The first lasting schism in Christendom was that between Monophysite and orthodox Christianity. This well-established, integrated study examines the social historical background to this significant two hundred year period from the council of Ephesus in 431 to the expulsion of the Byzantines from the Monophysite provinces. Contemporary critics' views that Monophysitism can be considered as a 'quarrel about words' or as a symbol of the separatist movements in Syria, Egypt and Armenia are viewed as limiting in this authoritative survey, which moves beyond such criticisms. Frend asserts that regional identity does not have to imply separatism and examines this claim in detail. The work does not limit its scope to the history of the Christian doctrine either. The issues raised by the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon affected all areas of life beyond the political sphere in the east Roman provinces in the fifth and sixth centuries. Through this study, the reader can uncover how religion was the medium through which the harmony between government and the governed was mediated in this period. Through nine extensive chapters - from The Road to Chalcedon, 428-451 through to Syria, A Long Farewell - Frend provides an examination of the doctrinal issues relating to the Early Church, which are essential to a deeper understanding of the history of the fifth and sixth centuries.