Council of Chalcedon, 451
THE FOURTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.
THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
Emperors. -- Marcian and Pulcheria (in the East). Valentinian III. (in the
Pope. -- Leo I.
Extracts from the Acts, Session I. Session II.
The Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch.
Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued.
The Tome of St. Leo.
Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued.
The Sentence of Condemnation of Dioscorus.
Session IV. Session V.
The Definition of Faith of the Council, with Notes.
Decree on the Jurisdiction of Jerusalem and Antioch, with Notes.
Decree with regard to Bp. of Ephesus. Session XII.
Decree with regard to Nicomedia. Session XIII.
The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes.
Excursus to Canon XXVIII., on its later history.
Extracts from the Acts, Session XVI.
I should consider it a piece of impertinence were I to attempt to add
anything to what has been already said with regard to the Council of Chalcedon.
The literature upon the subject is so great and so bitterly polemical that I
think I shall do well in laying before my readers the Acts, practically complete
on all disputed points, and to leave them to draw their own conclusions. I shall
not, however, be liable to the charge of unfairness if I quote at some length
the deductions of the Eagle of Meaux, the famous Bossuet, from these acts; and
since his somewhat isolated position as a Gallican gives him a singular fitness
to serve in this and similar questions as a mediator between Catholics and
Protestants, his remarks upon this Council will, I think, be read with great
interest and respect.
(Bossuet. Defensio Dec. Cleri Gallic. Lib. VII., cap. xvij. [Translation by
An important point treated in the Council of Chalcedon, that is, the
establishing of the faith, and the approval of Leo's letter, is as follows:
Already almost the whole West, and most of the Easterns, with Anatolius himself,
Bishop of Constantinople, had gone so far as to confirm by subscription that
letter, before the council took place; and in the council itself the Fathers had
often cried out, "We believe, as Leo: Peter hath spoken by Leo: we have all
subscribed the letter: what has been set forth is sufficient for the Faith: no
other exposition may be made." Things went so far, that they would hardly permit
a definition to be made by the council. But neither subscriptions privately made
before the council, nor these vehement cries of the Fathers in the council, were
thought sufficient to tranquillize minds in so unsettled a state of the Church,
for fear that a matter so important might seem determined rather by outcries
than by fair and legitimate discussion. And the clergy of Constantinople
exclaimed, "It is a few who cry out, not the whole council which speaks." So it
was determined, that the letter of Leo should be lawfully examined by the
council, and a definition of faith be written by the synod itself. So the acts
of foregoing councils being previously read, the magistrates proposed concerning
Leo's letter, "As we see the divine Gospels laid before your Piety, let each one
of the assembled bishops declare, whether the exposition of the 318 Fathers at
Nice, and of the 150 who afterwards assembled in the imperial city, agrees with
the letter of the most reverend Archbishop Leo."
After the question as to examining the letter of Leo was put in this form, it
will be worth while to weigh the sentences and, as they are called, the votes of
the Fathers, in order to understand from the beginning why they approved of the
letter; why they afterwards defended it with so much zeal; why, finally, it was
ratified after so exact an examination of the council. Anatolius first gives his
sentence. "The letter of the most holy and religious-Archbishop Leo agrees with
the creed of our 318 Fathers at Nice, and of the 150 who afterwards assembled at
Constantinople, and confirmed the same faith, and with the proceedings at
Ephesus under the most blessed Cyril, who is among the saints, by the Ecumenical
and holy Council, when it condemned Nestorius. I therefore agree to it, and
willingly subscribe to it." These are the words of one plainly deliberating, not
blindly subscribing out of obedience. The rest say to the same effect: "It
agrees, and I subscribe." Many plainly and expressly, "It agrees, and I
therefore subscribe." Some add, "It agrees, and I subscribe, as it is correct."
Others, "I am sure that it agrees." Others, "As it is concordant, and has the
same aim, we embrace it, and subscribe." Others, "This is the faith we have long
held: this we hold: in this we were baptized: in this we baptize." Others, and a
great part, "As I see, as I feel, as I have proved, as I find that it agrees, I
subscribe." Others, "As I am persuaded, instructed, informed, that all agrees, I
subscribe." Many set forth their dif-
ficulties, mostly arising from a foreign language; others from the subject
matter, saying, that they had heard the letter, "and in very many points were
assured it was right; some few words stood in their way, which seemed to point
at a certain division in the person of Christ." They add, that they had been
informed by Paschasinus and the Legates "that there is no division, but one
Christ; therefore," they say, "we agree and subscribe." Others after mentioning
what Paschasinus and Lucentius had said, thus conclude: "By this we have been
satisfied and, considering that it agrees ,in all things with the holy Fathers,
we agree and subscribe." Where the Illyrian bishops, and others who before that
examination had expressed their acclamations to the letter, again cry out, "We
all say the same thing, and agree with this." So that, indeed, it is evident
that, in the council itself, and before it their agreement is based on this
that, after weighing the matter, they considered, they judged, they were
persuaded, that all agreed with the Fathers, and perceived that the common faith
of all and each had been set forth by Leo. This is that examination of Leo's
letter, synodically made at Chalcedon, and placed among the acts.
(Gallia Orthod., LIX.)
Nor did Anatolius and the other bishops receive it, until they had
deliberated, and found that Leo's letter agreed with the preceding councils.
(Gallia Orthod., LX.)
But here a singular discussion arises between the eminent Cardinals
Bellarmine and Baronius. The latter, and with him a large number of our
theologians, recognize the letter of Leo as the Type and Rule of faith, by which
all Churches were bound: but Bellarmine, alarmed at the examination which he
could not deny, answers thus: "Leo had sent his letter to the council, not as
containing his final and definitive sentence, but as an instruction, assisted by
which the bishops might form a better judgment." But, most eminent man, allow me
to say that Leo, upon the appeal of Eutyches, and at the demand of Flavian,
composed this letter for a summary of the faith, and sent it to every Church in
all parts, when as yet no one thought about a council. Therefore it was not an
instruction to the council which he provided, but an Apostolic sentence which he
put forth. The fact is that out of this strait there was no other escape:
Baronius will not allow that a letter, confirmed by so great an authority of the
Apostolic See, should be attributed to any other power but that which is supreme
and indefectible: Bellarmine will not take that to emanate from the supreme and
indefectible authority, which was subjected to synodical inquiry, and
deliberation. What, then, is the issue of this conflict, unless that it is
equally evident that the letter was written with the whole authority of the
Apostolic See, and yet subjected, as usual, to the examination of an Universal
And in this we follow no other authority than Leo himself, who speaks thus in
his letter to Theodoret: "What God had before decreed by our ministry, he
confirmed by the irreversible assent of the whole brotherhood, to shew that what
was first put forth in form by the First See of all, and then received by the
judgment of the whole Christian world, really proceeded from himself." Here is a
decree, as Baronius says, but not as Bellarmine says, an instruction: here is a
judgment of the whole world upon a decree of the Apostolic Sec. He proceeds:
"For in order that the consent of other sees to that which the Lord of all
appointed to preside over the rest might not appear flattery, nor any other
adverse suspicion creep in, persons were at first found who doubted concerning
our judgments." And not only heretics, but even the Fathers of the council
themselves, as the acts bear witness.
Here the First See shews a fear of flattery, if doubt about its judgments
were forbidden. Moreover, "The truth itself likewise is both more clearly
conspicuous, and more strongly maintained, when after examination confirms what
previous faith had taught." Here in plain words he speaks of an examination by
the council, de fide, not by himself, as they wretchedly object, but of that
faith which the decretal letter set forth. And at length that same letter is
issued as the Rule, but confirmed by the assent of the universal holy Council,
or as he had before said, after that it is confirmed by the irreversible assent
of the whole Brotherhood. Out of this expression of that great Pontiff, the
Gallican clergy drew theirs, that in questions of faith the judgment is, what
Tertullian calls, "not to be altered;" what Leo calls, "not to be reconsidered,"
only when the assent of the Church is added.
(Defens. Dec. Cleri Gall. VII. xvij.)
This certainly no one can be blamed for holding with him and with the Fathers
of Chalcedon. The forma is set forth by the Apostolic See, yet it is to be
received with a judgment, and that free, and each bishop individually is
inferior to the First, yet so that all together pass judgment even on his
They conceived no other way of removing all doubt; for, after the conclusion
of the synod, the Emperor thus proclaims: "Let then all profane contentions
cease, for he is indeed impious and sacrilegious, who, after the sentence of so
many priests, leaves anything for his own opinion to consider." He then
prohibits all discussion concerning religion; for, says he, "he does an injury
to the judgment of the most religious council, who endeavours to open afresh,
and publicly discuss, what has been once judged, and rightly ordered." Here in
the condemnation of Eutyches is the order of Ecclesiastical judgments in
questions of faith. He is judged by his proper Bishop, Flavian: the cause is
reheard, reconsidered by the Pope St. Leo; it is decided by a declaration of the
Apostolic See: after that declaration follows the examination, inquiry, judgment
of the Fathers or bishops, in a General Council: after the declaration has been
approved by the judgment of the Fathers no place is any longer left for doubt or
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 93.)
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, stood
up in the midst with his most reverend colleagues and said: We received
directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman
city, which is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus
is not to be allowed a seat in this assembly, but that if he should attempt to
take his seat he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out; if now
your holiness so commands let him be expelled or else we leave. (1)
The most glorious judges and the full senate said: What special charge do you
prefer against the most reverend bishop Dioscorus?
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, said:
Since he has come, it is necessary that objection be made to him.
The most glorious judges and the whole senate said: In accordance with what
has been said, let the charge under which he lies, be specifically made.
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop having the place of the Apostolic See,
said: Let him give a reason for his judgment. For he undertook to give sentence
against one over whom he had no jurisdiction. And he dared to hold a synod
without the authority of the Apostolic See, a thing which had never taken place
nor can take place. (2)
Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, holding the place of the Apostolic See,
said: We cannot go counter to the decrees of the most blessed and apostolic
bishop ["Pope" for "bishop" in the Latin], who governs the Apostolic See, nor
against the ecclesiastical canons nor the patristic traditions.
The most glorious judges and the full senate, said: It is proper that you
should set forth specifically in what he hath gone astray. Lucentius, the
venerable bishop and holding the place of the Apostolic See, said: We will not
suffer so great a wrong to be done us and you, as that he who is come to be
judged should sit down [as one to give judgment]. The glorious judges and the
whole senate said: If you hold the office of judge, you ought not to defend
yourself as if you were to be judged.
And when Dioscorus the most religious bishop of Alexandria at the bidding of
the most glorious judges and of the sacred assembly (ths
sugklhtou (3)) had sat down in the midst, and the most reverend
Roman bishops also had sat down in their proper places, and kept silence,
Eusebius, the most reverend bishop of the city of Dorylaeum, stepping into the
the then presented a petition, and the Acts of the Latrocinium were read.
Also the Acts of the council of Constantinople under Flavian against Eutyches
And when they were read, the most glorious judges and immense assembly ((uperfuhs
sugklhtos) said: What do the most reverend bishops of the present
holy synod say? When he thus expounded the faith did Flavian, of holy memory,
preserve, the orthodox and catholic religion, or did he in any respect err
Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, representing the Apostolic See, said;
Flavian of blessed memory hath most holily and perfectly expounded the faith.
His faith and exposition agrees with the epistle of the most blessed and
apostolic man, the bishop of Rome.
Anatolius the most reverend archbishop of Constantinople said; The blessed
vian hath beautifully and orthodoxly set forth the faith of our fathers.
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop, and legate of the Apostolic See, said;
Since the faith of Flavian of blessed memory agrees with the Apostolic See and
the tradition of the fathers it is just that the sentence by which he was
condemned by the heretics should be turned back upon them by this most holy
Maximus the most reverend bishop of Antioch in Syria, said: Archbishop
Flavian of blessed memory hath set forth the faith orthodoxly and in accordance
with the most beloved-of-God and most holy Archbishop Leo. And this we all
receive with zeal.
Thalassius, the most reverend bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia said; Flavian
of blessed memory hath spoken in accordance with Cyril of blessed memory.
[And so, one after another, the bishops expressed their opinions. The reading
of the acts of the Council of Constantinople was then continued.]
And at this point of the reading, Dioscorus, the most reverend Archbishop of
Alexandria said, I receive "the of two;" "the two" I do not receive (to
dekomai). I am forced to be impudent, but the matter is one which
touches my soul.
[After a few remarks the reading was continued and the rest of the acts of
the Latrocinium of Ephesus completed. The judges then postponed to the morrow
the setting forth a decree on the faith but intimated that Dioscorus and his
associates should suffer the punishment to which they unjustly sentenced Flavian.
This met with the approval of all the bishops except those of Illyrica who said:
"We all have erred, let us all be pardoned." (col. 323.)]
The most glorious judges and the whole senate said; Let each one of the most
reverend bishops of the present synod, hasten to set forth how he believes,
writing without any fear, but placing the fear of God before his eyes; knowing
that our most divine and pious lord believes according to the ecthesis of the
three hundred and eighteen holy fathers at Nice, and according to the ecthesis
of the one hundred and fifty after them, and according to the Canonical epistles
and ectheses of the holy fathers Gregory, Basil, Athanasius, Hilary, Ambrose,
and according to the two canonical epistles of Cyril, which were confirmed and
published in the first Council of Ephesus, nor does he in any point depart from
the faith of the same. For the most reverend archbishop of Old Rome, Leo,
appears to have sent a letter to Flavian of blessed memory, with reference to
Eutyches's unbelieving doubt which was springing up against the Catholic Church.
End of the first Actio.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
(L. and C., Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 338.)
When all were seated before the rails of the most holy altar, the most superb
and glorious judges and the great (uperfuhs) senate said; At a
former meeting the question was examined of the condemnation of the most
reverend bishop Flavian of blessed memory and Eusebius, and it was patent to you
all with what justice and accuracy the examination was conducted: and it was
proved that they had been cruelly and improperly condemned. What course we
should pursue in this matter became clear after your deliberations. Now however
the question to be enquired into, studied, and decided, is how the true faith is
to be established, which is the chief end for which this Council has been
assembled. As we know that ye are to render to God a strict account not only for
your own souls in particular, but as well for the souls of all of us who desire
rightly to be taught all things that pertain to religion, and that all ambiguity
be taken away, by the agreement and consent of all the holy fathers, and by
their united exposition and doctrine; hasten therefore without any fear of
pleasing or displeasing, to set forth (ekqeqai) the pure faith,
so that they who do not seem to
believe with all the rest, may be brought to unity through the acknowledging
of the truth. For we wish you to know that the most divine and pious lord of the
whole world and ourselves hold the orthodox faith set forth by the 318 and by
the 150 holy fathers, and what also has been taught by the rest of the most holy
and glorious fathers, and in accordance with this is our belief.
The most reverend bishops cried; Any other setting forth (ekqesin
allhn) no one makes, neither will we attempt it, neither will we
dare to set forth [anything new] (ekqesqai). For the fathers
taught, and in their writings are preserved, what things were set forth by them,
and further than this we can say nothing.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol said: The matters
concerning Eutyches have been examined, and the most holy archbishop of Rome has
given a form (tupon) which we follow and to his letter we all [i.
e. those in his neighbourhood] have subscribed.
The most reverend bishops cried: These are the opinions of all of us. The
expositions (ekteqenta) already made are quite sufficient: it is
not lawful to make any other.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, If it pleases your reverence,
let the most holy patriarch of each province, choosing one or two of his own
province and going into the midst, and together considering the faith, make
known to all what is agreed upon. So that if, as we desire, all be of one mind,
all ambiguity may be removed: But if some entertain contrary opinions (which we
do not believe to be the case) we may know what their opinions are.
the most reverend bishops cried out, we make no new exposition in writing.
This is the law, [i. e. of the Third Synod] which teaches that what has been set
forth is sufficient. The law wills that no other exposition should be made. Let
the sayings of the Fathers remain fast.
Florentius, the most reverend bishop of Sardis, said, since it is not
possible for those who follow the teaching of the holy Synod of Nice, which was
confirmed rightly and piously at Ephesus, to draw up suddenly a declaration of
faith in accordance with the faith of the holy fathers Cyril and Celestine, and
of the letter of the most holy Leo, we therefore pray your magnificence to give
us thee, so that we may be able to arrive at the truth of the matter with a
fitting document, although so far as we are concerned, who have subscribed the
letter of the most holy Leo, nothing further is needed.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said, The faith has been
well defined by the 318 holy fathers and confirmed by the holy fathers
Athanasius, Cyril, Celestine, Hilary, Basil, Gregory, and now once again by the
most holy Leo: and we pray that those things which were decreed by the 318 holy
fathers, and by the most holy Leo be read.
The most glorious judges and great Senate said: Let there be read the
expositions (ekteqenta) of the 318 fathers gathered together at
Eunomius, the most reverend bishop of Nicomedia read from a book [the
Exposition of faith of the 318 fathers. (1)]
The Exposition of faith of the Council held at Nice. "In the consulate of
Paul and Julian" etc.
"We believe in one God," etc. "But those who say," etc.
The most reverend bishops cried out; This is the orthodox faith; this we all
believe: into this we were baptized; into this we baptize: Blessed Cyril so
taught: tiffs is the true faith: this is the holy faith: this is the everlasting
faith: into this we were baptized: into this we baptize: we all so believe: so
believes Leo, the Pope (o
papas): Cyril thus believed: Pope Leo so interpreted it.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let there be read what was
set forth by the 150 holy fathers.
Aetius, the reverend deacon of Constantinople read from a book [the creed of
the 150 fathers. (2)]
The holy faith which the 150 fathers set forth as consonant to the holy and
great Synod of Nice.
"We believe in one God," etc.
All the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of all of us: we
all so believe.
The reverend archdeacon Aetius said, There remains the letter of Cyril of
and blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city Alexandria, which he
wrote to Nestorius, which was approved by all the most holy bishops assembled in
the first Council at Ephesus, called to condemn the same Nestorius, and which
was confirmed by the subscription of all. There is also another letter of the
same Cyril, of blessed memory, which he wrote to John, of blessed memory,
sometime bishop of the great city of Antioch, which likewise was confirmed. If
it be so ordered, I shall read these.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let the letters of Cyril of
blessed memory be read.
Aetius, the Archdeacon of the imperial city Constantinople read.
To the most reverend and most religious fellow-priest Nestorius, Cyril sends
greeting in the Lord.
l. Lat. Obloquuntur quidem, etc. This letter is found among the
acts of the Council of Ephesus.]
Likewise the same Archdeacon Aetius read [the letter of the same holy Cyril
of blessed memory to John of Antioch, on the peace].
[This letter begins, Eufraineqwsan
l.; and in the Latin Laetentur caeli.]
THE LETTER OF CYRIL TO JOHN OF ANTIOCH.
(Found in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 343 and col. 164; and
in Migne, Pat. Graece., Tom. LXXVII. [Cyrilli Opera, Tom. X.], col. 173. This is
the letter which is often styled "the Ephesine Creed.")
Cyril to my lord, beloved brother, and fellow minister John, greeting in the
"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" for the middle wall of
partition has been taken away, and grief has been silenced, and all kind of
difference of opinion has been removed; Christ the Saviour of us all having
awarded peace to his churches, through our being called to this by our most
devout and beloved of God kings, who are the best imitators of the piety of
their ancestors in keeping the right faith in their souls firm and immovable,
for they chiefly give their mind to the affairs of the holy Churches, in order
that they may have the noted glory forever and show forth their most renowned
kingdom, to whom also Christ himself the Lord of powers distributes good things
with plenteous hand and gives to prevail over their enemies and grants them
victory. For he does not lie in saying: "As I live saith the Lord, them that
honour me, I will honour." For when my lord, my most-beloved-of-God,
fellow-minister and brother Paul, had arrived in Alexandria, we were filled with
gladness, and most naturally at the coming of such a man as a mediator, who was
ready to work beyond measure that he might overcome the envy of the devil and
heal our divisions, and who by removing the offences scattered between us, would
crown your Church and ours with harmony and peace.
