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Theodoret's counters against Cyril's anathemas of Nestorius
<b>Against I.</b> -- But all we who follow the words of the evangelists state
that God the Word was not made flesh by nature, nor yet was changed into
flesh; for the Divine is immutable and invariable. Wherefore also the prophet
David says, "Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail." And this
the great Paul, the herald of the truth, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, states
to have been spoken of the Son. And in another place God says through the
Prophet, "I am the Lord: I change not." If then the Divine is immutable
and invariable, it is incapable of change or alteration. And if the immutable
cannot be changed, then God the Word was not made flesh by mutation, but took
flesh and tabernacled in us, according to the word of the evangelist. This the
divine Paul expresses clearly in his Epistle to the Philippians in the words,
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the
form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of
no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant." Now it is plain
from these words that the form of God was not changed into the form of a
servant, but, remaining what it was, took the form of the servant. So God the
Word was not made flesh, but assumed living and reasonable flesh. He Himself
is not naturally conceived of the Virgin, fashioned, formed, and deriving
beginning of existence from her; He who is before the ages, God, and with God,
being with the Father and with the Father both known and worshipped; but He
fashioned for Himself a temple in the Virgin's womb, and was with that which
was formed and begotten. Wherefore also we style that holy Virgin
qeotokos, not because she gave birth in natural manner to God,
but to man united to the God that had fashioned Him. Moreover if He that was
fashioned in the Virgin's womb was not man but God the Word Who is before the
ages, then God the Word is a creature of the Holy Ghost. For that which was
conceived in her, says Gabriel, is of the Holy Ghost. But if the only
begotten Word of God is uncreate and of one substance and co-eternal with the
Father it is no longer a formation or creation of the Spirit. And if the Holy
Ghost did not fashion God the Word in the Virgin's womb, it follows that we
understand the form of the servant to have been fashioned, formed, conceived,
and generated. But since the form was not stripped of the form of God, but was
a Temple containing God the Word dwelling in it, according to the words of
Paul "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell"
"bodily," we call the Virgin not mother of man
(anqrwpotokos) but mother of God (qeotokos),
applying the former title to the fashioning and conception, but the latter to
the union. For this cause the child who was born is called Emmanuel, neither
God separated from human nature nor man stripped of Godhead. For Emmanuel is
interpreted to mean "God with us ", according to the words of the Gospels; and
the expression "God with us" at once manifests Him Who for our sakes was
assumed out of us, and proclaims God the Word Who assumed. Therefore the child
is called Emmanuel on account of God Who assumed, and the Virgin
qeotokos on account of the union of the form of God with the
conceived form of a servant. For God the Word was not changed into flesh, but
the form of God took the form of a servant.

<b>Against II.</b> -- We, in obedience to the divine teaching of the apostles,
confess one Christ; and, on account of the union, we name the same both God
and man. But we are wholly ignorant of the union according to hypostasis
as being strange and foreign to the divine Scriptures and the Fathers who have
interpreted them. And if the author of these statements means by the union
according to hypostasis that there was a mixture of flesh and Godhead, we
shall oppose his statement with all our might, and shall confute his
blasphemy, for the mixture is of necessity followed by confusion; and the
admission of confusion destroys the individuality of each nature. Things that
are undergoing mixture do not remain what they were, and to assert this in the
case of God the Word and of the seed off David would be most absurd. We
must obey the Lord when He exhibits the two natures and says to the
Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." But if there had
been mixture then God had not remained God, neither was the temple recog-nised
as a temple; then the temple was God and God was temple. This is involved in the
theory of the mixture. And it was quite superfluous for the Lord to say to the
Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He ought to have
said, Destroy me and in three days I shall be raised, if there had really been any
mixture and confusion. As it is, He exhibits the temple undergoing destruction and
God raising it up. Therefore the union according to hypostasis, which in my opinion
they put before us instead of mixture, is superfluous. It is quite sufficient to
mention the union, which both exhibits the properties of the natures and
teaches us to worship the one Christ.

