Reference: CPG 5304/8629
Incipit: Καταφλυαροῦσι μέν
Date: late Jan. to mid-Feb. 430
Greek Text: ACO 1.1.1:25-28
Latin Text1: ACO 1.2:37-39; 1.3:20-22; 1.5:49-51; 1.5.337-340
Other Ancient Versions: Coptic and Arabic2
English Translation3: FCC (below) based on NPNF2 14:197-1984; CE #10;  ACC 1:173-177;  McG 262-265; Wic 2-11;  CCC 295-298;  FC 76:38-42

During late 429 and the first months of 430, Cyril was engaged in intense study of Christology, resulting in new insights that he expressed in numerous shorter and lengthier writings in the first half of 430. This new grasp of the subject was first seen when he found it necessary to write another letter directly to Nestorius. It is commonly known as his Second Letter to Nestorius and appears as Letter 4 in editions of Cyril’s correspondence. It would become one of the canonical sources for his Christology and the anti-Nestorian position, being approved at both the Council of Ephesus and that of Chalcedon.

On the surface, he expresses hope for reconciliation and that “the peace of the Churches may be preserved and the bond of concord and love continue unbroken” (8). Yet the opening paragraph makes it clear that many have made accusations against Cyril at gatherings of clergy in Constantinople, and he has to begin by denying their accuracy (1). The rest of the letter centers on the Christological issue at hand.

Everyone, he writes, must remain with the faith expressed by the Fathers of the church lest any of the faithful be offended or led astray (2). The wording of the Creed established by the Council of Nicaea, he argues, speaks of the Word uniting flesh to himself “in a true union” that did not eliminate the differences of the two natures “but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord Jesus Christ by their ineffable and inexpressible union” (3). His divine nature did not come into existence in Mary’s womb, but his divine nature took on humanity in the womb, and thus he was born according to the flesh (4). The union is complete, and we must not speak of two Sons, and so the Fathers call Mary “Mother of God” (theotokos) not because they thought his divinity began with the virgin, but because his birth as a man came through her (7).

The Greek text below was read into the proceedings at the Council of Ephesus (ACO 1.1.1:25-28). Of the four different translations into Latin that were preserved in Latin collections of the proceedings (see table above), we provide the text from the Collectio Veronenis (ACO 1.2:37-39) below, unless otherwise noted. Copies also were preserved in Latin in the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon (ACO 2.3:82-85) and the Council of Constantinople of 553 (ACO 4.1:147-149), as well as in Coptic and Arabic versions. The English translation below was adapted for FCC by Austin Claflin and Robert Read from that of NPNF2 vol. 14.

  The second letter from Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, to the same Nestorius Altera epistola Cyrilli Episcopi Alexandriae ad eundem Nestorium
Τῷ εὐλαβεστάτῳ καὶ θεοφιλεστάτῳ συλλειτουργῷ Νεστορίῳ Κύριλλος ἐν κυρίῳ χαίρειν. Cyril, to the most religious and beloved of God, fellow minister Nestorius: Greetings in the Lord. [Reuerentissimo et optimo dei cultori comministro Nestorio Cyrillus in domino salutem.]5
1. Καταφλυαροῦσι μέν, ὡς μανθάνω, τινὲς τῆς ἐμῆς ὑπολήψεως ἐπὶ τῆς σῆς θεοσεβείας, καὶ τοῦτο συχνῶς, τὰς τῶν ἐν τέλει συνόδους καιροφυλακοῦντες μάλιστα, καὶ τάχα που καὶ τέρπειν οἰόμενοι τὴν σὴν ἀκοὴν καὶ ἀβουλήτους πέμπουσι φωνάς, ἠδικημένοι μὲν οὐδέν, ἐλεγχθέντες δέ, καὶ τοῦτο χρηστῶς, ὁ μὲν ὅτι τυφλοὺς ἠδίκει καὶ πένητας, ὁ δὲ ὡς μητρὶ ξίφος ἐπανατείνας, ὁ δὲ θεραπαίνῃ συγκεκλοφὼς χρυσίον ἀλλότριον καὶ τοιαύτην ἐσχηκὼς ἀεὶ τὴν ὑπόληψιν, ἣν οὐκ ἂν εὔξαιτό τις συμβῆναι τισὶν καὶ τῶν λίαν ἐχθρῶν. πλὴν οὐ πολὺς τῶν τοιούτων ὁ λόγος ἐμοί, ἵνα μήτε ὑπὲρ τὸν δεσπότην καὶ διδάσκαλον μήτε μὴν ὑπὲρ τοὺς πατέρας τὸ τῆς ἐνούσης ἐμοὶ βραχύτητος ἐκτείνοιμι μέτρον. οὐ γὰρ ἐνδέχεται τὰς τῶν φαύλων διαδρᾶναι σκαιότητας, ὡς ἂν ἕλοιτό τις διαβιοῦν. 