According to Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014), an ecumenical council was “assembly convened to deliberate and decide on ecclesiastical doctrine and on other matters affecting the interests of the Christian church.” In the Early church, ecumenical councils were called to discuss and expound upon the doctrine being formed within the church. They centered around heresy and sought to promote sound doctrine. Doctrine, then, led to practice. The third ecumenical council affected the practices of the fifth-century church, especially relating to its architecture and hymnography.
In order to understand the …show more content…
Its purpose was to resolve a dispute between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius about the nature of Mary and whether or not she should be declared Theotokos (Simonetti, 2006, 808).
Nestorius opposed the term because “whenever the sacred scriptures speak of Our Lord’s activity, they never speak of the birth and suffering of the divinity, but of the humanity of Christ. That is why the most accurate way of speaking about the Holy Virgin is Christ-bearer, not God-bearer” (Fouad, 2010). He emphasized that Christ had independent divine and human natures going so far as to suggest “that they were two persons loosely united” (Nestorian, 2016). Cyril was a staunch opponent to Nestorius and responded to his dual nature position by affirming that in the incarnation, while retaining their respective characteristics, “the two natures [were] brought together in true union, there is of both one Christ and one Son” (Allison, 2011, pp. …show more content…
Starting on the left, the art depicts the Annunciation to Mary. Here, Mary was robed like a Roman princess and she weaves a purple veil. Both of these features depict her as having a high honor bestowed upon her. Next scene was the Annunciation to Joseph, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Massacre of the Innocents. The next mosaic represents Jesus’ presentation in the Temple, the flight into Egypt, and their encounter with the Holy Family and Aphrodisius, governor of Sotine. The last scene represents the Magi before Herod. Below the arch are two cities, Bethlehem and Jerusalem (Basilica, 2006).
Although the main concern in the arch mosaics was Christological, Mary was given a place of respect appropriate to her new status as Theotokos (Kalavrezou, 1990). This, of course painted her positively, which was worth noting, especially in light of the patriarch of Constantinople’s, Proclus’, homily on Mary directed after the council in which he said, "Happiness has come to all women. Because of the Theotokos the feminine sex is no longer under a curse. She is the temple of God sanctified" (Kalavrezou,