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BR 60 .L52 V.47
Cyril, ca. 370-4A4.

Five tomes against Nestorius




















OP Christ's holy catholic church,





IS -



/ /S "■■


S. CYRIL, ^«^^^'-^^













On the death of Theophilus, Archbishop of Alex-
andria, in A.D. 412, his nephew and successor, S.
Cyril, comes suddenly before us. For of S. Cyril's
previous life we have only a few scattered notices.
We do not know in what year he was born, nor any
thing of his parents, nor where he was brought up.
That S. Cyril had received a thoroughly good educa-
tion, is abundantly clear; not only from his very ex-
tensive reading, which a mind of such large grasp
as S. Cyril's would ever provide for itself, but that
his reading being so well digested implies good
early training. The great accuracy of his Theo-
logy implies a most accurate Theological education.
That education included a large range of secular
study as well as of Divinity, and probably com-
prised a good deal of learning by heart, not only
of the holy Scriptures but also of profane authors,
as witness a line of Antipater Sidonius quoted in
his Commentary on Zechariah. He quotes too
Josephus on the Jewish war. On Hab. iii. 2, he
mentions interpretations of that verse of two dif-
ferent kinds : on Hosea he gives a long extract
from a writer whom we do not apparently possess.
Tillemont remarks, that " ^ his books against Ju-
lian shew that he had a large acquaintance with
secular writers."

^ S. Cyrille d' Alex. Art. i. init.


We may infer that S. Cyril was brouglit up at
some monastery, as a place of Christian education,
and from the great reverence which he ever paid
to S. Isidore, Abbot of Pelusium, it seems not un-
likely that S. Isidore was his instructor during
some part of his early life. S. Isidore alludes to
some especial tie, in one of his brief letters to
S. Cyril, when Archbishop. Near the beginning,
S. Isidore says, " '^If I be your father as you say

I be, or if I be your son as I know I am,

seeing that you hold the chair of S. Mark &c."
The large number of Platonic words in S. Isidore's
letters seem to indicate that he too had extensive
reading of Plato, and S. Cyril may have acquired
from him some of his knowledge of Aristotle.

But a mind of S. Cyril's grasp would feel itself
lost in the desert, yearning for its own calling, and
another Letter ^of the same S.Isidore to S.Cyril,
reproaching him with his heart being in the world,
may belong to this period. His uncle Archbishop
Theophilus had him to live with him and, we niay
infer, ordained him priest and made him one of his
Clergy. In a very long letter which S. Cyril wrote
about A.D. 432 to the aged Acacius, Bishop of
Beroea, he incidentally mentions the fact that he
was at the synod of the Oak, in A.D. 403, where
S. Chrysostom's troubles began. S. Cyril would
of course be there, as a portion of Archbishop
Theophilus' official attendance. S. Cyril says,
" ^ When your holy Synod was gathered at great
Constantinople .... and I was one of those stand-
ing by, I know that I heard your holiness saying

'' Ep. 370. c Ep. 25. d Synoclicou c. 56.


S. Cyril's accession to the Archiepiscopal Throne
of Alexandria brought him at once into a position
of great power in Alexandria ; and brought too, in
the early part of it, trials in regard of the disunion
between him and Orestes the Governor resulting
from the Jewish insurrection against the Christians.
To this succeeded some years of great quiet, during
which S. Cyril seems to have been very little heard
of, outside his Great Diocese. The Archbishops of
Alexandria, even in the very stillest times, were
brought into yearly contact with the Churches
every where by the annual Letter which they wrote
to announce the day on which Easter would fall.
S. Cyril's letters were evidently intended primarily
for his own Egypt *. Thus in his seventh Paschal
homily A.D. 419, he speaks very strongly about
deeds of violence in Egypt and mentions the famine
there. S. Cyril introduces the subject with, "^And
these things we now say to you most especially,
who inhabit Egyptian territory," shewing that the
Letters themselves had a larger scope. I do not
know at what time the Letter was sent out, so as
to reach the distant churches of Rome and Con-
stantinople and Antioch in good time to announce
when Lent would begin. But although S. Cyril
became Archbishop in October A.D. 412, his first
Letter was for 414, in the early part of which (as
Tillemont points out) S. Cyril speaks of having
succeeded his Uncle. He introduces the subject
by mentioning the natural dread of those of old, of

^ So the three Paschal homilies of the Archbishop Theophilus
preserved by S. Jerome, are addressed, To the Bishops of the
whole of Egypt, t. i. 555, 577, 605 Vail.
^ horn. 7. p. 87 init.


