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Roman Popes and the 7 Ecumenical Councils

Samn!

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But when you say the East, you must be very clear that you mean the Byzantine East and not the East proper.
I mean the entirety of the East that Rome recognized as being part of the Church after the council. My point is that within the Church that Rome recognized in the first millenium, papal approval was not necessary for the validity of a council as a whole or individual canons: a council could stand in judgment of a pope but a pope could not stand alone in judgment of a council.

Nor did Alexandria when an earlier version of Canon 28 was passed in Constantinople I
It's rather more complicated than this, but irrelevant to the point at hand. Of course, that most of Alexandria could dissent from the entire Council of Chalcedon shows that it did not believe that papal authority was the determining factor in a council's validity either.
 

Katechon

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I think the relationship between Rome and Constantinople during the Iconoclast period and such was propably similair to the one ROCOR had to the Moscow Patriarchate during the Soviet period.
 

Shanghaiski

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Who comes to a council is, frankly, not relevant. What matters is the universal acceptance by the Church.
 

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At the Council of Florence, the Council Fathers, both Greek and Latin, discussed in a Very Irenic and - there is no other word for it - almost Ecumenical Spirit, for the most part. They admitted the Authority of all the Fathers and Doctors, both Eastern and Western, and tried to arrive at a theological consensus. They almost did, but then the hoped-for Holy Union between Eastern and Western Christendom sadly did not last: "

"Eugenius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting record. With the agreement of our most dear son John Palaeologus, illustrious emperor of the Romaioi, of the deputies of our venerable brothers the patriarchs and of other representatives of the eastern church, to the following.

Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice. For, the wall that divided the western and the eastern church has been removed, peace and harmony have returned, since the corner-stone, Christ, who made both one, has joined both sides with a very strong bond of love and peace, uniting and holding them together in a covenant of everlasting unity. After a long haze of grief and a dark and unlovely gloom of long-enduring strife, the radiance of hoped-for union has illuminated all." (From: Laetentur Caeli) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_of_Union_with_the_Greeks

We all know the difficulties that ensued. But I firmly believe it is our generation's task to complete the holy work that they so happily began.

So, where were we? Oh yeah, Canon 28 of Chalcedon was being discussed, as was EC 6, Constantinople III, and Pope St. Agatho's Letter.

Biblical Catholic has a good summary, and the words of Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople are illuminating as to what authority the 5th Century Orthodox Church of Constantinople recognized in the Apostolic See of Rome: " Even so, the whole force of confirmation of the acts was reserved for the authority of Your Blessedness. Therefore, let Your Holiness know for certain that I did nothing to further the matter, knowing always that I held myself bound to avoid the lusts of pride and covetousness. -- Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople to Pope Leo, Ep 132 (on the subject of canon 28 of Chalcedon).

So, the matter was settled; and, for the next 6 centuries, all Eastern churches speak of only 27 canons of Chalcedon -- the 28th Canon being rendered null and void by Rome's "line item veto." This is supported by all the Greek historians, such as Theodore the Lector (writing in 551 AD), John Skolastikas (writing in 550 AD), Dionysius Exegius (also around 550 AD); and by Roman Popes like Pope St. Gelasius (c. 495) and Pope Symmachus (c. 500) -- all of whom speak of only 27 Canons of Chalcedon." http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/a35.htm

So can we not see the Pope was asked to confirm the Council, and was also recognized as having the power to make a "line item veto"?

But nevertheless, even if Orthodox say, "The Pope's approval was necessary but not sufficient", that's ok. Then let the same be applied today.

Regarding Pope St. Agatho, a scholar who tries to "refute" the letter was cited. But did the Council Fathers try to "refute" it? No, they did not.

Rather, they unanimously said, "Peter has spoken through Agatho", just like EC4 had said "Peter has spoken through Leo". This is the mind of the Church.

Someone mentioned unanimous or universal acceptance. Does this universal acceptance of Pope St. Agatho's Letter at EC 6 not make it correct?

"We have had with us the most high Prince of the Apostles, for we have received encouragement and a written declaration of the sacred mystery from his imitator and the successor of his See; ... and Peter has spoken through Agatho.24 http://www.cchahistory.ca/journal/CCHA1965/Hanrahan.htm

Some of the second-millenium, post-schism developments, particularly after Florence, are specific to the West only. But above is First Millenium.

What Byzantine and other Eastern Great Saints of the First Millenium said about the Papacy can reasonably be applied to the Papacy today.

If Orthodox believe "Approval from all 5 Patriarchs is necessary to make a Council Ecumenical", then why not ask all 5 Patriarchs to approve?

As a Catholic, I believe seeking the approval from all in the Pentarchy is a legitimate discipline to follow. Question is, why not follow at least that?

