Reference: CPG 6028
Incipit: Εὐσέβιος ὁ Παμφίλου ἐν ὅλοις δέκα βιβλίοις τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν ἱστορίαν ἐκθέμενος
Date: c. 440
Greek Text: SC 506
Latin Text:  
Other Ancient Versions:  
English Translation: FCC: G. Thompson; Zenos NPNF Ser. 2, vol. 2, 170-171

Socrates grew up in Constantinople in the first half of the fifth century and wrote a church history covering the years 305-439. Thus we can be confident that the events which took place in Constantinople in 428-429 and which he describes in 7.32, are a quite accurate account of events. Written only a decade after the events which he describes, he attempts to give a more balanced reading of Nestorius and his teachings.

The text below is adapted from the SC 506 volume of Maraval and Perichon, Socrates de Constantinople, Histoire ecclesiastique (Paris, 2007). The English translation was adapted by G. Thompson from A. Zenos in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series.


Book 7, chapter 32

32.1 Συνῆν αὐτῷ Ἀναστάσιός τις πρεσβύτερος ἅμα αὐτῷ ἐκ τῆς Ἀντιοχείας σταλείς. τοῦτον διὰ τιμῆς ἦγεν πολλῆς καὶ ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν συμβούλῳ ἐχρῆτο. 32.1 Nestorius brought an associate with him from Antioch, a presbyter named Anastasius. He held this man in the highest esteem and consulted him when dealing with his most important affairs.
32.2 Καί ποτε ἐπ’ ἐκκλησίας ὁ Ἀναστάσιος διδάσκων ἔφη· “Θεοτόκον τὴν Μαρίαν καλείτω μηδείς· Μαρία γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἦν, ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπου δὲ θεὸν τεχθῆναι ἀδύνατον.” 32.2 Once, while Anastasius was preaching in the church, he said, “Let no one call Mary ‘theotokos,’ for Mary was but a human being, and it is impossible for a human being to give birth to God.”
32.3 Τοῦτο ἀκουσθὲν πολλοὺς κληρικούς τε καὶ λαϊκοὺς ἐν ταὐτῷ πάντας ἐτάραξεν. ἦσαν γὰρ πάλαι διδαχθέντες θεολογεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ μηδαμῶς αὐτοῦ τὸν τῆς οἰκονομίας ὡς ἄνθρωπον χωρίζειν ἐκ τῆς θεότητος, πειθόμενοι τῇ τοῦ ἀποστόλου φωνῇ λεγούσῃ· “Εἰ καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν κατὰ σάρκα Χριστόν, ἀλλὰ νῦν οὐκέτι γινώσκομεν,” καὶ· “Διὸ ἀφέντες τὸν περὶ Χριστοῦ λόγον ἐπὶ τὴν τελειότητα φερώμεθα.” 32.3 These words created a great sensation, and shook up many of the clergy and laity. They had been heretofore taught to acknowledge Christ as divine and not in any way to separate the reality of his saving work as a man from his divinity, observing the voice of the apostle when he said, “Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him in this way no longer” [2 Cor. 5:16]. And again, “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teaching about Christ, and be taken forward to maturity” [Heb. 6:1].
32.4 Ταραχῆς οὖν, ὡς ἔφην, ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ γενομένης ὁ Νεστόριος τὸν τοῦ Ἀναστασίου λόγον κυρώσασθαι σπεύδων (οὐ γὰρ ἐξελέγχεσθαι ὡς βλάσφημον τὸν παρ’ αὐτοῦ τιμώμενον ἤθελεν) συνεχῶς περὶ τούτου ἐπὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐδίδασκεν, φιλονεικότερόν τε περὶ αὐτοῦ τὰς ζητήσεις ποιούμενος καὶ πανταχοῦ τὴν λέξιν τοῦ θεοτόκος ἐκβάλλων. 32.4 When this disturbance (as I have said) came about in the church, therefore, Nestorius hurried to confirm the proposition of Anastasius. And since he did not want to have someone he valued to be convicted of blasphemy, he began to continuously teach on this subject in the church. Making even more contentious arguments about this subject, he rejected altogether the term theotokos.
