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THE importance of the religious controversies of the fifth century must strike the most casual reader of history: but when we approach the subject closely, we find it a tangled skein. Questions of dogmatic theology and of ecclesiastical authority are intermingled with the conflict of national ideals and the lower strife of personal rivalries. Only later are the lines of separation seen to indicate ancient ethnic differences. Nor does this century, more than any other century, form for our purpose one connected and distinct whole. The antagonistic forces had been gathering to a head during the preceding period and they had to fight the battle out in the days that came after. Nevertheless, it is possible, within limits, to distinguish the more important of the elements making for ecclesiastical disunion, and also to mark the chief acts of the drama that fall within the limits assigned.

First, then, we have to do with the opposition of two rival schools of thought, those of Alexandria and of Antioch, the homes of allegorical and of literal interpretation respectively. Next we have the emphatic assertion of authority; and rejection of external interference, by the great sees, which before the end of our period have obtained the title and status of patriarchates. So far, we seem to be concerned with forces already known in the Arian controversy. But in both respects there is a difference. The dogmatic difference between Alexandria and Antioch was, in the fifth century, quite unlike that of Athanasius and Arius in the fourth, though the theologian may discern hidden affinities in the parties severally concerned. The disputants on both sides in the controversies we are to consider were equally ready to accept the creed of Nicaea, and indeed to accuse their opponents of want of loyalty to that symbol. And with regard to spheres of authority, a new complication had arisen. At Nicaea (325), the rights of the great sees of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch had been maintained. Byzantium counted for nothing. In fact, authorities differ on the question who was bishop at that time, and whether he attended the Council in person or by deputy.

But at the Second Council (that of Constantinople in 381) besides a strict injunction against the intervention of bishops in places beyond their jurisdiction, there was an assertion of the prerogative of the bishop of Constantinople next after the bishop of Rome; “because, Constantinople is New Rome”. The last clause asserted an important principle, that might easily lead to Caesaro-papacy. For the other great sees were supposed to hold their high position in virtue of apostolic tradition, not of coincidence with secular dominion. Constantinople might—and did—discover that it, too, had an apostle for its patron—namely St Andrew. But St Andrew’s claims were vague, and the imperial authority and court influence were pressing. The decision was but doubtfully accepted in the East, and the distinction, if allowed at all, was taken as purely honorary. In Rome it was never received at all. We cannot wonder that the bishops of Alexandria, in their far-reaching aims and policy, were unwilling to allow such power or prestige to the upstart see of the “queenly city”, and that sometimes the bishops of Old Rome might support their actions.

It is not, of course, to be supposed that all the ecclesiastical dissensions of the period can be comprised in the quarrels between the great sees, although, for our present purpose, that series of conflicts seems the best to choose as our guiding line. Though the Arian heresy lived vigorously all through the century, it had become for the most part a religion of barbarians. It was not so much a source of disunion within the Empire as a serious—perhaps insuperable—obstacle to a good understanding between the Roman and the Teuton. The Arianism of the Ostrogoths was at least one of the most prominent weaknesses of their kingdom in Italy. But the Empire, generally speaking, was Nicene. The only regions which had not adopted or were not soon to adopt the definitions of the First General Council, lay in the far East, beyond the limits of undisputed imperial sway. When these are brought into the general current of church history, they take one side or another in the prevalent controversies, with very conspicuous results. Again, the Pelagian controversy on free will and original sin will not here concern us in proportion to its theological and philosophical interest. Though its roots lay deep, and ever and anon put forth new shoots, it did not result in a definite schism.

Taking then the main lines of controversy as already indicated, we may distinguish four phases or periods within the fifth century. In the first we have an attack on a bishop of Constantinople, a representative of the Antiochene school, by an archbishop of Alexandria. Rome sympathizes with Constantinople, but Alexandria triumphs for a time, in great part by court influence. (Chrysostom controversy).

In the second, Alexandria again advances against Constantinople, the bishop of which is again Antiochene. Rome, in this phase of the conflict, sides with Alexandria, which prevails. Court influence is divided, but gradually comes over to the Alexandrian side. (Nestorian controversy).

In the third, Alexandria is again aggressive, and prevails over Constantinople by violence. Rome fails at first to obtain a hearing, but helps to get the doctrinal points settled in another Council. (Eutychian or Monophysite controversy).

In the fourth, the controversy is caused by an abortive attempt, started by an emperor, but manipulated by the bishops of Constantinople and of Alexandria working together, to reunite some at least of the parties alienated by the decision of the last conflict. Rome disapproves strongly, and the result is a serious blow to imperial authority in the West. (Henoticon controversy).

I. The chief persons, then, in the first controversy, are Theophilus of Alexandria and Chrysostom of Constantinople. The doctrinal question is not to the front, and the interest is in great part personal. This is in fact the only one of the controversies in which one side at least—here the one on defence—has an imposing leader. But perhaps it is the one in which it is least possible to find any reasons beyond motives of official ambition or of personal antipathy.

The beginner of the attack, Theophilus, who held the Alexandrian see from 385 to 412, has earned a bad name in history for violence and duplicity. He was probably not more unscrupulous than many leading men among his contemporaries, and excelled most of them in scientific and literary tastes. But he has incurred the odium which attaches to every religious persecutor who has not the mitigating plea of personal fanaticism. Another excuse might be alleged in extenuation of his unjust actions: the excessively difficult position in which he was placed. The peculiar character of the government of Egypt—its close and direct connection with the imperial authority—and the absence, except in the city itself, of any civic and municipal institutions, always rendered a good understanding between bishop and praefect one of the great desiderata. The history of the see and of its most eminent occupants had given it a prestige which was not easily kept intact without encroachments on the secular power. Alexandria had from the beginning been a city of mixed populations and cults, and at this time the factions were more numerous and the occasions of disturbance as serious as in the days of Athanasius. Arianism may have been quelled, but paganism was still vigorous, and had adherents both in the academies of the grammarians and philosophers and also among the most ignorant of the lower classes, who even anticipated disaster when the measuring gauge was moved from the temple of Serapis to a church. The Jewish element was large, and the broad toleration of Alexander, the Ptolemies, and the pagan Emperors was hardly to be expected in the stormy days which had followed the conversion of Constantine. But more difficult to deal with than praefects, town mobs, philosophers or Jews, though a more powerful weapon to use if tactfully secured, was the vast number of monks that dwelt in the “desert” and other regions within the Alexandrian see. These did not constitute one body, and were very dissimilar among themselves. The rule of those who had a rule will be set forth in the following chapter. Here we have to notice the difficulties which the soaring speculations of some, the crass ignorance of others, and the detachment of all from worldly convention and ordinary constituted authority, placed in the way of any attempt to bring them within the general system of civil and ecclesiastical order.

Theophilus was himself a man of learning and culture, eclectic in tastes, diplomatic in schemes. He had used his mathematical knowledge to make an elaborate table of the Easter Cycle. He favoured, in later days, the candidature of a philosophic pagan (Synesius of Cyrene) for the bishopric of Ptolemais. He could read and enjoy the works of writers whose teaching he was publicly anathematizing. He appreciated the force of monastic piety, and endeavoured, by vigorous and even violent means, to impose episcopal consecration on some leading ascetics. He showed his powers as a pacificator in helping to compose dissension in the church of Antioch (392) and in that of Bostra (394). He obtained from the civil authority powers to demolish the great temple of Serapis, which was done successfully, though not without creating much bitterness of feeling. The great campaign of his life, however, began with an attack on the followers of Origen at the very beginning of the fifth century.

There seems some paradox in the circumstance that the strife between the Alexandrian and the Antiochene should have begun (as far as our present purpose is concerned) by an attack made by an Alexandrian patriarch on the principles of the most eminent of all Alexandrian theologians. Theophilus was, both before and after the controversy, an appreciative student of Origen. He had already aroused a tumultuous opposition from some Egyptian monks who were practically anthropomorphites by insisting on the doctrine laid down by Origen as to the incorporeality of the Divine nature, that God is invisible by reason of His nature, and incomprehensible by reason of the limits of human intelligence. The line he now took up may have been due to the influence of Jerome, at that time organizing an anti-Origenistic crusade in Palestine; or else, in his opposition to the philosophic paganism of Alexandria, he may have become nervous of any concessions as to aeons and gnosis and final restitution; or again, as seems most probable, he saw a powerful ally in his ambition for his see in the grossest and least enlightened theology of his day—that of the unhappy monk who wept that “they had taken away his God”—when in the earlier stage of the controversy the doctrines of the anthropomorphites were condemned by the man who was now their champion.

Having determined to combat Origenism, Theophilus called a synod to Alexandria, which decreed against it. He followed up the ecclesiastical censure by securing from the praefect the support of the secular arm. An attack was made by night on the settlement of those monks, in the district of Nitria, who were supposed to be imbued with Origenistic doctrine. The leaders of them were the four “tall brethren”, monks of considerable repute, formerly treated by Theophilus with great respect. Hounded out by soldiers and by the rival “Anthropomorphite” monks, the Tall Brothers fled for their lives, and after many vicissitudes arrived in Constantinople and appealed to the protection of the bishop, John Chrysostom.

