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

SEC. 275. Synod at Jerusalem, A.D. 553. The Emperor endeavours to compel the recognition of the Fifth Synod

IT is beyond question that the Emperor did not fail solemnly to confirm the decrees of the Synod in a special edict. As, however, no document of that kind has come down to us, Walch supposed (Bd. viii. S. 297) that such an edict would be superfluous, and would therefore not be issued, especially as Justinian, in his earlier edicts, had most clearly pronounced his will in this matter. But the formal order and the practice of the Byzantine Government required a formal document of confirmation, and Zonaras († 1118) says, in his Annals: “The Emperor confirmed what the holy Fathers, from love to God, had decreed.” Besides this, we learn from Cyril of Scythopolis, who was a contemporary of our Synod, that the Emperor himself sent the synodal Acts into the provinces, in order that they might be subscribed by the bishops who had come to Constantinople.

In all the Greek and Oriental parts of the empire this was done almost without any opposition; and the same Cyril speaks (l.c.) particularly of an assembly or Synod of the bishops of Palestine at Jerusalem, probably A.D. 553, which had received and confirmed with hand and mouth the decrees of the fifth Council collectively. Alexander of Abyla alone had spoken against it, and had therefore been deposed. Finally, Cyril of Scythopolis speaks also of the monks of the new Laura in Palestine who had now broken off Church communion with the bishops of l’alestine, and for this reason had been driven from the country by the imperial general Anastasius (A.D. 554). We have already referred to this passage as making it probable that the name of Origen was really contained in the eleventh anathematism of the fifth Synod (sec. 274).

Of any further opposition to this Synod we find no trace in the East; but the hope was not fulfilled which the Emperor had cherished, that now many Monophysites would unite with the Church. That this did not take place we are told most distinctly by Leontius of Byzantium. It was worse in the West; since here the fifth Synod, instead of reuniting the separatists to the Church, divided the orthodox among themselves. To prevent this, the Emperor, for the most part, employed violent measures, and sometimes milder ones. The Roman deacon Rusticus and the African Abbot Felix, these old opponents of the anathema on the three chapters, who were then still at Constantinople, published immediately a writing against the decrees of the fifth Synod, but were immediately banished, together with their friends, to the Thebaïd in Egypt. Bishop Victor of Tununum, who relates this, and who also was a vehement opponent of the fifth Synod, adds: “As a punishment for this banishment, etc., the city of Constantinople was immediately afterwards visited by a violent earthquake by which many altars were thrown down.” Here the earthquake appears as a punishment for the reception of the fifth Synod; whilst Cyril of Scythopolis (l.c.) indicates that Bishop Alexander of Abyla was killed by that earthquake at Constantinople because he refused to recognise the fifth Synod.

Further on Victor of Tununum remarks (ad ann. 557) that Abbot Felix was banished to Sinope and there died A.D. 557. Of Facundus of Hermione, the greatest of all the defenders of the three chapters, he gives us here no information; but we see, from his own book ad Mocianum, that, at an earlier period, so long as the nefandum Judicatum, as he calls it, was in force, and thus even before the opening of the fifth Synod, he had betaken himself to a secret hiding-place, in order to escape from the snares of his enemies.

SEC. 276. Pope Vigilius confirms the Fifth Synod

It is probable that the Pope and the bishops who were faithful to him, and were about him in Constantinople, suffered the punishment of exile. That the Emperor had demanded, even during the fifth Synod, that the name of Vigilius should be struck from the diptychs, we have already seen; and we found it probable that the edict in reference to this was published generally on July 14, 553. About the same time occurred what Anastasius and the author of the additions to the Chronicle of Marcellinus relate, that Vigilius and his clergy were banished into different places, and that they had been condemned to labour in the mines. As particular places of their exile, Anastasius mentions the city of Gypsus in Upper Egypt, and Proconnesus, an island in the Propontis. But, he proceeds, after the imperial general Narses had freed the city of Rome from the Goths, the Roman clergy petitioned for the liberation and return of their bishop and their colleagues, and the Emperor agreed.

