The Council of Ephesus was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. Approximately two-hundred Bishops were present. The proceedings were conducted in a heated atmosphere of confrontation and recriminations. It was the third of the so-called Ecumenical Councils and was chiefly concerned with the heresy of Nestorianism.
According to the Council, Nestorianism overemphasized the human nature of Jesus at the expense of the divine. The Council denounced Patriarch Nestorius' teaching as erroneous. Nestorius taught that the Virgin Mary gave birth to a man, Jesus Christ, not God, the "Logos" ("The Word", Son of God). The Logos only dwelled in Christ, as in a Temple (Christ, therefore, was only Theophoros: The "Bearer of God".) Consequently, Virgin Mary should be called "Christotokos," Mother of Christ and not "Theotokos, "Mother of God." Hence, the name, "Christological controversies".
The Council decreed that Jesus was one person, not two separate "people": complete God and complete man, with a rational soul and body. The Virgin Mary is "Theotokos" because she gave birth not to man but to God as a man. The union of the two natures of Christ took place in such a fashion that one did not disturb the other.
The Council also declared the text of the Nicene Creed decreed at the First and Second Ecumenical Councils to be complete and forbade any additional change (addition or deletion) to it. In addition, it condemned Pelagianism.
- Eight canons promulgated by the Council of Ephesus
- Medieval Sourcebook: Documents and letters concerning the Council of Ephesus
- Extracts from the Acts of the council
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Ephesus, Council of; report of proceeding from the Catholic POV
- Michael J. Svigel, "The Phantom Heresy:Did the Council of Ephesus (431) Condemn Chiliasm?"