Byzantium and the Roman primacy

Francis Dvornik





1. The Principle of Accommodation  27

2. The Principle of Apostolicity  40

3. The Schism of Acacius  59

4. Justinian and Rome  71

5. The Primacy in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries  85

6. Photius and the Primacy  101

7. The Crisis of the Eleventh Century  124

8. The Catastrophe of 1204  154






In the eyes of Orthodox Christians the problem of the Roman Primacy seems today to have become more difficult than ever to resolve because they often identify that Primacy with the administrative centralization which has developed in the West in the course of the latter centuries. In this they are forgetting that, among other causes, the fact that important groups of Christians have separated themselves from the center of unity has rendered this centralization possible and, to a degree, even necessary.


What is more, in the course of the period during which the Greeks and Latins devoted themselves to bitter and unceasing controversy, certain theories were developed which only served to obscure the essentials of the problem and rendered its solution more difficult. Was the Pope ever considered in the East as occupying a position in the Church more elevated than that of other patriarchs or bishops? Should not the foundation of Constantinople—the New Rome—be explained as a transfer of the Primacy of the Church of Rome to Constantinople? Did not the assumption of the title ecumenical Patriarch, which was taken by the bishops of the new capital of the Empire, confirm this interpretation?





Did not the Byzantines, to better support their claims, invent the legend of the apostolic origin of the see of Byzantium as founded by St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter? And, since Andrew was one of the first among the apostles, since he followed the Lord before Peter did, should not he and his successors be considered as superior to Peter and his successors at Rome?


Neither side—those who supported these ideas and those who opposed them—could win this debate. The suspicion and even mutual hostility that was caused by political divisions and by a different evolution in the administration of the Church in the West, particularly from the eleventh century on, seemed to have poisoned these discussions and made it very difficult for theologians and faithful on either side to consider this problem without bitterness.


Hence, no good purpose will be served by resurrecting arguments, for and against, which we find in the controversial writings of the past. Let us rather try another method, too often forgotten—the historical method. This will allow us to examine, in the light of the documents that have been preserved, what precisely was the position of Byzantium with regard to the Primacy of Rome, and that, from the very foundation of the Byzantine Empire up until the time of the separation of the Churches. Perhaps it will also make it possible for us to discover traces of the primitive tradition in the very period that was vitiated by mistrust and mutual hostility and, at the same time, it may open to us a way which can produce some positive results.


As far as the Petrine tradition is concerned, it is important to stress the fact that the Church in the East had never denied the fact that Peter had lived in Rome, that he died there as a martyr and that it was there that his body rests. It is clear that the primary proof of this fact, a proof which could not be contested nor otherwise explained although there are other less explicit proofs, comes to us from the East: it is a letter of Denis, the Bishop of Corinth, sent to Rome around the year 180. [1]





The equally valuable testimony of St. Irenaeus is also that of an Oriental. [2]


To be sure, this is only an “argument from silence.” Yet, it is important and it is corroborated by the fact that not one of numerous cities of the East visited by St. Peter, according to the Acts of the Apostles (either original or apocryphal), ever dared to pretend that the Prince of the Apostles had ended his life within its walls or that they possessed his relics. This honor was incontestably reserved for the city of Rome, and this explains why the Churches of the East have never disputed Rome’s prestige which came to it from the fact that the Prince of the Apostles had lived and died and was buried there.


But, until the fourth century, the Bishops of Rome never had any need to stress this fact. They had, as a matter of fact, another title which assured them the first place in the hierarchy; their see was, at the same time, the residence of the Emperor and the capital of the Roman Empire—a reason which was then respected throughout all of Christendom. For the Church from the very first days of its existence had conformed itself, for the organization of its ecclesiastical administration, to the political divisions of the Roman Empire. [3]


This important fact has too often been neglected by Church historians who are inclined to see in it rather an anomaly and a deterioration of the apostolic tradition in the Church. In reality this principle of accommodation to the political division of the Empire had been introduced by the Apostles themselves, and there were practical reasons why they did so. Necessarily, the Apostles began their preaching in the great cities of the Empire where important Jewish communities were found. Even when they addressed themselves to Christian communities, which they themselves had founded, they had to adapt themselves to the existing political organization. Thus, Peter wrote to the communities of the provinces of Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Paul, addressing his letters to the Christian centers, sent them to the capitals of the Roman provinces; to Rome—capital of the province of Italy;





to Ephesus—capital of the province of Asia; to Corinth —capital of Achaea; to Thessalonica—capital of Macedonia. In the second epistle to the Corinthians (1.1), he clearly indicates that his letters should be sent by the bishops resident in the capitals to the communities of the other cities of the province.


Thus, a letter communicating the decisions of the first Council (Acts 15.22-23), intended for Syria and Cilicia, was sent to Antioch, the capital of Syria. Cilicia was then an independent administrative unit. We know also that St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in his letter to the Romans (2.2), wrote that he was the bishop of the whole province of Syria, of which the capital was Antioch.


Naturally, this does not mean that the Apostles conferred upon the bishops residing in the capitals of the provinces any special rank superior to that of the other bishops of the same provinces. But since all of the economic, social and political life of the provinces of the Roman Empire were centralized in the capitals, it was altogether natural that the bishops of these cities should, little by little, come to be considered as the most important in the hierarchy of the province.


This fact became particularly clear when it was necessary for all the bishops of one province to gather themselves together for discussion of questions that concerned their churches. Naturally, they came together in the capital of the province and it was the bishop of the chief city who took the lead in these meetings and directed the debates. After this fashion regional councils were organized. The letters of St. Cyprian, who describes the African councils which took place in the city of his see, at Carthage, the capital of Africa, show us that this accommodation to the political administration went still further. His descriptions make it clear, in fact, that the bishops in their deliberations followed the protocol which guided the sessions of the Roman Senate and which was followed also by the provincial magistrates in the reunions of their diets. [4]





One further important remark: not all of the bishoprics located in the provincial capitals were of apostolic origin; Ephesus for example, was the capital of the province of Asia, Corinth the capital of Achaea and Thessalonica the capital of Macedonia. This shows us that it was not apostolic origin which was the determining factor in the organization of the primitive Church. It was rather the principle of accommodation to the political organization of the Empire that was paramount. This we see in the title that was borne by the bishop of these capital cities. They were called “metropolitans” because they traditionally resided in the “metropolises,” that is, the capitals of the provinces, and thus it became quite natural for the bishops of the capitals to assume the right of surveillance over the other bishops of their political districts, in accordance with the practice of the magistrates of the capital, whose jurisdiction extended throughout the whole of the province.


* * *


This form of ecclesiastical administration had been formally sanctioned by the first ecumenical council, that of Nicaea (325). In Canon IV, it was decreed by the Fathers of the Council: [5]


Each new bishop should be installed by the group of bishops resident in the province. If it is not possible for the bishops to come together because of pressing difficulties or because of the distances involved, then at least three bishops [of the province] shall come together and, after having obtained the written agreement of the other bishops, they shall proceed to the consecration. It belongs to the metropolitan of each province to confirm what has been done.



This canon definitively established the principle according to which the ecclesiastical organization should model itself upon the political organization of the Empire. This accommodation was, besides, already an accomplished fact at the time when the Council of Nicaea met. To convince ourselves of this we





need but consider the order followed by the Bishops when they signed the decrees of the Council and we see that it corresponded to the political division of the Eastern portion of the Empire. [6]


This principle was never contested. On the contrary, other official decrees confirmed it in even clearer fashion. The Synod of Antioch, held in 341, decreed in Canon IX: [7]


This bishops of each province should remember that the bishop resident in the capital (metropolis) should occupy himself with all of the province and should exercise surveillance over the whole. Any person with matters to be taken care of, from anywhere in the province must go to the capital. For this reason, it is decreed that the bishop [of the capital] should have precedence over all the other bishops and they shall not undertake any serious matter without consulting him. This is in accord with the ancient canons of our Fathers.



This canon also recalls the reason which made the position of the metropolitans so important: because since all the political, economical and social life was concentrated in the capital, all those who had business to conduct were obliged to go there.


The decrees promulgated by two Popes show that the principle was also accepted in Rome and in the western part of the Empire. Pope Boniface (418-422), [8] referring to Canon IV of the Council of Nicaea, decreed that each province should have its metropolitan, and he forbade metropolitans to exercise their authority over provinces other than their own. A similar declaration was made by Pope Innocent I (402-417). [9]


* * *


Further, we should note that the Council of Nicaea sanctioned a suprametropolitan organization which had already developed in the Church. From this point of view Canon VI is of great importance. There we read the following declaration: [10]





In Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis, the ancient custom should be observed, that is, that the Bishop of Alexandria will have power over all this territory, as is the case for the Bishop of Rome who possesses the same power. In similar fashion the respective rights of the Church of Antioch and the churches of the other provinces are to be preserved.



It is clear from this canon that the Fathers of Nicaea had in mind still another accommodation to the structure of the Empire, namely, that of dioceses. A diocese comprised several provinces and was administered by a functionary who had the title of Exarch. Canon VI mentions especially the dioceses of Italy, Egypt, and the East, with their capitals, Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. These three dioceses were the most important administrative units of the Empire. In mentioning especially Egypt, they intended to confirm the fact that Alexandria possessed the same rights as Rome, notably for the direct ordination of all the bishops of the diocese without consideration of the rights of metropolitans. For Rome the situation was clear. In the diocese of Italy, the Bishop of Rome exercised, in fact, a direct jurisdiction over all the bishops, without being obliged to pass through the metropolitans. It was natural that it be so in view of the intimate relation which existed between Rome and the cities of the diocese. These cities were only considered as municipia, whereas Rome, the capital, was the City. The tenor of the canon also shows that they held these rights of the bishop of Rome to be quite obvious and that there was no need to give them any special confirmation.


The case of Egypt seems to have been somewhat different. Thanks to the immense prestige which Alexandria had acquired over the other cities of Egypt during the Ptolemaic period—a prestige which had increased under the Roman domination—it was quite normal for the bishop of that city to claim a dominant position in the religious life of the country. It was under the direction of the bishops of Alexandria that Christianity had spread in Egypt and so, quite naturally,





the Christians of this region considered them as their supreme pastors. On the other hand, it is not sure that at the time of the Council of Nicaea there were any metropolitans at the head of the provinces that comprised the region. [11]


At this time, the rights of Alexandria which had been traditionally recognized, seem to have been contested by two incidents. First, Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, in ordaining the bishops in the districts which were found under the immediate jurisdiction of Alexandria, had provoked a local schism in the country. Besides, the Emperor Diocletian, in reorganizing the empire in 297, had deprived Egypt of the particular position which had been given it by Augustus, and he incorporated it into the dioceses of the East, of which the capital was Antioch. [12]


However, the Fathers of the Council, taking into consideration the fact that the position of Alexandria in Egypt was so strong that it could not be contested either by the local bishops or by Antioch, were led to confirm this position by a special canon. The events which followed only proved that they were right in doing so. The integration of Egypt into the diocese of the East proved in fact to be impracticable and, between 380 and 382, Egypt became once again an independent diocese.


On the other hand, Antioch could not pretend to exercise a direct jurisdiction over the whole of the diocese of the East. It seems that its bishops had acquired the right of jurisdiction over certain provinces other than the province of Syria itself. A letter of Pope Innocent I (402-417) [13] addressed to Alexander of Antioch seems to indicate this. The Bishop of Antioch requested the confirmation of his rights which, it seems, were contested by the metropolitans of the provinces in question and the Fathers granted him satisfaction. The tenor of the canon indicates clearly, however, that these rights were more limited than those of Rome and Alexandria. For the other dioceses of the civil administration we do not possess information that is sufficiently precise.





It also seems that Canon VI in its primitive form did not have in view these dioceses but rather the metropolitans of the eparchies, or provinces. [14] If this interpretation is correct, the Fathers were prepared to confirm exclusively the rights of Rome and Alexandria and partially those of Antioch but they did not seem inclined to favor the extension of this practice to other dioceses lest they seem to deny the rights of metropolitans guaranteed by Canon IV.


Despite this precaution, the ecclesiastical organization adapted itself more and more to the division of the Empire into dioceses and the canon mentioned seems to have speeded this evolution. Canon VI, voted by the Second ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381, seems to confirm this impression. It reads as follows: [15]


According to the canons the Bishop of Alexandria must limit himself to the administration of Egypt and the bishops of the East should only rule over the East—provided that the rights of the Church of Antioch, as noted in the Canons of Nicaea, are respected —and the bishops of the dioceses of Asia, Pontus and of Thrace should respectively, restrict themselves to the administration of their dioceses.



This canon, which makes clear what the Fathers of Nicaea had in mind in the canons they approved, shows also clearly that the Fathers of Constantinople were determined that the organization of the Church should adapt itself to the political division of the Empire. Canon VI of the same council which ruled on the right of appeal of a bishop condemned by a Synod of his province, confirms this impression, since it permitted him an appeal to a larger Synod, composed of the bishops of the diocese of the civil administration of which the province formed a part.


Because of a lack of documentary information it is unfortunately not possible to follow in more detailed fashion the development of the ecclesiastical organization of the East. Nevertheless, it is altogether evident that the Councils of





Nicaea and Constantinople provided a canonical base for the development of a suprametropolitan organization coincident with the division of the Empire into dioceses, an organization which found its culmination in the erection of patriarchates. The Exarchs of the dioceses—this title is often given to the bishops of the diocesan capitals—became Patriarchs. The result would have been that Ephesus, Caesarea in Cappadocia and Heracleia would have become the see of a patriarch since these cities were capitals of the diocese of Asia, Pontus and Thrace; Constantinople, however, brought this evolution to an end by assuming supreme jurisdiction over all three dioceses.


In the East, this organizational structure was accepted without any difficulty. St. Jerome, in a letter written in 396 or 397, [16] violently reproached the Bishop of Jerusalem for having addressed himself to the Bishop of Alexandria on a matter concerning his diocese instead of directing this appeal to the Bishop of Antioch. This shows very well that the metropolitan and suprametropolitan organization was generally accepted in the East.


* * *


We have seen that the principle of accommodation to the political division of the Empire was also accepted in Rome. And there is something more. When the civil diocese of Italy was divided in two as a result of the organization ordained by Diocletian, Milan became the capital of the diocese of Italia annonaria which comprised all of the north of Italy and the Bishop of Milan then assumed direct jurisdiction over all the provinces of the new diocese. The direct jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome was limited to the provinces known as suburbicarian. [17] Rome seems to have accepted this situation without protest because it agreed with the principle of accommodation to the division of the Empire. At the same time the changes which took place in the political status of Illyricum caused the erection of a Roman vicariate in Thessalonica.





When the dioceses of Macedonia and Dacia, which formed part of IIlyricum and which had been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, were detached by the Eastern Empire, the Popes, in order to preserve their rights over this region, promoted the metropolitan of Thessalonica—the seat of the Prefect of Illyricum—to the dignity of vicar. [18]


In the other parts of the West the ecclesiastical organization was likewise conformed to the political division of the Empire. We can follow this process principally in Africa. St. Cyprian, with his genius for organization, assured to the capital of Africa and to his residence, Carthage, a predominant place over all the episcopal sees of the African provinces. The provincial assemblies presided over by the eldest bishop were supervised by the Synods of all Africa which met at Carthage since they had been convoked by “The bishop of the first see.” [19]


It is somewhat more difficult to follow this process in Spain. The establishment of metropolitans in the provinces of this country was fixed definitively during the fourth century. The metropolitan of Tarragona, the capital of the largest province of Spain, was at the head of four other metropolises. We know that the principle of accommodation was applied to Spain by the Visigothic king, Reccared (581-601), who, followed by his people, abandoned Arianism and having unified the Church in Spain, placed at its head the metropolitan of his residence, Toledo. [20]


In Gaul the claims of the city of Arles rested upon a political foundation. The bishop of this city began to make his jurisdiction felt over the bishops of the province of Vienne when, in 392, the prefect of the diocese of Gallia took up residence in the city of Arles. The council of Turin, which was very important in the religious history of Gaul, defended the rights of Vienne, when declaring itself in favor of the principle of accommodation to the political organization of Gaul. Arles, however, still continued to maintain its claim which was also based on the same principle. [21]







1. Cf. Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, II, Ch. 25, PG 20, 209.


2. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 3, 2, For other testimony, see Glez, “Primauté du pape,” DTC, vol. 13, 262ff.


3. For a more detailed study of this question see the first chapter, (“The Guiding Principle in the Evolution of Church Organization,”) of my book The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew (Cambridge, Mass., 1958), 3-39, and Bibliography.


4. See my study “Emperors, Popes and General Councils, “Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 6 (1951) 1-23, with the documentation there provided. Also, my book The Ecumenical Councils (New York, 1961) 7-11.


5. Mansi, Conciliorum . . . Collectio, 2, 669.


6. This parallel has been established by K. Lubeck in his Reichseinteilung und kirchliche Hierarchie des Orients bis zum Ausgange des vierten Jahrhunderts (Muenster, 1901), 73-98.


7. Mansi, 2, 1312. Some of the other canons of the same synod were similarly inspired.


8. Mansi, 4, 396; PL 20, 773.


9. PL 20, 548.


10. Mansi, 2, 669. On the relations between the local churches and the patriarchates during the time of the first to the seventh council, see the study of D. E. Lanne, “Églises locales et patriarcats à l’époque des grands conciles,” in Irenikon, 34 (1961), 292-321.


11. This question is once again a subject of discussion among specialists. For details, see my The Idea of Apostolicity, 10.


12. On the administrative reforms of Diocletian, see W. Seston, Dioclétien et la tétrarchie (Paris, 1946), 294-351.


13. PL 20, 548. From this letter one might conclude that, at the beginning of the fifth century, the bishop of Antioch was superior, not only to the metropolitans of the diocese of the Orient but also over the bishops of the neighboring province of Syria.


14. The oldest Latin translation of the canons of Nicaea speaks of metropolitans in other provinces: “. . . et in ceteris provinciis primatum habeant ecclesiae civitatum ampliorum.”





See, C. H. Turner, Ecclesiae occidentalis Monumenta iuris antiquissima (Oxford, 1899), I, 121. For details, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 15ff.


15. Mansi, 3, 560.


16. PL, 23, 407A.


17. Cf. F. Lanzoni, “Le diocesi d’ltalia dalle origini al principio del secolo VII,” Studi e testi, 35 (1927) 1016ff.; P. Batiffol, Cathedra Petri (Paris, 1938), 43.


18. See the recent bibliography on the problem of papal jurisdiction in Illyricum, in my book The Idea of Apostolicity, 25-30. Also, on Illyricum, see my Les légendes de Constantin et de Methode vues de Byzance (Prague, 1933), 248-83.


19. H. Leclercq, L'Afrique chrétienne (Paris, 1904) and R. Höslinger, Die alte africanische Kirche (Vienna, 1935).


20. H. Leclercq, L'Espagne chrétienne (Paris, 1906); E. Magnin, L'Église voisigothique au VIIe siècle (Paris, 1912).


21. For more details, see L. Duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, 2nd edit. (Paris, 1907-15), I, 86-146 and H. Leclercq, “Gallicane (Église)” in DACL, vol. 6, 395-403.









It is necessary to point out that in Africa, Gaul, and Spain, Rome gained a very considerable prestige from the earliest days of the Christianization of these provinces. To be sure, the reason for this was first, that the first missionaries to these countries were, for the most part, priests sent by Rome. Quite naturally, this prestige was enhanced by the fact that Rome was then the imperial residence and the capital of the Empire. Nor must we forget that the young churches of these countries had also a great veneration for St. Peter, the founder of the episcopal see of Rome, and for the bishops of Rome who were his successors.


It is quite possible that the bishops of Rome up until the fourth century drew sufficient authority and prestige from the fact that their residence was in the capital of the Empire. Thus it was unnecessary to invoke, in each case, the Petrine origin of their see. The idea that the Apostles were, above all others, the teachers and masters sent by the Lord to preach the Gospel throughout the world was equally well rooted in Rome as it was universally accepted in the East.





It is for this reason that the first Christians were not accustomed to designate an Apostle as the first bishop of the see where he had implanted the faith. The one who was considered the first bishop was the one who had been ordained by an Apostle.


This custom was equally the practice in Rome. This becomes clear from the first list of the Roman Bishops which was composed by Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who died as a martyr in 202. Irenaeus attributed the foundation of the Church of Rome not only to Peter but also to Paul and he wrote: [1]


After having founded and established the Church, the holy Aposdes confided to Linus the charge of the episcopate ... his successor was Anacletus and after him, in the third place from the time of the Apostles, the episcopate was entrusted to Clement, who had seen the Apostles. Clement’s successor was Evaristus and Evaristus was followed by Alexander. Then as the sixth bishop after the time of the Apostles there was Sixtus and after him, Telesphorus, famous for his martyrdom. In turn there was Hyginus, Pius and Anicetus. Soter succeeded Anicetus and was followed by Eleutherius who, at the present time, occupies the episcopal see as the twelfth bishop since the time of the Apostles.


According to this list it is clear that the Bishop of Lyons did not count Peter among the number of the bishops of Rome. It is possible that Irenaeus had used as his source the list of Hegesippus which was older; all the same, it is possible that Hippolytus of Rome made use of the list of Irenaeus. In this regard, the fashion in which Eusebius, in his Historia ecclesiastica, treats the question of the apostolic succession in the cities whose sees had been founded by the Apostles is particularly instructive. He attributes the foundation of the bishopric of Rome to St. Peter and to St. Paul, of Alexandria to St. Mark, and of Antioch to St. Peter, but he does not put the Apostles at the head of the list of bishops of these cities. [2] For him the first bishop of Rome was Linus, the first of Alexandria Annianus and the first bishop of Antioch was Evodius.





* * *


The Petrine origin of the see of Rome, however, was not forgotten. Tertullian [3] is the first to make use of Matt., 16.18-19 to prove that Peter was the foundation of the Church, the possessor of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and of the power to bind and to loose. The opinion according to which Callistus (217-222) was the first Pope to make use of the text of Matthew to prove that he was the heir of the power of Peter cannot be authenticated. As for the testimony of Tertullian which is often cited, it is not clear and it should be used with caution. [4] What is certain in any case is that the passage of Matt. 16.18-19 was in current use at the beginning of the third century.


It is quite possible that the transfer of the imperial residence to the East at the beginning of the fourth century contributed to speeding the development of the Petrine idea in Rome. The catalogue of Liberius, in the year 354, attests that the primitive tradition concerning the origin of Roman Christianity had already been abandoned at this time. The catalogue attributes the foundation of the Roman Church to Peter alone and places him at the head of the list of the bishops of Rome. It is possible that Eusebius was aware of this shift in the Roman tradition since in his Chronicon which is later than his History, he speaks of Peter alone as the founder of the Church of Rome.


In the Western Church it was St. Cyprian who contributed most to the removal of the distinction between the character of an Apostle and that of a bishop. He asserted that the powers of the bishop were identical with those of the Apostles. [5] Besides, he designated Rome as the “cathedra Petri” and ecclesia principalis,” [6] declaring that the unity of the Church rested upon the investiture given to Peter by Our Lord.


Such categorical declarations coming from a Father who was not a Roman and who enjoyed great prestige throughout all of Western Christendom could not help but make the West





forget the distinction between the functions of an apostle and a bishop. In the fourth century the ancient custom of attributing the foundation of the Church at Rome to Peter and to Paul disappeared completely. Optatus, [7] Jerome, [8] and Augustine [9] mentioned Peter alone as the founder of the Church of Rome and as the first bishop of that city.


Beginning with the second half of the fourth century the see of Rome was simply called the see of Peter. Very important for this point of view is the Synod of Sardica which invited priests to appeal to the bishop of Rome “in order to pay honor to the holy memory of the apostle Peter.” [10] From then on, it is not surprising that beginning with Liberius and Damasus the Popes adopted for their see a new title, namely the sedes apostolica. This new title soon became very popular in all the churches of the West, in Spain, Africa, and in Gaul. They went even further in this veneration paid to Peter in attributing, in the fifth century, the origin of the episcopate to St. Peter alone. It was only in the sixth century that this exaggerated tendency disappeared. [11]


This development is easy to explain. In the West there was only one see—Rome—that could claim apostolic foundation. In vain did Arles try to take advantage of the situation by creating the legend that its first bishop, Trophimus, had been consecrated by Peter in Rome and sent to Arles. According to another tradition that is equally legendary, Sirmium claimed that its first bishop, St. Andronicus, had been one of the seventy disciples of the Lord. It seems that this city had been, during the first half of the fifth century, the residence of the prefect of Illyricum. But the invasion of the Huns brought to a sudden end all these ambitions. Sirmium was destroyed in 448 and only a feeble glimmer of its ancient glory remained. [12] The see of Rome was left as the only city of the West that could boast apostolic origin: it had been founded by the first of the Apostles, Peter.


* * *





But the question of the apostolic character of a see was viewed in quite different fashion in the East. There had been many important sees in the East which had been founded by an Apostle: this was the case for Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Ephesus. Apart from these great sees, there was a large number of other less important ones in Asia Minor and in Greece which, according to both authentic and apocryphal writings, had at least been visited by an Apostle. For this reason the principle of apostolic origin never took very deep root in the ecclesiastical organization of the East and the principle of accommodation to the political divisions of the Empire remained always preponderant.


It is in this light that we must examine Canon III of the Council of Constantinople, in 381, which gave to the Bishop of Constantinople the second rank in the ecclesiatical hierarchy.


For the Orientals this promotion was altogether natural granted the change that had taken place in the political organization of the Empire. The new capital of the Empire, the residence of the Emperor, could not remain subordinate to the metropolitan of the diocese of Thrace, Heracleia. When Constantinople became the New Rome, it acquired the right of occupying a place immediately after Rome, the ancient capital of the Empire.


