The Cyrillian Character of the Chalcedonian Definition of Faith»,

Martzelos, Georgios (2000)


While modern theologians have dealt extensively with the problem of the sources of the Definition of Chalcedon , there hasn’t been yet an absolutely sufficient solution to this problem, so that it could respond to the questions arising from the research of the historico- theological framework of its genesis in the Council of Chalcedon. For this reason most researchers, Roman-Catholics in their majority, speak of four or even more, mostly heterogeneous, sources of the Chalcedonian Definition, so that they essentially deny the inner cohesion and unity of its Christological elements and consider it a dogmatic text which synthesizes basically without any coherence the different or opposite Christological traditions of the 5th century in East and West . It’s rather an exception that fifty years ago two Roman-Catholic theologians, Th. Šagi-Bunić and A. de Halleux, in their research of the sources of the Chalcedonian Definition discovered actually the inner cohesion and unity of its Christological elements, pointing out its inner relation to the Christology of St. Cyril . But despite the fact that recent research constantly discovers the homogeneity of the Christological elements of the Chalcedonian Definition and stresses increasingly its Cyrillian character, we have to emphasize that even until today the problem of its sources hasn’t been investigated, so much as it should be, in the historical and theological framework of its generation, but more or less as a philological problem, namely as a problem we have to solve, searching for the sources of its phrases or words in different important dogmatic texts of the 5th century. However, we do believe that in order to properly investigate the problem of the sources of the Chalcedonian Definition, we should not consider it like a simple literary problem, but primarily as a theological problem, functionally tied to the historical context of genesis of this dogmatic text. This is the reason why in our study under the title Genesis and sources of the Definition of Chalcedon. Contribution to the historico-dogmatic research of the Definition of the 4th Ecumenical Council, Thessaloniki 1986 (in Greek) we’ve tried to show the Cyrillian character of the Chalcedonian Definition by examining the problem of its sources in immediate and close relation with the historical framework of its generation, and this because, as it is testified in the Minutes of the Council, this framework is what mainly determined the need so that the Definition has a Cyrillian dogma¬tic content.

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