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The Post-Nicene Greek Fathers

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NESTORIUS.

An Antiochian by training, Nestorius was, about A. D. 428, made bishop of Constantinople, where he distinguished himself for his zeal against heretics. By publicly rejecting the use of the phrase "Mother of God," as applied to the Virgin Mary, he drew upon himself the hatred and anathemas of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who believed in one only nature in Christ, and who now made himself the champion of the rejected phrase. To his anathemas, Nestorius rejoined with counter-anathemas. Out of the controversy came the Council of Ephesus, by which Nestorius was condemned and deposed as a heretic. He at once retired to his old monastery near Antioch. The doctrine which he had supported and on account of which he was condemned viz., that the Word was united to a human nature in Christ, and that these two natures, being united together, make but one Christ, one Son only, and likewise one Person only, made up of two natures was an outcome of the Antiochian habit of thought, and his condemnation was against the will of the Eastern bishops. Nevertheless, to effect a peace in the Church, a compromise was at last arranged between John of Antioch and Cyril, the terms of which were that Cyril subscribed a creed written by John, and that John, on behalf of the Eastern bishops, subscribed the condemnation of Nestorius. This abandonment of Nestorius, simply because it seemed politic, was deemed a cruel treachery by some of the bishops, who, rather than approve of it, submitted to be banished. Nestorius himself, in 435, was by imperial command banished to the Greater Oasis in Upper Egypt, in which exile, after various sufferings, he died. By an imperial edict, his books were condemned to be burned, and all persons were forbidden to read them. From the few letters and fragments of his writings preserved in the works of others, he would appear to have been a thoroughly orthodox believer, and none claimed that he was not a good man. The annals of religious controversy can not furnish a more shameless abandonment of a man by interested brethren who, at heart, believed as he believed.

 

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Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html>.