Chalcedon, Councils of
Chalcedon, Councils of (Concilium Chalcedonense). Of these there were two:
I. Held A.D. 403, better known as the Synod of the Oak a name given to a suburb there at which Chrysostom was deposed. He had been appointed to the see of Constantinople five years before, and Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, had been summoned thither by the emperor Arcadius to ordain him. Theophilus had a presbyter of his own whom he would have preferred, named Isidore, so that in one sense he consecrated Chrysostom under constraint. It was against the second of the Constantinopolitan canons likewise for him to have consecrated at all out of his own diocese; but in another sense he was probably not loath to make Chrysostom beholden to him, and be possessed of a pretext for interfering in a see threatening to eclipse his own, where he could do so with effect. Hence the part played by him at the Synod of the Oak, over which he presided, and in-which no less than twelve sessions were occupied on charges brought against Chrysostom, and a thirteenth on charges brought against Heraclides, bishop of Ephesus, who had been ordained by him. The number of charges alleged against Chrysostom was twenty-nine at one time, and eighteen at another. When cited to appear and reply to them, his answer was: "Remove my avowed enemies from your list of judges, and I am ready to appear and make my defense, should any person bring aught against me; otherwise you may send as often as you will for me, but you will get no further." The first of those whom he reckoned as such was Theophilus. One of the charges against him was some unworthy language that he had used to Epiphanius, lately deceased. The others refer to his conduct in his own church, or towards his own clergy. The synod ended by deposing Chrysostom, having cited him four times to no purpose, when he was immediately expelled the city by the emperor, and withdrew into Bithynia, to be very shortly recalled. SEE CHRYSOSTOM.
II. Held in 451, and so important that we give additional particulars:
The heresy of Eutycles consisted in his acknowledging only one nature in our Lord Jesus Christ he was a priest, and abbot of a monastery near Constantinople; and Eusebius, bishop of. Dorylseum, having cited him to give an account of his faith before a council consisting of thirty-three bishops and twenty-three abbots, Eutyches there refused to retract, and was condemned and separated from the communion of the faithful. He then took upon him to write to Leo, the pope, imploring his protection, and sent to him a pretended profession of his faith. Leo, deceived by these pretences, wrote to Flavianus of Constantinople, expressing his surprise at the sentence passed upon Eutyches. Flavianus wrote back to him a true account of the matter, declaring that Eutyches maintained that before his incarnation our Blessed Lord had two natures, the divine and human, but that after his incarnation he had but one; and he further entreated the pope to add his own testimony to the condemnation of Eutyches. By these statements Leo was convinced of the justice of the sentence, and, moreover, perceived the bad results which must follow from the patronage which the emperor Theodosins extended to Eutyches, especially in convoking a council at Ephesus to reconsider the sentence of excommunication which had been passed upon him.
This pseudo-council assembled at Ephesus in 449, consisting of one hundred and thirty bishops, with Dioscorus of Alexandria, the great friend of Eutyches, as president; the censure before passed upon the latter was annulled, and Flavianus, who had condemned him, was deposed. This pseudo-council, from the extreme irregularity and violence which accompanied all its acts, has been always known by the name of the "Latrocinium." Leo, distressed at these proceedings, wrote to the emperor a letter worthy of a Christian bishop, setting clearly before him what impious and sacrilegious acts had been done in that council, in open violation of the Catholic faith and of the canons of the Church; and he implored him in the name of all the churches of the West to convoke an (ecumenical council in Italy. At the same time, he wrote to Pulcheria to entreat her to use all her influence to hinder this attack upon the Catholic faith from having more fatal results. He, lastly, addressed the clergy and people of Constantinople, and exhorted them to persevere in the true faith.
Dioscorus, irritated by the opposition which his designs met with, and especially by that of Leo, separated himself from his communion, and by threats or otherwise induced ten other bishops to concur in this schismatical act. This only caused Leo to redouble his efforts, and availing himself of the opportunity of a voyage which the emperor, Valentinian Ill., made to Rome at the time, he forcibly set before him the danger with which the true faith was threatened, and conjured him to induce Theodosius to repair by his authority the evil that had been committed at Ephesus, and to annul all that they had decreed there in an ecumenical assembly. But although Valentinian wrote upon the subject to Theodosius, he refused to permit the question to be re-agitated, and endeavored to justify the act of the pseudo-council of Ephesus.
