St Severus of Antioch and the Julianist Heresy

Remnkemi

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One observation Mina.

You didn't stress the importance of St Severus in Coptic liturgy enough. You wrote, "In fact, Severus is so important for the Coptic Church that even though he was never one of the bishops of Alexandria, we still list him as if he was one of the bishops of Alexandria in our hymnographical tradition."

We do not just list him as one of the bishops of Alexandria, we list him in the beginning of Coptic bishops after St Mark in the Commemoration of the Saints (which is not a comprehensive list of Coptic popes) and at the end of the diptychs (which is a comprehensive list) as the crown of Coptic patriarchs.

Sebastian Brock wrote an article in BSAC 26 (1984) about a 10th century Coptic diptych in a Syriac manuscript that mentions St Severus at the end of the diptych with "kai theophorou Ceverou tou megalou Patriarxou Antioxia" (And the God-bearer Severus, the great patriarch of Antioch).
Here we see that a Syriac manuscript has Coptic diaconal/liturgical Greek texts including a Coptic diptych mentioning Severus in the list of Coptic patriarchs at the end.

In another article, Michael McCormick from Dumbarton Oaks described a 7th century Coptic diptych from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that ends with "Kai Apa Seve". (The full name is truncated in the manuscript). McCormick states "Unless we are to think the author of this diptych grafted some other prelate's name onto the patriarchal succession of Alexandria, we must logically conclude that the new diptych ends with Severus. If this were correct, we would be faced with with a successor to Andrionicus who appears to be unknown in the modern literature on the patriarchate of Alexandria." In his footnote, McCormick tries to explain Severus in light of the historical political struggles between Melkites and Jacobites. He adds "In the hypothesis of a non-Alexandrian prelate, the name of Severus of Antioch comes to mind. It is not clear, however, why a patriarch of Antioch would figure at the end of the patriarchs of Alexandria." Museon 94, 1984, p.53. Here we see a scholar try to explain Severus' name in the diptychs as an anomaly or proof an unknown line of Alexandrian prelates.

St Severus is the only patriarch who didn't oversee the patriarchate of Alexandria yet is still mentioned in the Alexandrian/Coptic patriarchate diptychs. We have Syrian/Antiochian born monks who were elected to be Alexandrian patriarchs and chaired the Alexandrian patriarchate. All of this illustrates the unique relationship of St Severus to the Copts (and the relationship of Copts and Coptic texts in the Syriac Church). It is a relationship based on theological fidelity, not political power or imperial intrusion.

Of course, this is an insignificant part part of your article and tangential to the immense information you gave us. I have to stress how much I really enjoyed it.
 

Yasen

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Mina Soliman says in the article:,,Severus believed that the humanity of Christ is filled with divine energy, but that does not ignore the human energy. … Julian would criticize Severus that he becomes no different from Pope Leo of Rome and the Chalcedonians, but Severus would retort that the subject of the willing and acting is the Logos, which he would contest Pope Leo did not confess.“

If, when referring to the time after the Incarnation, by ,,one subject“ we understand one Person/Hypostasis in Christ, it is right and it is true that the Hypostasis/Person of the Word which was one before the Incarnation, remained one after the Incarnation with the difference that the simple Hypostasis before the Incarnation became complex after the Incarnation in the sense that now two nature subsisted in it – divine and human. Will – divine or human, is a natural property and of course, its mode is always hypostatic because the Person/Hypostasis of Christ is one. But if we say that the subject of the human willing and acting after the Incarnation, is the Logos, the Logos Itself, the Word Itself, the Word alone, then comes an issue. This is because the expressions the Logos, the Logos Itself, the Word itself, the Word alone refer to the Person/Hypostasis of the Logos and to the divinity, to the divine nature and energy since the eternal Logos’ own nature and energy, i.e. the eternal nature and energy of the Logos, are only the divine nature and energy unlike the created human nature and energy which became His own nature and energy in addition to the eternal divine nature and energy after the Incarnation when the Logos assumed the created human nature and energy. That way, when we say that the Logos is the subject of the human willing and actions, since the human willing and the actions do not belong to the Hypostasis but belong to the human nature and proceed from the human energy, then it follows that the human willing and actions belong to His divine nature and so proceed from His divine energy. That would mean that his human nature does not have its own energy. Therefore, it would follow that after the Incarnation the divine nature and energy of Christ have changed as they would now have two wills and kinds of actions – divine and human, i.e. it would follow that God has changed which is impossible (James 1:17). Also, if the divine nature and energy have changed after the Incarnation, that would mean either that the divine nature and energy of Christ only have changed which would cause a split in the Trinity, or that since the divine nature and energy are common for the Three Persons, the divine nature and energy of all Three Persons have changed which would mean that the Three Persons have Incarnated. A split of the Trinity is impossible because God is One Being in Three Persons and it is not that the Three Persons have incarnated because only the Word that became flesh (John 1:14). So, the human willing and actions of Christ do not belong to the divine nature and proceed from the divine energy but instead belong to the human nature and proceed from the energy of the human nature, i.e. the created human nature of Christ has its own energy. Therefore, although it is true that the subject of the human willing and actions is the Person/Hypostasis of the Word because the Hypostasis before and after the Incarnation is one and so the mode of the wills is hypostatic as it was already said, it is wrong to say that it is the Logos which is the subject of the human willing and actions because the expression ,,the Logos“ refers to the divine nature and energy, except to the Hypostasis of the Logos, i.e. it does not refer to the assumed human nature and energy and that would suggest that there occured a change in God’s nature after the Incarnation of the Word and also that His human nature does not have its own energy. As it was shown, both suggestions are not true. As the eternal Logos’ own nature and energy, i.e. the eternal nature and energy of the Logos, are only the divine nature and energy, to say that after the Incarnation it is the Logos, i.e. the Logos Itself, that is the subject of both the divine and human willing and actions, means to confuse Hypostasis and nature – in this case the divine nature. It would be precise if we say that it is the Incarnate Logos or incarnate Word which is the subject of the divine and human willing and actions because those expressions – Incarnate Logos, incarnate Word, refer to both nature – divine and human as the word ,,incarnate“ refers specifically to the created human nature of Christ. St.Leo says in his Tome the following which is rejected by Severus:,,For as “God” is not changed by the compassion [exhibited], so “Man” is not consumed by the dignity [bestowed]. For each “form” does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these shines out in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries.“ Since the eternal Word’s own nature and energy, i.e. the eternal nature and energy of the Logos, are only the divine nature and energy, wherefore it is wrong to say that after the Incarnation it is the Word, i.e. the Word Itself, that is the subject of the human willing and actions because it would mean that since the human willing and actions belong to the nature, belong to the divine nature, St.Leo is right when he says that the Word, i.e. the Word Itself perfoms what belongs to the Word, i.e. only the divine actions. When he says that the flesh performs the human actions, he does not mean in a Nestorian sense but only in the sense that the human actions proceed from the human energy which is not the Word, i.e. the Word Itself Whose energy is only the divine energy from which there proceed only the divine actions.

