Apollinarianism is the heresy, which denied the completeness of Christ’s humanity named after Apollinarius of Laodicea born circa 312 –315 who became a bishop of Laodicea in 360. Originally, a supporter of orthodoxy against the Arians, his Christological teaching becomes a heresy among scholars, at a synod in Rome in 374-80 and by the Council of Constantinople in 381. The Christology of Apollinarius is summarised as, one hypostasis, one physis, one prosopon and one energia (activity).
The intention of this essay is to examine the background of Apollinarius and his teachings. It will also look at his main opponents Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa.
Apollinarius of Laodicea is the last of the great extraordinary thinkers of his time influenced by Hellenic position. Apollinarius was a man of great learning influenced by his father a grammarian also called Apollinarius. His father left his hometown and settled at Berytus as a schoolmaster, and later had moved to Laodicea. Apollinarius formed friendships with influential figures in early church society such as Epiphanius. If Apollinarius was not born in the faith then he had been a Christian for many years. He was then ordained priest at Laodicea. He was familiar with classical literature and wanted his son Apollinarius born between 312 and 315 to have a good education.
Not much is known about the life of his son Apollinarius of Laodicea he was enthusiastic to the formulation of the Nicene faith and was left to develop his theological theories, during his life time he made many works which have now perished. The works, which are available to us, are heretical and are just a small proportion of his entire works. Later this city became his Episcopal city in 360.
Kelly states, it is likely Apollinarius would have been accustomed to Arianism teaching, he had served as a reader to Theodotus, the Arian bishop of Antioch. He would of been exposed to this theology as a young man; it is difficult to know how Theodotus would have affected Apollinarius intellectual ideas. Apollinarius teachings are somewhat paradoxical, as the Arians would refuse to admit any human mind or soul in the son, the Alexandrian school would reject this implicitly.
Gregory of Nazianzus points out, Apollinarian heresy originated from around 352. At the Council of Alexandria, this heresy had become a public issue; a decade later, it became a serious issue. As a strong supporter of homoousion of the son, Apollinarius was an opponent of dualism in the Antiochene Christology he saw the effects of Paul of Samosata as harmful, his followers such as Eustahius and Diodore of Tarsus who confessed ‘the Lord as God incarnate, and yet falling into the separation’ . According to Apollinarius, this theory is ‘wickedly introduced by the Paul-imitators’ as they teach the incarnation of separation of the God from the man derived from the earth.’ not God incarnate, but a man...