It is generally believed that the reaction of Rome to this decision was manifested immediately and with considerable force. But actually this did not happen until 451 when the Council of Chalcedon not only ratified the decision of the Council of 381, but also placed under the jurisdiction of Constantinople three civil dioceses of Asia Minor and Europe, those of Thrace, Asia, and Pontus. After 381 we look in vain for a declaration from Rome which could be considered as a protest against the elevation of Constantinople in spite of the fact that Canon III had certainly been known in Rome in the autumn of 381. [13]


How are we to explain this development? We must not forget first of all that the Council of 381 did not have, at the beginning,





an ecumenical character. It had been convoked by Theodosius the Great to handle the affairs of the Church of the East and only the bishops of that part of the Empire had been invited to attend. Canon III had as its object, in the first place, to reduce the undue influence which the Bishop of Alexandria had assumed in the East. Peter of Alexandria, then the first among the Oriental prelates, had extended his influence not only to Antioch where he supported Paulinus, a bishop of his own choice, against the legitimate bishop, Meletius, [14] but also at Constantinople where instead of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, he put forward Maximus the philosopher who had been secretly ordained by Egyptian bishops Peter had sent to Constantinople.


If we take account of all of this we see clearly that Canon III was in no sense voted in order to weaken the prestige of Rome but only with a view to lessening the presige of Alexandria in the Church in the East. [15] Since there was no question of doing anything but bringing about conformity to a practice that had been universally recognized as regular, this measure met with no opposition in the East and Timothy, the brother and successor of Peter in the see of Alexandria, willingly ceded the first place in the Church in the East, and the second in the entire Church to the Bishop of Constantinople and he signed the Acts of the Council in 381.


The very fact that information about this canon was not communicated to the Church in the western part of the Empire [16] is clear proof that, although it entered into the domain of ecclesiastical legislation, it was in no sense directed against Rome, and that it was only intended to straighten out affairs in the Church of the East. In the minds of the Orientals this canon did not infringe the rights of Rome which remained the first see in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. It had no other purpose but to regulate internal affairs in the eastern part of the Empire in adapting the ecclesiastical organization to the new political arrangements.





Nevertheless, this desire to run its own affairs reveals for the first time—and this fact must be stressed—a particularist spirit in the Church in the East. Unfortunately the attitude taken by the Church in the West only served to confirm the Orientals in this disposition.


Bishop Paulinus of Antioch had addressed himself to a Synod of the Church of the West which was being held at Aquileia in the same year as the Council of Constantinople. At the instigation of St. Ambrose, Metropolitan of Milan, the Synod sent a letter to the Emperor demanding that he convoke a council to deal with the schism of Antioch.


Maximus was expelled from Constantinople and he presented himself at Aquileia and, unfortunately, succeeded in persuading St. Ambrose and the Synod that he was the legitimate Bishop of Constantinople and that he had been unjustly deposed by the Council meeting in the capital. Ambrose and the bishops of the north of Italy were angered by the false rumors concerning the new Bishop of Constantinople, Nectarius, and they believed the assertions of Maximus. Ambrose in a letter addressed to the Emperor complained that the ecclesiastical affairs of two great sees, Antioch and Constantinople, had been dealt with without consulting the Church in the West and he demanded the convocation of a council at Rome to examine these disputes. The Emperor and the Oriental bishops, if one can judge from the second letter of Ambrose to Theodosius, [17] were annoyed at this intrusion of the Westerners into their internal affairs, especially since they had already been dealt with by a Synod. The Emperor refused to convoke a general council and the bishops of the East, invited by Ambrose to a Synod at Rome, responded in a very polite letter [18] in which they categorically declared that they were quite capable of running the internal affairs of their own Church in conformity with the canons.


The tenor of this letter shows clearly that the Orientals were determined to run their own internal affairs without intervention from any other Church and this also confirms our interpretation according to which the canons voted by the council





concerned solely the Church of the East. Unfortunately, the mistake committed by St. Ambrose and his bishops in accepting a bishop who had been installed by fraud, unworthy of this office by reason of his private life, and canonically deposed by a synod of his Church, could not help but strengthen the bishops of the East in their isolationist sentiments and in their determination to defend the autonomy of their Church in anything that concerned its administration. This incident shows how difficult it was for the West to come to any exact idea of affairs in the East.


Since at this time the principle of accommodation to the political divisions of the Empire was still agreed to in the West, the promotion of Constantinople to the second rank in the hierarchy was passively accepted. This was facilitated by the fact that the canon did not give Byzantium anything but a precedence in honor, without expressly increasing the extent of its jurisdiction. In 381 no one could foresee what was going to happen in the future.


For this reason Pope Damasus offered no protest against the elevation of Constantinople even though Alexandria had always been, in the past, in close contact with Rome. This event, which has often been considered the first conflict between Rome and Byzantium, actually took place in an altogether friendly atmosphere. Everyone continued to regard the Bishop of Rome as the first bishop of the Empire, the head of the Church. [19]


* * *


The conflict between Byzantium and Rome which arose in 451, during the Council of Chalcedon, appeared to be much more serious. We know that the Fathers of the Council had voted in the absence of the Roman legates, the famous Canon XXVIII which not only confirmed the precedence of the bishop of the capital over Alexandria and Antioch but also placed under his jurisdiction the three dioceses of Thrace, Asia





and Pontus as well as the territories which, in the future, might be acquired by their missionaries.


The legates, on learning what had taken place, protested vigorously against the vote on this canon. We know that Pope Leo I refused to sanction this innovation and in his letters objected categorically to the promotion of Constantinople to the second place in the hierarchy. [20] Attempts have often been made to see the vote on this canon as an attack directed against the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and this opinion seems to be confirmed by the hostile attitude of Leo I. But is this explanation correct? Did the Fathers of Chalcedon really have the intention, in elevating the Bishop of Constantinople, to deprive the Bishop of Rome of his privileged position?


To give a satisfactory reply to this question and to explain the attitude of the Fathers of Chalcedon we must examine once again what had happened in the Church of the East since 381. Even though the bishops of Alexandria had accepted the decisions of this Council, they had not, in fact, abandoned their claims to predominance in the East. Everything that happened in the Church in the East from the fourth to the middle of the fifth century finds its explanation in the rivalry between the sees of Alexandria and Byzantium and the claim of Alexandria to the first place.


The position of Egypt in the East remained very powerful; its importance as the wheat basket for the two capitals, Rome and Byzantium, had the effect of enhancing the prestige which the Bishop of Alexandria enjoyed at the court. He also had at his disposal enormous riches since the heavy endowments of the pagan temples had been put at his disposal. The Bishop had always found fanatical partisans of his religious policy among the monks whose numbers had continued to increase since the foundation of the first monastic community in Egypt. He also benefitted from the great reputation which St. Athanasius of Alexandria had acquired in the East because of his intrepid struggle against Arianism, a heresy condemned at Nicaea.





Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, who had signed Canon III of the second council had already found an occasion for revenge; he took part in an intrigue which forced St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, to resign from his see.


Shortly after 381, Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria (385-412) used every possible means at his disposal and all his riches to frustrate the Bishop of Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom. [21] He obtained from the Emperor a decree which seriously humiliated the see of that city, and Chrysostom, who was at odds with the Emperor, was unjustly deposed and sent into exile.


The triumph achieved by St. Cyril of Alexandria (412-444) was even greater. It was due to his intercession that Nestorius of Constantinople was accused of heresy and condemned by the Council of Ephesus (431), deposed, and sent into exile. This was a great victory for Alexandria. We know that Cyril used every means to accomplish his purpose, even to sending rich gifts in order to win the favor of high functionaries at the court. [22] This struggle between Constantinople and Alexandria would appear in an even clearer light if the theologians who today defend the orthodoxy of Nestorius should turn out to be correct. [23]


The successor of Cyril, Dioscorus, thought to achieve an even more definitive victory than his predecessor in the struggle to impose the Monophysite doctrine on the entire Christian world. This doctrine was confirmed at the Second Council which met at Ephesus in 449, thanks to the support which Dioscorus was able to muster at the court. At this council the Bishop of Alexandria occupied the first place, the legates of Rome had the second, Jerusalem the third, Antioch the fourth and Constantinople only the fifth place. Dioscorus achieved his victory by means of tactics which hardly do him honor. Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, died a few days later as a result of wounds received at Ephesus at the hands of the fanatical partisans of Dioscorus. The Synod of Ephesus was in all justice called thereafter the Latrocinium (Robbery).





But, at the time, it seemed a victory for Alexandria over the other patriarchial sees, and particularly over Constantinople. The Coptic biography of Dioscorus shows that it was his ambition to place himself above all the patriarchs, since he seemed to have conceived the idea of pretending that St. Mark was superior to St. Peter. [24] In vain did Pope Leo endeavor to turn Dioscorus to a better path. In vain did he invoke the relationship which existed between the two sees by the fact of their connection with St. Peter. As long as the Emperor Theodosius II refused to convoke another council, Dioscorus was successful. It was only after the death of Theodosius II that the Pope obtained from his successor Marcion, with the intervention of the Empress Pulcheria, the convocation of a new council at Chalcedon. [25]


Taking all this into account we can then understand why the Oriental prelates wished to take advantage of the chance to put Alexandria back in its true place and to enhance the prestige of Constantinople in the East. Therefore, Canon XXVIII was essentially directed against Alexandria and the pretensions of its powerful patriarchs. It is important also to remember the predominant role which Pope Leo played in the council through the intermediary of his legates and the prestige which he had acquired among the Orientals, by reason of his efforts in the convocation of the council, and for his determined and courageous defense of the true doctrine. His letter to the Patriarch Flavian in which he explained the doctrine on the Trinity was read in the council and was declared a monument of orthodoxy. The atmosphere of the council was therefore not at all unfavorable to Rome, quite the contrary. This also shows once more that the Fathers, in voting on canon XXVIII had in view, above all, Alexandria.


That being the case, why was the Pope so alarmed by the vote of this canon? It seems that he shared the idea that Constantinople ought to have a pre-eminence of honor because he was also quite familiar with the principle of accommodation. His legates had not protested at all against Canon XVII which





established that the Church should adapt itself, each time a change took place in the civil organization of the provinces and in particular when a new city was founded. [26] This canon was among those which Rome approved. The legates likewise had not protested against Canon IX which stipulated that the clerics of other patriarchs could appeal a judgment of their metropolitan, either to the judgment of their Exarch or to that of the Bishop of Constantinople. This was a new privilege accorded to Constantinople, a privilege confirmed by Canon XVII, mentioned above. Even though this privilege was a considerable one it did not, in the eyes of the legates, seem to change the status of Constantinople in any essential way.


The submission of three civil dioceses to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Constantinople, however, raised it to a position without parallel in the East. [27] The legates of the Pope saw in that a danger for the unity of the Church and also, in the future, for the Primacy of Rome and that all the more, since the bishop of the capital could easily obtain the support of the emperors.


* * *


What bothered the Pope was that there was no mention in the canon of the apostolic and Petrine character of the see of Rome. The new measure was based solely on the principle of accommodation. By this time, Rome had already lost the prestige which it had once enjoyed as the capital of the Empire and the residence of the Emperor, and its bishops could thereafter base their privileged position in the Church only on the apostolic and Petrine character of their see. Leo was very conscious of this and he stressed the apostolicity of his see in his letters to the Emperor; at the council his legates insisted on every occasion on being recognized as the envoys of the Apostolic See. [28] The fact that the Oriental Fathers had asserted the elevation of Constantinople only on political grounds and their failure to mention the Petrine and apostolic character of





the see of Rome appeared, in the eyes of Leo, to be full of danger.


Unfortunately, the Oriental Fathers were unable to grasp the significance of the apostolic origin of a see in the organization of the Church. They were much more under the influence of the old principle of accommodation. Nevertheless, they had not the slightest intention of denying the Primacy to Rome, and their attitude during the last session of the Council proves this. In fact, the legates, citing Canon VI of Nicaea, made use of an old Latin translation which was preceded by the declaration: “Romana Ecclesia semper habuit primatum.” [29] This declaration was not found in the Greek original of the canon. The original Greek version was also read in the course of this same last session, thus the prelates were perfectly aware then that the Latins had inserted an addition to the canon in order to stress the prestige of Rome, but not one of them protested against this addition. Still, the fact that the Emperor, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Fathers of the Council all sought from the Pope the acceptance of this canon clearly shows that they did not see it as any diminution of the position which the Pope occupied in the Church. [30]


It is possible that they finally came to understand the reason why the Pope showed himself hostile to this canon for, in their letters, they stressed the apostolic character of the see of Rome. These assurances did not appear sufficient to Leo. The apostolic character of Rome should have been mentioned in the canon itself. If it had been done, it would have been difficult for the Pope to refuse his approval.


Because of this omission, the Pope set up in opposition to the principle of adaptation to the political divisions of the Empire, the principle of the apostolic and Petrine origin of a see. Rome held the Primacy not because it had been the capital of the Empire and the residence of the Emperor, but because its see had been founded by Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. The second place in the Church belonged to Alexandria because its see had been founded by Mark, the disciple of Peter. The third place





fell to Antioch, because Peter had preached there, and his disciples in the new faith had there for the first time received the name of “Christians.” Further, said Leo, the decision of Chalcedon is a contradiction of that of Nicaea, since the Fathers of this first council only recognized three principle sees, Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.


The Pope did not advert to the fact that his argumentation contained one weak point. As a matter of fact, according to the theory of apostolic origin, Antioch should have held the second place because Peter founded a bishopric there. Besides, Canon VI of Nicaea had very much as its foundation the principle of accommodation to the political situation of the Empire and further, the Pope in his desire to introduce in the ecclesiastical organization the principle of apostolicity forgot that it was really the principle of accommodation which, in the eyes of the Byzantines, continued to assure to Rome the primacy in the Church. The Byzantine Empire, in fact, was the continuation of the Roman Empire. The Byzantines did not call themselves Hellenes or Greeks, but Romaioi (i.e., Romans). Rome remained the base of their Empire and in their eyes the ancient capital was always the “Imperial City.” This is the title which many of the Oriental bishops gave to Rome when they spoke at the Council of Chalcedon. [31] Because of this “Roman ideology” it was not possible that the Byzantines could ever bring themselves to deprive Rome and its bishop of the privileged position which the city occupied in the life and in the political ideology of the Empire, and its bishop in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. They would never have dreamed of transferring the Primacy of Rome to any other city for this would have destroyed the base on which their Empire was established.


Bishop Julian of Cos, who represented Pope Leo at Constantinople, understood this situation very well and he suggested that the Pope accept the contested canon. [32] This could have been done in a letter in which the Pope would have declared that the apostolic and Petrine character of Rome was





its sole source for the Primacy in the Church. If we take into account the friendly attitude of the Fathers of the Council toward the Pope, such a declaration would certainly have been accepted by them without any difficulty.


But Leo judged otherwise and he believed, for the moment at least, that he had won the victory. Because of his opposition Canon XXVIII was not introduced into the official canonical collections. It only appeared in the sixth century in the Syntagma of fourteen titles. [33] Therefore, the first misunderstanding between the Church of the East and the Church of the West had as its cause the opposition of two different principles of organization of the Church: the principle of accommodation to the political division of the Empire and the principle of the apostolic and Petrine origin of an episcopal see. The Fathers who gathered at Chalcedon did not succeed in finding a compromise between these two principles. This was regrettable, for despite the apparent victory of Pope Leo, Constantinople continued to exercise its jurisdiction over the three minor dioceses of the Empire. The patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch were weakened by the expansion of Nestorianism and Monophysitism; also, the Patriarch of Constantinople had become de facto, the most important and the one that exercised the greatest influence throughout the Christian East.


It was the new Monophysite crisis, started in Alexandria, which had the effect of bringing together the Patriarch Anatolius and Pope Leo. The Patriarch, Timothy of Alexandria, discontented with the decisions taken at Chalcedon, called for the convocation of a new council. The Pope was opposed to this because he feared lest the decisions of Chalcedon be called into question. He found an ally in the person of the Patriarch of Constantinople who, on his part, feared a new protest on the part of the Pope against Canon XXVIII, a protest which would certainly find support from the Patriarch of Alexandria. Therefore a new council was not convoked, but Rome lost the support of Alexandria and Antioch in its rivalry with Constantinople.







1. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, PG 7, 849ff. The most important work on the lists of bishops of Rome is that of E. Caspar, “Die älteste römische Bischofsliste,” in Schriften der Königsberger Gelehrten gesellschaft, Geisteswiss. Kl. 4 (1926), 206ff.


2. Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, III, ch. 2, 15, 21; PG 20, 216, 249 and 256.


3. Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum, CSEL (Vienna, 1942) vol. 70, 26.


4. Cf. J. Ludwig, Die Primatworte Mat. 16, 18-19 in der altkirchlichen Exegese (Muenster, 1952), 11-20; C. B. Daly, “The Edict of Callistus,” in Studia patristica, vol. 3 (Berlin, 1961), in Texte und Untersuchungen, vol. 78, 176-182. It seems that Tertullian’s attack was directed against the Bishop of Carthage, Agrippinus. Hippolytus, who seems to mention an edict of Callistus, does not cite Matt. 16, 18-19 (Refutatio, IX, 12, 20ff., GCS [Berlin, 1916] vol. 3, 249ff).


5. The most characteristic passages are to be found in the following writings of St. Cyprian: Letters 3, 43, 66 and 67 (CSEL, vol. 3, Edit. Hartel) pp. 471, 594, 729, 738; De unitate ecclesiae, ibid. 212-13.


6. Letter 59. ibid. 683. Cf. Th. Camelot, “Saint Cyprien et la Primauté,” in Istina (1957), 421-34 and especially, M. Maccarrone, “Cathedra Petri und päpstlicher Primat vom 2-bis 4. Jahrhundert,” in Saeculum, 13 (1962) 278-92.


7. Libri septem, CSEL, vol. 26, Edit. C. Ziwsa, 36.


8. De viris illustribus, PL 23, 663-66.


9. Letter 53, PL 33, 196; CSEL, vol. 34, 153ff.


10. Mansi, 3, 23. The example of Palladius of Ratiaria shows, however, that the prestige of the Roman see did not pass uncontested. Although he called Rome an apostolic see, after his condemnation by the Synod of Aquileia, in 381, he declared that the see of Peter was the equal of all the other sees. On this, see L. Saltet, “Un texte nouveau: La Dissertatio Maximi contra Ambrosium” in the Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique, series 2 (Toulouse, 1900), 118-29.





11. See the documentation in Batiffol, Cathedra Petri, esp. 95-103.


12. On Sirmium, see my book Les légendes de Constantin et de Methode, 251ff. The city had disappeared completely by 582, after its destruction by the Avars.


13. For more details, see my The Idea of Apostolicity, 50ff. According to the Chronicon paschale (Edit. B. G. Nieburg, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, Bonn, 1832), Constantine had already made Constantinople independent of the jurisdiction of its metropolitan of Heraclea. If that is the fact, it was done in virtue of the principle of accommodation.


14. On this local schism and its consequences, see the study of F. Cavallera, Le schisme d'Antioch (Paris, 1905).


15. See also, I. Ortiz de Urbina, Nicée et Constantinople (Paris, 1963), 2i6ff. (Histoire des Conciles oecuméniques, edit. G. Dumeige, vol. I).


16. This we learn from a declaration of Pope Leo the Great in his letter to Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople. Mansi, 6, 204.; edit. E. Schwartz, II, vol. 4, 61.


17. See these letters in the correspondence of Ambrose, Epistolae, 12, 13, 14. PL 16, 987ff., 993ff.


18. This letter is preserved to us in the Historia ecclesiastica of Theodoretus, edit. L. Parmentier, GCS, 19 (1911) 289ff.; Mansi, 3, 581-88.


19. It has been believed that the passage relating to the patriarchal sees which is found in the third part of the famous Decretum Gelasianum had been voted in 382 by the Council of Rome in order to protest against Canon III of the Council of Constantinople. This passage of the Decretum grants the second place in the hierarchy to Alexandria and the third to Antioch because of the connection these sees had with St. Peter. It is now generally recognized that this document was composed at the end of the fifth century. For more details, see P. Batiffol, Le Siège apostolique, 146-150. H. Marot (“Les conciles romains des IVe et Ve siècles et le développement de la primauté, in Istina [1957] 458) is wrong in tracing this canon back to the Synod of 382. Cf. my remarks in the next chapter, on this canon.


20. See especially Letters 104, 105 and 106 to the Emperor Marcion, to the Empress Pulcheria and to the Patriarch Anatolius. PL 54, 994-1009; Mansi, 6, 182-207.





21. The best brief account of these intrigues is to be found in N. H. Baynes, “Alexandria and Constantinople: A Study in Ecclesiastical Diplomacy,” in The Journal of Egyptian Archeology, 12 (1926), 145-56. This paper has been re-edited in his Byzantine Studies and Other Essays (London, 1955), 97-115. Cf. also G. Bardy, “Alexandrie, Rome, Constantinople,” in L’Église et les Églises (Chevetogne, 1954), I, 183-207, and H. Marot, op. cit., n. 19, supra, 209-40.


22. For greater detail, see P. Batiffol, “Les presents de S. Cyrille à la cour de Constantinople,” in Études de liturgie et d’archéologie chrétiennes (Paris, 1919), 154-79.


23. On this topic see the study of M. V. Anastos, “Nestorius was Orthodox,” in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 16 (1962), 117-40.


24. Cf. F. Haase, “Patriarch Dioskur I. nach monophysitischen Quellen,” in M. Sdralek, Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen, 6 (1908), 204.


25. On the relations of Pope St. Leo with the Emperor, see P. Stockmeier, Leo I. des Grossen Beurteilung der kaiserlichen Religionspolitik, Münchener theol. Studien, Hist. Abt. vol. 14 (1959), 75-168. Cf. also the recent article of W. Ullmann, “Leo I and the Theme of Papal Primacy,” in the Journal of Theological Studies, N.S. 11 (1960), 25-51.


26. During the first session of the Council, the legate Paschasinus, on learning that at the “Robber Synod” the bishop of Constantinople had been relegated to the last place, declared: “For our part, we believe Anatolius [of Constantinople] to be the first.” At that, the Bishop of Cyzicum replied: “Yes, because you know the canons” (Mansi, 6, 608B). He was referring to the canons of Constantinople, 381.


27. Cf. Th. Camelot, Éphèse et Chalcédoine (Paris, 1963), 161ff. (Histoire des conciles oecuméniques, edit. G. Dumeige, vol. 2).


28. For greater detail, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 75ff.


29. Cf. C. H. Turner, op. cit., ch. 2, n. 14, supra, I, 103, 121. See also, S. Schwartz, “Der sechste nicänische Kanon auf der Synode von Chalkedon,” in Sitzungsb. Preussische Akad. phil. hist. Kl. (Berlin, 1930).


30. The majority of specialists recognize the fact that the canon in question does not deny the Primacy of Rome. On this point, see the well-documented study of





E. Hermann, “Chalkedon und die Ausgestaltung des Konstantinopolitanischen Primats,” in the symposium Das Konzil von Chalkedon, edited by A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht (Wurzburg, 1953), II, 459-90. See also, M. Jugie, Le schisme byzantin (Paris, 1941), 11-19 and J. Meyendorff, “La primauté romaine dans la tradition canonique jusq’au Concile de Chalcédoine,” in Istina (1959), 463-82.


31. For example, during the second session, the senators Maximus of Antioch and Theodore of Claudiopolis, Mansi, 6, 960C, 1048D, 1080B; Ibid. 7, 12B, (Edit. E. Schwartz, II, vol. 3, part 1, p. 81; part 2, pp. 47, 71; II, vol. 1, part 2, p. 94.


32. This seems to be confirmed by a letter of the Pope to Julian; Mansi, 6, 207, letter 107.


33. Published by V. N. Beneševič, Kanoničeskij Sbornik XIV titulov (St. Petersburg, 1903), 155. For a history of the application of the Petrine principle by the papacy, see A. Michel, “Der Kampf um das politische oder Petrinische Prinzip der Kirchenführung,” in Das Konzil von Chalkedon (cf. n. 30, supra) I, 491-562.









It is possible that the collaboration beween Pope and Patriarch would have resulted in a compromise on Canon XXVIII if it had only lasted longer. Unfortunately, the period of good relations came to an end when a new conflict, called the Schism of Acacius, arose which lasted from 484 until 519. The Patriarch Acacius had accepted the decree of the Emperor Zeno, known as the Henoticon, issued in 482; this decree which aimed at reconciling the Monophysites by granting them some concessions, really weakened the dogmatic decisions of Chalcedon. Pope Felix refused the compromise and he excommunicated Acacius.


In the course of this controversy the idea of the apostolic and Petrine tradition was the most powerful weapon in the Roman arsenal. It was on this foundation that Pope Gelasius (492-496) developed his ideas on the plenitude of pontifical power. He not only repudiated Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon but in his struggle with the patriarch even refused to accord Constantinople the status of a metropolitan city. [1]


Taking advantage of the new political situation he boldly opposed himself to the Emperor Anastasius I (491-518). At this time, the Byzantine empire had been considerably weakened by the invasions of the Germans and the Huns.





With the support of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths and Master of Italy, Gelasius denied the Emperor the right of intervention in religious affairs such as he claimed. Exalting the role of the priesthood, Gelasius placed it almost on the same level with the imperial power. His definition of the two powers has become classic:


Two powers govern the world: the sacred authority of the Pontiff and the imperial power. Of these two powers, the priests carry a weight that is all the more heavy in that at the last judgment they will have to render an account not only for themselves but also for the kings. [2]


It is probable that his contemporaries did not realize that the declarations of Gelasius marked a rupture with Christian Hellenism, with the political philosophy which had been accepted by all Christians since the conversion of Constantine. It is nonetheless true, however, that the words of Gelasius, as adopted by his successor Symmachus, helped the canonists of the eleventh century to develop a new political doctrine, that of the superiority of the spiritual power over the temporal, a doctrine which, without any doubt, caused the decline of the papacy at the end of the Middle Ages.


The Oriental patriarchs found the attitude of Gelasius much too rigid. The Pope complained, in his letters, that the Orientals accused him of arrogance, pride and obstinacy, [3] and controversial writings only served to exacerbate the mutual animosity. However, in spite of the bitterness which the attitude of Gelasius had stimulated in the minds of the Byzantine prelates, they were impressed by the arguments of the Pope. We notice in their replies to papal letters that they speak more often than formerly of the apostolic character of the Roman See. The principle of apostolicity so strongly stressed by Gelasius now began to take root in Byzantium.