Of the reason of the disagreement it is superfluous to speak. I deem it more
useful both to think and speak of things suitable to the time of peace. We were
therefore delighted at meeting with that distinguished and most pious man, who
expected perhaps to have no small struggle, persuading us that it is necessary
to form a an alliance for the peace of the Church, and to drive away the
laughter of the heterodox, and for this end to blunt the goads of the
stubbornness of the devil. He found us ready for this, so as absolutely to need
no labour to be bestowed upon us. For we remembered the Saviour's saying; "My
peace I give unto you, my peace I leave with you." We have been taught also to
say in prayers: "O Lord our God give us peace, for thou hast given us all
things." So that if anyone should be in the participation of the peace furnished
from God, he is not lacking in any good. That as a matter of fact, the
disagreement of the Churches happened altogether unnecessarily and
in-opportunely, we now have been fully satisfied by the document brought by my
lord, the most pious bishop Paul, which contains an unimpeachable confession of
faith, and this he asserted to have been prepared, by your holiness and by the
God-beloved Bishops there. The document is as follows, and is set down verbatim
in this our epistle. Concerning the Virgin Mother of God, we thus think and
speak; and of the man-net of the Incarnation of the Only Begotten Son of God,
necessarily, not by way of addition but for the sake of certainty, as we have
received from the beginning from the divine Scriptures and from the tradition of
the holy fathers, we will speak briefly, adding nothing whatever to the Faith
set forth by the holy Fathers in Nice. For, as we said before, it suffices for
all knowledge of piety and the refutation of all false doctrine of heretics. But
we speak, not presuming on the impossible; but with the confession of our own
weakness, excluding those who wish us to cling to those things which transcend
We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God,
perfect God, and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and flesh consisting; begotten
before the ages of the Father according to his Divinity, and in the last days,
for us and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, of
the same substance with his Father according to his Divinity, and of the same
substance with us according to his humanity; for there became a union of two
natures. Wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this
understanding of this
unmixed union, we confess the holy Virgin to be Mother of God; because God
the Word was incarnate and became Man, and from this conception he united the
temple taken from her with himself.
For we know the theologians make some things of the Evangelical and Apostolic
teaching about the Lord common as per-raining to the one person, and other
flyings they divide as to the two natures, and attribute the worthy ones to God
on account of the Divinity of Christ, and the lowly ones on account of his
humanity [to his humanity].
These being your holy voices, and finding ourselves thinking the same with
them ("One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,") we glorified God the Saviour of all,
congratulating one another that our churches and yours have the Faith which
agrees with the God-inspired Scriptures and the traditions of our holy Fathers.
Since I learned that certain of those accustomed to find fault were humming
around like vicious wasps, and vomiting out wretched words against me, as that I
say the holy Body of Christ was brought from heaven, and not of the holy Virgin,
I thought it necessary to say a few words concerning this to them:
O fools, and only knowing how to misrepresent, how have ye been led to such a
judgment, how have ye fallen into so foolish a sickness? For it is necessary, it
is undoubtedly necessary, to understand that almost all the opposition to us
concerning the faith, arose from our affirming that the holy Virgin is Mother of
God. But if from heaven and not from her the holy Body of the Saviour of all was
born, how then is she understood to be Mother of God? What then did she bring
forth except it be true that she brought forth the Emmanuel according to the
flesh? They are to be laughed at who babble such things about me. For the
blessed prophet Isaiah does not lie in saying "Behold the Virgin shall conceive
and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God
with us." Truly also the holy Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin: "Fear not,
Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in
thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall save
his people from their sins."
For when we say our Lord Jesus Christ descended from heaven, and from above,
we do not so say this as if from above and from heaven was his Holy Flesh taken,
but rather by way of following the divine Paul, who distinctly declares: "the
first man is of the earth, earthy; the Second Man is the Lord from heaven."
We remember too, the Saviour himself saying, "And no man hath ascended up to
heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man." Although he was
born according to his flesh, as just said, of the holy Virgin, yet God the Word
came down from above and from heaven. He "made himself of no reputation, and
took upon him the form of a servant," and was called the Son of Man, yet
remaining what he was, that is to say God. For he is unchanging and unchangeable
according to nature; considered already as one with his own Flesh, he is said to
have come down from heaven.
He is also called the Man from heaven, being perfect in his Divinity and
perfect in his Humanity, and considered as in one Person. For one is the Lord
Jesus Christ, although the difference of his natures is not unknown, from which
we say the ineffable union was made.
Will your holiness vouchsafe to silence those who say that a crasis, or
mingling or mixture took place between the Word of God and flesh. For it is
likely that certain also gossip about me as having thought or said such things.
But I am far from any such thought as that, and I also consider them wholly
to rave who think a shadow of change could occur concerning the Nature of the
Word of God. For he remains that which he always was, and has not been changed,
nor can he ever be changed, nor is he capable of change. For we all confess in
addition to this, that the Word of God is impassible, even though when he
dispenses most wisely this mystery, he appears to ascribe to himself the
sufferings endured in his own flesh. To the same purpose the all-wise Peter also
said when he wrote of Christ as having "suffered in the flesh," and not in the
nature of his ineffable godhead. In order that he should be believed to be the
Saviour of all, by an economic appropriation to himself, as just said, he
assumed the sufferings of his own Flesh.
Like to this is the prophecy through the voice of the prophet, as from him,
"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Let your holiness be convinced nor
let anyone else be doubtful that we altogether follow the teachings of the holy
fathers, especially of our blessed and celebrated Father Athanasius, deprecating
the least departure from it.
I might have added many quotations from them also establishing my words, but
that it would have added to the length of my letter and it might become
wearisome. And we will allow the defined Faith, the symbol of the Faith set
forth by our holy Fathers who assembled some time ago at Nice, to be shaken by
no one. Nor would we permit ourselves or others, to alter a single word of those
set forth, or to add one syllable, remembering the saying: "Remove not the
ancient landmark which thy fathers have set," for it was not they who spoke but
the Spirit himself of God and the Father, who proceedeth also from him, and is
not alien from the Son, according to his essence. And this the words of the holy
initiators into mysteries confirm to us. For in the Acts of the Apostles it is
written: "And after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia;
but the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not." And the divine Paul wrote: "So then
they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but
in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have
not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
When some of those who are accustomed to turn from the right, twist my speech
to their views, I pray your holiness not to wonder; but be well assured that the
followers of every heresy gather the occasions of their error from the
God-inspired Scriptures, corrupting in their evil minds the things rightly said
through the Holy Spirit, and drawing down upon their own heads the unquenchable
Since we have leaned that certain, after having corrupted it, have set forth
the orthodox epistle of our most distinguished Father Athanasius to the Blessed
Epictetus, so as thereby to injure many; therefore it appeared to the brethren
to be useful and necessary that we should send to your holiness a copy of it
from some correct ancient transcripts which exist among us. Farewell.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
SESSION II. (continued).
(L. and C., Conc., Tom. IV., col. 343.)
And when these letters [i.e. Cyril's letter to Nestorius
kaGaFlnaronoi and his letter to John of Antioch EuFraineoqwsan]
had been read, the most reverend bishops cried out: We all so believe: Pope Leo
thus believes: anathema to him who divides and to him who confounds: this is the
faith of Archbishop Leo: Leo thus believes: Leo and Anatolius so believe: we all
thus believe. As Cyril so believe we, all of us: eternal be the memory of Cyril:
as the epistles of Cyril teach such is our mind, such has been our faith: such
is our faith: this is the mind of Archbishop Leo, so he believes, so he has
The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Let there be read also
the epistle of the most worthy Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, the Imperial City.
Beronician, the most devout clerk of the sacred consistory, read from a book
handed him by Aetius, Archdeacon of the holy Church of Constantinople, the
encyclical or synodical letter of the most holy Leo, the Archbishop, written to
Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople.
THE TOME OF ST. LEO.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 343; also Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom.
[Leo. M. Opera, Tom. I.] col. 756.) (1)
Leo [the bishop] to his [most] dear brother Flavian.
Having read your Affection's letter, the late arrival of which is matter of
surprise to us, and having gone through the record of the proceedings of the
bishops, we have now, at last, gained a clear view of the scandal which has
risen up among you, against the integrity of the faith; and what at first seemed
obscure has now been elucidated and explained. By this means Eutyches, who
seemed to be deserving of honour under the title of Presbyter, is now shown to
be exceedingly thoughtless and sadly inexperienced, so that to him also we may
apply the prophet's words, "He refused to understand in order to act well: he
meditated unrighteousness on his bed." What, indeed, is more unrighteous than to
entertain ungodly thoughts, and not to yield to persons wiser and more learned?
But into this folly do they fall who, when hindered by some obscurity from
apprehending the truth, have recourse, not to the words of the Prophets, not to
the letters of the Apostles, nor to the authority of the Gospels, but to
themselves; and become teachers of error, just because they have not been
disciples of the truth. For what learning has he received from the sacred pages
of the New and the Old Testament, who does not so much as understand the very
beginning of the Creed? And that which, all the world over, is uttered by the
voices of all applicants for regeneration, is still not grasped by the mind of
this aged man. If, then, he knew not what he ought to think about the
Incarnation of the Word of God, and was not willing, for the sake of obtaining
the light of intelligence, to make laborious search through the whole extent of
the Holy Scriptures, he should at least have received with heedful attention
that general Confession common to all, whereby the whole body of the faithful
profess that they "believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ Iris
only Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." By which
three clauses the engines of almost all heretics are shattered. For when God is
believed to be both "Almighty" and "Father," it is proved that the Son is
everlasting together with himself, differing in nothing from the Father, because
he was born as "God from God," Almighty from Almighty, Coeternal from Eternal;
not later in time, not inferior in power, not unlike him in glory, not divided
from him in essence, but the same Only-begotten and Everlasting Son of an
Everlasting Parent was" born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." This birth
in time in no way detracted from, in no way added to, that divine and
everlasting birth; but expended itself wholly in the work of restoring man, who
had been deceived; so that it might both overcome death, and by its power
"destroy the devil who had the power of death." For we could not have overcome
the author of sin and of death, unless he who could neither be contaminated by
sin, nor detained by death, had taken upon himself our nature, and made it his
own. For, in fact, he was "conceived of the Holy Ghost" within the womb of a
Virgin Mother, who bore him as she had conceived him, without loss of virginity.
(2) But if he (Eutyches) was not able to obtain a true conception from this pure
fountain of Christian faith because by his own blindness he had darkened for
himself the brightness of a truth so clear, he should have submitted himself to
the Evangelist's teaching; and after reading what Matthew says, "The book of the
generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," he should
also have sought instruction from the Apostle's preaching; and after reading in
the Epistle to the Romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an Apostle,
separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised before by the prophets
in the Holy Scriptures, concerning
his Son, who was made unto him of the seed of David according to the flesh,"
he should have bestowed some devout study on the pages of the Prophets; and
finding that God's promise said to Abraham, "in thy seed shall all nations be
blessed," in order to avoid all doubt as to the proper meaning of this "seed,"
he should have at-tended to the Apostle's words, "To Abraham and to his seed
were the promises made. He saith not, 'and to seeds,' as in the case of many,
but as in the case of one, 'and to thy seed,' which is Christ." He should also
have apprehended with his inward ear the declaration of Isaiah, "Behold, a
Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which is, being interpreted, God with us;" and should have read with faith the
words of the same prophet, "Unto us a Child has been born, unto us a Son has
been given, whose power is on his shoulder; and they shall call his name Angel
of great counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, Strong God, Prince of Peace, Father of
the age to come." And he should not have spoken idly to the effect that the Word
was in such a sense made flesh, that the Christ who was brought forth from the
Virgin's womb had the form of a man, and had not a body really derived from his
Mother's body. Possibly his reason for thinking that our Lord Jesus Christ was
not of our nature was this--that the Angel who was sent to the blessed and ever
Virgin Mary said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of rite
Highest shall overshadow thee, and therefore also that holy thing which shall be
born of thee shall be called the Son of God;" as if, because the Virgin's
conception was caused by a divine act, therefore the flesh of him whom she
conceived was not of the nature of her who conceived him. But we are not to
understand that "generation," peerlessly wonderful, and wonderfully peerless, in
such a sense as that the newness of the mode of production did away with the
proper character of the kind. For it was the Holy Ghost who gave fecundity to
the Virgin, but it was from a body that a real body was derived; and "when
Wisdom was building herself a house," the "Word was made flesh, and dwelt among
us,that is, in that flesh which he assumed from a human being, and which he
animated with the spirit of rational life. Accordingly while the distinctness of
both natures and substances was preserved, and both met in one Person, lowliness
was assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity; and, in order
to pay the debt of our condition, the inviolable nature was united to the
passible, so that as the appropriate remedy for our ills, one and the same
"Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus," might from one element be
capable of dying and also from the other be incapable. Therefore in the entire
and perfect nature of very man was born very God, whole in what was his, whole
in what was ours. By "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us at the
beginning and what he assumed in order to restore; for of that which the
deceiver brought in, and man, thus deceived, admitted, there was not a trace in
the Saviour; and the fact that he took on himself a share in our infirmities did
not make him a par-taker in our transgressions. He assumed "the form of a
servant" without the defilement of sin, enriching what was human, not impairing
what was divine: because that "emptying of himself," whereby the Invisible made
himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things willed to be one among
mortals, was a stooping down in compassion, not a failure of power. Accordingly,
the same who, remaining in the form of God, made man, was made man in the form
of a servant. For each of the natures retains its proper character without
defect; and as the form of God does not take away the form of a servant, so the
form of a servant does not impair the form of God. For since the devil was
glorying in the fact that man, deceived by his craft, was bereft of divine gifts
and, being stripped of his endowment of immortality, had come under the grievous
sentence of death, and that he himself, amid 'his miseries, had found a sort of
consolation in having a transgressor as his companion, and that God, according
to the requirements of the principle of justice, had changed his own resolution
in regard to man, whom he had created in so high a position of honour; there was
need of a dispensation of secret counsel, in order that the unchangeable God,
whose will could not be deprived of its own benignity, should fulfil by a more
secret mystery his original plan of loving
kindness toward us, and that man, who had been led into fault by the wicked
subtlety of the devil, should not perish contrary to God's purpose. Accordingly,
the Son of God, descending from his seat in heaven, and not departing from the
glory of the Father, enters this lower world, born after a new order, by a new
mode of birth. After a new order; because he who in his own sphere is invisible,
became visible in ours; He who could not be enclosed in space, willed to be
enclosed; continuing to be before times, he began to exist in time; the Lord of
the universe allowed his infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and took upon him
the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to be passible Man and
the immortal One to be subjected to the laws of death. And born by a new mode of
birth; because inviolate virginity, while ignorant of concupiscence, supplied
the matter of his flesh. What was assumed from the Lord's mother was nature, not
fault; nor does the wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as
born of a Virgin's womb, imply that his nature is unlike ours. For the selfsame
who is very God, is also very man; and there is no illusion in this union, while
the lowliness of man and the loftiness of Godhead meet together. For as "God" is
not changed by the compassion [exhibited], so "Man" is not consumed by the
dignity [bestowed]. For each "form" does the acts which belong to it, in
communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the
Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these
shines out in miracles, the other succumbs' to injuries. And as the Word does
not withdraw from equality with the Father in glory, so the flesh does not
abandon the nature of our kind. For, as we must often be saying, he is one and
the same, truly Son of God, and truly Son of Man. God, inasmuch as "in the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Man,
inasmuch as "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." God, inasmuch as "all
things were made by him, and without him nothing was made." Man, inasmuch as he
was "made of a woman, made under the law." The nativity of the flesh is a
manifestation of human nature; the Virgin's child-bearing is an indication of
Divine power. The infancy of the Babe is exhibited by the humiliation of
swaddling clothes: the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of
angels. He whom Herod impiously designs to slay is like humanity in its
beginnings; but he whom the Magi rejoice to adore on their knees is Lord of all.
Now when he came to the baptism of John his forerunner, lest the fact that the
Godhead was covered with a veil of flesh should be concealed, the voice of the
Father spake in thunder from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased." Accordingly, he who, as man, is tempted by the devil's subtlety, is
the same to whom, as God, angels pay duteous service. To hunger, to thirst, to
be weary, and to sleep, is evidently human. But to satisfy five thousand men
with five loaves, and give to the Samaritan woman that living water, to draw
which can secure him that drinks of it from ever thirsting again; to walk on the
surface of the sea with feet that sink not, and by rebuking the storm to bring
down the "uplifted waves," is unquestionably Divine. As then--to pass by many
points --it does not belong to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity
over a dead friend and, after the mass of stone had been removed from the grave
where he had lain four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life
again; or to hang on the wood, and to make all the elements tremble after
daylight had been turned into night; or to be transfixed with nails, and to open
the gates of paradise to the faith of the robber; so it does not belong to the
same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is
greater than I." For although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one Person of
God and man, yet that whereby contumely attaches to both is one thing, and that
whereby glory attaches to both is another; for from what belongs to us he has
that manhood which is inferior to the Father; while from the Father he has equal
Godhead with the Father. Accordingly, on account of this unity of Person which
is to be understood as existing in both the natures, we read, on the one hand,
that "the Son of Man came down from heaven," inasmuch as the Son of God took
flesh from that Virgin of whom he was born; and on the other hand, the Son of
God is said to have been crucified and buried, inasmuch as he underwent this,
his actual Godhead; wherein the Only-begotten is coeternal and consubstantial
with the Father, but in the weakness of human nature. Wherefore we all, in the
very Creed, confess that" the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and
buried," according to that saying of the Apostle, "for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of Majesty." But when our Lord and
Saviour himself was by his questions instructing the faith of the disciples, he
said, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" And when they had mentioned
various opinions held by others, he said, "But whom say ye that I am?" that is,
"I who am Son of Man, and whom you see in the form of a servant, and in reality
of flesh, whom say ye that I am?" Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by
God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, "Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God." Not undeservedly, therefore, was he
pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity
which belonged both to his virtue and to his name, who through revelation from
the Father confessed the selfsame to be both the Son of God and the Christ;
because one of these truths, accepted without the other, would not profit unto
salvation, and it was equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be
merely God and not man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of
the Lord--which was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other
person was raised again than he who had been crucified and had died--what else
was accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith
entire and clear of all darkness ? For while he conversed with his disciples,
and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed himself to be handled with
careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt,
for this end he came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, and by his
breath gave them the Holy Ghost, and opened the secrets of Holy Scripture after
bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in his selfsame person
showed to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the flesh
tokens of the Passion, saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I
myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me
have:" that the properties of the Divine and the human nature might be
acknowledged to remain in him without causing a division, and that we might in
such sort know that the Word is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the
one Son of God is both Word and flesh. On which mystery of the faith this
Eutyches must be regarded as unhappily having no hold, who does not recognise
our nature to exist in the Only-begotten Son of God, either by way of the
lowliness of mortality, or of the glory of resurrection. Nor has he been
overawed by the declaration of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist John, saying,
"Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God;
and every spirit which dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist."
Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate the human nature from him, and to
make void by shameless inventions that mystery by which alone we have been
saved? Moreover, being in the dark as to the nature of Christ's body, he must
needs be involved in the like senseless blindness with regard to his Passion
also. For if he does not think the Lord's crucifixion to be unreal, and does not
doubt that he really accepted suffering, even unto death, for the sake of the
world's salvation; as he believes in his death, let him acknowledge his flesh
also, and not doubt that he whom he recognises as having been capable of
suffering is also Man with a body like ours; since to deny his true flesh is
also to deny Iris bodily sufferings. If then he accepts the Christian faith, and
does not turn away his ear from the preaching of the Gospel, let him see what
nature it was that was transfixed with nails and hung on the wood of the cross;
and let him understand whence it was that, after the side of the Crucified had
been pierced by the soldier's spear, blood and water flowed out, that the Church
of God might be refreshed both with a Laver and with a Cup. Let him listen also
to the blessed Apostle Peter when he declares, that "sanctification by the
Spirit" takes place through the "sprinkling of the blood of Christ," and let him
not give a mere cursory reading to the words of the same Apostle, "Knowing that
ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain
way of life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood
Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot." Let him also not
resist the testimony of Blessed John the Apostle, "And the blood of Jesus the
Son of God cleanseth us from all sin." And again, "This is the victory which
overcometh the world, even our faith;" and, "who is he that overcometh the
world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came
by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in water only, but in water and
blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear witness--the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and
the three are one." That is, the Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of
redemption, and the water of baptism; which three things are one, and remain
undivided, and not one of them is disjoined from connection with the others;
because the Catholic Church lives and advances by this faith, that Christ Jesus
we should believe neither manhood to exist without true Godhead, nor Godhead
without true manhood. But when Eutyches, on being questioned in your examination
of him, answered, "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union,
but after the union I confess one nature;" I am astonished that so absurd and
perverse a profession as this of his was not rebuked by a censure on the part of
any of his judges, and that an utterance extremely foolish and extremely
blasphemous was passed over, just as if nothing had been heard which could give
offence: seeing that it is as impious to say that the Only-begotten Son of God
was of two natures before the Incarnation as it is shocking to affirm that,
since the Word became flesh, there has been in him one nature only. But lest
Eutyches should think that what he said was correct, or was tolerable, because
it was not confuted by any assertion of yours, we exhort your earnest
solicitude, dearly beloved brother, to see that, if by God's merciful
inspiration the case is brought to a satisfactory issue, the inconsiderate and
inexperienced man be cleansed also from this pestilent notion of his; seeing
that, as the record of the proceedings has clearly shown, he had fairly begun to
abandon his own opinion when on being driven into a corner by authoritative
words of yours, he professed himself i ready to say what he had not said before,
and to give his adhesion to that faith from which he had previously stood aloof.
But when he would not consent to anathematize the impious dogma you understood,
brother, that he continued in his own misbelief, and deserved to receive
sentence of condemnation. For which if he grieves sincerely and to good purpose,
and understands, even though too late, how properly the Episcopal authority has
been put in motion, or if, in order to make full satisfaction, he shall condemn
viva voce, and under his own hand, all that he has held amiss, no compassion, to
whatever extent, which can be shown him when he has been set right, will be
worthy of blame, for our Lord, the true and good Shepherd, who laid down his
life for his sheep, and who came to save men's souls and not to destroy them,
wills us to imitate his own loving kindness; so that justice should indeed
constrain those who sin, but mercy should not reject those who are converted.
For then indeed is the true faith defended with the best results, when a false
opinion is condemned even by those who have followed it. But in order that the
whole matter may be piously and faithfully carried out, we have appointed our
brethren, Julius, Bishop, and Reatus, Presbyter (of the title of St. Clement)
and also my son Hilarus, Deacon, to represent us; and with them we have
associated Dulcitius, our Notary, of whose fidelity we have had good proof:
trusting that the Divine assistance will be with you, so that he who has gone
astray may be saved by condemning his own unsound opinion. May God keep you in
good health, dearly beloved brother. Given on the Ides of June, in the Consulate
of the illustrious men, Asterius and Protogenes.
[Next was read a long catena of quotations from the Fathers sustaining the
teaching of the Tome. (L. and C., Conc., Tom. IV., cols. 357-368.)]
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS
SESSION II. (continued).
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 368.)
After the reading of the foregoing epistle, the most reverend bishops cried
out: This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles. So we
all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who does not thus
believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo. So taught the Apostles. Piously and
truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril. Leo
and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him who does not so believe. This
is the true faith. Those of us who are orthodox thus believe. This is the faith
of the fathers. Why were not these things read at Ephesus [i.e. at the heretical
synod held there] ? These are the things Dioscorus hid away.
[Some explanations were asked by the Illyrian bishops and the answers were
found satisfactory, but yet a delay of a few days was asked for, and some
bishops petitioned for a general pardon of all who had been kept out. This
proposition made great confusion, in the midst of which the session was
dissolved by the judges. (Col. 371.)]
[The imperial representatives do not seem to have been present, and after
Aetius the Archdeacon of Constantinople had opened the Session,]
Paschasinus the bishop of Lilybaeum, in the province of Silicia, and holding
the place of the most holy Leo, archbishop of the Apostolic see of old Rome,
said in Latin what being interpreted is as follows: It is well known to this
beloved of God synod, that divine (1) letters were sent to the blessed and
apostolic pope Leo, inviting him to deign to be present at the holy synod. But
since ancient custom did not sanction this, nor the general necessity of the
time seemed to permit it, our littleness in the place of himself he [ta
sunodou, and therefore it is necessary that whatever things are
brought into discussion should be examined by our interference (dialalias).
[The Latin reads where I have placed the Greek of the ordinary text, thus,
"commanded our littleness to preside in his place over this holy council."]
Therefore let the book presented by our most beloved-of-God brother, and
fellow-bishop Eusebius be received, and read by the beloved of God archdeacon
and primicerius of the notaries, Aetius.
And Aetius, the archdeacon and primicerius of the notaries, took the book and
read as follows.
[Next follows the petition of Eusebius et post nonnulla four petitions each
addressed to "The most holy and beloved-of-God ecumenical archbishop and
patriarch of great Rome Leo, and to the holy and ecumenical Synod assembled at
Chalcedon, etc., etc. ;" The first two by deacons of Alexandria, the third by a
quondam presbyter of the diocese, and the fourth by a layman also of Alexandria.
After this Dioscorus was again summoned and, as he did not come, sentence was
given against him, which was communicated to him in a letter contained in the
acts. (L. and C., Conc., Tom IV., col. 418.) The Bishops expressed their
opinions for the most part one by one, but the Roman Legates spoke together, and
in their speech occurs the following (Col. 426:)]
Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder
Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with (2) the
thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and
foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of
the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated
from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod
sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties.
[ The bishops then, one by one, spoke in favour of the deposition of
Dioscorus, but usually on the ground of his refusal to appear when thrice
And when all the most holy bishops had spoken on the subject, they signed
this which follows.
THE CONDEMNATION SENT BY THE HOLY AND ECUMENICAL SYNOD TO DIOSCORUS.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 459.)
The holy and great and ecumenical Synod, which by the grace of God according
to the constitution of our most pious and beloved of God emperors assembled
together at Chalcedon the city of Bithynia, in the martyry of the most holy and
victorious Martyr Euphemia to Dioscorus.
We do you to wit that on the thirteenth day of the month of October you were
deposed from the episcopate and made a stranger to all ecclesiastical order (qesmou)
by the holy and ecumenical synod, on account of your disregard of the divine
canons, and of your disobedience to this holy and ecumenical synod and on
account of the other crimes of which you have been found guilty, for even when
called to answer your accusers three times by this holy and great synod
according to the divine canons you did not come.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 469.)
The most magnificent and glorious judges and the great Senate said:
Let the reverend council now declare what seems good concerning the faith,
since those things which have already been disposed of have been made manifest.
Paschasinus and Lucentius, the most reverend bishops, and Boniface the most
reverend presbyter, legates of the Apostolic See through that most reverend man,
bishop Paschasinus said: As the holy and blessed and Ecumenical Synod holds fast
and follows the rule of faith (fidei regulam in the Latin Acts) which was set
forth by the fathers at Nice, it also confirms the faith set forth by the Synod
of 150 fathers gathered at Constantinople at the bidding of the great Theodosius
of blessed memory. Moreover the exposition of their faith, of the illustrious
Cyril of blessed memory set forth at the Council of Ephesus (in which Nestorius
was condemned) is received. And in the third place the writings of that blessed
man, Leo, Archbishop of all the churches, who condemned the heresy of Nestorius
and Eutyches, shew what the true faith is. Likewise the holy Synod holds this
faith, this it follows -- nothing further can it add nor can it take aught away.
When this had been translated into Greek by Beronician, the devout secretary
of the divine consistory, the most reverend bishops tried out: So we all
believe, so we were baptized, so we baptize, so we have believed, so we now
The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Since we see that the
Holy Gospels have been placed alongside of your holiness, let each one of the
bishops here assembled declare whether the epistle of most blessed archbishop
Leo is in accordance with the exposition of the 318 fathers
assembled at Nice and with the decrees of the 150 fathers afterwards
assembled in the royal city.
[To this question the bishops answered one by one, until 161 separate
opinions had been given, when the rest of the bishops were asked by the imperial
judges to give their votes in a body (col. 508). ]
All the most reverend bishops cried out: We all acquiesce, we all believe
thus; we are all of the same mind. So are we minded, so we believe, etc., etc.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 555.)
Paschasinus and Lucentius the most reverend bishops and Boniface a presbyter,
vicars of the Apostolic See of Rome, said: If they do not agree to the letter of
that apostolic and blessed man, Pope Leo, give directions that we be given our
letters of dismission, and let a synod be held there [i. e. in the West].
[A long debate then followed as to whether the decree drawn up and presented
should be accepted. This seems to have been the mind of most of the bishops. At
last the commissioners proposed a committee of twenty-two to meet with them and
report to the council, and the Emperor imposed this with the threat that
otherwise they all should be sent home and a new council called in the West.
Even this did not make them yield (col. 560.)]
The most reverend bishops cried out: Many years to the Emperor! Either let
the definition [i.e. the one presented at this session] stand or we go. Many
years to the Emperor!
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said: We ask that the
definition be read again and that those who dissent from it, and will not sign,
may go about their business; for we give our consent to these things which have
been so beautifully drafted, and make no criticisms.
The most blessed bishops of Illyria said: Let those who contradict be made
manifest. Those who contradict are Nestorians. Those who contradict, let them go
The most magnificent and most glorious judges said: Dioscorus acknowledged
that he accepted the expression "of two natures," but not that there were two
natures. But the most holy archbishop Leo says that there are two natures in
Christ unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly united in the one only-begotten
Son our Saviour. Which would you follow, the most holy Leo or Dioscorus?
The most reverend bishops cried out: We believe as Leo. Those who contradict
are Eutychians. Leo hath rightly expounded the faith.
The most magnificent and glorious judges said: Add then to the definition,
according to the judgment of our most holy father Leo, that there are two
natures in Christ united unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly.
[The Committee then sat in the oratory of the most holy martyr Euphemis and
afterward,s reported a definition of faith which while teaching the same
doctrine was not the Tome of Leo (col. 562).]
THE DEFINITION OF FAITH OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 562.)
The holy, great, and ecumenical synod, assembled by the grace of God and the
command of our most religious and Christian Emperors, Marcian and Valentinan,
Augusti, at Chalcedon, the metropolis of the Bithynian Province, in the martyry
of the holy and victorious martyr Euphemia, has decreed as follows:
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when strengthening the knowledge of the
Faith in his disciples, to the end that no one might disagree with his neighbour
concerning the doctrines of religion, and that the proclamation of the truth
might be set forth equally to all men, said, "My peace I leave with you, my
peace I give unto you." But, since the evil one does not desist from sowing
tares among the seeds of godliness, but ever invents some new device against the
truth; therefore the Lord, providing, as he ever does, for the human race, has
raised up this pious, faithful, and zealous Sovereign, and has called together
unto him from all parts the chief rulers of the priesthood; so that, the grace
of Christ our common Lord inspiring us, we may cast off every plague of
falsehood from the sheep of Christ, and feed them with the tender leaves of
truth. And this have we done with one unanimous consent, driving away erroneous
doctrines and renewing the unerring faith of the Fathers, publishing to all men
the Creed of the Three Hundred and Eighteen, and to their number adding, as
their peers, the Fathers who have received the same summary of religion. Such
are the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers who afterwards assembled in the great
Constantinople and ratified the same faith. Moreover, observing the order and
every form relating to the faith, which was observed by the holy synod formerly
held in Ephesus, of which Celestine of Rome and Cyril of Alexandria, of holy
memory, were the leaders, we do declare that the exposition of the right and
blameless faith made by the Three Hundred and Eighteen holy and blessed Fathers,
assembled at Nice in the reign of Constantine of pious memory, shall be
pre-eminent: and that those things shall be of force also,
ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE
(Ep. to St. Leo. Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LIV. [Leo. M., Opera, Tom. I.] col.
Since after judgment had been delivered concerning him, there was need that
all should agree in the right faith (for which purpose the most pious emperor
had with the greatest pains assembled the holy Synod) with prayer and tears,
your holiness being present with us in spirit and co-operating with us through
those most God-beloved men whom you had sent to us, having as our protector the
most holy and most comely Martyr Euphemia, we gave ourselves up entirely to this
salutary work, all other matters being laid aside. And when the crisis demanded
that all the most holy bishops gathered together should set forth an unanimous
oron) for the explanation and clearer understanding of our
confession of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord God was found appearing to them
that sought him not, and even to them that asked not for him. And although some
from the beginning contentiously made opposition, he shewed forth nevertheless
his truth and so disposed flyings that an unanimous and uncontradicted writing
was published by us all, which confirmed the souls of the stable, and inviting
to the way of truth all who had declined therefrom. And when we had subscribed
with unanimous consent. the chart, we all with one consent, that is our whole
synod, entered the martyry of the most holy and triumphant martyr Euphemia, and
when at the prayer of our most pious and beloved of Christ Emperor Marcian, and
of our most pious and in all respects faithful Empress, our daughter and Augusta
Pulcheria, with joy, and hilarity we placed upon the holy altar the decision
which we had written for the confirmation of the faith of our fathers in
accordance with that holy letter you sent us; and then handed it to their piety,
that they might receive it as they had asked for it. And when they had received
it they gave glory with us to Christ the Lord, who had driven away the darkness
of wicked opinion, and had illustrated with the greatest unanimity the word of
which were decreed by the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers at
Constantinople, for the uprooting of the heresies which had then sprung up, and
for the confirmation of the same Catholic and Apostolic Faith of ours.
The Creed of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at Nice.
We believe in one God, etc.
Item, the Creed of the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers who were assembled
We believe in one God, etc.
This wise and salutary formula of divine grace sufficed for the perfect
knowledge and confirmation of religion; for it teaches the perfect [doctrine]
concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and sets forth the Incarnation of the
Lord to them that faithfully receive it. But, forasmuch as persons undertaking
to make void the preaching of the truth have through their individual heresies
given rise to empty babblings; some of them daring to corrupt the mystery of the
Lord's incarnation for us and refusing [to use] the name Mother of God (Qeotokos)
in reference to the Virgin, while others, bringing in a confusion and mixture,
and idly conceiving that the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead is all one,
maintaining that the divine Nature of the Only Begotten is, by mixture, capable
of suffering; therefore this present holy, great, and ecumenical synod, desiring
to exclude every device against the Truth, and teaching that which is unchanged
from the beginning, has at the very outset decreed that the faith of the Three
Hundred and Eighteen Fathers shall be preserved inviolate. And on account of
them that contend against the Holy Ghost, it confirms the doctrine afterwards
delivered concerning the substance of the Spirit by the One Hundred and Fifty
holy Fathers who assembled in the imperial City; which doctrine they declared
unto all men, not as though they were introducing anything that had been lacking
in their predecessors, but in order to explain through written documents their
faith concerning the Holy Ghost against those who were seeking to destroy his
sovereignty. And, From this passage can easily be understood the very obscure
passage in the letter of the Council to Leo, where it says that the definition
was delivered by St. Euphemia as her own confession of faith. Vide note of the
Ballerini on this epistle of Anatolius.
(Hist. of the Councils. Vol. III., p. 348.)
The present Greek text has
fusewn while the old Latin translation has, in duabus naturis.
After what had been repeatedly said in this session on the difference between
"in two natures" and "of two natures," and in opposition to the latter formula,
there can be no doubt whatever that the old Latin translator had the more
accurate text before him, and that it was originally
fusesin. This, however, is not mere supposition, but is expressly
testified by antiquity: (1) by the famous Abbot Euthymius of Palestine, a
contemporary of the Council of Chalcedon, of whose disciples several were
present as bishops at our Council (cf. Baron. ad. ann. 451, n. 152 sq.). We
still have a judgment of his which he gave respecting the decree of Chalcedon
concerning the faith, and in which he repeats the leading doctrine in the words
of the Synod itself. At our passage he remarks:
l. The fragment of his writings on the subject is found in the
Vita S. Euthymii Abbatis, written by his pupil Cyril in the Analecta Groeca of
the monks of St. Maur, t. i., p. 57, printed in Mansi, t. vii., p. 774 sq. (2)
The second ancient witness is Severus, from A.D. 513 Monophysite patriarch of
Antioch, who represents it as a great reproach and an unpardonable offence in
the fathers of Chalcedon that they had declared:
ton Xriston (see the Sententioe Severi in Mansi,
t. vii., p. 839). (3) Somewhat more than a hundred years after the Council of
Chalcedon, Evagrius copied its decree concerning the faith in extenso into his
Church History (lib. ii., 4), and, in fact, with the words:
k.t.l. (ed. Mog., p. 294). (4) In
the conference on religion held between the Severians and the orthodox at
Constantinople, A.D. 553, the former reproached the Synod of Chalcedon with
having put in duabus naturis, instead of ex duabus naturis, as Cyril and the old
fathers had taught (Mansi, t. viii., p. 892; Hardouin, t. ii., p. 1162). (5)
Leontius of Byzantium maintains quite
on account of those who have taken in hand to corrupt the mystery of the
dispensation [i.e. the Incarnation] and who shamelessly pretend that he who was
born of the holy Virgin Mary was a mere man, it receives the synodical letters
of the Blessed Cyril, Pastor of the Church of Alexandria, addressed to Nestorius
and the Easterns, judging them suitable, for the refutation of the frenzied
folly of Nestorius, and for the instruction of those who long with holy ardour
for a knowledge of the saving symbol. And, for the confirmation of the orthodox
doctrines, it has rightly added to these the letter of the President of the
great and old Rome, the most blessed and holy Archbishop Leo, which was
addressed to Archbishop Flavian of blessed memory, for the removal of the false
doctrines of Eutyches, judging them to be agreeable to the confession of the
great Peter, and as it were a common pillar against misbelievers. For it opposes
those who would rend the mystery of the dispensation into a Duad of Sons; it
repels from the sacred assembly those who dare to say that the Godhead of the
Only Begotten is capable of suffering; it resists those who imagine a mixture or
confusion of the two natures of Christ; it drives away those who fancy his form
of a servant is of an heavenly or some substance other than that which was taken
of us, and it anathematizes those who foolishly talk of two natures of our Lord
before the union, conceiving that after the union there was only one.
Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and
our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he
is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a
reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as
touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made
in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the
worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our
salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according
to his manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of
God] must be confessed to be in two natures, (1) unconfusedly, immutably,
indivisibly, distinctly, in the year 610, in his work De Sectis, that the Synod
It is clear that if any doubt had then existed as to the correct reading,
Leontius could not have opposed the Monophysites with such certainty. The
passage adduced by him is Actio iv., c. 7., in Galland. Bibliotheca PP., t.
xii., p. 633. Gieseler (Kirchengesch. i., S. 465), and after him Hahn (Biblioth.
der Symbole, S. 118, note 6), cites incorrectly the fourth instead of the fifth
Actio. Perhaps neither of them had consulted the passage itself. (6) No less
weight is to be attached to the fact that all the Latin translations, that of
Rusticus and those before him, have in duabus naturis; and (7) that the Lateran
Synod, A.D. 649, had the same reading in their Acts (Hardouin, t. iii., p. 835).
