Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Catholic Discussion => Topic started by: montalban on January 12, 2008, 11:26:24 PM

Title: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: montalban on January 12, 2008, 11:26:24 PM
Split from:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12957.msg

This thread is to focus on any historical errors, whether intentional or unintentional, about what occurred at the Ecumenical Councils.  The basis of this thread is the information provided in the link within the quotation by Credo.InDeum.

If you wish to debate the Patristics found in the "Browse" sections, please do so here (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12957.msg) if it is about Papal Primacy, or start another thread.  This thread is for more of a historical debate.

-- Friul

Briefly, the documents produced by the Catholic Church as part of a definition of dogma include patristic quotes that lead to the content of the dogma that is being proclaimed. You can find the decrees of the Western councils here (http://www.piar.hu/councils/~index.htm).

Your cite says...
"1. Council of Nicaea (325) lasted two months and twelve days. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor Constantine was also present. To this council we owe The Creed (Symbolum) Of Nicaea, defining against Arius the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios), and the fixing of the date for keeping Easter (against the Quartodecimans)."

It was not even recognised as an Ecumenical Council by the West until much later

"3. Council of Ephesus (431), of more than 200 bishops, presided over by St. Cyril of Alexandria representing Pope Celestine l, defined the true personal unity of Christ, declared Mary the Mother of God (theotokos) against Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, and renewed the condemnation of Pelagius."

This was called for by Emperor Theodosius II, and presided over Cyril of Alexandria WHO DID NOT REPRESENT THE POPE. The Pope sent his own delegates.

"4. Council of Chalcedon (451) -- 150 bishops under Pope Leo the Great and the Emperor Marcian defined the two natures (Divine and human) in Christ against Eutyches, who was excommunicated"

They were not under Leo. It was called for by Emperor Marcian, and headed by Anatolius of Constantinople. Pope Leo did have a representative, Paschanius
Title: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on January 12, 2008, 11:48:26 PM
Briefly, the documents produced by the Catholic Church as part of a definition of dogma include patristic quotes that lead to the content of the dogma that is being proclaimed. You can find the decrees of the Western councils here (http://www.piar.hu/councils/~index.htm).

Uh, the first Seven, i.e. the Ecumenical Ones, are all in the East.

Interesting revisionism:

1. Council of Nicaea (325) lasted two months and twelve days. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor Constantine was also present.

Hosius was the choice of Constantine, in whose court he appeared and mentioned in imperial decrees before Sylvester's papacy, which was a cypher.  The Council was held in Constantine's palace in his capital, and he was more than just there.

2. First Council of Constantinople (381), under Pope Damasus and the Emperor Theodosius I

We are constantly told that Pope Damasus didn't know of the council and didn't approve its decree, and that it wasn't Ecumenical until Chalcedon (this gets in the arguments on inserting the filioque, forbidden by canon 1, and the question on the source of Rome's primacy and the elevation of Constantinople to autocephalacy canon 3).  Then how was it under Damasus (especially as no Western bishop attended, and no delegate for Rome appears).

5. Second Council of Constantinople (553), of 165 bishops under Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian I.

Under Vigilius nothing.  Justinian dragged him (literally) to Constantinople for the Council, and he refused.  The one the Council was really under, EP Eutychios, held it over Vigilius' objection.

The web site actually admits this: The emperor Justinian and Pope Vigilius decided to summon this council after the latter withdrew his "Judgment" condemning the "Three Chapters" of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret and Ibas.  This "Judgment" had been issued on 11 April 548 but the bishops of the west and especially of Africa unanimously opposed it." (so much for the pristine West nonsense often peddled against the 'heretical' East).

It doesn't mention that the council struck Vigilius from the diptych until he signed on the councils decrees.  For this see

6. Third Council of Constantinople (680-681), under Pope Agatho and the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, was attended by the Patriarchs of Constantinople and of Antioch, 174 bishops, and the emperor. It put an end to Monothelism by defining two wills in Christ, the Divine and the human, as two distinct principles of operation. It anathematized Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, Macarius, and all their followers.

No mention of Pope Honorius, whom it also anathematized, and Pope Leo had anathematized in the oath of the Liber Diurnus, taken by every Pope at his ascension for 4 centuries.

8. Fourth Council of Constantinople (869), under Pope Adrian II and Emperor Basil numbering 102 bishops, 3 papal legates, and 4 patriarchs, consigned to the flames the Acts of an irregular council (conciliabulum) brought together by Photius against Pope Nicholas and Ignatius the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople; it condemned Photius who had unlawfully seized the patriarchal dignity. The Photian Schism, however, triumphed in the Greek Church, and no other general council took place in the East.

