The Pope made Author of the Faith
LEO persisted in his refusal to recognize the validity
of the acts of the second Council of Ephesus, and insisted that
another general council should be called. As it was the will of
Leo alone that made, or could now make, the late council anything
else than strictly regular and orthodox according to the Catholic
system of discipline and doctrine, it is evident that if another
general council was called, it would have to be subject to the will
of Leo, and its decision upon questions of the faith would be but
the expression of the will of Leo. This is precisely what Leo aimed
at, and nothing less than this would satisfy him.
Leo had now been bishop of Rome eleven years. He was a full-blooded Roman in all that term implies. "All that survived of Rome, of her unbounded ambition, her inflexible perseverance, her dignity in defeat, her haughtiness of language, her belief in her own eternity, and in her indefeasible title to universal dominion, her respect for traditionary and written law, and of unchangeable custom, might seem concentrated in him alone." -- Milman.1
Yet Leo was not the first one in whom this spirit was manifested. His aspirations were but the culmination of the arrogance of the bishopric of Rome which had been constantly growing. To trace the subtle, silent, often violent, yet always constant, growth of this spirit of supremacy and encroachment of absolute authority, is one of the most curious studies in all history; though it cannot be followed in detail in this book. Not only was there never an opportunity lost, but opportunities were created, for the bishop of Rome to assert authority and to magnify his power. Supremacy in discipline and in jurisdiction was asserted by Victor and Stephen; but it was not until the union of Church and State that the field was fully opened to the arrogance of the bishopric of Rome. A glance at the successive bishops from the union of Church and State to the accession of Leo, will give a better understanding of the position and pretensions of Leo than could be obtained in any other way.
was bishop of Rome from July 2, A. D. 311, to December,
314, and therefore, as already related, was in the papal chair when
the union of Church and State was formed, and took a leading part
in that evil intrigue. And soon the bishopric of Rome began to receive
its reward in imperial favors. "The bishop of Rome sits by
the imperial authority at the head of a synod of Italian bishops,
to judge the disputes of the African Donatists." -- Milman.2
Melchiades was succeeded by --
SYLVESTER, A. D. 314-336
In the very year of his accession, the Council of Arles bestowed upon the bishopric of Rome the distinction and the office of notifying all the churches of the proper time to celebrate Easter. And in 325 the general Council of Nice recognized the bishop of Rome the first bishop of the empire. Under him the organization of the church was formed upon the model of the organization of the State. He was succeeded by --
MARK, A. D. 336
whose term continued only from January till October,
and was therefore so short that nothing occurred worthy of record
in this connection. He was succeeded by --
JULIUS, OCTOBER 336-352
under whom the Council of Sardica -- 347 -- made the
bishop of Rome the source of appeal, upon which "single precedent"
the bishopric of Rome built "a universal right." -- Schaff.3
Julius was succeeded by --
who excommunicated Athanasius and then approved his
doctrine, and carried on the contest with Constantius, in which
he incurred banishment for the Catholic faith; and then became Arian,
then Semi-Arian, and then Catholic again. He was succeeded by --
In his episcopate, Valentinian I enacted a law making
the bishop of Rome the judge of other bishops. A council in Rome,
A. D. 378, enlarged his powers of judging, and petitioned the emperor
Gratian to exempt the bishop of Rome from all civil jurisdiction
except that of the emperor alone; to order that he be judged by
none except a council, or the emperor direct; and that the imperial
power should be exerted to compel obedience to the judgment of the
bishop of Rome concerning other bishops. Gratian granted part of
their request, and it was made to count for all. Damascus was succeeded
who issued the first decretal. A decretal is "an answer sent by the pope to applications to him as head of the church, for guidance in cases involving points of doctrine or discipline." The directions of Siricius in this decretal were to be strictly observed under penalty of excommunication. It was dated February 11, A. D. 385. He convened a council in Rome, which decreed that "no one should presume to ordain a bishop without the knowledge of the apostolic see." -- Bower. 4 He was succeeded by --
ANASTASIUS I, 389-402
who, though very zealous to maintain all that his
predecessors had asserted or claimed, added nothing in particular
himself. He condemned as a heretic, Origen, who had been dead one
hundred and fifty years, and who is now a Catholic saint. He was
succeeded by --
INNOCENT I, 402-417
Innocent was an indefatigable disciplinarian, and
kept up a constant correspondence with all the West, as well as
with the principal bishoprics of the East, establishing rules, dictating
to councils, and issuing decretals upon all the affairs of the church.
Hitherto the dignity of the bishopric of Rome had been derived from
the dignity of the city of Rome. Innocent now asserted that the
superior dignity of the bishopric of Rome was derived from Peter,
whom he designated the Prince of the Apostles; and that in this
respect it took precedence of that of Antioch because that in Rome
Peter had accomplished what he had only begun in Antioch. He demanded
the absolute obedience of all churches in the West, because, as
he declared, Peter was the only apostle that ever preached in the
West; and that all the churches in the West had been founded by
Peter, or by some successor of his. This was all a lie, and he knew
it, but that made no difference to him; he unblushingly asserted
it, and then, upon that, asserted that "all ecclesiastical
matters throughout the world are, by divine right, to be referred
to the apostolic see, before they are finally decided in the provinces."
-- Bower.5 At the invasion of Alaric and his siege of Rome, Innocent
headed an embassy to the emperor Honorius to mediate for a treaty
of peace between Alaric and the emperor. "Upon the mind of
Innocent appears first distinctly to have dawned the vast conception
of Rome's universal ecclesiastical supremacy, dim as yet, and shadowy,
yet full and comprehensive in its outline." -- Milman.5 He
was succeeded by --
ZOSIMUS, MARCH 18, A. D. 417-DEC. 26, 418
who asserted with all the arrogance of Innocent, all that Innocent had claimed. He not only boasted with Innocent that to him belonged the power to judge all causes, but that the judgment "is irrevocable;" and accordingly established the use of the dictatorial expression, "For so it has pleased the apostolic see," as sufficient authority for all things that he might choose to command. And upon this assumption, those canons of the Council of Sardica which made the bishop of Rome the source of appeal, he passed off upon the bishops of Africa as the canons of the Council of Nice, in which he was actually followed by Leo, and put tradition upon a level with the Scriptures. He was succeeded by --
BONIFACE I, 419-422
who added nothing to the power or authority of the bishopric of Rome, but diligently and "conscientiously" maintained all that his predecessors had asserted, in behalf of what he called "the just rights of the see," in which he had been placed. He was succeeded by --
CELESTINE I, 422-432
who in a letter written A. D. 438, plainly declared
: "As I am appointed by God to watch over his church, it is
incumbent upon me everywhere to root out evil practices, and introduce
good ones in their room, for my pastoral vigilance is restrained
by no bounds, but extends to all places where Christ is known and
adored." -- Bower.7 It was he who appointed the terrible Cyril
his vicegerent to condemn Nestorius, and to establish the doctrine
that Mary was the Mother of God. He was succeeded by --
SIXTUS III, 432-440
who as others before, added nothing specially to the
papal claims, yet yielded not an iota of the claims already made.
