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The foundation of the meditations and sentiments of Man, as soon as he becomes aware of himself as being in the World, is the marvel and wonder-providing magic of Nature, not the amazement before the exceptional but that before the Normal, as well as the permanent fascination and bewilderment aroused by the cosmic sympathy, the excellent adaptation and collaboration of the parts and the perfection of the Whole. The wonderful functioning of Nature presents itself along two converging directions: first, the unsurpassable Power, and second, the firm Teleocracy.

Nature emerges as an absolute datum. Its domain of potency is all-embracing and its functions are invincible. By means of direct action or chain-like efficacy, now through independent causality now through multiform complicity does Nature produce the necessary results of its immanent lawfulness. A natural activity is only prevented from actualizing itself by a more potent natural actuality; whenever a particular nature succumbs, it is always for the benefit, and the manifestation of the victory, of a stronger nature.

The dynamic necessity of natural process is not mechanistic and blind; the dynamism of nature is not chaotic. The dynamic cosmic field consists of the unbreakable concatenation of means and ends, the more astonishingly so, as there is no need for any human-like intentionality of will. All natural actions move towards goals and subserve ends. The patent finality of Nature is so sovereign that all seemingly aimless processes are regarded as cases of a hidden teleology.

Lawfulness and teleocracy are the two sides of the same reality; destiny and providence, too, concur in the last analysis. But what is the final goal (end) of the potency of Nature according to the concept of the Man of Nature?

Every single activity draws on a certain potency and functions for the sake of a certain end. The substantive experience of the Greek Spirit is summarized in the fact that power consists in the dynamism of being, the vigor, as it were, of its essence, and that the activities and workings of power eventually aim at the perfect manifestation and fulfillment of the essence and being that lie underneath. Essence, power and activity are the self-same content and determination of being in three modes of existence, static, dynamic and manifestive.

Every particular existent consists in a certain determination of Being; the dynamism of Being expresses the affirmation, so to speak, conservation and accentuation of the identity of the existent’s being-determination, positively as to its own self, negatively as to the rest of the existents; the activity of Being aims at the fulfillment and perfection of its identity which is achieved in its perfect actuality, its entelechy. On the one hand, the lawfulness of reality is the necessity of action on the part of beings according to the appropriate dynamism of their essence; the teleology of reality, on the other hand, is the necessity of action on the part of beings that aims at the appropriate fulfillment of their essence, at their appropriate τέλος, end and accomplishment of their mode of being. As has been indicated above, both necessities concur in the same thing.

The essences, potencies and activities of beings form, according to orderly and hierarchized determinations, an integrated system of Being. The perfection of What-is, of Being as a whole, is the end of all ends. The point of departure for every corresponding meditation lies on the inalienable experience that all beings harmoniously interweave with one another so as to form a world of exquisite arrangement and order (a true «κόσμος»). To regard, in principle, reality as a whole of perfect constitution, combination (σύνθεσις) and integration brings forth appropriate feelings of serene acceptance and deepest satisfaction. The acknowledgment of the optimum of the cosmic collaboration in the whole, together with the subsequent mood of fascination, obligation and thankfulness are not to be disturbed by the existence and frequency of harmful effects inflicted upon particular beings through the unswerving course of those very cosmic processes. The law of Might peacefully or by war, submits the weaker to the rule of the stronger; while the law of Perfection sacrifices the humbler for the sake of the naturally more abundant. Through conflict the most efficient predominates and perfect, distributive justice paid according to the being’s intrinsic value is genuinely and firmly established; whereby Nature’s secondary goals submit to the primary finalities, and the perfect condition of the wholeness flourishes and prospers by means of the restorative increases and diminutions of particular beings.

Strength and beauty of Nature power and harmony of natural functions, undisturbed finality towards perfection, on the one hand - and human participation and wholehearted approval on the other: the potency of natural Magic and the necessary human acceptance and inescapable submission, the perfection of the World and the gratitude of Man, the fascinating wonder of Nature and the fascination thereat of Man: here is the unshaken, firmly-rooted foundation of divine worship in a natural religion.

The dynamism to perfection is the motive and creative cosmic power. The perfection of each being according to its nature is the supreme value. The activity towards each being’s appropriate fulfillment and accomplishment is the primal duty. The Fascination aroused by Nature seen as the Dynamism that promotes and accomplishes, in and through imperfections, the wonder of perfection: here lies the astounding vigor of the Greek Spirit that led Man to his supreme natural sublimation.

However, Nature’s paths are often crooked and its ways are crafty and hidden. Destiny is undetectably kept in the dark. Nature’s light is reflected and diffused in multi-colored iridescence, whereas its resplendent quintessence is blinding. Its infinitely variegated flamboyance, multifariously manifested in beings, protects, as a matter of course, particulars, since its incomparable power destroys the unprepared-for receivers while it is appropriated and endured savingly by the cosmic Whole alone; nevertheless, the diffusion and ontological variation of light is at the same time deceptive. The soul is left unguided in the Labyrinth of natural laws and finalities where the Minotaur, the Spirit of corrupting Deception, which is itself the principle of irresistible procreative Fecundity, holds sway. The polytheism of the natural religiosity expresses precisely that productive multiplicity of natural dynamism, the interdependence of various and in many ways opposite sovereignties, the weaving of the world’s veil from various threads. The incorruptible harmony of the World gives no guarantee for the welfare of any particular being which, on the contrary, perpetually finds itself to be in crossroads and roundabouts of multiple influences, the different powers now collaborating with one another, then being opposed. The absolute perfection of the Wholeness is based on the relative imperfection of the parts, and the severe Justice of the world is guaranteed by the automatic intercorrection of opposite partial injustices. The importance of each particular being as such is minimal, whereas its importance as reflector of divine radiance and bearer of power and perfection according to its nature is the greatest.

The justification of Man lies in the perfection of his nature. There are, nonetheless, two great obstacles that disturb the serene experiencing of that natural truth, when the weariness that results from the existential tension inherent in the categorical order “you should always accomplish consummate perfection and excel, by being the best, the rest” (αἱὲν ἀριστεύειν καὶ ὑπείροχον ἔμμεναι ἄλλων) comes to the fore.

First, we then feel puzzled because of the rarity of those select eminences and, so to speak, ‘justified’ ones. For, the bloom of natural perfection flourishes only in the very few. The vast majority are by far left behind the acme of the essence of their being in any excellence whatsoever. There needs be an enormous expenditure of human energy with a view to any essential achievement, whereas the underlying dangers are awfully overpowering: in-born deformities and malformations of the partial being, acquired malfunctionings, erroneous trainings, bad habits and inappropriate conditions, external impediments and intrinsic canceling mechanisms, occurrences independent of human calculation and obstructive human plans, in other words, the Labyrinth of Nature in its whole might. Either because of lack of deliberation and by virtu of  ill-directed determination, or by means of intrinsic inefficiency, or, finally, beause of an inability to overpass external difficulties, the sublimating eros of the soul cannot bring forth the elevation which man would expect and desire: by and large, the fully-fledged and complete sublimation towards perfection that human beings wholeheartedly require does not take place. The partial being seems to be crying heart and soul: “I can’t”, a cry the significance of which lies beyond the point of the “I don’t want it” that comes from an evil disposition, beyond the point of the “I don’t know” that results from slyness, carelessness or foolishness, beyond even the point of the “I’m unable to do it” that results from proven weakness, the genuine effort notwithstanding; the fundamental inability painfully expressed by that cry encompasses all three together. And the agony that emerges from it, is all the more terrifying, the more it seems to painfully set aside a natural promise: for, the appropriate perfection of a being seems to be inscribed and pledged in its very essence, as a necessary corollary and an inalienable right. That all beings have an essence means that they are created in order for the accomplishment of their own task and the attainment of their own end and entelechy to be immanently and intrinsically guaranteed. How does it then come about that the realization of what is naturally granted happens to be so problematic in Nature?

Second, the justification through perfection in-the-world by no means saves the particular qua particular. Not only do the very few alone manage to walk along the road of excellence, not only does nature grace an exceptional minority with the abundant granting of its treasures, not only does the Minotaur of the Labyrinth watch out and “is godhead envious” (φθονερὸν τὸ θεῖον); but also even he who has won the splendid prize of victory in the struggle for perfection, even he “behold, a bubble it was, and is broken”, he himself being as a sacrifice on the altar of perfection. His victory and his glory turn out to be vain for him, the performer, and truly are but the glorification of the perfection that he briefly realized. By and large, the imperfect exists for the sake of the perfect; the imperfect particular bearer of perfection is offered as a sacrifice of life’s blood, beyond all submissions and devotions and dedications, for the sustenance and manifestation of the perfection that he incarnates and realizes. The particular functions chained in untransformed Slavery.

The tragedy of the particular being reaches its extreme nightmare as soon as it, as a being in time, becomes eternal by means of a simple infinite perpetuation of its temporality, without, that is, any elevation to a different mode of existence. The immortal soul either posthumously falls into the shadowy existence of a weak replica that for want of blood and real life suffers in oblivion; or comes again and again back in infinite recurrences to the Labyrinth whence it desperately wants to escape; for, its every passing-away coincides with its new coming-to-be, the natural lawfulness being ever-lastingly kept inviolably intact.

The ancient Greek Spirit felt deeply the shuddering effect that the exiguity of ‘chosenness’ and ‘justification’, and the inadequacy of the available salvation caused in its primal experience, the experience of dynamism towards Perfection. Within the context of natural religiocity the Greeks found in the Mysteries the absolute rescue from the Labyrinth of coming-to-be and passing-away:

κύκλου δ᾿ ἐξέπταν βαρυπενθέος ἀργαλέοιο,

[“and I flew out of the woeful and vexatious cycle”].

Thus it is that the old Orphic initiate blesses himself. The ritual and the mythology of the Mysteries of Salvation mystically pointed to the solution of the world’s enigma. However, the absolutely reliable interpretative Rule was missing. The World qua ineffable dynamic Beauty strangely and without any re-structuring turned into the World as a suffocating, repulsive Labyrinth, and the Brightness of Perfection wore the mask of Deception. The miracle of the every-day naturalness was confined within the limits of a miraculous exemption from naturalness. The Cosmos became a Mystery and Man was in need of the unmistakable Key, the unveiled Mystery, the Revelation, “the Way and Truth and Life”. The regular disappointment (mainly for Man) of the natural hope for perfection founded on the very essence of beings, could not be taken as a proof of its illusive character, first, because of its very foundation, and, second, by reason of its tangible realization in those exceptional (and excelling) cases of attained perfection. Moreover, it would be improper to somehow suppose a treachery of Nature (for instance through an appeal to a regressive, natural, opposite and opposing Manichaean principle of evil) for the same reasons and also both on account of the irrefutable cosmic harmony of the Whole and because of the complete reliance of the natural Man upon Nature. Thus, the natural promise should unavoidably have a real outcome and the faith truly be in the substantial existence of things hoped-for. The unfulfilledness of the guaranteed pledge was, therefore, the sign of a disease of Nature. The disease of Nature consists precisely in that a natural perfection cannot be realized unless a huge amount of imperfect crude material is condemned to the painfulness and suffering of existence and the unbearable burden of toilsome labor alongside the road towards the fulfillment of Being. What is better is nourished from the blood of its inferior, and potency needs to trample on impotency in order to strengthen. In the last period of Ancient Greek culture, people continued basically to regard this lawfulness as natural, unavoidable and best, and they expressed and interpreted positively such acceptation through the theory of hypostatic degradations. However, the complementary experience of condescension to the inadequacy of natural existence (not psychological and volitional inadequacy, of course, but ontological and essence-afflicting) kept on deepening in the human soul. The feeling of the illness of Nature bridged somehow, by rendering comprehensible, the apparent opposition between the exceptional lightings of natural excellency and the much soil and turmoil that fed the roots of such brilliances and promoted their efflorescence; it also explained the unbearable arduousness in giving birth to extremities of perfection. The solution of the cosmic Mystery of the blooming Beauty out of the gruesome Labyrinth was imminent.

Nature in disease presupposes a degradation of state without any alteration of essence. Otherwise, we are talking of something else, not of nature, since transubstantiation infers hypostatic otherness, especially in the case of totalities. But, a permanent general lowering of the functional tone is impossible in the case of a unique self-existence like the world-whole. Temporary only abatement, according to an internal law of cyclic process, may spoil absolute wholes, as was the case with the Stoic world of recurring regeneration. On the contrary, permanent and general condition of abatement, where essence functions in a tone lower than its normal, is only possible with respect to, and in relation with, another existence. As a matter of fact, the disease of nature itself points to what is above nature, the super-natural. The defectiveness of nature, both as an experience and logically, presupposes the absolute perfection of Godhead that is raised above the World. The being that can fall sick on a permanent basis, since it does not then simply suppress for an immanently determined period of time the full-fledged development of its dynamism, loses all possible credentials to absoluteness, even if and when considered healthy.

The illness and imperfection of nature cannot be caused by a malicious influence on the part of the super-natural. In the Hellenic culture, the concept of an ontological principle of the positively Evil and its envious and mischievous struggles for the domination of the World, is entirely alien. The natural is not menaced by the super-natural, nor is imperfect accomplishment so threatened by the more perfect one. What is above-nature is most perfect, hence good, itself the goodness per se, since it is the perfection of a being per se that provides the foundation of its utility for the rest. Being the absolute perfection, it is also absolute reality: the summit and root of the essential Being (ὄντως Εἶναι) and the supreme intensity, as it were, of existence, that is perfection. Being absolute reality it is also the cause of Nature: whatever is imperfect asks for a cause of its existence, which ultimately cannot be anything else but the absolutely self-existent. It is in this way that for the Greek mind the gap between Nature and Godhead is illuminated.

As is the case in a nature fallen sick that the most intense actualization of the essence of beings through their potencies is most toilsome, contrariwise in a healthy nature the being painlessly elevates its essence to its appropriate perfection. Hence, in the normal condition of natural health the first impediment that prevents mankind from reaching salvation and blissfulness disappears; yet the second one persists: the particular individual remains unrescued; its perfection does not alter the mode of timely existence in which it exists. Being composite it is dissoluble; being created it is annihilated; being given birth it dies; having a beginning of being it also has an end. Even Time itself that has been created simultaneously with the World, has a beginning and an end. The World is not indestructible, if God does not want it. For Creation follows a three-stage plan which unfolds according to ineluctable lawfulness: Fall – Incarnation – Last Judgment. The Goal of Creation lies beyond creation; the meaning of Nature is revealed outside nature, though in accordance with nature. The world’s nature per se in the manner it has been created, and once given existence, does not partake of the final stage. Creation produces Nature qua Nature; but the Creator aims from eternity at the deification of Nature, a deification that presupposes the Fall and the Incarnation. Paradoxically enough, although deceived by the Spirit of Perdition in an endeavor against divine Law, the primal pursuit of Man is eventually successful through divine agency.

Nature is created in the normal state of health and attains the full actuality of its potencies both in its parts and on the whole; it painlessly enjoys the accomplishment of its appropriate goal, though with an apathetical passing-away, if one understands by pathos the laborious condition of the present natural existence, the lamentable suffering required so that essences be forced into motion towards their appropriate entelechies and the lesser true end be achieved. Fall is precisely the removal of nature (its essence remaining the same) from the ancient beauty and the apathetical mode of existence and passing-away, and its entrance into the sickness of pathetical, passionfull corruption, the lowering of its tone, the unbearable hindrance and prevention from the unimpeded actualization of its essential powers. Given that the Creative Cause of Nature is the perfect Self-goodness, and since there exists nothing between cause and effect, the fall may not have been caused but by nature itself through a primeval Error, an aboriginal Abomination (be it the Titanic dismemberment of the Dionysian deity, or the imposture of imitation of the Supreme Principle, attempted beyond all real possibilities, by the last Aeon, namely Wisdom, or, finally, the violation of a Commandment of Separation). And, since error, in the last analysis, always coincides with its punishment (all the more so, when what is at stake is taking place at the very beginnings of things), the primary failure of Nature was precisely its very alienation from Godhead, its moving-away from, hence turning against, divinity. The alienation from the divine absolute fullness of being resulted into the lowering of the tone of existence for the being that moved-away, which again, as a matter of course, brought about the estrangement from its own appropriate perfection.

Nonetheless, the product of the Self-Goodness, as being necessarily good itself, cannot will the evil. Consequently, Nature cannot positively seek its alienation from the root of its existence. Evil does not properly exist. It is a by-product in existence, a parasitic subsistence. The illicit act that corrupted nature, is not a desire for evil, but on the contrary an excessive, iniquitous longing for the supreme good. The created being fails because it ardently looks forward to rising higher than the perfection of its nature allows. No sooner does it exist than it realizes the imperfection of its being and makes every effort to become fully equal with its Creator. The root of sinfulness is the outrageous attempt, the ὕβρις, of what is an effect to become identical with its cause. Yet, excessiveness and sinfulness eventually and finally lead, according to the Divine Providence, to the sought-after unification, the deification. Even transgression and sin belong to the Plan of God and manifest his Wisdom. The intrinsic motivation and tendency upwards of the created being will be finally satisfied in so far as it is possible, the admissible deification being substituted for the impossible transubstantiation into divinity.

