Catholic Encyclopedia
Church Fathers
Classics Library
Church Documents
Prayer Requests
Ray of Hope
Social Doctrine

A Hstory Of The Councils Of The Church Volumes 1 to 5 by Charles Joseph Hefele D.D.

SEC. 133. Convocation of the Synod—The Papal and Imperial Commissioners

AS we have already seen, it was not long after the outbreak of the Nestorian controversy that it was proposed to hold an Œcumenical Council for its settlement, and this was expressly demanded both by the orthodox and by Nestorius. In his third letter to Pope Cœlestine, Nestorius spoke of this (see above, p. 28); and, in like manner, the letter of the monks of Constantinople to the Emperor, in which they complained of the ill-treatment which they had received from Nestorius, contains a loudly-expressed desire for the application of this ecclesiastical remedy. In fact, the Emperor Theodosius II., so early as November 19, 430, and thus a few days before the anathematisms of Cyril arrived at Constantinople, issued a circular letter, bearing also the name of his Western colleague, Valentinian III., addressed to all the metropolitans, in which he summoned them, for the Pentecost of the following year, to an Œcumenical Synod at Ephesus. He added that each of them should bring with him from his province some able suffragan bishops, and that whoever should arrive too late should be gravely responsible before God and the Emperor. Theodosius was in this visibly anxious that he should not allow that prepossession for Nestorius, which he had already betrayed on several occasions, to appear in this important document; and therefore this feeling showed itself the more openly in his letter (Sacra imperatoria), already referred to (see above, p. 23), addressed to Cyril, in which he accuses him of having disturbed the peace, of having given forth rash utterances, of not having acted openly and honourably, and of having brought everything to confusion. Particularly he blamed him for having communicated in writing with the Augusta (co-Empress) Pulcheria, and the consort of the Emperor, Eudocia, and for having most improperly endeavoured, by means of this letter, in an underhand way, to work out a malicious design of sowing discord even in the imperial family. Still he would forgive him what was past; and he added that on the subject of the contested doctrinal propositions the future Synod would decide, and that what they should decide must be universally accepted. It would be especially a duty for Cyril to appear at the Council, for the Emperor would not endure that any one should only be a ruler, and not take common counsel with others, nor allow himself to be taught by them. The conclusion of the letter contains some further bitter remarks of a similar character.

The Emperor had despatched a peculiarly respectful letter to Augustine, on account of his great celebrity, inviting him to come to the Synod at Ephesus, and had expressly entrusted an official of the name of Ebagnius with the delivery of the letter. But Augustine was already (August 22 [28], 430) dead, and thus the bearer of the letter could only bring back to Constantinople the news of his death.

Cyril, on his part, now found it necessary to ask of Pope Cœlestine whether Nestorius should be allowed to appear at the proposed Synod as a member, or whether the sentence of deposition pronounced against him, after the period of time allowed for recanting had elapsed, should now still have effect. We no longer possess this letter itself, but we have the answer of the Pope, dated May 7, 431, which gives a beautiful proof of his peace-loving disposition, and in which he says, God willeth not the death of the sinner, but his conversion, and that Cyril should do everything in order to restore the peace of the Church and to win Nestorius to the truth. If the latter is quite determined against this, then he must reap what, with the help of the devil, he has sown. A second letter was addressed by the Pope, May 15, 431, to the Emperor Theodosius, saying that he could not personally be present at the Synod, but that he would take part in it by commissioners. The Emperor should allow no innovations, and no disturbance of the peace of the Church. He should even regard the interests of the Faith as higher than those of the State, and the peace of the Church as more important than the peace of the nations. As his legates at the Synod, the Pope appointed the two bishops, Arcadius and Projectus, together with the priest Philippus, and gave them a commission to hold strictly by Cyril, but at the same time to preserve the dignity of the Apostolic See. They were to take part in the assemblies, but not themselves to mix in the discussions (between the Nestorians and their opponents), but to give judgment on the views of others. After the close of the Synod an inquiry should be instituted, requirendum est, qualiter fuerint res finitæ. If the old faith triumphed, and Cyril went to the Emperor at Constantinople, they were also to go there and deliver to the Prince the papal briefs. If, however, no peaceful decision were arrived at, they were to consider with Cyril what must be done. The papal letter, which they had to lay before the Synod, dated May 8, 431, first explains with much eloquence the duty of the bishops to preserve the true faith, and then, at the close, goes on: “The legates are to be present at the transactions of the Synod, and will give effect to that which the Pope has long ago decided with respect to Nestorius, for he does not doubt that the assembled bishops will agree with this.”

As the Pope, so neither could either of the Emperors appear personally at Ephesus, and therefore Theodosius II., in his own name and in that of his colleague Valentinian III., appointed the Count Candidian (captain of the imperial bodyguard) as the protector of the Council. In the edict which he addressed to the Synod on this subject, he says that Candidian is to take no immediate part in the discussions on contested points of faith; for it is not becoming that one who does not belong to the number of the bishops should mix himself up in the examination and decision of theological controversies. On the contrary, Candidian was to remove from the city the monks and laymen who had come or should afterwards come to Ephesus out of curiosity, so that disorder and confusion should not be caused by those who were in no way needed for the examination of the sacred doctrines. He was, besides, to watch lest the discussions among the members of the Synod themselves should degenerate into violent disputes and hinder the more exact investigation of truth; and, on the contrary, see that every statement should be heard with attention, and that every one put forward his view, or his objections, without let or hindrance, so that at last an unanimous decision might be arrived at in peace by the holy Synod. But above all, Candidian was to take care that no member of the Synod should attempt, before the close of the transactions, to go home, or to the court, or elsewhere. Moreover, he was not to allow that any other matter of controversy should be taken into consideration before the settlement of the principal point of doctrine before the Council. Further, the Emperor had given order that no civil accusation should be brought against any member of the Synod, either before the Synod itself or before the court of justice in Ephesus; but that, during this time, only the supreme court at Constantinople should be the competent tribunal for such cases. Finally, a second imperial count, Irenæus, was to appear at Ephesus, but he was only to accompany his friend, the God-beloved Bishop Nestorius, and therefore should take no part in the transactions of the Synod, nor in the commission of Candidian.

In accordance with the imperial command, the Synod was to begin at Pentecost (June 7) in the year 431, and Nestorius, with his sixteen bishops, was among the first who arrived at Ephesus. As though going to battle, he was accompanied by a large number of men in armour. Soon afterwards, four or five days before Pentecost, Cyril arrived, with fifty bishops, about one-half of his suffragans; and we still possess two short letters from him to his Church, of which the one was written on the journey at Rhodes, and the other immediately after his arrival at Ephesus. In the latter he says particularly that he looks forward with longing to the actual opening of the Synod. Some days after Pentecost, Juvenal of Jerusalem and Flavian of Thessalonica appeared with their bishops; Archbishop Memnon of Ephesus, too, had assembled around him forty of his suffragans and twelve bishops from Pamphylia. While they were waiting for the arrival of the others, there was already a good deal of preliminary conversation on the point in question, and particularly Cyril endeavoured to drive Nestorius into a corner by acute arguments, and to gain friends for the true doctrine. It was then that Nestorius allowed himself to break out into the exclamation: “Never will I call a child, two or three months old, God; and I will have no more communication with you;” and at the same time showed clearly the nature of his heresy, which, up to this time, he had endeavoured in various ways to disguise, and also his obstinacy, which left no hope of his submission to the decision of a Synod.

SEC. 134. First Session, June 22, 431.—Presidency and Number of those present

There was still wanting one of the superior metropolitans (patriarchs), namely, John of Antioch. His bishops, he said, could not leave their dioceses before Renovation Sunday (Dominica in Albis), and then it would take them twelve days to travel to Antioch, and from thence to Ephesus thirty-nine, so that they could not arrive until some days after Pentecost. At last (just about Pentecost) John came into the neighbourhood of Ephesus, and sent to Cyril a letter, which is still extant, full of friendliness, setting forth that the length of the road and the death of several of their horses had delayed the journey, but that nevertheless he was close at hand, and would appear at Ephesus in five or six days. In spite of this they waited sixteen days; and then two of the metropolitans of the patriarchate of Antioch, Alexander of Apamea and Alexander of Hierapolis, came and repeatedly declared that “John had bid them say that they were no longer to defer the opening of the Synod on his account, but, in case it should be necessary for him to delay longer, they were to do what was to be done.” From this they inferred that the Patriarch John was intending to avoid being personally present at the condemnation of his former priest and friend Nestorius. Cyril and his friends now decided therefore on the immediate opening of the Synod, and assembled for that purpose on the 28th day of the Egyptian month Payni (= June 22) 431, in the cathedral of Ephesus, which, with great suitableness for that assembly, was dedicated to the God-bearer, and named after her. On the day before, several bishops received a commission to go to Nestorius and invite him to the session, in order to give an account of his statements and doctrines. At first he replied, “I will consider it.” When, however, a second deputation, sent on the 22d of June by the Synod, then opening, came to him, his residence was, by command of Candidian, surrounded with troops, who prevented the bishops, by threats of blows, from entering, and Nestorius sent them word that “he would appear as soon as all the bishops were assembled.” The Synod now, for the third time, sent off some bishops to him; but these received no further answer, and were treated with insolence by the soldiers on guard in and around the house.

At an earlier period, sixty-eight Asiatic bishops, among whom were, in particular, Theodoret of Cyrus and the two above-mentioned metropolitans of Apamea and Hierapolis, in a letter to Cyril and Juvenal, had requested that they would be pleased to defer the opening of the Synod until the arrival of bishops from Antioch. Now, however, the imperial commissioner, Candidian, himself appeared in the place of assembly, in order to have the imperial decrees read, and to protest against the immediate opening of the Synod. His demand, that they should wait four days longer, remained disregarded, and the first solemn session began under the presidency of Cyril, who, as is expressly stated in the Acts, also represented the Pope. No fewer than 160 bishops were present from the beginning, and when (still at the first session) the document of deposition came to be subscribed, their number had increased to 198. Particularly were there twenty of those sixty-eight Asiatic bishops who had gone over to the side of the Synod, as is clear from a comparison of their names with the subscriptions of the synodal Acts. The first thing which was done at the Synod was the reading of the imperial letter of convocation to all the metropolitans (see above, p. 40). That they should begin with this had been proposed by the Presbyter Peter of Alexandria, who acted as senior notary during the whole Synod, and externally controlled the arrangement of the business. Thereupon Bishop Memnon of Ephesus pointed out that sixteen days had elapsed beyond the limit appointed for the opening; and Cyril explained that, even in accordance with the express command of the Emperor, they must without delay begin with the transactions respecting the faith. Thereupon reference was made to the first invitation sent to Nestorius on the previous day, and directly afterwards the second and third deputations, already referred to, were sent to him, and the reports of the bishops who had returned were received. As Nestorius decidedly declined to appear, they proceeded, on the motion of Juvenal, to an examination of the point of doctrine in question, and began by reading the Nicene Creed. They next proceeded to the reading of the second letter which Cyril, as we saw, had a long time before addressed to Nestorius, in which he had explained the doctrine of the hypostatic union of the Godhead and manhood in Christ (see above, p. 21). To the question of Cyril, whether this letter of his agreed with the contents of the Nicene Creed, all the bishops present answered, and among them 126 in short speeches still preserved (explanatory of their votes), in a manner entirely affirmative and consentient, and for the most part full of commendation for Cyril. It then came to the turn to read the letter which Nestorius had sent in answer to the letter of Cyril just mentioned (see above, p. 21), and after thirty-four bishops, in explaining their votes, had declared emphatically its non-agreement with the Nicene faith, all the bishops cried out together: “If any one does not anathematize Nestorius, let him be himself anathema: the true faith anathematizes him, the holy Synod anathematizes him. If any one has communion with Nestorius, let him be anathema. We all anathematize the letter and the doctrines of Nestorius. We all anathematize the heretic Nestorius and his adherents, and his impious faith and his impious doctrine. We all anathematize the impious (ἀσεβῆ) Nestorius,” and so forth.

Afterwards there were two other documents read, namely, the letter of Cœlestine and the Roman Synod (p. 25 f.), and that of S. Cyril and of the Alexandrian Synod to Nestorius; and the four clerics whom Cyril had sent to deliver that document to Nestorius were examined as to the result of their mission. They gave the information, with which we are already acquainted (see above, p. 34), that Nestorius had given them no answer at all. In order, however, to be quite clear as to whether he still persisted in his error, two bishops, Theodotus of Ancyra and Acacius of Melitene, who were personal friends of Nestorius, and had during the last three days been in habitual intercourse with him, and had endeavoured to convert him from his error, were questioned on oath respecting the matter. They announced that, unfortunately, all their efforts with him had been in vain.

In order, however, to submit the doctrinal point in question to a thorough investigation, and in the light of patristic testimony, at the suggestion of Flavian, Bishop of Philippi, a number of passages from the writings of the Fathers of the Church were now read, in which the ancient faith respecting the union of the Godhead and manhood in Christ was expressed. These were statements of the opinions of Peter, Bishop of Alexandria († 311), of Athanasius, Pope Julius I. († 352), Pope Felix I. († 274), Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria († 412), of Cyprian, Ambrose, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Atticus of Constantinople († 426), and Amphilochius of Iconium († 394). All these early authorities knew nothing of the Nestorian separation of the Godhead and manhood, but, on the contrary, taught the true incarnation of the Logos. The venerable martyr, Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, said: “God the Logos was made flesh, and born of the Virgin’s womb;” but Athanasius used frequently and unhesitatingly the expression θεοτόκος, contested by Nestorius, and says: “As the flesh was born of the God-bearer Mary, so we say that HE (the Logos) was Himself born of Mary.” And in a second passage Athanasius strongly blames those who (exactly like Nestorius) say that “the suffering and crucified Christ is not God the Logos;” who distinguish between Christ and the Logos, and do not confess, and do not acknowledge, “that the Logos, inasmuch as HE assumed a body from Mary, was made man.” And in a third passage Athanasius teaches that “the Logos was in truth, in the full sense of the word (not θέσει = by adoption, external connection), made man, otherwise HE would not be our Redeemer.” In agreement with this Pope Julius said: “There are not two sons, one true who assumed the man, and another the man who was assumed by God, but an only-begotten God in heaven, and an only-begotten God on earth.” Even Pope Felix I., who lived more than a century and a half before Nestorius, rejected his error, when he wrote: “We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary, that HE is the eternal Son and Word of God, and not a man assumed by God, distinct from that (Word). For the Son of God did not assume a man, so that this was distinct from Him, but HE, the perfect God, was at the same time perfect man, made flesh of the Virgin.” Less striking are the passages from Cyprian and Ambrose; but Gregory of Nazianzus is again quite explicit: “We do not sever the man from the Godhead, but declare both to be one and the same who at the beginning was not man, but God, and the only Son of God, before all time and without all corporeity, but who at the end of the ages assumed man for the sake of our salvation. We confess that HE is one and the same, divine and earthly, visible and invisible, and so forth, at the same time, so that through the whole man, who is at the same time God, the whole man, who has fallen into sin, is created anew.” The seven anathematisms, too, which Gregory of Nazianzus appends to this passage, are entirely anti-Nestorian, and the very first of them anathematizes those who do not call Mary θεοτόκος, and the fourth those who hold that there are two sons, the one eternal from the Father, and a second from Mary. Further, the passage selected from Basil sounds as if it had been written with reference to Nestorius; for it says: “The immeasurable and infinite God, without being capable of suffering (in Himself), by assuming flesh combated death, in order by His own suffering to deliver us from liability to suffering.” To the same effect, in fine, speak also Gregory of Nyssa, Atticus of Constantinople, Amphilochius of Iconium, and Theophilus of Antioch, “that God was born and died.”

