Orthodoxy and heresy of the Non-Chalcedonians according to St. John Damascene

Martzelos, Georgios (2010)


The progress of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the non-Chalcedonian Churches of the East, although it has raised the keen interest and admiration even of Western theologians1, nonetheless has caused an intense climate of reactions on the part of certain orthodox2. This has the result that some of them do not take seriously into account and misinterpret even St. John Damascene’s sober dogmatic valuation of the Anti-Chalcedonians, or Non-Chalcedonians as they are called nowadays, which is made in his work De haeresibus3. Actually in this work, the great and precise dogmatologist of the Orthodox Church, aiming at examining the different heresies and making them known, does not fail to mention among others also the Anti- Chalcedonians, describing in a clear and indisputable way their dogmatic identity. Although he detects their heretical character, which is constituted in their secession from the Orthodox Church due to their refusal to accept the Definition of Chalcedon and more generally the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, he does not hesitate to recognize their orthodoxy in all other matters pointing out the following: “Egyptians or Schematics (in other manuscripts Schismatics) and Monophysites; are those who on the pretence of the Chalcedonian dogma seceded from the Orthodox Church. They are also called Egyptians, because the Egyptians first started this schema (in other manuscripts schism) at the times of the emperors Marcian and Valentinian, and they are orthodox in everything else. These, sympathizing Dioscorus of Alexandria who had been condemned in the council of Chalcedon as a counsel of Eutyches’ teaching, became averse to the council and as far as it was up to them they caused thousands of accusations against it… proving that they are perverse and empty-minded”

Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/