The Seven Ecumenical Councils. The Second Ecumenical Council.

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Edited with Notes Gathered from the Writings of the Greatest Scholars

by Henry R. Percival, M.A., D.D.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.


The Second Ecumenical Council.

The First Council of Constantinople.

a.d. 381.

Emperor.--Theodosius. [202]



Historical Introduction.

The Creed and Epiphanius's two Creeds with an Introductory Note.

Historical Excursus on the introduction of the words "and the Son."

Historical Note on the lost Tome of this council.

Synodal Letter to the Emperor.

Introduction on the number of the Canons.

The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes.

Excursus to Canon I., on the condemned heresies.

Excursus on the Authority of the Second Ecumenical Council.

Synodical Letter of the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 382.


[202] Theodosius was Emperor of the East. Gratian was Emperor of the West, but had no share in calling this council.

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Historical Introduction.

In the whole history of the Church there is no council which bristles with such astonishing facts as the First Council of Constantinople. It is one of the "undisputed General Councils," one of the four which St. Gregory said he revered as he did the four holy Gospels, and he would be rash indeed who denied its right to the position it has so long occupied; and yet

1. It was not intended to be an Ecumenical Synod at all.

2. It was a local gathering of only one hundred and fifty bishops.

3. It was not summoned by the Pope, nor was he invited to it.

4. No diocese of the West was present either by representation or in the person of its bishop; neither the see of Rome, nor any other see.

5. It was a council of Saints, Cardinal Orsi, the Roman Historian, says: "Besides St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebaste, there were also at Constantinople on account of the Synod many other Bishops, remarkable either for the holiness of their life, or for their zeal for the faith, or for their learning, or for the eminence of their Sees, as St. Amphilochius of Iconium, Helladius of Cesarea in Cappadocia, Optimus of Antioch in Pisidia, Diodorus of Tarsus, St. Pelagius of Laodicea, St. Eulogius of Edessa, Acacius of Berea, Isidorus of Cyrus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Gelasius of Cesarea in Palestine, Vitus of Carres, Dionysius of Diospolis, Abram of Batnes, and Antiochus of Samosata, all three Confessors, Bosphorus of Colonia, and Otreius of Melitina, and various others whose names appear with honour in history. So that perhaps there has not been a council, in which has been found a greater number of Confessors and of Saints." [203]

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6. It was presided over at first by St. Meletius, the bishop of Antioch who was bishop not in communion with Rome, [204] who died during its session and was styled a Saint in the panegyric delivered over him and who has since been canonized as a Saint of the Roman Church by the Pope.

7. Its second president was St. Gregory Nazianzen, who was at that time liable to censure for a breach of the canons which forbade his translation to Constantinople.

8. Its action in continuing the Meletian Schism was condemned at Rome, and its Canons rejected for a thousand years.

9. Its canons were not placed in their natural position after those of Nice in the codex which was used at the Council of Chalcedon, although this was an Eastern codex.

10. Its Creed was not read nor mentioned, so far as the acts record, at the Council of Ephesus, fifty years afterwards.

11. Its title to being (as it undoubtedly is) the Second of the Ecumenical Synods rests upon its Creed having found a reception in the whole world. And now--mirabile dictu--an English scholar comes forward, ready to defend the proposition that the First Council of Constantinople never set forth any creed at all! [205]


[203] Orsi, Ist. Eccl., xviii., 63. [204] E. B. Pusey. The Councils of the Church, a.d. 51-381, p. 306. Tillemont, Mémoires, xvi., 662, who says, "If none of those who die out of communion with Rome can merit the title of Saints and Confessors, Baronius should have the names of St. Meletius, St. Elias of Jerusalem and St. Daniel the Stylite stricken from the Martyrology." Cf. F. W. Puller, The Primitive Saints and See of Rome, pp. 174 and 238. Many attempts have been made to explain this fact away, but without success. Not only was the president of the Council a persona non grata to the Pope, but the members of the Council were well aware of the fact, and much pleased that such was the case, and Hefele acknowledges that the reason the council determined to continue the Meletian Schism was because allowing Paulinus to succeed to Meletius would be "too great a concession to the Latins" (vol. III., p. 346).

[205] F. J. A. Hort, Two Dissertations. I. On monogenes Theos in Scripture and tradition, II. On the Constantinopolitan Creed and other Eastern Creeds of the 4th Century. It should be added that Dr. Hort acknowledges that, "we may well believe that they [i.e. the 150 fathers of Constantinople] had expressed approval" of the creed ordinarily attributed to them (p. 115). The whole dissertation is a fine example of what Dr. Salmon so well called Dr. Hort's "perfervidum ingenium as an advocate," and of his "exaggeration of judgment." (Salmon. Criticism of the Text of the New Testament, p. 12, also see p. 34.) Swainson, in his The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds, has all the material points found in Hort's Dissertation. Harnack goes much further. He is of opinion that the Creed of Constantinople (as we call it), the Creed which has been the symbol of orthodoxy for fifteen hundred years, is really a Semi-Arian, anti-Nicene, and quasi Macedonian confession! The first contention he supports, not without a show of plausibility, by the fact that it omits the words (which were really most crucial) "that is to say of the substance of the Father." In support of the second opinion he writes as follows: "The words [with regard to the Holy Ghost] are in entire harmony with the form which the doctrine of the Holy Spirit had in the sixties. A Pneumatochian could have subscribed this formula at a pinch; and just because of this it is certain that the Council of 381 did not accept this creed." Some scholars arrive at "certainty" more easily than others, even Harnack himself only attains this "certainty" in the foot-note! The reader will remark that what Harnack is "certain "of in the foot-note is that the Council "did not accept" this creed, not that it "did not frame" it, which is entirely a different question. (Adolf Harnack, History of Dogma, [Eng. Trans.], Vol. iv., p. 99.)


The Holy Creed Which the 150 Holy Fathers Set Forth, Which is Consonant with the Holy and Great Synod of Nice [206].

(Found in all the Collections in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.)

. Introductory Note.

The reader should know that Tillemont (Mémoires, t. ix., art. 78 in the treatise on St. Greg. Naz.) broached the theory that the Creed adopted at Constantinople was not a new expansion of the Nicene but rather the adoption of a Creed already in use. Hefele is of the same opinion (Hist. of the Councils, II., p. 349), and the learned Professor of Divinity in the University of Jena, Dr. Lipsius, says, of St. Epiphanius: "Though not himself present at the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, a.d. 381, which ensured the triumph of the Nicene doctrine in the Oriental Churches, his shorter confession of faith, which is found at the end of his Ancoratus, and seems to have been the baptismal creed of the Church of Salamis, agrees almost word for word with the Constantinopolitan formula." (Smith and Wace, Dict. Chr. Biog., s.v. Epiphanius). "The Ancoratus," St. Epiphanius distinctly tells us, was written as early as a.d. 374, and toward the end of chapter cxix., he writes as follows. "The children of the Church have received from the holy fathers, that is from the holy Apostles, the faith to keep, and to hand down, and to teach their children. To these children you belong, and I beg you to receive it and pass it on. And whilst you teach your children these things and such as these from the holy Scriptures, cease not to confirm and strengthen them, and indeed all who hear you: tell them that this is the holy faith of the Holy Catholic Church, as the one holy Virgin of God received it from the holy Apostles of the Lord to keep: and thus every person who is in preparation for the holy laver of baptism must learn it: they must learn it themselves, and teach it expressly, as the one Mother of all, of you and of us, proclaims it, saying." Then follows the Creed as on page 164.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end. (I)

And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. And [we believe] in one, holy, (II) Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Note I.

This clause had already, so far as the meaning is concerned, been added to the Nicene Creed, years before, in correction of the heresy of Marcellus of Ancyra, of whose heresy a statement will be found in the notes on Canon I. of this Council. One of the creeds of the Council of Antioch in Encæniis (a.d. 341) reads: "and he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead, and he remaineth God and King to all eternity." [207]

Note II.

The word "Holy" is omitted in some texts of this Creed, notably in the Latin version in the collection of Isidore Mercator. Vide Labbe, Conc., II., 960. Cf. Creed in English Prayer-Book.


The Creed Found in Epiphanius's Ancoratus (Cap. cxx.) [208]

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, that is of the substance of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were made, both in heaven and earth: who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and on the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and from thence he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. 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 worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets: 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. And those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, and before he was begotten he was not, or that he was of things which are not, or that he is of a different hypostasis or substance, or pretend that he is effluent or changeable, these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.

Epiphanius thus continues:

"And this faith was delivered from the Holy Apostles and in the Church, the Holy City, from all the Holy Bishops together more than three hundred and ten in number."

"In our generation, that is in the times of Valentinus and Valens, and the ninetieth year from the succession of Diocletian the tyrant, [209] you and we and all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together, make this address to those who come to baptism, in order that they may proclaim and say as follows:"

Epiphanius then gives this creed:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, invisible and visible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only begotten, that is of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth, whether they be visible or invisible. Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate, that is to say was conceived perfectly through the Holy Ghost of the holy ever-virgin Mary, and was made man, that is to say a perfect man, receiving a soul, and body, and intellect, and all that make up a man, but without sin, not from human seed, nor [that he dwelt] in a man, but taking flesh to himself into one holy entity; not as he inspired the prophets and spake and worked [in them], but was perfectly made man, for the Word was made flesh; neither did he experience any change, nor did he convert his divine nature into the nature of man, but united it to his one holy perfection and Divinity.

For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, not two, the same is God, the same is Lord, the same is King. He suffered in the flesh, and rose again, and ascended into heaven in the same body, and with glory he sat down at the right hand of the Father, and in the same body he will come in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Law, and preached in the Prophets, and descended at Jordan, and spake in the Apostles, and indwells the Saints. And thus we believe in him, that he is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit the Comforter, uncreate, who proceedeth from the Father, receiving of the Son (ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon, kai ek tou Huiou lambanomenon), and believed on. (kai pisteuomenon, which the Latin version gives in quem credimus; and proceeds to insert, Præterea credimus in unam, etc. It certainly looks as if it had read pisteuomen, and had belonged to the following phrase.)

[We believe] in one Catholic and Apostolic Church. And in one baptism of penitence, and in the resurrection of the dead, and the just judgment of souls and bodies, and in the Kingdom of heaven and in life everlasting.

And those who say that there was a time when the Son was not, or when the Holy Ghost was not, or that either was made of that which previously had no being, or that he is of a different nature or substance, and affirm that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are subject to change and mutation; all such the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the mother both of you and of us, anathematizes. And further we anathematize such as do not confess the resurrection of the dead, as well as all heresies which are not in accord with the true faith.

Finally, you and your children thus believing and keeping the commandments of this same faith, we trust that you will always pray for us, that we may have a share and lot in that same faith and in the keeping of these same commandments. For us make your intercessions, you and all who believe thus, and keep the commandments of the Lord in our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom, glory be to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.


[206] This is the title in the Acts of the IVth Council. Labbe, Conc., iv., 342. [207] Soc., H. E., II., 10; Soz., H. E., III. 5; Athanas., De Synod., C. xxii. [208] I have used Petavius's edition, Cologne, 1682; there are some differences in the various editions about the numbering of the chapters, and this seems to be the origin of the curious mistake Hefele makes in confounding the longer with the shorter creed. [209] This would be the year 374, that is to say seven years before this Second Ecumenical Council which was held at Constantinople in 381.


