Nestorius and His Place in the History of Christian Doctrine/Lecture 2
In the preceding lecture we saw that by the increased knowledge of the works of Nestorius and especially by his lately rediscovered Treatise of Heraclides, written not long before his death, and by his still later letter to the inhabitants of Constantinople, the question is raised whether this heretic was a rudely maltreated exponent of orthodoxy.
About his doctrine we shall speak in the next lecture, to-day it will only occasionally be mentioned. For what now will occupy us is the fact that he was indeed so rudely maltreated that his life really became what he himself called it—a tragedy. This tragedy is composed of five acts: first the undivided affection of his parish was robbed from him, then the sympathies of the Occident, then the favour of the court and his episcopal office; then he was brought into disfavour as a heretic also amongst the majority of his friends, and finally as an exiled and forgotten man he was exposed to common condemnation.
It is well known that Nestorius in April 428 was called out of the monastery of Euprepios, in the neighbourhood of Antioch, to the vacant bishopric of Constantinople. We knew before the discovery of the Treatise of Heraclides that it was the aversion of the court to the election of a Constantinopolitan which caused the decision to be in his favour. Now we are told more about this by an address which Nestorius in his Treatise of Heraclides puts into the mouth of the Emperor Theodosius. Of course this address cannot be regarded as given by the Emperor in these very words; but it is certainly trustworthy in what it tells about the events in Constantinople. We see here that the sentiment of the court was the result of lengthy transactions, in which the emperor made great concessions to the monkish party and its leader, the archimandrite Dalmatius. The monks themselves, according to the narration of Nestorius, finally asked for the decision of the court. They, too,—later the most embittered enemies of Nestorius—had at first no ground for being discontented with his election. And, apart from the heretical parties, which experienced the antiheretical zeal of the new bishop soon after his enthronement, this contentment was at first general.
But already before the end of Nestorius' first year of office, the controversy began. Nestorius asserts in the Treatise of Heraclides in just the same manner as in a letter of December 430 to θεοτόκος or ἀνθρωποτόκος, when he arrived at Constantinople, and in order to settle it, he had suggested the term χριστοτόκος. When did Nestorius do this? I think it was common opinion that it took place in his "first sermon on the θεοτόκος," which dates perhaps as far back as 428, perhaps only from the beginning of 429. But in the fragments of this sermon the term χριστοτόκος does not occur. Now Nestorius in his Treatise of Heraclides tells us that the quarrelling parties, which abusively designated each other by the names of "Manicheans" and "Photinians", came into the bishop's palace and begged his counsel. He recognised that neither the friends of the θεοτόκος were Manicheans nor were the upholders of the term ἀνθρωποτόκος adherents of the heresy of Photinus, and he declared that both terms, when rightly understood, were not heretical, but as a safer one he suggested the term χριστοτόκος. In this way, Nestorius narrates, the parties were reconciled, and they were at peace with one another until Cyril of Alexandria intruded himself in the matter.and in his Tragedy, that he was not its beginner—he had found a quarrel over the question as to whether Mary was to be called
In this account, three points are worthy of consideration. First the notice that Nestorius advised the quarrelling parties in his home. This report is undoubtedly trustworthy, for in his first sermon on the θεοτόκος Nestorius directly makes mention of such persons, who shortly before in his presence argued against each other the question whether Mary should be called θεοτόκος or χριστοτόκος. This extension of our knowledge as regards the place where Nestorius advised the contending parties seems to be very unimportant. But that this is not the case we shall now see, if we discuss the second point which in the abovequoted narration of the Treatise of Heraclides seems to be worthy of consideration.
Nestorius, as I mentioned, says here he had declared that both terms, θεοτόκος as well as ἀνθρωποτόκος, rightly understood, were not heretical, but that he recommended as more safe the term χριστοτόκος. This account of Nestorius seems to be untrustworthy; for his well-known first sermon on the θεοτόκος, preserved in long fragments, seems wholly to exclude the term θεοτόκος; and it is likewise well known that Nestorius was continually reproached for interdicting or at least refusing to give to Mary the title θεοτόκος. Even his afterwards unfaithful friend, John of Antioch, asked him in a letter of the autumn of 430 to give up his opposition against this designation of Mary. Is Nestorius, therefore, telling a falsehood when he narrates that he had declared the θεοτόκος, when rightly understood, to be non-heretical? Here the place of meeting between Nestorius and the quarrelling parties becomes important. For, while I do not believe that Nestorius even in his first sermon on the θεοτόκος, in spite of his criticism, declared the term to be nevertheless tolerable, yet it is not quite improbable that he did so previously in the presence of the contending parties. This would agree with what he narrated as early as December 430 in his answer to the above-mentioned letter of John of Antioch. And even in his first letter to , after having expressed his strong aversion to the term θεοτόκος, he nevertheless wrote: The term may be tolerated. Hence we can give credit to the statement of Nestorius, that from the beginning he did not regard as intolerable the term θεοτόκος if rightly understood. His position was this: he feared the term would originate false ideas, and for this reason and because he believed the term unknown to the orthodox Fathers of the past, he had nothing in its favour and undoubtedly opposed it on frequent occasions; but even in a sermon of the spring of 429, which was known to Cyril before writing his epistola dogmatica, he declared: If you will use the term θεοτόκος with simple faith, it is not my custom to grudge it you. Afterwards in a sermon, which cannot be dated, but was certainly delivered before the spring of 430, he was able to say: I have already repeatedly declared that if any one of you or any one else be simple and has a preference for the term θεοτόκος, then I have nothing to say against it—only do not make a Goddess of the virgin. And even before the letter of John of Antioch mentioned above Nestorius came to an understanding with his clergy about the necessary use and meaning of the term θεοτόκος.
How under these circumstances was such a passionate controversy as that which followed, possible? What was it that deprived Nestorius of the undivided affection of his parish which he enjoyed at the beginning?
First it may be noted that the enemies of Nestorius were persuaded that bad heresies lurked behind his opposition to the term θεοτόκος. As early as the spring of 429 Eusebius, afterwards bishop of Dorylaeum, accused Nestorius by means of a public placard of thinking as Paul of Samosata. Even at that time Nestorius was reproached for regarding Jesus as a mere man. This reproach however was still more groundless than the indignation about his opposition to the term θεοτόκος. Hence this reproach, too, cannot be the first and the true cause of the controversy.