Interesting, as the web site admits:

As regards the canonical authority of these deliberations, various facts regarding the council held in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia in November 879, so that Photius might be restored to the see of Constantinople, should be remembered. Peter, a Roman cardinal, presided at this council. It took account of a letter of Pope John VIII, which had been sent to the emperor and translated into Greek. This reads (chapter 4): "We declare that the synod held at Rome against the most holy patriarch Photius in the time of the most blessed pope Hadrian, as well as the holy synod of Constantinople attacking the same most holy Photius (i.e., in 869-870), are totally condemned and abrogated and must in no way be invoked or named as synods. Let this not happen". Some people have thought that this text had been altered by Photius; but in the so-called "unaltered" text of the letter this passage is replaced by dots (. . .), and the following passage reads: "For the see of blessed Peter, the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom, has the power to dissolve, after suitable appraisal, any bonds imposed by bishops. This is so because it is agreed that already many patriarchs, for example Athanasius .. .. after having been condemned by a synod, have been, after formal acquittal by the apostolic see, promptly reinstated". Ivo of Chartres explicitly affirms: "The synod of Constantinople which was held against Photius must not be recognised. John VIII wrote to the patriarch Photius (in 879): We make void that synod which was held against Photius at Constantinople and we have completely blotted it out for various reasons as well as for the fact that Pope Hadrian did not sign its acts". Ivo adds from the instructions that John VIII gave to his legates for the council in 879: "You will say that, as regards the synods which were held against Photius under Pope Hadrian at Rome or Constantinople, we annul them and wholly exclude them from the number of the holy synods". For these reasons there is no ground for thinking that the text was altered by Photius.

It then goes on to admit that this 869 council's acts do not survive in a coherent form.  It wasn't until the Investiture Controversy that Rome changed their mind on this.

The rest I'll leave except one,

17. Council of Basle (1431), Eugene IV being pope, and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council's definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See.

Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: montalban on January 13, 2008, 05:11:00 AM
Indeed. No Pope presided over any one of the early Ecumenical Councils.

They were all called together by the Emperor.

One had as chair a man not in communion with Rome (Meletius)

Another gave due honour to a man condemned by Rome (Nestorius)*

*-Until the Council itself had judged him to be a heretic
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on January 13, 2008, 10:05:30 AM
Indeed. No Pope presided over any one of the early Ecumenical Councils.

They were all called together by the Emperor.

One had as chair a man not in communion with Rome (Meletius)

Another gave due honour to a man condemned by Rome (Nestorius)*

*-Until the Council itself had judged him to be a heretic

You have to add to the Pope Diocoros of Alexandria at Chalcedon: according to Leo, he wasn't supposed to have a seat.  But it started with him having one.
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on June 23, 2009, 01:25:14 AM
As I have come across the issue in conjunction with other issues, and I am again debating Mardukm on this elsewhere (yeah, suprise), and I hesitate to open another thread:

Question: when did Constantinople I become Ecumenical?

Apologists for the Vatican have claimed not until Chalcedon, intertwining it with other ultramontanist claims.  I posit this as a Vatican versus the rest of us, as all the historical Churches, not only the Orthodox (both Eastern and Oriental), but also the Assyrian Church of the East, accept Constantinople I as Ecumenical, when it was held.  And unfortunately us Eastern and Oriental Orthodox parted ways at Chalcedon and the ACoE perpetuate the split at Ephesus I, it would seem odd that although we all went our own ways before/at Chalcedon, yet we all have Constantinople I as a common patrimony.

To start, let us compare how the Fathers at Nicea wrote the Creed and how the Fathers at Constantinople sealed it.  The following table juxtaposes the earlier (325 AD) and later (381 AD) forms of this Creed in the English translation given in Schaff's work, Creeds of Christendom, which indicates by [square brackets] the portions of the 325 text that were omitted or moved in 381, and uses italics to indicate what phrases, absent in the 325 text, were added in 381, and underlining where words have been transposed. I base myself on "An Introduction to the Creeds and to the Te Deum" by Andrew Ewbank Burn (who analyses the earliest reference, that of Eusebius' letter to Caesarea in Athanasius'

First Council of Nicea (325)
First Council of Constantinople (381)

Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶν τε και ἀοράτων ποιητήν.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων και ἀοράτων.