"stlie greatness of the Divine Ministry," and speak-
ing of Moses and Jeremiah as instances of this,
adds, that " since the garb of the priesthood calls
to preach, in fear of the words, Speak and hold not
thy peace, I come of necessity to write thus."

Much of these quiet years S. Cyril probably em-
ployed on his earlier writings : of these, two were
on select passages of the Pentateuch ; one volume
being allotted to those which S. Cyril thought could
in any way be adapted as types of our Lord, the
other to the rest, as being types of the church. The
commentaries on Isaiah and the Minor Prophets
and the Books against the Emperor Julian probably
belong to this period. Besides these S. Cyril, fol-
lowing the example of his great predecessor S. Atha-
nasius, wrote two Books against the Arians : first,
the Thesaurus, in which S. Cyril brought to bear
his knowledge of Aristotle ; then the de Trinitate,
which was written, though not published till later,
before A.D. 424. In his Paschal homily for that
year A.D. 424, S. Cyril also speaks of the Eternal
Greneration of the Son, and towards the close of
the homily'' he opposes the Arian terms " Generate,"

A. D. 429, the circulation of tracts of Nestorius
in Egypt occasioned him first to write on the he-
resy of Nestorius. There can be little doubt that
the powerful mind of S. Leo, who was the soul of
the Council of Chalcedon, was, in his young days
when S. Celestiue's Archdeacon in 429, taught
through those writings ; as S. Cyril himself had
been taught by the writings of S. Athanasius.
g horn. 1. 3 c. 4 a. ^ pp. 174 d e 175, 176.


The 12 Chapters, appended to his last letter to
NestoriuR, were made a trouble to S. Cyril at a
later period of his Episcopate, so that it may be
well to give them in full. They were framed to
preclude any evasion of that letter.

The 12 Chapters.

1. If any one confess not, that Emmanuel is in truth
God, and that the holy Virgin is therefore Mother of God,
for she hath borne after the flesh the "Word out of God
made Flesh, be he anathema.

2. If any one confess not, that the Word out of God the
Father hath been personally united to Flesh, and that He
is One Christ with His own Flesh, the Same (that is) God
alike and Man, be he anathema.

3. If any one sever the Hypostases of the One Christ
after the Union, connecting them with only a connection
of dignity or authority or sway, and not rather with a
concurrence unto Unity of Nature, be he anathema.

4. If any one allot to two Persons or Hypostases the
words in the Gospels and Apostolic writings, said either
of Christ by the saints or by Him of Himself, and as-
cribe some to a man conceived of by himself apart from
the Word That is out of God, others as God-befitting to
the Word alone That is out of God the Father, be he

5. If any one dare to say, that Christ is a God-clad man,
and not rather that He is God in truth as being the One
Son, and That by Nature, in that the Word hath been made
Flesh, and hath shared like its in blood and flesh, be he

6. If any one dare to say that the Word That is out of
God the Father is God or Lord of Christ and do not rather
confess that the Same is God alike and Man, in that the
Word hath been made Flesh, according to the Scriptures,
be he anathema.


7. ' If any one say that Jesus hath been iu-wrought-in as
man by God the Word, and that the Glory of the Only-
Begotten hath been put about Him, as being another than
He, be he anathema.

8. If any one shall dare to say that the man that was as-
sumed ought to be co-worshipped with God the Word
and co-glorified and co-named God as one in another (for
the CO-, ever appended, compels us thus to deem) and does
not rather honour Emmanuel with one worship, and send
up to Him One Doxology, inasmuch as the Word has been
made Flesh, be he anathema.

9. If any one say that the One Lord Jesus Christ hath
been glorified by the Spirit, using His Power as though
it were Another's, and from Him receiving the power of
working against unclean spirits and of accomplishing Di-
vine signs towards men, and does not rather say that His
own is the Spirit, through Whom also He wrought the
Divine signs, be he anathema.