He was succeeded by --
LEO I, "THE GREAT," A. D. 440-461
Such was the heritage bequeathed to Leo by his predecessors,
and the arrogance of his own native disposition, with the grand
opportunities which offered during his long rule, added to it a
thousandfold. At the very moment of his election he was absent in
Gaul on a mission as mediator to reconcile a dispute between two
of the principal men of the empire. He succeeded in his mission,
and was hailed as "the Angel of Peace," and the "Deliverer
of the Empire." In a sermon, he showed what his ambition embraced.
He portrayed the powers and glories of the former Rome as they were
reproduced in Catholic Rome. The conquests and universal sway of
Heathen Rome were but the promise of the conquests and universal
sway of Catholic Rome. Romulus and Remus were but the precursors
of Peter and Paul. Rome of former days had by her armies conquered
the earth and sea: now again, by the see of the holy blessed Peter
as head of the world, Rome through her divine religion would dominate
In A. D. 445, "at the avowed instance of Leo" and at the dictation, if not in the actual writing, of Leo, Valentinian III issued a "perpetual edict" "commanding all bishops to pay an entire obedience and submission to the orders of the apostolic see;" "to observe, as law, whatever it should please the bishop of Rome to command;" "that the bishop of Rome had a right to command what he pleased;" and "whoever refused to obey the citation of the Roman pontiff should be compelled to do so by the moderator of the province" in which the recalcitrant bishop might dwell.9
This made his authority absolute over all the West, and now he determined to extend it over the East, and so make it universal. As soon as he learned the decision of the Council of Ephesus, he called a council in Rome, and by it rejected all that had been done by the council at Ephesus, and wrote to the emperor, Theodosius II, "entreating him in the name of the holy Trinity, to declare null what had been done there," and set everything back as it was before that council was called, and so let the matter remain until a general council could be held in Italy.
Leo addressed not the emperor Theodosius alone, to have another council called. He wrote to Pulcheria, appointing her a legate of St. Peter, and entreated her "to employ all her interest with the emperor to obtain the assembling of an oecumenical council, and all her authority to prevent the evils that would be otherwise occasioned by the war which had been lately declared against the faith of the church." -- Bower.10
In February 450, the emperor Valentinian III, with his mother Placidia and his wife Eudocia, who was the daughter of Theodosius II, made a visit to Rome. The next day after their arrival, they went to the Church of St. Peter, where they were received by Leo, who, as soon as he met them, put on all the agony he could, and with sobs, and tears, and sighs, he addressed them; but on account of his great excess of grief, his words were so mumbled that nothing could be made of them.
Presently the two women began to cry. This somewhat relieved the stress upon Leo, so that with much eloquence, he represented the great danger that threatened the church. Then he mustered up his tears again, and mixed them with more sighs and sobs, and begged the emperor and empress, by the apostle Peter to whom they were about to pay their respects, by their own salvation and by the salvation of Theodosius, to write to the emperor, and spare no pains to persuade him to nullify the proceedings of the second Council of Ephesus, and call another general council, this time in Italy.
As soon as it was learned in the East what strenuous efforts Leo was making to have another general council called, many of the bishops who had condemned Flavianus began to make overtures to the party of Leo, so that if another council should be called, they might escape condemnation. Dioscorus learning this, called a synod of ten bishops in Alexandria, and solemnly excommunicated Leo, bishop of Rome, for presuming to judge anew, and annul what had already been judged and finally determined by a general council.
Leo finally sent four legates to the court of Theodosius, to urge upon him the necessity of another general council, but before they reached Constantinople, Theodosius was dead; and having left no heir to his throne, Pulcheria, Leo's legate, became empress. As there was no precedent in Roman history to sanction the rule of a woman alone, she married a senator by the name of Marcian, and invested him with the imperial robes, while she retained and exercised the imperial authority. The first thing they did was to burn Chrysaphius. The new authority received Leo's legates with great respect, and returned answer that they had nothing so much at heart as the unity of the church and the extirpation of heresies, and that therefore they would call a general council. Not long afterward they wrote to Lee, inviting him to assist in person at the proposed council.
No sooner was it known that Theodosius was dead, and Pulcheria and Marcian in power, than the bishops who had indorsed and praised Eutyches, changed their opinions and condemned him and all who held with him. Anatolius, an defender of Eutyches, who had succeeded Flavianus as archbishop of Constantinople, and had been ordained by Dioscorus himself, "assembled in great haste all the bishops, abbots, presbyters, and deacons, who were then in Constantinople, and in their presence not only received and signed the famous letter of Leo to Flavianus, concerning the incarnation, but at the same time anathematized Nestorius and Eutyches, their doctrine, and all their followers, declaring that he professed no other faith but what was held and professed by the Roman Church and by Leo." -- Bower. 11 The example of Anatolius was followed by other bishops who had favored Eutyches, and by most of those who had acted in the late council, "and nothing was heard but anathemas against Eutyches, whom most of those who uttered them, had but a few months before, honored as a new apostle, and as the true interpreter of the doctrine of the church and the Fathers." -- Bower.12
By an imperial message dated May 17, A. D. 451, a general council was summoned to meet at Nice in Bithynia, the first of September. The council met there accordingly, but an invasion of the Huns from Illyricum made it necessary for Marcian to remain in the capital; and therefore the council was removed from Nice to Chalcedon. Accordingly at Chalcedon there assembled the largest council ever yet held, the number of bishops being six hundred and thirty.
Marcian, not being able to be present at the opening, appointed six of the chief officers of the empire, and fourteen men of the Senate as commissioners to represent him at the council. Leo's legates presided; their names were Paschasinus, Lucentius, and Boniface.
FIRST SESSION, OCTOBER 8
When all the bishops were seated, Leo's legates arose,
and advanced to the middle of the assembly, and Paschasinus. holding
a paper in his hand, said : --
"We have here an order from the most blessed and apostolic pope, of the city of Rome, which is the head of all churches, by which his apostleship has been pleased to command that Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria, should not be allowed to sit in the council. Let him therefore be ordered to withdraw, else we must withdraw."
The commissioners. -- "What have you to object against Dioscorus in particular?"
No answer. The question was repeated.
Lucentins. -- "He must be called to account for the judgment he gave at Ephesus, where he presumed to assemble a council without the consent of the apostolic see, which has never been thought lawful, which has never been done; as he is therefore to be judged, he ought not to sit as a judge."
The commissioners. -- "Neither ought you to sit as a judge, since you take it upon you to act as a party. However, let us know what crime you lay to the charge of Dioscorus, for it is not agreeable to justice or reason, that he alone should be charged with a crime of which many others are no less guilty than he."
The legates. -- "Leo will by no means suffer Dioscorus to sit or act in this assembly as a judge, and if he does, then we must withdraw, agreeably to our instructions." 13
The commissioners finding the legates immovable, yielded at last, and ordered Dioscorus to leave his seat, and put himself in the midst of the assembly, in the place of one accused.