Και εἰς ἕνα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς μονογενῆ, [τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς ουσίας τοῦ πατρός,] θεὸν ἐκ θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα, οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρί
[We believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; [that is, of the essence of the Father,] God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
Και εἰς ἕνα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρί·

δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο, [τά τε ἐν τῷ ούρανῳ καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς]
By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth];
by whom all things were made;
δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο·

τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα καὶ σαρκωθέντα ενανθρωπήσαντα,
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate made man;
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα,

παθόντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τριτῇ ἡμέρᾳ,  ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς,
He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρα κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς, καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ πατρός

ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.
He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
from thence He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;
καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς·

whose kingdom shall have no end.
οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος

Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον.
And in the Holy Ghost.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ κύριον, (καὶ) τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.

In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
εἰς μίαν, ἁγίαν, καθολικὴν καὶ ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν· ὁμολογοῦμεν ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν· προσδοκοῦμεν ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν, καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος. Ἀμήν

[Τοὺς δὲ λέγοντας, ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, ἢ οὐκ ἦν πρὶν γεννηθῆναι, ἢ ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων ἐγένετο, ἢ ἐξ ἑτέρας ὑποστάσεως ἢ οὐσίας φάσκοντας εἶναι, ἢ κτιστόν, ἢ τρεπτὸν ἢ ἀλλοιωτὸν τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, τούτους ἀναθεματίζει ἡ καθολικὴ καὶ ἀποστολικὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκκλησία.]
[But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' or 'He was not before he was made;' or 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church of God.]

On a side note: does anyone know what happened to the Acts of the first two Ecumenical Councils?  How is it that nothing of them remained?
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on June 23, 2009, 01:55:29 AM
Next in importance is the canons of Constantinople II, as we can see them being obeyed almost immediately, and long before Chalcedon.



The profession of faith of the holy fathers who gathered in Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be abrogated, but it is to remain in force. Every heresy is to be anathematised and in particular that of the Eunomians or Anomoeans, that of the Arians or Eudoxians, that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, that of the Sabellians that of the Marcellians, that of the Photinians and that of the Apollinarians.


Diocesan bishops are not to intrude in churches beyond their own boundaries nor are they to confuse the churches: but in accordance with the canons, the bishop of Alexandria is to administer affairs in Egypt only; the bishops of the East are to manage the East alone (whilst safeguarding the privileges granted to the church of the Antiochenes in the Nicene canons); and the bishops of the Asian diocese are to manage only Asian affairs; and those in Pontus only the affairs of Pontus; and those in Thrace only Thracian affairs. Unless invited bishops are not to go outside their diocese to perform an ordination or any other ecclesiastical business. If the letter of the canon about dioceses is kept, it is clear that the provincial synod will manage affairs in each province, as was decreed at Nicaea. But the churches of God among barbarian peoples must be administered in accordance with the custom in force at the time of the fathers.


Because it is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honour after the bishop of Rome.


Regarding Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which surrounded him in Constantinople: he never became, nor is he, a bishop; nor are those ordained by him clerics of any rank whatsoever. Everything that was done both to him and by him is to be held invalid.


Regarding the Tome [2] of the Westerns: we have also recognised those in Antioch who confess a single Godhead of Father and Son and holy Spirit.


There are many who are bent on confusing and overturning the good order of the church and so fabricate, out of hatred and a wish to slander, certain accusations against orthodox bishops in charge of churches. Their intention is none other than to blacken priests' reputations and to stir up trouble among peace-loving laity. For this reason the sacred synod of bishops assembled at Constantinople has decided not to admit accusers without prior examination, and not to allow everyone to bring accusations against church administrators — but without excluding everyone. So if someone brings a private (that is a personal) complaint against the bishop on the grounds that he has been defrauded or in some other way unjustly dealt with by him, in the case of this kind of accusation neither the character nor the religion of the accuser will be subject to examination. It is wholly essential both that the bishop should have a clear conscience and that the one who alleges that he has been wronged, whatever his religion may be, should get justice.