(8) Pope Agatho, also, in his letter to the Emperor Constans II., which was read
in the sixth Ecumenical Synod, adduced the creed of Chalcedon with the words in
duabus naturis (in the Acts of the sixth Ecumenical Council, Actio iv.; in Mansi,
t. xi., p. 256; Hardouin, t. iii., p. 1091). In consequence of this, most
scholars of recent times, e.g., Tillemont, Walch (Bibloth. symbol veter., p.
106), Hahn (1. c.), Gieseler (1. c.), Neander (Abthl ii., 2 of Bd. iv., S. 988),
fusesin to be the original and correct reading. Neander adds:
"The whole process of the transactions of the Council shows this (that
duo is the correct reading). Evidently the earlier creed, which
was more favourable to the Egyptian doctrine, contained the
fusewn and the favour shown to the other party came out chiefly
in the change of the
en. The expression
fusewn besides, does not fit the place, the verb
gnwrizomenon points rather to the original
fusewn was the turning-point of the whole controversy between
Monophysitism and Dyophysitism." Cf., on the other side, Baur, Trinitatslehre,
Bd. i., S. 820, and Dorner (Lehre v. der Person Christi, Thl. ii., S. 129),
where it is maintained that
ek is the correct and original reading, but that it was from the
beginning purposely altered by the Westerns into in; moreover, that
ek fits better than
gnwrizomenon, and therefore that it had been allowed as a
concession to the Monophysites. The meaning, moreover, they say, of
en is essentially the same, and the one and the other alike
inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken
away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being
preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or
divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the
Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning
him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the
Fathers hath delivered to us.
These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest
accuracy and attention, the holy Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be
suffered to bring forward a different faith (eteran
pistin), nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate,
nor to teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another
faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed (eteron
sumbolon) to as wish to be converted to the knowledge of the
truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or
clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics
from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics: let them be anathematized.
After the reading of the definition, all the most religious Bishops cried
out: This is the faith of the fathers: let the metropolitans forthwith subscribe
it: let them forthwith, in the presence of the judges, subscribe it: let that
which has been well defined have no delay: this is the faith of the Apostles: by
this we all stand: thus we all believe.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 611.)
[The Emperor was present in person and addressed the Council and afterwards
suggested legislation under three heads, the drafts for which were read.]
After this reading, the capitulas were handed by our most sacred and pious
prince to the most beloved of God Anatolius, archbishop of royal Constantinople,
which is New Rome, and all the most God-beloved bishops cried out: Many years to
our Emperor and Empress, the pious, the Christian. May Christ whom thou servest
keep thee. These things are worthy of the faith. To the Priest, the Emperor.
Thou hast straightened out the churches, victor of thine enemies, teacher of the
faith. Many years to the pious Empress, the lover of Christ. Many years to her
that is orthodox. May God save your kingdom. Ye have put down the heretics, ye
have kept the faith. May hatred be far removed from your empire, and may your
kingdom endure for ever !
Our most sacred and pious prince said to the holy synod: To the honour of the
holy martyr Euphemia, and of your holiness, we decree that the city of Chalcedon,
in which the synod of the holy faith has been held, shall have the honours of a
metropolis, in name only giving it this honour, the proper dignity of the city
of Nicomedia being preserved.
All cried out, etc., etc.
DECREE ON THE JURISDICTION OF JERUSALEM AND ANTIOCH.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 618.)
The most magnificent and glorious judges said: . . . The arrangement arrived
at through the agreement of the most holy Maximus, the bishop of the city of
Antioch, and of the most holy Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem, as the
attestation of each of them declares, shall remain firm for ever, through our
decree and the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the most holy bishop
Maximus, or rather the most holy church of Antioch, shall have under its own
jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the most holy Juvenal, bishop of
Jerusalem, or rather the most holy Church which is under him, shall have under
his own power the three Palestines, all imperial pragmatics and letters and
penalties being done away according to the bidding of our most sacred and pious
The Ballerini, in their notes to the Works of St. Leo (Migne, Pat. Lat., LV.,
col. 733 et seqq.), cite fragments of the Acts of this council, which if they
can be trusted, shew that this matter of the rights of Antioch and Jerusalem was
treated of again at a subsequent session (on Oct. 31) and determined in the same
fashion. These fragments have generally been received as genuine, and have been
inserted by Mansi (Toni. vii., 722 C.) in his Concilia.
The notes of the Ballerini may also be read with profit, in the same volume
of Migne's Latin Patrology, col. 737 et seq.
THE DECREE WITH REGARD TO THE BISHOP OF EPHESUS.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 706.)
The most glorious judges said: Since the proposition of the God-beloved
archbishop of royal Constantinople, Anatolius, and of the most reverend bishop
Paschasinus, holding the place of Leo, the most God-beloved archbishop of old
Rome, which orders that because both of them [i.e., Bassianus and Stephen] acted
uncanonically, neither of them should rule, nor be called bishop of the most
holy church off Ephesus, and since the whole holy synod taught that
uncanonically they had performed these ordinations, and had agreed with the
speeches of the most reverend bishops; the most reverend Bassianus and the most
reverend Stephen will be removed from the holy church of Ephesus; but they shall
enjoy the episcopal dignity, and from the revenues of the before-mentioned most
holy church, for their nourishment and consolation, they shall receive each year
two hundred gold pieces; and another bishop shall be ordained according to the
canons for the most holy church. (1)
And the whole holy synod cried out: This is a just sentence. This is a pious
scheme. These things are fair to look upon.
The most reverend bishop Bassianus said: Pray give order that what was stolen
from me be restored.
The most glorious judges said: If anytiring belonging to the most reverend
bishop Bassianus personally has been taken from him, either by the most reverend
bishop Stephen, or by any other persons whatsoever, this shall be restored,
after judicial proof, by them who took it away or caused it to be taken.
DECREE WITH REGARD TO NICOMEDIA.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 715.)
The most glorious judges said [after the reading of the imperial letters was
finished]: These divine letters say nothing whatever with regard to the
episcopate, but both refer to honour belonging to metropolitan cities. But the
sacred letters of Valentinian and Valens of divine memory, which then bestowed
metropolitan rights upon the city of Nice, carefully provided that nothing
should be taken away from other cities. And the canon of the holy fathers
decreed that there should be one metropolis in each province. What therefore is
the pleasure of the holy synod in this matter?
The holy synod cried out: Let the canons be kept. Let the canons be
Atticus the most reverend bishop of old Nicepolis in Epirus said: The canon
thus defines, that a metropolitan should have jurisdiction in each province, and
he should constitute all the bishops who are in that province. And this is the
meaning of the canon. Now the bishop of Nicomedia, since from the beginning this
was a metropolis, ought to ordain all the bishops who are in that province.
The holy synod said: This is what we all wish, this we all pray for, let this
everywhere be observed, this is pleasing to all of us.
John, Constantine, Patrick [Peter] and the rest of the most reverend bishops
of the Pentic diocese [through John who was one of them] said: The canons
recognize the one more ancient as the metropolitan. And it is manifest that the
most religious bishop of Nicemedia has the right of the ordination, and since
the laws (as your magnificence has seen) have honoured Nice with the name only
of metropolis, and so made its bishop superior to the rest of the bishops of the
province in honour only.
The holy synod said: They have taught in accordance with the canons,
beautifully have they taught. We all say the same things. [Aetius, Archdeacon of
Constantinople, then put in a plea to save the rights of the throne of the royal
The most glorious judges said: The most reverend the bishop of Nicomedia
shall have the authority of metropolitan over the churches of the province of
Bithynia, and Nice shall have the honour only of Metropolitical rank, submitting
itself according to the example of the other bishops of the province of
Nicomedia. For such is the pleasure of the Holy Synod.
THE XXX CANONS OF THE HOLY AND FOURTH SYNODS, OF CHALCEDON.
WE have judged it fight that the canons of the Holy Fathers made in every
synod even until now, should remain in force.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON I.
The canons of every Synod of the holy Fathers shall be observed.
Before the holding of the Council of Chalcedon, in the Greek Church, the
canons of several synods, which were held previously, were gathered into one
collection and provided with continuous numbers, and such a collection of
canons, as we have seen, lay before the Synod of Chalcedon. As, however, most of
the synods whose canons were received into the collection, e.g. those of Neo-
caesarea, Ancyra, Gangra, Antioch, were certainly not Ecumenical Councils,
and were even to some extent of doubtful authority, such as the Antiochene Synod
of 341, the confirmation of the Ecumenical Synod was now given to them, in order
to raise them to the position of universally and unconditionally valid
ecclesiastical rules. It is admirably remarked by the Emperor Justinian, in his
131st Novel, cap.j.; "We honour the doctrinal decrees of the first four Councils
as we do Holy Scripture, but the canons given or approved by them as we do the
It seems quite impossible to determine just what councils are included in
this list, the Council in Trullo has entirely removed this ambiguity in its
This canon is found in the Corpus, Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XXV., Qusest. 1, can. xiv.
IF any Bishop should ordain for money, and put to sale a grace which cannot
be sold, and for money ordain a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or presbyters, or
deacons, or any other of those who are counted among the clergy; or if through
lust of gain he should nominate for money a steward, or advocate, or
prosmonarius, or any one whatever who is on the roll of the Church, let him who
is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let him who is ordained be
nothing profited by the purchased ordination or promotion; but let him be
removed from the dignity or charge he has obtained for money. And if any one
should be found negotiating such shameful and unlawful transactions, let him
also, if he is a clergyman, be deposed from his rank, and if he is a layman or
monk, let him be anathematized.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON II.
Whoso buys or sells an ordination, down to a Prosmonarius, shall be in danger
of losing his grade. Such shall also be the case with go-betweens, if they be
clerics they shall be cut off from their rank, if laymen or monks, they shall be
A great scandal in the "Asian diocese" had led to St. Chrysostom's
intervention. Antoninus, bishop of Ephesus, was charged, with "making it a rule
to sell ordinations of bishops at rates proportionate to the value of their
sees" (Palladius, Dial. de vita Chrysost, p. 50). Chrysostom held a synod at
Ephesus, at which six bishops were deposed for having obtained their sees in
this manner. Isidore of Pelasium repeatedly remonstrated with his bishop
Eusebius on the heinousness of "selling the gift" of ordinations (Epist. I., 26,
30, 37); and names Zosimus, a priest, and Maron, a deacon, as thus ordained (ib.
111,119). A few years before the council, a court of three bishops sat at
Berytus to hear charges brought against Ibas, bishop of Edessa, by clerics of
his diocese. The third charge was thus curtly worded: "Moreover he receives for
laying on hands" (Mansi, vii. 224). The xxvijth Trullan canon repeated this
canon of Chalcedon against persons ordained for money, doubtless in view of such
a state of things as Gregory the Great had heard of nearly a century earlier,
"that in the Eastern Churches no one comes to holy order except by the payment
of premiums" (Epist. xi. 46, to the bishop of Jerusalem; compare Evagrius's
assertion that Justin II. openly sold bishoprics, V. 1). It is easy to
understand how the scruples of ecclesiastics could be abated by the courtly
fashion of calling bribes "eulogiae" (Fleury, XXVI, 20), just as the six
prelates above referred to had regarded their payments as an equivalent for that
"making over of property to the Curia," which was required by a law of 399 (Cod.
Theod., xii. 1, 163, see notes in Transl. of Fleury, i. 163, ij. 16).
ekdikos, "defensor," was an official Advocate or counsel for the
Church. The legal force of the term "defensor" is indicated by a law of
Valentinian I. "Nec idem in codera negotio defensor sit et quaesitor" (Cod.
Theod., ii. 10, 2). In the East the office was held by ecclesiastics; thus,
John, presbyter and "advocate" was employed, at the Council of Constantinople in
448, to summon Eutyches (Mansi, vii. 697). About 496, Paul the "Advocate" of
Constantinople saved his archbishop from the sword of a murderer at the cost of
his own life (Theodor., Lect. ii. 11). In the list of the functionaries of St.
Sophia, given by Goat in his Euchologion (p. 270), the Protecdicos is discribed
as adjudicating, with twelve assessors, in smaller causes, on
which he afterwards reports to the bishop. In Africa, on the other hand, from
A. D. 407 (see Cod. Theod., xvi. 2, 38), the office was held by barristers, in
accordance with a request of the African bishops (Cod. Afric., 97; Mansi, iii.,
802), who, six years earlier, had asked for "defensores," with special reference
to the oppression of the poor by the rich (Cod. Afric., 75; Mansi, iii. 778,
970). The "defensores" mentioned by Gregory the Great had primarily to take care
of the poor (Epist., v. 29), and of the church property (ib, i. 36), but also to
be advocates of injured clerics (ib., ix. 64) and act as assessors (ib., x. 1),
The next office is that of the Prosmonarius or, according to a various
reading adopted by many (e.g. Justellus, Hervetus, Beveridge, Bingham), the
Paramonarius. Opinions differ as to the functions intended. Isidore gives simply
"paramonarius:" Dionysius (see Justellus, Biblioth., i., 134) omits the word;
but in the "interpretario Dionysii," as given in the Concilia, freedom has been
taken to insert "vel mansionarium" in a parenthesis (vii. 373; see Beveridge, in
loc.). Mansionarius is a literal rendering; but what was the function of a
mansionarius? In Gregory the Great's time he was a sacristan who had the duty of
lighting the church (Dial., i. 5); and "ostiarium" in the Prisca implies the
same idea. Tillemont, without deciding between the two Greek readings, thinks
that the person intended had "some charge of what pertained to the church
itself, perhaps like our present bedells" (xv. 694). So Fleury renders,
"concierge" (xxviij. 29); and Newman, reading "paramonarion," takes a like view
(note in Transl. of Fleury, vol. iii., p. 392). But Justellus (i. 91) derives "paramonarius"
monh "mansio," a halting-place, so that the sense would be a
manager of one of the church's farms, a "villicus," or, as Bingham expresses it,
"a bailiff" (iii. 3, 1). Beveridge agrees with Justellus, except in giving to
mmonh the sense of "monastery" (compare the use of
monh in Athan., Apol. c. Arion, 67, where Valesius understands it
as "a station" on a road, but others as "a monastery," see Historical Writings
of St. Athanasius, Introd., p. xliv.). Bingham also prefers this interpretation.
Suitor takes it as required by "paramonarios" which he treats as the true
reading: "prosmonarios" he thinks would have the sense of "sacristan."
According to Van Espen, however, who here supports himself upon Du Cange, by
"prosmonarios" or "mansionarius," in the same way as by "oiconomos," a steward
of church property was to be understood.
The canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa I., Quaest. i., can. viii.
IT has come to [the knowledge of] the holy Synod that certain of those who
are enrolled among the clergy have, through lust of gain, become hirers of other
men's possessions, and make contracts pertaining to secular affairs, lightly
esteeming the service of God, and slip into the houses of secular persons, whose
property they undertake through covetousness to manage. Wherefore the great and
holy Synod decrees that henceforth no bishop, clergyman, nor monk shall hire
possessions, or engage in business, or occupy himself in worldly engagements,
unless he shall be called by the law to the guardianship of minors, from which
there is no escape; or unless the bishop of the city shall commit to him the
care of ecclesiastical business, or of unprovided orphans or widows and of
persons who stand especially in need of the Church's help, through the fear of
God. And if any one shall hereafter transgress these decrees, he shall be
subjected to ecclesiastical penalties.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON III.
Those who assume the care of secular houses should be corrected, unless
perchance the law called them to the administration of those not yet come of
age, from which there is no exemption. Unless further their Bishop permits them
to take care of orphans and widows.
These two cases excepted, the undertaking of secular business was made
ecclesiastically penal. Yet this is not to be construed as forbidding clerics to
work at trades either (1) when the church-funds were insufficient to maintain
them, or (2) in order to have more
to bestow in alms, or (3) as an example of industry or humility. Thus, most
of the clergy of Caesarea in Cappadocia practised sedentary trades for a
livelihood (Basil, Epist., cxcviii., 1); and some African canons allow, or even
direct, a cleric to live by a trade, provided that his clerical duties are not
neglected (Mansi, iii., 955). At an earlier time Spyridion, the famous Cypriot
bishop, still one of the most popular saints in the Levant (Stanley's East.
Church, p. 126), retained, out of humility (atufian
pollho, Soc. i. 12), his occupation as a shepherd; and in the
latter part of the fourth century Zeno, bishop of Maiuma, wove linen, partly to
supply his own wants, and partly to obtain means of helping the poor (Soz., vii.
28). Sidonius mentions a "reader" who maintained himself by commercial
transactions (Epist., vi. 8), and in the Anglo-Saxon Church, although presbyters
were forbidden to become "negotiorum saecularium dispositores" (C1. of Clovesho
in 747, c. 8), or to be "mongers and covetous merchants" (Elfric's canons,
xxx.), yet the canons of King Edgar's reign ordered every priest "diligently to
learn a handicraft" (No. 11; Wilkins, i. 225). In short, it was not the mere
fact of secular employment, but secularity of motive and of tone that was
This canon was the second of these proposed by the Emperor, and is found in
the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I. Dist. lxxxvi., C. xxvj.
LET those who truly and sincerely lead the monastic life be counted worthy of
becoming honour; but, forasmuch as certain persons using the pretext of
monasticism bring confusion both upon the churches and into political affairs by
going about promiscuously in the cities, and at the same time seeking to
establish Monasteries for themselves; it is decreed that no one anywhere build
or found a monastery or oratory contrary to the will of the bishop of the city;
and that the monks in every city and district shall be subject to the bishop,
and embrace a quiet course of life, and give themselves only to fasting and
prayer, remaining permanently in the places in which they were set apart; and
they shall meddle neither in ecclesiastical nor in secular affairs, nor leave
their own monasteries to take part in such; unless, indeed, they should at any
time through urgent necessity be appointed thereto by the bishop of the city.
And no slave shall be received into any monastery to become a monk against the
will of his master. And if any one shall transgress this our judgment, we have
decreed that he shall be excommunicated, that the name of God be not blasphemed.
But the bishop of the city must make the needful provision for the monasteries.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON
Domestic oratories and monasteries are not to be erected contrary to the
judgment of the bishop. Every monk must be subject to his bishop, and must not
leave his house except at his suggestion. A slave, however, can not enter the
monastic life without the consent of his master.
Like the previous canon, this one was brought forward by the Emperor Marcian
in the sixth session, and then as number one, and the synod accepted the
Emperor's proposed canon almost verbally. Occasion for this canon seems to have
been given by monks of Eutychian tendencies, and especially by the Syrian
Barsumas, as appears from the fourth session. He and his monks had, as
Eutychians, withdrawn themselves from the jurisdiction of their bishops, whom
they suspected of Nestorianism.
Here observe (1) the definite assertion of episcopal authority over monks, as
it is repeated for greater clearness in the last words of the canon, which are
not found in Marcian's draft, "It is the duty of the bishop of the city to make
due provision for the monasteries." and compare canons 8, 24. Isidore says that
the bishop must "keep an eye on the negligences of monks" (Epist., i. 149). The
Western Church followed in this track (see Council of Agde, canon xxvii., that
"no new monastery is to be rounded without the bishop's approval," and 1st of
Orleans, canon xix., "Let abbots be under the bishop's
power," and also Vth of Paris, canon xij., Mansi, viii., 329, 354, 542,
etc.), until a reaction set in against the oppressiveness of bishops, was
encouraged by Gregory the Great (Epist., i. 12; ii. 41), the IVth Council of
Toledo (canon li.), and the English Council of Hertford (canon iij., Bede, iv.
