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

SEC. 258. Origin of the Controversy of the Three Chapters

IN order to divert the Emperor Justinian and also, as Evagrius adds (iv. 37), the theologians of that period from the persecution of the Origenists, Theodore Ascidas, archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, of whom we have already heard, stirred up the controversy of the three chapters. Although a leader of the Origenists at that time, yet in order that he might not lose his position and influence at Court, where he resided almost continually, he had assented to the rejection of Origen; but self-preservation now bid him give a different direction to the Emperor’s passion for dogmatising. When Justinian was occupied with the notion of drawing up an extensive document with the view of reuniting the Acephali, a sect of the Monophysites, to the Church (see vol. iii. sec. 208), Ascidas, together with some friends, represented to him that there was a much shorter and surer way to that end, and it might spare him the trouble of a lengthy treatise, if he would only pronounce an anathema on Theodore of Mopsuestia and his writings, on the letter of Bishop Ibas of Edessa to the Persian Maris, and, finally, on those writings of Theodoret which had been put forth in defence of Nestorius and against Cyril and the Synod of Ephesus. This suggestion, which, as Liberatus indicates (l.c.), was supported by the Empress Theodora, who had Monophysite tendencies, was not without favouring circumstances, for, in fact, the Severians had declared, in the religious conference, A.D. 533 (see vol. iii. sec. 208, and above, sec. 246), that one of the reasons why they could not accept the Council of Chalcedon was that Ibas and Theodoret were there declared to be orthodox. The Emperor entered into the proposal and issued an edict, in which he pronounced the threefold anathema required, and thus provoked the controversy of the three chapters.

By κεφάλαια, Capitula, were generally understood some propositions drawn up in the form of anathematisms, which threatened with excommunication everyone who maintained this or that. Thus the twelve well-known anathematisms of Cyril were constantly entitled his twelve κεφάλαια. Similar κεφάλαια were also contained in the edict which the Emperor Justinian now issued. We see this partly from the few fragments of it still extant (see below in this section), and also from a quite similar later edict, the ὁμολογία πίστεως Ἰουστιανοῦ αὐτοκράτορος κατὰ τριῶν κεφαλαίων (see below). In the latter he says: “He wishes to draw up only a few κεφάλαια in the interest of the orthodox faith,” and among these the most interesting are κεφάλαια 12 to 14, as follows: “Whoever defends Theodore of Mopsuestia … let him be anathema”; “Whoever defends certain writings of Theodore … let him be anathema”; and “Whoever defends the impious letter written by Ibas … let him be anathema.” Three κεφάλαια quite similar to these seem to have been contained in the first edict of the Emperor (on this subject), which is now lost; and we see from this in what sense the expression “τρία κεφάλαια” or “three chapters,” was originally to be understood. To be exact, we should have to say: “Whoever obeys the imperial edict, subscribes the τρία κεφάλαια; whoever does not, rejects them”; but the expression did not attain to this form; but rather by the τρία κεφάλαια quite generally, not those three propositions, but the persons and writings designated in them; and when we meet with the expression τρία κεφάλαια, or tria capitula, in the later imperial edicts, in the minutes of the fifth Œcumenical Synod, in papal and other letters, we understand by this: (1) the person and writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia; (2) the writings of Theodoret for Nestorius and against Cyril and the Synod of Ephesus; and (3) the letter of Ibas to the Persian Maris. The fifth Œcumenical Synod, in its closing sentence, thus declares: “Prædicta igitur tria capitula anathematisamus, id est, Theodorum impium Mopsuestenum cum nefandis ejus conscriptis, et quæ impie Theodoritus conscripsit, et impiam epistolam, quæ dicitur Ibæ.” To a similar effect the Emperor Justinian expresses himself in that decree which was read at the first session of the fifth Council: “That he had consulted the bishops respecting the impia tria capitula, and that these impia tria capitula were nevertheless by many defended.” In the letter of Pope Vigilius to Bishop Eutychius of Constantinople, in which he gave his approval to the fifth Œcumenical Council, we read: τὰ προειρημένα τοίνυν τρία ἀσεβῆ κεφάλαια ἀναθεματίζομεν καὶ κατακρίνομεν, τοῦτεστι τὸν ἀσεβῆ θεόδωρον, κ.τ.λ. Facundus, bishop of Hermiane, in Africa, a contemporary of these events and a zealous opponent of the imperial edict, named his extensive treatise in defence of Theodore, etc., Libri xii. pro defensione trium capitulorum; and Liberatus (l.c.) relates that the Emperor had demanded the damnatio trium capitulorum. Thus by tria capitula are generally understood, not the three propositions of the imperial edict, but the well-known three points, Theodore and his writings, some writings of Theodoret, and the letter of Ibas. Only in the ὁμολογία of the Emperor, and probably in his first edict, was the original meaning of the κεφάλαια maintained. In the present superscription, probably not original, of the work of Facundus, as in the Chronicle of S. Isidore of Seville, we meet with the expression, tria Chalcedonensis concilii capitula; and this has been translated by several scholars as “three decrees of the Council of Chalcedon”; others, with greater probability, “three questions which were discussed in that Synod.” But, in the first place, whilst at Chalcedon there were discussions on Ibas and Theodoret, there were none respecting Theodore of Mopsuestia, nor was any decree on him put forth. Besides, no decrees of Chalcedon were ever put forth with the predicate impia capitula, or ἀσεβῆ κεφάλαια. That this statement and translation is not admissible is finally shown by this, that the Emperor Justinian, Pope Vigilius, and all who rejected the three chapters, expressly declared that they had not in the least impugned the decrees of Chalcedon.

How it was, however, that these three chapters could become the subject of a violent controversy, will be understood when we consider more closely the three men around whose persons or writings the controversy was carried on. We have already seen (vol. iii. sec. 127) that Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia, formerly a priest at Antioch, was the head of that Syrian theological school which, in opposition to Apollinarianism, endeavoured to hold fast, in a new way, the truth of each of the two natures of Christ. The ecclesiastical term “Incarnation of God” appeared to him dangerous, as though it taught a change of God the Word into a man; and for this reason he wished to recognise only an indwelling or ἐνοίκησις of the Word in a man, and thereby divided the one Christ into two, into the man and the dwelling in Him, or, into the temple and the God who dwelt in it. Thus Theodore of Mopsuestia was the real father of that heresy which received its name from one of his disciples, Nestorius. Theodore had died before the Nestorian controversy broke out (A.D. 428), and this is undoubtedly the reason why the third Œcumenical Synod at Ephesus condemned Nestorius, and made no reference to Theodore of Mopsuestia (see vol. iii. sec. 134). In the same way his writings were spared, when the Emperor Theodosius II. had those of Nestorius burnt. Taking advantage of this circumstance, the confessed and secret Nestorians hastened to circulate the books of Theodore and those of the still earlier Diodorus of Tarsus, his master, and to translate them into Syriac, Armenian, and Persian. The principal seat of this movement was Edessa in Mesopotamia, in consequence of which, in the year 435, the bishop of this city, Nabulas, felt himself obliged to point out Theodore of Mopsuestia publicly as the real father of the Nestorian heresy, and to draw the attention of all his colleagues to this fact. Several of these were of a different view, and ascribed the action of Nabulas to personal resentment. The great Cyril of Alexandria, on the contrary, and the celebrated Proclus of Constantinople, recognised the correctness of the contention of Nabulas, and issued memorials warning against the errors of the Mopsuestian. They demanded an anathema to be pronounced upon him; and Cyril turned to the Emperor for this purpose.

Along with these orthodox opponents of Theodore, however, there appeared also, at the same time, monks and Armenians of Monophysite tendencies as accusers, and pointed out many orthodox statements of his as heresies. This caused Cyril and Proclus on the other side to defend the Mopsuestian, and to abstain from the demand for an anathema. Theodosius II. also issued an edict to the effect that the peace of the Church should be maintained, and that it should not be allowed that men who had died in the communion of the Catholic Church should be blackened (see vol. iii. sec. 160). Thus, for the time, the controversy was kept under, but not settled, and was therefore sure to break out again on the first opportunity. It was natural that the Monophysites should come forward from the beginning as violent opponents of the Nestorian Theodore. Even Eutyches had accused him and Diodorus of Tarsus of heresy (see vol. iii. sec. 171), whilst the Nestorians honoured the Mopsuestian as one of the greatest teachers, and do so to this day. The judgments of the orthodox theologians were doubtful. On the one side, they could not deny the relationship between Theodore and Nestorianism; on the other hand, however, they would not go against what had been done by Cyril and the Emperor Theodosius II. and the fourth Œcumenical Synod of Chalcedon let it pass, without any remark in the way of correction, when, at their tenth session, that passage from the letter of Ibas was read, in which he said: “The tyrant of Edessa (Bishop Nabulas), under the pretext of religion, has persecuted even the dead, e.g. the late Theodore (of Mopsuestia), this herald of the truth and teacher of the Church,” and so forth (see sec. 196 in vol. iii.). When the Emperor Justinian, a hundred years afterwards, demanded an anathema upon the person and writings of Theodore, the one party might regard this as well founded, whilst the other could think it was wrong at so late a period to anathematise a bishop who had died in Church communion more than a hundred years ago; besides that, the reputation of the Council of Chalcedon must in that way suffer.

The second man about whom the controversy of the three chapters turned was Theodoret, the learned bishop of Cyrus in Syria, already so often mentioned. He had also been a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia; and if he did not go so far as he did, yet he had, in former times, frequently maintained that, by the doctrine of Cyril and Ephesus, the natures in Christ are mingled. With peculiar violence he had in particular opposed the anathematisms of Cyril as Apollinarian (sec. 132 in vol. iii.). At the third Œcumenical Synod at Ephesus he appeared in company with his patriarch, John of Antioch, and he was one of the most zealous members of the Conciliabulum which opposed the Ephesine Synod and decreed the deposition of Cyril and Memnon (sec. 135). For this reason he was, like others, excommunicated until he should amend (sec. 139). When the Emperor summoned deputies of both parties, as well of the Ephesine Synod as of the Antiochene faction, Theodoret was among the latter, came in this capacity to Chalcedon, distinguished himself here also by his polemic against Cyril, and would know nothing at all of Church communion with him. He was pained by the Emperor taking the orthodox envoys with him to Constantinople, whilst the Antiochenes were obliged to remain at Chalcedon; and still endeavoured by speeches, letters, etc., to labour for what he thought the true doctrine, and cried “Woe” over the persecutors of Nestorius (secs. 145, 147, 148, 149).

After his departure from Chalcedon we meet with him again active against Cyril at Synods and by writings (secs. 151, 152); soon, however, the explanation of Cyril, that he taught no mingling of the natures, gave him great satisfaction (sec 153). That he was not really a Nestorian he showed by his offer to anathematise all who separate the one Lord into two Sons, as well as by his endeavouring to gain over other Oriental bishops for the restoration of Church unity. When the union between Cyril and John of Antioch was actually effected, Theodoret was in agreement with the dogmatic part of the document of union, but would not at all consent with the anathematising of Nestorius, which was contained in it, as he held his friend to be innocent in the principal matter, and considered him to be misunderstood (secs. 158, 159). He took, therefore, for some time a middle position between the decided friends and the complete opponents of the union, went, therefore, temporarily with his Patriarch John, became reconciled again after a conference with him, and entered into the union, after John had allowed that anyone who was unwilling need not subscribe the deposition of Nestorius (sec. 159).