Historical Excursus on the Introduction into the Creed of the Words "and the Son."

The introduction into the Nicene Creed of the words "and the Son" (Filioque) has given rise to, or has been the pretext for, such bitter reviling between East and West (during which many statements unsupported by fact have become more or less commonly believed) that I think it well in this place to set forth as dispassionately as possible the real facts of the case. I shall briefly then give the proof of the following propositions:

1. That no pretence is made by the West that the words in dispute formed part of the original creed as adopted at Constantinople, or that they now form part of that Creed.

2. That so far from the insertion being made by the Pope, it was made in direct opposition to his wishes and command.

3. That it never was intended by the words to assert that there were two 'Archai in the Trinity, nor in any respect on this point to differ from the teaching of the East.

4. That it is quite possible that the words were not an intentional insertion at all.

5. And finally that the doctrine of the East as set forth by St. John Damascene is now and always has been the doctrine of the West on the procession of the Holy Spirit, however much through ecclesiastico-political contingencies this fact may have become obscured.

With the truth or falsity of the doctrine set forth by the Western addition to the creed this work has no concern, nor even am I called upon to treat the historical question as to when and where the expression "and the Son" was first used. For a temperate and eminently scholarly treatment of this point from a Western point of view, I would refer the reader to Professor Swete's On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit. In J. M. Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church will be found a statement from the opposite point of view. The great treatises of past years I need not mention here, but may be allowed to enter a warning to the reader, that they were often written in the period of hot controversy, and make more for strife than for peace, magnifying rather than lessening differences both of thought and expression.

Perhaps, too, I may be allowed here to remind the readers that it has been said that while "ex Patre Filioque procedens" in Latin does not necessitate a double source of the Holy Spirit, the expression ekporeuomenon ek tou patros kai ek tou Huiou does. On such a point I am not fit to give an opinion, but St. John Damascene does not use this expression.

1. That no pretence is made by the West that the words in dispute ever formed part of the creed as adopted at Constantinople is evidently proved by the patent fact that it is printed without those words in all our Concilias and in all our histories. It is true that at the Council of Florence it was asserted that the words were found in a copy of the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical which they had, but no stress was even at that eminently Western council laid upon the point, which even if it had been the case would have shewn nothing with regard to the true reading of the Creed as adopted by the Second Synod. [210]On this point there never was nor can be any doubt.

2. The addition was not made at the will and at the bidding of the Pope. It has frequently been said that it was a proof of the insufferable arrogancy of the See of Rome that it dared to tamper with the creed set forth by the authority of an Ecumenical Synod and which had been received by the world. Now so far from the history of this addition to the creed being a ground of pride and complacency to the advocates of the Papal claims, it is a most marked instance of the weakness of the papal power even in the West.

"Baronius," says Dr. Pusey, "endeavours in vain to find any Pope, to whom the `formal addition' may be ascribed, and rests at last on a statement of a writer towards the end of the 12th century, writing against the Greeks. `If the Council of Constantinople added to the Nicene Creed, `in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of life,' and the Council of Chalcedon to that of Constantinople, `perfect in Divinity and perfect in Humanity, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, consubstantial with us as touching his manhood,' and some other things as aforesaid, the Bishop of the elder Rome ought not to be calumniated, because for explanation, he added one word [that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son] having the consent of very many bishops and most learned Cardinals.' `For the truth of which,' says Le Quien, `be the author responsible!' It seems to me inconceivable, that all account of any such proceeding, if it ever took place, should have been lost." [211]

We may then dismiss this point and briefly review the history of the matter.

There seems little doubt that the words were first inserted in Spain. As early as the year 400 it had been found necessary at a Council of Toledo to affirm the double procession against the Priscillianists, [212] and in 589 by the authority of the Third Council of Toledo the newly converted Goths were required to sign the creed with the addition. [213]From this time it became for Spain the accepted form, and was so recited at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, and again in 681 at the Twelfth Council of Toledo. [214]

But this was at first only true of Spain, and at Rome nothing of the kind was known. In the Gelasian Sacramentary the Creed is found in its original form. [215]The same is the case with the old Gallican Sacramentary of the viith or viiith century. [216]

However, there can be no doubt that its introduction spread very rapidly through the West and that before long it was received practically everywhere except at Rome.

In 809 a council was held at Aix-la-Chapelle by Charlemagne, and from it three divines were sent to confer with the Pope, Leo III, upon the subject. The Pope opposed the insertion of the Filioque on the express ground that the General Councils had forbidden any addition to be made to their formulary. [217]Later on, the Frankish Emperor asked his bishops what was "the meaning of the Creed according to the Latins," [218] and Fleury gives the result of the investigations to have been, "In France they continued to chant the creed with the word Filioque, and at Rome they continued not to chant it." [219]

So firmly resolved was the Pope that the clause should not be introduced into the creed that he presented two silver shields to the Confessio in St. Peter's at Rome, on one of which was engraved the creed in Latin and on the other in Greek, without the addition. This act the Greeks never forgot during the controversy. Photius refers to it in writing to the Patriarch of Acquileia. About two centuries later St. Peter Damian [220] mentions them as still in place; and about two centuries later on, Veccur, Patriarch of Constantinople, declares they hung there still. [221]

It was not till 1014 that for the first time the interpolated creed was used at mass with the sanction of the Pope. In that year Benedict VIII. acceded to the urgent request of Henry II. of Germany and so the papal authority was forced to yield, and the silver shields have disappeared from St. Peter's.

3. Nothing could be clearer than that the theologians of the West never had any idea of teaching a double source of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Divine Monarchy was always intended to be preserved, and while in the heat of the controversy sometimes expressions highly dangerous, or at least clearly inaccurate, may have been used, yet the intention must be judged from the prevailing teaching of the approved theologians. And what this was is evident from the definition of the Council of Florence, which, while indeed it was not received by the Eastern Church, and therefore cannot be accepted as an authoritative exposition of its views, yet certainly must be regarded as a true and full expression of the teaching of the West. "The Greeks asserted that when they say the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, they do not use it because they wish to exclude the Son; but because it seemed to them, as they say, that the Latins assert the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son, as from two principles and by two spirations, and therefore they abstain from saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. But the Latins affirm that they have no intention when they say the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son to deprive the Father of his prerogative of being the fountain and principle of the entire Godhead, viz. of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; nor do they deny that the very procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, the Son derives from the Father; nor do they teach two principles or two spirations; but they assert that there is one only principle, one only spiration, as they have always asserted up to this time."

4. It is quite possible that when these words were first used there was no knowledge on the part of those using them that there had been made any addition to the Creed. As I have already pointed out, the year 589 is the earliest date at which we find the words actually introduced into the Creed. Now there can be no doubt whatever that the Council of Toledo of that year had no suspicion that the creed as they had it was not the creed exactly as adopted at Constantinople. This is capable of the most ample proof.

In the first place they declared, "Whosoever believes that there is any other Catholic faith and communion, besides that of the Universal Church, that Church which holds and honours the decrees of the Councils of Nice, Constantinople, I. Ephesus, and Chalcedon, let him be anathema." After some further anathemas in the same sense they repeat "the creed published at the council of Nice," and next, "The holy faith which the 150 fathers of the Council of Constantinople explained, consonant with the great Council of Nice." And then lastly, "The holy faith which the translators of the council of Chalcedon explained." The creed of Constantinople as recited contained the words "and from the Son." Now the fathers at Toledo were not ignorant of the decree of Ephesus forbidding the making of "another faith" (heteran pistin) for they themselves cite it, as follows from the acts of Chalcedon; "The holy and universal Synod forbids to bring forward any other faith; or to write or believe or to teach other, or be otherwise minded. But whoso shall dare either to expound or produce or deliver any other faith to those who wish to be converted etc." Upon this Dr. Pusey well remarks, [222] "It is, of course, impossible to suppose that they can have believed any addition to the creed to have been forbidden by the clause, and, accepting it with its anathema, themselves to have added to the creed of Constantinople."

But while this is the case it might be that they understood heteran of the Ephesine decree to forbid the making of contradictory and new creeds and not explanatory additions to the existing one. Of this interpretation of the decree, which would seem without any doubt to be the only tenable one, I shall treat in its proper place.

We have however further proof that the Council of Toledo thought they were using the unaltered creed of Constantinople. In these acts we find they adopted the following; "for reverence of the most holy faith and for the strengthening of the weak minds of men, the holy Synod enacts, with the advice of our most pious and most glorious Lord, King Recarede, that through all the churches of Spain and Gallæcia, the symbol of faith of the council of Constantinople, i.e. of the 150 bishops, should be recited according to the form of the Eastern Church, etc."

This seems to make the matter clear and the next question which arises is, How the words could have got into the Spanish creed? I venture to suggest a possible explanation. Epiphanius tells us that in the year 374 "all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together make this address to those who come to baptism, in order that they may proclaim and say as follows." [223]If this is to be understood literally of course Spain was included. Now the creed thus taught the catechumens reads as follows at the point about which our interest centres:

Kai eis to hagion pneuma pisteuomen,...ek tou patros ekporeuomenon kai ek tou Huiou lambanomenon kai pisteuomenon, eis mian katholiken k.t.l. Now it looks to me as if the text had got corrupted and that there should be a full stop after lambanomenon, and that pisteuomenon should be pisteuomen. These emendations are not necessary however for my suggestion although they would make it more perfect, for in that case by the single omission of the word lambanomenon the Western form is obtained. It will be noticed that this was some years before the Constantinopolitan Council and therefore nothing would be more natural than that a scribe accustomed to writing the old baptismal creed and now given the Constantinopolitan creed, so similar to it, to copy, should have gone on and added the kai ek tou Huiou, according to habit.

However this is a mere suggestion, I think I have shewn that there is strong reason to believe that whatever the explanation may be, the Spanish Church was unaware that it had added to or changed the Constantinopolitan creed.

5. There remains now only the last point, which is the most important of all, but which does not belong to the subject matter of this volume and which therefore I shall treat with the greatest brevity. The writings of St. John Damascene are certainly deemed entirely orthodox by the Easterns and always have been. On the other hand their entire orthodoxy has never been disputed in the West, but a citation from Damascene is considered by St. Thomas as conclusive. Under these circumstances it seems hard to resist the conclusion that the faith of the East and the West, so far as its official setting forth is concerned, is the same and always has been. And perhaps no better proof of the Western acceptance of the Eastern doctrine concerning the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit can be found than the fact that St. John Damascene has been in recent years raised by the pope for his followers to the rank of a Doctor of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps I may be allowed to close with two moderate statements of the Western position, the one by the learned and pious Dr. Pusey and the other by the none less famous Bishop Pearson.

Dr. Pusey says:

"Since, however, the clause, which found its way into the Creed, was, in the first instance, admitted, as being supposed to be part of the Constantinopolitan Creed, and, since after it had been rooted for 200 years, it was not uprooted, for fear of uprooting also or perplexing the faith of the people, there was no fault either in its first reception or in its subsequent retention."