According to the eternally predetermined planning of Divine Providence, the cure of the disease of nature will not only restore it in its normal and appropriate age-old beauty of unfallen creation, but it will elevate it towards the super-natural, exactly as the fall reduced it to the sub-natural, both movements occurring without transubstantiation. There are three tonalities, three modes of being and fundamental states of Nature: (a) nature in its normal state of unfallen beauty, painless perfection, unimpeded actualization of inherent potentialities, of unencumbered existence and apathetical passing-away; (b) nature in the state of disease, in the condition of Fall before the end of Time, of grievous drudgery, of decayed and obstructed action and oppressive corruption; and (c) nature in the state of deification by adoption after Last Judgment, of indestructibility and participation in the activity, though not the essence, of divinity. The essence of nature qua created being and its essential traits (derivation through causality, compositeness, multiformity and variety, temporality, the involvement of extension, locomotion, alteration, the sensible World), are preserved inviolate in all three states, with the exception of temporality which gives place to eternity, a mutation that happens only exceptionally in the second state, in connection with pure intelligence alone when the soul surrenders itself in intellectual ecstasy, or through the ritualized holy symbolism of the mysteries mainly, or, even, during the blissful achievements of superlative merit and divine perfection in nature; in the third state, the elevation occurs permanently and totally for the entirety of deified nature.

Now, the degradation of nature cannot be mended, first, by means of natural perfection, nor can human disease by healed through manifestation of an amazing paradicmatic example. If the final causality alone of a consummate natural achievement sufficed for the general elevation of things into the fullness and prosperity of their being, nothing would necessitate the overstepping of the frame of a purely natural religion and ideology. Still, the passionate love of perfect beauty does not relieve a soul embarrassed by impotency, and distressed. There must be a cure for the illness more efficacious than the sole invocation of the final causality of natural perfection, once man experiences the World as a Labyrinth and Life as a burden of uncertainty, when even natural perfection is considered to be a supernatural event miraculously effected for a particular reason.

Second, the cure of the disease cannot be achieved through law and order either, nor can the sin be cleared out through commandments and obediences. Simultaneously with the creation of Nature the Law of God was set, the capital point of which consists in the maintenance of being within the limits of its essence and the separation between Creator and Creation, cause and effect, God and Nature, Sovereignty and Slavery. The primeval lawlessness was the violation of that very Law, the desire to break the limits of Nature and the longing for annihilation of the intervening gap. It was through the Law that Sin entered the World, and it was through the Sin that there was prepared the overcoming and abrogation of the Law. But no Commandment and Austerity are able to reverse the result of the primary disobedience, the enormous impiety of the forbidden longing of a creature for Creator’s glory. The Law, and submission to it, did not help man redress nature and save himself, just as it did not prevent the commission of the original sin.

Last but not least, the restoration of the fallen Nature cannot be performed by means of a mere will of God thereto, nor would God will such a thing even if it were possible. The will of divinity coincides with the necessity of his essence, a transcendental necessity of course, of an essence beyond essentiality and of a will certainly hyper-personal. Orthodoxy, like Hellenism, is grounded on essences, not on will, on substantive realities, not on subjective intentionalities. God does not want this or that separately, but the entire unfolding of the essential cosmic nexus that potentially and spermatically is contained in the divine Λόγος from eternity. Nor does God will the Creation of the World itself in isolation, but he in toto wills the whole of the necessary plan of creation, disobedience, fall, sin, incarnation, last judgment, salvation, deification, in the way that it was conceived by His Wisdom and executed by His Might.

If the healing of the sick Nature could be accomplished in any of the three above-indicated ways, the Mystery of Incarnation would be superfluous, and the God-Manwould reveal himself as another pernicious apparition and spectral element of the Labyrinth.

The creature as soon as it exists, hastens to become identical with the Creator; it cannot stand the separation. But the separation is real and absolute on the level of substance, otherwise there would be no creation outside, but differentiation inside, divinity. However, although the creature does not derive from the essence of godhead, it regards its segregated existence as an alienation from deity; it is as if the creature insolently claims God’s substantive filiation. That is the primary Deception that gives birth to the henceforth universal and permanent Ἄτη (Obfuscation), whereby Nature becomes disoriented and perverse, her light is dimmed, shades fill the world, soul is left unguided in darkness and the glorious brilliancy of the World changes into a labyrinthine riddle. The Mystery turns into Enigma. The creature, being in a hurry to bridge the gap, gets further away from God, thus losing even its normal natural endowments and acquirements.

However, the presumptuous motion of the effect towards its cause is not deprived of a real basis. The cause remains always inscribed in the effect as the latter is prefigured in the former. The creative cause preserves also the effect, holds its existence together, conserves its duration and identity, looks providentially after its functions: thus the cause, instead of keeping away from the effect, extends, through its actions, towards it. That creative extension of the cause in the direction of the effect, being constitutive of the effect, seals it with the character of its actuality. In the root of every being there is found the uncreated activity of the creative and preserving divinity, which is the unifying comprehension of the whole wealth of its existence. Nature discovers the image and activity of Godhead in the very core of its existence. It recognizes the supreme potency of the Trinitarian Law of Divinity in its processes. It conceives of itself as the image where the spermatic predeterminations of Logos and the ideal archetypes of Wisdom are to be found evolved, unrolled so to speak, and drawn out. The Logos and the Wisdom qua Son and Power and Manifestation of the hidden fatherly Deity, is the essential extension of divinity, the prototype of the active extension in Creation. There should be, therefore, no wonder that Nature is dissatisfied with even the appropriate perfections of its being, and strives for deification from the very beginning.  And this is how God willed it before all aeons.

Now, in order for the deficiency of nature to be efficiently and legitimately filled up, there must be emptied out the fullness of godhead. It is not enough for the cure of the universal disease of Nature that it should reach only the point of restoration to the original, unfallen conditions, without healing the cause of the fall; for, in that case, the fall would be repeated immediately after the restoration of the primary state, and for the same initial reason. Basically there must be given satisfaction to the instinctive inclination of the creature to achieve unification with the Creator. The Law must vanish together with the Sin: the primeval transgression must be justified.

Nature, leaning on its divine foundation, strived to be unified with God and, failing, was degraded and, as a result, even lost the perfecting firmness of the natural law of creation and the healthy safety of the natural slavery to God. The super-natural unification craved for only God can realize. And for that reason He becomes Nature, not only as to his activities but also as to his own essence, through the natural substantiation, the ‘naturalization’, of the Creative Logos, the manifest and manifesting Strength of Godhead: the Logos thus proceeds to the third and last spreading out and manifestation of divinity, by properly undergoing the Incarnation, after he had effectively realized his pre-eternal Birth and, secondly, the Creation.

The rectification and justification of the fallen and the satisfaction of its deepest need can be done neither through exemplary, natural or divine, perfection, nor with Law and Commandment, nor by act of divine Will alone; it cannot be effected from a distance, the separation between God and Nature remaining intact and unbridgeable. It cannot be achieved by means of the presence of divinity (qua uncreated singular activity constitutive of an entity’s existence) inside the natural being either. Creation is the prefiguration of Incarnation, but it does not suffice. There must be an immediate and essential presence of God in the World, an ontological, not relative, condescension on the part of God, reaching the point of extreme natural impotency, an enslavement of Sovereignty and humiliation of Glory. In the Creation, divine activity constitutes the natural being; in the Incarnation, God in his full essence substantiates his own natural being in extreme weakness: he becomes a partial and human and suffering being. The sacrifice of God is the pathos and suffering of Nature; God endures the fall of Nature, her degradation, the painfulness and agonizing abandonment and debasement, and Labyrinth, and the Death caused by the Minotaur. The Death of God on the Cross is the pathetic corruption of nature. The cosmic sacrifice is no longer the offering of the imperfect on the altar, and in honor, of the perfect, but the sacrifice of the perfect for the sake of the imperfect. God tenders himself as a scapegoat for the purification from natural corruption. Deep down, the expiation of the supreme sacrifice is the atonement offered by God for, and to, himself with regard to the creation: for, creation is brought about through divine activity constituting natural being, which, because it finds divinity within its core, hastens to become identical with godhead, transgresses the law of separation, falls down and becomes corrupted. God is ultimately responsible for all, for the Fall and the Law and the Sin, and the disappearance of Law and Sin alike. That is why the incarnated One was precisely the divine Logos, the specifically creative hypostasis of the divinity, the One who effects the extension and manifestation and revelation of godhead realized through Filiation first and Creation secondly, and then recompensed with the final and supremely self-manifesting act of Incarnation, the sealing confirmation of the divine root of all things natural. The Creator himself commits the same infringement as the created being from the opposite pole: he breaks the Divine Law of separation, and redemptively unites the Slavery of the Effect to the Sovereignty of the Cause. He is punished for the transgression exactly as was punished the created being for the same violation of the Law from the opposite pole and in the reverse direction. He glorifies the involuntary sacrifice of the natural being through his own purposeful glorious sacrifice.  And he is of couse successful, where the impotent creature met his sublime failure.

The Crucified God suffers the corruption of nature; the wealth of Strength undergoes the deficiency of Weakness: “Although he was cruficied out of Weakness, he lives out of Strength”. In the lowest humiliation of impotency is revealed the fullness of deity, the archetype of that divine actuality which lies in the root of all beings and constitutes, in fact, the guaranteed promise of corresponding deification. Decisive help was granted to the incapacitation. Infirmity is henceforth deprived of the pretended excuse for its imperfection and degradation. It now possesses, instead of a labyrinth, the road to life and truth. Obdurate depravity and failure are now unjustifiable and, hence, they result into irrevocable perdition, the eternal damnation of alienation from Godhead. In contradistinction, achievement henceforth surely leads to the blissfulness of Adoption.

According to the pre-eternal Plan of Nature’s salvation, God hypostatically enters into Nature by becoming a particular natural being of this World. Logos becomes naturalized as a man. The hypostatic natural manifestation of godhead in the World takes place through humanity, because human nature summarizes macrocosm by being placed in the very middle of it: standing half way through between the separate angelic intellects and lifeless creatures, man lies in the center of the created world as he combines the incorporeal intellectuality of superior beings with the sensible materiality of inferior ones. By means of his compositeness from intellectual soul and physical body, from spirit and flesh, man as microcosm exhibits conspicuously the cosmic tone and bond that pervades, unfolds, combines and preserves all things. Although man is not the highest created being, he is, nevertheless, the most characteristic and integrated one: for, no cosmic element is missing from his constitution. He is the natural representative of Nature. He is the most appropriate receptacle for the naturalization of God. When He descended into the World, God took the flesh of, and was incarnated as, a man. Man, as possessing the fullness of naturality, was thus destined for deification transcending the sublime attainments of the supremest angelic grade of Creation.

In order for the plan of Divine Providence to be accomplished, the Creative Logos must bear the impotency and ailment, the corruption and suffering of fallen created being, with the exception, of course, of sin, with the exception, that is, of erroneous judgment and faulty will. Hence, on the one hand, the incarnated God must be identical to pre-eternal Logos while, on the other, the Creator must not cease being God in His becoming a created being; for, had it not been so, He could not restore the Fall and elevate Nature to salvation. Therefore, the identification of Divine Logos with God-Man should always keep the distinction between divinity and created being in Him intact and clear-cut. Furthermore, the supra-essentiality could by no means alter in any way whatsoever; becoming as change belongs to the world’s nature, whereas the supra-natural is absolutely unchangeable.

These then are the revelations of faith.

Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο. The Creator became a creature.

How are we to conceive of the inconceivable? Uncreated creative activity substantiates natural being and, as its hypostatic unity, holds the being’s existence together. There is no need for a third party to be added as a link between that participated unity and being: it is precisely divine unity (ἑνάς) that unites being. Similarly, the Creator is not strictly speaking united with natural being otherwise brought into existence, but He creates, holds together and unifies it, He Himself lying in its existential core. The synthesis of henadic unity and being is not like the synthesis of one being to another: it is beyond essence, beyond any composition, combination, mingling, fusing and mixing. Now the One’s, or Creative Logos’s, synthesis with, and appropriation of, the created body endowed with intellectual soul, surpasses even that supra-essential unification. The Divine Logos as the Self-One, in the fullness of his divinity, is the subsistential foundation of the natural being that is being created for His natural substantiation, not simply by means of any activity of His, but because of His very existence. Combination and symphysis are terms too inadequate to express the absolute uniqueness of the fact. Confusion, on the other hand, is possible among beings, but impossible between the supra-essential One, the henadic Self-Goodness, and His own physical being, the participating existence. The natural being which was created for the natural substantiation and existence of the Creator, belongs, its naturalness notwithstanding, to God, is full of divine glory and completely animated by the ineffable unity to and with the hypostasizing and self-naturalized God, according to what was disclosed in the Transfiguration. Nevertheless, the Logos voluntarily deprives His own natural being of its appropriate glory so that it crosses the rough sea of natural sickness and degradation. The humanity of Christ is simultaneously, first, properly glorified beyond any natural exaltation, second, exquisitely flourishing in all natural perfections and, third, bearing undiminished the whole burden of suffering impotent passivity (apart from Sin) characterizing the fall of nature – the latter being realized by the supreme voluntary truest selfhumiliation of the Divine Logos. Without the voluntary abandonment on the part of the Divine Logos of His animated body (yet, with no ontological withdrawal from it), the ensouled body could not suffer, not because it naturally was beyond suffering, but because it was united with, and appropriated to, the unalterable Logos; in much the same way, impassible and beyond becoming will by grace supernaturally be the resurrected bodies of the Saints after the second Advent of Christ. For, already at the present time, those perfected in-the-world, the inspired Spirit-and-God-bearers, demonstrate a nature which multifariously manifests mighty supra-natural activity. Still, if the Man-God’s pathos unimpededly proceeded according to the necessities of natural being, the created being in God-Man exercising its own activities, then, the inescapable disease and suffering of God’s naturalization would necessarily involve sin, the appropriate trait of the degraded cosmic condition after the Fall. Yet, created nature is perfected and deified in God-Man’s existence on account of its unification (which stands above any other unification) with the uncreated creative supra-essentiality; because of that, His created nature does not function totally in the way appropriate to the state of Nature after the Fall, as it would if it acted in isolation, being on its own and only relatively and referentially or juxtaposedly connected with divinity. It then follows that Divine Logos allows the suffering of His own created nature by withdrawing, as it were, from it (volitionally, not ontologically, of course) and withholding the necessary deifying activities of His divinity on his human nature in their fullness. It is this self-alienation that is expressed by the cry of ultimate agony on the Cross, the bemoaning of forsakenness. However, no voluntary abandonment can interfere with, and dissever, the real unification of uncreated divinity and created nature in God-Man. That is the reason why the naturalized Logos bodily and spiritually undergoes the passing-away and death of particular natural being, as well as the passion  and suffering and disease and pain of nature, with the exception of sin, which nevertheless derives from the Fall and is the distinctive part of the post-fall condition. The sin being wrong judgment, fallacious volition for what appears, in a way, to be good, but is in reality bad, and doing of what is inferior and worse; the sinful act as an error distinct from the universal drudgery of natural existence in its burdensome powerlessness and vexatious hardship even at its success (although both have the same origin, namely Fall) would tear apart the ontological connection between divinity and humanity; the abandonment of His own created naturalization by God would not thus be a purposeful, dispensative, condescending and volitional concealment of divinity (to a certain degree and only temporarily), but would, on the contrary, be ontological dissolution and segregation whereby both God and Created Nature would be brought back to their own and appropriate modes, their combination in God-Man being rendered hereby factitious, referential and merely relative.

The supra-essential creative Divine Logos is substantiated in a twofold way. First, generally and through His uncreated activities when He creates (holds together, takes care of, preserves) the entire World, when He unfolds, that is, by means of His Power the works of His Wisdom which were archetypically and implicitly to be found condensed and pregnantly unified in Himself. This is the universal primal natural manifestation of Logos constitutive of creation. Second, the Logos is hypostatically substantiated in a particular natural being, in a particular natural manifestation of the fullness of his supra-essentiality. The Man-God is precisely the complete natural hypostatic manifestation of the divinity of Logos, the undiminished hypostatic naturalization of His supra-essential Oneness into a particular natural being (man).

This is the required dogmatic expression of the revelation of faith.

However, logical intellect needs a more articulated unfolding of the crystallization of faith through commoner concepts.

Logos’s natural being participates not only in the Creator’s uncreated substantiating activity, but also in the hypostasis of His (supra-essential) essence. In the case of all other created beings the substantiating oneness (ἑνάς) qua creative divine activity, is identical in number with the substantiated oneness, i.e. the existence of created being, whereas, of course, the former differs from the latter in the reason of Being (λόγος τοῦ εἶναι), as immediate cause from effect, as activity from being, as uncreated from created. In an analogous way, the activity of cutting coincides with the passivity of being cut, and the effective cut qua cause to the effected cut qua result, and, generally, the ποιεῖν to its concomitant πάσχειν; but their identity is in number, because their natures differ. Similarly, the creative activity is identical in number with, but differs in the reason of being from, the existence of created being; or, the divine henad is identical with the created ontological henad which constitutes the being-one, that is to say, the existence of being. There is to be found in the Creation the anticipation of the economy of Incarnation: concurrence in one thing and simultaneous distinction in being between divine and cosmic entities; or, hypostatic identity and, at one and the same time, difference in nature and essential character.