Then Eusebius of Dorylaeum, the original accuser of Eutyches, stepped forward as the accuser of Dioscorus, and declared : "I have been wronged by Dioscorus; the faith has been wronged; the bishop Flavian was murdered, and, together with myself, unjustly deposed by him. Give directions that my petition be read." This petition was a memorial to the emperors, and was to the effect that at the late council at Ephesus, Dioscorus "having gathered a disorderly rabble, and procured an overbearing influence by bribes, made havoc, as far as lay in his power, of the pious religion of the orthodox, and established the erroneous doctrine of Eutyches the monk, which had from the first been repudiated by the holy Fathers; "that the emperors should therefore command Dioscorus to answer the accusation which he now made; and that the acts of the late council of Ephesus should be read in the present council, because from these he could show that Dioscorus was "estranged from the orthodox faith, that he strengthened a heresy utterly impious," and that he had "wrongfully deposed" and "cruelly outraged" him.14
When the reading of the memorial was ended, it was decided that not only the acts of the late council at Ephesus, but those of the original synod at Constantinople and all the steps between, should be read.
The late council at Ephesus had excommunicated Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus. Theodoret had appealed to Leo. Leo had re-instated him, and the emperor Marcian had specially summoned him to this council. Theodoret had arrived, and at this point in the proceedings, the imperial commissioners directed that he should be admitted to the council. "The actual introduction of Theodoret caused a frightful storm." -- Hefele.15 A faint estimate of this frightful storm may be formed from the following account of it, which is copied bodily from the report of the council : --
"And when the most reverend bishop Theodoret entered, the most reverend the bishops of Egypt, Illyria, and Palestine [the party of Dioscorus] shouted out, `Mercy upon us! the faith is destroyed. The canons of the church excommunicate him. Turn him out! turn out the teacher of Nestorius.'
"On the other hand, the most reverend the bishops of the East, of Thrace, of Pontus, and of Asia, shouted out, `We were compelled [at the former council] to subscribe our names to blank papers; we were scourged into submission. Turn out the Manicheans! Turn out the enemies of Flavian; turn out the adversaries of the faith!'
"Dioscorus, the most reverend bishop of Alexandria, said, "Why is Cyril to be turned out? It is he whom Theodoret has condemned.'
"The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, `Turn out the murderer Dioscorus. Who knows not the deeds of Dioscorus?'
"The most reverend the bishops of Egypt, Illyria, and Palestine shouted out, `Long life to the empress!'
"The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, `Turn out the murderers!'
"The most reverend the bishops of Egypt shouted out, `The empress turned out Nestorius; long life to the Catholic empress! The orthodox synod refuses to admit Theodoret.'"
Here there was a "momentary" lull in the storm, of which Theodoret instantly took advantage, and stepped forward to the commissioners with "a petition to the emperors," which was really a complaint against Dioscorus, and asked that it be read. The commissioners said that the regular business should be proceeded with, but that Theodoret should be admitted to a seat in the council, because the bishop of Antioch had vouched for his orthodoxy. Then the storm again raged.
"The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, `He is worthy-worthy!'
"The most reverend the bishops of Egypt shouted out, `Don't call him bishop, he is no bishop. Turn out the fighter against God; turn out the Jew!'
"The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, `The orthodox for the synod! Turn out the rebels; turn out the murderers!'
"The most reverend the bishops of Egypt, `Turn out the enemy of God. Turn out the defamer of Christ. Long life to the empress! Long life to the emperor! Long life to the Catholic emperor! Theodoret condemned Cyril. If we receive Theodoret, we excommunicate Cyril.'"16
At this stage the commissioners were enabled by a special exertion of their authority, to allay the storm. They plainly told the loud-mouthed bishops, "Such vulgar shouts are not becoming in bishops, and can do no good to either party." 17
When the tumult had been subdued, the council proceeded to business. First there were read all the proceedings from the beginning of the Synod of Constantinople against Eutyches clear down to the end of the late Council of Ephesus; during which there was much shouting and counter-shouting after the manner of that over the introduction of Theodoret, but which need not be repeated.
The first act of the council after the reading of the foregoing minutes, was to annul the sentence which Dioscorus had pronounced against Flavianus and Eusebius. "Many of the bishops expressed their penitence at their concurrence in these acts; some saying that they were compelled by force to subscribe -- others to subscribe a blank paper." -- Milman. 18 Then a resolution was framed charging Dioscorus with having approved the doctrine of two natures, and having opposed Flavianus in maintaining it; and with having forced all the bishops at Ephesus to sign the sentence which he had pronounced.
Dioscorus was not afraid of anything, not even the terrors of an orthodox church council, and without the least sign of intimidation or fear, he boldly confronted the whole host of his adversaries. In answer to their charges --
Dioscorus said. -- "I have condemned, still do, and always will, condemn, the doctrine of two natures in Christ, and all who maintain it. I hold no other doctrine but what I have learned of the Fathers, especially Athanasius, Nazianzen, and Cyril. I have chosen rather to condemn Flavianus than them. Those who do not like my doctrine may use me as they please, now they are uppermost and have the power in their hands; but in what manner soever they think fit to use me, I am unalterably determined, my soul being at stake, to live and die in the faith which I have hitherto professed. As to my having forced the bishops to sign the condemnation of Flavianus, I answer that the constancy of every Christian, and much more of a bishop, ought to be proof against all kinds of violence and death itself. The charge brought by Eusebius lays heavier against them than it does against me, and therefore it is incumbent upon them to answer that, as they are the more guilty." 19
Night had now come. Dioscorus demanded an adjournment. It was refused. Torches were brought in. The night was made hideous by the wild cries of acclamation to the emperor and the Senate, of appeals to God and curses upon Dioscorus. When the resolution was finally put upon its passage, it was announced as follows by --
The imperial commissioners. -- "As it has now been shown by the reading of the acts and by the avowal of many bishops who confess that they fell into error at Ephesus, that Flavianus and others were unjustly deposed, it seems right that, if it so pleases the emperor, the same punishment should be inflicted upon the heads of the previous synod, Dioscorus of Alexandria, Juvenal of Jerusalem, Thalassius of Caesarea, Eusebius of Ancyra, Eustathius of Berytus, and Basil of Seleucia, and that their deposition from the episcopal dignity should be pronounced by the council."
The orientals. -- "That is quite right."
Many of the party of Dioscorus now abandoned him and his cause, and went over to the other side, exclaiming : "We have all erred, we all ask for pardon." Upon this there was an almost unanimous demand that only Dioscorus should be deposed.
Dioscorus. -- "They are condemning not me alone, but Athanasius and Cyril. They forbid us to assert the two natures after the incarnation."
The orientals, and other opponents of Dioscorus, all together. -- "Many years to the Senate! holy God, holy, Almighty, holy Immortal, have mercy upon us! Many years to the emperors! The impious must ever be subdued! Dioscorus the murderer, Christ has deposed! This is a righteous judgment, a righteous senate, a righteous council."
Amid such cries as these, and, "Christ has deposed Dioscorus, Christ has deposed the murderer, God has avenged his martyrs," the resolution was adopted. Then the council adjourned.20
THE SECOND SESSION, OCTOBER 10
As soon as the council had been opened, the direction
was given by --
The imperial commissioners. -- "Let the synod now declare what the true faith is, so that the erring may be brought back to the right way."
The bishops, protesting. -- "No one can venture to draw up a new formula of the faith, but that which has already been laid down by the Fathers [at Nice, Constantinople, and the first of Ephesus] is to be held fast. This must not be departed from."
Cecropius, bishop of Sebastopol. -- "On the Eutychian question a test has already been given by the Roman archbishop, which we [that is, he and and his nearest colleagues] have all signed."