In opposition to these patristic passages there were next read twenty passages, some longer and some shorter, from the writings of Nestorius, in which his fundamental views, which we have presented above connectedly, were expressed in separate parts and in concreto.

The last document which was produced at this first session was the letter of Capreolus, Archbishop of Carthage, in which he asks them, on account of the war in Africa (consequent upon the invasion of the Vandals), to excuse his own inability to be present, or to send any of his suffragan bishops. Besides, he said, the Emperor’s letter of invitation had not reached him until Easter 431, and thus too late; and Augustine, whose presence the Emperor specially wished, had died some time before. He (the archbishop) therefore sent only his deacon Bessula, and prayed the Synod to tolerate no novelties whatever in matters of religion. In this he does not refer expressly to Nestorius, but he unmistakeably indicates that he reckons his doctrines among the unauthorized novelties. The Synod gave its approval to this letter of the African bishop, and proceeded at once (the intermediate speeches are not known to us) to the condemnation of Nestorius. The sentence is as follows: ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος εἶπε• Πρὸς τοῖς ἄλλοις μήτε ὑπακοῦσαι βουληθέντος τοῦ ἀσεβεστάτου Νεστορίου τῇ παρʼ ἡμῶν κλήσει, μήτε μὴν τοὺς παρʼ ἡμῶν ἀποσταλέντας ἁγιωτάτους καὶ Θεοσεβεστάτους ἐπισκόπους δεξαμένου, ἀναγκαίως ἐχωρήσαμεν ἐπὶ τὴν ἐξέτασιν τῶν δυσσεβηθέντων αὐτῷ. Καὶ φωράσαντες αὐτὸν ἔκ τε τῶν ἐπιστολῶν, καὶ ἐκ τῶν συγγραμμάτων αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀρτίως παρʼ αὐτοῦ ῥηθέντων κατὰ τήνδε τὴν μητρόπολιν καὶ πρόσμαρτυρηθέντων, δυσσεβῶς φρονοῦντα καὶ κηρύττοντα, ἀναγκαίως κατεπειχθέντες ἀπό τε τῶν κανόνων, καὶ ἐκ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ συλλειτουργοῦ Κελεστίνου τοῦ ἐπισκόπου τῆς ‘Ρωμαίων ἐκκλησίας, δακρύσαντες πολλάκις, ἐπὶ τὴν σκυθρωπὴν κατʼ αὐτοῦ ἐχωρήσαμεν ἀπόφασιν. Ὁ βλασφημηθεὶς τοίνυν παρʼ αὐτοῦ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὥρισε διὰ τῆς παρούσης ἁγιωτάτης συνόδου, ἀλλότριον εἶναι τὸν αὐτὸν Νεστόριον τοῦ ἐπισκοπικοῦ ἀξιώματος καὶ παντὸς συλλόγου ἱερατικοῦ; that is: “As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Urged by the canons (c. 74, Apostol.), and in accordance with the letter of our most holy father and fellow-servant Cœlestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion.”

As we have already remarked above, this judgment was in the first place subscribed by 198 bishops who were present. Some others afterwards took the same side, so that altogether over 200 subscribed.

The session had lasted from early in the morning into the night, and the assembled population of Ephesus waited the whole day to hear the decision. When this was at last known, there arose an universal rejoicing; they commended the Synod, and solemnly accompanied the members, particularly Cyril, with torches and censers to their houses. The city was also illuminated in many places. This is joyfully related by Cyril in one of the three letters which he despatched at that time to the members of his Church of Alexandria, and to the monks of Egypt.

On the next day the sentence which had been pronounced was sent to Nestorius himself in a very laconic edict. In the superscription he is called a new Judas, and in the text it is said briefly: “He must know that, on account of his impious doctrines and his disobedience to the canons (because he had not appeared in answer to the citations), he had been, on the 22d of June, in accordance with the ecclesiastical laws, deposed by the holy Synod, and expelled from the body of the clergy.”

In two other similarly curt letters of the same date, the one to the collective people, the other to the clergy of Constantinople, the Synod announced that which had been done, and required the latter to watch carefully over all the property of the Church of Constantinople, so as to be able to give an account of it to him who should, in accordance with the will of God and the indication (νεύματι) of the Emperor, become bishop of that city.

Cyril, as president of the Synod, wrote at greater length to his friends and agents in Constantinople, the Archimandrite Dalmatius and several (certainly Egyptian) bishops and priests, and related to them the whole course of the session, from the citation of Nestorius to his deposition, with the request that they would take care that no false rumours on the subject should go abroad. It was reputed that Count Candidian had already sent such false information (to the Emperor); whereas the Synod had not yet completed its full report (together with the Acts) to the Emperor.

SEC. 135. Opposition. The Conciliabulum of the Antiochene Bishops

Candidian had, in fact, not only done what has been mentioned, but also had caused the placards to be torn down by which the sentence against Nestorius was to have been published, and had imposed silence upon the criers who proclaimed it in the city. At the same time he published an edict proclaiming his great displeasure with what had been done, and declared that which only a part had done before the arrival of John of Antioch, as well as the Latin bishops, to be wholly invalid, and in a separate letter adjured those bishops who had not taken part in the first session, not to give their adhesion to the others, but to await the opening of the Œcumenical Synod. Nestorius, too, did not fail to raise complaints, and immediately, even before the arrival of John of Antioch, addressed a letter to the Emperors, setting forth that the Egyptians and Asiatics had, of their own will, held a session, and thus had gone against the imperial command, which required a common consultation which should embrace all. Moreover, the people of Ephesus had been specially stirred up by their bishop, Memnon, and misled into committing all kinds of acts of violence against Nestorius and his friends. They had forced their way into their residences, had dispersed their meetings there, and had even threatened them with death. For this reason they had decided to take refuge in the Church of St. John or in a martyr’s chapel, and hold their sessions there; but Memnon had shut every door against them. The Emperor, therefore, was requested to allow them to return home again, or to protect them in Ephesus, and to see to the holding of a genuine Synod, at which only bishops should be present, and not monks and clerics, and further, only such bishops as were specially summoned to it. And for this purpose two learned bishops from each province, together with the metropolitan, would be sufficient. Besides Nestorius, ten other bishops signed this document: Fritilas of Heraclea, in Thrace; Helladius of Tarsus; Dexianus of Seleucia; Himerius of Nicomedia; Alexander of Apamea; Eutherius of Tyana; Basilius of Thessaly; Maximus of Anazarbus; Alexander of Hierapolis; and Dorotheus of Marcianopolis in Mysia.

In order to preserve public opinion in Ephesus on the side of the Synod, sermons were preached by Cyril and by Rheginus, Archbishop of Constantia (Salamis), in Cyprus, and also repeatedly by Theodotus of Ancyra, in opposition to the heresy of Nestorius, and the Synod now sent to the Emperors their complete report, of which we have already spoken, in which it was specially explained why it had not been thought proper to wait longer before beginning the first session. Not only had sixteen days elapsed from the period of the opening of the Council appointed by the Emperors, but many bishops had already fallen sick at Ephesus, and some had even died, and particularly, the most aged of the bishops were earnestly longing to return home. Besides, John of Antioch had requested them, through Alexander of Apamea and Alexander of Hierapolis, to begin at once. They had therefore, notwithstanding the refusal of Nestorius to appear, opened the Synod on the 22d of June, and in doing so had placed the holy Gospel, as the representative of Christ, on the throne which was set up in the midst of the assembly. Then all besides which had taken place in the first session was accurately and particularly related and described to Pope Cœlestine, who had already pronounced the same judgment as the Synod upon Nestorius. Finally, the Emperors were entreated to take care that the heresy should be eradicated from all the Churches and the books of Nestorius burnt. The Acts of the Synod, which had in the meantime been prepared, were also enclosed.

A few days afterwards, on the 26th or 27th of June, John of Antioch arrived at last at Ephesus, and the Synod immediately sent a deputation to meet him, consisting of several bishops and clerics, to show him proper respect, and at the same time to make him acquainted with the deposition of Nestorius, so that he might not be drawn into any intercourse with him. The soldiers who surrounded Archbishop John prevented the deputation from speaking to him in the street; consequently they accompanied him to his abode, but were compelled to wait here for several hours, exposed to the insults of the soldiers, and at last, when they had discharged their commission, were driven home, ill-treated and beaten. Count Irenæus, the friend of Nestorius, had suggested this treatment, and approved of it. The envoys immediately informed the Synod of what had happened, and showed the wounds which they had received, which called forth great indignation against John of Antioch. According to the representation of Memnon, excommunication was for this reason pronounced against him; but we shall see further on that this did not take place until afterwards, and it is clear that Memnon, in his very brief narrative, has passed over an intermediate portion—the threefold invitation of John. In the meantime, Candidian had gone still further in his opposition to the members of the Synod, causing them to be annoyed and insulted by his soldiers, and even cutting off their supply of food, while he provided Nestorius with a regular body-guard of armed peasants. John of Antioch, immediately after his arrival, while still dusty from the journey, and at the time when he was allowing the envoys of the Synod to wait, held at his own residence a Conciliabulum with his adherents, at which, first of all, Count Candidian related how Cyril and his friends, in spite of all warnings, and in opposition to the imperial decrees, had held a session five days before, had contested his (the count’s) right to be present, had dismissed the bishops sent by Nestorius, and had paid no attention to the letters of others. Before he proceeded further, John of Antioch requested that the Emperor’s edict of convocation should be read, whereupon Candidian went on with his account of what had taken place, and in answer to a fresh question of John’s, declared that Nestorius had been condemned unheard. John found this quite in keeping with the disposition of the Synod, since, instead of receiving him and his companions in a friendly manner, they had rushed upon them tumultuously (it was thus that he described what had happened). But the holy Synod, which was now assembled, would decide what was proper with respect to them. And this Synod, of which John speaks in such grandiloquent terms, numbered only forty-three members, including himself, while on the other side there were more than two hundred.

John then proposed the question, what was to be decided respecting Cyril and his adherents; and several who were not particularly pronounced Nestorian bishops, came forward to relate how Cyril and Memnon of Ephesus had, from the beginning, maltreated the Nestorians, had allowed them no church, and even on the festival of Pentecost had permitted them to hold no service. Besides, Memnon had sent his clerics into the residences of the bishops, and had ordered them with threats to take part in his council. And in this way he and Cyril had confused everything, so that their own heresies might not be examined. Heresies, such as the Arian, the Apollinarian, and the Eunomian, were certainly contained in the last letter of Cyril (to Nestorius, along with the anathematisms). It was therefore John’s duty to see to it that the heads of these heresies (Cyril and Memnon) should be suitably punished for such grave offences, and that the bishops who had been misguided by them should be subjected to ecclesiastical penalties.

To these impudent and false accusations John replied with hypocritical meekness, “that he had certainly wished that he should not be compelled to exclude from the Church any one who had been received into the sacred priesthood, but diseased members must certainly be cut off in order to save the whole body; and for this reason Cyril and Memnon deserved to be deposed, because they had given occasion to disorders, and had acted in opposition to the commands of the Emperors, and, besides, were in the chapters mentioned (the anathematisms) guilty of heresy. All who had been misled by them were to be excommunicated until they confessed their error, anathematized the heretical propositions of Cyril, adhered strictly to the creed of Nicæa, without any foreign addition, and joined the Synod of John.”

The assembly approved of this proposal, and John then announced the sentence in the following manner:—

“The holy Synod, assembled in Ephesus, by the grace of God and the command of the pious Emperors, declares: We should indeed have wished to be able to hold a Synod in peace, but because you held a separate assembly from a heretical, insolent, and obstinate disposition, although we were already in the neighbourhood, and have filled both the city and the holy Synod with confusion, in order to prevent the examination of your Apollinarian, Arian, and Eunomian heresies, and have not waited for the arrival of the holy bishops of all regions, and have also disregarded the warnings and admonitions of Candidian, therefore shall you, Cyril of Alexandria, and you, Memnon of this place, know that you are deposed and dismissed from all sacerdotal functions, as the originators of the whole disorder, etc. You others, who gave your consent, are excommunicated, until you acknowledge your fault and reform, accept anew the Nicene faith (as if they had surrendered it!) without foreign addition, anathematize the heretical propositions of Cyril, and in all things comply with the command of the Emperors, who require a peaceful and more accurate consideration of the dogma.”

This decree was subscribed by all the forty-three members of the Conciliabulum: John of Antioch, Alexander of Apamea, and Alexander of Hierapolis; John, Metropolitan of Damascus; Dorotheus, Metropolitan of Marcianople; Dexianus, Metropolitan of Seleucia; Basilius, Metropolitan of Thessaly; Antiochus, Metropolitan of Bostra; Paulus, Bishop of Emesa; Apringius of Chalcis; Polychronius of Heraclea; Cyril of Adana; Ausonius of Himeria; Musæus of Aradus and Antaradus; Hesychius of Castabala; Salustius of Corycus; Jacobus of Dorostolus; Zosis of Isbuntis; Eustathius of Parnassus; Diogenes of Seleucobelus; Placon of Laodicæa; Polychronius of Epiphania; Fritilas, Metropolitan of Heraclea; Himerius, Metropolitan of Nicomedia; Eutherius, Metropolitan of Tyana; Asterius, Metropolitan of Amida; Theodoret, the famous Bishop of Cyrus; Macarius, Bishop of Laodicæa Major; Theosebius of Cios, in Bithynia; Maximian, Metropolitan of Anazarbus; Gerontius, Bishop of Claudiopolis; Cyrus of Marcopolis; Aurelius of Irenopolis; Meletius of Neocæsarea; Helladius of Ptolemais; Tarianus (Trajanus) of Augusta; Valentinus of Mallus; Marcianus of Abrytus; Daniel of Faustinopolis; Julian of Larissa; Heliades of Zeugma; and Marcellinus of Arca.