When, after the death of Cyril, the Monophysite party began to grow powerful under the protection of his successor Dioscurus, Theodoret again came under suspicion of Nestorianism, and although he put forth a clear confession of his orthodoxy, Dioscurus nevertheless pronounced him excommunicated. The Emperor, too, became very ill-disposed towards him, and forbade him to appear at the next Synod unless he were expressly summoned (secs. 170, 175). Afterwards he was deposed at the Robber-Synod, and banished by the Emperor (secs. 179, 181). He appealed to the Pope, and petitioned for an impartial examination of his case at another Synod. The new Emperor Marcian recalled him; but he could not at once enter upon his bishopric, because the Synod of Chalcedon had first to decide on the subject. When he appeared at the eighth session, he was required immediately to pronounce anathema upon Nestorius. He hesitated, and at first was unwilling to do so unconditionally; yet he put his own orthodoxy out of doubt, and at last consented to the anathema, whereupon he received his bishopric back, and was troubled no more to his death (A.D. 457).

The Emperor Justinian, as we know, had not wished to anathematise the person nor all the works of Theodoret, but only those written against Cyril and the Synod of Ephesus and those in defence of Nestorius; and he was materially so far right, as the books in question contained, in fact, much that was erroneous, particularly many unfair attacks upon Cyril and the third Synod, many misrepresentations of the doctrine of Cyril and the third Synod, and a too favourable exposition of the Nestorian theses. From the orthodox side, therefore, it was possible to give an unhesitating assent to the anathema required in regard of these matters. As, however, the Synod of Chalcedon restored Theodoret without further demand, and pronounced no sentence on any part of his works, many of the orthodox supposed that the edict of the Emperor contained an attack upon the credit of the Council of Chalcedon, and the Monophysites could not fail, in fact, to use it in this sense. This scruple could not but arise when it was remembered that formerly at the religious conference at Constantinople, A.D. 533, the Severians had made the restoration of Theodoret a reproach against the Council of Chalcedon (sec. 246), and had maintained that he had not pronounced anathema on Nestorius at Chalcedon honestly, but only in appearance and deceptively.

Finally, in regard to the letter of Ibas to Maris, we have already seen (sec. 160) that, when Nabulas came forward with his violent polemic against the dead Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ibas was a priest of Edessa, and a great admirer of Theodore. After the death of Nabulas he became himself bishop of Edessa. About twelve years later some of his clergy brought a complaint against him, before the Patriarch Dominus of Antioch, on several grounds, particularly because he had circulated the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, had allowed himself in heretical expressions, and had made his dissolute nephew, Daniel, bishop of Carræ, and had spent Church property (sec. 169). In order to the investigation of the matter two commissions had to meet in Berytus and Tyre (about the year 448); the subject, however, came up at the ninth and tenth sessions of Chalcedon, at which the earlier minutes of Berytus and Tyre were read again (sec. 196). The chief Corpus delicti was the letter to Maris, bishop of Hardaschir in Persia, ascribed to Ibas, and this was naturally also read at Chalcedon. We gave a short extract from it under the tenth session of Chalcedon (sec. 196). The letter judges Cyril and the first Ephesine Synod with distinct unfairness and injustice, misrepresents the history of the Synod, accuses Cyril of having held an Apollinarian doctrine before the union with the Orientals, and casts the same reproach against the Synod of Ephesus because they approved the anathematisms of Cyril. Later, however, he says, Cyril and his adherents had corrected themselves, and, in the union, had accepted the true faith. The letter also will not admit the Communicatio idiomatum. In such a view of the matter an anathema on him (Ibas) was fully justified, in an objective sense, for he was really in a high degree offensive and insulting, not only towards the friends of Cyril, but also towards all who respected the third Œcumenical Synod. This part of its contents was capable of only one meaning.

On the contrary, the letter offered also a side in respect to which double and opposed judgment was possible. The author also declares in the letter that he holds fast that doctrine which had been enunciated at the union between Cyril and the Orientals, and recognises the unity of the one Lord in the duality of the natures. If importance were attached to this, it might be inferred that Ibas had been peculiarly orthodox, and only through a misunderstanding had earlier opposed Cyril, and later denied the Communicatio idiomatum. But we might also understand that the author was only in appearance at the point of view of the union, and that his continued denial of the Communicatio idiomatum, and also the manner in which he still expressed himself in this letter respecting Cyril and the third Œcumenical Council, showed that then, too, he was still heretical, and that the whole letter was penetrated with the Nestorian leaven.

The Emperor and the members of the subsequent fifth Œcumenical Synod had taken the latter view; the defendants of the three chapters, on the contrary, formed a more favourable and kindly judgment on the letter and its author. On this side could be urged the circumstance that Ibas at the transactions at Tyre (sec. 196) had declared his adhesion to the third Œcumenical Synod, and at the same time had himself recognised and retracted a leading error in the letter. He was therefore, and because he gave assurance of his orthodoxy, agreed to the anathema on Nestorius, and could present a good testimony from his clergy, acquitted by his judges at Tyre (sec. 196). It is true that the Robber-Synod deposed him again, but the Synod of Chalcedon annulled this sentence again, declared the accusations brought against Ibas to be groundless, and restored him to his bishopric. This judgment was preceded by the reading of the Acts already passed in this matter, the minutes of Berytus and Tyre, the letter to Maris, and the testimony of the clergy of Edessa in favour of Ibas; and the Synod thereupon decreed the restoration of Ibas on the condition that he should pronounce anew an anathema upon Nestorius and his heresy. On the letter to Maris in specie the Synod pronounced no judgment. Whatever was Nestorian in it Ibas must have abjured by the required anathema on Nestorius. Some few of the voters at Chalcedon, however, namely, the papal legatees and Bishop Maximus of Antioch, expressed themselves in such a manner as to imply that in this very letter to Maris (on its bright side) they had discovered a proof of the orthodoxy of Ibas. That this explanation of their words is the correct one, we shall discuss later on, in the third chapter of this book, when we treat of the confirmation of the fifth Œcumenical Council by Pope Vigilius; and in any case it was not surprising that many among the orthodox should see, in the demand for an anathema upon the letter, an insult to the Synod of Chalcedon.

In order to pacify them the Emperor and his friends endeavoured to bring proof that Ibas had never acknowledged that letter to be his, nay, that at the Synod at Chalcedon he had denied the authorship rather clearly. But the proof was insufficient; and also the way in which they sought to explain the votes of the papal legates, etc., and to show in an artificial manner that the Synod of Chalcedon had specially rejected that letter, could give no satisfaction. Many of the orthodox, particularly Bishop Facundus of Hermione in his Defensio trium capitulorum, also for some time Pope Vigilius, maintained, likewise going too far, the exact contrary, that the Council of Chalcedon had clearly approved the letter of Ibas to Maris, and declared it orthodox, and that an anathema upon it was not possible without detracting from that Synod. From all this we see how the imperial edict for the condemnation of the three chapters found, and must have found, differences of judgment among the orthodox.

If, now, we look a little closer at this edict itself, the contemporary Liberatus (l.c.), in the first place, tells us only that the Emperor demanded an anathema upon Theodore of Mopsuestia and the letter of Ibas. Of Theodoret he is silent at first; but some lines later he says: “Theodore Ascidas counselled the Emperor cunningly to declare an anathema on the three chapters in a special imperial decree,” i.e. not to bring the subject in a more uncertain manner before a Synod, but to decide it by a peremptory imperial decree. “Thereupon,” he says, “the Emperor actually issued a book (a detailed edict) in damnationem trium capitulorum.” To a similar effect Facundus also, in lib. i. c. 2 of his Defensio trium capitulorum, speaks first of the letter of Ibas, the anathematising of which had been advised to the Emperor; but in other places, and in the preface to the work mentioned, he says expressly that an anathema had been demanded and pronounced upon some writings of Theodoret, and on the person and writings of Theodore.

Liberatus maintains (l.c.) that Theodore Ascidas gave this advice to the Emperor chiefly on two grounds: First, because he was himself not merely an Origenist, but also an Acephalus, and, moreover, because, as an Origenist, he hated Theodore of Mopsuestia, who had written against Origen. There is no doubt that Liberatus was here mistaken, as no one else says anything of the Monophysitism of Ascidas, and, in fact, he is not to be suspected of it. The opposition of the Mopsuestian to Origen, however, had reference only to his exegetical methods, and certainly did not give occasion for the controversy of the three chapters. The thorough accurate account of its origin is given by the man who must have been best informed on the subject, Bishop Domitian of Ancyra, the friend of Ascidas, and the second head of the Origenists. In his letter to Pope Vigilius he writes that, “on account of the doctrine of the pre-existence and apokatastasis they had unjustly attacked and condemned Origen and other holy and celebrated teachers. Those who wished to defend such doctrines had not been able to do so; therefore they had completely given up this controversy, and had begun another over Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia, and had endeavoured to get an anathema pronounced upon him, with the intention of abolishing the movement that was going on against Origen” (ad abolitionem ut putabant eorum, quæ contra Originem mota constituerant or constiterant). Facundus, who communicates this fragment of a letter (l.c. lib. iv. c. 4, p. 708, and lib. i. c. 2, p. 667), infers from it illegitimately that the Origenists had acted only from revenge, and for this reason had sought to stir up disturbance in the Church (l.c. lib. i. c. 2); but he may be right in this, when he declares that the Monophysites, who hitherto had laboured in vain to destroy the credit of the Synod of Chalcedon, had now made use of the Origenists, in order through these, who on this point (in regard to the Council of Chalcedon) were not suspected, to carry out their plans.

That the first edict, in which Justinian, at the wish of Ascidas, published the three anathematisms of which we have heard, was drawn up, not by the Emperor himself, but by the Monophysites and Origenists, Facundus maintains repeatedly, and professes to know that these had prefixed the name of the Emperor by imposition (lib. ii. c. 1). This, however, is only façon de parler, in order the more easily to attack the edict in question; and, in fact, he only means to say that they had outwitted the Emperor, as this edict stands in contradiction with other decrees, particularly his declarations of faith (lib. ii. c. 1). Theodore Ascidas is generally considered to be the author of this imperial edict. Walch, however (Ketzerhist. Bd. viii. S. 152), has contested this view, as Ascidas expressly asserted later, on his reconciliation with Vigilius, that he had written nothing in this matter. But Walch is here plainly wrong, since Theodore Ascidas, Mennas, and their associates in the letter in question, say only they had written nothing that was contrary to the union effected between the Emperor and the Pope of the year 550 (sec. 261). Thus it is only the authorship of the later imperial edict, the ὁμολογία, which is denied.

We can no more settle with certainty the time of the composition than we can the authorship of the first edict, as this has been lost together with the subscription. Baronius removed it into the year 546, whilst Cardinal Noris (De Synodo, v. c. 3) showed that it was probably issued towards the end of the year 543, or at the beginning of 544. In opposition to him the learned Jesuit Garnier contended for the year 545; but the Ballerini, Walch, and others concerned in the reckoning of Noris, have also given the preference to the beginning of A.D. 544. It is incontestable that the edict cannot have been drawn up before the year 543, for it is plain that it was issued after the anathema on Origen, and to draw the Emperor away from this. It cannot, however, be placed later than 545, for in this year Pope Vigilius travelled from Rome to Constantinople, and the edict had been issued some time before his departure. We said that the edict in question had been lost. Baronius (ad ann. 546, n. 10), Mosheim (Inst. Hist. Eccles. p. 249), and others thought that we might find its contents in the later ὁμολογία of the Emperor, of which we shall hereafter have to speak more fully; but Noris has completely disproved this; and all subsequent writers, particularly the Ballerini and Walch, have justly coincided with him. To give only a few reasons, we note: In the ὁμολογία, among other things, mention is made of that Synod at Mopsuestia, summoned by the Emperor, which was not held until the year 550, whilst our edict was drawn up in the year 544. Moreover, we do not find in the ὁμολογία those fragments which Facundus communicates from the first edict of the Emperor. Of these fragments there are three. The first occurs in Facundus (l.c. lib. ii. c. 3), and contains the anathematismus: “Si quis dicit, rectam esse ad Marim impiam epistolam, quæ dicitur ab Iba esse facta, aut ejus assertor est, et non magis anathemati subjicit, utpote male tractantem sanctum Cyrillum, qui dicit quia Deus Verbum factus est homo, et ejusdem Sancti Cyrilli 12 capitulis detrahentem, et primam Ephesinam synodum impetentem, Nestoriuni vero defendentem, laudautem autem Theodorum Mopsuestiæ, anathema sit.”