In position and in character Chrysostom bears a marked contrast to his opponent Theophilus. Both, it is true, were men of learning and culture; both were exposed to the caprices of a pleasure-loving and much-divided populace. But Chrysostom had one disadvantage more: he was under the immediate eye of a Court. It was by court influence, unsought on his part, that he had been elevated, and the same influence could easily be turned against him. The Emperor Arcadius was of sluggish temperament, but his wife, Eudoxia, a Frankish lady, was violent in her likes and dislikes, sensitive, ambitious, and inspired by a showy and aggressive piety. John had held the see since 397. In early days he had studied under the pagan Libanius at Antioch, and later he had been trained in the theological school of that city. He was an intimate friend of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the most eminent leader of Antiochene thought, whose principles in the next stage of the controversy came to the front. Himself a practical teacher rather than a theological systematiser, he had devoted his power and eloquence, both in Antioch and Constantinople, to the restraint of violence and the denunciation of vice and frivolity. He had in earlier days followed for some years the monastic life, and was always ascetic in self-discipline, and tactless towards those under his authority. He had been brought into public prominence, during the anxious time in 387 at Antioch, after the riot. On his appointment at Constantinople, he showed great firmness in resisting the demands made upon him by the minister Eutropius, and subsequently in negotiations with the Gothic general Gainas. He preached much, and his sermons were intensely popular, for the people of Byzantium, however mixed, were sufficiently Greek to enjoy good speaking. But John seems to have done more than excite a transient enthusiasm. A good many Constantinopolitans, particularly some wellborn women, devoted their lives to the works he commended to them. By his clergy, as might be expected, he was both well beloved and well hated.

Just at the time when Theophilus was beginning his attacks on the Origenistic monks, Chrysostom was starting on an expedition which was the beginning of all his troubles. Complaints had been brought to him of the bad conduct of the bishop of Ephesus. He sent to make inquiries, and though the accused bishop had in the meantime died, Chrysostom was requested by the clergy and people of Ephesus to come and settle their affairs. Accordingly the first three months of the year 401 were spent by him in a visitation of Asia, in the removal of many clergy, and the putting down of much corruption. No doubt he considered that he was acting within his rights, according to the canon of Constantinople and the precedent set by the previous bishop. But he had given a handle to the rival see of Alexandria. Worse than this, his absence had led to difficulties at home, where Severianus, a wandering bishop whom he had left as locum tenens, and Serapion, Chrysostom’s archdeacon and friend, had quarreled beyond hope of reconciliation. On his return, Chrysostom judged Severianus to be in fault, and thereby affronted the Empress, who had taken delight in Severianus’ sermons. With so much of combustible elements about, the arrivals from Egypt were likely to cause a general conflagration.

Chrysostom received the Tall Brethren courteously, and admitted them to some of the church services, though he hesitated to receive them into full communion till the charge of heresy hanging over them had been removed. He seems to have wished to avoid any provocative measures. But the Brothers, anxious to remove the slur, or perhaps stirred up by some sinister interest, appealed to the Empress, as she rode down the streets in her chariot. The result was that Theophilus himself was summoned to Constantinople to stand a charge of calumny and persecution, with darker accusations in the background. He came, but, though nominally accused, he actually took the role of accuser.

Before Theophilus himself arrived in Constantinople, he showed the measure of respect in which he held that see by inducing his friend Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, to go thither on the business of Origen. Epiphanius had a reputation for piety and zeal, but seems to have traded on that reputation and on his advanced years in going beyond all bounds of courtesy and even of legality. He came with a large following of bishops and clergy, began his mission by the ordination of a deacon an act of defiance to Chrysostom’s authority refused the hospitality offered by the bishop, and endeavoured, by colloquies with the clergy and harangues to the people, to obtain the condemnation of Origen which Chrysostom refused to pronounce. He returned baffled, but soon after Theophilus himself appeared at Constantinople, and speedily gathered a party among those who had from any reason a grudge against Chrysostom. Strange to say, the Origenistic question retired into the background. Some of the bishops and clergy at Constantinople were greatly attached to the writings of Origen, with which, as we have seen, Theophilus had a secret intellectual sympathy. The charge of Origenism was brought against some of John’s adherents, the charges preferred against himself were either trivial or very improbable. If any of them were founded on fact, the utmost we can safely gather from them is that John may have erred occasionally by severity in discipline, and that his ascetic habits and delicate digestion had proved incompatible with generous hospitality.

It is hardly necessary to say that Theophilus was acting without a shadow of right. He had thirty-six bishops with him and many more were coming from Asia at the Emperor’s bidding. Chrysostom had forty who kept by his side. The strange phenomenon of a dual synod will be met again in the next conflict. Theophilus had the support of the Court, but he did not venture to pass judgment within the precincts of the capital. A synod was held in the neighbourhood of Chalcedon, on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. Theophilus was present and presided, unless the presidency was held by the old rival see of Heraclea. John refused four times to appear, and judgment was passed against him. As to the Tall Brethren, two had died and the other two made no opposition. A tumultuous scene followed in Constantinople, but John, rather than become a cause of bloodshed, withdrew under protest.

But he did not go far from the city, and in three days he was summoned back. Constantinople suffered at this time from a shock of earthquake, which seems to have alarmed the Empress, and the dislike of Egyptian interference stimulated the desire of the people of Constantinople to recover their bishop. Arcadius sent a messenger to summon John home. John at first prudently declined to come without the resolution of a synod, but his scruples were overcome, and he was reinstated in triumph.

But his return of good fortune was not of long duration. What the Court had lightly given, it might lightly withdraw. The new cause of offence was a remonstrance made by Chrysostom, who objected to the noise and revelling consequent on the erection of a statue of the Empress close to the church where he officiated. Eudoxia’s blood was up. Report said that the bishop had compared her to Herodias. He had possibly compared his duty to that of John the Baptist, and his hearers had pressed the analogy further. He had previously made a quite pertinent comparison of her court clergy to the priests of Baal, who “did eat at Jezebel's table”, and the inference had seemed to be that the Empress was a Jezebel. A synod was hastily convoked. Theophilus did not appear this time, but John’s opponents were now sufficient. He was accused of violating a canon of the Council of Antioch (341) in having returned without waiting for a synodical decree. Insult was here added to injury. The canon had been passed by an Arian council, the violation of it had been due to imperial pressure. But there was no way of escape. Amid scenes of confusion and bloodshed, John was conveyed to Cucusus, on the Armenian frontier, and afterwards to Pityus, in Pontus.

His steadfastness under persecution, the letters by which he sought to strengthen the hands of his friends and disciples, and the efforts of his adherents, besides producing a great moral effect, seemed likely to bring about a reversal of the sentence. Pope Innocent I wrote a letter of sympathy to Chrysostom and one of strong remonstrance to Theophilus, to whom a formal deputation was sent. To the clergy and people of Constantinople he wrote a vigorous protest against the legality of what had been done, and asserted the need of a Council of East and West. But for such a council he could only wait the opportunity in faith and patience. He did all he could by laying the matter before the Emperor Honorius at Ravenna. A deputation of clergy was sent from Emperor and Pope to Constantinople. On the way, however, the messengers had their dispatches stolen from them, and they only returned from their bootless errand after many dangers and insults. Meantime the fire was allowed to burn itself out. The sufferings of Chrysostom were ended by his death in exile in September 407. There were still adherents of his in Constantinople, who refused to recognize his successor, as did also many bishops in the West. The breach was healed when Atticus, second bishop after Chrysostom, restored the name of his great predecessor to the diptychs (or tablets, on which the names of lawful bishops were inscribed).

It can hardly be said that this part of the controversy was ecclesiastical in the strict sense of the word. It made no new departure in church doctrine and discipline. But it revealed the more or less hidden forces by which succeeding conflicts were to be decided.

II. In the second period the Alexandrian leader was Cyril, nephew of Theophilus, who had succeeded him as bishop in 412. The Byzantine bishop was Nestorius, who succeeded Sisinnius in 428. Both of these prelates were more distinctly theological controversialists than were the chiefs in the last encounter. But theology apart, they succeeded to all the difficulties in Church and State that had beset their predecessors, and neither of them was gifted with forbearance and tact. Cyril’s episcopate began with violent conflicts between Christians and Jews, in which the ecclesiastical power came into collision with the civil. The story is well known how the bishop canonized a turbulent monk who had met his end in the anti-Jewish brawls, how the praefect Orestes opposed him in this and other high-handed acts, and fell a victim to the Alexandrian mob. The murder of Hypatia in 415 is not, perhaps, to be laid directly to Cyril's charge; but it illustrates the attitude of anti-pagan fanaticism towards the noblest representatives of Hellenic culture. Perhaps we may see here the effects of the policy of Theophilus when he stirred up the more ignorant of the monks to chase away or to destroy those more capable of philosophic views.

The monks were indeed becoming a more and more uncontrollable element in the situation. Cyril allied himself with a very powerful person, the archimandrite Senuti, who plays a large part in the history of Egyptian monasticism and also in the Monophysite schism. At present he was orthodox, or rather his views were those that had not yet been differentiated from orthodoxy, and his zeal was shown chiefly in organizing raids on “idols”, temples and pagan priests, and in attacks, less reprehensible perhaps, but no more respectful of private property, on the goods of wealthy landowners who defrauded and oppressed the poor.

Nestorius came from Isauria. His education had been in Antioch, and the doctrines with which his name is associated are those of the great Antiochene school carried to their logical and practical conclusions. But this association has a pathetic and almost a grotesque interest. Much labour has of recent years been devoted to the task of ascertaining what Nestorius actually preached and wrote, and the result may be to acquit him of many of the extravagances imputed to him by his opponents. To put the case rather crudely: experts have contended that Nestorius was not a Nestorian. He seems to have been a harsh and unpleasant man, though capable of acquiring friends, intolerant of doctrinal eccentricities other than his own. He made it his mission to prevent men from assigning the attributes of humanity to the Deity, and boldly took the consequences of his position. Like Chrysostom, he suffered from the proximity and active ecclesiastical interest of the imperial family. When Nestorius became bishop of Constantinople in 428, the Emperor Theodosius II was in the twenty-seventh year of his age and the twentieth of his reign. Though his character and abilities offer in some respects a favourable comparison with those of his father, he suffered, partly through his education, from a too narrowly theological outlook on his empire and its duties. For fourteen years a leading part in all matters, especially ecclesiastical, had been taken by his elder sister Pulcheria, who had superintended his education and seems to have maintained a jealous regard for her own influence. This influence was at times more or less thwarted by her sister-in-law Eudocia, the clever Athenian lady, whom she had herself induced Theodosius to take in marriage. Nestorius had somehow incurred the enmity of Pulcheria. The cause is too deeply buried in the dirt of court scandal to be disinterred. Eudocia, though she is often in opposition to her sister-in-law, does not seem to have had any leanings to the party of Nestorius, and in the end, as we shall see, she took a much stronger line against it than did Pulcheria. But both ladies, in addition to personal feelings, had decided theological leanings, and to these the Alexandrians were able to appeal.