But if the charge brought against the bishop is of an ecclesiastical kind, then the characters of those making it should be examined, in the first place to stop heretics bringing charges against orthodox bishops in matters of an ecclesiastical kind. (We define "heretics" as those who have been previously banned from the church and also those later anathematised by ourselves: and in addition those who claim to confess a faith that is sound, but who have seceded and hold assemblies in rivalry with the bishops who are in communion with us.) In the second place, persons previously condemned and expelled from the church for whatever reason, or those excommunicated either from the clerical or lay rank, are not to be permitted to accuse a bishop until they have first purged their own crime. Similarly, those who are already accused are not permitted to accuse a bishop or other clerics until they have proved their own innocence of the crimes with which they are charged. But if persons who are neither heretics nor excommunicates, nor such as have been previously condemned or accused of some transgression or other, claim that they have some ecclesiastical charge to make against the bishop, the sacred synod commands that such persons should first lay the accusations before all the bishops of the province and prove before them the crimes committed by the bishop in the case. If it emerges that the bishops of the province are not able to correct the crimes laid at the bishop's door, then a higher synod of the bishops of that diocese, convoked to hear this case, must be approached, and the accusers are not to lay their accusations before it until they have given a written promise to submit to equal penalties should they be found guilty of making false accusations against the accused bishop, when the matter is investigated.

If anyone shows contempt of the prescriptions regarding the above matters and presumes to bother either the ears of the emperor or the courts of the secular authorities, or to dishonour all the diocesan bishops and trouble an ecumenical synod, there is to be no question whatever of allowing such a person to bring accusations forward, because he has made a mockery of the canons and violated the good order of the church.


Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristae, Quartodeciman or Tetradites, Apollinarians—these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematise every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, catholic and apostolic church of God. They are first sealed or anointed with holy chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. As we seal them we say: "Seal of the gift of the holy Spirit". But Eunomians, who are baptised in a single immersion, Montanists (called Phrygians here), Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son and make certain other difficulties, and all other sects — since there are many here, not least those who originate in the country of the Galatians — we receive all who wish to leave them and embrace orthodoxy as we do Greeks. On the first day we make Christians of them, on the second catechumens, on the third we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and their ears, and thus we catechise them and make them spend time in the church and listen to the scriptures; and then we baptise them.

Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on June 23, 2009, 11:32:10 AM
Next the letter sent from the Father of the Council to the Pope of Rome, the Metropolitan of the capital Milan (St. Ambrose),

A Letter Of The Bishops Gathered In Constantinople

To the most honoured lords and most reverend brethren and fellow-ministers, Damasus, Ambrose, Britton, Valerian, Acholius, Anemius, Basil, and the rest of the holy bishops who met in the great city of Rome: the sacred synod of orthodox bishops who met in the great city of Constantinople sends greetings in the Lord.

It may well be unnecessary to instruct your reverence by describing the many sufferings that have been brought upon us under Arian domination, as if you did not know already. Nor do we imagine that your piety considers our affairs so trivial that you need to learn what you must be suffering along with us. Nor were the storms which beset us such as to escape your notice on grounds of insignificance. The period of persecution is still recent and ensures that the memory remains fresh not only among those who have suffered but also among those who have through love made the lot of those who suffered their own. It was barely yesterday or the day before that some were freed from the bonds of exile and returned to their own churches through a thousand tribulations. The remains of others who died in exile were brought back. Even after their return from exile some experienced a ferment of hatred from the heretics and underwent a more cruel fate in their own land than they did abroad, by being stoned to death by them in the manner of the blessed Stephen. Others were torn to shreds by various tortures and still carry around on their bodies the marks of Christ's wounds and bruises. Who could number the financial penalties, the fines imposed on cities, the confiscations of individual property, the plots, the outrages, the imprisonments? Indeed all our afflictions increased beyond number: perhaps because we were paying the just penalty for our sins; perhaps also because a loving God was disciplining us by means of the great number of our sufferings.

So thanks be to God for this. He has instructed his own servants through the weight of their afflictions, and in accordance with his numerous mercies he has brought us back again to a place of refreshment The restoration of the churches demanded prolonged attention, much time and hard work from us if the body of the church which had been weak for so long was to be cured completely by gradual treatment and brought back to its original soundness in religion. We may seem on the whole to be free from violent persecutions and to be at the moment recovering the churches which have long been in the grip of the heretics. But in fact we are oppressed by wolves who even after expulsion from the fold go on ravaging the flocks up and down dale, making so bold as to hold rival assemblies, activating popular uprisings and stopping at nothing which might harm the churches. As we have said, this made us take a longer time over our affairs.