Activity is the outward extension, as it were, of existence by virtue of the power of existence. The Creation consists in such an extension of godhead towards not-being which brings forth natural being, by calling it into existence, an existence distinct from both absolute existence and absolute nothing. The uncreated creative divine activity exists as an extension of, and in absolute dependence upon, the existence of divinity. That creative henad is the pro-jection of the creative hypostatic One which constitutes the natural existence of the being that is being substantiated; it is, so to speak, the condensed ontological henad of its being. Through this series the gap between uncreated and created substance is bridged without being suspended and annihilated. The rings of the chain that holds together the entirety of Being, absolute and dependent, consist of varying realizations of combinations of existential (in number) and essential (according to the nature and reason of Being, general and particular) identity; this latter identity also comprising, on the one hand, the congruity of the condensed to the unfolded, or of the abiding or immanent to the progressed and projected, that is to say, the fundamental Trinitarian Law of Being (henadic existence – unlimited procreativeness – beingness, essence – potency – activity, being – life – intellect); and, on the other hand, the relationship of parts to the whole. The members of every trinity, which is constituted according to that ontological Principle, are as wholenesses identical in their nature and essential character, whereas they are numerically distinct hypostases; the parts, however, of the members, as is the case in every whole, are as particular determinations of Being (as a particular activity, for istance, of an essence, or a specific mental comprehension or intuition of an intellectual being), identical with the general co-substantiality of their trinity (just as the reason of the whole is immanent in the reason of each part); but, nevertheless, they are distinct from it according to the specific reason of their being: from that difference in specific nature there follows hypostatic distinction, though the hypostasis of the part is immanent in the existence of the whole, and the part subsists in (ἐνυφίσταται) the whole.

Consequently, the divine henad qua uncreated creative activity, is distinct, according to the τόδε τι, from the existence of God, but is identical with it, according to the general character of its nature, because the divine henad is precisely an uncreated creative activity of uncreated supra-essentiality and an oneness that proceeds from the One and truly a divinity that proceeds from God; it is differentiated, however, according to the particular character of its nature, as a specific manifestation of godhead: the activities as a whole co-substantially unfold the condensedness of divine existence as they spring from the very essence of godhead. Next, as is said above, the ontic henad, the oneness of being, is identical as an entity with the divine henad, whereas it is in nature radically distinct from it. Finally, the being itself neither does differ in its hypostatic concreteness (the τόδε τι) from its henad and existential unity, and is in the character of its nature identical with that henad which precisely provides it with the unity, substantiality and well-defined determination of its particular being and nature. The distinction within the limits of the one-being, namely of being qua being, between oneness and being, is neither hypostatic, nor essential general or specific; it is merely in understanding (κατ᾿ ἐπίνοιαν); and the understanding depends, in turn, on the real essential distinction between uncreated divine henad and created being.

According to the ontological chain of coherence of being, the uncreated henadic creative activity provides the connecting link between God and the World, between uncreated and created being and, as both the activity of godhead and simultaneously the existential root of the natural being, it also sustains the necessary communication between the two. The substantiation of the reasons of being is one and the same thing in number, which is in nature, however, differentiated between the substantiating operation of the divine actuality and the substantiated existence of the being created. Divine activity and ontic existence concur in one thing according to the τόδε τι, two distinct natures being in number identical. The hypostasis of being coincides, therefore, with the hypostasis of the divine henad, and ontic nature is immanent hypostatically (in-exists, ἐνυφίσταται) in the causally pre-existent creative activity which again exists in dependence upon the hypostasis of creative One, but existentially (and in the particular reason of being too) is distinct from it. The hypostasis of the created World depends on the hypostasis of the Creator, yet it is not primarily immanent in that, but only improperly though the hypostatic divine activity, which, although it belongs to divine essence, is, nevertheless, as an outward projection, not really immanent in it. The created being exists in itself, though in an absolute causal dependence of its being upon its causeless principle.

Now, in the perfect naturalization of creative Logos into a particular being, what hypostatizes natural being is not divine activity, but godhead’s existence itself. Given that oneness and being concur in the same hypostasis (because it is precisely the unity of being that forms the existence of every hypostasis, since everything exists in so far as it is somewhat one), it follows that, in the absolutely unique case of God-Man, His natural being is immanent in the hypostasis of the One Divine Logos, and not merely in the distinct (hypostatically and specifically) divine activity or henadic divinity of His. Hence, when Logos became naturalized, He retained the identity of His pre-eternal hypostasis in His physical manifestation. His own natural being does not exist in itself and on its own, as all things natural, but in-exists in godhead’s hypostasis. The divine hypostasis is not simply the cause of the hypostasis of the Logos’s natural being, it is directly itself, in all the fullness of its divinity, the very existence and hypostasis of that natural being.

The theanthropic natural being does not lose its essence because of its immanence in divinity. On the contrary, the Divine Logos constitutes and holds it together in its appropriate being and its τί ἦν εἶναι: He is the hypostatic principle of its unity and the root of its existence, not merely its cause. Thus, the hypostatic identity of the divine One with its own natural being is combined with their essential difference, that between divinity and being-of-the-World, between Creator and creature. Similarly, the creative divine activity that substantiates some divine logos in a being, is hypostatically identical with it, since it precisely raises it in existence by being its hypostatic foundation; nonetheless, the difference in nature between uncreated activity and created being remains intact. Nature literally is the character of the essence of created being and the existential peculiarity of the Creation; yet, one can mutatis mutandis conceive of the supra-natural cause of nature as ‘nature’. Those two universal natures, one of the uncreated, the other of created existence, remain always entirely distinct from one another, and it is by no means possible either for the above-the-World cause of the World to turn into a cosmic effect, or, inversely, for the wordly being to turn into supra-cosmic supra-essentiality. Even the creative divine activity which brings the creature into existence and substantiates it, differs, being uncreated, in nature from it. The participation of created being in creative divine activity constitutes the very εἶναι of the properly natural being, of What-is-to-be-in-and-of-the-World, the existence, that is, and essence of a cosmic hypostasis; in this partaking, divine activity hypostatically coincides with the existence of the being that results from that activity, but they differ from each other in nature, the one being cause, the other effect.

A fortiori these statements hold true in the case of the God-Man. His hypostasis, on the one hand, is one and the same, that of pre-eternal Creative Logos. His natures, on the other hand, one of divinity, and the other of natural being, and the former of the Creator, the latter of the creature, are kept unconfusedly distinct from one another. But the two natures co-exist in the (pre-existing) hypostasis of divinity, in the hypostasis, that is, of the supra-essential nature of the God-Logos. Hence, although divine nature exists immediately in the hypostasis of the Son, created nature has no existence of its own, but in-exists in the hypostasis of the Son, which is, of course, identical with the existence of God-Man. Consequently, God-Man is one hypostasis, that of divine Logos, one nature existing in itself (i.e. the divine one which exists as hypostasis of God and God-Man), and one existing not in itself, but in-existing in the other (i.e. the created one which also exists as hypostasis of God and God-Man). Divine nature exists in itself in the hypostasis of the God-Son, whereas created nature does not exist in itself, but it in-exists (ἐνυφίσταται) in the same hypostasis of the Son-Logos. The interweaving of those facts is best reflected and unforcedly expressed by the dogmatic formula of Kyrillos of Alexandria: one hypostasis and one nature incarnated of God-Logos (μία ὑπόστασις καὶ μία φύσις Θεοῦ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη), a formula which thus is shown to parallel that previous and more condensed utterance of revealed faith, according to which God-Man is the undiminished substantiation of absolute supra-essential Oneness (the God-Logos) into a particular natural created being (man). It is in these doctrines that the Christological belief finds its necessary and sufficient declaration.


The crux of the great Monophysitic controversy consisted not in any divergence or qualification of opinion regarding the absolute and unbridgeable difference between uncreated and created being (for this was common ground for all parties and varieties of doctrine involved); nor did it concern in fact the full reality of Incarnation, the question that is whether God, in the divine hypostasis of the Creator-Logos, became actually creaturely manifested as a concrete physical being (as an individual man) by being born from the Virgin; at the core of the momentous issue lies in fact the correct understanding of the nature of Incarnation, of what exactly happens when uncreated divine being enters hypostatically into the created World as a particular entity of created existence.

The issue was not one of standard Docetism, in the sense that the physical being of divinity (Its concrete humanity) should be construed as apparent (a ghostly phantasm concocted by divinity as a sublimated vehicle of Its this-wordly manifestation) rather than real. Since Salvation of natural being (Man) depended on the ultimate Sacrifice of Divinity, and thus on the Incarnation of Godhead, the unimpaired reality of the former presupposed the undiminished reality of the second and, consequently, also of the third necessarily connected fact. The central argument against Docetism is well set out by Origen, Contra Celsum II, 16: ἡμεῖς τὸ δοκεῖν ἐπὶ τοῦ παθεῖν οὐ τάσσομεν, ἵνα μὴ ψευδὴς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀνάστασις ᾖ, ἀλλ᾿ ἀληθής· ὁ γὰρ ἀληθῶς ἀποθανών, εἰ ἀνέστη, ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη, ὁ δὲ δοκῶν ἀποτεθνηκέναι οὐκ ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη. And so Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus, Catech. IV, 9: φαγὼν ὡς ἡμεῖς ἀληθῶς καὶ πιὼν ὡς ἡμεῖς ἀληθῶς· εἰ γὰρ φάντασμα ἦν ἡ ἐνανθρώπησις, φάντασμα καὶ ἡ σωτηρία. Not only was such Docetism alien to the Monophysitic tendency right from its formal inception, say with Eutyches, but even extrauterine specific creation by Logos of His own humanity as real natural being was emphatically denied by it. Such cosmic creation constituted the central idea in Apelle’s Gnostic supramundane realism opposite to that Gnostic, too, Docetism. Epiphanius, Adv. Heaer. XLIV, 2: Χριστὸν δὲ ἥκειν φῂς ἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτων τῶν καιρῶν, υἱὸν ὄντα τοῦ ἄνω ἀγαθοῦ Θεοῦ, … καὶ ἐλθόντα οὐ δοκήσει πεφηνέναι, ἀλλὰ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ σάρκα εἰληφέναι, οὐκ ἀπὸ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου, ἀλλὰ ἀληθινὴν μὲν ἐσχηκέναι τὴν σάρκα καὶ σῶμα, οὔτε ἀπὸ σπέρματος ἀνδρὸς οὔτε ἀπὸ γυναικὸς Παρθένου, ἀλλ᾿ ἔσχε μὲν σάρκα ἀληθινὴν τούτῳ τῷ τρόπῳ… ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν γῆν καὶ συνήγαγεν ἑαυτῷ ἀπὸ τῶν τεσσάρων στοιχείων σῶμα… καὶ οὕτως πλάσας ἑαυτῷ σῶμα ἀληθινῶς πέφηνεν ἐν κόσμῳ… ἔδωκεν ὁ Χριστὸς ἑαυτὸν παθεῖν ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ σώματι, καὶ ἐσταυρώθη ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ ἐτάφη ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀνέστη[σεν] ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ ἔδειξεν αὐτὴν τὴν σάρκα τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαθηταῖς· καὶ ἀναλύσας αὐτὴν τὴν ἐνανθρώπησιν ἑαυτοῦ ἀπεμέρισε πάλιν ἑκάστῳ τῶν στοιχείων τὸ ἴδιον ἀποδοὺς… καὶ οὕτως διαλύσας ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ πάλιν τὸ ἔνσαρκον σῶμα ἀνέπτη εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, ὅθεν καὶ ἧκε (cf. Hippolytus, Elenchus Z, 38; I, 20). Such theory was explicitly repudiated by Eutyches (the zealous adherent of Cyril) in the proceedings against him before the Home Synod in Constantinople, November, 448 A.D. [Eusebius of Dorylaeum was the accuser, but with an indictment containing no definite charge (Mansi VI 652 sq.) as is emphatically commented upon by Eutyches in the re-examination of his case before the Dioscorean Second Synod of Ephesus, 449 A.D., Conc. Gener. Pauli V auctoritate, 1609, II p. 77A = Mansi VI 640A. Flavian, as Archbishop of Constantinople, presided at the Council of 448 A.D.]: προσετίθει δὲ (sc. Eutyches) ὅτι λοιδορίας τινός, ὡς ἔφη, λεχθείσης κατ᾿ αὐτοῦ, ὡς αὐτοῦ εἰρηκότος ὅτι γε δὴ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ τὴν σάρκα ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος κατενήνοχεν, ὡς αὐτὸς ἀνεύθυνος τυγχάνει τῆς τοιαύτης λοιδορίας (Mansi VI 700C). And in the Epistle of Eutyches to Pope Leo (Synodicum adversus tragaediam Irenaei, Mansi V 1016 = Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln der Alten Kirche A. Hahn, 18973, § 222) it is explicitly affirmed: Anathema autem dico… et qui dicunt carnem domini nostril Jesu Christi de coelo descendisse. Ipse enim, qui est Verbum Dei, descendit de coelo sine carne, et factus est caro in utero santae virginis ex ipsa carne virginis incommutabiliter et inconvertibiliter, sicut ipse novit et voluit. The point was not to cast doubt on the full reality of the physical manifestation of Divinity, on the complete humanity of the Incarnate God-Logos: καὶ ταῦτα λέγων ὡμολόγει τέλειον Θεὸν εἶναι καὶ τέλειον ἄνθρωπον τὸν γεννηθέντα ἐκ τῆς Παρθένου Μαρίας (Act III of the Ἐνδημοῦσα Σύνοδος of 448 A.D., Conc. Gener. Tom. II Pauli V auctoritate editus, p. 103D = Mansi VI 700D); and similarly in his Epistle to Pope Leo (Bibliothek etc. loc. cit.): et factus est, qui est semper Deus perfectus ante saecula, idem et homo perfectus in extremo dierum propter nos et nostrum salutem. The brief formulary of Eutyches’ credo confessed by him in person before the Home synod of 448 is very revealing in its conciseness: προσκυνῶ τὸν Πατέρα μετὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ, καὶ τὸν Υἱὸν μετὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα μετὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ. Ὁμολογῶ δὲ τὴν ἔνσαρκον αὐτοῦ παρουσίαν γεγενῆσθαι ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς τῆς ἁγίας Παρθένου, καὶ ἐνανθρωπῆσαι αὐτὸν τελείως διὰ τὴν σωτηρίαν ἡμῶν (Conc. Gener. II 118 E = Mansi VI 740C). The accusations against Eutyches on this score are either willful misrepresentations or explicable misunderstandings of his position and its real point.

Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο. The Nicene Symbol, also, explicitly declared that it was precisely the God-Logos who became man and suffered the glorious Passion of utter Humility – really became man, and really suffered the Passion on which real human Salvation absolutely depended (cf. e.g. for an early pointed affirmation of the reality of Incarnation and Passion, Ignatius, ad Smyrn. §1; ad Trall. §9). Thus it is only with extreme caution that one may employ language signifying the assumption (on the part of divine Logos) of humanity: for this is likely to be taken as implying the paratactic association of two beings (one divine, one physical) in a relative unity of worth, or adoration, or filiation, or dignity, or lordship, or even personhood in the sense in which this latter excludes natural unification (ἕνωσιν φυσικήν). Such external (in so far as the nature, essential and hypostatic, of being is concerned) combination is sheer Nestorianism, irrespective of whether it is a composition avowed to exist right from the beginning, with the conception, that is, of God’s physical entity in the virginal uterus. The Nestorian position is very clearly stated in Babai Magni, Liber de Unione (translated from the Syriac by A. Vaschalde in CSCO No. 80 = Scriptores Syri, 35) p. 47. 14: (Filius) incarnatus est et inhumanatus per Spiritum Sanctum et ex Maria virgine, id est, sumpsit ex ea hominem completum qui de Spirito sancto uniter et sine coitu conceptus est… (1.24) et ipse est templum et domicilium et habitaculum Verbi in una adhaesione in aeternum… (1.33) sed cum initio formationis eius fuit assumptio eius a Deo Verbo, qui in eo habitavit sicut in templo uniter, et fecit eum secum unum Filium in una Gloria et adoratione, in una adhaesione inefabili unius personae Christi, Filii Dei, in aeternum. p. 48. 5: (ordines naturales) uniti sunt in una persona in aeternum; et natura Dei Verbi servatur sine mutatione in hypostasi sua sicut Pater at sicut Spiritus Sanctus. Ita et homo, quem assumpsit ad personam suam uniter, formatus est. God is adored in His temple, and His temple is adored (p. 48. 13) propter divinitatem quae in eo est, in una adoratione, in una dignitate in aeternum. When the human being is dead, the God that inheres in him resurrects him, so that he will come in the Second Advent (p. 48. 25) in hac unione, in una virtute et potestate cum Deo Verbo qui in eo est. P. 48. 33: et ita, servatis absque confusione proprietatibus duarum naturarum uniter in hypostasibus earum, in una adhaesione divinitatis et humanitatis Christi, in una persona unita filiationis, haec oeconomia adoranda perfecta est. and very clearly p. 84. 25: unio facta est, non naturalis nec hypostatica, sed voluntaria et personalis per adhaesionem et inhabitationem, ut Deus Verbum in illo revelaretur etc. P. 85. 4: quamvis enim unio cum Deo Verbo facta sit illi homini ab initio farmationis eius … natura tamen eius humana ordinem suum in omnibus suis servavit, servatis proprietatibus utriusque sine confusione in unione perfecta et unctione ad adhaesionem quae est in una filiatione. And in p. 85. 17: Neque dicimus unionem naturalem et hypostaticam factam esse, quemadmodum dixerunt impii alii, absit! Sed unio facta est ad personam unitam unius oeconomiae adorandae, in aeternum.--- Exclusive emphasis on personhood has always been heretical.

