CPG 3723
Author Timothy of Beirut
Greek Text Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule: Texte und Untersuchungen, 277-278.

When brother Agapius came to us and heard from us a composite slice concerning the divine incarnation of the Word from different words of our thrice-blessed teacher, bishop Apollinaris, he urged us to take a part of it and show it to him privately with our signatures for your full assurance. And we did this, taking this from the letter written to Sarapion:

“So even you yourself are right to say, ‘We and Christ are not equal.’ But saying that, ‘The flesh is not consubstantial to us since it is the flesh of God’ is in need of a little articulation. For it is better to say that he took on flesh consubstantial with us by nature and he revealed it as divine by the union. And even you yourself say the same thing: ‘According to this it is not consubstantial with us since it is the flesh of God.’ But it would be much more articulately said that the flesh is consubstantial to us by nature and divine by the union and having what is different because of the union.”

After receiving this, said brother came to you and showed it to you. When you saw this, my lord Homonius, you wrote and showed him, comprising a letter like this:

“I, bishop Homonius, confess that the Word of God received flesh from Mary consubstantial to us. If anyone says the flesh united to the Lord is consubstantial with God, as the Word is, we anathematize him.”

You confessed well the nature of the flesh and said it exists as consubstantial to us. But you anathematized its highest union with the incarnate Word by not writing a word about how it is brought into company with the deity. Instead you named it a union, and the kind of union which may also happen in the case of a holy man joined to God, not into one life and hypostasis but seen in a separation of the divine nature. And yet our teacher, the blessed bishop Apollinaris said in various words:

“The flesh of the Lord shares in boththe names and attributes of the Word, while remaining flesh even in the union, not being transformed or relinquishing its own nature, and the Word shares in both the names and the attributes of the flesh, while remaining Word and God even in the incarnation, not changing or falling to the nature of the body.”

Therefore consider it worthy for you to make this clear: Was it in ignorance of the things said about the holy and salvific incarnation of the Word by our Christ-bearing father that you anathematized it? Or was it understanding it as something not said rightly that you threw it out and slandered us everywhere as accepting heresy and anathematized the proclamation of godliness together with godliness itself. For he said,

De unione corporis et divinitatis in Christo, section 2: And the body cannot by itself be said to be a creature, for it is entirely unseparated from him whose body it is. Rather, it shares the name “uncreated” and being called “God,” because it accompanies God for a union, just as it is said, “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14), and in the Apostle, “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45).

De unione corporis et divinitatis in Christo, section 8: In this way he is also consubstantial with God according to the invisible spirit, with the flesh also being included with the name because it was united to what is consubstantial with God. And in turn he is consubstantial with men, with the deity also being included with the body because it was united to what is consubstantial with us. This occured without the nature of the body being changed by the union with what is consubstantial with God or by sharing of the name “consubstantial.” In the same way the nature of the deity has not been changed by the sharing of a human body or by receiving the flesh’s name: “consubstantial with us.”

Fragment 153: Therefore, as God and along with the flesh consubstantial with the only God, the Lord Jesus Christ is sinless and the Demiurge from before eternity. The flesh, as the flesh of God, is God. As it is of the one who is consubstantial with God, a part united to him is consubstantial with God and is not separated. For it moves neither by being separated nor on its own, as a man moves a self-energizing life. For God by the sharing of the flesh is the one who is not man according to himself. And the flesh by the sharing of God is the one who is not God according to itself. And God is capable of all the things which follow the flesh by virtue of the unity of the flesh, and the flesh takes on the things which belong to God by virtue of the union with God.

Fragment 11: Because of who was mixed, you already see that the body is greater, greater, I say, than not only his own body but also the fiery angels. For God has not been mixed to any of those. None of those bodies give life to the world. None of the angels is made equal to God like the one who cried out from body and deity makes himself equal to God, saying, “As the Father has life in himself, so he gave it also to the Son to have life in himself” (Jn 5:26).

Fragment 12: And seeing the Spirit working in him the kind of energy from which he would be separated, you consider yourself divine, as also a robe put together from your skin is able to heal diseases. Do you suppose that that which is joined to God inseparably and became identical to him because of the essential unity (for he says, “The Word became flesh” [Jn 1:14]) is neither divine nor God?

Fragment 154: Surely it is not that both together are from heaven but what is united to the heavenly and has become one person with it is heavenly according to the union and is worshipped as heavenly with the worship of the heavenly God and saves as heavenly with the power of the heavenly one.

From Fragment 164: To me godliness is both a proposal of friendship and no pretense at all of hostility towards those who guard godliness. Let no one seek anything new from me now or demand a silencing of the truth as if by this he were making peace. That no one can bring against us these things which were said against some is clear from what we have always written: We said that the flesh of the Savior is not from heaven and that the flesh is not consubstantial with God insofar as it is flesh and not God but it is God inasmuch as it is united to the deity in one person.

