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The monophysites were an early, post-Nicea heretical group which argued that Jesus had a single, divine nature and denied the more orthodox view that Jesus had a dual nature, fully human and fully divine. The earliest instances of monophysitism were not condemned and were, in fact, advocated by a number of prominent Church leaders, like Cyril.

The monophysite view that Jesus had a single nature was eventually condemned at the Council of Chalcedon (451) which asserted that Jesus had both a Divine and a Human nature combined in a single person. Some tried to avoid being condemned as heretics by asserting that Jesus may have had two natures technically, the Human nature was so subsumed by the Divine nature that the practical effect was a single nature.

A genuine schismatic movement of Monophysites did not appear until after the Second Council of Constantinople (553) which required acceptance of the formulation decided upon at Chalcedon and some simply refused. They were the precursors of the present-day Syrian and Armenian Orthodox churches. In 1984, the patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox church (Mar Ignatius Zakka II) met with Pope John Paul II and together they signed a new declaration which stated the difference in their dogmas were more apparent than real and ultimately based upon cultural and linguistic "inadequacies."

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