"The Greeks would condemn forefathers of their own, if they were to pronounce the clause to be heretical. For it would be against the principles of the Church to be in communion with an heretical body. But from the deposition of Photius, a.d. 886 to at least a.d. 1009, East and West retained their own expression of faith without schism. [224] "

"a.d. 1077, Theophylact did not object to the West, retaining for itself the confession of faith contained in the words, but only excepted against the insertion of the words in the Creed. [225] "

And Bp. Pearson, explaining Article VIII. of the Creed says: "Now although the addition of words to the formal Creed without the consent, and against the protestations of the Oriental Church be not justifiable; yet that which was added is nevertheless a certain truth, and may be so used in that Creed by them who believe the same to be a truth; so long as they pretend it not to be a definition of that Council, but an addition or explication inserted, and condemn not those who, out of a greater respect to such synodical determinations, will admit of no such insertions, nor speak any other language than the Scriptures and their Fathers spoke."


[210] In fact the contention of the Latins was that the words were inserted by II. Nice! To this the Easterns answered most pertinently "Why did you not tell us this long ago?" They were not so fortunate when they insisted that St. Thomas would have quoted it, for some scholars have thought St. Thomas but ill acquainted with the proceedings at the Seventh Synod. Vide Hefele, Concil. XLVIII., § 810. [211] E. B. Pusey. On the clause "and The Son," p. 68. [212] Hefele. Hist. of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 175. [213] Hefele. Hist. Counc., Vol. IV., p. 416. [214] Hefele. Hist. Counc., Vol. IV., p. 470; Vol. V., p. 208. [215] Muratorius. Ord. Rom., Tom. I., col. 541. [216] Mabillon. Mus. Ital., Tom. I., p. 313 and p. 376. [217] Labbe and Cossart. Concilia, Tom. vii., col. 1194. [218] Capit. Reg. Franc., Tom. I., p. 483. [219] Fleury. Hist. Eccl., Liv. xlv., chap. 48. [220] Pet. Damian. Opusc., xxxviii. [221] Leo Allat. Græc. Orthod., Tom. I., p. 173. [222] E. B. Pusey. On the clause, "and the Son," p. 48. [223] Epiphanius, Ancoratus, cxx. [224] Peter of Antioch about a.d. 1054, says that he had heard the name of the Roman Pontiff recited from the Diptychs at the mass at Constantinople forty-five years before. Le Quien, p. xii. [225] E. B. Pusey. On the clause "and the Son," p. 72.


Historical Note on the Lost "Tome" of the Second Council.

We know from the Synodical letter sent by the bishops who assembled at Constantinople in a.d. 382 (the next year after the Second Ecumenical Council) sent to Pope Damasus and other Western bishops, that the Second Council set forth a "Tome," containing a statement of the doctrinal points at issue. This letter will be found in full at the end of the treatment of this council. The Council of Chalcedon in its address to the Emperor says: "The bishops who at Constantinople detected the taint of Apollinarianism, communicated to the Westerns their decision in the matter." From this we may reasonably conclude, with Tillemont, [226] that the lost Tome treated also of the Apollinarian heresy. It is moreover by no means unlikely that the Creed as it has come down to us, was the summary at the end of the Tome, and was followed by the anathemas which now form our Canon I. It also is likely that the very accurate doctrinal statements contained in the Letter of the Synod of 382 may be taken almost, if not quite, verbatim from this Tome. It seems perfectly evident that at least one copy of the Tome was sent to the West but how it got lost is a matter on which at present we are entirely in the dark.


[226] Tillemont. Mémoires, Tom. ix. art. 78, in the treatise on St. Greg. Nonz.


Letter of the Same Holy Synod to the Most Pious Emperor Theodosius the Great, to Which are Appended the Canons Enacted by Them.

(Found in Labbe, Concilia, Tom. II., 945.)

To the most religious Emperor Theodosius, the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled in Constantinople out of different Provinces.

We begin our letter to your Piety with thanks to God, who has established the empire of your Piety for the common peace of the Churches and for the support of the true Faith. And, after rendering due thanks unto God, as in duty bound we lay before your Piety the things which have been done in the Holy Synod. When, then, we had assembled in Constantinople, according to the letter of your Piety, we first of all renewed our unity of heart each with the other, and then we pronounced some concise definitions, ratifying the Faith of the Nicene Fathers, and anathematizing the heresies which have sprung up, contrary thereto. Besides these things, we also framed certain Canons for the better ordering of the Churches, all which we have subjoined to this our letter. Wherefore we beseech your Piety that the decree of the Synod may be ratified, to the end that, as you have honoured the Church by your letter of citation, so you should set your seal to the conclusion of what has been decreed. May the Lord establish your empire in peace and righteousness, and prolong it from generation to generation; and may he add unto your earthly power the fruition of the heavenly kingdom also. May God by the prayers (euchais ton hagion) of the Saints, [227] show favour to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.


[227] On the whole subject of the prayers of the Saints see H. R. Percival, The Invocation of Saints. (Longmans. London, 1896.) I have the less hesitation in referring to my own work as it is, so far as I can discover, the only book in the English language devoted to an historical and theological consideration of the subject. Of course the subject is treated of cursorily in numerous theological treatises and dictionaries.


Introduction on the Number of the Canons.

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 351.)

The number of canons drawn up by this synod is doubtful. The old Greek codices and the Greek commentators of the Middle Ages, Zonaras and Balsamon, enumerate seven; the old Latin translations--viz. the Prisca, those by Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, as well as the Codex of Luna--only recognize the first four canons of the Greek text, and the fact that they agree in this point is the more important as they are wholly independent of each other, and divide and arrange those canons of Constantinople which they do acknowledge quite differently.

Because, however, in the Prisca the canons of Constantinople are only placed after those of the fourth General Council, the Ballerini brothers conclude that they were not contained at all in the oldest Greek collections of canons, and were inserted after the Council of Chalcedon. But it was at this very Council of Chalcedon that the first three canons of Constantinople were read out word for word. As however, they were not separately numbered, but were there read under the general title of Synodicon Synodi Secundæ, Fuchs concluded they were not originally in the form in which we now possess them, but, without being divided into numbers, formed a larger and unbroken decree, the contents of which were divided by later copyists and translators into several different canons. And hence the very different divisions of these canons in the Prisca, Dionysius, and Isidore may be explained. The fact, however, that the old Latin translations all agree in only giving the first four canons of the Greek text, seems to show that the oldest Greek manuscripts, from which those translations were made, did not contain the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and that these last did not properly belong to this Synod, but were later additions. To this must be added that the old Greek Church-historians, in speaking of the affairs of the second General Council, only mention those points which are contained in the first four canons, and say nothing of what, according to the fifth, sixth, and seventh canons, had also been decided at Constantinople. At the very least, the seventh canon cannot have emanated from this Council, since in the sixth century John Scholasticus did not receive it into his collection, although he adopted the fifth and sixth. It is also missing in many other collections; and in treating specially of this canon further on, we shall endeavour to show the time and manner of its origin. But the fifth and sixth canons probably belong to the Synod of Constantinople of the following year, as Beveridge, the Ballerini, and others conjectured. The Greek scholiasts, Zonaras and Balsamon, and later on Tillemont, Beveridge, Van Espen and Herbst, have given more or less detailed commentaries on all these canons.


Canons of the One Hundred and Fifty Fathers who assembled at Constantinople during the Consulate of those Illustrious Men, Flavius Eucherius and Flavius Evagrius on the VII of the Ides of July. [228]

The Bishops out of different provinces assembled by the grace of God in Constantinople, on the summons of the most religious Emperor Theodosius, have decreed as follows:

Canon I.

The Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm. And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anomæans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.


Ancient Epitome of Canon I.

Let the Nicene faith stand firm. Anathema to heresy.

There is a difference of reading in the list of the heretics. The reading I have followed in the text is that given in Beveridge's Synodicon. The Greek text, however, in Labbe, and with it agree the version of Hervetus and the text of Hefele, reads: "the Eunomians or Anomæans, the Arians or Eudoxians, the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, the Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians and Apollinarians." From this Dionysius only varies by substituting "Macedonians" for "Semi-Arians." It would seem that this was the correct reading. I, however, have followed the other as being the more usual.


By the Eudoxians, whom this canon identifies with the Arians [according to his text, vide supra,] is meant that faction who, in contradistinction to the strict Arians or Anomæans on one side, and the Semi-Arians on the other side, followed the leadership of the Court Bishop Eudoxius (Bishop of Constantinople under the Emperor Valens), and without being entirely Anomæan, yet very decidedly inclined to the left of the Arian party--probably claiming to represent the old and original Arianism. But this canon makes the Semi-Arians identical with the Pneumatomachians, and so far rightly, that the latter sprang from the Semi-Arian party, and applied the Arian principle to their doctrine of the Holy Ghost. Lastly, by the Marcellians are meant those pupils of Marcellus of Ancyra who remained in the errors formerly propounded by him, while afterwards others, and indeed he himself, once more acknowledged the truth.


[228] Such is the caption in the old Greek codices. The viith of the Ides is July 9th. "From this (says Hefele) we may conclude that this synod which according to Socrates, H. E., v. 8) begun May 381, lasted until July of that year."


Excursus on the Heresies Condemned in Canon I.

In treating of these heresies I shall invert the order of the canon, and shall speak of the Macedonian and Apollinarian heresies first, as being most nearly connected with the object for which the Constantinopolitan Synod was assembled.

The Semi-Arians, Macedonians or Pneumatomachi.

Peace indeed seemed to have been secured by the Nicene decision but there was an element of discord still extant, and so shortly afterwards as in 359 the double-synod of Rimini (Ariminum) and Selencia rejected the expressions homousion and homoeusion equally, and Jerome gave birth to his famous phrase, "the world awoke to find itself Arian." The cause of this was the weight attaching to the Semi-Arian party, which counted among its numbers men of note and holiness, such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Of the developments of this party it seems right that some mention should be made in this place, since it brought forth the Macedonian heresy.

(Wm. Bright, D.D., St. Leo on the Incarnation, pp. 213 et seqq.)