The theological principles of Cyril were those of the Alexandrian school. To him it seemed that the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Logos is impugned by any hesitation to assign the attributes of humanity to the divine Christ. It was this theological principle which was the cause, or at least the pretext, of his first attack on Nestorius. The distinctions between the Alexandrian and Antiochene schools have their roots far back in the history of theological ideas. One of the main differences lies in the preference by the Alexandrians for allegorical modes of interpreting Scripture, while the Antiochenes preferred—in the first instance, at least—a more literal method. This is not unnatural, so far as Alexandria is concerned. That city had seen the first attempt at amalgamation of Jewish and Hellenic conceptions, by the solvent force of figure and symbolism, while underneath there worked the mind of primeval Egypt. The speculations of Philo and his successors, both Christian and Pagan, carried on the tradition into orthodox theology. The Christology of Alexandria had produced the Omousius, and now it regarded that term as needing further development—as pointing to an entire union (enosis) of divine and human in the nature of Christ, beyond any conjunction (sinatia) which seemed to admit a possible duality. On the other side, the Antiochene school is well represented by Theodore of Mopsuestia, the friend of Chrysostom, and the teacher, whether directly or indirectly, of Nestorius. He was a learned man and a great commentator, who insisted on the need of historical and literary studies in elucidating Holy Scripture. His eminence in this respect is to be seen in the fact that we often find him cited in quite recent commentaries. In his Christology, he held that the union of the divine and human in the person of Jesus was moral rather than physical or dynamical. He was, however, very careful to avoid the deduction that the relation of divine and human was similar in kind though different in degree, in Christ and in His followers. The actions and qualities ascribed to Christ as man, and particularly His birth, sufferings and death, were not to be attributed to the Deity without some qualifying phrase.

This question might have seemed to be one of purely academic interest, if it had not obtained an excellent catchword which appealed to the popular mind: the title of Theotokos (Mother of God) as applied to the Virgin Mary, vehemently asserted by the Alexandrians, rejected, or accepted with many qualifications, by the Antiochenes. The fierceness of the battle over this word suggests analogies and associations which are easily exaggerated. In some sermons preached on behalf of the Alexandrian view there are remarks which seem to foreshadow the Virgin cult in medieval and modern times. And the great glory of Cyril, as we find in superscriptions of his works, was that of being the chief advocate of the Theotokos. Again, and this is a more important point, and one that will meet us again, both the word and the conception could be interpreted in harmony with one of the strongest elements in revived paganism. The worship of a maternal deity, such as seems to have prevailed widely in the earliest civilization of Mediterranean lands, had again come to the fore in the last conflict of Paganism with Christianity. The mysteries of Isis and of Cybele were widespread. Julian wrote a mystic treatise in honour of the Mother of the Gods; and as he blames the Christians for applying the term ‘Mother of God’ to the Virgin Mary, he seems here to be following his ordinary policy of strengthening Hellenism on its devotional side by bringing in such elements from Christianity as might be found compatible with it. The reverse process, by which Christianity among both the educated and the uneducated was assimilating pagan ideas, was of course going on at the same time, consciously in some quarters, unconsciously in others. But it would be a mistake to look on the Nestorian controversy as chiefly, or even as greatly, connected with the honour of the Virgin. Nestorius himself, in one of his sayings, probably uttered in a testy mood, protested “anyhow, don't make the Virgin a Goddess”; but this is, I believe, almost the only utterance of the kind during the controversy.

Generally speaking, on its speculative side, the controversy was Christological. The Nicene Fathers had finally pronounced on the relation of the Father to the Divine Logos, but within the limits of orthodoxy there was room for a difference as to the relation of the Logos to the human Christ. Some, on the Antiochene side, dreaded lest the idea of the humanity should be entirely merged in that of the Logos. Others (leaning towards Alexandria) would avoid any contamination of the Logos by the associations of humanity. Meantime the unphilosophical minds that took part in the dispute imagined in a vague way that it was possible for human beings to commit the crime of literally confusing the nature of the Deity or of cutting Christ in pieces.

The position of Nestorius himself and of those who followed him most closely is summarized in a saying of his that was often quoted and oftener misquoted: “I cannot speak of God as being two or three months old”. He regarded it as impiety to attribute to a Person of the Trinity the acts and accidents of human, still more of infant, life. The Alexandrians, on the other hand, considered this view as virtually implying the existence of two Christs, a divine and a human. Naturally the opponents made no efforts to understand one another's position, and if they had their efforts could hardly have been successful. During this unhappy century, the mind of man had gone hopelessly astray as to its limitations. Intellectual courage had survived intellectual contact with facts, but that courage was often directed against chimaeras.

The Pope of Rome at this juncture was Celestine I (422-432). He seems to have been a conscientious and active ruler, a strict disciplinarian, yet averse to extreme rigor in dealing with delinquents. As we have already said, in this conflict Rome is not on the side of Constantinople and Antioch, but on that of Alexandria. Among the many reasons that may be assigned for the change, two considerations are prominent: first, that the relations between the sees of Rome and of Constantinople had been somewhat strained through rival claims to ecclesiastical supremacy in the regions of Illyria; and secondly, that Celestine was a devoted admirer of Augustine and anxious to put down the Pelagian heresy. Nestorius, we may safely say, was not himself a Pelagian. In some, at least, of his extant discourses he strongly opposes that teaching. But it is clear that the most eminent Antiochene theologians were not so pronounced as was Augustine in their doctrine of original sin and of predestination. Theodore of Mopsuestia was accused of the same tendency, though he avoided the heretical deductions from his principles, and Nestorius himself once wrote a sympathetic letter (though the obscurity of the text makes it doubtful as evidence) to Coelestius the notable follower of Pelagius. Again, a few years before our present date (at the Council of Carthage, 426), a monk named Leporius of Marseilles, who has been called a “Nestorian before Nestorius”, was condemned as a Pelagian.

The Antiochene see was more definitely than it had previously been on the side of Constantinople. It was now occupied by a certain John, who plays an ambiguous part, but seems to have been favourable to Nestorius. But the most eminent person on this side was Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus, in the province of Euphratensis, a learned theologian, a good fighter, and a man of generous impulses, though he did not keep by his friend Nestorius to the bitter end. In these Eastern bishops we see a growing jealousy of the overweening power of Alexandria. The Church of Edessa, which had, generally speaking, lived a life apart, was drawn into the controversy. The bishop Rabbulas, though not inclined to urge the adoption of the disputed terms, took the anti-Nestorian side. His successor however, Ibas (435), upheld the Nestorian position, and retained for centuries the reverence of the Nestorian Christians of the East.

To take up briefly the main events of the controversy: It was most probably during the Christmas festival of the year 428, or else early in 429, that Proclus, bishop of Cyzicus, but resident at Constantinople, preached a sermon in which he used and expounded the term Theotokos. Nestorius replied to this discourse by another, in which he warned the people to distinguish between the Divine Word and the temple in which the Deity dwelt, and to avoid saying without qualifications, that God was born of Mary. Nestorius seems to have been more guarded in his language than some of his clergy, especially a priest called Anastasius, who condemned the word Theotokos altogether and even denounced as heretics those who used it. It is extremely difficult to determine how widely the Antiochene or Nestorian view prevailed, and whether it had yet reached Egypt, and on this question depends the conviction or acquittal of Cyril in regard to the charge of aggressive violence generally brought against him. In the Easter of 429 he issued an encyclical to the Egyptian monks, warning them against the dangers ahead. Men were teaching doctrines, he said, which would bring Christ down to the level of ordinary humanity.

Soon after, he wrote a long letter to the Emperor, “image of God on earth”, against heresies in general and the new one—with which, however, he does not couple the name of Nestorius—in particular. He followed this up by two very long treatises to “the most pious princesses” (Pulcheria and her sisters), in which he cites many Fathers to justify the term Theotokos, and makes out that the new heretics would assert two Christs. The appeal to these ladies does not seem to have pleased Theodosius, who resented Cyril's use of the discord in the imperial family. Cyril, when once he had begun, spared no pains to succeed. He had agents in Constantinople and adherents whom, at much trouble and expense, he had attached to his cause. Especially he had the support of a large following among the monks. We have his letters written both to Nestorius himself and to Celestine, bishop of Rome. In all of them he takes the ground of one having authority, of one also who, in spite of personal affection for Nestorius as a man, is bound to consider the supreme interests of the Truth. Nestorius in return eulogizes Christian epiikia, a grace in which he does not himself seem to have excelled, but maintains an independent bearing. He somewhat superfluously accuses Cyril of ignorance of the Nicene creed, and reassures him as to the satisfactory state of the Church in Constantinople. Nestorius was meantime in correspondence with Celestine on another matter. Certain bishops from the West, accused of heresy, had come to Constantinople. How was he to deal with them? He had to write a second time before a rather curt answer came; that of course they were heretics and so was Nestorius himself: they are known from other sources to have been Pelagians. Cyril had by this time sent to Rome a Latin translation of the communications that had passed between him and Nestorius with regard to the whole Christological question. A synod was consequently held at Rome which approved of Cyril’s action and position, and the Pope wrote to the clergy of Constantinople, as well as to Cyril and to Nestorius himself. Ten days were given to Nestorius to make a satisfactory explanation, after which he and those holding with him were to be held excommunicated. Letters announcing this decision were sent to the bishops of Antioch, Jerusalem, Thessalonica and Philippi. To Cyril the Pope delegated the power to take necessary action against Nestorius and his followers. In a synod held at Alexandria, a series of propositions condemnatory of the doctrine taught by Nestorius and insisting on that of the ‘physical union’ were drawn up. In consequence of these actions, Nestorius, urged by John of Antioch, Theodoret of Cyrus and others, made certain explanations so as to tolerate the figurative use of the word Theotokos. But he stood his ground as to the main principles, and issued, with the support of his adherents, a list of counter-anathemas to those of Cyril.

