Author Topic: 2nd Ecumenical Council  (Read 2523 times)

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Offline Loukas

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2nd Ecumenical Council
« on: January 08, 2005, 11:05:07 PM »
A RC e-pologist has made this outrageous claim elsewhere:

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Constantinople was originally a local council that was only recognized as ecumenical somewhjat later. And WHO recognized it as such? You guessed it: the pope. Today, Eastern Orthodox insist that Constantinople was one of the authentic ecumenical councils--but, whether they realize it or not, they recognize this only because "Roma locuta est." They accept Constantinople's ecumenical status on the pope's say-so.

Does anyone of you know when approximately the Eastern churches recognized 1st Constantinople as ecumenical? The NPNF says that its canons were not accepted by Rome until a thousand years later, which is well after the Schism.

luke

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2005, 01:32:23 AM »
Fwiw...

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The fathers of the council sent the dogmatic decree to the western episcopate as a point of information, but they did not think it was necessary officially to notify western bishops of disciplinary canons they had issued. Certain bishops of the West, especially Ambrose of Milan, were very displeased by the fact that they had not been associated with the decisions made in Constantinople. In this light some churchmen and scholars have often wondered how the synod of Constantinople of 381 could have been considered by later periods as ecumenical. The fathers of Constantinople in 382 were already calling the previous year's council, 381, ecumenical, (Theodoret, Ecclesiatical History, 5, 9) but it is nonetheless certain that they did not give to this adjective the technical and precise meaning that it acquired later on. We have proof of this in the canon that the fathers issued where the term "ecumenical council" denotes an episcopal assembly that is composed of bishops from more than one civil diocese (2nd Ecumenical Council, Canon 6). The notion that ecumenical councils constituted a unique category of synod having well defined characteristics did not exist in the fourth century. The validation of the council of 381 was made seventy years later by the fathers of Chalcedon. In effect, they put the creeds of Nicea and Constantinople, 381, on the same level (4th Ecumenical Council, 3rd and 5th Sessions). - Archbp. Peter L'Huillier, The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils, (Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2000), pp. 107-108

His Grace goes on to also say the following...

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In 382 a council was held in Constantinople which included most of the bishops who had been present at the previous year's council. The question on the agenda was as follows: the westerners hardly appreciated the fact that they had been kept out of the decisions about church affairs in the East, and they insisted that a real ecumenical council be held. The fathers of Constantinople politely but firmly maintained their point of view that they had the authority to regulate their own affairs, but to show their good will, they sent three delegates to the Council of Rome. They [ie. Constantinople, 382] adopted two decrees... These two decrees were later joined to these of the council of 381 in eastern collections... However, the two canons of the council of 382 have never been accepted in the Latin collections. - Ibid., pp. 110-111

Just a note, Archbp. Peter included many more footnotes than I have kept in the above quotes, and what footnotes I retained I changed so as to link to online sources when possible.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2005, 01:35:36 AM by Paradosis »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2005, 01:45:58 AM »
You are going to send us to the books, Loukas! I do not recall exactly when Constantinople I was deemed as Ecumenical and its canons added to the Codex. If my crusty old memory is still reliable, Rome DID accept the canons produced EXCEPT for the one re-ordering the honoring of the Pentarchy - the 5 Sees- placing Constantinople second behind Old Rome. Rome DID recognize this canon in 1205 after the Rape of Constantinople in 1204 and after Rome installed a Latin patriarch in New Rome. THEN they accepted that outstanding canon theretofore rejected by them.
Paradosis's post fills in nicely here although I am not aware of which other canon was not accepted by Rome other than the one cited above.
You are actually at the probable beginning of the Scxhism (even at this early time) with Rome beginning to press its claims both in the east AND in the west.
Good luck with your E-argument.

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2005, 06:58:11 PM »
In 382 a council was held in Constantinople which included most of the bishops who had been present at the previous year's council. The question on the agenda was as follows: the westerners hardly appreciated the fact that they had been kept out of the decisions about church affairs in the East, and they insisted that a real ecumenical council be held. The fathers of Constantinople politely but firmly maintained their point of view that they had the authority to regulate their own affairs, but to show their good will, they sent three delegates to the Council of Rome. They [ie. Constantinople, 382] adopted two decrees... These two decrees were later joined to these of the council of 381 in eastern collections... However, the two canons of the council of 382 have never been accepted in the Latin collections. - Ibid., pp. 110-111

Is this to say that the council was amended after its conclusion?

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2005, 01:06:21 PM »

Is this to say that the council was amended after its conclusion?

I don't think so, Phil. Certainly not by us in the east. I think my post is confusing the issue. Rome did not accept the honorific re-ordering of the sees until 1205 - one of the canons produced in 381. As to these two other canons added later I can find no reference anywhere to a council in 382 - in neither the Orthodox listing of councils nor the Roman Catholic listing.

Aside, sure looks as if east and west began parting very early from Paradosis's quotation.

