Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

2.4 Ephesus: The Mother of All Controversies

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 27, 2022 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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From the distance of more than a millennium and a half, Nestorius can seem a comic character. He was a verbally fussy man with an uncanny knack for alienating people. Within days of his installation as bishop of Constantinople, he had offended the imperial family, the monks, and the nobles, but also the common people. He also caused a major fire in the city. But when he tried to suppress devotion to Mary as “Mother of God,” he invited all his enemies to join forces against him—because such a campaign affected not only the status of Mary, but also the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Nestorius forced a crisis that played out in grotesque (and humorous) ways at the Council of Ephesus in 431.


Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes against Nestorius

Extracts from the Acts, Council of Ephesus

Nestorius, The Bazaar of Heracleides

Nestorius, Letters to Pope Celestine

Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, Book VII

John A. McGuckin, Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy

Paul Senz, Church Councils: 100 Questions and Answers (foreword by Mike Aquilina)

Mike Aquilina’s website

Mike Aquilina’s books

Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

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Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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