The Conciliabulum then, in very one-sided letters, informed the Emperor, the imperial ladies (the wife and sister of the Emperor Theodosius II.), the clergy, the senate, and the people of Constantinople, of all that had taken place, and a little later once more required the members of the genuine Synod, in writing, no longer to delay the time for repentance and conversion, and to separate themselves from Cyril and Memnon, etc., otherwise they would very soon be forced to lament their own folly.

On Saturday evening the Conciliabulum asked Count Candidian to take care that neither Cyril nor Memnon, nor any one of their (excommunicated) adherents, should hold divine service on Sunday. Candidian now wished that no member of either synodal party should officiate, but only the ordinary clergy of the city; but Memnon declared that he would in no way submit to John and his Synod, and Cyril and his adherents held divine service. All the efforts of John to appoint by force another bishop of Ephesus in the place of Memnon were frustrated by the opposition of the orthodox inhabitants.

It is generally assumed that Candidian anticipated the legitimate Synod with his information, and did not allow their account to reach Constantinople. But this was not the case; for we see from a still extant letter of Dalmatius and other monks and clergy of Constantinople to the Synod, that the Emperor himself had sent them the letters which the Synod had addressed to them immediately after the deposition of Nestorius (see p. 54), and so he must also have received the account which had been addressed to him. Dalmatius asserts, at the same time, that all the people had approved of the deposition of Nestorius, and that the Emperor had expressed himself very favourably respecting the Synod. From this we perceive that at that time he had not yet received the account of Candidian. After the arrival of this a violent change immediately took place. The Emperor Theodosius now sent the Magistrian Palladius to Ephesus with a letter, setting forth “that he had learnt from Candidian that a part of the bishops had held a session without waiting for John of Antioch. Further, that not even all the bishops who were then present at Ephesus had taken part in this session, and that those who had done so had not discussed the dogma in the prescribed manner, but in a factious spirit. He therefore declared all that had been done to be invalid, and said he would send a special official of the palace, who in conjunction with Candidian might examine what had taken place, and guard against all disorder for the future. In the meantime, and until the collective Synod should have discussed the dogma, no bishop was to leave the city of Ephesus, whether to proceed to the imperial court or to return home. The command should also be given to the governors of the several provinces not to allow any bishop who might return from Ephesus to remain at home. He (the Emperor) took no part on behalf of any man, and so not for Nestorius, but only for the truth and the doctrine.” This letter bears date 3 Kal. Jul., that is, June 29. As, however, Cyril’s answer relating to it, which was given to Palladius, was drawn up on July, Palladius must have arrived in Ephesus before the end of June, and that date must have been a mistake of the writer. On the margin of the text, instead of τριῶν καλανδῶν, δεκατριῶν is put, that is, June 19, and many learned men have agreed to this suggestion; but Tillemont has properly drawn attention to the fact that the first session of the Synod, and the deposition of Nestorius, of which the Emperor speaks in this letter, did not take place until the 22d of June.

John and his adherents naturally rejoiced at this imperial letter, and thought the world happy, as they say in their answer, to be under such rulers. They went on to say why they had been constrained to depose Cyril and the others, and did not disdain to allege as their chief reason, that these had ventured to attack the bishop of the imperial city, and had not obeyed the Emperor’s commands. Their Conciliabulum they call a holy Synod, and pray that the Emperor will give order, that at the examination respecting the dogma, which is about to take place, each metropolitan shall take only two bishops with him, in order to paralyse the excessive number of bishops from Egypt and Asia Minor, of whom they thought they could not speak with sufficient contempt. After reading the Emperor’s letter, they had wished, they said, to hold a thanksgiving service in S. John’s Church, but the people had shut the doors against them, and had driven them to their houses by force. The origin of all was Memnon, and the Emperor should therefore have him expelled from the city.

It is probable that the incident to which they refer had taken place on the attempt to appoint another bishop for Ephesus, since Memnon also mentions a tumult as having arisen on that occasion.

In a second letter to the Emperor, they request that the Synod should be removed to another place, nearer to the court, where Cyril and his adherents might be convicted from his own writings.

SEC. 136. Letter of the Orthodox. Their Second Session, July 10

On the other hand, Cyril and his Synod also addressed a letter to the Emperors by the before-named Palladius, dated July 1, 431, setting forth that all that was necessary on the subject of Nestorius and his heresy had already been said in the reports and Acts of the first session, which they had sent. But Count Candidian preferred the friendship of Nestorius to piety, and therefore he had preoccupied the ears of the Emperors, and furnished one-sided reports. It would, however, be seen from the Acts of the Synod that they had acted against Nestorius without any partiality, and had carefully discussed the whole subject. The Emperors should therefore not listen to John of Antioch, who cared more for his friend than for the faith, and had allowed the Synod to wait for twenty-one days. After his arrival, however, he had immediately declared himself for Nestorius, whether from friendship, or because he shared his error. As Candidian prevented the Synod from sending to the Emperor an exact account of what had taken place, he could summon him, together with five members of the Synod, before him, and obtain intelligence from them by word of mouth. Recently, moreover, several bishops, who had hitherto been on the side of Nestorius, had come to take a better view of the matter, and had passed over to the Synod, so that now only about thirty-seven bishops remained with Nestorius and John, and these, for the most part, because they were afraid of punishment on account of offences committed, or because they were heretical, e.g. Pelagians. On the side of the Synod, on the contrary, was Bishop Cœlestine of Rome and the whole episcopate of Africa, although they were not personally present. Further, they touched slightly upon the acts of violence which Irenæus had permitted himself against the members of the Synod, and declared that on their side there were more than two hundred bishops, but that it was impossible to give a complete account because of the speedy return of Palladius.

About eight days later, July 10, Cyril arranged the second session of the Synod in the episcopal residence of Memnon, and he is again designated in the acts of these proceedings as representative of the Roman bishop. The number of those present was the same as at the first session. The occasion for this second session, however, was given by the arrival of the legates sent by Pope Cœlestine to the Synod, Bishops Arcadius and Projectus, and the Presbyter Philip, who had to deliver the letter of the Pope, which has already been mentioned. It was first read in the original Latin text, and then in a Greek translation, and it pronounced in energetic language a commendation on the Synod, and exhorted them that they should tolerate no erroneous doctrines on the Person of Christ; that they should make their own the mind of the holy Evangelist John, whose relics were honoured in Ephesus; contend for the true faith, and maintain the peace of the Church. At the close the Pope said that he sent three deputies, that they might be present at the transactions, and carry out what he had already decided in reference to Nestorius, and that he did not doubt that the assembled bishops would agree with the same (see above, p. 42).

Notwithstanding that the papal claims were strongly expressed in the last sentence, the members of the Synod greatly rejoiced at the Pope’s letter, and exclaimed: “That is the true judgment, thanks to Cœlestine the new Paul, to Cyril the new Paul, to Cœlestine the watchman of the faith.”

The papal legate Projectus then directed closer attention to the contents of the papal letter, and especially to the point that the sentence which had already been delivered by the Pope should be carried into effect for the use of the Catholic Church, and in accordance with the rule of the Catholic faith; that is, that all the bishops should accede to the papal sentence, and so raise it to the position of a judgment of the whole Church. In this matter, according to the Pope’s opinion, the Synod had no longer to examine whether Nestorius taught error; this was quite settled by the Roman sentence, and it was only incumbent upon the Synod to confirm this by their accession. The Synod had in their first session practically taken a different view, and had introduced a fresh examination as to the orthodoxy of Nestorius; nevertheless they now gave, partly in silence and partly expressly, their adhesion to the papal view, whilst Archbishop Firmus of Cæsarea, in Cappodocia, declared “that the former letter of the Apostolic See to Cyril had already contained the sentence and direction (ψῆφον καὶ τύπον) respecting the Nestorian question, and they (the assembled bishops) had, by ordering themselves accordingly, only fulfilled this direction, and pronounced the canonical and apostolic condemnation against Nestorius.”

One of the papal legates, the Presbyter Philip, who was rather more prominent than his colleagues, now thanked the Synod for this, “that the holy members had adhered to the holy head, knowing well that Peter was the head of the Catholic faith, and of all the apostles,” and asked that the decisions of the Synod already adopted might be laid before them, so that the legates might confirm them (βεβαιώσωμεν), in accordance with the commission of the Pope. This was agreed to, and the session then ended.

SEC. 137. Third Session at Ephesus, July 11, 431.—Two Synodal Letters

The third session took place on the next day, July 11, and also in the residence of Memnon. The papal legates declared that they had in the meantime read the Acts of the first session, which had been given to them, and had found the judgment to be quite canonical and in accordance with ecclesiastical discipline; but, in compliance with the commission of the Pope, they must still request that the Acts of that session also should now be read again in their presence, which was then immediately done.

Thereupon each of the papal legates, the priest Philip again at their head, after a long introduction on the importance of the Pope, pronounced excommunication and deposition against Nestorius; and Cyril of Alexandria then remarked that they had thus spoken as representatives of the Pope and of the assembly of the Western Bishops. They could now sign the Acts of all the three sessions of the Synod already held, which they immediately did. Philip is again foremost, whilst elsewhere he is often put in the third place.

All the bishops present then subscribed a synodal letter addressed to the Emperors, in which it was first related how, even before the opening of the Ephesine Synod, the Westerns had held a Council of their own in Rome, and had there rejected the doctrine of Nestorius. Pope Cœlestine had already communicated this in a letter, but now three legates had arrived from him, and had confirmed the sentence of Ephesus on Nestorius. Thus the whole of Christendom, with the exception of the few friends of Nestorius, had pronounced an unanimous judgment; consequently the Emperor should appoint that a new bishop should be given to the Church of Constantinople; and that the members of the Synod should be allowed to return home, as the long sojourn abroad was very inconvenient for many of them, that several had already fallen sick, and some had even died. At the same time the Synod, in a second letter to the clergy and laity of Constantinople, expressed the hope that soon a worthy bishop might be found for the imperial city. Cyril subscribed in the first place, after him the Presbyter Philip of Rome, then Juvenal of Jerusalem, and then came the two other legates.

SEC. 138. Fourth Session at Ephesus, July 16, 431

Five days later, on July 16, the fourth session was celebrated, again in the great Church of S. Mary, and the Acts always place Cyril first, but as representative of the Pope. After him the three papal legates are named (the presbyter this time last), and next Juvenal and the rest. Cyril and Memnon had handed in a memorial, in which they briefly related the history both of the Synod and of the opposition Conciliabulum, denied to the latter the authority to condemn them, and concluded with the request that John of Antioch and his companions might be cited before the Synod, and called to an account. Immediately three bishops were sent to the Patriarch John to cite him; he did not, however, allow them admission, and they found his house surrounded by many armed men, who uttered insulting remarks respecting the Synod and the orthodox faith, and threatened the deputies.

When they had returned and communicated the intelligence to the Council, Cyril brought forward the proposal that, as John plainly had an evil conscience, and therefore did not come, the Synod should declare the judgment put forth by him against Cyril and Memnon as null, and pronounce a suitable punishment against him. Thereupon Juvenal of Jerusalem remarked that John should certainly have been present to show due reverence and submission to the apostolic see of great Rome and the apostolic Church of Jerusalem, especially as it was in accordance with apostolic order and tradition that the see of Antioch should be judged by the former. (A Greek scholium is added to the text, to the effect that this must be understood of the Roman see, not of that of Jerusalem; for Rome had, even in the time of Paul of Samosata, and later, in that of Meletius, pronounced judgment concerning the see of Antioch.) Juvenal further proposed that the Patriarch John should he cited a second time by another deputation. The proposition was accepted, and three bishops were again sent. But neither were they admitted by John; but received for answer, that “he held no intercourse with deposed and excommunicated men.”

At the repeated wish and motion of Cyril and Memnon the Synod therefore now declared: “The judgment which John and his companions have pronounced against Cyril and Memnon is uncanonical and altogether invalid. On the other hand, he must himself be cited for the third time before the holy Synod, and the Emperors must be made acquainted with all that has happened.”

SEC. 139. Fifth Session at Ephesus, July 17, 431, and Two Synodal Letters

On the very next day the bishops assembled for the fifth session. Cyril reported that John and his friends had in the meantime publicly circulated and posted up an insolent placard full of folly, containing the sentence of deposition against him and Memnon, and accusing them of Apollinarianism, Arianism, and Eunomianism. This accusation was wholly unfounded, for he and Memnon anathematized these and all other heresies, together with the new heretic Nestorius and his adherents. The Synod should now cite John and his friends for the third time, so that they might publicly prove their accusations (against Cyril and Memnon), or themselves be condemned, especially as they had conveyed false reports to the Emperors.—Again three bishops were sent, together with a notary, to John, in order to cite him for the third time, under a serious threat of canonical punishment in case of his non-appearance. They came to his residence, but instead of being received by him, his archdeacon was instructed to deliver to them a document with the words: “The holy Synod (that is, the Conciliabulum) sends this to you.” It was probably nothing else but the decree of deposition of Cyril and Memnon already mentioned, and the deputies of the Synod declined to receive it. The archdeacon reported this to his master, and returned immediately with the document, declaring that the decisions (of the Conciliabulum) were already communicated to the Emperor, and they must therefore wait for further rules of procedure. When the deputies were about to deliver orally the commission of their Synod, the archdeacon sprang hastily away, saying, “You have not received the document, neither will I listen to the message of your Synod.” The deputies, however, had the opportunity of making some of John of Antioch’s priests acquainted with its contents, so that he might learn them in this way. Thereupon the Synod declared that they had reason to proceed in the most stringent manner against John and his companions, but that they preferred gentleness, and (not to depose, but only) to excommunicate them, and suspend them from all spiritual jurisdiction until they confessed their offences. If, however, they would not do this soon, then the stringent canonical sentence must be pronounced against them. At the same time, it was self-evident that all their decisions against Cyril and Memnon were wholly invalid. Finally, the Acts of this session also were to be transmitted to the Emperors.

