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St. Cyril and Gethsemene


Aug 17, 2007
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Wandile said:
rakovsky said:
CopticDeacon said:
Thanks to both of you. Mina, how many wills do we believe Christ has? (Sounds nonchalant but I really don't know the answer haha)
It depends on what is meant by Will. If it means a decisionmaking power, then there is one will, however as Dcn Kuraev explained, St Maximos talked about two wills in the sense that Jesus did when He said at Gethsemene "Not my will, but yours", thus distinguishing between divine and human wills that corresponded to each of the two natures, or wills in the sense of ways of desiring things.
Pope St. Leo
Pope St. Cyril. and the Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon.


Jan 15, 2005
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Can you please give the exact quote from St. Cyril's writings in which St. Cyril attributes the prayer in Gethsemene to two wills?


Staff member
Aug 28, 2003
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Maidstone, Kent, England
St Cyril speaks about Gethsemane in his commentaries. He does not say at all what you would think...

"When therefore Christ came thither, as the same Matthew again somewhere says, "He took Peter and James and John, and began to be grieved and sore distressed; and to say to them, My soul is sorrowful even to death. And again, having gone a little forward, He kneeled and prayed, saying, Father, if You will, put away from Me this cup; but not My will, but Yours be done." Behold here, I pray, the profoundness of the dispensation in the flesh, and the height of that wisdom which no words can tell: fix upon it the penetrating eye of the mind: and if you can see the beautiful art of the mystery, you also will say, "O! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out." "He began, it says, to be grieved, and sore distressed." For what reason, O Lord? Were You also terrified at death? Did You being seized with fear draw back from suffering? And yet did not You teach the holy apostles to make no account of the terrors of death, saying, "Fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.....

For what reason therefore are You grieved and sore distressed? Yes, He says, not unbefittingly am I found thus in anguish. For I know indeed that by consenting to suffer the passion upon the cross, I shall deliver all beneath the heaven from every evil, and be the cause of unending blessings to the inhabitants of the whole earth. I am not unaware of the unloosing of death, and the abolition of corporeal corruption, and the overthrow of the tyranny of the devil, and the remission of sin. But all the same it grieves Me for Israel the firstborn, that henceforth He is not even among the servants. The portion of the Lord, and the cord of My inheritance, will be "the portion of foxes," as it is written. He Who was the beloved one is greatly hated: he who had the promises is utterly stripped of My gifts: the pleasant vineyard with its rich grapes henceforth will be a desert land, a place dried up, and without water. "For I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it." "I will break through its hedge, and it shall be a spoil: and I will beat down its wall, and it shall be trampled under foot." And tell me then, what husbandman, when his vineyard is desert and waste, will feel no anguish for it? What shepherd would be so harsh and stern as, when his flock was perishing, to suffer nothing on its account? These are the causes of My grief: for these things I am sorrowful. For I am God, gentle, and that loves to spare. "I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live." Right therefore is it, most right, that as being good and merciful, I should not only be glad at what is joyful, but also should feel sorrow at whatsoever is grievous".

This is not what those who usually use Gethsemane to indicate the two wills acting in opposition might expect.