However, Theodosius dying that year in consequence of injuries received by a fall from his horse, Marcian, by his marriage with Pulcheria, became emperor, and all obstacles to the holding of the council were removed. His chief desire was to see all his subjects united in one faith; and the empress herself wrote to Leo, to assure him of her anxiety to see peace restored to the Church, and to banish all error and heresy, and for that end to cause the council to be assembled.
Among the large number of bishops, three distinguished ones were present, viz. Maximus of Antioch, Eusebius of Dorylseum, and Theodoret, whom the emperor had recalled from exile. The emperor sent as his representatives the chief officers of the empire: Anatolius, a nobleman; Palladius, prefect of the Praetorium in the East; the prefect of Constantinople, Vincomulus; Sporacius, captain of the imperial guard; various other persons of the highest dignity were also present. Marcian, from the high idea which he had formed of Leo, wished him to have the chief authority in the council; and Leo, in his letter, begged them to consider his legates as his representatives, and especially designated Paschasinus, bishop of Lilybeum, in Sicily, to act as president in his absence, rightly judging that there was needed at the head of the council a- man of firm mind, and one incapable of being turned aside from the right path. It was arranged that the officers of the emperor should propose the questions for discussion, draw up the various motions, and pronounce the decision, after the bishops had given their votes.
In the first session, at the request of Eusebius of Dorylaeum, the petition which he had presented to the emperor against Dioscorus was read. In this petition Ensebius demanded justice for the evils which Dioscorus had done to himself and Flavianus of Constantinople; he charged him with having favored Entyches in everything; with having made use of notorious violence and the most unworthy means, in order to procure the absolution of Eutyches. IIe then required that the acts of the pseudo-council of Ephesus should be read, by which he hoped to show the injustice of Dioscorus in deposing Flavianus and himself In the course of reading passages occurred highly injurious to Theodoret, which induced the emperor to order, by his officers, that lie should enter, and take his place in the council, but the Egyptians, with great tumult, refused to allow this, saving that he must remain in the sole character of an accuser. Many of the Oriental bishops also interrupted the reading of these acts with exclamations about the violence which they had suffered from Dioscorns, and when the Iliac pleaded in excuse that all that had passed at the council was with the consent of those present the bishops exclaimed with vehemence against his assertion, declaring that they had been forced, and even beaten, and threatened with banishment; that soldiers had repulsed them when they desired to depart, and that they had, in fact, been compelled to sign a blank paper.
After this, the acts of the Council of Constantinople were read, which were inserted in those of the pseudocouncil of Ephesus. Among others they read the second letter of Cyril to Nestorius, and that which he had written to the Eastern Church; these being ended, the bishops unanimously exclaimed that they contained their own belief and their own doctrine, and as Flavianus had approved these two letters in the Council of Constantinople, the legates, with Maximus of Antioch and Eustachins of Berythus, declared that in their opinion the faith of Flavianus was strictly in accordance with the true faith and the letter of Cyril. The Eastern bishops, also with one voice, agreed that Flavianus had truly asserted the Catholic faith, and at the same time the bishops of Palestine passed over from the right hand to the side on the left of the imperial officer, to testify that they abandoned the Egyptian party. Thus the innocence of Flavianus was established, and, at the same time, necessarily, the pseudo-council of Ephesus condemned, none of the bishops who had taken any share in the proceedings attempting to defend themselves. But although every one declared himself in favor of Flavianus, Dioscorus did not in the slightest degree abate his arrogance, declaring that for his part he belonged to no party, and professed no faith but the Catholic and apostolic faith; neither did he regard men, but God alone.
After this, the opinion which Eustachius of Berythus had delivered at the Council of Ephesus came under consideration, maintaining that it is an error to believe in two natures in our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the right faith is, that there is in him but one nature incarnate. This opinion was unanimously condemned. In the third place the confession of Eutyches, which had been approved by Dioscorus at the Council of Ephesus, was read: in it he declared his belief that in our Lord were two natures before his incarnation, and but one afterwards. This opinion was at once anathematized by the fathers in council.
On this day the acts of the first session only of the pseudo-council at Ephesus were read.
