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

SEC. 161. Synod at Riez in the year 439

A CONTESTED appointment to the episcopal see of Embrun (Ebredunum) gave occasion, in the year 439, for the Synod at Riez (Regium) in Provence (Synodus Regensis). As political metropolis of the Gallic province of Alpes Maritimæ, Embrun also laid claim to ecclesiastical metropolitan rights. But Archbishop Hilary of Arles, who endeavoured, at the expense of the metropolitans, to extend his primatial rights beyond measure (see below, § 165), treated Embrun as one of his suffragan sees, and when, in the year 438, without his concurrence, and certainly in an uncanonical manner, chiefly by lay influence, Armentarius was raised to the see of Embrun, and was consecrated by (only) two bishops, Hilary held, on the 29th of November 439, a Synod at Riez, at which, besides himself, twelve bishops and one representative priest were present from various political provinces of South-Eastern Gaul. The names of those present are found in the subscription of the acts. The canons are:—

1. “As the two bishops who consecrated Armentarius did so not from wickedness, but from ignorance, they shall not be excluded from Church communion, but in accordance with the decree of a Synod at Turin (A.D. 401, c. 3; see vol. ii. p. 427), they shall not, during the rest of their life, take part either in an ordination or at a council.

2. “The ordination of Armentarius is void (irrita), and a fresh appointment is to be made to the see of Embrun.

3. “In reference to the fact that the Nicene Council (canon 8) treats schismatics much more gently than heretics, it is allowed that a bishop who is so inclined may grant to Armentarius a church in his diocese (but outside the province Alpina Maritima) in qua aut chorepiscopi nomine … aut peregrina ut ajunt communione foveatur (that is, may receive support from the Church). But he must never offer the sacrifice in towns or in the absence of the bishop, or ordain any cleric, or, generally, discharge any episcopal function in the church which is granted to him. Only in his own church he may confirm (confirmare) the newly baptized.

4. “Of those whom he has ordained to be clerics, such as have already been excommunicated shall be deposed; but those who are of good reputation may either be retained by the future bishop of Embrun (Ingenuus) or transferred to Armentarius.

5. “Presbyters may give the benediction in families, in the field, and in private dwellings (but not in church), as is the practice in some provinces. Armentarius, however, may also give the benediction in churches, but only in country, not in town churches, and may bless virgins. He shall come after all the bishops and go before the priests.

6. “In order to prevent uncanonical ordinations for the future, when a bishop dies, only the bishop of the nearest diocese, and no other, shall be allowed to go into the bereaved city, in order to superintend the burial, and to guard against irregularities.

7. “After seven days he, too, must leave the city again, and no bishop is again to enter it, except at the command of the metropolitan.

8. “When the times are peaceable, in accordance with the ancient (Nicene) law, two Synods shall be held annually.”

These eight canons are found in the same form in all the ancient manuscripts, with one single exception, that of a codex of the Isidorian collection, belonging to the Church of Urgel, which omits the eighth canon and substitutes two others in its place. The first of these threatens with excommunication all who rise in rebellion against the Church and its leaders; the second, with canon 8, orders, although in other words, the holding of two provincial Synods in each year. Baluzius, who first edited these two canons, remarks correctly that this last canon is borrowed from the Synod of Antioch of the year 341. It is in fact almost verbally identical with its 20th canon.

SEC. 162. Synod at Orange, A.D. 441

A second Gallican Synod was held November 8, 441, in the church which is known as the Ecclesia Justinianensis or Justianensis, in the diocese of Orange. It is therefore called Justinianensis or Arausicana i., and as Orange lies in the south-east of France, and was subject to the Metropolitan of Arles, S. Hilary presided also on this occasion, and among the sixteen other bishops who were present we find several other members of the previous Synod. Moreover, the neighbouring province of Lyons was also represented by its Metropolitan, Eucherius, who at the same time subscribed in the name of all his suffragans. Occasion for the holding of this Synod was given, as its 29th canon shows, by the provision at Riez, which decided that the institution of provincial Synods should again be brought into action. The thirty canons which were passed by this Synod, and which became the subject of many learned and specially of canonistical controversies, are as follow:—

1. “If heretics in a mortal sickness wish to become Catholics, then in the absence of the bishop a priest may mark them with the chrism and benediction,” that is, may give them confirmation.

2. “Priests who are allowed to baptize should always be provided with the chrism. Anointing with the chrism we (in Gaul) will allow to be conferred only once; and if it has from any reason been omitted at baptism, this must be told to the bishop at confirmation. A repetition of the anointing has indeed, in itself, nothing against it, but is not necessary.”

This is probably the sense of this obscure canon, whose place in the text is not quite certain. Sirmond and Petrus Aurelius had a great controversy over it.

3. “When penitents fall ill, then the Communion, the Viaticum, shall be given to them without the reconciling laying on of hands (that is, solemn reconciliation). That alone is sufficient for the dying. If, however, they recover, they must again take their place in the order of penitents, and only after the performance of the proper works of penance receive the regular Communion (legitimam communionem), together with reconciling laying on of hands.”