I believe most Second Millenium Orthodox Councils could easily be accepted by Catholics. For e.g. the Council of Dositheus is clearly Catholic.

In a similar way, it would be nice if Orthodox accepted, for e.g. the decrees of Trent on the Sacraments. It teaches Real Presence etc as Catholic.

I'm going to start a new thread about that. I believe Orthodox Christians agree with us that the Mass/Divine Liturgy is a Holy Sacrifice etc.
 

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Does this universal acceptance of Pope St. Agatho's Letter at EC 6 not make it correct?
The entire debate at the Fifth Ecumenical Council over the Three Chapters was whether the inclusion of a given document in the acts a council, separate from the council's actual canons and decrees, implies a binding endorsement of it. The verdict: it does not. Agatho was unambiguously wrong in his historical claims. The fact that nobody at the council wanted to unnecessarily start a fight over that doesn't make him right.
 

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Hi Samn. The two are imho not completely comparable, because the Council Fathers at Constantinople III, EC 6, endorsed Pope St. Agatho's Letter as coming from the Apostle St. Peter. What happened at Chalcedon, EC4, if I understand correctly, and caused controversy in EC5, was that some Nestorians were reconciled to the Church, with the Church being content at the time with hearing from them a repudiation of the doctrine and person of Nestorius alone. That doesn't amount to an endorsement of any of their writings. If you want to make a comparison between EC 6 and EC 4, the letters of Pope St. Agatho and that of Pope St. Leo I respectively may be a better comparison. These are the letters to which the Council Fathers expressly gave their endorsement and which therefore are guaranteed to be free from error. If the Council Fathers did not agree with Pope St. Agatho's Letter, can you explain why they would later write to the Emperor, "Peter has spoken through Agatho"? Did the Council Fathers err or make a mistake here?
 
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Samn!

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It's a question of what's being agreed to. At the council, they're obviously agreeing to Agatho's position on the dogmatic issue at hand. I don't think that entails assent to every detail of what he said beyond that. The analogy to Leo's Tome here is useful to a degree- in the East, the Tome was never taken as the final word on Christology, beyond its endorsement of what was defined at Chalcedon. References to it in later debates over Chalcedon are very rare and its language, again beyond what turns up in the council's dogmatic definition, doesn't wind up being particularly influential (and arguably gets heavily revised in later Chalcedonian thought). Likewise, Leo's authority as pope is basically never brought up in defenses of Chalcedon, because no one in the East at the time, on either the Chalcedonian or anti-Chalcedonian side, invested the papacy with special dogmatic authority.

Which is all to say, we shouldn't read too much into the language "Peter has spoken" as somehow giving added authority to either Leo's or Agatho's text.
 

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Okay, understandable. You say the Council agreed with Pope St. Agatho's dogmatic teaching, but doesn't demand our assent to every jot and tittle of the Letter.

Moving on, how do you understand the Second Millenium declarations on Roman Primacy which some Orthodox Bishops and Theologians signed?

"What is more, with the approval of the second Council of Lyons, the [Orthodox] Greeks made the following profession:
"The Holy Roman Church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole Catholic Church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor the Roman Pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled." [57]

Then there is the definition of the Council of Florence:
"The Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole Church." [58]


57 From Michael Palaeologus's profession of faith which was read out at the second Council of Lyons (D no. 466).

58 Council of Florence, session 6 (see above p. 528). S Bernard, Ep. (Letters) 190 (PL 182, 1053).


From: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/first-vatican-council-1505

Do you consider this an acceptable development of First Millenium Theology, or do you see it as a rupture? If a rupture, why was it agreed to?
 

Samn!

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Do you consider this an acceptable development of First Millenium Theology, or do you see it as a rupture? If a rupture, why was it agreed to?
The massive imbalance of political power at the Council of Lyon (let alone the Council of Florence), where Constantinople had only re-gained independence from the Latins barely a decade earlier goes a long way both why some people in the East were willing to entertain a novel, maximalist view of the papacy and why it was very quickly rejected.
 

Xavier

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Well, in both Lyons II and Florence, the Byzantine Emperor was present, and both he and the Bishops of the Eastern Churches had the freedom to say what they wanted, and argue in favor of what they believed, just as they did on the other disputed points.

"In early April 1438, the Byzantine contingent, over 700 strong, arrived at Ferrara. On 9 April 1438, the first solemn session at Ferrara began, with the Eastern Roman Emperor, the Patriarch of Constantinople and representatives of the Patriarchal Sees of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem in attendance and Pope Eugene IV presiding." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Florence

" Pope Gregory X presided over the council, called to act on a pledge by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII to reunite the Eastern church with the West.[2] The council was attended by about 300 bishops, 60 abbots[3] and more than a thousand prelates or their procurators, among whom were the representatives of the universities." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Council_of_Lyon

I think it is significant they were able, at least temporarily, to reach this level of consensus on Roman Primacy. But nevertheless, in modern times, there is generally a different way of seeking to arrive at theological consensus, namely in the context of Episcopal Collegiality; and of the roles and duties of a Head, together with the consent of the Body, as is contained in Apostolic Canon 34.

