The idea of apostolicity in Byzantium and the legend of the Apostle Andrew

Francis Dvornik



The Idea of Apostolicity in the West and in the East before the Council of Chalcedon


Rome the only apostolic see in the West — Apostolic sees in the East — Canon three of the Council of Constantinople (381) viewed in a new light — Reaction in the West — The views of the Council of 382 on apostolicity — St. Basil and the idea of apostolicity — John Chrysostom — Struggle between Alexandria and Constantinople — The principle of apostolicity at the Council of Ephesus — St. Cyril, Dioscorus of Alexandria, and Domnus of Antioch — Leo I's success in stressing the apostolicity of his see in the East — The idea of apostolicity at Chalcedon — Leo I and the so-called twenty-eighth canon — Attitude of the legates — Omission of apostolicity in the canon — Reasons for Leo’s negative attitude — Leo’s apparent success a disguised compromise.



The short review in chapter one of the development of initial Church organization shows how deeply the principle of adaptation to the political division of the Empire was embedded in the minds of Christian leaders in the fourth century, not only in the East, but in the West and in Rome itself. In this respect, however, one important difference between eastern and western attitudes deserves particular emphasis. As has been shown, the idea of apostolicity played a very limited role in the development of the Church in the eastern provinces, but this was not true of the spread and organization of Christianity in the West. Rome owed its prestige in Italy and in other western provinces not only to the fact that it was, until the first half of the fourth century, the capital of the Empire and the imperial residence, but also to the veneration in which young Christian communities of the West held St. Peter, founder of the Roman see and chief of the apostles, whose successors the Roman bishops claimed to be.





The problem concerning Peter's stay in Rome is outside the scope of this study, [1] but it should be pointed out that the idea of the Roman bishops' direct succession from the Apostle had to undergo a short period of evolution before it acquired its full meaning. The early Christians regarded the apostles only as universal teachers whom Christ had charged with the mission of spreading his doctrine throughout the world, and were reluctant to designate them as bishops of those cities where they had implanted the Christian faith, or where they had resided. [1a] The apostles, therefore, were regarded as founders of the Churches in the cities where the Christian seed had taken root, but the series of bishops in those cities started with the names of the disciples appointed by the apostles or by their intimate collaborators. Thus the first known list of Roman bishops given by Irenaeus of Lyon, who is said to have died a martyr's death in 202, designated Peter and Paul as founders of the Church of Rome. Irenaeus' list was as follows: [2]


The blessed Apostles, after having founded and constructed this Church, entrusted to Linus the function of bishopric ... He had Anacletus as successor. After him, in third place from the Apostles, the episcopate went to Clement who had seen the blessed apostles. After Clement Evaristus succeeded; after Evaristus, Alexander. Then, in sixth place from the Apostles, Sixtus was installed, and after him Telesphorus, who is famed also for his martyrdom. Afterward Hyginus, Pius, and Anicetus.



1. See the review of pertinent literature on this subject in Oscar Cullmann’s book Saint Pierre, disciple, apôtre, martyr, histoire et théologie (Neufchâtel, Paris, 1952), pp. 61-137.

The author discusses the arguments against Peter’s having been in Rome which were raised mainly by K. Heussi, and are restated and fully developed by him in his recent brief study Die römische Petrustradition in kritischer Sicht (Tübingen, 1955). Cullmann concludes that Peter went to Rome toward the end of his life, and there met a martyr’s death during Nero’s persecutions. Cf. also the review of Cullmann’s book by P. Benoit in Revue biblique, 60 (1953), pp. 565-579, and M. Goguel, “Le livre d’Oscar Cullmann sur saint Pierre,” Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuse, 35 (1955), pp. 196-209. K. Heussi’s arguments were refuted also by K. Aland in his study “Petrus in Rom” (Historische Zeitschrift, 183 [1957], pp. 497-516). See J. T. Shotwell, L. R. Loomis, The See of Peter (New York, 1927) for documentation of the Petrine tradition.


1a. Cf. what O. Cullmann (op. cit., pp. 105 seq.) says on the role of an apostle. Cf. also A. A. T. Ehrhardt, The Apostolic Succession (London, 1953), p. 65, footnote 1.


2. Irenaeus, Contra Haereses, bk. 3, chap. 3, para. 3, PG, 7, cols. 849 seq.





After Anicetus Soter succeeded; then Eleutherus who now occupies the episcopal office, in twelfth place from the Apostles."



It is clear from this quotation that the Bishop of Lyon did not count the Apostle Peter among Roman bishops. Moreover, he regarded Paul, along with Peter, as a founder of Roman Christianity. It is still debated among specialists whether or not Irenaeus used here a catalogue of Roman bishops established by Hegesippus. [3] If he did, this would be another indication that what he said concerning Peter and Paul was the oldest Roman tradition. Irenaeus' catalogue of Roman bishops seems to have been used by Hippolytus. [4]


In the meantime the idea of the intimate connection of the Roman see with Peter could only have become more and more insistent. This seems apparent in the attitude of Pope Callixtus (217-222) who is the first to quote the famous passage (Matt. 16:18,19) in which Christ declares that he founded his Church in the person of Peter to whom he also gave the power of binding and loosing. Of course we have only Tertullian's testimony for Callixtus' use of this passage, [5] and since what he says is not clear, it is open to various interpretations. [6] We may, however, deduce from Tertullian's words that Callixtus, in quoting the passage, did so in the belief that he was Peter's successor.



3. See B. H. Streeter, The Primitive Church (London, 1929), pp. 188-195; H. von Campenhausen, “Lehrreihen und Bischofsreihen im 2. Jahrhundert," In Memoriam Ernst Lohmeyer (Stuttgart, 1951), p. 247. Cf. also The Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B. Lightfoot, 1, S. Clement of Rome (London, 1890), pp. 202 seq., and especially E. Molland, “Le développement de l’idée de succession apostolique,” in Rev. d'hist. et de phil. rel., 34 (1954), pp. 20 seq.


4. See E. Caspar, “Die älteste römische Bischofsliste” (Schriften der Königsberger gelehrten Gesellschaft, Geisteswiss. Kl. 4 [1926]), pp. 206 seq., Harnack’s and Caspar’s reconstruction of Hippolytus’ list with bibliographical indications. Eusebius (Historia ecclesiastica, 5, 28; PG, 20, col. 512; ed. E. Schwartz, p. 500) quotes a short passage from Hippolytus in which the latter calls Victor the thirteenth Bishop, thus not counting Peter as first Bishop. See also what A. A. T. Ehrhardt (op. cit., pp. 35-61) says on the early succession lists.


5. De Pudicitia, chap. 21, CSEL, 20, ed. A. Reifferscheid, G. Wissowa, p. 270.


6. See E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, i (Tübingen, 1930), pp. 27 seq.; H. Koch, “Cathedra Petri, neue Untersuchungen über die Anfänge der Primatslehre,” Hefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 2 (Giessen, 1930), pp. 5-32; P. Batiffol, L’Eglise naissante et le catholicisme (Paris, 1909), pp. 349 seq.





In spite of this, the old custom of distinguishing the apostles from the first bishops continued predominant. Tertullian, for example, is quite outspoken in this respect. [7]


Of great interest in this matter is Eusebius’ treatment of the question of succession of bishops to the principal sees : Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. He traces the line of bishops in Rome from Peter and Paul, in Alexandria from St. Mark, and in Antioch from St. Peter, but he does not place the founders of those Churches at the head of his lists of bishops. In Rome the list is headed by Linus, in Alexandria by Annianus, and in Antioch by Euodius. [8] St. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was appointed by the Saviour and the apostles. [9]


Although in his Church History Eusebius is eager to emphasize the theory that the founders of Roman Christianity were St. Peter and St. Paul, [10] he names only Peter in his Chronicle. [11] Since the Armenian and Syriac texts of the Chronicle also quote only Peter as founder, we must conclude that Jerome, translator of the Chronicle into Latin, has here rendered faithfully Eusebius’ meaning. This indicates that Eusebius was familiar with a tendency that was becoming more and more manifest in Rome; namely, the attribution of the foundation of the see of Rome to Peter alone.


Another list of Roman bishops from the year 354, the so-called Liberian Catalogue, is one of the first documents which not only abandons the old tradition attributing the foundation of the Roman see to Peter and Paul, but also minimizes the distinction between apostles and bishops, putting Peter at the head of the list, and omitting Linus as the first bishop after the Apostles. [12]



7. De Praescriptione, chap. 32, CSEL, 70, ed. E. Kroymann, pp. 39 seq. :

Edant ergo origines ecclesiarum suarum, evolvant ordinem episcoporum suorum, ita per successionem ab initio decurrentem, ut primus ille episcopus aliquem ab apostolis vel apostolicis viris, qui tamen cum apostolis perseveraverit, habuerit auctorem et antecessorem.


8. Hist. eccles., 3, 2, 15, 21; PG, 20, cols. 216, 248, 256; ed. E. Schwartz, pp. 188, 228, 236.


9. Hist. eccles. 2, 23; PG, ibid., col. 196; ed. E. Schwartz, p. 164.


10. Hist. eccles., 3, 2, 21 ; 4, 1 ; PG., ibid., cols. 216, 256, 303; ed. E. Schwartz, pp. 188, 236, 300.


11. Annales Abreviati 2084 = Nero 14. On Jerome’s translation see C. H. Turner, Studies in Early Church History (Oxford, 1912), pp. 139 seq.


12. Chronographus anni 354, MGH, Auct. ant. 9, ed. Th. Mommsen p. 73; Petrus ann. XXV, mens, uno d. IX . . . Passus autem cumPaulo die III Kal. Julias. Linus ann. XII m. IV d. XII.





In spite of that, in the introduction to his translation of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, Rufinus still distinguishes the apostolic status of Peter in Rome from the episcopal status of Linus and Cletus, who are said to have administered the Roman Church during the life of the Apostle, and of Clemens who did so after his death. [13] Such appears to be the attitude also of Epiphanius of Cyprus. [14]


Moreover, the anonymous author of a poem against Marcion, falsely ascribed to Tertullian, which seems to have been composed in southern Gaul at the end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth century, [15] continues to refer to Linus as the first bishop of Rome. [16]


These, however, are exceptions. The whole Latin West, from the end of the fourth century on, regarded Peter as the only founder of the Roman see and its first occupant. It must be said that St. Cyprian of Carthage had contributed considerably to this change, for he stressed more than any other writer of the Early Church the identical character of the apostolic and episcopal offices. In his letter to certain Spanish Churches, for example, Cyprian says that Matthias was ordained bishop in place of Judas. [17] In another epistle Cyprian admonishes the deacons not to forget that


“the Lord had chosen the apostles, that is to say bishops and prelates, and that the apostles had instituted the deacons after the Ascension of the Lord, in order to have servants in their episcopacy and in the Church.” [18]



13. PG, I, col. 1207. This is particularly interesting because the author of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies had already attributed the primacy to Peter. See B. Rehm, “Die Pseudo-Klementinen,” I, Homilien, in Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, 42 (*953) > pp. 239> 24° (Homily 17). Cf. also Epistula Clementis ad Iacobum, ibid., pp. 5-7. Cf. H. Clavier, “La primauté de Pierre d’après les pseudo-Clémentines,” Rev. d’hist. et de phil. rel., 36 (1956), pp. 298-307.


14. Panarion haereticorum, chap. 27, 6, GCS, 25, ed. K. Holl, pp. 308 seq. Cf. C. Schmidt, Studien zu den Pseudo-Clementinen (Texte und Untersuchungen, 46 [1929]), pp. 336 seq., 350 seq. On Epiphanius’ catalogue cf. E. Caspar, “Die alt. röm. Bischofsliste,” op. cit., pp. 168 seq., 194 seq.


15. K. Holl, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kirchengeschichte, 3 (Tübingen, 1928), pp. 13-53 (“Über Zeit und Heimat des pseudotertullianischen Gedichts adv. Marcionem”). On page 28 Holl reprinted the part of the poem containing the list of Roman bishops, from Oehler’s edition of Tertullian’s works.


16. S. F. Tertulliani quae supersunt omnia, 3 (ed. F. Oehler, 1853), p. 729, chap. 3, verses 275 seq.


17. Epist. 67, chap. 4, CSEL, 3, ed. G. Hartel, p. 738:

quando de ordinando in locum Judae episcopo Petrus ad plebem loquitur.





The succession of bishops to the apostles is, moreover, emphasized by Cyprian in another missive in which he declares that the saying of the Lord, “who hears you hears me and who hears me hears the One who had sent me” (Luke 10:16), was addressed “to the apostles and thus to all superiors who had succeeded to the apostles ordained as their vicars.” [19] Cyprian also spoke of the cathedra Petri and ecclesia principalis, [20] and he based the unity of the Church on the investiture given to Peter by Christ. [21]


Such outspoken declarations soon caused the differentiation between apostles and bishops to be forgotten. During the fourth century the practice of attributing the foundation of the see of Rome only to Peter, and of placing him at the head of Roman bishops became general. This is affirmed by Optatus Milevitanus, [22] Jerome, [23] and also Augustine. [24] In the East, however, the old practice of not counting the apostles as first bishops of the Churches that they had founded continued. [25]



18. Epist. 3, chap. 3, ibid., p. 471 :

meminisse autem diaconi debent quoniam apostolos id est episcopos et praepositos Dominus elegit, diaconos autem post ascensionem Domini in caelos apostoli sibi constituerunt episcopatus sui et ecclesiae ministros.


19. Epist. 66, chap. 4, ibid., p. 729:

qui (Deus et Christus) dicit ad apostolos ac per hoc ad omnes praepositos qui apostolis vicaria ordinatione succedunt.


20. Epist. 59 chap. 14, ibid., p. 683. R. Höslinger, Die alte afrikanische Kirche, pp. 480 seq.


21. De Unitate Ecclesiae, chap. 4, ibid., pp. 212, 213. Epist. 43, chap. 5, ibid., p. 594.


22. Libri VII, bk. 2, chaps. 2, 3, CSEL, 26, ed. C. Ziwsa, p. 36:

In urbe Roma Petro primo cathedram episcopalem esse conlatam ... sedit prior Petrus, cui successit Linus....


23. De Viris Illustribus, chaps. 15, 16, PL, 23, cols. 663-666:

Clemens ... quartus post Petrum Romae episcopus, siquidem secundus Linus fuit, tertius Anacletus .... Ignatius Antiochenae ecclesiae tertius post Petrum apostolum episcopus.


24. Namely in his letter written about 400. Epist. 53, chaps. 1-4, PL, 33, col. 196, CSEL, 34, pp. 153 seq.:

Si enim ordo episcoporum sibi succedentium considerandus est, quanto certius et vere salubriter ab ipso Petro numeramus... Petro enim succedit Linus, Lino Clemens....


25. For example in the letter of the Council of Antioch in 435 to Proclus of Constantinople (Mansi, 5, col. 1086B) :

magnum martyrem Ignatium qui secundus post Petrum apostolorum primum Antiochenae sedis ordinavit ecclesiam.





Among the older ecclesiastical Greek writers only Socrates called Ignatius third bishop of Antioch from the Apostle Peter. [26]


In the West from the middle of the fourth century on, the Roman see was often called simply the see of Peter; by Jerome, for example. [27] The Synod of Sardica (343) invited priests to appeal to “the head, that is, the see of the Apostle Peter." [28] Palladius of Ratiaria also called the Roman see the see of Peter, but, when protesting his condemnation by the Synod of Aquileia (381), he claimed that Peter’s see was equal to any other episcopal see. [29]


In the time of Pope Damasus (336-389) the idea of apostolicity made considerable progress in Rome and in the West. In addition to the identification of the Roman see with Peter’s see, which by then had become common practice, [30] Damasus shows his preference for another title as a further means of emphasizing the apostolicity of his see : sedes apostolica, [31] which seems to have been introduced previously by Liberius. [32]



26. Hist. eccles., 6, 8, PG, 67, col. 692: “Ignace of Antioch, third after the Apostle Peter.'' Cf. the collection of passages concerning this problem in C. H. Turner, Ecclesiae occidentalis Monumenta iuris antiquissima, i (Oxford, 1899), pp. 246 seq. Cf. E. Molland, op. cit., pp. 25 seq. Cf. also E. Metzner, Die Verfassung der Kirche in den zwei ersten Jahrhunderten unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Schriften Harnacks (Danzig, 1920), pp. 115-144 (die ersten Bischöfe Roms).


27. Epist. 15, chap. 1, 16, chap. 2, CSEL, 54, ed. I. Hildberg, pp. 63, 69.


28. Mansi, 3, col. 40B (letter of the synod to Pope Julius). Cf. also canon three, ibid., col. 8.


29. F. Kauffmann, Aus der Schule des Wulfila. Auxentii Dorostorensis epistula de fide, vita et obitu Wulflae, im Zusammenhang mit der Dissertatio Maximi contra Ambrosium (Texte und Untersuchungen zur altgerman. Religionsgeschichte, [Strassburg, 1899], p. 86. Cf. L. Saltet, “Un texte nouveau— la Dissertatio Maximi contra Ambrosium,” Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique publié par l'Institut catholique de Toulouse, 3e ser., 2 (1900), pp. 118-129.


30. Collectio Avellana, CSEL, 35, ed. O. Günther, Epist. 1, p. 4. G. B. de Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae, 2 (Rome, 1861, 1888), p. 147; N.S., 2, ed. A. Silvagni (Rome, 1922, 1935), p. 6 (no. 4096).


31. Letter to an Eastern Church, in Theodoretus, Hist. eccles., 5, 10, GCS., 19, ed. Parmentier (Leipzig, 1911), p. 295. P. Coustant, Epistolae Romanorum Pontificum, 1 (Paris, 1721), pp. 685-700 (Epist. 10, nos. 2, 17, 18). Letter of the Roman Synod of 378 to Gratian in Mansi, 3, col. 624 (ad sublime sedis apostolicae sacrarium). Gratian, in his answer (ibid., col. 628), however, calls the Roman see only sanctissima sedes. Cf. also the inscription for the archives of St. Lawrence's Basilica, composed by Damasus (PL, 13, cols. 409 seq.).


