Two ancient Christologies p. 87f

We must notice, too, that Cyril, building on the principle that “Incarnation is self-emptying”, carreis forward the though of his predecessors, who had realized that their system demanded the inclusion of the conception that in the Incarnation of the Logos has accommodated Himself to earthly conditions. While for him, as for all the teachers of the Alexandrine school, the Incarnation is a supreme mystery, he sees that the self-emptying of the Logos, who in His divine being cannot suffer any change, is to do and to say what is human through the economic union with the flesh. To separate Him for what is human, he argues against the Antiochenes, is to overturn the whole mystery. So he asserts the Logos “went through the laws of human nature.” But he perceives that a real incarnation is only possible if the Logos limits Himself in respect of His divine powers. Hence, with Athanasius, he can say that the Logos “allowed” the humanity to fulfil its own measures. But this is not all. Especially significant in this connection is the following remark of his: the Logos, he says, might have take the Babe out of the swaddling clothes and lifted Him (at once) to the fulness of manhood, but this would have mere wonder-working and out of harmony with the conditions of the economy; rather__

the mystery was accomplished noiselessly. Therefore, in accordance with the economy, He permitted the measures of the manhood to prevail over Himself [ἠφίει δὴ οὖν οἰκονομικῶς τοῖς τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος μέτροις ἐφ’ ἑαυτῷ τὸ κρατεῖν].

Here again we have an important contribution to Christological thought, and even if it has to be confessed__and to this point we shall return__that Cyril “restricts the reign of law to the material sphere, excluding it form the intellectual and moral,” it stands as a sound principle, and one which can be developed: the Logos, while still remaining the Creative Word, assumes manhood, and in so doing subjects Himself to human laws.

Accordingly he maintains that the Logos is the same Person both before and after the Incarnation. the only difference, he would say, is that He existed ἄσαρκος is now (though without any change in respect of His divine being) ἐνσώματος; the nature or hypostasis of the Logos os now σεσαρκωμένη; the Logos Himself is now σεσαρκωμένος. And, Cyril affirms, the Logos has become man through making what is human His very own. The union of Godhead and manhood in Jesus Christ, he teaches, is “hypostatic” and “natural”, and by this he means what Malchion and Apollinarius meant by their ἕνωσις οὐσιώδης__namely, a “personal” union, which has its centre in the Logos Himself; for, as he explicitly states, “the ‘nature’ or the ‘hypostasis’ of the Logos is the Logos Himself.” Thus is rendered an utter impossibility the Nestorian idea of two parallel existences. Indeed, Cyril sees in his “hypostatic union” a real safeguard against such an idea: “If we reject the ‘hypostatic union’ as being either impossible or unseemly,” he says in the Epistola dogmatica, “we fall into predicating two Sons.” Moreover, again and again does he assert__as Athanasius and Apollinarius had asserted before him__that since the manhood is “the own” of the Logos, “that of another” (ἑτέρου τινος): the Logos made man is one prosopon. His starting point, then, is the truth summed up in the Johannine formula: Jesus Christ is the Logos who “has untied to Himself hypostatically, in an ineffable and inconceivable manner, flesh animated with a rational soul;” therefore Jesus Christ is “God in flesh,” “God with flesh,” “God manifested in flesh.”   

It is to enforce this cardinal truth that the Alexandrine fights on behalf of “Theotokos”. The Virgin, he says, must be given this title, not because of His existence to her, but because the Logos as He was united to flesh was born of her. The titles suggested by the Antiochenes__“Theodochos,” “Christotokos” and “Anthropotokos”__he affirms, simply miss the point. For if Mary did not bring forth after the flesh God incarnate, one is bound to say that she brought forth an ordinary man__and such a notion is destructive of the whole mystery of the Incarnation. So he composes complete treatises in defence of the title, claiming that it has the support of those teachers whose soundness in the faith it was impossible to deny, Similarly he insists that orthodoxy demands that one should affirm “God was born.” But, he points out, in making this affirmation one does not mean that the Logos, who “was in the beginning with God,” first came into existence at the time of the Incarnation; the expression must be used because, though in reality the Virgin gave birth only to the manhood, the Logos, personally united to that manhood, was born of her. In fact, says Cyril, the royal way is being pursued when one confesses that the Logos endured two births, since He is one and the same Son, who was begotten of the Father, and born of a woman according to the flesh.