It may seem strange that local councils and leading bishops or patriarchs should have gone so far without insisting on a General Council. One person evidently took this view—the Emperor Theodosius himself. The builder of the Theodosian Wall and the promulgator of the Theodosian Code can hardly have been the mere weakling that some historians would paint him. He seems to have been a man of some energy and love of fair play, though he had not the strength to carry out a policy to the end. Now, however, jointly with his cousin Valentinian, he issued a writ summoning Eastern and Western bishops to a Council to be held the following Whitsuntide (431) at Ephesus. He did not attempt to go himself, but he sent as his emissary the count Candidianus, to keep order, by military force if necessary, and especially to prevent monks and laymen from intruding. Pope Celestine sent two deputies, instructed to act along with Cyril. Cyril himself went largely accompanied. Among his monastic followers was the wild ascetic Senuti of Panopolis, already mentioned, though the stories of Senuti’s conduct at the Council are not easily brought into accordance with the facts we have. Nestorius and his Constantinopolitan friends went there, but kept at a prudent distance from ‘the Egyptian’. John of Antioch and forty Asiatic bishops came likewise, but at slow pace. Their delay, whether accidental or designed, determined the character and events of the Council. The weak point about the Council of Ephesus was that the presiding judge and the principal prosecutor were one and the same person, in an assembly which, though supposed to be primarily legislative, had also to exercise judicial functions. From the very first, Nestorius had no chance, and he declined to recognize the authority of the Council till all its members were assembled. Cyril was in no mind to allow this plea, and perhaps, in refusing to wait for the Eastern bishops, he overreached himself, and brought sub­sequent trouble on his own head. Celestine’s delegates had not arrived, but there was no reason to wait for them, as it was known that they had been instructed to follow the Alexandrian lead. John of Antioch and the other Eastern bishops were, of course, an essential part of the Council, but a message of excuse which John had sent was tacitly construed into acquiescence with what might be done before his arrival. Accordingly, in spite of remonstrances from Nestorius, from a good many Eastern bishops who had already arrived, and from the imperial Commissioners, the Council was opened sixteen days after the appointed time, without the Antiochenes or those who were in favour of any kind of compromise with Nestorius. Messengers were sent to Nestorius, who refused to attend. It was the work of one day, the first session of the Council, to condemn him and deprive him of his see. This was done on the testimony of his letters, his reported speeches, and his rejection of the messengers from the Council. One hundred and ninety-eight bishops signed these decrees. The populace of Ephesus received the result with wild enthusiasm, and gave the champions of the Theotokes an ovation on their way to their lodgings. Perhaps it is not mere fanciful analogy to recall the two-hours’ shouting of an earlier city mob: “Great Artemis of the Ephesians”.

Five days afterwards, John of Antioch arrived. He had with him comparatively few bishops, and when he was joined by the Nestorians, the number of his party only amounted to forty-three. There seems a touch of irony in the assertion which he made afterwards that the reason of his scanty numbers was to be found in his strict injunctions to follow out the Emperor's directions. Similarly, when he justifies the delay by the necessity that the bishops should officiate in their churches on the First Sunday after Easter, we may seem to have a covert hit at Cyril's large numbers who found no difficulty in absenting themselves from their flocks.

From the first, John took his stand against the acts of Cyril. He rejected the communications of the Council and joined forces with Nestorius. The imperial officials afforded him protection and support. In the ‘Conciliabulum’, as his assembly was contemptuously called, Cyril and Memnon of Ephesus were in their turn deprived and excommunicated. Meantime the original Council, now joined by delegates from Rome, continued its sessions, deposed John and all his adherents, and continued to pass decrees against the Pelagians and other heretics. Whether or not the precise articles anathematizing Nestorius, which had been drawn up at Alexandria, were passed by the Council is a disputed matter and one of inferior importance. Their sense was certainly maintained, and they were answered by counter-anathematisms on the other side.

The situation was becoming intolerable. Two rival assemblies of bitterly hostile factions were sitting in conclave through the sultry days of an Eastern summer, in a city always given to turbulence, and now stirred up by long and eloquent discourses such as a Greek populace ever loved to hear. Count Candidianus and the other imperial delegates had a hard task. He had, after the first session, torn down the placards declaring the deposition of Nestorius. He tried to prevent the Egyptian party from preaching inflammatory sermons, and from communicating the fever of controversy to Constantinople. This, however, he could not do, as Cyril found means of corresponding with the monks of Constantinople.

The Emperor himself was hardly equal to the emergency. The difficulty as to Nestorius was partly removed by the offer of Nestorius himself to retire to a monastery. With regard to the other leaders, Cyril and Memnon were for a time imprisoned. The Emperor received embassies from both sides, and finally decided to maintain the decisions of both councils. Maximian, a priest of Constantinople, was appointed to the vacant see of that city. Then Cyril and Memnon were liberated and restored to their sees, and the remaining members of the council were bidden to return home, unless they could first find some means of accommodation with the Orientals.

The means by which the Emperor’s partial change of front and the yet more clearly marked prevalence of anti-Nestorian feeling at Court were brought about can only be brought to light by untangling a most involved skein of ecclesiastical diplomacy. From a letter of one of Cyril’s agents, as well as from the recently published account of Nestorius himself, there was a profuse distribution of gratuities among notable persons, including the princesses themselves. But Cyril appealed to zeal as well as to avarice. It would appear that a good many people in Constantinople were favourable to Nestorius, but that the clergy and the monks were generally against him. The union between Egyptians and Orientals was brought to pass sooner than we might have expected. It was based on an explanation not wholly unlike that urged on Nestorius by John of Antioch near the beginning of the difficulties, an acknowledgment of two natures united into one, with a recognition, in virtue of the union, of the propriety of the term Theotokos. It was a triumph for Cyril, but some of the most independent of his opponents still held out. Especially Theodoret, the best theologian of the party, and the most faithful—a slight distinction—to his friends, refused to be included in an arrangement which did not restore all the sees of the dispossessed bishops to their rightful occupants. It was only to a special decree of the Emperor, enforcing ecclesiastical agreement in the East, that he gave at last a qualified assent. But the indignant protest widely raised against Alexandrian ambition was expressed in a playful letter which he wrote after Cyril's death in 444, in which, along with more charitable wishes that we might expect for the final judgment on his soul, he recommends that a large stone be placed over the grave, to keep quiet the disturber who had now gone to propagate strange doctrines among the shades below. The last efforts of Cyril had been towards the condemnation of the great commentator, the father of Antiochene philosophy, Theodore of Mopsuestia. The reverence in which the memory of Theodore was held caused the scheme to fail, only to be renewed, with baneful consequences, by the Emperor Justinian.

We may now narrate the end of Nestorius. For some years he lived in peace in a monastery near Antioch, but his relations with its bishop appear to have cooled. In 435, he was banished to Petra in Arabia, but instead of going thither, he seems to have been sent to one of the oases of Egypt. There a wandering horde of Libyans, the Blemmyes, made him prisoner. Soon after he was released, and fled to Panopolis in Egypt. Thence he wrote a pathetic letter to the Praeses of the Thebaid, begging for protection “lest to all time the evil report should be brought that it is better to be a captive of barbarians than a fugitive suppliant of the Roman Emperor”. But Nestorius had fallen into the very hotbed of fanatical monasticism. The Praeses caused him to be removed by ‘barbarian’ soldiers to Elephantine, on the borders of the province. There is some evidence that the blow which put an end to his sufferings was dealt by the hand of Senuti himself. This was however some years later.

Nestorius was not a great leader of men, nor a very striking figure­head for a great cause. His whole story illustrates the perversity and blind cruelty of his opponents, and it is only in comparison with them that he sometimes appears in an almost dignified character. This character is greatly emphasized by the lately discovered writings in which Nestorius was employed shortly before his death. He seems to have approved the final arrangement of Chalcedon, and even to have acquiesced, with a magnanimity hardly to be expected, in the compromise by which his own name was left under the cloud while the principles for which he had striven were in great measure confirmed.

III. The Monophysite or Eutychian Controversy may be regarded as a continuation of the preceding one, yet as some of the leading parties were different, as well as their objects and methods, it may be better to take it apart.

The main difference as to character and issue of this conflict compared with the last lies in the character of the champions of Rome and of Alexandria respectively. Now there was a Pope of commanding character and ability. Leo I stands out in history as a great ruler of the Church, who crushed a premature movement towards Gallicanism; as a moral power in Rome itself in times of demoralizing panic; and as the shepherd of his people, who—in ways known and unknown—stopped the Romeward march of Attila the Hun. Here we have to deal with him as a firm and successful assertor of the claims of St Peter's chair over all others, and as a great diplomatic theologian who could mark out a permanent via media between opposite dogmatic tendencies.