“Assumption” of humanity on the part of divine Logos, and composition with Him, is an ambivalent and dangerous notion. To avoid its unwelcome implications there was a strong tendency to stick by the formula of the Fourth gospel as endorsed in the Nicene Symbol: God actually became Man. This was taken to entail that there is one and the same entity before and after the Incarnation, with the same essential propriety, namely divinity. In Incarnation the God-Logos became a physical thing (created being, man), in which His nature (divinity) was incarnate; here lies the overwhelming force of the Cyrillic dogma; μία φύσις Θεοῦ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη.

But as uncreated being is incompatible with created being, how can the former actually become the latter without essential alteration? Original Monophysitism tried at first to fence the question, to “hedge” against it, professing inexplicability of the Mystery of Dispensation. Significantly Eutyches, under pressure, replies: ἐπειδὴ ὁμολογῶ Θεόν μου καὶ Κύριον οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ἕως σήμερον φυσιολογεῖν ἑαυτῷ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω (Conc. Gener. II p. 119 B = Mansi VI 741A; cf. 728A); he would not give natural explanations for the divine Mystery. He also utilized the Cyrillic expression, as supraquoted in the letter to Leo “sicut ipse (sc. Logos) novit et voluit”. But the problem was unavoidable: if God did not merely assume a man, but really became man (in the plenitude of His power condescending to utter debilitation) how did His essential being remain  unchanged?

A shift in the sense of the assumptive model for Incarnation was made to serve: what God (becoming Flesh) assumed was not a man, but human being in general. It was a retrograde movement when Severian Neo-monophysitism abandoned this position, for which deviation it was promptly castigated by Neo-chalcedonism. The initial view was to affirm that Logos appropriated human nature so that He could be manifested in the World as a concrete physical being. It was no more question of God-Logos becoming associated to a particular human being (which is Nestorianism of one sort or another), but of His becoming a particular human being by appropriating human nature in a specific essential way, i.e. not in the universal manner of appropriation of the entire created World by its divine Creator as ontological “belonging” of it to Him, the uncreated Lord of created being (Lordship of the Creator). The point is emphatically put by Ioannes Maxentius, Adunationis Verbi Dei ad propriam Carnem ratio, PG LXXXVI, 11A: si formatae aut animatae carni semet Verbum Dei inseruit in utero virginali, non iam naturalis, sed societate haec potius unitio sive adunatio dicenda est: nec persona Verbi ad naturam carnis, sed ad personam alicuius hominis concurrisse credenda est; sed hoc qui dicunt, errore Nestorii traducuntur. Catholica autem fides non personam Verbi ad personam alicuius jam formati hominis, sed ad naturam carnis convenisse credit et praedicat, et ideo non socialem, sed naturalem factam docet esse unitionem. The point is independent really of whether there has been a human embryon in the virginal uterus before unification, or the divine seizure happens at the very moment of conception.

With this tacit modification in the understanding of God’s assuming humanity for His physical and spiritual in-worldly manifestation, there coheres the emphasis on the formula ἐκ δύο φύσεων; this did not initially mean that Christ is composed out of two hypostatic natures, of two existing individuals (however closely connected), but only that He somehow proceeded in the constitution of His full existence out of a combination of both uncreated and created essence. Eutyches is reluctant to admit even that formula, precisely because of its ambiguity and indefiniteness (Conc. Gener. II p. 103C = Mansi VI 700C): το δὲ ἐκ δύο φύσεων ἑνωθεισῶν καθ᾿ ὑπόστασιν γεγενῆσθαι τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, μήτε μεμαθηκέναι ἐν ταῖς ἐκθέσεσι τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων, μήτε καταδέχεσθαι, εἰ τύχοι τι αὐτῷ τοιοῦτο παρά τινος ὑπαναγινώσκεσθαι, διὰ τὸ τὰς θείας Γραφάς, ὡς ἔλεγεν, ἀμείνονας εἶναι τῆς τῶν Πατέρων διδασκαλίας (Cf. Mansi VI 700B). Under pressure during his crossexamination before the Home Synod of Flavian, Eutyches accepts the bare formula (Conc. Gener. II, 118B = Mansi VI 737C), but only with the explicit qualification that it may be safely employed to signify the constitution of Christ as a future event, that is before the Incarnation (ibid. 120B = Mansi VI 744B): ὁμολογῶ ἐκ δύο φύσεων γεγενῆσθαι τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν πρὸ τῆς ἑνώσεως· μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἕνωσιν καὶ τὴν σάρκωσιν οὐκέτι δύο φύσεις εἶπον ἀλλὰ μίαν (Cf. Mansi VI 700C). This was the doctrine upheld by Dioscorus in the Ephesian Synod of 449 A.D., and in the Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D.

The origin of Monophysitism lies in the insistence on the position that the God-Logos became man not by associating Himself (adhaesio) to a concrete human being (be it right from the beginning of the latter’s conception), but by appropriating human nature in such a specific and peculiar way that He manifested Himself as complete man, with body and soul of His own. This manifestation was not of an apparent humanity but of a fully real one. On the other hand, the hypostasis of the God-Logos coincided absolutely with the hypostasis of Christ, as there was no addition of a particular human hypostasis in the constitution of the God-Man’s existence. To safeguard intact the absolute oneness of Θεάνθρωπος it was felt furthermore, that the What-is of the God-Man must not be divinity plus humanity (God and flesh), but divinity incarnate, God-made-flesh. Just as there was the same hypostasis before and after Incarnation (and there was no addition of a fourth individual, Lord Christ, to the three hypostases of the Holy Trinity), so, it was deduced, there must be one nature in God-man, the divine nature, although now physically manifested as a concrete human being. So Timotheus Aelurus (the monophysitic Patriarch of Alexandria): Φύσις δὲ Χριστοῦ μία μόνη Θεότης εἰ καὶ σεσάρκωται ἀτρέπτως (Eustathius, Epistola ad Timotheum Schol. de duabus naturis adversus Severum, PG LXXVI, 904 B from Maius, Nova Coll. VII, 1, 277). The formula “ἐκ δύο φύσεων” was then accepted hesitantly, only under the express proviso that it referred to the undeniable difference between uncreated and created being, and therefore to the necessity that in order for God-Logos to be physically manifested, He must have assumed and thoroughly appropriated what was radically other than His intrinsic essence, namely created nature.

But what happens at such uniquely peculiar assumption and appropriation? Divine activity can miraculously transform things and reverse or cancel natural processes; the breath of Spirit can transfigure men into prophets, saints and wonderworkers, it can inspire them with absolute truth and empower them with angelic faculties. How unmeasurably more intense should the influence of divine essence in Itself be when It naturally is united, as the Logos-hypostasis, to physical being. It must grasp and seize it completely, and totally transmute it, It must burn it out and out. It is not divinity that runs the risk of being changed, so to speak, as a result of Its union with humanity; on the contrary, it is physical being that is threatened with thorough metamorphosis on the approach of, let alone the natural union with, Godhead.

That this was the case in original Monophysitism is evident from Eutyches’ affair. Having fully endorsed the birth of Christ from the Virgin, and the complete reality of His humanity, Eutyches could not yield on the subject of the consubstantiality of Christ’s body with our own. Conc. Gener. II 103 D = Mansi VI 700D: ὡμολόγει τέλειον Θεὸν εἶναι καὶ τέλειον ἄνθρωπον τὸν γεννηθέντα ἐκ τῆς Παρθένου Μαρίας, μὴ ἔχοντα σάρκα ὁμοούσιον ἡμῖν. When repeatedly asked under pressure, he replied (ibid. 119C = Mansi VI 741B): ἕως σήμερον οὐκ εἶπον τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν ὁμοούσιον ἡμῖν, τὴν δὲ ἁγίαν Παρθένον ὁμολογῶ εἶναι ἡμῖν ὁμοούσιον, καὶ ὅτι ἐξ αὐτῆς ἐσαρκώθη ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν. The point is very clear: Christ was born from the Virgin; the Virgin is consubstantial to us; but it does not follow from these premises that Christ’s humanity is consubstantial to our own; we may only at the most and cautiously say that the common humanity out of which the God-Logos created His own peculiar humanity for His complete physical manifestation, was consubstantial (especially as created being) to our own. This is congruous to the doctrine of one-nature in Christ; for if He is consubstantial to Godhead in respect of His divinity and consubstantial to us in respect of His humanity, He must actually possess two essences even after the Incarnation. Christ’s body is for Eutyches human body, not body of a man, but body of God (Conc. Gener. 119D = Mansi VI 741C): ἐπειδὴ γὰρ σῶμα Θεοῦ αὐτὸ ὁμολογῶ· προσέσχες; οὐκ εἶπον σῶμα ἀνθρώπου τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ σῶμα, ἀνθρώπινον δὲ τὸ σῶμα. (He would have no doubt appealed to cautious formulations like e.g. those of Athanasius, De Incarnatione Verbi, ὅμοιον σῶμα VIII, 3 etc.; οὐκ ἀλλότριον τοῦ ἡμετέρου, VIII, 2; σῶμα ἀνθρώπινον ΧΧ, 4; τὸν ἐν τῷ σώματι γνωριζόμενον καὶ πάσχοντα οὐχ ἁπλῶς εἶναι ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλὰ Θεοῦ Υἱὸν καὶ Σωτῆρα πάντων, ΧΙΧ, 3; Τὸ κυριακὸν σῶμα ΧΧΙΙΙ, 4). And even more emphatically, Dioscorus boldly declared, apud Eustathius, Epistola etc. PG LXXXVI, 933D from Maius, Nova Coll. VII, 1, 289): Εἰ μὴ τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ κατὰ φύσιν Θεοῦ ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώπου, τί διαφέρει τοῦ αἵματος τῶν τράγων καὶ μόσχων καὶ τῆς σποδοῦ τῆς δαμάλεως; (the sacrificial animals). Καὶ τοῦτο γὰρ γήϊνον καὶ φθαρτόν, καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῶν κατὰ φύσιν ἀνθρώπων γήϊνον καὶ φθαρτόν. Ἀλλὰ μὴ γένοιτο ἑνὸς τῶν κατὰ φύσιν λέγειν ἡμᾶς ὁμοούσιον τὸ αἷμα Χριστοῦ. ---[Eutyches finally submitted so much as to admit on the authority of the Home Synod that Christ’s humanity may be called consubstantial to our own, but he appended two explanatory clauses to his enforced confession: firstly, that that consubstantiality is simply a way of saying that Christ was really born from the Virgin who is ureservedly consubstantial to us; and, secondly, that that consubstantiality should be subordinated to the primary fact of the absolute Lordship and Divinity of Christ. Conc. Gener. II 119E = Mansi VI 741C (in reply to Flavian): εἰ δὲ δεῖ εἰπεῖν, <ἐπεὶ> ἐκ τῆς Παρθένου, καὶ ὁμοούσιον ἡμῖν (sc. τὸν Χριστὸν εἶναι), καὶ τοῦτο λέγω Κύριε. Πλὴν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ μονογενῆ, κύριον οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, συνδεσπόζοντα καὶ συμβασιλεύοντα τῷ Πατρὶ μεθ᾿ οὗ καὶ συγκαθέζεται καὶ συνυμνεῖται· οὔτε γὰρ λέγω τὸ ὁμοούσιον (sc. ἡμῖν) ἀρνούμενος τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ. Πρότερον μὲν οὐκ ἔλεγον· νῦν δε ἐπειδὴ ἡ ὁσιότης ὑμῶν εἶπε, τοῦτο λέγω etc. However he persisted to the end in not anathematizing the opinion that Christ’s humanity is not consubstantial to us, cf. ibid. p. 120 D-E = Mansi VI 743 D sqq.]. ---Finally, the issue regarding the consubstantiality of Christ to humanity was articulated along the above delineated lines by Timotheus Aelurus (Justinianus, Tractatus c. Monoph. PG LXXXVI, 1129A): οὐ γὰρ φύσεως ἔχει λόγον ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου σάρκωσις, ἀλλ᾿ οἰκονομίας ὑπὲρ φύσιν πραττομένης ὑπὸ Θεοῦ ἐκ μὲν τῆς κοινῆς καὶ ἀνθρωπίνης ἡμῶν φύσεως ἤτοι οὐσίας· διὸ καὶ ὁμοφυὴς καὶ ὁμογενὴς καὶ ὁμοούσιος ἡμῖν λέγεται κατὰ τὸν τῆς οἰκονομίας λόγον, ἤτοι τὴν ἐκ γυναικὸς γέννησιν· οὔτε δὲ φύσις οὔτε οὐσία κοινοῦ τινος ἀνθρώπου προσηγόρευται πώποτε τὸ ἄχραντον καὶ ὁμογενὲς ἡμῖν σῶμα τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου.

The assumption and appropriation of created nature by God-Logos for His physical manifestation must, somehow, basically transform the appropriated nature; the weaker cannot resist on its own the absorptive metamorphosis by the infinitely stronger with which it enters, not merely into relative association, but into total natural union. The idea is fully developed by Gregorious Nyssenus, Contra Eunomium V (592 D sqq. = I p. 322 Oehler): οὗτος (sc. God-Logos)… οἱονεὶ συγκαλύψας τὸ τῆς ζωῆς ἐμπύρευμα τῇ φύσει τοῦ σώματος, ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὸν θάνατον οἰκονομίᾳ πάλιν ἀνῆψέ τε καὶ ἀνεζωπύρωσε τῇ δυνάμει τῆς ἰδίας θεότητος, …, καὶ οὕτως τῷ ἀπείρῳ τῆς θεϊκῆς δυνάμεως τὴν βραχεῖαν ἐκείνην τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν ἀπαρχὴν ἀναχέας, ὅπερ αὐτὸς ἦν, τοῦτο κἀκεῖνο ἐποίησε, τὴν δουλικὴν μορφὴν Κύριον, καὶ τὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν ἐκ Μαρίας Χριστόν, καὶ τὸν σταυρωθέντα εξ ἀσθενείας ζωὴν καὶ δύναμιν, καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἐν τῷ Θεῷ Λόγῳ κατὰ τὸ εὐσεβὲς θεωρεῖται καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀναληφθέντι παρὰ τοῦ λόγου ποιήσας· ὡς μὴ κατά τινα διαίρεσιν ἰδιαζόντως ἐφ᾿ ἑκατέρου ταῦτα δοκεῖν εἶναι, ἀλλὰ τῇ πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ἀνακράσει κατὰ τὸ ἐπικρατοῦν ἀναποιηθεῖσαν τὴν ἐπίκηρον φύσιν μεταλαβεῖν τὴν τῆς θεότητος δύναμιν, ὡς εἴ τις λέγοι ὅτι τὴν σταγόνα τοῦ ὄξους ἐμμιχθεῖσαν τῷ πελάγει θάλασσαν ἡ μῖξις ἐποίησε τῷ μηκέτι τὴν κατὰ φύσιν ποιότητα τοῦ ὑγροῦ τούτου ἐν τῇ ἀπειρίᾳ τοῦ ἐπικρατοῦντος συμμένειν. Οὗτος ὁ ἡμέτερος λόγος… ἔνωσιν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πρὸς τὸ θεῖον πρεσβεύων, τὴν τοῦ θνητοῦ πρὸς τὸ ἀθάνατον, καὶ τὴν τοῦ δούλου πρὸς τὸ κύριον, καὶ τὴν τῆς ἁμαρτίας πρὸς τὴν δικαιοσύνην, καὶ τὴν τῆς κατάρας πρὸς τὴν εὐλογίαν, καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πρὸς τὸν Χριστὸν μεταστοιχείωσιν, ποίησιν ὀνομάζων… τὸ σταυρωθὲν ἐξ ἀσθενείας καὶ αὐτὸ διὰ τὴν ἐπικρατήσασαν τοῦ ἐνοικήσαντος δύναμιν ἐκεῖνο γέγονεν ὅπερ ὁ ἐνοικήσας ἐστί τε καὶ ὀνομάζεται, Χριστὸς καὶ Κύριος. Cf. Antirrheticus adv. Apollinarium, PG XLV 1224A; Epistola adv. Apol. ad Theophilum, ibid. 1276 A-D.

