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Catholic Dictionary




A historical system that arose in the fifth century, claiming that in Christ there was only one nature. It came as a reaction to Nestorianism, which postulated two persons in Christ. Among the early Monophysites was Eutyches (378-454), head of a monastery near Constantinople. In his effort to save the unity of the Word Incarnate, he suppressed Christ's human nature. Other Monophysites spoke of a single combined nature that was both human and divine. Condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, monophysitism still prevails in the East among the Copts and the Syrian Jacobites. (Etym. Greek monos, single + physis, nature.)