Muslim-Christian Relations and Inter-Christian Rivalries in by John Joseph

By John Joseph

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More than six hundred bishops attended the council, the largest of the four ecumenical conferences. The emperor and his empress attended all the sessions, the Empress Pulcheria being given the honor of presiding in the sixth session, at which time the declaration of faith was solemnly proclaimed. The declaration repudiated the doctrines taught by both Nestorius and Eutyches. The Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioscorus, and his Monophysite followers were condemned as heretics. Like his opponent Nestorius before him, Dioscorus died in exile.

In his excellent study of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, The Great Church in Captivity, Sir Steven Runciman writes that we shall get nowhere if we denounce the Greeks as deceitful or the Turks as savage. Erudition, he wisely notes, will not produce understanding unless it is tempered with tolerance and freed from prejudice, no matter what the historian's personal tastes and sympathies. When a study involves, as my work does, Turks and Armenians, Jews and Arabs, Maronites and Muslims, Syrian Orthodox and Kurds, as well as Catholics and Protestants, the fair-mindedness of historians is subjected to the supreme test.

Following the teaching of the school of Antioch and the Christological studies started by Diodorus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, 9 Nestorius emphasized the completenesss of the human nature of Jesus. The "Nestorians" were interested in the earthly life of Christ and in his human relations as a model for Christian living. They objected to such phrases as "God dies," "God was born," and the ''Mother of God"; they considered these terms blasphemous, confusing creator and creature. 10 The Nestorian doctrine was condemned as heretical at the Third Ecumenical Council, convoked at Ephesus in 431.

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