Nestorius declares in the above-quoted passage of the Treatise of Heraclides—and this is the third point which in his statement needs explanation—that the real cause of the controversy is to be found in the intrigues of Cyril of Alexandria. These intrigues on their part, according to what Nestorius tells in the continuation of the above-quoted passage, originated in accusations which were brought against Cyril himself. Cyril is regarded by Nestorius as having framed the dogmatic controversy for no other reason than to keep these accusations in the background. Nestorius raised this reproach against Cyril as early as in the late summer of 430 in a letter to the bishop of Rome; and that this reproach was well grounded, I tried to show as far back as 1903 by pointing to a letter, written by Cyril to his clerical agents in Constantinople. After long explanations about the perverted doctrine of Nestorius he says in this letter: I had till now no quarrel with him and wish him betterment; but for supporting my enemies he shall give answer before God. No wonder if the dirtiest persons of the city, Chairemon, Victor and others, speak ill of me. May he, who incites them, learn that I have no fears about a journey or about answering them. Often the providence of the Saviour brings it about that little things cause a synod to be held, through which His church is purified. But even if others and honourable men should accuse me on his instigation—that wretched man shall not hope that he can be my judge. I will withstand him, if I come thither, and it is he who shall answer for error. Nevertheless Cyril says in a following section of this letter preserved only in its Latin text: If he professes the right faith, then shall be made the most perfect and firmest peace. If he longs for that, let him compose an orthodox confession of faith and send it to Alexandria. … Then I, too, … will publish a writing and declare that nobody shall reproach one of my fellow-bishops because his words—so I shall say—are rightly meant. Does not this mean: If he does what I wish (pointing naturally and especially to the accusations, mention of which is cleverly omitted), then he is no heretic! To give you a full idea of the plottings of Cyril as shown by his communication with his agents I must add a further quotation from the letter which occupies us. It is out of the last part of the Greek text which by ancient scholars was held to be a supplement to the letter. Cyril says here: I received and read the petition you sent me, which, after having received my consent, is purposed for presentation to the Emperor. But since it contains various complaints against my brother there—or what shall I call him?—I kept it back for the time, lest he should reproach you saying: you accused me as a heretic before the Emperor. But I composed another petition, in which I declined to be judged by him, pointing to his enmity and proposing that … the judgment be handed over to other officials. Read this petition and present it, if need be. And if you see that he continues to scheme against me and really tries to set all things against me, write it to me at once. Then I shall choose some wary and prudent men and send them as soon as possible. For, as it is written, I will not give sleep to mine eyes or slumber to mine eyelids till I have finished the fight for the salvation of all.
Whoever knows this advice of Cyril to his agents cannot doubt that the accusations brought against Cyril played a prominent role in the beginnings of the Nestorian controversy, and will, therefore, put confidence in what Nestorius tells about this matter in his Treatise of Heraclides. The agents of Cyril, he narrates, counselled the contending parties not to accept the term χριστοτόκος. They schemed, agitated and were to be found everywhere, referring always to Cyril as their ally. Then, according to Nestorius' narration, men who had complaints against Cyril, brought speakable and unspeakable things against him before the Emperor and requested at the same time that Nestorius should be judge. Nestorius then sent for Cyril's clerical agents and asked them to explain the situation. But these, to use Nestorius' own words, were annoyed and said to me: What, you admit an accusation against the patriarch of Alexandria and do not at once condemn the accusers as calumniators without trial? … We contest your right and with good ground; for that would be a dangerous encouragement of accusers, while it will be a profit to you to keep him (Cyril) as your good friend and not to turn him, who is famous because of his importance and who is among the great, into an enemy. Then I answered them: I have no desire for a friendship which would make me guilty of injustice, but only for such which without respect of persons does God's work. Thereupon they returned: We will report it to the patriarch. Since that time, continues Nestorius, he became my irreconcilable enemy and ready for anything. He started a quarrel in order to decline my judgment on account of my enmity, and to outwit his accusers according to his custom, and to keep the charges, brought against him, in the background. This he managed to do, and then presented a petition asking that the judgment might be handed over to others. As evidence of this, Nestorius quoted the abovementioned conclusion of (or supplement to) Cyril's letter to his agents, adding a sharp criticism.
We do not know which were the charges made against Cyril before the emperor and before Nestorius—they do not seem to have been of a dogmatic kind; but, in my opinion, nobody can rightly dispute that they were of decisive importance for the dogmatic accusations which Cyril brought against Nestorius.
There is, however, one argument which could perhaps be advanced against this.  that Cyril did not speak of the fact that his name was slandered by false accusers before his second letter to Nestorius, the so-called epistola dogmatica, which was written about the end of January 430, while even his first letter to Nestorius contained the dogmatic charges against him. The observation seems at first to be right. For Cyril's letter to his agents, which we have discussed, is contemporary with his epistola dogmatica to Nestorius, in spite of the differing tone of the two letters. Nevertheless Cyril spoke of his being accused before his second letter to Nestorius and the contemporary letter to his agents. We learn this from the Treatise of Heraclides. We saw that Nestorius here quoted and discussed the last part of Cyril's letter to his agents, which by ancient scholars was held to be a supplement to it; and the French translator of the Treatise of Heraclides really is of the opinion that Nestorius quoted only the mere conclusion of this letter. But in no words of Nestorius is there a hint that he deals with a part of a letter. And more: if he had known the beautiful phrase which we found in a preceding section of the letter: That wretched man shall not hope that he can be my judge etc., he would not have passed it by. Hence he knew the "supplement" as a separate letter. That it really was one is confirmed by the translation of the letter to the agents made by Cyril's contemporary Marius Mercator; for in this translation the "supplement" is missing. Then the question arises as to when the "supplement-letter," so to speak, was written, and this question must be answered by the assertion that it was earlier than the letter to the agents as the conclusion of which it is found in the Greek manuscripts. For in the supplement-letter, Cyril, even writing to his own agents, is not yet sure whether he shall call Nestorius a brother or not, and he will not yet give Nestorius cause for the reproach that his agents denounced him as a heretic. The supplement-letter is written, therefore, at least as early as the first letter of Cyril to Nestorius, dating from about late summer 429. Nestorius in his Treatise of Heraclides seems to regard it as still earlier, for his narration gives the impression that the conversation between him and Cyril's agents took place some time before he received the first letter from Cyril. There are arguments against asserting that Nestorius was right in presuming this. I shall not lay any stress upon the fact that, according to Cyril's letter to pope Celestine, it was only the doctrine of Nestorius which gave him offence; for we have ground to distrust this holy man. And also the objection that the affair of the accusations against Cyril probably did not last a whole year or more, is not decisive. But it is certain that a reason for opposing the doctrine of Nestorius was to be found by Cyril in the party-difference between the Alexandrian and the Antiochian schools and in the rivalry between the sees of Alexandria and Constantinople. Cyril's letter to the Egyptian monks in which, about Easter 429, without mentioning Nestorius, he began to oppose his doctrine, really may have been brought forth by the party-difference alone. In Constantinople, too, in the very beginnings of Nestorius' time as bishop, there certainly were theologians and laymen who opposed his teaching for no other reason than because they were adherents of a different theological tradition. I leave, therefore, the question undecided as to whether the supplement-letter of Cyril to his agents was earlier than his first letter to Nestorius or not. But it is certain that Cyril, who before writing his epistola dogmatica had knowledge of a sermon of Nestorius in which he allowed the use of the term θεοτόκος, could have come to an agreement with him as easily as with the Antiochians afterwards in 433, if he had not had, on account of the charges brought against himself, an interest in discrediting him. More than the heretic Nestorius, the "Saint" but really very unsaintly Cyril is to be held responsible for the Nestorian controversy. And it is not improbable that his agents in Constantinople were among those and behind those who aroused the first opposition against the teaching of Nestorius., the Roman Catholic author of a famous history of the councils, objected
Nestorius was not quite guiltless, as he had been incautious in his polemics against the θεοτόκος. But it seems not to have been his fault that he made an enemy of Cyril. He, Cyril, the Saint, had the chief part in bringing it about that Nestorius lost the common confidence of his parish.