But now you have shown your brotherly love for us by convoking a synod in Rome, in accordance with God's will, and inviting us to it, by means of a letter from your most God-beloved emperor, as if we were limbs of your very own, so that whereas in the past we were condemned to suffer alone, you should not now reign in isolation from us, given the complete agreement of the emperors in matters of religion. Rather, according to the word of the apostle, we should reign along with you'. So it was our intention that if it were possible we should all leave our churches together and indulge our desires rather than attend to their needs. But who will give us wings as of a dove, so we shall fly and come to rest with you? This course would leave the churches entirely exposed, just as they are beginning their renewal; and it is completely out of the question for the majority. As a consequence of last year's letter sent by your reverence after the synod of Aquileia to our most God-beloved emperor Theodosius, we came together in Constantinople. We were equipped only for this stay in Constantinople and the bishops who remained in the provinces gave their agreement to this synod alone. We foresaw no need for a longer absence, nor did we hear of it in advance at all, before we gathered in Constantinople. On top of this the tightness of the schedule proposed allowed no opportunity to prepare for a longer absence, nor to brief all the bishops in the provinces who are in communion with us and to get their agreement. Since these considerations, and many more besides, prevented most of us from coming, we have done the next best thing both to set matters straight and to make your love for us appreciated: we have managed to convince our most venerable and reverend brethren and fellow-ministers, Bishops Cyriacus, Eusebius and Priscian to be willing to undertake the wearisome journey to you. Through them we wish to show that our intentions are peaceful and have unity as their goal. We also want to make clear that what we are zealously seeking is sound faith.

What we have undergone — persecutions, afflictions, imperial threats, cruelty from officials, and whatever other trial at the hands of heretics — we have put up with for the sake of the gospel faith established by the 318 fathers at Nicaea in Bithynia. You, we and all who are not bent on subverting the word of the true faith should give this creed our approval. It is the most ancient and is consistent with our baptism. It tells us how to believe in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit: believing also, of course, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have a single Godhead and power and substance, a dignity deserving the same honour and a co-eternal sovereignty, in three most perfect hypostases, or three perfect persons. So there is no place for Sabellius's diseased theory in which the hypostases are confused and thus their proper characteristics destroyed. Nor may the blasphemy of Eunomians and Arians and Pneumatomachi prevail, with its division of substance or of nature or of Godhead, and its introduction of some nature which was produced subsequently, or was created, or was of a different substance, into the uncreated and consubstantial and co-eternal Trinity. And we preserve undistorted the accounts of the Lord's taking of humanity, accepting as we do that the economy of his flesh was not soulless nor mindless nor imperfect. To sum up, we know that he was before the ages fully God the Word, and that in the last days he became fully man for the sake of our salvation.

So much, in summary, for the faith which is openly preached by us. You can take even more heart concerning these matters if you think fit to consult the tome that was issued in Antioch by the synod which met there as well as the one issued last year in Constantinople by the ecumenical synod. In these documents we confessed the faith in broader terms and we have issued a written condemnation of the heresies which have recently erupted.

With regard to particular forms of administration in the churches, ancient custom, as you know, has been in force, along with the regulation of the saintly fathers at Nicaea, that in each province those of the province, and with them-should the former so desire — their neighbours, should conduct ordinations as need might arise. Accordingly, as you are aware, the rest of the churches are administered, and the priests [= bishops] of the most prominent churches have been appointed, by us. Hence at the ecumenical council by common agreement and in the presence of the most God-beloved emperor Theodosius and all the clergy, and with the approval of the whole city, we have ordained the most venerable and God-beloved Nectarius as bishop of the church newly set up, as one might say, in Constantinople — a church which by God's mercy we just recently snatched from the blasphemy of the heretics as from the lion's jaws. Over the most ancient and truly apostolic church at Antioch in Syria, where first the precious name of "Christians" came into use, the provincial bishops and those of the diocese of the East came together and canonically ordained the most venerable and God-beloved Flavian as bishop with the consent of the whole church, as though it would give the man due honour with a single voice. The synod as a whole also accepted that this ordination was legal. We wish to inform you that the most venerable and God-beloved Cyril is bishop of the church in Jerusalem, the mother of all the churches. He was canonically ordained some time ago by those of the province and at various times he has valiantly combated the Arians.

We exhort your reverence to join us in rejoicing at what we have legally and canonically enacted. Let spiritual love link us together, and let the fear of the Lord suppress all human prejudice and put the building up of the churches before individual attachment or favour. In this way, with the account of the faith agreed between us and with Christian love established among us, we shall cease to declare what was condemned by the apostles, "I belong to Paul, I to Apollo, I to Cephas"; but we shall all be seen to belong to Christ, who has not been divided up among us; and with God's good favour, we shall keep the body of the church undivided, and shall come before the judgment-seat of the Lord with confidence.

Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on June 23, 2009, 12:36:21 PM
The site, a supporter of the Vatican, where I've gotten these texts, summarizes as follows:

In the year 380 the emperors Gratian and Theodosius I decided to convoke this council to counter the Arians, and also to judge the case of Maximus the Cynic, bishop of Constantinople. The council met in May of the following year. One hundred and fifty bishops took part, all of them eastern Orthodox, since the Pneumatomachi party had left at the start.

After Maximus had been condemned, Meletius, bishop of Antioch, appointed Gregory of Nazianzus as the lawful bishop of Constantinople and at first presided over the council. Then on Meletius' sudden death, Gregory took charge of the council up to the arrival of Acholius, who was to table Pope Damasus' demands: namely, that Maximus should be expelled as an interloper, and that the translation of bishops should be avoided. But when Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, arrived he declared Gregory's appointment invalid. Gregory resigned the episcopacy and Nectarius, after baptism and consecration, was installed as bishop and presided over the council until its closure.

No copy of the council's doctrinal decisions, entitled tomos kai anathematismos engraphos (record of the tome and anathemas), has survived. So what is presented here is the synodical letter of the synod of Constantinople held in 382, which expounded these doctrinal decisions, as the fathers witness, in summary form: namely, along the lines defined by the council of Nicaea, the consubstantiality and co-eternity of the three divine persons against the Sabellians, Anomoeans, Arians and Pneumatomachi, who thought that the divinity was divided into several natures; and the enanthropesis (taking of humanity) of the Word, against those who supposed that the Word had in no way taken a human soul. All these matters were in close agreement with the tome that Pope Damasus and a Roman council, held probably in 378, had sent to the East.

Scholars find difficulties with the creed attributed to the council of Constantinople. Some say that the council composed a new creed. But no mention is made of this creed by ancient witnesses until the council of Chalcedon; and the council of Constantinople was said simply to have endorsed the faith of Nicaea, with a few additions on the holy Spirit to refute the Pneumatomachian heresy. Moreover, if the latter tradition is accepted, an explanation must be given of why the first two articles of the so-called Constantinopolitan creed differ considerably from the Nicene creed.

It was J. Lebon, followed by J. N. D. Kelly and A. M. Ritter, who worked at the solution of this problem. Lebon said that the Nicene creed, especially since it was adapted to use at baptism, had taken on a number of forms. It was one of these which was endorsed at the council of Constantinople and developed by additions concerning the holy Spirit. All the forms, altered to some extent or other, were described by a common title as "the Nicene faith". Then the council of Chalcedon mentioned the council of Constantinople as the immediate source of one of them, marked it out by a special name "the faith of the 150 fathers", which from that time onwards became its widely known title, and quoted it alongside the original simple form of the Nicene creed. The Greek text of the Constantinopolitan creed, which is printed below, is taken from the acts of the council of Chalcedon.

The council of Constantinople enacted four disciplinary canons: against the Arian heresy and its sects (can. 1), on limiting the power of bishops within fixed boundaries (can. 2), on ranking the see of Constantinople second to Rome in honour and dignity (can. 3), on the condemnation of Maximus and his followers (can. 4). Canons 2-4 were intended to put a stop to aggrandisement on the part of the see of Alexandria. The two following canons, 5 and 6, were framed at the synod which met in Constantinople in 382. The 7th canon is an extract from a letter which the church of Constantinople sent to Martyrius of Antioch.

The council ended on 9 July 381, and on 30 July of the same year, at the request of the council fathers, the emperor Theodosius ratified its decrees by edict .

Already from 382 onwards, in the synodical letter of the synod which met at Constantinople, the council of Constantinople was given the title of "ecumenical". The word denotes a general and plenary council. But the council of Constantinople was criticised and censured by Gregory of Nazianzus. In subsequent years it was hardly ever mentioned. In the end it achieved its special status when the council of Chalcedon, at its second session and in its definition of the faith, linked the form of the creed read out at Constantinople with the Nicene form, as being a completely reliable witness of the authentic faith. The fathers of Chalcedon acknowledged the authority of the canons — at least as far as the eastern church was concerned — at their sixteenth session. The council's dogmatic authority in the western church was made clear by words of Pope Gregory I: "I confess that I accept and venerate the four councils (Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon) in the same way as I do the four books of the holy Gospel...."

