What is heretical about the specific phrase "en duo physeon" ("in two natures" or "of two natures")?

I don't really want to come across as a guy that is trying to "proselytize" or "crusade against the "heresy of "monophysitism,"" but there are still some elements in me trying to understand what happened in Chalcedon with this controversy, that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around.

And that is the staunch opposition of Dioscorus, and later Severus of Antioch and other Oriental saints, to this phrase, said phrase which was famously in the Chalcedonian Definition.

It seems that these proponents argue that this phrase "en duo physeon" seems to imply in of itself heterodoxy, that perhaps there is really no union of the two natures or that there are two hypostases of Christ.

However, in light of the fact that this specific term was used by Orthodox proponents before - Saint John Cassian and Saint Ambrose for example - and was even accepted as legitimately Orthodox by Saint Cyril in the Reunion of 433, why do Oriental Orthodox feel that this phrase was worthy of schism?

I think Severus argued that although there may be Saints even recent who used the term, the Nestorian controversy gave it a whole new meaning, as the phrase was routinely used by the Nestorians. However, how can this be a legitimate argument, in light of the fact that DURING the Nestorian controversy, Saint Cyril agreed to the idea that it's an acceptable expression of the Faith - as long as there is a recognition that the Natures are united together, while still retaining each others' properties, but inseparable; and a recognition that the Word is fully God and fully man after the Incarnation?


  • edited September 2018
    That is, "of two natures" is recognized in the formula of 433, which seems to be synonymous with "in two natures."
  • edited September 2018
    we’ll, are you asking if Severus’ argument is legitimate or asking what’s so bad about “in two natures”?

    If you’re wondering if Severus’ argument is legitimate, then have you considered precedent in other areas like whether the Trinity is one or three hypostases?

    And “in” is not synonymous with “of” in the ancient world (and not today either for that matter).
  • edited September 2018
    Both. Also, how are they not synonymous?

    I know that “ek” dyo physis (sorry don’t know Greek), which is a legitimate OO formula, is translated as “of Two Natures,” but the “of” here is different from what I mean. “Of” here means in the sense of origin, not composition.
    For example, “I’m a plumber who is of Brooklyn.”
    Considering that the purpose of the Formula of 433 was reunion with the Antiochians, wasn’t the “of” used here in reference to composition?
    And what is different from this compositional “of” and “en dyo physis”?

    If I’m missing something, I’d welcome an explanation.
  • Well, in the 5th century, it made all the difference. “Of” was rejected by Chalcedon as evident by the minutes that discussed the formula. So what you see as difference is not.

    “In” describes a strong distinction. Like One God in three persons. It may imply seperation at times, like there’s a little bit of love in the capulets and montagues. “Of” describes a composition, like this salad is made up of tomatoes and lettuce. It may imply confusion sometimes, like this alloy is a mingling of base metal and stainless steel.
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