1. I hear that some speak against my esteem of your holiness, and that this happens frequently, especially during the meetings of those in authority. Perhaps they think they will delight you with such speech, but they speak without sense. They have not been wronged; I have exposed them only for their benefit. One wronged the blind and the poor. Another brandished a sword against his mother. Still another stole someone’s money in collusion with his maid and therefore always lived under the kind of suspicion which no one would wish upon even his bitterest enemy. But I care very little about the words of such people, for I would not presume to extend the measure of my stature beyond my Master and Teacher nor beyond the fathers. For no matter what path of life one pursues, it is impossible to escape the slanders of the wicked. 1. Oblocuntur quidam, sicut audio, de mea opinione apud tuam reuerentiam, et hoc frequentius, conuentus maxime nobilium obseruantes, ut puto, delectare tuum aestimantes auditum, et inconsultas emittunt uoces, laesi quidem nihil, conuicti autem, et hoc utiliter, unus quidem quia caecos laedebat et pauperes, alter uero quod contra matrem tetendit gladium, alius autem quod cum ancilla aurum furatus sit alienum, et huiusmodi semper habens opinionem, quam non optet aliquis contingere aliquibus etiam ualde inimicis. Verumtamen non mihi multus de talibus sermo est, ut non ultra dominum et doctorem neque super patres existentis in me breuitatis extendam mensuram. Non enim possibile est prauorum inportunitates euitare, si quoquo modo quis eligat uiuere.
2. Ἀλλ᾽ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας μεστὸν ἔχοντες τὸ στόμα τῷ πάντων ἀπολογήσονται κριτῇ∙ τετράψομαι δὲ πάλιν ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸ ὅτι μάλιστα πρέπον ἐμαυτῷ καὶ ὑπομνήσω καὶ νῦν ὡς ἀδελφὸν ἐν Χριστῷ τῆς διδασκαλίας τὸν λόγον καὶ τὸ ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει φρόνημα μετὰ πάσης ἀσφαλείας ποιεῖσθαι πρὸς τοὺς λαοὺς ἐννοεῖν τε ὅτι τὸ σκανδαλίσαι καὶ μόνον “ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τῶν πιστευόντων” εἰς Χριστὸν ἀφόρητον ἔχει τὴν ἀγανάκτησιν. εἰ δὲ δὴ πληθὺς εἴη τοσαύτη τῶν λελυπημένων, πῶς οὐχ ἁπάσης εὐτεχνίας ἐν χρείᾳ καθεστήκαμεν πρός γε τὸ δεῖν ἐμφρόνως περιελεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα καὶ τὸν ὑγιᾶ τῆς πίστεως κατευρῦναι λόγον τοῖς ζητοῦσι τὸ ἀληθές; ἔσται δὲ τοῦτο καὶ μάλα ὀρθῶς, εἰ τοῖς τῶν ἁγίων πατέρων περιτυγχάνοντες λόγοις περὶ πολλοῦ τε αὐτοὺς ποιεῖσθαι σπουδάζοιμεν καὶ δοκιμάζοντες ἑαυτοὺς εἰ ἐσμὲν ἐν τῇ πίστει κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, ταῖς ἐκείνων ὀρθαῖς καὶ ἀνεπιλήπτοις δόξαις τὰς ἐν ἡμῖν ἐννοίας εὖ μάλα συμπλάττοιμεν. 2. Yet those who have a mouth full of cursing and bitterness shall have to give an account to the judge of all. But I will return again to what especially befits me. I remind you even now, as a brother in Christ, to teach the word and declare the understanding of the faith to the people with all caution, and to consider that it brings unbearable wrath to cause even “one of the little ones who believe” in Christ to stumble [Matt. 18:6]. If so many have indeed been grieved, how could we refuse the obligation to employ every skill to eliminate snares and administer the healing word of faith to those who seek the truth? And we shall accomplish this quite well if we study the writings of the holy fathers, are eager to hold them in high regard, test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith, as scripture says, and conform our thoughts very well to their upright and flawless teachings. 2. Sed illi quidem maledictione et amaritudine plenum habentes os reddent omnium iudici rationem; conuertar autem rursus ego ad hoc quod me magis condecet, et commemorabo etiam nunc, ut fratrem in Christo, doctrinae uerbum et fidei sensum cum omni cautela facere ad populos, cogitare etiam quia scandalizare “unum solum ex pusillis credentibus” in Christum intolerabilem habet indignationem. Si autem multitudo sit tanta maerentium, quomodo non omni arte necesse est ut oporteat prudentius auferre scandala et sanum fidei dilatare sermonem quaerentibus ueritatem? Erit autem hoc et ualde recte, si sanctorum patrum legentes libros magni eos aestimare festinemus et probantes nosmet ipsos si sumus in fide, secundum quod scriptum est, illorum rectis et irreprehensibilibus sectis nostros intellectus optime coniungamus.
