Monothelitism

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Monothelitism (from Greek meaning "one will") is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus, known as a Christological doctrine, that formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629 AD.[1] Specifically, Monothelitism teaches that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will. This is contrary to the more common Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) corresponding to his two natures. Monothelitism is a development of the Monophysite position in the Christological debates. It enjoyed considerable support in the 7th century before being rejected as heretical.

Contents

Background

During the 5th century, some regions of the Catholic Church were thrown into confusion because of the debates that erupted over the nature of Jesus Christ. Although the Church had already dogmatically defined that Christ was the Son of God, just what his exact nature was remained open to debate. The Church had declared the notion that Jesus was not fully divine heretical in the 4th century (see First Council of Nicaea), during the debates over Arianism and had declared that he was God the Son become human. However, as he was both God and man, there now emerged a dispute over exactly how the human and divine natures of Christ actually existed within the person of Christ.

The Christological definition of Chalcedon, as accepted by the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, is that Christ remains in two distinct natures, yet these two natures come together within His one hypostasis. This position was opposed by the Monophysites who held that Christ possessed one nature only. The term Monophysitism of which Eutychianism is one type, held that the human and divine natures of Christ were fused into one new single (mono) nature. As described by Eutyches, his human nature was "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea", and therefore his nature was really divine.[2] This is distinct from Miaphysitism that states, after the union, Christ is in one theanthropic (human-divine) nature, which is generated from the union of two natures, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration, and with each having a particularity. Miaphysitism is currently the christological doctrine of the Oriental Orthodox churches.[citation needed]

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