And Cyril did more. At about the same time that he wrote his epistola dogmatica he prepared for war against Nestorius. He composed his five books adversus Nestorium, a work which opposed and denounced as heretical 43 quotations from the sermons of Nestorius, which partly he had previously adapted to suit his polemical ends. Then he sent this work, translated into Latin, to the bishop of Rome together with a letter as untrue as it was clever. About the same time he wrote three doctrinal letters really against Nestorius, but without mentioning his name, and addressed these to the emperor, to the empress and to the sister of the emperor, the "Augusta" Pulcheria. With the first of these actions which opens the second act of our tragedy Cyril was astonishingly fortunate. I say astonishingly fortunate, for it is a riddle that Rome, whose dogmatic traditions were nearer to those of the Antiochians than to those of Cyril, let herself be guided by Cyril. In order to explain this riddle we can point to the fact that Rome had taken it amiss of Nestorius that he had received in Constantinople some banished western adherents of Pelagius. One could even say that Rome took up her position against Nestorius before Cyril's action. For the seven books of contra Nestorium, the writing of which was instigated by Rome, show no influence of the material sent by Cyril, as they deal only with three of the earliest Constantinopolitan sermons of Nestorius, evidently sent by Nestorius himself together with his first letter to pope Celestine. But the work of Cassianus itself is a riddle. Is it not monstrous to build up a strongly antinestorian work on this small basis of three sermons? This piece of monstrous daring cannot be explained unless it be that Rome was prejudiced against Nestorius. Is the reception of the Pelagians in Constantinople a sufficient ground for this prejudice? Hardly. For as regards these Pelagians Nestorius demanded advice of the Roman bishop in his very first letter. He would doubtless have sent them away if the pope had asked this. But Celestine of Rome had left unanswered at least three letters of Nestorius. The reason he afterwards gave, viz. that the letters of Nestorius had first to be translated into Latin, deserves to be met by us with an incredulous shake of the head. Was the real reason perhaps plottings of Cyril? Cyril declares in May 430, in a letter to the pope, that he had not written before to any of his fellow-bishops about Nestorius. As regarding the pope this must be true. But Cyril may have had his confidents also in Rome;—I believe him to have been capable of the most reckless intrigues. Indeed he says in the conclusion of his above-discussed supplementletter to his agents: The necessary letters will soon be written to the necessary persons. However it may have been, at any rate it must be charged to Cyril that Celestine of Rome came to the firm conviction that Nestorius was a heretic. And in an astonishing degree the pope's actions followed the advice of Cyril. In a synod at Rome he condemned Nestorius and notified this, the 11th of August 430, to Cyril, to Nestorius, to John of Antioch and others, to whom he had been advised to write by Cyril. The letter to Nestorius was sent to Cyril for forwarding; it declared that Nestorius was to be regarded as excommunicated, if he did not recant within 10 days. It is well known that Cyril made the best of the success he had had at Rome: he held a synod in Alexandria and wrote in its name his third letter to Nestorius, the so-called epistola synodica, which ends in the famous 12 anathematisms which Nestorius was to accept within 10 days on penalty of excommunication. It was Sunday, the 6th of December 430, when this letter of Cyril together with that of the pope was delivered to Nestorius by an Alexandrian legation. Now there was an enmity not only between Nestorius and Cyril and his adherents, but also between him and the western division of the church.
Nestorius was not quite guiltless as regards this course of events. His behaviour towards the Pelagians had not been cautious, and the tone of his letters had perhaps displeased the pope. But it was tragic that there was a Cyril who was capable of turning the mistrust of Nestorius which previously existed in Rome into enmity.
In this case we find the turning point, as is usual, in the third act. The emperor, in spite of (or rather because of) the above-mentioned letters of Cyril, remained at first still inclined towards Nestorius. For it was Nestorius and no other who succeeded in inducing the emperor to call a new ecumenical synod. On the 19th of November 430 the emperor ordered that it should be gathered together in Ephesus on Whitsunday next, i.e. the 7th of June 431. To Cyril it was notified also by a very ungracious imperial letter, which in the strongest terms required his appearance before this synodical court. Under these circumstances Nestorius could, on the 6th of December 430, receive with perfect composure the letters from Rome and Alexandria. The council would examine the matter, as he believed; and he looked forward to it without any fear. For he was convinced of the orthodoxy of his teaching, and the emperor was favourably inclined toward him; Cyril, on the contrary, was under suspicion for his doings and, as Nestorius with many others thought, also for his doctrine, and was out of favour with the emperor.
