ. But he gave wrong explanations as to the unity, and his teaching logically led to two Christs, though he would not have admitted the fact. Not only his words are misleading, but the doctrine which underlies his words is misleading, and tends to destroy the whole meaning of the Incarnation. It is impossible to deny that teaching as well as wording which leads to such consequences as heresy. He was therefore unavoidably condemned. He reiterated the same view twenty years later in the “Bazaar of Heraclides”, which shows no real change of opinion, although he declares his adherence to the Tome of St. Leo.
After the council of 431 had been made into law by the emperor, the Antiochene party would not at once give way. But the council was confirmed by Pope Sixtus III, who had succeeded St. Celestine, and it was received by the whole West. Antioch was thus isolated, and at the same time St. Cyril showed himself ready to make explanations. The Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria agreed upon a “creed of union” in 433 (see EUTYCHIANISM). Andrew of Samosata, and some others would not accept it, but declared the word “Theotokos” to be heretical. Theodoret held a council at Zeuguma which refused to anathematize Nestorius. But the prudent bishop of Cyrus after a time perceived that in the “creed of union” Antioch gained more than did Alexandria; so he accepted the somewhat hollow compromise. He says himself that he commended the person of Nestorius whilst he anathematized his doctrine. A new state of things arose when the death of St. Cyril, in 444, took away his restraining hand from his intemperate followers. The friend of Nestorius, Count Irenaeus had become Bishop of Tyre, and he was persecuted by the Cyrillian party, as was Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, who had been a great teacher in that city. These bishops, together with Theodoret and Domnus, the nephew and successor of John of Antioch, were deposed by Dioscorus of Alexandria in the Robber Council of Ephesus (449). Ibas was full of Antiochene theology, but in his famous letter to Maris the Persian he disapproves of Nestorius as well as of Cyril, and at the Council of Chalcedon he was willing to cry a thousand anathemas to Nestorius. He and Theodoret were both restored by that council, and both seem to have taken the view that St. Leo’s Tome was a rehabilitation of the Antiochene theology. The same view was taken by the Monophysites, who looked upon St. Leo as the opponent of St. Cyril’s teaching. Nestorius in his exile rejoiced at this reversal of Roman policy, as he thought it. Loofs, followed by many writers even among Catholics, is of the same opinion. But St. Leo himself believed that he was completing and not undoing the work of the Council of Ephesus, and as a fact his teaching is but a clearer form of St. Cyril’s earlier doctrine as exposed in the five books against Nestorius. But it is true that St. Cyril’s later phraseology, of which the two letters to Succensus are the type, is based upon the formula which he felt himself bound to adopt from an Apollinarian treatise believed to be by his great predecessor Athanasius: mia physis ton Theou Logou sesarkomene. St. Cyril found this formula an awkward one, as his treatment of it shows, and it became in fact the watchword of heresy. But St. Cyril does his best to understand it in a right sense, and goes out of his way to admit two natures even after the union en theoria, an admission which was to save Severus himself from a good part of this heresy.

