(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was
not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors. If you
find errors or omissions in the text, please notify email@example.com.)
Transliteration of Greek words: All phonetical except: w = omega; h serves
three puposes: 1. = Eta; 2. = rough breathing, when appearing initially
before a vowel; 3. = in the aspirated letters theta = th, phi = ph, chi =
ch. Accents are given immediately after their corresponding vowels: acute =
' , grave = `, circumflex = ^. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe,
THE FOURTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.
THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
A.D. 451; Emperors--Marcian and Pulcheria (in the East), Valentinian III
(in the West); Pope--Leo I.
Extracts from the Acts, Session I. Session II; The Letter of Cyril to John
of Antioch; Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued; The Tome of St.
Leo; Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued; Session III; The
Sentence of Condemnation of Dioscorus; Session IV. Session V; The
Definition of Faith of the Council; Session VI; Decree on the Jurisdiction
of Jerusalem and Antioch; Session VII; Decree with regard to Bp. of
Ephesus; Session XII; Decree with regard to Nicomedia; Session XIII; The
Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes; Extracts from the Acts, Session
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See,
stood up in the midst with his most reverend colleagues and said: We
received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop
of the Roman city, which is the head of all the churches, which directions
say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed a seat in this assembly, but that
if he should attempt to take his seat he is to be cast out. This
instruction we must carry out; if now your holiness so commands let him be
expelled or else we leave. (1)
The most glorious judges and the full senate said: What special charge
do you prefer against the most reverend bishop Dioscorus?
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See,
said: Since he has come, it is necessary that objection be made to him.
The most glorious judges and the whole senate said: In accordance with
what has been said, let the charge under which he lies, be specifically
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop having the place of the Apostolic
See, said: Let him give a reason for his judgment. For he undertook to give
sentence against one over whom he had no jurisdiction. And he dared to hold
a synod without the authority of the Apostolic See, a thing which had never
taken place nor can take place. (2)
Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, holding the place of the
Apostolic See, said: We cannot go counter to the decrees of the most
blessed and apostolic bishop ["Pope" for "bishop" in the Latin], who
governs the Apostolic See, nor against the ecclesiastical canons nor the
The most glorious judges and the full senate, said: It is proper that
you should set forth specifically in what he hath gone astray.
Lucentius, the venerable bishop and holding the place of the Apostolic
See, said: We will not suffer so great a wrong to be done us and you, as
that he who is come to be judged should sit down [as one to give judgment].
The glorious judges and the whole senate said: If you hold the office
of judge, you ought not to defend yourself as if you were to be judged.
And when Dioscorus the most religious bishop of Alexandria at the
bidding of the most glorious judges and of the sacred assembly (th^s
hiera^s sugklh'tou(3)) had sat down in the midst, and the most reverend
Roman bishops also had sat down in their proper places, and kept silence,
Eusebius, the most reverend bishop of the city of Dorylaeum, stepping into
the midst, said:
[He then presented a petition, and the Acts of the Latrocinium were
read. Also the Acts of the council of Constantinople under Flavian against
Eutyches (col. 175).]
And when they were read, the most glorious judges and immense assembly
(huperphuh`s su'gklhtos) said: What do the most reverend bishops of the
present holy synod say? When he thus expounded the faith did Flavian, of
holy memory, preserve, the orthodox and catholic religion, or did he in any
respect err concerning it?
Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, representing the Apostolic See,
said; Flavian of blessed memory hath most holily and perfectly expounded
the faith. His faith and exposition agrees with the epistle of the most
blessed and apostolic man, the bishop of Rome.
Anatolius the most reverend archbishop of Constantinople said; The
blessed Flavian hath beautifully and orthodoxly set forth the faith of our
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop, and legate of the Apostolic See,
said; Since the faith of Flavian of blessed memory agrees with the
Apostolic See and the tradition of the fathers it is just that the sentence
by which he was condemned by the heretics should be turned back upon them
by this most holy synod.
Maximus the most reverend bishop of Antioch in Syria, said: Archbishop
Flavian of blessed memory hath set forth the faith orthodoxly and in
accordance with the most beloved-of-God and most holy Archbishop Leo. And
this we all receive with zeal.
Thalassius, the most reverend bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia said;
Flavian of blessed memory hath spoken in accordance with Cyril of blessed
[And so, one after another, the bishops expressed their opinions. The
reading of the acts of the Council of Constantinople was then continued.]
And at this point of the reading, Dioscorus, the most reverend
Archbishop of Alexandria said, I receive "the of two;" "the two" I do not
receive (to` ek du'o de'chomai: to` du'o, ou de'chomai). I am forced to be
impudent, but the matter is one which touches my soul.
[After a few remarks the reading was continued and the rest of the acts
of the Latrocinium of Ephesus completed. The judges then postponed to the
morrow the setting forth a decree on the faith but intimated that Dioscorus
and his associates should suffer the punishment to which they unjustly
sentenced Flavian. This met with the approval of all the bishops except
those of Illyrica who said: "We all have erred, let us all be pardoned."]
The most glorious judges and the whole senate said; Let each one of the
most reverend bishops of the present synod, hasten to set forth how he
believes, writing without any fear, but placing the fear of God before his
eyes; knowing that our most divine and pious lord believes according to the
ecthesis of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers at Nice, and
according to the ecthesis of the one hundred and fifty after them, and
according to the Canonical epistles and ectheses of the holy fathers
Gregory, Basil, Athanasius, Hilary, Ambrose, and according to the two
canonical epistles of Cyril, which were confirmed and published in the
first Council of Ephesus, nor does he in any point depart from the faith of
the same. For the most reverend archbishop of Old Rome, Leo, appears to
have sent a letter to Flavian of blessed memory, with reference to
Eutyches's unbelieving doubt which was springing up against the Catholic
End of the first Actio.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
When all were seated before the rails of the most holy altar, the most
superb and glorious judges and the great (huperphuh`s) senate said; At a
former meeting the question was examined of the condemnation of the most
reverend bishop Flavian of blessed memory and Eusebius, and it was patent
to you all with what justice and accuracy the examination was conducted:
and it was proved that they had been cruelly and improperly condemned. What
course we should pursue in this matter became clear after your
deliberations. Now however the question to be enquired into, studied, and
decided, is how the true faith is to be established, which is the chief end
for which this Council has been assembled. As we know that ye are to render
to God a strict account not only for your own souls in particular, but as
well for the souls of all of us who desire rightly to be taught all things
that pertain to religion, and that all ambiguity be taken away, by the
agreement and consent of all the holy fathers, and by their united
exposition and doctrine; hasten therefore without any fear of pleasing or
displeasing, to set forth (ekthe'sthai) the pure faith, so that they who do
not seem to believe with all the rest, may be brought to unity through the
acknowledging of the truth. For we wish you to know that the most divine
and pious lord of the whole world and ourselves hold the orthodox faith set
forth by the 318 and by the 150 holy fathers, and what also has been taught
by the rest of the most holy and glorious fathers, and in accordance with
this is our belief.
The most reverend bishops cried; Any other setting forth (e'kthesin
a'llhn) no one makes, neither will we attempt it, neither will we dare to
set forth [anything new] (ekthesthai). For the fathers taught, and in their
writings are preserved, what things were set forth by them, and further
than this we can say nothing.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol said: The matters
concerning Eutyches have been examined, and the most holy archbishop of
Rome has given a form (tu'pon) which we follow and to his letter we all [i.
e. those in his neighbourhood] have subscribed.
The most reverend bishops cried: These are the opinions of all of us.
The expositions (ektethe'nta) already made are quite sufficient: it is not
lawful to make any other.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, If it pleases your
reverence, let the most holy patriarch of each province, choosing one or
two of his own province and going into the midst, and together considering
the faith, make known to all what is agreed upon. So that if, as we desire,
all be of one mind, all ambiguity may be removed: But if some entertain
contrary opinions (which we do not believe to be the case) we may know what
their opinions are.
The most reverend bishops cried out, we make no new exposition in
writing. This is the law, [i. e. of the Third Synod] which teaches that
what has been set forth is sufficient. The law wills that no other
exposition should be made. Let the sayings of the Fathers remain fast.
Florentius, the most reverend bishop of Sardis, said, since it is not
possible for those who follow the teaching of the holy Synod of Nice, which
was confirmed rightly and piously at Ephesus, to draw up suddenly a
declaration of faith in accordance with the faith of the holy fathers Cyril
and Celestine, and of the letter of the most holy Leo, we therefore pray
your magnificence to give us thee, so that we may be able to arrive at the
truth of the matter with a fitting document, although so far as we are
concerned, who have subscribed the letter of the most holy Leo, nothing
further is needed.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said, The faith has
been well defined by the 318 holy fathers and confirmed by the holy fathers
Athanasius, Cyril, Celestine, Hilary, Basil, Gregory, and now once again by
the most holy Leo: and we pray that those things which were decreed by the
318 holy fathers, and by the most holy Leo be read.
The most glorious judges and great Senate said: Let there be read the
expositions (ektethe'nta) of the 318 fathers gathered together at Nice.
Eunomius, the most reverend bishop of Nicomedia read from a book [the
Exposition of faith of the 318 fathers. (1)]
The Exposition of faith of the Council held at Nice.
"In the consulate of Paul and Julian" etc.
"We believe in one God," etc.
"But those who say," etc.