Apostolic Canon 34: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit." https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3820.htm

Would you say, Samn, that you agree with applying AC 34, to the Pope and Body or College of Bishops respectively, or do you disagree with it?

Here's a Joint Statement of Catholic and Orthodox Bishops in recent times: "The particular form of primacy among the Churches exercised by the bishops of Rome has been and remains the chief point of dispute between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, and their chief obstacle to full ecclesial communion with each other. Disagreement has often centered on the way in which the leadership exercised by Peter in expressing and confirming the faith of the other disciples (Matt 16.17f.; Lk 22.32; John 21.15-19) is to be realized in Church life. The Orthodox have emphasized that the role of Peter within the apostolic college is reflected principally in the role of the church. Roman Catholics have claimed for the bishops of Rome, since the fourth century, not only the first place in honor among their episcopal colleagues but also the "Petrine" role of proclaiming the Church's apostolic tradition and of ensuring the observation of canonical practices.

As our Consultation has suggested in its earlier statement, "Apostolicity as God's Gift in the Life of the Church" (1986; par. 12), "There is no intrinsic opposition between these two approaches." The Orthodox do accept the notion of universal primacy, speaking of it as a "primacy of honor" accorded to a primus inter pares; at the same time, they cannot accept an understanding of the role of the primate which excludes the collegiality and interdependence of the whole body of bishops, and in consequence continue to reject the formulation of Papal primacy found in Vatican I's constitution Pastor Aeternus. Engaged since the Second Vatican Council in further development of the doctrine of Papal primacy within the context of a collegially responsible episcopate (see especially Lumen Gentium 22-23), the Roman Catholic Church is presently seeking new forms of synodal leadership which will be compatible with its tradition of effective universal unity in faith and practice under the headship of the bishop of Rome."


 

Samn!

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Would you say, Samn, that you agree with applying AC 34, to the Pope and Body or College of Bishops respectively, or do you disagree with it?
Kind of bizarrely, in his own slide into a papal identity for himself, Patriarch Bartholomew has repudiated any applicability of the canon on the universal level: http://orthodoxsynaxis.org/2019/03/16/has-patriarch-bartholomew-repudiated-apostolic-canon-34/

But beyond that, I think the notion of applying Apostolic Canon 34 to the universal level sounds nice in theory, but it requires a great deal of fleshing-out as to what it would mean in practice, first of all by a translation of it into the idiom of modern Roman canon law. How would it look if this principle were put into the Codex Iuris Canonici? It would also require Rome to begin to see itself as one church alongside others rather than over others for it to be practicable, though that's a process that's perhaps starting to happen in an intra-Latin context in the current papacy. The way that Pope Francis responds to the German Synodal Way will be interesting to observe from an Orthodox point of view.

One major problem with applying Canon 34 to the universal level is that neither the universal episcopate nor something like the primates of all the local churches have ever historically constituted anything like a synod as envisioned by the canon. While a lot of modern Orthodox ecclesiology has been taken in a weird direction regarding primacy because of the theology of John Zizioulas, who, via a misapplied Trinitarian analogy, sees the primus as being somehow the ontological source of a synod, in reality it's the exact opposite: in Orthodoxy a primate is chosen by his synod. This is also the original logic behind the College of Cardinals, which is a very appropriate institution for Rome as a local church, but makes no sense at a universal level. So any application of Canon 34, implicitly turning some universal body of bishops (whether primates or some other arrangement) into a synod, would requite all kinds of innovative reconfigurations.

At the end of the day, though, speculation about what an ideal arrangement would be is nice, but in my opinion Pastor Aeternus definitively ended any chance for mutual agreement on ecclesiology between Rome and Orthodoxy. Rome can't repudiate it without bringing down the house of cards it's built, and there's no amount of hermeneutical massaging that can make it acceptable to Orthodoxy or even consistent with the history of the undivided Church. If Rome were serious about trying to find an ecclesiological modus vivendi with Orthodoxy, the natural thing to do would be to attempt to live one out with the Eastern Catholic Churches- the very existence of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and the Congregation for the Eastern Churches is bigger impediment to rapprochement between Rome and Orthodoxy than I think a lot of people are aware.
 

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I mean the entirety of the East that Rome recognized as being part of the Church after the council.
Sorry I’ve been a bit busy lately.