That Loofs or Harnack should fail to perceive the vital difference between the Antiochenes and St. Leo, is easily explicable by their not believing the Catholic doctrine of the two natures, and therefore not catching the perfectly simple explanation given by St. Leo. Just as some writers declare that the Monophysites always took physis in the sense of hypostasis, so Loofs and others hold that Nestorius took hypostasis always in the sense of physis, and meant no more by two hypostases than he meant by two natures. But the words seem to have had perfectly definite meanings with all the theologians of the period. That the Monophysites distinguished them, is probable (see MONOPHYSITES AND MONOPHYSITISM), and all admit they unquestionably meant by hypostasis a subsistent nature. That Nestorius cannot, on the contrary, have taken nature to mean the same as hypostasis and both to mean essence is obvious enough, for three plain reasons: first, he cannot have meant anything so absolutely opposed to the meaning given to the word hypostasis by the Monophysites; secondly, if he meant nature by hypostasis he had no word at all left for “subsistence” (for he certainly used ousia to mean “essence” rather than “subsistence”); thirdly, the whole doctrine of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Nestorius’s own refusal to admit almost any form of the communicatio idiomatum, force us to take his “two natures” in the sense of subsistent natures.
The modern critics also consider that the orthodox doctrine of the Greeks against Monophysitism — in fact the Chalcedonian doctrine as defended for many years — was practically the Antiochene or Nestorian doctrine, until Leontius modified it in the direction of conciliation. This theory is wholly gratuitous, for from Chalcedon onwards there is no orthodox controversialist who has left us any considerable remains in Greek by which we might be enabled to judge how far Leontius was an innovator. At all events we know, from the attacks made by the Monophysites themselves, that, though they professed to regard their Catholic opponents as Crypto-Nestorians, in so doing they distinguished them from the true Nestorians who openly professed two hypostases and condemned the word Theotokos. In fact we may say that, after John of Antioch and Theodoret had made peace with St. Cyril, no more was heard in the Greek world of the Antiochene theology. The school had been distinguished, but small. In Antioch itself, in Syria, and in Palestine, the monks, who were exceedingly influential, were Cyrillians, and a large proportion of them were to become Monophysites. It was beyond the Greek world that Nestorianism was to have its development. There was at Edessa a famous school for Persians, which had probably been founded in the days of St. Ephrem, when Nisibis had ceased to belong to the Roman Empire in 363. The Christians in Persia had suffered terrible persecution, and Roman Edessa had attracted Persians for peaceful study. Under the direction of Ibas the Persian school of Edessa imbibed the Antiochene theology. But the famous Bishop of Edessa, Rabbûla, though he had stood apart from St. Cyril’s council at Ephesus together with the bishops of the Antiochene patriarchate, became after the council a convinced, and even a violent, Cyrillian, and he did his best against the school of the Persians. Ibas himself became his successor. But at the death of his protector, in 457, the Persians were driven out of Edessa by the Monophysites, who made themselves all-powerful. Syria then becomes Monophysite and produces its Philoxenus and many another writer. Persia simultaneously becomes Nestorian. Of the exiles from Edessa into their own country nine became bishops, including Barsumas, or Barsaûma, of Nisibis and Acacius of Beit Aramage. The school at Edessa was finally closed in 489.
At this time the Church in Persia was autonomous, having renounced all subjection to Antioch and the “Western” bishops at the Council of Seleucia in 410. The ecclesiastical superior of the whole was the Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, who had assumed the rank of catholicos. This prelate was Babaeus or Babowai (457-84) at the time of the arrival of the Nestorian professors from Edessa. He appears to have received them with open arms. But Barsaûma, having become Bishop of Nisibis, the nearest great city to Edessa, broke with the weak catholicos, and, at a council which he held at Beit Lapat in April, 484, pronounced his deposition. In the same year Babowai was accused before the king of conspiring with Constantinople and cruelly put to death, being hung up by his ring-finger and also, it is said, crucified and scourged. There is not sufficient evidence for the story which makes Barsaûma his accuser. The Bishop of Nisibis was at all events in high favour with King Peroz (457-84) and had been able to persuade him that it would be a good thing for the Persian kingdom if the Christians in it were all of a different complexion from those of the Empire, and had no tendency to gravitate towards Antioch and Constantinople, which were not officially under the sway of the “Henoticon” of Zeno. Consequently all Christians who were not Nestorians were driven from Persia. But the story of this persecution as told in the letter of Simeon of Beit Arsam is not generally considered trustworthy, and the alleged number of 7700 Monophysite martyrs is quite incredible. The town of Tagrit alone remained Monophysite. But the Armenians were not gained over, and in 491 they condemned at Valarsapat the Council of Chalcedon, St. Leo, and Barsaûma. Peroz died in 484, soon after having murdered Babowai, and the energetic Bishop of Nisibis had evidently less to hope from his successor, Balash. Though Barsaûma at first opposed the new catholicos, Acacius in August, 485, he had an interview with him, and made his submission, acknowledging the necessity for subjection to Seleucia. However, he excused himself from being present at Acacius’s council in 484 at Seleucia, where twelve bishops were present. At this assembly, the Antiochene Christology was affirmed and a canon of Beit Lapat permitting the marriage of the clergy was repeated. The synod declared that they despised vainglory, and felt bound to humble themselves in order to put an end to the horrible clerical scandals which disedified the Persian Magians as well as the faithful; they therefore enacted that the clergy should make a vow of chastity; deacons may marry, and for the future no one is to be ordained priest except a deacon who has a lawful wife and children. Though no permission is given to priests or bishops to marry (for this was contrary to the canons of the Eastern Church), yet the practice appears to have been winked at, possibly for the regularization of illicit unions. Barsaûma himself is said to have married a nun named Mamoé; but according to Mare, this was at the inspiration of King Peroz, and was only a nominal marriage, intended to ensure the preservation of the lady’s fortune from confiscation.
The Persian Church was now organized, if not thoroughly united, and was formally committed to the theology of Antioch. But Acacius, when sent by the king as envoy to Constantinople, was obliged to accept the anathema against Nestorius in order to be received to Communion there. After his return he bitterly complained of being called a Nestorian by the Monophysite Philoxenus, declaring that he “knew nothing” of Nestorius. Nevertheless Nestorius has always been venerated as a saint by the Persian Church. One thing more was needed for the Nestorian Church; it wanted theological schools of its own, in order that its clergy might be able to hold their own in theological argument, without being tempted to study in the orthodox centres of the East or in the numerous and brilliant schools which the monophysites were now establishing. Barsaûma opened a school at Nisibis, which was to become more famous than its parent at Edessa. The rector was Narses the Leprous, a most prolific writer, of whom little has been preserved. This university consisted of a single college, with the regular life of a monastery. Its rules are still preserved (see NISIBIS). At one time we hear of 800 students. Their great doctor was Theodore of Mopsuestia. His commentaries were studied in the translation made by Ibas and were treated almost as infallible. Theodore’s Canon of Scripture was adopted, as we learn from “De Partibus Divinae Legis” of Junilius, (P.L., LXVIII, and ed. By Kihn), a work which is a translation and adaptation of the published lectures of a certain Paul, professor at Nisibis. The method is Aristotelean, and must be connected with the Aristotelean revival which in the Greek world is associated chiefly with the name of Philoponus, and in the West with that of Boethius. The fame of this theological seminary was so great that Pope Agapetus and Cassiodorus wished to found one in Italy of a similar kind. the attempt was impossible in those troublous times; but Cassiodorus’s monastery at Vivarium was inspired by the example of Nisibis. There were other less important schools at Seleucia and elsewhere, even in small towns.