In the second session Dioscorus, Juvelal, Thalassius, Eusebius, and Casil were absent. The bishops were now entreated on the part of the emperor to decide matters relating to the faith, in order to settle the minds of those who had been led astray. They replied that a new exposition of the faith was not needed, but that the fathers had left a sufficient exposition of the true faith, which they ought to follow, and that the letter of Leo, which all the bishops in the council had already subscribed, was a sufficient antidote to the heresy of Eutyches.
The bishops of Illyria and Palestine earnestly desired that pardon should be granted to the chiefs of the pseudo-council at Ephesus, specially naming Dioscorns. The Eastern bishops, however, without taking notice of the others, insisted upon the banishment of Dioscorus.
The third session was held on the 13th of October, at which the officers of the emperor were not present; probably, as Tillemont says, in order that it might not be said that the bishops were not permitted to pass a free judgment upon Dioscorus.
The petition of Ensebius was read, in which he demanded that, Dioscorus having now been convicted of many crimes, the council should anathematize his impious dogmas; that it should punish him according to his deserts; that it should confirm the true faith, and annul all that had been done in the false Council of Ephesus; he also requested that Dioscorus should be cited before the council to answer him, and this was accordingly done; but Dioscorus, upon various pretexts, refused to appear. The petitions of the clergy and laity of Alexandria against Dioscorus were then read, in which they accused him of grievous crimes, stating that he had been guilty of homicide, had burned and pulled down houses, had lived an infamous life, had bought up corn in order to enhance the price, and had connived at the residence of women of ill-fame in his diocese, and had even kept them in his own home. After this, Dioscorus was cited a third time to appear, but with as little success as before; and the deputies having made their report to the council, the legate, in a few words, enumerated the crimes of which Dioscorus had been convicted, and declared him to be deprived by themselves, acting for the pope, and by the council, of his episcopal office, and of all his ecclesiastical dignities. After this they requested the council to make a decree conformable to the canons of the Church, and accordingly each of the bishops present condemned Dioscorus, and the sentence being committed to writing, they all signed it, the whole number of signatures amounting to three hundred. They then drew up an act to signify to Dioscorus the judgment passed against him, and a letter to the emperor, informing him of the causes which compelled them to depose Dioscorus.
At the fourth session, Oct. 17, the emperor's officers were again present, and perceiving that the bishops were averse to drawing up any new definition of the faith, they contented themselves with demanding whether they accepted the letter of Leo as agreeing with the creeds of Nicsea and Constantinople. Paschasinus declared it to be the faith of the council, and that they held to the definition of Nicaea, and that of Constantinople, under Theodosius, as also to the exposition of Cyril, and to the writings of Leo against the heresies of Nestorins and Eutyches. After this, the bishops Juvenal, Thalassius, Eusebius, Basil, and Eustachius having made open profession of the true faith, were absolved by the unanimous vote of the council, which considered that the deposition of Dioscorus ought to suffice, and that matters should not be pushed too far, for fear of originating a fresh schism. Some other matters of minor importance were also transacted in this session.
Fifth session, Oct. 22. Although the bishops had before expressed an unwillingness to draw up any new definition of the faith, they, upon further consideration, resolved to do so, endeavoring, however, to follow exactly all that had previously been decided by the fathers. They resolved that the definition of the faith as to the matter in question should be examined into, and they appointed a committee of twenty-two, who assembled in the oratory of Euphemia. Having accordingly examined the existing definition of the faith, they proceeded to draw up a new form, in which, however, several bishops objected to the expression that Jesus Christ was of two natures, and not in two natures, which, although strictly speaking true, yet was such a definition as the Eutychians could have received as well as the Catholics; after many difficulties and much, discussion, they agreed to follow exactly the letter of Leo, and the decree containing the definition was accordingly altered, and, in the end accepted by the whole Church. This decree is not in the form of a creed, brief and abridged, but rather of a long discourse, in which both the Nicene and Constantinopolitan creeds are inserted; the two letters of Cyril against Nestorins were added to it, and also that of Leo to Flavianus against the errors of Nestorius ad Eutyches.
When this decree was read, the bishops, with one voice cried out that it contained the faith of the fathers, and it was unanimously received by them, to the number of three hundred and fifty-six. The council then forbade any one to hold or teach any other faith, upon pain, if a bishop or clergyman, of being deposed, if a monk or layman, of being anathematized.