5, and Bright's Chapters of Early Engl. Ch. Hist., p. 244), and culminated in
the system of monastic exemptions, of which Monte Cassino, St. Martin's of
Tours, Fulda, Westminster, Battle (see Freeman, Norm. Conquest, iv. 409), and St
Alban's were eminent instances.
This canon, cut up and mutilated, is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici,
Gratian's Decreturn, Pars II., Causa XVI., Quest. L, can. xij., and Causa
XVIII., Quest. II., Canon X.
I have followed the reading of the Prisca, and of Dionysius, of Routh, and of
Balsamon, "they were set apart," i.e. (as Balsamon explains) where they received
the monastic tonsure. This reading substitutes
epetaxanto, which would mean "over which they had been put in
authority," or possibly (as Johnson) "where they are appointed," or as Hammond,
"in which they have been settled." Isidore reads "ordinati sunt."
CONCERNING bishops or clergymen who go about from city to city, it is decreed
that the canons enacted by the Holy Fathers shall still retain their force.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON V.
Those who go from city to city shall be subject to the canon law on the
Clerical adventurers and brief pastorates are not the peculiar
characteristics of any one century.
It is supposed by Hefele that the bishops were thinking of the case of
Bassian, who, in the eleventh session (Oct. 29), pleaded that he had been
violently ejected from the see of Ephesus. Stephen the actual bishop, answered
that Bassian had not been "ordained" for that see, but had invaded it and been
justly expelled. Bassian rejoined that his original consecration for the see of
Evasa had been forcible even to brutality; that he had never even visited Evasa,
that therefore his appointment to Ephesus was not a translation. Ultimately, the
Council cut the knot by ordering that a new bishop should be elected, Basalan
and Stephen retaining the episcopal title and receiving allowances from the
revenues of the see (Mansi, vii. 273 et seqq.)
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa VII., Quaest. I., can. xxij. (1)
NEITHER presbyter, deacon, nor any of the ecclesiastical order shall be
ordained at large, nor unless the person ordained is particularly appointed to a
church in a city or village, or to a martyry, or to a monastery. And if any have
been ordained without a charge, the holy Synod decrees, to the reproach of the
ordainer, that such an ordination shall be inoperative, and that such shall
nowhere be suffered to officiate.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VI.
In Martyries and Monasteries ordinations are strictly forbidden. Should any
one be ordained therein, his ordination shall be reputed of no effect.
The wording of the canon seems to intimate that the synod of Chalcedon held
ordinations of this sort to be not only illicit but also invalid, irritis and
cassis. Nor is this to be wondered at, if we take into account the pristine and
ancient discipline of the church and the opinion of many of the Scholastics (Morinus,
De SS. Ordinat., Parte III., Exercit. V., cap
It is clear that our canon forbids the so-called absolute ordinations, and
requires that every cleric must at the time of his ordination be designated to a
definite church. The only titulus which is here recognized is that which was
later known as titulus beneficii. As various kinds of this title we find here
(a) the appointment to a church in the city; (b) to a village church; (c) that
to the chapel of a martyr; (d) the appointment as chaplain of a monastery. For
the right understanding of the last point, it must be remembered that the
earliest monks were in no wise clerics, but that soon the custom was introduced
in every larger convent, of having at least one monk ordained presbyter, that he
might provide for divine service in the monastery.
Similar prohibitions of ordinationes absolutoe were also put forth in after
According to existing law, absolute ordinations, as is well known, are still
illicitoe, but yet validoe, and even the Council of Chalcedon has not declared
them to be properly invalidoe, but only as without effect (by permanent
suspension). Cf Kober, Suspension, S. 220, and Hergenrother, Photius, etc., Bd.
ii., S. 324.
By the word
marturiw ("martyry") is meant a church or chapel raised over a
martyr's grave. So the Laodicene Council forbids Churchmen to visit the "martyries
of heretics" (can. ix.). So Gregory of Nyssa speaks of "the martyry" of the Holy
Martyrs (Op. ii., 212); Chrysostom of a "martyry," and Palladius of "martyries"
near Antioch (In Act. Apost. Hom., xxxviii. 5; Dial., p. 17), and Palladius of
"the martyry of St. John" at Constantinople (Dial., p. 25). See Socrates, iv.
18, 23, on the "martyry" of St. Thomas at Edessa, and that of SS. Peter and Paul
at Rome; and vi. 6, on the "martyry" of St. Euphenia at Chalcedon in which the
Council actually met. In the distinct sense of a visible testimony, the word was
applied to the church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem (Eusebius, Vit. Con.,
iii. 40, iv. 40; Mansi, vi. 564; Cyril, Catech., xiv. 3), and to the Holy
Sepulchre itself (Vit. Con., iii. 28), Churches raised over martyrs' totals were
called in the West "memorioe martyrum," see Cod. Afric., lxxxiii. (compare
Augustine, De Cura pro Mortuis, VI.).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
I., Dist. lxx., can. j.
WE have decreed that those who have once been enrolled among the clergy, or
have been made monks, shall accept neither a military charge nor any secular
dignity; and if they shall presume to do so and not repent in such wise as to
turn again to that which they had first chosen for the love of God, they shall
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VII.
If any cleric or monk arrogantly affects the military or any other dignity,
let him be cursed.
Something similar was ordered by the lxxxiii. (lxxxii.) Apostolic Canon, only
that it threatens the cleric who takes military service merely with deposition
from his clerical office, while our canon subjects him to excommunication.The
Greek commentators, Balsamon and Zonaras, think that our canon selects a more
severe punishment, that of excommunication, because it has in view those clerics
who have not merely taken military service, etc., but at the same time have laid
aside their clerical dress and put on secular clothing.
strateian [which I have translated (or, as Canon Bright thinks,
mistranslated) "military charge"], "militiam," is here meant, not military
employment as such, but the public service in general. This use of the term is a
relic and token of the military basis of the Roman monarchy. The court of the
Imperator was called his camp,
stratopedon (Cod. Theod., tom. ii.,, p. 22), as in Constantine's
letter's to John Archaph and the Council of Tyre (Athan., Apol. c. Ari., lxx.
86), and in the VIIth canon of Sardica, so Athanasius speaks of the "camp" of
Constans (Apol. ad Constant, iv. ), and of that of Constantius at Milan (Hist.
Ari., xxxvij.); so Hosius uses the same phrase in his letter to Constantius (ib.
xliv.); so the Semi-Arian bishops, when addressing Jovian
(Soz., vi. 4); so Chrysostom in the reign of Theodosius I. (Hom. ad Pop.
Antioch, vi. 2). Similarly, there were officers of the palace called
Castrensians (Tertull. De Cor., 12), as being "milites alius generis--de
imperatoria familia" (Gothofred, Cod. Theod., tom. ii., p. 526). So
strateusqai is used for holding a place at court, as in Soc., iv.
9; Soz., vi. 9, on Marcian's case, and a very clear passage in Soc., v. 25,
where the verb is applied to an imperial secretary. It occurs in combination
strateia in a petition of an Alexandrian deacon named Theodore,
which was read in the third session of Chalcedon: he says, "'Esrateusamen
for about twenty-two years in the Schola of the magistrians" (under the Magister
officionum, or chief magistrate of the palace), "but I disregarded
kronau in order to enter the ministry" (Mansi, vi. 1008). See
also Theodoret, Relig. Hist., xij., on the emperor's letter-carriers. In the
same sense Honorius, by a law of 408, forbids non-Catholics "intra palatium
militare" (Cod Theod., xvi., 5, 42); and the Vandal king Hunneric speaks of "domusnostrae
militiae" (Vic (4) r Vitens, iv. 2).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
IL, Causa xx., Quaest. iii., Can. iij.
LET the clergy of the poor-houses, monasteries, and martyries remain under
the authority of the bishops in every city according to the tradition of the
holy Fathers; and let no one arrogantly cast off the rule of his own bishop; and
if any shall contravene this canon in any way whatever, and will not be subject
to their own bishop, if they be clergy, let them be subjected to canonical
censure, and if they be monks or laymen, let them be excommunicated.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VIII.
Any clergyman is an almshouse or monastery must submit himself to the
authority of the bishop of the city. But he who rebels against this let him pay
From this canon we learn that the synod of Chalcedon willed that all who were
in charge of such pious institutions should be subject to the bishop, and in
making this decree the synod only followed the tradition of the Fathers and
Canons. Although in its first part the canon only mentions "clergymen," yet in
the second part monks are named, and, as Balsamon and Zonoras point out, both
ptwkeioo was may be seen from what Gibbon calls the "noble and
charitable foundation, almost a new city" (iii. 252), established by St. Basil
at a little distance from Caesarea, and called in consequence the Basiliad.
Gregory Nazianzen describes it as a large set of buildings with rooms for the
sick, especially for lepers, and also for house-less travellers; "a storehouse
of piety, where disease was borne philosophically, and sympathy was tested" (Orat.,
xliii., 63, compare Basil himself, Epist., xciv., on its staff of nurses and
physicians and cl., 3). Sozomen calls it "a most celebrated resting-place for
the poor," and names Prapidius as having been its warden while acting as "bishop
over many villages" (vi. 34, see on Nic., viii.). Another
ptwkotrofeion is mentioned by Basil
(Epist., cxliij.) as governed by a chorepiscopus.
St. Chrysostom, on coming to the see of Constantinople, ordered the excess of
episcopal expenditure to be transferred to the hospital for the sick (nosokomeion),
and "founded other such hospitals setting over them two pious presbyters, with
physicians and cooks. . . . so that foreigners arriving in the city, on being
attacked by disease, might receive aid, both because it was a good work in
itself, and for the glory of the Saviour" (Palladius, Dial., p. 19). At Ephesus
Bassian founded a
ptwkeitoo with seventy pallets for the sick (Mansi, vii., 277),
and there were several such houses in Egypt (ib., vi., 1013; in the next century
there was a hospital for the sick at Daphne near Antioch (Evagr., iv., 35). "The
tradition of the holy fathers" is here cited as barring any claim on the part of
clerics officiating in these institutions, or in monasteries or martyries, to be
exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary. They are to "abide under it," and
not to indulge selfwill by "turning restive" against their bishop's authority" (afhnixw
is literally to get the bit between the teeth, and is used by Aetius for
"not choosing to obey," Mansi, vii., 72). Those who dare to violate this
clearly defined rule (diatupwsin, comp.
tupos in Nic., xix.), and to refuse subjection to their own
bishop, are, if clerics, to incur canonical censure, if monks or laics, to be
excommunicated. The allusion to laics points to laymen as founders or
benefactors of such institutions.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XVIII., Q. II., canon x., 3.
IF any Clergyman have a matter against another clergyman, he shall not
forsake his bishop and run to secular courts; but let him first lay open the
matter before his own Bishop, or let the matter be submitted to any person whom
each of the parties may, with the Bishop's consent, select. And if any one shall
contravene these decrees, let him be subjected to canonical penalties. And if a
clergyman have a complaint against his own or any other bishop, let it be
decided by the synod of the province. And if a bishop or clergyman should have a
difference with the metropolitan of the province, let him have recourse to the
Exarch of the Diocese, or to the throne of the Imperial City of Constantinople,
and there let it be tried.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON IX.
Litigious clerics shall be punished according to canon, if they despise the
episcopal and resort to the secular tribunal. When a cleric has a contention
with a bishop let him wait till the synod sits, and if a bishop have a
contention with his metropolitan let him carry the case to
Let the reader observe that here is a greater privilege given by a General
Council to the see of Constantinople than ever was given by any council, even
that of Sardica, to the bishop of Rome, viz., that any bishop or clergyman might
at the first instance bring his cause before the bishop of Constantinople if the
defendant were a metropolitan.
That our canon would refer not merely the ecclesiastical, but the civil
differences of the clergy, in the first case, to the bishop, is beyond a doubt.
And it comes out as clearly from the word
proteron (= at first) that it does not absolutely exclude a
reference to the secular judges, but regards it as allowable only when the first
attempt at an adjustment of the controversy by the bishop has miscarried. This
was quite clearly recognized by Justinian in his 123d Novel, c. 21: "If any one
has a case against a cleric, or a monk, or a deaconess, or a nun, or an ascetic,
he shall first make application to the bishop of his opponent, and he shall
decide. If both parties are satisfied with his decision, it shall then be
carried into effect by the imperial judge of the locality. If, however, one of
the contending parties lodges an appeal against the bishop's judgment within ten
days, then the imperial judge of the locality shall decide the matter. There is
no doubt that the expression "Exarch" employed in our canon, and also in canon
17, means, in the first place, those superior metropolitans who have several
ecclesiastical provinces under them. Whether, however, the great patriarchs,
properly so called, are to be included under it, may be doubted. The Emperor
Justinian, in c. 22 of his Novel just quoted (l. c.) in our text has, without
further explanation, substituted the expression Patriarch for Exarch, and in the
same way the commentator Aristenus has declared both terms to be identical
adding that only the Patriarch of Constantinople has the privilege of having a
metropolitan tried before him who does not belong to his patriarchate, but is
subject to another patriarch. In the same way our canon was understood by
Beveridge. Van Espen, on the contrary, thinks that the Synod had here in view
only the exarchs in file narrower sense (of Ephesus, Caesarea), but not the
Patriarchs, properly so called, of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, as
it would be too great a violation of the ancient canons, particularly of the 6th
of Nicaea, to have set aside the proper patriarch and have allowed an appeal to
the Bishop of Constantinople (with this Zonaras also agrees in his explanation
of canon 17). Least of all, however, would the Synod have made such a rule for
the West, i.e., have allowed that any one should set aside the Patriarch of
Rome and appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople, since they themselves, in
canon 28, assigned the first place in rank to Rome.
It appears to me that neither Beveridge, etc., nor Van Espen are fully in the
right, while each is partially so. With Van Espen we must assume that our Synod,
in drawing up this canon, had in view only the Greek Church, and not the Latin
as well, particularly as neither the papal legates nor any Latin bishop whatever
was present at the drawing up of these canons. On the other hand, Beveridge is
also right in maintaining that the Synod made no distinction between the
patriarchs proper and the exarchs (such a distinction must otherwise have been
indicated in the text), and allowed that quarrels which should arise among the
bishops of other patriarchates might be tried at Constantinople. Only that
Beveridge ought to have excepted the West and Rome. The strange part of our
canon may be explained in the following manner. There were always many bishops
at Constantinople from the most different places, who came there to lay their
contentions and the like before the Emperor. The latter frequently referred the
decision to the bishop of Constantinople, who then, in union with the then
present bishops from the most different provinces, held a "Home Synod" and gave
the sentence required at this. Thus gradually the practice was formed of
controversies being decided by bishops of other patriarchates or exarchates at
Constantinople, to the setting aside of the proper superior metropolitan, an
example of which we have seen in that famous Synod of Constantinople, A.D. 448,
at which the case of Eutyches was the first time brought forward.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XI., Q.I., canon xlvj.
It shall not be lawful for a clergyman to be at the same time enrolled in the
churches of two cities, that is, in the church in which he was at first
ordained, and in another to which, because it is greater, he has removed from
lust of empty honour. And those who do so shall be returned to their own church
in which they were originally ordained, and there only shall they minister. But
if any one has heretofore been removed from one church to another, he shall not
intermeddle with the affairs of his former church, nor with the martyries,
almshouses, and hostels belonging to it. And if, after the decree of this great
and ecumenical Synod, any shall dare to do any of these things now forbidden,
the synod decrees that he shall be degraded from his rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON X.
No cleric shall be recorded on the clergy-list of the churches of two cities.
But if he shall have strayed forth, let him be returned to his former place. But
if he has been transferred, let him have no share in the affairs of his former
Van Espen, following Christian Lupus, remarks that this canon is opposed to
pluralities. For if a clergyman has by presentation and institution obtained two
churches, he is enrolled in two churches at the same time, contrary to this
canon; but surely that this be the case, the two churches must needs be in two
cities, and that, in the days of Chalcedon, meant in two dioceses.
Here a new institution comes into view, of which there were many instances.
Julian had directed Pagan hospices (xenodokeia) to be established
on the Christian model (Epist. xlix.). The Basiliad at Caesarea was a
xenodkeion as well as a
ptwkeion; it contained
xenois, as well as for wayfayers, and those who needed assistance
on account of illness, and Basil distinguished various classes of persons
engaged in charitable ministrations, including those who escorted the traveller
on his way (tous
parapempontas, Epist. xciv.). Jerome writes to Pammachius: "I
hear that you have made a 'xenodochion' in the port of Rome," and adds that he
himself had built a "diversorium "for pilgrims to Bethlehem (Epist. xvi., 11,
14). Chrysostom reminds his auditors at Constantinople that "there is a common
dwelling set apart by the Church," and "called a xenon" (in Act. Hom., xlv. 4).
His friend Olympias was munificent to "xenotrophia" (Hint. Lausiac, 144). There
was a xenodochion near the church of the monastic settlement at
Nitria (ib., 7). Ischyrion, in his memorial read in the 3d session of
Chalcedon, complains of his patriarch Dioscorus for having misapplied funds
bequeathed by a charitable lady
ptwkeiois in Egypt, and says that he himself had been confined by
Dioscorus in a "xenon" for lepers (Mansi, vi. 1013, 1017). Justinian mentions
xenodochia in Cod., i. 3, 49, and their wardens in Novell., 134, 16. Gregory the
Great orders that the accounts of xenodochia should be audited by the bishop (Epist.
iv., 27). Charles the Great provides for the restoration of decayed "senodochia"
(Capitul. of 803; Pertz, Leg., i. 110); and Alcuin exhorts his pupil, archbishop
Eanbald, to think where in the diocese of York he could establish "xenodochia,
id est, hospitalia" (Epist. L.).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
XXI., Q. L., canon jj., and again Causa XXI., Q. II., canon iij.
WE have decreed that the poor and those needing assistance shall travel,
after examination, with letters merely pacifical from the church, and not with
letters commendatory, inasmuch as letters commendatory ought to be given only to
persons who are open to suspicion·
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XI.
Let the poor who stand in need of help make their journey with letters
pacificatory and not commendatory : For letters commendatory should only be
given to those who are open to suspicion.
. . . The poor who need help should journey with letters pacificatory from
the bishop, so that those who have the ability to help them may be moved with
pity. These need no letters commendatory, such letters should be shown, however,
by presbyters and deacons, and by the rest of the clergy.
See notes on canons vii., viii., and xj. of Antioch; and on canon xlij. of
The mediaeval commentators, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus, understand this
canon to mean that letters of commendation,
sustatikai, commendatitioe litteroe were given to those laymen
and clerics who were previously subject to ecclesiastical censure, and therefore
were suspected by other bishops, and for this reason needed a special
recommendation, in order to be received in another church into the number of the
faithful. The letters of peace (eirhnikai) on the contrary, were
given to those who were in undisturbed communion with their bishop, and had not
the least evil reputation abroad.
Our canon was understood quite differently by the old Latin writers,
Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, who translate the words
upolhyeiby personoe honoratiores and clariores, and the learned
Bishop Gabriel Aubespine of Orleans has endeavored to prove, in his notes to our
canon, that the litteroe pacificoe were given to ordinary believers, and the
commendatitioe (sutatikai) on the contrary, only to clerics and
to distinguished laymen; and in favour of this view is the xiii. canon of
With regard to this much-vexed point, authorities are so divided that no
absolute judgment can be arrived at. The interpretation I have followed is that
of the Greeks and of Hervetus, which seems to be supported by Apostolic Canon
XIII., and was that adopted by Johnson and Hammond. On the other hand are the
Prisca, Dionysius, Isidore, Tillemont, Routh, and to these Bright seems to unite
himself by sating that this "sense is the more natural."