Demetri
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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2005, 10:41:19 PM »
I think that the Scripture itself was "amended" (1 Jn. 5:7, Mk. 16:9-20, etc.), so if an Ecumenical Council was also amended it wouldn't really change much, from my own vantage point. Some other thoughts...

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The preceding Canon dealt with patriarchs as a group (and especially with those of Alexandria and of Antioch), whereas the present Canon deals with the Patriarch of Constantinople specially, and says that he is to share the prerogatives of honor after the Pope and Patriarch of Rome, since Constantinople itself is also called New Rome.

The preposition after here does not denote being later in point of time, as some say in company with Aristenus, but neither does it denote any abasement and diminution, as Zonaras incorrectly interprets it (because, in view of the fact that the bishop of Alexandria is after the bishop of Constantinople, and the bishop of Antioch is after the bishop of Alexandria, and the bishop of Jerusalem is after the bishop of Antioch, according to c. XXXVI of the Sixth Ec. C., there would result four removes of honor, and consequently five different degrees of honor one higher than the other, which is contrary to all the catholic Church, and acceptable only to the Latins and the Latin-minded); but, on the contrary, it denotes equality of honor, and an order of disposition according to which one is first and another second.

The fact that it denotes equality of honor is to be seen in the fact that the Fathers assembled in Chalcedon, in their c. XXVIII, assert that these 150 Bishops gave equal priorities to the Bishop of old Rome and to the Bishop of new Rome; and in the fact that the Bishops who convened in the Trullus (i.e. the First Trullan Council, herein designated the Sixth Ecumenical), in their c. XXXVI, say for the Bishop of Constantinople to enjoy equal priorities with the Bishop of Rome. That it refers to order of disposition is to be seen in the fact that both the former and the latter in the same Canons call the Bishop of Constantinople second after the Bishop of Rome, not the second in point of honor, but the second in order of honor. For in the very nature of things it is impossible for there to be any two equal beings called first and second with respect to one another, without any order. That is why Justinian, in Novel 130 to be found in Book V of the Basilica, Title III, calls the Bishop of Rome first, and the Bishop of Constantinople second, coming in order after the one of Rome.

Note that inasmuch as Zonaras, however, in interpreting the Canon, prefixed this decree of Justinian, it is evident that as for the diminution and abasement which he ascribed above to the Bishop of Constantinople with respect to the one of Rome, was ascribed only with reference to the order of honor, and not with reference to the honor in general, according to which the one precedes and the other follows both in the matter of signatures and in the matter of seats as well as in the matter of mentioning their names. Some, it is true, assert that the present Canon grants only an honor to the Bishop of Constantinople, but that later urgent need gave him also the authority to ordain the Metropolitans in Asia and Pontus and Thrace. But the Council held in Chalcedon in its letter to Leo says that he held such authority to ordain them by virtue of an ancient custom; but its c. XXVIII (i.e., of the Fourth Ec. C). merely confirmed this. Read also c. XXVIII of the Fourth. - Interpretation of the 3rd Canon of the 2nd Ecumenical Council

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The fathers of the council of 381 did nothing more than sanction the weighty position of Constantinople in the East and recognize its role among the major sees of the universal church... The decision of the fathers of the council of 381 was a transposition onto the ecclesiastical plane of the political position of Constantinople... Did canon 3 of the Coucnil of Constantinople elicit any hostile reactions in the West when it was promulgated? An affirmative answer is given by those who attribute the passage in the Decretum Gelasianum about the patriarchal sees to the Coucnil of Rome in 382. But this hypothesis does not seem very likely to us, although it has been accepted by numerous scholars. There was certainly no explicit reception of the canon, but rather a tacit one; this is what certain indications allow us to think: St. Ambrose addressed Nectarius as the first hierarch of the East.

Pope Leo listened without protest to the reading of this canon by Eusebius of Doryleum. At the beginning of the Council of Chalcedon, the Roman legates not only did not question the ranking of Anatolius among the bishops of the major sees but agreed with the indignation of most of the fathers towards Dioscorus, who had given only fifth place to Flavian at the "robber council" of Ephesus. Paschasinus of Lilybaeum, the head of the papal delevation, made a specific and unambiguous statement on this subject which then provoked Diognes of Cyzicus to remark that the representative of Rome knew the canons, thus making reference to the decision of the council of 381. Opposition to canon 3 flared up when a group of fathers at Chalcedon put forth a motion, later on called canon 28 of that council, wwhich claimed to be based on the decision of the council of 381. Such an interpretation effectively corresponds to the custom which had grown up during several preceding decades; but we cannot thereby attribute this extensive interpretation to the fathers of 381." - Archbp. Peter L'Huillier, The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils, (Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2000), pp. 121-122

Offline Loukas

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2005, 12:41:01 AM »
His Grace goes on to also say the following...

