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Author Topic: Was Rome an "appellate court" in the early church?  (Read 1571 times) Average Rating: 0
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trifecta
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« on: November 27, 2007, 08:55:05 AM »

Greetings.

I just finished reading a Catholic apologetic book called "The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" by Kenneth Whitehead (Ignatius Press).   Anyone read it?

His best argument of the book was that other people appealed to Rome when
there was an argument, but no churches appealed to any of the eastern Sees.
Thus, Rome in the early church, that is up to the 4th ecumenical council (interestingly,
he draws the line on the early church there), had some kind of authority over
other churches.

Is anyone familiar with this argument?  Any refutations of it?
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 11:29:06 AM »

Not having read that specific book, I cannot comment on this directly. I can offer what we have discussed here in earlier threads on this topic.
Yes, the early Bishops of Rome enjoyed such 'rights and privileges' which included an appellate function in the Church. Appeal was not "by people" but specifically by bishops only who had been deposed by their local synod (neighboring bishops). As to whether they had any automatic right to appeal under any cause or only under a specific set of circumstances (such as defined in the Greek version of the 7th council) is unclear. Also, unclear is whether the Pope himself heard the case or ordered another panel of bishops to review the issue.
It is interesting that this author stops at the first three councils as Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon accorded to Constantinople the same 'rights and privileges' as exercised by Rome.
Quote
Canon XXVIII.

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 (ισα πρεσβεια) 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.
Note that Rome refused to recognize Canon 28 for 750 years until after the rape of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade and the establishment of a Latin Patriarchate in New Rome.
In reading all these canons of the ecumenical Councils one is struck with wording such as "rights and privileges as granted by the Church Fathers", i.e, the fathers of the councils themselves. The authority of Rome was not 'owned' by Rome, but given it by the Church (bishops). Once Rome departed the Catholic Church in schism, the Ecumenical Patriarchate exercised these same 'rights and privileges' - still does, in fact. If one wants to know what authority the Popes of the "undivided Church" had, see them in the Ecumenical Patriarch now.
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 12:07:10 PM »

Greetings.

I just finished reading a Catholic apologetic book called "The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" by Kenneth Whitehead (Ignatius Press).   Anyone read it?

His best argument of the book was that other people appealed to Rome when
there was an argument, but no churches appealed to any of the eastern Sees.
Thus, Rome in the early church, that is up to the 4th ecumenical council (interestingly,
he draws the line on the early church there), had some kind of authority over
other churches.

Is anyone familiar with this argument?  Any refutations of it?


Well that would be expected given that Rome was the seat of the empire, given that Rome was the most consistently Orthodox patriarchate in that time, and given that most of the controversies occurred in the East, etc. But what people often omit is that often appeals were made to Rome in addition to Milan, and other important Western sees, the point of appealing being to get help.

I don't see a problem with appellate jurisdiction as long as it is admitted that this is a matter of discipline and not dogma--just like having Metropolitans over bishops is due to bishops giving up some of their rights in the early councils freely.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2007, 05:28:24 PM »

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/sardica5.html

Quote
Council of Sardica: Canon V 343
Sardica was the first synod which asserted, in some sense, Roman primacy in the Church

(Greek Verion)

BISHOP HOSIUS said: Decreed, that if any bishop is accused, and the bishops of the same region assemble and depose him from his office, and he appealing, so to speak, takes refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he be willing to give him a hearing, and think it right to renew the examination of his case, let him be pleased to write to those fellow-bishops who are nearest the province that they may examine the particulars with care and accuracy and give their votes on the matter in accordance with the word of truth. And if any one require that his case be heard yet again, and at his request it seem good to move the bishop of Rome to send presbyters a latere, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as he judges it to be good and decides it to be right--that some be sent to be judges with the bishops and invested with his authority by whom they were sent. And be this also ordained. But if he think that the bishops are sufficient for the examination and decision of the matter let him do what shall seem good in his most prudent judgment.

The bishops answered: What has been said is approved.

(Latin Version)

BISHOP HOSIUS said: Further decreed, that if a bishop is accused, and the bishops of that region assemble and depose him from his office, if he who has been deposed shall appeal and take refuge with the bishop of the Roman church and wishes to be given a hearing, if he think it right that the trial or examination of his case be renewed, let him be pleased to write to those bishops who are in an adjacent and neighbouring province, that they may diligently inquire into all the particulars and decide according to the word of truth. But if he who asks to have his case reheard, shall by his entreaty move the Bishop of Rome to send a presbyter a latere it shall be in the power of that bishop to do what he shall resolve and determine upon; and if he shall decide that some be sent, who shall be present and be judges with the bishops invested with his authority by whom they were appointed, it shall be as he shall choose. But if he believe that the bishops suffice to give a final decision, he shall do what he shall termine upon in his most wise judgment.

selected from Henry R. Percival, ed.,The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, Vol XIV of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, edd. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, (repr. Edinburgh: T&T Clark; Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988) p. 419 

Sardica (present day Sofia, Bulgaria), was a local council of Roman See, held after Nicea but before Constantionopolis. There was the need of fighting Arian bishops, whom deposed many Orthodox bishops. St. Athanasius the Great (of Alexandria) was their victim among the others. So, there was the need for a remedy in fight against misdeeds of Arians, whom were very strong at the times in the East. Hence, Rome was awarded jurisdiction as an appellate See by a local council.