<b>Against III.</b> -- The sense of the terms used is misty and obscure. Who
needs to be told that there is no difference between conjunction and
concurrence? The concurrence is a concurrence of the separated parts; and the
conjunction is a conjunction of the distinguished parts. The very clever
author of the phrases has laid down things that agree as though they
disagreed. It is wrong, he says, to conjoin the hypostases by conjunction;
they ought to be conjoined by concurrence, and that a natural concurrence.
Possibly he states this not knowing what he says; if he knows, he blasphemes.
Nature has a compulsory force and is involuntary; as for instance, if I say we
are naturally hungry, we do not feel hunger of free-will but of necessity; and
assuredly paupers would have left off begging if the power of ceasing to be
hungry had lain in their own will; we are naturally thirsty; we naturally
sleep; we naturally breathe; and all these actions, I repeat, belong to the
category of the involuntary, and he who is no longer capable of them
necessarily ceases to exist. If then the concurrence in union of the form of
God and the form of a servant was natural, then God the Word was trotted to
the form of the servant under the compulsion of necessity, and not because He
put in force His loving kindness, and the Lawgiver of the Universe will be
found to be a follower of the laws of necessity. Not thus have we been taught
by the blessed Paul; on the contrary, we have been taught that He took the
form of a servant and "emptied Himself;" and the expression "emptied
Himself" indicates the voluntary act. If then He was united by purpose and
will to the nature assumed from us, the addition of the term natural is
superfluous. It suffices to confess the union, and union is understood of
things distinguished, for if there were no division an union could never be
apprehended. The apprehension then of the union implies previous apprehension
of the division. How then can he say that the hypostases or natures ought not
to be divided? He knows all the while that the hypostasis of God the Word was
perfect before the ages; and that the form of the servant which was assumed by
It was perfect; and this is the reason why he said hypostases and not
hypostasis. If therefore either nature is perfect, and both came together, it
is obvious that after the form of God had taken the form of a servant, piety
compels us to confess one son and Christ; while to speak of the trotted
hypos-tases or natures as two, so far from being absurd, follows the necessity
of the case. For if in the case of the one man we divide the natures, and call
the mortal nature body, but the immortal nature soul, and both man, much more
consonant is it with right reason to re-cognise the properties alike of the
God who took and of the man who was taken. We find the blessed Paul dividing
the one man into two where he says in one passage, "Though our outward man
perish yet the inward man is renewed," and in another "For I delight in
the law of God after the inward man." And again "that Christ may dwell in
the inner man." Now if the apostle divides the natural conjunction of the
synchronous natures, with what reason can the man who describes the mixture to
us by means of other terms indite us as impious when we divide the properties
of the natures of the everlasting God and of the man assumed at the end of

<b>Against IV.</b> -- These statements, too, are akin to the preceding. On the
assumption that there has been a mixture, he means that there is a distinction
of terms as used both in the holy Gospels and in the apostolic writings. And
he uses this language while glorifying himself that he is at war at once with
Arius and Eunomius and the rest of the heresiarchs. Let then this exact
professor of theology tells us how he would confute the blasphemy of the
heretics, while applying to God the Word what is uttered humbly and
appropriately by the form of the servant. They indeed while thus doing lay
down that the Son of God is inferior, a creature, made, and a servant. To whom
then are we, holding as we do the opposite opinion to theirs, and confessing the Son to be of
one substance and co-eternal with God the Father, Creator of the Universe,
Maker, Beautifier, Ruler, and Governor, All-wise, Almighty, or rather Himself,
Power, Life and Wisdom, to refer the words "My God, my God why hast thou
forsaken me;" or "Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me;"
or "Father save me from this hour;" or "That hour no man knoweth, not even
the Son of Man;" and all the other passages spoken and written in
lowliness by Him and by the holy apostles about Him? To whom shall we apply
the weariness and the sleep? To whom the ignorance and the fear? Who was it
who stood in need of angelic succour? If these belong to God the Word, how was
wisdom ignorant? How could it be called wisdom when affected by the sense of
ignorance? How could He speak the truth in saying that He had all that the
Father hath, when not having the knowledge of the Father? For He says,
"The Father alone knoweth that day." How could He be the unchanged image
of Him that begat Him if He has not all that the Begetter hath? If then He
speaks the truth when saying that He is ignorant, any one might suppose this
of Him. But if He knoweth the day, but says that He is ignorant with the wish
to hide it, you see in what a blasphemy the conclusion issues. For the truth
lies and could not properly be called truth if it has any quality opposed to
truth. But if the truth does not lie, neither is God the Word ignorant of the
day which He Himself made, and which He Himself fixed, wherein He purposes to
judge the world, but has the knowledge of the Father as being unchanged image.
Not then to God the Word does the ignorance belong, but to the form of the
servant who at that time knew as much as the indwelling Godhead revealed. The
same position may be maintained about other similar cases. How for instance
could it be reasonable for God the Word to say to the Father, "Father if it be
possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as Thou
wilt"? The absurdities which necessarily thence follow are not a few.
First it follows that the Father and the Son are not of the same mind, and
that the Father wishes one thing and the Son another, for He said,
"Nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt." Secondly we shall have to
contemplate great ignorance in the Son, for He will be found ignorant whether
the cup can or cannot pass from Him; but to say this of God the Word is utter
impiety and blasphemy. For exactly did He know the end of the mystery of the
oeconomy Who for this very reason came among us, Who of His own accord took
our nature, Who emptied Himself. For this cause too He foretold to the Holy
Apostles, "Behold we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed
. . . into the hands of the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify
Him, and the third day He shall rise again." How then can He Who foretold
these things, and, when Peter deprecated their coming to pass, rebuked him,
Himself deprecate their coming to pass, when He clearly knows all that is to
be? Is it not absurd that Abraham many generations ago should have seen His
day and have been glad, and that Isaiah in like manner, and Jeremiah, and
Daniel, and Zechariah, and all the fellowship of the prophets, should have
foretold His saving passion, and He Himself be ignorant, and beg release from
and deprecate it, though it was destined to come to pass for the salvation of
the world? Therefore these words are not the words of God the Word, but of the
form of the servant, afraid of death because death was not yet destroyed.
Surely God the Word permitted the utterance of these expressions allowing room
for fear, that the nature of Him that had to be born may be plain, and to
prevent our supposing the Son of Abraham and David to be an unreality or
appearance. The crew of the impious heretics has given birth to this blasphemy
through entertaining these sentiments. We shall therefore apply what is
divinely spoken and acted to God the Word; on the other hand what is said and
done in humility we shall connect with the form of a servant, lest we be
tainted with the blasphemy of Arius and Eunomius.

