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The Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith

By Various Elders

The holy, great, and ecumenical synod, by the grace of God and the command of our most orthodox and Christ-loving Emperors, Marcian and Valentenian Augusti, assembled in the metropolis of Chalcedon, in the Bithynian province, in the martyry of the holy and nobly triumphant martyr Euphemia, hath decreed as follows:

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, confirming the knowledge of the faith to His disciples, said, “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you,” to the end that no one should differ from his neighbor in the doctrines of orthodoxy, but that the proclamation of the truth should be shown forth equally by all.

 

But since the evil one ceaseth not, by means of his own tares, to supplant the seeds of orthodoxy, and ever inventeth something new against the truth, therefore the Lord, in His wonted care for the human race, excited to zeal this orthodox and most faithful emperor, and called together to Himself the chiefs of the priesthood from all parts, in order that, by the action of the grace of Christ the Lord of us all, we might remove every noxious element from the sheep of Christ, and enrich them with the fresh herbage of the truth.

And this, in fact, we have accomplished, having by a unanimous vote driven away the dogmas of error, and having renewed the undeviating creed of the fathers, proclaiming to all the symbol of the three hundred and eighteen; and, in addition, accepting as our own fathers those who received that statement of orthodoxy—we mean the one hundred and fifty who subsequently met together in great Constantinople, and themselves set their seal to the same creed.

Therefore (preserving the order and all the decrees concerning the faith passed by the holy synod held formerly at Ephesus, the leaders of which were Caelestine of Rome and Cyril of Alexandria of most holy memory) we decree that the exposition of the right and blameless faith of the three hundred and eighteen holy and blessed fathers in Constantinople, for the removal of the heresies then rife, and for the confirmation of the same catholic and apostolic faith, remain valid.

The symbol of the three hundred and eighteen:

“We believe in One God the Father All-sovereign, Maker of all things visible and invisible:

“And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the essence of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God; begotten, not made; co-essential with the Father; through whom all things were made [both in heaven and in earth]; who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and lived as man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and rose the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens; and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and again cometh with glory to judge the quick and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end:

“And in the Spirit, holy, sovereign, and life-giving.

“But those who say, ‘Once He was not,’ and ‘Before He was begotten He was not,’ and that ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or who say that ‘the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or essence,’ or ‘mutable’ or ‘changeable’; these the catholic and apostolic church anathematizes.”

The symbol of the one hundred and fifty:

“We believe in One God the Father All-sovereign, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible:

“And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; Light from Light, very God from very God; begotten, not made; co-essential with the Father; through Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and lived as Man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried and rose the third day according to the Scriptures; and ascended into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and cometh again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end:

“And in the Spirit, holy, sovereign, and life-giving, who proceedeth from the Father; who with the Father and the Son is together worshiped and glorified; who spake by the prophets:

“In one holy catholic and apostolic church:

“We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins:

“We look for a resurrection of the dead, and a life of the world to come. Amen.”

Although this wise and saving symbol of the divine grace would have been sufficient for complete knowledge and confirmation of orthodoxy, for it both teaches the perfect doctrine concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and sets forth the incarnation of the Lord to those who receive it faithfully; yet, forasmuch as those who attempt to set aside the preaching of the truth have produced foolish utterances through their own heresies, some daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord’s incarnation for us, and denying the title “Theotokos” to the virgin; others introducing a confusion and mixture, shamelessly imagining too the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead to be one, and absurdly maintaining that the divine nature of the only-begotten is by this confusion passible; therefore the present holy, great, and ecumenical synod, being minded to exclude all their machinations against the truth, and affirming the doctrine as unchangeable from the first, hath decreed primarily that the creed of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers should remain inviolate; and, on account of those who contend against the Holy Spirit, it ratifies the teaching subsequently set forth by the one hundred and fifty holy fathers assembled in the imperial city concerning the essence of the Spirit, which they made known to all; not as adducing anything left lacking by their predecessors, but making distinct by scriptural testimonies their conception concerning the Holy Spirit against those who were trying to set aside His sovereignty; and, on account of those who attempt to corrupt the mystery of the incarnation, and who shamelessly pretend that He who was born of the holy Mary was a mere man, it hath received the synodical epistles of the blessed Cyril, pastor of the church of Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Easterns, as being agreeable thereto, for the refutation of the wild notions of Nestorius and for the instruction of those who in pious zeal desire to understand the saving symbol. To these also it hath suitably united, for the confirmation of the right doctrines, the epistle of the prelate of the great and older Rome, the most blessed and most holy Archbishop Leo, which was written to the saintly Archbishop Flavian for the exclusion of the wrong opinion of Eutyches, inasmuch as it agrees with the confession of the great Peter, and is a common pillar against the heterodox.

For the synod opposes those who presume to rend the mystery of the incarnation into a duality of sons; and it expels from the company of the priests those who dare to say that the Godhead of the onlybegotten is passible, and it withstands those who imagine a mixture or confusion of the two natures of Christ, and it drives away those who fancy that the form of a servant, taken by Him of us, is of a heavenly or any other essence; and it anathematizes those who imagine two natures of the Lord before the union, but fashion anew one nature after the union.

Following, then, the holy fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us one and the same Son, the self-same perfect in Godhead, the self-same perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man; the self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the self-same co-essential with us according to the manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten; acknowledged in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the natures being in no way removed because of the union, but rather the properties of each nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into one person and one hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into two persons, but one and the self-same Son and only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the symbol of the fathers hath handed down to us.

These things having been defined by us with all possible accuracy and care, the holy and ecumenical synod hath decreed that it is unlawful for any one to present, write, compose, devise, or teach to others any other creed; but that those who dare either to compose another creed, or to bring forward or teach or deliver another symbol to those wishing to turn to the full knowledge of the truth from paganism or from Judaism, or from heresy of any kind whatsoever, that such persons, if bishops or clerics, shall be deposed, the bishops from the episcopate and clerics from the clerical office, and, if monks or laics, they shall be anathematized.

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