A second fragment, in Facundus (lib. iv. c. 4, l.c. p. 709), runs: “Si quis dicit hæc nos ad abolendos aut excludendos sanctos patres, qui in Chalcedonensi fuere concilio, dixisse, anathema sit.” The third fragment, finally (in Facundus, ii. 3), in its content, is connected with the first, and contains no anathematism, but the words: “Oportet aperte inspicerc ad Marim epistolam, omnia quidem sine Deo et impie dicentem, illud tantummodo ostendentem bene, quia ex illo Theodorus per Orientem in ecclesia anathematizatus est.” Further information in regard to the nature of the first imperial edict is given by the African Bishop Pontianus, in his letter to the Emperor Justinian, in which he says that the Emperor’s letter contains first a correct explanation of the faith; and at its close a demand that an anathema should be pronounced upon Theodore, on certain writings of Theodoret, and on the letter of Ibas.

The first imperial edict, as Facundus declares, was again altered by the Origenist and Monophysite counsellors of the Emperor, and instead of the longer formula of anathema against the letter of Ibas given above (Fragment i.), the shorter was substituted: “Si quis dicit, rectam esse ad Marim impiam epistolam, aut eam defendit, et non anathematizat earn, anathema sit.” This later edition is called by Facundus the Formula subscriptionis, whilst he designates the earlier as the Epistola damnationis. As reason for this alteration he states that, in the first formula, only some parts of the letter had been rejected as objectionable, namely, the passages against Cyril, etc., but that now the Monophysites had demanded an anathema on the letter in general, so that its orthodox content as well, the doctrine of the two natures, might seem to be anathematised. Walch (l.c. p. 151 f.) supposes that the Emperor Justinian himself had, at a later period, withdrawn his edict, as he was obliged to bring the controversy of the three chapters before a Synod, and for this reason it had been so soon lost.

The first from whom the Emperor demanded the subscription of the edict was the Patriarch Mennas of Constantinople. He hesitated at first, and declared that we must not imperil the credit of the Council of Chalcedon, and that he would do nothing without the apostolic see. At last, however, he subscribed; but after they had promised him on oath that, in case the bishop of Rome should not agree, his subscription should be given back to him. In the same way Ephraim, patriarch of Antioch, would not agree; but when he was threatened with deposition, he also subcribed, his office, as Facundus (iv. 4) remarks, being dearer to him than the truth. Similar weakness and inconsistency were shown by the Patriarch Peter of Jerusalem. When, at the beginning, a company of monks visited him (for what purpose Facundus does not say), he declared, with an oath, that whoever agreed with the new decree attacked the Council of Chalcedon. In spite of this he agreed himself later on.

Finally, Zoilus, patriarch of Antioch, wrote very soon and spontaneously to Pope Vigilius, that he also had subscribed under constraint. Similar compulsion was brought to bear upon the other bishops, and it was resolved to extort the subscriptions of the whole episcopate, in order, says Facundus, that it might appear as though the whole Church were opposed to the Synod of Chalcedon. Liberatus also speaks of this constraint, remarking that some had been caught by presents, and others frightened by the threat of banishment. In particular, Mennas compelled the bishops under him to subscribe, as a number of them complained in a memorial to Stephen, the papal legate. Garnier assumed that Mennas, for this purpose, held a special Synod at Constantinople; but there is nothing said of this in the original documents. In order to produce a better inclination to a subscription of the imperial edict, it was from the beginning declared that the question would also be put on the subject to the Roman Church; but Facundus shows (l.c. iv. 3) how deceptive such a supplementary inquiry would have been, since everyone who judged otherwise than the edict on the matter would have been previously anathematised.

Cunning and violence succeeded, by degrees, in gaining the whole East to subscribe the edict. The Latins were not so pliant. The papal legate, Stephen, who resided in Constantinople, immediately reproached the Patriarch Mennas for his weakness, and broke off Church communion with him. The same was done by Bishop Dacius of Milan, who was residing at Milan at that time, and subsequently went thence to Sicily (hinc reversum), in order to make the Pope acquainted with what had happened. At the same time, or soon afterwards, there were also residing in Constantinople several African bishops, among them Facundus of Hermione. That this was so, and that Facundus, at the instigation of his colleagues, even before the arrival of Pope Vigilius in Constantinople, composed a memorial to the Emperor against the condemnation of Theodore, etc., we see from his Præfatio to his Defensio trium capitulorum. Moreover, he and his friends broke off Church communion with Mennas and all adherents of the imperial edict. Before Facundus had quite finished that document, Pope Vigilius arrived at Constantinople; and when, afterwards, there was begun, under his presidency, an examination of the points of controversy, the Pope suddenly broke, up the proceedings, and required that each one of the bishops present should give in his vote in writing (see below, sec. 259).

For this business the imperial Magister Officiorum allowed Facundus no more than seven days, in which were two holy days, on which account he hastily took a good deal out of his now half-ready book into his new Responsio, and added more. Subsequently, with greater leisure, he completed and improved the first work, and in particular corrected many patristic passages, which he must formerly have drawn from inferior manuscripts, and which must have been transferred from this inaccurate text into that Responsio. He remarks this expressly for the enlightening of those readers who might compare the Responsio with his improved principal work—Defensio trium capitulorum. It is therefore quite a mistake to say, as was formerly done, that Facundus composed the Defensio itself in seven days.

When the copy of the imperial decree came to Rome, a favourable judgment of it by the learned deacon, Ferrandus of Carthage, was brought forward; and the Roman deacons, Pelagius and Anatolius, wrote to him, asking him, together with the bishop of Carthage and other zealous and learned men, to give them counsel as to what in general they should do. Already, in the question of inquiry of the Romans it was expressed that the Acephali, with the assistance of so-called orthodox men, had stirred up the whole affair to the prejudice of the Council of Chalcedon and the Epistola dogmatica of Leo I.; and Ferrandus replied that the letter of Ibas, which the Œcumenical Synod of Chalcedon had approved, and generally the three chapters, could not be objected to, because otherwise the estimation of all synodal decrees might be called in question. In consequence of this the whole of Africa and Rome was opposed to the wishes of the Emperor, and an interesting evidence of this sentiment is given in the still extant letter of the African Bishop Pontianus to the Emperor, recently referred to. Justinian, however, now summoned Pope Vigilius to Constantinople, in order to get him to assent to his plans. Vigilius obeyed unwillingly, for he foresaw the inconveniences which awaited him; but he was forced to take the journey, as a letter of the Italian clergy testifies; and Victor of Tununum also asserts that the Emperor had compelled him. Indeed, Anastasius (Vit. Pontif.) professes to know that the Empress Theodora sent the officer of State, Anthemius, to Rome with orders, if the Pope did not agree to come, to take him by force from his palace, or even out of any church except S. Peter’s, and carry him on board ship. He says, too, that this had actually been done, and that the Pope was seized on the 22nd of November, in the Church of S. Cecilia, and that the people had thrown stones, etc., at the ship on which he was carried off, and had invoked hunger and pestilence on the imperial commissioner.

We are assured by the much more trustworthy Facundus, that when Vigilius departed from Rome the whole of Rome entreated him not to agree to the condemnation of the three chapters. The same petition was presented to him after he had arrived at Sicily by the Christians of Sardinia and Africa. Here in Sicily he also met with Bishop Dacius of Milan, arrived from Constantinople, and commended him highly and his own legate Stephen on account of their breach with Mennas. Here also he met an envoy of the Patriarch Zoilus of Alexandria, who was instructed to inform him that the patriarch had subscribed only under compulsion. Later on, when Vigilius, after a long stay of about a year in Sicily, sailed for the Peloponnesus, and travelled from thence to Constantinople by land, over Hellas and Illyricum, the faithful of these two countries besought him not to agree to this innovation; and he himself on his journey wrote a letter to Mennas, in which he expressed his strong disapproval of his proceedings, and of all that had been done in this matter, and demanded a retractation. From this it is clear how greatly Victor of Tununum is mistaken, when he relates, under the year 543, that the Empress Theodora had obtained a promise from Vigilius, before he became Pope, to anathematise the three chapters. This is an evident anachronism.

SEC. 259.—Pope Vigilius and his Judicatum of April 11, 548

When Vigilius arrived in Constantinople, January 25, 547, he was received by the Emperor with many honours. According to Theophanes we might suppose that the Pope had pronounced a condemnation of the three chapters immediately after his arrival; but the chronicler condenses the narrative, and says that Vigilius, inflated by the friendly reception of the Emperor, had punished Mennas by separating him from Church communion for four months. The Pope inflicted the same censure on all the other bishops who had subscribed the imperial edict. Naturally, Mennas now had the name of the Pope struck out of the diptychs of his church. Gregory the Great professes to know that Vigilius then pronounced anathema also on the Empress Theodora and the Acephali, at the very time that Rome was plundered by the enemy (the Goths).

Before long Vigilius altered his position in the most surprising manner. How this happened is not fully known. What is certain is, that the Emperor had frequent personal intercourse with him, and also repeatedly sent officers of State and bishops to him, to induce him to agree with Mennas and the rest. The vehement Facundus (l.c. p. 814, a and b) maintains that no violence was done to him, but that he was led astray by ambition and by bribery. The Italian clergy, on the contrary, speak of the imprisonment and serious persecution of the Pope, and relate that he said on one occasion to his persecutors: “Contestor, quia etsi me captivum tenetis, beatum Petrum apostolum captivum facere non potestis.” After some time, however, Vigilius first gave privately a promise that he would anathematise the three chapters; and the imperial Minister Constantine, as commissioned by his master, gave the assurance at the seventh session of the fifth Council that the Pope had given this promise in writing and by word of mouth, and this in the presence of the Emperor, his Ministers, and some bishops. To this time probably belong also the two letters, containing these promises, from Vigilius to the Emperor and the Empress. They are short, and have almost verbally the same contents. The one to the Emperor runs: “We never were heretical, and are not so. But I demand the rights which God has granted to my see. But your Piety must not infer from this that I defend heretics. Behold, I respond to your irresistible command, and anathematise the letter of Ibas, and the doctrines of Theodoret, and of Theodore formerly bishop of Mopsuestia, who was always foreign to the Church, and an opponent of the holy Fathers. Whoever does not confess that the one only-begotten Word of God, that is, Christ, is one substance, and one person, and unam operationem (μίαν ἐνέργειαν), we anathematise,” etc. These letters were read subsequently in the seventh session of the fifth and in the third session of the sixth Œcumenical Synod, and at the latter their genuineness was contested by the papal legates. This led to an inquiry, the result of which will be given below, sec. 267, when we come to treat of the Acts of the fifth Œcumenical Synod. For the present it is sufficient to remark that these two letters are probably genuine, but interpolated, and that the words unam operationem were inserted by a Monothelite. At the time of Vigilius there was still a controversy as to whether there were one or two operations and wills in Christ.

