Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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The Greek Orthodox accuses us of not believing that the Lord Jesus Christ is Human and Divine at the same time. They think we follow Arius and are therefore considered heretics by the Ecumenical council in Nicea. Why do all the other churches in the world misunderstand us and accuse us falsely? Is it political? Is there any prospect of us uniting with the Greek Orthodox Church?

The split between the Oriental churches (Coptic, Armenian, Indian, Ethiopian and Syrian) and the rest of the churches was at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) not at Nicea (325 A.D.). It is well known that the hero of the Council of Nicea who defended the faith against Arius was St. Athanasius, the secretary of Pope Alexandrius, Pope of the Church of Alexandria. Arius denied the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; regarding our Lord Jesus Christ as not consubstantial with the Father but that He was created. I do not think that any Church accuses us of such belief.

The non-oriental Churches however, wrongfully claim that we are monophysites. Unfortunately, we have been labeled by the Chalcedonian Churches to be monophysite following the heresy of Eutyches (Eutychianism). Eutyches was an archimandrite of a monastery in Constantinople. He zealously opposed the Nestorian heresy and was so highly concerned about the unity of the two natures in Christ, which Nestorius tore apart, that he fell into another heresy.

Eutyches said that the human nature was absorbed and dissolved in the Divine nature as a drop of vinegar in the ocean. In this way, he denied the human nature of Christ. After St. Dioscorus had excommunicated him, Eutyches pretended that he repented and accepted the true faith and St. Dioscorus allowed him to return on the condition that he would refute his heresy. Later on however, he again declared his corrupt belief and was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon held in 451 A.D., and was also excommunicated by the Coptic Church. This issue was very unjust and politically motivated, but as anything else in the world once you are labeled with something, it is very hard to change the mind of people even though all the facts prove otherwise. Labeling leads to injustice and ignorance rather than justice and enlightenment. Today many Orthodox Churches believe that the bitter and complex debates over the two natures within Christ, which were perhaps overly dominated and confused by vocabulary, are simply "quarrel about words". Several dialogues between Orthodox & Oriental Churches took place especially in the last decade. To read the details of these dialogues go to:
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