Theodoret of Cyrrhus

born с 393, Antioch, Syria
died с 458/466

Syrian theologian and bishop whose writings were a moderating influence on the 5th-century Christological disputes.

First a monk, he became bishop of Cyrrhus (near Antioch) by 423. Influenced by St. John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia, he opposed allegorical interpretations of scripture and attributed a human nature to Christ. Accused of being a Nestorian heretic, he made conciliatory statements accepting the term "god-bearer" for Mary (thereby stressing Jesus' divinity). He was declared a heretic nevertheless (449) and was sent into exile. He was partially vindicated by the Council of Chalcedon (451), which agreed to declare him orthodox provided he condemn his friend Nestorius, and he reluctantly complied.

* * *

▪ Syrian theologian
born c. 393, , Antioch, Syria
died c. 458, /466

      Syrian theologian-bishop, representative of Antioch's historico-critical school of biblical-theological interpretation, whose writings were a moderating influence on the 5th-century Christological (Christology) disputes and contributed to the development of the Christian theological vocabulary.

      First a monk, then by 423 bishop of Cyrrhus, near Antioch, Theodoret evangelized the region and contended with Christian sectarians in doctrinal questions giving rise to several treatises on apologetics, the systematic exposition of Christian faith, one of which, Therapeutikē (“The Cure for Pagan Evils”), has become a minor classic.

      Influenced by the historical method of the 4th-century Antiochenes St. John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret took issue with the allegorical trend in Alexandrian (Egypt) theology that stressed the divine-mystical element in Christ, addressing him exclusively in terms of God (monophysitism). Adapting with greater precision the analytical approach of his colleague Nestorius, Theodoret in his principal works, On The Incarnation and Eranistēs (“The Beggar”), written about 431 and 446, respectively, attributed to Christ an integral human consciousness with a distinct psychological ego. To harmonize this view with the traditional orthodoxy of the earliest church writers, he distinguished the concepts of nature (i.e., the principle of action, twofold in the case of Christ's divinity and humanity) and person (i.e., the common centre of attribution to Jesus as an individual). Theodoret responded several times to accusations of being a Nestorian heretic, answering with conciliatory statements that voiced his acceptance of the term “God-bearer” (theotokos) for the Virgin Mary and denied that his teaching “divided the one Son into two Sons.”

      The Alexandrians, persisting in the suppression of Antiochene teaching, arranged a church council packed with their own supporters, historically known as the Robber Synod, held at Ephesus in 449, in which Theodoret was declared a heretic and sent into exile. Released by the Eastern Roman emperor Marcian, after an appeal defining his doctrinal stance to Pope Leo the Great at Rome, he was partially vindicated in 451 at the General Council of Chalcedon (Chalcedon, Council of). There the conciliar bishops acknowledged his orthodoxy on condition that he pronounce the condemnations (anathemas) against Nestorius, first devised by Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria, Saint) in early 431, in effect repudiating his own anti-anathemas by which he countercharged Cyril with teaching the absence of a human intellect in Christ (Apollinarianism). The council itself, however, did not endorse Cyril's anathemas in its final proceedings, apparently as a token approbation of Theodoret. Acutely aware of the two poles in the debate on Christ, Theodoret consistently considered the monophysites of Alexandria theologically more perilous than the Nestorians.

      To identify Theodoret's precise position in this controversy is difficult because of his mediatory role in striving to integrate conflicting theologies and to avoid extremes. About a century after his death, his anti-anathemas against Cyril of Alexandria were rejected at the second general Council of Constantinople in 553. It remains debatable whether Theodoret's Christological theory ever evolved into an orthodox view or whether it essentially reduced itself to a Nestorian, dualist analysis of Christ. His 35 written works also included biblical commentaries and historical chronicles of the church and monasticism in the mid-5th century.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Theodoret of Cyrrhus —    Bishop (q.v.) of Cyrrhus in Syria (q.v.) from 423 ca. 466; theologian whose works were condemned in Justinian I s edict of the Three Chapters (qq.v.), and at the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople (q.v.) in 553. He supported Nestorios… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Theodoret — (c. 393 ndash; c. 457) was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria (423 457). He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms.LifeAccording to …   Wikipedia

  • Theodoret von Kyrrhos — Theodoret (* 393 in Antiochia, Syrien; † um 460 in Kyrrhos) war seit 423 Bischof von Kyrrhos und ein bedeutender Theologe und Kirchenhistoriker. Er verteidigte die Lehren des Nestorius und wurde dafür 449 auf dem Konzil von Ephesos (der so… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Theodoret — (* 393 in Antiochia, Syrien; † um 460 in Kyrrhos) war seit 423 Bischof von Kyrrhos und ein bedeutender Theologe und Kirchenhistoriker. Er verteidigte die Lehren des Nestorius und wurde dafür 449 auf dem Konzil von Ephesos (der so genannten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cyrrhus, Syria — This article is about the city in ancient Syria; for the city in ancient Macedon, see Cyrrhus, Macedonia Cyrrhus, Cyrrus, or Kyrros ( el. Κύρρος) was a city in ancient Syria founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great s generals.… …   Wikipedia

  • Cyrrhus — • A titular see of Syria Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Cyrrhus     Cyrrhus     † Cathol …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Cyrrhus — For the city in ancient Macedon, see Kyrros. Cyrrhus, or Kyrros (Greek: Κύρρος) was a city in ancient Syria founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great s generals. Other names for the city include Hagioupolis, Nebi Huri نبي حوري,… …   Wikipedia

  • Cyrrhus (Syrie) — 36° 44′ 39″ N 36° 57′ 33″ E / 36.74416667, 36.95916667 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Theodoret — (c. 393–c. 466)    Theologian and Bishop.    Theodoret was born in Antioch. He was consecrated Bishop of Cyrrhus in 423 where he was widely respected.    A friend of Nestorius, he became involved in the controversy with cyril of alexandria,… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Theodoretos — Theodoret (* 393 in Antiochia, Syrien; † um 460 in Kyrrhos) war seit 423 Bischof von Kyrrhos und ein bedeutender Theologe und Kirchenhistoriker. Er verteidigte die Lehren des Nestorius und wurde dafür 449 auf dem Konzil von Ephesos (der so… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.