The liberation, however, was dependent upon the condition that Vigilius would recognise the fifth Synod; and he did so, as in the meantime he had come to the conviction, certainly a right one, that the Council of Chalcedon was thereby in no ways infringed upon. Let us consider only what took place at Chalcedon and at Constantinople in the fifth Synod. In the first place, as regards Theodore of Mopsuestia, there could be here, in fact, no contradiction between the fourth and fifth Œcumenical Synods, since the former said nothing whatever about him. To say that one who was dead must not be anathematised, however, was an idle contention, contradictory to history and to the nature of the case, so that in this the defenders of the fifth Council had easy work.

More plausible was the objection in regard to Theodoret and Ibas; but this, too, was easily set aside. Theodoret and Ibas were suspected of Nestorianism, and it was therefore demanded, at Chalcedon, that they should pronounce anathema on Nestorius and his heresies. They did so, and were restored to their bishoprics. But by this means no approval was expressed on their earlier proceedings and their earlier writings, particularly on what they had done before the union with Cyril. On the contrary, the demand for a strict and frank anathema on Nestorius (vol. iii. secs. 195, 196) was a consequence of the doubts which the past of these men instilled. And on this past alone did the fifth Council pronounce a judgment, without in the least contesting the sentence of Chalcedon and the restoration of the two men. They did at Constantinople what they could have done at Chalcedon, without doing anything in the least contradictory. Moreover, the judgment of the fifth Synod was objectively well founded, as we have seen (sec. 258), and the most that could be said was that it was in contradiction with the opinion of some few members at Chalcedon. This doubt also disappeared when it was considered, as has been done above (sec. 258), that the letter, from one point of view, might be a testimony that Ibas had, in the ground of his heart, no heretical opinions, at least since the union; whilst to others it appeared in a more favourable light. But only few then made these distinctions so quietly. The enemies of the fifth Synod persisted in the old exaggerated contention that the Council of Chalcedon had approved of the letter of Ibas, and the like; whilst the others thought to remove all difficulties by the assertion (a) that Ibas had never acknowledged the letter as his, and had rejected it at Chalcedon; and (b) that those few supporters at Chalcedon, who seem to have commended the letter, could not weigh in the scale against the judgment of the whole Synod, which had demanded from Ibas an anathema upon all Nestorianism, and so also on that contained in the letter (sec. 270).

This style of argument used by the friends of the fifth Synod was now accepted by Vigilius; but he went a good deal further, to a very bold argument, as we see particularly from the second of those documents which we have now to consider.

That Pope Vigilius had given his assent to the fifth Synod sometime after its close, has long been known from Evagrius and Photius, and from the Acts of the sixth Œcumenical Synod, eighteenth session. In the seventeenth century, however, Peter de Marca and Baluze discovered the two edicts in which the Pope expressed this assent. The first of these documents, discovered by Peter de Marca in a codex in the Royal Library in Paris, is addressed to the Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople, and dated December 8, 553. We see from this that more than seven months had passed since the end of the Synod when Vigilius arrived at his new resolve. Here he says: “The enemy of the human race, who sows discord everywhere, had separated him from his colleagues, the bishops assembled in Constantinople. But Christ had removed the darkness again from his spirit, and had again united the Church of the whole world.… There was no shame in confessing and recalling a previous error; this had been done by Augustine in his Retractations. He, too, following this and other examples, had never ceased to institute further inquiries on the matter of the three chapters in the writings of the Fathers. Thus he had found that Theodore of Mopsuestia had taught error, and therefore had been opposed in the writings of the Fathers (here he inserts several heretical expressions of Theodore, almost verbally taken from the twelfth anathematism of the Synod, sec. 274). The whole Church must now know that he rightly ordained the following: We condemn and anathematise, together with all the heretics who have been already condemned and anathematised at the four holy Synods and by the Catholic Church, also Theodore, formerly bishop of Mopsuestia, and his impious writings; also that which Theodoret impiously wrote against the right faith, against the twelve anathematisms of Cyril, against the first Synod of Ephesus, and in defence of Theodore and Nestorius. Moreover, we anathematise and condemn also the impious letter, etc. (here are the very same words which the Synod employed in their sentence, sec. 274). Finally, we subject to the same anathema all who believe that the three chapters referred to could at any time be approved or defended, or who venture to oppose the present anathema. Those, on the contrary, who have condemned, or do condemn, the three chapters, we hold for brethren and fellow-priests. Whatever we ourselves or others have done in defence of the three chapters we declare invalid. Far be it from anyone to say that the before-mentioned blasphemies (from the books of Theodore and Theodoret, etc.), or those who teach the like, have been approved by the four holy Synods, or by one of them. On the contrary, it is well known that no one who was in anyway under suspicion was received by the Fathers named, especially by the holy Synod of Chalcedon, unless he first had anathematised the said blasphemies, or the heresy of which he was suspected.”

