Volume III - Church History

Sixth Century

The Fifth Ecumenical Council

In addition to rejecting the unorthodox, ambiguous writings listed in the Three Chapters, the Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, with great pastoral concern, strove to find a way to remain faithful to the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon while Non-Chalcedonians. In a long series of statements, the Council affirmed, without ambiguity, the traditional Orthodox understanding that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is “one of the Holy Trinity,” one and the same divine person (hypostasis) Who has united personally (hypostatically) in Himself the two natures of divinity and humanity, without fusing them together and without allowing their separation in any way. In these statements, the Council several times permitted the use of characteristic Monophysite/Non-Chalcedonian language, including the hallmark phrase “one nature of the Word of God Incarnate,” as long as this language is interpreted in an Orthodox way, as explained by the Council.

The Fifth Council also officially condemned the problematic teachings of Origen (d. 254) and his 6th-century disciples who taught and practiced a “spiritualistic” version of Christianity which contained many unorthodox doctrines. For instance, they taught that Christ was the only created spirit who did not become material through sin; that men’s souls were pre-existent spirits; and that all of Creation, including the demons, will ultimately be saved through its spiritualization by God in Christ the Savior.