The Synod mentioned all who were thus punished and threatened, particularly John of Antioch, John of Damascus, Alexander of Apamea, Dexianus of Seleucia, Alexander of Hierapolis, Himerius of Nicomedia, Fritilas of Heraclea, Helladius of Tarsus, Maximian of Anazarbus, Dorotheus of Marcianopolis, Peter of Trajanople, Paul of Emesa, Polychronius of Heraclea, Eutherius of Tyana, Meletius of Neocæsarea, Theodoret of Cyrus, Apringius of Chalcis, Macarius of Laodicea Major, Zosis of Esbuntis, Salustius of Corycus, Hesychius of Castabala, Valentinus of Mutlubbaca (Mallus), Eustathius of Parnassus, Philip of Theodosianopolis, Daniel, Julian, Cyril, Olympius, Diogenes, Palladius (these without names of places), Theophanes of Philadelphia, Trajanus of Augusta, Aurelius of Irenopolis, Musæus of Arcadiopolis, and Helladius of Ptolemais. They are altogether thirty-five bishops, and a comparison of their names with those forty-three who subscribed the decree of the first session of the Conciliabulum shows that this party had certainly won a few new adherents, but had lost considerably more, a fact which, as we know, had been before maintained by Cyril.

The Synod immediately reported what had taken place, both to the Emperors and to the Pope, and we are still in possession of these documents, which are not without value. In the letter to the Emperors it is related that the Synod had deposed Nestorius, but that his friends had won over John of Antioch, and in union with him, although only thirty in number (the letter to Pope Cœlestine says “about thirty”), had held a spurious Synod, whilst the Emperors had expressly required only one, and that a general Synod, to be held. Among the members of the spurious Synod were many who had not yet purged themselves of offences of which they had been accused, and even John of Antioch had feared lest he should be called to account for his long absence from the Synod. And this spurious Synod, without observing any regular order of proceeding, without accusers, and without citation, had, in a manner wholly uncanonical and unjust, declared Cyril and Memnon deposed, and had endeavoured by false representations to deceive the Emperors. The true and only Synod had therefore three times cited John of Antioch and his companions, that they might bring forward their complaints against Cyril and Memnon. They had not appeared, and therefore their resolutions against Cyril and Memnon had been declared invalid, and they themselves had been placed under excommunication until they should be reformed. The Emperors should certainly not regard that conventicle of sinners as a Synod. Even at Nicæa a small minority had separated itself from the Synod of 318 bishops, but these men were in no way regarded as a Council by Constantine the Great; on the contrary, they were punished. It would be in the highest degree absurd that thirty persons should set themselves in opposition to a Synod of two hundred and ten holy bishops, with whom, moreover, the whole Western episcopate was united. And, besides, there were among those thirty several who had been previously deposed, several Pelagians and Nestorians. The Emperors should therefore confirm and give effect to what the holy and Œcumenical Synod had decided against Nestorius and his impious doctrine.

Still more complete is the synodal letter to Pope Cœlestine, and it contains a complete history of the Ephesine Council from the imperial edict of convocation to the results of the fifth session, with the remark that the Synod had declared Cyril and Memnon to be quite innocent, and maintained the closest communion with them. Much more important is the addition, that in the Ephesine Synod (although we are not informed in what session) the Western Acts on the condemnation of the Pelagians and Celestians, of Pelagius, Cœlestius, and his adherents, Julianus, Persidius, Florus, Marcellinus, and Orentius, etc., were read, and the papal judgment on them universally approved.

As before against Nestorius, so now Cyril preached also against John of Antioch, and we possess still a beautiful and very powerful discourse on that subject. If it has some strong expressions of an abusive character, it is still moderate in comparison with what John had allowed himself to say against Cyril.

SEC. 140. Sixth Session at Ephesus, July 22, 431

On the 22d of July the sixth session of the Synod was held in the residence of Memnon, and on that occasion the Nicene Creed was first read, and then again all those passages from the Fathers which had been brought forward at the condemnation of Nestorius in the first session. This was done in proof that the Nestorians had not correctly comprehended and explained the Nicene formula.

Then Charisius, a cleric (Œconomus) of the Church of Philadelphia, gave the information that two priests from Constantinople, Anastasius and Photius, had sent a certain Jacobus provided with letters of introduction to the Bishops of Lydia, and had commended his orthodoxy. This Jacobus had come to Philadelphia, and had soon misled some clerics, and induced them to sign another Nestorian Creed instead of the Nicene. As, now, many Quartodecimans in Lydia wished to return again to the Church, they had also allured these to subscribe a heretical Creed, instead of the Nicene. He (Charisius), because of his opposition, had been declared a heretic by the others, and excommunicated, but he was thoroughly orthodox, and could prove this by his creed, which he laid before them. This was, in meaning, entirely accordant with the Niceno-Constantinopolitan, and in words almost identical. He also brought forward the falsified creed in question, and there is no doubt that this, under inflated language and apparent zeal for orthodoxy, contained the fundamental Nestorian error—the dividing of Christ into the Logos and an assumed man. The creed was not composed by Nestorius himself, but by Theodore of Mopsuestia, but it had been circulated by the Nestorians, and the copy which Charisius presented was subscribed by many former Quartodecimans and some Novatians, almost all laymen of different ranks. Still there was among them a Quartodeciman priest, named Patricius, who could not write.

The Synod now gave order, under pain of excommunication and deposition, that no other than the Nicene Creed, particularly not that presented by Charisius, should be used, and had the well-known extracts, of the first session, from the writings of Nestorius read again, after which all who were present, and Cyril first, subscribed the Acts.

SEC. 141. Seventh Session at Ephesus. Circular Letter and Canons

It is doubtful when the seventh and last session was held. The Acts name the 31st of August, but Garnier, and after him many scholars of distinction, have supposed that there was a mistake of the writer at this point, and have pronounced for the 31st of July, for this reason, that the new imperial commissioner, John, reached Ephesus at the beginning of August, and no more sessions were held after his arrival. This seventh session again took place in the Church of S. Mary, and began with the reading of a petition given in by Rheginus, Archbishop of Constantia, in Cyprus, and signed by him and the two other Cypriote bishops, Zeno and Evagrius. For some time the Patriarchs of Antioch had claimed rights of superiority over the Bishops of Cyprus, particularly the right of ordination, etc. When the metropolitan chair of this island was, by the death of Troilus, again left empty, at the time of the convocation of the Synod of Ephesus, the Proconsul of Antioch, Duke Dionysius, at the request of the Antiochene patriarch, forbade the election of a new archbishop before the pending controversy should be decided by the Synod. If, however, contrary to his expectation, a bishop for Constantia should be elected, he must appear at the Synod at Ephesus.—The two letters of the proconsul, on this subject, to the President of Cyprus and to the clergy of Constantia, were appended to the petition, and read at the same time with it. The Bishops of Cyprus, however, had paid no regard to this prohibition, and had chosen as archbishop Rheginus, who has already been mentioned (according to their custom), in their provincial Synod, because, as they explained at Ephesus, those pretensions of Antioch were contra apostolicos canones et definitiones sanctissimæ Nicenæ Synodi. That by apostolici canones they meant a pseudo-apostolic, and, in particular, No. 36, has already been noticed in vol. i. p. 454 f. In reference to the canons of Nicæa, however, they evidently had in view canon 4, which says: “The bishop shall be appointed by all (the bishops) of the province” (vol. i. p. 381). In the debate which arose at Ephesus, on the application of the Cypriotes, it was remarked by several, “that it ought not to be forgotten that the Synod of Nicæa had preserved its own dignity for every church, and this ought especially to be remembered at Antioch.” The speakers here unmistakeably referred to the sixth Nicene canon, and meant to say that “this canon confirmed to the great patriarchal sees, and among them to Antioch, their ancient rights. Therefore the question must be put in this form: How was it in earlier times? Did the Antiochene bishops possess and exercise the right in earlier times of consecrating the Cypriote bishops or not?” The Synod thereupon required of the Cypriote bishops to prove that Antioch had no such ancient rights over them, and one of them, Zeno by name, certified on this point, that the late Archbishop Troilus of Cyprus, and all his predecessors, back to the apostolic times, had always been ordained by the bishops of their own province, and never by the Bishop of Antioch. Thereupon the Synod drew up the resolution, “That the churches of Cyprus should be confirmed in their independence, and in their right to consecrate (and elect) their own bishops; that the liberties of all ecclesiastical provinces generally should be renewed, and all intrusions into foreign provinces forbidden.”

In the same session the Synod also sent forth a circular letter to all bishops, clergy, and laity, to the effect that they had pronounced excommunication and suspension from all spiritual jurisdiction against John of Antioch and his adherents, who were mentioned by name. To this general proclamation they appended the following six canons:—


Εἴ τις ὁ μητροπολίτης τῆς ἐπαρχίας ἀποστατήσας τῆς ἁγίας καὶ οἰκουμενικῆς Συνόδου, προσέθετο τῷ τῆς ἀποστασίας συνεδρίῳ, ἢ μετὰ τοῦτο προστεθείη, ἢ τὰ Κελεστίου ἐφρόνησεν ἢ φρονήσῃ, οὗτος κατὰ τῶν τῆς ἐπαρχίας ἐπισκόπων διαπράττεσθαί τι οὐδαμῶς δύναται, πάσης ἐκκλησιαστικῆς κοινωνίας ἐντεῦθεν ἤδη ὑπὸ τῆς Συνόδου ἐκβεβλημένος, καὶ ἀνενέργητος ὑπάρχων• ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοῖς τοῖς τῆς ἐπαρχίας ἐπισκόποις καὶ τοῖς πέπιξ μητροπολίταις τοῖς τὰ τῆς ὀρθοδοξίας φρονοῦσιν ὑποκείσεται, εἰς τὸ πάντη καὶ τοῦ βαθμοῦ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ἐκβληθῆναι.

If a metropolitan has separated himself from this holy and Œcumenical Synod, and has joined that assembly of apostates (the Conciliabulum), or shall hereafter join them, or has agreed with Cœlestius (= the Pelagians), or shall agree, he has no more jurisdiction over the bishops of his province, and is already (by the previous sentence on John and his adherents) excluded and suspended by the Synod from all church communion. It is further the duty of the bishops of the province themselves, and the neighbouring metropolitans, who are orthodox, to see to his total deposition from the episcopate.


Εἰ δέ τινες ἐπαρχιῶται ἐπίσκοποι ἀπελείφθησαν τῆς ἁγίας Συνόδου, καὶ τῇ ἀποστασίᾳ προσετέθησαν, ἢ προστεθῆναι πειραθεῖεν, ἢ καὶ ὑπογράψαντες τῇ Νεστορίου καθαιρέσει ἐπαλινδρόμησαν πρὸς τὸ τῆς ἀποστασίας συνέδριον, τούτους πάντη κατὰ τὸ δόξαν τῇ ἁγίᾳ Συνόδῳ ἀλλοτρίους εἶναι τῆς ἱερωσύνης καὶ τοῦ βαθμοῦ ἐκπίπτειν.

If any provincial bishops (ἐπαρχιῶται = the suffragan bishops of a province, cf. Suicer, Thesaurus, s.v.) were not present at the holy Synod, but passed over to the apostates (the Antiochenes), or attempted to pass over, or if they signed the deposition of Nestorius, but then went over to the assembly of apostates, these shall be entirely deposed from the holy priesthood, and shall be deprived of their degree (office).


Εἰ δέ τινες καὶ τῶν ἐν ἑκάστῃ πόλει ἢ χώρᾳ κληρικῶν ὑπὸ Νεστορίου καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ ὄντων τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἐκωλύθησαν διὰ τὸ ὀρθῶς φρονεῖν, ἐδικαιώσαμεν καὶ τούτους τὸν ἴδιον ἀπολαβεῖν βαθμόν• κοινῶς δὲ τοὺς τῇ ὀρθοδόξῳ καὶ οἰκουμενικῇ Συνόδῳ συμφρονοῦντας κληρικούς, κελεύομεν τοῖς ἀποστατήσασιν ἢ ἀφισταμένοις ἐπισκόποις μηθʼ ὅλως ὑποκεῖσθαι κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον.

If any of the clergy in any town or in the country have been deposed by Nestorius or his adherents on account of their orthodoxy, they shall receive their office again. Generally, all clerics who adhere to the orthodox and Œcumenical Synod shall in no way be subject to the apostate or apostatizing bishops.


Εἰ δέ τινες ἀποστατήσαιεν τῶν κληρικῶν, καὶ τολμήσαιεν ἢ κατʼ ἰδίαν ἢ δημοσίᾳ τὰ Νεστορίου ἢ τὰ Κελεστίου φρονῆσαι, καὶ τούτους εἶναι καθῃρημένους ὑπὸ τῆς ἁγίας Συνόδου δεδικαίωται.

If any of the clergy shall apostatize, and either privately or publicly hold with Nestorius or Cœlestius, the Synod decides that they also shall be deposed.


Ὅσοι ἐπὶ ἀτόποις πράξεσι κατεκρίθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἁγίας Συνόδου ἢ ὑπὸ τῶν οἰκείων ἐπισκόπων, καὶ τούτοις ἀκανονίστως κατὰ τὴν ἐν ἅπασιν ἀδιαφορίαν αὐτοῦ ὁ Νεστόριος, καὶ οἱ τὰ αὐτοῦ φρονοῦντες, ἀποδοῦναι ἐπειράθησαν ἢ πειραθεῖεν κοινωνίαν ἢ βαθμὸν, ἀνωφελήτους μένειν καὶ τούτους, καὶ εἶναι οὐδὲν ἧττον καθῃρημένους ἐδικαιώσαμεν.

Those who have been condemned on account of improper actions, either by the holy Synod or by their own bishops, and whom Nestorius and his adherents, uncanonieally, and without making any distinction between that which is allowed and forbidden, have attempted, or shall attempt, to restore to communion or to their office, shall derive no advantage from this, but shall remain deposed.


Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἴ τινες βουληθεῖεν τὰ περὶ ἑκάστων πεπραγμένα ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ Συνόδῳ τῇ ἐν Ἐφέσῳ οἱῳδήποτε τρόπῳ παρασαλεύειν• ἡ ἁγία Σύνοδος ὥρισεν, εἰ μὲν ἐπίσκοποι εἶεν ἢ κληρικοί, τοῦ οἰκείου παντελῶς ἀποπίπτειν βαθμοῦ• εἰ δὲ λαϊκοὶ, ἀκοινωνήτους ὑπάρχειν.

Generally, with respect to those who may, in any way whatever, resist any of the enactments of the holy Synod at Ephesus, the Synod decrees, if they are bishops or clerics, that they shall be entirely deprived of their office, but if they are laymen they shall be excommunicated.

The Acts add, besides, that these canons were subscribed by all the bishops. When, however, in several manuscripts, eight Ephesine canons are numbered, this arises from the fact that the resolution of the Synod in the matter of Charisius is put down as the seventh canon, and the decree respecting the Cypriote bishops as the eighth.