The Semi-Arian party in the fourth century attempted to steer a middle course between calling the Son Consubstantial and calling him a creature. Their position, indeed, was untenable, but several persisted in clinging to it; and it was adopted by Macedonius, who occupied the see of Constantinople. It was through their adoption of a more reverential language about the Son than had been used by the old Arians, that what is called the Macedonian heresy showed itself. Arianism had spoken both of the Son and the Holy Spirit as creatures. The Macedonians, rising up out of Semi-Arianism, gradually reached the Church's belief as to the uncreated majesty of the Son, even if they retained their objection to the homoousion as a formula. But having, in their previously Semi-Arian position, refused to extend their own "homoiousion" to the Holy Spirit, they afterwards persisted in regarding him as "external to the one indivisible Godhead," Newman's Arians, p. 226; or as Tillemont says (Mém. vi., 527), "the denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit was at last their capital or only error." St. Athanasius, while an exile under Constantius for the second time, "heard with pain," as he says (Ep. i. ad Serap., 1) that "some who had left the Arians from disgust at their blasphemy against the Son of God, yet called the Spirit a creature, and one of the ministering spirits, differing only in degree from the Angels:" and soon afterwards, in 362, the Council of Alexandria condemned the notion that the Spirit was a creature, as being "no true avoidance of the detestable Arian heresy." See "Later Treatises of St. Athanasius," p. 5. Athanasius insisted that the Nicene Fathers, although silent on the nature of the Holy Spirit, had by implication ranked him with the Father and the Son as an object of belief (ad Afros, 11). After the death of St. Athanasius, the new heresy was rejected on behalf of the West by Pope Damasus, who declared the Spirit to be truly and properly from the Father (as the Son from the Divine substance) and very God, "omnia posse et omnia nosse, et ubique esse," coequal and adorable (Mansi, iii., 483). The Illyrian bishops also, in 374, wrote to the bishops of Asia Minor, affirming the consubstantiality of the Three Divine Persons (Theodoret, H. E., iv., 9). St. Basil wrote his De Spiritu Sancto in the same sense (see Swete, Early History of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 58, 67), and in order to vindicate this truth against the Pneumatomachi, as the Macedonians were called by the Catholics, the Constantinopolitan recension of the Nicene Creed added the words, "the Lord and the Life-giver, proceeding from the Father, with the Father and the Son worshipped and glorified" etc., which had already formed part of local Creeds in the East.

From the foregoing by Canon Bright, the reader will be able to understand the connexion between the Semi-Arians and Pneumatomachi, as well as to see how the undestroyed heretical germs of the Semi-Asian heresy necessitated by their development the condemnation of a second synod.

The Apollinarians.

(Philip Schaff, in Smith and Wace, Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v. Apollinaris.)

Apollinaris was the first to apply the results of the Nicene controversy to Christology proper, and to call the attention of the Church to the psychical and pneumatic element in the humanity of Christ; but in his zeal for the true deity of Christ, and fear of a double personality, he fell into the error of a partial denial of his true humanity. Adopting the psychological trichotomy of Plato (soma psuche, pneuma), for which he quoted 1. Thess. v. 23 and Gal. v. 17, he attributed to Christ a human body (soma) and a human soul (the psuche alogos, the anima animans which man has in common with the animal), but not a rational spirit (nous, pneuma, psuche logike, anima rationalis,) and put in the place of the latter the divine Logos. In opposition to the idea of a mere connection of the Logos with the man Jesus, he wished to secure an organic unity of the two, and so a true incarnation; but he sought this at the expense of the most important constituent of man. He reached only a Theos sarkophoros as Nestorianism only an anthropos theophoros instead of the proper theandrotos . He appealed to the fact that the Scripture says, "the Word was made flesh"--not spirit; "God was manifest in the flesh" etc. To which Gregory Nazianzen justly replied that in these passages the term sarx was used by synecdoche for the whole human nature. In this way Apollinaris established so close a connection of the Logos with human flesh, that all the divine attributes were transferred to the human nature, and all the human attributes to the divine, and the two merged in one nature in Christ. Hence he could speak of a crucifixion of the Logos, and a worship of his flesh. He made Christ a middle being between God and man, in whom, as it were, one part divine and two parts human were fused in the unity of a new nature. He even ventured to adduce created analogies, such as the mule, midway between the horse and the ass; the grey colour, a mixture of white and black; and spring, in distinction from winter and summer. Christ, said he, is neither whole man, nor God, but a mixture (mixis) of God and man. On the other hand, he regarded the orthodox view of a union of full humanity with a full divinity in one person--of two wholes in one whole--as an absurdity. He called the result of this construction anthropotheos , a sort of monstrosity, which he put in the same category with the mythological figure of the Minotaur. But the Apollinarian idea of the union of the Logos with a truncated human nature might be itself more justly compared with this monster. Starting from the Nicene homoousion as to the Logos, but denying the completeness of Christ's humanity, he met Arianism half-way, which likewise put the divine Logos in the place of the human spirit in Christ. But he strongly asserted his unchangeableness, while Arians taught his changeableness (treptotes).

The faith of the Church revolted against such a mutilated and stunted humanity of Christ which necessarily involved also a merely partial redemption. The incarnation is an assumption of the entire human nature, sin only excluded. The ensarkosis is enanthropesis. To be a full and complete Redeemer, Christ must be a perfect man (teleios anthropos). The spirit or rational soul is the most important element in man, his crowning glory, the seat of intelligence and freedom, and needs redemption as well as the soul and the body; for sin has entered and corrupted all the faculties.

In the sentence immediately preceding the above Dr. Schaff remarks "but the peculiar Christology of Apollinaris has reappeared from time to time in a modified shape, as isolated theological opinion." No doubt Dr. Schaff had in mind the fathers of the so-called "Kenoticism" of to-day, Gess and Ebrard, who teach, unless they have been misunderstood, that the incarnate Son had no human intellect or rational soul (nous) but that the divine personality took its place, by being changed into it. By this last modification, they claim to escape from the taint of the Apollinarian heresy. [229]

The Eunomians or Anomoeans.

(Bright, Notes on the Canons, Canon I. of I. Const.)

"The Eunomians or Anomoeans." These were the ultra-Arians, who carried to its legitimate issue the original Arian denial of the eternity and uncreatedness of the Son, while they further rejected what Arius had affirmed as to the essential mysteriousness of the Divine nature (Soc., H. E., iv., 7; comp. Athan., De Synod., 15). Their founder was Aëtius, the most versatile of theological adventurers (cf. Athan., De Synod., 31; Soc., H. E., ii., 45; and see a summary of his career in Newman's Arians, p. 347); but their leader at the time of the Council was the daring and indefatigable Eunomius (for whose personal characteristics, see his admirer Philostorgius, x., 6). He, too, had gone through many vicissitudes from his first employment as the secretary of Aëtius, and his ordination as deacon by Eudoxius; as bishop of Cyzicus, he had been lured into a disclosure of his true sentiments, and then denounced as a heretic (Theod., H. E., ii., 29); with Aëtius he had openly separated from Eudoxius as a disingenuous time-server, and had gone into retirement at Chalcedon (Philostorg., ix., 4). The distinctive formula of his adherents was the "Anomoion." The Son, they said, was not "like to the Father in essence"; even to call him simply "like" was to obscure the fact that he was simply a creature, and, as such, "unlike" to his Creator. In other words, they thought the Semi-Arian "homoiousion" little better than the Catholic "homoousion": the "homoion" of the more "respectable" Arians represented in their eyes an ignoble reticence; the plain truth, however it might shock devout prejudice, must be put into words which would bar all misunderstanding: the Son might be called "God," but in a sense merely titular, so as to leave an impassable gulf between him and the uncreated Godhead (see Eunomius's Exposition in Valesius's note on Soc., H. E., v., 10). Compare Basil (Epist., 233, and his work against Eunomius), and Epiphanius (Hær., 76).

The Arians or Eudoxians.

(Bright. Ut supra.)

"The Arians or Eudoxians." By these are meant the ordinary Arians of the period, or, as they may be called, the Acacian party, directed for several years by the essentially worldly and unconscientious Eudoxius. His real sympathies were with the Anomoeans (see Tillemont, Mémoires, vi., 423, and compare his profane speech recorded by Socrates, H. E., ii., 43): but, as a bishop of Constantinople, he felt it necessary to discourage them, and to abide by the vague formula invented by Acacius of Cæsarea, which described the Son as "like to the Father," without saying whether this likeness was supposed to be more than moral (cf. Newman, Arians, p. 317), so that the practical effect of this "homoion" was to prepare the way for that very Anomoeanism which its maintainers were ready for political purposes to disown.

The Sabellians.

(Bright. Ut supra.)

"The Sabellians," whose theory is traceable to Noetus and Praxeas in the latter part of the second century: they regarded the Son and the Holy Spirit as aspects and modes of, or as emanations from, the One Person of the Father (see Newman's Arians, pp. 120 et seqq.). Such a view tended directly to dissolve Christian belief in the Trinity and in the Incarnation (Vide Wilberforce, Incarnation, pp. 112, 197). Hence the gentle Dionysius of Alexandria characterised it in severe terms as involving "blasphemy, unbelief, and irreverence, towards the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Euseb., H. E., vii.. 6). Hence the deep repugnance which it excited, and the facility with which the imputation of "Sabellianizing" could be utilised by the Arians against maintainers of the Consubstantiality (Hilary, De Trinit., iv., 4; De Synod., 68; Fragm., 11; Basil, Epist., 189, 2). No organized Sabellian sect was in existence at the date of this anathema: but Sabellian ideas were "in the air," and St. Basil could speak of a revival of this old misbelief (Epist., 126). We find it again asserted by Chilperic I., King of Neustria, in the latter part of the sixth century (Greg. Turon., Hist. Fr., v., 45).

The Marcellians.

(Bright. Ut supra.)

"The Marcellians," called after Marcellus bishop of Ancyra, who was persistently denounced not only by the Arianizers, but by St. Basil, and for a time, at least, suspected by St. Athanasius (Vide Epiphan., Hær., 72, 4) as one who held notions akin to Sabellianism, and fatal to a true belief in the Divine Sonship and the Incarnation. The theory ascribed to him was that the Logos was an impersonal Divine power, immanent from eternity in God, but issuing from him in the act of creation, and entering at last into relations with the human person of Jesus, who thus became God's Son. But this expansion of the original divine unity would be followed by a "contraction," when the Logos would retire from Jesus, and God would again be all in all. Some nine years before the council, Marcellus, then in extreme old age, had sent his deacon Eugenius to St. Athanasius, with a written confession of faith, quite orthodox as to the eternity of the Trinity, and the identity of the Logos with a pre-existing and personal Son, although not verbally explicit as to the permanence of Christ's "kingdom,"--the point insisted on in one of the Epiphanian-Constantinopolitan additions to the Creed (Montfaucon, Collect. Nov., ii., 1). The question whether Marcellus was personally heterodox--i.e. whether the extracts from his treatise, made by his adversary Eusebius of Cæsarea, give a fair account of his real views--has been answered unfavourably by some writers, as Newman (Athanasian Treatises, ii., 200, ed. 2), and Döllinger (Hippolytus and Callistus, p. 217, E. T. p. 201), while others, like Neale, think that "charity and truth" suggest his "acquittal" (Hist. Patr. Antioch., p. 106). Montfaucon thinks that his written statements might be favourably interpreted, but that his oral statements must have given ground for suspicion.

The Photinians.

(Bright. Ut supra. )

"The Photinians," or followers of Marcellus's disciple Photinus, bishop of Sirmium, the ready-witted and pertinacious disputant whom four successive synods condemned before he could be got rid of, by State power, in a.d. 351. (See St. Athanasius's Historical Writings, Introd. p. lxxxix.) In his representation of the "Marcellian" theology, he laid special stress on its Christological position--that Jesus, on whom the Logos rested with exceptional fulness, was a mere man. See Athanasius, De Synodis, 26, 27, for two creeds in which Photinianism is censured; also Soc. H. E. ii., 18, 29, 30; vii., 32. There is an obvious affinity between it and the "Samosatene" or Paulionist theory.