32. In his letter to Eusebius of Vercelli (Mansi, 3, col. 204B).





This new title was not only used by Damasus’ successor Siricius, [33] but found ready acceptance too in the western provinces. It became familiar in Spain, [34] in Carthage, [35] in Aquileia [36] and it was also known to St. Augustine. [37] This new trend became so ingrained in the minds of some westerners that they began to derive the origin of episcopacy in general from Peter alone. It can be traced in the Acts of the synods of Mileve, and of Carthage during the fifth century, and it occurs in the correspondence of the Popes of the fifth century—Innocent I, Zosimus, Boniface, Xystus III. It is reflected also in Augustine's works, and in Pseudo-Augustine, [38] but it dies away in the sixth century


This stressing of the apostolicity of the Roman see in the West is easy to understand. There was in the Latin world only one see which could claim the honor of apostolic origin: the Roman see. Therefore Rome was the apostolic see—sedes apostolica—and came to be known as such. This made it easy for her to maintain and to strengthen her authority in the western provinces. The attitude of the bishops of Arles illustrates better than anything else this great advantage which Rome possessed over all other sees. Although able to point to the importance of this city in the political organization of Gaul, they thought that their best argument for the recovery of the primatial rights of Arles lay in linking their city with Peter. He, so they argued, was the founder of the bishopric when, according to the legendary tradition, he consecrated Trophimus as their first Bishop.


There was only one other city in the western provinces besides Arles that could boast of quasi-apostolic foundation; the city of Sirmium in the important prefecture of Illyricum. Like Arles, it was for some time an imperial residence. [39]



33. Mansi, 3, col. 670B.


34. Priscilliani Liber ad Damasum, CSEL, 18, ed. G. Schepss, p. 34, Synod of Toledo in 400 (Mansi, 3, col. 1006E).


35. Codex canonum Ecclesiae Africanae, Mansi, 3, cols. 763A, 771E.


36. Rufinus to Pope Anastasius, PL, 21, col. 625B.


37. Sermo 131, 10, PL, 38, col. 734. Epist. 186, 2, CSEL, 57, ed. A. Goldbacher, p. 47. In his Contra litteras Petiliani II, chaps. 51, 118, CSEL, 52, ed. M. Petschenig, (1909), p. 88, S. Augustine calls not only the Roman see, founded by Peter, apostolic, but also that of Jerusalem, founded by James.


38. See the documentation in Batiffol's Cathedra Petri, pp. 95-103 (Petrus initium episcopatus).


39. Amianus of Sirmium was well aware of the importance of his see. At the Synod of Aquileia, in 381, he made a very self-conscious declaration (Mansi, 3, col. 604B) :

Caput Illyrici, non nisi civitas est Sirmiensis. Ego igitur episcopus illius civitatis sum.





An old legend attributed the origin of its bishopric to St. Andronicus, one of the seventy disciples of Christ. It appears that Pope Zosimus had thought of establishing in the western part of Illyricum a kind of vicariate in order to bind the province more closely to Rome. There are reasons for believing that he had chosen the bishop of Salona in preference to the bishop of Sirmium for this honor, but the project had never been realized, and it is thus impossible to guess at the reasons that had prompted the Pope to give preference to Salona. Had it been the fear that the prestige of Sirmium, which boasted of quasi-apostolic origin, might grow to dangerous proportions? Another danger arose when, between 424 and 437, Sirmium probably became the seat of the praefectus praetorio Illyrici, [40] then completely incorporated in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. But the invasion of the Huns put an abrupt end to all of this. In 448 Sirmium was destroyed, and only the memory of its glorious past remained. [41] There was left in the Latin world no other episcopal see which could rival Rome in its claim to apostolicity.


But in regard to apostolicity of sees, the situation in the eastern part of the Empire was different. There several important sees could claim the honor of having been founded by apostles. They were Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Ephesus. Beside these, less important sees in Asia Minor and Greece were at least visited by the apostles, according to the Acts and apocryphal writings. The apocryphal literature on the activities of the apostles began to appear as early as the second century, [42] and became very popular in the third and fourth centuries.



40. J. Zeiller, Les origines chrétiennes dans les provinces danubiennes de l'Empire romain (Paris, 1918), p. 6.


41. For more details on Sirmium and the papal policy regarding Illyricum see F. Dvornik, Les légendes de Constantin et de Méthode vues de Byzance (Prague, 1933), pp. 250 seq. It is very difficult to say when this legendary tradition concerning Sirmium began. Aquileia claimed apostolic origin and to have had as its first bishop St. Mark, who ordained Hermagoras as his successor. But this claim was not made until the end of the sixth century. Cf. P. Richard, “Aquilée,” in Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique, 3 (Paris, 1924), cols. 1113, 1114. On the claims of Salona, see J. Zeiller, Les origines chrétiennes dans la province romaine de Dalmatie (Paris, 1906), pp. 6 seq.


42. See infra, pp. 19.





When the apocryphal Acts of St. Andrew [43] are examined, it will be seen how many cities in Asia Minor and Greece, the apostles were supposed to have honored by their presence. In the latter province the cities of Thessalonica, Corinth, Philippi, [43a] Athens, and Patras, which were visited by apostles, according to authentic or legendary tradition belonged, it is true, to the diocese of Illyricum. They were thus under the supra-metropolitan jurisdiction of Rome, but remained aware of their relationship, through their culture, language, and past history, with the East. [44]


This circumstance naturally reduced in the East the prestige of the claim to apostolicity, and contributed to the easy victory gained for the principle of adaptation to the political division of the Empire. So it happened that Alexandria and Antioch rose to such prominence in the Eastern Church, not by virtue of their apostolic foundation, but because they were the most important cities of the Empire after Rome, and capitals of two vital dioceses. Thus Antioch was, for some time, St. Paul's center of activities, as well as the center of missions in Asia Minor.


This, however, does not mean that the apostolic origin of the principal sees was completely ignored. Eusebius calls the see of Jerusalem apostolic, [45] but only once, although he speaks of the bishops who occupied the see on several occasions. He does not give the title to any other see, which is indicative of an attitude of particular significance.


The bishops of Jerusalem must have stressed the apostolic character of their see more readily than others whose sees were founded by apostles or their disciples;



43. See infra, pp. 172 seq.


43a. Tertullian, in his De praescriptione haereticorum, chap. 36 (CSEL, 70 ed. E. Kroymann, p. 45), calls these three Macedonian cities, together with Ephesus and Rome, apostolic.


44. Cf. St. Basil’s description, in his letter to Pope Damasus, of the countries which belong to the East: Ἡ Ἀνατολὴ πᾶσα ... λέγω δὲ Ἀνατολὴν τὰ ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ μέχρι Αἰγύπτου. (PG, 32, col. 433C). The meaning may not appear clear, but as Basil speaks on the troubles created by the Arians, it is evident that he includes Illyricum and Egypt in the Orient, for both provinces were greatly perturbed by that heresy.


45. Hist. eccles., 7, 32, GCS, ed. Schwartz, p. 730. PG, 20, col. 736. The passage is the more illustrative as Eusebius speaks in this chapter of episcopal succession to all the important sees in the East. In 7, 18, ed. Schwartz, p. 672, PG, ibid., col. 681, he calls the see of Jerusalem only “James’s see.”





very likely to strengthen their pretentions to a more exalted position in the hierarchy, for St. Jerome reproached John, Bishop of Jerusalem, for boasting that he was the holder of an apostolic see. [46]


The same John of Jerusalem seems also to have called Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, apostolic. At least Jerome read John's letter, and quoted its opening words in his treatise against John. John is supposed to have greeted Theophilus of Alexandria as follows : [47]


“But you, like a man of God adorned with apostolic grace, take care of all Churches, and principally of that which is in Jerusalem, being at the same time yourself distinguished by boundless solicitude for the Church of God which is subject to you."


John's wording is, however, not clear. He seems rather to have had in mind an apostolic zeal that should be the characteristic of any bishop, and that especially distinguished the Bishop of Alexandria.


The four supra-metropolitan sees are called apostolic by Sozomen in his account of the Council of Nicaea. However, he gives first place to the bishop of Jerusalem. [48] This account illustrates a slight progress in the use of claims to apostolicity in the East; such claims, however, seemed to apply only to the main sees.


It might have been expected that the role which the see of Rome started to play during the Arian troubles would have increased the esteem in which it was held by orthodox Easterners, and would have encouraged them to appreciate the apostolic character of the bishops of Rome who were such strenuous defenders of the true faith as it was defined at Nicaea. Actually St. Athanasius most nearly personified the Western conception of the Roman see. In his History of the Arians [49] he exclaims:



46. S. Hieronymus, Epistola 82, 10, CSEL, 55, ed. I. Hildberg, p. 117, PL, 22, col. 742 : apostolicam cathedram tenere se iactans. Cf. Epistola 97, 4, ibid., p. 184: S. Marci cathedra. John’s predecessor Cyril is said to have claimed, even then, metropolitan rights, stressing that his see was apostolic. (Sozomenos, Hist. eccles., 4, 25; PG, 67, col. 1196; Theodoret, Hist. eccles., 2, 26, ed. L. Parmentier, p. 157.)


47. S. Hieronymus, Contra Joannem Hierosol. PL, 23, chap. 37, cols. 406D, 407A:

tu quidem ut homo Dei, et apostolica ornatus gratia, curam omnium Ecclesiarum, maxime ejus quae Hierosolymis est, sustines, cum ipse plurimis sollicitudinibus Ecclesiae Dei, quae sub te est, distringaris.


48. Hist. eccles. 1, 17; PG, 67, col. 912.


49. Historia arianorum chap. 35 ; PG, 25, coL, 733, ed. H. G. Opitz, Anastasius Werke, 2,1 (Berlin, 1940), p. 202: Καὶ γὰρ οὐδὲ Λιβερίου τοῦ ἐπισκόπου Ῥώμης κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐφείσαντο, ἀλλὰ καὶ μέχρι τῶν ἐκεῖ τὴν μανίαν ἐξέτειναν· καὶ οὐχ᾿ ὅτι ἀποστολικός ἐστι θρόνος ᾐδέσθησαν, ουδ᾿, ὅτι μητρόπολις ἡ Ῥώμη τῆς Ῥωμανίας ἐστίν, εὐλαβήθησαν, οὔδ᾿ ὅτι πρότερον ‛ἀποστολικοὺς αὐτοὺς ἄνδρας γράφοντες’ εἰρήκασιν ἐμνημόνευσαν.





“[The Arians] have from the beginning not even spared Liberius, the Bishop of Rome, and have extended their fury to the citizens of that city. They have shown no respect for it as an apostolic see, they were not awed (by the fact) that it is the metropolis of Romania, nor did they remember that, when they wrote to them, they called them apostolic men?”


This is interesting, and it is regrettable that the letters mentioned here by Athanasius are not preserved. In Athanasius’ words may be detected, for the first time in the East, the blending of two ideas—accommodation to the civil administration, and apostolic origin. Although fully respectful of the apostolic character of the Roman see, the valiant champion of orthodoxy still sees in Rome, above all, the capital of the Empire.



Such was the situation in the Eastern part of the Empire, and things must be viewed in this light. That the Church had adapted the organization of its hierarchy to the territorial division of the Roman Empire, and to its administrative system, is generally recognized. But not all are ready to admit the logical consequences of this, or to consider the further evolution of the Church’s organization, especially the rise of Constantinople, in the light of this fact. The effort of the bishops of the new imperial city to gain greater ascendancy in the Christian world, however, was one of the results of this development. It was evident in the conviction, which had become general, that the importance of the city in the Empire’s political organization should determine the prominence of its bishop in the Church, and his precedence over other bishops of the province or diocese. Therefore, the exemption of the bishop of the new imperial capital from the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Heracleia, and the decision of the Council of Constantinople (381) [50] to confer upon him a rank second only to that of the bishop of Rome, were logical applications of a principle commonly practiced by the Church.



50. Mansi, 3, col. 560, canon three: Τὸν μέντοι Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἐπίσκοπον ἔχειν τὰ πρεσβεῖα τῆς τίμης μετὰ τὸν τῆς Ῥώμης ἐπίσκοπον, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν Ῥώμην.





It is believed that the reaction in Rome to this innovation was very strong. Certainly it was strong in 451 when the Council of Chalcedon voted the so-called twenty-eighth canon. This confirmed canon three of the Council of Constantinople, and further extended the privileged position of the bishop of that city. The legates protested vehemently against this insult to the Church of Rome, and Leo I, in his letter to Anatolius of Constantinople, declared categorically that canon three of the Council of Constantinople had never been submitted to his predecessors for approval. [51]


Leo's direct and explicit declaration throws new light on what had happened in Rome after 381. How can his declaration be explained and reconciled with other facts, and with the general opinion about Rome's strong reaction against the Council of 381 ? First, the reason for the convocation of the Council must be considered. Emperor Theodosius, in convoking it, had in mind an assembly representing the eastern part of the Empire alone. As a matter of fact, at the beginning, the bishops of only the minor dioceses, and of the Orient were present. The invitation was extended later to the bishops of the diocese of Egypt, and to the Bishop of Thessalonica, the head of the bishops of Illyricum. Thus it was not originally an oecumenical Council, a fact that was recognized in the East. Its oecumenical character was not acknowledged definitely by both Churches until the time of the Council of Chalcedon, [52] where its creed was solemnly accepted. [53]


If the original intentions of the conciliar Fathers, which were to reorganize the ecclesiastical affairs of the Eastern dioceses and to legislate for them alone, are borne in mind, Leo's statement becomes understandable. The canons voted by the Fathers were to apply only to the East, and the promotion of the bishop of Constantinople to such an exalted rank was a measure which affected primarily the status of the bishops of only the eastern diocesan capitals. Therefore, as this measure concerned the East alone, and did not affect Rome's precedence,



51. See infra pp. 88-92.


52. Cf. C. J. Hefele, H. Leclercq., Histoire des Conciles, 2, pp. 42-45.


53. Cf. E. Schwartz, “Das Nicaenum und das Constantinopolitanum der Synode von Chalkedon," Zeitschrift für neutestawientliche Wissenschaft, 24 (1925), pp. 38-88.





it is quite possible, nay, even logical, that the canons voted by the Council were not submitted officially to the Bishop of Rome for confirmation.


An incident which had taken place before the convocation of the Council illustrates even more clearly that the promotion of Constantinople was primarily a measure changing the ecclesiastical constellation of the Bast. Hitherto, the Eastern Church had been dominated by the powerful bishops of Alexandria. One of them, Bishop Peter, a strict Nicene, had extended his influence to Antioch by supporting the rigoristic Bishop Paulinus against Bishop Meletius. [54] The latter, although originally sympathetic to the Arians, had adopted the Catholic Creed, and was accepted by the majority of the Antiochenes. Bishop Peter had also tried to install at Constantinople a bishop of his own selection, who would be subservient to Alexandria. His choice fell on the disreputable adventurer, Maximus the Cynic. Maximus won the confidence of the guileless Gregory of Nazianzus, the orthodox Bishop of Constantinople. But, betraying his generous and naive host, Maximus let himself be secretly ordained Bishop of Constantinople by some Egyptian bishops, who had been sent by Peter of Alexandria, with an escort of a gang of Alexandrian sailors. [55] The fraudulent Bishop was rejected by the catholics of Constantinople and by the Emperor, and was denounced by Pope Damasus, who learned of the incident from the Bishop of Thessalonica. After this even Peter of Alexandria had to dissociate himself from Maximus.


The case of Maximus was considered by the Fathers of the Council in 381, and it was decreed by canon four that his ordination was not valid. [56] The perpetrator of the scandalous affair was, however, well-known. When considered in its relationship to these events, the true purpose of canon three of the Council of Constantinople becomes apparent. It was a measure designed to break the hold of Alexandria over the Eastern dioceses in religious matters, and to give to Constantinople authority over the Eastern Church.



54. On this local schism and its consequences see F. Cavallera, Le schisme d’Antioche (Paris, 1905).


55. See Gregorius Nazianzus, Carmen XI de vita sua, vss. 807—1029. PG, 37, cols. 1085-1100. Hieronymus, De viris illustribus, chap. 127, PL, 23, col. 754.


56. Mansi, 3, col. 560. Cf. Sozomenos, Hist. eccles., 7, chap. 9, PG, 67, cols. 1436 seq.





Because the principle of adaptation to the political division of the Empire was the leading and decisive factor in Church organization, especially in the East, and was again stressed at the Council of 381, the canon encountered no opposition among the Eastern prelates. Peter's brother and successor, Timothy of Alexandria, had to swallow the bitter pill, and signed with Peter, Bishop of Oxyrhynchus, the decisions of the Council; its Creed and its canons. [57] The bishop of Alexandria thus ceded the right of precedence, which he had hitherto possessed in the East, to the bishop of the imperial capital.


When all this is borne in mind, it becomes clear that this first promotion of the bishopric of Constantinople was in no way inspired by an anti-Roman bias. However, it affected the interests of the West, and, indirectly, of Rome, for the bishops of Alexandria had always maintained the closest relationship with Rome and the West, where their attitude toward the uncompromising Nicene, Paulinus of Antioch, was fully shared. The decline of Alexandria could easily, therefore, have meant the decline also of Roman and Western influences on religious affairs in the East.


The intimate link between Alexandria and the West is particularly well documented in the letter sent by the synod of Aquileia (381) to the Emperors. Probably under the persuasion of an envoy of Paulinus of Antioch, Ambrose of Milan, the principal actor in this affair and the inspirer of the letter, asked the Emperors to convoke a synod in Alexandria to heal the local schism in Antioch. [58]


The course of events subsequent to the dispatch of this letter illustrates, even better, the tension between East and West that had begun to develop, and the determination of the Easterners to solve their own difficulties without the intervention of the Westerners. [59]


Maximus, the fraudulent “Bishop" of Constantinople, condemned by the synod of that city, appeared in Aquileia, and succeeded in duping Ambrose and the bishops of the Aquileian synod into believing that he was the rightful Bishop of the capital, and that he was unjustly condemned and persecuted.



57. See E. Schwartz, “Zur Kirchengeschichte des vierten Jahrhunderts," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 34 (1935), p. 204.


58. S. Ambrosius, Epistolarum classis i, Epist. 12; PL, 16, cols. 987 seq.


59. See E. Schwartz, “Zur Kirchengeschichte," op. cit., pp. 206 seq.





The news which Maximus brought concerning the Council of Constantinople caused alarm in Aquileia. According to his report, not only had he himself been condemned, but a layman Nectarius had been appointed Bishop of Constantinople after the resignation of Gregory of Nazianzus. There were false rumors that Nectarius had been excommunicated by his own consecrators soon after the act. Meletius of Antioch died in Constantinople while the synod was in session, and instead of giving his see to Paulinus, Theodosius allowed Flavian to be elected and consecrated as Meletius’ successor.


Ambrose and the bishops of Northern Italy were greatly shocked by the news of Flavian’s appointment, and, without prior consultation with Rome or with the Eastern bishops, they accepted Maximus into communion. They addressed a letter of indignation to Theodosius, [60] complaining that the bishops of the East, when making their appointments to the sees of Constantinople and Antioch, had not treated the Westerners with due respect, and asking for the convocation of an oecumenical synod in Rome, which was recognized as the premier see in Christendom even in the East.


