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Dyophysitism (Greek: δυοφυσιτισμός, from δυο (dyo), meaning "two" and φύσις (physis), meaning "nature") is a theological term used within the Christian studies for describing the Christological position that states the existence of two natures (divine and human) in the person of Jesus Christ. In that sense, the term is used as an opposite to the terms monophysitism and miaphysitism, all of them having distinctive ecumenical relevance.[1]

Development of dyophysite Christology was gradual, and its complex terminology was finally formulated as a result of long christological debates that were constant during 4th and 5th century. The importance of dyophysitism was often emphasized by prominent representatives of the Antiochene School.[2] After many debates and several councils, dyophysitism gained its official ecclesiastical form at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, held in Chalcedon in 451.[3] Since then, the Chalcedonian Definition became basis for christological doctrine of the two natures of Jesus Christ, that is held up to present day by majority of Christian churches, including: Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Anglican Church, Old Catholic Church, and various other Christian denominations.

Dyophysite Christians believe that there is complete and perfect unity of the two natures in one hypostasis and one person of Jesus Christ. For the Chalcedonians the hypostatic union was the center of Jesus' unity (his divinity and humanity being described as natures) whereas those who rejected the Chalcedonian definition saw his nature as the point of unity. Since the term dyophysitism is used for describing the Chalcedonian positions, it has distinctive opposite meaning to the terms monophysite (notion that Christ has only one, divine nature) and miaphysite (notion that Christ is both divine and human, but in one nature).[4]

Dyophysitism has also been used to describe some aspects of Nestorianism, the doctrines ascribed to the Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople. His detractors also asserted (unprecisely, and sometimes falsely) that he believed that Christ existed not only in two natures, but also in two (hypostases) and two persons (prosopon): the human Jesus and the divine Logos. Apart from that, the ancient Church of the East has preserved dyophysite Christology and other traditions of the Antiochene School.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Loon 2009, p. 43-47.
  2. ^ a b Meyendorff 1989.
  3. ^ Loon 2009, p. 24-29.
  4. ^ Loon 2009, p. 29-43.