Final Session of First Council of Ephesus is Held

Final Session of First Council of Ephesus is Held

Emperor Theodosius II

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The final session of the First Council of Ephesus is held. Convoked by Emperor Theodosius II, the Council of Ephesus is meant to resolve the conflicts that have developed over the teachings of Nestorius (d. 451) who argues that Jesus Christ possess two separate natures, one human and one divine.

Nestorius' teachings, which come to be called Nestorianism, say that the two natures of Christ are not unified. Nestorius has become convinced that this disunity is orthodox; in fact, Nestorius is the one who persuaded Theodosius II to call this council because he wants a forum to argue his case and have his opponents excommunicated.

At least 250 bishops from across the Roman Empire have participated in the heated debates of the Council of Ephesus. The relationship between Nestorius and his chief critic, Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, was already very bad before the Council, and it has since gotten quite a lot worse. Cyril is a better debater and politician, which has helped him convince enough of the bishops to vote in his favor. He doesn't get everyone's support, though — enough of the attending bishops support Nestorius that the Nestorian Schism is created.

This will become the longest-lasting schism of the Christian church. Nestorian teachings will survive in the Assyrian Church of the East in Iran, Iraq, and Syria through the 21st century. Nestorius himself will retire to a monastery. Until the end of his life he will continue to profess his orthodoxy.

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