In the same direction and in support of the same fundamental position, with the employment of rich and varying articulative imagery, expostulates Ter Kacik, the Catholicus of Armenia at the time of Basil II, in his Dogmatic Epistle (to be found in Stephanos von Taron, Armenische Geschichte, aus der altarmenischen übersetst von H. Gelzer und Aug. Burckhardt, 1907, pp. 149-185). In conclusion to his sustained support of the monophysitic doctrine of the Armenian Church, the Catholicus urges the addressee (p. 183. 23 sqq.): …und würdest bekennen einen und denselben Gott Logos, aus dem Wesen des Vaters, welcher bei Gott und (zugleich auch selbst) Gott ist. Gleich dem Einiger der Materie in dem Schmelztiegel, oder gleich dem Labmagen in der Milch, ebenso bildete derselbe in dem Schoße der Jungfrau (und) aus dem Blute der Jungfrau seinen wahrhaftigen Leib, und nicht (etwa) nach seinem eigenen (schon vorher) existierenden Leibe. Durch göttliche Quirlung aber wurde der Leib in Bewegung gebracht, ein Leib zu warden, und durch die Natur veränderte die Natur des Leibes die Gestalt und wurde zur Natur Gottes. Denn in ihr nahm er den Anfang, indem (ihre) Existenz mit der verweslichen Natur begann: und deswegen wurde der Leib unverweslich. Denn gleich wie die Unverweslichkeit – (p. 184.1) ähnlich der in Zwischenräumen vorsturmenden Sonne – bei der Empfängnis die Finsternis der Verweslichkeit in die Flucht geschlagen hat und die Annehmende zu dem wurde, was die Natur des Annehmenden ist, so wurde auch der Wille und was dazu gehört zur angenommenen Natur. Wie bei den Strahlen eines Leuchters, wenn sie der Glanz der Sonne erreicht, deren Wesenheit, ohne doch (von der Sonne) aufgesogen zu warden, nirgends bleibt, sondern das dämmerige Licht, vom stärkeren besiegt, in dieses selbst umgeändert wird, so dass weder eine Unterscheidung des Mittelraumes noch ein Anblick der Strahlen bleibt, so ist auch in dem fleischgewordenen Gott Logos keine Zahl anzunehmen übrig geblieben weder der leiblichen Natur, noch der Willen, noch der Th:atigkeiten, weil das Ganze göttlicher Wille und Thätigkeit genannt wird; denn die Dreieinigkeit ist einfach, ununterscheidbar (und) unvermischt in unserer Materie geblieben. Und ebenso strahlte auch aus der Jungfrau das Licht, welches in der Welt ist, dadurch, dass es dieselbe ganz durchdrang. ---This last powerful picture is elaborated in connection with the Light-metaphysics at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel. The Logos exists through His creative activities within the World, pervading thoroughly the cosmic Whole and constituting the being of everything created in it. The particles, so to speak, of Logos, which as divine activities constitute the existence of the matter in the Virginal Womb that will be transformed into the divine ensouled body of God-Logos and into the being of His perfect physical manifestation, are reduced without annihilation to virtual insignificance before their ground and source, the hypostatic substance out of which they proceed (in common with all activities of It creative of the World), and by which they are specifically and peculiarly appropriated: like the light of a candle or a star before the splendour of the Sun, created being is not extinguished, and yet It is completely absorbed by the uncreated reality.

But this thorough transmutation of physical and created being (humanity) upon its appropriation by the divinity of God-Logos, would render it totally invulnerable; no defect, imperfection, impurity can remain with created being on the face and in the hands, in the actual and direct grasp, of the uncreated Creator: no blemish can attach to God’s own physically manifested being. Yet without the reality of Christ’s weakness, humiliation and adorable passion, the divine Dispensation relating to man’s salvation could not be achieved. It seems that Monophysitism, by wishing to emphasize that (precisely for the efficacity of Incarnation as the necessary means of salvation) the Suffering and Sacrifice was God’s very own (and not such of a man associated, in whatever strong relational way short of natural hypostatic union, to God-Logos), run the danger of undermining the very reality of that Suffering and Sacrifice. Eutychianism was regularly represented (by its opponents, it is true) as Docetism. (Cf. e.g. Pope Hormisdas Epist. 30 ad Caesarium). Neomonophysitism, therefore, abandoned its cause; cf. Collatio Cathol. cum Severianis, Mansi VIII p. 818; Zacharias apud Evagrius, Hist. Ecll., III, 5, 9. It followed and absolutized Dioscurus’ qualified dissociation of Monophysitism from the personal fate of Eutyches in Chalcedon, Conc. Gener. II p. 75 A-B = Mansi VI 633C sqq.

Dioscorus must have systematized original Monophysitism on the basis of strict Cyrillean orthodoxy involving Eutychean developments. He resolved the crucial dilemma (to put it grossly: more emphasis on the divinity of the sufferer or on the reality of suffering?) by invoking the distinction of nature and grace. The God-man communicated fully with the infirmity, passion and corruption of the created being (as humanity) not by the necessity of His nature, but by the condescension of His grace (Eustathius, op. cit., PG LXXXVI, 933D in Maius, Coll. Nova VII, 1, 289): Ὁ μονογενὴς τοῦ Θεοῦ υἱὸς Λόγος, ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς γενόμενος ἄνθρωπος χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τροπῆς τοῖς ἀνθρωπίνοις κεκοινώνηκε πάθεσιν οὐ κατὰ φύσιν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ χάριν. So Timotheus Aelurus (Eustathius, op. cit. 804 B): οὐ γὰρ οὐσία τοῦ Χριστοῦ οὐδὲ φύσις ἡ σὰρξ αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ νόμος οἰκονομίας ὀρθῶς πεπραγμένος διὰ τὴν ἡμῶν σωτηρίαν. He supported this position by an appeal to the miraculous birth of God-man by the Virgin: if Christ was a natural human being why was not He naturally born in all aspects? (In Justinianus, Tractatus c. Monophysitas, PG LXXXVI, 1129 D = Maius, op. cit. 277): there is the fact of explicit prophesies (like “ἀπαγγέλλων εἰς ἀνθρώπους τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς παντοκράτωρ ὄνομα αὐτῷ”) and miracles: αὐτὸς οὖν δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ ἀπήγγειλε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· τοῦτον ἰδὼν ὁ ἥλιος ἔδυ μεσημβρίᾳ. Ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ <ἐν>εδέχετο τοῦτο δι᾿ ἀνθρώπου γενέσθαι, ἤτοι διὰ φύσεως ἀνθρωπίνης· ᾖ γὰρ ἂν πάντῃ τε καὶ παντελῶς ἔλυεν τὴν παρθενίαν ἡ ἀνθρώπου φύσις· εἰ γὰρ ἦν ἄνθρωπος κατὰ φύσιν καὶ νόμον ὁ μέλλων ἀποτελεῖσθαι ἄνθρωπος ἐν μήτρᾳ τῆς Παρθένου, οὐκ ἂν ἐτέχθη ἐξ αὐτῆς εἰ μὴ πρῶτον τῆς παρθενίας διαλυθείσης. So much is admitted also by Severus, Contra Impium Grammaticum (CSCO 112 = Scr. Syri 59, transl. from Syriac by I. Lebon) vol. I p. 184.30: quia naturalem unionem carnis natura aptae quae conciperetur et plasmaretur et incresceret et gigneretur, assumpsit, licet illam carnem supra naturae terminos esse ostenderit, quatenus ex Virgine sine semine et ex Spiritu sancto nata est, et quatenus genitricis virginitas in partu non soluta est.

