Christianity / Orientations / Heresy /
In Christianity, the concept of Christ having only one nature, this being purely divine. The term is from Greek, meaning "one nature".
Monophysitism emerged in the 5th century. It was defined in more than one way, and although the definitions can be hard to understand, they deal with the following challenge: How to define Christ with full divine qualities, yet preserve the concept of God walking among men, as a man. Monophysitism attempted to declare that he had one divine nature which manifested itself in the flesh. By this, the concept of Christ being both human and divine was opposed.
Apollinarius of Antioch had in the late 4th century declared that Christ did have a human body, but that the divine had taken place of the "thinking principle". This was not a Monophysite concept, but within it lay the seeds for Monophysite ideas.
Nestorius of Constantinople had in the first half of the 5th century declared that Christ had two natures, but that these were separate, as if it were two persons.
Eutyches of Constantinople declared in the middle of the 5th century that Christ's human nature was obliterated by the divine nature, "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea".
Monophysitism dominated in the eastern half of the contemporary Christian world. Several modern churches have a Monophysite understanding of Christ: The Armenian Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Nestorian Church and the Ethopian Church. Dominating Christian groups, like the Roman Catholics and Protestants accept today of the teachings of the Monophysite churches.
Around 430: Nestorius declares the first formulation that would come to define Monophysitism.
Late 440's: Eutyches proposes another definition of Monophysitism.
451: The Council of Chalcedon, assembled by Pope Leo 1, aims at finding a compromise between the Monophysite view of Christ and the view of the Western church.
A large group of the Egyptian Christians do not accept the decrees from the Council of Chalcedon, breaking out and thereby effectively forming the Coptic church.
482: Byzantine Emperor, Zeno, issues the Henoticon, which largely is well received among Monophysites, but not with western Christians.
484: The Henoticon is rejected by Pope Felix 2 (in Rome), causing a schism between Constantinople and Rome. It would not be mended until 35 years later.
506: The Armenian Church adopts the Monophysite doctrine.
6th century: The Syrian Orthodox Church is organized by Jacob Baradaeus in cooperation with Byzantine Empress Theodara. It adopts a Monopysite theology.
620's: The compromise theory of Monothelitism is introduced by Emperor Heraclius.
680-681: At the 6th ecumenical council at Constantinople, the Monophysites are condemned together with the Monothelite idea.
1551: Creation of the Chaldean Catholic Church, making many Iraqi Christians leave the Nestorian Church.
1741: Creation of the Coptic Catholic Church, which gets members from the Coptic Church.