Barsaûma died between 492 and 495, Acacius in 496 or 497. Narses seems to have lived longer. The Nestorian Church which they founded, though cut off from the Catholic Church by political exigencies, never intended to do more than practise an autonomy like that of the Eastern patriarchates. Its heresy consisted mainly in its refusal to accept the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. It is interesting to note that neither Junilius nor Cassiodorus speaks of the school of Nisibis as heretical. They were probably aware that it was not quite orthodox, but the Persians who appeared at the Holy Places as pilgrims or at Constantinople must have seemed like Catholics on account of their hatred to the Monophysites, who were the great enemy in the East. The official teaching of the Nestorian Church in the time of King Chosroes (Khusran) II (died 628) is well presented to us in the treatise “De unione” composed by the energetic monk Babai the Great, preserved in a manuscript From which Labourt has made extracts (pp. 280-87). Babai denies that hypostasis and person have the same meaning. A hypostasis is a singular essence (ousia) subsisting in its independent being, numerically one, separate from others by its accidents. A person is that property of a hypostasis which distinguishes it from others (this seems to be rather “personality” than “person”) as being itself and no other, so that Peter is Peter and Paul is Paul. As hypostases Peter and Paul are not distinguished, for they have the same specific qualities, but they are distinguished by their particular qualities, their wisdom or otherwise, their height or their temperament, etc. And, as the singular property which the hypostasis possesses is not the hypostasis itself, the singular property which distinguishes it is called “person”.