Some understand by the Communion, which is here allowed to the dying, only the communio precum, but not the holy Eucharist. But they are certainly wrong. Cf. Frank, Die Bussdisciplin der Kirche, Mainz 1867, S. 736 and 905; Remi Ceillier, Histoire des auteurs sacrés, etc., t. xiii. p. 779. Something similar to this was before ordered by the Synod of Nicæa (canon 13) and the supposed fourth Synod of Carthage, A.D. 398 (canons 76–78); see vol. ii. p. 416 f.

4. “To clerics who request penance it is not to be denied.”

It is doubtful whether this canon speaks only of private or also of public penance. In ancient times, at least, it was held to be incompatible with the dignity of a spiritual person that he should do penance in public. It was thought preferable to depose him. So says Pope Siricius, about the year 390, in his letter to Himerius, c. 14: Pœnitentiam agere cuiquam non conceditur clericorum. The thirteenth Council of Toledo, on the contrary (can. 10), allows penance to the clergy without deposition, if they have not committed a capital crime. In a similar sense our canon is to be understood.

5. “If any one has taken refuge in a church he shall not be given up, but shall be sheltered from respect to the sacred place.”

6. “If any one has in this way lost a servant, he shall not take the servant of a clergyman as amends, under penalty of anathema.”

7. “If any one shall seek to deprive of liberty one who has been set free in the church, he shall suffer the ecclesiastical penalty.”

8. “A bishop shall not ordain the clergyman of another diocese unless he takes him to himself; and not in that case without having consulted the bishop in whose diocese he was formerly.”

9. “If any one has ordained men from another diocese, he must, if they are blameless, either employ them himself or obtain for them the forgiveness of their own bishop.”

10. “If a bishop founds a church in a strange diocese, with permission of its bishop, which it were besides sinful to refuse, the right to consecrate that church does not belong to him, but to the other bishop. In this church, moreover, he has not the right of institution, but only of presentation. If a layman has built a church, he must ask no other bishop but that of the diocese to consecrate it.”

11. “A bishop must have no communion with any one whom another bishop has excommunicated.”

12. “If any one becomes suddenly dumb, he may be admitted to baptism or penance, if he indicates his wish for it by signs.”

13. “To those who have lost their reason, all possible blessings of religion (quæcunque pietatis sunt) shall be granted” (i.e. prayer, baptism, the anointing of the sick; the holy Eucharist, however, was only given to those who had asked for it while they were in possession of reason).

14. “Persons possessed, who have already been baptized and have given themselves into the care and guidance of the clergy, may communicate, in order to strengthen themselves against the attacks of the evil spirit, or to purify themselves from them.” (Cf. c. 37 of the Synod of Elvira.)

15. “Persons possessed, who are only catechumens, may be baptized when it is necessary or suitable.”

16. “Those who have been once publicly possessed by a demon shall not be ordained. If such have been already ordained, they shall lose their office.”

17. “At the same time with the Capsa (Ciborium), the chalice is to be brought and is to be sanctified (consecrare) with a small portion of the Eucharist.”

The learned Remi Ceillier (l.c. p. 782) explains this obscure canon thus: In the ancient Church they had at each solemn mass a host consecrated at an earlier mass laid on the altar; and in the Roman Church at the very beginning of the mass, in the Gallican Church somewhat later, but before the consecration, the deacon brought forward this formerly consecrated host in a special vessel (Capsa). Our canon then requires that this custom shall be retained, and this Capsa shall be always placed upon the altar at the same time with the chalice, and further that a particle from this Capsa shall be thrown into the chalice. Instead of inferendus est calix, some codices read offerendus (it is to be offered), but the majority of manuscripts have inferendus. Finally, the sense of consecrare is explained by the words hæc commixtio et consecratio etc., which we still recite at the mixture of the host and chalice.

18. “The Gospel shall be read in the presence of the catechumens.”

19. “They shall not (before the time of their baptism) enter the baptistery.”

20. “At family devotions they shall not receive the benediction at the same time with the faithful, but shall separate themselves from the rest and remain separate for the benediction.”

21. “If two bishops have ordained a third in opposition to his will, they shall both be deposed, and he who has been thus ordained shall, if he is otherwise upright, receive one of the two sees thus vacated. If, however, they have consecrated him with his consent, he shall also be deposed” (in accordance with c. 4 of Nicæa).

22. “Married men shall not henceforth be ordained deacons, unless they have previously vowed chastity.”

23. “He who, after receiving ordination to the diaconate, shall have intercourse with his wife, shall be deposed.”

24. “Those, however, who, at an earlier period (before the passing of this law), were ordained deacons and have fallen back into married intercourse, are excepted from this punishment. But, in accordance with the decrees of the Synod of Turin (c. 8; see vol. ii. p. 427), they must not be advanced to higher dignity.”