[229] The theological views of Gess and Ebrard I know only from the statements of them in writers on the subject of the Incarnation, especially from those made by the Rev. A. B. Bruce, D D., Professor at Free Church College, Glasgow, in his work "The Humiliation of Christ." (Lecture IV.) The following passage (cited by Dr. Bruce) seems to prove his contention so far as Gess is concerned. "Dass eine wahrhaft menschliche Seele in Jesu war, versteht sich für und von selbt: er war ja sonst kein wirklicher Mensch. Aber die Frage ist, ob der in's Werden eingegangene Logos selbst diese menschliche Seele, oder ob neben dem in's Werden eingegangenen Logos noch eine becondere menschliche Seele in Jesu war?" (Gess. Die Lehre v. d. Person Christi, ii. p. 321.) Bruce understands Gess to teach that "The only difference between the Logos and a human soul was, that he became human by voluntary kenosis, while an ordinary human soul derives its existence from a creative act." (And refers to Gess, ut supra, p. 325 et seqq.) For Ebrard's view, see his Christliche Dogmatik, ii., p. 40. Ritschl dubbed the whole kenotic theory as "Verschämter Socinianismus."

Canon II.

The bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on the churches; but let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs. And let not bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited. 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.


Ancient Epitome of Canon II.

No traveller shall introduce confusion into the Churches either by ordaining or by enthroning. Nevertheless in Churches which are among the heathen the tradition of the Fathers shall be preserved.

In the above Ancient Epitome it will be noticed that not only is ordination mentioned but also the "inthronization" of bishops. Few ceremonies are of greater antiquity in the Christian Church than the solemn placing of the newly chosen bishop in the episcopal chair of his diocese. It is mentioned in the Apostolical Constitutions, and in the Greek Pontificals. Also in the Arabic version of the Nicene Canons. (No. lxxi.). A sermon was usually delivered by the newly consecrated bishop, called the "sermo enthronisticus." He also sent to neighbouring bishops sullabai enthronistikai, and the fees the new bishops paid were called ta enthronistika.


(Note on Socrates, H. E., v., 8).

This rule seems to have been made chiefly on account of Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, Gregory Nazianzen, and Peter of Alexandria. For Meletius leaving the Eastern diocese had come to Constantinople to ordain Gregory bishop there. And Gregory having abandoned the bishoprick of Sasima, which was in the Pontic diocese, had removed to Constantinople. While Peter of Alexandria had sent to Constantinople seven Egyptian bishops to ordain Maximus the Cynic. For the purpose therefore of repressing these [disorders], the fathers of the Synod of Constantinople made this canon.


Take notice from the present canon that formerly all the Metropolitans of provinces were themselves the heads of their own provinces, and were ordained by their own synods. But all this was changed by Canon xxviii of the Synod of Chalcedon, which directs that the Metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia, and Thrace, and certain others which are mentioned in this Canon should be ordained by the Patriarch of Constantinople and should be subject to him. But if you find other churches which are autocephalous as the Church of Bulgaria, of Cyprus, of Iberia, you need not be astonished. For the Emperor Justinian gave this honour to the Archbishop of Bulgaria....The third Synod gave this honour to the Archbishop of Cyprus, and by the law of the same synod (Canon viii.), and by the Sixth Synod in its xxxixth Canon, the judgment of the Synod of Antioch is annulled and this honour granted to the bishop of Iberia.


(Mém. ix., 489).

The Council seems likewise to reject, whether designedly or inadvertently, what had been ordained by the Council of Sardica in favour of Rome. But as assuredly it did not affect to prevent either Ecumenical Councils, or even general Councils of the East, from judging of matters brought before them, so I do not know if one may conclude absolutely that they intended to forbid appeals to Rome. It regulates proceedings between Dioceses, but not what might concern superior tribunals.


(Hist. Eccl. in loc.).

This Canon, which gives to the councils of particular places full authority in Ecclesiastical matters, seems to take away the power of appealing to the Pope granted by the Council of Sardica, and to restore the ancient right.


An exception to the rule against interference in other patriarchates was made with regard to those Churches newly founded amongst barbarous nations (not belonging to the Roman Empire), as these were of course obliged to receive their first bishops from strange patriarchates, and remained afterwards too few in number to form patriarchates of their own and were therefore governed as belonging to other patriarchates, as, for instance, Abyssinia by the patriarchate of Alexandria.

Canon III.

The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.


Ancient Epitome of Canon III.

The bishop of Constantinople is to be honoured next after the bishop of Rome.

It should be remembered that the change effected by this canon did not affect Rome directly in any way, but did seriously affect Alexandria and Antioch, which till then had ranked next after the see of Rome. When the pope refused to acknowledge the authority of this canon, he was in reality defending the principle laid down in the canon of Nice, that in such matters the ancient customs should continue. Even the last clause, it would seem, could give no offence to the most sensitive on the papal claims, for it implies a wonderful power in the rank of Old Rome, if a see is to rank next to it because it happens to be "New Rome." Of course these remarks only refer to the wording of the canon which is carefully guarded; the intention doubtless was to exalt the see of Constantinople, the chief see of the East, to a position of as near equality as possible with the chief see of the West.


In this place the Council takes action concerning Constantinople, to which it decrees the prerogative of honour, the priority, and the glory after the Bishop of Rome as being New Rome and the Queen of cities. Some indeed wish to understand the preposition meta here of time and not of inferiority of grade. And they strive to confirm this interpretation by a consideration of the XXVIII canon of Chalcedon, urging that if Constantinople is to enjoy equal honours, the preposition "after" cannot signify subjection. But on the other hand the hundred and thirtieth novel of Justinian, [230] Book V of the Imperial Constitutions, title three, understands the canon otherwise. For, it says, "we decree that the most holy Pope of Old Rome, according to the decrees of the holy synods is the first of all priests, and that the most blessed bishop of Constantinople and of New Rome, should have the second place after the Apostolic Throne of the Elder Rome, and should be superior in honour to all others." From this therefore it is abundantly evident that "after" denotes subjection (hupobibasmon) and diminution. And otherwise it would be impossible to guard this equality of honour in each see. For in reciting their names, or assigning them seats when they are to sit together, or arranging the order of their signatures to documents, one must come before the other. Whoever therefore shall explain this particle meta as only referring to time, and does not admit that it signifies an inferior grade of dignity, does violence to the passage and draws from it a meaning neither true nor good. Moreover in Canon xxxvi of the Council in Trullo, meta manifestly denotes subjection, assigning to Constantinople the second place after the throne of Old Rome; and then adds, after this Alexandria, then Antioch, and last of all shall be placed Jerusalem.


If we enquire the reason why this Council tried to change the order of rank of the great Sees, which had been established in the sixth Nicene canon, we must first take into consideration that, since the elevation of Constantinople to the Imperial residence, as New Rome, the bishops as well as the Emperors naturally wished to see the new imperial residence, New Rome, placed immediately after Old Rome in ecclesiastical rank also; the rather, as with the Greeks it was the rule for the ecclesiastical rank of a See to follow the civil rank of the city. The Synod of Antioch in 341, in its ninth canon, had plainly declared this, and subsequently the fourth General Council, in its seventeenth canon, spoke in the same sense. But how these principles were protested against on the side of Rome, we shall see further on in the history of the fourth General Council. For the present, it may suffice to add that the aversion to Alexandria which, by favouring Maximus, had exercised such a disturbing influence on Church affairs in Constantinople, may well have helped to effect the elevation of the See of Constantinople over that of Alexandria. Moreover, for many centuries Rome did not recognize this change of the old ecclesiastical order. In the sixteenth session of the fourth General Council, the Papal Legate, Lucentius, expressly declared this. In like manner the Popes Leo the Great and Gregory the Great pronounced against it; and though even Gratian adopted this canon in his collection the Roman critics added the following note: Canon hic ex iis est, quos Apostolica Romana Sedes a principio et longo post tempore non recepit. It was only when, after the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins, a Latin patriarchate was founded there in 1204, that Pope Innocent III, and the twelfth General Council, in 1215, allowed this patriarch the first rank after the Roman; and the same recognition was expressly awarded to the Greek Patriarch at the Florentine Union in 1439.

T. W. Allies. [231]

Remarkable enough it is that when, in the Council of Chalcedon, appeal was made to this third Canon, the Pope St. Leo declared that it had never been notified to Rome. As in the mean time it had taken effect throughout the whole East, as in this very council Nectarius, as soon as he is elected, presides instead of Timothy of Alexandria, it puts in a strong point of view the real self-government of the Eastern Church at this time; for the giving the Bishop of Constantinople precedence over Alexandria and Antioch was a proceeding which affected the whole Church, and so far altered its original order--one in which certainly the West might claim to have a voice. Tillemont goes on: "It would be very difficult to justify St. Leo, if he meant that the Roman Church had never known that the Bishop of Constantinople took the second place in the Church, and the first in the East, since his legates, whose conduct he entirely approves, had just themselves authorized it as a thing beyond dispute, and Eusebius of Dorylæum maintained that St. Leo himself had proved it." The simple fact is, that, exceedingly unwilling as the Bishops of Rome were to sanction it, from this time, 381, to say the least, the Bishop of Constantinople appears uniformly as first bishop of the East.

Cardinal Baronius in his Annals (a.d. 381, n. 35, 36) has disputed the genuineness of this Canon! As already mentioned it is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXII, c. iii. The note added to this in Gratian reads as follows:

Note in Gratian's "Decretum."

This canon is of the number of those which the Apostolic See of Rome did not at first nor for long years afterwards receive. This is evident from Epistle LI. (or LIII.) of Pope Leo I. to Anatolius of Constantinople and from several other of his letters. The same thing also is shewn by two letters of Leo IX.'s, the one against the presumptuous acts of Michael and Leo (cap. 28) and the other addressed to the same Michael. But still more clearly is this seen from the letter of Blessed Gregory (xxxi., lib. VI.) to Eulogius of Alexandria and Anastasius of Antioch, and from the letter of Nicholas I. to the Emperor Michel which begins "Proposueramus." However, the bishops of Constantinople, sustained by the authority of the Emperors, usurped to themselves the second place among the patriarchs, and this at length was granted to them for the sake of peace and tranquillity, as Pope Innocent III. declares (in cap. antiqua de privileg.). [232]

This canon Dionysius Exiguus appends to Canon 2, and dropping 5, 6, and 7 he has but three canons of this Synod.


[230] The reader will notice that this is not even an approximately contemporaneous interpretation, but more than a century and a half later, after Leo I. had done so much to establish the power of his see. [231] T. W. Allies. The Ch. of Eng. cleared from the Charge of Schism. (Written while an Anglican) p. 94 (2d Edition). [232] For some reason this canon does not seem to be any more acceptable to modern champions of the Papacy than it was to the Church of Rome fifteen hundred years ago. I give as a sample of this the following from a recent Roman Catholic writer: "The decree which goes by the name of the Third Canon of Constantinople was the germ of the successful mendacity of the arch-rebel Photius." (Rivington. The Prim. Ch., p. 263). The phraseology seems to suggest warm discontent at the canon.

Canon IV.

