views updated

Monophysites. The party who maintained, against the definition of Chalcedon (451) that in Christ there was but one (Gk., monos) nature (physis). They flourished in Syria and Egypt under leaders like Severus of Antioch and were alternately conciliated and persecuted by the imperial government until the Arab invasions of the 7th cent. Their direct modern descendants are the Oriental Orthodox churches.

According to Monophysite doctrine, the union of God the Word (Logos) with the flesh at the Incarnation was such that to speak of distinct divine and human natures thereafter is wrongly to separate what was united. In 1984 the Syrian Orthodox patriarch ( Mar Ignatius Zakka II) and the pope ( John Paul II) signed a declaration affirming agreement, and declaring that the apparent differences arose from cultural and linguistic inadequacies.