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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Dimoeritae, Followers of Apollinarius

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Dimoeritae, another name for the followers of Apollinarius, probably to be explained by a passage in a letter of Gregory of Nazianzum to Nectarius of Constantinople ( Ep. 202, al. Or. 46). Gregory says that Apollinarius's book affirmed that He Who had come down from above had no νοῦς , but that τὴν θεότητα τοῦ Μονογενοῦς τὴν τοῦ νοῦ φύσιν ἀναπληρώσασαν . Hence, as the Apollinarians maintained that our Lord assumed only (διμοιρία ) two of the three parts (σῶμα , ψυχή , νοῦς ) of which perfect humanity consists, they were called Dimoeritae by Epiphanius, who says (Haer. lxxvii.) that "some denied especially the perfect Incarnation of Christ; some asserted His body consubstantial with His divinity; some emphatically denied that He had ever taken a soul; others not less emphatically refused to Him a mind."

Among the leaders of the Dimoeritae was one Vitalius. Both Gregory of Nazianzum and Epiphanius came in contact with him; the former while Vitalius was it would seem a presbyter the latter when he had been made a bishop of the sect. Epiphanius at Antioch in a long discussion with Vitalius put the crucial question: "You admit the Incarnation do you also admit that Christ took a mind (νοῦν)?" "The answer was "No." Epiphanius persisted: "In what sense then do you call Christ τέλειος?" The point was debated without results. Epiphanius urged that not only was nothing gained by excluding mind as we understand it from the nature of Christ; but also that by such exclusion much was lost which made His nature character and actions intelligible. Vitalius and his followers avoided Epiphanius's arguments by reverting to their favourite texts e.g. "We have the mind of Christ" (1Co_2:16) etc.

The Dimoeritae probably existed, as a sect, for a few years only, either under that name or as Vitalians, Synusiasts, Polemians, Valentinians, after some favourite leader or opinion. Then they died out, or merged themselves into other bodies holding similar views, or were brought back to the church. The books, psalteries, and hymns composed and issued by Apollinarius and his principal followers were met, and their effects counteracted, by books and hymns such as have given to Gregory of Nazianzum a name among ecclesiastical song writers. Epiphanius, Panaria , iii. 11; Haer. lxxvii. (ed. Dindorf, iii. 1, p. 454); Oehler, Corpus Haereseolog. ii. 330, etc.; and the usual Church histories, e.g. Neander, Niedner, Hase, Robertson, s.v. "Apollinarianism," should be consulted.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Dimoeritae, Followers of Apollinarius'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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