Concerning Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which has happened in Constantinople on his account, it is decreed that Maximus never was and is not now a Bishop; that those who have been ordained by him are in no order whatever of the clergy; since all which has been done concerning him or by him, is declared to be invalid.


Ancient Epitome of Canon IV.

Let Maximus the Cynic be cast out from among the bishops, and anyone who was inscribed by him on the clergy list shall be held as profane.

Edmund Venables.

(Smith and Wace, Dict. Christ. Biog.)

Maximus the Cynic; the intrusive bishop of Constantinople, a.d. 380. Ecclesiastical history hardly presents a more extraordinary career than that of this man, who, after a most disreputable youth, more than once brought to justice for his misdeeds, and bearing the scars of his punishments, by sheer impudence, clever flattery, and adroit management of opportunities, contrived to gain the confidence successively of no less men than Peter of Alexandria, Gregory Nazianzen, and Ambrose, and to install himself in one of the first sees of the church, from which he was with difficulty dislodged by a decree of an ecumenical council. His history also illustrates the jealousy felt by the churches of Alexandria and Rome towards their young and vigorous rival for patriarchal honours, the church of Constantinople; as well as their claim to interfere with her government, and to impose prelates upon her according to their pleasure. Alexandria, as the chief see of the Eastern world, from the first asserted a jurisdiction which she has never formally relinquished over the see of Constantinople, more particularly in a vacancy in the episcopate (Neale, Patr. of Alexandria, i., 206). The conduct of Peter, the successor of Athanasius, first in instituting Gregory Nazianzen bishop of Constantinople by his letters and sending a formal recognition of his appointment and then in substituting Maximus, as has been remarked by Milman (History of Christianity, iii., 115, note) and Ullman (Greg. Naz., p. 203 [Cox's translation]), furnish unmistakable indications of the desire to erect an Oriental papacy, by establishing the primacy of Alexandria over Constantinople and so over the East, which was still further illustrated a few years later by the high-handed behaviour of Theophilus towards Chrysostom.

Maximus was a native of Alexandria of low parentage. He boasted that his family had produced martyrs. He got instructed in the rudiments of the Christian faith and received baptism, but strangely enough sought to combine the Christian profession with Cynic philosophy.

When he presented himself at the Eastern capital he wore the white robe of a Cynic, and carried a philosopher's staff, his head being laden with a huge crop of crisp curling hair, dyed a golden yellow, and swinging over his shoulders in long ringlets. He represented himself as a confessor for the Nicene faith, and his banishment to the Oasis as a suffering for the truth (Orat. xxiii., p. 419). Before long he completely gained the ear and heart of Gregory, who admitted him to the closest companionship. Maximus proclaimed the most unbounded admiration for Gregory's discourses, which he praised in private, and, according to the custom of the age, applauded in public. His zeal against heretics was most fierce, and his denunciation of them uncompromising. The simple-hearted Gregory became the complete dupe of Maximus.

All this time Maximus was secretly maturing a plot for ousting his unsuspicious patron from his throne. He gained the ear and the confidence of Peter of Alexandria, and induced him to favour his ambitious views. Gregory, he asserted, had never been formally enthroned bishop of Constantinople; his translation thither was a violation of the canons of the church; rustic in manners, he had proved himself quite unfitted for the place. Constantinople was getting weary of him. It was time the patriarch of the Eastern world should exercise his prerogative and give New Rome a more suitable bishop. The old man was imposed on as Gregory had been, and lent himself to Maximus's projects. Maximus found a ready tool in a presbyter of Constantinople, envious of Gregory's talents and popularity (de Vit., p. 13). Others were gained by bribes. Seven unscrupulous sailor fellows were despatched from Alexandria to mix with the people, and watch for a favourable opportunity for carrying out the plot. When all was ripe they were followed by a bevy of bishops, with secret instructions from the patriarch to consecrate Maximus.

The conspirators chose the night for the accomplishment of their enterprise. Gregory they knew was confined by illness. They forced their way into the cathedral, and commenced the rite of ordination. By the time they had set the Cynic on the archiepiscopal throne, and had just begun shearing away his long curls, they were surprised by the dawn. The news quickly spread, and everybody rushed to the church. The magistrates appeared on the scene with their officers; Maximus and his consecrators were driven from the sacred precincts, and in the house or shop of a flute-player the tonsure was completed. Maximus repaired to Thessalonica to lay his cause before Theodosius. He met with a cold reception from the emperor, who committed the matter to Ascholius, the much respected bishop of that city, charging him to refer it to pope Damasus. We have two letters of Damasus's on this subject. In the first, addressed to Ascholius and the Macedonian bishops, he vehemently condemns the "ardor animi et foeda presumptio" which had led certain persons coming from Egypt, in violation of the rule of ecclesiastical discipline, to have proposed to consecrate a restless man, an alien from the Christian profession, not worthy to be called a Christian, who wore an idolatrous garb ("habitus idoli") and the long hair which St. Paul said was a shame to a man, and remarks on the fact that being expelled from the church they were compelled to complete the ordination "intra parietes alienos." In the second letter addressed to Ascholius individually (Ep. vi.) he repeats his condemnation of the ordination of the long-haired Maximus ("comatum") and asks him to take special care that a Catholic bishop may be ordained (Migne, Patrolog., xiii., pp. 366-369; Ep. 5; 5, 6).

Maximus returned to Alexandria, and demanded that Peter should assist him in re-establishing himself at Constantinople. But Peter had discovered the man's true character, and received him as coldly as Theodosius had done. Determined to carry his point he presented himself to the patriarch at the head of a disorderly mob, with the threat that if he did not help him to gain the throne of Constantinople he would have that of Alexandria. Peter appealed to the prefect, by whom Maximus was driven out of Egypt. The death of Peter and the accession of Timotheus are placed Feb. 14, 380. The events described must therefore have occurred in 379. When the second ecumenical council met at Constantinople in 381, the question of Maximus's claim to the see of Constantinople came up for consideration. His pretensions were unanimously rejected.


(Notes on the Canons, in loc.)

Maximus, however, having been expelled from Egypt, made his way into Northern Italy, presented to Gratian at Milan a large work which he had written against the Arians (as to which Gregory sarcastically remarks--"Saul a prophet, Maximus an author!" Carm. adv. Mar., 21), and deceived St. Ambrose and his suffragans by showing the record of his consecration, with letters which Peter had once written in his behalf. To these prelates of the "Italic diocese" the appeal of Maximus seemed like the appeal of Athanasius, and more recently of Peter himself, to the sympathy of the church of Rome; and they requested Theodosius to let the case be heard before a really General Council (Mansi, iii. 631). Nothing further came of it; perhaps, says Tillemont, those who thus wrote in favour of Maximus "reconnurent bientôt quel il était" (ix., 502): so that when a Council did meet at Rome towards the end of 382, no steps were taken in his behalf.

Canon V.

(Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next year, 382. Vide. Introduction on the number of the Canons.)

In regard to the tome of the Western [Bishops], we receive those in Antioch also who confess the unity of the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.


Ancient Epitome of Canon V.

The Tome of the Westerns which recognizes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as consubstantial is highly acceptable.

Beveridge and Van Espen translate this canon differently, thus, "With regard to the tome of the Westerns, we agree with those in Antioch [i.e. the Synod of 378] who (accepted it and) acknowledged the unity of the Godhead of the Father etc." In opposition to this translation Hefele urges that apodechesthai in ecclesiastical language usually refers to receiving persons and recognizing them, not opinions or doctrines.


This canon probably does not belong to the second General Council, but to the Synod held in the following year at Constantinople consisting of nearly the same bishops.

It is certain that by the "Tome of the Westerns" a dogmatic work of the Western bishops is to be understood, and the only question is which Tome of the Westerns is here meant. Several--for instance, the Greek commentators, Balsamon and Zonaras, and the spokesman of the Latins at the Synod of Florence in 1439 (Archbishop Andrew of Rhodes)--understood by it the decrees of the Synod of Sardica; but it seems to me that this canon undoubtedly indicates that the Tome of the Westerns also mentioned the condition of the Antiochian Church, and the division into two parties of the orthodox of that place--the Meletian schism. Now, as this was not mentioned, nay, could not have been, at the Synod of Sardica--for this schism at Antioch only broke out seventeen years later--some other document of the Latins must certainly be meant. But we know that Pope Damasus, and the synod assembled by him in 369, addressed a Tome to the Orientals, of which fragments are still preserved, and that nine years later, in 379, a great synod at Antioch of one hundred and forty-six orthodox Oriental bishops, under Meletius, accepted and signed this Tome, and at the same time sought to put a stop to the Meletian schism. Soon afterwards, in 380, Pope Damasus and his fourth Roman Synod again sent a treatise on the faith, of which we still possess a portion, containing anathemas, to the Orientals, especially to Bishop Paul of Antioch, head of the Eustathians of that city. Under these circumstances, we are justified in referring the expression "the tome of the Westerns" either to the Roman treatise of 369 or to that of 380, and I am disposed to give the preference to the former, for the following reasons:--

(1.) As has been already observed, this canon belongs to the Synod held at Constantinople in 382.

(2.) We still possess in Theodoret a Synodal Letter to the Latins from this later Synod.

(3.) The canon in question, as proceeding from the same source, is, of course to a certain extent, connected with this letter.

(4.) In this Synodal Letter, the Eastern bishops, in order to convince the Latins of their orthodoxy, appeal to two documents, the one a "tome" of an Antiochian Synod, and the other a "tome" of the Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople in 381.

(5.) By the Antiochian Synod here mentioned, I understand the great synod of 378, and, as a necessary consequence, believe the "tome" there produced to be none other than the Roman Tome of 369, which was then accepted at Antioch.

(6.) It is quite certain that the Synod of Antioch sent a copy of this Tome, with the declaration of its acceptance and the signatures of the members, back to Rome, as a supplement to its Synodal Letter; and hence Lucas Holstenius was still able to find fragments of it in Rome.

(7.) The Synod of Constantinople of 382 might well call this Tome, sent back to Rome with the acceptance and signatures of the Easterns, a "Tome established at Antioch," although it was really drawn up at Rome.

(8.) If, however, the Synod of Constantinople in its Synodal Letter speaks of this Tome, we are justified in supposing that the one mentioned in its canon is the same.

(9.) That which still remains of the Roman Tome of 369, treats expressly of the oneness of the Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and such were the contents of the Tome according to this canon.

(10.) It is true that the fragments still preserved of this Tome contain no passage directly referring to the Antiochian schism; but, in the first place, very little remains of it, and there is the more reason to suppose that the Meletian schism was spoken of in the portion which has been lost, as it was the same Antiochian Synod that accepted the Tome which urged the putting an end to that schism. It is still more to the purpose that the Italian bishops, in their letter to the Easterns in 381, expressly say that they had already long before (dudum) written to the Orientals in order to put an end to the division between the orthodox at Antioch. By this "dudum" I conclude that they refer to the Roman Tome of 369; and if the Westerns in their letter to the Easterns in 381 pointed to this Tome, it was natural that the Synod of Constantinople of 382 should also have referred to it, for it was that very letter of the Latins which occasioned and called the synod into being.