10. The Divine Scripture says that Christ hath been
made the High Priest and Apostle of our Confession and that
He offered Himself for us for an odour of a sweet smell
to God the Father. If any one therefore say that, not the
Very Word out of God was made our High Priest and
Apostle when He was made Flesh and man as we, but that
man of a woman apart by himself as other than He, was
[so made] : or if any one say that in His own behalf also
He offered the Sacrifice and not rather for us alone (for
He needed not ofiering Who knoweth not sin), be he

11. If any one confess not, that the Flesh of the Lord is
Life-giving and that it is the own Flesh of the Word Him-
self That is out of God the Father, but says that it belongs
to another than He, connected with Him by dignity or as

' With chapter 7 compare S. Greg. Nazianzen's very similar
Anathema directed against Appollinarius' teaching, in his Letter
to Cledonius.


possessed of Divine Indwelling only, and not rather that it
is Life-giving (as we said) because it hath been made the
own Flesh of the Word Who is mighty to quicken all
things, be he anathema.

12. If any one confess not that the Word of God suffered
in the Flesh and hath been crucified in the Flesh and
tasted death in the Flesh and hath been made First-born
of the Dead, inasmuch as He is both Life and Life-giving
as God, be he anathema.

The Great Diocese of Antioch, barely rallying
from its terrible devastation by Arian wickedness
oppression and misbelief, had been in close quar-
ters with Apollinarianism, a misbelief that the
Only-Begotten Son took flesh only without a rea-
sonable soul, and that His mind-less Body was
somehow immlngled with the Godhead. S. Atlia-
nasius and others add, among the forms of the
misbelief, that some Apollinarians thought that our
Lord's Body was consubstantial with His Godhead.
S. Cyril in his Dialogue ^ speaks of the great fear
prevalent among some, that if One Incarnate Na-
ture were holden, the Body must be believed to
be consubstantial with the Godhead. Succensus,
Bishop of Diocsesarea, at almost the extreme west
boundary of that great Diocese or Province of
Antioch, sent to S. Cyril a question to the same ef-
fect. Theodore of Mopsuestia, who liad died only
about two years before these Chapters were is-
sued, had held that the Manhood of the Only-Be-
gotten was a man distinct, having some undefined
connection with God the Son, and this had appeared
in his writings ; and so great was Theodore's re-
putation and the dread of the Apollinarian heresy,

k p. 263.


that tliere seems to have been an unconscious
vasfueness in the minds of some of the Eastern
Bishops. [Nestorius had dexterously sent the
Chapters to John of Antioch apart from the Epis-
tle to himself^, which would have made misinterpre-
tation impossible. He sent them as ' propositions
circulated in the royal city to the injury of the
common Church.'] John of Antioch, who at that
time believed Nestorius to be orthodox, pronounced
them at once (thus unexplained) to be Apollina-
rian ; applied in an Encyclical letter ^^ to the
Bishops of his Patriarchate to have them ' disclaim-
ed, but without naming the author,' whom John
did not believe to be S. Cyril, and asked two of
the Bishops of his Province, Andrew Bishop of
Samosata, and Theodoret, to reply to them. Theo-
doret's reply shews that he read the Chapters
with the conviction that they were Apollinarian,
and he accordingly replies, not to the Chapters
themselves but to the sense which he himself ima-
gined that they contained. His reply is in the
main orthodox, though it looks in one or two
places as if his belief was rather vague", but he

1 [Had he sent the Epistle, John must have known them to have
been S. Cyril's.]

™ Synod, c. 4.

» [Passages from Theodoret's reply to the first, second, fourth
and tenth anathematism and from his letter to the monks were
read in the 5th General Council before the condemnation of his
writings against S. Cyril. Also from allocutions in behalf of
Nestorius from Chalcedon after his condemnation at Ephesus ; from
a letter to Andrew of Samosata, in which he speaks of Egypt [i.e.
S. Cyril and the Egyptian bishops] being 'again mad against God,'
but owns that those of Egypt, Palestine, Pontus, Asia, and with
them the West are against him, and that the greatest part of the


twists S. Cyril's words so as to mean 'mixture,' and
so replies". Theodoret seems never to have got
over his misapprehension. For in his long Let-
ter? to the Monks of his Province, Euphratesia,
Osroene, Syria, Phcenicia, Cilicia, he still speaks
of Chapter 1 as teaching that God the Word was
changed into flesh ; of chapters 2 and 3 as bring-
ing in the terms. Personal Union and Natural
Union, " teaching through these names a mixture

world has taken the disease ; a letter of sympathy with Nesto-
rius after the reunion of the Easterns with S. Cyril, declaring that,
if his two hands were cut off, he would never agree to what had
been done against Nestorius, (which however he did when re-
quired by the Bishops at Ghalcedon) ; a letter to John of Antioch
still condemning the Anathematisms, although accepting the
subsequent explanation. Apart from the ' atrocious letter ' full of
conceits which it is inconceivable how any one could have written,
Mercator, a contemporary, says it was one of the charges against
Archbishop Domnus, that he had been present when Theodoret
preached a sermon, exulting in the peace which would ensue from
S. Cyril's death. * No one now compels to blaspheme. Where
are they who say, that He Who was crucified is God ? ' Mercator
from, Gesta quae contra Domnum Antioch. Ep. conscripta sunt
p. 276. ed. Garn.]