All the bishops, with acclamation. -- "That we also say, the explanation already given by Leo suffices; another declaration of the faith must not be put forth."
The imperial commissioners. -- "Let all the patriarchs [the chief bishops] come together, along with one or two bishops of their province, and take common counsel respecting the faith, and communicate the result, so that, by its universal acceptance, every doubt in regard to the faith may be removed, or if any believe otherwise, which we do not expect, these may immediately be made manifest."
The bishops. -- "A written declaration of faith we do not bring forward. This is contrary to the rule" [referring to the command of the first Council of Ephesus].
Florentius, bishop of Sardes. -- "As those who have been taught to follow the Nicene Synod, and also the regularly and piously assembled synod at Ephesus, in accordance with the faith of the holy Fathers Cyril and Celestine, and also with the letter of the most holy Leo, cannot possibly draw up at once a formula of the faith, we therefore ask for a longer delay; but I, for my part, believe that the letter of Leo is sufficient."
Cecropius. -- "Let the formulas be read in which the true faith has already been set forth."
This suggestion was adopted. First the Nicene Creed, with its curse against the Arian heresy, was read, at the close of which, --
The bishops, unanimously. -- "That is the orthodox faith, that we all believe, into that we were baptized, into that we also baptize; thus Cyril taught, thus believes Pope Leo."
Next was read the Creed of Constantinople, and with similar acclamations it was unanimously indorsed. Then were read the two letters which Cyril had written, and which were a part of the record of the inquisition upon Eutyches. Lastly there was read the letter of Leo. When Leo's letter was read, it was cheered to the echo, and again roared --
The bishops. -- "It is the belief of the Fathers -- of the apostles -- so believe we all! Accursed be he that admits not that Peter has spoken by the mouth of Leo! Leo has taught what is righteous and true, and so taught Cyril. Eternal be the memory of Cyril! Why was not this read at Ephesus? It was suppressed by Dioscorus!"
The bishops of Illyricum and Palestine, however, said that there were some passages -- three, it proved -- in the letter of Leo of which they had some doubts. The truth of those passages was confirmed by statements which Cyril had made to the same effect.
The imperial commissioners. -- "Has any one still a doubt?"
The bishops, by acclamation. -- "No one doubts."
Still there was one bishop who hesitated, and requested that there might be a few days' delay, that the question might be quietly considered and settled; and as the letter of Leo had been read, that they might have a copy of the letter of Cyril to Nestorius, that they might examine them together.
The council. -- "If we are to have delay, we must request that all the bishops in common shall take part in the desired consultation."
The commissioners. -- "The assembly is put off for five days, and the bishops shall, during that time, meet with Anatolius of Constantinople, and take counsel together concerning the faith, so that the doubting may be instructed."
As the council was about to be dismissed, some bishops entered a request that the bishops who had taken a leading part in the late council of Ephesus, should be forgiven!"
The petitioning bishops. "We petition for the Fathers that they may be allowed again to enter the synod. The emperor and the empress should hear of this petition. We have all erred; let all be forgiven! "
Upon this "a great commotion again arose, similar to that at the beginning of the council over the introduction of Theodoret."
The clergy of Constantinople shouted. -- "Only a few cry for this, the synod itself says not a syllable."
The orientals cried out. -- "Exile to the Egyptian!"
The Illyrians. -- "We beseech you, pardon all!"
The orientals. -- "Exile to the Egyptian!"
The Illyrians. --"We have all erred; have mercy on us all! These words to the orthodox emperor! The churches are rent in pieces."
The clergy of Constantinople. -- "To exile with Dioscorus; God has rejected him. Whoever has communion with him is a Jew."
In the midst of this uproar, the imperial commissioners put an end to the session. The recess continued only two days instead of five, for --
THE THIRD SESSION WAS HELD OCTOBER 13
The first step taken at this session was by Eusebius
of Dorylaem, who proudly stepped forward to secure by the council
his vindication as the champion of orthodoxy. He presented a petition
to the council in which, after repeating his accusation against
Dioscorus, he said : --
"I therefore pray that you will have pity upon me, and decree that all which was done against me be declared null, and do me no harm, but that I be again restored to my spiritual dignity. At the same time anathematize his evil doctrine, and punish him for his insolence according to his deserts."
Following this, Dioscorus was charged with enormous crimes, with lewdness and debauchery to the great scandal of his flock; with styling himself the king of Egypt, and attempting to usurp the sovereignty. Dioscorus was not present, and after being summoned three times without appearing, Leo's legates gave a recapitulation of the crimes charged against him, and then pronounced the following sentence: --
"Leo archbishop of the great and ancient Rome, by us and the present synod, with the authority of St. Peter, on whom the Catholic Church and orthodox faith are founded, divests Dioscorus of the episcopal dignity, and declares him henceforth incapable of exercising any sacerdotal or episcopal functions." 21
THE FOURTH SESSION, OCTOBER 17
At this session, the discussion of the faith was resumed.
First, there was read the act of the second session, ordering a
recess of five days for the consideration of the faith.
The commissioners. -- "What has the reverend synod now decreed concerning the faith?"
The papal legate, Paschasinus. -- "The holy synod holds fast the rule of faith which was ratified by the Fathers at Nicaea and by those at Constantinople. Moreover, in the second place, it acknowledges that exposition of this creed which was given by Cyril at Ephesus. In the third place, the letter of the most holy man Leo, archbishop of all churches, who condemned the heresy of Nestorius and Eutyches, shows quite clearly what is the true faith, and this faith the synod also holds, and allows nothing to be added to it or taken from it."
The bishops all together. -- "We also all believe thus, into that we were baptized, into that we baptize, thus we believe."
In the midst of the assembly was the throne upon which lay the Gospels. The imperial commissioners now required that all the bishops should swear by the Gospels whether or not they agreed with the faith expressed in the creeds of Nice and Constantinople, and in Leo's letter. The first to swear was Anatolius, archbishop of Constantinople, next, the three legates of Leo, and after them, one by one, others came, until one hundred and sixty-one votes had been thus taken; whereupon the imperial commissioners asked the remaining bishops to give their votes all at once.
The bishops, unanimously and vociferously. -- "We are all agreed, we all believe thus; he who agrees, belongs to the synod! Many years to the emperors, many years to the empress! Even the five bishops [who had been deposed with Dioscorus] have subscribed, and believe as Leo does! They also belong to the synod!"
The imperial commissioners and other. -- "We have written on their [the five bishops'] account to the emperor, and await his commands. You, however, are responsible to God for these five for whom you intercede, and for all the proceedings of this synod."
The bishops. -- "God has deposed Dioscorus; Dioscorus is rightly condemned; Christ has deposed him."
After this the council waited to receive word from the emperor respecting the five bishops. After several hours the message came, saying that the council itself should decide as to their admission. As the council was already agreed upon it, and had called for it, the five bishops were called in at once. As they came in and took their places, again cried loudly --
The bishops. -- "God has done this! Many years to the emperors, to the Senate, to the commissioners! The union is complete, and peace given to the churches!"
