Mono - Physis teaching of St.Severus
- St. Severus , the crown of the Syrians and our Patriarch in his letter to Maron says:
".. the blasphemously call the ONE Christ, TWO natures ; saying that the `Word of God' is one nature, and the man as they say from Mary another."
He then goes on and advices us:
"We must confess the difference between the natures from which the ONE Christ is, and avoid the cutting into TWO, and extol one Son and Christ, and one incarnate nature of God the Word."
You can read the full letter at:
This understanding of ONE-NATURE (Mono Physis) is why we are called the monophysite church.
With this understanding of our Christology, I am confused when I listen to the following hymn.
This hymn clearly talks about how the HUMAN NATURE was hungry, and then the hymn goes on to explain how the "flame of the flesh" was extinguished by the "blood of the GOD NATURE".
I have few questions:
1. Is the translation provided in youtube correct? Is Syriac equivalent of "Physis" (ie kyana) used in the hymn? Is the translation `NATURE' used in the hymn correct?
2. Which service is this hymn used? Is there a Malayalam translation of this hymn?
3. Is the meaning of this hymn consistent with the `Christology' of St. Severus ?
Mathew G M
- Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
"Is the meaning of this hymn consistent with the `Christology' of St. Severus
>The hymn on the link is "Kefneth Kmo Zabnin" by Mor Ephrem and it is a a hymn on his own feelings on appetite. This hymn does not refer to the nature of Jesus Christ, but instead refers to the human nature (as that of Mor Aphrem) as ours. Later part of the hymn shows that it is referring to the author and not Jesus. The human nature is afflicted with hunger drive and Mor Ephrem is trying to fight the bodily needs.
The song is as follows:
Frequently I was hungry
Because my nature demanded food.
But I refused to eat that I might be worthy
Of that happiness which is kept for those who fast.
Similarly, Mor Ephrem restricted himself on drinking as well. His hymn tells:
My earthly body urged me
to drink water. I left it dry
that it might go rejoicing
in the drizzle of Paradise.
Mor Ephrem spent most of his life in meditation, fasting, worship and prayers, which are the true characteristics of monks. He even hesitated to become a priest or bishop. He observed fasting on most of his time to receive the special blessing which he believed is kept for those who fast. His whole mind was dedicated to the Lord all the time, so much that in imagination, he turns himself into "a church" on its altar he sacrifices himself "like a lamb."
I made of myself a church of the Christ
Within which I offered
Perfume and incense
The work of my members
My thought became an altar
My will a priest
And like an unblemished lamb
I sacrificed myself as an offering.
However, Mor Ephrem clearly distinguish the sacrifice in the sanctuary (Qurbono) from his own imagination of himself as a sacrifice and writes later:
Whenever I received the Fire
Of the Eucharist
It was my prayer that it should
Burn the weeds of my members
Brethren, the fire which had settled
In my members, I have extinguished its flame
By the Blood of God
So that it may not burn my person
The Body of God which I received
In the Sanctuary
Protected my person from all the evil
Caused by the devil who fought with me.
2. > "This understanding of ONE-NATURE (Mono Physis) is why we are called the
We do not call ourselves `monophysite'. A better terminology, although rarely used, to describe our doctrine is `Miaphysitism'. Only Roman Catholics and Byzantine Orthodox Church call us as `Monophysite' Church. Our faith is NOT the same as described by the term `Monophysite'. We believe that Jesus had both human and divine nature, but these natures were not separate as could be inferred from the terminology `dyophysitism', which is very close to, but not same as, that of Netorianism. The two natures did NOT combine together and formed one (and thus did not become either human alone or God alone) or a different one to call monophysitism, but existed together as God-Man (Miaphysitism). When Jesus was offered as sacrifice, both his human and divine natures were sacrificed together, thus became the greatest sacrifice ever. These two natures were INSEPARABLE in the incarnate God. Writings of Mor Ephrem or Mor Severius do not contradict this doctrine. Mor Ephrem writes on the Christ's nature:
Glorious is The Wise One who allied and joined
Divinity with humanity,
One from the height and the other from below
He mingled the natures like pigments
And an image came into being: The God-man
Mor Dionysius Geevarghese Vattasseril's book translated into English as `Quintessence of Religious Doctorines' explains the incarnation of God as follows: "There was no mutation to His divine nature when He assumed a human body. The natures of humanity and divinity got inseparably united but without joining and without undermining in any way anyone of the natures".
Mor Dionysius wrote this book based on the theology explained by early church fathers like Mor Ephrem and Mor Severius.
The book explains more in detail regarding this doctrine of the church (page 33-36). You can read the entire book online:
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
- Thank you very much. Very helpful.
Mathew G M
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Dr. Sinu P. John wrote:
> Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
> 1. >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfAN3sXK3HU#t=01m12s
> "Is the meaning of this hymn consistent with the `Christology' of St. Severus
> The hymn on the link is "Kefneth Kmo Zabnin" by Mor Ephrem and it is a a hymn on his own feelings on appetite. This hymn does not refer to the nature of Jesus Christ, but instead refers to the human nature (as that of Mor Aphrem) as ours. Later part of the hymn shows that it is referring to the author and not Jesus. The human nature is afflicted with hunger drive and Mor Ephrem is trying to fight the bodily needs.
- There is a podcast I produced on the Orthodox Christology of St Severus here...
Father Peter Farrington