For a long time after the council Alexandria still had one bishopric just with successive bishops of differing views on Chalcedon. Until the formal split Alexandria were still in the church but on shaky ground due to the volatility of their patriarchs relative to Chalcedon.

My point is that within the Church that Rome recognized in the first millenium, papal approval was not necessary for the validity of a council as a whole or individual canons: a council could stand in judgment of a pope but a pope could not stand alone in judgment of a council.
The Chalcedonian Fathers literally said it themselves in the plainest most explicit terms that their decisions were dependent on the approval of St Leo. The truth of Canon 28 being pushed forward was because of Imperial and patriarchal ambitions that disregarded even Nicaea in pursuance of Constantinople's elevation.

It's rather more complicated than this, but irrelevant to the point at hand.
it’s actually one of the simplest most powerful points as this was a purely eastern synod of which Alexandria did not again accept this elevation. It does however show the pretentiousness of Constantinople from quite early on.


Of course, that most of Alexandria could dissent from the entire Council of Chalcedon shows that it did not believe that papal authority was the determining factor in a council's validity either.
This is not a very good argument as if dissent shows lack of authority imagine the implications of your argument on the authority of Chalcedon itself.
 

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This is not a very good argument as if dissent shows lack of authority imagine the implications of your argument on the authority of Chalcedon itself.
No, I think it's uncontroversial (from the perspective of history rather than confessional apologetic) that there has never been any real procedural way of determining which councils would stick eventually and be held as binding and which wouldn't. I also think it's historically uncontroversial that virtually no one in the East thought that the Pope had special authority with regard to dogma. Church history is messy and it's unhelpful to look at it through the lens of mythology, papal or otherwise.
 

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Sorry for the delay in responding.

Samn said:
But beyond that, I think the notion of applying Apostolic Canon 34 to the universal level sounds nice in theory, but it requires a great deal of fleshing-out as to what it would mean in practice, first of all by a translation of it into the idiom of modern Roman canon law. How would it look if this principle were put into the Codex Iuris Canonici? It would also require Rome to begin to see itself as one church alongside others rather than over others for it to be practicable, though that's a process that's perhaps starting to happen in an intra-Latin context in the current papacy. The way that Pope Francis responds to the German Synodal Way will be interesting to observe from an Orthodox point of view.
Well, it would be a simple application of its two precepts: (1) "The Bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; (2) But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all." Today, in practice, the Roman Church almost always consults the Catholic Bishops of the World before taking a major step. Let me show an example from http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-...-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html Before defining the dogma of the Assumption, based on Scripture and Tradition, the Pope asked all the Catholic Bishops their view. Almost all of them were positive and in favor of defining the dogma, without however stating definitively whether the Blessed Mother died or not before Her Dormition/Assumption. Consequently, having received this Episcopal Consensus, the Pope proceeded to define the dogma. Please see p. 12 in particular of the Encyclical that explained this process.

Is such a similar process possible in the Orthodox Church today? If one Primate asked for the Consensus of all, would there be a joint response?

I believe the Orthodox Church already agrees with the Dormition, though tending to emphasize that the Holy Theotokos died/reposed first. If Orthodox Bishops were already in full communion with the Catholic Church, without doubt the Pope would asked for their consensus also.

So it can be a model for a future re-united Church. The Pope, who is Head, takes into account the Episcopal Consensus, then defines based on it.

I agree that the Church of Rome is one Church among all others. She is one local Church that has Primacy. We consider Orthodox Churches as "Sister Churches" and "true particular Churches" lacking little for "full communion with the Universal Church". In a hypothetical future re-united Church, all Bishops could maintain their legitimate independence in the spirit of AC 34, but while recognizing one Primate as Head as it also says. I am not sure why the Code of Canon Law for Eastern Churches poses a problem, Sam? The Eastern Catholic Churches have their own discipline.

If re-union were to take place, the Eastern Churches could continue to have their own specific privileges and the local discipline proper to them.

Fr. Nicholas Afanasieff writes on St. Ignatius' ancient formula, that the Church of Rome presides in love: "If we take the respective positions of the two churches as they stand, there is no hope of resolving the question of primacy. We can only accept the tragedy, but with our eyes open, and without that romantic sentimentality which only adds bitterness to the everlasting discussion about primacy. “The unity of the faith in the bond of peace.” Unity of faith still reigns within the Orthodox Church, but without union in love; and neither exists between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. Why is this? Surely because the mind of the Church has become unaware that the Church of God should be directed by a local church, one church among all the others. They all possess catholicity; but priority of authority, by giving witness about events in the Church’s life, is something that belongs only to the church “which presides in love.” http://www.golubinski.ru/ecclesia/primacy.htm

Of late, the Roman Church has stressed this ancient formula: The different Churches gathered together as the Priesthood is gathered around the Episcopate, and the Church of Rome at the centre, as also Fr. Nicholas writes, and presiding over the brotherhood in charity. I believe Pope Francis mentioned this formula some time ago, and the Russian Church took note of it and mentioned it positively. Re-Union is a work in progress and theological formulation of the Primacy in a way acceptable to both sides is probably the number one outstanding problem to be solved.