The Emperor’s answer has been lost, but Ambrose’s second letter allows us to suppose that Theodosius did not appreciate Western interference in Eastern affairs—another indication that the decisions of the Council of Constantinople of 381 were regarded as primarily concerned with the affairs of the East. Of course the Emperor rejected the proposal for convoking a general council at Rome. [61]


Undismayed by the fact that they had committed a serious blunder in the case of Maximus, Ambrose and his bishops insisted once more on the necessity of a new synod in Rome, not only to deal with the Antiochene schism, but also to condemn the doctrine of Apollinarius.



60. S. Ambrosius, Epist. 13, ibid., cols. 990 seq. On the role played by Ambrose during these incidents, see especially H. von Campenhausen, Ambrosius von Milan als Kirchenpolitiker (Berlin, Leipzig, 1929, Arbeiten zur Kirchengesch. 12), pp. 129-153, and F. H. Dudden, The Life and Times of St. Ambrose (Oxford, 1935), pp. 206-216.


61. S. Ambrosius, Epist. 14, ibid., cols. 993 seq.





Thus they ignored the fact that he had already been condemned by the Council of Constantinople of 381 and by Pope Damasus. Letters had been dispatched also by the Emperor Gratian and by the Western bishops, including Pope Damasus, inviting the Easterners to attend the Council of Rome. These letters had been transmitted by Theodosius to the Eastern bishops, whom he had summoned to a new synod to be held again in Constantinople, not in Rome. The synod convened in the summer of 382.


The Eastern bishops wrote a letter to the Western bishops [62] in which they excused themselves from going to Rome because of the amount of time needed to make the trip, and the length and difficulties of the journey. Besides, they said, they felt it their duty to stay at home to look after the interests of their own Churches. They courteously thanked their Western colleagues for their solicitude, which they found particularly gratifying since the West had been rather reluctant to express its sympathy when the Eastern Church was persecuted by the Arians for its orthodox faith. They were, however, the letter continued, sending some delegates to Rome who would “not only assure you that our intentions are peaceful and directed toward union, but also set forth our feelings concerning the true faith.”


After describing the main doctrines against which the heretics had fought, and for which the orthodox faith had so greatly suffered, the Easterners reported on their achievements in the administration of their Church. Acting according to the canons, they said, they had elected and ordained Nectarius as Bishop of the “newly rebuilt” Church of Constantinople. They went on:



62. It was preserved by Theodoret in his Hist. eccles. 5, ed. L. Parmentier, pp. 289 seq. Mansi, 3, cols. 581-588. A similar point of view concerning Rome’s position in the Church can be traced in the letter that the Easterners sent, in 340, from Antioch to Pope Julius, a resumé of which is preserved in the Church History of Sozomen (PL, 61, bk. 3, chap. 8, col. 1053). Although in this letter the Easterners refused the Pope’s invitation to come to Rome, they showed their great respect for the see ‘Venerated by all, which has been from the beginning the dwelling of the apostles and the metropolis of piety” (ἀποστόλων φροντιστήριον καὶ εὐσεβείας μητρόπολιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς γεγενημένην). They refused, however, to regard themselves subordinate because, as they pointed out, “the Churches are not ranked according to their size and populousness.”





“In the oldest and truly apostolic Church of Antioch in Syria, where for the first time the venerable name of Christians had been heard, the bishops of the eparchia and of the whole diocese of the Orient gathered and ordained, according to the canons, the most reverend and most beloved of God, Bishop Flavian.... In the Church of Jerusalem which is the mother of all Churches we recognize as Bishop, the most reverend and most beloved of God—Cyril....”


The whole tenor of the letter reveals that the Easterners were determined to settle their own administrative affairs alone, without the intervention of the Westerners, which confirms the impression that all disciplinary and administrative measures taken by the Council of Constantinople in 381 pertained to the Eastern Church only. Canon three, also, should be so interpreted.


Although this canon was not sent to the West for approval, it was certainly known in both Rome and Milan in the autumn of 381. St. Ambrose, in his letters, treats the Council of 381 as nonexistent, but his intervention in the affair was decidedly undiplomatic, and ended in failure. He saw clearly that the Easterners were embarking on a dangerous “isolationist” policy, [63] and tried to persuade them to regard their affairs from an oecumenical point of view. Unfortunately, however, because of his impetuosity and blunders, he only encouraged them in their attitude.


Neither Ambrose nor the Synod of Rome of 382 paid any attention to canon three, and the West persisted in its support of Paulinus of Antioch. However, they quietly accepted defeat in their support of Alexandria, for what could they have done when the Bishop of Alexandria himself signed the canon and surrendered his prerogative to the Bishop of Constantinople ? The principle of adaption to the administrative division of the Empire was still so deeply ingrained in the minds of the Westerners in the fourth century that an open protest against the elevation of Constantinople in Church affairs, was unthinkable. It can thus be concluded that the West tacitly, though reluctantly, accepted the third canon, which was voted in Constantinople in 381. [64]



63. Cf. P. Batiffol, Le siege apostolique, pp. 141 seq.


64. On part three of the so-called Decretum Gelasianum see P. Batiffol, ibid., pp. 146-150. It was thought that this was voted by the Roman Synod of 382 in protest against canon three of Constantinople, because it attributed the second and third places in the Church to Alexandria and Antioch respectively, by virtue of these sees being connected with the activity of St. Peter. The document was, however, composed at the end of the fifth century.





The letter of 382 from the Easterners to the Westerners is important in yet another respect. It is a further indication of the development of the idea of apostolicity in the East. The references by the Fathers to “the truly apostolic Church of Antioch” and to Jerusalem as “the mother of all Churches” are noteworthy.


It is regrettable that the tone of the invitation sent to the Easterners is not known. However, it would be reasonable to suppose that, although St. Ambrose played the main role in these events, and although Pope Damasus was completely under his influence, the invitation was conceived in the episcopal chancery of Rome. Judging from the fashion and style used by the Pope in his correspondence, it can almost certainly be presumed that he stressed in his letter the apostolicity of his see. If this is so, it must be concluded from the courtesy of the answer of the Council of 382 that the Easterners were not impressed by Damasus' insistence on the apostolic character of the Roman see. Their letter was addressed not only to the Pope, but also to all other bishops who may have signed his invitation :


“To the most honorable and most reverend brothers and colleagues in the ministry, Damasus, Ambrose, Britton, Valerian, Acholius, Anemius, Basil, and to other holy bishops gathered in the great city of Rome, the holy synod of orthodox bishops who are gathered in the great city of Constantinople, send greetings in Christ.”


The passage of the letter on the “oldest and truly apostolic Church of Antioch” is rather interesting. It could be taken as a gentle reminder to the Pope that there were other apostolic sees, of which Antioch was the most prominent because it was there that the believers in Christ were first called Christians. A similar interpretation could be placed on the Easterners' description of Jerusalem as “the mother of all Churches,” but the polite and friendly tone of the letter, in spite of some rather sarcastic remarks, and the assurance that the Easterners were determined to maintain the best of relations with the Westerners, seem to disprove such an interpretation. As can be seen, while not denying to the see of Rome its apostolic character, the Easterners did not consider it the only basis for Rome's prominent position in the Church.





This appears to have been the general feeling in the East, as is illustrated by the attitude of St. Basil. In his correspondence with the Westerners he never calls the Roman see apostolic, nor does he give this title to any other see in the East. He addresses his letters to the bishops of the principal sees by referring to the city in which their seat was situated. Also, in his report to Damasus, in which he implores spiritual and material help for the Eastern Church, St. Basil calls the Pope simply “most reverend Father.” [65] In another letter [66] he addresses him only as “most celebrated Bishop.” There was, of course, an occasion when Basil named Damasus the “coryphaeus of the West,” [67] but at another time, when speaking of the necessity of communicating with the Pope, he calls him simply “Bishop of Rome.” [68] Most of the letters in his correspondence with the West, are addressed, not to the Pope, but to the bishops of Italy and Gaul, [69] or “to the Westerners.” [70] Furthermore, when, in his letters to Eastern correspondents, he refers to contacts with the Western Church, he does not call it the Roman Church, but speaks of the West, and of the Westerners. [71] On two separate occasions he writes rather bitterly about the West’s ignorance of the state of things in the East. [72]


Naturally, Basil acknowledges Peter as the first of the apostles to whom the keys of heaven have been entrusted, [73] but in his letter to Ambrose [74] he also attributes an apostolic character to every bishop, as when he calls the see of Milan “the see of the apostles.” He thus seems to regard every bishop as a successor to the apostles, a doctrine which is also reflected in the first Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, [75] and in the Philosophoumena of St. Hippolytus of Rome. [76]



65. Epist. 70, PG, 32, col. 433C.


66. Epist. 266, ibid., col. 993B.


67. Epist. 238, chap. 2, ibid., col. 893B.


68. Epist. 69, chap. 1, ibid., col. 432A.


69. Epist. 92 and 243, ibid., cols. 477, 901.


70. Epist. 90 and 263, ibid., cols. 472, 976.


71. Epist. 66, 89, 120, 129 (chap. 3), 138, 156 (chap. 3), 214 (chap. 2), 238 (chap. 2), 253, ibid., cols. 424, 469, 537, 560, 580, 617, 785, 893, 940.


72. Epist. 214, 239, ibid., cols. 785, 893.


73. Sermo. VII. De peccato, chap. 5., ibid., col. 1204C.


74. Epist. 197, ibid., col. 709: αὐτός σε ὁ Κύριος ἀπὸ τῶν κριτῶν τῆς γῆς ἐπὶ τὴν καθέδραν τῶν ἀποστόλων μετέθηκεν.


75. Chaps. 42, 1-4; 44, 2-3, The Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B. Lightfoot, 2 (London, 1890), pp. 127 seq., 131 seq. English translation by F. Glimm, The Apostolic Fathers (New York, 1947), pp. 42 seq: “[The apostles] ... preaching . . . throughout the country and the cities, they appointed their first-fruits, after testing them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should believe .... They appointed the above-mentioned men, and afterwards gave them a permanent character, so that, as they died, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.”





Similar opinions were held, too, by Tertullian. [77] This is a very wide extension of the idea of apostolicity, which, meanwhile, in the West, because of a different evolutionary process, became connected only with the see of Rome, founded by Peter.



It would be vain to search in St. John Chrysostom's numerous works for any passage stressing the apostolic character of the Roman see, or of its bishops. The famous homilist, when speaking of St. Peter, often exalts the prominent position of the coryphaeus [78] among the apostles, and states that Peter occupied the see of “the most imperial city" of Rome. [79] The most impressive passage in the works of Chrysostom is that in which he mentions Peter in connection with Rome and Antioch. In his homily on the titles of the Acts of the apostles, St. John comments on Acts 3:2 and Matt. 16:18, and recalls Peter's activity in Antioch and in Rome: [80]


“When recalling Peter, I remembered also the other Peter, our common father and doctor [he means Flavian, Bishop of Antioch], who in achieving the fullness of his virtue, obtained also possession of his see. This is the great prerogative of our city, that it received the coryphaeus of the apostles from the beginning as [its] teacher. It is proper that [the city] which, before the rest of the world, was adorned with the Christian name, should obtain the first of the apostles for its pastor. However, when we obtained him as teacher, we did not keep him to the end, but ceded him to the imperial city of Rome.



76. Philosophoumena, Proemium 6, GCS, 26, ed. P. Wendland, p. 3.


77. Cf. Liber de Praescriptionibus, PL, 2, chap. 20, col. 32, Adversus Mardonem, IV, chap. 5> ibid., col. 366, CSEL, 47, ed. E. Kroymann, p. 430. Cf. also the letter of Paulinus of Nola written about 394 to Alypius of Tagaste. Epist. 3, 1, CSEL, 29, ed. G. Hartel, p. 14.


78. Here are some of the passages: De Precatione II, PG, 50, col. 784; Hom. in Matt. 18, 23, vol. 51, col. 20; Hom. in Gal. 2, 11, ibid., col. 379; In Ps. 129 vol. 55, col. 375; Hom. in II Tim 3, 1, vol. 56, col. 275; Hom. in Matt. vol. 58, col. 533; Hom. 73 in Joannem, vol. 59, col. 396; Hom. 22 in Acts Ap., vol. 60, col. 171, Hom. 29 in Ep. ad Rom., ibid., col. 660; Hom. 21, 38 in Ep. I ad Cor. vol. 61, cols. 172, 327.


79. In Ps. 48, PG, 55, cols. 231 seq.


80. In Inscriptiones actorum II, PG, 51, col. 86.





But [I should] rather [say that] we kept him forever. Even if we are not in possession of Peter's body, we are in possession of his faith. Possessing Peter's faith, we possess Peter."


This is all that is to be found in Chrysostom's writings about the apostolic character of a see, but it is especially significant because, after he was unjustly condemned, he appealed to the Westerners and to Pope Innocent. [81]



More revealing than the writings of the Fathers are the Acts of the Councils and official correspondence between the Eastern hierarchy and the Roman see. The most outstanding occasion for bringing into focus the differing points of view between East and West concerning the idea of apostolicity was the Council of Ephesus (431), and this Council is additionally important to our investigation because it marked the culminating point also in the struggle for the leadership of Eastern Christianity that raged for several decades between the bishops of Alexandria and the bishops of the imperial capital of Constantinople, which had only recently been promoted to second place in the Church.


It was natural that Alexandria, the City of Alexander the Great,, which had been for centuries the metropolis of a mighty kingdom, as well as a meeting place and melting pot of great civilizations, which was the recognized capital of the Egyptian people—proud of its glorious past — and which always mistrusted anything that came from Old or New Rome, should be anxious to conserve its leading position in the Christian East, to which it had given its first great theologians and thinkers. The theological struggles of the fourth and fifth centuries are more easily understood when studied in the light of the antagonism between the two mighty Eastern cities, Alexandria and Constantinople. [82]



81. Cf. P. Batiffol, op. cit., pp. 312 seq. M. Jugie who studied Chrysostom's, attitude toward the Roman primacy, came to the following conclusions (“S. Jean Chrysostome et la primauté de S. Pierre, “Echos d’Orient” [1908], pp. 5-15, 193-202): (on page 193) “Nous n'avons pu trouver aucun texte affirmant explicitement et sans conteste possible que l'évèque de Rome est le successeur de Saint Pierre dans sa primauté."


82. Cf. N. H. Baynes' short but masterly sketch of this struggle, “Alexandria and Constantinople: A Study in Ecclesiastical Diplomacy," The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 12 (1926), pp. 145-156. For more details see J. Faivre, “Alexandrie," Dictionnaire d'hist. et de géogr. ecclés., 1 (1914), cols. 305 seq.





In this struggle Alexandria long played the leading role, for Constantinople had to bow to the pro-Arian policy of Constantins, while the energetic and passionate Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, became the most eloquent defender of orthodoxy, and was hailed and venerated throughout the orthodox world.


The ardent opposition of the bishops of Alexandria to the doctrine favored by the emperors and bishops of the Imperial City apparently gained impetus from Egyptian national particularism. The main reason for Constantius' siding with Arianism lay in his fear that the orthodox doctrine, accepting Father and Son as two distinct persons of the same divine nature, might compromise the idea of the singleness of the divine monarchy and, at the same time, the strength and unity of the earthly monarchy; this earthly monarchy, the basileia, being an imitation of its heavenly pattern. If this was Constantius' reasoning, the adherents of Egyptian particularism, always inclined to look askance at ideas originating in the imperial palace, must have felt a certain satisfaction in defending a doctrine that favored Constantius' idea of the earthly basileia. These sentiments added to the bitterness of the words in which Athanasius propounded his theories on the limitation of imperial power and the independence of the Church in matters of faith. [83]


The enhanced prestige won by Athanasius assured Alexandria a leading position in the eyes of the Eastern orthodox peoples, and won Western support for the ambitious plans of Athanasius' successor, Peter II (375-381).



83. One of the most outspoken declarations in this matter made by Athanasius is to be found in Historia arianorum, chaps. 51, 52; PG, 25, cols. 753 seq.


Why is he [Constantius] so keen on gathering Arians into the Church and on protecting them, whilst he sends others into exile? Why does he pretend to be so observant of the canons, when he transgresses every one of them ? Which canon tells him to expel a bishop from his palace ? Which canon orders soldiers to invade our churches ? Who commissioned counts and obscure eunuchs to manage Church affairs or to promulgate by edict the decisions of those we call bishops ?... If it is the bishops’ business to issue decrees, how does it concern the emperor ? And if it is the emperor’s business to issue threats, what need is there of men called bishops ? Who ever heard of such a thing ? When did a Church decree receive its authority or its value from the emperor ? Numberless synods have met before and numberless decrees have been issued, but never did the Fathers entrust such things to the emperor, never did an emperor interfere with the things of the Church.”





As has been seen, however, Peter's plan ended in failure, and his successor, Timothy, had to sign the third canon voted by the Council of Constantinople, granting to Alexandria’s rival precedence over both Alexandria and Antioch. In spite of this defeat, however, Timothy did not despair, and he later enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing Gregory of Nazianzus, to whom the Emperor Theodosius had restored the church of Hagia Sophia (26 November 380), which had been held until then by the Arians, forced to abdicate the bishopric of Constantinople. In the intrigues that led to this state of affairs Timothy played his part.


Timothy’s successor, Theophilus, (394-412) won another major success in the struggle for leadership in the East when he intervened directly in the affairs of Constantinople. At that time the Imperial City underwent, thanks to the machinations of Theophilus, the supreme humiliation of having its Bishop, St. John Chrysostom, condemned by the Synod of the Oak (403), unjustly deposed, and sent into exile.


An even greater triumph over the rival see was registered by St. Cyril of Alexandria (412-444), when Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, was convicted of heresy by the Oecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), deprived of his dignity, and sent into exile. This was the greatest success ever recorded by Alexandria. The alliance between Alexandria and Rome was again established at this time, and Rome’s support helped Cyril in his struggle for power.


Cyril acted unscrupulously in the name of Pope Celestine during the first session of the Council of Ephesus, before the arrival of the Roman legates. It matters little that his great victory was obtained by schemes which, for their boldness and lack of scruple, still cause historians to shake their heads in bewildered astonishment, for this victory illustrates conclusively the degree of ascendancy that Alexandria had won in the fifth century. [84]



In their struggle, the bishops of Alexandria could boast of one great advantage over the upstart Church of Constantinople. Their see was an apostolic foundation, and St. Mark, its first bishop, was a disciple of St. Peter, whose preaching he was believed to have preserved for posterity.