3. Ἔφη τοίνυν ἡ ἁγία καὶ μεγάλη σύνοδος αὐτὸν τὸν ἐκ θεοῦ πατρὸς κατὰ φύσιν γεννηθέντα υἱὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ θεὸν ἀληθινόν, τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐκ τοῦ φωτός, τὸν δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα πεποίηκεν ὁ πατήρ, κατελθεῖν σαρκωθῆναι ἐνανθρωπῆσαι παθεῖν ἀναστῆναι τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἀνελθεῖν εἰς οὐρανούς, τούτοις καὶ ἡμᾶς ἕπεσθαι δεῖ καὶ τοῖς λόγοις καὶ τοῖς δόγμασιν, ἐννοοῦντας τί τὸ σαρκωθῆναι καὶ ἐνανθρωπῆσαι δηλοῖ τὸν ἐκ θεοῦ λόγον. οὐ γὰρ φαμὲν ὅτι ἡ τοῦ λόγου φύσις μεταποιηθεῖσα γέγονε σάρξ, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ ὅτι εἰς ὅλον ἄνθρωπον μετεβλήθη τὸν ἐκ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος, ἐκεῖνο δὲ μᾶλλον ὅτι σάρκα ἐψυχωμένην ψυχῇ λογικῇ ἑνώσας ὁ λόγος ἑαυτῷ καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν ἀφράστως τε καὶ ἀπερινοήτως γέγονεν ἄνθρωπος καὶ κεχρημάτικεν υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, οὐ κατὰ θέλησιν μόνην ἢ εὐδοκίαν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ ὡς ἐν προσλήψει προσώπου μόνου, καὶ ὅτι διάφοροι μὲν αἱ πρὸς ἑνότητα τὴν ἀληθινὴν συνενεχθεῖσαι φύσεις, εἷς δὲ ἐξ ἀμφοῖν Χριστὸς καὶ υἱός, οὐχ ὡς τῆς τῶν φύσεων διαφορᾶς ἀνῃρημένης διὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν, ἀποτελεσασῶν δὲ μᾶλλον ἡμῖν τὸν ἕνα κύριον καὶ Χριστὸν καὶ υἱὸν θεότητός τε καὶ ἀνθρωπότητος διὰ τῆς ἀφράστου καὶ ἀπορρήτου πρὸς ἑνότητα συνδρομῆς. 3. Now, the holy and great synod says that he is the one and only Son, begotten according to his nature of God the Father, true God from true God, Light from Light, through whom the Father made all things; that he came down, was incarnate, became human, suffered, rose on the third day, and ascended into heaven. We also ought to follow these words and dogmas, pondering what it means that the Word of God was incarnate and became human. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh nor that he was converted into a whole man consisting of soul and body. We rather say this: The Word, having personally united to himself flesh animated by a rational soul, became man in an indescribable and incomprehensible manner. He is called the Son of Man not merely by his will or good pleasure nor because he merely assumed a persona, but because while the natures, brought together in a true union, are different, there is of both one Christ and one Son. For the difference of the natures is not taken away by the union, but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord and Christ and Son by their indescribable and inexpressible union. 3. Ait igitur sancta et magna synodus ipsum ex deo et patre naturaliter genitum filium unigenitum, ex deo uero deum uerum, lumen de lumine, per quem omnia fecit pater, descendisse, incarnari, humanari, pati, resurgere tertia die et ascendere ad caelos. Haec et nos sequi oportet uerba et dogmata, cogitantes quid incarnari et humanari significet ex deo uerbum. Non enim dicimus quia uerbi natura conuersa facta est caro, neque quia in totum hominem qui est ex anima et corpore, translata est, illud autem magis quia carnem animatam anima rationabili uniens uerbum sibi secundum subsistentiam ineffabiliter et inconprehensibiliter factus est homo et appellatus est filius hominis, non secundum uoluntatem solam aut conplacitum, sed neque ut in adsumptione personae solius, et quia differant quidem quae ad unitatem ueram collatae naturae, unus autem ex utrisque Christus et filius, non quasi differentia naturarum ablata propter adunitionem, perfecerunt autem magis nobis unum dominum et Christum et filium deitatis et humanitatis per ineffabilem et arcanum adunitionis concursum.
