The Historical Facts
By: Emad H. Asham MD, FRCS
This movement began as early as the reign of Constantine the Great, under
whom Christianity was recognized as the religion of the state by the Edict of
the Christians had had to present a unite front, elements of disunity began
to surface among those same Christians in matters of faith. Heresies arose
with the vehemence of intense piety and split the faithful into rival camps
which imperilled the peace of the Empire. Perhaps the most dangerous
situation occured in Alexandria in the war words which broke out between the
followers of Arius and Athanasius, for both groups claimed to profess the
only true orthodoxy, and each of them had a strong army of adherents to the
extent that both factions had penetrated the inner circle of the imperial
court. The problem was the principle of consubstantiation. The "Homoousion"(Monophysite),
signifying that the Father and the Son were one and of the "same" essence,
was the thesis of Athanasius in opposition to Arius, whose conception was
that of the "Homoiousion"(dyophysite) , indicating that the Son was of divine origin
but only of "like" essence, begotten of the Father as an instrument for the
creation of the world, hence the Father's unequal in eternity. Mark ye! That
little "iota" in the middle of one word made all the difference in the world
and shook the Empire to its very foundations, and the peril of civil war
between the contestant camps loomed on the horizon. In passing, it might be
said that a parallel of the latter scheme of thought predated Arius in the
idea of the "demiurge" of late antique Neoplatonism and Gnosticism.
Admist all these confusions and in order to bring unity back to the Church
and the Empire, Constantine inaugurated the Oecumenical Movement by calling
to order the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. under the presidency of the old
young and able deacon, the future Athanasius, destined to follow him on the
throne. Against some accepted views in the science of patrology, he is
revealed to be Coptic and not Greek. Recently, it has been found that
Athanasius wrote in Coptic, though most of his monumental works were composed
in Greek. Greeks knew no Coptic and had no need for using it [let alone
learning it]. But the educated Copts were masters of both tongues, and
Athanasius belonged to this class. Furthermore, Athanasius spent two years in
one of his five exiles in the
Great, whose life he compiled in a famous Vita. It is well known that Anthony
was an illiterate Copt and spoke nothing but Coptic, which was his only means
of communication with his illustrious visitor. It is, therefore, not
unreasonable to relate Athanasian contributions to the native
It is beyond the limits of this work to cover the immensity of the Nicaean
canons and the literature in which they have been discussed. But certain
criteria are clear from the deliberations of the Council under Coptic
leadership. First and foremost, the Nicaean Creed was sanctioned by the
Council. Composed by Athanasius, it remains a triumph for Alexandrine
theology to this day. Of historic importance was the creation for the first
time of a Bishopric of Constantinople. A gift from a predominantly
Alexandrine Council, the same bishopric paradoxically joined forces with the
Bishopric of Rome two centuries later to degrade the former Alexandrine
But let me first sum up the momentous events in the field of Christology
which occured between 325 and 451, from
parting of the ways between East and West. In that period, three major
councils were convened , one at Constantinople (318 A.D.) and two at
control. They dealt with two new major heresies: Eutychianism, which denuded
Christ of his humanity, and Nestorianism, which relinquished the unity of
Christ's divinity and humanity.
was reinstated at Ephesus II after abjuring his former views. At
Nestorius clung to his view that Mary should be pronounced Mother of Jesus in
the flesh, not Mother of God (Theotokos), a thesis that implied a cleavage
between the human and the divine nature of Christ. Again under the influence
of Discorus I, a Coptic patriarch, the formula of Cyril the Great (412-444
A.D.) was accepted, and Nestorius and his teachings were condemned, leading
to the schism of the
Coptic leadership in definitions of Christology. Sait Cyril was succeeded by
his nephew, the aforementioned Dioscorus I (444-454 A.D.), a determined and
active theologian whom the Copts describe as a pillar of the faith, while the
Romans stigmatized him as the leader of a Robber Council (Latrocinium)
because he had judged Eutychius without reading the Tome or letter of Leo I
to Ephesus II.
Feeling was running high in
Emperors brought changes in imperial policies. Theodosius II was succeeded by
Marcian and his wife Pulcheria, a former nun, who deplored Alexandrine
supremacy in ecclesiastical matters. The two capitals were drawn nearer by
the high-handed actions of Dioscorus, and Coptic patriarchs were described as
the "Pharaohs of the Church", which was unpalatable to the authority of
Ephesus II and to discuss his views on Christology at
A.D. The Romans quickly mustered a massive army of bishops from the West to
join the East European prelates at Chalcedon in Asia Minor, while Dioscorus
was detained by the imperial guard under a kind of house arrest, and the
Council summarily condemned and exiled him to the island of Gangra in
Paphlagonia near the southern shores of the Black Sea where he died a few
In this wise, the Copts lost their leadership in Christendom.
course was not recognized by them, and from that moment we begin two parallel
lines of succession from Saint Mark, the one a Melkite obediantiary to
was inaugurated a new wave of merciless persecution to curb Coptic separatism
and humiliate the so-called Monophysite Christians, with disastrous results
on the eve of the Arab Conquest.
 A.S. Atiya, "A History of Eastern Christianity"
(London, 1967, reprinted
Notre Dame, Ind., 1968), p. 42.
 C. J. Helfe, "Connziliengeschichte", English Translation by W.R. Clark
as "History of the Christian Councils" (Edinburgh, 1871-1896), Vols. I-V
(to 787 A.D.); authorized French translation by H. Leclercq as "Histoire
des Conciles", 11 volumes in 22 (Paris, 1907-1952).
 R.V. Sellers, "The Council of Chalcedon" (
and H. Bacht, "Das Konzil von Chalcedon", 3 vols. (Wurzburg, 1951-1954).
Adapted from www.Coptic.net
maged salama <email@example.com> wrote:
+ It is very sad that those who accused the Coptic Church many centuries ago of being Monophysite still repeating their false claim until now!.
Please read a unbiased opinion about our faith in:
I am quting from the above website:
"The Chalcedonians sometimes called the non-Chalcedonians "monophysites", though the Coptic Church denies that it teaches monophysitism, which it regards as a heresy. They have sometimes called the Chalcedonian group "dyophysites". A term that comes closer to Coptic doctrine is "miaphysite", which refers to a conjoined nature for Christ, both human and divine, united indivisibly in the Incarnate Logos. The Coptic Church believes that Christ is perfect in His divinity, and He is perfect in His humanity, but His divinity and His humanity were united in one nature called "the nature of the incarnate word", which was reiterated by Saint Cyril of Alexandria. Copts, thus, believe in two natures "human" and "divine" that are united in one without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration. These two natures did not separate for a moment or the twinkling of an eye."
Thanks a lot Dr. Ramzy for bringing this issue to our attention.
Please pray for me
Ramzy S Labib <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
In arbible post # 21596 on May 1st, 2005, H.B. Theodoros II said:
"The Copts adhere to the monophysite doctrine, that is they believe in one nature in the person of Christ and that nature is divine," the Greek Orthodox Patriarch elaborates. "We believe that Christ is both human and divine."
This quote is written in Al-Ahram : http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/740/profile.htm
I would like to ask the Copts who are members of arbible group the following question:
IS THIS TRUE????
H.B. is in
A COPT in