Dioscorus, the champion of Alexandria, had succeeded Cyril in AD 444. The fact that he was subsequently condemned as a heresiarch, whereas Cyril was canonized as a saint, has necessarily led to differences of opinion as to the relations between the two. He may be regarded, with respect to his dogmatic position, either as a deserter of Cyril’s position between the heresies of Monophysitism and Dyophysitism, or else as the real successor of Cyril in pressing the Alexandrian Christology to its natural conclusions. Personally he seems to have dissociated himself from Cyril by making foes of Cyril’s family, although according to one account, he was himself of Cyril’s kin. The charges made against his morals, both in public and in private life, may have been well founded, but in three respects, at least, he was a real follower of Cyril—in his zeal for the prerogatives of the see of St Mark; in the remarkable pertinacity and unscrupulousness with which he pursued his ends; and in his reliance on the monastic element among his followers, particularly on the part of it that was most violent and fanatical.

Of Flavian, bishop of Constantinople, there is less to be said. He enjoyed a reputation for piety, and seems to have acted with some independence in his relations with the Emperor. But he does not show enough dignity and moderation in the early stages of the dispute to obtain the sympathy which his cruel treatment at the end might seem to claim.

The premonitory symptoms of the controversy are to be seen in the complaints made by Dioscorus against Theodoret of Cyrus, who, as we have seen, had come into the general agreement without renouncing his hostility to the ‘Egyptians’ and all their ways. On the promotion of Dioscorus, he had written him a congratulatory and conciliatory letter. Since Theodoret almost alone in his generation seems to have had a sense of humour, we may suspect a grain of sarcasm in singling out for commendation a virtue—that of humility—which the dearest friend of Dioscorus could hardly claim for him. Dioscorus soon charged Theodoret with having gone beyond justice in helping to restore an ex-Nestorian bishop in Tyre, of having himself preached a Nestorian sermon in Antioch, and of having, by appending his signature to a document issued by the late patriarch of Constantinople, acknowledged too widespread a jurisdiction in that see. Dioscorus secured an imperial prohibition served on Theodoret against departing from his diocese. Considering the events which followed, he could hardly have conferred on him a greater benefit.

The central controversy, which broke out in 448, may have likewise originated from Dioscorus. Another source assigned is a court intrigue. The eunuch Chrysaphius is said to have found the Patriarch Flavian an obstacle in his way. Flavian had incurred the ill-will of Theodosius by breaking a custom of sending complimentary gifts, and also by refusing or at least avoiding the task of forcing Pulcheria to retire into religious seclusion. The figure-head in the controversy is a poor one. Eutyches, an archimandrite (or abbot of some monastery) in or near Constantinople, was an aged man, who according to his own statements never left his monastery. But he had been a strong opponent of Nestorius, and now he was accused of disseminating errors of the opposite kind—of trying to propagate the doctrine of the One Nature. His accuser, Bishop Eusebius of Dorylaeum, induced Flavian, at first reluctant, to call him to account. This was done at the half-yearly local council of the bishops who chanced to be at Constantinople. The accusations were made, and Eutyches was with difficulty brought from his seclusion to make his defence. He did not shine as a theologian, and wished to fall back on the decisions of Nicaea and of Ephesus. On being hard pressed, he stated his belief in the words that he confessed Christ as being of two natures, before the union in the Incarnation, of one nature afterwards, being God Incarnate. On this point he refused to go back, and he was accordingly condemned and degraded. He afterwards tried in vain to prove that the reports of the synod had been falsified. He appealed to the Emperor, to Pope Leo, and to the monks of Constantinople. His friends, especially. Chrysaphius, stirred up Dioscorus on his behalf. Suggestions were made of a larger council, to revise the decision recently made at Constantinople, and the Emperor decided that such a council should be held, and that Dioscorus should preside.

But if it was the opportunity of Alexandria, it was likewise the opportunity of Rome. Leo had received the communication of Eutyches with courtesy, and was at first somewhat irritated at Flavian’s delay in keeping him informed and asking his counsel. But as soon as he had made inquiries into the whole affair, he became convinced that Flavian was right and Eutyches wrong. He at once urged his views in letters to Flavian, Theodosius, Pulcheria and others. There were three principles which determined his action: first, that it was not a case for a General Council at all. The Emperor however had decided otherwise. Secondly, that if there were a Council, it ought to be called in the West. Here again he failed to secure his point. Thirdly, that it was for him, as successor to St Peter, to draw up for the Church an authoritative statement (or Tome) as to the points in controversy. Here he succeeded, though only in part. When the Council was finally decided upon he sent three delegates, a bishop, a priest, and a deacon, to represent him, and to communicate his Tome to the fathers present.

The Council was summoned to meet at Ephesus on 1 August 449. Dioscorus, as president, was to have as assessors Juvenal of Jerusalem and Thalassius of Caesarea. Both in composition and in procedure, to say nothing of state interference, it was exceedingly irregular. Many conspicuous bishops, such as Theodoret, were absent. An archimandrite, Barsumas, was allowed to come accompanied by a host of wild Syrian monks. The authority of the Roman see was so far neglected that Leo's Tome was not even allowed to be read, and by an unblushing terrorism the signatures of over one hundred and fifteen bishops were obtained. Flavian who had condemned Eutyches, and Eusebius who had accused him, were deposed. Eutyches himself was reinstated and declared orthodox. Several bishops who had been more or less friendly with Nestorius, or who had some grudge against the Alexandrian see, were condemned and deprived on the strength of sayings attributed to them in public or private, and of many improbable moral offences. Among the deprived were Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa. The papal legates were not present during the whole time of the Council; indeed with regard to two of them the question of their presence at all is doubtful. A single protest—Contradicitur—was made by the Roman deacon Hilary, who escaped for his life and brought tidings of what had been done to Rome. Many suffered severe treatment. Flavian succumbed and died very soon after. The nominee of DioscorusAnatolius, was appointed to succeed him.

The violence of Dioscorus and his party may have been somewhat exaggerated by those who afterwards brought him to account. Yet there can be little doubt that the name given to the whole proceeding by Leo, the Robber Council, which has clung to it all through the course of history, was one that it richly deserved. It is difficult to understand how Dioscorus could have so far overshot the mark. Either he must have been an utterly vain and foolhardy man, who could not appreciate the strength of his antagonists, or he must have relied on the forces at his command, especially the monks and the Emperor. The Egyptian and Syrian monks were certainly to be relied on, and Theodosius upheld him and the decisions of his Council to the very end, even after a court revolution in which Chrysaphius had been degraded. (Eudocia had some years previously been obliged to leave the city). Leo acted with decision and promptitude. He called a synod at Rome, and endeavoured to secure a revision of the acts of the irregular Council by one that should be full and legal. He refused to recognize Anatolius till he should have given satisfaction as to orthodoxy. He wrote to Pulcheria, asking again for her influence. He also used influence with the Western Court, and induced the Emperor Valentinian, his mother Placidia, and his wife Eudoxia—the cousin, the aunt and the daughter respectively of Theodosius—to write to him and urge a new Council. Before the death of Flavian was known, his restoration was also demanded. The council should be held in Italy. At first there was no result. But the whole aspect of affairs was changed when, in July 450, Theodosius died from the effects of a fall from his horse. Pulcheria, with the orthodox husband Marcian, whom ambition or stress of circumstances led her to choose, ascended the imperial throne. She had, as we have seen, disliked Nestorius, but she had no sympathy with the extreme party on the other side. She had always greatly interested herself in theological matters, and was quite ready to avail herself of the opportunity now offered to give power and unity to the Church.

The change in governors necessitated with Leo a modification not of strategy but of tactics. If no new Council was necessary, the calling of one was not, from the Roman point of view, desirable. The memory of Flavian must be rehabilitated, but Pulcheria was quite ready to order the removal of the martyred bishop's bones. Dioscorus must be called to order and his victims reinstated, and the rule of faith must be laid down. But for these objects, again, a Council seemed superfluous, since according to Leo’s view of papal authority, which the sufferers, especially Theodoret, were willing to acknowledge, he was competent to revise their cases on appeal, and as to the faith, Leo’s Tome had been prepared with the express view of making a settlement. Accordingly he wrote to Marcian against the project of a Council. As was natural, Marcian and Pulcheria took a somewhat different view. Some circumstances, it is true, would make them ready to receive Leo’s suggestions. Piety apart, they would naturally desire peace and unity, and also freedom from Alexandrian interference. Rumour said that Dioscorus was plotting against them. This may be false, though the friendly relations between the Monophysites and the exiled widow-Empress Eudocia might render such a suggestion not improbable. But on the other hand the Emperor and Empress were not likely to avoid Scylla in order to fall into Charybdis—to liberate their ecclesiastical policy from Alexandrian dictation merely to bow beneath the yoke of Rome. With regard to the appointment of Anatolius, Leo had, by the appointment of a patriarch of Constantinople, attacked the independence of the Emperor as well as the dignity of the patriarch himself. A Council must be called, Leo or his legate might preside, and his Tome might serve as basis for a confession of faith. But the Council must be held in the East, not, as Leo now vainly requested, in the West, and measures must be taken in it to secure the prestige of the Byzantine see against that of either St Mark or St Peter. This policy however was not all to be declared at once.

The Council was summoned to assemble at Nicaea, the orthodox associations of that place being of good omen. It was to be larger and more representative than any hitherto held, comprising as many as six hundred and thirty-six bishops (twice as many as those at Nicaea), though the Emperor and Empress took strong measures to exclude a concourse of unauthorized persons, who might come to make a disturbance. Seeing, however, that military and civil exigencies prevented Martian from attending meetings at a distance from his capital, he adjourned the Council to Chalcedon. The wisdom of this step soon became evident. Chalcedon was sufficiently near to Constantinople to allow a committee of imperial Ministers, with some distinguished members of the Byzantine Senate, to undertake the general control of affairs, and the Emperor and Empress were able, at least once, to attend in state, as well as to watch proceedings throughout.