The bishop of Rome's approval was not extended to the canons, because they were never brought "to the knowledge of the apostolic see''. Dionysius Exiguus knew only of the first four — the ones to be found in the western collections. Pope Nicholas I wrote of the sixth canon to Emperor Michael III: "It is not found among us, but is said to be in force among you''.

The English translation is from the Greek text, which is the more authoritative version.

Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on July 06, 2009, 05:11:27 PM
Not exactly in order, but I'll put this up now: a sermon of St. John Chrysostom, given in 386, on St. Meletius. Note how he characterizes the Council of Constantinople I:
And when it seemed good to the common God of all to summon him at that point from the present life to enlist him in the chorus of angels, not even this took place in a random way; instead, although an imperial edict summoned him, it was God who stirred the Emperor. He summoned him not anywhere close or nearby but to Thrace itself, so that Galatians and Bithynians and Cilicians and Cappadocians and all those who inhabit Thrace might learn of our blessings.  So that bishops all over the world, by looking at this holiness as if at an archtypal image and receiving from him a clear example of the service associated with this office, might have a secure and absolutely clear standard by which they ought to administer and govern the Churches. [Cf. canons  2, 4 and 6 of Constantinople I]  Indeed, because of the magnitude of the city [cf. canon 3 of Constantinople I] and  because of the close involvement of the Emperor, many bishops from many places in the world flowed together there at that time.  And the bishops of the Churches were all summoned by imperial letters, on the basis that they had received those Churches that, after a lengthy battle and storm, had restored the beginning of peace and calm.  And so, at that time, he, too, was present there.  And, just as in the case of the three boys, when they were about to be heralded and crowned, they extinguished the fire's force, trampled on the tyrant's pride, put on trial every form of impiety, and had the entire world watching them [cf. canons 1 and 7 of Constantinople I] and as spectators (for although the satraps from all over the world and consuls and prefects had been summoned for another reason, they became spectators of those athletes), this is how it turned out, too, on that occasion, with the result that the theater became magnificient for the blessed man.  Summoned for another reason, the bishops who administer the Churches all over the world were in attendance and watched that holy man.  And when they watched, and got to know every detail of this discretion, his wisdom, his enthusiasm for the Faith, that every virtue appropriate to a priest was perfected in him, it was then that God summoned him to Himself.

The cult of the saints By John Chrysostom, Wendy Mayer, Bronwen Neil, pp. 46-7.

Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: Pilgrim on July 16, 2009, 05:47:38 PM
One of the things that helped disprove papal infallibility/ultramontanism as well as the charge that only a Pope can call an Ecumen ical councils is that the Pope in fact DID NOT call ANY of the Seven councils. In fact, Rome opposed some of them for a time. That fact shocked me, and soon I began reading more about the Holy Orthodox church. I remember hearing James Likoudis on an ETWN recording from a while ago (on the Journey Home with Marcus Grodhi) and now I can't help but be stunned at the innacuracy of Mr. Likoudis' info (no disrespect intended for Mr. Likoudis of course.).
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on January 22, 2010, 11:24:40 AM
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: John Larocque on January 22, 2010, 02:39:25 PM
Opposition to the condemnation of the Three Chapters does not entail "heresy". There's no question the writings
were heretical, however, oposition to the condemnation does not translate into support for heresy, You'll note on this Western Orthodox page this particular pope:


St. Silverius (+ 537), he was exiled to Asia Minor as a result of political intrigues. He later died in exile from starvation and various hardships and injustices. He was venerated as a martyr for Orthodoxy. He was succeeded by five popes who are not saints. Feast: 20 June.
The political intrigues were as a result of the court of Justinian. He was forced to resign the papacy, but there was actually a period for a few months where his papacy overlapped with Vigilius because the former had not yet abdicated. Thus, for a period of a few months, he was anti-pope Vigilius. There's a fellow at both this forum at Catholic Forums who always gets upset when I point this out and tries to "correct" the record, but yes, the dates do overlap.

The opposition to the three Chapters was a divisive policy and did not prove to be the vehicle which would heal the schism. It arguably pushed the West further apart from the East. Vigilius was actually excommunicated by the Church of Africa. As much as I was able to gather, they were simply not interested in re-opening Chalcedon, and they had enough heresies in their own backyard (assortment of Goths and Arians and what not) to be concerned with schisms outside of their territory.
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 22, 2010, 04:35:01 PM
So, what's the connection between this thread and that?
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on July 17, 2013, 03:21:02 PM
So, what's the connection between this thread and that?
This thread is more general, the linked one concentrates on Constantinople I

