Both Apollinaris and Eutychius believed in one divine subject Christology that the only and whole person of Christ is a divine person, the Logos. Not a divine-humane person. Their Christology were condemned at Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451), respectively. Apollinaris teaches that the Logos supplant the rational faculty of Christ not another man. While Eutychius teaches that the flesh of Christ belongs to the Logos and not another man. So that both teach the Logos, a divine person is the only divine subject. How then one in principle manner differentiate their Christology from one another?

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    This is exactly the kind of question this site was designed for. Thank you!!!! – Affable Geek Feb 14 '15 at 0:50

The orthodox (Chalcedonian) position is that Jesus is fully God and fully man, maintaining the distinction of the natures but also the unity of the natures. Within the human nature, theologians often recognize three components: a human mind, human body, and human soul.

Apollinarians denied Jesus' full humanity. They affirmed his full divinity, and his human soul and body. But they denied he had a human mind, affirming that Christ's mind was the Logos.

Eutychianism denied the distinction of Jesus' natures. They affirmed his full divinity and full humanity, but believed that the two natures merged into one so that there is no distinction at all. Eutyches was apparently not much of a theologian, so exactly what this meant originally is not entirely clear. But he was clearly influenced by the Christology of Cyril, who stressed the unity of Christ's natures to the point that later followers of his (the Oriental Orthodox of today) deny that Christ's natures remain distinct.

For example, we may say that the person of Christ suffered on the cross. But since suffering is something enabled by human nature and God cannot suffer, we may also say that Christ suffered according to his human nature (and not according to his divine nature). That would be Chalcedonian. The Oriental Orthodox reject that distinction. They would say, whatever happened to the person of Christ happened because of his one nature.

Eutyches may not have thought his Christology through, but those who reject the council that condemned his Christology certainly have. There is debate about whether the "miaphysitism" of the Oriental Orthodox can properly be identified with the monophysitism of Eutyches, but it seems the Council of Chalcedon had the same effect on both: putting them out of the church.

Summary: Apollinarians denied Jesus' human mind. Eutychians denied that Jesus' humanity and divinity were separate.


  • Mr. Bultitude, Apollinaris didn't deny Jesus' full humanity. William Lane Craig explained that for Apollinaris the Logos is the archetype of our humanity. So the Logos can act humanely without having another man's rational faculty. Sadly Bill Craig openly siding with Apollinarius because of this. But nevertheless I think he is right that Apollinaris didn't deny Jesus' full humanity, he just considered the Logos to be the archetype of our humanity. – Adithia Kusno Feb 13 '15 at 5:06
  • Eutyches is wrong on aphthartodocetism but at least on the unity of nature he is consistent with St. Cyril that after union there is no longer two natures but one nature without mixture. The distinction is only in contemplation. It's true that Christ suffered humanely, but because He is the Logos it's correct to say that God dies on the Cross humanely. A human nature can't die but a divine person can die humanely because He has a human nature, cf. Paul Gavrilyuk, The Suffering of the Impassible God, Oxford monograph. – Adithia Kusno Feb 13 '15 at 5:21
  • @AdithiaKusno I'm not sure when I'll be able to revise this. My readings on what Apollinaris meant by "archetype" of humanity seem pretty inconsistent. Hopefully I'll be able to dig into primary sources at some point. – Mr. Bultitude Feb 13 '15 at 5:31
  • @MrBultitude, I believe there is a connection why at Second Constantinople (553) Origen's eternal humanity of Christ is condemned. Because the Logos didn't have a humanity prior to his incarnation. Therefore, He is not the archetype of humanity but instead He partake humanity from the Theotokos not the other way around as proposed by Apollinaris. – Adithia Kusno Feb 13 '15 at 5:46
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    @AdithiaKusno Thanks, makes sense. That should help me revise my answer. Hopefully I'll be able to do so in the next couple days. – Mr. Bultitude Feb 13 '15 at 5:50

In general, the Apollinarians said that Christ's humanity is incomplete because He has the human body and human soul, but does not have the human spirit, which is mysteriously replaced by the Logos. The so-called Christ is thus formed with these three: Logos, soul, and body (unlike a normal human being which is made up of the spirit, soul, and body).

According to Eutychians, they denied the distinctness and coexistence of Christ's divinity and humanity, but asserted that the two natures were merged into one, which is neither divine nor human, but a third nature resulting through the merging of divinity and humanity - the divinity being dominant, with the humanity being absorbed by the divinity. Hence the Eutychians were also known as the Monophysites.

Eutyches did not seem to reject the full humanity of Jesus Christ. But, even though he did not repeat the exact heresy of Apollinarius, he did reduce Christ's humanity to a "drop of wine in the ocean of his deity".

Justo González, in "A History of Christian Thought, vol. 1", mentions that:

... Eutyches, a monk in Constantinople who lacked theological subtlety, and who held that, while the Savior was “of one substance [homoousios] with the Father, he was not “of one substance with us.

According to Eutyches, the humanity of Jesus Christ made no different to the the Logos and was swallowed up in the incarnation union with Him. So, not only Christ did not have a human personality or individual human existence, he did not have a human nature like ours at all.

Basically, a third nature in which neither human nor divine but in which the divine dominates.

So, the difference is Apollinarians states that Christ's humanity is incomplete while Eutychians merges both natures into a third, losing the distinctness and co-existence of both.

  • This is a good answer (so +1) but if you could find and add references, that would make this great. – El'endia Starman Feb 13 '15 at 3:37
  • pehkay, according to Oriental Orthodox Eutyches never said what you quoted above. It was misattributed to him by opponents from later century. St. Cyril teach that incarnation deified the Logos' flesh (eg. theosis) so this is hardly heretical. At Constantinople (448) he confessed that Christ's flesh is from the Theotokos so it's impossible for him to think His humanity different than ours. It's difficult to pin point his exact belief but from the Acts of Synod in 448 St. Flavian condemned him for espousing aphthartodocetism that Christ's body was always incorruptible. – Adithia Kusno Feb 13 '15 at 5:02
  • I won't deny that his exact belief [third nature; if that is what you are referring to] was a derived one. Eutyches do perceived only one person, the Logos of God, with only one nature, the divine nature that had absorbed the Lord’s human nature. J. N. D. Kelly most accurately describes the position of Eutyches in these terms. The notion of a tertium quid, a nature neither wholly divine nor wholly human, and which is frequently attributed to Eutyches, is actually a derived one and not precisely his confession. – pehkay Feb 13 '15 at 5:20
  • @pehkay your answer didn't address what differentiate Eutyches from Apollinarius? For Eutyches His humanity is finite and created while His divinity is infinite and uncreated. Following Alexandrian allegory, the analogy of a drop of wine in the ocean signify the Creator and creature distinction. The body of Christ according to St Cyril is deified that's why He can stood among the disciples while the door was close, cf John 20:26. Deification doesn't change human nature, it remains the same yet energized. Like boiled water. His human nature is unique, because He has no original sin like we do. – Adithia Kusno Sep 21 '16 at 3:51
  • Whoa! This post is a quite while back. I don't dispute that deification uplifts the our created restored humanity with the divine nature. And that our humanity is not destroyed in the process. I don't think that is the issue here. Let me summarise my answer. – pehkay Sep 22 '16 at 3:19

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