When we consider the composition of the Council of Chalcedon and the state of parties at the time, we are surprised less at its failure to secure ecclesiastical unity than at its success in accomplishing any business at all. It can hardly be said that anyone wished for unity except on conditions that some others would pronounce intolerable. On the one hand were the ex-Nestorian bishops, Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa, who, though they had repudiated Nestorius himself, were strongly attached to the school from which he had sprung, and had suffered on many occasions, but worst at the Robber Council, from the injustice and violence of the Eutychian party. These, being dispossessed, could not of course take part in the proceedings till they had been reinstated, but they had been summoned to the spot, and their very presence was very likely to inflame the passions of their opponents. At the opposite extreme was Dioscorus, supported but feebly by the bishops who had assisted him at Ephesus, or rather by such as had not already submitted to Rome, yet backed up vigorously by a host of Syrian and Egyptian monks, who had managed to secure admittance in the character of petitioners. Between these parties stood the legates and the party of Leo, determined on urging the Roman solution of the problem and no other. In the church of St Euphemia, where the Council sat, the central position was held by the imperial Commissioners. Immediately on their left were the Roman delegates, who were regarded as the ecclesiastical presidents: the bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the priest Boniface; and near them the bishops of Antioch, Caesarea, and Ephesus; then several from Pontus, Thrace, and some Eastern Provinces. To the right of the Commissioners were the bishops of Alexandria and Jerusalem, with those from Egypt, Illyria, and Palestine. These seem to have been the most conspicuous members of the Council, and were ranged like government and opposition parties in parliament. A certain number walked over from the Egyptian to the Roman side in the course of the first session, and before the whole business was over, the right must have been very much weakened. There were no restraints set to the expression of agitated feelings, and cries of “turn him out”, “kill him”, as an objectionable person came in sight were mixed with groans of real or feigned penitence for past errors, and imprecations against those who would either “divide” or “confuse” the Divine Nature.

The first and third sessions were devoted to the case of Dioscorus, the second, fourth, and fifth, to the question of Belief, the others chiefly to minor or personal matters. At the very first, the papal legates refused to let Dioscorus take his seat, stating that Leo had forbidden it. The first charge against him was that he had held a Council without the consent of the Roman see. It is difficult to see how this could have been maintained, since Leo had certainly sent his representatives to the Second Council of Ephesus. But other charges were soon brought forward by Eusebius of Dorylaeum as to his behaviour with regard to Flavian and Eutyches. The acts of the Robber Council, as well as those of the synod at Constantinople at which Flavian had condemned Eutyches, were read, a lengthy process which lasted till after night had fallen and candles had been brought in. Theodoret, amid cheers from one side and groans from the other was brought in to witness against his enemy, now at bay. The bishops who had signed the decrees at Ephesus told ugly stories of terrorism and begged for forgiveness. Finally, the secular judges declared Dioscorus deposed. But a further examination was made in the third session, from which, since the subjects to be discussed were of technical theology, the imperial Commissioners were absent. This fact gave Dioscorus an excuse for declining to obey the summons sent him. Charges against his private life were made at some length. After his third refusal to appear, the sentence of deprivation was passed. A similar decree was passed against Thalassius, Juvenal, and others who had assisted him, but on due submission these were not only pardoned but allowed to take part in the business of the Council. A similar indulgence was extended to all who, by force or guile, or possibly of their own will, had joined in the action which they were now ready to condemn.

Yet Dioscorus was not wholly without a following. Perhaps the demand made in the fourth session, by certain Egyptian bishops, that according to usage, they might not be forced to consent to anything important without the consent of the Alexandrian see, may not have shown much loyalty to the late occupant of that see. But there can be no doubt that the petition presented by a body of monks, chiefly Eutychian, showed serious disaffection. The request was for a truly ecumenical council, such as this one could hardly be without the presence of an Alexandrian patriarch. It is needless to say that the petitioners were angrily repelled. Yet they alone, of all who had been concerned in the Robber Council, had at least retained something of thieves’ honour.

The discussions on the question of the Faith were long and stormy. The practical problem might seem to be comparatively simple, if it consisted in marking out safe ground between dyophysitism and Monophysitism. Neither of these forms of belief had advocates in the Council. For we have seen that Nestorius was not an uncompromising dyophysite and Eutyches was not an entire monophysite. Even had it been otherwise, Nestorianism had been trampled in the dust, and Eutychianism might seem to have received its death-blow. Those who said that further definitions were unnecessary, that the doctrines of Cyril and of Leo were in full accord, had some show of reason on their side. But the need for further definition was urged, and nearly led to a collapse of the whole Council. A general agreement was obtained without great difficulty. The creeds of Nicaea and of Constantinople, the letters of Cyril to Nestorius and to John of Antioch, and finally the Tome of Leo, were read and approved. It was this last document that the Roman delegates regarded as sufficient to put a stop to all further controversy. It has always remained a classical monument in the history of Christology, and has been far more widely read and studied than the declaration finally made at Chalcedon. Perhaps it seemed insufficient to some because the word Theotokos was not contained in it, though the idea implied in that word is set forth in unmistakable terms. And again, though very many present had subscribed to the Tome, it was not unnatural that in many quarters there should be a reluctance to accept as possessing peculiar authority a document emanating from a Western source. Anatolius and certain other bishops accordingly drew up a formula which was presented to the Council. But this only roused fierce opposition from the Roman legates, and even to a threat that they would withdraw altogether, and cause a new Council to be assembled in Italy.

The obnoxious creed has not come down to us, but we gather that it contained the expression: Christ is of two natures instead of the phrase in two natures. Those who would regard the theological difference as rooted in philosophical distinction may suggest a rational apprehension in the minds of Leo and his supporters, that whatever might be the principle of union or separation in divine and human nature, it could not, as Eutyches supposed, be dependent on a merely temporal relation.

It would, of course, have been fatal to the policy of the Emperor and Empress if Rome had seceded at this juncture. As a compromise, Anatolius and a chosen representative committee of bishops were bidden to retire into the oratory of St Euphemia and prepare a new creed. The document, when produced, proved to be based on that of Leo. But it contained on the one side the word Theotokos, and on the other—there can hardly be any doubt, in spite of what seem to be clerical errors.

After the question of the Faith had been settled, the Emperor came himself to the Council and congratulated the bishops on the success of their labours in the cause of unity and truth. Sundry matters of local yet not unimportant interest were transacted in the last sessions. Thus Ibas and Theodoret were reinstated in their sees. In the case of Theodoret, a natural reluctance to anathematize the memory of his quondam friend Nestorius was overcome by threats. The only conceivable excuse is that the anathema may have been drifting into a mere façon de parler, and that, as shown above, Nestorius had himself generously expressed a wish that his own reputation might not be preferred to the cause of truth.

Finally, a list of canons, thirty in number, were drawn up, mostly on points of less burning interest, and the imperial authorities undertook to add the force of the secular arm to the decrees of the Council. But before the members dispersed, a stormy discussion arose which might seem to give the lie to the Emperor’s pious hopes, especially as it was but the beginning of a fresh breach. This was the dispute as to Canon XXVIII. It is certain, from the remonstrance made by the Roman delegates, that neither they nor the imperial Commissioners had been present when the one in question was put to the vote; also that a comparatively small number of bishops had subscribed it. The canon is so important that it had better be given in full:

“Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers and acknowledging the canon, which has just been read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the Imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of Old Rome, because it was the imperial city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian Dioceses the metropolitans only, and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him”.

It is hardly necessary to say that all the earlier or theoretical part of this document clashed entirely with Leo's views as to the supremacy of Rome and the relations of Church and State, while the latter or practical part seemed to give dangerously wide powers to the see of New Rome. When the Roman delegates objected, they were allowed a hearing, but reminded that it was their own fault that they had not been present when the canon was passed. They lodged a formal protest, supported by a phrase which had been interpolated into the Nicene canons. The result was nugatory. The canon was maintained. Leo supported the action of his delegates, or rather, they had rightly gauged his mind. A long and stormy correspondence which he kept up with MarcianPulcheria, and Anatolius led to no final settlement. Leo acknowledged the validity of what had been done at Chalcedon with regard to the Faith, but held out tenaciously against the claims of the Byzantine see. There seems a touch of unconscious irony in his championship of the ancient rights of Alexandria and of Antioch, as well as in his inculcations on Anatolius to practice the virtue of humility. He only became reconciled to Anatolius three years later, after receiving from him a very apologetic letter, laying the blame on the Byzantine clergy, and stating that the whole case had been reserved for Leo's decision. But Anatolius could not bind the Eastern churches. Canon XXVIII continued to be accepted by the East, though unrecognized by the West.

We may ask which cause, or which party, profited by the Council of Chalcedon. The Papacy had put forth great claims, and in part had realized them, yet it seemed at the last to have been overreached by the East. A certain uniformity of belief had been imposed on a great part of the Christian world, but this belief was not supposed to add anything to the authoritative declarations of former councils, and so far as it wore any semblance of novelty, it served only to embitter party strife in the regions that most required pacification. The most active and ambitious disturber of the peace had been got rid of, but only with the result that his see had become the prey of hostile factions. There was some gain to the far East, in the restoration of learned and comparatively moderate men, like Theodoret and Ibas; but they had still to encounter active opposition. Perhaps the Emperor was the chief gainer; but he had overstrained his authority. The best that can be said for the Council is that things might have been worse if no council had met.

We may take briefly, as Epilogue to the Council of Chalcedon, the disturbances and insurrections consequent on the attempts to enforce its decisions: (a) in Palestine; (b) in Egypt; (c) in Provinces further to the East.