84. On Cyril's diplomatic methods see P. Batiffol's study “Les presents de S. Cyrille à la cour de Constantinople," Etudes de liturgie et d’archéologie chrétienne (Paris, 1919), pp. 154-179.





It might have been expected that this fact would be exploited to the full against Constantinople.


In spite of the support he was given by Rome, St. Athanasius did not, surprisingly enough, use the apostolic argument in his reckless fight for orthodoxy and the freedom of the Church in matters of faith. St. Cyril of Alexandria, however, might have been counted upon to rely more on this argument, which would have strengthened his position, in the opinion of his Western contemporaries as in modern opinion, but an examination of the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, the scene of his greatest triumph, shows that there was little progress in the East toward any appreciation in Church leadership of the value of the idea of apostolicity.


This want of appreciation of the significance of apostolicity becomes clear in a review of the official correspondence between Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome, and Antioch which preceded the Council. In the correspondence between the four supra-metropolitans of the Eastern Church there is not one allusion to the apostolic character of the sees of Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem. In their letters these bishops addressed each other very simply by such titles as most reverend, most holy, most beloved, etc., colleague in the ministry. [85] Nor does Cyril of Alexandria ever try to give his words more weight by stressing the apostolic origin of his see. When announcing to Nestorius and to the people of Constantinople the condemnation by a synod held in Alexandria, of that prelate's doctrine, Cyril points out that it was the synod of the diocese of Egypt. [86]


Nestorius' letters to Pope Celestine are written in the same vein. [87] In replying, the Pope aligns the Church of Rome with the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, without adding the word “apostolic." [88]



85. For example, Nestorius to Cyril (Mansi, 4, cols. 885, 892 ; ed. E. Schwartz, t. I, vol. i, pt. I, pp. 25, 29) : τῷ θεοφιλεστάτῳ καὶ ἁγιωτάτῳ μου συλλειτουργῷ Κυρίλλῳ . . . τῷ εὐλαβεστάτῳ καὶ θεοφίλεστάτῳ συλλειτουργῷ . . .


86. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1068-1093· Κύριλλος καὶ ἡ συνελθοῦσα σύνοδος ἐν Ἀλεξανδρίᾳ ἐκ τῆς Ἀιγυπτιακῆς διοικήσεως ... ; ed. Ε. Schwartz., ibid., pp. 33-42.


87. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1021 seq.


88. Ibid., cols. 1025 seq., col. 1036; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 77 seq., 83: ἅπερ καὶ ἡ Ῥωμαίων καὶ ἡ Ἀλεξανδρέων ... καὶ ἡ ἁγία ἡ κατὰ τὴν μεγάλην Κωνσταντινούπολιν ἐκκλησία ... Cf. also the Pope’s letter to John of Antioch, Mansi, ibid., col. 1049; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 91.





It is interesting to follow Cyril of Alexandria's method of addressing the Pope and of speaking about him and his Church. He calls him “the most holy and most beloved of God, Father Celestine," [89] “the holy, most pious Bishop of the Church of the Romans," [90] “the most holy and most pious brother of mine and colleague in the ministry, Celestine, the Bishop of the great city of Rome," [91] or simply “the Bishop of the Church of the Romans." [92]


In his letter to John of Antioch, Cyril complains that Nestorius had dared to quote his doctrine in a letter sent “to my Master, the most pious Celestine, Bishop of the Church of the Romans. [93] In his letter to Nestorius John speaks also of “my Master, the most pious Bishop Celestine." [94] No expression of a special submission by the two Bishops to the Pope's authority can however be inferred from these words. Cyril salutes alike as “my Master" the Bishops of Antioch [95] and of Jerusalem, [96] and the Bishop of Antioch uses the same form of address to Nestorius. [97] It is, thus, simply a form of courtesy.


Such, evidently, was the established etiquette in the Eastern Church, and the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus followed this protocol strictly during the first session of the synod. Cyril, who on that occasion also represented the Pope, is called throughout “the most holy and most reverend Father, Bishop of Alexandria" with no additional title to show the prominent status of his see. Pope Celestine is often mentioned, and, as revealed in the official correspondence examined above, is given similar titles, such as “the most holy, most pious Archbishop of the Church of the Romans, holy Father, colleague in the ministry, holy Archbishop of the great city of Rome." [98]



89. Letter to the Pope, Mansi, ibid., col. 1012B.


90. Letter to the people of Constantinople, ibid., col. 1093; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 113.


91. Letter to the monks of Constantinople, Mansi, ibid., col. 1097C.


92. Letter to Juvenal of Jerusalem, ibid., col. 1060C.


93. Ibid., col. 1052A: τῷ κυρίῳ μου καὶ θεοσεβεστάτῳ ἐπισκόπῳ τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐκκλησίας, ed. Ε. Schwartz., ibid., p. 92.


94. Mansi, ibid., col. 1064A: Ὁ κύριος μου ὁ θεοφιλέστατος Κελεστῖνος ὁ ἐπίσκοπος ; ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., p. 94.


95. Mansi, ibid., col. 1049E.


96. Ibid., col. 1057E.


97. Ibid., col. 1061 A; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 93.





Popes Julius and Felix, whose writings were read, are called simply "most holy Bishops," as are also the Bishops of Alexandria and Milan. [99]


A definite innovation in this respect is noticed in the minutes of the second session of the Council. The papal legates, Bishops Arcadius and Projectus, and the priest Philip, joined the assembly and brought about a revolutionary change in protocol. They carried a letter addressed to the Council by "the most holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, Bishop of the apostolic see," and all three demanded permission to read it. They stressed the word "apostolic" on this occasion. [100]


This innovation in the title of the Bishop of Rome was unprecedented in the East, but Cyril of Alexandria courteously accepted it, and gave orders that the letter "of the most holy and most saintly Bishop of the holy apostolic see of the Romans, Celestine," be read. [101] Juvenal of Jerusalem, and Flavianus of Philippi were not so discreet, for, when asking for the reading of the Greek translation of the letter, they called Celestine only "the most holy, and most saintly Bishop of the great city of Rome." In their acclamations, after the reading of the letter, the Fathers, too, failed to adopt the new title introduced by the legates, although they held Celestine in high esteem, eulogizing him as "a new Paul and guardian of the faith." [102] Firmus, Bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia, however, rallied promptly to the new mode of address, and in his short speech of thanksgiving spoke of "the apostolic and holy throne of the most holy Bishop Celestine."


Apparently the legates demanded that they be addressed as representatives of the apostolic see. In the minutes of the second session there is still some diversity as to their titles. The legates and their notary, Siricius, are described as representing the Roman Church without the word "apostolic,"



98. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1129A, 1177E, 1180B, 1212C, 1240C, 1256E; ed. Schwartz, t. 1, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 8, 36, 54, 104.


99. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1188 seq. ; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 41.


100. Mansi, ibid., col. 1281B:

Ὁ ἁγιώτατος καὶ μακαριώτατος πάπας ἡμῶν Κελεστῖνος, ὁ τῆς ἀποστολικῆς καθέδρας ἐπίσκοπος .... Col. 1281C, D: γράμματα τοῦ ἁγίου, καὶ μετὰ πάσης προσκυνήσεως ὀνομαζομένου πάπα Κελεστίνου, τῆς ἀποστολικῆς καθέδρας ἐπισκόπου; ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., t. I, vol. I, pt. 3, pp. 53, 54.


101. Mansi, ibid., col. 1281C; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 54.


102. Mansi, ibid., col. 1288C; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 57.





but beginning with the third session the minutes, almost without exception, address them as "legates of the apostolic see." [103]


The legate Philip seems to have insisted strongly on the apostolicity of the see of Rome. On two occasions he tried to depict St. Peter as the source of this apostolicity, calling him the head of the apostles, the column of the faith, and the basis of the Catholic Church, and emphasizing the most holy, and most saintly Pope Celestine as his successor. [104]


The Fathers did not acquiesce too readily to this new practice. [105] Only Memnon of Ephesus acknowledged the legates as representives of the apostolic see of the great city of Rome. [106] Cyril of Alexandria, in his resumé of the deposition made by the legates, [107] declared that, as legates, they were representatives of the apostolic see. But, in his letter to the Emperors, [108] Cyril reverts to the old custom of calling the Pope simply Bishop of the great city of Rome, though he does not forget to call Alexandria, at the same time, the great city.


Juvenal of Jerusalem soon became aware of the possibilities of the new situation, and proceeded to exploit the idea to his own advantage. When criticizing the attitude of John of Antioch, he declared [109] that the Bishop should have appeared before the synod and "before the apostolic see of the great city of Rome, which is sitting with us, and should give honor to the apostolic [holder] of the Church of God in Jerusalem." Thus he suggested that, in accordance with an old tradition, Antioch should be judged by Jerusalem.



103. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1293, 1296, 1297, 1300, 1304; ed. E. Schwartz., ibid., pp. 13, 59, 60, 61, 63 (only Philip signs the letter of the synod to the clergy of Constantinople as “priest of the Church of the Apostles," the two others contenting themselves with the titles of legates), ibid., cols. 1325, 1329, 1364; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 26, 30.


104. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1289C, especially 1296B,C: Celestine Peter's διάδοχος καὶ τοποτηρητής ... ; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 58, 60.


105. Cf. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1289, 1293, 1296; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 58-61.


106. Mansi, ibid., col. 1293C; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 39.


107. Mansi, ibid., col. 1300B; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 62.


108. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1301 seq. ; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 63.


109. Mansi, ibid., col. 1312E; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 18.





It is surprising that St. Cyril, in his numerous letters, did not make use of the apostolic character of his see in order to impress his correspondents, and to persuade them to accept his advice and his teaching more readily. The apostolic origin of the see of Alexandria was certainly not forgotten; at least one of Cyril's correspondents was well aware of it. This was Alypius, priest of the church of the Holy Apostles in the Imperial City of Constantinople, who in his letter to Cyril, [110] exalts the Bishop's steadfastness in defense of the true faith, and recalls the deeds of Cyril's predecessor St. Athanasius in his defense of orthodoxy against Arianism. 'Through his valiant struggles," Alypius tells us, "Athanasius had exalted to the highest degree the holy see of St. Mark, the Evangelist, and Cyril was following in his footsteps." In view of these remarks, it is the more surprising that in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus there is not one allusion to this prerogative of the Alexandrian see.


It has been shown that, in spite of the insistence of the Roman legates, the new title so eloquently expressive of the apostolic origin and character of the see of Rome was accepted only in a limited way and without enthusiasm by the Eastern Church. This cannot, however, be interpreted as betraying any lack of respect for the Roman see.


The fact that the Easterners applied the title "apostolic" sparingly to their own sees, and that the holders of such sees alluded very occasionally to their venerable character, without attributing to it any special value, shows that the idea of apostolicity had, in general, not yet achieved prominence among them, and that the traditional practice of adaptation to the political division of the Empire continued to find more appreciation in Church organization than did the idea of apostolicity.


This attitude prevailed also in the East after the Council of Ephesus. The struggle between Constantinople and Alexandria continued after Cyril's death, and reached a new degree of violence at the second Council of Ephesus (449)—the ill-famed Latrocinium or "Robber" synod.



110. Cyrillus, Epistolae, PG 77, col. 148Β:

τούτοις τοῖς ἄθλοις τὸν στέφανον τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἑαυτῷ πλέξας (Ἀθανάσιος) . . . τὸν ἅγιον τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ Μάρκου θρόνον ὕψωσεν· οἷς καὶ αὐτὸς χρησάμενος, κατόπιν ἐκείνου τοῦ ἅγίου περιεπάτησας.





This synod marked a new triumph for Alexandria, for at the instigation of Dioscorus of Alexandria, the synod deposed Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, although he enjoyed, this time, the support of Rome.


It is particularly noteworthy that in the Acts of the Latrocinium of Ephesus, wherein Dioscorus vociferously emphasized the importance and prestige of Alexandria, no allusion to the apostolicity of his see is to be found. He boldly assumed the presidency of the synod, and, in order to humiliate Constantinople, placed the highest prelates in order of seniority. The papal legate Julius was allotted second place, the Patriarch of Jerusalem third, the Bishop of Antioch fourth, and the Bishop of Constantinople last place. [111]


This, however, does not mean that the principle of apostolic origin was completely forgotten in the East. A curious echo of it is to be found in the Coptic biography of the Patriarch Dioscorus. The biographer, recalling Diocscorus’ manoeuvres against Flavian of Constantinople, is well aware that in this instance the Bishop of Alexandria was fighting not only the upstart Bishop of the new Imperial City, but also the Bishop of Old Rome. He summarizes the situation in a very singular way, speculating that perhaps Mark was greater than Peter. [112] Here is an interesting indication that the idea of apostolic origin of the principal sees, though differing in conception from that of Rome, still existed among the Easterners.


This dissimilarity between the Eastern and Western ideas of apostolicity is the more remarkable in that Pope Leo, in his letter of 445 to Dioscorus, written prior to the Latrocinium, reminded the Bishop of Alexandria of the tradition of St. Peter common to both Churches. He said: [113]


“We must think and do one thing, namely that, as we read we are of one heart, we be found to be of one soul.



111. Mansi, 6, col. 608.


112. F. Haase, ‘'Patriarch Dioskur I. nach monophysitischen Quellen,” in Max Sdralek, Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen, 6 (1907), p. 204.


113. Epistola IX ad Dioscurum Alexandrinum, introduction, Mansi, 5, col. 1140:

Cum enim beatissimus Petrus apostolicum a Domino acceperit principatum, et Romana ecclesia in ejus permaneat institutis, nefas est credere, quod sanctus discipulus ejus Marcus qui Alexandrinam primus Ecclesiam gubernavit, aliis regulis traditionum suarum decreta formaverit: cum sine dubio de eodem fonte gratiae unus spiritus et discipuli fuerit et magistri, nec aliud ordinatus tradere potuerit, quam quod ab ordinatore suscepit. Non ergo patimur, ut cum unius nos esse corporis et fides fateamur, in aliquo discrepemus ; et alia doctoris, alia discipuli instituta videantur.





Because, as the most blessed Peter received from the Lord the apostolic principate, and as the Roman Church remains faithful to his institutions, it would be unjust to believe that his holy disciple, Mark, who was the first to govern the Church of Alexandria, would have formulated his decrees according to different rules. Without doubt the spirit of the master and the disciple was one, drawn from the same source of grace, and the ordained could not transmit anything other than what he had derived from the ordainer. We cannot thus permit that, when we confess to being of the one body and faith, we should disagree in any way, and that the institution of the teacher and the disciple should appear unlike."


As has been seen, Dioscorus paid no heed to the Pope's reminder.


The idea of apostolicity seems to have been better appreciated in Antioch than in Alexandria. In 448 Domnus, Bishop of Antioch, was approached by four priests of Edessa, who accused their Bishop Ibas of Nestorianism. Domnus assembled a synod of his bishops at Antioch, but they hesitated to acquit Ibas of the accusations, because they learned that two of the accusers, instead of presenting themselves to the Fathers in Antioch, had gone to Constantinople in the belief that their complaints would be more sympathetically received at the imperial court.


When Domnus learned of the action of the two priests, he complained bitterly of their violation of ecclesiastical rules, and of their lack of reverence “for their apostolic see." This is one of the rare instances, at this period, of an Eastern see's stressing its apostolic character. [114] It would be erroneous, however, to interpret the incident as an act of opposition, by the apostolic see of Antioch, emphasizing the non-apostolicity of the see of Constantinople. Flavian of Constantinople refused to judge the Bishop of Edessa, and the affair was settled by a commission, appointed by the Emperor Theodosius II, which assembled at Beirut and Tyre in February 449. Ibas signed a declaration which satisfied his clergy, and the latter promised in return to respect in the future the authority of their supra-metropolitan of Antioch. [115]



114. Mansi, 7, cols. 212-217; ed. Schwartz, 1.1. vol. 1, pt. 3, pp. 19 seq. The Acts of this synod were read during the tenth session of the Council of Chalcedon.


115. Mansi, ibid., cols. 197-201.





A new test for the divergent Eastern and Western views arose at the fourth Oecumenical Council held at Chalcedon in 451. This had to undo the work of the Latrocinium, and solemnly to condemn Dioscorus’ monophysite doctrine.


It was this Council that marked the decline of Alexandria's ascendency in the Church. Egyptian particularism precipitated this evolution. Egypt, always in opposition to Constantinople, remained predominantly faithful to the doctrine of its Patriarch, and chose to stand outside the Church, making monophysism its national religion. The place of Alexandria in the Eastern Church was taken by Constantinople, and the Council of Chalcedon was very influential in furthering the rise of that city.


The Council also, however, afforded Rome a welcome opportunity to play a leading role in the East and throughout the whole Church. This phase of the struggle between Alexandria and Constantinople was dominated by the noble figure of Pope Leo (440-461), deservedly called the Great. His voice, transmitted in the famous dogmatic letter to Flavian, dominated the debates, and his doctrinal decision earned general approval in the orthodox East. The Council of Chalcedon also contributed importantly to the development of the idea of apostolicity in the East.


It was to be expected that at the Council Leo would stress the apostolicity of his see more than his predecessor had, because under his energetic government the idea of Rome’s apostolicity and primacy, which derived from Peter, had made new progress in the minds of the Westerners. Leo called his see sedes apostolica in almost every letter that he addressed to bishops or clerics of his patriarchate. [116]



116. A few examples may be quoted from Leo’s correspondence before the Council of Chalcedon (Mansi, 5, cols. 1213 seq., idem, 6, cols. 1 seq., PL, 54, cols. 593 seq. In order to simplify matters only the letters and chapters are quoted). Cf. Collectio Grimanica, ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 4, with different numbering of the letters.

Epist. 1, ad Aquilejensem ep. chap. 2 : apost. sedis auctoritas;

4, ad episc. Campaniae, chap. 2: ap. sed. auctor.;

5, ad episc. Illyrici, chap. 1 : ap. sed. auct., 2: ap. dignitatis beat. Ap. Petro primatum;

6, ad ep. Thessalon., chap. 2: apost. sedes;

10, ad episc. Viennenses, chap. 2: apost. sedes;

12, ad ep. Africanos, chap. 5: ap. sedis statuta;

13, ad ep. Illyrici, chap. i: sed. ap. auctor.;

114, ad Anastasium Thessalon., chap. II : ad unam Petri sedem univer. salis ecclesiae cura;

16, ad ep. Siciliae, chap. 1 : b. Petri ap. sedes, chap. 7: apost. sedes;

19, Doro Beneventano, chap. 1 : ap. sedes;

61, ad Martinum et Faustum presb.: ap. sedis auctor.





