St Severus and Julian of Halicarnassus – Part 1

There is an extensive collection of texts between Julian and St Severus which describe the controversy caused by Julian’s view that the humanity of Christ was immortal and incorruptible. This material is available in a French translation which I will begin to publish here in English as God wills and my poor ability allows.

Translation of the first Letter of Julian of Halicarnassus to St Severus

The Letter of Julian, bishop of Halicarnassus, to St Severus, Patriarch of Antioch. There arose here people who, using the testimony of St. Cyril, declared that the body of our Lord was corruptible. One of them is in the Letter to Succensus, where he says, “After the resurrection, It was indeed this body which had suffered, but no longer bearing in it the human infirmities, but henceforth incorruptible”. They want to show by this that before the resurrection it was corruptible, inasmuch as it was consubstantial with us, but that it is after the resurrection that he received incorruptibility. The other is drawn from the Address to the Emperor Theodosius where he says, “But it is a glorious thing, and likely to astonish everyone, that the body, which according to its nature is corruptible, should be resurrected”.
And these are the texts they allege, after having mutilated them; For my part, it is after I have quoted the whole passage that, on the basis of all its elements, I have endeavored to enlighten its thought. They also told me of the sixty-seventh Homily written about the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God, where we find, “The body of our Lord was in no way subjected to the corruption resulting from sin, but it was indeed subject to that which comes from death and burial; It was in him, in his body, that he destroyed it”. This is, I think, a transcription error, and it should be expressed in the following manner, not that he was subject to that which comes from death and burial, but that he was subject to death and burial.

So that it may be accurately judged what the object is in dispute, I have sent you what I have written. So, then, examine what best accords with the inspired Scriptures, for it is this, I know perfectly well, that the fathers have followed, and write to me, that I may know what opinion to hold. For I am not of the opinion to say that he is subject to corruption, who has not received the corruption.

Pray that our lives will conform to the grace of God.

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