God Bless.
 

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Vigilius was in Constantinople during the Fifth Ecumenical Coucil, but refused to attend it and issued a 'Constitutum' forbidding the council from proceeding. Instead, he was removed from the diptychs by the council.
And imprisoned for 10 years for refusing to ratify the council. He was released when he ratifying it, saying he erred as Pope for permitting a heretical document to be circulated.
 

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No, I think it's uncontroversial (from the perspective of history rather than confessional apologetic) that there has never been any real procedural way of determining which councils would stick eventually and be held as binding and which wouldn't. I also think it's historically uncontroversial that virtually no one in the East thought that the Pope had special authority with regard to dogma. Church history is messy and it's unhelpful to look at it through the lens of mythology, papal or otherwise.
The Chalcedonian fathers explicitly said it themselves.
 

xariskai

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"We can’t keep lying like this."
Samn! must cease all this lying? That's rich.

Perhaps you should consider not take it for granted that others conversing with you will not hold a binary classification system whereupon the world of ideas and/or history can be divided into neat categories approximating:
(A) Wandle's opinions (aka TrueTruthTM) and
(B) Not Wandle's opinion (aka lies told by liars)

...if you expect to be taken seriously or with something approximating respect. Just saying.

Some additional suggestions that might be conducive to civility, (if you have any interest in it for anyone other than yourself):
When accusing someone of being a liar at least try not to be vague about what alleged lie you have in mind.
Document what you are saying. Show, don't simply assert.
Consider saying an interlocutor not limited to Samni is in your view mistaken or unapprised of some fact or its implications rather than accusing him or her or them of lying. It's less abrasive and/or presumptuous.
Do not assume anyone here takes your credibility or judgment for granted given your track record of documented error.s in other threads. Not to say anyone supposes you are always wrong.

If you are vague this alone could prevent the whole forum from converting en masse not only to your brand of hyperdoxy but to your every point of view -excepting those folks who are just out to spread VISCIOUS LIES while all the time secretly knowing they are obscuring TrueTruthTM.

This is a perfect example of why so many threads in which you participate seem to reach a stage of going nowhere but south.
 
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Katechon

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Look, I realize that you hold your list of proof-texts to be sacred writ, so it's not really useful to continue this any further.
It's the Ybarraization of Latin online apologetics.

 

Samn!

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It's the Ybarraization of Latin online apologetics.
I think the important thing when talking to people of this mentality is not to convince them immediately of the ahistorical and largely fantastical nature of their ecclesiology, but to provide them with the tools to not mentally or spiritually break from the cognitive dissonance they'll eventually face when they become aware of the profound changes currently afoot in Catholicism. For a certain kind of conservative Catholic, the idea that in Rome everything remains right on paper even if everything on the ground is, relative to their imagined standard, in chaos must be comforting, in the manner of "if only the czar knew..." It's a difficult headspace to be in and one that you can't stay in forever.
 

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Look, I realize that you hold your list of proof-texts to be sacred writ, so it's not really useful to continue this any further.
Yeah let’s just ignore the Chalcedonian fathers who in no uncertain words said that their decisions are subject to the approval of St Leo. It’s not sacred writing but damn sure means a lot considering the discussion is how the East saw papal dogmatic authority and these are the fathers of an ecumenical council. But yeah we can just let that slide.
 
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Katechon

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Yeah let’s just ignore the Chalcedonian fathers who in no uncertain words said that their decisions are subject to the approval of St Leo. It’s not sacred writing but damn sure means a lot considering the discussion is how the East saw papal dogmatic authority and these are the fathers of an ecumenical council. But yeah we can just let that slide.
Do you have any idea what a circulus virtuosus is or why quotemining is dismissed by serious academic scholarship? Please read the article I posted specifically about the Tome of Leo.
 

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The bishops in the Acts of the Council distinguished communion with the see of Rome, which was affirmed, from excommunication of the pope of Rome (Vigilius) which was also affirmed (cf. Richard Price, editor and translator, Acts of the Council of Constantinople (553), II.73-74, 99, 100-101, 214; cf. I.53, 104).

Price, Acts of the Council of Constantinople (553), documents the exciting history of Pope Vigilius' official admissions of Satan-inspired errors he had made in an earlier "definitive for all time" decree after he was deemed a perjurer and a heretic suspended from office by the Fifth Ecumenical Council with multiple written proofs of perjury entered into record. The Vigilius episode is every bit as fascinating as Islam's Satanic Verses.