The most reverend bishops cried out; This is the orthodox faith; this
we all believe: into this we were baptized; into this we baptize: Blessed
Cyril so taught: tiffs is the true faith: this is the holy faith: this is
the everlasting faith: into this we were baptized: into this we baptize: we
all so believe: so believes Leo, the Pope (ho pa'pas): Cyril thus believed:
Pope Leo so interpreted it.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let there be read what
was set forth by the 150 holy fathers.
Aetius, the reverend deacon of Constantinople read from a book [the
creed of the 150 fathers. (2)]
The holy faith which the 150 fathers set forth as consonant to the holy and
great Synod of Nice.
"We believe in one God," etc.
All the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of all of
us: we all so believe.
The reverend archdeacon Aetius said, There remains the letter of Cyril
of holy and blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city Alexandria,
which he wrote to Nestorius, which was approved by all the most holy
bishops assembled in the first Council at Ephesus, called to condemn the
same Nestorius, and which was confirmed by the subscription of all. There
is also another letter of the same Cyril, of blessed memory, which he wrote
to John, of blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city of Antioch,
which likewise was confirmed. If it be so ordered, I shall read these.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let the letters of
Cyril of blessed memory be read.
Aetius, the Archdeacon of the imperial city Constantinople read.
To the most reverend and most religious fellow-priest Nestorius, Cyril
sends greeting in the Lord.
[Kataphluarou^si mh`n k. t. l. Lat. Obloquuntur quidem, etc. This
letter is found among the acts of the Council of Ephesus.]
Likewise the same Archdeacon Aetius read [the letter of the same holy
Cyril of blessed memory to John of Antioch, on the peace].
[This letter begins, Euphraine'thwsan hoi ouranoi` k. t. l.; and in the
Latin Laetentur caeli.]
THE LETTER OF CYRIL TO JOHN OF ANTIOCH. (Often styled "the Ephesine
Cyril to my lord, beloved brother, and fellow minister John, greeting
in the Lord.
"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" for the middle
wall of partition has been taken away, and grief has been silenced, and all
kind of difference of opinion has been removed; Christ the Saviour of us
all having awarded peace to his churches, through our being called to this
by our most devout and beloved of God kings, who are the best imitators of
the piety of their ancestors in keeping the right faith in their souls firm
and immovable, for they chiefly give their mind to the affairs of the holy
Churches, in order that they may have the noted glory forever and show
forth their most renowned kingdom, to whom also Christ himself the Lord of
powers distributes good things with plenteous hand and gives to prevail
over their enemies and grants them victory. For he does not lie in saying:
"As I live saith the Lord, them that honour me, I will honour." For when my
lord, my most-beloved-of-God, fellow-minister and brother Paul, had arrived
in Alexandria, we were filled with gladness, and most naturally at the
coming of such a man as a mediator, who was ready to work beyond measure
that he might overcome the envy of the devil and heal our divisions, and
who by removing the offences scattered between us, would crown your Church
and ours with harmony and peace.
Of the reason of the disagreement it is superfluous to speak. I deem
it more useful both to think and speak of things suitable to the time of
peace. We were therefore delighted at meeting with that distinguished and
most pious man, who expected perhaps to have no small struggle, persuading
us that it is necessary to form a an alliance for the peace of the Church,
and to drive away the laughter of the heterodox, and for this end to blunt
the goads of the stubbornness of the devil. He found us ready for this, so
as absolutely to need no labour to be bestowed upon us. For we remembered
the Saviour's saying; "My peace I give unto you, my peace I leave with
you." We have been taught also to say in prayers: "O Lord our God give us
peace, for thou hast given us all things." So that if anyone should be in
the participation of the peace furnished from God, he is not lacking in any
good. That as a matter of fact, the disagreement of the Churches happened
altogether unnecessarily and in-opportunely, we now have been fully
satisfied by the document brought by my lord, the most pious bishop Paul,
which contains an unimpeachable confession of faith, and this he asserted
to have been prepared, by your holiness and by the God-beloved Bishops
there. The document is as follows, and is set down verbatim in this our
Concerning the Virgin Mother of God, we thus think and speak; and of
the man-net of the Incarnation of the Only Begotten Son of God,
necessarily, not by way of addition but for the sake of certainty, as we
have received from the beginning from the divine Scriptures and from the
tradition of the holy fathers, we will speak briefly, adding nothing
whatever to the Faith set forth by the holy Fathers in Nice. For, as we
said before, it suffices for all knowledge of piety and the refutation of
all false doctrine of heretics. But we speak, not presuming on the
impossible; but with the confession of our own weakness, excluding those
who wish us to cling to those things which transcend human consideration.
We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of
God, perfect God, and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and flesh
consisting; begotten before the ages of the Father according to his
Divinity, and in the last days, for us and for our salvation, of Mary the
Virgin according to his humanity, of the same substance with his Father
according to his Divinity, and of the same substance with us according to
his humanity; for there became a union of two natures. Wherefore we confess
one Christ, one Son, one Lord.
According to this understanding of this unmixed union, we confess the
holy Virgin to be Mother of God; because God the Word was incarnate and
became Man, and from this conception he united the temple taken from her
For we know the theologians make some things of the Evangelical and
Apostolic teaching about the Lord common as pertaining to the one person,
and other things they divide as to the two natures, and attribute the
worthy ones to God on account of the Divinity of Christ, and the lowly ones
on account of his humanity [to his humanity].
These being your holy voices, and finding ourselves thinking the same
with them ("One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,") we glorified God the
Saviour of all, congratulating one another that our churches and yours have
the Faith which agrees with the God-inspired Scriptures and the traditions
of our holy Fathers.
Since I learned that certain of those accustomed to find fault were
humming around like vicious wasps, and vomiting out wretched words against
me, as that I say the holy Body of Christ was brought from heaven, and not
of the holy Virgin, I thought it necessary to say a few words concerning
this to them:
O fools, and only knowing how to misrepresent, how have ye been led to
such a judgment, how have ye fallen into so foolish a sickness? For it is
necessary, it is undoubtedly necessary, to understand that almost all the
opposition to us concerning the faith, arose from our affirming that the
holy Virgin is Mother of God. But if from heaven and not from her the holy
Body of the Saviour of all was born, how then is she understood to be
Mother of God? What then did she bring forth except it be true that she
brought forth the Emmanuel according to the flesh? They are to be laughed
at who babble such things about me.
For the blessed prophet Isaiah does not lie in saying "Behold the
Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is God with us." Truly also the holy Gabriel said
to the Blessed Virgin: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with
God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son,
and shall call his name Jesus. He shall save his people from their sins."
For when we say our Lord Jesus Christ descended from heaven, and from
above, we do not so say this as if from above and from heaven was his Holy
Flesh taken, but rather by way of following the divine Paul, who distinctly
declares: "the first man is of the earth, earthy; the Second Man is the
Lord from heaven."
We remember too, the Saviour himself saying, "And no man hath ascended
up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man."
Although he was born according to his flesh, as just said, of the holy
Virgin, yet God the Word came down from above and from heaven. He "made
himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant," and was
called the Son of Man, yet remaining what he was, that is to say God. For
he is unchanging and unchangeable according to nature; considered already
as one with his own Flesh, he is said to have come down from heaven.
He is also called the Man from heaven, being perfect in his Divinity
and perfect in his Humanity, and considered as in one Person. For one is
the Lord Jesus Christ, although the difference of his natures is not
unknown, from which we say the ineffable union was made.
Will your holiness vouchsafe to silence those who say that a crasis, or
mingling or mixture took place between the Word of God and flesh. For it is
likely that certain also gossip about me as having thought or said such
But I am far from any such thought as that, and I also consider them
wholly to rave who think a shadow of change could occur concerning the
Nature of the Word of God. For he remains that which he always was, and has
not been changed, nor can he ever be changed, nor is he capable of change.
For we all confess in addition to this, that the Word of God is impassible,
even though when he dispenses most wisely this mystery, he appears to
ascribe to himself the sufferings endured in his own flesh. To the same
purpose the all-wise Peter also said when he wrote of Christ as having
"suffered in the flesh," and not in the nature of his ineffable godhead. In
order that he should be believed to be the Saviour of all, by an economic
appropriation to himself, as just said, he assumed the sufferings of his
Like to this is the prophecy through the voice of the prophet, as from
him, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off
the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Let your holiness be
convinced nor let anyone else be doubtful that we altogether follow the
teachings of the holy fathers, especially of our blessed and celebrated
Father Athanasius, deprecating the least departure from it.
I might have added many quotations from them also establishing my
words, but that it would have added to the length of my letter and it might
become wearisome. And we will allow the defined Faith, the symbol of the
Faith set forth by our holy Fathers who assembled some time ago at Nice, to
be shaken by no one. Nor would we permit ourselves or others, to alter a
single word of those set forth, or to add one syllable, remembering the
saying: "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set," for
it was not they who spoke but the Spirit himself of God and the Father, who
proceedeth also from him, and is not alien from the Son, according to his
essence. And this the words of the holy initiators into mysteries confirm
to us. For in the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "And after they were
come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit of Jesus
suffered them not." And the divine Paul wrote: "So then they that are in
the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the
Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have
not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
When some of those who are accustomed to turn from the right, twist my
speech to their views, I pray your holiness not to wonder; but be well
assured that the followers of every heresy gather the occasions of their
error from the God-inspired Scriptures, corrupting in their evil minds the
things rightly said through the Holy Spirit, and drawing down upon their
own heads the unquenchable flame.