His western correspondents also used that title for the Roman see, regarding it as “The Apostolic See,” and addressing the Pope simply as apostolatus vester. [117]


Another striking illustration of the spread of the idea of apostolicity in the West was the constitution concerning ordinations by Hilarius, Bishop of Arles, issued by the Emperor Valentinian III in Rome (8 July 445). This contains the following words, which sound as if they emanated from the lips of the Pope himself: [118]


“Thus, because the primacy of the apostolic see, the great virtue of Saint Peter, who is the Prince of the episcopal crown, the dignity of the Roman city, and also the authority of the synod had confirmed this, let none presume to attempt anything illicit, which would be devoid of the authority of that see. The peace of the Churches will be preserved everywhere [only] when the universe acknowledges its rector.”


The Emperor says further that Hilarius had acted “against the majesty of the imperium and against the reverence of the apostolic see,” and, he continues, no-one should dare to change established traditions without the authority of the venerable Pope of the Eternal City. “But what the authority of the apostolic see has or shall sanction, this should be law to all of them.”


Concluding this survey, it will be interesting to examine, in more detail, the letters sent by Leo to his Eastern correspondents before the Council of Chalcedon, in order to learn something of the impression made on them by his constant reiteration of the idea of apostolicity.


In Leo’s letters to the deposed Bishop Flavian of Constantinople, the Emperor Theodosius, and the Empress Pulcheria, Rome’s apostolic character was referred to but casually.



117. For example

Epist. 3, Paschasinus ad Leonem, chap. 1 : apostolicus papa, apostolatus vester, chap. 2: apostolatus vester;

Epist. 65, Arelatenses ad Leonem, chap. i : ap. sedes, apostolatus vester, chap. 2 : apost. sedes, chap. 3 : ap. sedis mandata;

Epist. 68, Ep. Gallorum ad Leonem; apostolica cura, ap. sedes, principatus sedis apost.;

Epist. 97, Eusebii Mediolan. ad Leonem, chap. 1 : in Apostoli sede praesul.


118. Mansi, 5, cols. 1153 seq:

Cum igitur Sedis apostolicae primatum sancti Petri meritum, qui princeps est episcopalis coronae, et Romanae dignitas civitatis, sacrae etiam Synodi firmarit auctoritas, ne quid praeter auctoritatem sedis istius inlicitum praesumptio attentare nitatur....





The sedes apostolica was mentioned only in the letter to the Emperor and in two letters to Pulcheria, [119] but in the letter to the second synod of Ephesus, Leo spoke of "the authority of the apostolic see," and used the confession of Peter (Matt. 16:13,16) as his principal argument against Entyches' doctrine. [120]


When the second Council of Ephesus developed into a Latrocinium, Leo made a great effort to persuade the Emperor Theodosius to convoke a new synod, if possible in Italy, in order to undo the evil wrought by Dioscorus. He did not succeed in convincing Theodosius, although he had managed to get the support of the Empresses for his plan, and he achieved his aim only when Marcian became Emperor. In this correspondence, Leo, in his anxiety to impress the Emperors and to obtain the decision he sought, invoked the apostolic authority of the Roman see more frequently. [121]


Leo's efforts to exalt the apostolicity of the Roman See in his contact with the East made some impression there, but he won his most important success in Constantinople itself. The Patriarch Flavian, deposed by the Latrocinium, appealed to the "most religious and saintly Father and Archbishop Leo." [122] He confessed that circumstances obliged him "to make use of the apostolic appeal to your holiness," and, after describing the injustice done to him, he disclosed that when he had pleaded about this "to the throne of the apostolic see of the Prince of the Apostles, Peter, and to the universal synod which is under your Holiness," he had been confined to his dwelling by soldiers, who cut off all means of communication.



119. Epist. 24, ad Thedosium, chap 1: sedes apost.; Epist. 30, Pulcheriae Aug., chap. 1: apost. sedis moderatio; Epist. 36, ad Pulcheriam, chap. 3: ap. sedis moderatio.


120. Epist. 33, S. Synodo, chap. 1 : auctoritas sedis apost.


121. Epist. 43, ad Theodos. The Pope insists that he received from St. Peter the power to promote true faith and peace. Cf. also Epist. 44, chap. 1 : beata Petri sedes, sedes apost. Epist. 45, ad Pulcheriam, chap. 2: sedes b. Petri, chap. 3 : pietas tua . . . supplicationem nostram apud clementis simum principem, sibi specialitera beatissimo Petro apostolo legatione commissa, dignetur asserere. Epist. 83, ad Marcianum, chap. 2, Epist. 84, ad Pulcheriam, chap. 3, Epist. 85, ad Anatolium, chap. 2.


122. See the critical publication of the text by Th. E. Mommsen in Neues Archiv, ii (1886), pp. 362-364 (“Actenstücke zur Kirchengeschichte aus dem cod. Cap. Novar. 30") :

Oportuit quidem ad praesens tempus me dignanter referre et uti apostolica appellatione ad vestram sanctitatem.... Me appellante thronum apostolicae sedis principis apostolorum Petri et universam beatam quae sub vestra sanctitate est synodum, statim me circumvallat multitudo militaris, et volente me ad sanctum altare confugere non concessit....





Bishop Eusebius of Dorylaeum was condemned by the Latrocinium, at the same time as Flavian, and exiled. He managed to escape to Rome whither he had sent an appeal couched in terms similar to those used by Flavian. The Bishop addressed his appeal in words which seem to reflect the Roman conception of apostolicity : [123] Curavit desuper et ab exordio consuevit thronus apostolicus iniqua perferentes defensare.... But, because the text of the letter is known only in its Latin translation, care should be taken in the interpretation of this expression ; for it could have been adapted to the Roman view by the translator. [124] Nevertheless, it is safe to suppose that the Bishop called the Roman see “apostolic.”


Leo's invocations of Peter's apostolic authority made an even more profound impression on the Empresses: Galla Placidia, the mother of Valentinian III, and Eudoxia, Theodosius' daughter and Valentinian's wife. In their letters to Theodosius II they have given us a very eloquent account of the pious pontiff's solicitude for the restoration of peace in the Church in the anxious days after the Latrocinium.


Theodosius' Aunt, Galla Placidia, [125] in her letter to her nephew first recalls the visit she made to the tomb of St. Peter in Rome, and writes how Leo, after praying at the Apostle's tomb had implored her, in the name of the Prince of the Apostles, to intercede with her nephew. She then recounts how Flavian was molested for sending an appeal “to the apostolic see,” and asks Theodosius to restore the true faith “according to the form and definition of the apostolic see.”


Valentinian's mother addressed a letter to Theodosius' sister, the Empress Pulcheria, [126] recalling the same touching scene at the tomb of St. Peter, and imploring Pulcheria to use her influence with her brother so that



123. Published by Th. E. Mommsen, ibid., pp. 364-367.


124. Cf. P. Batiffol, Le siège apostolique, pp. 315 seq., and idem., Cathedra Petri, p. 162.


125. Epist. 56; cf. also Epist. 57, of Eudoxia, the daughter of Theodosius who recalls similar impressions, Mansi 6, cols. 51 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 3, pt. i, pp. 14, 15 (Latin text).


126. Epist. 58, Mansi, 6, col. 57C:

Πάντων ἀκεραίων μενόντων, εἰς τὸν ἀποστολικὸν θρόνον, ἐν ᾧ πρῶτος ὁ μακαριώτατος τῶν ἀποστόλων Πέτρος, τὰ κλεῖθρα τῶν οὐρανῶν ὑποδεξάμενος, τὴν ἀρχιερωσύνην ἐκόσμησε ... ;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., p. 13. Greek text, ibid., t. 2, vol. 1, pt.i, p. 50.





“all that which had been decided in that tumultuous and horrible synod may be rescinded by all means, and that when all has been restored to its original state, the cause of the clergy should be sent to the apostolic see in which the first of the apostles, the most blessed Peter, who had received the keys of heaven, held the principate of the priesthood,"


She continued,

“We must accord first place in everything to the Eternal City, which through its own virtue was chosen for the domination of the whole world, and which had entrusted the whole world to our basileia to be ruled and preserved."


Placidia spoke similarly of Rome in her letter to Theodosius also. She wrote of the prominent position of Rome that prompted innumerable bishops from other parts of Italy to visit the city, and gather around Leo. In this apostolic throne she said,


"the first one [of the apostles] who was held worthy to be given the keys of heaven had adorned the principate of the archepiscopacy. It is indeed meet for us to preserve our reverence in everything for this city, which is the greatest, and the mistress of all lands." [127]


This passage of Placidia's letter to Theodosius and the concluding words, quoted earlier, from her letter to Pulcheria are particularly eloquent. Unintentionally the Empress combined in these interesting passages the two reasons for which the see of Rome was given the primacy: its apostolicity, originating with St. Peter, the first of the apostles, and its leading role in the formation of the Roman Empire, to which the Byzantine basileia was heir.


There was yet another Easterner whose conception of apostolicity approximated that of Rome; he was Theodoret, Bishop of Kyrros. [128] In a letter, written after the Latrocinium, Theodoret recalls that just as Paul went to Peter in order to obtain a decision in the controversy at Antioch about the validity of Mosaic prescriptions for converts from paganism,


"so we humble and poor men have recourse to your see which is apostolic, in order to obtain from you a medicament to heal the ulcers of the Churches."



127. Mansi, 6, Epist 56, cols. 52, 53A:

ἐν ᾧ πρῶτος ἐκεῖνος, ὁ τὰς οὐρανοῦ κλεῖς ἀξιωθεὶς ὑποδέξασθαι, τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν τῆς ἀρχιερωσύνης ἐκόσμησε δηλαδή· ὁπότε πρέπει ἡμᾶς ταύτῃ τῇ μεγίστῃ πόλει, ἥ τις δέσποινα πασῶν ὑπάρχει τῶν γεῶν, ἐν πᾶσι τὸ σέβας παραφυλάξαι;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., p. 15 (latin text).


128. Epist. 52, Theodoriti ad Leonem, especially chaps. 1,5, Mansi, 6, col. 36,40.





Then he speaks of the advantages which the city of Rome enjoys, and for which it is so famous, these being, its great size, its beauty, and its large population. He goes on to say that it is the most noble and celebrated of all cities, and that it governs the whole world ; that it gave its name to the subjects over which it extended its dominion; but that its greatest ornament was the true faith, which it received from its teachers, Peter and Paul, whose tombs it also possessed.


"These two made your see that most noble of all. This see is the apogee of all your happiness. The Lord has illuminated their see again, now that he has placed your holiness there to irradiate the true faith."


After recounting all the evil that had been done in Ephesus, the Bishop, who was deprived of his see, exclaims:


"I thus expect a sentence from your throne which is apostolic, and I pray and implore your holiness to grant me a just and true judgment, and to order me to come to you and disclose to you my teaching, which follows in the footsteps of the apostles."


In this eloquent missive ideas on the primacy of Rome, similar to those expressed by the Empress Placidia, can again be found. It is not only—declares the letter—by virtue of its apostolic origin, derived from the Prince of the Apostles, that Rome was regarded as the first city in the Christian world, but also because it was, and still is, in some sense, the capital of an Empire to which it gave its name. All of this shows how difficult it was for the Easterners to forget a principle which had for so long been the basis of Church organization. On the other hand, although Theodoret closely approaches the Roman conception of apostolicity, he does not call Rome The Apostolic See, as it is called by the Westerners, but only the see which is apostolic. Nevertheless, it is evident that the idea of apostolicity had made some progress, at least among some Easterners, during the years between the Latrocinium, and the Council of Chalcedon. [129]



The greatest contest between the Roman and Byzantine conception of apostolicity took place during the Council of Chalcedon itself.



129. It should be recorded that Theodoret also calls the see of Antioch apostolic in a letter addressed to Bishop Domnus (Theodoretus, Epist. 112; PG, 83, col. 1309).





In his letter to the Synod, Leo was not too insistent about the apostolic character of his see, but he recalled that the invitation to the Roman Bishop to attend the Council had been sent by the Emperor Marcian, and that it had been accepted by Leo, with the reservation that the right and honor of the throne of the most blessed Apostle Peter, be respected. [130] He also announced that the Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the priests Boniface and Basil, would represent "The Apostolic See.”


The legates needed no reminder to stress, in the presence of the Fathers, the prominent apostolic character of the Roman see. This custom had already become such a habit to all Westerners that they could not have disregarded it. Bishop Paschasinus gave full vent to the Roman belief at the beginning of the first session. [131] Announced as the legate "of The Apostolic See,” he declared:


"We hold in our hands the orders of the most blessed and apostolic Bishop of the city of the Romans which is the head of all Churches.”


Lucentius came to the aid of his colleagues declaring that Dioscorus had dared to convoke a synod "without the authority of the apostolic see which had never happened before, and should never happen again.” Then Paschasinus, "legate of the apostolic see,” continued:


"We are not allowed to run counter to the precepts of the most blessed and apostolic Pope who governs the apostolic see.”


From that moment whenever the legates asked permission to speak, they were announced by the clerks as" vicars of the apostolic see.” [132] They must have informed the "chef de protocol” that they wished to be introduced in that way, but this does not seem to have been the procedure first adopted, for whenever the minutes of the sessions describe the legates' interventions, they are called simply bishops or vicars of the Bishop of Ancient Rome. [133] Also, in the list of imperial functionaries and bishops present at the beginning of each session, they are invariably called only vicars of the most blessed Leo, Bishop of Ancient Rome. [134]



130. Mansi, 6, Epist. 93, cols. 131 seq.


131. Ibid., cols. 580, 581; ed. E Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 65, 66.


132. Mansi, ibid., cols. 680, 976, 984, 1045; 7, cols. 8, 9, 32, 52, 57, 60, 101, 105, 181, 189, 257, 261, 270, 289, 296, 297, 425, ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 114; pt. 2, pp. 3, 8, 28, 93, 94, in, 113, 114, 123, 125; pt. 3, pp. 5, 10, 38, 39, 51, 53, 54, 87.


133. Mansi, 6, cols. 608, 613, 692, 940, 988, 1020, 1036, 1041, 1044; 7, col. 300; ed. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 78, 82, 120; pt. 2, pp. 9, 10, 11, 24, 27.





In their addresses the legates seldom neglected to emphasize the apostolic character of the Roman see, and they sometimes referred to Leo as simply apostolicus. [135] The titles which they give their master when signing the synodal decisions in his name are also eloquent. [136]


In general, in the minutes of the debates, the chancellery of Anatolius of Constantinople followed the traditional Byzantine custom of giving to the Pope the simple title of “the most reverend, most holy Bishop of Ancient Rome," In this respect the patriarchal chancellery followed the rules established by its imperial counterpart. The Emperor Theodosius, for example, in his letters to Valentinian and in his answers to the letters of Placidia and Eudoxia, called the Pope “the most reverend Patriarch Leo.” [137] Marcian, when he wrote announcing his intention to convoke a new synod, addressed his letter “to the most reverend Bishop of the most glorious city of Rome,” and was content to call the Pope, “Your Holiness.” The same address and titles can be read in the letter of the Empress Pulcheria. [138]


There are, however, two exceptions symptomatic of progress in this regard. In his allocution to the Fathers during the sixth session the Emperor, mentioning Leo's dogmatic letter to Flavian, speaks of “the holy [man] Leo, Pope of the city of Rome, who governs the apostolic see.” [139]



134. Mansi, 6, cols. 565, 940, 977 (only here is the apostolic see of the Romans especially mentioned); 7, cols. 4, 97, 117, 180, 185, 193, 272, 301, 313, 424; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 56; pt. 2, pp. 70, 85, 121, 130; pt. 3, pp. 3, ii, 42, 56, 63, 86.


135. Mansi, 6, cols. 680C: τοῦ ἀποστολικοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐπισκόπου Ῥώμης; 7, cols. 101, 257; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 114; pt. 2, p. 123; pt. 3, p. 38.


136. At the end of the third session, after the condemnation of Dioscorus (Mansi, 6, col. 1080), simply Paschasinus ... ἐπέχων τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἀρχιεπισκόπου τῆς μεγάλης Ῥώμης Λέοντος. . . but, at the end of the sixth session (idem., 7, col. 136) : ἐπέχων τὸν τόπον τοῦ δεσπότου μου τοῦ μακαριωτάτου καὶ ἀποστολικοῦ τῆς οἰκουμενικῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐπισκόπου πόλεως Ῥώμης Λέοντος .... The Latin translation of the first passage added the words : atque apostolicae universalis ecclesiae papae. Cf. ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, p. 34; pt. 3, p. 141.


137. Lit. 62, 63, 64. Mansi, ibid., cols. 68, 69, 72; PL, 54, cols. 876, 878.


138. Lit. 76, 77. Mansi, ibid., cols. 97, ιοί, PL, 54, cols. 904, 906.


139. Mansi, 7, col. 130: ἡ τοῦ θεοφιλεστάτου Λέοντος τοῦ τῆς βασιλίδος Ῥώμης ἀρχιεπισκόπου τοῦ τὸν ἀποστολικόν θρόνον κυβερνῶντος ἐπιστολή ... ; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, p. 140.





In the letter in which the Emperor Marcian announces the decisions of the Council to the Pope, and asks him to accept canon twenty-eight giving the second position in the Church to Constantinople, he calls the Pope “Father,” and “Your Holiness," and terms his see “apostolic.” [140]


There were also some bishops and clerics who, during the debates at Chalcedon, did not hesitate to speak at times of the apostolicity of the Roman see. Anatolius of Constantinople was impressed by this, and on the very solemn occasion of pronouncing sentence on Dioscorus, he declared, after Paschasinus had announced the Pope's condemnation: [141] “Being in every way of like opinion with the apostolic throne, I, too, endorse the condemnation of Dioscorus.''


This expression was particularly outstanding because, during the third session, when the Fathers, after listening to the letters of St. Cyril and of the Pope censuring Eutyches, spoke of their respect for Leo, their acclamations [142] did not evoke a similar response : “We all believe so, Pope Leo believes so .... This is the faith of Archbishop Leo. Leo believes so, Leo and Anatolius believe so.... Archbishop Leo thinks so, believes so, writes so....''


It is interesting to read the pronouncements of other bishops recording their approval of the condemnation of Dioscorus during the third session. Among the one hundred and eighty-eight bishops listed in the Latin Acts as having pronounced their decision after Anatolius, only nine mentioned in their declarations that they were joining the judgment of the apostolic see of Rome. They were Seleucus, Metropolitan of Amasia, Francion, Metropolitan of Philippopolis, Peter, Metropolitan of Gangrae, Daniel, Bishop of Cadena, Thomas of Theodosiopolis, Cecropius of Sebastopolis, Acacius of Ariaratheia, and Renus of Ionopolis. [143]



140. Lit. 100, Marcionis ad Leonem, chap. 3. Mansi, 6, col. 167A; PL, 54, col. 974B; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 55.