"...Pope Vigilius and his loyal supporters had signed a decree, the first Constitutum, defending the [heretical] Three Chapters and declaring any condemnation of them invalid. The emperor refused to receive this document (Acts VII 4.2), and at the end of Session VII [of the 5th Ecumenical Council] the bishops had approved an imperial decree removing the pope's name from the diptychs; this was in effect a decree of suspension from office. There were only two ways in which the impasse could now be resolved -either by the formal trial and deposition of Vigilius or by his capitulation, in which case his name could be restored to the diptychs. Finally on 8 December he wrote to Patriarch Eutychius confirming the condemnation of the Three Chapters [which he had just decreed with a few western bishops could never be condemned].
The letter was short and largely repeated the conciliar canons. In it Vigilius ascribes his opposition to the council to the machinations of the devil, and compares his own volte-face to Augustine's composing of the Retractions in which he corrected some of his earlier statements. After all, if Augustine had been ready to confess that, for example, in his early On Genesis against the Manichaeans he had erred in taking pabulum at Genesis 2:5 to mean 'life', since the better reading was faenum ('hay') which does not fit the notion of 'life', why should Vigilius be ashamed to admit that his solemn and would-be definitive pronouncement on the greatest controversy of the age had somehow hit the wrong nail on the head?" (Richard Price, Acts of the Council of Constantinople (553), II.214.

Comparing Vigilius' first Constitutum with the completely opposing/contradictory propositions of his second Constitutum Price remarks:

"It is unusual to have a debate in which two of the lengthiest contributions, arguing for diametrically opposite positions are written by the same person. It is stranger still when both contributions claim to give the final and definitive ruling, closing the debate for all time. But evidently they were not meant to be read as a sequence. They were transmitted independently in the manuscript tradition. The names 'first' and 'second' Constituta are modern and potentially misleading, for the second Constitutum was written not to supplement the first but hopefully to expunge it from the memory of man; at the same date a new edition of the conciliar acts was produced in which reference to the first Constitutum was removed" (Price, ibid, I.57).

Price adds the following footnote: "Which of the two should be accepted as authoritative by Roman Catholics today? See de Vries (1974), 161-194 for recent debate among Catholic scholars, torn between a preference for the first Constitutum and a recognition that the subsequent tradition followed the second" (ibid).

How did such a radical about face come about? "As early as the first session (Acts I.7.12) [of the Fifth Ecumenical Council] Justinian had informed the bishops of his intention to acquaint them with several of these documents (those in 8-10), to prove that Vigilius had repeatedly condemned the Three Chapters [before his declaring all such condemnations invalid in the first Constitutum]. What was novel, and represented a specific response to the Constitutum, was the addition of secret documents with which Vigilius had supplied the emperor (6-7, 11): they proved that the issuing of the Constitutum involved not merely vacillation but perjury. This meant, as Constantine explained at the end of his speech, that the bishops could now proceed with confidence 'to impose a rapid close on this case' (4.7) ...because of the pope's defense of the Three chapters, which made him guilty of perjury and 'alien to the Catholic Church' , i.e. a heretic, his name was to be removed from the diptychs read out at each celebration of the liturgy, though without a breach of communion with the Roman Church... Such a distinction between the See, still in communion with the other churches, and the holder of the see, excluded from that communion, implied that Vigilius was suspended from office. The decree is dated to 14 July, almost two months after the session, which shows that its wider publication was delayed, doubtless in the hope that Vigilius would capitulate and make its publication unnecessary" (Price, op cit, II.73-74).

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[1] https://global.oup.com/academic/pro...antinople-of-553-9781846311789?cc=us&lang=en&
It's both interesting the distinction the Fathers of the Council made, against the intent of the Emperor, which was to judge the Pope and not the whole Roman church (explicitly). Also interesting that even after this had been done, they imprisoned Pope Vigilius until he ratified the council and capitulated - not a small point they thought it was necessary for him to do so.
 

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It's both interesting the distinction the Fathers of the Council made, against the intent of the Emperor, which was to judge the Pope and not the whole Roman church (explicitly). Also interesting that even after this had been done, they imprisoned Pope Vigilius until he ratified the council and capitulated - not a small point they thought it was necessary for him to do so.
It was necessary that all 5 Patriarchs ratify, not just the Pope alone.
 

Azurestone

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It was necessary that all 5 Patriarchs ratify, not just the Pope alone.
It necessary for the excommunicated heretic to affirm his own excommunication?

This didn’t happen for the other excommunicated Patriarchs.
 