It is worthy of note that Dionysius Exiguus does not receive a single canon of all those of Ephesus into his collection, perhaps because these have no general bearing, but only contain such decisions as have a special application to the Nestorian and Pelagian questions.

SEC. 142. The Affairs of Pamphylia, the Massalians, Thrace, and the See of Jerusalem

That the Synod of Ephesus considered several other special subjects, is shown by various documents which have been preserved, only we do not know to what session they belonged. At the head of them stands the letter to the provincial Synod in Pamphylia with reference to Bishop Eustathius. This man (whether Metropolitan of Pamphylia or Bishop of Attalia is doubtful) had resigned, because he could not properly preside over his diocese and hold his opponents in check. In his place a certain Theodorus was appointed by the other bishops of the province; but, in agreement with his successor, Eustathius petitioned the Synod for permission to be allowed to retain the title and rank of bishop; and the Synod granted him this, with the limitation, that he should undertake no ordinations, and that he should never of his own authority hold service without consent of the bishop.

The second document belonging to this subject is a decree in reference to the Massalians or Euchites. The Bishops of Pamphylia and Lycaonia, in whose districts these heretics dwelt, presented a decree respecting them adopted by the Council of Constantinople under Bishop Sisinnius, and our Synod confirmed it, as well as that which was done in this matter at Alexandria. According to this decree, clerics who had been hitherto Massalians, but now anathematized this heresy, were to remain among the clergy, and laymen were to be admitted to communion. If, however, they declined to anathematize their previous error, then the clergy were to lose office, dignity, and church communion, and the laity to be anathematized. Moreover, those who were proved to be Massalians (even if they repented) were to have no monasteries allowed them, so that this creed (which was quite at home in monasteries) should not spread farther. Finally, anathema was pronounced upon a writing of these heretics, their Asceticon.

For a third decree two Thracian bishops, Euprepius of Biza (Bizya) and Cyril of Cœle, gave occasion, praying for protection against their metropolitan, Fritilas of Heraclea, who had gone over to the party of John of Antioch, and at the same time for the confirmation of the previous practice of holding two bishoprics at the same time. The Synod granted both.

Finally, we also know, from a letter of Pope Leo the Great, that at the Synod of Ephesus Bishop Juvenal of Jerusalem endeavoured, among other things, dishonestly and by the presentation of false documents, to get quite free from the patriarchal authority of the Bishop of Antioch, and to gain the ecclesiastical primacy over Palestine for his own see; but that Cyril of Alexandria, although closely united with Juvenal on the main point, the struggle against Nestorius and the Antiochenes, yet earnestly opposed this intrigue, and subsequently reported it to the Pope.

SEC. 143. Both Parties at Ephesus appeal to the Emperor

As we saw, the Synod had resolved repeatedly, and in every session, to send their Acts to the Emperor, but they had complained, even at the time when Palladius arrived at Ephesus, that Count Candidian had not allowed their reports to reach the Emperor. Similar and still more wanton acts of violence in this direction had been performed by the Nestorians in Constantinople itself. They had taken possession of the highways and gates, and visited all the ships, in order to prevent any communication between the Synod and the capital. In spite of this a beggar at last succeeded in smuggling in a letter, which is now lost, concealed in a hollow stick, from Cyril to the bishops and monks of Constantinople, in which the oppression of the Synod by Candidian and the Orientals was described, and a request made that they might be allowed to send bishops as deputies to Constantinople. Deeply moved by this letter, the monks of Constantinople, with their archimandrites and specially Dalmatius at the head of them, marched, with singing of hymns and psalms, in front of the imperial residence. For eight-and-forty years Dalmatius, who enjoyed a great reputation for sanctity, could in no way be induced to leave his monastery; but now he believed that he was summoned by a heavenly voice to save the Church, and his sudden appearance made a great impression. The Emperor permitted the archimandrites to come into his presence, while the crowd of monks and the people waited in the meantime singing sacred songs before the gates. The archimandrites read the letter which they had received from Ephesus before the Emperor, and the following conversation arose. The Emperor said: “If this is so, some of the bishops (of the Synod) must come to me and represent their case.” Dalmatius answered: “None of them dares to come hither.” To which the Emperor replied: “No one hinders them.” Dalmatius: “Yes, they are hindered. Many who belong to the Nestorian party come and go without the least hindrance; but no one dares to give your Piety intelligence of what the holy Synod does.” He added: “Will you rather hear six thousand bishops (the whole of orthodox Christendom) or a single impious man (Nestorius)?” The Emperor now gave permission for the envoys of the Synod to come to Constantinople, and in conclusion asked the archimandrites for their prayers to God. The archimandrites, retiring from the imperial palace, with the monks and people, went into the Church of S. Mocius the martyr, where Dalmatius ascended the pulpit and gave an account of what had happened, whereupon all present shouted out, “Anathema to Nestorius!” Making use of the imperial permission, perhaps even before this arrived at Ephesus, the Synod sent Bishops Theopemptus of Cabasus and Daniel of Darnis (two Egyptians) to Constantinople with a letter of thanks to Dalmatius.

But John and his Orientals also found it necessary to use influence at court. Out of obedience to the imperial command, however, they would not, as they said, like the Egyptians, send bishops, but requested Count Irenæus, the zealous friend of Nestorius, to go on their behalf to Constantinople. He was quite ready, and took a letter from the Schismatics with him, in which they informed the Emperor how they had not been allowed to hold divine service in Ephesus; how, shortly after the arrival of Palladius, when they wished to go into a church to return thanks to God for the letter received from the Emperor, they had been maltreated; and how Cyril and his adherents had allowed themselves in all kinds of acts of violence. The Emperor therefore should listen to Irenæus, who transmitted several proposals from their side, with the view of putting an end to the evil.

As it is not mentioned in this letter that the Synod had already pronounced sentences of excommunication and suspension on the Schismatics, it appears that it was composed before the fourth and fifth sessions of the Synod (July 16 and 17), so that Irenæus must have departed about the middle of July.

After, however, the Synod in those two sessions had pronounced judgment on John of Antioch and his adherents, these last immediately prepared an account of this also for the Emperor, and sent it after Irenæus, who had already departed, that he might deliver it to the Emperor at the same time. In this they attempt to prove that their judgment on Cyril and Memnon is valid, and, on the other hand, that of the Synod upon them foolish and impotent; they complain again of oppressions, and request that they may be summoned to Constantinople or Nicomedia (to a new Synod), for the sake of a more careful examination. But orders should be given (as they had proposed before) that no metropolitan should bring more than two bishops to this Synod. Finally, they asked the Emperor to give orders that every one should subscribe the Nicene Creed, which they themselves placed at the head of their letter, that no one should add anything new, that no one should call Christ a mere man (as Nestorius), and that no one should declare the Godhead of Christ to be capable of suffering (which was brought as a reproach against Cyril), for both these statements were quite sacrilegious. At the same time the Schismatics addressed letters to some high state officials, in order to represent to them their sad condition in Ephesus, and the bad treatment which they experienced, with the petition that they would assist in having them summoned to Constantinople, and in obtaining the holding of a new Synod. To this time certainly belongs also the letter of Theodoret of Cyrus to Andreas, Bishop of Samosata, which we now possess only in Latin, and in which he congratulates him that sickness prevented his coming to Ephesus. In this way he has not been forced to behold their sorrow and misery. The Egyptian, he says, rages against God, and the greatest part of the people of God are on his side, the Egyptians, the Palestinians, those from Pontus and Asia, and the Westerns. The deposed men (Cyril and the others) held divine service, while those who deposed them had to sit lamenting at home. Never had writer of comedy composed such a laughable story, or a writer of tragedy such a sorrowful play.

The envoys of the genuine Synod arrived at Constantinople three days before Irenæus, as the latter himself relates, and by their representation of the true state of affairs, made a powerful impression on many persons of high rank, statesmen and generals, so that these recognized the sentence of the Synod on Nestorius as perfectly just. This view was adopted particularly by the chamberlain Scholasticus, especially for this reason, that Nestorius had at Ephesus opposed the expression “God-bearer.” After the arrival of Irenæus, several interviews and discussions were brought about between the adherents of the two parties, and they came to an agreement that Irenæus and the deputies of the Synod should appear together, and in the presence of the highest officers of state, before the Emperor. Irenæus declares that he was unable to get as far as the palace without incurring the danger of being thrown into the sea (so greatly were the people enraged against the Nestorians), but boasts of his having succeeded in convincing the Emperor of the injustice of the Synod, and its disorderly conduct (in not having waited for the Antiochenes), and of having persuaded him to resolve on the deposition of Cyril, and to declare what had been done by the majority at Ephesus as invalid. Soon afterwards, however, he said, John the physician and Syncellus (secretary) of Cyril had arrived in Jerusalem, and had overthrown the structure of Irenæus, and won over again many of the high officials. One party now advised that the Emperor should confirm the depositions which had proceeded from both sides, and thus, on the one side, that of Nestorius, and, on the other, that of Cyril and Memnon; a second party, on the contrary, advised that the Emperor should agree to neither of these depositions, but rather should call together the most eminent bishops to examine what had been done. A third advice was to the effect that the Emperor should send commissioners to Ephesus, in order to restore peace again. This last proposal was the least acceptable of all to Irenæus, as it proceeded from a side which was unfriendly to Nestorius.

SEC. 144. Resolution of the Emperor. Arrest of Cyril, Memnon, and Nestorius. Distress of the Synod

The Emperor, in fact, united the first and second proposals, confirmed the deposition as well of Nestorius as of Cyril and Memnon, and at the same time sent one of the highest officers of State, the Comes Sacrorum (= sacrarum largitionum = treasurer of state) John, to Ephesus, to publish the sentence, and to effect a union of the separated bishops. The edict in which he announced this decree was addressed to all those archbishops and prominent bishops who had previously received special invitations to the Synod of Ephesus, and probably through an error of the chancery there is still found among them the name of Augustine, who had died eleven months before (August 28, 430). The first among all the bishops united in the superscription of the edict is Pope Cœlestine, although he was not personally present at Ephesus; the names of Cyril and Memnon, and on the other side of Nestorius, are, however, for obvious reasons passed over. Whether John of Antioch is specially named is doubtful. There are certainly two Johns mentioned without more particular description, but neither of them is placed immediately after Pope Cœlestine, which the hierarchical order would have required if John of Antioch were intended. As, however, this order is not strictly maintained in the superscription, and, for example, Juvenal of Jerusalem is mentioned only in the eighteenth place, and after bishops who were decidedly inferior to him in rank, this argument again loses its force.

That the Emperor pronounced a sentence of deposition on S. Cyril need not surprise us, for he was himself destitute of all necessary insight into the whole theological question, otherwise he could not have taken under his protection first Nestorius, and then, as we shall see, at a later period his opposite Eutyches. The Antiochenes, however, even the highly meritorious and orthodox men among them, like Theodoret of Cyrus, had done all in their power to convict Cyril’s doctrine of Apollinarianism, and his conduct of injustice and passionateness. They said: As his uncle Theophilus persecuted S. Chrysostom from private hatred, so does Cyril act towards Nestorius. He stamps him as a heretic in order to ruin him.

Accusations of this kind had, to a certain extent, prevailed even with orthodox theologians, as we see from the letters of the holy Abbot Isidore of Pelusium (near Alexandria) to Cyril, in which it is said quite distinctly that these complaints had proceeded from the Antiochene party at Ephesus. What wonder if the never very powerful-minded Emperor Theodosius II. was led into error, especially as his commissioner, Candidian, was in entire agreement with the Antiochenes. His edict has, however, a more extensive side, which deserves special attention. After the cunning manner of diplomatists, the true state of the matter is ignored, that is, the actual existence of two opposing Synods at Ephesus. The matter is represented as though the whole of the bishops present at Ephesus, united in one Council, had on the one side deposed Nestorius, and on the other Cyril and Memnon, and as though they were quite agreed as to the orthodox faith, so that nothing more remained to be done but to appease some still existing enmities, and then to separate in peace. To this peace the Emperor not only himself exhorted the Synod, but he also sent to it at the same time a letter directed to the same end from the more than centenarian Bishop Acacius of Berœa (now Aleppo), in Syria, a man held in the highest esteem, who was unable to come in person to the Synod, but who wished to send to it his counsel and his opinion.

With this letter of the Emperor and that of Bishop Acacius, the new commissioner, John, proceeded to Ephesus, and, as is universally admitted, arrived there at the beginning of August. There was great fear that the cause of orthodoxy was in danger, but Cyril endeavoured to lay this apprehension to rest by a sermon preached probably before the bishops of the Synod, in which he pointed out that persecutions always contributed to the wellbeing of the righteous. In the superscription of this sermon it is remarked that he delivered it before his arrest, and that this was ordered by the new commissioner, Count John, who thus informed the Emperor respecting his proceedings at Ephesus: “Immediately after his arrival in Ephesus he had greeted the bishops, as many as he met of both sides, and had announced to them, as well as to those who were absent (Cyril and Memnon in particular had not appeared), that they should assemble all together the next day in his residence. At the same time he had decided in what order they should enter, so that conflicts should not arise at the meeting together of the two parties. Very early, almost at daybreak, Nestorius and John of Antioch had come, somewhat later Cyril and the other bishops; only Memnon had failed. The adherents of Cyril, however, had immediately demanded the removal of Nestorius, because he was already deposed, and therefore the sacred letter (of the Emperor) ought not to be read in his presence and in that of the Orientals (Antiochenes). On the other hand, the Antiochenes had demanded the same in reference to Cyril and Memnon, who had also been deposed by them, and a long and violent dispute had arisen on this question. After a considerable portion of the day had been spent in this manner, he (the Count) had succeeded, by persuasion and force, as he must plainly declare, and in spite of the opposition of Cyril’s party, in having the imperial letter read without the presence of Cyril and Nestorius, to whom, in fact, it was not addressed. Thus the deposition of Cyril, Nestorius, and Memnon had been proclaimed, and the Antiochenes had received this with approval, and confirmed it; while the others declared the deposition of Cyril and Memnon to be illegal. In order to avoid greater excitement, Count Candidian had undertaken the custody of (the now imprisoned) Nestorius, and he had given Cyril into the hands of Count Jacobus, and had sent officers, together with the senior deacon of Ephesus, to the absent Memnon, in order to announce to him his deposition. Thereupon he (John) had proceeded to the church for prayer, and when he learned that Memnon was still at the episcopal residence, had immediately summoned him to come to him. To the question why he had not come in the morning, Memnon had made an insufficient excuse, that he had then immediately of his own accord gone to the Count’s lodging, had been there arrested, and given over also into the custody of Jacobus. Finally, he (John) had taken pains to exhort the bishops to peace and unity, and would do so still further, and would afterwards acquaint the Emperors with everything of importance that should take place.”

