When, in the 5th century A.D., owing to theological differences the Syriac-using Christians became divided into Nestorians or East Syrians and Jacobites (Monophysites) or West Syrians, certain differences of pronunciation, chiefly in the vowels, began to develop themselves.
Nevertheless she retained great influence; although involved in the revolt of the Syrian monophysites (453), she was ultimately reconciled to Pulcheria and readmitted into the orthodox church.
The short reign of Basiliscus (474-476) favoured the Monophysites, but the restoration of the rightful emperor Zeno marked an attempt at conciliation.
Among the early Monophysites were two of the best of Syriac writers - Jacob of Serugh and Philoxenus of Mabbogh, who have been treated in special articles.
The result was to bring about the deposition and banishment of the Monophysites from the latter city.
In the 6th century they received a new impulse from a monk of 'the name of Jacob, who united the various divisions into which the Eutychians, or Monophysites, had separated into one church, which exists at the present time under the name of the Jacobite Church, and has numerous adherents in Armenia, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Later he devoted himself to the revision of the Syriac version of the Bible, and with the help of his chorepiscopus Polycarp produced in 598 the so-called Philoxenian version, which was in some sense the received Bible of the Monophysites during the 6th century.
The Monophysites had the sympathy of the emperor Anastasius, and were finally successful in ousting Flavian in 512 and replacing him by their partisan Severus.
It was an attempt to provide a more accurate rendering of the Greek Bible than had hitherto existed in Syriac, and obtained recognition among the Monophysites until superseded by the still more literal renderings of the Old Testament by Paul of Tella and of the New Testament by Thomas of Harkel (both in 616-617), of which the latter at least was based on the work of Philoxenus.
But Kunze thinks that it was not used as a base of operations against Eutyches because there is some evidence that Monophysites were willing to accept it.
The middle ages were far more disastrous for the Monophysites than for the Nestorians; in their case there was no alternation of rise and decline, and we have only a long period of gradual exhaustion to chronicle.
The Monophysites, who had taken advantage of the Persian occupation, were persecuted and their patriarch expelled.
The Monophysites sometimes alleged that they could not accept the decrees of the council of Chalcedon because that council had not condemned, but (as they argued) virtually approved, three writers tainted with Nestorian principles, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, and Ibas, bishop of Edessa.
The Nestorians and the Eutychian Monophysites were not threatened with such severe civil penalties, although their worship was interdicted, and their bishops were sometimes banished; but this vexatious treatment was quite enough to keep them disaffected, and the rapidity of the Mahommedan conquests may be partly traced to that alienation of the bulk of the Egyptian and a large part of the Syrian population which dates from Justinian's persecutions.
The Monophysites, who like the Greeks knew themselves simply as the Orthodox, were grievously persecuted by the emperor Justinian and the graecizing patriarchs of Antioch, because they rejected the decrees of the council of Chalcedon, in which they - not without good reason - saw nothing but a thinly veiled relapse into those opinions of Nestorius which the previous council of Ephesus had condemned.
They used leavened bread in the Eucharist mixed with salt and oil, and like other Monophysites add to the Trisagion the words "Who wast crucified for our sake."
The Monophysites accept the first three councils, but reject the decree of Chalcedon and all that come after it.
The advocates of the one nature theory were called Monophysites (q.v.), and they gave rise to numerous sects, and to at least three separate national churches - the Jacobites of Syria, the Copts of Egypt and the Abyssinian Church, which are treated under separate headings.
The inclusion of sin as a necessary part of the cosmical process, which make him akin to the pantheistic monophysites and to some modern thinkers.
The controversy had its origin in the efforts of the emperor Heraclius to win back for the church and the empire the excommunicated and persecuted Monophysites or Eutychians of Egypt and Syria.
It was in Armenia, while on his expedition against Persia, in 622 that, in an interview with Paul, the head of the Severians (Monophysites) there, Heraclius first broached the doctrine of the µia EvEp-yECa of Christ, i.e.
His first act was to repudiate the Henoticon, a deed of union, originating, it is supposed, with Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, and published by the emperor Zeno with the view of allaying the strife between the Monophysites and their opponents in the Eastern church.
The church of the Nestorians, and that of the Monophysites, in their several schools and monasteries, carried on from the 5th to the 8th century the study of the earlier part of the Organon, with almost the same means, purposes and results as were found among the Latin schoolmen of the earlier centuries.
Meanwhile the Monophysites had followed in the steps of the Nestorians, multiplying Syriac versions of the logical and medical science of the Greeks.
The energy of the Monophysites, however, began to sink with the rise of the Moslem empire; and when philosophy revived amongst them in the 13th century, in the person of Gregorius Bar-Hebraeus (Abulfaragius) (1226-1286), the revival was due to the example and influence of the Arabian thinkers.
Nevertheless it seems to have originated in the East, perhaps as a protest against the extreme Monophysites, who even denied the passibility of Christ.