When Vigilius began to change his mind, he again resumed Church communion with Mennas, and his name was again received into the diptychs of Constantinople. The fact, however, stated by Theophanes, that his name was put in the first place in the diptychs of Constantinople, even before the bishop of Constantinople, did not take place until A.D. 552. Theophanes says further, that it was particularly the Empress Theodora who brought about the reconciliation, and that it took place on June 29, the festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul, A.D. 547. This agrees entirely with his previous statement in regard to the four months; for, if Vigilius arrived at Constantinople on January 25, 547, and shortly afterwards broke off communion with Mennas, then four months elapsed from that time to the reconciliation on June 29.

By the will of the Emperor conferences were now begun, to which nearly all the bishops present in Constantinople were summoned. After the arrival of the Pope, many of the bishops who had not yet subscribed the imperial edict had betaken themselves to Constantinople, in order to watch the further development of the matter; and Facundus states that about seventy bishops attended the conferences, besides those who had previously subscribed. These conferences are frequently described as a Constantinopolitan Synod of A.D. 547 and 548; e.g. by Baronius (ad ann. 547, n. 32 sq.), Pagi (ad ann. 547, n. 8), Walch (l.c. S. 171 sq.); but Facundus, who was himself a member of this assembly, and to whom we owe our information on the subject, never uses the expression Synod, but Judicium and Examen (l.c. pp. 665, 813), calls the Pope who presided over it repeatedly Judex (l.c. p. 814), and describes the whole in such a manner as to make us understand that it was a conference for the examination of the anathematisms of the three chapters laid before them by the Emperor, a judicium or examen on the question whether the Pope could agree to give the final decision, whilst the bishops present had only to give counsels.

Facundus says quite distinctly (l.c. p. 814), that if the votes given by the bishops in writing had not pleased the Pope, he would have torn them up or burnt them, or by his own sentence he could have invalidated them (ea scindere vel urere, aut per suam cvacuare sententiam). So also we learn from Facundus (l.c. p. 813a), that three such conferences took place, and he communicates the following particulars from the gestis of the third. He requested that the Pope would institute an examination into the question as to whether the letter of Ibas was really accepted (suscepta) by the Synod of Chalcedon or not, since the opponents maintain that the anathema on Theodore of Mopsuestia was actually no attack upon the importance of that Synod, since it had not received the letter of Ibas in which Theodore was commended. He, Facundus, admitted often that he had not broken off communion with Mennas, etc., on account of the anathema on Theodore in itself. He could not indeed approve of this anathema, but he regarded it partly as endurable, partly as not particularly important; but the aim of his opponents was, by this means, to undermine the authority of the fourth Œcumenical Synod.

It was natural that this question of Facundus should be very inconvenient for Pope Vigilius, since he had already given private assurances to the Emperor. He would therefore simply put it aside by answering that “this was not known to him (either that the Synod of Chalcedon had received the letter of Ibas, or also that the other party wanted to destroy the importance of that Synod)”; but Facundus now asked leave “to bring proof that that letter was really received at Chalcedon, and to invalidate all the arguments of the opponents.” Upon this Vigilius broke up the whole consultation in perplexity, and required a vote in writing of each of the bishops. The seventy bishops, who had not hitherto subscribed, were now individually plied by the adherents of the imperial edict, and led astray to declarations which were hostile to the Synod of Chalcedon; and, in order that they might not be able to recant, they were conducted, some days later, in public procession, well guarded, to Vigilius, in order to present their votes to him.

We have already seen (sec. 258) that Facundus, in this emergency, drew up in seven days an extract from his work, Defensio trium capitulorum, which was not yet quite complete. He further tells us that Vigilius immediately carried these votes of the seventy bishops into the palace, where they were added to the declarations of those bishops who had already subscribed. In order, however, to excuse this conduct, he declared to the party of Facundus that he did not intend to take those votes with him to Rome, nor to deposit them in the Roman archives, so that it might not be inferred that he himself had approved of them.

Soon afterwards, on Easter Eve, April 11, 548, Vigilius issued his Judicatum, addressed to Mennas, which, as its title indicates, professed to give the result obtained by him as Judex through the conferences and votes (the judicium, and examen). Unfortunately this important document is also lost, and up to the present day it has been generally maintained, that only a single fragment of it has been preserved, which is found in a letter of the Emperor Justinian to the fifth Œcumenical Synod, according to the text edited by Baluze. It was overlooked that five such fragments exist in another contemporaneous document.

First of all, let us examine closely that first fragment. After the Emperor had said that the Judicatum issued by the Pope (first to Mennas) had been made known to all the bishops, he gives the anathema, contained in it, on the three chapters, with Vigilius’s own words: “Et quoniam quæ Nobis de nomine Theodori Mopsuestini scripta porrecta sunt, multa contraria rectæ fidei releguntur, Nos monita Pauli sequentes apostoli dicentis: Omnia probate, quod bonum est retinete, ideoque anathematizamus Theodorum, qui fuit Mopsuestiæ episcopus, cum omnibus suis impiis scriptis, et qui vindicant eum. Anathematizamus et impiam epistolam, quæ ad Marim Persam scripta esse ab Iba dicitur, tamquam contrariam rectæ fidei Christianæ, et omnes, qui eam vindicant, vel rectam esse dicunt. Anathematizamus et scripta Theodoreti, quæ contra rectam fidem et duodecim Cyrilli capitula scripta sunt.

Besides this fragment it was known only that Vigilius had introduced in his Judicatum a clause or caution to the effect, that “the importance of the Council of Chalcedon should not be called in question.” Noris and Natalis Alexander might mislead us to the opinion that, with reference to this, the words in the Judicatum stood thus: “Salva in omnibus reverentia Synodi Chalcedonensis.” But this formula was invented by Noris himself, because he found in the original documents that Vigilius had repeatedly protested that the Judicatum contained nothing which could detract from the importance of the four ancient Œcumenical Councils or that of his predecessors the Popes. The same was testified also by the Italian clergy, writing to the Frankish ambassadors, “that Vigilius, in the Judicatum, solicite monuit, ne per occasionem aliquam supradieta synodus (of Chalcedon) pateretur injuriam”; and that “they had afterwards wanted to compel the Pope to anathematise the three chapters anew, without such a clause or caution in favour of the Synod of Chalcedon, ut absolute ipsa capitula sine Synodi Chalcedonensis mentione damnaret.

So much was formerly known of the Judicatum. A repeated dealing with the later Constitutum of Vigilius (of May 14, 553) led me to see that in this there are five more fragments of the Judicatum to be discovered. Towards the end of the Constitutum, Vigilius mentions that his predecessors, Popes Leo and Simplicius, had repeatedly and solemnly declared that the decrees of Chalcedon must remain unweakened in force, and from this that it was clear what care he (Vigilius) must also take pro apostolicæ sedis rectitudine et pro universalis ecclesiæ consideratione. “Being long mindful,” he proceeds, “of this caution, in the letter which we then addressed to Mennas, and which (after it had been, in the presence of all the bishops and the Senate, handed to your Majesty by Mennas, and by your Majesty with his consent handed back to us) we now annul, so far as the three chapters are concerned,—in that letter we provided that all due respect should be paid to the Synod of Chalcedon, as the contents of that letter testify. In proof we will add a few considerations out of many that might be given.”

There can be no doubt that by the letter to Mennas, here referred to, the Judicatum is meant, for this agrees admirably with all that is further added, that Mennas handed it to the Emperor, and that he in a solemn assembly had restored this document to the Pope, in order by this means to calm the excitement which had arisen on that subject and against Vigilius. Cf. below, sec. 261. We have therefore no doubt that the five passages which Vigilius took into his Constitutum from the letter in question to Mennas must be considered as fragments of the Judicatum. These are mere variations on the theme Salvi in omnibus reverentia Synodi Chalcedonensis, merely passages in which, although he anathematised the three chapters, yet protested and maintained his adhesion to the Council of Chalcedon; so that no one should, through that anathema, regard the decrees of Chalcedon as partially incorrect or as imperfect. These five fragments run:—

1. Cum apud nos manifesta ratione præclareat, quicumque in contumeliam antefatæ Synodi aliquid tentat agere, sibi potius nociturum.

2. Item post alia: Sed si evidenter nobis fuisset ostensum in ipsis gestis potius contineri, nullus auderet tantæ præsumptionis auctor existere, aut aliquid, quod in illum sanctissimum judicium productum est, velut dubium judicaret; cum credendum sit, illos tunc præsentes a præsenti rerum memoria diligentius, etiam præter scriptum, aliqua requirere vel definire certius potuisse, quod nobis nunc post tanta tempora velut ignota causa videatur ambiguum; cum et hoc deferatur reverentiæ synodorum, ut et in his quæ minus intelliguntur, eorum cedatur auctoritati.

3. Item post alia: Salvis omnibus atque in sua perpetua firmitate durantibus, quæ in Nicæno, Constantinopolitano, Ephesino primo, atque Chalcedonensi venerandis constat conciliis definita, et prædecessorum nostrorum auctoritate firmata; et cunctis, qui in memoratis sanctis conciliis abdicati sunt, sine dubitatione damnatis; et his nihilominus absolutis, de quorum ab iisdem synodis absolutione decretum est.

4. Item post alia: Anathematis sententiæ eum quoque subdentes, qui quævis contra predictam Synodum Chalcedonensem, vel præscnti, vel quælibet in hac causa sive a nobis sive a quibuscumque gesta scriptave inveniantur, pro aliqua susceperit firmitate; et sancta Chalcedonensis Synodus, cujus magna et inconcussa est firmitas, perpetua et veneranda, sicut Nicæna, Constantinopolitana, ac Ephesina prima habent, suam teneant firmitatem.

5. Item post alia: Anathematizamus et eum quoque, quicumque sanctam Nicænam, Constantinopolitanam, Ephesinam primam, atque Chalcedonensem sanctissimas Synodos in una et immaculata fide de Apostolis consonantes, et ab Apostolicæ sedis præsulibus roboratas, non et fideliter sequitur et æqualiter veneratur; et qui ea quæ in ipsis conciliis, quæ prefati sumus, gesta sunt, vult quasi prave dicta corrigere, aut vult imperfecta supplere.

From the letter of Vigilius to Rusticus and Sebastian we learn that Rusticus, a nephew of the Pope and a deacon, his attendant in Constantinople, at first extolled the Judicatum to the echo, declared it to be quite excellent, and circulated it without the knowledge or will of the Pope in many copies. The deacon Sebastian and other Roman clerics who were about the Pope had also at first approved of it; but they afterwards went over to the other party of the Africans, and offered the Pope such opposition, that he was obliged to place them under anathema, which he did in the letter in question.

Significant for the point of view of Vigilius is his utterance, three years later, on the aim and character of his Judicatum, in the bull of excommunication against Theodore Ascidas. He said that, “in order to remove present offence, he had condescended, in order to quiet men’s minds, he had relaxed the severity of right, and in accordance with the need of the time had ordered things medicinally.” To the same effect the Italian clergy about this time, that “Vigilius had at first been unwilling to agree to the anathema on the three chapters, but in consequence of negotiations (tractatu habito), he had ordered the matter sub aliqua dispensatione, carefully admonishing that the Synod of Chalcedon must in no way suffer depreciation.” We can see that these clergy, as well as Vigilius, proceeded on the supposition that nothing could be undertaken against Theodore of Mopsuestia in particular, as he had died more than a hundred years ago in the communion of the Church, and had not been condemned by the Council of Chalcedon. In the same way the reputation of the two other men was not to be attacked, as the Synod of Chalcedon had restored Theodoret and Ibas to their sees, after they both had pronounced anathema on Nestorius, without condemning the letter of the one, or certain writings of the other. But as, on the other hand, the three Capitula had given so great offence to many, and troubled the peace of the Church, an anathema on them might be justified as a remedy for the sickness of the time, and as a compromise, since, objectively considered, the anathema on Theodore of Mopsuestia and his writings, and also that on some writings of Theodoret, and on the letter of Ibas, might be justified. If, therefore, on the other hand, an anathema should be pronounced over the really reprehensible three chapters, and, on the other hand, should protect the authority of the Council of Chalcedon in the most effectual manner, nothing wrong would be done, and both parties would be satisfied. Cardinal Noris therefore (l.c. t. i. p. 595) remarks quite accurately: “Et quidem utrique parti si fecisse satis Vigilius arbitrabatur: Græcis, quod tria capitula condemnasset; Latinis, quod salva synodo Chalcedonensi id se fecisse contestaretur.”