But Cyril was clever enough to change his position in Ephesus from that of anvil to that of hammer. Three things enabled him to do so. Firstly the great number of Egyptian bishops he had brought with him, secondly the support he found in Memnon the bishop of Ephesus and so in the population of that city, thirdly the effrontery with which he, who as having been accused ought to have remained in the background, pushed himself forward into a leading position. Before the Antiochian bishops and the Roman legates had arrived he and his adherents opened the council on the 22nd of June, though 15 days after the appointed time, nevertheless in an arbitrary manner. John of Antioch had, in a still existing letter written on the journey, given a prospect of his and his countrymen's arrival within 5 to 6 days, and this letter had arrived at Ephesus at the latest on the 20th of June; 68 bishops on the 21st of June had protested against the opening of the synod before the arrival of the Antiochians, and the commissioner, whom the emperor had sent to Ephesus, the count Candidian, emphatically demanded that the opening should be postponed. But Cyril could not be hindered from making the best of the favourable situation. That Nestorius did not present himself before this party-council is comprehensible. They condemned him then in absentia and incited the people of Ephesus to tumultuous approbation of this judgment. At the latest four days after the opening of the Cyrillian council the Antiochians arrived, and, as they, too, on the 26th of June, probably the very day of their arrival, opened with Nestorius and others the council or rather their party-council, and deposed Cyril and Memnon, there was, therefore, then, one party-council standing in opposition to the other. The Roman legates who arrived last of all joined the Cyrillian synod.
Now it was for the emperor to decide. After many transactions, which need not be described, induced by the demonstrating monks of Constantinople, he heard delegates of both parties, and if not earlier at least then ceased to be a protector of Nestorius. Nestorius himself made this easier for the emperor by writing to Constantinople that he, if the right doctrine were sanctioned, would willingly renounce his bishopric and return to his monastery at Antioch. Nevertheless the emperor when at about the end of July he sent to Ephesus a second commissioner, the count John, one of his confidants, was not yet on Cyril's side: the royal order delivered by count John confirmed all three depositions, that of Nestorius, of Cyril and of Memnon, and when John committed all three into close custody, he consigned Nestorius to the care of count Candidianus, who was inclined towards him, while Cyril seems to have been treated in a less friendly manner. The question of the doctrine was regarded by the court as still open; and as count John was not able to bring the parties at Ephesus to an understanding with one another, in the second half of August delegates of each group were called to the capital, or rather to the neighbouring city of Chalcedon, for further negotiations. But as regards the persons one decision was given just at this time: the emperor resolved about the end of August to send back Nestorius into his monastery. This resolve which was followed, though perhaps not instantly, by the return of Nestorius to Antioch, seemed regrettable to all Antiochians, but corresponded, as we saw, to the request of Nestorius. The emperor, however, did not order this because Nestorius had wished it. Nestorius was now in open disfavour; not even his name could be mentioned before the emperor. But as for Cyril the situation had changed in his favour: he had been able to escape from custody and to return to Alexandria, and as successor to Nestorius a man was elected, Maximian by name, with whom he could be quite satisfied. And when the emperor, though no decision had been reached at Chalcedon, officially dissolved the council, Cyril's return to Alexandria was allowed and Memnon was permitted to remain in his office at Ephesus.
This change of feeling in the court is explained by Nestorius in a passage of his Treatise of Heraclides by the fact, as he thinks, that Cyril gave or promised much money to the count John and through him to the emperor. He presumes, that the favour which John showed towards him was as unreal as his disfavour towards Cyril, as this disfavour only enabled him to let Cyril escape from custody. The narration by which Nestorius tries to prove this assertion is very similar to that which we find in a letter of Acacius of Beroea, written as early as 431. But in this letter it is the eunuch Scholasticus, not count John, who is bribed, and other differences, too, are to be observed. We see, therefore, that Nestorius is repeating party-gossip. Nevertheless there may be a foundation of truth in this gossip, for Nestorius and the Antiochians complain again and again—and, as we shall see, not without grounds—of the briberies of Cyril. In another place in his Treatise of Heraclides Nestorius tells us, that the Augusta Pulcheria supported Cyril, because he, Nestorius, offended her by not paying her, on account of doubts about her virtue, the ceremonial honours which she as a virgin demanded; and in this narration the disfavour, which Nestorius had experienced at the hands of Pulcheria, cannot be an invention of the writer. Then it is interesting to note that Cyril in the beginnings of the controversy tried, as we saw, to win Pulcheria to his cause, and afterwards, as we shall see, sought her favour even by means of presents. But the endeavours of Cyril to gain favour with Pulcheria are only one example of his intrigues. More generally speaking it can be said: it was essentially Cyril's work, that the council of Ephesus, demanded by Nestorius himself and hailed by him with joy, led to the result that Nestorius lost the emperor's favour and his bishopric. It was the tragedy of Nestorius' life, that, in Ephesus, the question was whether he should be overthrown or Cyril, a man as unscrupulous as he was greedy of power.
After the transactions at Ephesus the tragedy of Nestorius' life came to its end in two acts, the first of which is now to be treated. I say after the transactions at Ephesus and not after the council of Ephesus, for "a council of Ephesus," an ecumenical council of Ephesus, never existed. Two party-councils had sat and cursed each other; the dogmatic question had remained undecided. The Antiochians continued to hold Nestorius in esteem and to treat as heretical the anathematisms of Cyril; the latter, for his part, regarded Nestorius as a condemned heretic and had grounds for thinking that his council had proved his anathematisms. The church of the East was divided. The emperor, assisted by Maximian, the new bishop of Constantinople, forced the parties to a peace by means of the union of 433. The document of this union between Cyril and the Antiochians is Cyril's epistola ad orientales, in which he accepted an Antiochian confession of faith, composed in 431 at Ephesus, probably by . The prolonged transactions which led to this union are even in their details sufficiently known to us. But I am glad not to have to treat them now; for the Treatise of Heraclides, although very often dealing with this union, adds nothing to our knowledge here, as far as I have been able to see.