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It's both interesting the distinction the Fathers of the Council made, against the intent of the Emperor, which was to judge the Pope and not the whole Roman church (explicitly).
The bishops of the council remarked immediately after and in reply to the reading of the decree that they were in full accord with all the emperor's remarks and intent that Pope Vigilius's "...name is no longer to be included in the sacred diptychs. We ourselves, however preserve unity with the apostolic see, and it is certain that you will also guard it. For the change to the worse in Vigilius or in anyone else cannot harm the peace of the churches..." (DECREE) Price, ed., Acts of the Council of Constantinople 553 II.101

REPLY OF THE COUNCIL (recorded with the record of the decree at the end)
"The holy council said: 'What has now seemed good to the most pious emperor is consonant with the labours he has borne for the unity of the holy churches. Let us therefore preserve unity with the apostolic see of the sacrosanct church of Elder Rome, transacting everything according to the tenor of the texts that have been read." ibid, II.101 (17)

Price remarks further on the acceptance by the council of the emperor's decree:
"Speaking in acceptance of the decree, [Patriarch] Eutychius again avoided criticizing Vigilius, and emphasized that the churches were to remain in communion (17). Such a distinction between the see, still in communion with the other churches, and the holder of the see, excluded from that communion, implied that Vigilius was suspended from office. This fell short of a full condemnation, involving deposition and excommunication that would have broken the communion between the eastern churches and the Roman see thereby damaging the ecumenical status of the council. The decree is dated to 14 July, almost two months after the session, which shows that its wider publication was delayed, doubtless in the hope that Vigilius would capitulate and make its publication unnecessary. And indeed, when at the very end of the year, Vigilius finally assented to condemn the [heretical] Three Chapters, a new edition of the conciliar acts was produced, from which this decree, and other embarrassing documents contained in the record of Session VII, were expunged." (Price, op cit, II. 74).
 

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The bishops of the council remarked immediately after and in reply to the reading of the decree that they were in full accord with all the emperor's remarks and intent that Pope Vigilius's "...name is no longer to be included in the sacred diptychs. We ourselves, however preserve unity with the apostolic see, and it is certain that you will also guard it. For the change to the worse in Vigilius or in anyone else cannot harm the peace of the churches..." (DECREE) Price, ed., Acts of the Council of Constantinople 553 II.101

REPLY OF THE COUNCIL (recorded with the record of the decree at the end)
"The holy council said: 'What has now seemed good to the most pious emperor is consonant with the labours he has borne for the unity of the holy churches. Let us therefore preserve unity with the apostolic see of the sacrosanct church of Elder Rome, transacting everything according to the tenor of the texts that have been read." ibid, II.101 (17)

Price remarks further on the acceptance by the council of the emperor's decree:
"Speaking in acceptance of the decree, [Patriarch] Eutychius again avoided criticizing Vigilius, and emphasized that the churches were to remain in communion (17). Such a distinction between the see, still in communion with the other churches, and the holder of the see, excluded from that communion, implied that Vigilius was suspended from office. This fell short of a full condemnation, involving deposition and excommunication that would have broken the communion between the eastern churches and the Roman see thereby damaging the ecumenical status of the council. The decree is dated to 14 July, almost two months after the session, which shows that its wider publication was delayed, doubtless in the hope that Vigilius would capitulate and make its publication unnecessary. And indeed, when at the very end of the year, Vigilius finally assented to condemn the [heretical] Three Chapters, a new edition of the conciliar acts was produced, from which this decree, and other embarrassing documents contained in the record of Session VII, were expunged." (Price, op cit, II. 74).
I would have to do some digging. The original intent of the Emperor was much stricter, and if I remember correctly He wanted to excommunicate the entire Roman church. The Father of the council instead made sure to detail they only judged the Pope for not upholding orthodoxy.
 

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Perhaps not, I can't find it, at the moment. Probably misremembering.
 

xariskai

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Perhaps not, I can't find it, at the moment. Probably misremembering.
Understandable, the episode is quite complicated and the records voluminous. I would highly recommend the Roman Catholic scholar Richard Price's, The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 both for all extant primary sources on the council and some very excellent commentary on the whole period as well as on the council proceedings.

The Fathers of the council instead made sure to detail they only judged the Pope for not upholding orthodoxy.
That is incorrect. The cited decree charged the pope formally/specifically with both crime and heresy; the council approved the decree (judiciously post-dated).

"Not upholding orthodoxy" is neither criminal nor heretical.

The original intent of the Emperor was much stricter, and if I remember correctly He wanted to excommunicate the entire Roman church.
The emperor's decree approved by the council fathers deposes the pope but seeks to retain communion with the Roman church. The last thing the emperor wanted was to further exacerbate political disunity in the empire insofar as it was within his capacity to prevent it.
 

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Does it really depose the Pope?
 