* * *





It was Pope Hormisdas (514-523), who with the help of Justinian, the nephew of Justin—who was himself the successor of the Emperor Anastatius I—brought the schism to an end. We notice with considerable surprise that the Byzantine prelates, who had been so determined to defend the autonomy of their Church in the course of this controversy, all signed the Libellus Hormisdae, the document which defined clearly the primacy of the Roman see. [4] Here are the essential passages:


We cannot pass over in silence the affirmation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who said: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. . . .” These words are borne out by the facts: It is in the Apostolic See that the Catholic religion has always been preserved without stain ... it is for this reason that I hope to achieve communion with the Apostolic See in which is found the entire, true, and perfect stability of the Christian religion.


These words were selected with the deliberate intention of instructing the Byzantine prelates, and therefore it is not at all surprising that the Patriarch John asked permission to precede his acceptance with a preface in which he attempted to place the see of Constantinople on the same level as that of Rome: [5]


I accept the fact that the two most holy Churches, that is to say, that of Ancient Rome and that of the New Rome, should be one; I admit that the see of St. Peter and that of the imperial city should be one.


We are here in the presence of one of the first efforts, made by a Patriarch of Constantinople, to reconcile the two principles, that of the apostolicity of a see and the accommodation to the political divisions of the Empire.


Another fact becomes clear from the correspondence between the Patriarch and Pope Hormisdas. In his first letter of September 7, 518, [6] the Patriarch John assured the Pope that he accepted the doctrine defined by the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon.





We get the impression that the patriarch wished to bring the Pope to a formal recognition of the ecumenicity of the second council, that of 381. He likewise mentions the four councils in the preface to his confession which we have mentioned above and which he signed on March 28, 519. In his reply to the first letter the Pope speaks of the councils in general but mentions by name only that of Chalcedon; [7] in his second letter he makes no allusion whatever to the councils. [8] But while he expresses joy at the profession of faith of John, he passes over in silence the insistence of the Patriarch who spoke of the faith defined by the four ecumenical councils. From this we can conclude that the ecumenicity of the council of 381 had been, at least, tacitly, recognized by Rome. This appears to be confirmed by the fact that the Pope accepted the letters of Justinian, [9] those of the Bishop of Nicopolis [10] and of the Patriarch Epiphanius (520-536) [11] in which the council of 381 is counted among the four ecumenical councils.


This reconciliation with Constantinople caused Rome to forget the bitterness felt in the time of Gelasius and Symmachus. Without wishing to grant formal recognition to the status of Constantinople as holding the second place in the hierarchy, Rome was obliged to consider Constantinople as a major see, and, de facto, as the most important see after Rome.


* * *


It is possible that this acceptance of the ecumenicity of the second council provides us with the explanation of a curious anomaly. When we recall the opposition of Leo the Great to the elevation of Constantinople in the hierarchy of the Church and the statements of Gelasius and Symmachus which went so far as to refuse to rate Constantinople among the major sees, we are surprised to see that the first Latin canonical collection which has been preserved, the Prisca, also contains Canon III of the Council of Constantinople, the very one which granted to the see of the capital the second place in the Church.





There we read “[That] the Bishop of Constantinople has the primacy of honor after the Bishop of Rome, since we consider it to be the younger Rome.” [12]


The author of this collection was Italian in origin and he made his compilation after the Council of Chalcedon, toward the end of the fifth century or in the first years of the sixth century. [13] It is interesting to notice that, at this time, the first ecumenical councils enjoyed such respect at Rome that the author of this collection felt obliged to insert all of their canons, forgetting that the time was not long past when Rome rejected the promotion of Constantinople.


The author of the Prisca made use of a Greek collection of conciliar decisions which contained the canons voted by both general and local councils. [14] His collection is older than that of Dionysius Exiguus. Dionysius, who was born in Scythia around 470, died at Rome in 550. He arrived there before 496 and it was there that he composed his three collections of conciliar canons, also making use of a Greek collection. Two of his collections have been preserved to us and in both of them we find the same canon of the Council of 381 on the privilege of the Bishop of Constantinople. [15]


The Collectio Hispana, the famous collection which Alexander III called “the authentic canonical collection of the Church of Spain,” was composed before the Fourth Synod of Toledo (633), and it was during that Synod that it was completed. [16] Besides the conciliar canons it contained the decretals of the Popes from Damasus to Gregory the Great; to these had been added the decretals of other Popes, down to Leo II (682). Beginning with the ninth century this collection was called the Isidoriana and attributed to Isidore of Seville, who was born around 560 and died in 633. This attribution to Isidore is contested by the majority of specialists but we can accept the opinion according to which Isidore would have exercised an influence on its definitive edition.


The collection of conciliar canons which we find in the Hispana is founded on the Dionysiana.





Hence it is not surprising that we also find, in the manuscripts of the Hispana, Canon III of the Council of 381 expressed in the following fashion: “Constantinopolitanae vere civitatis episcopum habere primatus honorem post Romanum episcopum, propter quod sit nova Roma.” [17]


To explain the presence of Canon III in the collection of Dionysius, M. Peitz has offered the hypothesis that the definitive reconciliation between Byzantium and Rome after the Schism of Acacius only took place in 520-521, when the envoys of the Patriarch Epiphanius were in Rome, as the bearers of a letter of enthronement of a patriarch. From some declarations of the Orientals he concluded that the Byzantines had recognized the supreme jurisdiction of Rome over Constantinople and over the East and Rome, in recognition of this gesture, had accepted Canon III of the Council of 381, recognizing at the same time the ecumenicity of the Council provided the Byzantines would abandon Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon. [18]


Unfortunately, this very attractive explanation cannot be accepted. The decisive objection against it is that we find absolutely nothing on this matter in the contemporary sources. The author himself is obliged to admit that no protocol was composed on the negotiations held at Rome during the winter of 520-521. [19] No document was prepared to be signed by the two parties. This does not at all correspond to the traditions of the pontifical chancery. Besides, after the experience of the Schism of Acacius, Rome had every reason to be on its guard against being satisfied by an oral promise in a matter so important. If there had been any agreement of this sort, if Constantinople had been officially recognized as the second patriarchal see, following immediately after Rome, how can we explain that the thesis of Leo the Great, of Gelasius and of Symmachus, which opposed this position of Constantinople in the hierarchy, could be brought up again when a new tension arose between East and West, as happened in the ninth century under Nicholas I and in the eleventh century under Leo IX?





As a result it only remains for us to accept the explanation given above. Even though the position of Constantinople had not been officially recognized, the fact that the Council of 381 had been accepted as ecumenical was for the Latin canonists, sufficient reason for accepting all its canons. Nor should we forget that these collections were the work of canonists working in private who mode no pretense of imposing their works on the whole Church.


This apparent anomaly is much better explained if we consider that Pope Damasus had never protested against Canon III of the Council of 381. As for Leo the Great, he had not been bothered by this canon which only accorded to Constantinople a place of honor, [20] as much as he had been by Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon which conferred on Constantinople jurisdiction over three entire dioceses and thereby made Constantinople a dangerous rival of Rome. Even down to our own days it has been generally accepted that Rome had rejected in 382 Canon III of the Council of 381, and it is perhaps this conviction that has influenced M. Peitz and caused him to seek a satisfactory explanation of this apparent anomaly. In reality the explanation of this enigma is much more simple. The canonists of the fifth and sixth century, realizing that Rome had never raised any protest against this canon, considered it perfectly legitimate and inserted it in their collections.


* * *


One other detail should be stressed. Although the collection of Dionysius Exiguus only contains the twenty-seven canons of the Council of Chalcedon and omits Canon XXVIII, and although most of the manuscripts of these first collections do the same, still at least two manuscripts of the Prisca have combined Canon III of Constantinople with Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon. Further, in the manuscripts, the canons of Constantinople follow immediately after those of Chalcedon.





The two collections which make up this version and which we find in the manuscript of Chieti and in that of Justel are very ancient. They date from the sixth century and they are both of Italian origin. [21]


The explanation given by F. Maassen is quite satisfactory. The two compilers made use of a Greek manuscript which first gave the text of twenty-seven canons of Chalcedon and then before copying Canon XXVIII, they numbered the canons of Constantinople. If we consider the content of Canon XXVIII, it seems that before defining it, during the fifteenth session of the Council, the Fathers began by reading the Canons of Constantinople which, at this time, had not yet been numbered. Canon III of Constantinople served, in fact, as an introduction to the decisions of Canon XXVIII. It is most interesting to notice, in any case, that two collections founded on the Prisca contain this canon which was so opposed by the Popes from Leo the Great until Hormisdas. From that we can conclude that Canon XXVIII must have figured, at the end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth century, in some Greek collections of conciliar canons and that these collections were known in Italy. [22] The fact that two Italian compilers did not hesitate to recopy this canon shows that the opposition to Constantinople and its pretensions in the hierarchial order were not quite as general in Italy as has been supposed. It would seem that the misgivings cherished by the Curia with regard to Constantinople were not universally shared in ecclesiastical circles. [23]


The first great misunderstanding between Rome and Byzantium, the Schism of Acacius, thereby came to an end in a friendly agreement and the prestige of Rome was, without any doubt, considerably enhanced in the eyes of the Byzantines. Even though the declarations on the Roman Primacy contained in the Libellus Hormisdae had certainly appeared to be rather strong to the members of the Greek hierarchy, nevertheless, all the bishops signed it. Besides, the presence of Canon III





of 381 in the first collections of conciliar canons in the West shows that anti-Byzantine feeling had decreased in the Roman Church.





1. PL 59, 65. For more details on this schism, see E. Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire (Bruges, 1949), 31-39, 165-92; E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums (Tübingen, 1933), II, 10-81; A. A. Vasiliev, Justin I (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), 166ff.; A. Fliche - V. Martin, Histoire de l'Église (Paris, 1939), vol. 4, 291-320, 423ff.


2. We find this definition in his letter to Anastasius I, PL 59, 42-3. See my study “Pope Gelasius and Emperor Anastasius I,” in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 44 (1951), 111-16. For greater detail, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 109-22.


3. Especially PL 59, 27-28; and, The Idea of Apostolicity, 118ff.


4. PL 63, 460; Mansi, 8, 467.


5. PL 63, 444A; Col. Avel. Epist. 159, CSEL, vol. 35, 608, 2.


6. PL 63, 429; Col. Avel. Epist. 146, ibid., 591.


7. PL 63, 430A; Col. Avel. Epist. 145, 589; “Dilectionis tuae confessionem gratanter accepimus, per quam sanctae synodi comprobantur, inter quas Chalcedonem. . . .”


8. PL 63, 455ff.; Col. Avel. Epist. 169, CSEL, vol. 35, 624-26.


9. PL 63, 475C; Col. Avel. Epist. 187, 644, 2.


10. PL 63, 387CD; Col. Avel. Epist. 117, 523, 5, 6.


11. PL 63, 497D; Col. Avel. Epist. 233, 708. And what is even more revealing is the statement made by the legates of Pope Hormisdas at Constantinople. In their report to the Pope, dated 29 June 529, they say that they declared in the presence of the Emperor and the Senate: “We neither say nor admit anything outside of the four councils and the letters of Pope Leo. We accept nothing that is not contained in the Synods that have been mentioned or that is not written by Pope Leo” (Col. Avel. Epist. 217, CSEL, vol. 35, 678; see also, ibid., 686, the letter of the deacon Dioscurus).





Cf. also, Congar, “La primauté des quatre premiers conciles oecuméniques,” in Le Concile et les conciles (Paris-Chevetogne, 1960), 75ff.


12. See the edition by C. H. Turner, Eccles. occid. monumenta iuris antiquissimae (Oxford, 1907), II, 418; PL 56, 809.


13. C. H. Turner, ibid., 150. Cf. F. Dvornik, “The See of Constantinople in the First Latin Collections of Canon Law,” in Mélanges G. Ostrogorsky (Zbornik radova Visant. Inst. Belgrade, 1963), 97-101.


14. For more details, see F. Maassen, Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des canonischen Rechts im Abendlande (Graz, 1870, reprinted 1956), 87-100. On the manuscripts of the Prisca, see Turner, op. cit., 150.


15. Turner, op. cit., 419. An edition was made by A. Strewe, Die Canonessammlung des Dionysius Exiguus in der ersten Redaktion (Berlin-Leipzig, 1931, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte, vol. 16), 61. Canons II and III (Mansi, 3,559) are there contracted into one, Canon II, in which we read: “Verumtamen Constantinopolitanus episcopus habeat honoris primatum praeter Romanum episcopum, propterea quod urbs ipsa sit junior Roma.” See also, Maassen, op. cit., 103ff.


16. See R. Naz, “Hispana seu Isidoriana collectio,” DDC (Paris, 1953), 5, 1159-62.


17. Turner, op. cit., 418. On the manuscripts of the Hispana, still unpublished, see Turner, 402-03. Cf. also, Maassen, 667-716 and P. Fournier-G. Le Bras, Histoires des collections canoniques en Occident (Paris, 1931) I, 100ff. A critical edition of the Hispana is in preparation. This collection had an equally great influence in Gaul. In the Epitome Hispana, it appears that the third canon of the second council was not cited (Cf. Turner, 419). M. Peitz has offered the hypothesis that Dionysius composed, at the invitation of Pope Gelasius, a collection of the canons of the Oriental councils, utilizing the protocols preserved in the pontifical archives. To these he would have added the canons of the second and the fourth ecumenical councils and the 138 African canons. To this original collection, made around a.d. 500, fifty apostolic canons were also added. According to Peitz, Dionysius modified this collection in numerous ways and augmented it by adding the pontifical decretals down to the year 384. It was this collection, still according to Peitz, which





Pope Hormisdas sent to the Spanish bishops and which became the Hispana. Despite considerable documentation, on which Peitz endeavored to support his thesis in his study, Dionysius Exiguus Studien (edit. H. Foerster, Berlin, 1960, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte, vol. 33), Peitz has here constructed a theory without a solid foundation. On the canonical collections of the fifth and sixth centuries, cf. W. M. Plöchl, Geschichte des Kirchenrechts (Vienna-Munich, 1953), I, 25ff.


18. Op. cit., 273-316.


19. Op. cit., 308. The author pretends that the probity and sincerity of the Greek envoys were accepted with confidence. This is, indeed, a strange assumption which by no means supplies for the complete absence of any written documentation.


20. During the final session of Chalcedon, Eusebius, bishop of Dorylaeum, declared that in that very year, 451, during his stay in Rome, he had read canon III of 381 to the Pope, who approved of it. Cf. Mansi, 7, 449. edit. E. Schwartz, II, vol. 1, Part 3, 97-


21. Cf. F. Maassen, op. cit., 94-99, 526-36. The Chieti manuscript is given in PL 56, 809-10, as follows:


“With regard to the primacy of the Church of Constantinople, the holy synod declared: Conforming ourselves in all things to the decrees of the holy Fathers and having in view the canon enacted by more than 150 most reverend bishops who gathered in this royal city, this is what we have determined as to the primacy of the holy Church of Constantinople, the New Rome; since the holy Fathers granted the primacy to the see of Old Rome because of its situation as the seat of the Empire, so also, confirming the decision of the 150 venerable Fathers, we grant primacy to the New Rome since we judge it reasonable that the city that is honored with the presence of royalty and the Senate should receive confirmation of its primacy after Old Rome and it should be as honored as Old Rome in ecclesiastical affairs. We deem that it should be second after Old Rome and we also grant to its metropolitans governance over Pontus, Asia and Thrace. Also, that bishops in the territory of the barbarians are to be incardinated into the parishes by the above-mentioned see. Likewise that each metropolitan, in the parishes mentioned, should ordain the bishops as was specified in the divine canons.





22. This would appear to weaken still more the theory of M. Peitz.


23. It seems that this was particularly true for the south of Italy where Byzantine influence was quite strong. We may mention that the Chieti manuscript is of Neapolitan origin.









The architect of this agreement was the Emperor Justinian (527-565). [1] It is certain that his efforts to reconcile Rome and Byzantium were inspired by his ambitious dream of liberating Rome and Italy from the domination of the Goths and of restoring to the Roman Empire its ancient splendor. This was, to be sure, a political ambition and, in order to realize it, he needed the support of the Pope. But it would be inexact to say that his favorable attitude toward Rome had no other motive than a political one. The renovation of the Roman Empire proceeded side by side with the renewal of the ancient traditions, with the renaissance of ideas on the terrestrial monarchy as the mirror of the heavenly monarchy, of the Emperor as the representative of God, ideas which were those of Christian Hellenism. This renewal also served to put great stress on the Roman Idea, the ideological basis of the Empire.


After having destroyed the Gothic domination in Italy and the Vandal control in Africa, Justinian brought Rome and its Church back into the Empire. This was a situation which he wished to make permanent. He also felt it necessary to bring to an end for all time the rivalry existing between the two capitals of his Empire, Rome and Byzantium, and he wished to harmonize the old ideals of Christian Hellenism—which had





always inspired the faithful, particularly in the East—and the new religious and political currents which were showing themselves, especially in Rome, during the schism which had just come to an end.


It is in this perspective that we should look upon the attempts at politico-religious legislation initiated by Justinian. First of all, his classic definition of imperial power—the Basileia (Imperium) and of the spiritual power, the Sacerdotium, which he gave in his Novel VI, published on March 6, 535: [2]


The two greatest gifts which God in His infinite goodness has granted to men are the Sacerdotium and the Imperium. The priesthood takes care of divine interests and the empire of human interests of which it has supervision. Both powers emanate from the same principle and bring human life to its perfection. It is for this reason that the emperors have nothing closer to their hearts than the honor of priests because they pray continually to God for the emperors. When the clergy shows a proper spirit and devotes itself entirely to God, and the emperor governs the state which is entrusted to him, then a harmony results which is most profitable to the human race. So it is then that the true divine teachings and the honor of the clergy are the first among our preoccupations.



Even though Justinian here manifests his full acceptance of the ideas of Christian Hellenism such as they had been conceived by the first political philosophers at the time of Constantine, and even though he holds firmly to his right to look after the Church and after the maintenance of the “true divine teachings,” he nevertheless here makes a great concession to the priesthood in that he places it almost on the same level as the imperial power. The prestige of the priesthood had in fact grown during the crisis of the fifth century thanks to the courageous defense of its rights in the definition of the faith. We should remember the declaration of Gelasius on the relationship between the two powers. [3]


* * *





If Justinian wished to restore the Roman Empire he had to grant to Rome a place of honor in the Empire. The ancient city had to continue to be the center of Christendom as it had been one time the center of the Empire and the residence of the Emperor. It is this privilege of Rome which Justinian had in mind when he declared in his Novel IX of May, 535: [4]


The old city of Rome has the honor to be the mother of laws and no one can doubt that it is there that we find the summit of the sovereign pontificate. This is why we ourselves believed it necessary to honor this cradle of law, this source of the priesthood, by a special law of our sacred will.



Further, in his letter to Pope John II, the Emperor called the Church of Rome “caput omnium ecclesiarum.” [5] In his letter to the Patriarch Epiphanius, reproduced in the Constitution on the Trinity [6]—a very official document—the Emperor declared:


We have condemned Nestorius and Eutyches, prescribing that, in all things, the unity of the holy Churches with his Holiness the Pope and Patriarch of old Rome should be maintained . . . for we cannot tolerate the situation in which anything that concerns the ecclesiastical order should not be reported to His Holiness since he is the head of all the holy priests of God, and since, each time heretics have arisen in our midst, it is by a sentence and a true judgment of this venerable see that they have been condemned.



In the same climate of ideas we can cite a similar declaration, an even more categorical one, which is found in the Theodosian code. [7] It is the introduction to Novel XVII, issued by the Emperor Valentinian on July 8, 445 and on which Justinian probably depended. The Novel was directed against the pretensions of Hilary, Bishop of Arles, who without the permission of the Pope wished to extend his jurisdiction outside of his own proper diocese. There we read:


Since the Primacy of the Apostolic See has been confirmed by the merits of St. Peter, the Prince and the crown of the episcopacy,





by the dignity of the City of Rome, and also by the authority of the holy synods, no one should presume to attempt to do anything illicit outside of the authority of this see. For the peace of the churches will finally be preserved everywhere when the whole Church is subject to its supreme ruler.



These statements are authentic and important, and it is in this light that we must consider the famous declaration of Justinian in his Novel CXXXI. [8]


We decree, in accord with the decisions of the Council, that the most holy Pope of Ancient Rome is the first of all the hierarchs and that the holy bishop of Constantinople—the New Rome—occupies the second see, after the holy and apostolic see of Rome but with precedence over all other sees.



This statement should not, in any sense, be considered as unfavorable to Rome. Justinian wished to bring to an end the jealousy between the two sees and to stabilize the ecclesiastical order according to the ideology of the times. This could only be done by an act of imperial legislation.


It should be equally stressed here that Justinian had no intention of abandoning his imperial right in religious matters. It is equally true that this right, in principle, was not denied by any of the Popes. Here we only have to recall the letter of Pope John II to Justinian in which he approved of the edict of March 15, 533, on the theological proposition: one of the persons of the Trinity (unus Trinitatis) was crucified. [9] Pope Agapitus himself expressed his satisfaction on seeing the orthodoxy of the Emperor and his desire to lead all his subjects to the true faith; he nevertheless reminded the Emperor that the preaching of the faith was the duty of priests. [10] Pope Vigilius likewise, at the beginning of his pontificate, offered thanks to God that He had given to Justinian “not only an imperial soul but also a sacerdotal soul.” [11] Still, it was necessary for the Emperor to learn that the new currents which manifested themselves in politico-religious thought were much more





powerful than he believed and the priesthood was more determined than ever to defend its rights. His most important intrusion into the domain of theology was his condemnation of the “Three Chapters.” [12] Even though he was motivated in this condemnation by his desire of leading all his subjects to the true faith as it had been defined at Chalcedon, and even though this condemnation could be reconciled with Catholic doctrine, nevertheless this imperial action provoked a veritable storm in the Church. It was the Africans who protested most violently and Pope Vigilius was obliged to tell the Emperor that he was wrong. Justinian finally realized his error and in order to bring peace to men’s minds, he had to give satisfaction to the priesthood by convoking a fifth council. In his decree of convocation he thus defined the role of the priesthood and of the Imperium. [13]


Our orthodox and imperial ancestors, in order to combat each heresy when it arose, had the custom of making use of very zealous priests, united in council, and to preserve the peace of the Church by the proclamation of the true faith.



The acceptance of this decree of convocation by Pope Vigilius served to bring the affair to an end.


* * *


The new currents of thought which had appeared in politicoreligious speculation had left another mark on the Byzantine mentality. We have seen that the insistence of Rome in defending the principle of apostolicity in the life of the Church had made an impression upon the Orientals. This explains the origin of the idea according to which the direction of dogmatic and religious affairs should be put into the hands of the patriarchal sees whose bishops represented the Sacerdotium. Thus was born the idea of the Pentarchy, that is to say the direction of the Church by the five patriarchs.





It is expressed for the first time in the legislation of Justinian. On three occasions at least, the Emperor makes a clear allusion to five “archbishops and patriarchs,” directing them that they should make known his laws and measures to all the metropolitans of their dioceses and that they should see to it that they are strictly observed. [14] From this point of view Novel CIX is particularly important, for there the Emperor seems to combine the idea of the apostolic origin of the Church with the Pentarchy.


If we keep before our eyes the Novels in which the Emperor accords a preponderant place to the holder of the see of Rome, we might conclude from that, that the idea of the Pentarchy had not, at the beginning, any anti-Papal bearing. Its appearance is due to the influence exercised in the Church of the East by the growing prestige of the Sacerdotium and the idea of apostolicity. This idea would, much later, help the Orientals in their struggle to limit the imperial interventions in matters of faith. [15]


Historians have often criticised Justinian for his politico-religious ideas. However, as we have seen, his ideas on the relations of the Imperium and the Sacerdotium, as well as his ideas as to the place of Rome in the Church and in the Empire, were nothing but a logical deduction from a former development. Contrary to what has often been said, the two great religious centers, Rome and Constantinople, would have been able to find in Justinian’s ordinances, with relation to their place in Christendom, a solid foundation for a harmonious collaboration in the spirit of Christian Hellenism, softened somewhat by the progress which the prestige of the Sacerdotium and the idea of apostolicity had created in the Byzantine mentality.


* * *


Unfortunately, the work that Justinian set out to accomplish was frustrated by unforeseen political events.





The north of Italy was invaded by the Lombards, a Germanic tribe, and the flourishing provinces of Illyricum were ravaged by the invasions of the Avars, a people of Turkish race, and by the Slavs. Further, the Arabs had occupied Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Thus the Empire found itself reduced to Asia Minor, to Greece and the seaports of Thrace, Macedonia, Dalmatia and Italy.


Everyone is familiar with the theory of the celebrated Belgian historian Henri Pirenne, [16] according to which it was the occupation of the eastern provinces by the Arabs and their control of the sea-lanes linking the East and the West which provoked the rupture of economic and cultural relations between Byzantium and the West. His discovery caused a sensation in the scientific world when it was announced because it seemed to furnish an explanation of the crisis that civilization underwent at this time. But other historians have pointed to a number of weak points in this thesis and they have turned to other causes to explain the phenomenon. [17] Whether the theory is true or not, we should not forget one important factor which serves as a compliment to the thesis of Pirenne and, at the same time, will satisfy the critics. I mean the destruction of Illyricum by the Avars and the Slavs. [18] In the Roman and Byzantine period, the diocese of Illyricum comprised Pannonia, Dalmatia and all the other European provinces down to the Peloponnesus, with the exception of Thrace; its population was made up of Latins and Greeks, who in the ecclesiastical structure were under Roman jurisdiction. The invasions of the Avars destroyed this bridge which existed between the Latin and the Greek world and the occupation of a large part of Illyricum by the Slavic tribes blocked for centuries this path of communication between East and West.


At the same time the Byzantines found themselves forced because of the invasions of the Persians and the Arabs to concentrate their attention more and more on the East and on Asia Minor, the only preserves remaining to them for their economic life and their military support.