Paradosis,

I also found the following, citing Abp. Peter:

Archbishop Peter L’Huillier’s “The Development of the Concept of an Ecumenical Council (4-8th Centuries,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 36 (1991), mainly because it shows that the very concept of an “ecumenical council” is itself a historical development. The Council of Nicea (325) never called itself “ecumenical” and the supporters of the Council did not resort to juridical arguments for it. Furthermore, insofar as the “ecumene” was often viewed as synonymous with the Roman Empire, the most obvious mark of an ecumenical council would seem to be convocation by the Emperor, so, quite naturally, St Cyril pressured the reading of the imperial “Sacra” at the Council of Ephesus (431). The first explicit enumeration of the procedure and competence of an ecumenical council was set forth in an anonymous treatise composed soon after the death of Justinian (565). It suggested that such a council must be summoned by the Emperor, involve the entire episcopate of the Roman world, and promulgate a dogmatic definition. Of course, strictly speaking, none of the seven ecumenical councils gathered more than a small part of the entire episcopate (although later ones did try to represent the five major sees), and two Councils of Constantinople (381 and 553) and the Council of Ephesus (431) only reiterated earlier symbols of faith. It is rather difficult to see papal approval as giving us *the* essential sign of an ecumenical council - Pope Leo rejected the Council of Chalcedon’s motion about the canonical position of the See of Constantinople, Pope Vigilus at first opposed the condemnation of the “Three Chapters” issued by Constantinople II only to change his mind later, and Constantinople III (681) posthumously condemned Pope Honorius. We can see that eventually papal approval becomes very important, but in the East this seems mainly because the bishopric of Rome was seen as one of the five major sees (the pentarchy) and the Pope was consequently viewed as the representative of the faith of the Western half of the Church (which, given the non-reception of Nicea II despite Pope Hadrian, was not really true).

Archbishop L’Huillier writes, “The correctness of a doctrinal statement issued by an ecumenical council comes from internal factors which, at least in principle, can be easily determined. A new definition must be in full agreement with the immutable faith of the Church. During the period under investigation, heretical teachings were invariably viewed either as a blatant novelty or as the resurgence of an old heresy GǪ This principle of consistency is spelled out clearly by Saint Maximus the Confessor: ‘The pious rule of the Church evidences the fact that the holy and accepted councils are those characterized by the accuracy of their doctrine.’” The final step in such a “full agreement” comes with a Council’s “acknowledgement as such by subsequent general councils and the integration of its doctrinal decisions into Church ‘kerygma.’” Archbishop L’Huillier would, for instance, see the ecumenicity of the last ecumenical council (Nicea II) as recognized by the general Council of Hagia-Sophia (879-880), which included legates from the Roman See. It would seem that external marks of canonical institutionalization ultimately cannot replace this more charismatic process of internal reception - they only enable it or suggest its likelihood.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2005, 12:50:20 AM »

Great thread!
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline francis

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Re: 2nd Ecumenical Council
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2005, 10:08:32 AM »
There is some truth to what that RC e-pologist said (I'm RC myself, BTW), but it is skewed somewhat.

Constantinople I was not immediately universally seen as "ecumenical" as we use the term today. We must remember that there were many councils being called during this time frame - the one in Constantinople in 381 was just one of many. After it occurred, there seems to be no indication that it was accepted as universally authoritative by the Church. For example, the additions to the Creed from that Council are not found in any other council or writing as being associated with the 381 council until Chalcedon (in 451) includes it. It is at this point that it became "ecumenical", in a sense.

However, even that is not the whole story. Many in the West after Chaldedon still did not accept Constantinople I as ecumenical. Pope Felix III, who died in 492, only recognized three ecumenical counils - Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon. Pope Hormisdas (died 523) did recogize all four councils, and Pope Gregory the Great (died 604) compared the four councils to the four Gospels. But even Gregory did not accept Constantinople I's canons. It was only at the 2nd council of Lyons in 1274 that the canons from Constantinople I were accepted in the West.

It is interesting to note that the official acts of this council are no longer extant. The Council held in Constantinople the following year mentions a "Tome" from the 381 council, but there is no record of it. Some scholars think that the Creed itself associated with this Council did not really come from it, since the council in 382 and the one in Ephesus in 431 don't even mention it. The historians of the period only mention that the 381 council ratified the Creed of Nicea, not that it added to the Creed in any way. Furthermore, Epiphanius of Salamis as early as 374 used a creed almost identical to the Creed associated with Constantinople I. So some believe that the creed was later associated with this council. Needless to say, other scholars debate these conclusions. Nonetheless, Constantinople I is surely the least documented, and most "parochial", of the first seven councils.

It is important to note that (as someone else said), the idea of ecumenical councils and how they were determined to be truly ecumenical is a development. During the 4th and 5th centuries many councils were being held, and it was only after many years that some were accepted as more authoritative than others. Also, in the West, there was not really an "official" list of legitimate ecumenical councils until after the Council of Trent in the 16th century. Robert Bellemere was responsible for coming up with the first list of accepted councils in the Western Church. Of course, the 1st seven were already universally accepted at that point, but there was no fixed acceptance of the later Western councils.