32.5 Διὸ τῆς περὶ τούτου ζητήσεως παρ’ ἄλλοις ἄλλως ἐκδεχθείσης διαίρεσις ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν νυκτομαχίᾳ καθεστῶτες νῦν μὲν τοῦτο ἔλεγον, νῦν δὲ τὰ ἕτερα, συγκατετίθεντό τε ἐν ταὐτῷ καὶ ἠρνοῦντο. 32.5 As a result, there was a division within the church, with a group taking each side of the question. Just as it happens in a night battle, now the one said this and the others said that; the one confirmed one thing while the other denied it.
32.6. Νεστόριος δὲ δόξαν παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς εἶχεν ὡς ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον λέγων τὸν κύριον καὶ ὡς Παύλου τοῦ Σαμοσατέως καὶ Φωτεινοῦ τὸ δόγμα εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν εἰσάγων. 32.6 Nestorius thus acquired the reputation among the masses of asserting that our Lord was simply a man, and of bringing into the church a teaching just like that of Paul of Samosata and Photinus.
32.7 Ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τούτου τοσαύτη ἐκινήθη ζήτησις καὶ ταραχή, ὡς καὶ συνόδου οἰκουμενικῆς δεηθῆναι. 32.7 But such a great contention and disturbance was caused by this that a general council was thought necessary.
32.8 Ἐγὼ δὲ ἐντυχὼν τοῖς παρὰ Νεστορίου λόγοις ἐκδοθεῖσιν ἀγνοοῦντα ἐφευρίσκω τὸν ἄνδρα. καὶ μετ’ ἀληθείας ἐρῶ· οὐδὲ γὰρ οὔτε ἀπεχθανόμενος πρὸς αὐτὸν ὧν εἶχεν ἐλαττωμάτων ἐμνήσθην, οὔτε χαριζόμενός τισιν ἐλαττονοῦντα ὧν ἐφεῦρον ἐκθήσομαι. 32.8 I myself have read the statements circulated by Nestorius and find him to be an unlearned man. But I will speak truly. I have already alluded to his faults without expressing my personal disgust, and in the same way I shall be unbiased by the accusations of his adversaries in discrediting his merits.
32.9 Οὔ μοι δοκεῖ ὁ Νεστόριος οὔτε τὸν Σαμοσατέα Παῦλον ζηλῶν οὔτε μὴν Φωτεινὸν μηδ’ ὅλως ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον λέγειν τὸν κύριον, ἀλλὰ τὴν λέξιν μόνην ὡς τὰ μορμολυκεῖα πεφόβηται. 32.9 It does not appear to me that Nestorius is either a disciple of Paul of Samosata or of Photinus, nor does he say that the Lord is simply a man, but he is terrified by the one single expression as if it were some monster.
32.10 Φυσικῶς γὰρ εὔλαλος ὢν πεπαιδεῦσθαι μὲν ἐνομίζετο, τῇ δὲ ἀληθείᾳ ἀνάγωγος ἦν καὶ τὰς τῶν παλαιῶν ἑρμηνέων βίβλους ἀπηξίου μανθάνειν. τυφούμενος γὰρ ὑπὸ τῆς προσούσης αὐτῷ εὐγλωττίας οὐκ ἀκριβῶς προσεῖχε τοῖς παλαιοῖς, ἀλλὰ πάντων κρείττονα ἐνόμιζεν ἑαυτόν. καὶ τοῦτο πέπονθεν ὑπὸ ἀμαθίας πολλῆς. 32.10 Although he had a natural aptitude as a good speaker and was considered well-educated, in reality he was uneducated. In fact, he condemned the tedious work of accurately examining the ancient interpreters. Puffed up with his own skill of expression, he did not pay attention to the ancients, but considered himself superior to them all. Thus, he was afflicted in this way by his own ignorance.
32.11 Αὐτίκα γοῦν ἠγνόησεν, ὅτι ἐν τῇ καθολικῇ Ἰωάννου ἐπιστολῇ γέγραπτο ἐν τοῖς παλαιοῖς ἀντιγράφοις, ὅτι “Πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ λύει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν.” 32.11 Now he was evidently ignorant of the fact that in John’s catholic epistle it was written in the ancient copies, “Every spirit that separates Jesus from God is not of God” [1 John 4:3].
32.12 Ταύτην γὰρ τὴν διάνοιαν ἐκ τῶν παλαιῶν ἀντιγράφων περιεῖλον οἱ χωρίζειν ἀπὸ τοῦ τῆς οἰκονομίας ἀνθρώπου βουλόμενοι τὴν θεότητα. 32.12 Those who desired to separate the divine from the human in God’s plan of salvation have removed this thought from the old copies.