It must be added that St.Cyril explains his the famous phrase ,,Mia Physis Tou Theou Logou Sesarkomene“ in his second letter to Succensus:,,For if we had said that there was one nature of the Word and had kept silent and not added that it was ‘incarnate’, as if we were excluding the economy, they might perhaps have had a point when they pretended to ask where was the perfection in the humanity or how did our human essence endure. But since both the perfection in the humanity and the assertion of our human essence is implied by the word ‘incarnate’ then let them stop leaning on this broken staff (Is.36.6). For if anyone took away from the Son his perfect humanity he could rightly be accused of throwing the economy overboard, and of denying the incarnation.“ As he explains, the phrase refers to Christ’s human nature, so it is not used in a non-Chalcedonian sense. In accordance with the explaination of St.Cyril, the correct translation of the phrse is ,,One Incarnated Nature of the Word“ and not as it is sometimes incorrectly translated:,,one nature of the Word Incarnate“.

Another argument against the acceptance that according to his human nature Christ is a fully human person (without the reference to His human nature as a human person implying Nestorianism), which is held by the Severians was that there is not a nature with no hypostasis (subsistence) and since His human nature came to subsist in the pre-existent Hypostasis of the Word after the Incarnation, thus not having its own hypostasis, it cannot be referred to as a human person because that would imply Nestorianism. But St.John of Damascus dedicates one of the chapters in his ,,Exact exposition of the Orthodox faith“ exactly to that question of the Severians and he refutes that wrong view. St.John of Damascus, Exact expositon of the Orthodox faith, Book 3, Chapter IX. In reply to the question whether there is Nature that has no Subsistence:,,For although there is no nature without subsistence, nor essence apart from person (since in truth it is in persons and subsistences that essence and nature are to be contemplated), yet it does not necessarily follow that the natures that are united to one another in subsistence should have each its own proper subsistence. For after they have come together into one subsistence, it is possible that neither should they be without subsistence, nor should each have its own peculiar subsistence, but that both should have one and the same subsistence. For since one and the same subsistence of the Word has become the subsistence of the natures, neither of them is permitted to be without subsistence, nor are they allowed to have subsistences that differ from each other, or to have sometimes the subsistence of this nature and sometimes of that, but always without division or separation they both have the same subsistence--a subsistence which is not broken up into parts or divided, so that one part should belong to this, and one to that, but which belongs wholly to this and wholly to that in its absolute entirety. For the flesh of God the Word did not subsist as an independent subsistence, nor did there arise another subsistence (hypostasis) besides that of God the Word, but as it existed in that it became rather a subsistence which subsisted in another, than one which was an independent subsistence (hypostasis). Wherefore, neither does it lack subsistence (hyspoastsis) altogether, nor yet is there thus introduced into the Trinity another subsistence (hypostasis).“ So the human nature of Christ subsists in the Hypostasis of the Word and that means neither that the human nature is without a hypostasis. It took the Hypostasis of the Word as its own hypostasis. Therefore the argument that the human nature of Christ cannot be referred to as a human person because it does not have its own hypostasis, is refuted. Therefore, since the human nature of Christ has its own energy and is not without a hypostasis, it can be referred to as a fully human person without that being Nestorianism.
 

Ainnir

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Thanks for the thread rez! I missed this, somehow.
 
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