25. “Persons twice married, in case they are received into the number of the clergy by reason of their upright conduct, shall not be advanced higher than to the subdiaconate.”

26. “Deaconesses shall no longer be ordained, and (in divine service) they shall receive the benediction only in common with the laity (not among those holding clerical offices).”

27. “The vow of widowhood must be made in presence of the bishop, in the secretarium, and is to be indicated by the widow’s dress which the bishop confers. If any one violates such widows, he shall be punished; and she herself, if she again leaves the condition of widow.”

28. “If any one breaks the vow of virginity, he is to suffer the ecclesiastical penalty.”

29. “That which is here decreed shall henceforth have validity. Those are blamed who have not appeared at the Synod, either personally or by representatives, and have despised the prescriptions of the Fathers, according to which two Synods ought to be held annually, which, however, at present is not perhaps possible. Every future Synod shall be announced at the previous one, and the next shall be held on the 18th of October next year (442) at Lucianum, also in the province of Orange. Those bishops who are not now present shall receive notice of it from Hilary.”

30. “If a bishop has become ill or feeble, or if he can no longer speak, he must not have his episcopal functions discharged by a priest in his presence, but shall invite a neighbouring bishop to assist him.”

Besides these thirty genuine canons, several other ordinances are ascribed to one Synod by Gratian (in the Corp. jur. can.) and others, which, however, have no authority. Mansi (l.c. p. 441 sqq.) has also printed them. They treat of excommunication, of the reception of the excommunicated, of the fast on Easter Eve, which, except in the case of children and the sick, was not to end before the beginning of the night; finally, of the fact that on Good Friday and Easter Eve the holy mysteries were not to be celebrated.

SEC. 163. First Synod at Vaison, A.D. 442

The Council which had been ordered by the twenty-ninth canon of the previous Synod to be held on October 18, 442, at Lucianum, took place not there, but at Vaison (Vasio), a neighbouring episcopal city (Concilium Vasense), on November 13, 442. The subscriptions to the Acts have been lost, and therefore we do not know what or how many bishops were present there, or who presided. Ado, archbishop of Vienne, in the ninth century, mentions his predecessor, Nectarius of Vienne, as president of this Synod; but it is hardly credible that such an honour should have been accorded in the ecclesiastical province of Arles to another metropolitan than that of Arles itself. The ten canons of Vaison are the following:—

1. “Gallic bishops, who travel in Gaul, need no special testimonial, as they are all neighbours of each other.”

2. “When people who, after undertaking penance, lead a good life in satisfactory penitence, and die unexpectedly without the communion in the field or on a journey, oblations shall be accepted for them, and their funeral and their memory shall be celebrated with ecclesiastical love. For it were wrong if the memory of those were excluded from the saving sacrifice who longed for those mysteries with a believing mind, and who, while they regarded themselves for a considerable time as unworthy of the holy mysteries on account of their sins, and longed to be readmitted to them when they had been purified more, suddenly died without the viaticum of the sacraments, when the priest perhaps had not refused them the absolutissima reconciliatio.” In distinction from the absoludissima reconciliatio, the reconciliatio minor consisted in reception into the fourth degree of penitence.

3. “Priests and deacons in the country shall shortly before Easter apply for the chrism, not to some favourite bishop, but to their own, and shall bring it away themselves, or at least by a sub-deacon, and by no one of lower rank.”

4. “If any one shall refuse to make over the pious bequests of the dead to the Church, he must be treated as an unbeliever.”

5. “If any one shall be unable to acquiesce in the judgment of his bishop, he shall have recourse to the Synod.”

6. “In accordance with a passage of the (pretended) letter of the Roman Clement to James, no one shall have intercourse with people of whom he knows that they are hostile to the bishop.”

7. “Bishops must not come forward as frivolous accusers (of their colleagues before the Synod). If a bishop believes (and proposes) that any one (i.e. a colleague) shall be excommunicated, and the other bishops make intercession that he shall (only) be reprimanded and otherwise punished, then he shall not further disturb the brother with reference to whom there is question, when punishment and warning are pronounced upon him. If, however, he believes that excommunication is necessary on account of his offences, then he shall formally appear as accuser, for it is reasonable that what is proved (certain) to one (himself) may also be proved to others.”

8. “If a bishop is the only one who knows of the offence of another (bishop), he shall not bring anything of the matter forward, so long as he can prove nothing, but shall endeavour to awaken penitence in the offender by private exhortations. If this is unavailing, and he becomes only more defiant, and mixes himself in public communion (as by taking part in the Synod), then, even if the accusing bishop can produce no proof, and he cannot be condemned by those who do not certainly know of his offence, yet he shall be required to withdraw for a time (apparently from the Synod) because a person of distinction has accused him. But so long as nothing is proved, he remains in Church communion with all, except him who knows of his guilt.”

I believe I have, in the previous somewhat free translation, rightly explained this most obscure and difficult canon, which was not generally understood. It is in contradiction with c. 5 (132) of the seventeenth Synod of Carthage, of the year 419. See vol. ii. p. 475.