IT has come to our knowledge that certain persons, contrary to the laws of
the Church, having had recourse to secular powers, have by means of imperial
rescripts divided one Province into two, so that there are consequently two
metropolitans in one province; therefore the holy Synod has decreed that for the
future no such thing shall be at-
tempted by a bishop, since he who shall undertake it shall be degraded from
his rank. But the cities which have already been honoured by means of imperial
letters with the name of metropolis, and the bishops in charge of them, shall
take the bare title, all metropolitan rights being preserved to the true
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XII.
One province shall not be cut into two. Whoever shall do this shall be cast
out of the episcopate. Such cities as are cut off by imperial rescript shall
enjoy only the honour of having a bishop settled in them: but all the rights
pertaining to the true metropolis shall be preserved.
We learn from this canon, there were cases in which an ambitious prelate, "by
making application to the government" ("secular powers") had obtained what are
called "pragmatic letters," and employed them for the purpose of "dividing one
province into two," and exalting himself as a metropolitan. The name of a
"pragmatic sanction" is more familiar in regard to medieval and modern history;
it recalls the name of St. Louis, and, still more, that of the Emperor Charles
VI. the father of Maria Theresa. Properly a "pragmatic" was a deliberate order
promulgated by the Emperor after full hearing of advice, on some public affair.
We find "pragmatici nostri statuta" in a law of A.D. 431. (Cod. Theod., xi. 1,
36); and pragmatici prioris," "sub hac pragmatica jussione," in ordinances in
Append. to Cod. Theod., pp. 95, 162; and the empress Pulcheria, about a year
before the Council, had informed Leo that her husband Marcian had recalled some
exiled orthodox bishops "robore pragmatici sui" (Leon., Epist. lxxvij.).
Justinian speaks of "pragmaticas nostras formas" and "pragmaticum typum"
(Novel., 7, 9, etc.). The phrase was adopted from his legislation by Louis the
Pious and his colleague-son Lothar (compare Novel. 7, 2 with Pertz, Mon. Germ,
Hist. Leg., i., 254), and hence it came to be used both by later German emperors
(see, e.g., Bryce's Holy Roman Empire, p. 212), and by the French kings (Kitchin,
Hist. France, i. 343, 544). Augustine explains it by "praeceptum imperatoris" (Brev.
Collat. cum Donatist. iii., 2), and Balsamon in his comment uses an equivalent
phrase; and so in the record of the fourth session of Chalcedon we have
grammata ("divine" being practically, equivalent to "imperial")
pragmatkoustupous (Mansi, vii., 89). We
must observe that the imperial order, in the cases contemplated by the canon,
had only conferred the title of "metropolis" on the city, and had not professed
to divide the province for civil, much less for ecclesiastical, purposes. Valens,
indeed, had divided the province of Cappadocia, when in 371 he made Tyana a
metropolis: and therefore Anthimus, bishop of Tyana, when he claimed the
position of a metropolitan, with authority over suffragans, was making a not
unnatural inference in regard to ecclesiastical limits from political
rearrangements of territory, as Gregory of Nazianzus says (Orat. xliii., 58),
whereas Basil "held to the old custom," i.e., to the traditional unity of his
provincial church, although after a while he submitted to what he could not
hinder (see Tillemont, ix., 175, 182, 670). But in the case of Eustathius of
Berytus, which was clearly in the Council's mind, the Phoenician province had
not been divided; it was in reliance on a mere title bestowed upon his city, and
also on an alleged synodical ordinance which issued in fact from the so-called
"Home Synod" that he declared himself independent of his metropolitan, Photius
of Tyre, and brought six bishoprics under his assumed jurisdiction. Thus while
the province remained politically one, he had de facto divided it
ecclesiastically into two. Photius petitioned Marcian, who referred the case to
the Council of Chalcedon, and it was taken up in the fourth session. The
imperial commissioners announced that it was to be settled not according to
"pragmatic forms," but according to those which had been enacted by the Fathers
(Mansi, vii., 89). This encouraged the Council to say, "A pragmatic can have no
force against the canons." The commissioners asked whether it was lawful for
bishops, on the ground of a pragmatic, to steal away the rights of other
churches? The answer was explicit: "No, it is against the canon." The Council
proceeded to cancel the resolution of the Home Synod in favour of the elevation
of Berytus, ordered the 4th Nicene canon to be read, and upheld the
metropolitical rights of Tyre. The commissioners also pronounced against
Eustathius. Cecropius, bishop of Sebastopolis, requested them to put an end to
the issue of pragmatics made to the detriment of the canons; the Council echoed
this request; and the commissioners granted it by declaring that the canons
should everywhere stand good (Mansi, vii., 89-97). We may connect with this
incident a law of Martian dated in 454, by which "all pragmatic sanctions,
obtained by means of favour or ambition in opposition to the canon of the
Church, are declared to be deprived of effect" (Cod. Justin, i., 2, 12).
To this decision the present canon looks back, when it forbids any bishop, on
pain of deposition, to presume to do as Eustathius had done, since it decrees
that "he who attempts to do so shall fall from his own rank (baqmou)
in the Church. And cities which have already obtained the honorary title of a
metropolis from the emperor are to enjoy the honour only, and their bishops to
be but honorary metropolitans, so that all the rights of the real metropolis are
to be reserved to it." So, at the end of the 6th session the emperor had
announced that Chalcedon was to be a titular metropolis, saving all the rights
of Nicemedia; and the Council had expressed its assent (Mansi, xii., 177; cf. Le
Quien, i., 602). Another case was discussed in the 13th session of the Council.
Anastasius of Nicaea had claimed to be independent of his metropolitan Eunomius
of Nicemedia, on the ground of an ordinance of Valens, recognising the city of
Nicaea as by old custom a "metropolis." Eunomius, who complained of Anastasius's
encroachments, appealed to a later ordinance, guaranteeing to the capital of
Bithynia its rights as unaffected by the honour conferred on Nicaea: the Council
expressed its mind in favour of Eunomius, and the dispute was settled by a
decision "that the bishop of Nicomedia should have metropolitical authority over
the Bithynian churches, while the bishop of Nicaea should have merely the honour
of a metropolitan, being subjected, like the other comprovincials, to the bishop
of Nicomedia (Mansi, vii., 313). Zonaras says that this canon was in his time no
longer observed; and Balsamon says that when the primates of Heraclea and Ancyra
cited it as upholding their claim to perform the consecration of two "honorary
metropolitans," they were overruled by a decree of Alexius Comnenus, "in
presence and with consent" of a synod (on Trullan, canon xxxviij.).
The first part of this canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Grat
Decretum, Pars I., Dist. ci., canon j.
STRANGE and unknown clergymen without letters commendatory from their own
Bishop, are absolutely prohibited from officiating in another city.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIII.
No cleric shall be received to communion in another city without a letter
"Unknown clergymen." I have here followed the reading of the Greek
commentators. But the translators of the Prisca, and Dionysius, and Isidore must
have all read
anagnwstas (i.e., Readers) instead of
agnwstous. Justellus, Hervetus, and Beveridge, as also Johnson
and Hammond, follow the reading of the text. Hefele suggests that if "Readers"
is the correct reading perhaps it means, "all clergymen even readers."
Since in certain provinces it is permitted to the readers and singers to
marry, the holy Synod has decreed that it shall not be lawful for any of them to
take a wife that is heterodox. But those who have already begotten children of
such a marriage, if they have already had their children baptized among the
heretics, must bring them into the communion of the Catholic Church; but if they
have not had them baptized, they may not hereafter baptize them among heretics,
nor give them in marriage to a heretic, or a Jew, or a heathen, unless the
person marrying the orthodox child shall promise to come over to the orthodox
faith. And if any one shah transgress this decree of the holy synod, let him be
subjected to canonical censure.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIV.
A Cantor or Lector alien to the sound faith, if being then married, he shall
have begotten children let him bring them to communion, if they had there been
baptized. But if they had not yet been baptized they shall not be baptized
afterwards by the heretics.
The tenth and thirty-first canons of the Synod of Laodicea and the second of
the Sixth Synod in Trullo, and this present canon forbid one of the orthodox to
be joined in marriage with a woman who is a heretic, or vice versa. But if any
of the Cantors or Lectors had taken a wife of another sect before these canons
were set forth, and had had children by her, and had had them baptized while yet
he remained among the heretics, l these he should bring to the communion of the
Catholic Church. But if they had not yet been baptized, he must not turn back
and have them baptized among heretics. But departing thence let him lead them to
the Catholic Church and enrich them with divine baptism.
According to the Latin translation of Dionysius Exiguus, who speaks only of
the daughters of the lectors, etc., the meaning may be understood, with
Christian Lupus, as being that only their daughters must not be married to
heretics or Jews or heathen, but that the sons of readers may take wives who are
heretics, etc., because that men are less easily led to fall away from the faith
than women. But the Greek text makes here no distinction between sons and
It is to Victor that we owe the most striking of all anecdotes about readers.
During the former persecution under Genseric (or Gaiseric), the Arians attacked
a Catholic congregation on Easter Sunday; and while a reader was standing alone
in the pulpit, and chanting the "Alleluia melody" (cf. Hammond, Liturgies, p.
95), an arrow pierced his throat, the "codex" dropped from his hands, and he
fell down dead (De Persec. Vand., i., 13). Five years before the Council, a boy
of eight named Epiphanius was made a reader in the church of Pavia, and in
process of time became famous as its bishop. Justinian forbade readers to be
appointed under eighteen (Novel., 134, 13). The office is described in the Greek
Euchologion as "the first step to the priesthood," and is conferred with
delivery of the book containing the Epistles. Isidore of Seville, in the seventh
century, tells us that the bishop ordained a reader by delivering to him "coram
plebe," the "codex" of Scripture: and after giving precise directions as to
pronunciation and accentuation, says that the readers were of old called
"heralds" (De Eccl. Offic., ii., 11). (b) The Singers are placed by the xliijrd.
Apostolic canon between subdeacons and readers, but they rank below readers in
Laodic., c. 23, in the Liturgy of St. Mark (Hammond, p. 173), and in the canons
wrongly ascribed to a IVth Council of Carthage, which permit a presbyter to
appoint a "psalmist" without the bishop's knowledge, and rank him even below the
doorkeepers (Mansi, iii., 952). The chief passage respecting the ancient
"singers" is Laodic., xv.
The first part of this canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars I, Dist. xxxii. c. xv.
A WOMAN shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty
years of age, and then only after searching examination. And if, after she has
had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to minister, she shall
despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall be
anathematized and the man united to her.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XV.
No person shall be ordained deaconess except she be forty years of age. If
she shall dishonour her ministry by contracting a marriage, let her be anathema.
This canon should be read carefully in connexion with what is said in the
Excursus on deaconesses to canon Nix. of Nice.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XXVII, Quaest. I., Canon xxiij.
It is not lawful for a virgin who has dedicated herself to the Lord God, nor
for monks, to marry; and if they are found to have done this, let them be
excommunicated. But we decree that in every place the bishop shall have the
power of indulgence towards them.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVI.
Monks or nuns shall not contract marriage, and if they do so let them be
Since this canon says nothing at all of separation in connexion with a
marriage made contrary to a vow, but only orders separation from communion, it
seems very likely that vows of this kind at the time of the synod were not
considered diriment but only impedient impediments from which the bishop of the
diocese could dispense at least as far as the canonical punishment was
The last part of the canon gives the bishop authority in certain
circumstances not to inflict the excommunication which is threatened in the
first part, or again to remove it. Thus all the old Latin translators understood
our text; but Dionysius Exiguus and the Prisca added confitentibus, meaning, "if
such a virgin or monk confess and repent their fault, then the bishop may be
kind to them." That the marriage of a monk is invalid, as was ruled by later
ecclesiastical law, our canon does not say; on the contrary, it assumes its
validity, as also the marriages contracted by priests until the beginning of the
twelfth century were regarded as valid.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa xxvii., Quaest. I., canon xxii., from Isidore's version; it is also
found in Dionysius's version as canon xij. of the same Quaestio, Causa, and
Part, where it is said to be taken "ex Concilio Triburiensi."
Outlying or rural parishes shall in every province remain subject to the
bishops who now have jurisdiction over them, particularly if the bishops have
peaceably and continuously governed them for the space of thirty years. But if
within thirty years there has been, or is, any dispute concerning them, it is
lawful for those who hold themselves aggrieved to bring their cause before the
synod of the province. And if any one be wronged by his metropolitan, let the
matter be decided by the exarch of the diocese or by the throne of
Constantinople, as aforesaid. And if any city has been, or shall hereafter be
newly erected by imperial authority, let the order of the ecclesiastical
parishes follow the political and municipal example.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVII.
Village and rural parishes if they have been possessed f or thirty years,
they shall so continue. But if within that time, the matter shall be subject to
adjudication. But if by the command of the Emperor a city be renewed, the order
of ecclesiastical parishes shall follow the civil and public forms.
egkwrious is probably synonymous with
agroikikas (" rusticas," Prisca), although Dionysius and
Isidorian take in as "situated on estates," cf. Routh, Scr. Opusc., ii., 109. It
was conceivable that some such outlying districts might form, ecclesiastically,
a border-land, it might not be easy to assign them definitively to this or that
bishopric. In such a case, says the Council, if the bishop who is now in
possession of these rural churches can show a prescription of thirty years in
favour of his see, let them remain undisturbed in his obedience. (Here
abiastws may be illustrated from
biasamenos in Eph. viii. and for the use of
oikonomein see I. Const., ij.) But the border-land might be the
"debate-able" land: the two neighbour bishops might dispute as to the right to
tend these "sheep in the wilderness ;" as we read in Cod. Afric.,
117, "multae controversiae postea inter episcopos de dioecesibus ortae aunt,
et oriuntur" (see on I. Const., ij.); as archbishop Thomas of York, and Remigius
of Dorchester, were at issue for years "with reference to Lindsey" (Raine, Fasti
Eborac., i. 150). Accordingly, the canon provides that if such a contest had
arisen within the thirty years, or should thereafter arise, the prelate who
considered himself wronged might appeal to the provincial synod. If he should be
aggrieved at the decision of his metropolitan in synod, he might apply for
redress to the eparch (or prefect, a substitute for exarch) of the "diocese," or
to the see of Constantinople (in the manner provided by canon ix.). It is
curious "that in Russia all the sees are divided into eparchies of the first,
second, and third class" (Neale, Essays on Liturgiology, p. 302).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XVI., Quaest. iii., can. j., in Isidore Mercator's version. (1)
The crime of conspiracy or banding together is utterly prohibited even by the
secular law, and much more ought it to be forbidden in the Church of God.
Therefore, if any, whether clergymen or monks, should be detected in conspiring
or banding together, or hatching plots against their bishops or fellow-clergy,
they shall by all means be deposed from their own rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVIII.
Clerics and Monks, if they shall have dared to hold conventicles and to
conspire against the bishop, shall be cast out of their rank.
In order to appreciate this canon, we must consider the case of Ibas bishop
of Edessa. He had been attached to the Nestorians, but after the reunion between
Cyril and John of Antioch had re-entered into communion with Cyril on the ground
that Cyril had explained his anathemas (Mansi, vii., 240), or, as he wrote to
Maria (in a letter famous as one of the "Three Chapters") that God had "softened
the Egyptian's heart" (ib., 248). Four of his priests (Samuel, Cyrus, Maras, and
Eulegius), stimulated, says Fleury (xxvij. 19) by Uranius bishop of Himeria,
accused Ibas of Nestorianism before his patriarch Domnus of Antioch, who held a
synod, but, as Samuel and Cyrus failed to appear, pronounced them defaulters and
set aside the case (Mansi, vii. 217). They went up to Constantinople, and
persuaded Theodosius and archbishop Flavian to appoint a commission for
inquiring into the matter. Two sessions, so to speak were held by the three
prelates thus appointed, one at Berytus the other at Tyre. At Berytus, according
to the extant minutes (Mansi, vii., 212 ff.), five new accusers joined the
original four, and charges were brought which affected the moral character of
Ibas as well as his orthodoxy. The charge of having used a "blasphemous" speech
implying that Christ was but a man deified, was rebutted by a statement signed
by some sixty clerics of Edessa, who according to the accusers, had been present
when Ibas uttered it. At Tyre the episcopal judges succeeded in making peace,
and accusers and accused partook of the communion together (ib., vii., 209). The
sequence of these proceedings cannot be thoroughly ascertained, but Hefele
(sect. 169) agrees with Tillemont (xv., 474 et seqq.) in dating the trial at
Berytus slightly earlier than that at Tyre, and assigning both to the February
of 448 or 449. Fleury inverts this order, and thinks that, "notwithstanding the
reconciliation" at Tyre, the four accusers renewed their prosecution of Ibas (xxvij.
20); but he has to suppose two applications on their part to Theodosius and
Flavian, which seems improbable. "The Council is believed," says Tillemont (xv.,
698), "to have had this case in mind when drawing up the present canon:" and one
can hardly help thinking that, on a spot within sight of Constantinople, they
must have recalled the protracted sufferings which malignant plotters had
inflicted on St. Chrysostom.
This canon is found in part in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum,
Pars II., I Causa XI., Quaest. I., canons xxj. and xxiij.
WHEREAS it has come to our ears that in the provinces the Canonical Synods of
Bishops are not held, and that on this account many ecclesiastical matters which
need reformation are neglected; therefore, according to the canons of the holy
Fathers, the holy Synod decrees that the bishops of every province shall twice
in the year assemble together where the bishop of the Metropolis shall approve,
and shall then settle whatever matters may have arisen. And bishops, who do not
attend, but remain in their own cities, though they are in good health and free
from any unavoidable and necessary business, shall receive a brotherly
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XIX.
Twice each year the Synod shall be held where-ever the bishop of the
Metropolis shall designate, and all matters of pressing interest shall be
See notes on Canon V. of Nice, and on Canon XX. of Antioch, and compare canon
VIII. of the council in Trullo.
Hilary of Arles and his suffragans, assembled at Riez, had already, in 439
qualified the provision for two by adding significantly "if the times are quiet"
(Mansi, v., 1194). The words were written at the close of ten years' war, during
which the Visigoths of Septimania "were endeavouring to take Arles and Narbonne"
(Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, ii., 121).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
I., Dist. XVIII., canon vj.
It shall not be lawful, as we have already decreed, for clergymen officiating
in one church to be appointed to the church of another city, but they shall
cleave to that in which they were first thought worthy to minister; those,
however, being excepted, who have been driven by necessity from their own
country, and have therefore removed to another church. And if, after this
decree, any bishop shall receive a clergyman belonging to another bishop, it is
decreed that both the received and the receiver shall be excommunicated until
such time as the clergyman who has removed shall have returned to his own
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XX.
A clergyman of one city shall not be given a cure in another. But if he has
been driven from his native place and shall go into another he shall be without
blame. If any bishop receives clergymen from without his diocese he shall be
excommunicated as well as the cleric he receives.
It is quite doubtful as to what "excommunication" means in this canon,
probably not anathematism (so think the commentators) but separation from the
communion of the other bishops, and suspension from the performance of clerical
This canon is the third of those which were originally proposed by Marcian in
the end of the sixth session, as certain articles for which synodical sanction
was desirable (see above Canons iij. and iv.). It was after they had been
delivered by the Emperor's own hand to Anatolius of Constantinople that the
Council broke out into plaudits, one of which is sufficiently startling,
basilei (Mansi, vii., 177). The imperial draft is in this case
very slightly altered. A reference is made to a previous determination (i.e.,
canon x.) against clerical pluralities, and it is ordered that "clerics
registered as belonging to one church shall not be ranked as belonging to the
church of another city, but must be content with the one in which they were
originally admitted to minister, excepting those who, having lost their own
country, have been compelled to migrate to another church,"--an exception
intelligible enough at such a period. Eleven years before, the Vandal Gaiseric
had expelled the Catholic bishops
and priests of Western Africa from their churches: Quodvultdeus, bishop of
Carthage with many of his clergy, had been "placed on board some unseaworthy
vessels," and yet, "by the Divine mercy, had been carried safe to Naples" (Vict.