This line of thought was continued by Julian, Bishop of Halicarnassus, the founder and chief exponent of the so-called Apthartodocetic Sect which caused the great Schism in 6th century Monophysitism between the Severian transformation of the original doctrine and the Julianic reaction. --- [Cf. the De Sectis ascribed to Leontius, PG 86A col. 1245 B-D. It is clear that οἱ τὸ ἀρχαῖον δόγμα φυλάττοντες are in the present respect, the Gaianites, which are the Egyptian group of Apthartodocetists, cf. ibid. col. 1232 B].--- Julian maintained (Sévère d’ Antioche, La Polemique antijulianiste I, trad. par R. Hespel = CSCO 245 = Script. Syri 105) that according to the providential dispensation of God the Father, His Son should be subjected (p. 215. 11) de souffrir pour nous dans la chair volontairement, et non pas par nécessité de la nature, et que ce n’ est pas par la resurrection qu’ il a pris l’ incorruptibilité etc. What really happens after Resurrection is that God-Logos does not any more allow the infirmity and passion to inflict His physical manifestation because the Economy of Incarnation has been achieved through the ultimate Sacrifice, the holocaust of Suffering; Julian, apud Severus, Contra additions Juliani (= La polemique Antijulianiste IIA), CSCO 296, p. 126. 28: (le Christ ressuscité) n’ admetta plus volontairement les souffrances en lui, car il a accompli ce qui’ il voulait en rachetant la nature de l’ homme toute entiere par ses souffrances volontaires et qu’ il ne reviendra plus à ces memes souffrances, comme s’ il n’ avait pas réalisé en une fois ce qu’ il voulait.- Similarly (id., La polemique antijulianiste, I, trad. par R. Hespel = CSCO 245, Refutation des Propositions Heretiques, p. 225. 11): Ne disons pas le corps de Notre-Seigneur passible et mortel en vertu d’ une nécessité et, en ce sense meme, corruptible et soumis aux nécessités naturelles, mais confessons que c’ est volontairement et selon la vérité qu’ il a supporté les soufrances rédemptrices pour nous et la mort qui apporte la vie, sans s’ ‘ecarter en cela de l’ impassibilité et de l’ immortalité qui sont siennes, main en nous transmettant par là l’ impassibilité et l’ immortalité.- What is naturally unified to the source of incorruptibility must needs become incorruptible; Troisième Lettre de Julien a Sévere, vol. cit. p. 159.14: il a été constraint (sc. Julian speaking of himself) de se faire le vigoureux défenseur de l’ incorruptibilité de ce (corps) qui est naturellement uni à la source de l’ incorruptibilité.- Arguing forcibly from Luke, VIII, 43-48, Julian explains that what appears to be passion is really action in the physical being of the Saviour, and he expounds (speaking in the person of Christ), apud Severus, Critique de Tome de Julien, vol. cit., p. 153.29: En effet, tout ce qui est étranger, en s’ approchant de moi, se corrompt à distance, et s’ il m’ est proche, il ne se surajoute pas; car la plenitude don’t tous ont reçu (John, I, 16) ne reçoit pas d’ addition.- And concisely (ibid. p. 37.25): Ce qui est corruptible de par (sa) nature commune, et non pas d’ une autre manière, – il a été en effet assumé de ce qui est corruptible, – a été manifesté comme étant incorruptible par l’ union au Verbe, en ne contractant aucune corruption ni dans la conception ni dans la mort, comme s’ il échappait au caractère commun de notre nature, comme le dit aussi Grégoire de Nysse dans le discourse catéchétique (PG XLV, 45 A-B).- Human (psychic and carnal) nature has been drastically transformed by being immersed and quasi-absorbed in the divine (Julian, apud Severus, Contra additiones Juliani CSCO 296 p. 97.21) …et il n’ a eu (notre nature) en partage que de manière à l’ exalter seulement, sans être dominé ni abaissé, mais en (s’ en) emparant et en l’ élevant à sa propre grandeur, par le fait qu’ il était immergé dans la divinité et qu’ il lui était uni.- Divinity suppresses the passibility of the physical nature united to It; how could flesh resist the deifying radiance of divinity and note become radiant itself? Julian, Contra blasphemias Severi, apud Severus, L’ Apologie du Philalèthe, transl. from Syriac by R. Hespel CSCO 319, p. 64.24 sqq.: …La divinité… après l’ union, a supprimé la passibilité de la chair; il était impossible désormais que la passibilité fût dite appartenir à une chair unie à l’ Impassible ni qu’ elle résiste de force à la puissance (accrue) de la nature. Car l’ union de la chair au Verbe est la consommation du mystère lui-même.- The divine body is incorruptible right from its inception (at conception in the virginal womb), nor does anything accrue to it at Resurrection that did not already belong to it before (Sévère, La polem. antijul. = CSCO 245, p. 230.20 sqq.). In fact (p. 232.29): Ne disons pas que le corps de Notre-Seigneur a été vaincu et soumis par une nécessité naturelle à la contrainte des souffrances et de la mort ­à la manière de nos corps à nous, ou qu’ il a été sous quelque aspect que ce soit sujet à des dettes.-  In the first of a series of ten anathematisms, Julian affirms (Sévère, La polem. Antijul., II B, L’ Adversus apologiam Juliani, trad. par R. Hespel = CSCO 302 = Script. Syri 127, p. 264.15): que le Verbe de Dieu, consubstantiel au Père, incarne et vraiment fait home, nous est consubstantial en tout et qu’ il est homme en fait et en titre, à l’ exception du péché et de la corruption etc.- He explained (p. 270.11-16) that consubstantiality of the divine body to ours, does not refer to passibility and passivity (κατὰ τὸ παθητικόν) but to participation in the same nature (φύσις) which on its own, and apart from the aboriginal Delinquency, was free from impotence and corruption. Cf. on this subject of consubstantiality between the divine body and ours (between the human manifestation of Divinity and our own humanity), from Severus Contra additiones Juliani, CSCO 296 p. 68.8-15 and p. 105.19: je confesse (it is a Julianic quotation) le corps (sc. of Christ) ‘consubstantiel à nous’ mais non pas du fait (qu’ il aurais souffert) comme un être passible (ordinaire).- In fact if the required consubstantiality entailed the corruptibility of Lord’s body (like our own), then the undisputed incorruptibility of the divine body after Resurrection would mean that It no longer is consubstantial to ours (ibid. p. 69.28 sqq.). Julian is very explicit in his analysis of the infirmity and sickness of Nature. Defect and blame are unnatural to Nature; by the essential nature of created being we should only understand its condition of health. Such natural being in its healthy state of normality and perfection is at the very least the physical manifestation of Divinity. So apud Severus, contra addit. Juliani, vol. cit. p. 84.4-25: … (l.10) comment le créateur de la nature ne s’ incarnerait–-il pas à l’ abri de toute corruption qui, en marge de la nature (παρὰ φύσιν), est survenue dans (notre) race? Or ils disent que le Verbe ayant eu en partage notre nature, alors qu’ elle était déja corrompue, necessairement les propriétés de la nature, comme l’ est la corruption, se trouvaient par nature (φυσικῶς) dans le corps assume; mais qu’ ils sachent que les propriétés de la nature faisaient apparaître une nature à l’ état sain, non pas dans l’ alteration de ce qui est conforme à la nature (κατὰ φύσιν), en quoi consiste le corruption, mais telle qu’ elle était disposée par le créateur à l’ origine première, etc.- For Julian corruption is the consequence of sin, infirmity and imperfection in Nature follow the Fall. As the incarnation of God-Logos is beyond sin, so it is naturally above corruption, failure and defect, but for an act of permittance. Julian commenting on a phrase of Cyrill (PG LXXIV, 665 B-C), to the effect that (by undergoing the cutting by the lance and the thirst on the Cross as a result of extreme physical torture) the flesh of the God exhibited something proper and natural to it, remarks (from his Contra blasphemias Severi apud Severus, L’ Apologie du Philalèthe, vol. supra cit. p. 10.4-8): qui est propre en effet et naturel au commun (des hommes) après la transgression; car ce n’ était ni propre ni naturel au corps du Seigneur qui n’ était pas tombé sous le coup de la transgression ni sous la corruption qui en résulte, mais qui nous (en) avait libérés.- He declared (Severus, adversus apol. Jul., CSCO 302, p. 268.11) la chair impassible et immortelle dans les souffrances.- V. the quotation in Severus, op. cit. p. 157.25: L’ incorruptibilité affectait en tout temps le corps passible de Notre Seigneur, même quand il souffrait volontairement pour les autres.- Cf. p. 199.26-33, with a forced interpretation of the problematic Luke XIII, 32-33. In his fifrth anathema he further articulates the idea (p. 269.24): Si quelqu’ un declare que c’ est en tant qu’ il n’ a pas été sujet aux souffrances et à la mort que Jesus-Christ, qui a volontairement assume pour nous les souffrances et la mort, est impassible et immortel, et ne le confesse pas impassible dans les souffrances et immortel dans la mort vivifiante… qu’ il soit anatheme!- In fact he went on to affirm (270.16): car la multiplication des pains en pareil approvisionnement ne signifie rien d’ autre que la puissance de l’ impassibilité dans les souffrances du corps du Seigneur.- Julian speaks even of the natural incorruptibility of Lord’s body as a consequence of its union to God, op. cit. p. 158.7: a cause de l’ incorruptibilité naturelle survenue aux premices par l’ union au Dieu Verbe.- If the bush can be in flames totally without being burnt and consumed (Ex. III, 2), why cannot the body of God be incorruptible in the midst of its suffering? (Critique du Tome du Julien, vol. cit., p. 96.16 sqq.; p. 37.18). It may merely be considered as corruptible in the earthly life, but is really all along incorruptible just as it is revealed in (Tranfiguration and) Resurrection (ibid. p. 37.20). And this is signified by the wondrous Transfiguration. It would imply real debility and impotence in the God-Logos, if the flesh hypostatically united to Him could remain intrinsically (i.e. in its own natural character as divine flesh, apart from any volitional dispensation) corrupt and mortal. (Severus, Contra add. Juliani, CSCO 296, p. 85.2). Julian in his ninth anathema goes so far as to condemn even the notion that Christ’s Passion and His death on the Cross are really destructive of His physical being (Severus, adv. Apol. Juliani, CSCO 302, p. 284.1): Celui qui ose déclarer corrompante la mort vivifiante de Notre Seigneur et qui appelle engendrant la corruption ses souffrances rédemptrices, qu’ il soit anathème!- Cf. also the tenth anathema, p. 288.4-8. The glorious End clarifies what some take as doubtful, namely that the marks of infirmity which God-Logos allowed its divine body to exhibit during His presence among us, is not a proof of corruptibility (Critique etc., p. 66.1-5). The suffering of God was efficacious in the work of Salvation precisely because God incarnate could not succumb to it (to the sickness and passion), nor be endangered by it, so to speak, or battle with it and overcome imperfection in the manner of a charismatic man proceeding unshakenly along the path of perfect virtue (according to the Areian construal); Severus, adv. Apol. Jul., vol. cit., p. 156.10 sqq. In final effect, what is at stake for Julian is whether we shall permit any language implying however indirectly some division in the absolute unity of God-Logos-incarnate; ibid. p. 246.9: Les calomniateurs en effet s’ efforçant d’ introduire les enseignements immondes et impurs de Nestorius, et voulant par tous moyens établir la division revendiquant la dualité des propriétés, opposent la corruptibilité, la passibilité et le caractère mortel à l’ incorruptibilité, l’ impassibilité et l’ immortalité et ramènent celui, qui est un à deux Christs et deux fils en faussant l’ unité ineffable et inexplicable. – Julian’s adherence to the original Monophysitism as against the Severian novelties comes emphatically to the foreground in his Eighth Anathematism, where he denies the two natures or substances or proper idioms or activities of Logos after the Incarnation tout court (even though under the proviso that such dualistic language carries the clandestine and implicit intention to uphold two persons or hypostases in Christ) without reference to the compositness of nature and hypostasis in Logos incarnate, so characteristic of the new doctrine (280.14-18, where notice the following Severian refutation). Such a construal of the antithesis of the two sects is explicitly maintained by Leontius (PG 86, I col. 1317 C-D); from whom we also learn the wide influence that Apthartodocetism exercised even in Orthodox, and especially learned, circles (ibid. col. 1316C; 1317 A-B; 1320C – 1321A). His treatise against orthodox Apthartodocetism is revealing. The exponent of the Sect maintains (col. 1325B) that οὐ κατὰ φύσιν ἀπαθὲς τὸ σῶμα καὶ ἄφθαρτον λέγομεν (i.e. the divine body), ἀλλ᾿ ἑνώσει τῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν Λόγον γενόμενον. The very reality of the unification requires thorough transmutation of the weaker partner. Col. 1328D: ἡμεῖς μὲν οὖν τοιάδε περὶ τῆς σαρκὸς Χριστοῦ δοξάζομεν, ὅτι κατ᾿ αὐτήν γε τῆς συλλήψεως τὴν ἀρχήν, ἅμα τῶν παρθενικῶν ἐφῆπται σπλάγχνων καὶ τὸ προσληφθὲν εἰς ἀφθαρσίαν μετεσκευάζετο· πῶς γὰρ οἷόν τε ἦν αὐτῷ μὴ τὴν φθαρτὴν ἀποτίθεσθαι φύσιν τῷ ἀφθάρτῳ Λόγῳ προσενωθέν; The unified body is rendered incorruptible ipso facto, but is allowed to suffer by the will of Logos and not by the necessity of its corporeality (col. 1329C): ἔπασχε μέν, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ δή που ἀνάγκῃ φύσεως, ἀλλὰ λόγῳ οἰκονομίας, τοῦ Λόγου ἐφιέντος τὸ παθεῖν. The passion is real, but is allowed to occur (col. 1345D): καὶ γὰρ ἀληθῶς ταῦτα (i.e. whatever refers to the weakness, depletion and defect of bodily existence like hunger, thirst, sleep) συνέβαινεν· ἀλλὰ βουλομένου τοῦ Λόγου καὶ ἐφιέντος σαρκί. The CRUX of the matter consists in this: Is the divine body of Christ incorruptible by virtue of its union to the divinity of God-Logos, in which case Logos allowed His body to suffer the Passion according to the preeternal Plan, Dispensation and Economy; or is the divine body of Christ corruptible in spite of its union to God-Logos, in which case it is raised to incorruptibility after the Resurrection by the Will and according to the Economy of Logos? Leontius sides with the latter opinion (col. 1332B): καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἐκ τῆς ἑνώσεως ἔσχε τὸ ἀπαθές, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τῆς βουλήσεως τοῦ ἑνωθέντος, κατὰ καιρὸν τοῦτο καὶ πρός τι χρήσιμον οἰκονομοῦντος. And also (col. 1333C): καὶ τὴν τοῦ Κυρίου νόει μοι σάρκα τῶν τῆς φύσεως νόμων καὶ μετὰ τὴν ὑπερφυᾶ καὶ θαυμασίαν ἕνωσιν ἀλωβήτων αὐτῆς συντηρηθέντων, καὶ τὰ ὑπὲρ φύσιν δεδέχθαι, ὡς μηδ᾿ ὁπότερον ἐκ τοῦ θατέρου χωρίζεσθαι ἢ ἐμποδίζεσθαι. Οὐδὲ γὰρ τὰ ὑπὲρ φύσιν ἔχει χώραν μὴ τῆς φύσεως ἐχούσης κατὰ φύσιν. (Indeed. But “nature according to nature” and natural perfection belong to nature before the Fall. It is not the inherent Law of Nature and Flesh as such to be subjected to infirmity and corruption). To the crucial issue Apthartodocetism takes the other side (col. 1333D): τὰ μὲν πάθη θαύματος λόγῳ τῇ σαρκὶ τοῦ Κυρίου συμβαίνειν· τὸ δέ γε ἀπαθὲς αὐτῇ καὶ ἀνώλεθρον φύσεως νόμοις ἀδιαπτώτοις ἐρηρεῖσθαι, namely to the transforming (perfecting and deifying) influence of the divinity of God-Logos. Similarly it is not the case that the human soul of Christ is different in original nature to our own; simply by being united to His divinity it is raised to power greater than Death and Hades, something that we cannot attain unaided (col. 1341B): οὐχ ὅτι παραλλάττει, ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι τῷ Κυρίῳ συγκεκραμένη τῆς τοῦ Ἅδου κατοχῆς ὑψηλοτέρα καὶ κρείττων ἐτύγχανεν. And besides, there must be radical difference between the way in which the divine body of Christ was deified on the one hand, and our own body and humanity will be on the other, just because the latter eventuality of a relative deification with respect to activities and according to grace, absolutely depends on the former fact of a natural unification of the very hypostatic essence of God-Logos to physical being (col. 1349D): τὸ μὲγα τῆς ἑνώσεως ἐκταράττει μυστήριον εἰ μὴ τὰ τῆς ἀφθαρσίας ὁ Λόγος ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς τῷ οἰκείῳ δεδώρηται σώματι, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸν ἴσον τρόπον ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτῷ τὴν εἰς ὕστερον ἀφθαρσίαν ἐταμιεύσατο. In fact, it may appear that Leontius’ opposition verges on the verbal sphere and concerns varying emphases in formulations. For instance he maintains that (col. 1348B): τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι τὴν φθορὰν τῆς ἀνικήτου ἐστὶ δυνάμεως καὶ λόγῳ θαύματος, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ νόμῳ φύσεως. But what is really miraculous: that the naturally appropriated divine body of God-Logos, the God’s own body, is made ipso facto incorruptible, or that it suffers the Passion of extreme impotence and humiliation despite its being precisely God’s own body? The miraculous dispensation cinsists in the concrete physical manifestation of divinity, in real Ἐπιφάνεια; the rest follows necessarily upon that intervention according to ontological lawfulnesses. God-Logos incarnate can only allow volitionally infirmity to settle in, and seize, His body, despite ontological unification, once He has essentially appropriated physical manifestation and existence; how else could defect subsist unpurified and unstrengthened in natural unification with absolute Perfection and Power? It is not inexplicable that Leontius himself, in his opposition to Nestorianism, comes closest to the apthartodocetic doctrine in his attempt to emphasize the divine activity in Passion; adversus Nestorianos VII, 11 (PG 86, I col. 1768 Dsq.): ἴστωσαν (sc. the Nestorians) οὖν ὡς μᾶλλον τοῖς γε θεοπρεπεστέροις εὐσεβοῦσι τὸν Λόγον παθεῖν λέγοιτο σαρκὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἥπερ ἀπαθεῖν. Οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἀπαθὲς τὸ Θεῖον ἴσμεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπαθηστικὸν τῶν οἷς προσγίνεται· οὐ μόνον ἀθάνατον εἶναι δοξάζομεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπαθανατίζον τὰ ἐγγινόμενα αὐτῷ. Ἡνωμένης οὖν τῆς σαρκὸς τῷ Λόγῳ ἑνώσει τοιᾷδε ἧς πλεῖον σύγκρασιν ἀσύγχυτον ἐπινοηθῆναι τοῖς ἑτεροφυέσιν ἀδύνατον ἦν καὶ κατὰ τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας, οὐχ ὅπερ μὲν ἔπαθεν ἡ σὰρξ τοῦτο ἁπλῶς καὶ ὁ Λόγος παθεῖν λέγοιτο καὶ παθητὸς εἶναι τὴν φύσιν (πλὴν εἰ μὴ ὡς Χριστός), ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι ἡνωμένου αὐτῇ (i.e. τῇ σαρκί) τοῦ ἀπαθοποιοῦ πέπονθεν αὕτη κατ᾿ οἰκονομίαν αὐτοῦ, <ὅπερ> ἐγκοπὴν τῆς φυσικῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ λόγου ποιεῖ θεωρεῖσθαι, ὅ ἐστιν ὅρος τινος πάθους· λίαν δὲ τοῦτο δυνατῶς καὶ σοφῶς ὑπεράγαν ἀμετρήτῳ τε ἀγαθότητι Θεοῦ τελεῖται· …Πάθος δὲ τὸ κατὰ σκοπὸν τῆς εὐδοκίας τοῦ πεπονθότος προϊόν, φυσικῆς μᾶλλον ἐνεργείας ἔχοι ἂν τὸν λόγον. It is equally strange to affirm the Passion of the Impassible and the Passion of the passible when this is naturally unified with the Impassible. In order for the divine Flesh to suffer, the God Logos must exercize His Will and action to allow it to happen. Nor is the originally Dioscorean emphasis on the dispensatory understanding of Incarnation according to grace (as against the true nature of the incarnate divinity) inconsistent really with the Cyrillic stress on the natural union of Logos with physical existence in Christ. It is precisely the fact of the ontological appropriation of created being by God as His own manifestation (φανέρωσις), which, through the necessarily following divinization of the appropriated, raises it above not only the concomitants of the Fall, but even above the natural perfections of its being, rendering it incorruptible; an effect which is cancelled (only so far as the passion is concerned but notcorruptibility) in the Economy of the Passion by grace. Such a position combines congruously Neo-chalcedonism with both Severian and Julianic Neo-monophysitism on a genuinely Cyrillic basis.

The Julianic Monophysitism is not certainly the same with the original Dioscorean type, yet represents its influence in the Sixth Century setting, conditioned by, but reacting to, the spirit of a rapprochement between followers and opposers of Chalcedonism then active. Severus came under fire from within the monophysitic camp for his theological approaches to the orthodox continuation (and re-interpretation) of Chalcedonism (cf. e.g. in his second Epistle to Sergius, Severi Antiocheni Orationes ad Nephalium, eiusdem ac Sergii Grammatici Epistulae mutuae, interpr. I. Lebon = CSCO Scriptores Syri Series Quarta, Tom. VII, p. 107.5 sqq.). Sergius tried to win him over to a more orthodox Monophysitism. Severus on the other hand understood his position as entailing the transubstantiation of Christ’s humanity into divinity (op. cit. p. 102.5): Certe enim dices – quia ad id voluntas tua ea, quae dicta sunt, passim nutu indicat – inferius conversum esse in superius et totum Emmanuelem divinitatem esse secundum substantiam. Sergius’ reply to this accusation in his Third Epistle to Severus makes clear that he means something very near the original Monophysitism (p. 117.14 sqq.; esp. 117.29): Sic etiam animatam carnem, quae Verbo unitur …humanam quidem agnosco nobisque consubstantialem, sed, qua compositam ad Deum, praecellentias prae carne nostra stabilientem, – peccatum enim e transgressionibus ortum non tulit: quae ad esuriendum, sitiendum et dormiendum non erat coacta, sed conversatura cum Verbo ipsi unito, illa propter dispensationis confirmationem pati volui. Igitur hoc non est substantiam mutare, sed mysterium diligenter admirari, quod ad carnem crassam cum Verbum secundum unionem ad ipsam compositum est, eam prorsus gloriosam effecerit. Etenim, sine semine nascitur, et virgo est mater eius; et nutritur quidem, non indigens sed volens; etc.- Sergius tries to revitalize the original experience, while admitting the language of permanent compositeness (from two constituents of fundamentally differing essence, uncreated and created being, in paratactic combination), insisted upon, with heavy theological repercussions into Christian dogmatics, by the Antiochean School (cf. explicit consciousness of such pedigree in Sergius, Oratio Apologetica ad Patriarcham Severum, op. cit. p. 143.16 sqq.), imposed on Chalcedonian doctrine by Pope Leo, and accepted by Severus (albeit with explicit repudiation of its consequences) in his reshaping of Monophysitism (encapsulated in the formula “one composite nature and one composite hypostasis”). Adopting the theory of composition in Christ, but also sticking to the absolute unity of His hypostatic nature, Sergius envisaged initially a mixture of the two constituents (divine and human) to form a unique peculiar essential character distinct from both; cf. e.g. in his First Epistle to Severus, p. 53.7: itaque nulla iam proprietas neque Dei secundum propriam suam rationem concipitur, neque carnis videtur (for instance, Christ is visible God, and effects physically miracles like walking on the sea, neither of which facts is proper to either of the constituent natures), totus autem dispensationis modus ad unam proprietatem spectat quae apud Deum incarnatum reperitur; … ita et una est proprietas Christi, quam nemo ex invisibilibus et visibilibus participat etc.- The force, although not the form, of the point is acknowledged by Severus, Contra impium Grammaticum, Scr. Syri 59, I p. 97.20: Sed dicis “Ego hypostaticam unionem confiteor”. Igitur ostende effectum huius unionis, ita ut illas duas naturas iam non dicas duo, sed utramque unum absolutum, iuxta verbum sapientis Cyrilli. At non consentis!... Cur ergo hypostaticam quidem unionem demonstras, mendacis autem et habitudinalis unionis geminum partum inducis? Te tacente, causam ego dicam…: nempe quia studiose curas ut in opinione tua orthodoxus censearis, dum nestorianus es, et noster quidem in specie externaque facie, in imo autem et in abscondito illos aemularis.- So it is rightly demanded some real result of the professed unification. For Sergius, if there is not some kind of mixture of the two constituents in Christ, the composition is not genuine and organically synthetic but merely mechanically paratactic, which leaves the two perfect in themselves separately with only relative connection between themselves – just what underlines the Christology of Pope Leo in his dogmatic Epistle to Flavian; p. 74.15 sqq.: Si ergo naturae, e quibus Christus, inconfuse non sint inter se mixtae, quomodo ea, quae sic non inter se mixta permanserunt, unita esse hypostatice dicam? Quomodo vero rationem compositionis servabo, servatis naturis sicut se habebant? Eorum enim, quae inter se non miscentur, ut isti dicunt, unionem excogintandi nulla necessitas, et sic agnoscendum est duas naturas esse unum Christum.- Sergius’ “inconfuse inter se mixtae” refers to the Stoic κρᾶσις as distinct from both confusion (σύγχυσις) and external parataxis. It emerges clearly that to this theory of mixture or συνουσίωσις Sergius is led by the original experience; cf. op. cit. p. 53.1: ipse (sc. Christ) ut videretur quidem tulit propter benignitatem, humanam autem proprietatem per summam unionem transgressus est.- However, the composition–vocabulary deflects and disorientates his march. The mixture-account preserves and heightens the unity of Christ (in nature, essential properties and operations) but is inconsistent with His absolute identity to God-Logos. We come back again and again to the same point: the assumption-composition formulations should be employed with extreme caution. The fundamental experience is that Christ is God, that the pre-eternal Logos was actually manifested as a concrete physical being, that He became really a creature, this-man.