141. Mansi, ibid., col. 1048C: τὰ αὐτὰ τῷ ἀποστολικῷ θρόνῳ διὰ πάντων φρονῶν, σύμψηρος κἀγὼ γίνομαι ἐπὶ τῇ καθαιρέσει Διοσκόρου; ed. Ε. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, p. 29.


142. Mansi, ibid., col. 960; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 81.


143. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1051, 1054, 1062, 1069, 1072; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 3, pt. 2, pp. 49, 51, 58, 63, 65.





Of the others, twenty-two bishops mentioned the name of Leo in their speeches recording the sentence, calling him simply Bishop of the Great and Old Rome. [144]


On a similar occasion, at the beginning of the fourth session, when the Fathers were asked to express their opinions regarding Leo's dogmatic letter to Flavian, most of them mentioned Leo in the declarations, but none of them cared to add that his see was apostolic. [145]


Special attention is due to the libelli, despatched to the Pope and the Council by some Alexandrian clerics - the deacons Theodore and Ischyrion, the priest Athanasius, and the layman Sophronius - containing accusations against their Bishop, Dioscorus. All the libelli are addressed “to the most holy and most beloved of God, oecumenical Archbishop, and Patriarch of the great city of Rome, and to the holy and universal synod of Chalcedon." In them the Alexandrians reveal a surprisingly high respect for the Pope, calling him oecumenical Archbishop and Patriarch. This is, perhaps, the first use of this title which was later adopted by the patriarchs of Constantinople. The apostolic character of the Roman see, however, was recognized specifically only by the deacon Theodore. [146]


It should be noted that in two passages of his libellus, Theodore's colleague Ischyrion calls the see of Alexandria "the evangelic see." [147] He must, therefore, have been fully conscious of the apostolic origin of Alexandria, although he ignores the fact that Rome, too, was of apostolic origin.



144. Mansi, ibid.,

col. 1047: Maximus of Antioch,

col. 1049: Diogenes of Cyzicus, Julian of Coe, Peter of Corinth,

col. 1050 : Theodor of Tarsus, Roman of Myra,

col. 1051: Constantine of Militene, John of Sebastia,

col. 1052: Constantine of Bostra, Patricius of Tyana,

col. 1054: Florentius of Sardes, Photius of Tyre,

col. 1056: Julian of Hypepa,

col 1059: Paul of Philomelion,

col. 1060: Indimus of Irenopolis,

col. 1061 : Eutropius of Adardos,

col. 1065: John of Alinda,

col. 1066: Eorticius of Nicopolis,

col. 1068: Paulinus of Apamea,

col. 1079: Antiochus of Sinope,

col. 1080: Theodorus of Claudiopolis;

ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 47-51, 53, 55, 56, 59, 61, 62, 71.


145. Mansi, 7, cols. 9-28; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, pp. 93-101.


146. Mansi, 6, cols. 1005, 1012, 1020, 1021, 1029:

τῷ ἁγιωτάτῳ καὶ θεοφιλεστάτῳ οἰκουμενικῷ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ καὶ πατριάρχῃ τῆς μεγάλης Ῥώμης Λέοντι, καὶ τῇ ἁγίᾳ καὶ οἰκουμενικῇ συνόδῳ τῇ ἐν Χαλκεδόνι... ;

Theodoret's Libellus, col. 1009Α:

κατὰ τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου καὶ ὁσιωτάτου ἀποστολικοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγάλης Ῥώμης;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, pp. 15, 17, 20, 23.


147. Mansi, ibid., cols. 1013A, 1016B:

τοῦ εὐαγγελικοῦ ἐκείνου θρόνου ... Κυρίλλου, τοῦ τὸν εὐαγγελικόν θρόνον διακοσμήσαντος ... ;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 17, 18.





That the importance of the idea of apostolicity, held in such high esteem in Rome, should meet with so little understanding in the East is not surprising when the habits of the Easterners, as revealed in the Acts, are taken into account. They almost completely disregarded the apostolic character of their own Churches, such as those of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and called the heads of these Churches simply bishops or archbishops of the cities (or great cities) of Alexandria or Antioch. Constantinople, however, was often called the Imperal City and New Rome.


One detail perhaps deserves special mention. Although Constantinople was the imperial residence, and thus fully deserved to be called the Imperial City, some bishops in their declaration called Rome also the Imperial City. At the close of their acclamation during the second session, the senators demanded: [148] “Let the letter of the most holy Archbishop of the Imperial and Ancient City of Rome, Leo, be made known."


Maximus of Antioch, who followed Anatolius, who had been given the title of “Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople, which is the New Rome,” did not, at the third session, imitate Anatolius by calling Rome an apostolic see ; but in referring to Leo, he named him pater noster Leo regiae senioris urbis Romae. [149] At this same session, Theodore of Claudiopolis mentioned both imperial cities in his declaration - decreta a... sanctissimo archiepiscopo regiae urbis Romae Leone ... et a sanctissimo archiepiscopo regiae urbis novae Constantinopolitano Anatolio. [150]


Maximus of Antioch appeared to be consistent in styling Rome the “Imperial City,” for he used the same expression during the fourth session when he announced to Flavian his agreement with Leo’s letter. [151] His attitude was the more significant in that he was fully aware of the apostolic origin of his own episcopal see.


During the seventh session of the Council, when the question of dividing the provinces of Antioch between that metropolis and Jerusalem was to be considered,



148. Mansi, ibid., col. 960C:

ἀναγινωσθέσθω ἡ ἐπιστολὴ τοῦ ὁσιωτάτου ἀρχιεπισκόπου τῆς βασιλίδος καὶ πρεσβυτέρας Ῥώμης Λέοντος;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, ibid., p. 81.


149. Mansi, ibid., col. 1048D; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 3, pt. 2, p. 47.


150. Mansi, ibid., col. 1080B; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 71.


151. Mansi, ibid., 7, col. 12B :

ἡ ἐπιστολὴ τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου ἀρχιεπισκόπου τῆς βασιλευούσης Ῥώμης Λέοντος;

ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 2, p. 94.





Maximus of Antioch opened the discussion with the following words: [152]


“It is agreeable to me and to the most reverend Bishop Juvenalius, in accordance with a mutual agreement reached after considerable contention, that the see of the great city of the Antiochenes, that of Saint Peter, should have the two provinces of Phoenicia and Arabia, and the see of Jerusalem, should have the provinces of the three Palestines.”


In this connection the letter of the Empress-Mother, Placidia, to Theodosius II and to his sister Pulcheria is worth recalling. All this seems to indicate that, in the minds of the Byzantines, their Empire had two capitals - Old Rome and New Rome - each the object of their veneration; the first because of its past, the second because it was actually the residence of the emperors ; they were fully aware too of their debt to Old Rome, which had given its name to their Empire, and in this it is evident that the traditional principle of adapting Church organization to the political division of the Empire was still applied to Rome also. Its primacy in the Church remained guaranteed in the eyes of many because it was the first capital of their Empire and would so remain as long as the Roman Empire, of which Constantinople was now the Imperial City, endured.



This consideration may assume greater importance when the changes in Church organization made by the Council of Chalcedon for the benefit of the bishops of Constantinople are examined. These changes were voted after the conclusion of the dogmatic discussions, and after the adoption of twenty-seven canons, in a session in which only 185 bishops participated. Most of them were prelates of dioceses whose fate remained to be decided. The Roman legates abstained from attending this meeting, pleading that they had no relevant instructions.


The canon voted by the Fathers is called the twenty-eighth canon, although the manuscripts of Greek and Latin texts of the Council enumerate only twenty-seven.



152. Mansi, ibid., col. 180D:

ὥστε τὸν μὲν θρόνον τῆς Ἀντιοχέων μεγαλοπόλεως τὸν τοῦ ἁγίου Πέτρου;

ed. Ε. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. i, pt. 3, p. 5.





The twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon [153] appeared for the first time at the end of the sixth century in Byzantine collections of canon law, in the Syntagma of Fourteen Titles.


It has been seen that the canons of the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Councils regarding ecclesiastical organization were not clearly formulated. This accounts for the numerous controversies among specialists in explaining them, and the same holds true for the so-called canon twenty-eight of the Council of Chalcedon. Here is the wording of the canon : [154]


“Following in all things the decisions of the Holy Fathers and taking cognizance of the canon of the 150 bishops beloved by God, who assembled in the Imperial City of Constantinople, under the former Emperor, the great Theodosius of happy memory, we decide and determine the same concerning the rights of honor of the holy Church of the same Constantinople, the New Rome. For the Fathers acknowledged the rights of honor of the throne of the Old Rome, because it was the Imperial City, and moved by the same motives, the 150 bishops beloved of God have attributed the same rights of honor to the most holy throne of the New Rome in that they rightly judged that the city, which is honored by the presence of



153. Cf. E. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicaenische Kanon auf der Synode von Chalkedon,” Sitzungsber. der Preuss. Akad. der Wiss., Phil.-hist. Kl., 27 (1930), pp. 612 seq.


154. Mansi, 7, col. 428, ed; E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 3, pp. 88 seq:





the emperor and the senate and enjoys [in the organization of the State] the same rights of honor as the Imperial City, the Old Rome, should also be honored in ecclesiastical affairs and should therefore occupy the second place after the Old Rome.


“Consequently the metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia, and Thrace, and only they, and furthermore the bishops of the above-mentioned dioceses, whose sees are in the lands of the barbarians, shall be consecrated by the above-mentioned most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; while naturally each metropolitan of the above-mentioned dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, consecrates the bishops of the province, as has been laid down in the holy canon. The metropolitans of the above-mentioned dioceses shall however, as stated, be consecrated by the archbishop of Constantinople, after a harmonious election has been arranged according to usage and has been passed on to him.”



It is imperative first to examine the intentions of the Fathers when they enacted this canon. Although the stipulations of the canon concern primarily the organization of the Eastern Church, the Fathers intended to secure this time a solemn confirmation of a situation which had been developing there since 381 ; so it was not surprising that they were anxious to obtain the vote of a truly oecumenical council. As mentioned before, the third canon of the Council of 381 was meant to apply to the dioceses of only the eastern part of the Empire, and was not sent to the West for official approval. If the Fathers hoped that this measure would break the leadership of Alexandria in the East, events destroyed their hopes. Alexandria inflicted the greatest humiliations on Constantinople at the Synod of the Oak, and at the Latrocinium of Ephesus. A canon securing leadership in the East for Constantinople, and voted by the same general council that had sealed the defeat of Alexandria in doctrinal matters, would also definitively break the dangerous influence of Alexandria on the evolution of the Eastern Church.


In order to obtain general approval for such a measure, the Fathers could not afford to alienate the Pope, who had played a prominent role during the final stages of the dogmatic struggles, and whose representatives were still present at Chalcedon.





It would, therefore, be illogical to suppose that the Fathers intended to deny the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, a primacy which had just made itself particularly apparent in the triumph of orthodoxy at Chalcedon.


It should be pointed out also that the Chalcedonian Fathers did not protest the Roman version of canon six of Nicaea. This version vehemently emphasized the primacy of Rome in the Church, and it was read, during the last session, by the legate Paschasinus. [155] The old Latin translation prefaced the wording of the canon as follows: Romana ecclesia semper habuit primatum. Although the Roman version differed from the original, also read during the last session, the Fathers did not question the authenticity of the Roman version and its preface.


Moreover, the fact that the Fathers of the Council, the Patriarch Anatolius, and the Emperor Marcian himself insisted that the Pope should sign the canon, is sufficient indication that the conciliar Fathers saw in its wording no offensive move against Rome. [156]


The most serious offense to the Westerners lay in the Fathers' reasons for having accorded positions of primacy to Rome and Constantinople - namely that both cities were capitals of the Empire, and residences of the emperor. Here again is a clear expression of the principle of adaptation to political organization, and indication of how profoundly it was rooted in the minds of Eastern prelates.



155. Mansi, ibid., col. 444; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 95. On this version, which originated in Rome or, at least, in Italy in the fourth century, see F. B. C. Maassen, Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des canonischen Rechts im Abendlande bis zum Ausgange des Mittelalters, 1 (Graz, 1870), pp. 19 seq. Cf. C. H. Turner, Ecclesiae occid. Monum. I, pp. 103, 121; E. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicaen. Kanon,” op. cit., pp. 627 seq.


156. Cf. T. Harapin, Primatus pontificis Romani in Concilio Chalcedonensi et Ecclesiae dissidentes (Quaracchi, 1923), pp. 113 seq. P. Batiffol, Le siège apostolique, pp. 556 seq.


Consult especially E. Herman, “Chalkedon und die Ausgestaltung des Konstantinopolitanischen Primats,” in A. Grillmeir, H. Bacht, Das Konzil von Chalkedon, 2 (Würzburg, 1953), pp. 459-490 (especially pp. 463-472). This unbiased and well-documented study is one of the best on this subject by a Roman Catholic scholar. Cf. also T. O. Martin, “The Twenty-eighth Canon of Chalcedon,” ibid., pp. 433-458. Cf. also J. Hergenrother, Photius, Patriarch von Constantinopel, 1 (Regensburg, 1867), p. 75. Even M. Jugie (Le schisme byzantin, [Paris, 1941], pp. 11-19), although very critical of the wording of the canon, failed to discover in it an outspoken negation of the primacy.





From their point of view, this was the strongest argument, and they were unable to see in it any affront to the Roman see, particularly as the new canon once again confirmed its position.


Moreover, the wording of the canon does not imply that the Fathers of Nicaea had conferred on the Bishop of Rome rights that he had not previously possessed. It revealed that they merely acknowledged those rights which were Rome's due, and which she already enjoyed. It is in this sense that the Greek words άποδεδώκασι τὰ πρεσβεία should be translated. [157]


As to the nature of those rights, the meaning of canon six of the Nicene Council should be recalled and compared with the rights that canon twenty-eight of Chalcedon guaranteed to the see of Constantinople. There is no allusion in either canon to the primacy which the see of Rome claimed and regarded as of divine origin, reposing on the will of the Founder of the Church, but only a reference to the extension of the jurisdiction of both sees. Rome had won its rights not only because of its position as the see of Peter, but also because it was the capital of the Empire and the most prominent city in Italy.


Another canon voted by the Council illustrates the principle, dominant at the assembly of Chalcedon, of adaptation to political organization. Canon seventeen ruled that, in the event of the founding of new cities, Church organization should adapt itself to the new situation. [158] This canon, together with others, was also approved by the legates and was not disavowed by the Pope, which suggests that neither the legates nor the Pope saw anything unacceptable in it.


Leo must have known that at that time, even in the West, the principle of adaptation to the administrative division of the Empire was generally accepted without apparent opposition. He must have remembered that Valentinian III had also used the principle of adaptation as an argument for Roman primacy in his novel of 445, and that the Empress Placidia had thought highly of it. [159]



157. Cf. E. Herman, op. cit., p. 468.


158. Mansi, 7, col. 365; ed. E. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicaen. Kanon," op. cit., p. 357 :

εἰ δé τις ἐκ βασιλικῆς ἐξουσίας ἐκαινίσθη πόλις εῖ αὖθις καινισθείη, τοῖς πολιτικοῖς καὶ δημοσίοις τύποις καὶ τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν παροικιῶν ἡ τάξις ἀκολουθείτω.


159. See supra, pp. 73-75.





He was, therefore, well aware that, while opposed to the acceptance of this canon, he could not attack it directly nor question the validity of a principle still recognized in both Churches. On the other hand, because he lived at a time when this principle permeated the ecclesiastical life of the whole Empire, he knew that the canon, in itself, did not involve any denial of the primatial rights claimed by his see which he conceived to be supreme. This would explain why he did not attack the principle of adaptation on which the canon was founded, but resorted instead to the rather abstruse argument that it violated the Church order confirmed by the Council of Nicaea.


It is evident that the Nicene Fathers had not intended to determine for all time the precedence of the major episcopal sees. Their only purpose was to regulate the extension of the jurisdiction of the three principal sees. Pope Leo thus interpreted canon six of the Nicene Council in a way which might have appeared strange to contemporary observers. In order better to serve his purpose, the Pope elevated the Council of Nicaea to the highest rank, promoting its sixth canon to a definite regulation of Church affairs, brought about through the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and not susceptible to alteration by anyone. [160]


Another reason for Leo's attitude lay in the fact that, if he approved the canon in question, it would be almost impossible to prevent the principle that inspired it from being applied to the Western Church in Italy, thus jeopardizing the supreme position of Rome. Leo knew what had happened when Milan became the residence of the Western emperor. Italy was divided into two dioceses, and Rome lost direct jurisdiction over Northern Italy, which obtained a metropolitan in the bishop of Milan, the residential city. Pope Damasus had also experienced the difficult situation created for the Bishop of Rome when the see of Milan was in the hands of a strong personality, such as St. Ambrose, who often had his own ideas about the conduct of Church affairs, and was not afraid to act on his own initiative in his relations with the East.


In Leo's time the residential city of the Western Emperor was Ravenna.



160. Leo ad Marcionem, Mansi, 6, Epist. 104, col. 192; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. I, pt. 2, p. 60 (256).





If the principle of accommodation to the division of the Empire, so clearly expressed in canon twenty-eight, were meekly accepted and approved by Leo, what would prevent the Western Emperor's taking similar action with regard to his residence at Ravenna? In order to avert such unpleasant possibilities, it was best for Leo to revert to the Council of Nicaea, and to defend its decision, after proclaiming the sixth canon to be a measure inspired by the Holy Ghost, and therefore unchangeable.


Leo thus showed more adroitness than his predecessor, Innocent I, who in his letter to Alexander of Antioch in 413 [161] directly attacked the principle of accommodation, declaring that “it was not appropriate that the Church of God should be submitted to the changing necessities of the world or should follow the divisions and honors which the emperor might regard as expedient in the interest of his own affairs." Although Innocent I does not specifically say so, it was possible to discern in his declaration an intention to prevent any further growth of Constantinople's prestige in the Church through the application of canon three of the Council of Constantinople.


Leo might have been inspired in his choice of arguments by a letter which one of his predecessors, Boniface I, sent to the bishops of Illyricum on March 11, 422, in which he defended his jurisdiction over this province and opposed the claims of the bishop of Constantinople. Boniface's letter contains the following: [162]


“... if you will examine carefully the sanction of the canons, you will find which Church is the second after that of Rome and which is the third.... Let the great Eastern Churches in question, that of Alexandria and that of Antioch, keep their dignity, determined by the canons respecting the ecclesiastical right."


Here, for the first time, the sixth canon of the Nicaean Council was quoted in defense of the rights of the Roman see.