It would seem that Babai means that “a man” (individuum vagum) is the hypostasis, but not the person, until we add the individual characteristics by which he is known to be Peter or Paul. This is not by any means the same as the distinction between nature and hypostasis, nor can it be asserted that by hypostasis Babai meant what we should call specific nature, and by person what we should call hypostasis. The theory seems to be an unsuccessful attempt to justify the traditional Nestorian formula: two hypostases in one person. As to the nature of the union, Babai falls on the Antiochene saying that it is ineffable, and prefers the usual metaphors — assumption, inhabitation, temple, vesture, junction—to any definition of the union. He rejects the communicatio idiomatum as involving confusion of the natures, but allows a certain “interchange of names”, which he explains with great care.

The Persian Christians were called “Orientals”, or “Nestorians”, by their neighbours on the west. They gave to themselves the name Chaldeans; but this denomination is usually reserved at the present day for the large portion of the existing remnant which has been united to the Catholic Church. The present condition of these Uniats, as well as the branch in India known as “Malabar Christians”, is described under CHALDEAN CHRISTIANS. The history of the Nestorian Church must be looked for under PERSIA. The Nestorians also penetrated into China and Mongolia and left behind them an inscribed stone, set up in Feb., 781, which describes the introduction of Christianity into China from Persia in the reign of T’ai-tsong (627-49). The stone is at Chou-Chih, fifty miles south-west of Sai-an Fu, which was in the seventh century the capital of China. It is known as “the Nestorian Monument”.


Ketidakmampuan untuk menangkap bahwa seorang ibu melahirkan seseorang (person) dapat berakibat fatal, seperti yang ditunjukkan oleh ajaran sesat dari Nestorius, seorang Uskup Agung Konstantinopel (428-431). Nestorius menganggap bahwa Bunda Maria hanya melahirkan Yesus yang sungguh manusia, di mana ke-Allahan Yesus masuk ke dalam Yesus manusia. Yesus dianggap bukanlah Allah, namun hanya seorang manusia dengan Allah yang ada di dalamnya. Dengan kata lain, menurut Nestorius, di dalam Yesus ada Allah namun Yesus bukanlah Allah. Sedangkan iman Kristiani mengajarkan bahwa Yesus adalah sungguh Allah, dan sungguh manusia, sehingga dengan menyebut bahwa Maria adalah Bunda Allah, maka sama saja menyatakan bahwa Maria adalah Bunda Yesus yang sungguh Allah -walaupun Yesus juga adalah sungguh manusia. Dengan demikian, dogma Maria Bunda Allah mendukung dogma Yesus yang sungguh Allah.

Protestan juga Bidat :slight_smile:

Sebenarnya menjelaskan bahwa Protestan itu bidat, susah2 gampang. Mereka menolak disamakan dengan para bidat populer, seperti Arian dan Nestorian.

Karena yang bukan bidat cuma satu itu

Apakah Protestan juga menganggap bahwa Maria hanya mengandung bayi manusia Jesus? Jika memang begitu, maka Protestan yang mana bro ?

Pengajaran Martin Luther tentang Maria adalah Bunda Allah:
“Rasul Paulus (Gal 4:4) mengatakan, “Tuhan mengutus Anak-Nya, yang lahir dari seorang perempuan.” Perkataan ini yang kupegang sebagai kebenaran, sungguh- sungguh menegaskan dengan teguh bahwa Maria adalah Bunda Allah.” (Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works (translation by William J. Cole), 50, p. 592, line 5)
“Konsili tersebut [Efesus] tidak menyampaikan sesuatu yang baru tentang iman, tetapi telah memperkuat iman lama, melawan kesombongan baru Nestorius. Artikel iman ini- bahwa Maria adalah Bunda Allah- sudah ada di dalam Gereja sejak awal dan bukan merupakan kreasi baru dari Konsili, tetapi presentasi dari Injil dan Kitab Suci.” (Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation by J. Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia), vol 7, 572)
“Ia [Maria] layak disebut tidak saja sebagai Bunda Manusia, tetapi juga Bunda Allah … Adalah pasti bahwa Maria adalah Bunda dari Allah yang nyata dan sejati.” (Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation by J. Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia), vol 24, 107)