9. “If any one has found a child which has been exposed, he shall, in accordance with the edict of the Emperors (Honorius and Theodosius II.), give notice of it to the Church, and on the following Sunday the minister (probably the subdeacon) shall announce at the altar that such a child has been found, and that it can be taken away within ten days. During these ten days the finder shall retain it, and shall for this receive his reward from men, or, if he prefers it, from God.”

The law of March 19, 412, adduced in this canon, printed in Mansi (t. vi. p. 458), assigns the foundling to the finder as his property, if witnesses declare that it has not been claimed, and the bishop signs this testimony.

10. “If any one, after the passing of this law, demands back a child thus acquired (passed over into the possession of a stranger), and slanders (the finder, as if he had stolen it), he shall be punished by the Church as a murderer.”

The child remained the property, the bondsman, of the finder.

SEC. 164. Second Synod of Arles, A.D. 443 or 452

Many learned men, particularly Peter de Marca, Baluzius, Quesnel in his edition of the works of Leo the Great (t. ii. Diss. v.), and Remi Ceillier (t. xiii. p. 786), assign to the year 443 that Synod of Arles which is ordinarily known as Arelatensis II., while that of the year 314 is regarded as the first, and that of 353 is not reckoned, as being Arian. Others, particularly Sirmond, Hardouin, and Mansi, refer it to the year 452; while some (e.g. Binius) think it should be fixed almost a hundred years earlier, because it speaks of apostasy from Christianity. The last reason is certainly not sufficient, for even in the middle of the fifth century, especially in the provinces possessed by the barbarians, apostasy might frequently take place. Whether, however, we are to prefer 443 or 452, even the industry and acumen of Tillemont have not been able to decide.

The explanation of the last canon of this Synod of Arles, which gives instructions to the metropolitans (in the majority), leaves us to suppose that it was not a mere provincial council, but included bishops from several provinces. Their names have not come down to us; probably, however, S. Hilary of Arles presided, especially as the assembly took place at the capital of his province. It promulgated fifty-six canons, of which many are merely repetitions of ordinances of earlier Synods, particularly of those of Orange and Vaison, of the first of Arles, and of Nicæa. Their contents are as follow:—

1. “A neophyte must not be ordained a priest or deacon.”

2. “A married man is not to be made a priest unless his conversion (i.e. vow of chastity) has preceded.”

3. “Under penalty of excommunication, no cleric, from a deacon upwards, shall have a woman in his house, except his grandmother, mother, daughter, niece, or his own wife, but after she too has taken the vow of chastity. The like punishment with himself shall the woman also receive if she will not separate from him.”

4. “No deacon, priest, or bishop shall allow a girl to enter his chamber, whether a free woman or a slave.”

5. “Without the metropolitan, or his written permission, and (vel = et) without their comprovincial bishops no bishop is to be consecrated. The others (comprovincials) shall be requested to give their adhesion in writing. If a controversy arise respecting the election of a bishop, the metropolitan shall agree with the majority.”

Compare the more ancient ordinances on the election and consecration of a bishop in vol. i. pp. 195, 381, 385 f.; vol. ii. pp. 72, 73, 130, 307.

6. “If any one is consecrated without the consent of the metropolitan, in accordance with the previous ordinance of the great Synod, he cannot be a bishop.”

Cf. the sixth canon of Nicæa, vol. i. p. 388 ff.

7. “Those who mutilate themselves, because otherwise they are unable to resist the flesh, cannot be made clerics.”

Cf. vol. i. p. 376 f. and p. 466.

8. “If any one is excommunicated by a bishop, he must not be received by another.”

Cf. vol. i. pp. 193 f., 196, 386 f., 462 f., 471; vol. ii. pp. 68, 147 f.

9. “A Novatian must not be received, unless he has shown a spirit of penitence and has condemned his error.”

Cf. vol. i. p. 409 f.

10. “In reference to those who have shown themselves weak in persecution, the (eleventh) Nicene canon (which is cited here according to the translation of Rufinus) shall be observed.”

11. “Those who have been constrained by tortures to apostatize, shall spend two years among the audientes, and three years among the penitents (third grade).”

Cf. vol. i. p. 205.

12. “If any one dies during his time of penitence, his oblation shall be accepted (oblatio illius suscipiatur).”

See above, c. 2 of Vaison, p. 165.

13. “No cleric shall, under penalty of excommunication (here and frequently = deposition), leave his church. If, while he is staying elsewhere, he is ordained by the bishop of that place without the consent of his own, this ordination is invalid.”

Cf. Kober, Deposition etc.

14. “If a cleric lends money on usury, or rents another’s property, or for the sake of unclean gain carries on any business, he must be deposed and excommunicated” (depositus a clero communione alienus fiat).

15. “A deacon may not sit in the secretarium among the priests; and if a priest is present, he must not administer the body of Christ, under penalty of deposition.”