161. See supra, p. 13.


162. PL, 20, Epist. 15, chap. 5, col. 782:

Quoniam locus exigit, si placet recensere canonum sanctiones, reperietis quae sit post Ecclesiam Romanam secunda sedes, quaeve sit tertia. A quibus ideo ita rerum videtur ordo distinctus, ut se ecclesiasticorum pontifices caeterarum, sub uno tamen eodemque sacerdotio habere cognoscant quibus charitate servata propter ecclesiasticam disciplinan debeant esse subjecti. Et quidem haec sententia canonum a vetustate duravit, ut nunc usque, Christo nostro favente, perdurat. . . . Servant Ecclesiae magnae praedictae per canones dignitates, Alexandrina et Antiochena, habentes ecclesiastici juris notitiam....





Boniface did not explicitly state that the Fathers of Nicaea had permanently established either the order of precedence of the great Churches, or their number. [163] His argument turns, however, against the see of Constantinople, and thus, indirectly, against the third canon of the Council of Constantinople. Leo improved considerably on Boniface's arguments.



The behavior of the Roman legates during the Council of Chalcedon, and especially at the fifteenth and sixteenth sessions, poses an important question: Did the Pope foresee an attempt by the Fathers to bolster the position of the see of Constantinople, and did he give his legates certain instructions to oppose it ?


The attitude of the legates during the first session seems to indicate that there was no objection in Rome, at least in principle, to applying to Constantinople the traditional practice of adaptation to the civil organization of the Empire. When the Acts of the Latrocinium were read, the Fathers were amazed to discover that on this occasion Flavian of Constantinople had been assigned no more than fifth rank among the principal prelates. The legate Paschasinus spoke out with surprising frankness: [164] “Behold we ourselves regard Anatolius to be first, as God also regards him, and these Acts have assigned to the blessed Flavian the fifth place." Diogenes, the Bishop of Cyzicus then declared to the legates: “Yes, because you know the canons," which could only have been a reference to the canons of the Council of Constantinople (381).



163. E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, I, pp. 377 seq., thinks that Boniface took this interpretation of the Nicaean decision from the third chapter of the so-called Decretum Gelasianum which determined the supreme position of Rome in the Church, and described Alexandria and Antioch as inferior in rank to Rome. This chapter is regarded by him as a genuine decree of the Roman Council of 382 (cf. ibid., pp. 247 seq.) and an answer to the third canon of Constantinople. This does not seem to be the case. Boniface’s words are too mildly expressed and differ considerably from the bold assertion of the Decretum. His words sententia canonum [quae'] a vetustate duravit should be related not to the Council of 381, but to that of Nicaea of 325. Chapter three of the Decretum should be dated from the time of the Acacian schism at the end of the fifth or beginning of the sixth century. See supra, p. 56, and infra, pp. 109-122 on Gelasius.


164. Mansi, 6, col. 608B; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. I, pt. 1, p. 78.

ἴδε ἡμεῖς, θεοῦ θέλοντος, κύριον τὸν Ἀνατόλιον πρῶτον ἔχομεν. οὗτοι πέμπτον ἔταξαν τὸν μακάριον Φλαυιανόν. Διογένης ὁ εὐλαβέστατος ἐπίσκοπος ἐκκλησίας Κυζίκου εἶπεν. ἐπειδὴ ὑμεῖς τοὺς κανόνας οἴδατε.





There remains the attitude of Pope Leo himself. When the legates launched a vigorous protest during the sixteenth session, which began November ist, against the so-called twenty-eighth canon, Bishop Eusebius of Dorylaeum declared that he had read canon three of the Council of Constantinople of 381 to Pope Leo in the presence of some clerics of Constantinople, and that the Pope had approved it. This must have occurred about Easter 451, when a delegation sent by Anatolius of Constantinople delivered to the Pope a letter from Anatolius in which he regularized relations between Rome and Constantinople. The members of the delegation would thus have been witnesses of Eusebius' claim. It is certain that Eusebius, after his deposition by the Latrocinium, had taken refuge in Rome and was still there in 451. [165]


During the last days of the Council, when the legates were invited to the fifteenth session, at which the question of the see of Constantinople was to be discussed, they refused to attend, declaring that they had no instructions from the Pope on this matter. [166] This seems to indicate that the Pope had not anticipated the course of events, and had, therefore, failed to inform his legates as to how to proceed with regard to the privileges of the see of Constantinople.


However, in contradiction to this conclusion there is some evidence that during the sixteenth session the legates behaved as if they were in possession of instructions concerning both the canons of Nicaea and the question of the precedence of the main episcopal sees, for when, during the debates provoked by their protest against canon twenty-eight, Archdeacon Aetius invited them to reveal whether or not they had been instructed by the Pope on the subject under discussion, the legate Boniface rose to say: [167]


"The most blessed and apostolic Pope gave us, among others, this mandate,"


whereupon - as it is reported in the Latin Acts - he read from a short document :


"Also do not suffer the constitution of the Holy Fathers to be violated by any temerity, and safeguard in everything the dignity of our person in yourselves whom we have sent in our stead.



165. See supra, p. 73. Cf. E. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicaen. Kanon,” op. cit., p. 624. Mansi, 7, col. 449; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 3, p. 97 (456).


166. Mansi, ibid., col. 428; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 88, idem., t. 2, vol. 3, pt. 3, p. 101.


167. Mansi, ibid., col. 443; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 3, pt. 3, p. 109.





And if by chance any should make so bold as to boast of the splendor of their cities so as to usurp something for themselves, reject it most energetically,"


These words might at first be assumed to refer to canon twenty-eight. E. Schwartz, [168] who must be credited with having solved the difficulties resulting from the differences between the Greek and Latin versions of this passage, believes that the incident mentioned by Eusebius of Dorylaeum discloses the intention of Anatolius and of the imperial court to seize the first opportunity of bolstering the prestige of the see of Constantinople. This may have been the price that the Empress Pulcheria had to pay Anatolius to forsake Dioscorus, and Leo may have acceded to a non-committal agreement to canon three of 381 under the impression that no general council would be convoked. When he learned, however, that the Emperor had convoked a general council, he instructed his legates as set forth above.


Schwartz’s explanation of this incident is, however, not satisfactory. It makes the attitude of the legates during the first session with regard to the position of Constantinople, and their denial during the fifteenth that they had any instructions concerning the subject, seem very strange. Why did they not protest canons nine and seventeen which granted the eastern bishops the right of appeal to the exarch of the diocese or the bishop of Constantinople against the judgment of the metropolitan? This measure, which enhanced the prestige of Constantinople at the expense of the exarchs, was not in accordance with the decisions of Nicaea. If Schwartz’s explanation is accepted, the attitude of Leo, attested by the Bishop of Dorylaeum, warrants rather severe judgment, which should rightfully cause his admirers some embarrassment. [169]


Although the text of the Pope’s instructions to the legates has been lost, except for the passage given above, it is reasonable to assume that it contained nothing that could have been used against canon twenty-eight, for the legates would certainly not have failed to quote it.



168. E. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicaen. Kanon,” op. cit., pp. 624 seq.


169. Leo's attitude greatly puzzled L. N. de Tillemont, (Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique, 15 [Paris, 1711]), pp. 617 seq. Cf. P. Batiffol, op. cit., p. 559.





The wording of this one passage, however, does not necessarily signify that the Bishop of Constantinople was expressly singled out. [170] The impression conveyed rather is that the Pope was anxious to prevent any recurrence of the incidents at the Latrocinium of Ephesus. There, it was not the Bishop of Constantinople, but Dioscorus of Alexandria who, in “boasting of the splendor of his city,” condemning the Bishop of Constantinople, and ignoring the Roman legates, had usurped the leading role for himself. The extent of the Pope's preoccupation with the attitude of Dioscorus can be appreciated from the fact that the Alexandrian was mentioned specifically in another part of the instructions. At the beginning of the first session the legate Paschasinus, on the strength of his instructions from the Pope, declared that if Dioscorus were admitted to the Council the legates would quit it. [171] The tumultuous scenes which followed this declaration indicated that the Pope's preoccupation with Dioscorus and his influence was not altogether unfounded, although he may have overestimated the strength of Dioscorus' position. [172]


Taking all of this into consideration, it would be better to assume that Pope Leo did not give any specific instructions to his legates concerning the precedence of Constantinople in Church organization. But an explanation must be sought for the excited and bewildered attitude of the legates when they learned of the vote at the fifteenth session, and also for the hostile attitude assumed by Leo the Great toward the so-called canon twenty-eight.


The Pope and his legates may have been reconciled, albeit grudgingly, to the idea that the see of Constantinople, because it was the residence of the emperor, should be granted precedence over the two other Eastern sees. To that extent they could pay lip service to the old principle of adaptation to the political organization of the Empire which was still, at that time, generally accepted.



170. Cf. E. Caspar, op. cit., p. 519, footnote 6.


171. Mansi, 6, cols. 580 seq. ; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 65.


172. The discrepancies between the Greek text relating the incident that occurred during the sixteenth session, and the Latin text, which caused so much bewilderment to E. Caspar (op. cit., p. 520), have been ironed out by E. Schwartz ("Der sechste nicaen. Kanon," op. cit., pp. 614-627). The Latin text seems to be genuine, but the Greek text was slightly toned down after 518, and adapted somewhat to suit the policy of reconciliation, followed by Justinian I, between the Western and the Eastern Church.





In that connection canon three of 381 granted to the see of Constantinople only an honorary precedence without granting to its bishops any extension of their jurisdiction. The legates could overlook, too, canons nine and seventeen of Chalcedon, which granted to the bishops of Constantinople a status of concurrent instance in appellations, [173] because it did not substantially alter the position of the bishops of Constantinople.


Canon twenty-eight of Chalcedon, however, promoted the see of Constantinople to a position of great power in the East, giving it jurisdiction over the minor dioceses and over new missionary lands,, and this was much more than a precedence merely of honor. Suddenly there arose before the bewildered eyes of the legates the spectre of an immense new ecclesiastical power in the East, which,, because it had the support of the emperors, could become exceedingly dangerous for the unity of the Church and for the primacy of Rome. It may be that the Westerners had not realized what changes had taken place in the Eastern dioceses since 381,



173. It is difficult to interpret the exact meaning of the two canons — nine and seventeen—giving this privilege to the bishop of Constantinople. Canon nine (Mansi, 7, col. 361) states:

εἰ δὲ πρὸς τὸν τὴς αὐτῆς ἐπαρχίας μητροπολίτην ἐπίσκοπος ἢ κληρικὸς ἀμφισβητοίη, καταλαμβανέτω ἢ τὸν ἔξαρχον τῆς διοικήσεως, ἢ τὸν τῆς βασιλευούσης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως θρόνον, καὶ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ δικαζέσθω.

Canon seventeen repeats this measure in the following words (ibid., col. 365):

εἰ δὲ τις παρὰ τοῦ ἰδίου ἀδικοῖτο μητροπολίτου, παρὰ τῷ ἐπάρχῳ τῆς διοικήσεως, ἢ τῷ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως θρόνῳ δικαζέσθω, καθὰ προείρηται.


This wording can be adduced in favor of the interpretation by K. Müller (Kirchengeschichte, i [3rd ed., Tübingen, 1914], pp. 656-658), who thinks that the exarchs are the bishops of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem who were soon to be called patriarchs. If this interpretation is accepted, then Constantinople became the last court of appeal for the three minor dioceses, which had no proper exarchs. It is true that the bishops of the capitals of these dioceses were also sometimes called exarchs, but they never achieved the same status as those of Alexandria and Antioch. In any case, later practice seems to confirm this interpretation, as is indicated by two of Justinian’s legislative measures which treat the same subject as do canons nine and seventeen. Codex Justianus I, 4,29; Novell. 123, chap. 22, ed. Th. E. Mommsen, P. Krüger (Berlin, 1928, 1929), 2, p. 45, 3, p. 611.


A similar conclusion was reached by L. Duchesne (Histoire ancienne de l'Eglise, 3, p. 462), by C. Turner (Studies in Early Church History, pp. 43 seq.), and by P. Batiffol, op. cit., p. 555. Cf. also R. Vaucourt, “Patriarches,” in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique ii, col. 2262. M. Jugie (Schism byz., p. 20), follows L. Bréhier (Histoire de l'Eglise, ed. A. Fliehe, V. Martin, 5 [Paris, 1947], p. 238) and C. J. Hefele, Konziliengeschichte, 2 (1875), pp. 513 seq.), and thinks that thebishops of Constantinople were given a concurrent jurisdiction over Alexandria and Antioch.





or that, at the time of the Council of Chalcedon, the bishops of Constantinople already enjoyed virtual direct jurisdiction over the metropolitans not only in Thrace, but also in Cappadocia and Pontus. [174] Strictly speaking, this amounted to a direct violation of the canons of Nicaea, and the legates, therefore, considered themselves perfectly entitled to invoke the quoted passage of the instructions given to them in writing by the Pope. This passage may not originally have been intended to be used against the pretensions of the see of Constantinople, for such a turn of events was not expected. The legates' attitude was approved by the Pope who, as previously pointed out, improved considerably on their arguments against canon twenty-eight.



What would certainly have aroused any Westerner against such a measure was the fact that the Fathers, in guaranteeing its ancient privileges to the see of Rome, had completely neglected to stress either the apostolic character of that see or the fact that the Pope was the successor to Peter, the Prince of the Apostles.


As has been shown, in Leo's time the principle of apostolicity was generally accepted in the West as the decisive factor in Church leadership, and, as far as Rome was concerned, this principle was expressed in the primacy of the successor of St. Peter in the Church. But the East was far slower than the West to appreciate this principle, and this would explain why the Fathers did not realize the importance of emphasizing Rome's apostolicity or the Pope's succession from Peter.


It may be that some of them saw what was involved, and tried to give some assurances to Leo in the letter in which the Council announced its decisions to him. They spoke, therefore, in terms of highest praise of Leo the Great's leading role throughout the controversy. [175]



174. L. S. de Tillemont, op. cit., 15, pp. 702-706 quoted the numerous cases of direct intervention by the bishops of Constantinople in the minor Eastern dioceses. St. John Chrysostom acted as if the three dioceses were within his field of jurisdiction. Socrates (Hist. eccles., 5, chap. 8; PG, 67, col. 580) goes so far as to say that the Council of 381 had already put the whole of Thrace under Constantinople's jurisdiction. This was not so, but it can be judged from this statement that when Socrates wrote his history in about 440, Thrace was already regarded as belonging to Constantinople’s jurisdiction. See, for details, S. Vailhé, “Constantinople,” Dict. de théol. cath., 3, cols. 1322 seq. and K. Müller ibid., pp. 627-631.





“Indeed you,” they wrote, “as the head among the members, presided here in the person of your representatives, who led the way by their correct counsel.” Later on they expressed their horror that Dioscorus


“has extended his fury against him who has been entrusted by the Saviour with the guardianship of the vineyard - we mean Your Holiness - and planned your excommunication, after you have been so zealous to keep the body of the Church united. And though he ought to have repented of this, and begged mercy with tears, he rather rejoiced in it as in something noble, despising the letter of Your Holiness, and resisting all true doctrine.”


These were flattering words, acknowledging quite clearly the primacy claimed by Leo. Furthermore, the Fathers showed their willingness to respect also the apostolic character of the see of Rome, the source of the Pope's claims to primacy, when they wrote concerning the approval of canon twenty-eight :


“Moreover we have confirmed the canon of the one hundred and fifty Fathers, who were assembled at Constantinople in the time of Theodosius the Great, of happy memory, which defines that the see of Constantinople shall have privileges so as to rank second after your own most holy and apostolic see, in the assurance that, as with your accustomed interest you have often shone your brilliant apostolic radiance even upon the Church of Constantinople, you will increase it many times, since you share your own privileges ungrudgingly with your brethren.”


The Roman see is called apostolic also in the Emperor Marcian's letter to the Pope in which he requested the Pope to accept canon twenty-eight. [176] Anatolius, too, in his missive to the Pope was most reverent toward the Roman See, and stressed its apostolic character in two passages. When urging the Pope to accept canon twenty-eight he wrote: [177]


“And we have engaged ourselves on this subject, confident that it would be meet for your Holiness to accord this honor to the see of Constantinople, especially as your apostolic see is full of solicitude for it, and lives in concord with that see, and because your see has always abundantly accorded its help in things needed by that see.”



175. Mansi, 6, Epist. 98, cols. 148 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 3, pp. 116 (475) seq.


176. Mansi, ibid., col. 169; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 55 (251).


177. Mansi, ibid., chap. 4, cols. 177 seq.





After recalling the protest of the papal legates and stressing that the canon in question was voted by the Fathers at the suggestion of the Emperor, Anatolius asked the Pope once more for its confirmation: [178]


“Because the see of Constantinople regards your apostolic see as a father, uniting itself in a most excellent way with you, in order that through your solicitude for it, all may learn that [as] you have cared for it before, so you will display now the same solicitude for it.”


It seems, then, that through this emphasis on the apostolicity of the Roman see, the conciliar Fathers and Anatolius hoped to give the Pope some supplementary guarantee, and to appease whatever fears he may have had. All of their efforts, however, could not satisfy the Pope, for these were flattering declarations, without official character. It would have been different perhaps if the Fathers had inserted into the wording of the canon some of the expressions they had used in their missives. A clear confirmation in the canon of the apostolicity of the Roman see, and of the prerogatives which derived from it, might have satisfied Leo, or might at least have made it very difficult for him to withhold his approval.


It is most unfortunate that the Eastern Fathers who had formulated canon twenty-eight showed a lack of comprehension of Rome's anxiety. It is, moreover, surprising, for the dogmatic victory of orthodoxy at the Council was won under the leadership of the great Pope Leo, whose name was most profoundly venerated by all. The East was still greatly influenced by the principle of adaptation to the new political situation, and could not see beyond its immediate horizon. That the Fathers failed to find a point of compromise between the two principles of Church organization is regrettable, for, as has already been shown, it was within their reach. However, their failure marked the beginning of a long struggle over apostolicity, and was the source of new bitterness in relations between East and West.


It is open to speculation whether a more satisfactory wording of the contested canon might have been arrived at if the legates had attended the meeting. In any case, their refusal to be present at the discussion seems to have been a serious tactical mistake, though they tried vainly to correct it during the final session.



178. Idem., chap. 5, col. 180.





So it happened that the Council, which, in doctrinal matters, should have been a great triumph of Roman leadership ended in disagreement between East and West on matters of Church organization.



