The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius

March 15, 2017 Length: 11:00

St. Cyril was Pope of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He presided at the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus (431) which formally condemned Nestorianism.

“Nestorius, the bishop of Constantinople (r. 428-431), made known his refusal to honor Mary, Christ’s mother, with the traditional title of Theotokos. He claimed that the one born from Mary is not the Logos Himself, but merely the ‘man’ in whom the eternal Logos of God came to dwell. Thus, Mary could not properly be called ‘Theotokos,’ which means ‘the one who gave birth to God,’ but only either ‘Christokos,’ meaning ‘the one who gave birth to Christ,’ or ‘anthropotokos,’ meaning ‘the one who gave birth to a man—i.e., the man Jesus, to whom the Logos was joined.”

Thomas Hopko, The Orthodox Faith, vol. 3, Church History: Revised and Expanded by David C. Ford. (Yonkers, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1981), p. 59.

“Towards the end of 429 he [Nestorius] invited Dorotheus of Marcianopolis to preach in the cathedral….Dorotheus had proclaimed: ‘if anyone dares to call Mary Theotokos, let him be anathema.’ Whereupon, according to Cyril, there were loud protests and a general exodus from the church.
On hearing of this episode Cyril sent Nestorius his second letter, Kataphlyarousi, which the Acts of Chalcedon date to February 430.”

Norman Russell, Cyril of Aexandria, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2000), p. 36.

The following letter was also read at the Council of Ephesus.

St. Cyril’s feast days are on June 9 and January 18th.