At the sixth session; Oct. 25, the emperor was present in person, and delivered a speech in Latin, in which he unfolded what had been his intentions in convokini the council, and declared that his sole motive in attending it was to give his assistance in settling the true faith, and not at all to hinder the freedom of their deliberations. Then the above-mentioned decree was read, upon which the emperor asked if the council was agreed as to this confession, and the bishops unanimously declaring that they were so, severally, subscribed it.
This done, the emperor declared his will that the city of Chalcedonin which the council had been held, should thenceforward enjoy the privileges of a metropolitan see; saving the dignity of the metropolitan of Nicomedia.
In the seventh session the arrangements which Maximus of Antioch and Juvenal of Jerusalem had made upon certain disputes connected with their sees were ratified.
In the eighth session Theodoret was re-established in his church, having pronounced anathema against Nestorius, and subscribed the letter of Leo.
In the ninth session the case of Ibas, bishop of Edessa, was considered, who complained of having been persecuted by Eutyches, and deposed in the pseudo-council of Ephesus in his absence.
These three sessions appear to have been held on the same day, viz. Oct. 26.
In the tenth session, Oct. 27, Ibas was pronounced to be orthodox, and his re-establishment in his see ordered.
In the eleventh session, Oct. 29, Bassiasnus, bishop of Ephesus, was declared to have intruded into that see, having obtained his chair by violence; aid Stephen, who also pretended to the same bishopric, was similarly condemned it was, therefore, decreed, that it was necessary to proceed to a fresh election.
In the twelfth session, Oct. 30, it was decreed, that although Stephen and Bassianus should be deprived of the see of Ephesus, the rank of bishop should not be taken from them, and that they should receive a maintenance out of the revenues of that Church.
In the thirteenth session, on the same day, it was decreed that the bishop of Nicomedia should have the authority of metropolitan over the churches of Bithynia, and that the bishop of Nicaea should have metropolitan honor only, and submit to the see of Nicomedia.
In the fourteenth session, Oct. 31, judgment was pronounced in the difference between Sabianus, bishop of Peraea, in Syria, and Anastasius, who was also bishop of the same city, but who had been deposed, and afterwards replaced in the chair; it was ordered that Anastasius should continue to enjoy the see in peace until the matter should be thoroughly sifted by Maximus of Antioch in a synod.
In this session, Oct. 31, twenty-eight canons were published.
1. Confirms all canons before made by the fathers in different councils [answering to the code of the while Church, or, rather, of the Greek Church, published by Jetel, and containing one hundred and seventy canons, taken from the councils of Nicaea, Ancyra, Neo-Cesarea, Gangra, Antioch, Laodicea, and Constantinople].
2. Declares that if a bishop shall receive any money, etc., in consideration of conferring orders, both he and the person so ordained shall be deposed; and that any person acting in any way as the intermediate party on the occasion shall, if a clerk, be deposed; if a monk or layman, be anathematized.
3. Forbids any ecclesiastic or monk to undertake the management or stewardship of the property of others, or intrude himself into worldly ministrations. Among a few other exceptions, however, it is permitted to them to undertake the care of the property of orphans and widows, and other afflicted persons, with the bishop's consent.
4. Forbids the erection of any monastery or oratory without the permission of the bishop of the diocese. Orders all monks to submit to the bishop of the diocese, and not to meddle in any ecclesiastical or civil matters, unless they be permitted to do so for some necessary purpose by their bishop. Lastly, orders all bishops to keep watch over the conduct of the monks within their dioceses; offenders to be excommunicated.
5. Renews the prohibition made in a former council, forbidding the bishop or a clergy of one church to quit their own church in order to go and serve in another.
6. Forbids a bishop to ordain a clerk unless he is, bonafide, intended to serve in some particular church or chapel or monastery, and declares all ordinations not made in accordance with this law to be null and void.
7. Forbids, under pain of anathema, those who have been ordained, or who have entered a state of monkhood, to quit their state.
8. Enjoins the clergy attached to all monasteries, chapels of martyrs, hospitals, etc., to submit to their bishops: offenders to be excommunicated.
9. Orders that all disputes among the clergy shall be settled before their bishop, and in no secular court, except by his permission. That if a dispute arise between a bishop and one of the clergy, it shall be judged in the provincial council. That all disputes between a bishop or, clergyman and his metropolitan shall be brought before the exarch of the diocese [i.e. the patriarch] or the bishop of Constantinople.