The commissioners next announced that the day before, a number of Egyptian bishops had handed in a confession of faith to the emperor, who wished that it should be read to the council. The bishops were called in and took their places, and their confession was read. The confession was signed by thirteen bishops, but it was presented in the name of "all the bishops of Egypt." It declared that they agreed with the orthodox faith and cursed all heresy, particularly that of Arius, and a number of others, but did not name Eutyches amongst the heretics. As soon as this was noticed, the council accused the Egyptians of dishonesty. Leo's legates demanded whether or not they would agree with the letter of Leo, and pronounce a curse on Eutyches.
The Egyptians. -- "If any one teaches differently from what we have indicated, whether it be Eutyches, or whoever it be, let him be anathema. As to the letter of Leo, however, we cannot express ourselves, for you all know that in accordance with the prescription of the Nicene Council, we are united with the archbishop of Alexandria, and therefore must await his judgment in this matter."
This caused such an outcry in the council against them, that the thirteen yielded so far as to pronounce openly and positively a curse upon Eutyches. Again the legates called upon them to subscribe to the letter of Leo."
The Egyptians. -- "Without the consent of our acrhbishop we cannot subscribe."
Acacius, bishop of Ariarathia. -- "It is inadmissible to allow more weight to one single person who is to hold the bishopric of Alexandria, than to the whole synod. The Egyptians only wish to throw everything into confusion here as at Ephesus. They must subscribe Leo's letter or be excommunicated."
The Egyptians. -- "In comparison with the great number of the bishops of Egypt, there are only a few of us present, and we have no right to act in their name, to do what is here required. We therefore pray for mercy, and that we may be allowed to follow our archbishop. Otherwise all the provinces of Egypt will rise up against us."
Cecropius of Sebastopol. -- [Again reproaching them with heresy]"It is from yourselves alone that assent is demanded to the letter of Leo, and not in the name of the rest of the Egyptian bishops."
The Egyptians. -- "We can no longer live at home if we do this."
Leo's legate, Lucentius. -- "Ten individual men can occasion no prejudice to a synod of six hundred bishops and to the Catholic faith."
The Egyptians. -- "We shall be killed, we shall be killed, if we do it. We will rather be made away with here by you than there. Let an archbishop for Egypt be here appointed, and then we will subscribe and assent. Have mercy on our gray hairs! Anatolius of Constantinople knows that in Egypt all the bishops must obey the archbishop of Alexandria. Have pity upon us; we would rather die by the hands of the emperor, and by yours than at home. Take our bishopries if you will, elect an archbishop of Alexandria; we do not object."
Many bishops. --"The Egyptians are heretics; they must subscribe the condemnation of Dioscorus."
The imperial commissioners. -- "Let them remain at Constantinople until an archbishop is elected for Alexandria."
The legate, Paschasinus. -- [Agreeing] "They must give security not to leave Constantinople in the meantime."
During the rest of the session matters were discussed which had no direct bearing upon the establishment of the faith.
THE FIFTH SESSION, OCTOBER 22
The object of this session was the establishment of
the faith; and the object was accomplished. The first thing was
the reading of a form of doctrine which, according to arrangement
made in the second session, had been framed, and also the day before
had been "unanimously approved." As soon as it was read,
however, there was an objection made against it.
John, bishop of Germanicia. -- "This formula is not good; it must be improved."
Anatolius. -- "Did it not yesterday give universal satisfaction?"
The bishops in acclamation. -- "It is excellent, and contains the Catholic faith. Away with the Nestorians! The expression `Theotokos' [Mother of God] must be received into the creed."
Leo's legates. -- "If the letter of Leo is not agreed to, we demand our papers, so that we may return home, and that a synod may be held in the West."
The imperial commissioners then suggested that a commission composed of six bishops from the East, three from Asia, three from Illyria, three from Pontus, and three from Thrace, with the archbishop of Constantinople and the Roman legates, should meet in the presence of the commissioners, and decide upon a formula of the faith, and bring it before the council. The majority of the bishops, however, loudly demanded that the one just presented should be accepted and subscribed by all, and charged John of Germanicia with being a Nestorian.
The commissioners. -- "Dioscorus asserts that he condemned Flavianus for having maintained that there are two natures in Christ; in the new doctrinal formula, however, it stands, `Christ is of two natures.'"
Anatolius. -- "Dioscorus has been deposed not on account of false doctrine, but because he excommunicated the pope, and did not obey the synod."
The commissioners. -- "The synod has already approved of Leo's letter. As that has been done, then that which is contained in the letter must be confessed."
The majority of the council, however, insisted upon adopting the formula already before them. The commissioners informed the emperor of the situation. Immediately the answer came.
The emperor's message. -- "Either the proposed commission of bishops must be accepted, or the bishops must individually declare their faith through their metropolitans, so that all doubt may be dispelled, and all discord removed. If they will do neither of these things, a synod must be held in the West, since they refuse here to give a definite and stable declaration respecting the faith."
The majority. -- "We abide by the formula, or we go!"
Cecropius of Sebastopol. -- "Whoever will not subscribe it can go [to a Western council]."
The Illyrians. -- "Whoever opposes it is a Nestorian; these can go to Rome!"
The Commissioners. -- "Dioscorus has rejected the expression, `There are two natures in Christ,' and on the contrary has accepted `of two natures,' Leo on the other hand says, In Christ there are two natures united;' which will you follow, the most holy Leo, or Dioscorus?"
The whole council. -- "We believe with Leo, not with Dioscorus; whoever opposes this is a Eutychian."
The commissioners. -- "Then you must also receive into the creed, the doctrine of Leo, which has been stated."
The council now asked for the appointment of the commission which the commissioners had suggested. Among those who were made members of the commission were a number of bishops who had not only "vehemently supported" the doctrine of Eutyches, but had also actually taken a leading part with Dioscorus in the second Council of Ephesus. The commission met at once in the oratory of the church in which the council was held, and after consulting together not a great while, they returned to the council and presented the following preamble: --
"The holy and great and CEcumenical Synod, .... at Chalcedon in Bithynia, . . . has defined as follows: Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when confirming the faith in his disciples, declared : `Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you, `so that no one might be separated from his neighbor in the doctrines of religion, but that the preaching of the truth should be made known to all alike. As, however, the evil one does not cease by his tares to hinder the seed of religion, and is ever inventing something new in opposition to the truth, therefore has God, in his care for the human race, stirred up zeal in this pious and orthodox emperor, so that he has convoked the heads of the priesthood in order to remove all the plague of falsehood from the sheep of Christ, and to nourish them with the tender plants of truth. This we have also done in truth, since we have expelled, by our common judgment, the doctrines of error, and have renewed the right faith of the Fathers, have proclaimed the creed of the three hundred and eighteen to all, and have acknowledged the one hundred and fifty of Constantinople who accepted it, as our own. While we now receive the regulations of the earlier Ephesine Synod, under Celestine and Cyril, and its prescriptions concerning the faith, we decree that the confession of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at Nicaea is a light to the right and unblemished faith, and that that is also valid which was decreed by the one hundred and fifty fathers at Constantinople for the confirmation of the Catholic and apostolic faith."