And this was what Cyrillic orthodoxy was chiefly about. Cf. e.g. the Apology for the 5th Anathema, against Theodoretus’ criticism (Conc. Gener. I p. 559D = PG 76 col. 421B): ὁ δὲ γεγονὼς σάρξ, ἤγουν ἄνθρωπος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος θεοφόρος ἐστί, θεὸς δὲ μᾶλλον εἰς ἐθελούσιον κένωσιν καθεὶς ἑαυτόν, καὶ ἰδίαν ποιησάμενος σάρκα τὴν ἐκ γυναικός etc. And in the Apology for the 8th anathema (p. 563A = PG 76 col. 429A): οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ἀνειλῆφθαι φαμὲν παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου, συνῆφθαί τε καὶ κατὰ σχέσιν αὐτῷ τὴν θύραθεν ἐπινοουμένην, ἄνθρωπον δὲ μᾶλλον αὐτὸν γενέσθαι διοριζόμεθα. And in the Epistle to Maximianus Archbishop of Constantinople (ibid. p. 684D sq.): ἐὰν δὲ λέγωσιν ὅτι Θεὸς καὶ ἄνθρωπος συνελθόντες κατὰ ταυτὸν ἀπετέλεσαν ἕνα Χριστόν, φυλαττομένης δηλονότι τῆς ὑποστάσεως ἑκατέρου ἀσυγχύτως, τῷ δὲ λόγῳ διαιρουμένης, οὐδὲν ἀκριβὲς ἐπὶ τούτῳ φρονοῦντας ἢ λέγοντας ἔνεστιν ἰδεῖν. Οὐ γὰρ καθὰ φασὶ Θεὸς καὶ ἄνθρωπος συνελθόντες ἀπετέλεσαν ἕνα Χριστόν, ἀλλ᾿, ὡς ἔφην ἤδη, Θεὸς ὢν ὁ Λόγος παραπλησίως ἡμῖν μετέσχεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκὸς ἵνα Θεὸς ἐνανθρωπήσας νοῆται, καὶ τὴν ἡμετέραν σάρκα λαβὼν καὶ ἰδίαν αὐτὴν ποιησάμενος etc. … ὁ τοίνυν μονογενὴς τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγος οὐκ ἄνθρωπον προσλαβὼν προῆλθεν ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλὰ καί τοι τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ Πατρὸς ἀπόρρητον ἔχων γέννησιν, διὰ τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ ὁμοουσίου Πνεύματος ἑαυτῷ δημιουργήσας ναόν, γέγονεν ἄνθρωπος. Cf. Apology for the 10th Anathema, against the Orientals p. 534C; 535A etc = PG 76 col. 365; 7. The body of Christ is not one of the natural human bodies but the God’s own body (p. 526D = PG 76 col. 348B): ἦν οὖν ἄρα τὸ ζωοποιούμενον οὐκ ἀλλότριον, οὔτε μὴν ἑνὸς τῶν καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλ᾿ ἴδιον αὐτοῦ τοῦ Λόγου σῶμα. And in Scholion de Unigeniti Incarnatione (Conc. Gen. I p. 578aE = PG 75 col. 1382D): Ascendit (sc. Christus) enim certe cum corpore, nec in nuda deitate. Deus enim erat incarnatus. Credimus enim non in unun nostri similem, Deitate per gratiam honoratum, ne cultores esse hominis detegamur, sed in Deum magis, qui in servi forma comparuit, et qui vere fuit nostris similes, in humanitate tamen Deus remansit.- The Antiocheians took such statements as indicating that Cyrill’s real thought was some form of Gnostic or Eutychean (before Eutyches) superhumanity of Christ’s flesh (cf. p. 536C sqq. esp. D); in reply to which Cyrill declared provocatively (p. 538A PG 76 col. 373A): καίτοι γὰρ ὑπάρχον (sc. Christ’s body) τοῖς ἡμετέροις σώμασιν ὁμογενές, ἤγουν ὁμοούσιον· (γεγένηται γὰρ ἐκ γυναικός)· ἴδιον αὐτοῦ, ὡς ἔφην, νοεῖται καὶ λέγεται. (Here lies the source from which Eutyches drew his line of defence before the Home Synod of 448 A.D.). For God’s appropriation of physical existence (in the form of humanity) transforms it as fire transforms wood into burning carbon; Scholion de Unigeniti Incarnatione (p. 577A = PG 75 col. 1380A): πλήν ἐστιν ἰδεῖν, ὡς ἐν εἰκόνι τῷ ἄνθρακι, ἑνωθέντα μὲν τῇ ἀνθρωπότητι τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγον, οὐ μὴν ἀποβεβληκότα τὸ εἶναι ὅ ἐστι, μεταστοιχειώσαντα δὲ μᾶλλον τὸ ληφθέν, ἤγουν ἑνωθέν, εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δόξαν τε καὶ ἐνέργειαν. Divinity heals all imperfection and sublimates what is grasped by It, rather than being dragged down by the inferior substance; (ibid. p. 578E = PG 75 col. 1383A): …servare volens id quod perierat, descendens ad nos Deus Verbum, per quod omnia, in id se quod non erat immisit, ut et hominis natura id quod non erat fieret, divinae majestatis dignitatibus per adunationem nitescens, quae sublevata est magis ultra naturam, quam dejicit infra naturam invertibilem Deum. Conveniens erat ut incorruptibilis natura apprehenderet corruptibilem, ut eam peste liberaret; conveniens erat qui peccare non noverat, cum peccatoribus conformari, ut peccata compesceret. Quemadmodum enim ubicumque lux fuerit, caligo interit tenebrarum; ita etiam immortalitate praesente, omnis certe pestis fugitive discederet; et praesente eo qui peccatum non novit (qui etiam proprium corpus efficit quod est in peccatum) cedet omne peccatum.

The whole of solid, genuine Christology is wonderfully contained in Cyrillic Theology. Since it is God Himself who became physical existence (e.g. ἔστι τοίνυν εἷς τε καὶ ὁ αὐτὸς Υἱὸς καὶ Κύριος καὶ πρὸ τῆς σαρκώσεως καὶ μετὰ τὴν σάρκωσιν, 517E; cf. ad Successum Epist. I, ibid. p. 112A), Christ is by nature God (φύσει Θεός· cf. e.g. 523A; 535A; 506A; 574aD; 574bD-E; this ἰδία φύσις is divinity, 557B; κατὰ φύσιν ἰδίαν Θεός, 560B, 525D; E; 528B; D; etc.); He is man, on the contrary, not by nature and origin, but according to His own Dispensation and providential Economy, yet indeed truly and really; p. 541D = PG 76 col. 380D: ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὁ τοῦ μυστηρίου λόγος ἄνθρωπον οἶδε γενόμενον οἰκονομικῶς ἐκ γυναικὸς τὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ κατὰ φύσιν Υἱὸν μονογενῆ, ἰδίου γε ὑπάρχειν αὐτοῦ διαβεβαιούμεθα τὸ ἐκ τῆς μακαρίας Παρθένου ληφθὲν ἅγιον σῶμα· ταύτη τοι καὶ μάλα ὀρθῶς κατ᾿ οἰκείωσιν οἰκονομικὴν αὐτοῦ λέγεσθαι φαμὲν τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς πάθη etc.; cf. p. 561B; 557E; esp. ad Successum I, pp. 112C – 113A; 119C. As God manifested in the physical and created world (ἐπιφανὴς Θεός), as God by nature and man according to Economy, Christ’s essence is divinity incarnate; hence the truth and power of the Cyrillic formula “μία φύσις Θεοῦ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη”. Hence also the Dioscorean position: κατὰ φύσιν Θεός, κατὰ χάριν ἄνθρωπος; just as we are κατὰ φύσιν ἄνθρωποι and will be, if saved, κατὰ χάριν υἱοὶ Θεοῦ and θεοί.

The Economy of Incarnation is fully real. The flesh and humanity of Christ, though they are not His original and genuine nature, are fully real, intrinsically, and not relatively (σχετικῶς), His own, i.e. God-Logos’ own. The humanity of God-Logos is perfectly real and completely His own. We may thus speak circumspectly of His “assuming” physical existence, of some sort of “composition” between divinity and created being; hence the relevance and appropriateness of the further Cyrillic formulas “ἐκ δύο φύσεων” (passim) and “σύνοδος καθ᾿ ἕνωσιν φυσικήν” (preeminently in his third Anathema, e.g. in A. Hahn, Bibliothek etc. p. 313: εἴ τις ἐπὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς Χριστοῦ διαιρεῖ τὰς ὑποστάσεις μετὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν, μόνῃ συνάπτων αὐτὰς συναφείᾳ τῇ κατὰ τὴν ἀξίαν, ἤγουν αὐθεντίαν ἢ δυναστείαν, – so it should be read with Conc. Gener., also according to Mercator’s translation, in place of Hahn’s αὐθεντίᾳ … δυναστείᾳ – καὶ οὐχὶ δὴ μᾶλλον συνόδῳ τῇ καθ᾿ ἕνωσιν φυσικὴν (or φυσικῇ), ἀνάθεμα ἔστω). The former formula emphasizes legitimately the absolute distinction between uncreated and created nature, whereas the latter highlighs their intrinsic coming together, natural conjunction and unification in their unique physical manifestation of Divinity, the Ἐπιφάνεια of Incarnation.

But the composition-language is perilous; it engenders riddles however cautiously it may be employed. Of what sort can be such a natural conjunction of two utterly differing, indeed contrasted, natures, which results in the physical manifestation of divinity, in the creaturely existence of the uncreated Principle, in the full reality of Incarnation beyond any shade of Docetism? There are three kinds of composition in general: either the constituents remain separate while being combined paratactically in an external relationship of order; or they interpenetrate each other while preserving their distinctive properties as in a mixture; or they totally coalesce with loss of their respective essential features so as to form a completely new individual entity endowed with a novel single peculiarity of being, which is intermerging (the Stoic theory of combination, blending and fusion). Neither σύνθεσις, nor μίξις or κρᾶσις, nor σύγχυσις, none of these natural “coming together” (σύνοδοι), may explain the unification of the two natures in Incarnation. Cyrill, Scholion de Unigeniti Incarnatione, in Conc. Gener., I p. 575E sqq. = PG 75 col. 1376C: τὸ τῆς ἑνώσεως χρῆμα κατὰ πολλοὺς ἐπιτελεῖται τρόπους - ἑνοῦσθαι λέγονται κατὰ σύμβασιν φιλικὴν - ἑνοῦσθαι δέ φαμεν καὶ τὰ ἀλλήλοις κολλώμενα, ἤγουν συνηνεγμένα καθ᾿ ἑτέρους τρόπους, ἢ κατὰ παράθεσιν ἢ μίξιν ἢ κρᾶσιν (evidently the Stoic σύγχυσις is meant to be included as well). Ὅταν οὖν ἑνοῦσθαι λέγομεν τῇ καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς φύσει τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγον κρείττων ὁρᾶται τῆς ἀνθρώπου διανοίας ὁ τῆς ἑνώσεως τρόπος· οὐ γάρ τοι καθ᾿ ἕνα τῶν εἰρημένων ἐστίν, ἀπόρρητος δὲ παντελῶς καὶ οὐδενὶ τάχα τῶν ὄντων διεγνωσμένος πλὴν ὅτι μόνῳ τῷ πάντα εἰδότι Θεῷ. One may be led to some comprehension of that ineffable and absolutely unique unification by construing it in the resemblance (παρεικάζοιτο, p. 576D = PG 75 col. 1377B) of the conjunction of soul and body in man, and with the help of images (ὡς ἐν τύπῳ, p. 576E = PG 75 col. 1377D) like the one of the burning coal. But the unification of the opposed natures in Incarnation lies above any such conjunction. And evidently so: it refers not to the composition of natural being with natural being (however different the one from the other constituent may be), but to the unification of physical essence with divinity, of natural created being with supernatural uncreated oneness, of revealed Is-ness with its hidden ground. This is then basically the solution to the riddle of Incarnation, as was analyzed in the study above, a solution that enhances its mystery. In Incarnation, the Flesh manifests the Godhead, and the Logos deifies the Flesh.

There remains one other, the crucial, aspect of the puzzle. How is God manifest to be understood? In what does the physical existence of divinity consist? What is the internal result of God’s assuming natural beingness in the form of concrete humanity? The problem can be concisely put as follows: the unification in question is superior to all kinds of natural unification, it surpasses in intimacy everything that we may conceive (this leads to Monophysitism); and yet it would seem that it must leave the constituents intact in their essential characters, potencies and operations, that they have to persist in their own intrinsic separateness, indifferent to the fact of their inexpressibly strong co-existence and co-hypostatization (this grounds Nestorianism): for neither divinity may be altered into created being, nor humanity can change into uncreated superessentiality; and how indeed might uncreated existence share in the attributes of the creature or created existence communicate in the propria of divinity? This dilemma, between strong unification to secure the real passion of the God, and weak unification to safeguard the real passion of the God, constitutes the core of the Christological controversies.

The God-Logos appropriates to Himself concrete physical existence as His pleromatic singular manifestation in the World, “annexes” and “familiriazes” to Himself individual humanity and particular body. Cyrill normally utilizes the terms οἰκείωσις, ἰδιοποίησις to express the possessive attachedness and joining of God’s body to God. But this is no external relationship. Nestorius distinguished two kinds of appropriation, one natural (like that between soul and body in a single man), the other dispositional, concordial or sympathetic (like the attitude of an emperor towards his own image). Nestorius argues, of course, for the latter type (Severus, Contra imp. Gramm., vol. I = CSCO 112 = Scr. Syri 59, p. 227.9-33). But, in truth, the appropriation in question is completely natural and ontological. Therefore the body of God (meaning in such contexts by body the complete physical presence of divinity in the World as a concrete individual comprising body and soul), is full of the presence of divinity, is replete with Its powers and communicates with Its activities (not only in the general sense in which the Creator permeates the creation by sustaining it as a whole and every part of it in existence, but in a specific sense similar to that in which the soul pervades its own body, or the hardness of an individual rock pervades its entirety, or the fire of a burning piece of coal stretches throughout its extent). So Cyrill op. cit. p. 576E = PG 75 col. 1377C: καὶ οἰκειοῦται μὲν ὁ Λόγος, ὡς ἔφην, τὰ τῆς ἰδίας σαρκός, ὅτι καὶ αὐτοῦ τὸ σῶμα καὶ οὐχ ἑτέρου, κοινοποιεῖται δὲ ὥσπερ τῇ ἰδίᾳ σαρκὶ τῆς ἑνούσης αὐτῷ θεοπρεποῦς δυνάμεως τὴν ἐνέργειαν, ὥστε δύνασθαι καὶ ζωοποιεῖν τοὺς νεκροὺς καὶ ἰᾶσθαι τοὺς ἐν ἀρρωστίαις. And, p. 577B = PG 75 col. 1380A: ὅν περ γὰρ τρόπον τὸ πῦρ, ὁμιλῆσαν ξύλῳ καὶ εἰσδεδυκὸς αὐτό, καταδράττεται μὲν αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἐξίστησι μὲν τοῦ εἶναι ξύλον, μεθίστησιν δὲ μᾶλλον εἰς τὴν τοῦ πυρὸς ὄψιν τε καὶ δύναμιν καὶ πᾶν αὐτῷ τὸ ἴδιον ἐνεργάζεται, καὶ ὡς ἐν (as one) ἤδη λελόγισται μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ, οὕτω νοήσῃς καὶ ἐπὶ Χριστοῦ. Ἑνωθεὶς γὰρ ἀπορρήτως ἀνθρωπότητι Θεός, τετήρηκε μὲν αὐτὴν τοῦθ᾿ ὅπερ εἶναι φαμέν, μεμένηκε δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ὅπερ ἦν· ἑνωθεὶς δὲ ἅπαξ, ὡς εἷς λελόγισται μετ᾿ αὐτῆς, οἰκειούμενος μὲν τὰ αὐτῆς, ἐμποιήσας δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς αὐτῇ τῆς ἰδίας φύσεως τὴν ἐνέργειαν. In an above quoted passage (from p. 577A = PG 75 col. 1380A), Cyrill offered the fundamentals for the solution of the present problem: God’s physical substance remains in the bounds of natural created essence, while being transmuted (μεταστοιχείωσις) and transfigured (Μεταμόρφωσις) into divine glory and activity (δόξαν τε καὶ ἐνέργειαν). This precisely idea was followed and articulated in the systematic study above.