4. Οὕτω τε λέγεται, καίτοι πρὸ αἰώνων ἔχων τὴν ὕπαρξιν καὶ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ πατρός, γεννηθῆναι καὶ κατὰ σάρκα ἐκ γυναικός, οὐχ ὡς τῆς θείας αὐτοῦ φύσεως ἀρχὴν τοῦ εἶναι λαβούσης ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ παρθένῳ οὔτε μὴν δεηθείσης ἀναγκαίως δι᾽ ἑαυτὴν δευτέρας γεννήσεως μετὰ τὴν ἐκ πατρός (ἔστιν γὰρ εἰκαῖόν τε ὁμοῦ καὶ ἀμαθὲς τὸν ὑπάρχοντα πρὸ παντὸς αἰῶνος καὶ συναίδιον τῷ πατρὶ δεῖσθαι λέγειν ἀρχῆς τῆς εἰς τὸ εἶναι δευτέρας), ἐπειδὴ δὲ “δι᾽ ἡμᾶς καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν” ἑνώσας ἑαυτῷ καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν τὸ ἀνθρώπινον προῆλθεν ἐκ γυναικός, ταύτῃ τοι λέγεται γεννηθῆναι σαρκικῶς. οὐ γὰρ πρῶτον ἄνθρωπος ἐγεννήθη κοινὸς ἐκ τῆς ἁγίας παρθένου, εἶθ᾽ οὕτως καταπεφοίτηκεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν ὁ λόγος, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ αὐτῆς μήτρας ἑνωθεὶς ὑπομεῖναι λέγεται γέννησιν σαρκικήν, ὡς τῆς ἰδίας σαρκὸς τὴν γέννησιν οἰκειούμενος. 4. In this way also we may say that though he existed before all ages, begotten of the Father, he was also born of a woman according to the flesh. It is not as if his divine nature began to exist in the holy virgin, nor indeed as if it for its own sake had need of a second begetting after that of the Father (for it would be absurd and foolish to say that he who existed before all ages, coeternal with the Father, needed any second beginning of existence). But “for us and for our salvation”6 he personally united humanity to himself and was born of woman, and for this reason we say he was born in the flesh. It is not that first a common man was born of the holy virgin, and then the Word came down upon him. Rather, having been united in the womb itself, we say he underwent birth in the flesh because he appropriates the birth of his own flesh. 4. Sic etiam dicitur, cum ante saecula habeat essentiam et genitus sit ex patre, nasci etiam secundum carnem ex muliere, non quasi diuina eius natura in sancta uirgine initium ut esset, acceperit, neque quod indiguerit necessario propter se secunda natiuitate post eam quae ex patre est. Est enim fatuum simul et indoctum existentem ante omnia saecula et consempiternum patri dicere opus habere ut esset, secundum initium. Quoniam autem “propter nos et propter nostram salutem” uniens sibi secundum subsistentiam quod est humanum, processit ex muliere, ob hoc dicitur nasci carnaliter. Non enim primum homo natus est communis de sancta uirgine et sic descendit in eum uerbum, sed ex ipsa uulua adunitam sustinuisse dicitur natiuitatem carnalem, utpote suae carnis natiuitatem propriam faciens.