(a) Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, had played a sorry part in the whole business. It is not surprising that when he returned, pardoned and rehabilitated, to his bishopric, his flock was not unanimous in welcoming him back. His opponents, the most vigorous of whom came from the monastic bodies, set up in opposition to him a certain Theodosius, a monk who had been at Chalcedon and who had returned full of wrath and of determination to resist the new decisions. Juvenal fled back to Constantinople, while Theodosius acted as patriarch, appointing bishops of Monophysite views, and bidding defiance to imperial as well as to conciliar authority. The recalcitrant monks had the sympathy, if not the active assistance, of the ex-Empress Eudocia, who was still residing in Palestine. Pope Leo, it need scarcely be said, was vigorous with his pen on the other side. Martian determined on armed intervention. Forces were sent under the count Dorotheus, and Juvenal was reinstated. Theodosius was brought prisoner to Constantinople, and liberated during the next reign. The undercurrent of Monophysitism was, however, only covered for a time, not permanently checked.

(b) In Alexandria, as might be expected, the resistance was more prolonged and more serious. Whatever the faults of Dioscorus, he still had partisans among the monks and the common people. His successor Proterius was chosen, we are told, by the nobiles civitatis, and aristocratic management did not always succeed in Alexandria. Here again recourse was had to military force. Proterius had not the art of making himself popular; and when Dioscorus died at Gangra, his place of banishment, a clever schemer came to the force. This was Timothy, a Teuton whose tribal name, the Herul, was appropriately twisted into Aelurus, the Cat. He is said to have gone by night to the bedsides of those whom he wished to persuade and to have, told them, as they lay between sleep and waking, that he was an angel, sent to bid them provide themselves with a bishop and, in particular, to choose Timothy. On the death of Marcian, he obtained his desire and was chosen bishop by the people, and consecrated in the great church of the Caesarium, once the scene of the murder of Hypatia. A fate very much like that of Hypatia befell the bishop Proterius, whose mangled body was dragged through the streets and then committed to the flames. How far the actual murder was instigated by Timothy it is impossible to say. The Emperor Leo, who had succeeded Marcian in 457, could not, of course, sanction the result of such proceedings. One scheme which suggested itself was the calling of a new Council. Any notion of the kind was, however, frustrated by Leo of Rome, who probably thought that an assembly held in the East at that juncture might prove even more antagonistic to Roman authority than the Council of Chalcedon. Accordingly, by his advice, the Emperor sent round circular letters to a large number of bishops and ascetics (Simeon Stylites had a copy) asking for their opinion and advice. The result was a general condemnation of Timothy Aelurus, and a confirmation of the Chalcedonian decrees. One bishop declared against Chalcedon, but even he was opposed to Timothy. Aelurus was accordingly driven out and succeeded by another Timothy, called Salophaciolus. But Aelurus maintained his influence, and on the wave of Monophysite reaction under the pretender Basiliscus he returned to his see. From about this time we may date the practical nullity of the orthodox Alexandrian patriarchate and the rise of the Coptic Church. But, as is seen by the whole course of events from the days of Theophilus and earlier, the causes of disruption were not entirely due to the difference between ék and en. Alexandria itself might be Greek and cosmopolitan, but Egypt had a peculiar and national character, which was chiefly evident in its language and its institutions, particularly its monasticism. If it seems surprising that violent ecclesiastical rivalries and the turbulence of the most unrestrained city mob to be found in all history should have led to the growth of a church which, with all its faults, has maintained itself ever since in the affections of the common people, the clue is to be found in the separation of Greek and Egyptian elements, which were incapable of a satisfactory and wholesome combination. But the separation naturally led in time to the fall of the Roman power in the chief seat of Hellenic civilization in the East.

(c) In the East, on the other hand, in Syria and Mesopotamia, there was less opposition to the Chalcedonian settlement, but a few years later a latent discontent broke into revolt. Domnus, bishop of Antioch, had played an undignified and unhappy part in the controversy. Though a friend of Theodoret and of Ibas, and an Antiochene in theology, he had been forced to subscribe the decisions of the Robber Council, and even after that humiliation had been deprived of his see. He was therefore pardoned at Chalcedon, but he was pensioned, not restored to office. His successor Maximus had been practically appointed by Anatolius of Constantinople. Leo thought best to confirm the appointment, and Maximus justified the hopes placed in him by proclaiming the decrees of Chalcedon on his return. But a few years after, for some unknown reason, he was deposed. In 461 a violent Monophysite, Peter the Fuller, succeeded in intruding into the see. His contribution to the Monophysite cause was of the kind always more effectual than argument in winning popular sympathy—a change in ritual. He introduced into the Trisagion “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts” the phrase: “who was crucified for us”. The imputation of suffering to one of the Trinity seemed to go further in the doctrine of One Nature than even the ascription to the Deity of birth in time. The catch-phrase excited the more passion because of the opportunity it afforded for rival singing or shouting in the church services. Peter was twice expelled from Antioch, but returned in triumph, and took an active part in the Henoticon scheme, to which we shall come directly.

Meantime, Ibas had returned to Edessa. The part taken by this city in the next period of the conflict is so interesting and important that it may seem desirable to notice here the circumstances which had made it theologically prominent. Edessa was the capital of the border-province of Osrhoene, belonging to the Empire, but close to the Persian frontier. According to tradition, it had received Christianity at a very early period, and there is no doubt that the people of those regions, speaking a Syrian tongue, and but little acquainted with Greek philosophy, held a theology different in many respects from that of the Catholics or of Greek-speaking heretics of the fourth and early fifth centuries. All this, however, came to be changed by two events: the foundation of a school, chiefly for theological studies, at Edessa (circ. AD 363) and the active efforts of Bishop Rabbula (d. AD 435) to bring the church of Edessa into line with those of the Empire. These two forces, on the present occasion, acted in contrary directions. The school, which had been founded soon after the abandonment of Nisibis to the Persians (363), had become a nursery of Antiochene thought. For some time Ibas had presided over it, and laboured hard at the translation and promulgation of the theology and exegesis of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the real founder (as is sometimes stated) of Nes­torianism. Rabbula the bishop was an uncompromising Cyrillian. On his death Ibas was raised to the bishopric, and thence exerted his influence in the same direction as formerly, supported by a faithful and singularly able pupil, Barsumas or Barsauma, who shared his fortunes and returned with him to Edessa after the Council of Chalcedon. On the death of Ibas, however, there came a Monophysite reaction. Nonnus, who had held the see while Ibas was under a cloud, re-ascended the episcopal throne (457). In his anxiety to purge the city of Nestorianism (though Ibas had anathematized Nestorius more than once), he made an attack on the school, and banished a large number of “Persian” teachers, i.e. of the orientals who had kept by IbasBar­sumas came to Nisibis, now under Persian rule, and there devoted himself to the task of freeing the Syrian Church from the Western yoke, and of combating Monophysite doctrine. It will shortly appear how an unexpected turn of events greatly assisted him in both these objects. What has chiefly to be noticed here is that a few years after the Council of Chalcedon, Nestorians and Eutychians, or those to whom their adversaries would respectively apply these names, were in unstable equilibrium in various parts of the East.

IV. We now come to the fourth stage in the controversy, or series of controversies, which both manifest and also enhance the religious disunion of this century: the attempt of the Emperor Zeno, along with the bishops of Constantinople and Alexandria, to bring about a compromise. A few words about the character and position of each of the three parties in this attempt may fitly precede our examination of their policy and the reason of its failure.

Zeno the Isaurian (history has forgotten his original name—Tarasicodissa the son of Rusumbladestus) was son-in-law of Leo I, and succeeded his own infant son Leo II in 474. As to the part of his policy which concerns us here, we have Gibbon’s often-quoted remark that “it is in ecclesiastical story that Zeno appears least contemptible”. We shall see directly that this opinion is open to controversy. But there is no doubt that Zeno found himself in a very difficult position. Scarcely was he seated on his throne when Basiliscus, brother of the Empress-dowager, raised an insurrection against him (475), and he went into exile. Basiliscus appealed to the Monophysite subjects of the Empire, anathematized the Tome of Leo and the Council of Chalcedon, and recalled the disaffected bishops, including Timothy the Cat and Peter the Fuller. The circular letter in which he stated this decision is a remarkable assertion of the secular power over the Church. It was, however, of no lasting effect. The storm it aroused forced Basiliscus to countermand it. After about two years of banishment, Zeno fought or bought his way back. The bishops who had assented to the Encyclical of Basiliscus made very humble apology, and for a time it seemed as if the Chalcedonian settlement would prevail. The fact that it did not, is to be attributed mainly to the bishops of Constantinople and Alexandria, Acacius and Peter.

Acacius who had succeeded Gennadius (third after Anatolius) on the episcopal throne of Constantinople in 471, was a man of supple character, forced by circumstances to appear as a champion of theological causes rather than in the more congenial character of a diplomatist. He seems to have been drawn into opposition to Basiliscus, to whose measures he had at first assented, then to have headed the opposition to them and to have earned the credit of the Anti-encyclical and of the final surrender of the usurper. In this crisis, Acacius had found his hand forced by the monks of the capital. The monastic element is very strong in all the controversies of the period, but it is not always on one side. In Egypt, as we have seen, the monks were Monophysite. In Constantinople, the great order of the Acoemetae (sleepless—so called from the perpetual psalmody kept up in their churches) was fanatically Chalcedonian. Possibly the recent foundation (under the patriarch Gennadius) of their great monastery of Studium by a Roman, may partly account for their devotion to the Tome of Leo. In any case, they formed the most vigorous resisting body to all efforts against the settlement of Chalcedon. The policy of Acacius seems to have been determined by the influence acquired over him by Peter Mongus of Alexandria, although, in his earlier days of Chalcedonian orthodoxy, he had regarded Peter as an arch-heretic.

