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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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(from solus, and natura, ) a general name given to all those sectaries in the Levant, who only own one nature in Jesus Christ; and who maintain that the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ were so united as to form only one nature, yet without any change, confusion, or mixture of the two natures. The Monophysites, however, properly so called, are the followers of Severus, a learned monk of Palestine, who was created patriarch of Antioch, in 513, and Petrus Fullenis. The Monophysites were encouraged by the emperor Anastasius, but suppressed by Justin and succeeding emperors. However, this sect was restored by Jacob Baradxus, an obscure monk, insomuch that when he died bishop of Edessa, A. D. 588, he left it in a most flourishing state in Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Egypt, Nubia, Abyssinia, and other countries. The laborious efforts of Jacob were seconded in Egypt and the adjacent countries by Theodosius, bishop of Alexandria; and he became so famous, that all the Monophysites of the East considered him as their second parent and founder, and are to this day called Jacobites, in honour of their new chief.

The Monophysites are divided into two sects or parties, the one African and the other Asiatic; at the head of the latter is the patriarch of Antioch, who resides for the most part in the monastery of St. Athanias, near the city of Merdin: the former are under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Alexandria, who generally resides at Grand Cairo, and are subdivided into Cophts and Abyssinians. From the fifteenth century downwards, all the patriarchs of the Monophysites have taken the name of Ignatius, in order to show that they are the lineal successors of Ignatius, who was bishop of Antioch in the first century, and consequently the lawful patriarch of Antioch. In the seventeenth century, a small body of Monophysites, in Asia, abandoned for some time the doctrine and institution of their ancestors, and embraced the communion of Rome; but the African Monophysites, notwithstanding that poverty and ignorance which exposed them to the seductions of sophistry and gain, stood firm in their principles, and made an obstinate resistance to the promises, presents, and attempts employed by the papal missionaries to bring them under the Roman yoke: and in the eighteenth century, those of Asia and Africa have persisted in their refusal to enter into the communion of the Romish church, notwithstanding the earnest entreaties and alluring offers that have been made from time to time by the pope's legates, to conquer their inflexible constancy.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Monophysites'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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