The inevitable consequence of this situation was that the Hellenistic and Eastern elements took a predominant position in the civilization and the religious life of the Byzantines. [19]


Besides, the invasions of the Germanic tribes in the western provinces of the Empire brought a foreign element into the very heart of Roman civilization. In Christianizing these new nations the Roman missionaries were forced to accept and to respect their national traditions, at least those that were not directly opposed to Christian principles but which, often, did not always correspond to Roman traditions. The new result was that Constantinople and Rome developed in quite different directions.


The separation which ensued could have been avoided if the bridge of Illyricum had not been destroyed. But the disappearance and the de-Christianization of the Latin provinces of Illyricum, their occupation by barbarian tribes and the loss of control of the Mediterranean sea by the Empire, all this made the mutual exchange of new ideas between the East and West almost totally impossible. It is among these facts that we must seek for the causes of the separation which arose between the East and the West at the beginning of this epoch and which, finally, proved fatal to Christendom.


* * *


This separation did not really make itself fully felt until the end of the seventh century and during the course of the eighth century. During this period, the ecclesiastical order which had been strengthened by Justinian continued to be respected. The reign of St. Gregory the Great (594-604) is particularly important in this regard. Even though he was not able to count upon the support of the Emperor Maurice (582-602) who carried on an inconclusive struggle against the Persians, the Avars, and the Slavs and although, in order to protect the rest of Italy against the Lombards, he had to act almost like a sovereign ruler, Gregory remained faithful to the





Emperor and continued to regard the Roman Empire as the political expression of the universality of the Church. Here is how he expressed his ideas on the relations between the Sacerdotium and the Imperium: [20] “In so far as it is possible for us to do so without sin, we will tolerate whatever is done by the Emperor if it is in accord with Canon Law.” Holding such convictions, it was altogether natural for him to announce to the Emperor the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons [21] and to ask his permission to send the pallium to Bishop Syagrius of Autun in order to satisfy the desire of the Frankish queen, Brunhilde. [22]


The relations between Rome and Byzantium were defined by Gregory in a letter which he sent to John, the Bishop of Syracuse: [23]


Whatever one may say about the see of Constantinople, can anyone doubt that it is submissive to the Apostolic See? This has always been recognized by the very pious Emperor and by our brother, the bishop of that city.



The Bishop of Constantinople to which Gregory here refers was John IV (the Faster, 582-595), and he was the occasion of a new incident which had already arisen during the pontificate of Pelagius II (579-590), [24] the predecessor of Gregory the Great. Pelagius had been scandalized on learning that John IV had taken upon himself the title of Ecumenical Patriarch. Gregory, [25] in turn, protested and it has been said that he introduced for the first time the papal title “Servus Servorum Dei,” to counterbalance the title the patriarch had assumed. [26]


The misgivings felt by Church historians at the use of such a title by the Patriarch of Constantinople is understandable and some of them even think that its use must be interpreted as a pretension to universal jurisdiction. In reality, it is nothing of the kind. This title had already been given in 449 to the Bishop of Alexandria, Dioscorus. [27] At the Council of Chalcedon, on many occasions, Pope Leo was honored by the same





title [28] and, both Pope Hormisdas and Pope Agapitus had likewise been saluted by the Oriental prelates as ecumenical patriarchs. [29]


At Constantinople, in fact, this title had been in use since the sixth century. It had been given to the Patriarch John II [30] as well as to his successors Epiphanius, Anthimus and Menas. [31] This is the title that is generally used by Justinian in his Novels and his decrees with regard to the patriarchs he mentions. If we compare the way in which Justinian uses this title with what he says in his decrees on the Pope and on the other patriarchs, we get the impression that the title merely expresses the supreme power of the patriarch within the limits of his own patriarchate. [32]


Hence it would seem that the implication which the patriarchs of Constantinople gave to this title was merely a simple application of the principle of accommodation. The title undoubtedly expressed nothing more than the supreme position which Constantinople occupied in the East, [33] and there is no need to see in it any intention of usurping jurisdiction over the universal church or of refusing to Rome the Primacy.


Besides, Gregory himself did not see in it any attack upon the primacy of his see. He mentioned in the letter which we have quoted above that John the Faster recognized that the see of Constantinople was submissive to the see of Rome. Further, John IV gave the Pope still another proof of his submission in allowing the priest, John of Chalcedon and the monk, Athanasius, to appeal from his tribunal to that of Rome and in sending along to the Pope all the documents concerned with their case. [34] Gregory actually gave a definitive decision in the case demanding that John should be re-established in his dignity because of his innocence and recommending mercy for the monk Athanasius out of consideration of his goodwill and his repentance.


Perhaps the objection raised by Gregory against the use of the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” is best found in the ascetical character of this great saint. It becomes clear from his letters





that he saw in it, above all, an expression of pride which detracted from the dignity of a priest. In his mind, only Jesus Christ is the universal Master and it is only the entire Church stretching over the whole of the world which can be called “ecumenical.” He had no intention but to offer his confrère of Constantinople a kind of admonition not to go too far in his pretensions in the East. It is significant to note that the Oriental patriarchs, [35] on this occasion, did not seem disturbed and they considered the use of this title by their Byzantine colleague either as an empty formula, or as an expression of the rights that had been accorded to Constantinople by the Council of Chalcedon.


All the same, the controversy had disturbed the minds of men and the Emperor Phocas (602-610), the successor of Maurice, felt it necessary to redefine the status of the sees of Rome and of Constantinople. In the Liber Pontificalis, [36] we read that Pope Boniface II (607), the second successor of St. Gregory, “obtained from the Emperor Phocas [confirmation] of the fact that the Apostolic See of the blessed Apostle Peter [that is to say, the Church of Rome] was indeed the head of all the churches, because the Church of Constantinople had said that it was the first of all the churches.”


This passage from the Liber Pontificalis is vague enough and its Latin is far from being Ciceronian. This edict of Phocas, however, contrary to what has often been implied in the manuals of ecclesiastical history, was merely a repetition of the decision of Justinian concerning the status of the two sees and a new confirmation of the Roman Primacy. [37]





1. On the religious politics of Justinian, see E. Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, 369-417, 623-90. On his relations with Pope Agapitus, to whom, in 536, he accorded the privilege of ordaining the new patriarch of Constantinople, see the study of





W. Ensslin, “Papst Agapet I. und Kaiser Justinian I.,” in Historisches Jahrbuch, 77 (1950), 459-66.


2. Edit. G. Kroll, Corpus iuris civilis. III, 35ff. On the relations of Justinian with the apostolic see of Rome, see especially, P. Batiffol, Cathedra Petri, 210-13, 249-319.


3. See p. 60, supra.


4. Kroll, op. cit., 91.


5. PL 66, 15; CW. Just., I, i, 8. Corp. iur. civ., vol. I, 11.


6. Cod. Just., 1,1,7.


7. Codex Theodosianus, Leges Novellae (Edit. T. Mommsen, P. M. Meyer, Berlin, 1905) vol. 2, 102. On Hilary, see E. Caspar, op. cit., I, 446ff. Valentinian tried to combine, in his Novel, the principle of apostolicity and the principle of accommodation.


8. Kroll, III, 655.


9. Cod. Just., I, i, 8; Corp. iur. civ., I, 10; see PL 66, 17ff.


10. PL 66, 37; Col. Avel. Epist. 91, 343.


11. Mansi, 9, 35.


12. For more information on this controversy see the fine study of E. Amann in DTC, vol. 15, 1868-1924.


13. Mansi, 9, 178ff.


14. Novel CIX, praefatio, Corp. iur. civ., III, 518. See also Novel CXXIII, 3, ibid., 597 and Novel VI, epilogus, ibid., 47.


15. Cf. ch. 6, infra.


16. Mohammed and Charlemagne (New York, 1939).


17. These criticisms have been gathered by A. F. Havighurst, in the symposium The Pirenne Thesis, Analysis, Criticism and Revision (Boston, 1958).


18. See my book The Slavs, Their Early History and Civilization (Boston, 1956), 42ff., 118ff.


19. Cf. F. Dvornik, “Quomodo incrementum influxus orientalis in imperio byzantino s. VII-IX dissensionem inter ecclesiam Romanam et Orientalem promoverit,” in Acta conventus Pragensis pro studiis orientalibus (Olomouc, 1930), 159-72.


20. Letter to the Deacon Anatolius, PL 77, 1167, Epistolae, II, ep. 47. Cf. H. E. Fischer, “Gregor der Grosse und Byzanz,” in Zeitschrift für Rechtsgeschichte, Kan. Abt., 36 (1950), 129-44.


21. Epistolae, XI, ep. 29; PL 77, 1142.


22. Epistolae, IX, ep. 11; PL 77, 952.


23. Epistolae, IX, ep. 12; PL 77, 957.





24. We know of this from the letters of Pope Gregory.


25. See his letter to John the Faster, to the Empress Constantina, to the Emperor Maurice and to the patriarchs, Eulogius of Alexandria and Anastasius of Antioch. Epistolae, V, epp. 18, 20, 21, 43; PL 77, 738, 745, 749, 771. Cf. Fischer, op. cit., 97-110.


26. This does not appear to correspond completely with the truth. Gregory had not invented this title and he had already used it when he was a simple monk and a deacon. See the detailed study of S. Vailhé, “Saint Grégoire le Grand et le titre de patriarche oecuménique,” in Échos d'Orient, II (1908), 65-69, 161-71.


27. Mansi, 6, 855.


28. Ibid., 1005, 1012, 1021, 1029. See The Idea of Apostolicity, 79-80.


29. Mansi, 8, 425, 895.


30. Ibid., 1038, 1042, 1058, 1059, 1066, 1067.


31. Cod. Just., lib. I. tit. 1, lex. 7 (Edit. Krueger, II, 8); lib. I, tit. 4, lex. 34 (Ibid. 47); Novels, 3, 5, 7, 16, 42, 55, 56, 77 (Edit. Schoell, Kroll), III, 18, 28, 35, 48, 115, 263, 308, 311, 312.


32. This impression is also confirmed from the letters of the Emperor Constantine IV (669-678) to Pope Bonus and to the patriarch George I in reference to the convocation of the sixth council. He uses the title “ecumenical” for both of them, and in his letter to the Pope he recognizes the apostolic character of his see (Mansi, II, 106, 197, 201).


33. On the use of this title for patriarchs, see Grumel, “Le titre de patriarche oecuménique sur les sceaux byzantins,” Revue des études grecques, 58 (1945), 212-218; V. Laurent, “Le titre de patriarche oecuménique et la signature patriarchale,” Rev. des études byzantines, 6 (1948), 5-26. On the controversy, see P. Batiffol, S. Grégoire le Grand (Paris, 1928), 204-211; S. Vailhé, “Constantinople,” in DHGE, 13, 643-45. See also E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, II, 366ff., 452ff.


34. Epistolae, VI, epp. 15-17, PL 77, 807ff.


35. This is seen clearly in the letters of the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria. PL 77, 882, 898.


36. Edit. Duchesne (Paris, 1886) I 316: “Hie obtinuit apud Focatem principem ut sedes apostolica beati Petri apostoli caput esset omnium ecclesiarum, quia ecclesia Constantinopolitana prima se omnium ecclesiarum scribebat.”





37. This is the sense that Humbert of Romans gave to this imperial decree in his presentation of subjects for discussion at the second council of Lyons (1274). Enumerating the cause of the Greek schism, he said: “Sed per Phocam imperatorem, procurante Bonifacio Papa, ordinatum fuit, quod Romana ecclesia, sicut erat, sic et diceretur caput omnium” (Mansi, 24, 125).









We have already seen that the arguments which the Popes drew from the apostolic and Petrine origin of their see had made a considerable impression upon the Orientals. This has led a number of scholars to think that the Byzantines, merely to counterbalance the prestige acquired by Rome from this prerogative, had imagined that the see of Byzantium was itself of apostolic origin. Thus, the see of Constantinople was supposed to have been founded by the apostle Andrew, the brother of Peter. And, as Andrew had been the first to be invited by the Lord to follow Him and since he had been the one to bring Peter to Christ, Andrew was therefore superior to Peter, and his successors at Byzantium should be likewise superior to the successors of Peter at Rome.


It has been thought that this legend of the apostolic origin of Byzantium must have been invented after the conclusion of the Schism of Acacius. It is found especially in the list of the Apostles and the disciples which is attributed to Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre. [1] According to the author of this list, Dorotheus had suffered persecution in the reign of Diocletian. He lived until the reign of Julian and died a martyr under Licinius.





The compilation includes also a declaration of Pope Agapitus made on the occasion of a visit to Constantinople in 525. It is there said that the Pope recognized the authenticity of the account according to which St. Andrew, going from Pontus into Greece, would have visited Byzantium and there ordained Stachys as its first bishop. The author then adds a list of twenty bishops who, according to him, succeeded Stachys in the see of Constantinople.


The fact is, that of all these bishops only the last one on the list, Metrophanes, a contemporary of Constantine, can be verified with any certitude. The voyage of Pope Agapitus to Constantinople in 525 is merely legendary. We do possess exact information about the visit which Agapitus made to Constantinople in 536 but the account of this visit which is contemporaneous [2] with him reveals absolutely nothing of that which is described in the legendary account. The author of this document knows nothing of any of the bishops who were thought to have succeeded Stachys. He only mentions the bishops who succeeded Metrophanes, using as his source for this the official list which he could consult in the archives of the Patriarch of Constantinople.


It is well known that the tradition of the voyage of Andrew from Pontus to Greece, his activity in Achaea and his death at Patras is considered legendary by a large number of specialists. Eusebius, the first historian of the Church and a contemporary of Constantine, who has passed on to us all that was known in his time of the activity of the apostles, places the apostolate of Andrew in Scythia, [3] here depending upon the authority of Origen. This is the only historical information which we possess as to the work of Andrew. From it we can only conclude that Andrew died in the country in which he carried on his mission, in Scythia. It is well known that there were numerous and flourishing Jewish colonies [4] in the cities of Crimea and along the shores of the sea of Azov and that the Jewish religious propaganda had been particularly fruitful among the pagans of these cities. This will perhaps explain why Andrew





had chosen this country for his mission. It is interesting, besides, to note that Syriac tradition knows nothing of Andrew’s activities outside of Scythia even at that time when it was believed in Greece that he had died at Patras. It is therefore quite possible, even likely, that a saint bearing the same, or a similar name, and buried at Patras, had been substituted for the Apostle Andrew. Since in the neighborhood of ancient Scythia there was a barbarian tribe called Achaioi, which the ancients had often considered as a colony founded by the Achaioi of Greece, it is possible that this circumstance helped in the substitution.


The account attributed to Dorotheus of Tyre is based upon the apocryphal Acts of Andrew. Very probably these Acts were composed at the end of the third century, in Achaea, by an intellectual Greek, an orthodox Christian but imbued with rigorist and neoplatonizing tendencies.


The original version of these Acts has not been preserved. In it, there must have been mention of Byzantium and of a visit there by the Apostle; otherwise the legend would never have been created. Fortunately for us, St. Gregory of Tours (538-594) provides us with a very valuable hint for the reconstitution of these Acts in their original version, because they constitute the principle source used by Gregory in his book on “the miracles of Andrew.” Describing the voyage of the Apostle from Pontus into Greece, Gregory mentions expressly, among the places visited by Andrew, not only Thrace but also Byzantium. [5]


* * *


Hence it was quite easy for the one who invented this legend to find an apparently authentic foundation for his discovery. All he had to add was an account of the ordination of Stachys, the “disciple” of Andrew. The name, Stachys, is found in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom., 16.9). We have long known how the lists of names of the disciples of Christ were established.





Since their names were quite unknown, selections were made from people mentioned in the letters of St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles and they were inserted into the lists. Thus it was that Stachys was promoted to the rank of the first bishop of Byzantium and that of a disciple of Andrew.


As to the origin of this legend, we find no trace of it before the end of the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century. [6] It is found for the first time in the list of the disciples of Our Lord attributed to Epiphanius of Cyprus, who died in 402. [7] But this list could not have been composed before the end of the seventh century.


Even though the legend was invented in order to pay honor to Byzantium, it was not generally accepted at this time. The author of the legend had certainly been impressed by the apostolic and Petrine arguments provided for the see of Rome. The idea that an apostolic origin for a see was of the highest importance and that the ecclesiastical organization had to respect it was actually very widespread in Byzantium in the seventh century. However, official circles there had found a much better base for the apostolicity of Constantinople. According to the ancient Syriac, Armenian and Coptic traditions [8] we know that the “apostolic“ character had been attributed to Byzantium for the reason that Byzantium had become the heir of the see of Ephesus, which had been founded by the Apostle John, when the diocese of Asia, administered by Ephesus, had passed under the jurisdiction of Constantinople. Even in the ninth century when the legend of Andrew had begun to spread its roots in official circles in Byzantium, the Patriarch Ignatius stressed that his see was of apostolic origin, deriving this character from the fact that his see was that of St. John and St. Andrew. [9] It was rather at the end of the eighth century or the beginning of the ninth that the catalogue of bishops from Stachys to Metrophanes was composed and it was inserted into the compilation of Pseudo-Dorotheus. After 811 there was added the list of the disciples of the Lord, based upon the list of the pseudo-Epiphanius. [10]





At least two lives of St. Andrew were composed at this time in which we find mention of the activity of Andrew in Byzantium. However this legend was not officially accepted until the tenth century for it was only then that there was instituted the feast of St. Stachys, first bishop of Byzantium. Thus it is clear that up to the tenth century this legend had never been utilized against the Primacy of Rome. We shall see later [11] the role which it played in the Greco-Latin controversies.


* * *


It is evident that the conception of the imperial power which had been enshrined in Christian Hellenism could become a great danger for the Church and could destroy the harmony which, according to Justinian, should exist between Sacerdotium and the Imperium. Thus it was that a new crisis was provoked by Heraclius (610-641). He was carrying on an inconclusive struggle against the Persians who had invaded the eastern provinces of the Empire and he believed that he had, at all costs, to win to himself the fidelity of the Monophysites of Syria and Egypt who could easily turn towards the Persians as their liberators. In his Ecthesis of 638, a dogmatic decree which declared that Our Lord, after the Incarnation had only one will (the Monothelite doctrine), he made an important concession to the Monophysites who admitted only one nature —the divine, in the Incarnate Christ.


The imperial decree, generally accepted at Byzantium, nevertheless set off intense opposition in the West. Alarmed by the violence of this opposition, the Emperor Constance II (641-668) replaced the decree of Heraclius by another, called the Typus, in which he forbade to the faithful any discussion of the problem of whether there were one or two wills in Christ. Pope Martin I (649-655), protested against this ban and, after having defined the Catholic doctrine on the two wills of Christ, condemned Monothelitism. Constance, suffering for a long time from a sense of injury inflicted by the Pope who had neglected





to await his approval at the time of his election, immediately undertook the duties of his office [as he conceived them], ordered the arrest of the Pope, brought him to Constantinople, and there condemned him as a traitor. The poor Pope died in exile, in Crimea. This brutal intervention of the part of the Emperor profoundly shocked the whole of Italy.


In truth, it must be said that at the beginning of this dogmatic quarrel when the patriarch Sergius, the promoter of Monothelitism, had asked advice of Pope Honorius I (625-638) on this doctrine, the Pope who, of course, professed the orthodox doctrine gave in his rather evasive reply the impression— which was false—that he was favorable to the thesis of Sergius. On the other hand, the attitude of his successors, John IV, Theodore and Martin, was much more resolute and they all condemned this doctrine.


There had been protests raised not only in the West, in particular in Africa [12] but also in the East, demanding that the popes should make use of the supreme authority which they held in the Church for the condemnation of heresies. We may cite especially Sergius, the head of the Church in Cyprus, in his address to Pope Theodore in 643. [13] He calls the see of Rome “the pillar constructed by God of unshakable solidity, the tablet whereon the faith is clearly written.” After having stressed the apostolic character of the Roman see he writes, “Yes, thou art Peter, as the divine Word has truly said, and upon your foundation the columns of the Church are supported.” Inviting the Pope to use the power of binding and loosing which Christ had granted to him, the Archbishop called the Pope “the Prince and Doctor of the orthodox and immaculate Faith.” No less expressive is the declaration of Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, who sent a messenger to Rome giving him orders as follows: [14] “Go, therefore to the Apostolic See where are found the foundations of orthodox doctrine.” At the Synod of 649 in Rome, his delegate, Stephen of Dora, made declarations which make abundantly clear the respect held in Palestine for the authority of the apostolic and





Roman see. He denounced the Monothelite heresy before “the higher and divine chair [of Peter] so that the wound may be entirely healed.” This see, he insisted, had made a practice of doing this “because of its apostolic and canonical authority.” Finally he called upon Peter to whom the Lord had confided the keys, who was, “the first, charged with feeding the flock of the entire Catholic Church,” and who was charged with the confirmation of his brethren. It is well known that St. Maximus was one of the most intrepid defenders of the orthodox doctrine. We find in his letters categorical statements on the supreme position of the see of Rome. This chair, he says, is the foundation of all the Christian churches of the world. This chair has received not only from Christ but also from the holy councils, “the power to issue commands to all the holy churches of God in the entire world.” He invited the Monothelites to betake themselves to Rome, to renounce their doctrine and to ask for pardon. [15]


* * *


Obviously these statements cannot be considered as the official voice of the Byzantine Church. However, even at Byzantium the situation was to become much clearer on the accession of the Emperor Constantine IV (668-685). After the brutal intervention of Constance II at Rome there had been other irritating incidents stirred up by the Emperor or by the imperial exarchs of Ravenna. Italy, exhausted by the penetration of the Lombards to the interior of the peninsula, lost, little by little, that very spirit of solidarity with the Empire which Justinian had tried to strengthen. Pope Agatho (678-681) assumed the role which had at one time been enjoyed by Leo the Great and in his dogmatic letters sent to the East, prepared for the convocation of the sixth ecumenical council (680-681).


When defining the faith the Fathers of the council extolled the merits of the Pope. In announcing to him the results of





their deliberations they declared that there was a need for very special remedies to cure dangerous maladies and


for this, Christ, our true God, the primordial force and the ruler of the whole of the universe has given us an eminent physician— your Holiness, honored by God, who can diagnose this illness and courageously provide the remedy of orthodoxy, thus bringing health to the universal Church. We now present to you that which must be done, to you who occupy the first see in the universal Church, to you who rest upon the firm rock of the faith. This we do after having read the letter outlining the true faith addressed by your paternal beatitude to the most pious Emperor, a letter which we recognize has been written with divine help by the highest authority there is among the apostles. [16]



Sometime later they added that they had condemned the heretical doctrines, “illuminated by the Holy Spirit and instructed by your teachings.” In their letter to the Emperor, they said: [17]


It was the chief, the first of the Apostles who fought beside us. We have, to fortify us, his disciple and successor who in his letters explained to us the mysteries of God. This ancient city of Rome has sent to us a confession written by God ... it is Peter who has spoken through Agatho.



These words are important but there is no need to exaggerate their weight. This very same council, at the same time as it condemned the Monothelites, condemned Pope Honorius, since the letters which Honorius had sent to Sergius had been wrongly interpreted as favorable to Monothehtism. It is interesting, also, to note that this condemnation was recognized even in Rome, and inserted in the profession of faith which the Pope recited and signed after his election. Of course, in Rome, no one attributed to Honorius the paternity of the condemned heresy. They merely censured his lack of vigilance. [18]


The peaceful climate which followed the conclusion of the Monothelite controversy was soon disturbed again by a very serious incident. Justinian II (685-695, 705-711) had convoked





another council in 692 which met in the same hall of the imperial palace called Trullos, and which proposed to complete the work of the two preceding councils by voting some disciplinary canons. Among the 102 canons voted by this assembly were found a number condemning certain liturgical uses in the Latin church. We see appearing here the sad beginnings of the estrangement of two Churches which, for the reasons mentioned above, began to make themselves felt. [19]


Besides, the attachment of Italy to the Empire also began to decline. Pope Sergius I (687-701) refused to accept the decisions of this council and when the Emperor attempted to have the Pope arrested and brought to Constantinople to be judged there, the Italian militia revolted and prevented the execution of the imperial order. The ambassador of the Emperor only owed his life to the personal intervention of the Pope. The successor of Sergius, John VI (701-705), had to intervene again and calm the militia when the Emperor Tiberius III sent an expedition to Rome to punish the rebels.


The incident only came to an end in 710. Pope Constantine I at the invitation of Justinian II came to Constantinople. According to the enthusiastic account of the Liber Pontificalis, [20] he was well received by the Emperor and the people. The incident was closed and it is said that on this occasion the Emperor had “renewed all the privileges of the Church.” These words are to be understood in the sense that Justinian II confirmed the privileged place occupied by Rome in the hierarchy, thus renewing the decrees of Phocas and Justinian I.


* * *


The controversy which arose over the subject of the veneration of the images of the saints is of the greatest importance for understanding the development of the idea of the Roman Primacy in the East. The condemnation of the veneration of images by Emperor Leo III was the last direct intervention of an Emperor into ecclesiastical affairs. The imperial order, which





was sent to Pope Gregory II in 726 demanding the acceptance of the decree under pain of deposition and severe punishment, opened a controversy which lasted for a long time and was particularly dangerous not only for the Sacerdotium but also for the Imperium.


Supported by Italy and all of the West, Gregory II sent to the Emperor a very courageous reply condemning the step that he had taken. Should the Emperor send a whole fleet, and, should his soldiers approach the walls of Rome itself, the Pope had only to take refuge in the country to be in perfect safety. The prestige of the Pope was very great, continued Gregory, not only in Italy but throughout the West.


The whole of the West turns to our humble person and although we are in a perilous situation, they have, nevertheless, great confidence in us and in him whose image you have threatened with deposition and degradation, the Holy Leader Peter, whom the kingdoms of the West continue to regard as God upon earth. [21]



This correspondence is most interesting from the point of view of politico-religious speculation. In the first letter the Pope, while refusing to obey the Emperor, lets it be clearly understood however that he is not giving up Christian Hellenism. He stresses the fact that the orders of the Emperor were always communicated to the nations which Rome had converted and that the Popes exhorted the new kings to remain faithful to the Emperor. This shows that the idea of a universal Church in a universal Empire had still remained alive in Rome.