Here they inserted bodily the creed of the council of Nice and that of Constantinople, found on pages 350 and 396 of this book; and then the preamble continued as follows: --
"This wise and wholesome symbol of divine grace would indeed suffice for a complete knowledge and confirmation of religion, for it teaches everything with reference to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and declares the incarnation of the Lord to those who receive it in faith: as, however, those who would do away with the preaching of the truth devised vain expressions through their own heresies, and, on the one side, dared to destroy the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord and rejected the designation of God-bearer, and, on the other side, introduced a mixture and confusion [of the natures], and, contrary to reason, imagined only one nature of the flesh and of the Godhead, and rashly maintained that the divine nature of the Only-begotten was, by the mixture, become possible, therefore the holy, great, and CEcumenical Synod decrees that the faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers shall remain inviolate, and that the doctrine afterwards promulgated by the one hundred and fifty Fathers at Constantinople, on account of the Pneumatomachi shall have equal validity, being put forth by them, not in order to add to the creed of Nicaea anything that was lacking, but in order to make known in writing their consciousness concerning the Holy Chest against the deniers of his glory.
"On account of those, however, who endeavored to destroy the mystery of the incarnation, and who boldly insulted him who was born of the holy Mary, affirmed that he was a mere man, the holy synod has accepted as valid the synodal letter of St. Cyril to Nestorius and to the orientals in opposition to Nestorianism, and has added to them the letter of the holy archbishop Leo of Rome, written to Flavian for the overthrow of the Eutychian errors, as agreeing with doctrine of St. Peter and as a pillar against all heretics, for the confirmation of the orthodox dogmax. The synod opposes those who seek to rend the mystery of the incarnation into a duality of sons, and excludes from holy communion those who venture to declare the Godhead of the Only-begotten as capable of suffering, and opposes those who imagine a mingling and a confusion of the two natures of Christ, and drives away those who foolishly maintain that the servant-form of the Son, assumed from us, is from a heavenly substance, or any other [than ours], and anathematizes those who fable that before the union there were two natures of our Lord, but after the union only one."
Having thus paved the way, they presented for the present occasion, for all people, and for all time, the following creed: --
"Following, accordingly, the holy Fathers, we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we all with one voice declare him to be at the same time perfect in Godhead, and perfect in manhood, very God, and at the same time very man, consisting of a reasonable soul and a body, being consubstantial with the Father as respects his Godhead, and at the same time consubstantial with ourselves as respects his manhood; resembling us in all things, independently of sin; begotten before the ages, of the Father, according to his Godhead, but born, in the last of the days, of Mary, the virgin and Mother of God, for our sakes and for our salvation; being one and the same Jesus Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, made known in two natures without confusion, without conversion, without severance, without separation inasmuch as the difference of the natures is in no way annulled by their union, but the peculiar essence of each nature is rather preserved, and conspires in one person and in one subsistence, not as though he were parted or severed into two persons, but is one and the same Son, Only-begotten, Divine Word, Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets declared concerning him, and Christ himself has fully instructed us, and the symbol of the Fathers has conveyed to us. Since, then, these matters have been defined by us with all accuracy and diligence, the holy and universal synod has determined that no one shall be at liberty to put forth another faith, whether in writing, or by framing, or devising, or teaching it to others. And that those who shall presume to frame, or publish, or teach another faith, or to communicate another symbol to those who are disposed to turn to the knowledge of the truth from heathenism, or Judaism, or any other sect -- that they, if they be bishops or clerks, shall suffer deprivation. the bishops of their episcopal, the clerks of their clerical, office; and if monks or laics, shall be anathematized."22
When the reading of this report of the commission was finished, the council adjourned.
THE SIXTH SESSION, OCTOBER 25
At this session the emperor Marcian and the empress
Pulcheria, came with their whole court to ratify the decision which
the council in the previous session had reached concerning the faith.
Marcian opened the session in a speech, spoken first in Latin and
repeated in Greek, which was as follows: --
"From the beginning of our reign we have had the purity of the faith peculiarly at heart. As now, through the avarice or perversity of some, many have been seduced to error, we summoned the present synod so that all error and all obscurity might be dispelled, that religion might shine forth from the power of its light, and that no one should in future venture further to maintain concerning the incarnation of our Lord and Saviour, anything else than that which the apostolic preaching and the decree, in accordance therewith, of the three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers have handed down to posterity, and which is also testified by the letter of the holy Pope Leo of Rome to Flavian. In order to strengthen the faith, but not at all to exercise violence, we have wished, after the example of Constantine, to be personally present at the synod, so that the nations may not be still more widely separated by false opinions. Our efforts were directed to this, that all, becoming one in the true doctrine, may return to the same religion and honor the true Catholic faith. May God grant this."
As soon as he had finished the speech in Latin, --
The bishops unanimously exclaimed. -- "Many years to the emperor, many years to the empress; he is the only son of Constantine. Prosperity to Marcian, the new Constantine!"
After he had repeated the speech in Greek, the bishops repeated their shouts of adulation. Then the whole declaration, preamble and all, concerning the faith, was read, at the close of which --
The Emperor Marcian. -- "Does this formula of the faith express the view of all?"
The six hundred bishops all shouting at once. -- We all believe thus; there is one faith, one will; we are all unanimous, and have unanimously subscribed; we are all orthodox! This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith of the apostles, the faith of the orthodox; this faith has saved the world. Prosperity to Marcian, the new Constantine, the new Paul, the new David! long years to our sovereign lord David! You are the peace of the world, long life! Your faith will defend you. Thou honorest Christ. He will defend thee. Thou hast established orthodoxy.... To the august empress, many years! You are the lights of orthodoxy.... Orthodox from her birth, God will defend her. Defender of the faith, may God defend her. Pious, orthodox enemy of heretics, God will defend her. Thou hast persecuted all the heretics. May the evil eye be averted from your empire! Worthy of the faith, worthy of Christ! So are the faithful sovereigns honored. . . . Marcian is the new Constantine, Pulcheria is the new Helena!. . . Your life is the safety of all; your faith is the glory of the churches. By thee the world is at peace; by thee the orthodox faith is established; by thee heresy ceases to be : Long life to the emperor and empress!"23
The emperor then "gave thanks to Christ that unity in religion had again been restored, and threatened all, as well private men and soldiers as the clergy, with heavy punishment if they should again stir up controversies respecting the faith, " and proposed certain ordinances which were made a part of the canons established in future sessions. As soon as he had ceased speaking, the bishops again shouted, "Thou art priest and emperor together, conqueror in war and teacher of the faith."
The council was sitting in the Church of St. Euphemia, and Marcian now announced that in honor of St. Euphemia and the council, he bestowed upon the city of Chalcedon the title and dignity of "metropolis;" and in return the bishops all unanimously exclaimed, "This is just; an Easter be over the whole world; the holy Trinity will protect thee. We pray dismiss us."
Instead of dismissing them, however, the emperor commanded them to remain "three or four days longer," and to continue the proceedings. The council continued until November 1, during which time ten sessions were held, in which there was much splitting of theological hairs, pronouncing curses, and giving the lie; and an immense amount of hooting and yelling in approval or condemnation. None of it, however, is worthy of any further notice except to say that twenty-eight canons were established, the last of which confirmed to the archbishopric of Constantinople the dignity which had been bestowed by the Council of Constantinople seventy years before, and set at rest all dispute on the matter of jurisdiction by decreeing that in its privileges and ecclesiastical relations it should be exalted to, and hold, the first place after that of Old Rome. Against this, however, Leo's legates protested at the time; and Leo himself, in three letters -- one to Marcian, one to Pulcheria, and one to Anatolius -- denounced it in his own imperious way.