Pengajaran John Calvin, tentang Maria sebagai Bunda Allah:
“Elisabet memanggil Maria Bunda Allah, karena kesatuan kedua kodrat dalam pribadi Kristus adalah sedemikian sehingga manusia yang mortal yang ada dalam rahim Maria adalah juga pada saat yang sama Allah yang kekal.” (Calvini Opera (Braunshweig- Berlin, 1863-1900), volume 45, 35)

Protestan bukanlah bidat sebaliknya lanjutan/keluar dari Katolik, jadi dari segi sejarah, Protestan sebagian daripada Katolik.

Yang namanya bidat sudah disepakati para theolog yakni ajaran2 diluar ajaran2 dasar Kristen mainstream misalnya menolak tritunggal, menolak ‘kesatuan dua hypotastik’ dan inkarnasi, penyangkalan keallahan YESUS dan kepribadian ROH KUDUS termasuk dalam kelompok2 bidat. Jadi Protestan yang masih berpegang kepada ajaran2 dasar ini bukan bidat. Harus dicatat bahwa ‘bidat’ tidak harus diartikan secara negatif atau memiliki konotasi buruk sebaliknya diistilahkan demikian untuk membedakan yang mainstream (Katolik, Ortodoks dan Protestan) dengan yang bukan mainstream (ssy, unitarian, modalis, mormon dll). Kaum heresy/bidat tetap Kristen.

Dalam hal ini saya pikir Nestorian bukan bidat tetapi sebagian dari mainstream karena kelompok ini tetap mempertahankan ajaran2 dasar Kekristenan/alkitab.

Namun fakta berbicara lain bro Cosmic.

Dalam pandangan RC, semua kegerakan/gereja yang tidak mengakui tahta suci dan tunduk pada otoritasnya serta berada dalam satu komuni RC adalah : Bidat

Nestorius & Nestorianism

The heresiarch

Nestorius, who gave his name to the Nestorian heresy

Sebenarnya menjelaskan bahwa [b]Protestan itu bidat[/b], susah2 gampang. Mereka menolak disamakan dengan para bidat populer, seperti Arian dan Nestorian.
Protestan bukanlah bidat sebaliknya lanjutan/keluar dari Katolik
Justru karena keluar dari RC lah muncul istilah bidat bagi gerakan baru ini. Kegerakan oikumene merupakan upaya yg dijalankan untuk mengembalikan smua gereja sempalan ke dalam pangkuan RC.

ACOE - Assyrian Church of the East, telah disalah pahami dan dicap sbg Aliran Nestorian.

Entah sesuatu yg disengaja atau tidak.

Jelas dalam sejarahnya, ACOE tidak pernah berada dalam naungan RC, sebab dia berada diluar Yurisdiksi Imperium Romawi, namun berada dalam Imperium Sasanid/Persia – yg merupakan musuh bebuyutannya.

Saya buat tulisan disini Perempuan bersayap burung nasar (Wahyu 12)

Nestorius sendiri melarikan diri untuk menyelamatkan nyawanya ke Sasanid dan disana dia diterima baik oleh raja maupun komunitas gereja orthodox assyria yang sebenarnya memiliki pandangan yang sama.