<b>Against V.</b> -- We assert that God the Word shared like ourselves in flesh
and blood, and in immortal soul, on account of the union relating to them; but
that God the WOrd was made flesh by any change we not only refuse to say, but
accuse of impiety those who do, and it may be seen that this is contrary to
the very terms laid down. For if the Word was changed into flesh He did not share with us in flesh and blood: but if He
shared in flesh and blood He shared as being another besides them: and if the
flesh is anything other besides Him, then He was not changed into flesh. While
therefore we use the term sharing we worship both Him that took and that
which was taken as one Son. But we reckon the distinction of the natures. We
do not object to the term man bearing God, as employed by many of the holy
Fathers, one of whom is the great Basil, who uses this term in his argument to
Amphilochius about the Holy Ghost, and in his interpretation of the
fifty-ninth psalm. But we call Him man bearing God, not because He received
some particular divine grace, but as possessing all the Godhead of the Son
united. For thus says the blessed Paul in his interpretation, "Beware lest any
man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men,
after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth
all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Against VI. -- The blessed Paul
calls that which was assumed by God the Word "form of a servant," but
since the assumption was prior to the union, and the blessed Paul was
discoursing about the assumption when be called the nature which was assumed
"form of a servant," after the making of the union the name of "servitude" has
no longer place. For seeing that the Apostle when writing to them that
believed in Him said, "So thou art not a servant but a son" and the Lord
said to His disciples, "Henceforth I will not call you servants but friends;"
much more the first fruits of our nature, through whom even we were
guerdoned with the boon of adoption, would be released from the title of
servant. We therefore confess even "the form of the servant" to be God on
account of the form of God united to it; and we bow to the authority of the
prophet when he calls the babe also Emmanuel, and the child which was born,
"Angel of great counsel, wonderful Counsellor, mighty God, powerful, Prince of
peace, and Father of the age to come." Yet the same prophet, even after
the union, when proclaiming the nature of that which was assumed, calls him
who is of the seed of Abraham "servant" in the words "Thou art my servant O
Israel and in thee will I be glorified;" and again, "Thus says the Lord
that formed me from the womb to be his servant;" and a little further on,
"Lo I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the
Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." But
what was formed from the womb was not God the Word but the form of the
servant. For God the Word was not made flesh by being changed, but He assumed
flesh with a rational soul. Against VII. -- If the nature of man is mortal,
and God the Word is life and giver of life, and raised up the temple which had
been destroyed by the Jews, and carried it into heaven, how is not the form of
the servant glorified through the form of God? For if being originally and by
nature mortal it was made immortal through its union with God the Word, it
therefore received what it had not; and after receiving what it had not, and
being glorified, it is glorified by Him who gave. Wherefore also the Apostle
exclaims, "According to the working of His mighty power which he wrought in
Christ when He raised Him from the dead." Against VIII. -- As I have
often said, the doxology which we offer to the Lord Christ is one, and we
confess the same to be at once God and man, as the method of the union has
taught us; but we shall not shrink from speaking of the properties of the
natures. For God the Word did not undergo change into flesh, nor yet again did
the man lose what he was and undergo transmutation into the nature of God.
Therefore we worship the Lord Christ, while we maintain the properties of
either nature. Against IX. -- Here he has plainly had the hardihood to
anathematize not only those who at the present time hold pious opinions, but
also those who were in former days heralds of truth; aye even the writers of
the divine gospels, the band of the holy Apostles, and, in addition to these,
Gabriel the archangel. For he indeed it was who first, even before the
conception, announced the birth of the Christ according to the flesh; saying
in reply to Mary when she asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee
shall be called the Son of God." And to Joseph he said, "Fear not to take
unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy
Ghost.'' And the Evangelist says, "When as his mother Mary was espoused
to Joseph she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