The second document, discovered by Baluze in the Colbert Library, dated February 23, 554, is in Latin, and has no superscription, and the beginning is also wanting. It bears the title “Vigilii Papæ Constitutum de damnatione trium capitulorum” (thus the second Constitutum), was perhaps addressed to the bishops of the West, and at great length took in hand to set aside their doubts of the condemnation of the three chapters. After a repetition of the confessions of faith from the Acts of Chalcedon, etc., it begins with the words: “After putting before you the declaration of faith of Chalcedon, and the letter of Leo on the true faith, and you and the whole Church see that I abide by this faith, I hold it necessary also to discuss the matter of the three chapters, and to decide it by provident promulgation of the sentence.”

Vigilius next relates the historical facts in connection with Ibas, and then endeavours to show that the letter to Maris, ascribed to him, had never been approved by the Synod of Chalcedon; but, on the contrary, that its contents stood in contradiction to the teaching of the Council. But the letter was only falsely ascribed to Ibas. He had decidedly disavowed it, and shown that, like other things, it had been foisted upon him by the Eutychians.

Here Vigilius evidently goes too far, and maintains more decidedly than other friends of the Synod the spuriousness of the letter to Maris, although in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon the letter is quite distinctly ascribed to Ibas (Concil. Chalced. Sess. x., in Mansi, t. vii. p. 242, and Hardouin, t. ii. p. 527); and Ibas, at and after its reading, said not a syllable against its genuineness, although that would have been very much in his favour. But Vigilius goes still further, and tries to show that even those testimonies (vota) of the papal legates at Chalcedon, and of Bishop Maximus of Antioch, were not adduced by the defenders of the three chapters. The votum of the papal envoy ran: “Relecta enim ejus epistola agnovimus, eum (Ibam) esse Orthodoxum”; but by this epistola ejus we must not understand the letter to Maris, but the letter drawn up by the clergy of Edessa in favour of Ibas. This was read last at Chalcedon, immediately before the voting, and could be called the epistola of Ibas, since Ibas presented this document in his favour. It is quite customary for anyone to say of the documents on which he supports his cause: “Those are my documents.”

Even the testimony of Maximus, which points still more decisively to the letter to Maris, Vigilius would invalidate. On this he says: καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ἀναγνωσθέντος δὲ ἀντιγράφου τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, τοῦ προσκομισθέντος παρὰ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου αὐτοῦ, ὀρθόδοξος ὤφθη αὐτοῦ ἡ ὑπαγορία, i.e. “Even from the reading of the copy, the letter brought forward by his opponent, the orthodoxy of his meaning was seen.” As, in fact, the opponent of Ibas brought forward the letter to Maris in support of his accusation, but had willingly passed over in silence the letter of the clergy of Edessa in favour of Ibas, so that Ibas had to demand that it should be read; so it is probable that we should here think not of this, but of the letter to Maris. But Vigilius answered: All that was read at Chalcedon in reference to Ibas was taken from the minutes of the earlier transactions at Tyre and Berytus. These minutes the opponent of Ibas had brought complete, and therefore it could be said, also the letter of the Edessenes, although possibly kept back by him, yet by him πρὸσκομισθέν, since he had actually brought it. Here Vigilius attempted a kind of argument in favour of the fifth Synod which none had ventured upon before him. Much more timidily had the bishops of the fifth Synod stepped on this point when they said “the voices of some few bishops were not decisive” (see 271); and again: “Since all the members of the Synod of Chalcedon demanded that Ibas should anathematise Nestorius, whom that letter defended, they showed that they held as invalid what one or two had said in favour of that letter; and these, too, had united with the others.” Indeed Vigilius himself had said in his first Constitutum: “It was clear that the legates of the apostolic see regarded Ibas as orthodox after the reading of his letter to Maris, and that Maximus of Antioch had declared that from this letter read the catholic confession of Ibas was clear; and the other bishops had not only not contradicted, but evidently had agreed.” He now maintained the direct opposite of his earlier contention.