When the Emperor took up the matter again, reminding the Pope that it was his right since he was “Emperor and priest,” [22] Gregory II did not deny the sacerdotal character that was attached to the imperial office. He admitted that this title had been rightly given to the emperors who in perfect accord with the priests had convoked the councils so that the true faith might there be defined, but it was Leo, himself, who had transgressed the decisions of the Fathers.





Dogma is not the business of the Emperors but of priests . . . just as the priest does not have the right to look into the affairs of the palace and to propose the distribution of imperial dignities, so also the Emperor does not have the right to supervise the Church and to judge the clergy, nor to consecrate and distribute the blessed sacraments . . . We invite you to be a true Emperor and priest. [23]



The defenders of the cult of images in the East found their only support in the papacy. It was quite natural for them to stress the apostolic and Petrine character of the see of Rome just as the Iconoclast emperors invoked the sacerdotal character of their office. On many occasions in his letters, St. Theodore of the Monastery of Stoudios, simply calls the Pope apostolicus. [24] This was the title which he was normally given at this time in the West. St. Theodore certainly had knowledge of this from the Greek monks and the Greek monasteries in Rome. [25]


Theodore acknowledged the right of the Emperor to convoke councils, according to ancient usage, but he insisted on the preponderant role which the Popes had enjoyed on the occasion of certain councils. [26] When a difficulty arose as to dogma and the Emperor did not think it useful to convoke a council, Theodore recommended that the affair should be brought to the Pope so that a decision might be given. At the same time, he attributed the apostolic character to all of the patriarchs, as well as to that of Constantinople, since they were all the successors of the Apostles. [27]


Another courageous defender of the cult of images, Stephen the Younger, in 760 rejected the Iconoclast Council of 754. Naturally, he mentioned the patriarchs who had likewise rejected it. Speaking of the Pope, he says “according to the prescriptions of the canons, religious matters cannot be defined without the participation of the Pope of Rome.” [28]


The most eloquent and the most telling testimony on the Primacy of the Pope is given to us by the intrepid defender of the cult of images, the Patriarch Nicephorus.





In his work in defense of the cult of images he exalts the importance of the decisions of the seventh ecumenical council when he says: [29]


This Synod possesses the highest authority. ... In fact it was held in the most legitimate and regular fashion conceivable, because according to the divine rules established from the beginning it was directed and presided over by that glorious portion of the Western Church, I mean by the Church of Ancient Rome. Without them [the Romans], no dogma discussed in the Church, even sanctioned in a preliminary fashion by the canons and ecclesiastical usages, can be considered to be approved, or abrogated; for they are the ones, in fact, who possess the principate of the priesthood and who owe this distinction to the leader of the Apostles.



Nicephorus also manifested a great respect for Pope Leo III in his synodical letter, sent after his election. After having expressed his orthodoxy in the faith, he insistently besought the Pope, [30] “so that by your decisions and your teachings we may remain firm in this faith, without failure or mixture of error.” The declarations made by the defenders of the cult of images and the confidence which they manifested in the bishops of Rome opened a new stage at Byzantium in the recognition of the Roman Primacy. But here again we must be careful not to go too far. Official circles in the Church of Byzantium remained ever faithful to their ancient traditions and were careful not to exceed them. This is made very clear in the Acts of the seventh ecumenical council which condemned Iconoclasm. Pope Hadrian (772-795) had addressed a letter to the Empress Irene and to her son, Constantine, which was read during the second session of the council. [31] It is very significant that many passages of this letter, which expressed very clearly the Primacy of the Roman see, are not to be found in the Greek version which was read before the Fathers of the council. In particular the citations of the promise of Our Lord to Peter (Matt., i6.i8ff.) were suppressed in the Greek version. All that remains is a brief allusion to these words of Our Lord.





Wherever the Pope mentions Peter as the founder of the see of Rome, the Greek version adds the name of Paul. The protest which the Pope made against the use of the title “ecumenical” by the patriarch of Constantinople was also suppressed as well as his remarks criticizing the elevation of Tarasius from the lay state to the patriarchate. The Greek translators likewise made some changes in the letter of the Pope to Tarasius, as was remarked by Anastatius Bibliothecarius in his translation of the Acts. However, the passage of Matt. 16.18 is found there. [32]


To be sure, this obviously does not mean that the Primacy of the Pope was denied in the Greek versions. There remain sufficient expressions which indicate this Primacy. The fact is, however, deserving of note, for it would seem to show that the Byzantines, although quite ready to recognize and to accept the principle of the primacy of the see of Rome, remained solicitous in preserving the autonomy of their Church, and found it difficult to accept the direct intervention of the Pope into their internal affairs. The addition of the name of Paul to that of Peter shows that the patriarchal chancery remained faithful to the ancient tradition which Rome had also recognized, and which it had followed up until the fourth century. [33] We shall see that in this matter the Byzantines did not accept the new Roman usage until the ninth century.


This solicitude of the Byzantines to preserve their autonomy should not be forgotten. It had already been manifested, as we have seen, on the occasion of the second ecumenical council. [34] And it prevented the Byzantines from coming closer to a Rome whose pretensions they did not always understand.





1. There is a critical edition by Th. Schermann in his book Prophetarum vitae fabulosae, indices apostolorum discipulorumque Domini (Leipzig, 1907), 151ff. See also, PG 92, 1060-1073.


2. This account is quoted in extenso by Baronius in his





Annales ecclesiastici, ad annum 536 (Edit. A. Pagi [Lucca, 1738-1759], nos. 59-63).


3. Eusebius, Hist. eccles., 3, 1; PG 20, 216.


4. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, 171.


5. Liber de miraculis beati Andreae apostoli, edited by M. Bonnet, in MGH, Scriptores rerum merovingicarum, I, 821-46.


6. I have examined this problem in all its details in The Idea of Apostolicity, 138-264.


7. Cf. Schermann, op. cit., 107-26.


8. For details, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 242-44. There exists a history of Armenia, written by the Catholicos John VI and some apochryphal canons of Nicaea which were used by the Nestorians and the Monophysites, and preserved in an Arabic version.


9. In the course of an interrogation by the Roman legates at the Synod of 861, Ignatius declared: “I am in possession of the see of the apostle, John, and Andrew, the first to be called an apostle.” Cf. Wolf v. Glanvell, Die Kanonessammlung des Kardinals Deusdedit (Paderborn, 1905), 603.


10. See The Idea of Apostolicity, 178-80.


11. Seep. 158, infra.


12. See the Acts of the African Synod of 646, Mansi, 10, 920-21.


13. Mansi, 10, 913.


14. Ibid., 893, 896.


15. See, especially, the letter he wrote to Rome, to the illustrious Peter (PG 91, 137-40, 144) and the Acta Maximi (PG 90, 153). Martin I is referred to as “The supreme and apostolic president of all the hierarchy, the true ecumenical leader,” in the letters of the monks Theodosius and Theodore of Gangrae (PG 90, 193, 197, 202). We should mention that St. Maximus stressed the fact that the supreme power which the bishop of Rome holds over the Church has been confirmed by the councils:


“[Apostolica sedes] quae ab ipso incarnato Dei verbo, sed et omnibus sanctis synodis, secundum sacros canones et terminos, universarum, quae in toto terrarum orbe sunt, sanctarum Dei ecclesiarum in omnibus et per omnia percepit et habet imperium, auctoritatem et potestatem ligandi atque solvendi” (Mansi, 10, 692).


While he was not unaware of the





fact that the source of this power was the Divine Word, he particularly insists on the confirmation by the synods. These words reveal the Byzantine mentality. This very insistence shows, perhaps, the way in which certain circles, at least, in Byzantium, interpreted the decisions of the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon and the decrees of Justinian (sacros terminos) concerning the first see. Even the patriarch, John, in addressing himself to Pope Constantine in 712, proclaims that the Pope is the head of the Church according to the canonical decrees (Mansi, 12, 196).


16. Mansi, II, 684, 685.


17. Mansi, II, 665.


18. This profession of faith is found in the Liber diurnus, a collection of formularies and prescriptions of the pontifical chancery. It was revised after the sixth council. It has been edited by H. Foerster, Liber diurnus romanorum pontificum (Berne, 1958), 155. This profession, with certain changes, remained in use in Rome until the eleventh century. See my remarks on it in The Fhotian Schism, Appendix I, 435-47.


19. On this progressive estrangement, see Congar, After Nine Hundred Years, 1-28.


20. Edit. L. Duchesne, I, 390-91.


21. The letters of Gregory II have been published by E. Caspar in his study, “Papst Gregor II. und der Bilderstreit,” in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 52 (1933), 72-89. See also his Gesch. des Papsttums (Tübingen, 1933), II, 646ff.


22. The same title is claimed by the Emperor Leo III in the introduction to the Ecloga, a book of civil law that he had published. Cf. I. Zeppos, Jus graeco-romanum (Athens, 1931), I, 12. The emperor there declares that the Lord has commanded him, “as he commanded Peter, the supreme chief of the apostles, to feed his faithful flock.”


23. St. Maximus the Confessor, in reply to a formal interrogation, emphasized the fact that the Emperor could not exercise priestly functions (PG 90, 1117).


24. See his letters to Pope Leo (PG 90, 1021-25), to Epiphanius (Ibid., 1209), to the patriarch Thomas of Jerusalem (Ibid., 1397), and to Naucratius (Ibid., 1281).





25. See what I have said on this title and on the Greek monasteries in Rome in Les légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, 295-300, esp. 286-90.


26. Cf. E. Werner, “Die Krise im Verhältnis von Staat und Kirche in Byzanz: Theodor von Studion,” in Aus der byzant. Arbeit der deutschen demokratischen Republik, I (1957), 127-33.


27. PG99, 1417-1420.


28. See the life of St. John the Younger, PG 100, 1144.


29. PG 100, 597A, 621D. The patriarch offered a ringing eulogy of Peter, the leader. In the passage cited the leaders meant are Peter and Paul. It would seem that Nicephorus was also trying to pay honor to the old tradition that Rome had forgotten, which attributed the foundation of the see of Rome to both Peter and Paul.


30. Ibid., 193-96.


31. Mansi, 12, 1056ff. Cf. G. Ostrogorsky, “Rom und Byzanz im Kampfe um die Bilderverehrung,” in Seminarium Kondakovianum, 6 (1933), 76ff.


32. Ibid., 1082. The Fathers could not help but subscribe to the affirmation of the Pope that the Church of Rome was the head of all the churches since that had been solidly confirmed by the councils. Doubtless, the veneration they all had for St. Peter was the reason why this passage was not altered. The Pope himself seems to attribute this supreme power to Peter, for he says: “For this reason, Peter himself, feeding the flock according to the command of the Lord, has always preserved and preserves the principate.”


33. See p. 43, supra. K. Onasch, “Der apostel Paulus in der byzantinischen Slaven Mission, ” in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 69 (1958), 212-21, sees in this addition a desire to replace the Primacy of St. Peter by a “consulate” of the two apostles, an interpretation which is surely exaggerated.


34. See pp. 46-47, supra.









The evolution which the idea of the Pentarchy underwent in the course of the eighth and ninth centuries deserves to be studied carefully. All the defenders of the cult of images shared this idea and Theodore of Stoudion expressed it very clearly in his letter to Leo the Sacellarius. [1]


We are not discussing worldly affairs. The right to judge them rests with the Emperor and the secular tribunal. But here it is question of divine and heavenly decisions and those are reserved only to him to whom the Word of God has said: “Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, will be bound in Heaven and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven” (Matt. 16.19). And who are the men to whom this order was given?—the Apostles and their successors. And who are their successors?—he who occupies the throne of Rome and is the first; the one who sits upon the throne of Constantinople and is the second; after them, those of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. That is the Pentarchic authority in the Church. It is to them that all decision belongs in divine dogmas. The Emperor and the secular authority have the duty to aid them and to confirm what they have decided.



It is interesting to notice that Theodore here attributes the apostolic character to all of the patriarchs, including Constantinople.





They are the successors of the Apostles. It is possible that the Emperor Constantine IV or his Chancery shared in this idea. In fact when, at the end of the eighth session of the sixth ecumenical council, he ordered the decisions of the council to be sent to the five patriarchs, he attributed the apostolic character to the patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople and Alexandria. [2] In his letter to Pope Agatho, [3] in which he announced the convocation of the council, he spoke of “the Catholic and apostolic churches,” no doubt having in view the five patriarchs.


Another outstanding partisan of the Pentarchic idea was the patriarch Nicephorus. In his defense of the cult of images, [4] after the passage in which he so clearly expressed the Primacy of Rome, the patriarch mentions that in addition to Rome, Constantinople and the three patriarchal and apostolic sees— apparently, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem—had equally condemned Iconoclasm. He then continued:


It is the ancient law of the Church that whatever uncertainties or controversies arise in the Church of God, they are resolved and defined by the ecumenical synods, with the assent and approbation of the bishops who hold the apostolic sees. [5]



It is well known that it was at the Ignatian Council of 869-870 that this Pentarchic idea was particularly developed. It will suffice here to cite the words by which the patrician Baanes, the representative of Basil I, defined this idea: [6]


God founded His Church on the five patriarchs and in the Gospels He defined that it could never completely fail because they are the chiefs of the Church. In effect Christ had said: “. . . and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her,” which means: if two of them should happen to fail, they will turn to the three others; if three of them happen to fail, they shall address themselves to two others; and if by chance, four of them come to failure, the last, who dwells in Christ Our God, the Chief of all, will restore again the rest of the body of the Church.





* * *


The idea of the Pentarchy has often been considered as being very dangerous for the Roman Primacy and in direct opposition to it, but this opinion is surely exaggerated. We must understand the problem from the Byzantine point of view. The Pentarchic idea was an expression of the universality of the Church. This universality was no longer represented by the universality of the Empire, which at this period was considerably reduced by the loss of the eastern provinces. Besides, the idea that the teaching of Our Lord should be defined and explained by the five patriarchs, each of them representing the bishops of his patriarchate, was aimed at safeguarding the rights of the Sacerdotium which the Imperium should never infringe. From this point of view the pentarchic idea represented great progress in the contest which the Sacerdotium had carried on for so long against the Imperium, since the latter continued to misunderstand the true spirit of Christian Hellenism and sought to usurp the rights of the Sacerdotium in matters of doctrine. It was a long struggle that the Eastern Church had to wage, and she was to suffer many defeats which happened, in particular, when a large part of the hierarchy rallied to the side of emperors who were in heresy. However, they were always able to make a recovery with the aid of the Church of the West, represented by the papacy.


We should also recognize that the Pentarchic idea did not at all suppose absolute equality among the patriarchs. The see of the ancient city of Rome was considered the first. This is always made sufficiently clear by those who remained faithfully attached to the principle. We may cite, for example, the Patriarch Nicephorus who, speaking of the condemnation of the Iconoclasts by the seventh ecumenical council, added: [7]


that the Iconoclasts have been rejected by the Catholic Church we know from the wise testimony and from the confirmation in the letters which were, a short time ago, sent by the most holy and blessed archbishop of ancient Rome, that is to say the first Apostolic See.





Furthermore, it is important to remember that the Pentarchic principle also expressed, according to the Byzantine mentality, the idea of the infallibility of the Church in matters of doctrine, a doctrine which the Orthodox church still professes today with firmness. Also, the Pentarchic principle offered a certain foundation for a modus vivendi between Rome and Constantinople which sufficed for those times. This principle, no doubt, found its partisans even in Rome, as can be seen from what the famous Anastasius Bibliothecarius said in the preface to his translation of the Acts of the Council of 869-870. He defines the Roman conception of the Pentarchy in the following manner: [8]


Just as Christ has placed in His body, that is to say, in His Church, a number of patriarchs equal to the number of the senses in the human body, the well being of the Church will not suffer as long as these sees are of the same will, just as the body will function properly as long as the five senses remain intact and healthy. And because, among them, the See of Rome has precedence, it can well be compared to the sense of sight which is certainly the first of the senses of the body, since it is the most vigilant and since it remains, more than any of the other senses, in communion with the whole body. [9]



If the Pentarchic idea had put down such deep roots in Byzantium in the course of the eighth and ninth centuries, we must see in that fact a sign that the Roman principle concerning the organization of the Church—the apostolic character of a see—had also gained considerable ground in Byzantium in its encounter with the principle of accommodation to the political organization of the Empire. The defeat of Iconoclasm in Byzantium was also the defeat of the traditional conception of the Imperium, and an occasion for the Church to defend ever more vigorously its rights in matters of doctrine, rights





for which She had so valiantly struggled. Further, this makes clear that the apostolic character of the see of Constantinople had been definitively accepted by the Orientals. Under such conditions it was quite natural that the legend which traced the apostolic origin of Byzantium to the Apostle Andrew and his alleged ordination of Stachys as his first bishop gained greater and greater acceptance in Constantinople.


* * *


It has been said that the legend as to the activity of Andrew in Byzantium had been created by Photius whom Western theologians have always considered as the bitter enemy of the Roman Primacy. [10] What we said above shows that Photius, surely, cannot be held to be the inventor of this tradition. But was he aware of it and did he make use of it in his conflict with Rome? This is an important matter for us to discuss. To be sure, the legend was known in his times. We have seen that the Patriarch Ignatius knew the two traditions: the one that attributed the apostolic character of the see of Byzantium to the fact that Constantinople had become the heir of Ephesus (founded by John the Evangelist) when the diocese of Asia was submitted to its jurisdiction, and the more recent tradition, which accepted the legend of Andrew as an historical fact. Photius, then, certainly had reason to know this legend. But did he make use of it?


Until very recently it was customary to attribute to him the authorship of a pamphlet entitled “Against Those Who Say That Rome is the First See.” [11] The legend about Andrew is one of the principle arguments which this work employs to refuse to Rome its privilege. Since Andrew was the first one Our Lord invited to follow Him, the see which he founded in Byzantium is superior to that of Rome. [12] If Photius had made use of an argument of that kind against the Roman Primacy, it would be reasonable to expect that traces of it should be found in his other authentic writings, especially since the author of





this pamphlet seems convinced of the validity of this argument and the tone he takes is combative and arrogant.


Photius could have made mention of it in his letter of enthronement of 856, or at least at the Synod of 867 which condemned the intervention of Pope Nicholas I in the internal affairs of the Byzantine Church, or finally in the account of the Council of 879-880 which reinstated him. If the followers of Photius had spread this legend in Bulgaria to make an impression on the Khagan Boris Michael, Pope Nicholas I would have learned of it from the missionaries who had followed them. In fact, we find no evidence at all of this. Neither Nicholas I nor his successor, Hadrian II, [13] had any knowledge of it. Photius did not use this argument in his letter to Boris Michael even though it would have served to enhance the prestige of his see.


On the contrary, if we look into another work of Photius, his Bibliotheca, we get from it the impression that he had no confidence in this legend. He seems to know nothing at all of the list of the bishops of Byzantium from Stachys to Metrophanes even though he cites two works, now no longer extant, where he could not help finding it mentioned: the history of the Church written by Gelasius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and a work entitled Politeia which recounts the lives of Metrophanes, of Alexander, his successor, and of Constantine the Great. [14] Photius had also read the apocryphal Acts of Andrew and those of the other Apostles. There, he could have found mention of a visit to Byzantium by Andrew, the same story that must have inspired the inventor of the ordination of Stachys by Andrew. But, quite on the contrary, Photius shows himself completely distrustful of these stories since he says that these writings are full of false and heretical information and he warns his readers to beware of them. [15]


The most decisive reason why Photius could neither have invented nor made use of this legend is the Typicon of Santa Sophia, a liturgical book which contains the feasts to be celebrated in that great cathedral of Constantinople as well as detailed liturgical descriptions. [16]





This Typicon is combined with a Synaxarion of Constantinople and it seems to have been revised and re-edited toward the end of the ninth century, almost certainly during the second patriarchate of Photius. [17] It is important to note that the feast of St. Andrew is indicated for the 30th of November in very brief fashion without any mention at all of Stachys nor of the visit of Andrew to Byzantium. The feast of Stachys is not found at all in this work. This must mean that during the second patriarchate of Photius (879-886) the legendary tradition of Andrew was not officially accepted in the Byzantine Church. If Photius ordered a revision of this Typicon and if he did not introduce the legend of Andrew into it, it is then quite clear that he did not himself believe in it, and that he could not have made use of it in his controversy with Rome.


All this seems to indicate that the legend was only accepted in Byzantium in the course of the tenth century. The re-edition of the life of Andrew by the famous hagiographer Symeon Metaphrastes [18] served to popularize this legend and thus it was introduced, at the same time that the feast of Stachys was instituted, into the liturgical books of the tenth century. [19] In general, these liturgical books found their material for the feast of Stachys (celebrated on the 30th of June), and for Andrew, in the account of Pseudo-Dorotheus.


This should dispose of for good, the attribution to Photius of the pamphlet mentioned above. In the ninth century the legend of Andrew could not yet have enjoyed a role such as that described in this pamphlet.


* * *


What then, really was the attitude of Photius as to the Roman Primacy? Must he really be regarded as its relentless enemy? Recent studies show that on this matter there must be a radical change of view. First of all, we must keep in mind that the bishops whom Ignatius judged on canonical reasons





—Gregory Asbestas of Syracuse, Zacharias, the Metropolitan of Chalcedon and Theophilus, the Bishop of Amorium—had appealed to Rome on the basis of the canon of Sardica (343) which authorized such an appeal. These bishops belonged to the group supporting Photius. This fact is significant since it shows that his supporters were not so hostile to Rome as has often been said.


Appeals from Byzantium to Rome were indeed rare enough. We recall, of course, the famous appeals of St. John Chrysostom and of St. Flavian but there, doctrinal questions were involved. Appeals to Rome on such matters had been quite numerous. [20] As for other types of cases, we know of the appeal of Stephen of Larissa in Illyricum whose election had been annulled by Epiphanius, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Pope received this appeal and convoked a Synod which decided in favor of Stephen. [21] Unfortunately the Acts of this Synod are not extant. It should be said, nevertheless, that in this case, Illyricum was really a part of the Roman Patriarchate. Hence, it was altogether natural that an appeal should be made to Rome against the intervention of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Much more interesting is the case of the priest, John of Chalcedon and of the monk, Athanasius, who appealed to Pope Gregory the Great with the authorization of their superior, the Patriarch John IV of Constantinople. [22]


It has been said that the Patriarch Ignatius appealed to Pope Nicholas I against the “usurpation” of Photius, but recent discoveries have shown that Ignatius did not make an appeal and this is proved by his own categorical declaration at the Synod of Constantinople in 861: “Ego non appellavi Romam, nec appello.” [23] The appeal made to Rome by the monk Theognostus in 863, allegedly in the name of Ignatius, was therefore, false. Nevertheless the fact is of some importance because it shows that at Byzantium, in the ninth century, it was accepted that an appeal to Rome in disciplinary questions was a distinct possibility.


All of this explains the statements made by the Fathers of the





Synod of 861 which met to judge the case of Ignatius. At this Synod, the pontifical legates, Rodoald, Bishop of Porto, and Zachary, Bishop of Anagni, kept insisting that they were acting in accord with the canons of the Synod of Sardica which granted to the Pope the right to judge another bishop. Even if Ignatius had not appealed, one fact is significant, namely, that the Byzantine Church granted to the representatives of the Pope the right to judge its former Patriarch in a disciplinary matter. That the legates had not received from the Pope the authority to pronounce a definitive judgment in his name, is of little importance. What is of importance is that the Pope and the Byzantine Church gave the legates the right to examine the case.


In this connection the statement of the legates and the Byzantine bishops in the course of the second session of the Synod is very significant: “We believe, Brethren, that the fundamental reason why we wish to re-examine this case is that the Fathers of the Council of Sardica decided that the Bishop of Rome had the power to reopen the case of any bishop.” Theodore, Bishop of Laodicea, replied to them in the name of the Church of Constantinople: “This is a source of pleasure to our Church; we have no objection to it and we find it in no way offensive.” These words are important because they show that in 861 the Church of Constantinople had finally accepted the canons of Sardica which, up until that time, they had declined to observe. [24] Photius was the promoter of this Synod and Bishop Theodore was his spokesman. Unfortunately, this Synod was rejected in 863 by Pope Nicholas I and its Acts were destroyed by order of the council of 869-870. However, these Acts were in the archives of the Lateran and there they were discovered in the eleventh century by Cardinal Deusdedit. Recognizing the importance of these admissions of the Roman Primacy, the Cardinal inserted some extracts from them in his canonical collection. He was, unfortunately, the only one to recognize their importance. Other canonists of the times of Gregory VII, who had access to the pontifical





archives, contented themselves with copying some extracts from the Council of 869-870 which had condemned Photius and which, ten years later, was declared invalid. They did not realize that this council developed the Pentarchic idea which they rejected. Therefore, without realizing it, they bore the primary responsibility for the origin and development of what we can call the “legend of Photius.” We can imagine what would have happened if the canonists of the Middle Ages had known of the Acts of the Synod of 861. They would have certainly exploited them in their arguments in favor of the Primacy of the see of Rome over the entire Church.


* * *


On the other hand, Photius is criticized by Western theologians who accuse him of having altered the wording of the letters which Pope John VIII sent to him, to the Emperor and to the Fathers, before the Council of 879-880 which was to rehabilitate him. It is true that the Patriarchal Chancery suppressed in these letters everything that could throw a false light on the case of Photius. But these changes had been made with the consent of the legates who were convinced that the case of Photius, his “usurpation” (he had been canonically elected), his deposition (the great majority of the clergy considered this deposition as unjust and had remained faithful to him), and his other activities had been portrayed by his enemies in Rome in an altogether false light. At this period, communications [25] between Rome and Constantinople were extremely difficult and, to save the prestige of the Holy See, the legates decided to accept the facts as they were, and not to prolong the incident by a new consultation with Rome, hoping to be able to explain their action later to Pope John VIII. They could have been almost certain that the Pope would approve their step, for they became aware at Constantinople of certain things that John VIII did not know and which considerably changed the whole aspect of the Photian problem.





