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The COE *split* from the west
Ot is common to hear claims that the council of Ephesus marked a split of the "nestorians" from the west. From what I can tell this claim is spurious.
Another claim I came across is the following.

Quote:The COE (Church of the East) became divided from the Western churches, not because of the condemnation of Nestorius, but because of the condemnation in 553 of Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas as Nestorian "fellow travellers".

How true is this?
Shlama Akhi Judge,

Read Pages 19-21 here:,M1

At no time in history, not before Ephesus and not after Ephesus, was the CoE ever part of the "west", in order to be able to "split" from it. This is a lie, a fabrication of history in order to advance the ridiculous idea that the CoE was ever part of the Church of Rome or somehow subject to it ecclesiastically.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and this myth only originates from the middle ages.

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+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
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Akhi Judge,

It is true, however, that Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas were far more important to the CoE than Nestorius. Had they not condemned these men, the CoE would probably not have reacted the way they did. In other words, if only Nestorius was condemned, the reaction would probably have been quite different. These men were pillars in the ancient patrimony of the Antiochian tradition.
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
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Judge and Paul,

This basically reiterates what Paul said, but elaborates a bit further.

By: W.A. WIGRAM, M.A., D.D.

This text is from...

Further (though this is assumed rather than expressed in formal documents), the Shah-in-Shah now fully accepted Isaac, Bishop of Seleucia, as head of the melet, and Catholicos of the Church in his dominions. Again, this-was only the recognition of what was the fact previously, though hardly for long enough to make it established custom. Facts had created the presidency of the see; and though circumstances had put it, and everything else that was regular, in abeyance for about seventy years; nevertheless, as soon as peace %vas restored, and the of the Church recognized by the State, it was natural that the existence and position of its chief officer should be recognized also. The Catholicate, thus established, has remained an established fact ever since; and the right of the throne of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, or its successor,113 to the presidency of the Assyrian Church has never been challenged. There have, of course, been disputes over the succession, which has been claimed by two rival lines since the seventeenth century; and there have been occasional vacancies; but the right of this throne to the Catholicate has been axiomatic.

The title, henceforth used habitually and regularly114 by the Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and still employed by his successors (though in the course of the nest half-century they began to use the term Patriarch along with it, and still continue to do so), needs a word of explanation. In the Roman Empire it was the name of a civil and financial office; but previously to its use as an ecclesiastical title in Persia it had been adopted by the Armenians as the title of the principal bishop of their national Church. It was probably from them that the Bishops of Seleucia adopted the word, and they used it in the same sense.115

The office, as we have seen, was a natural growth from the conditions of Christian life in Persia. In later ages men felt obliged to account for the origin of the Patriarchate, as it has by that time become,116 by the fiction of a grant made in the year 190 by the four "Western" patriarchates to an "Eastern" brother;117 and other writers, referring back to primitive times the growths of the fourth and fifth centuries, have seen in the "Catholicos" of Seleucia the Procurator-general or legatus natus of the see of Antioch.

There is, however, so far as I am aware, no evidence in writers of the Assyrian or Persian Church that they ever regarded themselves as under Antiochene jurisdiction; or their chief as in any sense the delegate of that patriarch.118 It is extremely improbable that any Persian king would ever have tolerated the subjection of "his rayats" to "the Roman Emperor's patriarch"; or that members of a Church liable enough to persecution in any case would have thus gone out of their way to secure a perpetuity of it! The "Patriarchates" of Seleucia and Antioch are parallel growths, and neither of them is an offshoot of the other. Just about the time that the "custom" referred to at Nicaea was bringing the sees round Antioch, Alexandria and Rome into formal dependence on those bishoprics, circumstances were bringing the sees of Persia into like dependence on the bishopric of their capital. Kings and councils recognized the facts, but did not create them.119

Toleration and the State recognition of the Catholicos, however, were not all that was needed. Forty years of persecution, and thirty of no-government, had naturally left a legacy of confusion behind them; and a council was necessary, both to straighten out this tangle, and to link up the Church "of the East" once more with her Western sisters. Further, the decision of some indisputable authority was needful to settle various disputes that had arisen.


113 The seat of the holder of the office has changed repeatedly in the course of ages, from Seleucia-Ctesiphon to Baghdad, Mosul, Maragha on Lake Urmi, and, for the last century or so, to Qudshanis in Kurdistan.

114 The word is used in the acts of Shimun and his two successors (Bedi., ii. 134, 276, 296). Previously, there was hardly opportunity for official use.

115 See Dict. Christian Antiquities, and Procopius De Bello Persico, ii. 25. It is noteworthy that Assyrian writers also use the term for the prelate when we should certainly call "Patriarch" of Antioch. Chabot, Syn. Or., 18, 255. An expert in hierarchical precedence may say what the difference between Catholicos and patriarch ought to be, but to a Persian in the early fifth century, they were practically interchangeable terms.

116 See Ass., iii. 59, note 4. It will be seen that the theory first broached by Assemani, and accepted by others (E. C:. Neale, but not by Labourt), that Seleucia was a metropolitan in the Antiochene patriarchate till the Nestorian controversy, is rendered untenable by the evidence of the Synodicon and Mshikha-Zca.

117 Assem., iii. 51-58. The so-called "letter of the patriarchs" is a very late composition. See p. 41.

118 It will be remembered that Papa, when condemned by the council, did not appeal to Antioch, but to Edessa and Nisibis.

119 The maxim of a later age, "imperium sine Patriarcha non staret," may not commend itself to the purist, but it represents one of those facts that are apt to deal rather discourteously with a purist's theories. Nationality is bound to express itself in, the religious sphere; and the lesson is writ large on Church history, that the refusal of its legitimate expression to this natural human instinct leads to disaster. From the days of Jacobites and Nestorians in Syria, to those of Vlachs and Exarchists in the Balkans today, the story has been the same.



-Nimrod Warda-

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