The Pope apparently studied thoroughly the Acts of the Council brought back by his legates, and, considering his situation carefully, procrastinated for some time before answering the letters of the Emperor and Anatolius. He seems to have interpreted the presence of only 185 prelates at the meeting that had produced the twenty-eighth canon as a sign that the canon was not popular among Eastern prelates. He was certainly encouraged by the fact that the bishops of Illyricum had followed the example of the legates and had abstained from attending the session. [179] Although the signatories of the canon had protested vehemently against the accusation of the legates that they had signed under pressure, [180] the Pope appears to have doubted the sincerity of their protestation.


He overlooked the fact that the signatories included most of the bishops from the three minor dioceses, and that the Bishops of Antioch and Jerusalem had also approved the canon. He may have interpreted the proposal of Thalassius, the Exarch of Pontus, to open negotiations with Anatolius for settling the question of ordinations as an indication of the opposition of the hierarchy of the three dioceses to the stipulations of the canon, an opposition that might reveal itself more emphatically if the canon were rejected by the Roman see.


Leo finally made his decision, and, on May 22, 452, sent letters to the Empress Pulcheria, the Emperor, and Anatolius in which he endorsed the protests of his legates against canon twenty-eight. In Lis letter to the Empress Pulcheria he confirmed the words of his legate Lucentius that the decision of the Council of Constantinople remained without effect: [181]


“It is a sign of pride and immoderation [on the part of Anatolius of Constantinople] to try to go beyond the limits of his power, to want to usurp the rights of others in defiance of old usage, to contest the primacy of so many metropolitans,



179. Idem., chap. 7, cols. 429 seq. ; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pt. 3, pp. 89 (448) seq.


180. Mansi, ibid., col. 441; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 94 (453).


181. Mansi, 6, Epist. 106, cols. 196 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 4. pp. 57 seq.





to introduce war and new disturbances into peaceful provinces which were once organized by the disposition of the holy Synod of Nicaea and, in order that the decrees of the venerable Fathers should be rescinded, to put forward the agreement of some bishops, an agreement which remained ineffective for so many years. The aforesaid Bishop boasts that this agreement, which he thinks favorable to his cause, was passed about sixty years ago. It is vain of him to think that something can be of use to him which, even if someone dared desire it, could not be obtained."


In his letter to the Patriarch, the Pope said: [182]


“It is useless to invoke in favor of your claim, the decision of some bishops which was passed, as you pretend, about sixty years ago. [This decision] was never sent by your predecessors for the confirmation of the apostolic see."


Later on, he defended the right of Alexandria to second place in the Church, because the see was founded by St. Mark, disciple of St. Peter, and alloted third place to Antioch because it was founded by St. Peter, and because there, for the first time, the faithful were called Christians. [183]


The principle that in Church organization the apostolic foundation of the see should be the deciding factor is very clearly defined in these words, but a slight inconsistency in the statement should be pointed out. If the principle of apostolic foundation had been applied correctly, the second place after Rome should have been given to Antioch. This see was a foundation of St. Peter and St. Paul, and it was here that Christianity received its name. However, in this special instance, Alexandria, though founded only by an evangelist, won precedence because of its importance in the political and cultural life of the Empire. This precedence was sanctioned by the synod of Nicaea, and Leo the Great had to accept it, although, in the eyes of the Easterners, it could weaken, his argument favoring the principle of apostolic foundation in Church organization.



182. Mansi, ibid., col. 204; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 61.


183. Mansi, ibid., col. 206; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 61:

Nihil Alexandrinae sedi ejus quam per sanctum Marcum Evangelistam beati Petri discipulum meruit, pereat dignitatis nec Dioscoro impietatis suae pertinacia corruente splendor tantae Ecclesiae tenebris obscuretur alienis. Antiochena quoque Ecclesia, in qua primum praedicante beato apostolo Petro Christianum nomen exortum est, in paternae constitutionis ordine perseveret et in gradu tertio collocata numquam se fiat inferior.





The Pope expressed his opinion more directly in his letter to the Emperor Marcian: [184]


“Let Constantinople have its own glory. It is our wish to let her enjoy, under the protection of the right hand of God, for long years the benefits of your reign. But there is one way for earthly things and another for divine things, and no construction will be stable unless it shall be erected on the rock which the Lord made as a foundation [Matt. 16:18]. The man who covets that which is not due to him will lose even that which is his. The aforesaid [Anatolius] should be satisfied to have obtained, with the help of your clemency and thanks to my willing consent, the episcopacy of such a city. Let him not disdain as unworthy the Imperial City which he cannot make into an apostolic see."


In this way the principle of apostolic foundation was reintroduced into Church organization and became a strong argument, enabling Rome to defend its rights and tending to place Constantinople at a disadvantage.


But there was even more to the Pope's argument. In connecting the sees of Alexandria and Antioch so intimately with St. Peter and Rome, Leo added a new argument to the arsenal with which Rome was defending its primacy-the Petrine tradition. It has been shown how this tradition was known to Innocent I and Boniface, [185] but Leo I was the first to use it directly against Constantinople.


It is agreed that Leo the Great had developed, especially through his sermons, the idea of the Pope as the vicar of Peter, who was himself the vicar of Christ. [186] In his opposition to canon twenty-eight, Leo tried to combine this idea with the principle that only the sees intimately connected with Peter's activity could rightfully follow immediately the see of Rome, which had been consecrated by Peter’s preaching and martyrdom. In his letter to Maximus of Antioch who had been consecrated, against the canonical prescriptions, by Anatolius of Constantinople, the Pope stressed this principle more forcefully than in his letter to Anatolius.



184. Mansi, ibid., col. 192; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 56.


185. See supra pp. 14, 15, 87, 88.


186. This has been thoroughly discussed by E. Caspar (op. cit., 1, pp. 426-431). Sermon 4 (PL, 54, cols. 148 seq.) is the most important in this respect. Cf. also E. Caspar's study "Primatus Petri," in Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung, 47, Kanon. Abt. 16 (1927), pp. 329-331.





He wrote to Maximus: [187]


"And therefore, most cherished brother, in your devotion you should be aware, with all your heart, of that Church government which the Lord wanted you to direct, and you should bear in mind the doctrine which the first of all the apostles, the most blessed Peter, preached, uniformly to all the world, but which he had planted by a special authority in the cities of Antioch and Rome.... You should, therefore, watch with utmost vigilance that heretical depravity may not dare to vindicate anything, as it behooves you to resist such things with sacerdotal authority and to inform us more often, through your accounts, on the progress of the Churches. So it is meet that you should be a consort of the apostolic see in this solicitude, and you may be confident that we acknowledge the privileges of the third see, which cannot be diminished in anything by anyone's ambition. Because I have such a great reverence for the canons of Nicaea, I would neither allow nor suffer that the constitutions of the holy Fathers be violated by any innovation.... Therefore, if your love causes you to think that something should be done for [the preservation of] the privileges of the Antiochene Church, try to explain it in suitable letters that we may decisively and appropriately answer your consultations."


When, at last, Proterius the new Bishop of Alexandria, who replaced Dioscorus, gave satisfactory evidence of his orthodoxy, Leo sent him, in March 454, a letter echoing the same idea of the three Petrine sees. [188]


"It was proper," he says, "that such writing should be sent from the Bishop of Alexandria to the apostolic see, showing that the Egyptians had learned, from the beginning, through the teaching of the most blessed Peter the Apostle and through blessed Mark, his disciple, the same truths which, as is known, the Romans believed.... Thus, in all things—in the rule of Faith and in the observance of discipline—the old idea must be preserved. May thy love show the firmness of a wise rector in order that the Church of Alexandria may profit from what I have defended on my own against the improper ambition of certain persons ;



187. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 119, chaps. 2, 3, cols. 239 seq. ; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 73.


188. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 129, chaps. 1, 3, cols. 271 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 84 seq.





that is, that the right of ancient privileges should be preserved and that all metropolitans should keep their dignity undiminished.’’



The Pope’s stubborn refusal to approve canon twenty-eight is reflected, less openly, in his letters of June 21, 453, to the Emperor, to Pulcheria, and to the Fathers of Chalcedon, [189] but apparently earned some support from them. Anatolius, who, the Pope complained bitterly in a letter to Julian of Kios, [190] his representative in the East, was attempting to persuade the bishops of Illyricum to sign the controversial canon, was at last invited by the Emperor to make peace with Leo, and to abandon his policy of compromising with several heretical elements. He did so in a letter to the Pope in April 454, which is preserved only in a Latin translation. Therein he calmed the Pope’s apprehensions concerning his religious policy and, after giving the Pope assurances as to his beliefs, defended himself against the papal accusations of attempting to elevate his see because of ambitious pride. He said it was the clergy of Constantinople and of the minor dioceses who had taken this step, and, in any case, he declared, the confirmation of the canon could be given only by the Pope. [191]


Anatolius’ letter promised nothing, but it was so worded that the Pope could read into it the inference that Anatolius was abandoning his fight for the acceptance of the contested canon. The Pope placed a similar interpretation on the Emperor's letter of February 15, 453, requesting an authoritative confirmation of dogmatic decisions made at Chalcedon, of which Anatolius was in urgent need,



189. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 114-117, cols. 225-236; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 67-71. Cf. also Mansi, ibid., Epist. 128, cols. 269 seq. (March 9, 454); ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 86.


190. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 117, chap. 5, col. 236; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 70.


191. Mansi, ibid., Epist., 132, cols. 278 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 168 seq:

De his autem quae Constantinopolitanae gratia sedis sancita sunt in Chalchidonesi nuper universali synodo, pro certo beatitudo vestra hoc habeat nullam esse culpam in me, homine qui semper otium et quietem in humilitate me continens ab ineunte mea aetate dilexerim, sed Constantinopolitanae ecclesiae reverendissimus clerus est qui hoc habuit studium, et istarum partium religiosissimi sacerdotes, qui in hoc fuere concordes et sibi pariter adiutores, cum et sic gestorum vis omnis et confirmatio auctoritati vestrae beatitudinis fuerit reservata. Hoc igitur bene compertum sanctitas vestra cognoscat nihil ex me istius causa factum esse negotii, qui semper omnem iactantiae levitatem et aliena adpetendi cupiditatem mihi vitandam crediderim.





for the partisans of Dioscorus were interpreting the Pope's attitude toward canon twenty-eight as hostile to all Chalcedonian decisions. To obtain the confirmation the Emperor added, at the end of his letter, the following: [192]


"Of course in this Your Holiness has acted with the great wisdom befitting the Bishop of the apostolic see, that is, in guarding the ecclesiastical canons you have not suffered any innovations in the old rules and customs, which have been observed to this day inviolate."


The Pope could have interpreted these words also as implying that the Emperor had in mind the canons of Nicaea, although Marcian cleverly omitted mentioning them. Marcian could as well have had in mind canon three of 381 which was confirmed at Chalcedon as a "norm of old," already in general practice in the Eastern Church.


However, the outbreak of new troubles in Palestine and the continued heretical opposition against Chalcedonian decisions, [193] concerning all of which Julian of Kios kept Leo informed, forced the Pope to display a less uncompromising attitude. Although he did not completely abandon his former opposition to the acceptance of canon twenty-eight, his answer to the Emperor's letter [194] reflected his new attitude of mind, and provoked in Anatolius the reaction noted above.


Leo's missive to Anatolius, [195] in answer to his conciliatory letter was intended to end the controversy over the contested canon. The Pope interpreted Anatolius' words as a capitulation, but was anxious to couch his answer in terms that would not offend the Bishop of the Imperial City. He took care to avoid all mention of canon twenty-eight, and contented himself with only a slight allusion to its contents. The Pope also confessed that he had felt the absence of the Bishop of Constantinople as a consort in his solicitude for the Church, and explained that he was obliged to admonish Anatolius because, as the latter had himself confessed, "things were attempted, in transgression of canons which highly scandalized the Churches."



192. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 110, col. 216; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 61 (257). This letter reached Rome in June 453 after the despatch of Leo’s letters 114-117, mentioned above.


193. Cf. E. Caspar, Geschichte, 1, pp. 532 seq.


194. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 128, col. 269; ed. E. Schwartz, t. 2, vol. 4, p. 86.


195. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 135, cols. 290 seq.; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., pp. 88 seq.





Then, at the end of the letter, taking Anatolius at his word, the Pope, assuming that his correspondent had repented, said:


“This transgression which ... you have committed on the exhortation of others, your love would have suppressed more effectively and sincerely, if you had not performed, on the bad advice of the clerics, something which could not have been attempted without your willingness.... But, most beloved brother, I welcome the fact that your love professes to dislike now that which you should have disliked at that time.... Let the desire to have a privilege which had not been granted and which had created a dissension be completely rejected. Let the boundaries suffice which the most provident decrees of the Holy Fathers have set...."


The controversy thus ended with a compromise intended to save face on both sides. The Pope saw clearly that, under the prevailing circumstances, he could not obtain more from the Emperor and the Bishop of the residential city. He pretended to have won the case, and his opponents contented themselves with the right of the beati possidentes, continuing to apply in practice the stipulations of canon twenty-eight, without insisting on its official promulgation and approbation. So it happened that the contested canon was not listed in the first collections of canon law in the Byzantine Church. It appeared only at the end of the sixth century, in the Syntagma of Fourteen Titles. [196]


Finally, when this compromise, whose true significance was not fully realized by either party, is considered, it becomes questionable whether it might not have been better for the Pope to accept the advice of his representative, Julian of Kios, and to approve the decision of Chalcedon regarding the see of Constantinople. [197]



196. V. N. Beneševič, Kanoničeskij sbornik XIV titulov so vtoroj četverti VII veka do 887 g. (St. Petersburg, 1903), p. 155. It was also approved by the Council in Trullo (692), Mansi, II, col. 960 (canon thirty-six).


197. It results from the Pope’s letter to Julian. Mansi, ibid., Epist. 107, col. 207; ed. E. Schwartz, ibid., p. 62. On Julian, see the monograph by A. Wille, Bishof Julian von Kios des Nunzius Leos des Grossen in Konstantinopel, Dissertation (Würzburg, 1909). The author seems to have solved the problem of the episcopal see of Julian. It was not the island of Kos in the Aegean Sea, but the city of Kios in Bithynia. Cf. also E. Caspar, op. cit., p. 614. On Julian’s intervention in favor of canon twenty-eight, see Wille, ibid., pp. 87-92.





It could have been done in a document that stressed the apostolic character of the Roman see and its primacy because of its having been founded by the Prince of the Apostles and the will of the Lord.


Leo's fears are easily comprehensible. Rome had lost its great prerogative as the center of the Empire and the residential city, and retained only its apostolic character and its successorship to St. Peter as justifications for its claims to primacy in the Church. Leo the Great correctly foresaw that the new status of the see of Constantinople would endanger the rightful claims of Rome. The victory that the see of Constantinople, with the help of Rome, had won over Alexandria was too crushing. The time might come when Rome would need the help of the oriental patriarchs against the dangerous rivalry of Constantinople. Leo saw this, and hoped that his defense of the prominence of Alexandria and Antioch in Church organization would assure him the eventual support of the two oriental sees should the necessity for curbing the pretensions of Constantinople arise.


Unfortunately the prestige of the residential city was too great throughout the East, where the principle of adaptation to civil administration was still recognized. It was, moreover, difficult to arrest this evolution in Church organization which was developing beyond the sixth canon of Nicaea. This was conspicuously apparent at the Council of Chalcedon where a new status was granted not only to Constantinople, but also to Jerusalem, a development which the Pope preferred to overlook. Maximus, Bishop of Antioch, whose rights the Pope rose to defend, concluded an agreement with Juvenal of Jerusalem which was contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the Nicene canons; he ceded to Juvenal the three Palestinian provinces. This arrangement, made during the eighth session, [198] was reached avowedly by mutual consent, and was said to have rendered all previous decisions in this matter null and void. The papal legates sanctioned the agreement in the name of the Pope, thereby considerably weakening the Pope's defense of the Nicene canons.



198. Mansi, 7, cols. 180 seq. (Sessio VII); ed. E. Schwartz t. 2, vol. 1, pt. 3, pp. 5-7 (364-366). Cf. E. Honigmann, “Juvenal of Jerusalem," Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 5 (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), pp. 245 seq. This is the most recent and best study on Juvenal (ibid., pp. 209-278).





In this way the see of Jerusalem was promoted to supra metropolitan status, and its bishop became an exarch, a title soon replaced by that of patriarch. [199] The Council of Chalcedon thus established, de facto, a division of the Church into five patriarchates, which was certainly a deviation from the Church division claimed by Leo to have been definitely established at Nicaea. It was a development, however, against which it was useless to struggle.


Another incident illustrated the tendency toward evolution in the East. In the Spring of 457, after the death of Marcian and the elevation of Leo I to the imperial throne, the opponents of the Chalcedonian Creed succeeded in electing their own Bishop— Timothy Aelurus—and in forcing the military commander of Alexandria to permit him to function side by side with the orthodox Bishop, Proterius. Soon afterward, a fanatical mob invaded the Church in which Proterius was celebrating the liturgy, set upon him, killed him, and burned his mutilated corpse. Egypt was thus again in the hands of the heretics. [200]


It might have been expected that the orthodox Egyptian Bishops would have appealed to the Pope, who had manifested such zeal in the defense of Alexandria's rights in Church organization. However, this did not happen. There is no evidence of an appeal to Rome, but fourteen Egyptian bishops appeared in Constantinople, and, together with some priests from the capital, presented their protests to the Emperor and to Anatolius. [201] The Pope heard of what had happened in Alexandria only from Anatolius himself. Meanwhile, Timothy also sent his own delegation to Constantinople in order to defend his case there.


There was a possibility that the Egyptians in defense of the rights of their supra-metropolitan, might attack canon twenty-eight if a new council were convoked. The opponents of Chalcedon clamored for it, but both the Pope and Anatolius saw the danger of such an attack. The Pope feared a reversal in doctrinal definition, and Anatolius, realizing that Timothy Aelurus, would defend the rights of Alexandria against the encroachment of Constantinople, sided with the Pope.



199. See E. Honigmann, ibid., pp. 271-275, where the most complete bibliography on the introduction of the patriarchal titles will be found.


200. E. Caspar, op. cit., 1, p. 548. For more details see Th. Schnitzler, “Im Kampfe um Chalkedon," Analecta Gregoriana, 16, sec. B, no. 7 (Rome, 1938), pp. 5-16.


201. Mansi, ibid., cols. 524, 531.





Thus a peculiar situation was created. The Pope could not cooperate with the heretics, who were ready to help him in abolishing the stipulations of canon twenty-eight, but had to welcome an alliance with Anatolius against the convocation of a new council. In view of all this, it is particularly unfortunate that no appropriate compromise was found by the Chalcedonian Fathers, Anatolius, and the Pope concerning the relative positions of Constantinople and Rome in Church organization.


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