They had learned that Photius and Ignatius were reconciled before the latter became ill, that Photius himself had made use of his own competence in medical matters to ease the sufferings of his one-time adversary, and that the whole initiative for the convocation of the council, at which they were the representatives of the Holy See, had been stimulated not only by Photius and the Emperor but also by Ignatius himself. If Ignatius had still been alive at the time of their arrival in Constantinople everything would have been different and the Photian legend would probably never have been born. Further, the legates also learned that Photius himself had solemnly canonized Ignatius after his death. [26] All this contributed to convince them that the information which they had gotten in Rome on this whole matter was quite incomplete. Once they were on the spot, they realized that their information had come from the relatively few but intensely bitter enemies of Photius.


The legates could well have been satisfied on the matter of the rights of Rome and its Primacy when they saw the important passage which affirmed the Roman Primacy that was to be found and in fact was stressed in the Greek version of the letters of the Pope. Here is the passage in question. The letter is from the Pope to the Emperor: [27]


Since it has seemed desirable to us to bring peace to the Church of God, we have sent our legates so that they might execute our will, even though, in your charity, you have already anticipated us, in reinstating Photius. We accept this action, which was done not by our own authority, even though we have the power to do it, but in obedience to the apostolic teachings. Since in fact we have received the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven from the High Priest, Jesus Christ, by the intermediary of the first of the Apostles to whom the Lord said: “I will give unto you the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; everything which you will bind upon earth will be found to be bound in Heaven and everything which you will loose upon earth, will be found to be loosed in Heaven”; therefore, this apostolic throne has the power to bind and to loose, [28] and according to the words of Jeremiah, to uproot and to plant.





This is why, by the authority of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, we announce to you in union with the whole Church and through you as intermediary, we announce to our dear confreres and concelebrants, the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and to the other bishops and priests and to all the Church of Constantinople, that we are in agreement with you, or rather in agreement with God, and that we consent to your request. . . . Accept this man without any hesitation.



These words are clear. The fact that this passage of the Latin text was retained in the Greek version and in fact underlined by the addition of the words of Jeremiah (Jer. 1. 10) is very revealing of the attitude maintained by Photius and his Chancery with regard to the Roman Primacy. This famous passage of Jeremiah had been applied, in 866, by Nicholas I to the Emperor Michael: [29] “Behold, today I give thee authority over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root them up and pull them down, to overthrow and lay them in ruins, to build them up and plant them anew.” It is more than merely probable that Photius and his Chancery knew this letter and the passage in question had not escaped their attention. This gives a particular interest to the addition of the passage in the Greek version of the letter of John VIII and to its application to the Pope. [30] It is extremely regrettable that this source has been, up to the present time, completely forgotten by historians and modern theologians. [31] But it was one of the great canonists of the Middle Ages, Ivo of Chartres, [32] who recognized its importance and inserted it in his canonical collection. He and the other medieval canonists made use of it as an important argument to prove that the Pope, by reason of the plenitude of power which he possessed, had the power to annul any sentence whatever.


The presence of this passage in the Greek version of the pontifical letters is by no means an isolated case. At the beginning of this very same letter, Photius placed another quotation from the Gospel, which is considered as a Scriptural argument in favor of the Primacy (John, 21.17).





This portion of the Greek version is longer than it is in the original. After having emphasized the respect for Rome which the Emperor had shown in sending an embassy to the Pope in the affair of Photius, the Patriarch said to the Pope: [33]


We may well ask who is the Master who has taught you to act in this fashion?—surely, above all, it is Peter, the leader of the Apostles whom the Lord has placed at the head of all the churches, when He said to him: “Feed my sheep” (John, 21.17). Nor is it only Peter, but also the holy Synods and constitutions. And besides, it was the holy and orthodox decrees established by the Fathers, as is clear from your divine and holy letters.



Likewise, in a letter addressed by the Pope to the Oriental patriarchs and to the Church of Constantinople, [34] the author of the Greek version has retained the passage from Luke, 22.32, which is frequently quoted among the Scriptural arguments in favor of the Roman Primacy: “I have prayed for thee that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, strengthen thy brethren.” Here we may add that Photius always speaks of Peter with the greatest respect, calling him the Chief and the Leader of the Apostles. [35] It is not at all surprising that the Greek version of this correspondence omitted mention of the request which the Pope had made, namely, that Photius should ask pardon before the Fathers of the Council. When the Pope wrote his letter, he was still under the influence of the information supplied to Rome and the West by the enemies of Photius. But Photius and his clergy considered his deposition and the persecution he had suffered as a grave injustice and they had good reason to think so. The legates had no difficulty whatever in agreeing to this omission once they were on the spot in Byzantium and had come to understand the true situation.


One other detail should be emphasized here. We have seen [36] that every time that Peter was mentioned as the founder of the see of Rome in a letter of the Pope to the Empress, the Chancery of Tarasius had always added the name of Paul.





It is interesting to note that Photius, on the contrary, did no such thing. This shows quite well that he and his contemporaries had accepted the tradition that was followed at Rome since the fourth century and which attributed the foundation of the Roman see to Peter alone. There we may well see a new rapprochement of the Byzantine mentality and Roman ideas.


* * *


It has often been said that it was in 867, on the occasion of the Oriental Synod which condemned Pope Nicholas I, that Photius denied the Primacy to Rome and transferred it to Byzantium. It is unfortunate that the Acts of this Synod have been destroyed, so much so that it is almost impossible to know the exact manner in which the events took place. It is difficult to say, for example, how and in what fashion Nicholas I was really condemned. Still it is interesting to note that the homily pronounced by Photius at the very end of the Synod, —probably the only official document that has been preserved, [37] contains no attack against Rome, against the papacy, against the person of Nicholas I, nor against the Church of the West. The fact is that the Synod condemned the “errors” spread by the Roman missionaries in Bulgaria, errors which Photius had enumerated in his encyclical letter to the Oriental patriarchs, [38] and in which the Pope was accused of having “invaded” the Bulgarian territory claimed by Byzantium, and of not respecting the autonomy of the Byzantine Church by condemning its patriarch who had been canonically elected.


Was there really a formal excommunication? It is not easy to see how this would have been at all in keeping with the traditional practice of the Church. A rupture of relations, joined to the condemnation mentioned above, would surely have been regarded as an exclusion from all communion with the other churches. In any case, even if a formal condemnation had taken place, it was not directed against Rome nor against





the papacy as such, but simply against the person of a Pope. A similar case, much more serious since it was concerned with matters of doctrine, had already occurred in the case of Pope Honorius. [39] Obviously, this condemnation, although much more serious, had been directed against the person of Pope Honorius and not against the institution which he represented.


From another source [40] we learn the Emperor Michael III and his consort Basil had sent a copy of the Acts of the Synod of 867 to the Emperor of the West, Louis II. They offered to recognize his imperial title if he would depose Nicholas I by accepting the Acts of the Synod containing the reasons for the condemnation.


This account is very important for the conclusion that we may draw from it. For, if the Emperors had wished to gain the favor of Louis II, the Acts of the Synod could not possibly have contained a condemnation of the Western Church, nor any denial of the Roman Primacy as such. That is to say, it could not have contained a formal attack against the papacy nor any transfer of the Primacy from Rome to Constantinople. This would have been completely unacceptable to Louis II and the very Westerners whose support was sought.


* * *


There is another matter that is no less important. When we study the relations between Rome and Byzantium we must always keep in mind that the Byzantines regarded their Empire as a continuation of the Roman Empire and that they called themselves Romaioi, Romans. Therefore it would have been impossible for them to degrade Rome, in placing the Bishop of Rome in the second place after that of Constantinople. Rome remained the first Capital, the foundation of their Empire, and the Bishop of Rome must always remain the first. A transfer of the Primacy to any other place than Rome would have been unthinkable.





We are well aware how solicitous the Byzantines were to keep alive the idea of a universal Christian Empire which had at its head a Roman Emperor residing in the New Rome, Constantinople. Thus, the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in 800 appeared in the eyes of the Byzantines as an expression of a revolt against the legitimate Emperor and Charlemagne was considered as a usurper. The war which followed this “usurpation” did not end until 812 when the Byzantine ambassadors acclaimed Charlemagne as Emperor at Aix-la-Chapelle. The Byzantines interpreted this gesture in the sense that Charlemagne was recognized as co-Emperor ruling over the Western part of the Roman Empire. Thus they saved the idea of the universal Empire having its supreme Emperor in the New Rome. [41]


It is most important here to keep in mind that the idea of the unity of the Roman Empire was still very much alive in Byzantium in 867. The offer made to Louis II to recognize officially his imperial title was a new step which was intended to make clear and to confirm this unity. We have good reason to think that Photius himself propagated this idea. If we read his Bibliotheca we see clearly the extent to which the learned patriarch was imbued with the ideas of the classical period which he knew and admired so much. [42] He was the guardian of the ancient traditions of Byzantium. This allows us to believe that the Acts, a copy of which had been sent to Louis II, could not have been in the slightest degree, offensive to a Westerner, nor could they have contained an attack on the Roman Primacy or a condemnation of the usages of the Latin Church. In fact, this would have been the worst possible method for gaining the sympathy of Louis II or trying to persuade him to depose Pope Nicholas I, with whom, incidentally —and Byzantium was quite well aware of this—he had not always been on the best of terms.


The affair of Photius has been considered down to very recent times as the most disastrous for any agreement as to the Roman Primacy in Byzantium.





But actually, it was concluded with the full agreement of Byzantium and Rome. The rehabilitation of Photius was accepted by Pope John VIII. Photius renounced all jurisdiction over Bulgaria, doubtless on the condition that the Greek clergy would not be expelled; the Emperor Basil I provided military support for the Pope in his struggle against the Arabs and even though he had been urged by Leo VI to abdicate and to cede his place to the brother of the Emperor Stephen, Photius, who had retired to a monastery, died in communion with Rome.


Without any doubt it is during the patriarchate of Photius that we can find important documents to support the Roman Primacy, as it was conceived and accepted in Byzantium. Now, by a tragic irony of history, these documents remained unknown, and they were destroyed at the very moment when the disagreement took place, and thus Photius was “promoted” to the role of bitter adversary of the Roman Primacy. [43]


There is one other point that should not be forgotten and which is equally linked to the history of Photius. We know that the Emperor Basil wished to replace the Ecloga, the manual of Byzantine law which the Iconoclast Emperor Leo III had introduced, by another collection destined for official use. The two commissions named by the Emperor presented to Basil two manuals, the Procheiron and the Epanagogé. The latter is particularly interesting because it is an illustration of the position which the Sacerdotium had acquired in Byzantium after the victory over Iconoclasm. The second and third paragraphs of the introduction to this manual define the respective rights and duties of the Emperor and the Patriarch in the religious domain.


According to this document, the Emperor “should in the first place defend and promote everything that is written in Sacred Scripture, as well as all the dogmas that are approved by the holy Synods; he should also follow the Roman laws.” It is evident that the author of this text sought to limit the powers





of the Emperor in the ecclesiastical domain and to prevent his intervention in doctrinal questions. Without doubt, he had in mind the last intervention, that of the Iconoclast Emperors.


Paragraph 3 also defines the rights of the patriarch: “The patriarch is the only one capable of interpreting the rules of the ancient patriarchs, the prescriptions of the Holy Fathers and the decisions of the Holy Synods.” The exclusive rights of the Sacerdotium in doctrinal matters are expressed there more clearly and more strongly perhaps than they had ever been in the past.


There are reasons to believe that it was Photius who inspired the formulation of these two paragraphs. He wished to bring to an end the conflicts which opposed the Imperium and the Sacerdotium in the ecclesiastical domain and to define once and for all the rights of the church in doctrinal matters. The period of religious struggles should come to a definitive end with the triumph of the Church. All the defenders of the rights of the Church against imperial interventions were to be called upon, and we are reminded of their courage in the struggles against the Monothelites and the Iconoclasts.


However, the Epanagogé did not become the official manual of Byzantine law, [44] since the Emperor chose the Procheiron. Why did he do this? We can imagine that he was fearful of too radical a limitation of his rights. It is also possible that the Byzantine episcopate did not wish to see so great an extension of the privilege of the patriarch which restricted to him alone the right to interpret dogma. According to the Byzantine custom, such a right belonged to the bishops united in council. In spite of this, the Epanagogé still continued to be used in private, and many authors of juridical works inserted some titles from it in their manuals. [45]


Thus came to an end this long period in Byzantine history which was characterized by doctrinal controversies. A new era opened up in the relations between the Imperium and the Sacerdotium, and the personality of Photius largely contributed to bring this about.







1. PG 99, 1417C, letter 129; cf. also 1420. St. Maximus the Confessor was quite favorable to the Pentarchy (Epistula ad Joannem Cubicularium, PG 90, 464; Disputatio cum Pyrrho, ibid., 91, 352).


2. Mansi, II, 681ff.


3. Ibid., 200C.


4. PG 100, 597BC.


5. The patriarch also tried to reconcile the idea of apostolicity and the principle of accommodation to the civil structure of the Empire. After stressing the apostolic origin of the see of Rome, he has this to say of Constantinople: “She is the New Rome, the first and the most eminent of the cities of our country, a distinction which comes to her from the imperial majesty.”


6. Mansi, 16, 140-41.


7. Published by A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus in his Analecta de la glanure de Jerusalem (in Greek) (St. Petersburg, 5 vols., 189198), i, 454-60. This passage has also been utilized by Zonaras to prove that Rome was, indeed, the first see and that the Primacy had not been transferred from Rome to Constantinople by Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon; see p. 148, infra. V. Grumel, in his study, “Quelques témoignages byzantins sur la primauté romaine, “in Échos d'Orient, 30 (1931, 422-30) also cites a passage of a work of Nicephorus, Apologeticus minor pro imaginibus (PG 100, 841 CD) as proof of the Primacy. However, this is not a very significant passage.


8. Mansi, 16, 7.


9. It was not until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that the idea of the Pentarchy became an anti-papal weapon. On the history of this idea, cf. Hergenröther, Photius (Regensburg, 1869), 2, 132ff.; 3, 766; M. Jugie, Theologia dogmatica (Paris, 1931), 4, 451-63; R. Vancourt, “Patriarcats,” DTC 11, 2269-77; D. H. Marot, “Note sur la pentarchie,” in Irenikon, 32 (1959), 436-42.


10. Quite recently, F. Dölger did so in his study: “Rom in der Gedankenwelt der Byzantiner,” in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 56 (1937), 40-42,





re-edited in his book Byzanz und die europäische Staatenwelt (Speyer, 1953), 112ff.


11. Re-edited by M. Gordillo, “Photius et primatus romanus,” in Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 6 (1940), 5ff. The work is translated into Latin in M. Jugie, Theologia dogmatic a christ. orient. (Paris, 1926), I, 131ff.


12. “If Rome claims the Primacy because of the leader [Peter], Byzantium is really the first see because of Andrew, who was the first one called [to be an apostle], and because of this seniority, he occupied the episcopal chair of Byzantium some years before his brother came to Rome.”


13. Not a trace of this legend is to be found in the letters of Pope Nicholas I, in those of his successor, Hadrian II, nor, indeed, in the controversies of Ratramnus of Corbie and Aeneas of Paris, which were written at the invitation of Pope Nicholas after he had received the report of the Latin missionaries. For more details, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 248-53.


14. Bibliotheca, codex 88, 256; PG 103, 289ff.; ibid., 104, 105-20.


15. Ibid., codex 114; PG 103, 389.


16. A. Dimitrijevskij, Opisanie liturgič. rukopisej. Typica (Kiev, 1895), I, 27. There is a new edition by Juan Mateos, “Le Typicon de la Grande Église,” in Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 165-66 (Rome, 1962-63), 165, p. 116.


17. Cf. A. Baumstark, “Das Typicon der Patmos-Handschrift 266,” in Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft, 6 (1926), 98-111. Juan Mateos, op. cit., vol. 165, in his introduction to the edition (p. xff.), has shown that Baumstark’s argument has some weak points. However, he is willing to admit that codex 266 of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian on the island of Patmos was written at the end of the ninth century, or the beginning of the tenth, at the latest. The script is the minuscule in use in Byzantium in the ninth and tenth centuries. The feast of St. Andrew is described in exactly the same fashion in all the known manuscripts. See p. 111, infra, what is there said about the canonization of Ignatius by Photius, himself.


18. Published in the Menaia (Venice, 1843), 235ff. re-edited in the Menaion of November (Athens, 1926), 318-25.


19. H. Delahaye, Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, AA. SS. Propylaea, Novembris (Bruxelles, 1902), 265ff.





20. On cases of recourse to Rome, see Batiffol, Cathedra Petri, 2i5ff., and P. Bernadakis, “Les appels au pape dans l’Église grecque jusqu’à Photius,” in Échos d'Orient, 6 (1903), 30-42, 118-25, 249-57.


21. Cf. G. Bardy, “Boniface II,” in DHGE (Paris, 1937), 9, 897. For more details, see L. Duchesne, Autonomies ecclésiastiques, Églises séparées (Paris, 1896), 245-60.


22. See p. 80, supra.


23. See the edition of the Acts of the synod of 861 by W. v. Glanvell, Die Kanonessammlung des Kardinals Deusdedit (Paderborn, 1905), 607.


24. This is the way in which we must understand what Photius said in his letter to Nicholas I (PG 102. 600, 601, 604). What he had in mind was the canon which forbade the elevation of laymen to the episcopacy. Cf. the letters of Nicholas to Photius (MGH, Epistolae, VI, 450, 537, 538). In the first letter of 862, Nicholas mentioned only Canon XIII of the Synod of Sardica (Mansi, 3, 27), which forbade the elevation of laymen to high ecclesiastical posts. In his letter of 866 (MGH, VI, 537-38), he insists on that same canon, but he also has in mind Canon III (Mansi, 3, 23), since he makes mention of the appeal to the Pope, against the judgment of the patriarch, made by bishops Zachary and Gregory of Syracuse. The Pope was right when he said that the canons of Sardica were to be found in the Greek canonical collection of John the Scholastic, in the sixth century (Synagoga 50 titulorum, published by V. Beneševič [Munich, 1937] 63, canon III), but that Canon XIII was not there. The fact that Canon III was included in the Greek canonical collection explains why the Patriarch, Ignatius, could not ignore the appeal made by the bishops he had condemned. This also explains the attitude of the Byzantine bishops at Sardica. To be sure, they were not inclined to go quite as far as the legates in the interpretation of Canon III but, nevertheless, they realized they were obliged to accept it.


25. Cf. what I have said on this topic in The Photian Schism (Paris, 1950), p. 139.


26. Our information on the reconciliation of Photius with Ignatius and on the canonization of Ignatius by Photius come to us from an anti-Photianist, in a document which I found, quite by chance,





in a manuscript of Mt. Sinai (Sinait. gr. 482 1117, fol. 364v, lines 32, 36-38). For more details, see F. Dvornik, The Patriarch Photius in the Light of Recent Research (Munich, 1958), 20, 35, 39, 56. This document, which is another version of the Synodicon Vetus, published by J. Pappe in J. A. Fabricius—G. C. Harles, Bibliotheca Graeca (Hamburg, 1809), vol. 12, will be published by Dumbarton Oaks. There exists another manuscript containing the same information.


The feast of Ignatius was placed in the Typicon, re-edited during the second patriarchate of Photius, on October 22. It is quite possible that the mosaic showing a portrait of Ignatius, which was recently discovered in Santa Sophia, was done under the aegis of Photius. It was reproduced for the first time by C. Mango, in his “Material for the Study of the Mosaics in St. Sophia in Istanbul,” in Dumbarton Oaks Studies, 8 (1962), 61ff. table 62.


27. Mansi, 17, 400. There is no mention of Jeremiah in the original Latin version.


28. The Greek version cites Matt., 16, 19. The passage should be interpreted as being addressed directly to Peter, who is thus invested with universal jurisdiction. We are aware that Matt., 16, 18, was often interpreted in the East, as referring to the faith of Peter (on this rock), and not to his person. Cf. F. Dvornik, The Photian Schism, p. 187.


29. MGH, Epistolae, VI, 509. PL 109. 1042.


30. This passage is found in the Mass Pro Confessore Summo Pontifice.


31. Even the editors of the letters of Photius in the MGH have omitted this phrase (cf. Epistolae, VII, 167ff.).


32. Decretum, PL 161, 56ff.


33. Mansi, 17, 396D; MGH, Epp. VII, 167


34. Mansi, 17, 452; MGH Epp. VII, 177.


35. See also what he says of St. Peter in his homilies. Cf. C. Mango, The Homilies of Photius (Cambridge, Mass., 1958), 50: “Foundation of the Church, bearer of the keys of heaven”; p. 59; “Bearer of the keys of heaven”; p. 312: “Bearer of the keys of heaven, foundation and rock of the faith.” Cf. also, Th. Spačil, op. cit., 38-41.


36. See p. 97, supra.





37. This has been shown by C. Mango, The Homilies of Photius, 296ff.


38. PG 102, 732ff.


39. See p. 92, supra.


40. Nicetas, Vita Ignatii, PG 105, 537; Mansi, 16,417. Cf. F. Dölger, Byzanz und die europäische Staatenwelt (Ettal, 1953), 313ff.


41. Cf. Dölger, op. cit., 282ff. On Charlemagne, his ideas and his relations with Byzantium, see my book The Making of Central and Eastern Europe (London, 1949), 1-7, 41-47. The problem of the coronation of Charlemagne and the role played by Leo III on that occasion, as well as the reaction of the Byzantines to this “revolutionary” action, have been studied recently by W. Ohnesorge in “Das Kaisertum der Eirene und die Kaiserkrönung Karls des Grossen,” Saeculum, 14 (1963) 221-47.


42. See my paper “Patriarch Photius, Scholar and Statesman,” in Classical Folia, 13 (1959), 3-18; 14 (1960), 3-22.


43. It is equally regrettable that the Ignatian Synod of 869-870 which condemned Photius is still counted as the eighth among the ecumenical councils by Western canonists. The Orientals considered that this council had been suppressed by the Synod of Union of 879-880, and they recognize no more than seven ecumenical councils. They hold it against the Westerners for refusing them this small concession, in view of the fact that it had been shown that the council had only been added to the first seven councils by the reforming canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. See Dvornik, The Schism of Photius, 433.


44. Contrary to what Congar thinks in Conscience ecclésiologique, 210.


45. For more details, see The Idea of Apostolicity, 271-75.









Great hopes were entertained in Byzantium that the Council of Union of 879-880 was going to open a period of good relations between Byzantium and Rome. The understanding that had been arrived at between the two Churches seemed to have been sealed for all time—at least that was what was thought at the time—by the first canon of this Synod [1] and by the proclamation made in the course of the fourth session which declared that each Church should preserve its own customs and maintain its own rights. [2] This appeared to be a solid base for good relations between the two Churches.


The matter was of great importance, for the two Churches —as we pointed out in our introduction [3]—had not been accustomed to follow the same usage in matter of canonical legislation. The Byzantines were content with the so-called “apostolic canons” and the decisions of the ecumenical councils and certain local Synods which they complemented by the imperial ordinances in religious matters. In the West, in the beginning of the sixth century they began to add to the conciliar canons the decretals of the Pope, without any concern





for imperial legislation. [4] In any discussion of the validity of the canons of Sardica in the affair of Ignatius and of Photius, we must keep in mind the complications which arose from the differences of acceptance and interpretation of certain canons.


The canon of the Council of Union and the declarations made during the fourth session kept these differences clearly in view. Tolerance of divergent practices and usages was required if new conflicts between the two Churches were to be avoided in the future. Unfortunately, this tolerance was not practiced by either side.


The story of the fourth marriage of the Emperor Leo VI, which the Church of the East considered as illicit, shows that the right of appeal to the Pope continued to be admitted and practiced in Byzantium. The Emperor Leo VI to whom the Patriarch Nicholas the Mystic had refused permission for this fourth marriage had turned toward Rome and toward the other patriarchs asking them if such a marriage would be permissible. Pope Sergius III (904-911) sanctioned the marriage even though it was to result in an internal schism in the Byzantine Church. This appeal of Leo VI can, quite properly, be regarded as an appeal to Rome in a disciplinary matter. [5]


It is true that in 920 when Nicholas the Mystic, after having been reinstated in his office by the Regent and co-Emperor Romanus I (920-944), convoked a local Synod, the fourth marriage was condemned by him in the presence of the legates of Pope John X. But this incident itself at least shows that the two Churches were always on good terms. This also appears in 933, when John XI, at the request of Romanus II (959-963), sent legates to Constantinople to sanction the elevation of Theophylactus, the son of the Emperor, to the patriarchal throne even though he was then only sixteen years of age. These two incidents show that the papacy had become dependent on the Byzantine emperors because of the disastrous conditions which obtained in Italy as a result of the deterioration of the Carolingian empire, the protector of Rome, and





because of the intrigues of the Roman nobility who made and unmade Popes at will.


This situation changed in 962 when Otto I became Emperor and restored the idea of a Roman Empire of the West; from then on he acquired a direct influence over the election of the Popes. This was a sign that the new nations of the West, who had never lived under the direct government of ancient Rome and to whom the idea of a universal empire governed by a Roman Emperor resident in New Rome was completely strange, began to assert their part in the government of the Christian world. [6]


An incident that took place in 968 shows how little these newcomers understood the idea of a universal empire in which Byzantium believed so strongly. That year, Otto I sent a Lombard who knew Greek, Liutprand of Cremona, to the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, to ask of him the hand of the Byzantine Princess for his son, the future Emperor. Pope John XII, recommending the ambassador to the Emperor, called Nicephorus “Emperor of the Greeks.” He could have hardly offered a more striking insult to the Byzantines who thought of themselves as Romans. The report that Liutprand [7] made on his mission also shows how little the new nations understood the Byzantine mentality.


