Medieval Sourcebook: Council of Chalcedon, 451
[Note: pagination of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers edition preserved]
This file contains the translation of the acts, various documents, canons, and commentaries on the canons as presented in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, Vol XIV edition by H.R. Percival. It is lightly HTMLized. If you want to volunteer to do a more complex HTML version, please contact the Medieval Sourcebook editor.
THE FOURTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.
THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
Emperors. -- Marcian and Pulcheria (in the East). Valentinian III. (in the West).
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 Allies].)
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 Council.
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 decree.
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 discussion.
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
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
(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 midst, said:
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 (col. 175).]
And when they were read, the most glorious judges and immense
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 concerning it?
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 Fla-
vian hath beautifully and orthodoxly set forth the faith of our
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 synod.
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
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 (
). 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."
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 (
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 (
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 (
) no one makes, neither will we
attempt it, neither will we dare to set forth [anything new] (
For the fathers taught, and in their writings are preserved, what
things were set forth by them, and further than this we can say
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 (
which we follow and to his letter we all [i. e. those in his neighbourhood]
The most reverend bishops cried: These are the opinions of
all of us. The expositions (
already made are quite sufficient: it is not lawful to make any
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
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
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 (
of the 318 fathers gathered together at Nice.
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,"
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 (
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 holy
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.
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, E
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 Lord.
"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 human consideration.
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
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
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
and his letter to John of Antioch E
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 written.
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
THE TOME OF ST. LEO.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 343; also Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LIV.
[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, not in
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 of Jesus
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.,
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
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 [
and therefore it is necessary that whatever things are brought
into discussion should be examined by our interference (
[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 summoned.]
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
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 (
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
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
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 believe.
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 to Rome.
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
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,
[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.
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. 978.)
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 definition (
) 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 truth, etc.
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 at Constantinople.
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 (
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
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
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:
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:
(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:
(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 taught
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), have declared
to be the original and correct
reading. Neander adds: "The whole process of the transactions
of the Council shows this (that
is the correct reading). Evidently
the earlier creed, which was more favourable to the Egyptian doctrine,
and the favour shown to the
other party came out chiefly in the change of the
. The expression
besides, does not fit the place, the verb
points rather to the original
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
is the correct
and original reading, but that it was from the beginning purposely
altered by the Westerns into in; moreover, that
fits better than
and therefore that it had been allowed as a concession to the
Monophysites. The meaning, moreover, they say, of
is essentially the same, and
the one and the other alike excluded Monophysitism.
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
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 (
) 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 prince.
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 sufficient.
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
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 city.]
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 laws."
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 second canon.
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 anathematized.
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).
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.
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" from
"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
the sense of "monastery" (compare the use of
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
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 (
, 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 condemned.
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
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
, 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
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 subject.
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.,
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 times.
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.,
By the word
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 be anathematized.
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.
[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,
(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
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 with
in a petition of an Alexandrian deacon named Theodore, which was
read in the third session of Chalcedon: he says, "'E
for about twenty-two years in the Schola of the magistrians" (under the Magister officionum,
or chief magistrate of the palace), "but I disregarded
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 the penalty.
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 are included.
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
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 (
), 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
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" (
literally to get the bit between the teeth, and is used by Aetius
"not choosing to obey," Mansi, vii., 72). Those who
dare to violate this clearly defined rule (
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
(= 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 church.
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 (
to be established on the Christian model (Epist. xlix.). The Basiliad
at Caesarea was a
; it contained
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 (
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
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"
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars II., Causa
XXI., Q. L., canon jj., and again Causa XXI., Q. II., canon
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 Laodicea.
The mediaeval commentators, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus,
understand this canon to mean that letters of commendation,
, 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 (
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
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 (
on the contrary, only to clerics and to distinguished laymen;
and in favour of this view is the xiii. canon of Chalcedon.
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 Metropolis.
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
("divine" being practically, equivalent to "imperial")
(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 (
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 commendatory.
"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
(i.e., Readers) instead of
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
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
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 daughters.
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
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVI.
Monks or nuns shall not contract marriage, and if they do
so let them be excommunicated.
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 concerned.
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
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.
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.
may be illustrated from
in Eph. viii. and for the
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.
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
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 admonition.
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 determined.
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 church.
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 functions.
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,
(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 received.
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
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 rank.
It is curious that the Greek text which Zonaras and Balsamon
produce, and which Hervetus translated, had instead of
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
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
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, iv., 5).
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,
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 canons.
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
(canon viij.); and St Basil
mentions the oeconomi of his own church (Epist., xxiij. 1), and
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
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 sacred) "canons."
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
); 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., c. iv.(1)
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
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
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
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 to him.
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
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
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
now he gains
. 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
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,
(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
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"
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,
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
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
And the most magnificent and glorious judges said:
Let the pleasure of the Holy Synod be established for all
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
, 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,
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
And the most magnificent and glorious judges, and the whole
Senate, said: Let the sentence of the most holy Paschasinus be
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
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 them.
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 be read.
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
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. (Col. 810.).]
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 (
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 the most
holy bishops who have not signed say something.
Eusebius, the bishop of Ancyra, said: I am about to speak
but for myself alone.
[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
and the chief honour (
) 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 (
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
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
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
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(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996