SEC. 260. Opposition to the Judicatum

Soon after the publication of the Judicatum, the Empress Theodora, the great enemy of the three chapters, died, June 28, 548; but her death seems to have had no influence on the progress of the controversy. That the Emperor Justinian was not quite contented with the Judicatum, and demanded a similar document from the Pope without the clause in reference to the Council of Chalcedon, we are told by the Italian clergy in their letter to the Frankish envoys. As, however, no one else speaks of this, and the Emperor Justinian was always a great admirer of the fourth Œcumenical Council, this intelligence deserves little credit; and, moreover, the remark of Victor of Tununum rests upon an anachronism, when he says ‘that Justinian now issued new commands against the three chapters. On the contrary, it is certain that an energetic opposition to the Judicatum soon arose, and Vigilius was bitterly blamed by many, and accused of treachery. This happened principally in Constantinople itself, where the Pope spent several years, because the Emperor wished it, perhaps also because Rome had at that very time fallen into the hands of the Goths. Prominent among those who were dissatisfied with the Judicatum in Constantinople were Bishop Dacius of Milan and Facundus of Hermione. It is well known that the latter composed a large work in twelve books in defence of the three chapters and presented it to the Emperor, and the only question is as to the time of its completion and presentation. Victor of Tununum would place it in the eleventh year after the consulate of Basil According to the ordinary mode of reckoning, the year 551 would be signified; but, as Noris has long ago excellently showed (l.c. t. i. p. 652 sq.), Victor follows another mode of reckoning. As is known, Basil was the last consul in the year 541; but for a long time they indicated the years following by his name. Accordingly the year 542 must be called simply post Consulatum Basilii, but the year 543, ann. ii. post Cons. Bas. Departing from this manner of reckoning, Victor designates the year 542 as ann. ii. post Cons. Bas. (regarding it as the second year of his enduring consulate), and thus, with him, ann. xi. post Cons. Bos. is not identical with 551, but with 550. But neither must we place the composition of the Defensio trium capitulorum, by Facundus, in the year 550. Baronius (ad ann. 547, n. 32) thinks that the whole contents of the book point to the conclusion that it was completed before the rupture of the author with the Pope, and thus before the issuing of the Judicatum, and before Facundus took up a schismatical position. In fact, Pope Vigilius is never attacked in this Defensio, whilst, in his second treatise, Contra Mocianum, Facundus falls upon him most violently. Yet Baronius was partly wrong; and the correct account of the matter is, that half of the Defensio was composed before the Judicatum; but the work was interrupted by the conferences (sec. 259), and it was not until the end of these, and so after the appearance of the Judicatum, which followed directly after the conferences, that it was completed.” This completion, however, must not be brought so late as the year 550, but rather to a period immediately after the appearance of the Judicatum. Later on Facundus would have written much more violently; but at that time the tension between him and the Pope had not yet led to a complete rupture. He still spared Vigilius, so that even in the last books of the Defensio he did not refer to the Judicatum, and he might then still hope to bring about an agreement with the Emperor. At a later period he would certainly have no longer cherished sanguine expectations of this kind, and to such a later time belongs the composition of his book, Contra Mocianum Scholasticum, which blamed the African bishops because they had broken off communion with Vigilius after the appearance of the Judicatum. In this book Facundus attacks the Judicatum as a nefandum. He had then, for the sake of his safety, fled from Constantinople, and was in a place of concealment known only to his friends. The time of composition falls between the appearance of the Judicatum and that of the Constitutum; for by the latter, in which he now defended the three chapters, Vigilius had again propitiated Facundus. That the treatise in question should not be removed to a still later period, when Vigilius had anathematised the three chapters a second time and confirmed the fifth Synod, we learn from the fact that Facundus in the treatise is quite silent on this subject.

We learn from Vigilius himself that at an early period some in Constantinople so strenuously opposed him and his Judicatum, that he had been obliged to excommunicate them. With these, he says, his own nephew, the deacon Rusticus who had previously commended the Judicatum so highly, secretly associated himself, and stirred up others against him both in Constantinople and in Africa. When examined on the subject he had, in writing, given his assurance on oath never again wilfully to infringe his obedience to the Pope. Nevertheless he had attached himself to the much worse Roman deacon Sebastian, who had likewise formerly commended the Judicatum, and called it a heaven-descended book. Both had cultivated intercourse with the monks Lampridius and Felix, who, on account of their opposition to the Judicatum, had already been excommunicated by the general threat of excommunication contained in that document, and also, with other excommunicated men, had arrogated to themselves the teaching office, and had written to all the provinces that “the Pope had done something to the disparagement of the Council of Chalcedon.”

By their position as Roman deacons it had become possible to them to lead many astray, and thus through them such confusions and party fights had arisen in different places that blood had been shed in the churches. Further, they had ventured to assert, in a memorial to the Emperor, that Pope Leo I. had approved the heretical writings of the Mopsuestian, etc. Vigilius had long tolerated this, and, in priestly patience, had deferred their punishment (resecatio), hoping that they would come again to reflection. As, however, they had despised his repeated exhortations, which he had conveyed to them by bishops and other clergy, and by layman of high standing, and had refused to return either to the Church or to the Pope, he must now punish them, and herewith depose them, until they amended, from the dignity of the diaconate. In the same way the other Roman clerics who had taken their side, John, Gerontius, Severinus, John, and Deusdedit, should be deprived of their posts as subdeacons, notaries, and defensors until they began to amend. The like judgment shall befall the monk (abbot) Felix, already mentioned, who presided over the Gillitan convent in Africa, and by his levity scattered his monks, and also all those who would keep up communication with him or any other excommunicated person, particularly with Rusticus and the others.

If this sentence of excommunication was sent forth after March 18, 550, as we shall shortly show, we can also see: (a) that, immediately after the appearance of the Judicatum, some of those at Constantinople opposed the Pope so violently that he was obliged to excommunicate them; (b) that two monks, Lampridius and Felix of Africa, came to Constantinople and opposed the Judicatum by speech and by writing; (c) that the Pope’s nephew Rusticus and other Roman clergy joined these opponents, and circulated detrimental reports concerning the Pope in all the provinces; (d) that the Pope gave them repeated warnings before proceeding to extremities; and that (e) in many provinces parties arose for and against the Judicatum, and there arose between them bloody frays even in the churches.

That Rusticus and Sebastian had, at a very early period, occasioned movements in the province of Scythia, we see from the Pope’s letter to Bishop Valentinian of Tomi, dated March 18, 550. The latter had given the Pope intelligence respecting the rumours circulated in his province, and the disturbances which had arisen, and Vigilius, in his answer, declares that it is entirely untrue that he had censured the persons of Theodoret and Ibas, or generally that he had done wrong to any of those bishops who had subscribed the Council of Chalcedon. If his Judicatum to Mennas were read, it would be shown that he had done or ordained nothing which was contrary to the faith and the doctrine of the four venerable Councils of Nicæa, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, or the decrees of the earlier Popes. The originators of that scandal which arose in Scythia, were Rusticus and Sebastian, whom he had excommunicated some time ago, and who would soon, unless they amended, receive the canonical punishment (deposition from office). He requested Valentinian to warn all connected with him against these promoters of disturbances; and if any had doubts, they might come personally to the Pope.

Archbishop Aurelian of Arles, as well as Valentinian of Tomi, had written to the Pope in the year 549. Occasion for this also was given by the accusation, circulated in Gaul, that the Pope had done something which contradicted the decrees of his predecessors, and the creed of the four Œcumenical Councils. Vigilius quieted him on this subject, and appointed him to be his vicar in Gaul, to warn all the other bishops against false and lying rumours. He adds that he will explain to Aurelian, as far as possible, all that has happened, through Anastasius, whom Aurelian had sent with his letter to Constantinople; and further, that when the Emperor allows him to return to Rome, he will send from thence a special envoy to Arles. Meanwhile let Aurelian unceasingly petition Childebert, king of the Franks, that he would apply to the King of the Goths (Totilas), who had taken the city of Rome, on behalf of the Roman Church and its rights.

Still more violent than in Gaul and Scythia was the opposition to the Judicatum in Illyria, Dalmatia, and Africa. That the bishops of Dalmatia did not receive the Judicatum, we learn from the letter of the Italian clergy, already frequently quoted. The Illyrian bishops, however, according to the account given by Bishop Victor of Tununum, assembled in a Synod in the year 549, according to his corrected chronology, already noted. Where this Synod was held is not known; but the bishops declared themselves for the three chapters, addressed a document in defence of them to the Emperor, and deposed their Metropolitan Benenatus from Justiniana I., because he defended the rejection of the three chapters. The Africans went still further, and at their Synod, A.D. 550, under the presidency of Reparatus of Carthage, formally excommunicated Pope Vigilius on account of the Judicatum until he should do penance. They also sent memorials in favour of the three chapters, through the Magistrian Olympius, to the Emperor. The latter found the matter of such importance, that he addressed rescripts to the Illyrians and Africans, in which he defended the anathema on the three chapters. They are lost; but we gain information respecting them in Isidore of Seville.

SEC. 261. The Judicatum is withdrawn, and a great Synod proposed

For the appeasing of the disputes which had arisen over the Judicatum, the Pope and Emperor, about the year 550, agreed, first, to withdraw the Judicatum, and further, to have the question of the three chapters decided anew by a great Synod. The Emperor therefore gave leave to Vigilius to withdraw the Judicatum, and it was decided in consultation between the two, in which also Mennas, Dacius of Milan, and many Greek and Latin bishops took part, that, before the decision of the Synod which was to be called, no one should be allowed to undertake anything further for or against the three chapters. This is related by Vigilius himself in the edict against Theodore Ascidas. The Italian clergy, however, tell us, besides, that Vigilius demanded that five or six bishops should be summoned from each province, and explained, that only that which should then be peacefully determined in common should prevail, since he, for his own part, would do nothing whereby, as people said, the credit of the Synod of Chalcedon should be called in question. He thus took back, formally at least, his Judicatum; but, that he might not give it up materially, nor oppose the Emperor at the coming Synod, he took an oath to him in writing, on the 15th of August 550, to the effect that he would be of one mind with the Emperor, and labour to the utmost to have the three chapters anathematised; whilst, on the other hand, for the security of the Pope, this oath should be kept secret, and the Emperor should promise to protect him in case of necessity.

SEC. 262. Synod at Mopsuestia, A.D. 550

In preparation for the intended great Council, the Emperor caused a kind of Synod of the bishops of Cilicia II. to be held at Mopsuestia, in order to ascertain whether the name of Theodore of Mopsuestia had been entered on the diptychs there. The Acts of this Synod are found in the minutes of the fifth session of the fifth Œcumenical Synod, at which they were read. The first document referring to this assembly is the letter of the Emperor Justinian, dated May 23, 550 (not May 13, as Noris gives it), to Bishop John of Justinianopolis, metropolitan of Cilicia II., to the effect that he would come to Mopsuestia to meet the bishops belonging to his Synod, and then have a meeting with all the aged people there, clergy and laity, in order to learn whether they could remember the time at which the name of Theodore had been struck from the diptychs. If they could not do this, they might declare that, in their knowledge, the name of Theodore had never been read out at divine service; finally, the diptychs were to be exhibited in their presence, and in the presence of the bishops, in order to see who had been inscribed in them instead of Theodore. A messenger with intelligence of the result of this inquiry should be sent to the Emperor, and another to the Pope.

