An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


Heretical teaching about the person of Christ associated with Eutyches (c. 378-454). He was the archimandrite (monastic superior) of a large monastery in Constantinople, and influential at the imperial court in Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century. Eutyches was caught up in the controversy then raging over the relationship between the humanity and divinity of Christ. He opposed Nestorianism, a heretical teaching which held that Christ was two persons, one divine and one human, as well as two natures in moral union. Eutyches taught that Christ was one person (hypostasis or prosopon) with just one nature. Hence, Eutychianism is also called monophysitism. It is not clear whether Eutyches held the one nature of Christ to be simply divine, or whether it was a “third thing” between divinity and humanity. He taught that Christ's one nature was not consubstantial with our humanity. His Christology was unbalanced because he did not uphold the full humanity of Christ. This teaching led his followers toward Docetism. Eutychianism was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon. Eutychianism has been characterized as the opposite and symmetrical error of Nestorianism. See Docetism; see Nestorianism.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.