His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I
The Oriental Orthodox Churches:
Those who maintain the
Alexandrian Christological Tradition
In 451 Pope St. Leo of Rome sent legates into the city of Chalcedon with orders
to issue his
Tome and allow no compromise regarding its complete acceptance.  
The Pope knew the Emperor would accept nothing short of a united Church and
an end to the controversy plaguing the empire.  The council of bishops
assembled there had a choice:  accept the
Tome without debate or face the
prospects of a divided Church.  This Council was called in reaction to a
previous Council of Ephesus (449) which had one-sidedly denounced the
adherents of the Antiochian Christological tradition.  Thus the bishops at
Chalcedon welcomed Rome's ultimatum and support.  Yet a third of the
Church did not yield to Roman and Imperial pressure.
These Churches were committed to the Alexandrian Christological tradition
which was affirmed at the Council of Ephesus (431), the Third Ecumenical
Council.  The
Tome of Pope Leo sought to re-affirm the Antiochian
Christological tradition which had been brought into question because of
Nestorianism.  Whereas the Antiochian school of Christology emphasized the
distinction between Christ's divinity and humanity, the Alexandrian school
emphasized the unity of divinity and humanity in one composite nature of the
person (hypostasis) of God the Word.  
Pope Leo's attempt at a new theological formula of "two natures" was
considered by the Oriental Churches as novel and an offense to the Church's
Christology taught by St. Cyril of Alexandria and affirmed by the Ecumenical
Council of Ephesus.  Questions also arose due to the fact that Nestorians were
claiming victory as a result of Leo's
Tome and the Chalcedonian definition.  
Although the next two Councils (Constantinople II and III) worked to establish
a balance between Ephesus and Chalcedon, complete agreement could not be
reached.  The ensuing political intrigues which followed, including regrettable
actions by both sides, solidified  divisions between the Churches of these two
great Christological traditions.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches, consisting of the Armenian, Syrian,
Indian,Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Churches, did not accept the Council of
Chalcedon but upheld the original three Ecumenical Councils.  They were in
turn falsely accused of following the heresy of
Monophysitism.  Monophysites
taught that Christ is solely Divine and that His humanity was "swallowed up"
by His Divinity.  Oriental Orthodox are instead
Miaphysites following St. Cyril
of Alexandria (and before him, St. Athanasius the Great) who taught the "one
nature (
mia physis) of God the Word incarnate."  While the prefix "mono"
connotes numerical oneness, "mia" more accurately conveys the doctrine of
composite oneness.  
The Byzantine Orthodox and the Latin Catholic Churches, upheld the
Antiochian Christological position and accepted the Chalcedonian definition
and the three Councils which followed.  Because the word "nature," is
understood differently in our respective traditions, Chalcedonians teach that
Christ is "
in two natures."  Oriental Orthodox teach that Christ has one
composite nature (Divine & human) "
from two natures."  The important
Neo-Chalcedonian Christology
which developed in the Byzantine East and
was confirmed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council, did much to bridge the
gap in Christology among the Eastern Churches.  
The culmination of 1500 years of dialogue and exchange between our ancient
Churches has revealed that the two respective Christologies,
Alexandrian and
Antiochian -if properly understood- are orthodox and compatible.  Both
Christological schools have always agreed that our Lord's Divinity and
humanity are united "without confusion, change, separation or division."  
Thus, the 1500 year old schism between our Churches has theologically been
settled in our day.  This was recognized in the landmark
Agreed Statement on
Christology where the Byzantine Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches
stated together:

"We have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally
maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the
unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they have used
Christological terms in different ways.  It is this common faith and
continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis for
our unity and communion."

In addition there have also been joint Christological Statements between the
Catholic Church and each of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (see below) as they
also work to restore full unity.
This unanimity in faith was recognized long ago by the 12th century Armenian
St. Nersess the Grace-filled, who wrote in his Pontifical
, "If one says 'one nature' in the sense of the indissoluble and indivisible
union and not in the sense of confusion, and if one says 't
wo natures' as being
without confusion, alteration or signifying division, then both positions are
within the orbit of orthodoxy."
                                       -Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian, M.A.
Orthodox Christology:
The Alexandrian and Antiochene Traditions
The Coptic Patriach of Alexandria
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch:
His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I
The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos
of all Armenians:  His Holiness Karekin II
Helpful Links on Christology and the Council of Chalcedon

1.  Documents and Websites related to Orthodox Christology:
- Common Declaration on Christology -by H.H. John Paul II and H.H. Karekin I
The Christological Schools of Alexandrian & Antioch -by Sub-Dn. Der-Ghazarian
Orthodox Unity -An Oriental Orthodox website promoting the union of Orthodox
The Monophysite Heresy -by Ms. Veronica Der-Ghazarian -Byzantine Armenian
The Oriental Orthodox Churches -by Rev. Fr. Ronald Roberson, Latin Catholic
Problems of Consensus in Christology & the Function of Councils
by Most Rev. Abp Tiran Nersoyan, Armenian Orthodox
Monophysitism Reconsidered -by Rev. Fr. Matthias F. Wahba, Coptic Orthodox
The Council of Chalcedon:  Re-Examined -by Fr. V.C. Samuel, Indian Orthodox
A detailed historical account of the proceedings of the Chalcedonian Council.
St. Nersess Theological Review -Excellent essays by theologians of both Orthodox
traditions on the topic of Orthodox Christology

2.  Special Resources from the Byzantine Orthodox Monachos website :
- The Formula of Reunion to John of Antioch -by St. Cyril of Alexandria
The Third Epistle to Nestorious and Twelve Anathemas - by St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Cyril of Alexandria -Background on this Great Father
The Christological Controversy and other areas of Patristic Themes - Resources

"Soorp Asdvadz, soorp yev huzor, soorp yev anmah,
vor khachetsar vasun mer, voghormya mez."

"Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal,
Who was crucified for us, have mercy on us."

-The traditional Trisagion of the Armenian Church
sung to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity
Hymn of the Only-Begotten, (Monogenes, Gk./ Meeyadzeen, Arm)

"Only-begotten Son and Word of God and Being immortal, Who deigned
to take body through the holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin.
You, the unchangeable One, became man and you were crucified,
O Christ our God, and you trampled down death by death.
You, one of the Holy Trinity, are equal in glory with
the Father and the Holy Spirit; save us."

-A credal formula, composed by St. Justinian the Emperor (6th c.),
to heal the schism over Chalcedon; it was accepted by all Orthodox Churches.
St. Athanasius and Cyril
Holy Fathers of the Alexandrian
Christological Tradition