Since we have leaned that certain, after having corrupted it, have set
forth the orthodox epistle of our most distinguished Father Athanasius to
the Blessed Epictetus, so as thereby to injure many; therefore it appeared
to the brethren to be useful and necessary that we should send to your
holiness a copy of it from some correct ancient transcripts which exist
among us. Farewell.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
SESSION II. (continued).
And when these letters [i.e. Cyril's letter to Nestorius Kataphluarou^si
and his letter to John of Antioch Euphraine'sthwsan] had been read, the most
reverend bishops cried out: We all so believe: Pope Leo thus believes:
anathema to him who divides and to him who confounds: this is the faith of
Archbishop Leo: Leo thus believes: Leo and Anatolius so believe: we all thus
believe. As Cyril so believe we, all of us: eternal be the memory of Cyril:
as the epistles of Cyril teach such is our mind, such has been our faith:
such is our faith: this is the mind of Archbishop Leo, so he believes, so he
The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Let there be read
also the epistle of the most worthy Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, the
Beronician, the most devout clerk of the sacred consistory, read from a
book handed him by Aetius, Archdeacon of the holy Church of Constantinople,
the encyclical or synodical letter of the most holy Leo, the Archbishop,
written to Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople.
THE TOME OF ST. LEO.
Leo [the bishop] to his [most] dear brother Flavian.
Having read your Affection's letter, the late arrival of which is
matter of surprise to us, and having gone through the record of the
proceedings of the bishops, we have now, at last, gained a clear view of
the scandal which has risen up among you, against the integrity of the
faith; and what at first seemed obscure has now been elucidated and
explained. By this means Eutyches, who seemed to be deserving of honour
under the title of Presbyter, is now shown to be exceedingly thoughtless
and sadly inexperienced, so that to him also we may apply the prophet's
words, "He refused to understand in order to act well: he meditated
unrighteousness on his bed." What, indeed, is more unrighteous than to
entertain ungodly thoughts, and not to yield to persons wiser and more
learned? But into this folly do they fall who, when hindered by some
obscurity from apprehending the truth, have recourse, not to the words of
the Prophets, not to the letters of the Apostles, nor to the authority of
the Gospels, but to themselves; and become teachers of error, just because
they have not been disciples of the truth. For what learning has he
received from the sacred pages of the New and the Old Testament, who does
not so much as understand the very beginning of the Creed? And that which,
all the world over, is uttered by the voices of all applicants for
regeneration, is still not grasped by the mind of this aged man. If, then,
he knew not what he ought to think about the Incarnation of the Word of
God, and was not willing, for the sake of obtaining the light of
intelligence, to make laborious search through the whole extent of the Holy
Scriptures, he should at least have received with heedful attention that
general Confession common to all, whereby the whole body of the faithful
profess that they "believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ
His only Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary."
By which three clauses the engines of almost all heretics are shattered.
For when God is believed to be both "Almighty" and "Father," it is proved
that the Son is everlasting together with himself, differing in nothing
from the Father, because he was born as "God from God," Almighty from
Almighty, Coeternal from Eternal; not later in time, not inferior in power,
not unlike him in glory, not divided from him in essence, but the same
Only-begotten and Everlasting Son of an Everlasting Parent was" born of the
Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." This birth in time in no way detracted
from, in no way added to, that divine and everlasting birth; but expended
itself wholly in the work of restoring man, who had been deceived; so that
it might both overcome death, and by its power "destroy the devil who had
the power of death." For we could not have overcome the author of sin and
of death, unless he who could neither be contaminated by sin, nor detained
by death, had taken upon himself our nature, and made it his own. For, in
fact, he was "conceived of the Holy Ghost" within the womb of a Virgin
Mother, who bore him as she had conceived him, without loss of virginity.
(2) But if he (Eutyches) was not able to obtain a true conception from this
pure fountain of Christian faith because by his own blindness he had
darkened for himself the brightness of a truth so clear, he should have
submitted himself to the Evangelist's teaching; and after reading what
Matthew says, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of
David, the Son of Abraham," he should also have sought instruction from the
Apostle's preaching; and after reading in the Epistle to the Romans, "Paul,
a servant of Jesus Christ, called an Apostle, separated unto the gospel of
God, which he had promised before by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
concerning his Son, who was made unto him of the seed of David according to
the flesh," he should have bestowed some devout study on the pages of the
Prophets; and finding that God's promise said to Abraham, "in thy seed
shall all nations be blessed," in order to avoid all doubt as to the proper
meaning of this "seed," he should have at-tended to the Apostle's words,
"To Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He saith not, 'and to
seeds,' as in the case of many, but as in the case of one, 'and to thy
seed,' which is Christ." He should also have apprehended with his inward
ear the declaration of Isaiah, "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a
Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted,
God with us;" and should have read with faith the words of the same
prophet, "Unto us a Child has been born, unto us a Son has been given,
whose power is on his shoulder; and they shall call his name Angel of great
counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, Strong God, Prince of Peace, Father of the
age to come." And he should not have spoken idly to the effect that the
Word was in such a sense made flesh, that the Christ who was brought forth
from the Virgin's womb had the form of a man, and had not a body really
derived from his Mother's body. Possibly his reason for thinking that our
Lord Jesus Christ was not of our nature was this--that the Angel who was
sent to the blessed and ever Virgin Mary said, "The Holy Ghost shall come
upon thee, and the power of rite Highest shall overshadow thee, and
therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called
the Son of God;" as if, because the Virgin's conception was caused by a
divine act, therefore the flesh of him whom she conceived was not of the
nature of her who conceived him. But we are not to understand that
"generation," peerlessly wonderful, and wonderfully peerless, in such a
sense as that the newness of the mode of production did away with the
proper character of the kind. For it was the Holy Ghost who gave fecundity
to the Virgin, but it was from a body that a real body was derived; and
"when Wisdom was building herself a house," the "Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us, that is, in that flesh which he assumed from a human being,
and which he animated with the spirit of rational life. Accordingly while
the distinctness of both natures and substances was preserved, and both met
in one Person, lowliness was assumed by majesty, weakness by power,
mortality by eternity; and, in order to pay the debt of our condition, the
inviolable nature was united to the passible, so that as the appropriate
remedy for our ills, one and the same "Mediator between God and man, the
Man Christ Jesus," might from one element be capable of dying and also from
the other be incapable. Therefore in the entire and perfect nature of very
man was born very God, whole in what was his, whole in what was ours. By
"ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us at the beginning and what he
assumed in order to restore; for of that which the deceiver brought in, and
man, thus deceived, admitted, there was not a trace in the Saviour; and the
fact that he took on himself a share in our infirmities did not make him a
par-taker in our transgressions. He assumed "the form of a servant" without
the defilement of sin, enriching what was human, not impairing what was
divine: because that "emptying of himself," whereby the Invisible made
himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things willed to be one
among mortals, was a stooping down in compassion, not a failure of power.
Accordingly, the same who, remaining in the form of God, made man, was made
man in the form of a servant. For each of the natures retains its proper
character without defect; and as the form of God does not take away the
form of a servant, so the form of a servant does not impair the form of
God. For since the devil was glorying in the fact that man, deceived by his
craft, was bereft of divine gifts and, being stripped of his endowment of
immortality, had come under the grievous sentence of death, and that he
himself, amid 'his miseries, had found a sort of consolation in having a
transgressor as his companion, and that God, according to the requirements
of the principle of justice, had changed his own resolution in regard to
man, whom he had created in so high a position of honour; there was need of
a dispensation of secret counsel, in order that the unchangeable God, whose
will could not be deprived of its own benignity, should fulfil by a more
secret mystery his original plan of loving kindness toward us, and that
man, who had been led into fault by the wicked subtlety of the devil,
should not perish contrary to God's purpose. Accordingly, the Son of God,
descending from his seat in heaven, and not departing from the glory of the
Father, enters this lower world, born after a new order, by a new mode of
birth. After a new order; because he who in his own sphere is invisible,
became visible in ours; He who could not be enclosed in space, willed to be
enclosed; continuing to be before times, he began to exist in time; the
Lord of the universe allowed his infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and
took upon him the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to
be passible Man and the immortal One to be subjected to the laws of death.
And born by a new mode of birth; because inviolate virginity, while
ignorant of concupiscence, supplied the matter of his flesh. What was
assumed from the Lord's mother was nature, not fault; nor does the
wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as born of a
Virgin's womb, imply that his nature is unlike ours. For the selfsame who
is very God, is also very man; and there is no illusion in this union,
while the lowliness of man and the loftiness of Godhead meet together. For
as "God" is not changed by the compassion [exhibited], so "Man" is not
consumed by the dignity [bestowed]. For each "form" does the acts which
belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing
what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the
flesh; the one of these shines out in miracles, the other succumbs' to
injuries. And as the Word does not withdraw from equality with the Father
in glory, so the flesh does not abandon the nature of our kind. For, as we
must often be saying, he is one and the same, truly Son of God, and truly
Son of Man. God, inasmuch as "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God." Man, inasmuch as "the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us." God, inasmuch as "all things were made by him,
and without him nothing was made." Man, inasmuch as he was "made of a
woman, made under the law." The nativity of the flesh is a manifestation of
human nature; the Virgin's child-bearing is an indication of Divine power.
The infancy of the Babe is exhibited by the humiliation of swaddling
clothes: the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of angels.
He whom Herod impiously designs to slay is like humanity in its beginnings;
but he whom the Magi rejoice to adore on their knees is Lord of all. Now
when he came to the baptism of John his forerunner, lest the fact that the
Godhead was covered with a veil of flesh should be concealed, the voice of
the Father spake in thunder from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I
am well pleased." Accordingly, he who, as man, is tempted by the devil's
subtlety, is the same to whom, as God, angels pay duteous service. To
hunger, to thirst, to be weary, and to sleep, is evidently human. But to
satisfy five thousand men with five loaves, and give to the Samaritan woman
that living water, to draw which can secure him that drinks of it from ever
thirsting again; to walk on the surface of the sea with feet that sink not,
and by rebuking the storm to bring down the "uplifted waves," is
unquestionably Divine. As then--to pass by many points --it does not belong
to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity over a dead friend and,
after the mass of stone had been removed from the grave where he had lain
four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life again; or to hang
on the wood, and to make all the elements tremble after daylight had been
turned into night; or to be transfixed with nails, and to open the gates of
paradise to the faith of the robber; so it does not belong to the same
nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is
greater than I." For although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one Person
of God and man, yet that whereby contumely attaches to both is one thing,
and that whereby glory attaches to both is another; for from what belongs
to us he has that manhood which is inferior to the Father; while from the
Father he has equal Godhead with the Father. Accordingly, on account of
this unity of Person which is to be understood as existing in both the
natures, we read, on the one hand, that "the Son of Man came down from
heaven," inasmuch as the Son of God took flesh from that Virgin of whom he
was born; and on the other hand, the Son of God is said to have been
crucified and buried, inasmuch as he underwent this, not in his actual
Godhead; wherein the Only-begotten is coeternal and consubstantial with the
Father, but in the weakness of human nature. Wherefore we all, in the very
Creed, confess that" the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and
buried," according to that saying of the Apostle, "for if they had known
it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Majesty." But when our Lord
and Saviour himself was by his questions instructing the faith of the
disciples, he said, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" And when
they had mentioned various opinions held by others, he said, "But whom say
ye that I am?" that is, "I who am Son of Man, and whom you see in the form
of a servant, and in reality of flesh, whom say ye that I am?" Whereupon
the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by
his confession, said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Not
undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived
from the original Rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and
to his name, who through revelation from the Father confessed the selfsame
to be both the Son of God and the Christ; because one of these truths,
accepted without the other, would not profit unto salvation, and it was
equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be merely God and not
man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of the Lord--
which was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other person was
raised again than he who had been crucified and had died--what else was
accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith
entire and clear of all darkness? For while he conversed with his
disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed himself to
be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the
influence of doubt, for this end he came in to the disciples when the doors
were shut, and by his breath gave them the Holy Ghost, and opened the
secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of
intelligence, and again in his selfsame person showed to them the wound in
the side, the prints of the nails, and all the flesh tokens of the Passion,
saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and
see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have:" that the
properties of the Divine and the human nature might be acknowledged to
remain in him without causing a division, and that we might in such sort
know that the Word is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the one Son
of God is both Word and flesh. On which mystery of the faith this Eutyches
must be regarded as unhappily having no hold, who does not recognise our
nature to exist in the Only-begotten Son of God, either by way of the
lowliness of mortality, or of the glory of resurrection. Nor has he been
overawed by the declaration of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist John,
saying, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the
flesh is of God; and every spirit which dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and
this is Antichrist." Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate the
human nature from him, and to make void by shameless inventions that
mystery by which alone we have been saved? Moreover, being in the dark as
to the nature of Christ's body, he must needs be involved in the like
senseless blindness with regard to his Passion also. For if he does not
think the Lord's crucifixion to be unreal, and does not doubt that he
really accepted suffering, even unto death, for the sake of the world's
salvation; as he believes in his death, let him acknowledge his flesh also,
and not doubt that he whom he recognises as having been capable of
suffering is also Man with a body like ours; since to deny his true flesh
is also to deny Iris bodily sufferings. If then he accepts the Christian
faith, and does not turn away his ear from the preaching of the Gospel, let
him see what nature it was that was transfixed with nails and hung on the
wood of the cross; and let him understand whence it was that, after the
side of the Crucified had been pierced by the soldier's spear, blood and
water flowed out, that the Church of God might be refreshed both with a
Laver and with a Cup. Let him listen also to the blessed Apostle Peter when
he declares, that "sanctification by the Spirit" takes place through the
"sprinkling of the blood of Christ," and let him not give a mere cursory
reading to the words of the same Apostle, "Knowing that ye were not
redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain way of
life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood
of Jesus Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot." Let him
also not resist the testimony of Blessed John the Apostle, "And the blood
of Jesus the Son of God cleanseth us from all sin." And again, "This is the
victory which overcometh the world, even our faith;" and, "who is he that
overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in water
only, but in water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness,
because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness--the
Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are one." That is, the
Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of
baptism; which three things are one, and remain undivided, and not one of
them is disjoined from connection with the others; because the Catholic
Church lives and advances by this faith, that Christ Jesus we should
believe neither manhood to exist without true Godhead, nor Godhead without
true manhood. But when Eutyches, on being questioned in your examination of
him, answered, "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the
union, but after the union I confess one nature;" I am astonished that so
absurd and perverse a profession as this of his was not rebuked by a
censure on the part of any of his judges, and that an utterance extremely
foolish and extremely blasphemous was passed over, just as if nothing had
been heard which could give offence: seeing that it is as impious to say
that the Only-begotten Son of God was of two natures before the Incarnation
as it is shocking to affirm that, since the Word became flesh, there has
been in him one nature only. But lest Eutyches should think that what he
said was correct, or was tolerable, because it was not confuted by any
assertion of yours, we exhort your earnest solicitude, dearly beloved
brother, to see that, if by God's merciful inspiration the case is brought
to a satisfactory issue, the inconsiderate and inexperienced man be
cleansed also from this pestilent notion of his; seeing that, as the record
of the proceedings has clearly shown, he had fairly begun to abandon his
own opinion when on being driven into a corner by authoritative words of
yours, he professed himself i ready to say what he had not said before, and
to give his adhesion to that faith from which he had previously stood
aloof. But when he would not consent to anathematize the impious dogma you
understood, brother, that he continued in his own misbelief, and deserved
to receive sentence of condemnation. For which if he grieves sincerely and
to good purpose, and understands, even though too late, how properly the
Episcopal authority has been put in motion, or if, in order to make full
satisfaction, he shall condemn viva voce, and under his own hand, all that
he has held amiss, no compassion, to whatever extent, which can be shown
him when he has been set right, will be worthy of blame, for our Lord, the
true and good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and who came
to save men's souls and not to destroy them, wills us to imitate his own
loving kindness; so that justice should indeed constrain those who sin, but
mercy should not reject those who are converted. For then indeed is the
true faith defended with the best results, when a false opinion is
condemned even by those who have followed it. But in order that the whole
matter may be piously and faithfully carried out, we have appointed our
brethren, Julius, Bishop, and Reatus, Presbyter (of the title of St.
Clement) and also my son Hilarus, Deacon, to represent us; and with them we
have associated Dulcitius, our Notary, of whose fidelity we have had good
proof: trusting that the Divine assistance will be with you, so that he who
has gone astray may be saved by condemning his own unsound opinion. May God
keep you in good health, dearly beloved brother. Given on the Ides of June,
in the Consulate of the illustrious men, Asterius and Protogenes.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS
SESSION II. (continued).
After the reading of the foregoing epistle, the most reverend bishops
cried out: This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the
Apostles. So we all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who
does not thus believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo. So taught the
Apostles. Piously and truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be
the memory of Cyril. Leo and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him
who does not so believe. This is the true faith. Those of us who are
orthodox thus believe. This is the faith of the fathers. Why were not these
things read at Ephesus [i.e. at the heretical synod held there]? These are
the things Dioscorus hid away.
[Some explanations were asked by the Illyrian bishops and the answers
were found satisfactory, but yet a delay of a few days was asked for, and
some bishops petitioned for a general pardon of all who had been kept out.
This proposition made great confusion, in the midst of which the session
was dissolved by the judges. (Col. 371.)]
[The imperial representatives do not seem to have been present, and
after Aetius the Archdeacon of Constantinople had opened the Session,]
Paschasinus the bishop of Lilybaeum, in the province of Silicia, and
holding the place of the most holy Leo, archbishop of the Apostolic see of
old Rome, said in Latin what being interpreted is as follows: It is well
known to this beloved of God synod, that divine (1) letters were sent to
the blessed and apostolic pope Leo, inviting him to deign to be present at
the holy synod. But since ancient custom did not sanction this, nor the
general necessity of the time seemed to permit it, our littleness in the
place of himself he ta` th^s hagi'as suno'dou, and therefore it is
necessary that whatever things are brought into discussion should be
examined by our interference (dialalia^s). [The Latin reads where I have
placed the Greek of the ordinary text, thus, "commanded our littleness to
preside in his place over this holy council."] Therefore let the book
presented by our most beloved-of-God brother, and fellow-bishop Eusebius be
received, and read by the beloved of God archdeacon and primicerius of the
And Aetius, the archdeacon and primicerius of the notaries, took the
book and read as follows.
[Next follows the petition of Eusebius et post nonnulla four petitions
each addressed to "The most holy and beloved-of-God ecumenical archbishop
and patriarch of great Rome Leo, and to the holy and ecumenical Synod
assembled at Chalcedon, etc., etc.;" The first two by deacons of
Alexandria, the third by a quondam presbyter of the diocese, and the fourth
by a layman also of Alexandria. After this Dioscorus was again summoned
and, as he did not come, sentence was given against him, which was
communicated to him in a letter contained in the acts. The Bishops
expressed their opinions for the most part one by one, but the Roman
Legates spoke together, and in their speech occurs the following:]
Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and
elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together
with (2) the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the
rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the
orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated
from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great
synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties.
[The bishops then, one by one, spoke in favour of the deposition of
Dioscorus, but usually on the ground of his refusal to appear when thrice
And when all the most holy bishops had spoken on the subject, they
signed this which follows.
THE CONDEMNATION SENT BY THE HOLY AND ECUMENICAL SYNOD TO DIOSCORUS.
The holy and great and ecumenical Synod, which by the grace of God
according to the constitution of our most pious and beloved of God emperors
assembled together at Chalcedon the city of Bithynia, in the martyry of the
most holy and victorious Martyr Euphemia to Dioscorus.
We do you to wit that on the thirteenth day of the month of October you
were deposed from the episcopate and made a stranger to all ecclesiastical
order (thesmou^) by the holy and ecumenical synod, on account of your
disregard of the divine canons, and of your disobedience to this holy and
ecumenical synod and on account of the other crimes of which you have been
found guilty, for even when called to answer your accusers three times by
this holy and great synod according to the divine canons you did not come.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
The most magnificent and glorious judges and the great Senate said:
Let the reverend council now declare what seems good concerning the
faith, since those things which have already been disposed of have been
made manifest. Paschasinus and Lucentius, the most reverend bishops, and
Boniface the most reverend presbyter, legates of the Apostolic See through
that most reverend man, bishop Paschasinus said: As the holy and blessed
and Ecumenical Synod holds fast and follows the rule of faith (fidei
regulam in the Latin Acts) which was set forth by the fathers at Nice, it
also confirms the faith set forth by the Synod of 150 fathers gathered at
Constantinople at the bidding of the great Theodosius of blessed memory.
Moreover the exposition of their faith, of the illustrious Cyril of blessed
memory set forth at the Council of Ephesus (in which Nestorius was
condemned) is received. And in the third place the writings of that blessed
man, Leo, Archbishop of all the churches, who condemned the heresy of
Nestorius and Eutyches, shew what the true faith is. Likewise the holy
Synod holds this faith, this it follows -- nothing further can it add nor
can it take aught away.
When this had been translated into Greek by Beronician, the devout
secretary of the divine consistory, the most reverend bishops tried out: So
we all believe, so we were baptized, so we baptize, so we have believed, so
we now believe.
The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Since we see that
the Holy Gospels have been placed alongside of your holiness, let each one
of the bishops here assembled declare whether the epistle of most blessed
archbishop Leo is in accordance with the exposition of the 318 fathers
assembled at Nice and with the decrees of the 150 fathers afterwards
assembled in the royal city.
[To this question the bishops answered one by one, until 161 separate
opinions had been given, when the rest of the bishops were asked by the
imperial judges to give their votes in a body (col. 508). ]
All the most reverend bishops cried out: We all acquiesce, we all
believe thus; we are all of the same mind. So are we minded, so we believe,
Paschasinus and Lucentius the most reverend bishops and Boniface a
presbyter, vicars of the Apostolic See of Rome, said: If they do not agree
to the letter of that apostolic and blessed man, Pope Leo, give directions
that we be given our letters of dismission, and let a synod be held there
[i. e. in the West].
[A long debate then followed as to whether the decree drawn up and
presented should be accepted. This seems to have been the mind of most of
the bishops. At last the commissioners proposed a committee of twenty-two
to meet with them and report to the council, and the Emperor imposed this
with the threat that otherwise they all should be sent home and a new
council called in the West. Even this did not make them yield.]
The most reverend bishops cried out: Many years to the Emperor! Either
let the definition [i.e. the one presented at this session] stand or we go.
Many years to the Emperor!
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said: We ask that
the definition be read again and that those who dissent from it, and will
not sign, may go about their business; for we give our consent to these
things which have been so beautifully drafted, and make no criticisms.
The most blessed bishops of Illyria said: Let those who contradict be
made manifest. Those who contradict are Nestorians. Those who contradict,
let them go to Rome.
The most magnificent and most glorious judges said: Dioscorus
acknowledged that he accepted the expression "of two natures," but not that
there were two natures. But the most holy archbishop Leo says that there
are two natures in Christ unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly united in
the one only-begotten Son our Saviour. Which would you follow, the most
holy Leo or Dioscorus?
The most reverend bishops cried out: We believe as Leo. Those who
contradict are Eutychians. Leo hath rightly expounded the faith.
The most magnificent and glorious judges said: Add then to the
definition, according to the judgment of our most holy father Leo, that
there are two natures in Christ united unchangeably, inseparably,
[The Committee then sat in the oratory of the most holy martyr Euphemis
and afterwards reported a definition of faith which while teaching the
same doctrine was not the Tome of Leo.]
THE DEFINITION OF FAITH OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
The holy, great, and ecumenical synod, assembled by the grace of God
and the command of our most religious and Christian Emperors, Marcian and
Valentinan, Augusti, at Chalcedon, the metropolis of the Bithynian
Province, in the martyry of the holy and victorious martyr Euphemia, has
decreed as follows:
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when strengthening the knowledge of
the Faith in his disciples, to the end that no one might disagree with his
neighbour concerning the doctrines of religion, and that the proclamation
of the truth might be set forth equally to all men, said, "My peace I leave
with you, my peace I give unto you." But, since the evil one does not
desist from sowing tares among the seeds of godliness, but ever invents
some new device against the truth; therefore the Lord, providing, as he
ever does, for the human race, has raised up this pious, faithful, and
zealous Sovereign, and has called together unto him from all parts the
chief rulers of the priesthood; so that, the grace of Christ our common
Lord inspiring us, we may cast off every plague of falsehood from the sheep
of Christ, and feed them with the tender leaves of truth. And this have we
done with one unanimous consent, driving away erroneous doctrines and
renewing the unerring faith of the Fathers, publishing to all men the Creed
of the Three Hundred and Eighteen, and to their number adding, as their
peers, the Fathers who have received the same summary of religion. Such are
the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers who afterwards assembled in the
great Constantinople and ratified the same faith. Moreover, observing the
order and every form relating to the faith, which was observed by the holy
synod formerly held in Ephesus, of which Celestine of Rome and Cyril of
Alexandria, of holy memory, were the leaders, we do declare that the
exposition of the right and blameless faith made by the Three Hundred and
Eighteen holy and blessed Fathers, assembled at Nice in the reign of
Constantine of pious memory, shall be pre-eminent: and that those things
shall be of force also,
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
[The Emperor was present in person and addressed the Council and
afterwards suggested legislation under three heads, the drafts for which
After this reading, the capitulas were handed by our most sacred and
pious prince to the most beloved of God Anatolius, archbishop of royal
Constantinople, which is New Rome, and all the most God-beloved bishops
cried out: Many years to our Emperor and Empress, the pious, the Christian.
May Christ whom thou servest keep thee. These things are worthy of the
faith. To the Priest, the Emperor. Thou hast straightened out the churches,
victor of thine enemies, teacher of the faith. Many years to the pious
Empress, the lover of Christ. Many years to her that is orthodox. May God
save your kingdom. Ye have put down the heretics, ye have kept the faith.
May hatred be far removed from your empire, and may your kingdom endure for
Our most sacred and pious prince said to the holy synod: To the honour
of the holy martyr Euphemia, and of your holiness, we decree that the city
of Chalcedon, in which the synod of the holy faith has been held, shall
have the honours of a metropolis, in name only giving it this honour, the
proper dignity of the city of Nicomedia being preserved.
All cried out, etc., etc.
DECREE ON THE JURISDICTION OF JERUSALEM AND ANTIOCH.
The most magnificent and glorious judges said: . . . The arrangement
arrived at through the agreement of the most holy Maximus, the bishop of
the city of Antioch, and of the most holy Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem,
as the attestation of each of them declares, shall remain firm for ever,
through our decree and the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the
most holy bishop Maximus, or rather the most holy church of Antioch, shall
have under its own jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the most
holy Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, or rather the most holy Church which is
under him, shall have under his own power the three Palestines, all
imperial pragmatics and letters and penalties being done away according to
the bidding of our most sacred and pious prince.
THE DECREE WITH REGARD TO THE BISHOP OF EPHESUS.
The most glorious judges said: Since the proposition of the God-beloved
archbishop of royal Constantinople, Anatolius, and of the most reverend
bishop Paschasinus, holding the place of Leo, the most God-beloved
archbishop of old Rome, which orders that because both of them [i.e.,
Bassianus and Stephen] acted uncanonically, neither of them should rule,
nor be called bishop of the most holy church off Ephesus, and since the
whole holy synod taught that uncanonically they had performed these
ordinations, and had agreed with the speeches of the most reverend bishops;
the most reverend Bassianus and the most reverend Stephen will be removed
from the holy church of Ephesus; but they shall enjoy the episcopal
dignity, and from the revenues of the before-mentioned most holy church,
for their nourishment and consolation, they shall receive each year two
hundred gold pieces; and another bishop shall be ordained according to the
canons for the most holy church. (1)
And the whole holy synod cried out: This is a just sentence. This is a
pious scheme. These things are fair to look upon.
The most reverend bishop Bassianus said: Pray give order that what was
stolen from me be restored.
The most glorious judges said: If anything belonging to the most
reverend bishop Bassianus personally has been taken from him, either by the
most reverend bishop Stephen, or by any other persons whatsoever, this
shall be restored, after judicial proof, by them who took it away or caused
it to be taken.
DECREE WITH REGARD TO NICOMEDIA.
The most glorious judges said [after the reading of the imperial
letters was finished]: These divine letters say nothing whatever with
regard to the episcopate, but both refer to honour belonging to
metropolitan cities. But the sacred letters of Valentinian and Valens of
divine memory, which then bestowed metropolitan rights upon the city of
Nice, carefully provided that nothing should be taken away from other
cities. And the canon of the holy fathers decreed that there should be one
metropolis in each province. What therefore is the pleasure of the holy
synod in this matter?
The holy synod cried out: Let the canons be kept. Let the canons be
Atticus the most reverend bishop of old Nicepolis in Epirus said: The
canon thus defines, that a metropolitan should have jurisdiction in each
province, and he should constitute all the bishops who are in that
province. And this is the meaning of the canon. Now the bishop of
Nicomedia, since from the beginning this was a metropolis, ought to ordain
all the bishops who are in that province.
The holy synod said: This is what we all wish, this we all pray for,
let this everywhere be observed, this is pleasing to all of us.
John, Constantine, Patrick [Peter] and the rest of the most reverend
bishops of the Pentic diocese [through John who was one of them] said: The
canons recognize the one more ancient as the metropolitan. And it is
manifest that the most religious bishop of Nicemedia has the right of the
ordination, and since the laws (as your magnificence has seen) have
honoured Nice with the name only of metropolis, and so made its bishop
superior to the rest of the bishops of the province in honour only.
The holy synod said: They have taught in accordance with the canons,
beautifully have they taught. We all say the same things.
[Aetius, Archdeacon of Constantinople, then put in a plea to save the
rights of the throne of the royal city.]
The most glorious judges said: The most reverend the bishop of
Nicomedia shall have the authority of metropolitan over the churches of the
province of Bithynia, and Nice shall have the honour only of Metropolitical
rank, submitting itself according to the example of the other bishops of
the province of Nicomedia. For such is the pleasure of the Holy Synod.
THE XXX CANONS OF THE HOLY AND FOURTH SYNODS, OF CHALCEDON.
WE have judged it fight that the canons of the Holy Fathers made in
every synod even until now, should remain in force.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON I.
The canons of every Synod of the holy Fathers shall be observed.
IF any Bishop should ordain for money, and put to sale a grace which
cannot be sold, and for money ordain a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or
presbyters, or deacons, or any other of those who are counted among the
clergy; or if through lust of gain he should nominate for money a steward,
or advocate, or prosmonarius, or any one whatever who is on the roll of the
Church, let him who is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let him
who is ordained be nothing profited by the purchased ordination or
promotion; but let him be removed from the dignity or charge he has
obtained for money. And if any one should be found negotiating such
shameful and unlawful transactions, let him also, if he is a clergyman, be
deposed from his rank, and if he is a layman or monk, let him be
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIX.
Whoso buys or sells an ordination, down to a Prosmonarius, shall be in
danger of losing his grade. Such shall also be the case with go-betweens,
if they be clerics they shall be cut off from their rank, if laymen or
monks, they shall be anathematized.
IT has come to [the knowledge of] the holy Synod that certain of those
who are enrolled among the clergy have, through lust of gain, become hirers
of other men's possessions, and make contracts pertaining to secular
affairs, lightly esteeming the service of God, and slip into the houses of
secular persons, whose property they undertake through covetousness to
manage. Wherefore the great and holy Synod decrees that henceforth no
bishop, clergyman, nor monk shall hire possessions, or engage in business,
or occupy himself in worldly engagements, unless he shall be called by the
law to the guardianship of minors, from which there is no escape; or unless
the bishop of the city shall commit to him the care of ecclesiastical
business, or of unprovided orphans or widows and of persons who stand
especially in need of the Church's help, through the fear of God. And if
any one shall hereafter transgress these decrees, he shall be subjected to
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON III.
Those who assume the care of secular houses should be corrected, unless
perchance the law called them to the administration of those not yet come
of age, from which there is no exemption. Unless further their Bishop
permits them to take care of orphans and widows.
LET those who truly and sincerely lead the monastic life be counted
worthy of becoming honour; but, forasmuch as certain persons using the
pretext of monasticism bring confusion both upon the churches and into
political affairs by going about promiscuously in the cities, and at the
same time seeking to establish Monasteries for themselves; it is decreed
that no one anywhere build or found a monastery or oratory contrary to the
will of the bishop of the city; and that the monks in every city and
district shall be subject to the bishop, and embrace a quiet course of
life, and give themselves only to fasting and prayer, remaining permanently
in the places in which they were set apart; and they shall meddle neither
in ecclesiastical nor in secular affairs, nor leave their own monasteries
to take part in such; unless, indeed, they should at any time through
urgent necessity be appointed thereto by the bishop of the city. And no
slave shall be received into any monastery to become a monk against the
will of his master. And if any one shall transgress this our judgment, we
have decreed that he shall be excommunicated, that the name of God be not
blasphemed. But the bishop of the city must make the needful provision for
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON
Domestic oratories and monasteries are not to be erected contrary to
the judgment of the bishop. Every monk must be subject to his bishop, and
must not leave his house except at his suggestion. A slave, however, can
not enter the monastic life without the consent of his master.
CONCERNING bishops or clergymen who go about from city to city, it is
decreed that the canons enacted by the Holy Fathers shall still retain
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON V.
Those who go from city to city shall be subject to the canon law on the
NEITHER presbyter, deacon, nor any of the ecclesiastical order shall be
ordained at large, nor unless the person ordained is particularly appointed
to a church in a city or village, or to a martyry, or to a monastery. And
if any have been ordained without a charge, the holy Synod decrees, to the
reproach of the ordainer, that such an ordination shall be inoperative, and
that such shall nowhere be suffered to officiate.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VI.
In Martyries and Monasteries ordinations are strictly forbidden. Should
any one be ordained therein, his ordination shall be reputed of no effect.
WE have decreed that those who have once been enrolled among the
clergy, or have been made monks, shall accept neither a military charge nor
any secular dignity; and if they shall presume to do so and not repent in
such wise as to turn again to that which they had first chosen for the love
of God, they shall be anathematized.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VII.
If any cleric or monk arrogantly affects the military or any other
dignity, let him be cursed.
LET the clergy of the poor-houses, monasteries, and martyries remain
under the authority of the bishops in every city according to the tradition
of the holy Fathers; and let no one arrogantly cast off the rule of his own
bishop; and if any shall contravene this canon in any way whatever, and
will not be subject to their own bishop, if they be clergy, let them be
subjected to canonical censure, and if they be monks or laymen, let them be
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VIII.
Any clergyman is an almshouse or monastery must submit himself to the
authority of the bishop of the city. But he who rebels against this let him
pay the penalty.
IF any Clergyman have a matter against another clergyman, he shall not
forsake his bishop and run to secular courts; but let him first lay open
the matter before his own Bishop, or let the matter be submitted to any
person whom each of the parties may, with the Bishop's consent, select. And
if any one shall contravene these decrees, let him be subjected to
canonical penalties. And if a clergyman have a complaint against his own or
any other bishop, let it be decided by the synod of the province. And if a
bishop or clergyman should have a difference with the metropolitan of the
province, let him have recourse to the Exarch of the Diocese, or to the
throne of the Imperial City of Constantinople, and there let it be tried.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON IX.
Litigious clerics shall be punished according to canon, if they despise
the episcopal and resort to the secular tribunal. When a cleric has a
contention with a bishop let him wait till the synod sits, and if a bishop
have a contention with his metropolitan let him carry the case to
IT shall not be lawful for a clergyman to be at the same time enrolled
in the churches of two cities, that is, in the church in which he was at
first ordained, and in another to which, because it is greater, he has
removed from lust of empty honour. And those who do so shall be returned to
their own church in which they were originally ordained, and there only
shall they minister. But if any one has heretofore been removed from one
church to another, he shall not intermeddle with the affairs of his former
church, nor with the martyries, almshouses, and hostels belonging to it.
And if, after the decree of this great and ecumenical Synod, any shall dare
to do any of these things now forbidden, the synod decrees that he shall be
degraded from his rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON X.
No cleric shall be recorded on the clergy-list of the churches of two
cities. But if he shall have strayed forth, let him be returned to his
former place. But if he has been transferred, let him have no share in the
affairs of his former church.
WE have decreed that the poor and those needing assistance shall
travel, after examination, with letters merely pacifical from the church,
and not with letters commendatory, inasmuch as letters commendatory ought
to be given only to persons who are open to suspicion
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XI.
Let the poor who stand in need of help make their journey with letters
pacificatory and not commendatory: For letters commendatory should only be
given to those who are open to suspicion.
IT has come to our knowledge that certain persons, contrary to the laws
of the Church, having had recourse to secular powers, have by means of
imperial rescripts divided one Province into two, so that there are
consequently two metropolitans in one province; therefore the holy Synod
has decreed that for the future no such thing shall be attempted by a
bishop, since he who shall undertake it shall be degraded from his rank.
But the cities which have already been honoured by means of imperial
letters with the name of metropolis, and the bishops in charge of them,
shall take the bare title, all metropolitan rights being preserved to the
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XII.
One province shall not be cut into two. Whoever shall do this shall be
cast out of the episcopate. Such cities as are cut off by imperial rescript
shall enjoy only the honour of having a bishop settled in them: but all the
rights pertaining to the true metropolis shall be preserved.
STRANGE and unknown clergymen without letters commendatory from their
own Bishop, are absolutely prohibited from officiating in another city.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIII.
No cleric shall be received to communion in another city without a
Since in certain provinces it is permitted to the readers and singers
to marry, the holy Synod has decreed that it shall not be lawful for any of
them to take a wife that is heterodox. But those who have already begotten
children of such a marriage, if they have already had their children
baptized among the heretics, must bring them into the communion of the
Catholic Church; but if they have not had them baptized, they may not
hereafter baptize them among heretics, nor give them in marriage to a
heretic, or a Jew, or a heathen, unless the person marrying the orthodox
child shall promise to come over to the orthodox faith. And if any one shah
transgress this decree of the holy synod, let him be subjected to canonical
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIV.
A Cantor or Lector alien to the sound faith, if being then married, he
shall have begotten children let him bring them to communion, if they had
there been baptized. But if they had not yet been baptized they shall not
be baptized afterwards by the heretics.
A WOMAN shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under
forty years of age, and then only after searching examination. And if,
after she has had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to
minister, she shall despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage,
she shall be anathematized and the man united to her.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XV.
No person shall be ordained deaconess except she be forty years of age.
If she shall dishonour her ministry by contracting a marriage, let her be
It is not lawful for a virgin who has dedicated herself to the Lord
God, nor for monks, to marry; and if they are found to have done this, let
them be excommunicated. But we decree that in every place the bishop shall
have the power of indulgence towards them.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVI.
Monks or nuns shall not contract marriage, and if they do so let them
Outlying or rural parishes shall in every province remain subject to
the bishops who now have jurisdiction over them, particularly if the
bishops have peaceably and continuously governed them for the space of
thirty years. But if within thirty years there has been, or is, any dispute
concerning them, it is lawful for those who hold themselves aggrieved to
bring their cause before the synod of the province. And if any one be
wronged by his metropolitan, let the matter be decided by the exarch of the
diocese or by the throne of Constantinople, as aforesaid. And if any city
has been, or shall hereafter be newly erected by imperial authority, let
the order of the ecclesiastical parishes follow the political and municipal
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVII.
Village and rural parishes if they have been possessed for thirty
years, they shall so continue. But if within that time, the matter shall be
subject to adjudication. But if by the command of the Emperor a city be
renewed, the order of ecclesiastical parishes shall follow the civil and
The crime of conspiracy or banding together is utterly prohibited even
by the secular law, and much more ought it to be forbidden in the Church of
God. Therefore, if any, whether clergymen or monks, should be detected in
conspiring or banding together, or hatching plots against their bishops or
fellow-clergy, they shall by all means be deposed from their own rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVIII.
Clerics and Monks, if they shall have dared to hold conventicles and to
conspire against the bishop, shall be cast out of their rank.
WHEREAS it has come to our ears that in the provinces the Canonical
Synods of Bishops are not held, and that on this account many
ecclesiastical matters which need reformation are neglected; therefore,
according to the canons of the holy Fathers, the holy Synod decrees that
the bishops of every province shall twice in the year assemble together
where the bishop of the Metropolis shall approve, and shall then settle
whatever matters may have arisen. And bishops, who do not attend, but
remain in their own cities, though they are in good health and free from
any unavoidable and necessary business, shall receive a brotherly
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XIX.
Twice each year the Synod shall be held where-ever the bishop of the
Metropolis shall designate, and all matters of pressing interest shall be
It shall not be lawful, as we have already decreed, for clergymen
officiating in one church to be appointed to the church of another city,
but they shall cleave to that in which they were first thought worthy to
minister; those, however, being excepted, who have been driven by necessity
from their own country, and have therefore removed to another church. And
if, after this decree, any bishop shall receive a clergyman belonging to
another bishop, it is decreed that both the received and the receiver shall
be excommunicated until such time as the clergyman who has removed shall
have returned to his own church.
ANCIENT EPITOME OR CANON XX.
A clergyman of one city shall not be given a cure in another. But if he
has been driven from his native place and shall go into another he shall be
without blame. If any bishop receives clergymen from without his diocese he
shall be excommunicated as well as the cleric he receives.
CLERGYMEN and laymen bringing charges against bishops or clergymen are
not to be received loosely and without examination, as accusers, but their
own character shall first be investigated.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXI.
A cleric or layman making charges rashly against his bishop shall not
IT is not lawful for clergymen, after the death of their bishop, to
seize what belongs to him, as has been forbidden also by the ancient
canons; and those who do so shall be in danger of degradation from their
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXII.
Whoever seizes the goods of his deceased bishop shall be cast forth
from his rank.
IT has come to the hearing of the holy Synod that certain clergymen and
monks, having no authority from their own bishop, and sometimes, indeed,
while under sentence of excommunication by him, betake themselves to the
imperial Constantinople, and remain there for a long time, raising
disturbances and troubling the ecclesiastical state, and turning men's
houses upside down. Therefore the holy Synod has determined that such
persons be first notified by the Advocate of the most holy Church of
Constantinople to depart from the imperial city; and if they shall
shamelessly continue in the same practices, that they shall be expelled by
the same Advocate even against their will, and return to their own places.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIII.
Clerics or monks who spend much time at Constantinople contrary to the
will of their bishop, and stir up seditions, shall be cast out of the
MONASTERIES, which have once been consecrated with the consent of the
bishop, shall remain monasteries for ever, and the property belonging to
them shall be preserved, and they shall never again become secular
dwellings. And they who shall permit this to be done shall be liable to
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIV.
A monastery erected with the consent of the bishop shall be immovable.
And whatever pertains to it shall not be alienated. Whoever shall take upon
him to do otherwise, shall not be held guiltless.
FORASMUCH as certain of the metropolitans, as we have heard, neglect
the flocks committed to them, and delay the ordinations of bishops the holy
Synod has decided that the ordinations of bishops shall take place within
three months, unless an inevitable necessity should some time require the
term of delay to be prolonged. And if he shall not do this, he shall be
liable to ecclesiastical penalties, and the income of the widowed church
shall be kept safe by the steward of the same Church.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXV.
Let the ordination of bishops be within three months: necessity however
may make the time longer. But if anyone shall ordain counter to this
decree, he shall be liable to punishment. The revenue shall remain with the
FORASMUCH as we have heard that in certain churches the bishops managed
the church-business without stewards, it has seemed good that every church
having a bishop shall have also a steward from among its own clergy, who
shall manage the church business under the sanction of his own bishop; that
so the administration of the church may not be without a witness; and that
thus the goods of the church may not be squandered, nor reproach be brought
upon the priesthood; and if he [i.e., the Bishop] will not do this, he
shall be subjected to the divine canons.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVI.
The (Oeconomus in all churches must be chosen from the clergy. And the
bishop who neglects to do this is not without blame.
THE holy Synod has decreed that those who forcibly carry off women
under pretence of marriage, and the alders or abettors of such ravishers,
shall be degraded if clergymen, and if laymen be anathematized.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVII.
If a clergyman elope with a woman, let him be expelled from the Church.
If a layman, let him be anathema. The same shall be the lot of any that
CANON XXVIII (rejected by Pope Leo).
FOLLOWING in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and
acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and
Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of
Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of
happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the
privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome.
For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome,
because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious
Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (i'sa
presbei^a) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the
city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys
equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical
matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in
the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only
and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the
barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the
most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid
dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own
provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as
has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be
ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections
have been held according to custom and have been reported to him.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVIII.
The bishop of New Rome shall enjoy the same honour as the bishop of Old
Rome, on account of the removal of the Empire. For this reason the
[metropolitans] of Pontus, of Asia, and of Thrace, as well as the Barbarian
bishops shall be ordained by the bishop of Constantinople.
It is sacrilege to degrade a bishop to the rank of a presbyter; but, if
they are for just cause removed from episcopal functions, neither ought
they to have the position of a Presbyter; and if they have been displaced
without any charge, they shall be restored to their episcopal dignity.
And Anatolius, the most reverend Archbishop of Constantinople, said: If
those who are alleged to have been removed from the episcopal dignity to
the order of presbyter, have indeed been condemned for any sufficient
causes, clearly they are not worthy of the honour of a presbyter. But if
they have been forced down into the lower rank without just cause, they are
worthy, if they appear guiltless, to receive again both the dignity and
priesthood of the Episcopate.
And all the most reverend Bishops cried out:
The judgment of the Fathers is right. We all say the same.The Fathers
have righteously decided. Let the sentence of the Archbishops prevail.
And the most magnificent and glorious judges said:
Let the pleasure of the Holy Synod be established for all time.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIX.
He is sacrilegious who degrades a bishop to the rank of a presbyter.
For he that is guilty of crime is unworthy of the priesthood. But he that
was deposed without cause, let him be [still] bishop.
SINCE the most religious bishops of Egypt have postponed for the
present their subscription to the letter of the most holy Archbishop Leo,
not because they oppose the Catholic Faith, but because they declare that
it is the custom in the Egyptian diocese to do no such tiring without the
consent and order of their Archbishop, and ask to be excused until the
ordination of the new bishop of the metropolis of Alexandria, it has seemed
to us reasonable and kind that this concession should be made to them, they
remaining in their official habit in the imperial city until the Archbishop
of the Metropolis of Alexandria shall have been ordained.
And the most religious Bishop Paschasinus, representative of the
Apostolic throne for Rome(1)], said:
If your authority suggests and commands that any indulgence be shewn to
them, let them give securities that they will not depart from this city
until the city of Alexandria receives a Bishop.
And the most magnificent and glorious judges, and the whole Senate,
said: Let the sentence of the most holy Paschasinus be confirmed.
And therefore let them [.i.e., the most religious Bishops of the
Egyptians] remain in their official habit, either giving securities, if
they can, or being bound by the obligation of an oath.
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXX.
It is the custom of the Egyptians that none subscribe(2) without the
permission of their Archbishop. Wherefore they are not to be blamed who did
not subscribe the Epistle of the holy Leo until an Archbishop had been
appointed for them.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS.
Paschasinus and Lucentius, the most reverend bishops, holding file
place of the Apostolic See, said: If your magnificence so orders, we have
something to lay before you.
The most glorious judges, said: Say what you wish. The most holy
Paschasinus the bishop, holding the place of Rome, said: The rulers of the
world, taking care of the holy Catholic faith, by which their kingdom and
glory is increased, have deigned to define this, in order that unity
through a holy peace may be preserved through all the churches. But with
still greater care their clemency has vouchsafed to provide for the future,
so that no contention may spring up again between God's bishops, nor any
schisms, nor any scandal. But yesterday after your excellencies and our
humility had left, it is said that certain decrees were made, which we
esteem to have been done contrary to the canons, and contrary to
ecclesiastical discipline. We request that your magnificence order these
things to be read, that all the brethren may know whether the things done
are just or unjust.
The most glorious judges said: If anything was done after our levering
let it be read.
And before the reading, Aetius, the Archdeacon of the Church of
Constantinople said: It is certain that the matters touching the faith
received a suitable form. But it is customary at synods, after those things
which are chiefest of all shall have been defined, that other flyings also
which are necessary should be examined and put into shape. We have, I mean
the most holy Church of Constantinople has, manifestly things to be
attended to. We asked the lord bishops (kuri'ois tois episko'pois from
Rome, to join with us in these matters, but they declined, saying they had
received no instructions on the subject. We referred the matter to your
magnificence and you bid the holy Synod to consider this very point. And
when your magnificence had gone forth, as the affair was one of common
interest, the most holy bishops, standing up, prayed that this thing might
be done. And they were present here, and this was done in no hidden nor
secret fashion, but in due course and in accordance with file canons.
The most glorious judges said: Let the acts be read.
[The canon (number XXVIII.), was then read, and the signatures, in all
192, including the bishops of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Heraclea, but not
Thaiassius of Caesarea who afterwards assented. Only a week before 350 had
signed the Definition of faith. When the last name was read a debate arose
Lucentius, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See,
said: In the first place let your excellency notice that it was brought to
pass by circumventing the holy bishops so that they were forced to sign the
as yet unwritten canons, of which they made mention. [The Greek reads a
little differently (I have followed the Latin as it is supposed by the
critics to be more pure than the Greek we now have): Your excellency has
perceived how many firings were done in the presence of the bishops, in
order that no one might be forced to sign the aforementioned canons;
defining by necessity.]
The most reverend bishops cried out: No one was forced.
Lucentius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See,
said: It is manifest that the decrees of the 318 have been put aside, and
that mention only has been made of those of the 150, which are not found to
have any place in the synodical canons, and which were made as they
acknowledge eighty years ago. If therefore they enjoyed this privilege
during these years, what do they seek for now? If they never used it, why
seek it? [The Greek reads: "It is manifest that the present decrees have
been added to the decrees of the 318 and to those of the 150 after them,
decrees not received into the synodical canons, these things they pretend
to be defined. If therefore in these times they used this benefit what now
do they seek which according to the canons they had not used?]
Aetius, the archdeacon of the most holy Church of Constantinople, said:
If on this subject they had received any commands, let them be brought
Bonifacius, a presbyter and vicar of the Apostolic See, said: The most
blessed and Apostolic Pope, among other things, gave us this commandment.
And he read from the chart, "The rulings of the holy fathers shall with no
rashness be violated or diminished. Let the dignity of our person in all
ways be guarded by you. And if any, influenced by the power of his own
city, should undertake to make usurpations, withstand this with suitable
The most glorious judges said: Let each party quote the canons.
Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and representative, read: Canon
Six of the 318 holy fathers, "The Roman Church hath always had the primacy.
Let Egypt therefore so hold itself that the bishop of Alexandria have the
authority over all, for this is also the custom as regards the bishop of
Rome. So too at Antioch and in the other provinces let the churches of the
larger cities have the primacy. [In the Greek "let the primacy be kept to
the churches;" a sentence which I do not understand, unless it means that
for the advantage of the churches the primatial rights of Antioch must be
upheld. But such a sentiment one would expect to find rather in the Latin
than in the Greek.] And one thing is abundantly clear, that if any one
shall have been ordained bishop contrary to the will of the metropolitan,
this great synod has decreed that such an one ought not to be bishop. If
however the judgment of all his own [fellows] is reasonable and according
to the canons, and if two or three dissent through their own obstinacy,
then let the vote of the majority prevail. For a custom has prevailed, and
it is an ancient tradition, that the bishop of Jerusalem be honoured, let
him have his consequent honour, but the rights of his own metropolis must
Constantine, the secretary, read from a, book handed him by Aetius, the
archdeacon; Canon Six of the 318 holy Fathers. "Let the ancient customs
prevail, those of Egypt,
The most glorious judges said: Let the most holy Asiatic and Pontic
bishops who have signed the tome just read say whether they gave their
signatures of their own judgment or compelled by any necessity. And when
these were come into the midst, the most reverend Diogenes, the bishop of
Cyzicum, said: I call God to witness that I signed of my own judgment. [And
so on, one after the other.]
The rest cried out: We signed willingly.
The most glorious judges said: As it is manifest that the subscription
of each one of the bishops was given without any necessity but of his own
will, let the most holy bishops who have not signed say something.
Eusebius, the bishop of Ancyra, said: I am about to speak but for
[His speech is a personal explanation of his own action with regard to
consecrating a bishop for Gangra.]
The most glorious judges said: From what has been done and brought
forward on each side, we perceive that the primacy of all (pro` pa'ntwn ta`
prwtei'a) and the chief honour (th`n exai'reton timh`n) according to the
canons, is to be kept for the most God-beloved archbishop of Old Rome, but
that the most reverend archbishop of the royal city Constantinople, which
is new Rome, is to enjoy the honour of the same primacy, and to have the
power to ordain the metropolitans in the Asiatic, Pontic, and Thracian
dioceses, in this manner: that there be elected by the clergy, and
substantial (kthto'rwn) and most distinguished men of each metropolis and
moreover by all the most reverend bishops of the province, or a majority of
them, and that he be elected whom those afore mentioned shall deem worthy
of the metropolitan episcopate and that he should be presented by all those
who had elected him to the most holy archbishop of royal Constantinople,
that he might be asked whether he [i.e., the Patriarch of Constantinople]
willed that he should there be ordained, or by his commission in the
province where he received the vote to the episcopate. The most reverend
bishops of the ordinary towns should be ordained by all the most reverend
bishops of the province or by a majority of them, the metropolitan having
his power according to the established canon of the fathers, and making
with regard to such ordinations no communications to the most holy
archbishop of royal Constantinople. Thus the matter appears to us to stand.
Let the holy Synod vouchsafe to teach its view of the case.
The most reverend bishops cried out: This is a just sentence. So we all
say, These things please us all. This is a just determination. Establish
the proposed form of decree. This is a just vote. All has been decreed as
should be. We beg you to let us go. By the safety of the Emperor let us go.
We all will remain in this opinion, we all say the same things.
Lucentius, the bishop, said: The Apostolio See gave orders that all
things should be done in our presence [This sentence reads in the Latin:
The Apostolic See ought not to be humiliated in our presence. I do not know
why Canon Bright in his notes on Canon XX VIII. has followed this reading];
and therefore whatever yesterday was done to the prejudice of the canons
during our absence, we beseech your highness to command to be rescinded.
But if not, let our opposition be placed in the minutes, and pray let us
know clearly [Lat. that we may know] what we are to report to that most
apostolic bishop who is the ruler of the whole church, so that he may be
able to take action with regard to the indignity done to his See and to the
setting at naught of the canons.
[John, the most reverend bishop of Sebaste, said: We all will remain of
the opinion expressed by your magnificence.(1)]
The most glorious judges said: The whole synod has approved what we
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in
1867. (LNPF II/XIV, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The
Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.