1. Whether through ignorance or by design, many Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox teachers deliberately assign the birth of the Church of the East to this period of history. Completely ignoring the long and glorious history of Persian Christianity, they connect the coming of the Nestorians with the birth of Eastern Christianity. 2. [b]Throughout subsequent history the Church of the East has been erroneously referred to as the �Nestorian� Church, the only name by which westerners recognize the Church. Because the Greek Nestorians were received with open-armed by their fellow Christians in the East[/b]. 3. In spite of the coming of so many westerners (Greek Nestorians), who were in exile, the Church of the East remained a Semitic, Syriac, non-Gentile Church. It retained its ancient forms of worship; it did not alter its doctrine; it continued to pursue its long established goals

ACOE menolak term Theotokos, bukan krn Nestorius, namun memang pemikiran ini sdh ada jauh sebelumnya sebelum Nestorius mengungsi kesana.

�First, if the Virgin Mary is the �Begetter of God� and the name God, we know denotes Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then she brought forth the Trinity and not the Son only.

Secondly, if the Virgin Mary is the �Begetter of God� and He who she brought forth suffered, died and was buried, as the four evangelists testify, either you hold that He died in reality; (and he who really dies has no power whatever to revivify others or himself, but must remain in death for ever) and thus you declare false the saying that He rose again: or else you hold that he died by hallucination, and in the same way rose again, (in which case He could not have risen in reality, seeing that He did not die in reality) then the hope of the Resurrection is vain, since hereby the saying that �He has raised us up with Christ� is made void.

Thridly, if the Virgin Mary is the �Begetter of God� and Peter testifieth of Him who she brought forth, saying: �Thou art Christ the Son of the Living God,� then according to your statement she is not the begetter of Christ, but the begetter of His Father and Christ is Her grandson, not her Son, and she is the Mother of His Father.
Who then is the Mother of Christ?�

The Faith of the Church of the East is pure Orthodox. On the other hand, it is said that the Assyrian Church of the East is Catholic, but that is not because it is a Roman Catholic in faith, rather because it is �Universal�. The Church of the East (erroneously called Nestorian) had been the Church of the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and other people in the past. Even today it has Indian congregation in Malabar, on the Indian West Coast, and American Congregations in Seattle, Washington and Sacramento, California, hence the word Catholic which means Universal. That is the connection of the word Catholic in the title The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.

‘ACOE’ di India

The original name of this church, which is the oldest church in Trichur town, was “Vyakula Mathavin Pally”. Since the Roman Catholics began to argue that this church was a Catholic Church, the authorities of this church changed the name to Marth Mariam, which is the Syriac translation of the name St. Mary, Vyakula Mathavu also referred to the mother of Jesus Christ. The Chaldean Syrians of Trichur prefer to use the title Mother of Christ , while the Catholics and the Orthodox insist on the expression Mother of God.

No Problem di cap bidat atau tidak, di forum ini sudah terlalu banyak yang men-cap dan di-cap sebagai bidat :smiley: :smiley: jadi bingung yang beneran bidat yang mana :smiley:

Untuk saat ini kalau ada info yang berasal dari sumber yang terpercaya (terutama dari sumber ACOE sendiri) bukan dari sumber GKR atau yang lain, tentu minimal saat ini akan menambah pengetahuan kita akan kekayaan dan keragaman Gereja mula-mula :slight_smile:

Apalagi kalau ada cabang ACOE di indonesia, tentu lebih asyik lagi di ajak diskusi


Sedikit info, dan yang ini dari wiki lebih membela nestrorius (kalau tidak mau dibilang netral :D)

Skisma dengan Gereja Katolik/Ortodoks

Gereja Asiria terpisah dari Gereja Katolik/Ortodoks (Gereja Timur dan Barat yang tak terpisah pra Skisma Akbar tahun 1054) sebagai akibat dari skisma Nestorian tahun 431, akan tetapi teologi Gereja Asiria tidak dapat disebut Nestorianisme. Nestorius, seorang murid Theodorus dari Mopsuestia dan uskup kota Konstantinopel, dikutuk karena menolak menyebut Perawan Maria sebagai ‘Bunda Allah’ (“Theotokos” dalam Bahasa Yunani). Dia hanya mau menyebut Maria sebagai ‘Bunda Kristus’ (“Kristotokos” dalam Bahasa Yunani). Lawannya, Kiril dari Aleksandria, menuduhnya membagi Kristus menjadi dua pribadi, yang dengan jelas disangkal Nestorius. Persoalan menjadi makin rumit dengan argumentasi-argumentasi Kiril yang kurang jelas, yang tak lama kemudian menjadi biang skisma Monofisit.

