Sunday, January 01, 2006

from Pope St. Leo the Great's Letter denouncing Nestorius for denying Mary the title of "mother of God"

[Here is an excerpt from Leo the Great's letter denouncing Nestorius for his heresy denying the title of "Theotokos" to Mary. Poor Nestorius...he probably isn't entirely guilty of the heresy to which he gave his name. But the whole doctrine behind Mary as the Theotokos (God-bearer or mother of God) partly relies on the concept of "communicatio idiomatum" or a communication of the attributes from one nature to the other, which makes it possible for us to speak of Mary as the mother of the human Jesus (referring to the his human nature) and as the mother of God (referring to his divine nature)---both natures being united in the Person of Jesus Christ.]

Nestorius, therefore, must be anathematized for believing the Blessed Virgin Mary to be mother of His manhood only, whereby he made the person of His flesh one thing, and that of His Godhead another, and did not recognize the one Christ in the Word of GOD and in the flesh, but spoke of the Son of GOD as separate and distinct from the son of man: although, without losing that unchangeable essence which belongs to Him together with the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity and without respect of time, the "Word became flesh" within the Virgin's womb in such wise that by that one conception and one parturition she was at the same time, in virtue of the union of the two substances, both handmaid and mother of the LORD.

This Elizabeth also knew, as Luke the evangelist declares, when she said: "Whence is this to me that the mother of my LORD should come to me?" But Eutyches also must be stricken with the same anathema, who, becoming entangled in the treacherous errors of the old heretics, has chosen the third dogma of Apollinaris: so that he denies the reality of his human flesh and Soul, and maintains the whole of our LORD Jesus Christ to be of one nature, as if the Godhead of the Word had turned itself into flesh and soul: and as if to be conceived and born, to be nursed and grow, to be crucified and die, to be buried and rise again, and to ascend into heaven and to sit on the Father's right hand, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead--as if all those things belonged to that essence only which admits of none of them without the reality of the flesh: seeing that the nature of the Only-begotten is the nature of the Father, the nature of the Holy Spirit, and that the undivided unity and consubstantial equality of the eternal Trinity is at once impassible and unchangeable.

But if this heretic withdraws from the perverse views of Apollinaris, lest he be proved to hold that the Godhead is passible and mortal: and yet dares to pronounce the nature of the Incarnate Word that is of the Word made Flesh one, he undoubtedly crosses over into the mad view of Manichaeus and Marcion, and believes that the man Jesus Christ, the mediator between GOD and men, did all things in an unreal way, and had not a human body, but that a phantom-like apparition presented itself to the beholders' eyes.

Powered by Blogger