Monofysite - Jacobite Church


Jacobite Church


This term has been used to undermine the claim of the Syrian Church of Antioch as being the first Church established outside Palestine by Apostle Peter and other apostles. Jacob Baradeaus was a great organizer of the Syrian Church of Antioch from 6th century who breathe a new life in the Syrian Church. When you speak of ,,Jacobite” Church, in stead of Syrian Church, this would imply that this Church was established by Jacob Baradeaus in 6th century and therefore the claim cannot be made on the see of Antioch as being the first Church. This heretic name in the West is in particular glorified by the Catholic Church and immortalized in their books. The claim of the Syrian Church of Antioch on the see of Antioch as being the first seat of Apostel Peter has always been a thorn in the flesh of many Catholics, in particular the spiritual authorities.


Professor Sebastian Brock says in Part III of the Hidden Pearl about this spiritual war,,  A further term by which the Syrian Orthodox have frequently been designated by those outside the Church is 'Jacobite’. This originated as a reference to Jacob Baradaeus the sixth-century Syrian Orthodox bishop of Edessa who, against the wishes of the Roman Emperor, managed to ordain large numbers of Syrian Orthodox clergy. The term 'Jacobite’ was intended to imply that the Syrian Orthodox Church did not go back to apostolic times but originated with Jacob as a schismatic body in the sixth century (a picture regrettably still portrayed in some Western text books). Since the term came to be very widely used in the Middle East in the Middle Ages, the Syrian Orthodox reacted by identifying the Jacob as the Apostle Jacob/James, thus neatly removing the polemical sting originally intended by their opponents.




Another heretical name by which the Syrian Church, the Armenian Church and the Coptic Church are labeled is the term ,,Monofysite”. This churches have rejected the ecumenical council of Chalcedon in 451. Their opponents then have tried to ridicule them by labelling them as,, Monofysites”- theological term which recognizes only one nature of Christ, namely God only. However the Syrian Church, the Coptic Church and Armenian Church have never adhered to this teaching. Unfortunately, because of aggressive propaganda of the Catholic Church, this heretical term has became generally accepted. In spite of the fact that this term scientifically been superseded; yet it is still used by some people to label our Church as such. For example, professor Herman Teule of the University of Nijmegen in Netherlands is still using this heretical term to label our church. The most humiliating fact is that when it comes to the eastern- Christendom, Mr. Teule is invited to explain about this Christendom; whilst the easterners themselves simply are neglected.


The heretical term ,, Monofysite” is minutely refuted by Professor Sebastian Brock in Part III of the Hidden Pearl. He says,, Another consequence of the marginalization of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Church of the East by the western Churches of the Chalcedonian tradition is that these oriental Churches have usually been referred to by derogatory names. It is a well-known technique of polemics to attribute to your opponent opinions which he does not hold by associating him with more extreme positions than the ones to which he belongs (thus socialists are portrayed as communists and conservatives as fascists, and so on). Exactly the same thing has occurred with the Western designations for the non-Chalcedonian Churches: the Church of the East has regularly, but (as will be seen) very misleadingly been called 'the Nestorian Church’, while the Oriental Orthodox Churches have normally been designated ‘Monofysite’, inviting confusion with the extreme position of Eutyches (which the Oriental Orthodox have always rejected). If some neutral terms are wanted that are descriptive of the different Christological formulations, then 'Miaphysite' (or 'Henophysite’; one-nature) would be appropriate for the Oriental Orthodox, and 'Dyophysite' ('two-natures’) for the Chalcedonian Churches and the Church of the East. (The problems concerning the term ‘nature’ is explained in the next section).