Kiril dari Aleksandria dengan gigih berupaya menggeser Nestorius beserta para pendukung dan pengikutnya dari tampuk kekuasaan. Namun di kawasan-kawasan yang dihuni para penutur Bahasa Syria, Theodorus dari Mopsuestia sangatlah disegani, maka tindakan pengutukan atas muridnya Nestorius tidak dapat diterima baik. Para pengikutnya diberi suaka. Raja-raja Persia, yang terus-menerus berperang dengan Kekaisaran Romawi, mengambil kesempatan ini untuk memastikan loyalitas warga negaranya yang beragama Kristen serta mendukung skisma Nestorian

dulu ada, namun skrg sdh tdk aktif lagi

saya sempat diskusi secara private(pm) dengannya – karena ada bbrp hal yg sgt crusial dan sensitif

meskip bukan official, ckp banyak informasi disini The UnOfficial Nestorian Church WebSite

@ bro moe,

Oke thanks bro, cukup banyak infor yg telah kamu sajikan buat klarifikasi. Nanti saya baca2.

Btw, saya mohon sesiapa yang kalangan Katoliker disini yang dapat menjelaskan tulisan bro moe ini, apa benar:

Namun fakta berbicara lain bro Cosmic.

Dalam pandangan RC, semua kegerakan/gereja yang tidak mengakui tahta suci dan tunduk pada otoritasnya serta berada dalam satu komuni RC adalah : Bidat

Salam semua.

Ahhh, masa iya sih? Atau barangkali moe bisa memberikan atikel yang menyatakan kalau Gereja Katolik menyebut yang tidak mengakui Popes sebagai bidat.


sesuatu dikatakan BIDAT karena menyimpang dari ajaran sebelumnya dan yang masih dipertahankan. Kita bisa mengatakan si A menyimpang karena sebelumnya kita pemahaman kolektif dan berterima umum atas sesuatu. Jadi pemahaman yang baru (yang antitesis) kita katakan menyimpang.

[Itu sebabnya… masing-masing Pihak mencoba menarik garis ajarannya kepada apa yang diajarkan di Gereja Perdana… untuk mencari START AWAL]

Tritunggal bagi Judaism adalah BIDAT. [karena ajaran sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]

Sola Scriptura bagi Katolik adalah BIDAT [Karena sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]

Sola Fide bagi Katolik adalah BIDAT [Karena sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]

Penolakan Deuterokanonika adalah BIDAT [Karena sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]

Rebaptism bagi Protestan [dan Katolik] adalah BIDAT [karena sebelumnya tidak demikian]
Penolakan Baptis Bayi bagi Protestan [dan Katolik] adalah BIDAT [Karena sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]
Penolakan Minggu bagi Protestan [dan Katolik] adalah BIDAT [karena sebelumnya tidaklah demikian]

Ajaran-ajaran Protestan yang berbeda dari Katolik sepenuhnya adalah BIDAT.

Demikian pula, ajaran denominasi-denominasi belakangan yang berbeda dengan Protestan Mainstream adalah BIDAT.


Islam, Hindu, Budha bukanlah BIDAT bagi Katolik dan Protestan [Karena dari semula memang sudah berbeda. Ajaran mereka bukanlah antitesis yang berasal dari ajaran Kristen]


Karena Doktrin dimaksud disini adalah menyangkut Iman dan Moral [bukan menyangkut Ilmu Pasti] maka BIDAT atau BUKAN BIDAT tidak ada hubungannya dengan BENAR atau SALAH [absolut]

Anda BIDAT bagi Saya karena menyimpang dari apa yang saya terima; Saya BIDAT bagi Anda karena menyimpang dari apa yang Anda terima.


