2 natures, saint quotes

There’s a lot of non Oriental Orthodox quoting Oriental Saints that supposedly affirm 2 natures and I’m wandering what Oriental Orthodox say about this

That is, he was not merely man, but also God. He showed that there was one person in the two natures, that is, God's and man's. For, if he were two persons, there would begin to be a foursome instead of a trinity. Thus he is a twofold substance, but one person.
- St. Augustine


  • Hello my friend, blessed forty days to you and a joyful feast.

    Non-Orthodox will try to point to the Fathers pre-schism to justify dyophysitism, but this is all sophistry which is meant to detract from the dogma defined at the Council of Ephesus in 431 - Christ is one composite nature after the union.  To speak of two natures as "unified," only as it regards being conjoined, but not as synthesizing into one nature, is what St Cyril's dogmatic third letter to Nestorius condemns.  By trying to argue for their position they make known their obstinance to the third and final ecumenical council.

    As for Saint Augustine, there are various doctrines which he taught which the Orthodox do not accept, such as inherited guilt (as opposed to original sin without a transferal of guilt), the doctrine that the Spirit proceeds from the Son and not only the Father, the idea that unbaptized babies suffer punishment in hell, and unfortunately his Christology was erroneous too.

    Saint Augustine is best read for his spiritual insights and mysticism as opposed to his theology.  If Saint Augustine lived only a year or two more than he did, he would've attended the Council of Ephesus where he would have repented of his errors more fully than anything in his Retractations would indicate.  Here is one example of the Nestorian Christology which Saint Augustine fell into:

    "In this the grace of God is supremely manifest, commended in grand and visible fashion; for what had the human nature in the man Christ merited, that it, and no other, should be assumed into the unity of the Person of the only Son of God? What good will, what zealous strivings, what good works preceded this assumption by which that particular man deserved to become one Person with God?" - Enchiridion, XI, 36

    Regardless, all we as Orthodox believers need to know is that just like how the Trinity was expressed in sometimes less-than-clear formulae before the Nicaean-Constantinopolitan definitions, in the same way we focus on Christology according to the definition of Ephesus.

    This is why the Chalcedonians try to obfuscate the situation - their weapon is confusion, ours is clarity.

    May God bless you in the rest of this joyful season, and further bless you with His wisdom.
  • edited June 2022
    As in most matters regarding ecumenical councils, Dioscorus saves the day! :))
  • Dear Dioscoros,

    Can you show me text, where St Cyril wrote, that talking about 2 “unified” natures is nestorianism? It is very interesting.

    God bless you,
  • edited August 2022
    Hello Tigran,

    Sure thing!  But, to contextualize what I said:
    "To speak of two natures as 'unified,' only as it regards being conjoined, but not as synthesizing into one nature [is Nestorian]"

    By this, I mean that the same metaphysical category which the parts are (the natures), that there must by one (and only one) whole (the nature) which is of this metaphysical category, that is to say a hypostasis.  There must be an abolishment of duality after the union.  Please see the below, which is a brief summary but by no means extensive:

    "Wherefore, we say that the two natures were united, from which there is the one and only Son and Lord, Jesus Christ, as we accept in our thoughts; but after the union, since the distinction into two is now done away with, we believe that there is one nature of the Son."
    - St Cyril, Letter to Acacius

    "This objection is yet another attack on those who say that there is one incarnate nature of the Son. They want to show that the idea is foolish and so they keep on arguing at every turn that two natures endured. They have forgotten, however, that it is only those things that are usually distinguished at more than a merely theoretical level which split apart from one another in differentiated separateness and radical distinction. Let us once more take the example of an ordinary man. We recognize two natures in him; for there is one nature of the soul and another of the body, but we divide them only at a theoretical level, and by subtle speculation, or rather we accept the distinction only in our mental intuitions, and we do not set the natures apart nor do we grant that they have a radical separateness, but we understand them to belong to one man. This is why the two are no longer two, but through both of them the one living creature is rendered complete."
    - St Cyril, Second Letter to Succensus

    "But being made one in nature, and not converted into flesh, he made his indwelling in such a way, as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be apposition, for this does not suffice for natural oneness (πρὸς ἕνωσον φυσικήν)."
    - St Cyril, Third Letter to Nestorius

    "If the union is a genuine one, then there can in no way be two; Christ is to be understood only as a single, solitary individual arising out of both"
    - St Cyril, Defense of the Twelve Anathemas Against the Oriental Bishops and Theodoret

    "They also said the following: ‘If there is one incarnate nature of the Word then it absolutely follows that there must have been a mixture and confusion, with the human nature in him being diminished or ‘stolen away’ as it were.' Once again those who twist the truth are unaware that in fact there is but one incarnate nature of the Word."
    St Cyril, Second Letter to Succensus

    "But you again, in making distinctions in every way, play craftily with the truth, in that on the one hand you keep distinct the natures, but on the other hand you unite, so you say, the worship. But if you keep distinct the natures, the properties of each one of them naturally go with them as well. Then the principle of difference occurs in everything, thus two are confessed."
    - St Cyril, Second Tome Against Nestorius

    "When the discussion has considered closely what elements have come together to become, or to compose, the single person and nature, or hypostasis, then it may use either of the terms, “together with” or “with,” because it has already secured what it denotes and has thereby defined it as a single composite entity rather than dividing it into a duality."
    - St Cyril, A Defense of the Twelve Anathemas Against the Oriental Bishops

    God bless you,
  • edited August 2022
    Dear Dioscoros,

    Thank you!!!

    God bless you,
  • Anytime my dear friend and brother.
  • Dear Dioscoros,

    Do you have some acts of the Third Council of Ephesus (475) and some texts of St Timothy II against 2 natures?

    God bless you,
  • Hello Tigran,

    Yes, I can send you St Pope Timothy II's excellent refutation of the Tome of Leo (he basically quotes from 1/3-1/2 of the entire Tome and refutes it part by part) and the Synod of Chalcedon.  I'm not sure exactly what percent of the Tome is quoted but this is my estimate.

    The Third Council of Ephesus can be located on chapter 2 of book 5 of Zachariah of Mitylene's Syriac Chronicle : https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/zachariah05.htm

    God bless you,
  • Dear Dioscoros,

    Thank you very much!

    God bless you,
  • Dear Dioscoros,

    And do you have some quotes from Fathers about one nature before 431 in the 4th century?

    God bless you,
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