Was St. Philoxenus julianist?

edited January 21 in Faith Issues
In the Letter to the Monks of Teleda, speaking of the human operations and defects (hunger, thirst, fatigue) which Christ assumed, St. Philoxenus says that they were not in Christ as they are in us: 

«Not indeed as they are performed by man, were those things which I have enumerated in man performed by God. For they are performed by man naturally, but (they are performed) by God in the wonder of His Economy, supernaturally, in true wonder». 

 And again, in the same letter, he writes:

«Therefore, He (Christ) is also above death naturally, for His Incarnation took place in a holy manner, without intercourse, without the concupiscence of sin and death. Because there is not in Him any one of these things, His fight was not His own or for Himself; nor were the rest of the weak things which He assumed in His person (His own or for Himself); but, by His will He fulfilled them in Himself for us. For if He had been subject to them naturally, they would have been performed by Him necessarily as by every man, and then His victory over these things would have been for Himself and not for us. By His will, therefore, was He subject to them, not as by excess or defect, or as ruled by necessity, or as impelled by the motion of concupiscence, or as a sufferer, or as mortal by nature, but as being above all these things by nature» (https://tertullian.org/fathers/philoxenus_three_02_part1.htm

 And he wrote:

«For He was not a sufferer by His nature, because, if He had suffered being a sufferer (by nature), He would have suffered for Himself.» (https://tertullian.org/fathers/philoxenus_three_04_letter_to_monks.htm)

So, was Saint Philoxenus a julianist and how can these statements be explained?


  • do you have any information about this saint philoxenus? i haven't heard of his lifestory.
  • Yes, you can read about him and his life here: https://tertullian.org/fathers/philoxenus_three_02_part1.htm
  • i have looked at your link and realise now that he is the one we know in the coptic orthodox church as saint philoxenus of mabbug.
    he is listed as a saint in 
    'A Panoramic View of Patristics in the First Six
    Centuries – Fr. Tadros Y Malaty'
    and he wrote against the nestorian belief of Jesus Christ not being completely divine. He was the bishop of mabbug (also transcribed 'mabburgh', now called 'manbij; in syria).

    'julianism' is the doctrine invented by a member of the clergy in the town that is now bodrum in turkey that Jesus Christ was not completely human and that he didn't really suffer physical pain like we do (that is oversimplified, of course). 

    according to orthodoxwiki
    this theory rejects saint cyril's (kyrillos 1st) teaching that Jesus Christ's body changed (to be a glorified body) after the resurrection.

    the quotes you have given above just show that our Lord willingly chose to engage in human experiences, rather than being surprised by them, like we might be surprised when we fall over accidentally and it hurts. 

    the page you linked to seems to be written by an author who dislikes miaphysite theology (oriental orthodox theology) and so is biased. i think this is why he suggests saint philoxenus follows heretical doctrine.

    i don't have time to study this in more detail (and if i did, it would probably be too complex for me, i don't pretend to be a theologian, i only repeat what i have learnt in church).

    but thank you for reminding us of our dear saint philoxenus, may his prayers be with us
  • ps - that author was a french catholic priest:
    and taught at 'The Catholic University of America (CUA) where he received a Ph.D. in 1901. His dissertation, an edition, translation, and study of three letters of Philoxenos of Mabbug, was published in 1902. Vaschalde taught Syriac and Coptic at CUA from 1910 to 1939'

    it is important to study the life of all authors that you read (which is also why it is important to keep to the orthodox church fathers, as we know of their lives and that they died keeping the faith).
    i think that this catholic priest had a negative view of the oriental orthodox church fathers, and this is shown by the fact that he calls them all 'monophysite' which shows significant misunderstanding of our actual beliefs, which are correctly termed 'miaphysite'.
    have a great weekend in the peace and grace of our Lord - it is now time for sleep in my timezone
  • Thank you very much for the clarification!
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