Council of Ephesus By Ellie, Margot, John, and Micah


The Council of Ephesus took place in Ephesus, which is on the western side of modern day Turkey, and east of Greece, starting on June 7 431

Why was the Council called?

  • Nestorious preached against the title Theotokos traditionally applied to the Virgin Mary
  • Nestorius said that Mary was Christokos, bearer of Christ, but not the bearer of God
  • This created a lot of conflict
  • Nestorious suggested that a council be held
  • Pope Celestine I and Emperor Theodosius II commissioned St. Cyril of Alexandria to go to Ephesus, and preside at the council

Notable Figures

Pope Celestine I

Pope Celestine I commissioned St Cyril to go to the council in Ephesus and lead it. First (significant) person to declare Nestorianism heresy

Emperor Theodosius II

Theodosius called the council at the request of Nestorius


Nestorius claimed that Jesus had two completely separate natures, divine and human.

Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril was the key advocate for Jesus having one nature, completely divine and completely human. He lead the council

What happened at the council

  • When the council began, Nestorius's supporters had not yet arrived, but Cyril decided to open the council anyways
  • When Nestorius's supporters arrived a few days later, they were so angry that they refused to join, and decided to hold their own council.
  • They excommunicated Cyril (but this was annulled). Because of this Cyril excommunicates Nestorius, as instructed by the pope before the council even started.
  • When the Roman representatives arrived at Cyril's council, they condemned Nestorius


Conclusions drawN from the Council

  • Virgin Mary is Theotokus
  • Christ is human and divine
  • Rejection of Pelagianism-the idea that one can be morally perfect without help from God
  • Reaffirmed Niceness Creed
  • Affirmation of the doctrinal authority of the bishop of Rome (Pope)
  • Acknowledgment of the hypostatic union between God and Christ
  • “In Christ the natures must be distinguished, but they must be united and assigned to one sole person.” (Epist. 38&39)


  • Nestorian Schism- the Church split between the churches of Sassanid Persia who supported Nestorius and the churches who rejected him
  • Nestorianism spread throughout Asia, Iraq, Syria, and Assyria after multiple relocations in the Middle East and Asia


CAMELOT, P. T. "Ephesus, Council of." New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 5, Gale, 2003, pp. 273-275. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 14 Feb. 2017.

Dickens, Mark, and Annette Morrow. "Nestorius did not intend to argue that Christ had a dual nature, but that view became labeled Nestorianism." Popular Controversies in World History: Investigating History's Intriguing Questions, edited by Steven L. Danver, vol. 2: The Ancient World to the Early Middle Ages, ABC-CLIO, 2011, pp. 145-173. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 14 Feb. 2017.

Camelot, P. T. "Ephesus, Council of." New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 5, Gale, 2003, pp. 273-275. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

Councils of Ephesus." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

Theotokos." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 19 Sep. 2016. Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.


Created with images by Fr James Bradley - "IMG_9651" • nathanh100 - "Map of Turkey, Undated" • AdinaVoicu - "the virgin mary statue woman" • Dimitry B - "Mosaic of Christ in Karye Museum (Chora Church), Istanbul"

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