Fragment 155: The living Christ is a God-breathed body and a divine spirit in the flesh, a heavenly mind, which we pray to share in according to the words, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co 2:16), a holy flesh born with the deity and setting the deity in those who share it, foundational to eternal life, the originator of incorruption for men, the Demiurge of eternal creation, the father of the age to come.

Fragment 114: How is he not true God who says, “This much time I have been with you and you do not know me, Philip?” (Jn 14:9)? He signifies his time spent as a man with men by “This much time” and points out that the man is God such that it is not shameful to say that such a man is consubstantial with God since he is known by the Father’s form of deity as matter is by the body.

Fragment 115: So he does not make the divine human by a division which is in keeping with the body in equality with God in making and renewing. It is impossible that another nature, the humanity of Christ, be defined by the boundary of a man as the body of a man and not of God, in keeping with the body in equality with God.

Fragment 116: His flesh makes us alive because of the deity which accompanies it. The divine is what gives life. Therefore the flesh is divine because it was joined together to God. And it saves, and we are saved by partaking of it like nourishment. If that which nourishes and is at work in the nourished, is consubstantial with it, it is not likewise nourished. And if that which gives life is not given life like that which is given life it is not consubstantial with it. For then it would be a body of death such as ours, which needed to be made alive. The body of Christ is not a body of death but of life. Therefore the divine is not consubstantial with the human.

Fragment 147: Much more, on the basis of the mixing of the bodiless with a body, does that which is of the nature of the united things remain. For also both the body remains body and the bodiless remains bodiless. And an embodied God and a deified body is called a most perfect union and, as the embodied God is man, he is both together and, as the deified body is God, also again he is both together.

Fragment 148: Already the body is absent from being formed and being in the form of a servant, but it has been glorified by that natural union to the uncreated even according to this birth from the Virgin. And according to this he did not change from being formed to being uncreated but he was united to the uncreated. And since he is God according to the union with God he is uncreated, with respect to which he is God. And since the Father would not have a body (for the Father is not bodied), according to this body he never would have been called “unbegotten” or “in his own nature unbegotten” just as he also was not the “begotten of God,” or “unbegotten by a union,” as he is “Son” and “child” with respect to the both natural and initial union with the begotten son.

Fragment 140: The union of God with the flesh was something remarkable and marvelous and happening once and not a second time. Your soul by no means receives this nor do the souls of those who are leading you to this godlessness and anti-Christian unbelief. Yet you make sport of the highest union and say, “No longer do the things of God and the things of the flesh remain if there is a union, but the high union is broken if we confess the highest union according to the flesh from David.”

Fragment 141: So you are bothered that we do not allow that which is from the seed of David to take on immortality by the grace of God. And when we are asked the reason, we say, “He took it on because of the highest union.”

Fragment 142: And he is not ashamed to say that the nature is the same but the birth is different. It would be worthless and superfluous for the birth from the virgin to be introduced if the one born were not also deserving of this birth but the same as those born of a man and a woman. He mocks as highest godlessness the highest union which the divine Scriptures clearly introduce, neither making the human destructive to God nor turning the human divine.

Fragment 143: And since you encourage us answer, “How is the seed of David that which is from the divine essence?” Hear that it is according to the incarnation. “How is the created uncreated?” Since it was united to the uncreated. “How is the fruit of David’s loins the Demiurge of creation?” Since it was united to the Demiurge. “How is that which is from Abraham before Abraham?” Since it was united to what was before Abraham.

Fragment 144: But let the fool read these things: How was that which was joined with God according to the unity of person not God with him? How was that which was united to the uncreated according to the living unity not uncreated with him? For if the title is not shared then in this way there is nothing which is mixed. And it is the most irrational thing of all if we named the bodiless with the names of the body because we say that the Word has become flesh but we do not address the body with the name of the bodiless in keeping with the union with it surely. And if he wonders how the created is united so that it is addressed as uncreated, how much more will someone else rightly wonder how the uncreated is united so that it is addressed as created flesh.

Fragment 145: If the Word is named flesh because of the union (Jn 1:14), it follows also that the flesh is named Word because of the union. As it is the Word, so also it is uncreated, not because it was not created but because the Word is displayed from this union.

Fragment 146/126: People are consubstantial with the irrational animals according to their irrational bodies but are not consubstantial as they are rational. So also God, although consubstantial with people according to the flesh, is not consubstantial as he is Word and God.

From Fragment 117-118: God takes on a vehicle and he is God as he energizes it and man according to the vehicle. Remaining God, he has not been changed. He has brought forth the moving vehicle to complete the one energy. And if the energy is one, the essence is one also. Therefore he became one essence of the Word and the vehicle. As many as are united either in form or agreement, being two, they remain two.

Fragment 157: And how is the body God and Demiurge and master?

Because it is the body of God and the Demiurge and master, having the unity which we have not found to exist of a man with God.

Fragment 156: Certainly wretched and actually lowly of soul are those who consider as something small this so prudent and great and extraordinary preparation.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 6-13-2013

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