He further, in the new edict, pronounces a full anathema on the letter in question, and on all who maintain that it was declared orthodox by anyone at Chalcedon; he then proceeds to Theodore of Mopsuestia, whom, together with the writings of Theodoret against Cyril, he declares worthy of condemnation, and finally closes with an anathema on all the three chapters together, on their defenders, and on everyone who should maintain that that letter was declared to be orthodox by the Synod of Chalcedon, or by any member of it.

SEC. 277. Many Westerns refuse to recognise the Fifth Synod

After publishing these writings, Vigilius made return from Constantinople to Rome, probably in the summer of 554; but fell sick on the way, in Sicily, of pains in the stone, and died at Syracuse towards the end of the year 554, or in January of 555. His body was conveyed to Rome, and, as Anastasius relates, was entombed in the Church of S. Marcellus on the Salarian Way. His successor was his previous deacon Pelagius I. (from April 555 to March 560), whom we have seen peculiarly active as papal representative in Constantinople at the anathematising of Origen. He had also subscribed the Constitutum in which Vigilius declared himself for the three chapters, and had been at Constantinople in the train of the Pope. At an earlier period, moreover, he seems to have been of a different mind, on which account Justinian intended to raise him to the Roman see in place of Vigilius, if Anastasius tells the truth. The Pope’s compliance, however, altered the case. But Pelagius came under suspicion, as though he had acted in a faithless manner towards Vigilius, and occasioned much of his oppression by the Emperor, on which account most of the bishops of Italy and very many clergy and laity of Rome withdrew at first from his Church communion, so that only two bishops were present at his consecration, who ordained him with the assistance of a priest. He therefore found it necessary, immediately on his entering upon his office, solemnly to defend and purge himself in S. Peter’s Church in Rome.

In spite of this, that both Vigilius and his successor recognised the fifth Œcumenical Synod, many Westerns still persisted in their opposition. Probably about this time a number of bishops addressed a memorial to the Emperor Justinian, in which they declared, in vigorous language, the condemnation of the three chapters as invalid, and said that the intention had been thereby to give satisfaction to the Monophysites. To which province these bishops belonged is not known, as their memorial itself is lost, and we now possess only the extensive and harsh reply of the Emperor, which has no special address, which was discovered, in the last century, in the Medicean Library at Florence. That it was bishops from whom the memorial proceeded we see from the beginning of the answer, in which it is said that they had separated themselves from the other bishops, and in proud presumption had compared themselves with the apostles. The Emperor then meets all their doubts as to the anathema on the three chapters, and shows at length that the condemnation of them was fully justified, and in noway infringed upon the Council of Chalcedon. (Much is here borrowed from the earlier edict of the Emperor, the ὁμολογία πίστεως.) The Emperor, further, finds much in the memorial of the bishops which is even directly heretical, and especially finds fault with the statement that the anathematisms of Cyril are obscure, and first received the true light through the letter of Ibas. The Emperor speaks also of an impious teacher, who misleads the authors of the memorial, and has circulated heresy in a locality where previously no heretic had set his foot. If, however, he concludes, the bishops, in their memorial, gave him counsels as to what answers he should give to the Egyptians (Egypt was the chief seat of the Monophysites), they should before everything reform themselves; but to satisfy them, the Emperor would have to make the Egyptians into Nestorians and Theodorians.

Perhaps this answer and that memorial may be connected with an occurrence which Victor of Tununum relates, that, in the year 554 or 555, Frontinus, metropolitan of Salona in Dalmatia, was cited to Constantinople for defending the three chapters, and was banished to the Thebaïd; and that Peter had been ordained in his place by the heretics. By the heretics Victor, the martyr for the three chapters, understands the adherents of the fifth Synod, and there is no difficulty in assuming that the bishops of Illyricum occidentale, under the presidency of Frontinus, had sent out that memorial to the Emperor, and that therefore their metropolitan, styled “the impious teacher” in the answer of the Emperor, had been exiled. We have already heard of the zeal of the Illyrians and Dalmatians for the three chapters (secs. 261 and 262).