5. Οὕτω φαμὲν αὐτὸν καὶ παθεῖν καὶ ἀναστῆναι, οὐχ ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου παθόντος εἰς ἰδίαν φύσιν ἢ πληγὰς ἢ διατρήσεις ἥλων ἢ γοῦν τὰ ἕτερα τῶν τραυμάτων (ἀπαθὲς γὰρ τὸ θεῖον, ὅτι καὶ ἀσώματον), ἐπειδὴ δὲ τὸ γεγονὸς αὐτοῦ ἴδιον σῶμα πέπονθεν ταῦτα, πάλιν αὐτὸς λέγεται παθεῖν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν∙ ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἀπαθὴς ἐν τῷ πάσχοντι σώματι. κατὰ τὸν ἴσον δὲ τρόπον καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ τεθνάναι νοοῦμεν. ἀθάνατος μὲν γὰρ κατὰ φύσιν καὶ ἄφθαρτος καὶ ζωὴ καὶ ζωοποιός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ λόγος∙ ἐπειδὴ δὲ πάλιν τὸ ἴδιον αὐτοῦ σῶμα “χάριτι θεοῦ,” καθά φησιν ὁ Παῦλος, “ὑπὲρ παντὸς ἐγεύσατο θανάτου,” λέγεται παθεῖν αὐτὸς τὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν θάνατον, οὐχ ὡς εἰς πεῖραν ἐλθὼν τοῦ θανάτου τὸ γε ἧκον εἰς τὴν αὐτοῦ φύσιν (ἀποπληξία γὰρ τοῦτο λέγειν ἢ φρονεῖν), ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι, καθάπερ ἔφην ἀρτίως, ἡ σὰρξ αὐτοῦ ἐγεύσατο θανάτου. οὕτω καὶ ἐγηγερμένης αὐτοῦ τῆς σαρκός, πάλιν ἡ ἀνάστασις αὐτοῦ λέγεται, οὐχ ὡς πεσόντος εἰς φθοράν, μὴ γένοιτο, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι τὸ αὐτοῦ πάλιν ἐγήγερται σῶμα. 5. In this way we say also that he suffered and rose again, not as if God the Word in his own nature suffered scourging, the piercing of the nails, or any other wounds (the divine nature being impassible, since it is also incorporeal). But, because that which had become his own body suffered such things, we say he in turn suffered them for us. He who is impassible was in a passible body. And in the same way we comprehend his death. For the Word of God is by nature immortal and incorruptible; he is both life and life-giver. But again because “by God’s grace” his own body “tasted death for everyone” [Heb. 2:9], as Paul says, we say he himself suffered death for us, not as if he experienced death relating to his own nature (for it would be madness to say or think this), but because, as I have just said, his flesh tasted death. In the same way we speak of his flesh being raised as his resurrection, not as if he fell into corruption (by no means!), but again because his own body was raised. 5. Sic dicimus eum et pati et resurgere, non quasi quod dei uerbum passum sit in sua natura aut plagas aut perforaturas clauorum aut quaecumque alia uulnera (inpassibilis enim est deitas, quia et incorporea est), sed quoniam quod factum est eius proprium corpus, passum est haec, iterum ipse dicitur pati pro nobis; erat enim inpassibilis in corpore passibili. Secundum eundem autem modum et in moriendo intellegimus. Inmortale etenim secundum naturam et incorruptibile et uita et uiuificans est dei uerbum; quoniam autem proprium eius iterum corpus “gratia dei” secundum quod ait Paulus, “pro omnibus gustauit mortem,” dicitur ipse pati pro nobis mortem, non quasi quod in experimentum mortis uenerit quod adtinet ad eius naturam (stuporis enim est istud dicere aut sentire), sed, sicut nuper dixi, caro eius gustauit mortem. Sic et resurgente carne eius, iterum resurrectio ipsius dicitur, non quasi quod ceciderit in corruptionem, absit, sed quia eius iterum resurrexit corpus.
