Monothelism (from μόνος, single, and θέλημα, will), the doctrine of a Christian sect, maintains that Christ, though possessed of two natures, was yet subject only to one will; the human will being merged in the divine, or absorbed by it. The doctrine was given shape in an attempt on the part of the emperor Heraclius to unite the different factions of the Catholic Church, and to bring back to the fold the Eutychians and the Monophysites. There was near the beginning of the 7th century much controversy in the Eastern Church respecting the two wills in Christ, kindred to that concerning his nature. The Monophysites were at that time a most powerful sect, and the movement, especially in Egypt, threatened to assume a political character. In this difficulty the emperor Heraclius, hoping to reconcile the two parties, adopted the doctrine that there was in Jesus the Christ, after the union of the two natures, only one divine human energy and one will (μόνον θέλημα); and when, in the course of a campaign against Persia, Heraclius passed through Armenia and Syria, he came to an understanding with the Monophysite leaders of the Severians and Jacobites, and induced Sergius (q.v.), the orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, to give his assent to the doctrine of ἕν θέλημα καὶ μία ἐνέργεια, or of an ἐνέργεια θεανδρική. Monothelism, it will be perceived, then, is nothing more nor less than a modification of Eutychianism (q.v.). It consisted in maintaining that, although Christ has two natures, yet these natures possessed or are acted on by but a single will, the divine will superseding or supplying the place of a human will. It will be observed also that in this way the controversy was removed from the province of pure metaphysics into the moral and practical sphere; and although the assertion of an independent nature without independent action was a contradictio in adjecto it was yet hoped that the doctrine might be adopted by the Monophysites. The author of this doctrine was probably Sergius himself; he was, at least, its most active propagandist. The progress of the doctrine was materially forwarded by the relation which, at the instance of Sergius, and under his representations, pope Honorius (q.v.) was induced to maintain regarding the question. The Monophysite Cyrus, whom the emperor had promoted from the episcopate of Phasis to the patriarchate of Alexandria, promptly called a synod (A.D. 633), which by the seventh canon of its decrees solemnly approved of the monothelite doctrine (in the words τὸν αὐτὸν ἕνα Χριστὸν καὶ υἱὸν ἐνεργοῦντα τὰ θεοπρεπῆ καὶ ἀνθρώπινα μιᾶ'/ θεανδρικῇ ἐνεργείᾷ, Mansi, Concil. 11:565), thereby hoping to effect permanently a union between the different parties (Mansi, Concil. 11:564 sq.; Letters of Cyrus, ibid. 561). As Cyrus was the principal mover in this attempt, he has been generally esteemed the founder of the Monothelites. The work of the council certainly proved salutary, at least for a time. By bringing the doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon nearer to the Eutychian system, numbers of the Eutychians, who were dispersed throughout Egypt, Armenia, and other remote provinces, returned to the bosom of the Church. The only dissenting leader proved a certain Sophronius, a monk of Palestine, who from the first opposed the decree of the Alexandrian Synod with violence and when elevated to the vacant patriarchate of Jerusalem (635) was thus afforded ecclesiastical position and power, and now came forward to contest the question, notwithstanding that the patriarch of Constantinople approved of the Alexandrian decision, and the pope at Rome offered no remonstrance. Sophronius (q.v.) endeavored to show that this doctrine was inadmissible, since the doctrine of two natures set forth by the Synod of Chalcedon (q.v.) necessarily implied that of two wills (see Sophronii Epistola Synodica which is given in Mansi, 11:461). He finally summoned a council, and condemned monothelism as a branch of the Eutychian heresy. In order to terminate, if possible, the commotions to which this division was giving rise, the emperor Heraclius in 638 issued an edict,῎Εκθεσις (so named because it contained an exposition of the faith), in which he confirmed the agreement made by the patriarchs for the preservation of ecclesiastical union, and in which all controversies upon the question whether in Christ there was a double operation were prohibited, though the doctrine of a unity of will was inculcated. A considerable number of the Eastern bishops declared their assent to the Ecthesis, and above all Pyrrhus, who succeeded Sergius in the see of Constantinople. A similar acceptance was obtained from the metropolis of the Eastern Church; but at Rome the Ecthesis was differently received. John IV assembled a council, in which that exposition