Lastly, for the full understanding of this canon, it is necessary to observe that the Latins, in their letter just mentioned of 381, say that "they had already in their earlier missive (i.e. as we suppose, in the Tome of 369) spoken to the effect that both parties at Antioch, one as much as the other, were orthodox." Agreeing with this remark of the Westerns, repeated in their letter of 381, the Easterns in this canon say, "We also recognise all Antiochians as orthodox who acknowledge the oneness of the Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

Canon VI.

(Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next year, 382. Vide Introduction on the number of Canons.)

Forasmuch as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order, do contentiously and slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox bishops who have the administration of the Churches, intending nothing else than to stain the reputation of the priests and raise up disturbances amongst the peaceful laity; therefore it seemed right to the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled together in Constantinople, not to admit accusers without examination; and neither to allow all persons whatsoever to bring accusations against the rulers of the Church, nor, on the other hand, to exclude all. If then, any one shall bring a private complaint against the Bishop, that is, one relating to his own affairs, as, for example, that he has been defrauded, or otherwise unjustly treated by him, in such accusations no examination shall be made, either of the person or of the religion of the accuser; for it is by all means necessary that the conscience of the Bishop should be free, and that he who says he has been wronged should meet with righteous judgment, of whatever religion he may be. But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against orthodox bishops. And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them]. Moreover, if there be any who have been condemned for faults and cast out of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the laity, neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the bishop, until they have cleared away the charge against themselves. In like manner, persons who are under previous accusations are not to be permitted to bring charges against a bishop or any other clergyman, until they shall have proved their own innocence of the accusation brought against them. But if any, being neither heretics, nor excommunicate, nor condemned, nor under previous accusation for alleged faults, should declare that they have any ecclesiastical charge against the bishop, the Holy Synod bids them first lay their charges before all the Bishops of the Province, and before them prove the accusations, whatsoever they may be, which they have brought against the bishop. And if the comprovincials should be unable rightly to settle the charges brought against the bishop, then the parties must betake themselves to a greater synod of the bishops of that diocese called together for this purpose; and they shall not produce their allegations before they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penalty to be exacted from themselves, if, in the course of the examination, they shall be proved to have slandered the accused bishop. And if anyone, despising what has been decreed concerning these things, shall presume to annoy the ears of the Emperor, or the courts of temporal judges, or, to the dishonour of all the Bishops of his Province, shall trouble an Ecumenical Synod, such an one shall by no means be admitted as an accuser; forasmuch as he has cast contempt upon the Canons, and brought reproach upon the order of the Church.


Ancient Epitome of Canon VI.

Even one that is of ill repute, if he have suffered any injury, let him bring a charge against the bishop. If however it be a crime of ecclesiastical matters let him not speak. Nor shall another condemned before, speak. Let not one excommunicated, or cast forth, or charged with any crimes speak, until he is cleared of them. But those who should bring the charge are the orthodox, who are communicants, uncondemned, unaccused. Let the case be heard by the provincials. If however they are not able to decide the case, let them have recourse to a greater synod and let them not be heard, without a written declaration of liability to the same sufferings [i.e. of their readiness to be tried by the lex talionis.] But should anyone contrary to the provisions appeal to the Emperor and trouble him, let such be cast forth.

The phrase "who have the administration of the Churches," Hatch in his Bampton Lectures (Lect. I., p. 41) erroneously supposes to refer only to the administration of the Church's alms. But this, as Dr. Bright well points out ("Notes on the Canons," in loc.) cannot be the meaning of oikonamein when used absolutely as in this canon. He says, "When a merely `economic' function is intended, the context shows it, as in Chalcedon, Canon xxvi." He also points out that in Canon ii., and in Eusebius (H. E. iv., 4), and when St. Basil wishes his brother to oikonomein a church suited to his temperament (Epist. xcviii., 2) the meaning of the word is evidently spiritual stewardship.


By "those who were cast out of the Church" are to be understood those who were altogether cut off from the Church; but by those who were "excommunicated" the holy fathers intend all those, whether clerics or laymen, who are deprived of communion for a set time.

Van Espen.

It is evident from the context of this canon that "Diocese" here does not signify the district or territory assigned to any one bishop, as we to-day use the word; but for a district, which not only contained many episcopal districts, as today do ecclesiastical provinces, but which contained also many provinces, and this was the meaning of the word at the time of this Council's session.


We call Adrianople, for example, or Philopopolis with the bishops of each a "Province," but the whole of Thrace or Macedonia we call a "Diocese." When these crimes were brought forward to be corrected, for the judging of which the provincial bishops were by no means sufficient, then the Canon orders the bishops of the diocese to assemble, and determine the charges preferred against the bishop.

Van Espen.

Both the Canon and the Civil Law require the accusers to submit themselves to the law of retaliation (lex talionis). Vide Gratian, Pt. II., Causa II., Quæst. III., 2 and 3, where we read from the decree of Pope Hadrian; "Whoever shall not prove what he advances, shall himself suffer the penalty due the crime he charged." And under the name of Damasus, "The calumniator, if he fail in proving his accusation, shall receive his tale." The Civil Law is in L. x., Cod. de Calumniatoribus, and reads, "Whoso charges a crime, shall not have licence to lie with impunity, since justice requires that calumniators shall endure the punishment due the crime which they failed to prove."

The Council wishes that all accusations of bishops for ecclesiastical offences shall be kept out of the secular courts, and shall be heard by synods of bishops, in the manner and form here prescribed, which is in accordance with the Constitution which under the names of Valens, Gratian, and Valentinian, the Emperors, is referred to in law xxiii. of the Code of Theodosius, De Episcopis et Clericis.

Whatever may be said of the meeting of bishops at which this canon was enacted, this is clear, no mention was made of the Roman Pontiff, nor of the Council of Sardica, as Fleury notes in his Histoire Ecclesiastique, Lib. xviii., n. 8. From this it is evident either that at that time the Orientals did not admit, especially for bishops, appeals to the Roman Pontiff; nor did they accept the authority of the Synod of Sardica, in so far as it permitted that the sentence given in a provincial synod, should be reopened by the neighbouring bishops together with the bishops of the province, and if it seemed good, that the cause might be referred to Rome.

Warning to the Reader Touching Canon VII.

(Beveridge, Synodicon, Tom. II., in loc.)

This canon, I confess, is contained in all the editions of the Commentaries of Balsamon and Zonaras. It is cited also by Photius in Nomocanon, Tit. xii. ch. xiv., besides it is extant in a contracted form in the Epitome of Alexius Aristenus. But it is wanting in all the Latin versions of the Canons, in the ancient translations of Dionys. Exig., Isidore Mercator, etc.; also in the Epitome of Sym. Logothet., and the Arabic paraphrase of Josephus Ægyp., and what is particularly to be observed, in the collection and nomocanon of John of Antioch; and this not through want of attention on his part, as is clear from this namely, that in the order of the Canons as given by him he attributes six Canons only to this second General Council, saying "...of the Fathers who assembled at Constantinople, by whom six Canons were set forth," so that it is clear the present was not reckoned among the canons of this council in those days. Nay, the whole composition of this canon clearly indicates that it is to be ascribed, neither to this present council, nor to any other (unless perhaps to that of Trullo, of which we shall speak afterwards). For nothing is appointed in it, nothing confirmed, but a certain ancient custom of receiving converted heretics, is here merely recited.

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 368.)

As we possess a letter from the Church at Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century to Bishop Martyrius of Antioch, in which the same subject is referred to in a precisely similar way, Beveridge is probably right in conjecturing that the canon was only an extract from this letter to Martyrius; therefore in no way a decree of the second General Council, nor even of the Synod of 382, but at least eighty years later than the latter. This canon, with an addition, was afterwards adopted by the Quinisext Synod as its ninety-fifth, without, however, giving its origin.

Canon VII.

Those who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God. Thereupon, they are first sealed or anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we say, "The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost." But Eunomians, who are baptized with only one immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son, and do sundry other mischievous things, and [the partisans of] all other heresies--for there are many such here, particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians:--all these, when they desire to turn to orthodoxy, we receive as heathen. On the first day we make them Christians; on the second, catechumens; on the third, we exorcise them by breathing thrice in their face and ears; and thus we instruct them and oblige them to spend some time in the Church, and to hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.


Ancient Epitome of Canon VII. [233]

Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, and Apollinarians ought to be received with their books and anointed in all their organs of sense.

Ancient Epitome of Canon VIII.

Eunomians baptized with one immersion, Sabellians, and Phrygians are to be received as heathen.

Aristemus (inCan. vii.).

Those giving up their books and execrating every heresy are received with only anointing with chrism of the eyes, the nostrils, the ears, the mouth, and the brow; and signing them with the words, "The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost."

For the "Cathari," see Notes on Canon viii. of I. Nice.


Sabbatians. Sabbatius was a presbyter who adopted the sentiments of Novatius, but as it is clear from the histories of Socrates and Sozomen, that he did not do so till at least eight years after the celebration of this council, it is of course equally clear that this canon could not have been framed by this council.

Aristeri. This is probably a false reading for Aristi, i.e. the best. In the letter above mentioned the expression is Cathari and Catheroteri, i.e. the pure, and the more pure.

The Quarto-decimans, or Tetradites, were those persons who persisted in observing the Easter festival with the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the first month, whatever day of the week it happened to be.

Montanists. One of the older sects, so called from Montanus, who embraced Christianity in the second century. He professed to be inspired in a peculiar way by the Holy Ghost, and to prophesy. He was supported in his errors by two women, Priscilla and Maximilla, who also pretended to prophesy. His heresy infected many persons, amongst others Tertullian, but being condemned by the Church. his followers formed a sect remarkable for extreme austerity. But although they asserted that the Holy Ghost had inspired Montanus to introduce a system of greater perfection than the Church had before known, and condemned those who would not join them as carnal, they did not at first innovate in any of the articles of the Creed. This sect lasted a long time, and spread much in Phrygia and the neighbouring districts, whence they were called Phryges and Cata-phryges, and latterly adopted the errors of Sabellius respecting the Trinity.

The other heresies mentioned in this canon have been treated of in the excursus to Canon j.


[233] This canon is broken into two by the Ancient Epitome.


Excursus on the Authority of the Second Ecumenical Council.

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., pp. 370, et seqq.)

Lastly, to turn to the question of the authority of this Council, it appears, first of all, that immediately after its close, in the same year, 381, several of its acts were censured by a Council of Latins, namely, the prolongation of the Meletian schism (by the elevation of Flavian), and the choice of Nectarius as Bishop of Constantinople, while, as is known, the Westerns held (the Cynic) Maximus to be the rightful bishop of that city.

In consequence of this, the new Synod assembled in the following year, 382, at Constantinople, sent the Latins a copy of the decrees of faith composed the year before, expressly calling this Synod oikoumenike and at the same time seeking to justify it in those points which had been censured. Photius [234] maintains that soon afterwards Pope Damasus confirmed this synod; but, as the following will show, this confirmation could only have referred to the creed and not to the canons. As late as about the middle of the fifth century, Pope Leo I. spoke in a very depreciatory manner of these canons, especially of the third, which concerned the ecclesiastical rank of Constantinople, remarking that it was never sent to the See of Rome. Still later, Gregory the Great wrote in the same sense: Romana autem Ecclesia eosdam canones vel gesta Synodi illius hactenus non habet, nec accepit; in hoc autem eam accepit, quod est per eam contra Macedonium definitum. [235]

Thus, as late as the year 600, only the creed, but not the canons of the Synod of Constantinople were accepted at Rome; but on account of its creed, Gregory the Great reckons it as one of the four Ecumenical Councils, which he compares to the four Gospels. So also before him the popes Vigilius and Pelagius II, reckoned this Synod among the Ecumenical Councils.