32.13 Διὸ καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ ἑρμηνεῖς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐπεσημήναντο, ὥς τινες εἶεν ῥᾳδιουργήσαντες τὴν ἐπιστολήν, λύειν ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τὸν ἄνθρωπον θέλοντες. συνανείληπται δὲ ἡ ἀνθρωπότης τῇ θεότητι, καὶ οὐκέτι εἰσὶ δύο, ἀλλὰ ἕν. 32.13 For this reason, the early interpreters indicated this very thing, how some people had corrupted this epistle, wanting to separate the human from the divine. But the humanity has been incorporated into the divinity, and they are no longer two but one.
32.14 Τοῦτο θαρροῦντες οἱ παλαιοὶ θεοτόκον τὴν Μαρίαν λέγειν οὐκ ὤκνησαν. οὕτω γὰρ {καὶ} ὁ Παμφίλου Εὐσέβιος ἐν τῷ τρίτῳ λόγῳ τῶν εἰς τὸν βίον Κωνσταντίνου κατὰ λέξιν ταῦτά φησιν· … 32.14 Confident in this, the ancients did not hesitate to call Mary theotokos. For thus Eusebius Pamphili in the third book of his Life of Constantine states in these words: …
32.15 “Καὶ γὰρ καὶ γέννησιν ὑπομένειν ὁ μεθ’ ἡμῶν θεὸς δι’ ἡμᾶς ἠνέσχετο, καὶ τόπος αὐτοῦ τῆς ἐνσάρκου γεννήσεως ὀνομαστὶ παρ’ Ἑβραίοις ἡ Βηθλεὲμ ἐκηρύττετο. 32.15 “And in fact God-with-us emerged to undergo birth for our sake; and the place of his birth in the flesh was proclaimed as Bethlehem by the Hebrews.
32.16 “Διὸ καὶ ἡ βασίλισσα Ἑλένη ἡ θεοφιλεστάτη τῆς θεοτόκου τὴν κύησιν μνήμασι θαυμασίοις κατεκόσμει, παντοίως τὸ τῇδε ἱερὸν ἄντρον φαιδρύνουσα.” 32.16 “For that reason, our most devout empress Helena adorned the place where the theotokos gave birth with most splendid memorials, illuminating that sacred cave in many ways.”
32.17 Καὶ Ὠριγένης δὲ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ τόμῳ τῶν εἰς τὴν πρὸς Ῥωμαίους τοῦ ἀποστόλου ἐπιστολὴν ἑρμηνειῶν πῶς θεοτόκος λέγεται πλατέως ἐξήτασεν. 32.17 Origen also in the first volume of his Commentaries on the apostle’s epistle to the Romans, gives a wide-ranging examination of the sense in which the term theotokos is used.
32.18 Φαίνεται τοίνυν ὁ Νεστόριος ἀγνοήσας τὰς πραγματείας τῶν παλαιῶν. 32.18 It is therefore clear that Nestorius had very little knowledge of the treatises of the ancients.
32.19 Διό, καθὼς ἔφην, τὴν λέξιν μόνην περιίσταται. ἐπεὶ ὅτι ψιλὸν οὐ λέγει ἄνθρωπον τὸν Χριστόν, ὡς Φωτεινὸς ἢ Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεύς, καὶ αἱ ἐκδοθεῖσαι αὐτοῦ προσομιλίαι διδάσκουσιν, ὡς οὐδαμοῦ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου ὑπόστασιν ἀναιρεῖ, ἀλλὰ πανταχοῦ ἐνυπόστατον αὐτὸν ὁμολογεῖ καὶ ἐνούσιον. 32.19 For that reason, as I observed, he avoided only that word, for his own publicly circulated sermons inform us that he does not say that Christ is only a man, as Photinus or Paul of Samosata did. Nowhere in them does he destroy the being [hypostasis] of the Word of God, but on the contrary invariably confesses him to be both one substance [hypostasis] and one essence [ousia].
32.20 Οὐ μὴν ὡς Φωτεινὸς καὶ ὁ Σαμοσατεὺς ἀναιρεῖ αὐτοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν· τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ Μανιχαῖοι καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ Μοντανοῦ δογματίζειν ἐτόλμησαν. 32.20 Nor does he ever deny his subsistence as Photinus and the Samosatean did. For also the Manicheans and the followers of Montanus have dared to teach that doctrine.
32.21 Οὕτω μὲν οὖν τὸν Νεστόριον φρονοῦντα εὑρίσκω ἐγὼ ἔκ τε ὧν ἀνέγνων αὐτοῦ λόγων καὶ ἀφ’ οὗ οἱ ἐρασταὶ αὐτοῦ λέγουσιν. 32.21 This then is what I find when considering Nestorius, both from having myself read his own works, and from what his admirers say.
32.22 Οὐ μικρὰν μέντοι ταραχὴν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ ἡ ψυχρολογία Νεστορίου ἐκίνησεν. 32.22 But throughout the inhabited world this nonsensical idea of Nestorius has set in motion no small disturbance.

No Responses yet