That Cyril and Memnon were separated and kept apart in a strong prison, and watched by many soldiers, we know from two letters of the Antiochenes, who announced this triumphantly to their adherents. The orthodox Synod, however, appealed in a frank letter to the Emperors (of the East and West), declaring that the decree published by Count John had caused deep disturbance, and proved that some treachery and falsehood had perverted the ears of the Emperors, who had formerly been so truth-loving. The matter was represented in the imperial edict as though the Synod itself had pronounced a sentence of deposition on Cyril and Memnon; but it was not the Œcumenical Synod, which was in union with the Roman and apostolic see, with the whole of the West, with the whole of Africa and Illyricum, that had done this; on the contrary, it admired those two bishops on account of their zeal for the orthodox faith, and believed that they were, before men and before Christ the Lord, worthy of noble garlands. It was only Nestorius, as the herald of the new heresy of the man-worshippers, that they had deposed, and of this they had given the Emperors information. It had further pained them greatly—and this, too, could be explained only on the ground of deception—that the names of John of Antioch and his adherents, also those of the Cœlestians (Pelagians), although condemned by the Œcumenical Synod, were included among the bishops of the Synod, and that the imperial Sacra were addressed to them as to the bishops of the Synod. Then a brief account was given of the conduct of the Antiochenes, with which we are already acquainted, and the history of their separation from the Synod, with the remark that they could not possibly be received into church communion, partly because they had not subscribed the deposition of Nestorius and quite openly agreed with him, partly because, through their insolence towards the presidents of the Synod (that is, through their sentence against Cyril and Memnon), they had violated the canons; partly, in fine, because they had dared to lie to and deceive the Emperors. The Synod prayed therefore that the Emperors would restore Cyril and Memnon, and provide for the stedfast maintenance of the faith, which was inherited from their fathers, which was impressed on the hearts of the Emperors by the Holy Spirit, and which was contained in the declarations of the Synod issued against Nestorius. If, however, the Emperors wished to learn more exactly what had taken place between the Synod and the Antiochenes, they might send trustworthy commissioners. The meaning here attached to the last sentence is given by the Greek text as it exists; in accordance, however, with a conjecture of Tillemont, which is very worthy of notice, it would read: “If the Emperors wished to know that more exactly, they should order the Synod to send trustworthy envoys (to Constantinople)” (τῇ ἁγίᾳ συνόδῳ ἐπιτρέπειν ἐκπέμψαι κ.τ.λ.); and this conjecture is supported by the consideration that—(a) not the sending of new imperial commissioners to Ephesus, but only the sending of envoys from the Synod to Constantinople could be of use, and therefore could be desired by the Synod; (b) that the Emperor did, in fact, somewhat later sanction the sending of envoys from the Synod; and (c) that the Synod, in their subsequent letter (see below, § 146), expressly assert that the Emperors had granted their requests, and permitted the sending of deputies.

With reference to this suggestion of the Synod to the Emperors, Cyril addressed from his prison a letter to the clergy and the people of Constantinople, in which he asserts that Count John (really the imperial decree) had not properly represented the state of the case, and had falsely ascribed the deposition of Cyril and Memnon to the Synod. For this reason they were under the necessity of sending a new account to the Emperor. The imperial commissioner had taken all trouble to bring about the union of the Synod with John of Antioch and his adherents, but this was not possible until the Antiochenes should have recalled their illegal resolutions, approached the Synod as petitioners, and anathematized in writing the doctrines of Nestorius. In order, however, to reach his end by another way, the Count had demanded a written confession of faith from the Synod with the view of having it subscribed by the Antiochenes, and of then declaring, “I have reunited those who were separated.” The Synod, however, had not agreed to this, but had remarked that they were there, not to give an account respecting their faith, but to confirm the wavering faith, and that the Emperor did not need now, for the first time, to be taught their faith, for it was known to him since his baptism.

Cyril further relates that the Antiochenes were not agreed among themselves as to whether Mary should be called “Mother of God” or not, since some of them would rather have their hands cut off than subscribe this expression. Of all this he informed the Constantinopolitans, particularly the archimandrites, so that Count John, when he returned, should not carry false information and mislead the people. The Constantinopolitans, too, should continue their efforts on behalf of the Synod, for there were at Ephesus bishops who were not even personally known to him, ready to go with him into exile, and even to death. He was himself watched by soldiers, who slept before his door, and the whole Synod was in a very exhausted condition; several members were dead, and the others so impoverished that they had been forced to sell their possessions in order to procure the means of subsistence.

Another letter was addressed by the Ephesine Synod to the bishops and clergy present in Constantinople, in which they say that Ephesus is like a prison, in which they have been shut up for three months (the letter must therefore have been written at the end of August or the beginning of September), so that they have not been able to send a messenger by land or by water to the court or elsewhere; and as often as they have ventured upon it, the bearers have exposed themselves to countless dangers of life, and have been forced to conceal themselves in all kinds of disguises. The reason of this strict watching arose from the false accounts which had been sent from all sides to the Emperors. By one class they (the bishops of the Synod) had been denounced as the cause of the division, by others it had been said that the Synod itself had deposed Cyril and Memnon; and again, others had perhaps asserted that the Synod was ready to come to a friendly union with the schismatical false Synod of the Antiochenes. It was in order to prevent the exposure of these falsehoods that the Synod was so closely watched, and that war was so violently carried on against it. The clergy of Constantinople should therefore cast themselves at the feet of the Emperor and acquaint him with all. The further contents of the letter give the substance of that which the Constantinopolitans are to communicate to the Emperor: that the Synod had by no means deposed Cyril and Memnon, but held both in the highest honour, and would never separate from communion with them; that, on the other hand, they never could hold communion with the schismatic Conciliabulum, for the same reasons which the Synod had already (p. 86) assigned in their letter to the Emperor, but which they now repeated, because, in their state of blockade, they were forced to doubt whether that letter had reached the Emperor. In conclusion, the clergy of Constantinople are once more exhorted to beseech the Emperor, in the name of the whole Synod, to restore Cyril and Memnon, to liberate the bishops of the Synod from their imprisonment, and to give them leave either to return home or to appear in his own presence, so that they might not all perish, partly through sickness, and partly through sorrow.

In order to make the letter more concise, all the bishops of the Synod did not subscribe, but only their heads,—whether Cyril and Memnon, or Juvenal and another metropolitan, is doubtful. In an appendix it is added: “We are slaughtered here by the heat; almost daily one is buried; all our servants are worn out, and have to be sent home. Go therefore to the Emperor and represent to him the distress of the Synod. Finally, be assured that, however our death may be disregarded, on the part of Christ nothing else will take place than that which we have decided.”

This letter, it would appear, crossed the one which the bishops who were present at Constantinople sent on the 13th of August to the Synod. They expressed in it their liveliest sympathy with their distress, and assured them that they felt bound personally to appear at Ephesus, but that the way by sea and land was closed against them. They had, however, worked for the Synod in Constantinople, inflamed the zeal of many, and strengthened men’s minds in their adhesion to it. The Synod would therefore, they requested, let them know what they had to do, and whether they should come to Ephesus in order to share their conflict and their sufferings.

We learn the names of these bishops from the superscription of the answer which the Synod sent to them. They were Eulalius, Eutrechius, Acacius, Chrysaphius, Jeremias, Theodule, and Isaias. The Synod now tell them how greatly they rejoice at this sympathy, inform them anew of the progress of events and of their own condition, and request the bishops to remain at Constantinople, on the one hand, in order to acquaint the Emperor with the condition of the Synod; and, on the other, to give them information as to what is passing at Constantinople. As, however, it was feared that the previous letters had not been made known to the bishops, a copy of them was now added, and, at the same time, a second account addressed to the Emperor. The bishops might now, in case the Emperors had received the previous account, put them in mind of it; if not, then the Emperors should learn from the bishops what had been kept from them by intrigue.

In this second letter the Synod urgently entreated that they might at last be delivered from their distress, and that their heads, Cyril and Memnon, should be given back to them; and they strengthen this appeal by a short but detailed and calm narration of the way and manner in which the Antiochenes had separated from the rest of the bishops, and how those of Nestorian opinions had connected themselves with John of Antioch. At the same time, it was towards the end quite correctly remarked: If the Emperors confirmed, as they had done, the deposition of Nestorius, it would certainly be quite inconsistent if they gave their assent to that which the friends of Nestorius had done, in order to avenge him. This letter was signed by Juvenal of Jerusalem, who since the imprisonment of Cyril had been president of the Synod.

The last document which at this time went forth from the orthodox side at Ephesus is a short letter of Cyril’s to the three bishops, Theopemptus, Potamon, and Daniel, whom the Synod had at an earlier period sent to Constantinople (see p. 79). In this he said that several false accusations had been raised against him, as, that he had brought with him both attendants and women from monasteries, and that Nestorius had been deposed only by his intrigues, and not by the will of the Synod. But, God be praised, Count John had recognised the falsehood of these charges, and had condemned his accusers. Moreover, in consequence of the imperial Sacra, he was still under arrest, and did not see what it would lead to; but he must thank God that he was thought worthy to be put in chains for His name’s sake. The Synod, on their side, had in no way allowed themselves to be misled into having communion with the Antiochenes, and had declared that they would never do so until these withdrew their insolent resolutions against the heads of the Synod, and confessed the true faith, for they were still Nestorian, and this was the turning-point of the whole controversy.

In the meantime, the clergy of Constantinople had delivered to the Emperor Theodosius the Younger a memorial on behalf of the Ephesine Synod, addressed to him and to his colleague in the empire, which at the very beginning sets forth the proposition that God should be obeyed rather than the rulers, and that therefore a frank word had become a matter of duty. The deposition of Cyril and Memnon by the Antiochenes is next declared to be entirely illegal, and the Emperors are entreated to restore those two highly meritorious bishops, and to confirm those decrees which the far larger number at Ephesus (in opposition to the Antiochenes) had drawn up. If Cyril, the leader (καθηγητὴς) of the Synod, had anything to endure contrary to what was right, this affected the whole Synod which agreed with him, and as a matter of consistency all the bishops ought to have been punished in the same way as Cyril and Memnon. But the God-loving Emperors should take thought that the Church, which they cherished like a nurse, should not be rent, and that the century of the martyrs should not be renewed.

To this time probably belongs also the short letter of Dalmatius to the Synod, mentioned above (p. 79, note
in which he announces the reception of the letters sent to him, expresses his sympathy with reference to the death of several members of the Synod, and assures them that he has now, as hitherto, fulfilled the wishes of the Synod. Another letter was addressed to Cyril by Alypius, a priest of the Apostles’ Church in Constantinople, in which he congratulates him on his sufferings, and compares him with Athanasius. Cyril himself, however, employed the leisure which his imprisonment afforded in drawing up a clearer explanation of his twelve anathematisms which had been so often assailed.

SEC. 145. The Creed of the Antiochenes. Their subsequent Letters

On the other hand, the Antiochenes also were taking all possible pains to win the Emperor to their side. More especially they despatched to him by Count John a paper, which is extant only in Latin, partaking chiefly of the character of a polite letter, which exalts the recently issued imperial edict (on account of the deposition of Cyril, etc.) above all measure, as calculated again to pacify the whole world, which the Egyptian (Cyril) had, according to his custom, thrown into confusion. After the arrival of this edict, they had immediately hastened to condemn the anti-evangelical and anti-apostolic propositions of Cyril (his anathematisms), in which he ventured to pronounce anathema on the saints of all the past, and for which he had, only through abuse of the ignorance of some and the sickness of others, as well as by his own craft and obstinacy, gained surreptitiously a synodal confirmation. As the holy Father Acacius (of Berœa) had written to the Synod, these were Apollinarian propositions, and this bishop of one hundred and ten years old, who knew the Apollinarians so thoroughly, must certainly know this. They had, therefore, in union with Count John, entreated the bishops who had been misled by Cyril, and who had subscribed those propositions, now to declare the same erroneous, and in common with them (the Antiochenes) to subscribe the Nicene formula. These, however, had refused, and therefore it only remained for them, simply on their own behalf, to confess the true faith, and to reject those false propositions by a written manifesto. The Creed of Nicæa needed no addition; since, however, the Emperors, as Count John had intimated, required a declaration in regard to the holy Virgin and God-bearer, they would, although such things transcended human powers, under invocation of divine aid, and to confute their enemies, give expression to their belief: “We acknowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is true God, and true man, consisting of a reasonable soul and a body; that He was born (begotten) before all time by the Father, as to His Godhead, and was in the end of the days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin as to His manhood, of one substance with the Father in respect to His Godhead, and of one substance with us in respect to His manhood. For two natures are united together (unio facta est), and therefore we acknowledge one Christ, one Lord, and one Son. On account of this union, which is, however, far from being a mingling (inconfusa unio), we also confess that the holy Virgin is the God-bearer, because God the Word was made flesh, and by the incarnation, from the time of His conception, has united the temple (manhood) which He assumed of her (the Virgin) with Himself.” They add the request that the Emperor will, in his wonted manner, take under his protection the religion which has been endangered by the Egyptian propositions, and demand of all the bishops the rejection of Cyril’s propositions, and the subscription of the unaltered Nicene Creed; for without the rejection of those propositions, no peace is possible in the Church.

In proportion as this letter did wrong to Cyril, and found Apollinarianism where none existed, so did it on the other side weaken the reproach of Cyril and his friends, that the Antiochenes were quite Nestorian in their opinions; for the formula drawn up by them bears a thoroughly orthodox sense, and was subsequently approved even by Cyril. The Antiochenes, however, conceal in this letter the fact, that by no means the whole of the members of their party had agreed to this form of faith, as we learn from a letter of Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis, who expresses himself as decidedly for Nestorius, and against θεοτόκος and that formula of the Antiochenes, and accuses the latter of falsehood and wickedness, who, although the Emperor required no such declaration, had thereby betrayed the orthodox Nestorius. We see, therefore, that Cyril could justly accuse at least some of the Antiochenes of Nestorianism; and that his assertion, quoted above (p. 88), that the controversy respecting the θεοτόκος had arisen among the Antiochenes themselves, was entirely in accordance with truth.