The question is, from what date the Council of Constantinople was considered ecumenical by the Latins as well as by the Greeks. We will begin with the latter. Although as we have seen, the Synod of 382 had already designated this council as ecumenical, yet it could not for a long time obtain an equal rank with the Council of Nicæa, for which reason the General Council of Ephesus mentions that of Nicæa and its creed with the greatest respect, but is totally silent as to this Synod. Soon afterwards, the so-called Robber-Synod in 449, spoke of two (General) Councils, at Nicæa and Ephesus, and designated the latter as he deutera sunodos, as a plain token that it did not ascribe such a high rank to the assembly at Constantinople. It might perhaps be objected that only the Monophysites, who notoriously ruled the Robber-Synod, used this language; but the most determined opponent of the Monophysites, their accuser, Bishop Eusebius of Dorylæum, in like manner also brought forward only the two Synods of Nicæa and Ephesus, and declared that "he held to the faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers assembled at Nicæa, and to all that was done at the great and Holy Synod at Ephesus."

The Creed of Constantinople appears for the first time to have been highly honoured at the fourth General Council, which had it recited after that of Nicæa, and thus solemnly approved it. Since then this Synod has been universally honoured as ecumenical by the Greeks, and was mentioned by the Emperor Justinian with the Councils of Nicæa, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, as of equal rank. [236]

But in the West, and especially in Rome, however satisfied people were with the decree of faith enacted by this Synod, and its completion of the creed, yet its third canon, respecting the rank of Constantinople, for a long time proved a hindrance to its acknowledgment. This was especially shown at the Council of Chalcedon, and during the time immediately following. When at that Council the creed of Constantinople was praised, repeated, and confirmed the Papal Legates fully concurred; but when the Council also renewed and confirmed the third canon of Constantinople, the Legates left the assembly, lodged a protest against it on the following day, and declared that the rules of the hundred and fifty bishops at Constantinople were never inserted among the Synodal canons (which were recognised at Rome). The same was mentioned by Pope Leo himself, who, immediately after the close of the Council of Chalcedon wrote to Bishop Anatolius of Constantinople: "that document of certain bishops (i.e. the third canon of Constantinople) was never brought by your predecessors to the knowledge of the Apostolic See." [237]Leo also, in his 105th letter to the Empress Pulcheria, speaks just as depreciatingly of this Council of Constantinople; and Quesnel is entirely wrong in maintaining that the Papal Legates at the Synod of Chalcedon at first practically acknowledged the validity of the third canon of Constantinople. Bishop Eusebius of Dorylæum was equally mistaken in maintaining at Chalcedon itself, that the third canon had been sanctioned by the Pope; and we shall have occasion further on, in the history of the Council of Chalcedon, to show the untenable character of both statements.

Pope Felix III. took the same view as Pope Leo, when, in his letter to the monks at Constantinople and Bithynia in 485, he only spoke of three General Councils at Nicæa, Ephesus, and Chalcedon; neither did his successor Gelasius (492-496) in his genuine decree, De libris recipiendis, mention this Synod. It may certainly be said, on the other hand, that in the sixth century its ecumenical character had come to be most distinctly acknowledged in the Latin Church also, and, as we have seen above, had been expressly affirmed by the Popes Vigilius, Pelagius II., and Gregory the Great. But this acknowledgment, even when it is not expressly stated, only referred to the decrees on faith of the Council of Constantinople, and not to its canons, as we have already observed in reference to the third and sixth of them.


[234] Photius, De Synodis, p. 1143, ed. Justelli. [235] Greg., Epist., Lib. I., 25. [236] In his edict against the Three Chapters. [237] Leo, Epist. cvi. n., ed. Ballerini, t. i., p. 1165.


Council of Constantinople.

a.d. 382.

The Synodical Letter. [238]

To the right honourable lords our right reverend brethren and colleagues, Damasus, Ambrosius, Britton, Valerianus, Ascholius, Anemius, Basilius and the rest of the holy bishops assembled in the great city of Rome, the holy synod of the orthodox bishops assembled at the great city of Constantinople sends greeting in the Lord.

To recount all the sufferings inflicted on us by the power of the Arians, and to attempt to give information to your reverences, as though you were not already well acquainted with them, might seem superfluous. For we do not suppose your piety to hold what is befalling us as of such secondary importance as that you stand in any need of information on matters which cannot but evoke your sympathy. Nor indeed were the storms which beset us such as to escape notice from their insignificance. Our persecutions are but of yesterday. The sound of them still rings in the ears alike of those who suffered them and of those whose love made the sufferers' pain their own. It was but a day or two ago, so to speak, that some released from chains in foreign lands returned to their own churches through manifold afflictions; of others who had died in exile the relics were brought home; others again, even after their return from exile, found the passion of the heretics still at the boiling heat, and, slain by them with stones as was the blessed Stephen, met with a sadder fate in their own than in a stranger's land. Others, worn away with various cruelties, still bear in their bodies the scars of their wounds and the marks of Christ. Who could tell the tale of fines, of disfranchisements, of individual confiscations, of intrigues, of outrages, of prisons? In truth all kinds of tribulation were wrought out beyond number in us, perhaps because we were paying the penalty of sins, perhaps because the merciful God was trying us by means of the multitude of our sufferings. For these all thanks to God, who by means of such afflictions trained his servants and, according to the multitude of his mercies, brought us again to refreshment. We indeed needed long leisure, time, and toil to restore the church once more, that so, like physicians healing the body after long sickness and expelling its disease by gradual treatment, we might bring her back to her ancient health of true religion. It is true that on the whole we seem to have been delivered from the violence of our persecutions and to be just now recovering the churches which have for a long time been the prey of the heretics. But wolves are troublesome to us who, though they have been driven from the fold, yet harry the flock up and down the glades, daring to hold rival assemblies, stirring seditious among the people, and shrinking from nothing which can do damage to the churches. So, as we have already said, we needs must labour all the longer. Since, however, you showed your brotherly love to us by inviting us (as though we were your own members) by the letters of our most religious emperor to the synod which you are gathering by divine permission at Rome, to the end that since we alone were then condemned to suffer persecution, you should not now, when our emperors are at one with us as to true religion, reign apart from us, but that we, to use the Apostle's phrase, should reign with you, our prayer was, if it were possible, all in company to leave our churches, and rather gratify our longing to see you than consult their needs. For who will give us wings as of a dove, and we will fly and be at rest? But this course seemed likely to leave the churches who were just recovering quite undefended, and the undertaking was to most of us impossible, for, in accordance witch the letters sent a year ago from your holiness after the synod at Aquileia to the most pious emperor Theodosius, we had journeyed to Constantinople, equipped only for travelling so far as Constantinople, and bringing the consent of the bishops remaining in the provinces of this synod alone. We had been in no expectation of any longer journey nor had heard a word about it, before our arrival at Constantinople. In addition to all this, and on account of the narrow limits of the appointed time which allowed of no preparation for a longer journey, nor of communicating with the bishops of our communion in the provinces and of obtaining their consent, the journey to Rome was for the majority impossible. We have therefore adopted the next best course open to us under the circumstances, both for the better administration of the church, and for manifesting our love towards you, by strongly urging our most venerated, and honoured colleagues and brother bishops Cyriacus, Eusebius and Priscianus, to consent to travel to you.

Through them we wish to make it plain that our disposition is all for peace with unity for its sole object, and that we are full of zeal for the right faith. For we, whether we suffered persecutions, or afflictions, or the threats of emperors, or the cruelties of princes, or any other trial at the hands of heretics, have undergone all for the sake of the evangelic faith, ratified by the three hundred and eighteen fathers at Nicæa in Bithynia. This is the faith which ought to be sufficient for you, for us, for all who wrest not the word of the true faith; for it is the ancient faith; it is the faith of our baptism; it is the faith that teaches us to believe in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. According to this faith there is one Godhead, Power and Substance of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; the dignity being equal, and the majesty being equal in three perfect hypostases, i.e. three perfect persons. Thus there is no room for the heresy of Sabellius by the confusion of the hypostases, i.e. the destruction of the personalities; thus the blasphemy of the Eunomians, of the Arians, and of the Pneumatomachi is nullified, which divides the substance, the nature, and the godhead, and super-induces on the uncreated consubstantial and co-eternal Trinity a nature posterior, created and of a different substance. We moreover preserve unperverted the doctrine of the incarnation of the Lord, holding the tradition that the dispensation of the flesh is neither soulless nor mindless nor imperfect; and knowing full well that God's Word was perfect before the ages, and became perfect man in the last days for our salvation.

Let this suffice for a summary of the doctrine which is fearlessly and frankly preached by us, and concerning which you will be able to be still further satisfied if you will deign to read the tome of the synod of Antioch, and also that tome issued last year by the Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople, in which we have set forth our confession of the faith at greater length, and have appended an anathema against the heresies which innovators have recently inscribed.

Now as to the particular administration of individual churches, an ancient custom, as you know, has obtained, confirmed by the enactment of the holy fathers of Nicæa, that in every province, the bishops of the province, and, with their consent, the neighbouring bishops with them, should perform ordinations as expediency may require. In conforming with these customs note that other churches have been administered by us and the priests of the most famous churches publicly appointed. Accordingly over the new made (if the expression be allowable) church at Constantinople, which, as through from a lion's mouth, we have lately snatched by God's mercy from the blasphemy of the heretics, we have ordained bishop the right reverend and most religious Nectarius, in the presence of the Ecumenical Council, with common consent, before the most religious emperor Theodosius, and with the assent of all the clergy and of the whole city. And over the most ancient and truly apostolic church in Syria, where first the noble name of Christians was given them, the bishops of the province and of the eastern diocese have met together and canonically ordained bishop the right reverend and most religious Flavianus, with the consent of all the church, who as though with one voice joined in expressing their respect for him. This rightful ordination also received the sanction of the General Council. Of the church at Jerusalem, mother of all the churches, we make known that the right reverend and most religious Cyril is bishop, who was some time ago canonically ordained by the bishops of the province, and has in several places fought a good fight against the Arians. We beseech your reverence to rejoice at what has thus been rightly and canonically settled by us, by the intervention of spiritual love and by the influence of the fear of the Lord, compelling the feelings of men, and making the edification of churches of more importance than individual grace or favour. Thus since among us there is agreement in the faith and Christian charity has been established, we shall cease to use the phrase condemned by the apostles, I am of Paul and I of Apollos and I of Cephas, and all appearing as Christ's, who in us is not divided, by God's grace we will keep the body of the church unrent, and will boldly stand at the judgment seat of the Lord.


[238] Found in Theod., H. E. v. 9. The reader is warned against inaccurate translations of the dogmatic portions.

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