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The attempt to unite the Byzantine and Armenian Churches on the basis of theMonothelite doctrine

In the beginning of the seventh century the Persian-Byzantine war broke out, in which fortuneinitially favored Persia. They managed to conquer Armenia, Palestine, Syria and other countries.However, at the end of the war theByzantine Emperor Heraclius(610-641) regained his Easternlands: Palestine, Syria, and a part of Armenia.

People living in those countries were mainly “Monophysites”. Since Heraclius pursued far-reaching political goals, namely, he wanted to bind Syria, Egypt, Palestine, and Armenia withByzantium, he applied best efforts to please them. For example, he appointed MonophysiteSergius Jacobite to be the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Catholicos of the SyrianMonophysites to be the Patriarch of Antioch, and Cyril, who was passionate anti-chalcedonian,to be the Patriarch of Alexandria.

In order to establish peace in the Church world, which had been in turmoil for over a century anda half, the Patriarch of Constantinople Sergius (610-638) offered the Monothelite formula, whichstated that Jesus Christ had two natures, one person, one will and one energy. The Emperorapproved that doctrine and offered the Churches of the Byzantine Empire to accept it. Cyril, thePatriarch of Alexandria, wrote in one of his messages to the Patriarch of Constantinople that theMonothelite doctrine helped him reconcile adversaries in Egypt.

The Monothelite doctrine was accepted both in Byzantium and in the West. It was also acceptedby the Roman Pope Honorius (625-638).

The new Monothelite formula was also offered to the Armenian Church. The Church Fatherswith Bishop Sunik Matousag at the head discussed the text and made a conclusion that in generalit corresponded to the principles of the Orthodox faith, but there was nothing about thecondemnation of the decision of the Council of Chalcedon. That’s why in 631-632 a NationalEcclesiastical Council was held in Karin, in which the Emperor, Catholicos Yezr (630-641) andtheir followers were present. As a result, both sides came to an agreement.


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