And the Lord Himself when He had come into the synagogue of the Jews and had
taken the prophet Isaiah, after reading the passage in which he says, "The
spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me" and so on, added,
"This day is this scripture ful-filled in your ears.'' And the blessed
Peter in his sermon to the Jews said, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the
Holy Ghost." And Isaiah many ages before had predicted, "There shall come
forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his
roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom
and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of the Lord;" and again, "Behold my servant whom I uphold,
my beloved in whom my soul delighteth. I will put my spirit upon him: he shall
bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." This testimony the Evangelist too
has inserted in his own writings. And the Lord Himself in the Gospels says to
the Jews, "If I with the spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom
of God is come ripen you." And John says, "He that sent me to baptize with
water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending
and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."
So this exact examiner of the divine decrees has not only anathematized
prophets, apostles, and even the archangel Gabriel, but has suffered his
blasphemy to reach even the Saviour of the world Himself. For we have shewn
that the Lord Himself after reading the passage "The spirit of the Lord is
upon me because He hath anointed me," said to the Jews, "This day is this
scripture fulfilled in your ears." And to those who said that He was casting
out devils by Beelzebub He replied that He was casting them out by the Spirit
of God. But we maintain that it was not God the Word, of one substance and
co-eternal with the Father, that was formed by the Holy Ghost and anointed,
but the human nature which was assumed by Him at the end of days. We shall
confess that the Spirit of the Son was His own if he spoke of it as of the
same nature and proceeding from the Father, and shall accept the expression as
consistent with true piety. But if he speaks of the Spirit as being of the
Son, or as having its origin through the Son we shall reject this statement as
blasphemous and impious. For we believe the Lord when He says, "The spirit
which proceedeth from the Father;" and likewise the very divine Paul
saying, "We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is
of God."

<b>Against X.</b> -- The unchangeable nature was not changed into nature of
flesh, but assumed human nature and set it over the common high priests, as
the blessed Paul teaches in the words, "For every high priest taken from among
men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both
gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant and on
them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is encompassed with
infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people so also for
himself." And a little further on interpreting this he says, "As was Aaron
so also was the Christ.", Then pointing out the infirmity of the assumed
nature he says, "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers
and supplication with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save
Him from death, and was heard for His godly fear, though He was a son yet
learned obedience by the things that He suffered: and having been made perfect
He became unto all that obey Him the author of eternal salvation; named of God
a high priest of the order of Melchisedec." Who then is He who was
perfected by toils of virtue and who was not perfect by nature? Who is He who
learnt obedience by experience, and before his experience was ignorant of it?
Who is it that lived with godly fear and offered supplication with strong
crying and tears,not able to save Himself but appealing to Him that is able to
save Him and asking for release from death? Not God the Word, the impassible,
the immortal, the incorporeal, whose memory is joy and release from tears,
"For he has wiped away tears from off all faces,'' and again the prophet
says, "I remembered God and was glad," Who crowneth them that live in
godly fear, "Who knoweth all things before they be," "Who hath all things
that the Father hath;" Who is the unchangeable image of the Father,"
"Who sheweth the Father in himself." It is on the contrary that which was
assumed by Him of the seed of David, mortal, passible, and afraid of death;
although this itself afterwards destroyed the power of death through union
with the God who had assumed it; which walked through all righteousness
and said to John, "Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil
all righteousness."

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