Vitens., De Persec. Vandal., i., 5: he mentions other bishops as driven into
exile). Somewhat later, the surge of the Hunnish invasion had frightened the
bishop of Sirmium into sending his church vessels to Attila's Gaulish secretary
and had swept onward in 447 to within a short distance of the "New Rome"
(Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, ii., 54-56). And the very year of the Council
was the most momentous in the whole history of the "Barbaric" movement. The
bishops who assembled in October at Chalcedon must have heard by that time of
the massacre of the Metz clergy on Easter Eve, of a bishop of Rheims slain at
his own altar, of the deliverance of Orleans at the prayer of St. Anianus, of
"the supreme battle" in the plain of Chalons, which turned back Attila and
rescued Christian Gaul (Hodgkin, ii., 129-152; Kitchin, Hist. France, i. 61).
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
I., Dist. lxxi, c. iv.
CLERGYMEN and laymen bringing charges against bishops or clergymen are not to
be received loosely and without examination, as accusers, but their own
character shall first be investigated.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXI.
A cleric or layman making charges rashly against his bishop shall not be
Compare with this canon the VIth Canon of those credited to the First Synod
at Constantinople, the second ecumenical.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa II., Quest. VII., canon xlix., in Isidore's first version.
IT is not lawful for clergymen, after the death of their bishop, to seize
what belongs to him, as has been forbidden also by the ancient canons; and those
who do so shall be in danger of degradation from their own rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXII.
Whoever seizes the goods of his deceased bishop shall be cast forth from his
It is curious that the Greek text which Zonaras and Balsamon produce, and
which Hervetus translated, had instead of
paralambanousin. Van Espen thinks that the Greek commentators
have tried without success to attach any meaning to these words, accepting the
arguments of Bp. Beveridge (which see). The reading adopted in the text does not
lack MS. authority, and is the one printed by Justellus in his "Codex of the
Canons of the Universal Church."
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XII., Quest. II., canon xliii., in Isidore's version.
IT has come to the hearing of the holy Synod that certain clergymen and
monks, having no authority from their own bishop, and sometimes, indeed, while
under sentence of excommunication by him, betake themselves to the imperial
Constantinople, and remain there for a long time, raising disturbances and
troubling the ecclesiastical state,
and turning men's houses upside down. Therefore the holy Synod has determined
that such persons be first notified by the Advocate of the most holy Church of
Constantinople to depart from the imperial city; and if they shall shamelessly
continue in the same practices, that they shall be expelled by the same Advocate
even against their will, and return to their own places.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIII.
Clerics or monks who spend much time at Constantinople contrary to the will
of their bishop, and stir up seditions, shall be cast out of the city.(1)
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XVI, Quaest. I., canon xvij. but with the last part epitomized, as
the Roman correctors point out.
MONASTERIES, which have once been consecrated with the consent of the bishop,
shall remain monasteries for ever, and the property belonging to them shall be
preserved, and they shall never again become secular dwellings.And they who
shall permit this to be done shall be liable to ecclesiastical penalties.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIV.
A monastery erected with the consent of the bishop shall be immovable. And
whatever pertains to it shall not be alienated. Whoever shall take upon him to
do otherwise, shall not be held guiltless.
Joseph AEgyptius, in turning this into Arabic, reads: "And whoever shall turn
any monastery into a dwelling house for himself
... let him be cursed and anathema." The curious reader is referred on this
whole subject to Sir Henry Spelman's History and Fate of Sacrilege, or to the
more handy book on the subject by James Wayland Joyce, The Doom of Sacrilege.(2)
The secularization of monasteries was an evil which grew with their wealth
and influence. At a Council held by the patriarch Photius in the Apostles'
church at Constantinople, it is complained that some persons attach the name of
"monastery" to property of their own, and while professing to dedicate it to
God, write themselves down as lords of what has been thus consecrated, and are
not ashamed to claim after such consecration the same power over it which they
had before. In the West, we find this abuse attracting the attention of Gregory
the Great, who writes to a bishop that "rationalis ordo" would not allow a
layman to pervert a monastic foundation at will to his own uses (Epist. viii.,
31). In ancient Scotland, the occasional dispersion of religious communities,
and, still more, the clan-principle which assigned chieftain-rights over
monasteries to the descendants of the founder, left at Dunkeld, Brechin,
Abernethy, and elsewhere, "nothing but the mere name of abbacy applied to the
lands, and of abbot borne by the secular lord for the time" (Skene's Celtic
Scotland, ii., 365; cf. Anderson's Scotland in Early Christian Times, p. 235).
So, after the great Irish monastery of Bangor in Down was destroyed by the
Northmen, "non defuit,"says St. Bernard, "qui illud teneret cure possessionibus
suis; ham et constituebantur per electionem etiam, et abbates appellabantur,
servantes nomine, etsi non re, quod olim exstiterat" (De Vita S. Malachioe, vj.).
So in 1188 Giraldus Cambrensis found a lay abbot in possession of the venerable
church of Llanbadarn Vawr; a "bad custom,"
he says, "had grown up, whereby powerful laymen, at first chosen by the
clergy to be "oeconomi" or "patroni et defensores," had usurped "forum jus,"
appropriated the lands, and left to the clergy nothing but the altars, with
tithes and offerings (Itin. Camb. ii., 4). This abuse must be distinguished from
the corrupt device whereby, in Bede's later years, Northumbrian nobles contrived
to gain for their estates the immunities of abbey-lands by professing to found
monasteries, which they filled with disorderly monks, who lived there in
contempt of all rule (Bede, Ep. to Egbert, vij.). In the year of his birth, the
first English synod had forbidden bishops to despoil consecrated monasteries (Bede,
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XIX., Quaest. III., canon iv.
FORASMUCH as certain of the metropolitans, as we have heard, neglect the
flocks committed to them, and delay the ordinations of bishops the holy Synod
has decided that the ordinations of bishops shall take place within three
months, unless an inevitable necessity should some time require the term of
delay to be prolonged. And if he shall not do this, he shall be liable to
ecclesiastical penalties, and the income of the widowed church shall be kept
safe by the steward of the same Church.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXV.
Let the ordination of bishops be within three months: necessity however may
make the time longer. But if anyone shall ordain counter to this decree, he
shall be liable to punishment. The revenue shall remain with the oeconomus.
The "Steward of the Church" was to "take care of the revenues of the church
widowed" by the death of its bishop, who was regarded as representing Him to
whom the whole Church was espoused (see Eph. v. 23 ff.). So in the "order of the
holy and great church" of St. Sophia, the" Great Steward is described as "taking
the oversight of the widowed church" (Goar, Eucholog., p. 269); so Hincmar says:
"Si fuerit defunctus episcopus, ego ... visitaterem ipsi viduatae designabo
ecclesiae;" and the phrase, "viduata per mortem N. nuper episcopi" became common
in the West (F. G. Lee, Validity of English Orders, p. 373). The episcopal ring
was a symbol of the same idea. So at St. Chrysostom's restoration Eudoxia
claimed to have "given back the bridegroom" (Serm. post redit., iv.). So Bishop
Wilson told Queen Caroline that he "would not leave his wife in his old age
because she was poor" (Keble's Life of Wilson, ii., 767); and Peter Mongus,
having invaded the Alexandrian see while its legitimate occupant, Timothy
Salophaciolus, was alive, was expelled as an "adulterer" (Liberatus, Breviar.,
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
I., Dist. LXXV., C. ij.(1)
FORASMUCH as we have heard that in certain churches the bishops managed the
church-business without stewards, it has seemed good that every church having a
bishop shall have also a steward from among its own clergy, who shall manage the
church business under the sanction of his own bishop; that so the administration
of the church may not be without a witness; and that thus the goods of the
church may not be squandered, nor reproach be brought upon the priesthood; and
if he [i.e., the Bishop] will not do this, he shall be subjected to the divine
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVI.
The (Economus in all churches must be chosen from the clergy. And the bishop
who neglects to do this is not without blame.
As the stream of offerings became fuller, the work of dispensing them became
more complex, until the archdeacons could no
longer find time for it, and it was committed to a special officer called "oeconomus"
or steward (Bingham, iii, 12, 1; Transl. of Fleury, iii., 120). So the Council
of Gangra, in the middle of the fourth century, forbids the church offerings to
be disposed of without consent of the bishop or of the person appointed,
eupoiias (canon viij.); and St Basil mentions the oeconomi of his
own church (Epist., xxiij. 1), and the "tamiai of the sacred
goods" of his brother's at Nyssa (ib., 225). And although Gregory Nazianzen took
credit to himself for declining to appoint a "stranger" to make an estimate of
the property which of right belonged to the church of Constantinople, and in
fact, with a strange confusion between personal and official obligations, gave
the go-by to the whole question (Carm. de Vita sua, 1479 ff.), his successor,
Nectarius, being a man of business, took care to appoint a "church-steward"; and
Chrysostom, on coming to the see, examined his accounts, and found much
superfluous expenditure (Palladius, Dial, p. 19). Theophilus of Alexandria
compelled two of the Tall Brothers to undertake the
oikonomia of the Alexandrian church (Soc., vi. 7); and in one of
his extant directions observes that the clergy of Lyco wish for another "oeconomus,"
and that the bishop has consented, in order that the church-funds may be
properly spent (Mansi, iii., 1257). At Hippo St. Augustine had a "praepositus
domus" who acted as Church-steward (Possidius, Vit. August., xxiv.). Isidore of
Pelusium denounces Martinianus as a fraudulent "oeconomus," and requests Cyril
to appoint an upright one (Epist. ii., 127), and in another letter urges him to
put a stop to the dishonest greed of those who acted as stewards of the same
church (ib., v. 79). The records of the Council of Ephesus mention the "oeconomus"
of Constantinople, the "oeconomus" of Ephesus (Mansi, iv., 1228-1398), and, the
"oeconomus" of Philadelphia. According to an extant letter of Cyril, the "oeconomi"
of Perrha in Syria were mistrusted by the clergy, who wished to get rid of them
"and appoint others by their own authority" (ib., vii., 321). Ibas of Edessa had
been complained of for his administration of church property; he was accused,
e.g., of secreting a jewelled chalice, and bestowing the church revenues, and
gold and silver crosses, on his brother and cousins; he ultimately undertook to
appoint "oeconomi" after the model of Antioch (Mansi, vii., 201). Proterius,
afterwards patriarch of Alexandria and a martyr for Chalcedonian orthodoxy, was
"oeconomus" under Dioscorus (ib., iv., 1017), as was John Talaia, a man accused
of bribery, under his successor (Evag., iii., 12). There may have been many
cases in which there was no "oeconomus," or in which the management was in the
hands of private agents of the bishop, in whom the Church could put no
confidence; and the Council, having alluded to the office of "oeconomus" in
canons ij. and xxv., now observes that some bishops had been managing their
church property without "oeconomi," and thereupon resolves "that every church
which has a bishop shall also have an oeconomus" from among its own clergy, to
administer the property of the church under the direction of its own bishop; so
that the administration of the church property may not be unattested, and
thereby waste ensue, and the episcopate incur reproach." Any bishop who should
neglect to appoint such an officer should be punishable under "the divine" (or
Nearly three years after the Council, Leo saw reason for requesting Marcian
not to allow civil judges, "novo exemplo," to audit the accounts of "the
oeconomi of the church of Constantinople," which ought, "secundum traditum morem,"
to be examined by the bishop alone (Epist. cxxxvij. 2). In after days the "great
steward" of St. Sophia was always a deacon; he was a conspicuous figure at the
Patriarch's celebrations, standing on the right of the altar, vested in alb and
stole, and holding the sacred fan (ripidion); his duty was to
enter all incomings and outgoings of the church's revenue in a charterlary, and
exhibit it quarterly, or half yearly, to the patriarchs; and he governed the
church during a vacancy of the see (Eucholog., pp. 268, 275). In the West,
Isidore of Seville describes the duties of the "oeconomus"; he has to see to the
repair and building of churches, the care of church lands, the cultivation of
vineyards, the payment of clerical stipends, of doles to the widows and the
poor, and of food and clothing to church servants, and even the carrying on of
church law suits,--all "cure jussu et arbitrio sui episcopi" (Ep. to Leudefred,
Op. ii., 520); and before Isidore's death the IVth Council of Toledo refers to
this canon, and orders the bishops to appoint "from their own clergy those whom
the Greeks call oeconomi, hoc est, qui vici episcoporum res ecclesiasticas
tractant (canon xlviij., Mansi, x, 631). There was an officer named "oeconomus"
in the old Irish monasteries; see Reeves' edition of Adamnan, p. 47.
This Canon is found twice in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum,
Pars II., Causa XVI., Q. VII, Canon xxi., and again in Pars I., Dist. LXXXIX.,
THE holy Synod has decreed that those who forcibly carry off women under
pretence of marriage, and the alders or abettors of such ravishers, shall be
degraded if clergymen, and if laymen be anathematized.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVII.
If a clergyman elope with a woman, let him be expelled from the Church. If a
layman, let him be anathema. The same shall be the lot of any that assist him.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars
II., Causa XXXVI., Q. II., canon j.
In many old collections this is the last canon of this Council, e.g.,
Dionysius Exiguus, Isidore, the Prisca, the Greek by John of Antioch, and the
Arabic by Joseph AEgyptius. The reader familiar with the subject will have but
little difficulty in explaining to his own satisfaction the omission of canon
xxviij. in these instances.
FOLLOWING in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging
the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops
beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is
New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do
enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy
Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted
privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One
Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration,
gave equal privileges (isa
presbeia) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging
that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys
equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters
also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic,
the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops
also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained
by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople;
every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his
province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the
divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the
aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after
the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVIII.
The bishop of New Rome shall enjoy the same honour as the bishop of Old Rome,
on account of the removal of the Empire. For this reason the [metropolitans] of
Pontus, of Asia, and of Thrace, as well as the Barbarian bishops shall be
ordained by the bishop of Constantinople.
It is certain that this canon was expressly renewed by canon xxxvi. of the
Council of Trullo and from that time has been numbered by the Greeks among the
canons; and at last it was acknowledged by some Latin collectors also, and was
placed by Gratian in his Decretum, although clearly with a different sense.
(Pars I., Dist. xxii., C. vj.)
Here is a great addition to the canon of 381, so ingeniously linked on to it
as to seem at first sight a part of it. The words
wste are meant to suggest that what follows is in fact involved
in what has preceded: whereas a new point of departure is here taken, and
instead of a mere "honorary pre-eminence" the bishop of Constantinople acquires
a vast jurisdiction, the independent authority of three exarchs being annulled
in order to make him patriarch. Previously he had
proedria now he gains
prostasia. As we have
seen, a series of aggrandizements in fact had prepared for this
aggrandizement in law; and various metropolitans of Asia Minor expressed their
contentment at seeing it effected. "It is, indeed, more than probable that the
self-assertion of Rome excited the jealousy of her rival of the East," and thus
"Eastern bishops secretly felt that the cause of Constantinople was theirs"
(Gore's Leo the Great. p. 120); but the gratification of Constantinople ambition
was not the less, in a canonical sense, a novelty, and the attempt to enfold it
in the authority of the Council of 381 was rather astute than candid. The true
plea, whatever might be its value, was that the Council had to deal with a fait
accompli, which it was wise at once to legalize and to regulate; that the
"boundaries of the respective exarchates ... were ecclesiastical arrangements
made with a view to the general good and peace of the Church, and liable to vary
with the dispensations to which the Church was providentially subjected," so
that "by confirming the
eqos" in regard to the ordination of certain metropolitans (see
Ep. of Council to Leo, Leon. Epist. xcviij., 4), "they were acting in the
spirit, while violating the letter, of the ever-famous rule of Nicaea,
krateito (cp. Newman, Transl. of Fleury, iii., 407). It is
observable that Aristenus(1) and Symeon, Logothetes reckon this decree as a
XXIXth canon (Justellus, ii., 694, 720).
After the renewal of this canon by the Council of Trullo, Gratian adds "The
VIIIth Synod held under Pope Hadrian II., canon xxj." (Decretum Pars I., Diet.
xxij., C. vii.) "We define that no secular power shall hereafter dishonour
anyone of these who rule our patriarchal sees, or attempt to move them from
their proper throne, but shall judge them worthy of all reverence and honour;
chiefly the most holy Pope of Old Rome, and then the Patriarch of
Constantinople, and then those of Alexandria, and Antioch, and Jerusalem."
Some Greek codices have the following heading to this canon.
"Decree of the same holy Synod published on account of the privileges of the
throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople."
This canon seems to recognise no particular authority in the Church of Rome,
save what the Fathers had granted it, as the seat of the empire. And it
attributes in plain words as much to Constantinople as to Rome, with the
exception of the first place. Nevertheless I do not observe that the Popes took
up a thing so injurious to their dignity, and of so dangerous a consequence to
the whole Church. For what Lupus quotes of St. Leo's lxxviij. (civ) letter,
refers rather to Alexandria and to Antioch, than to Rome. St. Leo is contented
to destroy the foundation on which they built the elevation of Constantinople,
maintaining that a thing so entirely ecclesiastical as the episcopate ought not
to be regulated by the temporal dignity of cities, which, nevertheless, has been
almost always followed in the establishment of the metropolis, according to the
Council of Nicea.
St. Leo also complains that the Council of Chalcedon broke the decrees of the
Council of Nice, the practice of antiquity, and the rights of Metropolitans.
Certainly it was an odious innovation to see a Bishop made the chief, not of one
department but of three; for which no example could be found save in the
authority which the Popes took over Illyricum, where, however, they did not
claim the power to ordain any Bishop.
EXCURSUS ON THE LATER HISTORY OF CANON XXVIII.
Among the bishops who gave their answers at the last session to the question
whether their subscription to the canons was voluntary or forced was Eusebius,
bishop of Doryloeum, an Asiatic bishop who said that he had read the
Constantinopolitan canon to "the holy pope of Rome in presence of clerics of
Constantinople, and that he had accepted it" (L. and C., Conc., iv. 815). But
quite possibly this evidence is of little value. But what is more to the point
is that the Papal legates most probably had already at this very council
recognized the right of Constantinople to rank immediately after Rome. For at
the very first session when the Acts of the Latrocinium were read, it was found
that to Flavian, the Archbishop of Constantinople, was given only the fifth
place. Against this the bishop protested and asked, "Why
did not Flavian receive his position?" and the papal legate Paschasinus
answered: "We will, please God, recognize the present bishop Anatolius of
Constantinople as the first [i.e. after us], but Dioscorus made Flavian the
fifth." It would seem to be in vain to attempt to escape the force of these
words by comparing with them the statement made in the last session, in a moment
of heat and indignation, by Lucentius the papal legate, that the canons of
Constantinople were not found among those of the Roman Code. It may well be that
this statement was true, and yet it does not in any way lessen the importance of
the fact that at the first session a very different thing from the sixteenth)
Paschasinus had admitted that Constantinople enjoyed the second place. It would
seem that Quesnel has proved his point, notwithstanding the attempts of the
Ballerini to counteract and overthrow his arguments.
It would be the height of absurdity for any one to attempt to deny that the
canon of Constantinople was entirely in force and practical execution, as far of
those most interested were concerned, long before the meeting of the council of
Chalcedon, and in 394, only thirteen years after the adoption of the canon, we
find the bishop of Constantinople presiding at a synod at which both the bishop
of Alexandria and the bishop of Antioch were present.