The Emperor sent Bishop Cosmas of Mopsuestia information of this command given to the metropolitan, with commissions referring to it. This second document is dated May 22, 550. The Acts of the Synod of Mopsuestia are appended to it, the Synod being held June 17, 550, in the Secretarium of the church there, under the presidency of the metropolitan named, and in presence of eight other bishops and many other distinguished men. The office of imperial commissioner was discharged by the Comes domesticorum, Marthanius. The holy Gospels were placed in the middle of the place of assembly, and first of all the command of the Emperor was read. Thereupon the Defensor of the Church of Mopsuestia, the deacon Eugenius, presented seventeen aged priests and deacons, and the same number of aged laymen of distinction (among them comites and palatini) from Mopsuestia; and the Custos of the church effects, the priest John, brought in the diptychs, as well those which were then used in the church as two older which had formerly been used. These diptychs were first publicly read, then each bishop read them individually, and then the presbyter John took oath that he knew of none besides or older than these. In the same way the aged witnesses were required to make declarations on oath, laying their hands upon the book of the Gospels.

The first and oldest, the priest Martyrius, declared: “I am now eighty years old, for sixty years in Orders, and do not know and have never heard that Theodore’s name was read from the diptychs; but I heard that, instead of his name, that of S. Cyril of Alexandria had been inscribed, and the name of Cyril does, in fact, occur in the present diptychs, although there never was a Bishop Cyril of Mopsuestia. The Theodore, however, whose name is found in two diptychs, in the place before the last, is certainly not the older one, but the bishop of Mopsuestia who died only three years ago, and who was a native of Galatia.” The like was deposed by all the other witnesses, clergy and laymen; whereupon the bishops, in somewhat prolix discourse, brought together the results of these testimonies and of the examination of the diptychs, namely, that at a time beyond the memory of any living man, the Theodore in question had been struck from the diptychs, and Cyril of Alexandria inscribed in his place. This declaration was subscribed by all the bishops, and also the two documents required of them for the Emperor and Pope, in which they communicated the principal contents of the minutes of the Synod.

SEC. 262B. The African Deputies

About the same time the Emperor summoned the bishops of Illyricum and Africa for the contemplated great Synod at Constantinople. The Illyrians refused to come. From Africa, however, appeared, as deputies of the collective episcopate, Reparatus, archbishop of Carthage; Firmus, primate, or primæ sedis Episcopus, of Numidia; and Bishops Primasius and Verecundus, from the province of Byzacene. Soon Greek bishops endeavoured, by flatteries and threats, to gain them over to subscribe the anathema on the chapters. As this remained without result, Reparatus of Carthage was blamed, as being the cause of the imperial Magister militum in Africa, Areobindus, a relative of the Emperor, being murdered by the usurper Guntarit (Gontharis); and upon this accusation Reparatus was deprived of his office and property, and was banished. At the same time, by imperial authority, the faithless representative of the deposed bishop, Primasius (who is not to be confounded with the bishop of the same name mentioned above), was placed on the throne of Carthage, in an uncanonical manner, during the lifetime of Reparatus, against the wishes of the clergy and laity, after he had condemned the three chapters. His intrusion was not carried through without effusion of blood.

The second African deputy, the Primate Firmus of Numidia, allowed himself to be bribed by presents, and subscribed the required anathema, but died on the return journey to the sea a disgraceful death. His colleague, Primasius, of the Byzacene province, was at first steadfast, and was therefore sent into a monastery; but afterwards, when Boethius, the primate of the Byzacene province, had died, he agreed to sign the anathema on the three chapters, in order to become his successor. He returned to Africa and oppressed and plundered the bishops of the opposite party, until at last the merited punishment overtook him, and he was forced to give up all his unrighteous possessions, and died a miserable death.

Finally, the fourth African deputy, Bishop Verecundus, on account of his adhesion to the three chapters, was forced subsequently to flee with Pope Vigilius to Chalcedon, and take refuge in the Church of S. Euphemia, where he also died. The governor of Africa, moreover, sent all those bishops whom he had discovered to be willing to receive a bribe, or to be otherwise perverted, to Constantinople, in order that they might subscribe the condemnation of the three chapters.

SEC. 263. The Second Imperial Edict against the Three Chapters

How little the Emperor and his party really wanted a new synodal examination of the whole question is shown not only by what has already been mentioned, but also by the strange conduct of Theodore Ascidas. In the harshest contradiction to the union between the Pope and Emperor already mentioned (sec. 261), at his suggestion a document was read aloud in the imperial palace, in which the three chapters were anathematised, and to which the subscriptions of several Greek bishops were demanded. Vigilius remonstrated on the subject with him and his friends, and they asked forgiveness with specious excuses. In spite of this, Theodore Ascidas circulated that document still more widely, irritated the Emperor, and made him discontented with Vigilius, and brought it about that, without waiting for the Synod, edicts were drawn up, containing an anathema on the three chapters. Vigilius himself tells this; and the new edicts in question were certainly nothing else, in several places, than passages taken from the complete ὁμολογία πίστεως Ἰουστινιανοῦ αὐτοκράτορος κατὰ τῶν τριῶν κεφαλαίων. This second edict of the Emperor against the three chapters was drawn up between 551 and 553, probably in the year 551, was addressed to the whole of Christendom, and is still extant. Nothing is so calculated, the Emperor says, to propitiate the gracious God, as unity in the faith; therefore he lays down here the orthodox confession. Then follows a kind of creed, in which, first, the doctrine of the Trinity, principally in opposition to Sabellius and Arius, is defined; but much more completely is the doctrine of the Person of Christ explained, in opposition to the Nestorians and Monophysites. For example, “He who was born of Mary is one of the Holy Trinity, according to His Godhead of one substance with the Father, and according to His manhood of one substance with us, capable of suffering in the flesh, but incapable of suffering in the Godhead; and no other than the Word of God subjected Himself to sufferings and death. It is not one Word (Logos) that worked miracles, and another Christ who suffered; but one and the same Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, became flesh and man.… If we say that Christ is composed (σύνθετος) of two natures, Godhead and manhood, we bring no confusion (σύγχυσις) into this unity (ἕνωσις), and since we recognise in each of the two natures the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God made man, we bring no separation nor partition nor division into the one personality; but we designate the natures of which HE is composed, and this difference is not denied by the ἕνωσις, since each of the two natures is in Him.… The divine nature is not changed into the human, nor the human into the divine; rather, whilst each remains within its bounds, the unity of personality (hypostatic unity) is produced by the Logos. This hypostatic unity means that God the Word, this one Hypostasis (Person) of the Trinity, united Himself not with a previously existing man, but in the body of the blessed Virgin, HE took flesh for Himself of her own person, animated by the reasonable and rational soul,—and this is human nature. This hypostatical union of the Word with flesh is taught also by the Apostle Paul.… Hence we acknowledge two births of the Logos: the one from all eternity of the Father, incorporeal; the other in the last days, when HE became flesh and man from the holy God-bearer (θεοτόκος).… He is Son of God by nature, we are so by grace; He has, for our sakes and κατʼ οἰκονομίαν, become a Son of Adam, whilst we are by nature sons of Adam.… Even after the Incarnation He is one of the Holy Trinity, the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, composed (σύνθετος) of both natures. This is the doctrine of the Fathers.… Confessing this, we accept also the expression of Cyril, that there is μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, … for as often as he used the expression, he made use of the word φύσις in the sense of ὑπόστασις, for in the books in which this mode of speech occurs, he speedily uses again, instead of this, the expressions λόγος and υἱός and μονογενής (as identified with μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη), and thereby indicates the Person or Hypostasis, and not the Nature.… And he who confesses Christ as God and as man, cannot possibly say that there is only one nature or substance (οὐσία) in Him. That Cyril, in those places, really took φύσις in the sense of person, is shown by his two letters to Succensus and the thirteenth chapter of his Scholia.… Christ is thus one Hypostasis or Person, and HE has in Himself the perfection of the divine and uncreated nature, and the perfection of the human and created nature.”

Further, those are combated who, misusing a simile of the Fathers, would teach only one nature of Christ. Some Fathers, particularly Athanasius, had compared the union of the Godhead and manhood in Christ with the union of body and soul in man. Then the Monophysites said: As body and soul constitute only one human nature, so the Godhead and manhood in Christ also combine into one nature. On the contrary, the imperial edict declares: “If there were only one nature in Christ, then were it necessary that HE should be either without flesh, and only of one substance with God, or pure man, and only of one substance with us; or that the united natures should constitute one new nature different from both; but then Christ would be neither God nor man, and consubstantial neither with God nor with us. Such an assumption, however, were impious.”

Another objection of the Monophysites ran: We must not assume a number of natures in Christ, otherwise we should bring in a division in Christ, which would be Nestorian. To this the imperial edict replied: “If there was a reference to a number of different persons, then this would imply a division into parts; but if we speak of a number in united objects, the division is made only in thought, as, for example, in the distinction of soul and body in the unity of the human person. There, too, there are two φύσεις, that of the soul and that of the body, but the man is not thereby himself divided into two. So in Christ we have to recognise a number of natures, but not a number of persons.

This is proved from Gregory of Nazianzus, from Cyril, and from Gregory of Nyssa, and then the difference between φύσις (= ουσία) and ὑπόστασις is explained, particularly in the Holy Trinity. “We may therefore,” the Emperor proceeds, “speak of one compound Hypostasis (Person) of God the Word (διὰ τοῦ εὐσεβῶς εἴποι τις ἂν μίαν ὑπόστασιν τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σύνθετον), but not of one composed of one nature. The nature is, in itself, something indefinite (ἀόριστον), it must inhere in a person. When, however, they say: The human nature in Christ must also have its own personality, this is as much as to say that the Logos has become united with a man already existing by himself; but two persons cannot become one.… Whoever says that before the union there were two natures, like Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius, means that there was first a man formed, and then he was united with the Logos. But whoever says that after the union we must no longer speak of two, but only of one nature of Christ, introduces a σύγχυσις and φαντασία, like Apollinaris and Eutyches. Before the Incarnation there were not two Lords, and after the Incarnation there is not merely one nature.” The four Œcumenical Synods, including that of Chalcedon, are then adduced, and then the edict goes on: “As this is the truth, we will append κεφάλαια, which contain in brief the true faith and the condemnation of heretics.” The principal contents of these are as follows:—

1. Whoever does not confess the Father, Son, and Spirit as one Godhead or nature, to be worshipped in three hypostases or persons, let him be anathema.

2. Whoever does not confess that the eternal Son of God was made man, and so had two births, an eternal and a temporal, let him be anathema.

3. Whoever says that the wonder-working Logos is another than the suffering Christ, and that the Logos united Himself with one born of a woman, and is not one Lord, etc., let him be anathema.

4. Whoever does not confess an hypostatical union of the Logos with the flesh, μίαν αὐτοῦ τὴν ὑπόστασιν σύνθετον, but, like Nestorius, merely a union of the Godhead and manhood, κατὰ χάριν, or, as the heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia says, κατὰ εὐδοκίαν, let him be anathema.

5. Whoever does not name Mary the Godbearer in the full sense, let him be anathema.

6. Whoever does not confess that the crucified Christ is true God and One of the Holy Trinity, let him be anathema.

7. Whoever accepts two natures but not one Lord, but allows a διαίρεσις ἀνὰ μέρος, as if each nature were a proper hypostasis, like Theodore and Nestorius, let him be anathema.

8. Whoever, speaking of two natures in Christ, assumes not merely a διαθορὰ τῇ θεωρίᾳ, but a numerical division into parts (διαίρεσιν ἀνὰ μέρος), let him be anathema.