Cf. vol. i. p. 426 f.

16. “The Photinians or Paulinians (adherents of Photinus of Sirmium and Paul of Samosata) must, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Fathers, be rebaptized.”

Cf. vol. i. p. 430, vol. ii. p. 302.

17. “The Bonosians (= Antidicomarianites), however, because, like the Arians, they baptize in the name of the Trinity, shall be taken into the Church by merely receiving the chrism and the imposition of hands.”

18. “Synods are to be summoned according to the discretion of the Bishop of Arles, in which city (Arles), in the time of S. Marinus (Archbishop of Arles), a council of bishops from all parts of the world, especially from Gaul, was celebrated (namely, the first Synod of Arles in the year 314). Whoever is, through weak health, unable to come himself, shall send a representative.”

19. “If any one fails to come, or of his own accord leaves before the termination of the Synod, he will be excluded a fratrum communione, and can be taken back into communion only by the next Synod.”

On the meaning of excommunication in this case, cf. vol. ii. p. 424, c. 11, and c. 20 of Chalcedon, c. 6 of Tarragona, A.D. 516. Kober, Kirchenbann etc., S. 43.

20. “Horse and carriage drivers (agitatores) and actors, as long as they continue in that manner of life are excommunicated.”

Cf. canons 4 and 5 of the first Synod of Arles, A.D. 314, vol. i. p. 186 f.

21. “If a female penitent after the death of her husband marries another, or enters into suspicious intercourse with him, she shall be excommunicated, along with her fellow-offender. So with the man who has been a penitent.”

The reference here may be either to penitence in the proper sense, or to the vow of asceticism, which was also called pœnitentia (cf. Du Cange, Glossar., and under c. 15 of the Synod of Agde, A.D. 506). One who had undertaken pœnitentia in the latter sense could of course no longer marry; but also during the time of penitence in the ordinary sense, no one was allowed to marry, and those who were married had no sexual intercourse. This enables us to understand also the following canon.

22. “Married persons can be admitted to penitence only with the permission of the other partner.”

23. “A bishop must not permit unbelievers in his diocese to light torches or trees in honour of fountains or rocks. If he fails to prevent this, he has made himself guilty of sacrilege. The proprietor of the place, moreover, who permits such in defiance of warning given, shall be excommunicated.”

24. “If any one falsely imputes a capital crime to another, he shall be excommunicated to the end of his life, as the great Synod (the first of Arles, canon 14) ordains, unless he has done penance by sufficient satisfaction.”

25. “If any one, after taking a monastic vow, apostatizes (from the monastic state), and returns again into the world, he cannot, without penance, be received to communion, and cannot become a cleric.”

Canons 26 to 46 inclusive = canons 1 to 26 of the first Synod of Orange. See above, p. 160.

Canons 47 and 48 = canons 4 and 5 of Synod of Vaison. See above, p. 166.

49. “The excommunicated is excluded not only from intercourse and conversation with the clergy, but also from that of the laity, until he reforms.”

50. “Those who have public enmity towards each other, must not be present at divine service, until they are reconciled.”

51 = 9 and 10 of the Synod of Vaison in reference to children exposed. See above, p. 167.

52. “If virgins who have devoted themselves to God still marry after their twenty-fifth year, they shall, with those who have married them, be deprived of communion, but shall be admitted to penance when they wish it. Communion consequent upon this penance shall not be administered to them for some time.”

53. “If a slave commits suicide, no reproach shall fall upon his master.”

54. “If a bishop is to be elected, three candidates shall be named by the comprovincial bishops, with exclusion of all bribery and all ambition, and of these three the clergy and (vel) citizens of the city may choose one.”

On vel = et, see p. 168, canon 5.

55. “If a layman, out of love for a religious life, has betaken himself to the bishop of another diocese, this bishop, after having instructed him, shall retain him.”

56. “The metropolitans shall violate no ordinance of the great Synod.”

In canon 6 the Council of Nicæa is called magna Synodus, while in canon 24 this name is given to the first of Arles. In this place, however, it is certainly the present second Synod of Arles which is meant, and it is all Synods like the present which are referred to in canons 18 and 19.

SEC. 165. Synods at Rome and Besançon, A.D. 444 and 445

In the first days of the year 444, or shortly before, a sect of new Manichæans, probably Priscillianists, was discovered in the city of Rome. Pope Leo the Great on this account held, probably in January 444, a great assembly of bishops, clergy, senators, and other distinguished laymen, in order to expose the indecencies and excesses of this sect. Their own bishop and other leading persons presented a complete confession, and Leo had a minute of the proceedings drawn up, which he sent abroad in all directions. We see this from his sixteenth discourse, and from his seventh letter, which is dated on January 30, 444. The Acts of this Synod have not come down to us.

In the same year, 444, Archbishop Hilary of Arles held a Gallican Synod. It is well known that Hilary was endeavouring to obtain for his see the primacy over the whole of Gaul, and for this purpose made many encroachments upon other provinces. In particular, he claimed the right that all the bishops [of Gaul] should be consecrated by him, and not by their own metropolitans. An encroachment of another kind is mentioned in the already quoted letter of Pope Leo the Great, and in the Vita Hilarii by Honoratus Massiliensis, according to which Hilary, at a Gallican Synod, probably at Besançon (Synodus Vesontionensis), pronounced the deposition of Celidonius, the bishop of that city, although he belonged to another province, because, while yet a layman, he had married a widow. Of the other members of this Synod only S. Germanus of Auxerre is known to us, who is mentioned by the biographer of Hilary (l.c.). Celidonius, however, refused to recognize the sentence of the Synod, and went to Rome in order to seek for protection and assistance from Pope Leo. Hilary followed directly afterwards, in order by his personal presence to secure a fair consideration of the case. Pope Leo thereupon, as it appears, held in the year 445 a Synod at Rome (Concilium Sacerdotum), where Hilary was required to bring forward his proofs against Celidonius; but he could not show that the wife of Celidonius had really been a widow, and that to which he appealed did not consist of facts, but of secrets of conscience. Probably he intended to maintain that the woman in question, before she married Celidonius, had privately known another man. The consequence was, that Pope Leo declared the sentence of the Gallic Synod invalid, and restored Celidonius to his bishopric.

SEC. 166. Three Oriental Synods at Ephesus, at Antioch, and in the province of Hierapolis

Bishop Bassianus of Ephesus, in the eleventh session of the fourth Œcumenical Synod at Chalcedon, refers to a provincial Council at Ephesus, which must have taken place between the fortieth and fiftieth years of the fifth century. He relates here: “From his youth up he had assisted the poor, and at Ephesus he had, at his own expense, erected a poorhouse, with seventy beds. As he had thereby gained universal love, his bishop, Memnon, had become jealous, and had (in accordance with the saying promoveatur ut amoveatur) consecrated him bishop of Evazæ against his will, by the application of physical force to such a degree that blood had flowed. He had, however, never entered that diocese, or accepted that office. After the death of Memnon, his successor, Archbishop Basil, had summoned a provincial Council to Ephesus, and had there acknowledged that violence had been done to Bassianus, and ordained a new bishop for Evazæ.” It is of this provincial Synod that we have now briefly to treat. None of its Acts have come down to us. The further destinies of Bassian, however, particularly how he afterwards himself became Archbishop of Ephesus, and was subsequently deposed, we shall hear in the history of the fourth Œcumenical Council.

In the minutes of the fourteenth session, we find a document which mentions a Synod at Antioch in A.D. 445. This Synod was held, in the portico of the summer Secretarium, at Antioch by Archbishop Domnus, the successor of that John who was so well known in the Nestorian controversy. Many metropolitans and other bishops, altogether twenty-eight, were present. Athanasius, bishop of Perrha, in the province Euphratensis, had several years before been accused by his own clergy, before the Patriarch Domnus of Antioch, on account of various offences, particularly because he had appropriated to himself some silver pillars which belonged to the Church. Domnus commissioned the metropolitan of Athanasius, Archbishop Panolbius of Hierapolis (the successor of the Nestorian Alexander), to inquire into the matter; but instead of appearing for trial, Athanasius resigned his bishopric. Because, however, Panolbius did not immediately ordain a new bishop for Perrha, Athanasius in a short time, of his own accord, resumed his see, and brought it about that, at the intercession of S. Cyril and of Proclus of Constantinople, the Emperor commissioned the Patriarch Domnus himself to examine the matter in dispute. This was done at the Synod of Antioch, A.D. 445. Athanasius, however, did not appear, and was deposed. At the same time the Synod commanded that a new bishop should be ordained for Perrha. This command was obeyed a short time afterwards by a Syrian Synod in the province of Hierapolis (in Syria, not in Phrygia, as Walch erroneously suggests), and Sabinian, hitherto abbot of a monastery, was elected, as we also learn from the Acts of the fourteenth session of Chalcedon. It is indeed not expressly spoken of there as a Synod, but it is said that the Metropolitan of Hierapolis and his comprovincial bishops had appointed Sabinian bishop of Perrha. This implies a provincial Synod. It is generally assumed that it took place in Hierapolis itself; but Sabinian says (l.c.) that the metropolitan and the comprovincial bishops had come to him, that is, into his monastery, and thus the electing Synod was certainly held in the city in which Sabinian lived as a monk—perhaps in Perrha itself. In the history of the Council of Chalcedon we shall again meet with the three Synods mentioned in this section.

SEC. 167. Spanish Synods, on account of the Priscillianists, in the years 446, 447

The sending forth of the Acts of the above-named Roman Council (p. 171) caused fresh attention to be directed to the Priscillians in Spain also, which led to the holding of several Synods on their account, particularly that at Astorga (Astorica), in the north-west of Spain, A.D. 446, which is mentioned only by Idacius in his Chronicle, p. 26. Nothing further is known of it, and the suggestions which have been made are uncertain. The letter of Bishop Turibius of Astorga to Pope Leo the Great allows us to suppose that he had held the Synod simply because of his zeal to uncloak the Priscillianists. Pope Leo, however, in his answer, stirred up Turibius to new activity, and thus led to the holding of two other larger Spanish Synods, of which the one was held probably at Toledo, A.D. 447, the other a little later in the province of Galicia, in municipio Celenensi. Pope Leo had desired that an Œcumenical Spanish Synod should be held, but the political relations made this impossible, as Spain was under various rulers, and these ordered that instead of a national Synod, two or three particular Synods should be held.

At the first (of Toledo) there were present the bishops of Hispania Tarraconensis and Carthaginiensis, of Lusitania, and Bætica, and a creed and eighteen anathematisms are ascribed to this Synod. The documents relating to it are given in the collections after the Acts of the Synod of Toledo of the year 400. In the creed in question for the first time the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was expressed, and it was said of the Holy Ghost a patre FILIOQUE procedens: then the doctrine of the two natures in the one person of Christ was sharply defined, although without the exactness of Chalcedon, and then it proceeded: “And the body of Christ is no imaginary one, no phantom, but a real and true one (solidum atque verum): He (hunc = Christ) felt hunger, and thirst, and pain, and wept, and bore all bodily trials, was at last crucified by the Jews, on the third day rose again, afterwards conversed with His disciples, and on the fortieth day after His resurrection ascended into heaven. This Son of man is also called Son of God; and Him who is Son of God, the Lord, we call Son of man. We believe that a resurrection of human flesh will take place, and we teach that the human soul is not a divine substance or like to God, but a creature made by the divine will.”

To this are added the following eighteen anathematisms in opposition to the errors of the Priscillianists:—

1. “If any one says or believes that this world and its constitution is not created by Almighty God, let him be anathema.”

2. “If any one says or believes that the Father is the same as the Son and the. Paraclete, let him be anathema.”

3. “If any one says or believes that the Son of God is the same as the Father and the Paraclete, let him be anathema.”

4. “If any one says or believes that the Paraclete is the Father or the Son, let him be anathema.”

5. “If any one says or believes that the Son of God has assumed flesh only, and not a soul also, let him be anathema.”

6. “If any one says or believes that Christ is innascibilis, let him be anathema.”

7. “If any one says or believes that the Godhead of Christ is susceptible of change or of suffering, let him be anathema.”

8. “If any one says or believes that the God of the old covenant is another than that of the Gospels, let him be anathema.”

9. “If any one says or believes that the world is made by another God than by Him of whom it is written: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, let him be anathema.”

10. “If any one says or believes that men’s bodies will not arise after death, let him be anathema.”

11. “If any one says or believes that the human soul is a part of God, or of the substance of God, let him be anathema.”

12. “If any one says or believes that, besides the Scriptures which the Catholic Church receives, there are others which are to be regarded as authoritative (in auctoritate habendas), or to be reverenced, let him be anathema.”

13. “If any one says or believes that there is only one nature of the Godhead and manhood in Christ, let him be anathema.”

14. “If any one says or believes that there is anything which can extend beyond the divine Trinity, let him be anathema.”

15. “If any one thinks that credit should be given to astrology or Mathesis, let him be anathema.”

16. “If any one says that marriages which are permitted by the divine law are abominable (execrabilia), let him be anathema.”

17. “If any one says that we should not merely abstain from the flesh of birds and beasts for the sake of chastening the body, but that we should abominate them (execrandas esse carnes), let him be anathema.”

18. “Whoever follows in these heresies of the sect of Priscillian, or confesses them, or in holy baptism does anything in opposition to the see of Peter, let him be anathema.”

SEC. 168. Synods in Gaul, in Britain, and in Rome, A.D. 447

A French and an English Synod with reference to Pelagianism are generally assigned to the years 446, 447. On account of the wide spread of the Pelagians in England, the British bishops, a short time before the invasion of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons, summoned the French bishops to their, assistance. The latter held a Synod, but where is unknown, and then sent two of their number, S. Germanus of Auxerre, and S. Lupus of Troyes, to England. These held a Synod here also, probably at St. Albans (Verulam), at which Pelagius and his disciple Agricola were subjected to anathema, and the Pelagians declared themselves defeated. This is asserted by the ancient biographer of S. Germanus, the priest Constantius, by Prosper in his Chronicle, ad ann. 429, and by the Venerable Bede. But Pagi, even in his time, suggested doubts as to the chronology, and assigned both the Synods to the year 429. And the same opinion is maintained by Greith (Bishop of S. Gallen) in his history of the ancient Irish Church.

A Roman Synod of the year 447, under Pope Leo the Great, on the complaints of some Sicilian bishops, issued good decrees in order to make the spending of the property of the Church by careless bishops impossible.

SEC. 169. Synod at Antioch, A.D. 447 or 448. Two Assemblies at Berytus and Tyre

After the death of Bishop Rabulas, as we saw above, p. 155, his chief opponent, Ibas, the well-known admirer of Theodore of Mopsuestia, became his successor in the see of Edessa. After some time, four clerics of the city, Samuel, Cyrus, Maras, and Eulogius, brought forward complaints against the new bishop, asserting that he was endeavouring to circulate the writings of Theodore, and thereby erroneous doctrines, and also to make the division again wider between the Orientals and the Alexandrians. They presented these accusations to Archbishop Domnus of Antioch, and he relieved them at once, as Easter was near, from the excommunication which Ibas had pronounced upon them; the full decision, however, was reserved for a great Synod, which he intended to hold at Antioch after Easter 447 or 448. He forbade the four accusers, under threats of severe punishments, to remove from Antioch before the matter was brought on for consideration. At the numerously attended Synod, which now actually took place after Easter, the accusations against Ibas were read; but as two of the accusers, Samuel and Cyrus, were no longer present, the matter was no further proceeded with, and these two men were excommunicated. They had already departed for Constantinople, in order to forward the case more effectually, and thither they were followed by the two other accusers, with their patron, Bishop Uranius of Himeria, a friend of Eutyches. They now brought their complaints before the Emperor, Theodosius II., and Flavian, the new Patriarch of Constantinople.

The Archimandrite Eutyches, the extreme opponent of Nestorius, and therefore also of Theodore of Mopsuestia and of Ibas, supported them; and Archbishop Flavian, too, seems not to have been unfavourable to them, and to have quashed the sentence of the Synod of Antioch, although his doing so was contrary to the canons of the Church. They specially represented to the Emperor and the Patriarch that Domnus of Antioch was a friend of Ibas, and therefore not an impartial judge, and succeeded in getting the Emperor to issue a commission to the before-named Bishop Uranius and the two bishops, Photius of Tyre and Eustathius of Berytus, to examine the matter afresh, and to add to this commission the tribune and notary Damascius. So Archbishop Flavian strengthened the commission by his deacon Eulogius. The accusers and the accused were required to appear before the commission; and the former brought forward accusations not only against Ibas, but against his cousin, the young Bishop Daniel of Carræ, and against John, Bishop of Theodosiople. They accused Ibas not only of heretical expressions and views, but also of other faults, particularly of squandering the property of the Church, and of nepotism, since he had ordained as bishop the unworthy and dissolute son of his brother, the Daniel just mentioned, although he was never at home, but was always staying at Edessa from love to a married woman of that city, thus causing great scandal, while he enriched his mistress from the property of the Church. The commission held two sittings (not proper Synods), one at Tyre, the other at Berytus. The question as to which of the two was the earlier can no longer be answered with absolute certainty. According to the very improbable chronological statements in the documents relating to them, the session at Tyre was held in February, that at Berytus on the 1st of September in the same year (448 or 449). But, to begin with, the date “September 1” is decidedly incorrect, since the clergy of Edessa, in the memorial which they addressed to the meeting at Berytus in favour of Ibas, express the wish that he may be allowed to return home before the next Easter. Besides, the Acts of Tyre, so to speak, naturally presuppose those of Berytus, since only in the latter are the accusations brought forward; while in Tyre the commissioners abandoned their position as judges in the proper sense of the word, and instead proposed to act as peacemakers, and actually were so. The Acts on the proceedings at Berytus, therefore, are inconclusive, and lead to no result, and for this reason, that the peacemaking at Tyre was the second Act of the whole proceedings, and a continuation of the sitting at Berytus. This was noted already by Tillemont and Walch, who altered the date of the meeting at Berytus from Kal. Septbr. to Kal. Februarias. On the other hand, Pagi, Noris, Baronius, and Mansi place the meeting at Tyre before that at Berytus, and think that, after the inhabitants of Tyre had been greatly offended by an insolent speech of Ibas concerning Christ (that He had only become God), it had been thought well to remove the meeting to Berytus.

As far as I can judge, absolute certainty is no longer obtainable on this point, but the evidence favours the priority of the meeting at Berytus. Besides what has already been mentioned, the following should be considered: At Berytus, Bishop Uranius, the patron of the accusers, mentioned that he had already been present at the examination of this question at Constantinople and at Antioch. As he was also present at Tyre, if the meeting there had been past, he would certainly have said: “I was present at Constantinople, Antioch, and Tyre.” It is also impossible to decide whether the meetings at Berytus and Tyre took place in the year 448 or in 449. The expression of the Acts: Post consulatum Flavii Zenonis et Postumiani, is taken by some of the learned as identical with sub consulatu etc., and in that case the year 448 would be indicated. Others, however, interpret the word post quite strictly, and decide, therefore, for the year 449. On the contents and details of the proceedings at Berytus and Tyre, we need not speak more fully until we come to consider the history of the ninth and tenth sessions of Chalcedon.








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