I remark only, that Nestorius in his Treatise of Heraclides gives a sharp and right characterisation of the situation which preceded the union. Cyril and John of Antioch had each two wishes in the event of peace. Cyril wished to see acknowledged, firstly his council and the condemnation of Nestorius, secondly his anathematisms; John on the other side wished as ardently that the first should not take place and secondly, that Cyril should recant his anathematisms. Cyril, in order to retain his power, let himself be bartered down to a great extent. He accepted the Antiochian confession of faith and was contented with the fact that his anathematisms were not condemned. But he did not give up the demand, that his council should be acknowledged and Nestorius be anathematised. He again set in play all his possible means for attaining this end. And here we are in a position to follow his actions by means of documents, which show clearly that he did not even hold himself back from bribery. These documents are a letter of Cyril's archdeacon to Maximian of Constantinople, and, supplementing it, a list of the presents which Cyril at the same time sent to Constantinople. I regret that time forbids me to quote this letter, but I beg every one who holds my judgment upon Cyril to be too harsh, to begin his study on the holiness of this man by reading this letter. The aim of Cyril's intrigues and briberies shown by this letter was, that John of Antioch and his friends should be made willing to accept the judgment of his synod against Nestorius. John of Antioch yielded to Cyril at this point: to bring about the union he payed the heavy price of giving up his old friend. The same price was paid by almost all Antiochians who accepted the union, only Theodoret and a few others being excused from doing so.
From that time forth one could speak in ecclesiastical phraseology of the holy ecumenical council of Ephesus, which had condemned Nestorius. Nestorius could have accepted the confession of faith on which the union was based. It was, therefore, really tragic that the anathema against him was the price of the peace. He was now also robbed of his former friends, and there cannot be the least doubt that for this painful experience, too, he had to thank Saint Cyril.
The last act of our tragedy may be treated shortly, but it stretches over a much longer period than any of the others. It was opened by the banishment of Nestorius to Oasis in the year 435 and not until sixteen years later was it closed by Nestorius' death.
We have only two accounts which give us information as to how this banishment of Nestorius came about. Nestorius himself, as we learn from Evagrius, narrated that for four years he had enjoyed at Antioch various tokens of esteem, but had then been banished to Oasis by order of Theodosius. Evagrius adds that Nestorius did not say how fitting a measure this was, for also in Antioch Nestorius had not ceased his blasphemy, with the result that even Bishop John complained about it, and Nestorius was condemned to permanent exile. The Nestorian legend, too, tells us that Nestorius had lived four years in Antioch and that then John of Antioch had caused his banishment out of jealousy of his influence. That the first part of this account goes back to Nestorius' own narration is made probable by its concurrence with the words of Nestorius in Evagrius. It is, therefore, probable that also the account given about John of Antioch in both sources is derived from Nestorius. His banishment according to this account took place in the year 435. In the same year, on the 30th of July, Theodosius, the emperor, issued an edict which ordered the impious books of the detestable Nestorius against the orthodox piety and against the decrees of the synod of Ephesus to be burnt, and which gave the name of Simonians (that of an ancient heretical party) to his adherents. The wording of this edict and the account of Evagrius that Nestorius had not ceased his blasphemy in Antioch could make possible the conjecture that the banishment of Nestorius and this edict against his books were caused by what he had written in Antioch, especially by his Tragedy which dealt with the decrees of the synod of Ephesus. But this conjecture has its difficulties. We are, therefore, obliged to take the edict as referring to the earlier books of Nestorius and the account of Evagrius to spoken blasphemies. All the more important in this connection must have been the instigatory efforts of John of Antioch. Pope Celestine, too, petitioned the emperor as early as 432 for the exile of Nestorius, and Cyril was probably working with the same end in view. These latter are not much to be blamed for this wish. It is not the same with John of Antioch. He may have had, even if jealousy was out of the question, many grounds for finding the stay of Nestorius in Antioch disagreeable—his mere presence, after the union, was a reproach to him—but he has much impaired his good renown by this Judas-deed. And for Nestorius it was the consummation of his tragic fortune that his final banishment was caused by his former friend.
How rich the years of exile were in tragic events we have seen already in the first lecture. I merely remark here that Nestorius in these years was even before his death a dead man for the world—I mean the orthodox church. He now was nothing but the condemned heretic, nothing but the cause of offence thrust out from the people of God.
He was really not dead: he hailed with joy the change of the situation after the robber-synod, hailed with joy Leo's letter to Flavian, hailed with joy the new council he saw in prospect. He did not live to experience the fact that this council, too, condemned him and that also Theodoret, who even up to his death held to him, was forced to consent to this condemnation. With this the tragedy of Nestorius' life came to an end. Now he was regarded by all in the church as a cursed heretic; now for him came to pass what, according to the edict of 435, was to be the fortune of his adherents: he had not only supported the punishment of being covered with ignominy during his lifetime, but also after his death did not escape from ignominy.
The orthodox saw in his sufferings nothing but a just penalty: Nestorius himself called his life a tragedy. I, too, used the same expression. But his life was a tragedy only if he was guiltless. The question as to whether he was guiltless shall occupy us in the next two lectures.
- Comp. Hauck's Real-Encyklopädie, xiii, 737, 45 ff.
- l.c. p. 737, 37 ff.
- Bedjan, p. 377 ff.; Nau, p. 242 ff.; comp. Bethune-Baker, Nestorius and his teaching, p. 6 ff. note 3.
- Bedjan, p. 379; Nau, p. 243 f.; Bethune-Baker, p. 8, note.
- Comp. Hauck's Real-Encyklopädie, xiii, 738, 1 ff.
- l.c. p. 737, 53 ff.
- Bedjan, p. 151; Nau, p. 91; ep. ad Joann., Nestoriana, p. 185, Tragoedia, Nestoriana, p. 203.
- Nestoriana, pp. 249–264; comp. pp. 134–146.
- Bedjan, p. 151 f.; Nau, p. 91 f.
- l.c. pp. 152 and 92.
- Nestoriana, p. 251, 21 ff.: Audiant haec, qui…, sicut modo cognovimus, in (ex?) nobis invicem frequenter sciscitantur: θεοτόκος… Maria, an autem ἀνθρωποτόκος?
- Comp. above, p. 29.
- Comp. above, p. 28, note 5.
- Comp. sermo 18, Nestoriana, p. 300, 15: Non dicit, inquiunt, τὸ θεοτόκος, et hoc est totum, quod nostris sensibus ab illis opponitur.
- Mansi, iv, 1065 b.
- Nestoriana, p. 185, 10 f.: volentibus concessi, ut pie genitricen vel particen dei virginem nominarent.