The glorification and deification with respect to activities of the divine body is a necessary effect of its ineffably intimate association, its appropriation by God-Logos as vehicle of His physical manifestation. Thus it is that Christ works naturally miracles (for instance He walks upon the waters, heals by his hands the sick, transubstantiates by his thought the water in wine etc.). In fact, there is precisely this difference between the unification of God-Logos to His own physical being on the one hand, and the composition of soul with body in man on the other: that there cannot be in God-man any alteration or operation in His flesh and humanity which stems from them and not always from the hypostatical divinity of Logos: while not all states and events in human body depend absolutely on our psychic causality. And this difference indicates the greater strength and tension, so to speak, of unification in divine Incarnation from that obtaining in the ensoulment of body. The point is well developed by Johannes Philoponus, Diaetetes §4 (in A. Sanda, Opuscula Monophysitica Joannis Philoponi, 1930, translated from the Syriac); v. p. 39: Quod autem ad Dominum nostrum Christum attinet, divinitate omnipotente ad omnem effectum trahente nulla prorsus exinde facultas motive naturalis neque animae neque corporis simpliciter secundum rationem naturae tantum se habebat, sed a divinitate ipsi unita [Christus] dirigebatur, re ita accidente sicuti illi [divinitati] placebat. Patet autem eam voluntarie mediante anima volitionem divinam in corpus transtulisse... Quoniam tota virtus naturalis animae scilicet et corporis vel composite illius, quod est ex utroque, a divinitate ipsi unita coercebatur eiusque nutibus obsequabatur, iam non est possible in eo dividere aliquam ex operationibus eorum, ex quibus compositum constabat. V.g. ambulare non dicimus esse solius corporis proprium neque implere omnem iustitiam solius animae vel simpliciter humanae naturae Christi, sed quamvis operationem oportet dicere de toto composito, a divinitate tamquam a causa principali incepientem et mediante anima in corpore divino huic unito perficiendam.

The God-Logos seizes absolutely the appropriated physical being which He constitutes as manifestation of His own hypostasis, and transmutes it completely by communicating to it His own glory and activity. The creature cannot in the least withstand the consummating approach of the Creator, let alone its intimate appropriation by Him as concretely and ontologically His own: it burns in the embrace of Living Fire. Since the unification is ontological and intrinsic, not relational and external, its effects are necessary. The fact of the Incarnation, that the God-Logos was physically manifested as a concrete human being, depends on the Will of God, although inscribed in the necessary Plan of the Divine Wisdom. But the character of the Incarnation, what it consists in as the content of that fact, is determined by the essential natures of divinity and physical existence, of uncreated and created being. God-Logos’ humanity is perfected to the ancient beauty of its condition before the Fall, and is furthermore divinized in the communion of divine activity, without change of essence.

But Christ suffered the infirmities and humiliation of human nature, even to  their peak of extremest agony, in Passion and Death on the Cross. Furthermore, this unsurpassable suffering must be somehow shared impassibly but really by God-Logos Himself who coincides hypostatically to Christ. In fact, an active factor behind Nestorianizing bifurcations of Christ’s being in one way or another, was precisely an alleged fear of Theopaschitism, as is well anatomized by Severus, Contra imp. Gramm., vol. I = SCSO 112, p. 226.12 sqq. But the core of the underlying religious experience consists in the belief that God must have identified Himself to the impotency of His creature in order to save it. The tendency to Nestorianism imputes on God a reluctance to undergo in Himself the supreme Sacrifice, an intention to suffer the indispensable Passion vicariously, a fear or abhorrence of Nature’s corruption. Cf. Severus, ibid. p. 226.28 sqq.: igitur eos fugit quod, illum (sc. Deum) a passionibus removentes atque dicentes: “Et unum quidem coruscat miraculis, alterum autem iniuriis succumbit” (i.e. the Leonine formula from his dogmatic Tome to Flavian, Bibliothek etc., Hahn, p. 325), illum removent etiam a victoria super passiones et a perfecta earum destructione, et timent ne vincatur atque aliquid patiatur cum adversus passiones pugnat is, qui omnia vincit. Et isto, cuius nos insimulant, theopaschismo ipsi laborant; et quantum in ipsis est, illum impassibilem exhibent tanquan fugitivum a passionibus, immo tanquan ab alio coactum, minimeque sua sponte suscipientem dispensationem suumque ad nos in carne adventum, illamque dispensationem adimplentem “usque ad mortem, mortem autem cruces” ut Apostolus dixit (Philipp. II, 8). – This is a grand tour de force on the part of Monophysitism, an overwhelming turning of the tables against standard Chalcedonism.

The Suffering of the God-Logos is thoroughly real. God-Logos must have allowed, therefore, this to happen to His own physical being, despite its divinization which accrues as a necessary result of His assumption and appropriation of it. The weakness and pain and tribulation and death are thus not so much natural accidents to his physical being (humanity), as voluntary sanctions governed by eschatological necessities of finality and salvation for created nature. Of course, passivity in general is indeed natural to physical being as created essence; but not feebleness, sickness and corruption which belong necessarily, though unnaturally, to Nature as a consequence of the Fall. In fact, only in the sense of an absolute yielding to the impositions and decrees of Logos can even general passivity be at all ascribed to the physical being of the manifested divinity: there Passion is really Action, and even the Suffering of the divine Flesh is the direct result of an activity of God-Logos which cancels the ontological necessities of His Manifestation or Incarnation. Thus Cyrill dogmatizes in his first Epistle to Succensus, Conc. Gener. I (second enumeration) p. 114A = PG 77 col. 236A: οὐκοῦν γέγονεν ἄνθρωπος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ἀνέλαβεν ὡς Νεστορίῳ δοκεῖ, καὶ ἵνα πιστευθῇ ἄνθρωπος γεγονώς, καίτοι μεμενηκὼς ὅπερ ἦν, (δῆλον δὲ ὄτι Θεὸς κατὰ φύσιν), ταύτῃ τοι καὶ πεινῆσαι λέγεται καὶ καμεῖν ἐξ ὁδοιπορίας, ἀνασχέσθαι δὲ καὶ ὕπνου καὶ ταραχῆς καὶ λύπης καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ ἀδιαβλήτων παθῶν… ὑπέμεινε δὲ καὶ σταυρόν, ἵνα σαρκὶ παθὼν τὸν θάνατον καὶ οὐ φύσει θεότητος γένηται πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁδοποιήσῃ τῇ ἀνθρώπου φύσει τὴν εἰς ἀφθαρσίαν ὁδὸν etc. And Ioannes Philoponus op. cit. §5, p. 39: Passiones autem naturaliter propter fragilitatem naturalem animae et corpori accidentes, quas Christus voluntarie ad probandam veram suam Incarnationem suscepit, rursus ratione unionis habita tamquam a parte provenientes de toto composito recte et de consuetudine et insuper ideo enuntiantur, quod non praeter voluntatem Verbi fiebant.--- [Philoponus, it is true, followed the Severian type of Monophysitism, which in important respects was in effect more “diphysitic” than the neo-chalcedonian Orthodoxy. A major point at issue, was the postulation by neo-monophysitism of a human hypostasis in Christ, which inseparably right from the beginning conbined with, and indivisibly unified to, the divine hypostasis of God-Logos, made up the one composite hypostasis of the God-man; something that the Orthodox strenuously denied.- (The Severian position is elaborated in a long-drawn argument from Chapter XVII to XXXIII of his Second Oration Contra impium Grammaticum, transl. I. Lebon from Syriac, CSCO 112 = Script. Syri 59, pp. 112-210. Cf. e.g. p. 141.19; 155.12; 177.31; 182.34; esp. 198.29 sqq.; 209.34 sqq. The impious Grammaticus is John of Caesaria, whose doctrine on the subject is well set out in the Severian context; v. op. cit. p. 139.23; 139.32-140.11 = Joh. Caesariensis Opera, M. Richard, Apol. Conc. Chalc. Frg. 19; 155.27; 163.27 sqq.; Joh. Caes. op. cit. Frg. 6; Severus op. cit. p. 194.1-11 = Joh. Caes. op. cit. Frg. 25; Severus op. cit. p. 197.4-23 = Joh. Caes. op. cit. Frg. 26; Joh. Caes. op. cit. (Excerpta Graeca) III 2; IV, 1-3 passim. – But the continual shifting of formulations and mutual transpositions in sixth century Christological polemics is indeed amazing and revealing. John himself accepts the compositeness in Christ’s hypostasis (e.g. Contra Monophysitas, 7 in Richard I. 79). Leontius’ ἐνυπόστατον was meant to solve the crux).- In the above quotation Philoponus sides apparently with Severus against Julian. But Impotence, Defect and Suffering belong in reality to physical, created existence not according to its essential nature but as a result of the Fall. We should understand Philoponus as referring in his first sentence to nature after the Fall, to the standard state of nature in this aeon. But this standard state is abnormal with regard to Nature’s essential condition and state of natural perfection as created by God].

The natural condition of Christ’s humanity, (that is the condition in which objectively and necessarily physical being finds itself once fully united hypostatically to Godhead in so far as this unification is considered as such) is described by Cyrill with reference to Lord’s body after the Resurrection, when there was no point for Logos making His own physical self to suffer. In the same Epistle to Succensus (Conc. Gener. I, novel enum., p. 114C = PG 77 col. 236B) Cyrill is absolutely clear: μετά γε τὴν Ἀνάστασιν ἦν μὲν αὐτὸ τὸ σῶμα τὸ πεπονθὸς (by a voluntary act of permission), πλὴν οὐκέτι τὰς ἀνθρωπίνας ἀσθενείας ἔχον ἐν ἑαυτῷ. Οὐ γὰρ ἔτι πείνης ἢ κόπου ἢ ἑτέρου τῶν τοιούτων τινὸς δεκτικὸν εἶναι φαμὲν αὐτό, ἀλλὰ λοιπὸν ἄφθαρτον· καὶ οὐχὶ τοῦτο μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ζῳοποιόν, ζωῆς γάρ ἐστι σῶμα, τουτέστι τοῦ μονογενοῦς· κατελαμπρύνθη δὲ καὶ δόξῃ τῇ θεοπρεπεστάτῃ καὶ νοεῖται Θεοῦ σῶμα. Τοιγάρτοι, κἂν εἴ τις αὐτὸ λέγοι θεῖον ὥσπερ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ ἀνθρώπινον, οὐκ ἂν ἁμαρτοι τοῦ πρέποντος λογισμοῦ… Θεοῦ γὰρ ὡς ἔφην ἴδιον σῶμα ὑπάρχον ὑπερέβη πάντα τὰ ἀνθρώπινα· μεταβολὴν δὲ τὴν εἰς τὴν θεότητος φύσιν οὐκ ἐνδέχεται παθεῖν σῶμα τὸ ἀπὸ γῆς… οὐ γάρ ἐστι τῶν ἐφικτῶν εἰς θεότητος οὐσίαν ἤτοι φύσιν μεταχωρῆσαί τι δύνασθαι τῶν κτισμάτων· κτίσμα δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ. Οὐκοῦν θεῖον μὲν εἶναι φαμὲν τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδὴ καὶ Θεοῦ σῶμά ἐστι καὶ ἀρρήτῳ δόξῃ κατηγλαϊσμένον, ἄφθαρτον, ἅγιον, ζωοποιόν· ὅτι δὲ εἰς θεότητος φύσιν μετεβλήθη, οὔτε τις τῶν ἁγίων Πατέρων ἢ πεφρόνηκεν ἢ εἴρηκεν, οὔτε ἡμεῖς οὕτω διακείμεθα.

What is accurately described by Cyrill as pertaining to the divine body of the Saviour after the Resurrection, would have been Its condition right from the beginning at its miraculous inception in the virginal womb, had not God-Logos, by directly exercising His unopposable power, allowed It to undergo the infirmity and humiliation, to suffer the passion and death on the Cross, thus ministering to the providential End of Creation, – infirmity, humiliation, passion and death-on-the-Cross which are no natural concomitants of Nature (even though death simpliciter as dissolution of the materially composite is inherent as possibility in physical being), but follow as consequence of the Fall and are therefore unnatural constraints on created natural being introduced into the initially naturally perfect world through the original sin. It is in this way that the divine Passion of humanity is really the divine action of divinity, and the Suffering of the God effects the deification of Nature.

As always and everywhere so in Christology, dogmatic truth concerned the exact and coherent intellectual expression of fundamental religious experiences. The genuinely orthodox drive behind Monophysitism was the unequivocal insistence on the absolute divinity of Jesus Christ, on the central experience that it was the perfect Incarnation and Passion of God-Logos Himself which safeguarded our hope for Salvation and rendered it efficacious and pragmatic.

The negative moment in Monophysitism was paradoxically founded on the tendency (unavowed but operative) to subtract from the complete reality of Incarnation and Passion. Docetism was again and again imputed on strongly protesting Monophysitists. Articulate Monophysitism is certainly free of such suspicions. Dioscorus’ statement of faith from his exile is blameless on this score. (Historia Ecclesiastica, Zachariae Rhetori vulgo adscripta, trans. from Syriac by E.W. Brooks, I, CSCO 87 = Scr. Syri 41, p. 104.10-105.6). Timotheus Aelurus was sharp in his rebuke of the “Phantasianism” upheld by Eutyches’ followers (Evagrius, Hist. Eccles., III, 5, 9). The anti-chalcedonian Encyclic of Basiliscus expressly condemned views concerning docetic or celestial body for Christ (Evagrius, op.cit., III, 4, 7). See also esp. Timotheus Aelurus’ Dogmatic letter to Emperor Leo (in Hist. Eccl. Zach., op. cit. p. 122.25 sqq.; 123.21-24). And, in primis, consult his Epistle to Alexandrian Eutychianists (in Hist. Eccl. Zach., pp. 129.14-139.32, including an impressive list of patristic “χρήσεις” to the point). Timotheus even excommunicated those persisting in not acknowledging the full humanity of Christ (op. cit. pp. 140.8-141.35). Yet monophysitic formulations sometimes betrayed uncertain handling and unbalanced preoccupations (just as it was also the case with many “diphysitic” expositions). Thus Ter Hacik, after describing (as above quoted) the effect on the appropriated physical existence of its ineffably and uniquely strong unification with God-Logos, goes on to express, in terms of unstable signification and statements of blurred meaning, the vehicle of His manifestation in the Day of Judgement; Stephanos von Taron, Armenische Geschichte (aus der altarmenischen übersetzt von H. Gelzer und Aug. Burckhardt, 1907) p. 184.33 sqq.: und er wird wiederkommen mitsamt seiner herrlichen Wiederkunft, um zu richten die Lebendigen und die Toten; nicht mehr wie im Leibe, aber auch nicht körperlos, (sondern) – mit welchem Ausdruck er selbst denselben bezeichnet – in einem göttahnlichen Leibe, damit er gesehen werde von denjenigen, die ihn verwundet hatten, und damit er sei (und) bleibe Gott ausserhalb der Materie … er wird kommen furchtbar, leuchtend, weit über alle Strahlen erhaben, neue Wunder bringend, in wunderbarer Erscheinung, wie der Erlöser selbst sagt “Es wird kommen der Sohn des Menschen in der Herrlichkeit des Vaters, und all Engel mit ihn”.- The idea was old. Cyrill expressly refers to it in his first Epistle to Succensus on Faith as having been indicated in the latter’s memoir sent to him (Conc. Gener. II, second enumer., p. 113B = PG 77 col. 233B): ἐπειδὴ δὲ εὖρον ἐν τῷ ὑπομνηστικῷ ἔμφασίν τινα λόγου τοιαύτην, ὅτι μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν τὸ ἅγιον σῶμα τοῦ πάντων ἡμῶν Σωτῆρος Χριστοῦ εἰς θεότητος φύσιν μετακεχώρηκεν, ὡς εἶναι τὸ ὅλον θεότητα μόνην, δεῖν ὠήθην καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο εἰπεῖν. Cyrill treats the theory seriously and mildly, presumably as well-intended, but, of course, denies it, expounding the above analysed doctrine which is the unshakeable basis of true Dogma. The essence of natural created being cannot be transubstantiated into uncreated being, but remains what it was created to be (and what it was to be, τὸ τὶ ἦν εἶναι). In Creation physical existence came out as naturally perfect, since God could not cause any imperfection and defect in His effect. Infirmity and corruption, sickness and want, the labourious processes of nature in her innate aspirations to natural perfection, the very Labyrinth of existence with the lurking Minotaur are the unnatural consequences of Fall. God-Logos ontologically and not relatively appropriates to Himself the physical existence which serves as His fully sensible (visible and tangible) manifestation and which thereby must be ipso facto raised not merely to the initial natural perfection of created being, but also to supernatural deification in glory and activity, though not in essence; for the perfecting, sanctifying and deifying operations of Godhead will be exercised on His own physical manifestation par excellence, unless specific divine action supervenes and voluntarily withholds their necessary exertion for the purpose of His predetermined economy. What the Monophysitists should have meant to affirm is that the Body of God, by the mere fact of its thorough and ontological appropriation as His own, would have been raised to divine Glory and impassive Activity, had God-Logos not allowed it providentially to suffer the Passion and the Cross in accordance with His Economy and Dispensation. And in fact this deification of Christ’s Body (and full humanity) did happen once exceptionally in the glorious Transfiguration, and permanently after the Economy of the Incarnation has been fulfilled, from the Resurrection onwards, and through the Second Advent to the next Aion.  Which fact is the only solid foundation of the reality of things hoped forregarding our salvation.