Karena KITAB SUCI [+ TRADISI SUCI bagi KATOLIK] dipercaya sebagai BENAR, maka kita berlomba-lomba mengacu kesana.



Perlu diperjelas apa yang dimaksud dengan 'R’C disini.

Roma disini harus dimengerti sebagai ‘PETRUS’ selaku USKUP ROMA yang pertama.

Ortodox manapun yang tidak mengakui keutamaan St. Petrus [Pangeran para Apostel] adalah BIDAT.

Jadi harus dibedakan antara Apostolic See dengan keutamaan St. Petrus.



Btw, saya mohon sesiapa yang kalangan Katoliker disini yang dapat menjelaskan tulisan bro moe ini, apa benar:

Ini dari sumbernya soal EENS

by The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary January 31st, 2005

The Popes through the centuries have defended the doctrine “outside the Church there is no salvation.” Here is small reference of their teachings on the matter:

Pope Innocent III (A.D. 1198 – 1216): “With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.” (Denzinger 423)

Pope Pius IX (A.D. 1846 – 1878): “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.” (Denzinger 1647)

Pope Pius XI (A.D. 1922 – 1939): “The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation….Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.” (Encyclical, Mortalium Animos )

Diluar RC adalah Heretics/Bidat

Selengkapnya silakan


Kalau dari yang anda berikan itu, tidak tertera bahwa di luar Katolik adalah bidat, bro.

Kalau disebutkan bahwa di luar Gereja Katolik tidak terdapat keselamatan, memang itu yang tertulis. Tetapi, sudah di revisi oleh Konsili Vatikan II, kan?


Aku saja yang katolik masih hati2 memahami Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus : ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’…!

KGK 846 “Berdasarkan Kitab Suci dan Tradisi, konsili mengajarkan, bahwa Gereja yang sedang mengembara ini perlu untuk keselamatan. Sebab hanya satulah Pengantara dan jalan keselamatan, yakni KRISTUS. Ia hadir bagi kita dalam Tubuh-Nya, yakni Gereja. Dengan jelas-jelas menegaskan perlunya iman dan baptis, KRISTUS sekaligus menegaskan perlunya Gereja, yang dimasuki orang melalui baptis bagaikan pintunya. Maka dari itu andaikata ada orang, yang benar-benar tahu, bahwa Gereja Katolik itu didirikan oleh Allah melalui YESUS KRISTUS sebagai upaya yang perlu, namun tidak mau masuk ke dalamnya atau tetap tinggal di dalamnya, ia tidak dapat diselamatkan” (LG 14).

tetapi bagaimana dengan Orang Karena ketidaktahuan menganggap bahwa Yesus mendirikan Banyak Gereja…?

KGK 818
“Tetapi mereka, yang sekarang lahir dan dibesarkan dalam iman akan KRISTUS di jemaat-jemaat itu, tidak dapat dipersalahkan dan dianggap berdosa karena memisahkan diri. Gereja Katolik merangkul mereka dengan sikap bersaudara penuh hormat dan cinta kasih… Sungguhpun begitu, karena mereka dalam Baptis dibenarkan berdasarkan iman, mereka disatu-ragakan dalam KRISTUS. Oleh karena itu mereka memang dengan tepat menyandang nama Kristen, dan tepat pula oleh putera-puteri Gereja Katolik diakui selaku saudara-saudari dalam Tuhan”

sebaiknya kita jangan masuk ke ranah itu [EENS] dulu…!

Memang ndak ada kata bidat sih, adanya heretics :smiley:

.. Pope Innocent III (A.D. 1198 – 1216): “With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church,[b] not that of the heretics[/b], but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.” (Denzinger 423) ..

Iya, ini soal nestorian, bukan eens :smiley: btt, td hanya nyerempet saja

Kan memang saat itu sedang banyak tumbuh gerakan heretics, bro.

numpang saja

coba bro cross check dg ini

ini soal eens

...ajaran Gereja tidak berubah.. EENS tetap sama.. di luar Gereja tidak ada Keselamatan...