St. Leo made, in connexion with this matter, some statements which perhaps
need not be commented upon, but should certainly not be forgotten. In his
epistle to Anatolius (no. cvi.) in speaking of the third canon of Constantinople
he says: "That document of certain bishops has never been brought by your
predecessors to the knowledge of the Apostolic See." And in writing to the
Empress (Ep. cv., ad Pulch.) he makes the following statement, strangely
contrary to what she at least knew to be the fact, "To this concession a long
course of years has given no effect!"
We need not stop to consider the question why Leo rejected the xxviijth canon
of Chalcedon. It is certain that he rejected it and those who wish to see the
motive of this rejection considered at length are referred to Quesnel and to the
Ballerini; the former affirming that it was because of its encroachments upon
the prerogatives of his own see, the latter urging that it was only out of his
zeal for the keeping in full force of the Nicene decree.
Leo can never be charged with weakness. His rejection of the canon was
absolute and unequivocal. In writing to the Emperor he says that Anatolius only
got the See of Constantinople by his consent, that he should behave himself
modestly, and that there is no way he can make of Constantinople "an Apostolic
See," and adds that "only from love of peace and for the restoration of the
unity of the faith" he has "abstained from annulling this ordination" (Ep. civ.).
To the Empress he wrote with still greater violence: "As for the resolution
of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your
faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the
holy Apostle Peter" (Ep. cv.).
The papal annulling does not appear to have been of much force, for Leo
himself confesses, in a letter written about a year later to the Empress
Pulcheria (Ep. cxvi.), that the Illyrian bishops had since the council
subscribed the xxviiith canon.
The pope had taken occasion in his letter in which he announced his
acceptance of the doctrinal decrees of Chalcedon to go on further and express
his rejection of the canons. This part of the letter was left unread throughout
the Greek empire, and Leo complains of it to Julian of Cos (Ep. cxxvij.).
Leo never gave over his opposition, although the breach was made up between
him and Anatolius by an apparently insincere letter on the part of the latter (Ep.
cxxxii.). Leo's successors followed his example in rejecting the canons, both
the IIId of Constantinople and the XXVIIIth of Chalcedon, but as M. l'abbe
Duchesne so admirably says: "Mais leur voix fut peu ecoutee; on leur accorda
sans doute des satisfactions, mais de pure ceremonie."(1) But
Justinian acknowledged the Constantinopolitan and Chalcedonian rank of
Constantinople in his CXXXIst Novel. (cap. j.), and the Synod in Trullo in canon
xxxvj. renewed exactly canon xxviij. of Chalcedon. Moreover the Seventh
Ecumenical with the approval of the Papal Legates gave a general sanction to all
the canons accepted by the Trullan Synod. And finally in 1215 the Fourth Council
of the Lateran in its Vth Canon acknowledged Constantinople's rank as
immediately after Rome, but this was while Constantinople was in the hands of
the Latins! Subsequently at Florence the second rank, in accordance with the
canons of I. Constantinople and of Chalcedon (which had been an hulled by Leo)
was given to the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, and so the opposition of
Rome gave way after seven centuries and a half, and the Nicene Canon which Leo
declared to be "inspired by the Holy Ghost" and "valid to the end of time" (Ep.
cvi.), was set at nought by Leo's successor in the Apostolic See.
From the Acts of the same Holy Synod concerning Photius, Bishop of Tyre, and
Eustathius, Bishop of Berytus.
The most magnificent and glorious judges said:
What is determined by the Holy Synod [in the matter of the Bishops ordained
by the most religious Bishop Photius, but removed by the most religious Bishop
Eustathius and ordered to be Presbyters after (having held) the Episcopate]?
The most religious Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the Priest
Boniface, representatives of the Church(1) of Rome, said:
It is sacrilege to degrade a bishop to the rank of a presbyter; but, if they
are for just cause removed from episcopal functions, neither ought they to have
the position of a Presbyter; and if they have been displaced without any charge,
they shall be restored to their episcopal dignity.
And Anatolius, the most reverend Archbishop of Constantinople, said: If those
who are alleged to have been removed from the episcopal dignity to the order of
presbyter, have indeed been condemned for any sufficient causes, clearly they
are not worthy of the honour of a presbyter. But if they have been forced down
into the lower rank without just cause, they are worthy, if they appear
guiltless, to receive again both the dignity and priesthood of the Episcopate.
And all the most reverend Bishops cried out:
The judgment of the Fathers is right. We all say the same.The Fathers have
righteously decided. Let the sentence of the Archbishops prevail.
And the most magnificent and glorious judges said:
Let the pleasure of the Holy Synod be established for all time.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIX.
He is sacrilegious who degrades a bishop to the rank of a presbyter. For he
that is guilty of crime is unworthy of the priesthood. But he that was deposed
without cause, let him be [still] bishop.
What precedes and follows the so-called canon is abbreviated from the IVth
Session of the Council (L. and C., Conc., Tom. IV., col. 550). I have followed a
usual Greek method of printing it.
This so-called canon is nothing but a verbal copy of a passage from the
minutes of the
fourth session in the matter of Photius of Tyre and Eustathius of Berytus.
Moreover, it does not possess the peculiar form which we find in all the genuine
canons of Chalcedon, and in almost all ecclesiastical canons in general; on the
contrary, there adheres to it a portion of the debate, of which it is a
fragment, in which Anatolius is introduced as speaking. Besides it is wanting in
all the old Greek, as well as in the Latin collections of canons, and in those
of John of Antioch and of Photius, and has only been appended to the
twenty-eight genuine canons of Chalcedon from the fact that a later transcriber
thought fit to add to the genuine canons the general and important principle
contained in the place in question of the fourth session. Accordingly, this
so-called canon is certainly an ecclesiastical rule declared at Chalcedon, and
in so far a
kanwn, but it was not added as a canon proper to the other
twenty-eight by the Synod.
From the Fourth Session of the same Holy Synod, having reference to the
matter of the Egyptian Bishops.
The most magnificent and glorious judges, and the whole Senate, said:
SINCE the most religious bishops of Egypt have postponed for the present
their subscription to the letter of the most holy Archbishop Leo, not because
they oppose the Catholic Faith, but because they declare that it is the custom
in the Egyptian diocese to do no such tiring without the consent and order of
their Archbishop, and ask to be excused until the ordination of the new bishop
of the metropolis of Alexandria, it has seemed to us reasonable and kind that
this concession should be made to them, they remaining in their official habit
in the imperial city until the Archbishop of the Metropolis of Alexandria shall
have been ordained.
And the most religious Bishop Paschasinus, representative of the Apostolic
throne for Rome(1)], said:
If your authority suggests and commands that any indulgence be shewn to them,
let them give securities that they will not depart from this city until the city
of Alexandria receives a Bishop.
And the most magnificent and glorious judges, and the whole Senate, said: Let
the sentence of the most holy Paschasinus be confirmed.
And therefore let them [.i.e., the most religious Bishops of the Egyptians]
remain in their official habit, either giving securities, if they can, or being
bound by the obligation of an oath.
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXX.
It is the custom of the Egyptians that none subscribe(2) without the
permission of their Archbishop. Wherefore they are not to be blamed who did not
subscribe the Epistle of the holy Leo until an Archbishop had been appointed for
As in the case of the last so-called "canon" I have followed a usual Greek
method, the wording departs but little from that of the acts (Vide L. and C.,
Conc., Tom. IV., co]. 517).
This paragraph, like the previous one, is not a proper canon, but a verbal
repetition of a proposal made in the fourth session by the imperial
commissioners, improved by the legate Paschasinus, and approved by the Synod.
Moreover, this so-called canon is not found in the ancient collections, and was
probably added to the twenty-eight canons in the same manner and for the same
reasons as the preceding.
The council could insist with all plainness on the duty of hearing before
condemning (see on Canon XXIX.); yet on this occasion
bishop after bishop gave vent to harsh unfeeling absolutism, the only excuse
for which consists in the fact that the outrages of the Latrocinium were fresh
in their minds, and that three of the Egyptian supplicants, whom they were so
eager to terrify or crush, had actually supported Dioscorus on the tragical
August 8, 449. It was not in human nature to forget this; but the result is a
blot on the history of the Council of Chalcedon.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS. SESSION XVI.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 794.)
Paschasinus and Lucentius, the most reverend bishops, holding file place of
the Apostolic See, said: If your magnificence so orders, we have something to
lay before you.
The most glorious judges, said: Say what you wish. The most holy Paschasinus
the bishop, holding the place of Rome, said: The rulers of the world, taking
care of the holy Catholic faith, by which their kingdom and glory is increased,
have deigned to define this, in order that unity through a holy peace may be
preserved through all the churches. But with still greater care their clemency
has vouchsafed to provide for the future, so that no contention may spring up
again between God's bishops, nor any schisms, nor any scandal. But yesterday
after your excellencies and our humility had left, it is said that certain
decrees were made, which we esteem to have been done contrary to the canons, and
contrary to ecclesiastical discipline. We request that your magnificence order
these things to be read, that all the brethren may know whether the things done
are just or unjust.
The most glorious judges said: If anything was done after our levering let it
And before the reading, Aetius, the Archdeacon of the Church of
Constantinople said: It is certain that the matters touching the faith received
a suitable form. But it is customary at synods, after those things which are
chiefest of all shall have been defined, that other flyings also which are
necessary should be examined and put into shape. We have, I mean the most holy
Church of Constantinople has, manifestly things to be attended to. We asked the
lord bishops (knriois
episkopois) from Rome, to join with us in these matters, but they
declined, saying they had received no instructions on the subject. We referred
the matter to your magnificence and you bid the holy Synod to consider this very
point. And when your magnificence had gone forth, as the affair was one of
common interest, the most holy bishops, standing up, prayed that this thing
might be done. And they were present here, and this was done in no hidden nor
secret fashion, but in due course and in accordance with file canons.
The most glorious judges said: Let the acts be read.
[ The canon (number XXVIII.), was then read, and the signatures, in all 192,
including the bishops of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Heraclea, but not Thaiassius of
Caesarea who afterwards assented. Only a week before 350 had signed the
Definition of faith. When the last name was read a debate arose as follows.
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, said: In
the first place let your excellency notice that it was brought to pass by
circumventing the holy bishops so that they were forced to sign the as yet
unwritten canons, of which they made mention. [The Greek reads a little
differently (I have followed the Latin as it is supposed by the critics to be
more pure than the Greek we now have): Your excellency has perceived how many
firings were done in the presence of the bishops, in order that no one might be
forced to sign the aforementioned canons; defining by necessity.]
The most reverend bishops cried out: No one was forced.
Lucentius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, said: It
is manifest that the decrees of the 318 have been put aside, and that mention
only has been made of those of the 150, which are not found to have any place in
the synodical canons, and which were made as they acknowledge eighty years ago.
If therefore they enjoyed this privilege during these years, what do they seek
for now? If they never used it, why seek it? [The Greek reads: "It is manifest
that the present decrees have been added to the decrees of the 318 and to those
of the 150 after them, decrees not received into the synodical canons, these
things they pretend to be defined. If therefore in these times they used this
benefit what now do they seek which according to the canons they had not used?]
Aetius, the archdeacon of the most holy Church of Constantinople, said: If on
this subject they had received any commands, let them be brought forward.
Bonifacius, a presbyter and vicar of the Apostolic See, said: The most
blessed and Apostolic Pope, among other things, gave us this commandment. And he
read from the chart, "The rulings of the holy fathers shall with no rashness be
violated or diminished. Let the dignity of our person in all ways be guarded by
you. And if any, influenced by the power of his own city, should undertake to
make usurpations, withstand this with suitable firmness."
The most glorious judges said: Let each party quote the canons.
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and representative, read: Canon Six of
the 318 holy fathers, "The Roman Church hath always had the primacy. Let Egypt
therefore so hold itself that the bishop of Alexandria have the authority over
all, for this is also the custom as regards the bishop of Rome. So too at
Antioch and in the other provinces let the churches of the larger cities have
the primacy. [In the Greek "let the primacy be kept to the churches;" a sentence
which I do not understand, unless it means that for the advantage of the
churches the primatial rights of Antioch must be upheld. But such a sentiment
one would expect to find rather in the Latin than in the Greek.] And one thing
is abundantly clear, that if any one shall have been ordained bishop contrary to
the will of the metropolitan, this great synod has decreed that such an one
ought not to be bishop. If however the judgment of all his own [fellows] is
reasonable and according to the canons, and if two or three dissent through
their own obstinacy, then let the vote of the majority prevail. For a custom has
prevailed, and it is an ancient tradition, that the bishop of Jerusalem be
honoured, let him have his consequent honour, but the rights of his own
metropolis must be preserved."
Constantine, the secretary, read from a, book handed him by Aetius, the
archdeacon; Canon Six of the 318 holy Fathers. "Let the ancient customs prevail,
those of Egypt,
An attempt has been made to shew that this statement of the acts is a mere
blunder. That no correct copy of the Nicene canons was read, and that the
council accepted the version produced by the Roman legate as genuine. The
proposition appears to me in itself ridiculous, and taken in connexion with the
fact that the acts shew that the true canon of Nice was read immediately
afterwards I cannot think the hypothesis really worthy of serious consideration.
But it is most ably defended by the Ballerini in their edition of St. Leo's
works (Tom. iii., p. xxxvij. et seqq ). and Hefele seems to have accepted their
conclusions (Vol. III., p. 435). Bright, however, I think, takes a most just
view of the case, whom I therefore quote.
If we place ourselves for a moment in the position of the ecclesiastics of
Constantinople when they heard Pasehasinus read his "version," which the
Ballerini gently describe as "differing a little" from the Greek text, we shall
see that it was simply impossible for them not to quote that text as it was
preserved in their archives, and had been correctly translated by Philo and
Evarestus in their version beginning "Antiqui mores obtineant." No comment on
the difference between it and the Roman "version" is recorded to have been made:
and, in truth, none was necessary. Simply to confront the two, and pass on to
the next point, was to confute
so that the bishop of Alexandria shall have jurisdiction over all, since this
also is the custom at Rome. Likewise at Antioch and in the rest of the
provinces, let the rank (presbeia) be preserved to the churches.
For this is absolutely clear that if anyone contrary to the will of the
metropolitan be ordained bishop, such an one the great synod decreed should not
be a bishop. If however by the common vote of all, rounded upon reason, and
according to the canons, two or three moved by their own obstinacy, make
opposition, let the vote of the majority stand."
The same secretary read from the same codex the determination of the Second
Synod. "These things the bishops decreed who assembled by the grace of God in
Constantinople from far separated provinces, ... and bishops are not to go to
churches which are outside the bounds of their dioceses, nor to confound the
churches, but according to the canons the bishop of Alexandria shall take the
charge of the affairs of Egypt only, and the bishops of Orient shall govern the
Oriental diocese only, the honours due to the Church of Antioch being guarded
according to the Nicene canons, and the Asiatic bishops shall care for the
diocese of Asia only, and those of Pontus the affairs of Pontus only, and those
of Thrace the affairs of Thrace only. But bishops shall not enter uncalled
another diocese for ordination, or any other ecclesiastical function. And the
aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being observed, it is evident that the synod
of every province will administer the affairs of that particular province as was
decreed at Nice. But the churches of God in heathen nations must be governed
according to the custom which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers. The
bishop of Constantinople however shall have the prerogative of honour next after
the bishop of Rome, because Constantinople is new Rome."
Paschasinus at once most respectfully and most expressively.
It should be added that the Ballerini ground their theory chiefly upon the
authority of a Latin MS., the Codex Julianus, now called Parisiensis, in which
this reading of the true text of the canon of Nice is not contained, as Baluzius
was the first to point out.
The most glorious judges said: Let the most holy Asiatic and Pontic bishops
who have signed the tome just read say whether they gave their signatures of
their own judgment or compelled by any necessity. And when these were come into
the midst, the most reverend Diogenes, the bishop of Cyzicum, said: I call God
to witness that I signed of my own judgment. [And so on, one after the other.]
The rest cried out: We signed willingly.
The most glorious judges said: As it is manifest that the subscription of
each one of the bishops was given without any necessity but of his own will, let
holy bishops who have not signed say something.
Eusebius, the bishop of Ancyra, said: I am about to speak but for myself
[His speech is a personal explanation of his own action with regard to
consecrating a bishop for Gangra.]
The most glorious judges said: From what has been done and brought forward on
each side, we perceive that the primacy of all (pro
prwteia) and the chief honour (thn
timhn) according to the canons, is to be kept for the most
God-beloved archbishop of Old Rome, but that the most reverend archbishop of the
royal city Constantinople, which is new Rome, is to enjoy the honour of the same
primacy, and to have the power to ordain the metropolitans in the Asiatic,
Pontic, and Thracian dioceses, in this manner: that there be elected by the
clergy, and substantial (kthtorwn) and most distinguished men of
each metropolis and moreover by all the most reverend bishops of the province,
or a majority of them, and that he be elected whom those afore mentioned shall
deem worthy of the metropolitan episcopate and that he should be presented by
all those who had elected him to the most holy archbishop of royal
Constantinople, that he might be asked whether he [i.e., the Patriarch of
Constantinople] willed that he should there be ordained, or by his commission in
the province where he received the vote to the episcopate. The most reverend
bishops of the ordinary towns should be ordained by all the most reverend
bishops of the province or by a majority of them, the metropolitan having his
power according to the established canon of the fathers, and making with regard
to such ordinations no communications to the most holy archbishop of royal
Constantinople. Thus the matter appears to us to stand. Let the holy Synod
vouchsafe to teach its view of the case.
The most reverend bishops cried out: This is a just sentence. So we all say,
These things please us all. This is a just determination. Establish the proposed
form of decree. This is a just vote. All has been decreed as should be. We beg
you to let us go. By the safety of the Emperor let us go. We all will remain in
this opinion, we all say the same things.
Lucentius, the bishop, said: The Apostolio See gave orders that all things
should be done in our presence [This sentence reads in the Latin: The Apostolic
See ought not to be humiliated in our presence. I do not know why Canon Bright
in his notes on Canon XX VIII. has followed this reading]; and therefore
whatever yesterday was done to the prejudice of the canons during our absence,
we beseech your highness to command to be rescinded. But if not, let our
opposition be placed in the minutes, and pray let us know clearly [Lat. that we
may know] what we are to report to that most apostolic bishop who is the ruler
of the whole church, so that he may be able to take action with regard to the
indignity done to his See and to the setting at naught of the canons.
[John, the most reverend bishop of Sebaste, said: We all will remain of the
opinion expressed by your magnificence.(1)]
The most glorious judges said: The whole synod has approved what we proposed.
(Hist. Counc., Vol. III., p. 428.)
That is, the prerogative assigned to the Church of Constantinople is, in
spite of the opposition of the Roman legate decreed by the Synod. Thus ended the
Council of Chalcedon after it had lasted three weeks.
How it is possible after reading the foregoing proceedings to imagine for an
instant that the bishops of this Council considered the rights they were
discussing to be of Divine origin, and that the occupant of the See of Rome was,
jure divine, supreme over all pontiffs I cannot understand. It is quite
possible, of course, to affirm, as some have done, that the acts, as we have
them, have been mutilated, but the contention involves not only many
difficulties but also no few absurdities; and yet I cannot but think that even
this extreme hypothesis is to be preferred to any attempt to reconcile the acts
as we now have them with the acceptance on the part of the members of the
council of the doctrine of a jure divine Papal Supremacy as it is now held by
the Latin Church.
from The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, trans H.
R. Percival, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, ed. P. Schaff and H.
Wace, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), XIV, pp. 244-295