When Vigilius gave his assent to the fifth Synod almost all the African bishops were on the opposite side, but their opposition broke out, as Victor of Tununum says, since the year 559. The principal agitator on this side was Primasius of Carthage, the primate of the whole of Latin Africa, who, as we know, immediately on his institution had accepted the anathema on the three chapters (sec. 262B). For this reason most of the other bishops of those provinces separated from him; but now two of his friends, Bishops Rufinus and Vidus, succeeded in persuading their colleagues in the proconsular province of Africa so that they entered into Church communion, perhaps at a Synod, with Primasius and all the opponents of the three chapters. This example was soon followed by their neighbours in the Numidian province. They, too, came to Carthage, in order to enter into Church communion with Primasius. Only few from both provinces refused their concession, and for that reason were persecuted by Primasius with blows, imprisonment, and exile. To these belonged Victor of Tununum, also Theodosius of Cebarsusa, Donatus, Brumasius, Musicus, and Chrysonius. After they had been forced to change their place of exile and imprisonment several times, they were at last confined in different monasteries.

SEC. 278. The Schism in Upper Italy. Tuscany and France are also against the Fifth Synod

We receive important intelligence respecting the further progress of the controversy on the three chapters from the letters of Pope Pelagius I., and we learn that, in Upper Italy, from the west to the eastern coast, in the west the bishops of Liguria and Æmilia, in the east those of Venetia and Istria, on account of the three chapters and the fifth Synod, separated formally from communion with the holy see. At the head of the eastern bishops of Upper Italy stood Paulinus of Aquileia, as supreme metropolitan of Venetia and Istria with a part of Illyricum, Rhætia II., and Noricum; whilst the westerns had their ecclesiastical head in the archbishop of Milan. Pope Pelagius I. sent Roman clergymen into those parts in order to bring back the bishops to Church communion with Rome, and requested Narses as commander-in-chief in Italy to support the Church with the secular arm, and to constrain those who had gone astray to the right way. Especially was he to send the chief promoters of the disquiet, the bishops of Milan and Aquileia, to Constantinople to the Emperor, that he might dispose of them. At the same time he complains (Epist. 3) of a Synod which the Schismatics had held (at Aquileia) for the rejection of the fifth Council, whilst the old Church rule required that, in case of doubts arising with respect to an Œcumenical Council their solution was to be sought of the Roman see, and not by a provincial Synod. Nothing more is known respecting the Synod in question; it probably fell in the year 554 or 555, and must not be confounded with a later Synod at Aquileia, mentioned by Bede. From the sixth letter of Pelagius I. we see that the Tuscan bishops also renounced communion with him, whilst they regarded him as a heretic because of his rejection of the three chapters. He endeavoured to propitiate them, and asserted his orthodoxy. This he did, moreover, in an encyclical letter to the whole Christian people, to which he also appended a confession of faith; and so in two letters to Childebert, king of the Franks, as his orthodoxy was suspected also in Gaul. To the second of these letters also a confession of faith was appended. When Pelagius I. died, A.D. 560, and the Emperor Justinian in November 565, the opposition had already been partially softened, and in order to increase this still more the Emperor Justin II. issued an edict similar to the Henoticon, which endeavoured to represent the whole controversy as unimportant. It is given verbally in Evagrius (v. 4), and it orders that there shall be no more wrangling over persons and syllables. Among the persons, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, and Ibas were evidently intended; whilst the expression “over syllables” probably referred to the controversy which broke out in the last years of Justinian on the corruptibility or incorruptibility of the body of Jesus (φθαρτός and ἀφθαρτός, vol. iii. sec. 208). Evagrius himself remarks: As this edict at the close declared that the present status quo of the Church should be maintained, none of the sectaries returned to the Church.