9. Whoever, speaking of a μία θύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, does not understand this so that of the divine and human natures there has come one Christ, but that Godhead and manhood coalesced into one nature, like Apollinaris and Eutyches, let him be anathema.

10. The Catholic Church anathematises both those who separate and those who mix (διαιροῦντας καὶ συγχέοντας). Whoever does not anathematise Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, and Eutyches, and all who teach as they do, let him be anathema.

11. Whoever defends Theodore of Mopsuestia, who says: (a) That God the Word is one, and another is the Christ tormented by sufferings of the soul and ἐπιθυμίας τῆς σαρκός, Who grew in virtue, was baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, through baptism received the grace of the Holy Spirit and Sonship, and is reverenced as the image of God the Word, like the image of an Emperor, and after the resurrection became unchangeable in disposition and quite sinless; (b) who (Theodore) further says: The union of God the Word with Christ is of the same kind, according to the Apostle Paul (Eph. 5:31), as that between man and wife, the two become one flesh; (c) who, besides countless other blasphemies, dared also to say: When the Lord, after the resurrection, breathed upon the disciples with the words: “Receive the Holy Ghost” (S. John 20:28), He had given them not the Holy Ghost Himself, but breathed upon them σχήματι μόνον (only to point to the Holy Ghost); (d) he said further: The words which Thomas, after feeling Him, spoke: “My Lord and my God” (S. John 20:28), had reference not to Christ, but to God who raised Christ up; (e) and, what is worse, in his commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Theodore compares Christ with Plato, Manichæus, Epicurus, and Marcion, and says that, as each of these invented his own doctrine, and thus gave to his disciples the name of Platonists, Manichæans, etc., in the same way Christians were named after Christ, who invented a new doctrine. Whoever defends Theodore thus blaspheming, and does not anathematise him and his adherents, let him be anathema.

12. Whoever defends those writings of Theodoret, which he composed in opposition to the right faith, against the Synod of Ephesus, and against Cyril and his twelve anathematisms, and in which Theodoret teaches and maintains only a σχετικὴ ἕνωσις of the Word with a man, saying that Thomas had touched the Risen One, but adored Him who raised Him up; and in which he calls the teachers of the Church impious because they maintain an hypostatic union, and finally refuses to call the Virgin Mary the Godbearer,—whoever defends these writings of Theodore, and does not rather anathematise them, let him be anathema. For, on account of these blasphemies, he was deposed from his bishopric, and was subsequently compelled by the holy Synod of Chalcedon to maintain the opposite of these writings of his, and to confess the true faith.

13. Whoever defends the impious letter which Ibas is said to have written to the Persian heretic Maris, in which the Incarnation of the Logos is denied, and it is maintained that not God the Word, but a mere man, named Temple, was born of Mary; in which, moreover, the first Synod of Ephesus is reviled, as though it had condemned Nestorius without examination and judgment; in which, finally, S. Cyril is called a heretic, and his twelve propositions designated as impious,—whoever defends this impious letter, and in whole or in part declares it to be right, and does not anathematise it, let him be anathema.

The edict then proceeds thus: “The adherents of Theodore and Nestorius maintain that this letter was accepted by the holy Council of Chalcedon. They thus do injustice to the holy Synod, and endeavour thereby to protect Theodore, Nestorius, and the impious letter from anathema, the letter which Ibas, when often questioned on the subject, never ventured to acknowledge as his. Thus, e.g., Ibas at Tyre (more correctly, at Berytus, see secs. 196 and 169) declared, that, since the union of the Antiochenes with Cyril, he had never written anything against the latter, whilst, in fact, the letter to Maris is plainly composed after that union, and is full of insults against Cyril. Ibas thus denied the authorship. His judges (at Tyre and Berytus) therefore demanded that he should take action against that letter (i.e. anathematise Nestorius, etc.); and, as he did not comply, he was deposed, and Nonnus raised to his place. When Ibas was subsequently again accused at Chalcedon, he did not venture to acknowledge that letter, but, immediately after its being read, said that he was far from that which was imputed to him as an offence; but the Synod, not satisfied with this denial of the letter, compelled him to do the reverse of that which was contained in the letter, namely, confess the true faith, accept the Synod of Ephesus, agree with S. Cyril, and anathematise Nestorius. It was therefore impossible that the Synod of Chalcedon should have approved of that letter. Even when in this letter mention is made of two natures and one Dynamis, one Prosopon, even here there is a mixture of the impiety of the author. Here, as in other writings, he regards the natures as hypostatised, but the ἓν πρόσωπον he refers to the unity of dignity and honour. That his opinions generally are heretical, he shows at the end of the letter, where he says: We must thus believe in the Temple, and in Him Who dwells in the Temple.… Like Him, Nestorius also united with expressions of orthodox sound an heretical meaning.… We, however, in all ways following the doctrine of the Fathers, have set forth as well the union of the two natures, of which our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity, the incarnate Word of God, is composed, as the difference (διαφορά) of these natures, which is not removed by that union.

“That would suffice, but the opponents also maintain that the letter of Ibas itself should not be rejected, because it is found in some copies of the Acts of Chalcedon. This objection is invalid, for we also find in the Acts of the Council passages from Nestorius and others. Besides, this letter is not found in the authentic Acts of Chalcedon; and besides, anything brought forward by this or that member of a Synod has no force, but only that which is decreed by the assembly. Whilst, further, some rejected the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia as impious, but would not anathematise his person, this is contrary to the word of Holy Scripture, which says: ‘For the ungodly and his ungodliness are both alike hateful unto God’ (Wisd. 14:9). When, however, they say that Theodore should not be anathematised after his death, they must know, that a heretic who persists in error until his end, is rightly punished in this manner for ever, and even after his death, as it happened with Valentinus, Basilides, and others.… But that Theodoret was anathematised even in his lifetime, is shown distinctly by the letter of Ibas (sec. 196). They say further, that he should not be anathematised, because he died in Church communion. But only those die properly in Church communion who hold fast the common faith of the Church until the end; and the Mopsuestians themselves, as the Synod there (recently) showed, had long ago struck Theodore from the diptychs. Even Judas had communicated with the apostles, notwithstanding which the apostles rejected him after his death, and elected another in his place.…

“When they further adduce, in favour of Theodore, that Cyril had once commended him, this by itself proves nothing, for there are other heretics, who, before they were properly known, had been commended by holy Fathers, e.g. Eutyches by Leo, and besides, Cyril had, in many other places, expressed the strongest condemnation of Theodore. The allegation was false that Chrysostom and Gregory of Nazianzus had written letters full of the praise of Theodore. Gregory’s letter referred, not to Theodore of Mopsuestia, but to Theodore of Tyana; and the letter of Chrysostom is not full of praise, but full of blame, because Theodore had left the monastic life. If, then, John of Antioch and an Oriental Synod commended Theodore, these men had also (at Ephesus) condemned Cyril and defended Nestorius. Finally, we must refer to S. Augustine. When, after the death of Cecilian, it was maintained that he had done something contrary to ecclesiastical order, and some (the Donatists) had separated themselves from the Church on that account, Augustine wrote to Boniface (Epist. 185, n. 4), ‘If that were true which was charged against Cecilian, I should anathematise him even after his death.’ Moreover, a canon of the African Synod requires that bishops who bequeath their property to a heretic, shall be anathematised even after their death (see sec. 84, c. 15). Further, Dioscurus was anathematised by the Church in Old Rome after his death, although he had not offended against the faith, but on account of a violation of ecclesiastical order.… Whoever, after this true confession and this condemnation of heretics, … separates himself from the Church, as though our piety consisted only in names and expressions, has to give account, for himself and for those led astray by him, on the day of judgment, to the great God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”

SEC. 264. Protest, Persecution, and two Flights of the Pope

After issuing this imperial edict, a great conference was held in the residence of the Pope, the Placidia Palace. Greek and Latin bishops of different neighbourhoods, and the priests, deacons, and clerics of Constantinople, were present. Even Theodore Ascidas was present. Both Vigilius and Dacius of Milan warned them against receiving the new imperial edict; and the former, in particular, said: “Beseech the pious Emperor to withdraw the edicts which he has had drawn up, and await the (projected) œcumenical decree on the matter in question, until the Latin bishops, who have taken offence (at the condemnation of the three chapters), shall be either personally present at a Synod, or send their votes in writing. If he should not listen to your petitions, then you ought to give your assent to nothing which tends to a rending of the Church. If, however, you should do so, which I do not believe, you must know that, from that day, you are excommunicated from the apostolic see of Peter.” In a similar sense spoke Bishop Dacius of Milan: “I and a part of those bishops in whose neighbourhood my church lies, namely, from Gaul, Burgundy, Spain, Liguria, Æmilia, and Venetia, testify that whoever assents to those edicts, loses the Church communion of the bishops of the forenamed provinces, because I am convinced that those edicts infringe the sacred Synod of Chalcedon and the Catholic faith.”

Vigilius writes that not only was the edict not withdrawn, but that, on the very same day, something more vexatious was done, in opposition to all ecclesiastical rules, and with infringement of the apostolic see. What he means by this we learn from his Damnatio Theodori (l.c.), namely, that Ascidas, with the other bishops whom he drew after him, in opposition to the express papal command, went into the church in which the edict was published, there celebrated the Missarum solennia, by their arbitrary authority struck from the diptychs Bishop Zoilus of Alexandria (certainly in partnership with Mennas) because he would not condemn the three chapters, and declared a certain Apollinaris as bishop of Alexandria. The Pope, therefore, excommunicated him in the middle of July 551. The Emperor became now so embittered against Vigilius and Dacius, that they, fearing for liberty and life, fled (in August 551) into the Basilica of S. Peter at Constantinople, named in Ormisda, when the Pope, August 14, 551, confirmed in his writing his previous declaration, and on the 17th of this month pronounced the deposition of Ascidas, who had been excommunicated thirty days before, and a sentence of excommunication on his adherents, especially Mennas, ex persona et auctoritate beati Petri apostolic, as he says, and in communion with the Western bishops who were staying with him (likewise in the Basilica of S. Peter), namely, Dacius of Milan, John of Marsicus, Zacchæus of Squilaci, Valentinus of Silva Candida, Florentius of Matelica, Julian of Siani, Romulus of Numentus or Numana, Dominicus of Calliopoli, Stephen of Rimini, Paschasius of Aletro, Jordan of Cortona, Primasius of Adrumetum, and Verecundus of Juncæ. The last two we have already met (sec. 262B) as deputies of the African episcopate; all the others were from Italy.

Vigilius did not immediately publish this Damnatio, but gave the document in question, as he informs us, in charge to a Christian person, in order to give the Emperor, as well as the bishops excommunicated, time to alter their mind. Should these, however, not alter their mind, or should violence be done to the Pope, or evil treatment be inflicted, or he should die, the edict was to be published at the most important places, and everyone should receive information on the subject.

Vigilius was a short time, perhaps scarcely a day, in the Basilica of S. Peter, when the Prætor and a considerable number of soldiers with naked swords appeared in the church, in order to bring him out by force. He clung to the pillars of the altar; the Prætor, however, after he had made them drag out the deacons and other clergy of the Pope by the hair, gave command that the Pope himself should be seized by the feet, the head, and the beard, and dragged out. As Vigilius did not let go the pillars of the altar, it fell over, and some of its pillars were broken. In fact, the altar table would have fallen upon Vigilius and struck him dead, had not some clerics held it fast with their hands. The people were so angered by this sight, that they broke out into loud murmurs, and even several of the soldiers showed such unwillingness that the Prætor thought it well to draw off.