10. Absolutely forbids a clergyman to be on the list of the church of two cities at the same time, and orders that such as act thus shall be restored to the church in which they were first ordained.
11. Orders that letters of peace (or of communion) be given to poor persons going abroad, after examination; and that letters commendatory be given to those persons only who are liable to suspicion.
12. Forbids any bishop, under pain of deposition, to divide the province, by obtaining letters-patent from the emperor, erecting his bishopric into a metropolitan see.
13. Forbids that a foreign or unknown ecclesiastic be permitted to exercise any function in the church, except he bring letters commendatory from his bishop.
14. Forbids the lower orders of ecclesiastics (readers, chanters, etc.), to whom it was permitted to marry, to marry Jewesses, or pagan, or heretical women, except they should promise to become Christians.
15. Forbids the ordination of a deaconess under forty years of age; if after ordination she shall marry, she shall be anathematized with her husband.
16. Orders that virgins marrying after having consecrated themselves to God be separated from communion for as long a period as the bishop shall deem proper.
17. Makes over to the bishop forever parishes in the country over which he has exercised jurisdiction for thirty years.
18. Deposes those of the clergy or monks who form cabals against their bishop or any of their fellow-clergy.
19. Renews the decree of the Council of Nicaea, which directs that provincial councils be held twice in every year; and enjoins that bishops who willfully neglect to attend shall be reproved.
20. Directs that if any bishop shall receive a clergyman belonging to another bishop, both the bishop and the clergyman shall be separated from communion until the said clergyman shall return to his own bishop.
21. Forbids the receiving of an accusation against a clergyman from any person without first inquiring into his character.
22. Forbids the clergy to take possession of the property of their bishop after his decease, under pain of losing their rank.
23. Directs that the defender of the Church of Constantinople shall drive out of the city all strange clergy or monks, coming there without letters from their bishop, and causing trouble and disturbance.
24. Orders that houses which have once been erected into monasteries, and consecrated, shall ever after be devoted to the same purpose.
25. Directs that the metropolitan shall consecrate to a vacant bishopric within three months after the death of the bishop.
26. Directs that in every diocese there shall be a steward (economus) chosen from among the clergy, who shall manage the property of the Church according to the bishop's directions.
27. Anathematizes those who have been guilty of rape or abduction, and all who have aided and abetted in these crimes, or who have consented to them; if any one of the clergy be among the guilty, he shall be deposed.
28. "We, following in all things the decisions of the holy fathers, and acknowledging the canon of the one hundred and fifty most religious bishops, which has just been read, do also determine and decree the same things respecting the privileges of the most holy city of Constantinople, the new Rome. For the fathers properly gave the primacy to the throne of the elder Rome, because that was the imperial city. And the one hundred and fifty most religious bishops, being moved with the same intention, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of new Rome; judging, with reason, that the city which was honored with the sovereignty and senate, and which enjoyed equal privileges with the elder royal Rome, should also be magnified, like her, in ecclesiastical matters, and be second after her. And (we decree) that the metropolitans only of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses, and, moreover, the bishops of the aforesaid dioceses who are among the barbarians, shall be ordained by the above-mentioned throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; each metropolitan off the aforesaid dioceses ordaining the bishops of the provinces, as has been declared by the divine canons; but the metropolitans themselves of the said dioceses shall, as has been said, be ordained by the bishop of Constantinople, the proper elections being made according to custom, and reported to him." It appears that the Roman legates had refused to be present when this last canon was carried; however, immediately alter they called for au assembly of the council, and protected against it, alleging that it was contrary to the sixth canon of the council of Nicaea, which, as they asserted, commenced with these words, "The Roman see hath always had the primacy;" this, however, was shown to be only an interpolation, and after it had been proved that all things had been done rightly and canonically, the imperial judges delivered their opinion, which was to the effect, "that granting to the bishop of ancient Rome, according to the canons, the primacy and prerogative of honor, the bishop of Constantinople ought nevertheless to enjoy the same ecclesiastical privileges of honor, and that he should have the right of consecrating metropolitans in the dioceses of Asia, Pontus, and Thrace." See Labbe, Concil. 4, 1-1003.