Having closed its labors, the council drew up and sent to Leo a memorial beginning with the words of Psalms cxxvi, 2, which read in substance as follows: --
"`Our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joy'
"The reason of this joy is the confirmation of the faith which has been preserved by your Holiness and the blissful contents of which have been translated by you as interpreter of the voice of Peter. You the bishops of Chalcedon have taken as their guide, in order to show to the sons of the church the inheritance of the truth. Your letter has been for us a spiritual, imperial banquet, and we believe we have had the heavenly Bridegroom present at it in our midst. As the head over the members, so have you by your representatives, had the predominance among us. In order that everything might proceed in the most orderly manner, however, the faithful emperors have had the presidency. The wild beast Dioscorus, having in his madness attacked even him who is by the Saviour a keeper of the divine vineyard, and having dared to excommunicate him whose vocation it is to unite the body of the church, the synod has inflicted meet punishment upon him because he has not repented and appeared in answer to out exhortation. All our other business has been prosperously conducted by God's grace and through St. Euphemia, who has crowned the assembly held in her bridal chamber, and has transmitted its doctrinal decree as her own to her bridegroom Christ by the hand of the emperor and the empress. . . . We have also confirmed the canon of the synod of the one hundred and fifty Fathers, by which the second rank is assigned to the see of Constantinople, immediately after thy holy and apostolic see. We have done it with confidence, because you have so often allowed the apostolic ray which shines by you to appear to the church at Constantinople, and because you are accustomed ungrudgingly to enrich those who belong to you by allowing them participation in your own possessions. Be pleased, therefore, to embrace this decree as though it were thine own, most holy and most blessed father. Thy legates have strongly opposed it, probably because they thought that this good regulation, like the declaration of the faith, should proceed from thyself. But we were of an opinion that it belonged to the CEcumenical Synod to confirm its prerogatives to the imperial city in accordance with the wish of the emperor, assuming that when thou hadst heard it, thou woulds regard it as thine own act. For all that the sons have done, which is good, conduces to the honor of the fathers. We pray thee, honor our decree also by thine assent; and as we have assented to thy good decree, so may thy loftiness accomplish that which is meet towards the sons. This will also please the emperors, who have sanctioned thy judgment in the faith as law; and the see of Constantinople may well receive a reward for the zeal with which it united itself with thee in the matter of religion. In order to show that we have done nothing from favor or dislike towards any one, we have brought the whole contents of what we have done to thy knowledge, and have communicated it to thee for confirmation and assent."
This was followed up December 18, by two letters to Leo from the emperor and the archbishop of Constantinople, Anatolius, saying that he had constantly done all for the honor of Leo and his legates, and from reverence for the pope, the council and himself had transmitted all to Leo for his approval and confirmation; Marcian expressing his gladness that the true faith had received its expression in accordance with the letter of Leo, and both praying him to approve and confirm the decrees of the council, and especially the canon in reference to the see of Constantinople. Leo steadily denounced that canon, however. But as Anatolius, in a letter, April, 454, acknowledged to Leo : "The whole force and confirmation of the decrees have been reserved for your Holiness;" this was to yield absolutely all to Leo, so far as it was possible for the council and its members to go.
February 7, A. D. 452, the emperor Marcian in the name of himself and Valentinian III, issued the following edict confirming the creed of the council: --
"That which has been so greatly and universally desired is at last accomplished. The controversy respecting orthodoxy is over, and unity of opinion is restored among the nations. The bishops assembled in Chalcedon at my command from various exarchies, have taught with exactness in a doctrinal decree what is to be maintained in respect to religion. All unholy controversy must now cease, as he is certainly impious and sacrilegious who, after the declaration made by so many bishops, thinks that there still remains something for his own judgment to examine. For it is evidently a sign of extreme folly when a man seeks for a deceptive light in broad day. He who, after discovery has been made of the truth, still inquires after something else seeks for falsehood. No cleric, no soldier, and generally no one, in whatever position he may be must venture publicity to dispute concerning the faith, seeking to produce confusion, and to find pretexts for false doctrines. For it is an insult to the holy synod to subject that which it has decreed and fundamentally established, to new examinations and public disputes, since that which was recently defined concerning the Christian faith is in accordance with the doctrine of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers and the regulation of the one hundred and fifty Fathers. The punishment of the transgressors of this law shall not be delayed, since they are not only opponents of the lawfully established faith but also by their contentions betray the holy mysteries to the Jews and heathen. If a cleric ventures openly to dispute respecting religion, he shall be struck out of the catalogue of the clergy, the soldier shall be deprived of his belt, other persons shall be removed from the residence city, and shall have suitable punishments inflicted upon them, according to the pleasure of the courts of justice."
The following July 28, he issued a decree in which he forbade the Eutychians to have any clergy; and if anybody should attempt to appoint any, both they who should appoint and he who was appointed, should be punished with confiscation of goods and banishment for life. They were forbidden to hold any assemblies of any kind, or to build, or to live in, monasteries. If they should presume to hold any kind of meeting, then the place where it was held would be confiscated, if it was with the knowledge of the owner. But if, without the knowledge of the owner it was rented by some one for them, he who rented it should be punished with a beating, with confiscation of goods, and with banishment. They were declared incapable of inheriting anything by will, or of appointing any Eutychian an heir. If any were found in the army, they were to be expelled from it. Those of them who had formerly been in the orthodox faith, and also the monks of the monastery -- he called it the "stable" -- of Eutyches, were to be driven entirely beyond the boundaries of the Roman empire. All their writings were to be burnt, whoever circulated them was to be banished and all instruction in the Eutychian doctrine was to be "rigorously punished." And finally, all governors of provinces with their officials, and all judges in the cities who should be negligent in enforcing the law, were to be fined ten pounds of gold, as despisers of religion and the laws.
At the same time that this last decree was issued, Eutyches and Dioscorus were sentenced to banishment. Eutyches died before the sentence was enforced, and Dioscorus died in exile at Gangra in Paphlagonia two years afterward.
As Leo had published his letters rejecting the canon concerning the see of Constantinople, and had not yet formally published any approval of the doctrinal decree of the council, the report went abroad throughout the East that he had repudiated all the decisions of the council. The report, therefore, was a new incentive to all who disagreed with the creed of the council, and "heresy" became again so prevalent that February 15, A. D. 453, Marcian addressed a letter to Leo earnestly beseeching him as soon as possible to issue a decree in confirmation of the decision of the Council of Chalcedon, "so that no one might have any further doubt as to the judgment of his Holiness." March 21, Leo responded in the following words : --
"I doubt not, brethren, that you all know how willingly I have confirmed the doctrinal decree of the Synod of Chalcedon. You would have been able to learn this not only from the assent of my legates, but also from my letters to Anatolius of Constantinople, if he had brought the answer of the apostolic see to your knowledge. But that no one may doubt my approving of that which was decreed at the Synod of Chalcedon by universal consent in regard to the faith, I have directed this letter to all my brethren and fellow bishops who were present at the synod named, and the emperor will, at my request, send it to you, so that you may all know that not merely by my legates, but also by my own confirmation of it, I have agreed with you in what was done at the synod; but only, as must always be repeated, in regard to the subject of the faith, on account of which the general council was assembled at the command of the emperors, in agreement with the apostolic see. But in regard to the regulations of the Fathers of Nicaea, I admonish you that the rights of the individual churches must remain unaltered, as they were there established by the inspired Fathers. No unlawful ambition must covet that which is not its own, and no one must increase by the diminution of others. And that which pride has obtained by enforced assent, and thinks to have confirmed by the name of a council, is invalid, if it is in opposition to the canons of the aforesaid Fathers [of Nicaea]. How reverentially the apostolic see maintains the rules of these Fathers, and that I by God's help shall be a guardian of the Catholic faith and of the ecclesiastical canons, you may see from the letter by which I have resisted the attempts of the bishop of Constantinople."