In the letter to the Emperors just mentioned, the Antiochenes refer to a document which they had put forth after the arrival of Count John, in which they, on the one hand, had renewed the Nicene Creed, and, on the other, had rejected the twelve propositions of Cyril by a written declaration. This paper, I believe, we possess in a document which has been erroneously attributed to a somewhat earlier period, but which decidedly cannot have been drawn up before the arrival of Count John, since it speaks of three edicts which the Emperors had addressed to the Synod. This is the synodal declaration mentioned above (p. 80, note
subscribed by John of Antioch and all his adherents, with the heading De Schismaticis.

A third letter was now addressed by the Antiochene Conciliabulum at Ephesus to the clergy, the monks, and the people of Antioch, in which they relate, not without a good deal of self-praise, all that has hitherto been done, and then remark that Cyril and Memnon, even in their close imprisonment, have not yet come to a better mind, and continue to throw all into confusion, apparently from despair. They had not troubled themselves, they say, about the excommunication pronounced, and had continued their spiritual functions. In accordance, therefore, with the ecclesiastical regulation (canon 4 of the Synod of Antioch of 341), they could no longer be restored, and knowing this well, they endeavoured to make the confusion in the Church lasting. In Antioch, however, they might have good hope, and thank God for what had been done, pray for the erring, deliver sermons against the impious doctrine (of Cyril), and deliver up to the judges every one who sought in any way to propagate it.

At the same time the false Synod appealed to the aged Bishop Acacius of Berœa, assured him of its zeal against Apollinarianism, and announced that even now those who had been misled by Cyril would not obey the imperial command, or reject those false propositions. They (the Antiochenes) had with much trouble drawn up complete refutations of these propositions, and invited their opponents to a disputation on them; but they had not appeared, but continued to confuse everything, and were sending into all cities and provinces lying letters full of accusations against the Antiochenes. But they could thus mislead none but the simple; every one else knew that what proceeds from deposed men has no power at all. These, however, were for ever deposed, since even after their excommunication they had discharged spiritual functions. Cyril and Memnon were very carefully imprisoned, and watched by soldiers day and night. Acacius might thank God, and pray for the Antiochenes, and for those who had erred, that the latter might return to the ancient faith.

SEC. 146. The Emperor summons before him Deputies from both sides

The efforts of Dalmatius and of the bishops who were present at Constantinople were not without favourable results, and the latter remarked in their letter to the Synod of Ephesus, mentioned above (p. 90), that it was rumoured that the Emperor had already gained a truer view of the subject. How this change was gradually brought about is unknown; we know only that Theodosius now resolved to comply with the petition of the Synod, and personally to hear deputies from both sides. Baronius thinks that the overthrow of his general, Aspar, in his war with the Vandals in Africa, shook the Emperor, and changed him; but Tillemont remarks against this, with justice, that, on the one side, Theodosius had taken the previous false steps only from ignorance, and not from any evil will, and thus could not well have regarded a misfortune as a punishment from God; and that, on the other side, that unfortunate battle did not take place before the end of August 431, and therefore the result could not have been known so early in Constantinople.

The decree by which the Emperor summoned before him eight representatives of each of the two parties is no longer extant, and we are acquainted with it only from its results, and from the writings to which it gave occasion on both sides. Count John made it known to the one side as well as to the other, and each party made haste to elect and send its commissioners. On the Catholic side the Roman priest and papal legate Philip, and the Bishop Arcadius (also a papal legate), Juvenal (of Jerusalem), Flavian (of Philippi), Firmus (of Cæsarea in Cappadocia), Theodotus (of Ancyra), Acacius (of Melitene), and Euoptius (of Ptolemais, in Africa) were selected. Cyril, too, would gladly have been among the number of these deputies, but he was obliged, as was Memnon also, to remain in prison. From the Antiochene side, John of Antioch, John of Damascus, Himerius of Nicomedia, Paulus of Emisa, Macarius of Laodicea, Apringius of Chalcis, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Helladius of Ptolemais (in Phœnicia) were entrusted with the office of deputies.

The mandate which the orthodox Synod committed to their deputies, given in a somewhat free translation, is as follows: “Since the God-loving Emperors have given us permission, in the name of the whole world, which, represented by the Synod, contends for the right faith, to send an embassy to Constantinople in the interest of orthodoxy and of the holy Bishops Cyril and Memnon, we have selected you for this purpose, and give you the following instructions. Before all, you must consent to no communion with John of Antioch and his apostate Council, because they have refused in common with us to depose Nestorius, because they have been his patrons up to the time of your departure, because they have ventured, in opposition to all the canons, to condemn Cyril and Memnon; but especially because to this day they defend the doctrines of Nestorius, and besides, many of them are Cœlestians (Pelagians), and for this reason are deposed; finally, because they have not shrunk from slandering the Synod of the whole world as heretical. If, however, the Emperor urgently requires it (for we must always obey him, when possible), you shall grant the Antiochenes communion on the condition that they subscribe the deposition of Nestorius, ask the forgiveness of the Synod in writing, with reference to Cyril and Memnon, principally, anathematize the heresies of Nestorius, reject his adherents, and take common action with the Synod for the restitution of Cyril and Memnon. Moreover, you must communicate on every point with the Synod, since the complete restoration of peace with the Antiochenes needs their approval; and you must not allow communion to the Antiochenes until the Synod have received back their heads (Cyril and Memnon).” This document is signed by Bishop Berinianus of Pergæ, who now probably, as the oldest of the metropolitans (as Juvenal was among the deputies), occupied the presidency of the Council.

The Synod entrusted their delegates with the following letter to the Emperors. They said “they had at last responded to the prayers of the Synod, and had allowed the command to be conveyed to them by Count John, that they should send a deputation. The Synod thanked them for this, and sent Arcadius, etc. (the Roman priest Philip is here named ultimo loco) as their representatives, and prayed the Emperors, on their behalf, for a benevolent reception and a favourable hearing. At the same time they would mention in this letter that which weighed so heavily on them. They then relate how Nestorius was summoned sixteen days after the expiry of the appointed period, and had not appeared; how John of Antioch and his adherents had comported themselves, had deposed Cyril and Memnon, and had also deceived the Emperor by false intelligence, and what had then been done on the part of the Synod. They now, by their letter and their deputies, embraced the knees of the Emperors, and prayed that they would annul the sentence obtained by deception against Cyril and Memnon, and give back to the assembly their heads. For these were altogether sound in faith, and the whole Synod shared their faith, as they had declared in writing. In these their heads the whole bishops regarded themselves as prisoners, and the Emperors were therefore requested to release them all from bonds.”

The Antiochenes, too, did not fail to commit to their deputies, whom we have already mentioned, a written mandate, which, however, only indulges in general expressions on the rights and duties of those elected, and stipulates for the ratification of all the proceedings of the Conciliabulum. This would, however, satisfy everything, if only the heretical propositions of Cyril were rejected. All the Antiochenes, with Alexander of Hierapolis and Dorotheus of Marcianopolis at their head, signed this commission.

SEC. 147. The Deputies of both Parties are summoned to Chalcedon

From a short letter of the Antiochene deputies to their Conciliabulum, dated the 11th Gorpiæus, that is, the 11th of September 431, we learn that the Emperor Theodosius had in the meantime altered his plan, and did not allow either of the parties to enter Constantinople, but ordered them to go to Chalcedon (vis-à-vis to Constantinople, and separated from it only by the Bosporus), and to await him there. Disturbances among the monks, according to the Antiochenes, induced him to take this decision. At the same time we learn from this letter that Nestorius, about eight days before, had received notice to quit Ephesus, and to return to the monastery in which he was formerly a monk. The deputies of the Antiochenes complained of this, because it must have appeared like a confirmation of the unjust judgment pronounced against Nestorius. They then declare their readiness to contend for the faith even to blood, and remark that on that day, the 11th of the month Gorpiæus, they expect the Emperor, who is on his way to Rufinianum, a suburb of Chalcedon. Finally, they commend themselves to the prayers of their friends, to whom they wish stedfastness in the faith, and conclude with the intelligence that Himerius (Bishop of Nicomedia, one of the Antiochene deputies, who had been taken ill on the way) had not yet arrived.

We have just heard that Nestorius had received notice, during the interval between the departure of the deputies of the two parties and their arrival in Chalcedon, to leave Ephesus. The edict in which this was announced to him we still possess, if not quite in its entirety, and it probably proceeded from the prefect of the Prætorians, Antiochus, but according to the ordinary custom it was drawn up in the name of all the prefects. It is short and courteous, but definite, and states that, as Nestorius himself had wished to depart from Ephesus and to return into his previous monastery, a convoy had been provided for him, which would attend upon him during his journey. He was allowed himself to choose the route, whether by land or by water, but these attendants had to accompany him to his monastery (that of S. Euprepius at Antioch). In conclusion, all good is wished him for his future life; and it is added that he, with his wisdom, cannot lack for comfort.

Nestorius answered: “He had received the letter of the prefect, and from that had learnt the command of the Emperor that he should henceforth, live in the monastery. He accepted this thankfully, for nothing was more honourable in his view than to be exiled for the sake of religion. He only requested that the prefect would use his endeavours with the Emperor, that imperial edicts might be published in all churches in order to the rejection of the false doctrines of Cyril, so as to prevent an offence to the simple.”

If we turn our attention again to the deputies of the two parties and their efforts, we must chiefly lament the great dearth of original sources of information, especially that there is not a single original document from the orthodox deputies, and from this whole side generally only a single contemporaneous brief account of what was done (see p. 108, note
and p. 110) has come down to us. But even the documents which proceed from the Antiochenes and the Emperor are too defective to enable us to understand in sufficient detail the proceedings at Chalcedon. We believe we may venture to place the little that is known in the following chronological order. In the first place stands the short account just mentioned of the Antiochene deputies to those whom they represented, in which they announce the arrival of the Emperor on the 11th of Gorpiæus (September 11) 431. A few days afterwards they despatched again a short letter to their friends at Ephesus, in which they gave them an account of the first proceedings which took place at Chalcedon in the presence of the Emperor. They are full of joy, for the Emperor has received their proposals very favourably, and they have triumphed over their opponents. That which these had brought forward had made a bad impression. Ever and anon these had put forward the name of their Cyril, and had entreated that he might himself be allowed to appear and undertake his own cause. They had not, however, attained to this, but it had been insisted upon that the faith should be considered and the doctrine of the holy Fathers affirmed. Further, they (the Antiochenes) had opposed Acacius of Melitene, a friend of Cyril’s, because he maintained that the Godhead was capable of suffering (cf. p. 122). At this blasphemy the Emperor had been so much annoyed that he shook his purple mantle. The whole Senate, too, agreed with him. At last the Emperor had commanded that each side should hand in to him a written account of their faith. They had replied that they could give no other declaration of faith than the Nicene, and this also had greatly pleased the Emperor. All Constantinople had come out to them, and entreated them to contend bravely for the faith. In conclusion, they adjoined two copies of the Nicene declaration of faith, designed for the Emperor, so that the Conciliabulum might sign them with their own hands.

The Antiochenes at Ephesus were highly delighted at this, and immediately sent the two documents back with their signatures, assuring their deputies in their answer that they would rather die than accept one of the heretical propositions of Cyril. But if these propositions were heretical, so also were the sentences of deposition which the adherents of these propositions had pronounced (they referred particularly to those against Nestorius, as is clear from the letter which follows), and entirely null and void. They confided in the envoys that they would obtain from the Emperor the rejection both of the chapters (of the anathematisms) of Cyril and of those sentences of deposition, and they transmitted to them a copy of the explanation of his anathematisms, recently drawn up by Cyril, so that they might the more easily demonstrate his impiety.

This document was signed by forty-two adherents of the Antiochene party, Tranquillinus of Antioch, in Pisidia, at their head; at the same time they transmitted a letter to the Emperor, in which they thank him for the friendly reception of their deputies, glory in the zeal of the Emperor for the faith, and make intercession for Nestorius, without directly naming him, as his deposition by the heretical party of Cyril was invalid. At an earlier period, when the Emperor pronounced a sentence of deposition on Nestorius at the same time as upon Cyril and Memnon, they had preserved a cowardly silence, and had even commended the imperial wisdom, and separated themselves entirely from Nestorius, as even one of their own friends, Alexander of Hierapolis, reproached them with having done (p. 94). Now, on the contrary, the moment seemed to have come to throw off the mask, and again to take the side of Nestorius. They deceived themselves, however, and their sanguine hopes did not in the least progress towards fulfilment.

There were, in fact, at Chalcedou, after the first session just mentioned, four other sessions, or series of proceedings, held in the presence of the Emperor; but no record of the details has been preserved. At the most we have a few small fragments of Theodoret, containing a polemic against the adherents of Cyril, belonging to the speeches which he may have delivered at these proceedings. The other existing documents are all drawn up after that session, and in particular a letter of the Antiochene deputies to Rufus, Archbishop of Thessalonica, who had in writing exhorted Julian, Bishop of Sardica, a member of the Conciliabulum, to allow nothing to be added to the Nicene Creed, and nothing to be taken from it. The deputies commend him for this, speak again of the Apollinarianism of Cyril, of their own contending for the Nicene faith, of the deposition of Cyril and Memnon, of the impossibility of their restitution (because they had continued the exercise of their spiritual functions), and of the obstinacy of Cyril’s party. The Emperor had already admonished the envoys of this party in five sessions, either to reject the chapters of Cyril, as contrary to the faith, or to prove their conformity with the doctrine of the holy Fathers in a disputation. They themselves (the Antiochenes) had collected complete proofs against these doctrines, together with evidences from Basil of Cæsarea, Athanasius, Damasus of Rome, and Ambrose of Milan, and they gave some of them (but no patristic passages) for the benefit of Rufus, in order to prove that Cyril was an Arian and a Eunomian. Of entirely similar views with their own were many Eastern and even Latin bishops. To this effect Bishop Martin of Milan had written to them, and sent them the work of S. Ambrose, De Dominica Incarnatione, which taught the opposite of those heretical chapters. Besides, they said, Cyril and Memnon had not only falsified the faith, but had also violated all the canonical laws, and had received heretics, Pelagians and Euchites, into their communion, in order to multiply their number. They had thought that, by means of men and by the expenditure of much money, they could overthrow the faith of the Fathers. Rufus should beware of holding communion with them, and declare far and near that their chapters were Apollinarian. Finally, a copy of the letter sent by them to the Emperor lay before him, in which they had given utterance to the Nicene faith, and had opposed the chapters of Cyril.

