chapter  4
14 Pages

THE DOCTRINE OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST

Maximus owes his title ‘Confessor’ to his defence of the Orthodox doctrine of the Person of Christ, against the theological view, emanating from theological circles in Constantinople, and endorsed by imperial authority, that suggested language of one activity, or one will, in Christ, as a compromise with the Monophysites. It is, however, a striking fact that it is with apparent reluctance that Maximus becomes involved in this controversy. Although he follows Sophronius’ lead in rejecting the Alexandrian Pact of Union of 633, to begin with he abides by the Psephos of Patriarch Sergius, defending it as implicitly condemning the Alexandrian Pact-which seems somewhat disingenuous. It is only from 640 that he explicitly attacks Monothelitism, and even then he seems anxious to defend Pope Honorius, the originator of the Monothelite formula, from any personal charge of heresy.1 It would seem, however, that this hesitation was due to a reluctance to engage in public controversy (he was, after all, only a simple monk, not even an abbot), rather than from any lack of clarity about what Christological orthodoxy demanded, as it can be shown that from well before 640 his exposition of Christological doctrine demands duality of energy and of will in the Incarnate Person of Christ. For it is not only in the later Christological opuscula that Maximus discusses the doctrine of Christ. Christology is so central to his theological reflection that it is rarely far from his thought: of the works translated in the present volume (most of which must be dated earlier than 635, and the most substantial complete by 630) only one (Amb. 1, the first of the later Difficulties) is free from allusion to Christology, being a very brief comment on the doctrine of the Trinity.