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Does it really depose the Pope?
It proclaims deposition of the pope while not deposing or excommunicating the see[1] -however as mentioned it was judiciously post-dated!

Vigilius dodged this bullet via his second letter to Patriarch Eutychius which diametrically reverses his earlier papal decree (the so-called 1st Constitutium- which decree Vigilius had proclaimed definitive for all time no less) calling it both erroneous and, Vigilius said, accomplished by him through the influence of Satan! (see further below)

Whereas the pope's earlier definitive for all time decree had forbidden condemning the Three Chapters, the Ecumenical Council and the pope's letter/decree condemned the same Three Chapters as heretical. The letter was appended to the acts of the council as part of the 8th session.

"The situation at the close of the council (2 June 553) was a bizarre one, with the eastern bishops having condemned the [heretical] Three Chapters and anathematized their supporters, while Pope Vigilius and his loyal supporters had signed a decree, the first Constitutium, defending the [heretical] chapters and declaring any condemnation of them invalid. The emperor refused to receive this document (Acts VII. 4.2), and at the end of Session VII the bishops had approved an imperial decree removing the pope's name from the diptychs; this was in effect a decree of suspension from office. There were only two ways in which the impasse could now be resolved -either by the formal trial and deposition of Vigilius or by his capitulation, in which case his name could be restored to the diptychs. Finally on 8 December he wrote to Patriarch Eutychius confirming the condemnation of the chapters. The letter was short and largely repeated the conciliar canons. In it Vigilius ascribes his opposition to the council to the machinations of the devil, and compares his own volte-face to Augustine's composing of the Retractions in which he corrected some of his earlier statements. After all, if Augustine had been ready to confess that, for example, in his early On Genesis against the Manichaeans he had erred in taking pabulum at Genesis 2:5 to mean 'life', since the better reading was faenum ('hay') which does not fit the notion of 'life', why should Vigilius be ashamed to admit that his solemn and would-be definitive pronouncement on the greatest controversy of the age had somehow hit the wrong nail on the head? The letter survives in a selection of documents from the council, where it is described as part of (meaning attached to) the proceedings of the eighth and final session (see ACO 4.1, pp. xxiv-v). As expressing papal confirmation of the council's condemnation of the Three Chapters it was an essential part of the second edition of the acts, produced to celebrate the achievement of unanimity (see vol 1, 104-5)." -Richard Price, Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553, Vol II, p. 214.

The full text of the letter is in Price, ibid, Vol 2, pp. 215-218; the contradictory and much longer 1st Constitutium is reproduced in pp. 141-213.


Fig. 1. Inspiration for Vigilius's earlier papal decree, the 1st Constitutium, according to Vigilius' Second Letter to Eutychius

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[1]"Moreover he made himself alien to the catholic church by defending the impiety of the aforesaid chapters, separating himself from your communion. Since therefore he has acted this way, we have pronounced that his name is alien to Christians and is not to be read out in the sacred diptychs, lest we be found in this way sharing in the impiety of Nestorius and Theodore. Accordingly we earlier made this known to you by word of mouth, but now we inform you in writing through our officials that his name is no longer to be included in the sacred diptychs. We ourself, however, preserve unity with the apostolic see, and it is certain that you also will guard it. For the change to the worse in Vigilius or in anyone else cannot harm the peace of the churches." Price, II.101 (Seventh Session, 16). Price remarks: "Such a distinction between the see, still in communion with the other churches, and the holder of the see, excluded from that communion, implied that Vigilius was suspended from office. This fell short of a full condemnation involving deposition and excommunication between the eastern churches of the Roman see
 
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Since we are one the topic of Roman Popes, I want to ask as a little sidenote:

For those who were brought up in the Greek Orthodox Church or converted to it more than 5 years ago, were you taught that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the supreme patriarch over the Orthodox Church?

The implication of this new teaching would be that the "first among equals" is also the institutional head of the church, which is what the Roman Popes claimed in medieval times and what the Orthodox Church rejected historically.
 

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I converted more than 5 years ago and was taught that His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch was "first among equals." It is a primacy of honor, not authority. It is not a "first without equals."
 

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For those who were brought up in the Greek Orthodox Church or converted to it more than 5 years ago, were you taught that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the supreme patriarch over the Orthodox Church?
I converted online way before I was baptized and I learned that there is only one true Orthodox bishop and he's in Colorado.
 

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For the EP to truly follow in papal footsteps, he needs to separate from all the other Sees and then claim Constantinople alone is the Church. Then brag about the "oneness" and "unity" acheived by becoming a single See, cut off from the rest. It's not out of the realm of possibilty.
 
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Tzimis

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You know the difference between the Papacy and the EP? With the pope you get excommunicated, with the EP you excommunicate yourself.
 
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