- l.c. p. 167, 24: ferri tamen potest hoc vocabulum.
- Sermo 10, Nestoriana, p. 273, 4 f.: τὴν τῆς λέξεως προφορὰν ἀσφαλίζομαι, τὸν ἐν τῇ λέξει κρυπτόμενον κίνδυνον ὑφορώμενος.
- l.c. p. 272, 13 f.: εἰ μετὰ πίστεως ἁπλῆς τὸ "θεοτόκος" προέφερες, οὐκ ἄν σοι τῆς λέξεως ἐφθόνησα.
- Nestoriana, p. 353, 17 ff.: Εἶπον δὲ ἤδη πλειστάκις, ὅτι εἴ τις ἢ ἐν ὑμῖν ἀφελέστερος, εἴτε ἐν ἄλλοις τισὶ χαίρει τῇ τοῦ "θεοτόκος" φωνῇ, ἐμοὶ πρὸς τὴν φωνὴν φθόνος οὐκ ἔστι. μόνον μὴ ποιείτω τὴν παρθένον θεάν.
- ep. ad Joann. Nestoriana, p. 184, 21 ff.
- Mansi, iv, 1008 e–1012 b (Greek text) and v, 492–494 (Latin text); comp. Nestoriana, p. 49.
- Nestoriana, p. 259, 16; 284, 2; 285, 12.
- Comp. above, p. 29.
- Bedjan, p. 152 f.; Nau, p. 92.
- ep. ad Caelest. 3, Nestoriana, p. 181, 10 f.
- Hauck's Real-Encyklopädie, xiii, 745, 30 ff.; comp. 743, 28 ff.
- Cyril, ep. 10, Migne, ser. graeca, 77, p. 65 d; comp. the Latin translation of Marius Mercator, ed. Baluze, p. 106 = Migne, l.c. p. 74 f . It is noteworthy that Marius Mercator, a partisan of Cyril, suppressed the words ὁ δείλαιος [μὴ προσδοκάτω]; he translates: Non igitur speret, etc. Veracity was not a common virtue among the Christians of that time!
- ed. Baluze, p. 108 = Migne, l.c. p. 77 f.: Si rectam fidem profiteatur, fiet plenaria et firmissima pax. Quam si in voto gerit, scribat catholicam fidem et mittat Alexandriam. Si haec ex affectu cordis intimi scribantur, paratus sum et ego pro viribus meis similia scribere et edere ac dicere, nullum debere gravari consacerdotum meorum, quia ejus voces, dicimus, habent intentionem ac propositum manifestum.
- Garnier in his edition of Marius Mercator, 1673, ii, 56 = Migne, l.c. p. 78; Tillemont, Mémoires, ed. of Venice, xiv, 755; Ch. W. F. Walch, Historie der Kezereien, v, 392, note 4.
- Migne, l.c. p. 68 c–69 a.
- κατὰ τοῦ ἐκεῖσε—ἢ ἀδελφοῦ ῆ πῶς ἂν εἴποιμι;
- Psalm 132, 4.
- Bedjan, p. 152 ff.; Nau, p. 92 f.
- Bedjan, p. 153 f.; Nau, p. 93.
- p. 35.
- C. J. v. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, 2nd ed. ii, 165 f.
- ep. 4, Migne, 77, 44–49.
- ep.2, Migne, 77, 40 f.
- Garnier, opp. Marti Mercatoris, ii, 53.
- Comp. ep. 4, Migne, 77, p. 48 d: ταῦτα καὶ νῦν ἐξ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ γράφω παρακαλῶν ὡς ἀδελφὸν κ.τ.λ.; ep. 10, p. 68 a: μὴ προσδοκάτω δὲ ὁ δείλαιος, ὅτι κ.τ.λ.; and 68 c: κατὰ τοῦ ἐκεῖσε—ἢ ἀδελφοῦ ἢ πῶς ἂν εἴποιμι; κ.τ.λ.
- Above, p. 34 f.
- Nau, p. 93, note 6.
- Nestorius however omitted at least an introductory sentence; for the opening words of the "supplement": Τὸ δέ γε σχεδάριον κ.τ.λ. cannot have been the exordium of a letter.
- Above, p. 34, note 1.
- Comp. the restriction made above in note 3.
- Baluze, p. 108. Garnier (ii, 56), giving Peltan's (comp. Nestoriana, p. 9 f.) Latin translation by the side of the Greek text, has induced some of his readers (e.g. Walch, Historie der Kezereien, v, 392, note 4, and, as it seems, also Migne, ser. gr. 77, p. 78) to take the Latin text as a translation of Mercator.
- About these manuscripts comp. Nestoriana, p. 8 ff. In the manuscripts used by Peltan in his translation (comp. Sacrosancti … concilii Ephesini acta omnia Theodori Peltani … opera … latinitate donata, Ingolstadt, 1576, p. 220) and by the editio Commeliana (Τὰ πρακτικὰ τῆς οἰκουμενικῆς τρίτης συνόδου κ.τ.λ., 1591, p. 73), in the cod. Coislin. 32 (saec. xiii) of which Professor Henry Lebègue, of Paris, kindly has sent me a collation, in the codices Monacenses 115 and 116 (both saec. xvi; Nestoriana, p. 10, I gave erroneously the numbers 114 and 115) about which I received kind information from the Royal Library of Munich, and in the cod. Vat. 830 (saec. xv), as I learnt from a kind letter of Dr Erich Katterfeld, now at Rome, the "supplement" (τὸ δέ γε σχεδάριον κ.τ.λ.) immediately follows the preceding sentence (explicit: εἰ μή τις γένηται μετάγνωσις). But the Greek text given by these manuscripts proves itself to be very badly preserved, as is shown even by the address (πρὸς τοὺς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως κληρικοὺς στασιάζοντας); the Greek manuscripts cannot therefore give evidence against the hypothesis that the "supplement" originally was a separate letter or part of such. The Latin versions of the Acta Ephesina do not contain Cyril's letter to his agents (comp. Mansi, v, 465 ff.).
- Comp. Bedjan, p. 157; Nau, p. 95.
- ep. 11, Migne, p. 89 ff.
- sermo 10, Nestoriana, pp. 265–277, which contains the passage quoted above, p. 31, note 4, is mentioned in Cyril's letter to his agents (Nestoriana, p. 264, 7) and this letter is contemporary with the epistola dogmatica (comp. above, p. 37, note 6).
