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Chalcedon, Council of.

The 4th Ecumenical Council, convoked by F. Marcianus,* was held 451 at Chalcedon, Bithynia, on the Bosporus, opposite Constantinople. This Council climaxed the 4th stage in the discussions about the person of Jesus Christ (see Christology) which caused great difficulty ca. AD 200–600. This controversy was triggered by Eutyches.* In effect he seemed to deny that true manhood remained in Jesus Christ after the personal union had taken place. He held that Christ was of two natures (in origin?), but that He did not exist in two natures after the incarnation. The hist. of the ch. in this period is marked by corrupt ecclesiastical politics and by fearful rivalry among the E sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, and bet. E and W. Roman bp. Leo the Great (see Popes, 2) brought considerable pressure to bear on E churchmen and finally secured adoption of his “tome” as the official doctrine about the 2 natures in Christ. The final creed of Chalcedon reads:

“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only-begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

The authoritative role played by Leo enhanced his standing in the entire ch. Unfortunately many E nat. chs. could not agree to this formula; so the Christians of Armenia, Syria, and Egypt remained Monophysite* [only one nature] and thereby isolated themselves from orthodox Christianity.

See also Armenian Churches; Simony; Theotokos.

J. W. C. Wand, The Four Councils (London, 1951); P. Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 6th ed. (New York, 1931), II, 62–65; M. H. Scharlemann, “The Case for Four Adverbs,” CTM, XXVIII (December 1957), 881–892. HTM


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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