As the necessity for the Council of Chalcedon was created by the will of Leo alone; as the council when assembled was ruled from beginning to end by his legates in his name; as the documents presented in the council were addressed to "Leo, the most holy, blessed, and universal patriarch of the great city of Rome, and to the holy and CEcumenical Council of Chalcedon;" as the council distinctly acknowledged Leo as its head, and the members of the council as members of him; as the judgments were pronounced as his own; as his letter was made the test, and the expression of the faith, and with that all were required to agree; as the decisions of the council were submitted to him for approval and were practically of little or no force until he had formally published his approval, and then only such portion as he did approve; as, in short everything in connection with the council sprung from his will and returned in subjection to his will, -- Leo, and in him the bishopric of Rome, thus became essentially the fountain of the Catholic faith.
It is not at all surprising, therefore, that Leo should officially declare that the doctrinal decrees of the Council of Chalcedon were inspired. This is precisely what he did. In a letter to Bishop Julian of Cos CEpistle 144, he said: "The decrees of Chalcedon are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and are to be received as the definition of the faith for the welfare of the whole world." And in a letter CEpistle 145 to the emperor Leo, who succeeded Marcian in A. D. 457, he said: "The Synod of Chalcedon was held by divine inspiration." As, therefore, the doctrinal decrees of the Council of Chalcedon were the expression of the will of Leo; and as these decrees were published and held as of divine inspiration; by this turn, it was a very short cut to the infallibility of the bishop of Rome.
Now let the reader turn to pages 426 and 470 and 472, and compare the Italicized words in the statement of Eutyches, in the statement of the commissioners in the council, and in the creed of Chalcedon. It will be seen that Leo and the council came so near to saying what Eutyches had said, that no difference can be perceived. Eutyches had been condemned as a heretic for saying that in Christ, after the incarnation, the two natures are one. Now Leo and the council express the orthodox faith by saying that in Christ there are two natures united in one. In other words, Eutyches was a condemned heretic for saying that Christ is "of two natures;" while Leo and the council were declared everlastingly orthodox for saying that Christ is "in two natures." In Greek, the difference was expressed in the two small words ek and en; which like the two large words Hamoousion and Hamoiousion, in the beginning of the controversy between Alexander and Arius, differed only in a single letter. And like that also, the meaning of the two words is so "essentially the same," that he who believes either, believes the other. "Such was the device of the envious and God-hating demon in the change of a single letter, that, while in reality the one expression was completely inductive of the notion of the other, skill with the generality the discrepancy between them was held to be considerable, and the ideas conveyed by them to be clearly in diametric opposition, and exclusive of each other; whereas he who confesses Christ in two natures, clearly affirms him to be from two,. . . and on the other hand, the position of one who affirms his origin from two natures, is completely inclusive of his existence in two. . . . So that in this case by the expression, `from two natures,' is aptly suggested the thought of the expression, `in two,' and conversely; nor can there be a severance of the terms." -- Evagrius. 24
And that is all that there was in this dispute, or in any of those before it, in itself. Yet out of it there came constant and universal violence, hypocrisy, bloodshed, and murder, which speedily wrought the utter ruin of the empire, and established a despotism over thought which remained supreme for ages, and which is yet asserted and far too largely assented to.
The whole world having been thus once more brought to the "unity of the faith," the controversy, the confusion, and the violence, went on worse than before. But as the faith of Leo which was established by the Council of Chalcedon, "substantially completes the orthodox Christology of the ancient church," and has "passed into all the confessions of the Protestant churches" (Schaff);25 and as the work of these four general councils -- Nice, Constantinople, first of Ephesus, and Chalcedon -- was to put dead human formulas in the place of the living oracles of God, a woman in the place of Christ, and a MAN IN THE PLACE OF GOD, it is not necessary to follow any farther the course of ambitious strife and contentious deviltry.
1 [Page 447] "History of Latin Christianity", book ii, chap. iv, par. 2.
2 [Page 448] Id., book i, chap. ii, par. 1.
3 [Page 449] "History of the Christian church," Vol. iii, section 62, par. 6.
4 [Page 449] "History of Popes,"Siricius, par. 21.
5 [Page 450] Id., "Innocent," par. 8 from the end.
6 [Page 451] "History of Popes," Celestine, par. 15.
7 [Page 451] "History of Popes," Celestine, par. 15.
8 [Page 452] Milman,"History of Latin Christianity," book ii, chap. iv, par. 2.
9 [Page 453] Id., par. 16; and Bower,"History of the popes," Leo, par. 8.
10 [Page 453] "History of; the Popes," Leo, par. 35.
11 [Page 455] "History of the Popes," Leo, par. 40.
12 [Page 455] Id.
13 [Page 456] Bower's "History of the Popes," Leo, par. 43.
14 [Page 457] Evagrius's Ecclesiastical History," book ii, chap. iv.
15 [Page 457] "History of the Church Councils," sec. 189, par. 4. This is the Theodoret whose "Ecclesiastical History" has been several times referred to in this book.
16 [Page 459] Quoted by Stanley, "History of the Eastern Church," Lecture ii, par. 8 from the end.
17 [Page 459] Hefele, "History of a the Church Councils," sec. 189, par. 4.
18 [Page 459] "History of Latin Christianity," book ii, chap. iv, par. 38.
19 [Page 460] "History of the Popes," Leo,l par. 45.
20 [Page 461] Hefele's "History of the Church Councils," sec. 183, last three par. Milman's "History of Latin Christianity," book ii, chap. iv, par. 38. In the rest of this chapter, I follow so closely and so fully, Hefele's "History of the Church Councils," that I shall not attempt to cite particular references. The only references that I shall make are to passages not derived from Hefele's account. In following Hefele, however, I have maintained the uniformity of the narrative by turning indirect quotations into direct, and so have preserved as far as possible the personality of the speakers.
21 [Page 465] Bower,"History of the Popes," Leo, par. 40.
22 [Page 473] Evagrius's "Ecclesiastical History," book ii, chap. iv. par. 4.
23 [Page 474] Quoted by Stanley, "History of Eastern Church," Lecture ii, par. 24.
24 [Page 481] "Ecclesiastical History,"book ii, chap. v; Hefele's "History of the Church Councils," sec. 193,par. 5, note; Schaff's "History of the Christian Church," Vol. iii, section 140, par 9. note; section 141, par. 12, note 4.
25 [Page 482] "History of the Christian Church," Vol. iii. section 142, par. 1, 2.