Sixth of Seven Posts. Simple Summaries of the Seven Orthodox Ecumenical Councils
Held in Constantinople in 680. Under Emperor Constantine IV. 170 Orthodox Bishops representing the worldwide church were present.
The Monothelite Controversy
The council concerned the last attempt to compromise with the Monophysites. Although Christ did have two natures (divine and human) He nevertheless, acted as God only. In other words, His divine nature made all the decisions and His human nature only carried and acted them out. Hence, the name: “Monothelitism” (“mono” one and “thelesis” will.)
The Council’s Pronouncement
“Christ had two natures with two activities: as God working miracles, rising from the dead and ascending into heaven; as Man, performing the ordinary acts of daily life. Each nature exercises its own free will.” Christ’s divine nature had a specific task to perform and so did His human nature. Each nature performed those tasks set forth without being confused, subjected to any change or working against each other. The two distinct natures and related to them activities were mystically united in the one Divine Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Defenders of Orthodoxy
St. Maximus the Confessor (580-662)
A simple, but enlightened monk; died in exile (Caucasus).
St. Andrew of Crete (+740)
Participated in the deliberations of the Council; author of the famous “Canon” which is read during Great Lent.