Later, as Αριστοκλής already pointed, in Chalcedon

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/chalcedon.html

Quote
Council of Chalcedon, 451

...
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

289

did not Flavian receive his position?" and the papal legate Paschasinus answered: "We will, please God, recognize the present bishop Anatolius of Constantinople as the first [i.e. after us], but Dioscorus made Flavian the fifth." It would seem to be in vain to attempt to escape the force of these words by comparing with them the statement made in the last session, in a moment of heat and indignation, by Lucentius the papal legate, that the canons of Constantinople were not found among those of the Roman Code. It may well be that this statement was true, and yet it does not in any way lessen the importance of the fact that at the first session a very different thing from the sixteenth) Paschasinus had admitted that Constantinople enjoyed the second place. It would seem that Quesnel has proved his point, notwithstanding the attempts of the Ballerini to counteract and overthrow his arguments.

It would be the height of absurdity for any one to attempt to deny that the canon of Constantinople was entirely in force and practical execution, as far of those most interested were concerned, long before the meeting of the council of Chalcedon, and in 394, only thirteen years after the adoption of the canon, we find the bishop of Constantinople presiding at a synod at which both the bishop of Alexandria and the bishop of Antioch were present.

St. Leo made, in connexion with this matter, some statements which perhaps need not be commented upon, but should certainly not be forgotten. In his epistle to Anatolius (no. cvi.) in speaking of the third canon of Constantinople he says: "That document of certain bishops has never been brought by your predecessors to the knowledge of the Apostolic See." And in writing to the Empress (Ep. cv., ad Pulch.) he makes the following statement, strangely contrary to what she at least knew to be the fact, "To this concession a long course of years has given no effect!"

We need not stop to consider the question why Leo rejected the xxviijth canon of Chalcedon. It is certain that he rejected it and those who wish to see the motive of this rejection considered at length are referred to Quesnel and to the Ballerini; the former affirming that it was because of its encroachments upon the prerogatives of his own see, the latter urging that it was only out of his zeal for the keeping in full force of the Nicene decree.

Leo can never be charged with weakness. His rejection of the canon was absolute and unequivocal. In writing to the Emperor he says that Anatolius only got the See of Constantinople by his consent, that he should behave himself modestly, and that there is no way he can make of Constantinople "an Apostolic See," and adds that "only from love of peace and for the restoration of the unity of the faith" he has "abstained from annulling this ordination" (Ep. civ.).

To the Empress he wrote with still greater violence: "As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy Apostle Peter" (Ep. cv.).

The papal annulling does not appear to have been of much force, for Leo himself confesses, in a letter written about a year later to the Empress Pulcheria (Ep. cxvi.), that the Illyrian bishops had since the council subscribed the xxviiith canon.

The pope had taken occasion in his letter in which he announced his acceptance of the doctrinal decrees of Chalcedon to go on further and express his rejection of the canons. This part of the letter was left unread throughout the Greek empire, and Leo complains of it to Julian of Cos (Ep. cxxvij.).

Leo never gave over his opposition, although the breach was made up between him and Anatolius by an apparently insincere letter on the part of the latter (Ep. cxxxii.). Leo's successors followed his example in rejecting the canons, both the IIId of Constantinople and the XXVIIIth of Chalcedon, but as M. l'abbe Duchesne so admirably says: "Mais leur voix fut peu ecoutee; on leur accorda sans doute des satisfactions, mais de pure ceremonie."(1) But

290

Justinian acknowledged the Constantinopolitan and Chalcedonian rank of Constantinople in his CXXXIst Novel. (cap. j.), and the Synod in Trullo in canon xxxvj. renewed exactly canon xxviij. of Chalcedon. Moreover the Seventh Ecumenical with the approval of the Papal Legates gave a general sanction to all the canons accepted by the Trullan Synod. And finally in 1215 the Fourth Council of the Lateran in its Vth Canon acknowledged Constantinople's rank as immediately after Rome, but this was while Constantinople was in the hands of the Latins! Subsequently at Florence the second rank, in accordance with the canons of I. Constantinople and of Chalcedon (which had been an hulled by Leo) was given to the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, and so the opposition of Rome gave way after seven centuries and a half, and the Nicene Canon which Leo declared to be "inspired by the Holy Ghost" and "valid to the end of time" (Ep. cvi.), was set at nought by Leo's successor in the Apostolic See.