Here's one on the "Eighth" Council:
Title: Re: Ecumenical Councils: Debate on Possible RC Historical Revisionism...
Post by: ialmisry on July 17, 2013, 03:36:39 PM
I can't find what I did with the commentary of Theodore Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed, when he actually comments on the Constantinopolitan Creed, but here's the link:
The Nestorians have a work of Theodore of Mopsuestia (condemned for his heretical Nestorianism at Constantinople II) commenting on the Nicean Creed (although it treats the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed), which says on the section in question:
It is with the (above) words that our blessed Fathers warned us and taught us that we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit was from the Divine nature of God the Father. This is the reason why He is confessed and believed in side by side with the Father and the Son at the time of initiation and baptism. Each one of us is baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, according to the doctrine of our Fathers, which is derived from the teaching of our Lord, so that it should be made clear and manifest to all that our blessed Fathers handed down to us the doctrine of the true faith by following the order of Christ. Even the words of the creed contain nothing but an explanation and interpretation of the words found in the teaching of our Lord. Indeed, He who ordered to baptise the Gentiles in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit showed us clearly that the Divine nature of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is one. It was not possible that He should induce the Gentiles—who were converted to the true faith by casting away from them the error of polytheism and rejecting those who were falsely called gods—to receive a teaching that drew them nigh unto the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, if He did not know the oneness of their Divine nature which exists eternally and which is the cause of everything; (nor would He have induced us) to secede from those who are not truly gods and to believe in one Divine nature which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; to desist from calling creatures gods and to believe that the uncreated nature is one, which from nothing can make everything because it is truly Lord and God to whom this name and this honour are justly due.
I recently posted a confession of Pope Dioscoros' non-Chalcedonian successor, Pope Timothy:
Timothy Aelurus of Alexandria

The Profession of Faith of Saint Timothy, which he sent to the Emperor Leo by the Count Rusticus; and a partial history of that which happened to him afterwards.

Seeing that the illustrious Count Rusticus asked of me that I have regard to the Orthodox Faith, I make known my point of view in testifying that I anathematise all heresy, and those who say that the flesh of Our Lord came from heaven, or that it is an appearance, or that he did not have a rational soul. I also distance myself from the letter of Leo, governor of the Church of the Romans, who introduced a division into the one indivisible Our Lord Jesus Christ; because of which, I do not subscribe to the council of Chalcedon. For I was baptised, and I baptise, in accordance with the confession of the 318 holy Fathers of Nicaea; it is this that I preach and it is this that I believe, without any addition or subtraction, and those who believe in such a manner are in communion with me, for the Faith does not grow old and has no need of renewal with the passage of time.

I do not presume to say two natures in God who took a body and who was made man of the holy Virgin Mother of God. I confess above all the Faith, while I marvel with rapture at the indivisible, un-shakeable, and life-giving mystery of the Incarnation. It is a terrible thing indeed if the doctrines of each heresy stay as they are, and those of the Orthodox Christians change over time. It becomes an object of derision to the unbelievers if, in the last days of the world – while we wait for Christ our Saviour to come from heaven, in a frightening manner, for the second time – we are divided concerning the subject of the confession of his preaching. What will be made of those who, since the coming of Christ, baptised according to the symbol of the Faith? For me, therefore, in accordance with the divine Scriptures, this is the way I will live in Christ, with the same Faith which has been passed to me by the Spirit of holiness since the the first times; and this would be to me a blessing, of dying while keeping the profession of faith of the holy Fathers who recalled it without change, such as I received it and of which here are the contents: “I believe etc.”.  

And after that finished, he said: Here is my faith; It is with this profession of faith that I request death and resurrection before the fearsome tribunal of Christ our Saviour, on the fearsome day of judgement when He comes in His glory, to judge the living and the dead. To Him be glory in the ages. Amen....
What caught my eye is that Pope Timothy refers to the Creed of the 318 Fathers of Nicea, but then goes on about Jesus Christ "who was made man of the holy Virgin Mother of God" (I'm assUming a mistranslation for Theotokos), refering to a clause that the 150 Fathers of Constantiople added (among others, e.g. "comes in His glory").  That is also determinative, as Eutyches was condemned by EP St. Flavian on that clause, and Chalcedon confirmed it, and Pope Dioscoros at Euphesus refused to hold Eutyches to that standard, and deposed EP St. Flavian for deposing Eutyches on it.  I wonder what "I believe etc." said, Nicea or Constantinople's Creed, or did Pope Timothy distinguish between the two?

On the differences between Nicea and the revision at Constantinople: