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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 SECOND ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.
THE FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
A.D. 381; Emperor.--Theodosius(1); Pope.--Damasus.
The Creed and Epiphanius's two Creeds; Synodal Letter to the Emperor; The
Canons with the Ancient Epitome; Synodical Letter of the Council of
Constantinople, A.D. 382.
THE HOLY CREED WHICH THE 150 HOLY FATHERS SET FORTH, WHICH IS CONSONANT
WITH THE HOLY AND GREAT SYNOD OF NICE.(1)
(Found in all the Collections in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.)
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the
only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, Light
of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance
with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our
salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the
Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius
Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the
Right Hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both
the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who
proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is
worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. And [we believe] in
one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for
the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and
the life of the world to come. Amen.
THE CREED FOUND IN EPIPHANIUS'S Ancoratus, written in 374 (Cap. cxx.)(2)
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the
only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, that is
of the substance of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were
made, both in heaven and earth who for us men and for our salvation came
down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man, was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and
suffered, and was buried, and on the third day he rose again according to
the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of
the Father, and from thence he shall come again with glory to judge both
the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy
Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father; who,
with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake
by the prophets: in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge
one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the
dead, and the life of the world to come. And those who say that there was a
time when the Son of God was not, and before he was begotten he was not, or
that he was of things which are not, or that he is of a different
hypostasis or substance, or pretend that he is effluent or changeable,
these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.
Epiphanius thus continues:
"And this faith was delivered from the Holy Apostles and in the Church,
the Holy City, from all the Holy Bishops together more than three hundred
and ten in number."
"In our generation, that is in the times of Valentinus and Valens, and
the ninetieth year from the succession of Diocletian the tyrant,(3) you and
we and all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together, make
this address to those who come to baptism, in order that they may proclaim
and say as follows:"
Epiphanius then gives this creed:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things,
invisible and visible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God,
begotten of God the Father, only begotten, that is of the substance of the
Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not
made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made,
both which be in heaven and in earth, whether they be visible or invisible.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate, that is
to say was conceived perfectly through the Holy Ghost of the holy ever-
virgin Mary, and was made man, that is to say a perfect man, receiving a
soul, and body, and intellect, and all that make up a man, but without sin,
not from human seed, nor [that he dwelt] in a man, but taking flesh to
himself into one holy entity; not as he inspired the prophets and spake and
worked [in them], but was perfectly made man, for the Word was made flesh;
neither did he experience any change, nor did he convert his divine nature
into the nature of man, but united it to his one holy perfection and
For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, not two, the same is God, the same
is Lord, the same is King. He suffered in the flesh, and rose again, and
ascended into heaven in the same body, and with glory he sat down at the
right hand of the Father, and in the same body he will come in glory to
judge both the quick and the dead, and of his kingdom there shall be no
And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Law, and preached in
the Prophets, and descended at Jordan, and spake in the Apostles, and
indwells the Saints. And thus we believe in him, that he is the Holy
Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit the Comforter,
uncreate, who proceedeth from the Father, receiving of the Son (ek tou^
Patro`s ekporeuo'menon, kai` ek tou^ Huiou^ lambano'menon), and believed
on. (kai` pisteuo'menon, which the Latin version gives in quem credimus;
and proceeds to insert, Praeterea credimus in unam, etc. It certainly looks
as if it had read pisteu'omen, and had belonged to the following phrase.)
[We believe] in one Catholic and Apostolic Church. And in one baptism
of penitence, and in the resurrection of the dead, and the just judgment of
souls and bodies, and in the Kingdom of heaven and in life everlasting.
And those who say that there was a time when the Son was not, or when
the Holy Ghost was not, or that either was made of that which previously
had no being, or that he is of a different nature or substance, and affirm
that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are subject to change and mutation;
all such the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the mother both of you and of
us, anathematizes. And further we anathematize such as do not confess the
resurrection of the dead, as well as all heresies which are not in accord
with the true faith.
Finally, you and your children thus believing and keeping the
commandments of this same faith, we trust that you will always pray for us,
that we may have a share and lot in that same faith and in the keeping of
these same commandments. For us make your intercessions you and all who
believe thus, and keep the commandments of the Lord in our Lord Jesus
Christ, through whom and with whom, glory be to the Father with the Holy
Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
LETTER OF THE SAME HOLY SYNOD TO THE MOST PIOUS EMPEROR THEODOSIUS THE
GREAT, TO WHICH ARE APPENDED THE CANONS ENACTED BY THEM.
To the most religious Emperor Theodosius, the Holy Synod of Bishops
assembled in Constantinople out of different Provinces.
We begin our letter to your Piety with thanks to God, who has
established the empire of your Piety for the common peace of the Churches
and for the support of the true Faith. And, after rendering due thanks unto
God, as in duty bound we lay before your Piety the things which have been
done in the Holy Synod. When, then, we had assembled in Constantinople,
according to the letter of your Piety, we first of all renewed our unity of
heart each with the other, and then we pronounced some concise definitions,
ratifying the Faith of the Nicene Fathers, and anathematizing the heresies
which have sprung up, contrary thereto. Besides these things, we also
framed certain Canons for the better ordering of the Churches, all which we
have subjoined to this our letter. Wherefore we beseech your Piety that the
decree of the Synod may be ratified, to the end that, as you have honoured
the Church by your letter of citation, so you should set your seal to the
conclusion of what has been decreed. May the Lord establish your empire in
peace and righteousness, and prolong it from generation to generation; and
may he add unto your earthly power the fruition of the heavenly kingdom
also. May God by the prayers (euchai^s tw^n hagi'wn) of the Saints,(1) show
favour to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things
as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.
CANONS OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FATHERS WHO ASSEMBLED AT CONSTANTINOPLE
DURING THE CONSULATE OF THOSE ILLUSTRIOUS MEN, FLAVIUS EUCHERIUS AND
FLAVIUS EVAGRIUS ON THE VII OF THE IDES OF JULY.(1)
THE Bishops out of different provinces assembled by the grace of God in
Constantinople, on the summons of the most religious Emperor Theodosius,
have decreed as follows:
THE Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice
in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm. And every heresy
shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anomoeans,
the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and
that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the
Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON I.
Let the Nicene faith stand firm. Anathema to heresy.
THE bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying
outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on the churches; but let the
Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs
of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the
privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of
Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer
the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the
Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs. And let not bishops go beyond their
dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless
they be invited. And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being
observed, it is evident that the synod of every province will administer
the affairs of that particular province as was decreed at Nice. But the
Churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the custom
which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON II.
No traveller shall introduce confusion into the Churches either by
ordaining or by enthroning. Nevertheless in Churches which are among the
heathen the tradition of the Fathers shall be preserved.
CANON III (rejected by the Pope).
THE Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of
honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON III.
The bishop of Constantinople is to be honoured next after the bishop of
CONCERNING Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which has happened in
Constantinople on his account, it is decreed that Maximus never was and is
not now a Bishop; that those who have been ordained by him are in no order
whatever of the clergy; since all which has been done concerning him or by
him, is declared to be invalid.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON IV.
Let Maximus the Cynic be cast out from among the bishops, and anyone
who was inscribed by him on the clergy list shall be held as profane.
CANON V (Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next
IN regard to the tome of the Western [Bishops], we receive those in
Antioch also who confess the unity of the Godhead of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON V.
The Tome of the Westerns which recognizes the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit as consubstantial is highly acceptable.
CANON VI (Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next
year, 382. Vide Introduction on the number of Canons.)
FORASMUCH as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order,
do contentiously and slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox
bishops who have the administration of the Churches, intending nothing else
than to stain the reputation of the priests and raise up disturbances
amongst the peaceful laity; therefore it seemed right to the Holy Synod of
Bishops assembled together in Constantinople, not to admit accusers without
examination; and neither to allow all persons whatsoever to bring
accusations against the rulers of the Church, nor, on the other hand, to
exclude all. If then, any one shall bring a private complaint against the
Bishop, that is, one relating to his own affairs, as, for example, that he
has been defrauded, or otherwise unjustly treated by him, in such
accusations no examination shall be made, either of the person or of the
religion of the accuser; for it is by all means necessary that the
conscience of the Bishop should be free, and that he who says he has been
wronged should meet with righteous judgment, of whatever religion he may
be. But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some
ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the
persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be
suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against
orthodox bishops. And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime
cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also
those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our
canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them].
Moreover, if there be any who have been condemned for faults and cast out
of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the laity,
neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the
bishop, until they have cleared away the charge against themselves. In like
manner, persons who are under previous accusations are not to be permitted
to bring charges against a bishop or any other clergyman, until they shall
have proved their own innocence of the accusation brought against them. But
if any, being neither heretics, nor excommunicate, nor condemned, nor under
previous accusation for alleged faults, should declare that they have any
ecclesiastical charge against the bishop, the Holy Synod bids them first
lay their charges before all the Bishops of the Province, and before them
prove the accusations, whatsoever they may be, which they have brought
against the bishop. And if the comprovincials should be unable rightly to
settle the charges brought against the bishop, then the parties must betake
themselves to a greater synod of the bishops of that diocese called
together for this purpose; and they shall not produce their allegations
before they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penalty to be
exacted from themselves, if, in the course of the examination, they shall
be proved to have slandered the accused bishop. And if anyone, despising
what has been decreed concerning these things, shall presume to annoy the
ears of the Emperor, or the courts of temporal judges, or, to the dishonour
of all the Bishops of his Province, shall trouble an Ecumenical Synod, such
an one shall by no means be admitted as an accuser; forasmuch as he has
east contempt upon the Canons, and brought reproach upon the order of the
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VI.
Even one that is of ill repute, if he have suffered any injury, let him
bring a charge against the bishop. If however it be a crime of
ecclesiastical matters let him not speak. Nor shall another condemned
before, speak. Let not one excommunicated, or cast forth, or charged with
any crimes speak, until he is cleared of them. But those who should bring
the charge are the orthodox, who are communicants, uncondemned, unaccused.
Let the case be heard by the provincials. If however they are not able to
decide the case, let them have recourse to a greater synod and let them not
be heard, without a written declaration of liability to the same sufferings
[i.e. of their readiness to be tried by the lex talionis.] But should
anyone contrary to the provisions appeal to the Emperor and trouble him,
let such be cast forth.
CANON VII (inauthentic).
THOSE who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those
who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and
custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call
themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and
Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of
their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with
the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God. Thereupon, they are first
sealed or anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils,
mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we say, "The Seal of the gift of
the Holy Ghost." But Eunomians, who are baptized with only one immersion,
and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and Sabellians, who teach
the identity of Father and Son, and do sundry other mischievous things, and
[the partisans of] all other heresies--for there are many such here,
particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians:--all
these, when they desire to turn to orthodoxy, we receive as heathen. On the
first day we make them Christians; on the second, catechumens; on the
third, we exorcise them by breathing thrice in their face and ears; and
thus we instruct them and oblige them to spend some time in the Church, and
to hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VII.(1)
Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, and
Apollinarians ought to be received with their books and anointed in all
their organs of sense.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VIII.
Eunomians baptized with one immersion, Sabellians, and Phrygians are to
be received as heathen.
APPENDIX: COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE, A.D. 382.
THE SYNODICAL LETTER.(1)
To the right honourable lords our right reverend brethren and
colleagues, Damasus, Ambrosius, Britton, Valerianus, Ascholius, Anemius,
Basilius and the rest of the holy bishops assembled in the great city of
Rome, the holy synod of the orthodox bishops assembled at the great city of
Constantinople sends greeting in the Lord.
To recount all the sufferings inflicted on us by the power of the
Arians, and to attempt to give information to your reverences, as though
you were not already well acquainted with them, might seem superfluous. For
we do not suppose your piety to hold what is befalling us as of such
secondary importance as that you stand in any need of information on
matters which cannot but evoke your sympathy. Nor indeed were the storms
which beset us such as to escape notice from their insignificance. Our
persecutions are but of yesterday. The sound of them still rings in the
ears alike of those who suffered them and of those whose love made the
sufferers' pain their own. It was but a day or two ago, so to speak, that
some released from chains in foreign lands returned to their own churches
through manifold afflictions; of others who had died in exile the relics
were brought home; others again, even after their return from exile, found
the passion of the heretics still at the boiling heat, and, slain by them
with stones as was the blessed Stephen, met with a sadder fate in their own
than in a stranger's land. Others, worn away with various cruelties, still
bear in their bodies the scars of their wounds and the marks of Christ. Who
could tell the tale of fines, of disfranchisements, of individual
confiscations, of intrigues, of outrages, of prisons? In truth all kinds of
tribulation were wrought out beyond number in us, perhaps because we were
paying the penalty of sins, perhaps because the merciful God was trying us
by means of the multitude of our sufferings. For these all thanks to God,
who by means of Such afflictions trained his servants and, according to the
multitude of his mercies, brought us again to refreshment. We indeed needed
long leisure, time, and toil to restore the church once more, that so, like
physicians healing the body after long sickness and expelling its disease
by gradual treatment, we might bring her back to her ancient health of true
religion. It is true that on the whole we seem to have been delivered from
the violence of our persecutions and to be just now recovering the churches
which, have for a long time been the prey of the heretics. But wolves are
troublesome to us who, though they have been driven from the fold, yet
harry the flock up and down the glades, daring to hold rival assemblies,
stirring seditious among the people, and shrinking from nothing which can
do damage to the churches. So, as we have already said, we needs must
labour all the longer. Since, however, you showed your brotherly love to us
by inviting us (as though we were your own members) by the letters of our
most religious emperor to the synod which you are gathering by divine
permission at Rome, to the end that since we alone were then condemned to
suffer persecution, you should not now, when our emperors are at one with
us as to true religion, reign apart from us, but that we, to use the
Apostle's phrase, should reign with you, our prayer was, if it were
possible, all in company to leave our churches, and rather gratify our
longing to see you than consult their needs. For who will give us wings as
of a dove, and we will fly and be at rest? But this course seemed likely to
leave the churches who were just recovering quite uncle-fended, and the
undertaking was to most of us impossible, for, in accordance witch the
letters sent a year ago from your holiness after the synod at Aquileia to
the most pious emperor Theodosius, we had journeyed to Constantinople,
equipped only for travelling so far as Constantinople, and bringing the
consent of the bishops remaining in the provinces of this synod alone. We
had been in no expectation of any longer journey nor had heard a word about
it, before our arrival at Constantinople. In addition to all this, and on
account of the narrow limits of the appointed time which allowed of no
preparation for a longer journey, nor of communicating with the bishops of
our communion in the provinces and of obtaining their consent, the journey
to Rome was for the majority impossible. We have therefore adopted the next
best course open to us under the circumstances, both for the better
administration of the church, and for manifesting our love towards you, by
strongly urging our most venerated, and honoured colleagues and brother
bishops Cyriacus, Eusebius and Priscianus, to consent to travel to you.
Through them we wish to make it plain that our disposition is all for
peace with unity for its sole object, and that we are full of zeal for the
right faith. For we, whether we suffered persecutions, or afflictions, or
the threats of emperors, or the cruelties of prince, s, or any other trial
at the hands of heretics, have undergone all for the sake of the evangelic
faith, ratified by the three hundred and eighteen fathers at Nicaea in
Bithynia. This is the faith which ought to be sufficient for you, for us,
for all who wrest not the word of the true faith; for it is the ancient
faith; it is the faith of our baptism; it is the faith that teaches us to
believe in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
According to this faith there is one Godhead, Power and Substance of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; the dignity being equal, and
the majesty being equal in three perfect hypostases, i.e. three perfect
persons. Thus there is no room for the heresy of Sabellius by the confusion
of the hypostases, i.e. the destruction of the personalities; thus the
blasphemy of the Eunomians, of the Arians, and of the Pneumatomachi is
nullified, which divides the substance, the nature, dud the godhead, and
super-induces on the uncreated consubstantial and co-eternal Trinity a
nature posterior, created and of a different substance. We moreover
preserve unperverted the doctrine of the incarnation of the Lord, holding
the tradition that the dispensation of the flesh is neither soulless nor
mindless nor imperfect; and knowing full well that God's Word was perfect
before the ages, and became perfect man in the last days for our salvation.
Let this suffice for a summary of the doctrine which is fearlessly and
frankly preached by us, and concerning which you will be able to be still
further satisfied if you will deign to read the tome of the synod of
Antioch, and also that tome issued last year by the Ecumenical Council held
at Constantinople, in which we have set forth our confession of the faith
at greater length, and have appended an anathema against the heresies which
innovators have recently inscribed.
Now as to the particular administration of individual churches, an
ancient custom, as you know, has obtained, confirmed by the enactment of
the holy fathers of Nicaea, that in every province, the bishops of the
province, and, with their consent, the neighbouring bishops with them,
should perform ordinations as expediency may require. In conforming with
these customs note that other churches have been administered by us and the
priests of the most famous, churches publicly appointed. Accordingly over
the new made (if the expression be allowable) church at Constantinople,
which, as through from a lion's mouth, we have lately snatched by God's
mercy from the blasphemy of the heretics, we have ordained bishop the right
reverend and most religious Nectarius, in the presence of the Ecumenical
Council, with common consent, before the most religious emperor Theodosius,
and with the assent of all the clergy and of the whole city. And over the
most ancient and truly apostolic church in Syria, where first the noble
name of Christians was given them, the bishops of the province and of the
eastern diocese have met together and canonically ordained bishop the right
reverend and most religious Flavianus, with the consent of all the church,
who as though with one voice joined in expressing their respect for him.
This rightful ordination also received the sanction of the General Council.
Of the church at Jerusalem, mother of all the churches, we make known that
the right reverend and most religious Cyril is bishop, who was some time
ago canonically ordained by the bishops of the province, and has in several
places fought a good fight against the Arians. We beseech your reverence to
rejoice at what has thus been rightly and canonically settled by us, by the
intervention of spiritual love and by the influence of the fear of the
Lord, compelling the feelings of men, and making the edification of
churches of more importance than individual grace or favour. Thus since
among us there is agreement in the faith and Christian charity has been
established, we shall cease to use the phrase condemned by the apostles, I
am of Paul and I of Apollos and I of Cephas, and all appearing as Christ's,
who in us is not divided, by God's grace we will keep the body of the
church unrent, and will boldly stand at the judgment seat of the Lord.
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.