Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
The writings of our father Saint Cyril are almost 1600 years old. There are no surprises, no rugs to pull, to "gotcha!" moments to uncover.
Saint Cyril teaches exclusively the teaching of One Nature of Christ, a Miaphysis, (not a monophysis). Mia
implies a plurality albeit in full union, in the same context as the word communion. Mia
then encompasses the plurality of Christ being God and Man and yet perfectly preserves the sanctity and singularity
of the Union of the Incarnation. The Divine Nature of God the Word is unchanged through the Union, but the exists in unity with the Human Nature of Jesus Christ in the flesh of His Person (hypostasis
). Now here is the real crux of the debate, which separates Oriental and Orthodox/Latin Fathers interpretations. Saint Cyril implied in his use of the term hypostasis
at once to by synonomous with the term physis
or nature. Hypostasis
and nature are one concept in Cyrillian thought, though two aspects or perspectives. The physis
describes the nature or function, while the concept of hypostasis
describes the form or under-lying reality
. Only later did Orthodox and Latin theologians decide to further clarify these terms by inserting a clear distinction in their uses, so that they are no longer considered synonomous. When reading Cyril speak of One Nature, he is equally speaking of One Person. Oriental Fathers explain after that this is because there is no abstract nature or physis, everything must exist hypostatically, that is in reality ( hypostasis can be translated as "that which has actual existence"
). In this same way, obviously nothing that really exists (i.e., has a hypostasis or an underlying reality) lacks a design (i.e. a nature, physis). Hence the term hypo (under) and stasis (reality, form, substance), which at once describes to actual form of something which exists while at once also implying how it exists or its underlying principles of existence. For example, God is Divine, this is His Nature, however He does not abstractly exist, He actually exists, and so the Cyrillian fathers also describe God has having a spiritual hypostasis (form/person) which is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, Three Persons with One Nature. I know I am kind of stumbling like Eutyches here, but this is how it has been explained to me. Saint Cyril always considered the term hypostasis (Person) to inherently include nature. Hence the union of Natures as one. They mutually exist together, they define each other. The nature defines the manifested form (hypostasis
) and the form is in perfect accordance with the nature (physis
). This why the term is the hypo (under) stasis (reality) which is what Saint Cyril implies when he was quoted above
Himself raising the dead was raised from the dead, and being Life by Nature is said to quicken. And how again? After one manner and another. For the Same was raised from the dead and is said to be quickened after the Flesh, yet quickens and raises the dead as God. He suffers and does not suffer 40, after one manner and another: for He |229 suffers humanly in the Flesh as Man, He is impassible Divinely as God."
Since there is a Union of the human and divine, they exist for ever as one. The original form and function of each remains, however they exist fully united as a miaphysis (a composite nature) through a singular hypostasis (the Person of Jesus Christ in the flesh). The Divine Word gives life to His own flesh (because human nature is not self-existing) while He exists forever through Human flesh because flesh is the hypostasis of His Human nature. He has the qualities of both simultaneously existing and mutually interacting as a single composite. The human is perfectly human, and remains such, but is united with the Divine, and the Divine remains perfectly divine while united to the human. The objections which Oriental Fathers have with the Orthodox and Latins is the later distinctions theologically between the terms nature and person. When the Oriental mind hears "two" in the context of natures, it automatically implies two persons (hypostases
) which is Nestorianism. Further, when Orthodox/Latins after the separation of the terms in the 400s hear to term one in the context of natures it cries of Apollinarianism or Eutychianism because they misunderstand Oriental conception of the Union as a miaphysis
, a composite. Of course in the past 150 years of ecumenical dialogue, we've sorted all this out so that today (a) many Oriental fathers seem to accept that the Latins and Orthodox are not suggesting Nestorianism in their language and (b) many Latins and Orthodox seem to accept that Orientals are not monophysites but are miaphysites, a term which they also seem to agree with. Essentially, we've figured out how to bridge the semantic divide which was the crux of the problem all the way back with Saint Cyril and Pope Leo's Tome.