SEC. 279. Victories of the Longobardi. Partial Union of the Milanese

Soon after this, from the year 568, the Longobardi under Alboin by degrees got possession of all the provinces of Upper Italy, and very many sees of the schismatical bishops in those parts came under their power, particularly the two great metropolitan sees of Milan and Aquileia. Bishop Paulinus of Aquileia, therefore, fled with the treasures of the church to Grado, and removed his throne to this little island, in the neighbourhood of Trieste, which still belonged to the Emperor. So also Honoratus of Milan, when this city was seized by Alboin in September 569, betook himself to Genoa, which had never come into the hands of the Longobardi. But these districts, whether taken or not, persisted still in their separation from Rome and in their rejection of the fifth Synod. Bright hopes of union emerged, however, when, after the death of Honoratus of Milan (†570), the one part, namely, the Milanese clergy who had fled to Genoa, the majority, elected Lawrence II., but the clergy who had remained at Milan a certain Fronto; and the former, in order to get the better of his rival, again entered into Church communion with Rome in 571, and laid before the Pope (John III.) a written and most definite assurance (districtissimam cautionem, says Gregory the Great). We learn this from two letters of Gregory the Great to the successor of Lawrence, Archbishop Constantine, and we may from these infer the contents of this cautio. That they declared for the restoration of Church communion with Rome was naturally the first; but besides this, we learn from the second of the letters of Gregory referred to, it bound Bishop Lawrence in this manner, that if it should be asked he could not swear that he had not anathematised the three chapters. There must therefore have been a concession contained in it in regard to the anathema on the three chapters. And this cautio was subscribed, not by Bishop Lawrence alone, but along with him by many viri nobilissimi, both from his side and from that of the Pope, for Gregory the Great himself subscribed it when he was still Prætor urbanus at Rome. This union of the Milanese of necessity increased still more when Lawrence II. after the death of his rival Fronto, came into the uncontested possession of the see, and even the part of his diocese which had remained at Milan recognised him.

SEC. 280. Attempts at Union with the See of Grado

About the same time attempts were made also in the east of Upper Italy to bring back to the Church the schismatical bishops of Istria and Venetia, particularly those who were still subject to the Emperor. At their head stood Elias, archbishop of Aquileia at Grado (the title of Aquileia was still retained after the removal); and the imperial exarch over Italy, Smaragdus, proceeded to employ force. The Schismatics, therefore, turned to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582–602), and he gave orders to the governor henceforth not to disturb any bishop on account of the union. In a more peaceful way than Smaragdus, Pope Pelagius at the same time pursued the same end, and sent letters and deputies to Elias and his suffragans in order to invite them to union.

At the same time he moved for a conference (religious colloquy) at Rome or Ravenna, and endeavoured to remove from them all suspicion in regard to his orthodoxy. That Elias about the same time (579) held a Synod at Grado with regard to the removal of the see of Aquileia to Grado, is probably a fiction; and at least the supposed Acts of this assembly are more than suspected, since, according to these, the Synod was held with the approval of the Pope and in the presence of a Roman legate, whilst Elias still refused Church communion with Pelagius.

When Elias died, A.D. 586, and Severus succeeded him in the see of Grado, the imperial exarch Smaragdus renewed his methods of restoring Church union, brought Archbishop Severus and three of his suffragans by force to Ravenna, and, when the schismatics would not be driven over, he put them in prison, and ill-treated them to such an extent, with threats of exile, that they at last entered into communion with Archbishop John of Ravenna, who had anathematised the three chapters, and naturally was in union with Rome. When, after a year’s delay, they were allowed to return to Grado, their people regarded them as apostates, and would have no communion with them, until Severus, at a Synod of ten bishops at Mariano or Marana in Friaul, on the coasts of the Adriatic Sea, recalled his step, and renewed the schism.

SEC. 281. Gregory the Great works for Union. Synods of the Schismatics

When Gregory the Great, on September 3, 590, ascended the papal chair, he immediately directed new solicitude to the restoration of ecclesiastical union, and obtained from the Emperor Maurice the command, that Severus of Aquileia (Grado) and his suffragans should come to Rome for the purpose of a friendly conference. In order to evade this, the sectaries immediately held two Synods. Severus and the schismatical bishops of Upper Italy, etc., who stood under imperial authority, assembled at Grado, and those who were subject to the Longobardi at another place which is unknown; because, through mistrust of their government, closer intercourse with the empire did not seem advisable. From this second Synod we still possess a letter to the Emperor Maurice, which was subscribed by ten bishops from Venetia and Rhætia II., first by Ingenuinus of Seben, also by Agnellus of Trent, Junior of Verona, and others. They say, in this letter, that Pope Vigilius and almost all the bishops had declared the anathema on the three chapters to be detestable. Vigilius, in particular, had, in an edict circulated in all the provinces, threatened with excommunication everyone who should receive that anathema (they entirely ignore the later assent of Vigilius). Afterwards, indeed, many bishops, under compulsion of the Emperor, had agreed to that anathema; but they, on the contrary, taught by Vigilius, had with steady fidelity held the decrees of Chalcedon, and had broken off communion with those who had rejected the three chapters.