" There is extant a very careful letter of Theodoret on the In-
carnation, written to Eusebius scholasticus, in which Theodoret
says, '* Nevertheless we do not deny the properties of the Natures,
but as we deem those ungodly who divide into Two sons the One
Lord Jesus Christ, so do we call them enemies of the Truth who
attempt to confuse the natures ; for we believe that an union with-
out confusion has taken place and we know what are the proper-
ties of the human nature, what of the Godhead." Then after
mentioning the two natures of a man which do not part him into
two, *'thus do we know that our Lord and God, I mean the Son
pf God the Lord Christ, is One Son after His Incarnation too ; for
the Union is inseverable even as without confusion." Ep. 21,
p. 1085.

P Ep. 151.


and confusion of tlie Divine Nature and the bond-
man's form : this is the offspring of Apolhnarius'
heretical innovation." And after speaking of
Chapter 4, he sums up, " These are the Egyp-
tian's brood, the truly more wicked descendants of
a wicked parent." In his letter i to John Bishop
of Germanicia, written after the Robbers' council
in 449, Theodoret says of it, " Let them deny now
the chapters which they many times condemned,
but have in Ephesus now confirmed."

Andrew of Samosata, on the other hand, seems to
have been decidedly more definite in his belief on
the Incarnation, and to have thought that some of
S. Cyril's chapters were Apollinarian without ob-
jecting to all. Thus Andrew's chief objection to
chapter 1 appears to have been that he mistook the
words " for she hath borne after the flesh {a-apKi-
/cw?)" to mean that the Birth was entirely in the
order of nature and so not of a Virgin '. Andrew
passes over chapter 2, as though the term, "Perso-
nal Union," had not even struck him as a difficulty.
In chapter 3, Andrew thinks that ^vo-i/c^. Natural
Union, or Unity of Nature is an inadmissible ex-
pression, as to what is above our nature. In chap-
ter 4, Andrew thinks that because the words are
not to be apportioned to distinct Persons, therefore
S. Cyril meant, that they are not to be apportioned
at all, either to the Godhead or to the Manhood
in the One Person of the Incarnate God. S. Cyril
had all his life said that they were to be so ap-
portioned, but Andrew had of course not read
S. Cyril's writings. Andrew shews his own definite

1 See bel. p. 20 n. k ; p. 24 n. 9 ; p. 243 n. i. ■• Ep. 147.


belief by the expression r) uKpa evaa-Ki, entire union,
here ; and, ' we confess the union entire (rrjv evwaiv
uKpav) and Divine and incomprelie7isihle to us^ are
the closing words of his reply to chapter 11. These
are almost identical with S. Cyril's expressions, "we
shall not take away the unlike by nature through
wholly uniting them {ha to eh aKpov evovv) '," and
in his reply to Andrew, 8ia rrjv ek uKpov evwacv.

Andrew says nothing on chapters 5 and 6, nor is
there an3i}hing in them which one would expect him
not to accept. With chapter 7 he agrees, merely
saying that in rejecting what S. Cyril rejects, we
must not reject the Apostolic words which speak
of Him in His human nature. With chapter 8 too
Andrew agrees, but does not quite understand the
CO. In chapter 9, he overlooks the words, " as
though it were Another's :" in chapter 10, Andrew
thinks that " the Yery Word out of God was made
our High-Priest and Apostle" means 'the Godhead
apart by Itself was so made.'

[We see in our own times, how prejudice can
distort the meaning of words in themselves per-
fectly intelligible ; else it seems inconceivable that
language so clear as that of the Anathematisms,
if read with a view to understand their author's
meaning, could be misunderstood as it was by
John of Antioch, Theodoret, and Andrew. Much
unhallowed dissension would have been saved, if
John, instead of asking Theodoret and Andrew to
reply to them, had sought an explanation from
S. Cyril himself. S. Cyril, in clear consciousness
of his own meaning, would, of course, have given

3 Horn. Pasch. vii. 102 d.



the explanation which afterwards satisfied John of
Antioch, Acacius of Beroea, and Paul of Emesa.