However, this incident was closed in 972 when the Emperor John Tzimisces (969-976) consented to the marriage of his niece, Theophano, to Otto II. His son, Otto III, who had been raised by his Greek mother, seemed as if he would bring about a new stage in the relations between East and West. A Byzantine Princess, who was to marry Otto III, was already on her way to Rome when suddenly the news arrived of the death of the young emperor (1002). [8]


* * *


During the pontificate of the Germanic Popes who had been installed by the Ottos and by Henry II, some innovations that





were strange to the Byzantines were introduced in Rome. The most important was the introduction of the Filioque which was officially inserted into the Nicene Creed. [9] It appears that Pope Sergius IV (1009-1012) had sent to Byzantium, with the customary synodical letter on taking possession of the Papal throne, his profession of faith containing the Filioque. Naturally, this resulted in a refusal on the part of the Patriarch Sergius II and the name of the Pope was not inscribed in the Byzantine diptychs, the list of the names of those to be commemorated during divine service. It is possible that it was from this moment that the Byzantines discontinued their ancient practice of inscribing the names of the Roman patriarchs in their diptychs. This incident was later regarded by some as the beginning of the schism. Nicetas of Nicaea who in the eleventh century wrote a treatise on the Greek schism, speaks of a rupture which took place under Pope Sergius, but he admits that he was not aware of the reason for it. [10]


Nevertheless this incident was neither the denial of the Roman Primacy on the part of Byzantium nor, to tell the truth, the beginning of a schism. To be sure, since the end of the tenth century the two Churches had not had many points of contact but they were still not enemies. However, the estrangement of the two worlds continued to grow. Less and less did the Westerners understand the Byzantine concept of a universal Christian Empire and in the West, the idea that only the Emperor crowned by the Pope in Rome was the true successor of the Caesars began to receive general acceptance. The existence of a Roman Emperor in Constantinople had all but faded from memory.


In spite of all this, Byzantium remained close to Rome, as long as she still had possessions in the south of Italy, in spite of her refusal or her incapacity to defend them. As long as there existed in South Italy this bridge between Byzantium and the West, it was still possible that contacts between Constantinople and Rome could become more frequent and more cordial. Unfortunately, this bridge was suddenly broken down





by the conquest of the Byzantine territory in Italy by the Normans. [11] This event was to have consequences more disastrous for the relations between the East and the West than the destruction of the bridge of Illyricum by the Avars and the Slavs in the sixth century.


* * *


One other circumstance was destined to bear an even greater responsibility for the separation which grew between the two Churches. This was the profound transformation which took place in Western Christendom as a result of the introduction of certain Germanic customs into ecclesiastical organization. The Germanic conception of real property was fundamentally different from that of the Romans and the Greeks. Being incapable of conceiving the possibility that an institution could become the owner of land or of real estate, the Germanic nations continued to regard the man who had built it, as the only owner of real property or of a building. The application of this idea to ecclesiastical institutions was the cause of a revolutionary development in the Western Church. Thus it was that the bishops lost the administrative control of churches which they had not themselves constructed. The founders considered the churches built at their expense as their own property and they arrogated to themselves the right of naming the priests who were to be charged with their administration.


This system of privately owned churches (Eigenkirchen) was also applied in France to abbeys and bishoprics. When it was joined to the feudal system, it permitted the kings of the Ottonian dynasty to transform the church of Germany into a “Church of the Empire” (Reichskirche), totally under the control of the King and the Emperor.


As a consequence of this state of affairs, Western Christendom became, in the eleventh century, a collection of autonomous and national churches, over which the princes, as “kings and priests,” not only claimed administration but also ownership.





As a result, the central power, the papacy, the very backbone of the Church, found itself deprived of its prerogatives. [12] The abuses which resulted therefrom—simony, lay investiture, a married clergy—were responsible for the deterioration of the Church of the West in the tenth and eleventh centuries.


This provoked a reaction. Unfortunately this reaction—a reform movement—did not begin at Rome, the center of Christendom, but in the confines of France and the Empire, in Lorraine and in Burgundy, where the intervention of the Emperor or the King was not normally to be expected. [13] The reformers saw no other remedy than the restoration of the power and influence of the papacy as a means of freeing the Church from the stifling influence of the lay power. The principle was fundamentally good. As an antidote to the lay ownership of churches, the reformers invoked the ancient principle of Roman law according to which a moral person had the capacity to possess land and real property.


Unfortunately, these reformers were totally unaware of the peculiar situation of the Eastern churches and they naturally wished to extend everywhere the direct right of intervention of the papacy—even in the East where the churches had enjoyed a good deal of autonomy in running their internal affairs according to their own custom. In wishing to extend celibacy of the clergy which they were enforcing in the West, they forgot the practice of the East that priests were married. They also forgot that there were no churches under lay ownership in the East and that no reform was necessary in this matter. In preaching obedience to Rome and in enforcing observance of Roman customs they took no account whatever of the fact that the East had different customs and different rites.


An incident that took place in 1024 shows us well the danger for relations between the two Churches which could arise from the ignorance of the Byzantine mentality in reforming circles. Raoul Glaber, a Benedictine monk who spent some time in various monasteries, especially at Dijon under Abbot William and at Cluny under Abbot St. Odilo, reports in his





chronicle that the reformers were very much disturbed when they learned “that the Byzantines wished, without any justification, to obtain Roman recognition of their supremacy.” That is the way he entitled the chapter in which he told the story. [14] It is altogether probable that this is the way in which the reformers interpreted the intention of the Byzantines. However, even according to Glaber, the matter was not quite as scandalous as people wished to believe it was. According to him:


Around the year of Our Lord 1024, the Patriarch of Constantinople as well as the Emperor Basil and some other Greeks, decided to obtain from the Roman Pontiff authorization for the Church of Constantinople to be called “universal” in all parts of the territory which came under it, the same as the Church of Rome was considered in the entire world.



What are we to make of this piece of information? It is altogether likely that the Emperor Basil II (976-1025) had approached Pope John XIX (1024-1032), with a view to putting an end to the long controversy on the relative position of the two sees in the hierarchy of the Church. At this time, he was at the very summit of his power. After having stopped the advance of the Turks in Asia Minor and subdued Bulgaria, he dreamed of reconquering Sicily which was in the hands of the Arabs and of extending his influence over central Italy. In the accomplishment of this plan, an alliance with the Pope could not but have been advantageous. Basically, it was only a question of reissuing the ordinances of Justinian II, of Phocas and of Justinian I. If we may believe Raoul Glaber himself, the Greeks were ready to recognize the supreme power of the Roman see over the whole Church and even over Constantinople. But the intervention of the reformers—the Abbot William had addressed to the Pope a rather stiff letter—seems to have intimidated the Pope, for whom, incidentally, Glaber did not have a very high opinion. As a result, this last attempt at agreement was to be a failure.





* * *


After the election of Pope Leo IX (1049-1054), the nephew of Emperor Henry III, and quite favorable to reform, the Reform Movement took root also in Rome. The Pope had brought along with him to Rome some of the most zealous reformers, notably Humbert whom he named a Cardinal and Frederick of Lorraine who became Chancellor of the Roman Church. The Romans extended their activities over South Italy into the Byzantine territory where were found both Greek and Latin communities. Taking their stand on the privileges granted by the Donation of Constantine [15]—this forged document had become one of the most “decisive arguments for the extension of papal power—the Pope tried to extend his direct influence over the whole of Italy. He also laid claim to Sicily, a territory considered to be Byzantine although occupied by the Arabs and he appointed an archbishop there. He convoked a Synod at Siponto in 1050 where a great number of decrees were voted with a view to furthering the reform. Some of these decrees were directed against Greek liturgical usages which had been established in Italy. The reforming clergy, thereupon, launched into an active campaign in all of the provinces, including Apulia, which was a Byzantine area.


The Greeks began to be disturbed. The Patriarch Michael Cerularius (1043-1058), [16] an ambitious and haughty man, who had little love for Latins, reacted with counter measures. Since it seemed that the Latins intended to replace the Greek liturgy by the Latin rite in Italy, he gave orders that all the Latin establishments in Constantinople must adopt the Greek rite under penalty of being closed. Aiming at the Greeks in Apulia, he ordered Leo, the Archbishop of Ochrida, to compose a treatise defending the Greek rite and putting the blame on Latin usage.


Leo sent his famous letter [17] to the Latin bishop of Trani, in Byzantine territory, in which he criticized Latin practices and





in particular the use of unleavened bread in the Sacrifice of the Mass. It is interesting to note that he made no mention of the Filioque. This letter was circulated at the worst possible moment. It served to increase the anti-Latin grievances in Apulia at a time when, because of the advance of the Normans who threatened both papal and Byzantine territory, a military and political alliance between the Pope and Byzantium was absolutely necessary. In order to win over the Latin population, the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1059), appointed as governor of the Byzantine territory a Latin named Argyrus who engineered a pact with the Pope directed against the Normans. [18] This caused the animosity of the Patriarch to grow still stronger because Argyrus was his personal enemy. Unfortunately, the papal and Byzantine armies were defeated by the Normans in June, 1053 and the Pope was taken prisoner.


Meantime, Humbert, at the request of the Pope, had composed a letter of reply to Leo of Ochrida, a long treatise full of abusive criticism against Greek usages. This treatise was not directed to Constantinople because, in the interval, the Emperor had sent a new embassy to conclude an anti-Norman alliance and he persuaded the Patriarch to address a friendly letter to the Pope. The Pope then decided to send Humbert, Frederick of Lorraine and Peter of Amalfi as legates to Constantinople. Humbert prepared a second reply to the attacks of Leo. This one was shorter but in the circumstances, it was still extremely undiplomatic. He tried to include in it everything that he had said in his former treatise and the Patriarch could not help but be offended because the Cardinal expressed doubts as to the legitimacy of his election, doubts which had no justification whatever. Humbert was annoyed also at the use of the title “ecumenical” which, he said, violated the rights of Alexandria and of Antioch who had precedence over Constantinople because of their direct connection with the Apostle Peter. He further said that this title was a usurpation of the right which belonged to Rome, the Mother of all the sees.





Once again, then, the Petrine argument was launched against the see of Constantinople.


The patriarch, who had been expecting a friendly letter in reply to his own, which had been short and polite, was surprised and suspected machinations on the part of his enemy Argyrus. He was offended by the attitude of Humbert whom he considered to be arrogant and he refused to continue the negotiations with the legates, declaring that they were not sent by the Pope at all but by Argyrus.


In reply, Humbert took the offensive, trusting, no doubt, in the assistance of the Emperor and probably encouraged by Argyrus in an attempt to depose the Patriarch. He published the first, very long letter which was translated into Greek as a sort of pamphlet against the Patriarch. In another dispute with the Monk Nicetas Stethatos, who had written a treatise in defense of the Greek usages attacked by the Cardinal, Humbert was the one to bring up the question of Filioque. His reply to the criticism of Latin usage which the Greek monk had discussed was impassioned and offensive. [19] The Emperor, however, who was most anxious to bring about an agreement with the Pope, forced Nicetas to repudiate his writings and to humble himself before Humbert.


The principles of the reformers became clear to the Byzantines for the first time in the pamphlets and letters of Humbert. Up to that time they had not realized the changes that had taken place in the mentality of the Roman Church. In all frankness, they simply did not understand them. If we consider the development that had taken place in Byzantine thinking with regard to the papacy and its position in the Church, we see that the extension of the absolute and direct authority of the Pope over all the bishops and the faithful such as it was preached by the reformers was, to the Byzantine mind, nothing less than a complete denial of the tradition with which they had been familiar. This extension would lead to the abolition of the autonomy of their churches. The liturgical uses of Byzantium were considered at least suspect, if not condemned outright.





This is why the argument, which Humbert drew from the Donation of Constantine to support his view, was unacceptable to the Byzantines.


What they did find particularly offensive was the mode of behavior of the legates, so much so that far from turning them against the patriarchs as Humbert had hoped, the whole of the Byzantine clergy closed ranks around their leader. What Humbert had to say to them was much too new for them and his criticism of Greek usages offended their patriotic sentiments. Humbert lost all patience and even though he knew that the Pope had died, he composed his famous letter of excommunication against the Patriarch, laid it on the altar of Santa Sophia and departed from Constantinople.


The bull of excommunication composed by Humbert shows very clearly how far the mentality of the Roman Church had changed under the influence of the reformers and how little understanding they had of the Eastern Church and its customs. Humbert thought that he discovered in the East the roots of all the great heresies and he accused them of simony while, as a matter of fact, it was only in the West that simony was rampant. He condemned their married clergy, their beards and their long hair, and he accused the Byzantines of having suppressed the Filioque from the Nicene Creed, thereby showing his ignorance of the history of the Church. [20] The contents of the bull were found to be profoundly shocking not only by the Patriarch but also by the Emperor. The tumult that ensued among the people obliged the Emperor to abandon his efforts at peacemaking and to convoke the permanent Synod. This Synod condemned the bull, a copy of it was burned in public, and the Synod excommunicated the legates whom they said had been sent by Argyrus.


Thus it was that the embassy which was to have concluded an alliance between Byzantium and the papacy ended in this tragic rupture. The legates, especially Humbert, were gravely responsible. However, the correspondence between Michael





Cerularius and Peter, Patriarch of Antioch, also show us that Cerularius should bear some of the blame. At the same time this correspondence makes clear how far the separation between Byzantium and Rome had progressed, and we can also see that Cerularius had some inaccurate and preconceived ideas on the Roman Church and its practices. [21]


* * *


However, just as Cerularius had not been turned against the Pope and against the Latin Church as such and since the legates had excommunicated only the Patriarch and his supporters, it is not proper to say that the Roman Primacy had been rejected by Byzantium and that the schism was already in existence between the two Churches. New negotiations were broached during the pontificates of Victor II, Stephen IX and, in 1072, Alexander II, but the Norman question made these negotiations and any possible agreement extremely difficult.


At the invitation of Alexander II, St. Peter Damian composed a treatise on the errors of the Greeks, [22] which he dedicated to a patriarch—it is difficult to know which patriarch he had in mind—who had asked the Latins to explain their doctrine according to which the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. In this treatise Damian expresses his pleasure that the patriarch had sought information not from just anybody, but directly from St. Peter. He identified the Pope with the apostle “to whom God himself has deigned to unveil these secrets.” After quoting the famous passage of Matt. 16 he continued:


The Creator of the world has chosen him before all other mortals on earth and has granted to him, in virtue of a perpetual privilege, the Chair of the Supreme Magisterium, so that any man who desires to know something that is profoundly divine, should turn toward the oracle and the doctrine of this teacher.





Damian went on to explain in irenic fashion the Catholic doctrine on the Filioque.


This definition of the Primacy of the Pope could have been accepted by the Greeks. St. Peter was always venerated in the Byzantine Church and they accorded him very great respect, [23] and his successors at Rome were always considered as the first masters in doctrinal matters. Although the approach made by the patriarch and the reply of Damian do not seem to have had any tangible results, the incident shows at least that it was always possible, even after 1054, to discuss in calm and friendly fashion the differences which existed between the two churches.


Curiously, it seems that at the outset of the negotiations broached by the Emperor Michael VII with Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) they were of a nature to bring about a rapprochement between the two churches. The Byzantine Empire was then in great danger after the disaster of Manzikert. The Turks occupied a great part of Asia Minor and they threatened the eastern part of the empire. These difficulties caused the Emperor to turn to the Pope for military aid, in return for a promise of a renewal of friendly contacts with Rome.


The Pope replied in a cordial letter in which he expressed his satisfaction at this gesture. He planned to raise an army to come to the aid of Constantinople and to accompany it in person. Unfortunately, the appeal that Gregory made to the princes— it was also addressed to the Emperor Henry IV—failed to win any support for granting assistance to Constantinople. [24] Soon after, the violent opposition which Henry IV raised against the new papal ideology of the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal power forced the Pope to seek aid and protection from the Normans, the bitter enemies of Byzantium. The only result of this alliance of the Pope with the Normans was to put a definitive end to the possibility of agreement with Byzantium, and the memory of Gregory VII was always particularly hated by the Byzantines, if we are to believe what Anna Comnena said of him. [25] In general, we may well doubt whether Gregory would have been any happier in his relations





with Byzantium than had been Leo IX. We only have to read his Dictatus Papae [26] to see the enormous distance which, from then on, separated East and West, since by now, the ideas of the reformers had been completely developed and they were applied to the relations of the Sacerdotium and the Imperium. We also get the impression that Gregory, in composing this document, also had in mind certain pretensions of Byzantium. The declaration that the title “universal” belonged exclusively to the Pope seemed to indicate this fact. The same is clear from the fact that the name of the Pope was to be the only one mentioned everywhere in the liturgy and that the title “Papa” was uniquely reserved to the Bishop of Rome. Likewise it was the Pope alone who should confirm the decisions of all Synods. Naturally there were many objections to these demands among the Byzantines. It was impossible for the Byzantines to grant the Pope the power of deposing an Emperor, of freeing his subjects from the obedience which was due to him even if he were failing in his duty; it was equally impossible for them to grant the Pope the right to wear the insignia of the Emperor and to oblige kings to salute him by kissing his feet.


The document issued by Gregory which proclaimed the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal power destroyed the last vestiges of Christian Hellenism which had remained in the West. The Roman Church now professed a new political ideology, very different from that which had existed up to this time in the East, and there was little chance that a compromise would ever emerge between these two ideologies.


It seems that even then the Byzantines did not fully understand how profound a change had taken place. For example, the Metropolitan of Kiev, John II (1080-1089), [27] sent a letter to the Anti-Pope Clement III which seems to indicate that he still believed in the possibility of agreement between Rome and Byzantium. The Metropolitan manifested a very friendly attitude to Rome and the Primacy did not seem to bother him as much as certain other “abuses” which he observed in the Latin Church, notably the Filioque.





He exhorted Clement III to enter into contact with the Patriarch of Constantinople and to work for the suppression of these “abuses.”


* * *


The alliance between Gregory VII and the Normans obliged the Emperor Alexis Comnenus (1081-1118) to turn to Henry IV [28] and toward his anti-Pope. The latter had already entered into contact with Constantinople when the successor of Gregory VII, Urban II, sent legates to the Emperor. The Emperor, at this juncture probably considering that Henry IV could not be very much use to him, opened negotiations with Urban II. He hoped that the Pope would be able to hold back the Normans from Byzantium.


We learn of all this from the Acts of the Synod which was convoked by the Emperor in 1089. [29] The Emperor who presided declared that the Pope was ready to establish harmony between Rome and Byzantium but he was said to be annoyed that the names of the Pope had been suppressed in the diptychs of Constantinople. He also asked if there had been any canonical decision authorizing the rupture with Rome. The prelates declared that there had been no such document, but since important differences existed in the customs of the two Churches they felt it necessary that these should be removed before the name of the Pope could be inscribed in the diptychs.


It was then that the Patriarch Nicholas III ( 1084-1111 ) asked the Pope to send, as a beginning, his profession of faith to Constantinople, since that had happened each time a new Pope had addressed to Constantinople his letter of enthronement. If this profession of faith was satisfactory his name would then be inscribed in the diptychs. In that case, a Synod would meet at Constantinople eighteen months later where, in the presence of the Pope and his envoys, they would discuss the differences which existed between the two Churches.


It seems fairly clear that the Pope was quite ready to go to





Constantinople and that the Norman Prince Roger Guiscard encouraged him in this intention. [30] Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient information to be able to decide if the Pope really sent the letter which the Patriarch asked for and if his name was inscribed in the diptychs.


Two documents of the same period show us the difficulties which barred the road to a renewal of more cordial contact. One is a letter of Basil, the Metropolitan of Reggio in Calabria. He had had to leave his see, being expelled by the Normans when he refused, after the conquest, to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the Pope. Before the convocation of the Synod by the Patriarch, Basil had been sent to the Pope and he met Urban II at the Synod of Melfi where he had a rather painful interview with him. His letter, full of bitterness, was addressed to Nicholas III at the end of 1089 and it is full of accusations against the Pope, the Normans, and the Latins in general. [31] This letter reveals to us the sentiments of the Greeks whom the Normans had forced out of Calabria and who saw their sees occupied by Latin prelates. Once again the Pope laid claim to rights over that part of Italy that had been Byzantine, which had been taken from him by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo III in 732-733. [32] The Byzantines, quite naturally, found this as a source of irritation.


The other document is a letter sent by Nicholas III to Symeon II, Patriarch of Jerusalem. [33] This letter informs us that Pope Urban II had addressed the other patriarchs in making the same request as he had made to the Emperor. Symeon communicated this demand of the Pope to his colleague of Constantinople, Nicholas III. The reply of the latter shows us that he was very much preoccupied with the “errors” of the Latins, especially that of unleavened bread and the Filioque. He quotes the usual arguments against these “errors,” and he also discusses the citations from Scripture by which the Pope endeavored to prove his right to Primacy in the Church. But, he did allow to the Pope a certain primacy.





There was a time when the Pope was the first among us, since he shared the same sentiments as we do. Now that he holds such different views, how can we call him the first? If he will show us the identity of his faith with ours, he will then receive the Primacy . . . but, if he will not do that, he will never receive what he asks of us.



This letter was sent before the Synod of 1089. Subsequently, the Patriarch softened his view but the tone and content of this letter shows how strong was the memory of 1054 in Byzantium. In spite of this, the negotiations seemed to have continued, and the agreement between Rome and Byzantium always appeared as still a possibility.


* * *


It was once again an Archbishop of Ochrida, Theophylactus, who was invited to give his views on the “errors” of the Latins. This he did in a short treatise [34] and his judgment surprises us by its moderation and its obviously charitable intentions. He declares that the differences of rite and religious customs are not so important and they should not be allowed to lead to a schism. They should be considered with the eyes of Christian charity. He could also find excuses for the Filioque. He said that this formula had arisen because the Latin language did not possess a sufficiently accurate theological terminology, and he would allow the use of unleavened bread among the Latins, since the Scripture did not say precisely which bread was used during the paschal supper. As a result, he concluded, each Church should preserve its own customs and not reproach the other with having different usages from its own.


What is of real importance here, is the basic agreement in the matter of the true faith. If errors are found among the Westerners:


in the addition to the Creed of what concerns the Holy Spirit—this . . . an error affecting the doctrines of the Fathers as is the case





is the greatest source of danger—those who would refuse to reject and to correct this error would surely be unworthy of pardon even if they spoke from the height of the throne which they professed to be the highest of all and even if they should put forth the confession of Peter and the blessing which he received from Christ for it, even if they should shake before our eyes the Keys of the Kingdom. For in proportion that they pretend to honor Peter by these keys, they dishonor him if they destroy what he established, if they root up the foundations of the Church which he is supposed to support.



We have cited this passage because it contains all that Theophylactus said on the Roman Primacy in his treatise. The words bear an ironical overtone, to be sure, but they show that Theophylactus accepted the Petrine thesis by which the Pope defended their Primacy, and this is an important fact. The whole treatise surprises us by the desire we find in it of a completely friendly relationship between the two Churches. For Theophylactus, the Primacy was not nearly as serious an obstacle to union as the Filioque.


Theophylactus also speaks of St. Peter in his commentary on the gospels. In commenting on Matt. 16.18, [35] he stresses the fact that it is on Peter that Christ founded His Church. The confession of Peter is the foundation on which all believers should depend. “Since that has been affirmed to us in the confession of Christ, how can the gates of Hell, that is, sin, ever hold us in subjugation?” The Keys of the Kingdom were granted to Peter alone, but all bishops have the same power of loosing and of binding sin.


He is even more eloquent when he comments on the passage of Luke 22.32-33. [36]


“When you yourself have been strengthened, confirm your brethren.” This obviously means: Since I have made you the chief of the Apostles, when you have wept and repented of having denied me, confirm your brethren. This is the way you must act, you who are, after me, the rock and the foundation of the Church.





We must believe that this command, that they be strengthened by Peter, holds not only for the Apostles at the time of Our Lord, but for all the faithful unto the consummation of the world. For it is you, Peter, . . . who were an Apostle and you denied Him, but you are the one who, by your repentance, obtained the Primacy in the whole world.



In his commentary on John 21.15, [37] Theophylactus wrote “For the Lord entrusted the supervision over the whole flock to Peter alone and not to anyone else.” A bit later on, he says “He has granted to Peter the supervision over all the faithful. If James obtained the throne of Jerusalem, Peter has obtained that of the whole world.” Theophylactus did not here attempt to establish a direct link between Peter and his successors, but what he says of Peter is significant. He understood very well the Petrine argument for the Roman Primacy.


* * *


It is in this atmosphere of calm that preparations were made for that great enterprise of Western Christendom, the First Crusade. The Emperor Alexis I had halted the advance of the Turks in Asia Minor but since the Empire had lost a large part of that province and since it was from there that he recruited the largest proportion of his army, he turned to the West to seek additional troops. It seems that he had been engaged in conversation with the Pope on this matter since Anna Comnena writes in the Alexiade [38] that the Emperor in 1091 was awaiting a detachment of soldiers coming from Rome. In 1095 the imperial envoys petitioned the Synod which the Pope had convoked at Plaisance that the Christians of the West should come to the aid of their Oriental brethren to combat the infidel who was occupying the holy places so dear to all of Christendom.


It seems that it was this address and the conversations with the Emperor which suggested to the Pope the idea of inviting





the faithful who were gathered at Clermont, some months later, to liberate the holy places from the hands of the infidel. The result was surprising, and the French nobility responded with enthusiasm to the exhortation of the Pope. But in the mind of the Pope, this First Crusade was launched not merely with the idea of assisting the Greeks in their struggle against the Turks and of liberating Jerusalem, but it was intimately linked, for him, with the idea of union of the two Churches. It is probable that he had come to an agreement with the Emperor and that they both hoped that the collaboration of Christendom, East and West, and the blood that would be spilled in common on the field of battle would seal for all time the union of the two Churches. [39] At the beginning, it looked as if these hopes would be realized. After the conquest of Antioch, the Crusaders reinstalled the Greek patriarch in that city. The relations between the legate of the Pope, Ademar of Puy, and the Patriarch Symeon II of Jerusalem before the conquest of the Holy City were most cordial. The Pope himself, at the Synod of Bari in 1098, [40] discussed with the Greeks of Italy and of Byzantium the question of union and he decided to convoke another Synod in Rome in the following year to continue these conversations.


Unfortunately the Pope died in the same year before he had the chance to name another legate to replace Ademar who died in 1098, and the selfish policy pursued by Bohemond, one of the chief Crusaders, spoiled everything. Although the Emperor had been promised that all the cities which belonged to the Empire would be returned to it, Bohemond decided to keep Antioch for himself and for his family.