- Comp. below, p. 53 f.
- ed. Pusey, Oxford, 1875.
- Comp. Nestorius, tragoedia, Nestoriana, p. 205 ff. and liber Heracl. Nau, p. 222, note 2.
- ep. 11, Migne, pp. 80–89.
- 4 Mansi, iv, 617–679; 679–802; 803–884 = Migne, ser. graec. 76, 1133–1200; 1201–1336; 1336–1420; comp. Theodosius, ad Cyrillum, Mansi, iv, 110 d, e.
- Comp. Marius Merc, exemplum commonitorii, ed. Baluze, p. 132 f.; Nestorius, ad Caelestium (Nestoriana, p. 172 f.) and ad Caelestinum, ep. 1 (ibid. p. 165); Caelestin. ad Nestorium, Mansi, iv, 1034 b.
- Comp. Nestoriana, pp. 51 f., 57, 156–158.
- Nestoriana, p. 166, 9 ff.
- ad Nestor. Mansi, iv, 1026 d.
- ep. 11, 1, Migne, 77, 80 c.
- ep. 10, Migne, 77, p. 69 a.
- Mansi, iv, 1018 ff.; comp. the marginal note, p. 1050 d and Cyril, ep. 11, 7 (ad Caelest.), Migne, 77, 85 a.
- Mansi, iv, 1035 a b.
- ep. 17, Migne, 77, 105–121.
- Nestoriana, p. 297, 25.
- Comp. Theodosius, ad Cyrillum, Mansi, iv, 1109 ff.
- Comp. above, pp. 5 and 12, and Nestorius, ad Caelest. ep. 3 (Nestoriana, p. 182, 12)
- Mansi, iv, 1111 ff.; Easter-day fell in 431, according to the Alexandrian Easter cycle, on the 19th of April (comp. E. Schwartz, Christliche und jüdische Ostertafeln, Abhandlungen der Konigl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Neue Folge, viii, 6, 1905, p. 48).
- Mansi, iv, 1109 f., comp. especially, p. 1112 c.
- Comp. his sermon of December 12th, Nestoriana, p. 299, 25 ff.
- Comp. liber Heraclidis, Bedjan, p. 256 f.; Nau, p. 155.
- X Cal. Jul., Mansi, iv, 1123 and v, 772 a.
- Comp. above, p. 45, note 4; Memnon (Mansi, iv, 1129 d) counts 16 days, including the first and the last day.
- Mansi, iv, 1121.
- John's friends declared June 21st (comp. the next note): juxta quae nuper suis litteris intimavit (Mansi, v, 765 c). Cyril's lost letter to John of the 20th of June (Mansi, iv, 1272 c) seems to have been an answer to John's letter.
- Mansi, v, 765–768 (directa pridie quam celebrarentur gesta contra Nestorium, i.e. XI Cal. Jul. = June 21; comp. Mansi, v, 765, note d).
- Comp. his contestatio of June 22nd: haec non semel sed saepius admonens … nihil profeci (Mansi, v, 771 c).
- Mansi, iv, 1211. It was in the first session of the Cyrillian council (June 22nd).
- Mansi, iv, 1264 a b; comp. Nestoriana, 188, 19 ff.
- Hefele, 2nd ed. ii, 192, note 2 (1875), left it undecided whether John arrived June 26th or the 27th; but even before the publication of the Bibliotheca Casinensis, i, 2, p. 24 (published 1873), it was to be seen in Mansi, v, 773 b, that the first session of the Antiochian council was held the 26th of June (VI Cal. Jul.).
- Comp. the preceding note.
- This is pretended by the Cyrillian party (Mansi, iv, 1333 b); and the notice in the Synodicon (Mansi, v, 773 a; Bibliotheca Casin. i, 1, p. 58 a): mox enim post triduum veniens Joannes, probably confirms it, since the preceding document dates from June 23rd (Mansi, v, 772 c: hesterno die).
- Hefele, ii, 213 ff., 230 ff.; comp. now Nestorius, liber Heraclidis, Bedjan, p. 375 ff.; Nau, p. 241 ff.
- Nestoriana, p. 194, 16 ff.; comp. p. 195, note = Mansi, v, 792 f.
- Hefele, ii, 219, note 2.
- Mansi, iv, 1395 f.
- Mansi, iv, 1398 b = v, 780 e; comp. Liber Heraclidis, Bedjan, p. 387 f.; Nau, p. 248 f.
- A letter written by the Antiochian delegates immediately after their arrival at Chalcedon dates from Gorpiaei mensis undecimo, (Mansi, v, 794 b = iv, 1406 e), i.e. according to Tillemont (edition of Venice, xiv, 776 f) the 4th or the 11th of September: and although each of these dates seems to me open to controversy (comp. Pauly's Real-Encyclopädie, 2nd edition, vii, 1664), we can and must let the matter rest. Nearly the same time, as given by both dates, is indicated by the course of events.
- Eight days before the letter mentioned in the preceding note was written (Mansi, v, 794 a).—The Alexandrian report in Mansi, v, 255 and 658 f., connecting the imperial order regarding Nestorius— erroneously styling it an order of banishment—with the election of Maximian, which happened a month later, is not trustworthy (comp. Tillemont, xiv, 777 a).
- Nestorius, ep. 10 (Nestoriana, p. 195 f. = Mansi, v, 793), and the epistola praefecti, answered by this letter, seem to indicate a delay, and the Antiochians as late as in their answer to the second letter of their delegates (for the heading of chapter xxvi in Mansi, v, 794, belongs to chapter xxviii, comp. Bibliotheca Casinensis, i, 1, p. 60) apparently did not know anything about the departure of Nestorius, for they wrote only: ea vero, quae contra personam, quae injustitiam pertulit, facta sunt, cognoscentes, totius obstuporis sumus taciturnitate perculsi (Mansi, v, 796 b).
- Comp. epist. legat. orient., Mansi, v, 794 a b: … imperatori placuerit, dominum Nestorium ab Epheso dimitti, quocumque ire voluerit. Et omnino doluit anima nostra, quia, si hoc verum est, ea, quae absque judicio et illicite facta sunt, interim roborari videntur.
- Comp. Theodoreti ep. ad Alex. Hieropol., Mansi, v, 800 b, and epistola legatorum orientalium, Mansi, iv, 1420 e (= v, 802 a).