S. Cyril's anathematisms have been weighed by
Petavius with his usual solidity, as compared with
the counter-anathematisms of Nestorius, the criti-
cisms of the Orientals and of Theodoret, and
S. Cyril's answers. His summary is, ' There is
nothing in S. Cyril's Anathematisms not right and
in harmony with the Catholic rule, nor did those
who detract from or oppose them maintain their
ground against him except through cavils and
foolish calumnies.' De Incarn. L. vi. c. xvii. They
have also been carefully compared in English in
Dr. Bright's Later Treatises of S. Athanasius,
pp. 149—170.]

Though Apollinarianism in its early form, ere
its great spread as Eutychianism, seems to have
chiefly troubled Asia rather than Egypt, S. Cyril
always writes with full knowledge of it. In his
Thesaurus, he distinctly mentions and repudiates
Apollinarian errors and denies the ^ ovk iv avOpcoiro)
ryi'yove, "made man, came not into a man like as
He was in the Prophets." S. Cyril's tenth Paschal
homily for A.D. 420, in its most carefully Aveighed
language, contradicts both Apollinarianism and
Nestorianism, not less than what S. Cyril wrote
when the Nestorian troubles had begun. On Ha-
baccuc" S. Cyril affirms, as he does through his
whole life, that our Lord was not worsened by
the Incarnation ; " Yet even though He has been
made flesh and hath been set forth by the Father

t Thes. Dial. i. p. 398 c. quoted p. 192 ii. i.
•^ ITab. iii. 2, 550 d.


as a propitiation, He hatli not cast away what He
was, i.e., the being God, but is even thus in God-
befitting authority and glory."

In A.D. 428, Nestorius was brought from An-
tioch to be Archbishop of Constantinople. From
the circumstance that S. Cyril's celebrated Paschal
homily for the next year, A.D. 429, was on the sub-
ject of the Incarnation, it has been supposed that
rumours of the denial of that Faith in Constanti-
nople had already reached him. But the Paschal
homilies for A.D. 420 and 423, shew that the
Incarnation, the foundation and stay of our souls,
was a subject, which S. Cyril loved to dwell on. In
the course of the year 429, however, even Egypt
was troubled by the false teaching of Nestorius.
Some of Nestorius' sermons ^ passed into Egypt,
and were read and pondered over in the Monas-
teries. This occasioned so much disturbance in the
minds ^ of some of the Monks, that S. Cyril wrote
a Letter to them, pointing out that the Incarnation
means, that God the Son united to Him His own
human nature which He took, as completely as soul
and body are united in each of us, and in this way
His Passion and Death were His own, though He,
as God, could not suffer. This Letter had an ex-
tended circulation and reached Constantinople. It
vexed ^ Nestorius. There was still a traditional
soreness towards Alexandria, from the behaviour
of Theophilus to S. Chrysostom •\ Besides this-, the

^ Ep. 1 ad Nest. Epp. 20 b. >' Ep. 1 ad Monach. Epp. 3. a b.

^ See S. Cyril's first letter to Nestorius, Epp. pp. 19 e 20 a.

* Nestorius alludes to this, in the sermon which he preached
on the Saturday after he had received S. Celestine's final Letter.
Mercat. 0pp. p.76 Bal.



Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, the manhood
united by God the Son to His own self, was to
Nestorius, Apollinarianism or mixture. Nestorius
says so''. In his letter to S. Celestine he tells of
the * corruption of orthodoxy among some ' and
thus describes it,

' It is a sickness not small, but akin to the putrid sore
of Apollinarius and Arius. For they mingle the Lord's
union in man to a confusion of some sort of mixture,
insomuch that even certain clerks among us, of whom
some from lack of understanding, some from heretical
guile of old time concealed within them . . are sick as
heretics, and openly blaspheme God the Word Consub-
stantial with the Father, as though He had taken be-
ginning of His Being of the Virgin mother of Christ,
and had been built up with His Temple and buried with
His flesh, and say that the flesh after the resurrection
did not remain [miscuisse seems an error for mansisse]
flesh but passed into the Nature of Godhead, and they
refer the Godhead of the Only-Begotten to the begin-
ning of the flesh which was connected with It, and they
put It to death with the flesh, and blasphemously say
that the flesh connected with Godhead passed into God-

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