was condemned. SEE ECTHESIS. Neither was the monothelite system maintained in the Eastern Church any longer than during the life of Heraclius. In 648 the emperor Constans II issued the Τὐπος, i.e. an edict, by which the Ecthesis was suppressed, and the contending parties were prohibited from resuming their discussions on the doctrine in question (see Mansi, 10:992,1029 sq.; Neander, Church Hist. [Torrey] 3:186-192). Pope Honorius, as we have seen, appeared in favor of the union, and was probably himself inclined to monophysitism; but his successors, Severinus and John 4, thought and felt differently. The latter condemned the doctrine of the Monothelites, and Theodore excommunicated Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, till the doctrine of two wills and two energies was at last adopted at the first synod of the Lateran, held under Martin I, bishop of Rome, in the year 649 (see Mansi, 10:863 sq.). "Si quis secundum scelerosos haereticos cum una voluntate et una operatione, quae ab haereticis impiis confitetur, et duas voluntates, pariterque et operationes, hoc est, divinam et humanam, quae in ipso Christo Deo in unitate salvantur, et a sanctis patribus orthodoxe in ipso praedicantur, denegat et respuit, condemnatus sit" (see Gieseler, c. 1, § 128, note 11; Munscher v. Colla, 2:78 sq.). The emperor was so indignant at this daring of Martin that he had him secured, carried to Constantinople, there treated for a time as a criminal, and then banished him to the Crimea, where he died in 655, to be numbered among the martyrs of the Western and the confessors of the Eastern Church. His great intellectual supporter at the council had been a Greek abbot named Maximus, and he, too, underwent a long persecution, being scourged, having his tongue cut out, and at last dying a death little short of martyrdom just as he had reached his place of exile, A.D. 662. The final and authoritative condemnation of the monothelite dogma took place at the sixth general council, held at Constantinople in the year 680, where it was decided that there are in Christ "two natural wills and two natural operations, without division, without conversion or change, with nothing like antagonism, and nothing like confusion, but at the same time the human will of Christ could not come into collision with his divine will, but is in all things subject to it." An anathema was also pronounced on Theodore, Sergius, Honorius, and all who had maintained the heresy, this anathema being confirmed by Leo II, who wrote to the emperor respecting his own predecessor in the see of Rome: "Anathematizamus... necnon et Honorium qui hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostolicae traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione immaculatam subvertere conatus est" (Mansi, Concil. 11:631-637, 731). This anathema of pope Honorius was repeated by his successors for three centuries. SEE HONORIUS; SEE INFALLIBILITY. The council (also called the First Trullan) was summoned by Constantinus Pogonatus. The decision of the synod was based upon the epistle of Agatho, the Roman bishop, which was itself founded upon the canons of the above-mentioned Lateran synod (Agathonis Ep. ad Imperatores, in Mansi, 11:233 sq.). Baur says of this controversy (Dogmengesch. page 211): "Its elements on the side of the Monothelites were the unity of the person or subject, from whose one will (the divine will of the incarnate Logos) all must proceed, since two wills also presuppose two personal subjects (the chief argument of bishop Theodore of Cara, in Mansi, 11:567); on the side of the Dyothelites, the point was the fact of two natures, since two natures cannot be conceived without two natural wills, and two natural modes of operation. How far now two wills can be without two persons willing was the point from which they slipped away by mere supposition." See Combefis, Hist. hoer. Monothelit. (Paris, 1648); Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, 1:229, 241, 282; Schaff, Church Hist. 3:752, 782; Neander, Church Hist. 3:186 sq.; Gieseler, Church Hist. c. 1, § 128; Baur, Dogmengesch. 1:211; and his Trinitatslehre, volume 2; Ebrard, Kirchen- u. Dogmengesch. 1:279 sq.; Trench, Hulsean Lect. page 200; Gregory, Hist. of the Christ. Church, 1:379; Dorner, Doct. of the Person of Christ, volume 2, part 1; Neale, Hist. East. Church (patriarchate of Alexandria), 2:60 sq., 76 sq.; Stanley, East. Church, pages 94, 110; Knapp, Christian Theology, page 366; Milnan, Hist. of Latin Christianity, 2:266 sq.; Walch, Ketzerhistorie, 9:3-666; Gfrorer, Kirchengesch. volume 3, part 1, page 36 sq.; Dollinger, Kirchengesch. 1:170 sq.; Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 20:386 sq.; Westminster Rev. April 1871, page 247. SEE MONOPHYSITES. (J.H.W.)

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