They further relate what attempts had been made to compel those of their colleagues, who were still subject to the Emperor, to the recognition of the anathema on the three chapters; for example, what had been done by Smaragdus against Bishop Elias and his successor Severus, and how, quite recently, Pope Gregory had wanted to compel Severus to come to Rome. The imperial command to this effect was certainly gained surreptitiously; but they had been, in the highest degree, troubled by it, because their metropolitan (Severus) would now have to be subject to his (the Pope’s) judgment, who was himself of the other party in this matter, and whose communion they and their predecessors had left. They had petitioned their archbishop that he would draw up no decree without them on the common ecclesiastical question (they feared he might yield). After the disquiet about war was ended, they would themselves come to Constantinople, in order to give an explanation with regard to their Church communion; then it would be suitable to decide the controversy by a Synod in presence of the Emperor. Finally, they threatened that, in case the Emperor should compel Severus to compliance, they would separate from the metropolis of Aquileia. They would then unite themselves with the bishops of Gaul, just as in other churches, Salzburg, Augsburg, and others, priests had been instituted by Frankish bishops.

From the other Synod of the schismatics, under Severus at Grado, no document is extant; but we learn from a letter of the Emperor to the Pope, that both the Synod and Severus in particular addressed memorials to the Emperor, and sent deputies to Constantinople. Maurice complied with their requests, and ordered the Pope to leave the bishops in question undisturbed, until Italy should be restored to peace, and the other bishops of Istria or Venetia should be brought back to their earlier position, i.e. should again be subjected to the Roman Empire. In consequence of this Gregory was obliged to refrain from all more violent measures, so long as Romanus—a slothful, covetous man, and one unfriendly to the Pope—was imperial exarch of Italy. Gregory, nevertheless, made continuous efforts by letters to bring about the suppression of the schism and the general peace of the Church, and, probably at this time, sent out that famous letter which, in the various editions generally bears the title, Ad episcopos Hiberniæ. Those addressed, as the opening of the letter shows, were plainly schismatics, who had been forced to endure inconveniences on account of their non-acceptance of the fifth Council. In order to instruct them, Gregory sent them the book of his predecessor Pelagius (probably his third letter in Mansi, t. ix. p. 433; Hardouin, t. iii. p. 421). It has been inferred from this that a schism must have arisen in Ireland also on account of the three chapters; but a still extant letter of S. Columban to Pope Boniface shows that he, for the first time, received information respecting the schism on account of the three chapters after his arrival in Upper Italy, and that nothing was known of it in Ireland. Many therefore have supposed that we should read Istriæ instead of Hiberniæ. But since neither of these words stands in the old MSS., as we are assured by the Benedictines, and, indeed, there is no indication of place at all, the Ballerini are certainly right when they assume that this letter of Gregory’s was an Epistola encyclica.

After the death of Romanus, Callinias became exarch of Italy, and the Emperor forbade anew the molestation of the Istrians. But the general Basil, a friend of Gregory’s, supported the latter in his efforts for union; and Smaragdus did this still more when, in, A.D. 602, he had again become exarch of Italy. The island of Caprulæ (Caorle, near Venice) now returned to the Church, and received a Catholic bishop of its own. Somewhat later three other Istrian bishops, Providentius, Peter, and Ferminus of Trieste, entered the union.