Somewhat gentler measures were now adopted, and the Emperor sent a number of high officers of State, the celebrated Belisarius and three others, ex-consuls, Cethegus, Peter, and Justin, to the Pope, with the offer of an oath that no wrong should happen to him if he returned to his former residence. If, however, he would not receive this oath, force would have to be used. Vigilius now drew up a sketch of the oath which the Emperor was expected to furnish in writing; but the Emperor would not accept the sketch, and ordered that the commissioners already named should take the oath. This was done. They laid the document containing the oath upon the altar, and took a corporal oath upon the cross, in which a portion of the sacred cross of Christ was enclosed, and upon the keys of S. Peter; whereupon Vigilius, in accordance with the wish of the Emperor, returned to the Placidia Palace. With him also Dacius and all his other companions left the asylum in the Basilica of S. Peter.

The assurances given to the Pope were, however, so badly fulfilled, that he repeatedly reminded those imperial commissioners, in writing, of their oath, and requested them to represent to the Emperor that he had been promised protection from all molestations. Yet the persecution became daily more wanton; servants and clerics of the Pope and his friends were bribed to inflict insults upon them; faithful servants, on the contrary, were torn from them; and emissaries were sent to Italy, in order to circulate falsehoods against the Pope and Dacius, to stir up the people against them, and to mislead them to the election of other bishops. They went so far as to get a notary to imitate the handwriting of the Pope, and to prepare, in his name, false letters, which a certain Stephen then brought into Italy, in order to inflame the public mind against Vigilius. The Italian clergy, who relate this, add that the intention was not attained; yet they themselves seem to have apprehended from all this a very unfavourable effect upon public sentiment, on which account they now, perhaps, assembled in a Council, conveyed to the envoys then sent by the Frankish King Theodobald to Constantinople, the document to which we have so often referred, and which we first brought to light, in which the course of the controversy on the three chapters up to this time is described.

At the same time, the petition was inserted in the document to the Frankish envoys that they would convey this intelligence to their own country as speedily as possible, so that their countrymen might not be deceived either by the emissaries ordered there, or by that Anastasius, who had been sent more than two years ago by Bishop Aurelian of Arles to Constantinople, to the Pope, but had been kept there so long, until he promised that he would persuade the Gallican bishops to pronounce an anathema on the three chapters. The envoys were also requested to ask the Gallican bishops to write letters to Vigilius and Dacius, to comfort them, and to encourage them to make opposition to all innovations. In the third place, during their stay in Constantinople, they should intercede for Dacius, so that he might, after an absence of fifteen or sixteen years, be allowed to return again to his diocese, particularly as many sees, for which new bishops had to be ordained, had for years been vacant, so that many persons had died without baptism. Moreover, they should ask Dacius personally why he had not long ago returned to his church. Finally, they must take care not to be caught by the opponents, even if these should declare that they were thoroughly orthodox and full of respect for the Council of Chalcedon. The Italian clergy add that they had received all this intelligence from quite trustworthy people in Constantinople, also that in Africa acts of violence were committed against clergymen, and that all Romans were forbidden to visit the Pope.

In the meantime Vigilius found out, more and more, that the Emperor was thoroughly indisposed to keep that oath. All ways of approach to the dwelling of the Pope were watched, and the residence itself surrounded by so many suspicious people, that Vigilius escaped two days before Christmas, 551, full of anxiety, and under the greatest dangers, with his friends to Chalcedon, and sought refuge in the Church of S. Euphemia (a celebrated asylum) there, in which the fourth Œcumenical Synod was held. From hence he published, in January 552, the decree against Ascidas and Mennas, which had been drawn up nearly six months before; but here also he was persecuted, even beaten, two of his deacons, Pelagius and Tullianus, torn from the church, various sacerdotes (probably bishops in the train of the Pope) arrested. Vigilius himself was here seized by a violent sickness, and his companion, Bishop Verecundus of Africa, died in the hospital of the Church of S. Euphemia (sec. 262B).

SEC. 265. New Negotiations for gaining over Pope Vigilius

Towards the end of January 552, the Emperor again entered into communications with the Pope, and, on the 28th of January, sent the same commissioners to him whom he had sent previously to the Basilica of S. Peter. They must have again offered an oath to the Pope, and invited him to return to Constantinople. He answered: “If the Emperor will arrange the affairs of the Church and restore peace again, as his uncle Justin did, I need no oath, and will immediately appear. If, however, he will not do this, I likewise need no oath, for I will not leave the Church of S. Euphemia, unless the offence is first removed from the Church.”

At the same time, Vigilius placed before the commissaries what he had said to the bishops in that conference (sec. 264), when he had betaken himself to S. Peter’s Church, and drawn up the sentence of punishment against Ascidas and Mennas, etc. He also informed the Emperor, through the commissaries, that he would have no intercourse with the excommunicated men.

At the end of January one of those commissaries, Peter, appeared, for the second time, in the Church of S. Euphemia, and presented a document which Vigilius was required to accept. He refused, and declared the document to be a forgery, because it was not signed by the Emperor, and also because the commissary would not sign it. Its contents are unknown. Vigilius says only that it was full of untruths, insults, and, moreover, of accusations against the Vicar of the Prince of the Apostles. It was, however, the occasion of his addressing an Encyclical to all the faithful, in which he relates all that we have communicated from this Encyclical. To this he adds the information, already given above, of his being ill-treated in the Church of S. Peter, of his being subsequently induced by an oath to return to the palace; but, notwithstanding, of his being obliged to flee to the Church of S. Euphemia. In order, however, he proceeds, that the lies circulated might deceive no one, he adds a complete confession of faith, in which he first recognises the importance of the four Œcumenical Synods, and then emphasises the unity of the person and the duality of the natures in Christ, and finally, anathema is pronounced upon Arius, Macedonius, Eunomius, Paul of Samosata, Photinus, Bonosus, Nestorius, Valentinus, Manes, Apollinaris, Eutyches, Dioscurus, and their doctrines. Finally, this Encyclical relates that, on Sunday, February 4, that State official, Peter, had come again, and had declared in the name of the Emperor that the Pope should determine on what day the imperial commissaries should appear again, in order to take a new oath to him, since he was required to leave the Church of S. Euphemia and return to the capital. Vigilius declared anew, he only wished that the Emperor would restore peace to the Church, for the sake of which he had, seven years ago, come to Constantinople. As, however, Peter had no sufficient authority, he had wished that the Emperor would give adequate security on oath, through two high officials, so that Dacius and some others might personally go to the Emperor, and by commission of the Pope make arrangements with regard to the affairs of the Church. So far goes the Encyclical of the Pope, dated February 5, 552.

What immediately followed upon this is not reported in the original document. We may suppose, however, that, by the negotiations of Dacius and the others, the matter took this turn, that Mennas, Ascidas, and their friends should present a confession of faith to the Pope that should be satisfactory to him, and that the Synod, long resolved upon, should finally be held for the settlement of the controversy. What is certain is, that now Mennas, Theodore Ascidas, Andrew of Ephesus, Theodore of Antioch in Pisidia, Peter of Tarsus, and many other Greek bishops, presented a confession of faith to the Pope, who was still in the Church of S. Euphemia; and that Vigilius was satisfied with it, and afterwards received it into his Constitutum, so that by that means we still possess it.

They declared in this that they desired the unity of the Church, and therefore had set forth this document, to the effect that they, before everything, held fast inviolably to the four holy Synods of Nicæa, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, as well to their decrees on the faith as to their other ordinances, without adding or subtracting anything; and that they would never do, or allow anything to be done, to the blame, or to the alteration, or to the reproach of these Synods under any pretext whatever; but, on the contrary, would accept everything which, by general decree, in agreement with the legates and of the apostolic see, had then been pronounced. In like manner, they were ready to give a complete assent to the letters of Leo, and to anathematise everyone who acted against them. As regarded, however, the matter now coming in question respecting the three chapters, none of them had prepared a statement on this subject in opposition to the agreement between the Emperor and the Pope (A.D. 550, sec. 262B); and they were agreed that all writings should be given over to the Pope (i.e. should first be put out of operation—until the decision of a Council). As for the injuries which the Pope had experienced, they were not in fault, yet they would ask forgiveness as though they had themselves committed them. So, too, they would ask forgiveness for having, during the time of division, held communion with those whom the Pope had excommunicated.

SEC. 266. Vigilius gives and recalls his Assent to the holding of an Œcumenical Synod

Soon afterwards Mennas died, in August 552, and a short time before also Dacius of Milan; but Eutychius received the see of Constantinople, and soon after his entrance upon office also sent a confession of faith to the Pope, on the Feast of the Theophany, i.e. January 6, 552. And he affirms, before everything, his love for unity in the faith, through which God’s grace was obtained, then speaks of his loyal adhesion to the four holy Synods, and declares that he will thoroughly agree with the letters which the Roman bishops, particularly Leo, wrote on the true faith. As regards the three chapters, however, which come into question, a common consultation must be held, and a final decision arrived at in accordance with the four holy Synods.

Along with Eutychius there subscribed at the same time Apollinaris of Alexandria (sec. 264), Domnus or Domninus of Antioch, and Elias of Thessalonica. Besides these, all those bishops who had not subscribed the former confession of faith of Mennas and Ascidas, expressed their agreement, but without any special giving of names. Vigilius replied, January 8, 553, in several letters, all to the same effect, addressed to Eutychius, Apollinaris, etc. “He rejoices,” he says, “in a high degree at the end of the separation. He has received the letter of Eutychius, which he subscribed with joy (he inserts his letter verbally in his own), and also he will remain inviolably faithful to the true faith therein confessed. Finally,” he says, “he is thoroughly in accord with this, that a general consultation, under his presidency, servata æquitate, on the subject of the three chapters, should be held, and that by a common decision, in accordance with the four holy Synods, all division should be taken away.”

A letter of convocation referring to this Synod is no longer extant; we learn, however, from a somewhat later edict of the Emperor, that he summoned the assembly. From the same document and from the Constitutum of Vigilius we learn further, that the latter, after Mennas, Ascidas, Eutychius, and others had sent him the declarations of faith, and the Emperor had demanded from all the bishops the sending of the same kind of confessions, wished that they should hold the Synod that had been agreed upon in Italy or Sicily, at which numerous bishops might be present from Africa and other parts of the West, where hesitation was felt as to the rejection of the three chapters. The Emperor, however, did not agree to this, but made the proposal to summon to Constantinople those bishops whom the Pope wished to consult. Probably the Emperor speedily gave up this plan, because he might fear that, by bringing in these Africans, etc., a great opposition to his plans might be occasioned. In short, the Africans and others did not come; but Vigilius was still unwilling to take part in a Synod where, besides himself and a few other Latins, merely Greeks were to be present. In order to make a compromise, the Emperor made the proposal, soon before Easter, either to summon a tribunal for decision, or to hold a smaller assembly, to which from all parts an equal number of bishops might be got together. Vigilius understood this to mean that, of all the many Greek bishops who were present, only as many as he had Latins around him should be chosen to the conference; but the Emperor meant that from each patriarchate there should be a like number of bishops chosen, and so, as many from Constantinople as from the West, and again, as many from Alexandria, etc.

Taking the matter in his sense, the Pope prepared to bring only three bishops from his side with him, and so from the Greek side there should be only four persons selected, the three patriarchs and one other bishop besides. But the Emperor demanded that each Greek patriarch might bring three to five bishops with him. As the Pope would not agree to this, and on the other side the Emperor and the Greek bishops rejected the Pope’s proposal, Vigilius paid no regard to the repeated request that he would, without further delay, appear at the Synod, but declared that his intention was to express his judgment in writing and for himself; and the Synod was therefore opened without his presence, in order to advance the via facti, and by the fait accompli to make the Pope compliant.








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