From the Acts of the same Holy Synod concerning Photius, Bishop of Tyre, and Eustathius, Bishop of Berytus.

The most magnificent and glorious judges said:

What is determined by the Holy Synod [in the matter of the Bishops ordained by the most religious Bishop Photius, but removed by the most religious Bishop Eustathius and ordered to be Presbyters after (having held) the Episcopate]?

The most religious Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the Priest Boniface, representatives of the Church(1) of Rome, said

Chalcedon set taxis and elevated Constantinopolis the same power, second to Rome.

Sardica was listed as binding by the second canon of the Sixth Council
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/const3.html
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2007, 02:48:22 PM »

The point is, Sardica was just a local council, and the Pope had not accepted XXVIII canon of Chalcedon, establishing Constantinopolis as the New Rome, until the Sixth Council.

The second canon of the Sixth Council made ecumenical, and universally accepted:

1) Appellate jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome
2) Constantinopolis as the New Rome, with equal powers
3) Condemned Honorius, a Pope of Rome, of monothelism

Perhaps that's why supporters of Roman (su)primacy prefer the reference to "an ancient custom" to the second canon of the Sixth Council.
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/const3.html
http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum06.htm

Quote
The holy and universal synod said:

This pious and orthodox creed of the divine favour was enough for a complete knowledge of the orthodox faith and a complete assurance therein. But since from the first, the contriver of evil did not rest, finding an accomplice in the serpent and through him bringing upon human nature the poisoned dart of death, so too now he has found instruments suited to his own purpose--namely Theodore, who was bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, who were bishops of this imperial city, and further Honorius, who was pope of elder Rome, Cyrus, who held the see of Alexandria, and Macarius, who was recently bishop of Antioch, and his disciple Stephen -- and has not been idle in raising through them obstacles of error against the full body of the church sowing with novel speech among the orthodox people the heresy of a single will and a single principle of action in the two natures of the one member of the holy Trinity Christ our true God, a heresy in harmony with the evil belief, ruinous to the mind, of the impious Apollinarius, Severus and Themistius, and one intent on removing the perfection of the becoming man of the same one lord Jesus Christ our God, through a certain guileful device, leading from there to the blasphemous conclusion that his rationally animate flesh is without a will and a principle of action.
...
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 01:36:00 AM »

From the above posts we can see that the Papal priveleges of Rome were granted to them by the canons of the church NOT thru divine right as they claim today. This is best illustrated in canon 3 of the Council of Sardica:

"If two bishops of the same province have a discussion, neither of them shall choose as umpire a bishop of another province. If a bishop who has been condemned is so certain of his being right, that he is willing to be judged again  in council- Let us honor, if you find it well to do so , the memory of the Apostle St. Peter; Let those who have examined the cause write to JULIUS bishop of Rome, if he think well that the case have a rehearing, let him designate the judges; if he think there be no neccesity for reviewing, his descision shall be final."

A few points that need to be pointed out on the above canon. The bishop of Rome, if he finds a reason for a new hearing, he can only appoint the bishops that will preside over a new council to hear the case, he was not granted authority to pass judgemnt on it.

That this privelege was granted to Rome by the sardica council only as a way to honor St Peter (another-words this privelege did not exist before the passing of this canon). This privelege is not an ancient custom, in fact it has a statute of limitation!  According to the canon it should only be in effect during the life of Pope Julius! The canon specifically states to write to Julius bishop of Rome, thus upon his death this temporary canon dies wth him.

As already stated above canon 28 of Chalcedon gave these same priveleges to Constantinople. Rome rejected this canon but was still recieved by the entire ekklesia despite of Rome's protest. In fact Pope Leo lamented to the Emperess Pulcheria that since a year has lapsed since he "annulled" canon 28, the Illyrian bishops have fully accepted it.  Another words the bishop of Rome would try to exhalt his See using hollow words, that the church would simply ignore.

As canon 28 gave priveleges to Constantinople, which first was granted to Rome alone, it did not grant to Constantinople priveleges that the other patriarchates already had. The privelege of calculating Pascha goes to Alexandria, Jerusalem was given in an ecumenical council the title of "Mother of all the Churches", a title no other church can claim. Canon 28 did grant Constantinople the right to call itself ecumenical (universal) a title first bestowed upon Rome in an ecumenical council.
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 05:18:38 AM »

buzuxi,
I think you quotation of Canon III of Sardica is the Latin translation - the Greek is different and more restrictive as to appeals to Rome (as we talked about in another recent thread of mine).
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 05:30:01 AM by Αριστοκλής » Logged

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