SEC. 282. The Union of the Province of Milan is renewed and extended

A still more favourable result was gained by Gregory the Great in the west of Upper Italy. Bishop Lawrence II. of Milan (sec. 279) had died in communion with the Roman Church, and the portion of the clergy still resident in Milan elected the deacon Constantine as his successor, and gave notice of this to Pope Gregory the Great. The latter commissioned his subdeacon John instantly to proceed to Genoa, in order to ascertain whether the Milanese who had fled thither were contented with Constantine; and if he discovered that it was so, he should have him consecrated by the bishops of the province with the assent of the Pope. This was done, and the new bishop subsequently maintained the most friendly relations with Gregory, and received the pallium from him. Soon after the Pope learned that three suffragans of Constantine had broken off communion with him, because he had consented to the anathematising of the three chapters, and had put forth a written cautio in this direction. So, too, the famous Queen of the Longobardi, Theodelinda, for the same reason, withdrew from communion with Archbishop Constantine. Gregory the Great therefore sent envoys, A.D. 594, into Lombardy, with a letter to the Queen and two letters to Constantine. In the latter he declared that neither in writing nor by word of mouth had the bishop put forth a cautio on account of the three chapters, and that there had been no necessity for any such thing, as without this the Pope fully trusted him. In the letter to Theodelinda, however, Gregory asserts his orthodoxy, declares that under Justinian (at the fifth Synod) nothing had been done to the prejudice of the Council of Chalcedon, and requests her at once to resume communion with Constantine, whose ordination she had received with approval.

Soon afterwards Archbishop Constantine wrote to him that he had not ventured to convey the letter to the Queen, because it contained mention of the fifth Synod; requesting the Pope therefore to send another letter to her. Gregory did so, and contented himself, in this new letter, with a powerful assurance of his own adhesion to the four holy Synods. He had, moreover, learned from Constantine that the bishop and the inhabitants of Brescia had demanded an assurance on oath that he (Constantine) had not anathematised the three chapters. Gregory strengthened him in the purpose not to take this oath, since his predecessor Lawrence had certainly not taken any such oath, and had not infringed the juramenta of his cautio. On the other hand, however, for the quieting of the Brescians, while communicating the anathema, he should declare to them in a letter that he neither infringed upon the faith of Chalcedon himself in the least degree, nor would receive into his communion anyone who should venture to infringe it; that he condemned all who condemned the Council of Chalcedon, and recognised all who had recognised that. The Pope, therefore, not only himself was silent to the Lombardian Queen on the fifth Synod, and on the three chapters, but he requested that Constantine also should be entirely silent on that subject, and that he should direct his efforts to one point, “restoration of union with Rome,” perceiving that, in time, this would draw after it in peace everything else that was necessary. And, in fact, the schism in the west of Italy was now extinguished, and only that in the east maintained for some time a miserable existence.

SEC. 283. End of the Schism

Soon after Gregory the Great (†604), there died also his principal opponent Severus (A.D. 607), the head of the schismatics of Istria, Venetia, Rhætia II., etc., and the see of Aquileia-Grado was now occupied by Candidian, who had reconciled himself with Rome. Those suffragans of Aquileia whose sees lay in the jurisdiction of the Emperor united with him, partly by compulsion, and left the schism. Those, on the contrary, who were under the Lombardian King and the Duke of Friaul, separated from Candidian and set up a distinct patriarchate of Aquileia, taking this great title in order to indicate their independence of Rome. Probably soon after this the Popes granted the title of patriarch to the bishops of Grado, in order not to allow the metropolitan in communion with them to be inferior to his schismatical colleague. In this way there were now two small patriarchates in Upper Italy, Aquileia-Grado, often called Grado alone, the patriarchate of the unionists, and Aquileia, the patriarchate of the schismatics. Under Pope Honorius I. (625–638) the union of the Istrians extended further; but it was not until under Sergius I. (687–701) that the last schismatics of the Lombardian kingdom, at the Synod of Aquileia, about the year 700, returned to the Church. Still earlier were the doubts respecting the fifth Synod extinguished in France and Spain. In the latter country they were transplanted from Africa, but it did not come to a schism either here or in France, although S. Isidore of Seville, misled by his African authorities (Victor of Tununum and others), could write: “Justinian rejected the three chapters of the Synod of Chalcedon to please the Acephali.” The Spanish Synods of the sixth and seventh centuries are also silent as to the fifth Synod; but the union with Rome, of necessity, gradually brought about its recognition.








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