6. Οὕτω Χριστὸν ἕνα καὶ κύριον ὁμολογήσομεν, οὐχ ὡς ἄνθρωπον συμπροσκυνοῦντες τῷ λόγῳ, ἵνα μὴ τομῆς φαντασία παρεισκρίνηται διὰ τοῦ λέγειν τὸ σύν, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν προσκυνοῦντες, ὅτι μὴ ἀλλότριον τοῦ λόγου τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ, μεθ᾽ οὗ καὶ αὐτῷ συνεδρεύει τῷ πατρί, οὐχ ὡς δύο πάλιν συνεδρευόντων υἱῶν, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἑνὸς καθ᾽ ἕνωσιν μετὰ τῆς ἰδίας σαρκός. ἐὰν δὲ τὴν καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν ἕνωσιν ἢ ὡς ἀνέφικτον ἢ ὡς ἀκαλλῆ παραιτώμεθα, ἐμπίπτομεν εἰς τὸ δύο λέγειν υἱούς∙ ἀνάγκη γὰρ πᾶσα διορίσαι καὶ εἰπεῖν τὸν μὲν ἄνθρωπον ἰδικῶς τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ κλήσει τετιμημένον, ἰδικῶς δὲ πάλιν τὸν ἐκ θεοῦ λόγον υἱότητος ὄνομά τε καὶ χρῆμα ἔχοντα φυσικῶς. οὐ διαιρετέον τοιγαροῦν εἰς υἱοὺς δύο τὸν ἕνα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. 6. Thus we confess one Christ and Lord, not as if we worship a man along with the Word (lest the word ‘with’ introduce some imaginary division), but worshiping him as one and the same. For the Word’s body is not alienated from him. With his body he even sits together with the Father himself, again not as if two Sons were sitting with him, but one Son by the union with his own flesh. If, however, we reject the personal union as either impossible or improper, we fall into the error of speaking of two Sons. For it is altogether necessary to make a distinction and say that the human has properly been honored with the title ‘Son,’ and the Word of God in turn properly possesses by nature both the name and the reality of Sonship. Therefore we must not divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons. 6. Sic Christum unum et dominum confitemur, non quasi hominem coadorantes uerbo, ut non sectionis fantasia introducatur, cum dicitur co, sed ut unum et eundem adorantes, quia non alienum est a uerbo corpus eius, cum quo et ipsi consedit patri, non ut duobus iterum considentibus filiis, sed ut uno secundum unitionem cum propria carne. Si autem secundum subsistentiam unitionem uel quasi inpossibilem aut indecoram recusamus, incidimus ut duos dicamus filios; omnino enim necesse est distinguere et dicere hominem quidem specialiter filii uocatione honoratum, specialiter autem iterum dei uerbum filiationis nomen et rem naturaliter habentem. Non ergo diuidendus est in duos filios unus dominus Iesus Christus.
7. Ὀνήσει δὲ κατ᾽ οὐδένα τρόπον τὸν ὀρθὸν τῆς πίστεως λόγον εἰς τὸ οὕτως ἔχειν, κἂν εἰ προσώπων ἕνωσιν ἐπιφημίζωσι τινές. οὐ γὰρ εἴρηκεν ἡ γραφὴ ὅτι ὁ λόγος ἀνθρώπου πρόσωπον ἥνωσεν ἑαυτῷ, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι “γέγονε σάρξ.” τὸ δὲ σάρκα γενέσθαι τὸν λόγον οὐδὲν ἕτερόν ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι “παραπλησίως” ἡμῖν “μετέσχεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκὸς” ἴδιόν τε σῶμα τὸ ἡμῶν ἐποιήσατο καὶ προῆλθεν ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γυναικός, οὐκ ἀποβεβληκὼς τὸ εἶναι θεὸς καὶ τὸ ἐκ θεοῦ γεννηθῆναι πατρός, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν προσλήψει σαρκὸς μεμενηκὼς ὅπερ ἦν. τοῦτο πρεσβεύει πανταχοῦ τῆς ἀκριβοῦς πίστεως ὁ λόγος. οὕτως εὑρήσομεν τοὺς ἁγίους πεφρονηκότας πατέρας. οὕτως τεθαρσήκασι θεοτόκον εἰπεῖν τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον, οὐχ ὡς τῆς τοῦ λόγου φύσεως ἤτοι τῆς θεότητος αὐτοῦ τὴν ἀρχὴν τοῦ εἶναι λαβούσης ἐκ τῆς ἁγίας παρθένου, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς γεννηθέντος ἐξ αὐτῆς τοῦ ἁγίου σώματος ψυχωθέντος λογικῶς, ᾧ καὶ καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν ἑνωθεὶς ὁ λόγος γεγεννῆσθαι λέγεται κατὰ σάρκα. 7. Nor is it in any way beneficial to the true word of faith to speak of a union of persons, as some do. For scripture has not said that the Word united to himself a human person, but that he “became flesh” [John 1:14]. But the Word becoming flesh can only mean that he “likewise shared flesh and blood” with us [Heb. 2:14]. He made our body his own and, as a human, was born of a woman, not doing away with his being God or being begotten of God the Father; rather, even when he assumed flesh, he remained what he was. The declaration of the true faith proclaims this everywhere. Thus we shall find the holy fathers to have thought. Thus they have confidently called the holy virgin “theotokos”: not because the nature of the Word (that is, his divinity) began to exist because of the holy virgin, but because when that holy body with a rational soul was born of her, to which body the Word was personally united, we say that the word has been born according to the flesh. 7. Proderit autem nullo modo rectae fidei rationi ita dicere, licet personarum unitionem diuulgent quidam. Non enim dixit scriptura quia uerbum hominis personam aduniuit sibi, sed quia “factum est caro.” Quod uero caro factum est uerbum, nihil aliud est nisi quia “similiter” nobis “participauit sanguinem et carnem” propriumque corpus nostrum fecit et processit homo ex muliere non abiciens esse deus et ex deo nasci patre, sed in adsumptione carnis permanens quod erat. Hoc adnuntiat ubique integrae fidei ratio; ita repperiemus sanctos sapuisse patres; sic praesumpserunt dei genetricem dicere sanctam uirginem, non quod uerbi natura aut deitatis eius initium ut esset, accipiente a sancta uirgine, sed ut nato ex ipsa sancto corpore animato etiam rationabiliter, cui et secundum subsistentiam adunitum uerbum nasci dicitur secundum carnem.
ταῦτα καὶ νῦν ἐξ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ γράφω, παρακαλῶν ὡς ἀδελφὸν καὶ διαμαρτυρόμενος ἐνώπιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων ταῦτα μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν καὶ φρονεῖν καὶ διδάσκειν, ἵνα σῴζηται τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ἡ εἰρήνη καὶ τῆς ὁμονοίας καὶ ἀγάπης ὁ σύνδεσμος ἀρραγὴς διαμένοι τοῖς ἱερεῦσι τοῦ θεοῦ. πρόσειπε τὴν παρὰ σοὶ ἀδελφότητα, σὲ ἡ σὺν ἡμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ προσαγορεύει. Therefore I am even now writing this out of Christlike love, exhorting you as a brother and adjuring you before Christ and the elect angels to both think and teach these things together with us, that the peace of the churches may be preserved and the bond of harmony and love between the priests of God remain unbroken. Send greetings to the brothers who are with you. The brothers who are with us greet you in Christ. Haecque nunc ex dilectione quae in Christo est, scribo, petens ut fratrem et contestans coram deo et electis angelis haec nobiscum et sapere et docere, ut custodiatur ecclesiarum pax et concordiae et dilectionis uinculum indisruptum permaneat sacerdotibus dei. […]

Created by RR 12-16-23

  1. Additional Latin versions are found in ACO 1.5:337-340 and in the Acts of Chalcedon (ACO 2.3:82-85 and 2.3.2:7-10) and in the A.D. 553 Acts of Constantinople II (ACO 4.1:147-149).
  2. The Coptic version with a French translation can be found in U. Bouriant, Fragmenti coptes relatifs au concile d’Éphèse. Mémoires publiés par les members de la Mission archéologique française au Caire 8. Paris, 1892), 92-97. On the Arabic, see G. Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur 1 (Studi e Testi 118), Vatican, 1944, 361.
  3. CE – The Council of Ephesus of 431 (Eng. trans. by Price/Graumann) (= TTH 72); ACC – Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (Eng. trans. of Price and Gaddis) (= TTH 45); McG = McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy (SVS Press, 2004); Wic = Lionel Wickham, Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters (Oxford, 1983); CCC = Creeds, Councils and Controversies, 2nd ed. (ed. Stevenson and Frend); FC = Fathers of the Church (Cath. Univ. of America Press), vol. 76 – J.I. McEnery, Cyril of Alexandria. Letters 1-50 (1987).
  4. Available online at
  5. Among the Latin versions, the salutation is found only in ACO 1.3:20.
  6. This appears to be a quotation from the Nicene Creed, A.D. 325.

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