Peter Mongus, or the Stammerer, had been implicated in many of the violent acts of Dioscorus, and had been archdeacon to Timothy the Cat. On the death of Timothy he was, under circumstances somewhat diversely related, chosen as his successor, though the other Timothy (Salophaciolus) was still alive. On the death of Salophaciolus, a mild and moderate man, there was a hotly disputed succession, and Zeno obtained the recognition of Peter as patriarch of Alexandria (A.D. 482). Peter had already sketched out a line of policy with Acacius, which was shortly embodied in the document well known as the Henoticon or Union Scheme of Zeno.

The object of the Henoticon was stated as the restoration of peace and unity to the Church. The means by which such unity was to be obtained were, however, unlikely to satisfy more than one party. We have seen that Gibbon eulogizes it, and more recent historians have followed his opinion. But since a theological eirenicon drawn up by men of shifty character and no scruples must be judged by the measure of its success, we may hesitate to congratulate the originators of a document which, though approved by the patriarchs of the East, was certainly not so by all their clergy and people, and therefore caused a schism of thirty-five years between Rome and Constantinople, and forced the Church of the far East into counter-organization under the aegis of the Great King. Like the Emperor Constantius before him, who sought to settle the Arian difficulty by abolishing the omousion, and the Emperor Constans after him, who wished to allay the bad feelings of the Monotheletes and their opponents by disallowing their distinctive terminology, Zeno tried the autocratic short cut out of controversy by the prohibition of technical terms. Like the other would-be pacifiers, he aroused a great storm.

The Henoticon is in the form of a letter from the Emperor to the bishops and clergy, monks and laity, of Alexandria, Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis. It begins by setting forth the sufficiency of the faith as declared at Nicaea and at Constantinople, and goes on to regret the number of those who, owing to the late discords, had died without baptism or communion, and the shedding of blood which had defiled the earth and even the air. Therefore, the above-mentioned symbols which had also been confirmed at Ephesus are to be regarded as entirely adequate. Nestorius and Eutyches are anathematized and the “twelve chapters” or anathemas of Cyril approved. It declares that Christ is “consubstantial with the Father in respect of the Godhead and consubstantial with ourselves as respects the manhood; that He, having descended and become incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary, the Virgin and Mother of God, is one and not two ... for we do in no degree admit those who make either a division or a confusion or introduce a phantom”. It goes on to say that this is no new form of faith, and that if anyone had taught any contrary doctrine, whether at Chalcedon or elsewhere, he was to be anathematized. Finally, all men are exhorted to return into the communion of the Church.

On its face, the document may seem reasonable enough. If all men could be brought to an agreement on the basis of the creeds of 325 and 381, the less said about Chalcedon the better. But the very mention of Chalcedon in the document, with the suggestion that it might have erred, destroys the semblance of perfect impartiality. As might naturally be expected, the Alexandrians and Egyptians generally were ready to adopt it, though there was an exception in the “headless” party (acephali), the right wing of the anti-Chalcedonians, who were not satisfied because it did not directly condemn the Tome of Leo. But these people were extreme. In general, the apparent intention of leaving the authority of Chalcedon an open question was interpreted as giving full liberty to repudiate that authority. This was certainly the view taken by Peter Mongus, and in all probability by Acacius likewise. Certain letters purporting to be from these prelates show a more compromising spirit, but in a lately discovered correspondence handed down from Armenian sources, we find Peter denouncing the “infamous Leo”, and exhorting Acacius, as he celebrates mass, to substitute mentally for the names of MarcianPulcheria, and others whom he is bound outwardly to commemorate, those of DioscorusEudocia, and other faithful persons.

As might naturally be expected, the Henoticon policy received strenuous opposition in Rome, where Simplicius, the next pope but one after Leo the Great, was determined to lose none of the ground gained by his predecessors. After a very bitter and unsatisfactory correspondence with Acacius, and two nugatory embassies to Constantinople, Simplicius solemnly excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, as favourer of heretics, at a synod in Rome. An Acoemete monk took charge of the notification and fastened it to the mantle of Acacius during service. A similar sentence was passed on Mongus and on Zeno himself.

During the long period of the schism, a good many efforts were made for the restoration of peace, which proved abortive by reason on the one hand of the high demands of the Roman see, which always required the erasure of the name of Acacius from the diptychs, and on the other, the growth in power and assurance of Eastern MonophysitismAnastasius, Zeno’s successor (491-518), generally bore a character for piety and moderation, but towards the end of his life, when he was very aged, appears to have been committed to a Monophysite policy. He seems at least to have been regarded by the Monophysites of later days as friendly to their party. He was influenced in this direction by a refugee of great force of intellect and will, Severus the Pisidian, formerly a pagan and a lawyer, later an uncompromising Monophysite, and head of the once “headless party” to whom the Henoticon seemed not to go far enough. Under his influence, the people of Constantinople were agitated by the singing in church of the Trisagion with addition, while their rivals shouted Peter’s Theopaschite in its original form. Anastasius showed some firmness in withstanding the Roman demands, but he was unfortunate in his dealings with his own patriarchs. The first of these, Euphemius, who was eager for peace with Rome, he degraded from office, only to replace him by another advocate (Macedonius) of the same cause, and after Macedonius in turn had been degraded, a patriarch was appointed (Timotheus) who gave no confidence to either party. With a large section of the people, Anastasius, in spite of his conscientious devotion to duty, made himself intensely unpopular. He made a last attempt to come to an agreement with Pope Hormisdas, but it failed in the same way as previous efforts. The task of making terms with Rome was left to his successor Justin, who became emperor in 518. A solemn ceremony was held in rehabilitation of the Council of Chalcedon. Shortly after, legates arrived from the Pope, and union was restored on the condition, formerly refused, of the erasure of Acacius’ name from the diptychs. Strange to say the two patriarchs whom Anastasius had displaced for their Romeward inclinations, were, in virtue of their schismatic appointment, struck off likewise. Zeno and Anastasius received a kind of post-mortem excommunication. All the leading members of Monophysite and other heretical sects were anathematized.

The end of the schism can hardly be regarded as terminating the series of controversies which are the subject of this chapter. East and West were never again to be reunited with any cordiality. But now, for a time, the outward dissension ceases, and in the struggle not far distant with Vandals in Africa and Goths in Italy, the Empire represents the side of the Catholic Faith against either persecuting or tolerant Arianism.

Meantime, in the East, the Henoticon and the semi-Monophysite policy of the Emperors had far-reaching results. Mention has already been made of the school of Edessa, once presided over by Ibas, and of the reaction in Osrhoene, after Ibas’ death, in a Monophysite direction. In 489 Zeno, regarding Edessa as still a hotbed of Nestorianism, closed the school there. The result was that a good many scholars migrated across the Persian frontier to Nisibis where, as already stated, Barsumas was bishop. In this city a very flourishing school was founded, in which the works of the great Antiochene doctors, Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, might be studied in peace, and where even the memory of Nestorius himself was honoured. The great episcopal see of the Persian Church had since 410 been fixed at Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and the bishop (catholicos) of that see was fairly independent of those who, from his point of view, were regarded as the “western fathers” of the Syrian churches. Christians in Persia enjoyed peace and patronage, with intermittent persecutions, under the great kings of the Sassanid dynasty. It seems to have been part of the Nestorian policy of Barsumas to convince the king that Monophysitism meant inclination to side with the Empire whenever war broke out, while Nestorianism was consistent with loyalty to Persia. Under these circumstances, the Nestorian Church in Persia grew and flourished. Beside its school at Nisibis, it had, in course of time, one at Seleucia. Its character was greatly determined by its monastic institutions. Its missionary zeal made itself felt in India and even in China. Altogether, though the time of its greatness was not of very long duration, it acquired, by its intellectual and religious activity, a very respectable place among the Churches which the dissensions of the fifth century alienated from Catholic Christendom.

While Christianity in Persia was becoming Nestorian, Syria was becoming Monophysite. The whole story of the process does not fall within our present limits, but it may be remarked that the great organiser of the Monophysite communities, both in Egypt and Syria, was Severus the Pisidian who held the see of Antioch from 512 till his deposition in 519, and whose active and productive life ended about 540. The reorganiser of the Monophysite Church after the persecution which followed the reunion of Rome and Constantinople was Jacobus Baradaeus, who died about 578, and from whom the Syrian Monophysites are sometimes called Jacobites. His history, however, does not concern us here.

Historically viewed, the interest of these controversies lies not so much in the motives by which they were inspired as in the dissolutions and combinations to which they gave birth. The alienation of churches seems in many cases to be at bottom the alienation of peoples and nations, the religious difference supplying pretext rather than cause. And sometimes the asserted cause of the dispute is lost sight of when the difference has been made permanent. So it was, apparently, with the Jacobite-Syrian and the Nestorian-Persian Churches. Also we may notice that the Christianity of the Copts has become more like a reversion, with  differences, to the popular religion of the old Egyptians than an elaboration of the principles of Cyril and Dioscorus. And again the breach between Greeks and Latins was sure to break out again, however often the ecclesiastical dispute which had served as the occasion of a temporary alienation might be settled. The fruits of the disunion we have been examining became evident enough in the days of the Mahommedan invasions, yet had the actual occasions of the disunion been entirely absent, we can hardly feel sure that a united Christendom would have stood ready to repel the Saracen advance. Even if the Empire had never lost its unity, it could hardly have retained in permanent and loyal subordination the populations of Egypt and of the East. They had been but superficially connected with Byzantium, while, perhaps unconsciously, they remained under the sway of more ancient civilizations than those of Hellas and of Rome.