SEC. 148. The Emperor decides in favour of the Orthodox, and summons their Deputies to Constantinople

The prospects of the Antiochenes had already become more troubled when Theodoret wrote from Chalcedon to Alexander of Hierapolis as follows: “No kind of friendliness, no kind of urgency, no kind of exhortation, no kind of eloquence had been by them left untried with the Emperor and his Senate in order that the Nicene Creed alone should be received, and the newly-introduced heresy should be rejected. But to the present day they had produced no effect, although they had even sworn to the Emperor that it was impossible for them to agree with Cyril and Memnon. As often as they had endeavoured to speak of Nestorius to the Emperor or the Senate, they were accused of departing from their previous resolutions, so great was the enmity against him, and the Emperor had declared with decision that no one should venture again to speak to him of that man. Yet, as long as they were here, they would concern themselves about this father, Nestorius, convinced that wrong had been done him. In other respects they wished generally to be set free from this place, for there was no further hope of any success, as the judges (the imperial officials, who had to decide between the two parties) were accessible to gold, and maintained that the Godhead and manhood make only one nature. The people (of Constantinople), on the contrary, behaved admirably, and often came out to the Antiochene deputies. They had therefore begun to deliver discourses to them, and to have meetings for public worship with them in the great imperial Aula at Rufinianum. The clergy and the monks, however, were hostile to them, and once on their return from the meeting they had been stoned, and several had been wounded. The Emperor had learnt it, and had said to Theodoret, when he met him: You assemble unlawfully; but Theodoret had frankly declared how unfair it was that the excommunicated (Cyril’s party) should be allowed to hold their services in the churches, while all the churches were shut against them. (The people, clergy, and Bishop of Chalcedon were orthodox.) The Emperor, he said, should do as Count John did at Ephesus, and forbid divine service to both parties alike. The Emperor replied: I cannot give such an order to the Bishop of Chalcedon, but for the future I have not forbidden the meetings of the Antiochenes (without the Eucharist). The meetings were up to this time very much frequented; but they were themselves always in danger on account of the monks and clergy, and had, on the one side, to endure acts of violence, and on the other, (the Emperor’s) indifference.”

It was not long before they experienced worse. Despairing of the possibility of a compromise, the Emperor suddenly returned from Chalcedon to Constantinople, without the deputies of the Antiochenes venturing to follow him, whilst he ordered those of the orthodox party to come after him, and to ordain another Bishop of Constantinople in the place of the deposed Nestorius. The Antiochenes, who had expected further sessions, were greatly troubled at this, but would not yet give up the hope of triumphing over their opponents in discussions, and therefore directly sent after the Emperor a memorial, of which we no longer possess the Greek original, but of which we have two ancient Latin translations, diverging considerably from each other, and in many places evidently corrupt. On the whole, that text which is given by the Synodicon of Irenæus is less corrupt than the other, so that for the most part we adhere to the former.

The document begins with a violent attack upon Cyril and his adherents, accuses him even of heresy, and ascribes to him (as Nestorius had done before) the intention of giving occasion for the whole confusion, and the misleading of the others by all kinds of promises, in order to escape punishment for his own offences (see above, pp. 27 and 56). To this the assurance was added how willingly the Antiochenes would be silent, but how their conscience, because it was a question of the overthrow of the faith, imperatively required of them that they should come and make their petition to the Emperor, who, next to God, was the protector of the world. They adjure him then, by God, who sees all, by Christ, who will judge all, by the Holy Ghost, through whose grace he governs, and by the angels who protect him, to avenge the religion which is now attacked, to order the abolition of the heretical chapters of Cyril, and to give instructions that every one who has subscribed them, and who, in spite of the pardon offered by the Antiochenes, perseveres in his contentiousness, shall come here (to a new disputation on the theological controversy in the presence of the Emperor), and be punished, after the sentence of the Emperor, in accordance with the ecclesiastical laws. The Emperor could do nothing better to express his thankfulness that Christ had granted him so many victories over the Persians and other barbarians. Moreover, it was necessary that the proceedings (the disputations of the deputies on both sides) should be produced in writing in presence of the Emperor. He could then decide whether those who suppressed the true faith, and yet would not stand to their new doctrines nor discuss them, were henceforth worthy to be called teachers. They had conspired among themselves, and intended to grant ecclesiastical privileges as the wages of impiety (to their adherents), and in various ways to destroy canonical order, if the Emperor did not prevent it. Nay, the Emperor would see how, when they had overthrown the faith of Christ, they would soon distribute the spoils of victory as the wages of treachery. In many ways Juvenal of Jerusalem had been guilty of presumption (they had previously, however, been silent on the subject), and his plans on both Phœnicia and Arabia were well known to them. In opposing these efforts they put their hope in the judgment of God and in the piety of the Emperor; at the present moment, however, they, before everything and exclusively, presented a petition on behalf of the purity of the faith, that this which has had such glory since Constantine, and even under the present Emperor has been extended to Persia, should not be oppressed in the very palace of the Emperor himself. If any one should ever venture to become indifferent in regard to religion, they hoped that might be any one rather than the Emperor, to whom God had entrusted the power over the whole world. They were ready to follow his decision, for God would enlighten him so that he might perfectly apprehend the subject to be handled (in the proposed disputation). Should, however, such a new disputation be impossible, then let the Emperor allow them to return home to their dioceses.

A short time afterwards they addressed a second memorial to the Emperor, and there give an account, from their own point of view, of the whole course of the Synod of Ephesus, and the summoning of the deputies to Chalcedon. They say further, that the opposite party had entered into no conferences with them on the subject of Cyril’s propositions, and to this party, although persisting in heresy, permission had been given at Chalcedon to attend church and to hold divine service, while they (the Antiochenes), for a long time at Ephesus, and here also, had been forced to be without holy communion. They had endured much besides, and had even been pelted with stones by servants who were attired as monks. The Emperor had promised them one more session, but had departed for Constantinople, and had commanded the opposition party, although excommunicated, to follow him to celebrate divine service and even to ordain (a new bishop for Constantinople). They, the Antiochene deputies, on the other hand, did not dare either to go to Constantinople or to return home. Of one mind with them were the bishops of Pontus, Asia, Thrace, Illyricum, and even of Italy, who would never approve of the teaching of Cyril, and had transmitted to the Emperor a writing of S. Ambrose which contradicted the new heresy (cf. p. 104). In conclusion, they pray that no bishop may be allowed to be ordained for Constantinople before a decision is arrived at as to the true faith.

The Emperor answered by a short decree addressed to the whole Synod of Ephesus,—that is, to both parties in common,—in which he laments that the discord still lasts, and commands all the members of the Synod to return home from Ephesus, and again to fill their episcopal sees. Only Cyril and Memnon are to remain deposed.

The Antiochene deputies now addressed their third memorial to the Emperor. “Such a result they had not expected, but their modesty had injured them. They had been so long detained at Chalcedon, and now they were sent home, while those who had thrown everything into confusion and divided the Church, exercised spiritual functions, celebrated divine service, held ordinations, and spent the property of the poor upon soldiers. And yet Theodosius was Emperor not for these only, but also for the Antiochenes, and the East was no small part of his kingdom. He should not despise the faith into which he had been baptized, for which so many martyrs had bled, through which he had overcome the barbarians, and of which he had now great need in the African war. God would protect him if he protected the faith, and did not allow the body of the Church to be rent. They further assure the Emperor that the party of Cyril repeat the errors of Apollinaris, Arius, and Eunomius, and discharge spiritual functions in a manner not permitted. The greatest part of the people, on the other hand, were still sound, and very anxious for the faith. If the Emperor, in spite of their adjuration, would not receive the true faith, then they shook the dust off their feet, crying, with Paul, ‘we are guiltless of your blood.’ ”

SEC. 149. The Ephesine Synod is dissolved

This, however, made no more impression than their previous efforts. On the contrary, the Emperor now placed himself still more decidedly than before upon the side of the orthodox; and after these had, in accordance with his command, ordained a new bishop for Constantinople in the person of Maximian, a priest of that Church, he put forth a new decree to the Synod of Ephesus, under which title he understands here no longer, as before, both parties, but only the assembly of the orthodox; but he does not treat even this in a quite friendly manner, and he does not conceal his displeasure at the miscarriage of his plans for unity. He says: “As you could not be induced to unite with the Autiochenes, and, moreover, would not join in any discussion of the points of difference, I command that the Oriental bishops return to their churches, and that the Ephesine Synod dissolve. Cyril, too, is to return to Alexandria (to his diocese), and Memnon shall remain bishop of Ephesus. At the same time we also give it to be known that, as long as we live, we shall not condemn the Orientals, for they have not been confuted in our presence, and no one would dispute with them. Moreover, if you wish for the peace of the Church (with the Orientals = Antiochenes), that is, if you will still come to an understanding with them at Ephesus, let me know this immediately; if not, then think of your return home. We are not to blame (that no unity was accomplished), but God knows who must share the blame.”

An addition to this imperial edict in the Synodicon notifies that Cyril, even before the arrival of this decree, had been released from his imprisonment, and had set out on his return to Alexandria. From the previously quoted sole communication from the orthodox side we learn farther, that Cyril arrived at Alexandria on the 3d of Athyr, that is, October 30, 431, and was received with great rejoicing. He was, besides, soon gladdened by a very friendly letter from the new bishop of Constantinople.

The Antiochene deputies do not seem to have been as quick as Cyril in returning home from Chalcedon. At least, after Cyril and Memnon had already been set at liberty, and the imperial edict of dissolution had appeared, they prepared a new statement—their third and last—to their friends, in which they refer to all that has taken place, and promise to make further efforts on behalf of Nestorius, if that be still in any way possible. Until now, however, they say, all their attempts have remained without result, for all here had been unfavourably affected by the very mention of the name of Nestorius. At the same time they mention how, in view of the fact that the party of Cyril had endeavoured to ensnare all by violence, flattery, and bribery, they had repeatedly petitioned the Emperor to dismiss them and the Synod from Ephesus. For a longer sojourn there was now entirely useless, since Cyril (the party of Cyril) steadily refused all conference. The Emperor had at last, after repeated admonitions, formed the resolution that all should return to their homes, but that Cyril and Memnon should retain their dignities. Now Cyril would be able to ensnare all by his presents, so that the guilty would return to his diocese, but the innocent would be shut up in the cloister.

Immediately before their actual departure from Chalcedon the Antiochenes again delivered discourses to the Nestorians who came over to them from Constantinople. Of two of these we still possess considerable fragments. In the first discourse, delivered by Theodoret of Cyrus, he complained that they, the Antiochenes, were prevented from going to Constantinople on account of their stedfastness to Christ, but that, instead, the heavenly Jerusalem was waiting for them. His hearers had crossed from Constantinople over the fearful waves of the Propontis (at Chalcedon the Bosporus opens into the Propontis) in order to hear his voice, because they believed that in it they could see a reflection of the voice of their pastor (Nestorius.). He then went on to praise Nestorius, and invoked woes upon his persecutors. No less pathetically did he proceed to speak on the expression of the orthodox, “God has suffered” (cf. § 153), for which he placed them far down below the heathen.

After Theodoret, the Patriarch John of Antioch took up the word, and of his discourse also we possess a fragment, in which he greets his hearers, and at the same time takes farewell of them, exhorts them to stedfastness in the faith, and assures them that from mere believers they have now become Confessores. For the rest they must not allow themselves to be misled into the notion that God was capable of suffering, for the natures (in Christ) were only united, not mingled. To that they must hold fast, and God would be with them.

SEC. 150. Slanders on Cyril and S. Pulcheria

We saw how the Antiochenes repeatedly accused Cyril and his friends of having brought about by bribery the remarkable revolution in the views and conduct of the court. The most important document on this subject is a letter from the centenarian Bishop Acacius of Berœa, of whom we have already heard, to Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis, who declares that he had heard from John of Antioch, Theodoret, and others, that the Emperor had at first been entirely on the side of the Antiochenes, but that Cyril had bribed the influential eunuch Scholasticus, of whom we have already heard (pp. 81 and 108, note
and many others. When he died the Emperor had discovered written proof among his effects that he had received many pounds of gold from Cyril. Paul, a brother’s son of Cyril’s, and an official at Constantinople, had arranged for these payments. The Emperor had therefore confirmed the deposition of Cyril and Memnon, but Cyril had escaped from prison at Ephesus, and the monks at Constantinople had, so to speak, compelled the Emperor to dissolve the Synod, and to fulfil their wishes (and among them the liberation of Cyril).

This report, which Acacius, as he declares himself, had only from hearsay, and which those who communicated it to him again could only have heard from others (they certainly did not venture to come to Constantinople), arouses at the very first glance certain doubts. We know that Scholasticus had, at an earlier period, been a patron of Nestorius, but that afterwards he inclined to the other side, and in consequence was very likely to become the spokesman of this side with the Emperor. It is also correct to say that, after the conclusion of the conferences at Chalcedon, Theodosius at first reaffirmed the deposition of Cyril and Memnon; but it is scarcely credible that, if he had discovered the bribery, and therefore had renewed the edict against Cyril and Memnon, he would so soon afterwards have again given to both complete liberty, and restored them to their dioceses. To this we must add, that the deputies of the Antiochenes, so long as they were at Chalcedon, and so in the immediate neighbourhood of Constantinople, had not said a single syllable respecting this discovery made at the death of Scholasticus, and yet the thing must have occurred before their departure from Chalcedon (cf. p. 111). And how gladly would they have rejoiced over such a thing if they had known it! Besides, it is not probable that Cyril would have been able and willing to escape from his imprisonment at Ephesus, or if he had actually done so, that the Emperor, instead of inflicting punishment, would have sent after him a decree granting him perfect liberty. Finally, it was not Scholasticus, but the Emperor’s sister, S. Pulcheria, as she relates, who was principally active against Nestorius, for which reason she was horribly slandered by his adherents. Nestorius, they said, had once accused her of an unlawful connection with her own brother, and therefore she had hated him so bitterly.

We will not directly deny that Cyril may at that time have offered gifts to Scholasticus and others, for that he afterwards made presents to the Empress Pulcheria, and to many other high personages, we are told by his own archdeacon and Syncellus Epiphanius, as we shall see more fully further on at sec. 156. But this must be judged of not by our customs and circumstances, but by those of the East, according to which no one is allowed to approach a superior without bringing a present with him, however just his cause may be. The making of presents is absolutely universal in the East, but these presents are not all bribes; very many are simply customary recommendations of a cause which, in itself, is thoroughly just. In reference to this custom of the East, the Protestant theologians, who in the 16th and 17th centuries laboured to bring about a union of the Greeks with the Protestants, had not the slightest hesitation in pleasing and conciliating the Greek prelates and dignitaries by presents. And the matter may be stated even more advantageously for Cyril. In any case, he only sought to gain friends and protectors for the ancient faith to which those who were the objects of his gifts entirely belonged, whereas those Protestant theologians endeavoured to draw away the Greek clergy from duties which they had sworn to observe.

Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com