Defence of the integrity of Christ’s human nature against Apollinarism in the writings of Epiphanius of Salamis


Epiphanius of Salamis was one of the Church Fathers, who reacted resolutely against incorrect Christology of Apollinaris of Laodicea. The latter asserted that the divine Logos took the place of Christ’s human mind (noàj). In the beginning, the bishop of Salamis tackled the problem of Christ’s human body, since – as he told himself – followers of Apollinaris, that arrived in Cyprus, put about incorrect doctrine on the Saviour’s body. Among other things, they asserted it was consub­stantial with his godhead. Beyond doubt, this idea constituted a deformation of the original thought of Apollinaris. Anyway, Epiphanius opposing that error took up again expressions, which had been employed before by the Apostolic Fathers and Apologists in the fight against Docetism. Besides, Epiphanius told that some followers of Apollinaris denied the exi­stence of Christ’s human soul (yuc»). Also in this matter, in all probability, we come across a deformation of the original doctrine of the bishop of Laodicea. A real controversy with Apollinaris was the defence of the human mind of the Sa­viour. Epiphanius emphasized that He becoming man took all components of hu­man nature: “body, soul, mind and everything that man is”, in accordance with the axiom “What is not assumed is not saved” (Quod non assumptum, non sanatum). A proof of the integrity of human nature was the reasonable human feelings the Saviour experienced (hunger, tiredness, sorrow, anxiety) as well as knowledge he had to gain partly from experience, which was witnessed by Luke 2, 52. In the lat­ter question, the bishop of Salamis was a forerunner of contemporary Christology. The fact that Epiphanius admitted a complete human nature in Christ didn’t bring dividing the incarnate Logos into two persons. Although the bishop of Sa­lamis didn’t use technical terms for the one person of Jesus Christ, he outlined nonetheless the idea of the hypostatic union in his own words, as well as through employing the rule of the communicatio idiomatum. The ontological union of the divine Logos with his human nature assured Christ’s holiness, too.


Epiphanius of Salamis; Christology; Apollinarism; Christ’s human nature; the human feelings and knowledge of Christ; unity of the incarnate Logos

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Published : 2018-12-16

Pancerz, R. (2018). Defence of the integrity of Christ’s human nature against Apollinarism in the writings of Epiphanius of Salamis. Vox Patrum, 68, 253-269.

Roland Marcin Pancerz 
WSD OO. Bernardynów w Kalwarii Zebrzydowskiej  Poland

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