- That Cyril escaped from custody is told not only by Acacius of Beroea (Mansi, v, 819 c: dum custodiretur in Epheso, fuga est usus) and by Nestorius (Liber Heraclidis, Bedjan, p. 388; Nau, p. 249: Cyrille … échappa à ceux qui le gardaient …, et gagna sa ville); also the postscript given to the ultima sacra imperatoris ad synodum (Mansi, iv, 1465; v, 805) in the Synodicon (Mansi, v, 805) says: missa sacra ultima omnium, directa est, quando jam redierat in civitatem suam beatus Cyrillus. Now this sacra was later than the consecration of Maximian which took place on the 25th of October ( , 7, 37, 19; Mansi, v, 255 b = 659 a: post hoc): the Alexandrian deputies of the Ephesian synod assisted at this consecration (Mansi, v, 255 = 658; Cyril, ep. 32, Migne, 77, 157 f. = Mansi, v, 265), and the Antiochian deputies, too, had not yet departed from Chalcedon, although they were not allowed to assist at Maximian's consecration (Acacius Beroe., Mansi, v, 819 cd). But Cyril arrived at Alexandria as early as October 30th (Mansi, v, 255 c = 659 a); hence he left Ephesus before the council was dissolved.
- Comp. Cyril, ep. 32 (Migne, 77, 157 f.; Mansi, v, 265)
- Mansi, iv, 1765 b; v, 805 b.
- Bedjan, p. 385 ff.; Nau, p. 247 ff.
- Bedjan, p. 388; Nau, p. 249.
- Bedjan, p. 385; Nau, p. 247 f.
- ad Alexandr. Hierop., Mansi, v, 819 c.
- Bedjan, p. 148; Nau, p. 89; comp. ep. ad Cosmam, Nau, p. 363, 8.
- Above, p. 42.
- Below, p. 55, note 3.
- Comp. Tillemont, Mémoires, edition of Venice, xiv, 398 and p. 758 (note 26).
- ep. 39, Migne, 77, 173–181.
- Bedjan, pp. 395–403; Nau, pp. 254–259.
- Mansi, v, 987–989.
- Bibliotheca Casinensis, i, 2 (Florilegium Casinense), p. 46 f., comp. i, 1, p. 72.
- Now in the printed text I am able to add some quotations, Mansi, v, 988 d: … Nunc igitur, domine mi sanctissime, impone tibi omne in hoc causa stadium. Scriptum est a domino meo, fratre vestro, et dominae ancillae dei reverentissimae Pulcheriae et praeposito Paulo et Romano, cubiculario, et dominae Marcellae, cubiculariae, et dominae Droseriae, et directae sunt benedicciones dignae eis. Et ei, qui contra ecclesiam est, Chrysoreti praeposito, magnificentissimus Aristolaus paratus est scribere de nonnullis, quae angelus tuus (read: sanctitas tua = ἡ σὴ ἀγιότης? comp. Mansi, note i) debeat impetrare; et ipsi vero dignae transmissae sunt eulogiae (comp. in the list of presents, Bibl. Cas. i, 2, p. 47 a: Praeposito Chrysoreti, ut nos impugnare desinat, coacti sumus duplicia destinare). Scripsit autem dominus mens, frater vester, et domino Scholastico (comp. Bibl. Cas. l.c. p. 476, and above, p. 52) et magnificentissimo Arthebae, ut ipsi conveniant et persuadeant Chrysoreti tandem desistere ab oppugnatione ecclesiae; et ipsis vero benedictiones dignae directae sunt. Festina igitur et tu ipse, sanctissime, supplicare dominae ancillae dei Pulcheriae Augustae, ut iterum ponat animam suam pro Domino Christo—puto enim, quod nunc non satis curet pro sanctissino vestro fratre Cyrillo ut et omnes, qui sunt in palatio regis, et quicquid (read: quod aliquid?) avaritiae eorum deest, quanquam non desint etipsi diversae benedictiones—, ut scribat increpative Joanni, quo nec memoria illius impii (viz. Nestorii) fiat. Scribatur vero et magnificentissimo Aristolao, ut instet ei (viz. Joanni) celeriter. Et roga dominant Olympiadem, ut et ipsa coadjuvet nos et ut insuper roget Marcellam et Droseriam, quia satis eam patienter auscultant … Et dominum meum sanctissimum Dalmatium abbatem roga, ut et imperatori mandet, terribili eum conjuratione constringens, et ut cubicularios omnes ita constringat, ne illius (viz. Nestorii) memoria ulterius fiat, et sanctum Eutychen, ut concertet pro nobis … Subjectus autem brevis (comp. above p. 55, note 2) ostendit, quibus hinc directae sint eulogiae, ut et ipse noveris, quantum pro tua sanctitate labor et Alexandrina ecclesia, quae tanta praestat his qui illic sunt; clerici enim, qui hic sunt, contristantur, quod ecclesia Alexandrina nudata sit hujus causa turbelae … De tua ecclesia praesta avaritiae quorum nosti, ne Alexandrinam ecclesiam contristent … Festinet autem sanctitas tua rogare dominant Pulcheriam, ut faciat dominum Lausum intrare et praepositum fieri, ut Chrysoretis (comp. above) potentia dissolvatur et sic dogma nostrum roboretur.
- Comp. below, note 3.
- Comp. above, p. 19 and 22.
- Evagrius, h. e. 1, 7, ed. Bidez and Parmentier, p. 13, 12 ff.
- l. c. p. 13, 16 ff.
- M. Brière, La légende syriaque de Nestorius (Revue de l'Orient chrétien, 1910, p. 21; Nau, p. xxi, note 1).
- Four years after the synod of Ephesus, comp. above, p. 57, note 3.
- Mansi, v, 413 f.; cod. Theodosianus, 16, 5, 66.
- Nestoriana, p. 88.
- For according to Evagrius (l. c. p. 13, 15 f.) Nestorius mentioned in his Tragedy his banishment to Oasis.
- Mansi, v, 271 b.
- Above, p. 17 f.
- Comp. above, p. 25 f.
- Mansi, vii, 188 f.
- Mansi, v, 413 b: μήτε ζῶντας τιμωρίας, μήτε θανόντας ἀτιμίας ἐκτὸς ὑπάρχειν.