The Emperor thought so highly of the possession of this important strategic center that he was prepared to go to every length to recover the city, if need be, by force. Thus it is at Antioch that we can see the first signs of schism, when in 1100 a Latin patriarch was installed there. Beginning with that year, the Greek patriarchs of Antioch continued, in exile, to reside in Constantinople and other cities.





Besides, the contact between the undisciplined army of the Crusaders and the local population had disastrous results for any agreement between the two Churches. The 'differences which had grown up between the two civilizations were now made clear to the general public. The depredations suffered by the population as the Crusaders passed through their towns made suspicion with regard to Latins universal throughout the Empire. The Greeks considered the Latins to be barbarians and savages; on their side, the Latins held the Greeks responsible for the disasters suffered by their army, even though most of these were due to their own fault, since they paid no attention to the advice which the Greeks had given them. [41] However, in spite of all it was still possible to discuss in a peaceful manner the differences that existed between the two Churches and the question of the Roman Primacy even at Constantinople. The debate which Bishop Anselm of Havelberg [42] was able to have in the capital in 1136 is most interesting from this point of view. [43] Naturally, Anselm was totally imbued with the ideas of the reformers as to the Roman Primacy. He based this primacy on the words addressed to St. Peter (Matt. 16.18-19) and on the fact that Peter had preached and died in Rome with St. Paul. Making use of the Petrine argument of St. Leo the Great, he admitted only three principal sees in the primitive Church, those of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, because each of them had been founded by Peter and by his disciple, Mark. The Church of Peter had always remained true to the Faith and according to the words of Our Lord (Luke 22.32), that Church had the mission of confirming the faith of all the other churches. The Church of Constantinople, on the contrary, was nothing but the seed bed for all the heresies which had defiled the Eastern churches. It was for this reason that all the churches should venerate the Roman Church and follow whatever she proposed.


The reply of his opponent Nicetas, Bishop of Nicomedia, was very dignified. Here is what he says with regard to the Roman primacy: [44]





I neither deny nor do I reject the Primacy of the Roman Church whose dignity you have extolled. As a matter of fact, we read in our ancient histories that there were three patriarchal sees closely linked in brotherhood, Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, among which Rome, the highest see in the empire, received the primacy. For this reason Rome has been called the first see and it is to her that appeal must be made in doubtful ecclesiastical cases, and it is to her judgment that all matters that cannot be settled according to the normal rules must be submitted.


But the Bishop of Rome himself ought not to be called the Prince of the Priesthood, nor the Supreme Priest, nor anything of that kind, but only the Bishop of the first see. Thus it was that Boniface III, who was Roman by nationality, and the son of John, the Bishop of Rome, obtained from the Emperor Phocas confirmation of the fact that the apostolic see of Blessed Peter was the head of all the other Churches, since at that time, the Church of Constantinople was saying that it was the first see because of the transfer of the Empire.


In order to make sure that all the sees profess the same faith, Rome sent delegates to each of them [Perhaps Nicetas was thinking of the delegations who carried letters of enthronement and the profession of faith joined to them], telling them that they should be diligent in the preservation of the true Faith. When Constantinople was granted the second place in the hierarchy because of the transfer of the capital, this custom of the delegations was likewise extended to that see.


We find that, my dear brother, written in the ancient historical documents. But the Roman Church to which we do not deny the Primacy among her sisters, and whom we recognize as holding the highest place in any general council, the first place of honor, that Church has separated herself from the rest by her pretensions. She has appropriated to herself the monarchy which is not contained in her office and which has divided the bishops and the churches of the East and the West since the partition of the Empire. When, as a result of these circumstances, she gathers a council of the Western bishops without making us (in the East) a part of it, it is fitting that her bishops should accept its decrees and observe them with the veneration that is due to them . . . but although we are not in disagreement with the Roman Church in the matter of





the Catholic faith, how can we be expected to accept these decisions which were taken without our advice and of which we know nothing, since we were not at that same time gathered in council? If the Roman Pontiff, seated upon his sublime throne of glory, wishes to fulminate against us and to launch his orders from the height of his sublime dignity, if he wishes to sit in judgment on our Churches with a total disregard of our advice and solely according to his own will, as he seems to wish, what brotherhood and what fatherhood can we see in such a course of action? Who could ever accept such a situation? In such circumstances we could not be called nor would we really be any longer sons of the Church but truly its slaves.



If the authority of the Pope was such as described by Anselm what good could be served by Scripture, by studies and by Greek wisdom? If that is the way things are, the Pope is the only bishop and the only master.


But if he wishes to have collaborators in the vineyard of the Lord, let him dwell in humility in his own primatial see and let him not despise his brothers! The truth of Christ has caused us to be born in the bosom of the Church, not for slavery but for freedom.



In confirmation of these words, Nicetas quoted John 20.23 and Matt. 16.19, the words by which Our Lord had granted the power to forgive sins, of binding and of loosing, to all the Apostles without exception. Anselm, while admitting this fact, quite rightly made the point that the Lord had also spoken to Peter alone and he stressed the predominant role which Peter had played among the Apostles and in the primitive Church.


Nicetas brought his declaration to an end by speaking of the part played by the Oriental bishops and by the Popes in the suppression of heresy: [45]


In the archives of Santa Sophia we possess the account of the great deeds of the Roman Pontiffs and we possess the Acts of the councils wherein are described all that you have said about the authority





of the Roman Church. For this reason it would be a source of great shame to us if we were to wish to deny what we have seen with our own eyes and what was written by our Fathers. However, in all truth, we must recognize the fact that neither the Roman Pontiff nor his legates would have had any part in the condemnation of heresies in the East, if the Orthodox bishops established in the East had not welcomed, aided, and encouraged them. For it was they who, full of zeal for the faith, condemned these heresies and provided confirmation of the true Catholic faith, sometimes with the Roman Church and sometimes without her.



These words of Nicetas illustrate very well the position taken by the Byzantine Church. From them we see that the Orientals continued to prefer the principle of accommodation to the principle of apostolicity. They rather looked for reasons for the Roman Primacy in the decisions of the councils and of the Emperors. Nicetas, however, did not deny the Scriptural argument (Matt. 16.18-19), used by Anselm. In recalling the words by which Our Lord had granted to the Apostles a similar power to that which He had given to Peter, he raised a problem which even today has not been resolved in definitive fashion by the Roman Church, that of the relation between the full power accorded to the successors of Peter and the powers granted to the bishops.


Drawing his inspiration from the ideology of the reformers, Anselm went even further in demanding not only the recognition of the Primacy of the Roman Church—in principle this had not been denied, as we have seen—but also the acceptance of all the liturgical practices that were proper to the West, especially the abandonment of the use of leavened bread in the celebration of the Mass. We can easily understand how strenuously the Orientals would defend their own usages and their autonomy in this matter. It is regrettable that, on both sides, they forgot the recommendations made by the Council of 879-880, that each Church should preserve its own proper customs and that there was no place for any quarrel with regard to such minor differences. Even so, it is quite surprising





to observe that given these circumstances, during the first half of the twelfth century, the Byzantines still recognized the principle of the Roman Primacy in the Church in spite of all that had happened in 1054 and after.


We can also quote the declaration of the most famous of the Byzantine canonists, Zonaras, [46] who composed his canonical work in the first half of the twelfth century. In his explanation of Canon XXVIII of Chalcedon, he shows with considerable emphasis the words attributing to Constantinople the same advantages as to ancient Rome should not be extended so far as to imply the transfer of the Primacy from Rome to Constantinople. The preposition after means a relationship of dignity and does not imply succession in time. To prove that his interpretation is correct he quotes a passage from the profession of faith of the Patriarch Nicephorus [47] where he spoke of the condemnation of the Iconoclasts:


That the Iconoclasts have been rejected by the Catholic Church, we know from the wise testimony and from the confirmation in the letters which were, a short time ago, sent by the most holy and blessed archbishop of ancient Rome, that is to say, the first Apostolic See.





1. Mansi, 17, 497. It was stated in this canon that sentences passed by the Pope against anyone in the East should be approved by the patriarch, and vice versa. “However,” the canon continued, “the privileges that belong to the most holy see of Rome or to its bishop should not suffer any change, neither now nor later on.”


2. Ibid., 489: “The holy synod has said: Each see has a number of ancient traditional practices. There is to be no discussion or quarrel on this matter. It is proper that the Roman Church





should hold to its practices, but the Church of Constantinople should also preserve the customs that it has inherited from the past. And, the same is to be said for the rest of the Oriental sees.”


3. See p. 19, supra.


4. See p. 63, supra.


5. It is true that the Emperor addressed himself to the other patriarchs, as Nicholas the Mystic mentions in his Letter 32, but, from all the evidence, it emerges from this letter that Nicholas himself, as well as the Emperor, considered the appeal to Rome and the intervention of the legates as of primary importance.


6. The reaction of the Byzantines to this “intrusion” by the Germanic emperors into Roman affairs and the election of popes was quite violent. During the period of decadence of the Carolingian Empire the Byzantines regained a certain measure of control over papal elections. The struggle between the two parties of the Roman aristocracy, the one favoring the Franks and the other preferring Byzantine influence, poisoned the relations between East and West during the second half of the tenth century. When, for example, Pope Boniface VII, who upheld the Byzantine side, was expelled from Rome and had to take refuge in Byzantium (974), the Byzantines manifested their displeasure by “degrading” the patriarchate of Rome, which had at its head a pope they did not recognize, by putting it in the last place in one of their lists of patriarchates and bishoprics. Cf. H. Gelzer, Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, Abhandl. d. Bay. Akad. (Munich, 1901), 569. The Notitia should be dated 974-76.


7. Cf. De legatione Coustantinopolotana, MGH, Scriptores III, 347-63. See also his Antapodosis, ibid., 273-339.


8. Cf. F. Dvornik, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe, 95-185.


9. Cf. J. A. Jungmann, Missarum solemnia (Vienna, 1948), on the singing of the Credo during Mass in Rome. The evolution seems to have been quite slow, and the practice of adding the Filioque did not become general until after 1014.


10. PG 120, 717ff. Cf. Dvornik, The Photian Schism, 410.


11. The best work on the Norman Conquest in Italy is that of





F. Chalandon, Histoire de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicilie, 2 vols. (Paris, 1907).


12. A. Fliehe, La réforme grégorienne (Paris, 1924), I, 17JIÏ.


13. This reform movement should not be confused with the monastic reform stemming from Cluny. See my study National Churches and Church Universal (London, 1943), 33ff.


14. Historiarum libri quinque, II, ch. 1, PL 142, 671; Hugh of Flavigny, Chronicon, PL 154, 240-41. Cf. F. Grumel, “Les préliminaires du schisme de Michel Cérulaire ou la question romaine avant 1054,” in Revue des Études Byzantines, 10 (1952), 18-20.


15. On the Donatio and its utilization by the Greeks in the twelfth century, see the bibliography given by F. Dölger, Byzanz und die europäische Staatenwelt, 107ff. The Donatio was already known in Byzantium in the tenth century.


16. See E. Amann, “Michel Cérulaire,” DTC, 10, 1683-84. Also, A. Michel, Humbert und Kerullarios, 2 vols. (Paderborn, 192430); V. Grumel, “Les préliminaires . . .” 5-24, and P. L’Huillier, “Le schisme de 1054,” in Messager de l'exarchate du patriarche russe en Europe occidentale, 5 (1954), 144-64.


17. In PG 120, 836ff.


18. On this question, see J. Gay, L'Italie méridionale et byzantin de 867 à 1071 (Paris, 1904), 450-72. See also, D. M. Nicol, “Byzantium and the Papacy in the Eleventh Century,” in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 13 (1962), 1-20.


19. Cf. the writings of Humbert against the Greeks, in PL 143, 744-69 (among the letters of Leo), 929-1004. A new edition of the writings of Nicetas has been made by A. Michel in Humbert und Kerullarios, 2, 322-42.


20. Here is what M. Jugie has to say of this Bull in his Le Schisme byzantin (Paris, 1941), 205-06;


“This theatrical gesture was regrettable from every point of view; regrettable, because one might well ask himself if the legates, since the Holy See was vacant at the time, were sufficiently authorized to take so grave a step; regrettable also, because it was useless and ineffectual ... ; regrettable especially, by the content of this sentence and the tone in which it was drawn up. It reproached Cerularius and his partisans, and indirectly even all the Byzantines, side by side with some legitimate complaints, of a whole series of heresies and imaginary crimes.”





21. See this correspondence in PG 120, 751-819.


22. PL 145, 633-42.


23. See what J. Meyendorff says in his study “S. Pierre, sa primauté et sa succession, dans la théologie byzantine,” in La primauté de Pierre dans l'Église orthodoxe (Neuchâtel, 1960), 96ff. See also his article “St. Peter in Byzantine Theology,” in St. Vladimir Seminary Quarterly, 4 (New York, 1960) 26-48.


24. See the edition of E. Caspar, Das Register Gregors VII., MGH, Epistolae Selectae (Berlin, 1920), 29 (Letter to Michael); 70, 75 (appeal to the princes); 167 (Letter to Henry IV), 173.


25. Anna Comnenus, Alexiade, edited and translated by B. Leib (Paris, 1937), I, 47, 48, 50, 52.


26. Published by E. Caspar, op. cit., 202-08. Cf. H. X. Arquillière, Saint Grégoire VII (Paris, 1934), 130ff. See the study of J. T. Gilchrist, “Canon Law Aspects of the Eleventh Century Gregorian Reform Programme,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 13 (1962), 21-38.


27. Ed. by A. Pavlov, Kritičeskie opyty po istorii drevnejšej grekorusskoj polemiky protiv Latinjan (St. Petersburg, 1878), 169, 186.


28. This probably earned him an excommunication by Gregory VII. The latter, who was faithful to Michael VII with whom he was in contact, in 1078 had excommunicated Nicephorus III Botaniates who had deposed Michael VII. These were the first applications of the Dictatus papae. Cf. E. Caspar, op. cit., 400. 401, 524.


29. Published by W. Holtzmann, in his study “Unionsverhandlungen zwischen Kaiser Alexios Lund Papst Urban II, im Jahre 1089,” in Byzantin. Zeitschr., 28 (1928) 38-67, 60-62. See also V. Grumel, Les Re gestes des Actes du patriarcat de Constantinople (Paris, 1947), I, fasc. 3, 48.


30. This is confirmed by Godfrey Malaterra in his Historia Sicula, PL 149, 1192.


31. See Holtzmann, op. cit., 64-66.


32. On this problem, see M. V. Anastos, “The Transfer of Illyricum, Calabria and Sicily to the Jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 732-733,”





in Silloge Bizantina in onore di S. G. Mercati, Studi bizantini e neoellenici, 9 (Rome, 1957), 14-31.


33. Published by A. Pavlov, Kritičeskie opyty . . . , 158-69. See V. Grumel, “Jerusalem entre Rome et Byzance. Une lettre inconnue du patriarche de Constantinople Nicolas III à son collègue de Jerusalem,” in Échos d'Orient, 38 (1939), 104-117.


34. Liber de iis quorum Latini accusantur, PG 126, 221-49.


35. PG 123, 320.


36. Ibid., 1073D.


37. PG 124, 309A-313A.


38. Alexiade, 8, edit, of B. Leib, II, 139. Cf. Holtzmann, “Die Unionsverhandlungen,” op. cit., 38-67. On Alexis I, see also F. Chalandon, Les Commènes, I, “Essai sur le régne d’Alexis I, Comnène” (Paris, 1900).


39. On the history of the Crusades, see R. Grousset, Histoire des croisades, 3 vols. (Paris, 1934-36), and S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1951-53).


40. Cf. B. Leib, Rome, Kiev et Byzance à la fin du XIe siècle (Paris, 1924), 287-97.


41. The disastrous results which the clash of the crusaders and the native population had for the possibility of union have been illustrated by Runciman in his book The Eastern Schism (Oxford, 1935), 124ft. See also B. Leib, op. cit., 236-75, 302-07 (Guibert de Nogent).


42. See the two new studies on Anselm: Kurt Fina, “Anselm von Havelberg. Untersuchungen zur Kirchenund Geistesgeschichte des 12. Jhts.,” in Analecta Praemonstratensia, 32 (1956), 33 (1957), 34 (1958), and G. Schreiber, “Anselm von Havelberg und die Ostkirche,” in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 60 (1941), 354-411.


On the discussions which the Greeks and the Latins had, in the twelfth century, on religious problems, especially on the Filioque, see P. Classen, “Das Conzil von Konstantinopel 1166 und die Lateiner,” in Byz. Zeitschr. 48 (1955), 339-68; M. Anastos, “Some Aspects of Byzantine Influence on Latin Thought,” in Twelfth Century Europe, edited by M. Clagett, G. Post, R. Reynolds (Madison, Wisconsin, 1961), 131-87. (On Hugo Eterianus and Nicetas of Nicomedia, 140-49.) According to Grumel, “Notes d’histoire et de littérature byzantines,”





in Échos d'Orient, 29 (1930), 336, the discussion took place on Oct. 2-3, 1154.


43. Dialogi, lib. 3, PL 188, 1213ff.


44. Ibid., 1217ft.


45. Ibid., 1228.


46. PG 137, 488-89.


47. See p. 103, supra.









The Emperors made substantial efforts to maintain good relations with the papacy, and the popes, urged on by Henry V and Frederick Barbarossa, were not unfavorable to overtures coming from Byzantium. The Emperors Alexis, John II and Manuel [1] even proposed the idea of a Roman Empire and showed themselves ready to accept union, on condition that the Popes would recognize the Byzantine emperor as the only true Emperor. Manuel Comnenus (1143-1181) was particularly inclined to make an alliance with the papacy since he himself was quite favorable to Latins. [2]


All of these projects met shipwreck on the rock of the new politico-religious conception of the papacy. Full of the Gregorian idea of the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal power, the Popes were particularly solicitous to maintain their domination over the Empire, both East and West, and over the Latin principalities in the East. They could not accept the supremacy of an Eastern Emperor, for the Christian Hellenism which the Byzantines professed had long since been dead in the West. Besides, the attempts made by the Byzantine Emperors encountered an increasingly strong opposition from their own clergy and from the population who, out of the experience acquired by their contact with the Crusaders, had learned to hate all Latins. They had no understanding of the new conceptions





of the papacy and they rejected the papal idea of universal domination.


The result of this development was, in 1182, the massacre by the Greek populace of all Latins residing in Constantinople. [3] This terrible tragedy provoked an anti-Greek reaction in the West. The idea that had already been suggested by Bohemond became general, that the only way the Crusades could be successful would be the conquest of Constantinople and the replacement of the Greek Emperor by a Latin Emperor, and this came to pass in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade. The scenes of horror that unfolded in the city after the victorious entry of the Latins have never been forgotten by the Byzantines. This tragic evolution was crowned by the installation of the Latin Patriarch in Constantinople and the schism reached its summit.


* * *


It was only after the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins that the Byzantines fully understood the development that had taken place in the idea of the Roman Primacy. The simple nomination of a patriarch by the Pope, the designation of bishops without any consultation of Synods and without confirmation by the Emperor were for them experiences they never dreamed of. If they were aware that that was the way things were done in the West, they surely never thought that such a thing could happen in their Church.


There is a short anonymous treatise that reveals best the despair that the Greeks felt after the conquest. [4] This treatise is entitled “Why the Latins have Triumphed over us.” The author deplores the spoliation of churches by the Crusaders, and the replacement of Greek priests by Latin priests; he protests in especially vehement fashion against the designation of the Venetian, Thomas Morosini, as Patriarch of Constantinople. In his lamentations we perceive an overtone of hatred against the Latins. The author of this treatise also went much further





than all the other Greek controversialists in what concerns the Primacy of the Pope. He not only purely and simply denied it, but he also denied the Primacy which Peter was thought to have enjoyed in the circle of the Apostles.


The catastrophe of the taking of Constantinople by the Latins not only had serious consequences for the religious and political life of the Byzantines, but it also profoundly influenced all Greek theological speculation concerning the Primacy. Obviously, the general atmosphere would be negative on this point. In their discussions with the Latins and in their controversial writings, the Greek theologians rejected the Latin conception of the Primacy such as it had been suddenly revealed before their eyes. However, in spite of the hostility which they cherished against anything of Latin origin, they did not dare to go as far as the author of the anonymous treatise mentioned above. There were certain facts which they felt obliged to respect. First of all, they preserved a veneration for St. Peter, [5] whom they continued, in general fashion, to call the leader of the Apostles and whose Primacy they admitted. Next, they recognized the decisions of the councils concerning the situation of the patriarchs, the decisions of the Council of Nicaea, those of the First Council of Constantinople and, naturally, those of the Council of Chalcedon. Finally, they accepted the decisions of the Emperors, especially those of Justinian who, on many occasions had confirmed the first place occupied by the Bishop of Rome in the hierarchy. Also, the quotations from the Gospels which the Latins produced to prove the Primacy of the successor of Peter, and which had so strongly impressed certain Greek theologians of the past, were not without their power to create an embarrassment which the Greeks would have loved to have been able to surmount.


* * *


With the exception of the anonymous author, practically all of the Greek controversialists of the twelfth and thirteenth





centuries continued to grant Peter the honorific title of leader. However, the Patriarch John Camateros (1198-1206) in his letter to Pope Innocent III recalled that Paul was also called “a vessel of election” (Acts 9.15), and that James presided over the council of Jerusalem. [6] The real foundation of the Church is the Apostles and the Prophets (Eph. 2.20), and it should be remembered that the real cornerstone of the Church is Christ Himself. This priority of Christ over Peter is emphasized even more strongly by an unknown patriarch of Constantinople in his letter to the patriarch of Jerusalem. He declares simply that the Head of the Church is Christ and he refused to say that that title belonged to the Pope, as the Latins insisted. [7]


To weaken the conclusions which the Latins drew from the fact that the Pope was the successor of Peter, the Greek theologians renewed the thesis according to which the Apostles were the teachers of the whole Church and could not be considered as the bishops of an individual city. [8] Thus, the first Bishop of Rome was not Peter, but Linus who had been ordained by Peter.


Nicholas Mesarites made use of this argument even more explicitly in the dispute which took place in August 1206 in the presence of the Patriarch Thomas Morosini. [9] In his view, the connection of Peter with Rome was nothing more than a Jewish practice. The words of Matt. 16.18 must be interpreted as referring not only to the Roman Church, but to the universal Church.


A similar argument was made use of by his brother John, in the course of a debate held on September 29 in the same year, in the presence of Cardinal Benedict. [10] John asserted that the Apostles had fulfilled their ecumenical mission and that they had ordained sixty-six disciples as bishops of different cities.


The Patriarch Germanus II (1222-1240), in one of his letters to the Cypriotes, [11] declared that the only Primacy was that of Christ and he said that the Roman attitude destroyed the ecclesiastical Pentarchy. Mesarites’ argument was taken up by





the anonymous author of a treatise entitled “Against Those who Say that Rome is the First See,” which was falsely attributed to Photius. [12]


In making capital of the idea that the Apostles were the universal teachers and could not be considered as the bishops of the different cities, the Greek controversialists lost the habit of making use, to the profit of Constantinople, of the tradition by which that see had been founded by Andrew, the first to have been called by Christ and the one who introduced Peter to the Lord. In fact the only writers who tried to make use of this argument were Mesarites and the anonymous pamphleteer against the Primacy who followed his lead.


This argument, of course, only had validity when it was used in conjunction with the Petrine argument. It provided an answer for the Greeks against the Latins who, at one time, had made use of the Petrine argument as their most powerful weapon against the pretensions of Constantinople. If the Latins based the Primacy of Rome on the fact that Peter had lived there, Antioch had still greater right to claim Primacy since Peter had preached there before he ever came to Rome. In fact, Jerusalem could claim the Primacy and that with even greater right because Our Lord himself had preached and died there. In the light of such argumentation it is easy to see that the Greeks did not attach any great importance to the fact that a bishopric had been founded by an Apostle. [13]


* * *


However, despite the bitterness against Rome which the Greeks harbored after 1204, they were not able to ignore the tradition of the accommodation of the ecclesiastical organization to the political division of the Empire. This had been sanctioned by three councils and by the decrees of Justinian and it had always granted to Rome the first place in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The Greeks continued to make use of this tradition to deny the divine character of the Roman Primacy.





Not that the Primacy was a bad thing, but it had only been accorded to Rome because of the importance it held in the Empire as the capital. The Patriarch Michael of Anchialos ( 1170-1177), in reply to the Emperor Manuel at the Synod where the possibility of union was being discussed, [14] even admitted the validity of the Donation of Constantine as the first imperial document granting the Primacy to Rome. This Primacy, he said, remained valid and was recognized as long as the Pope professed the true faith. He lost his Primacy when he adopted the heresy of the Filioque.


In this view Michael was followed by his contemporary, Andronicus Camateros. [15] The unknown patriarch who wrote a letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem was also expressing the same view when he said that the Pope was at one time the first because then he professed the same faith. “Once this identity of faith is established, then he will regain his primacy.” [16] It seems that Michael of Anchialos wished to transfer the Primacy to the see of Constantinople, the second in rank of the patriarchal sees, since the first see, Rome, had become heretical. This is also the view of the rhetorician Manuel, in his reply to a Dominican Friar. [17]


John Mesarites went even further still. [18] He admitted that the Pope could act as supreme judge if someone who had been condemned by a patriarch or by a Synod made appeal to him. Obviously the Pope could not use this privilege if he did not profess the true faith. Therefore the privilege is not of divine institution but has its foundation only in Canon Law. The brother of John Mesarites, Nicholas, defended a similar opinion in a dispute which took place in 1214. [19] All of these statements are important, for in them we find an echo of the declarations of the Synod of 861.


* * *


The interpretation of the words of Our Lord (Matt. 16.18), given by certain theologians of this era, had very important





consequences for the development of ecclesiology among the Orthodox after 1204. Here is how the unknown patriarch in his letter to Jerusalem explained them: [20]


Christ is the [Sole] Shepherd and the Master but He confided the pastoral ministry to Peter . . . however, we see today that all the bishops possess this same function. As a consequence, if Christ has granted to Peter the Primacy in giving him the pastoral charge, this Primacy should, in the same fashion, be accorded to others, since they are also shepherds; and so, they are all first.



Mesarites declared that the promise given to Peter (Matt., 16.18) must be explained in a Catholic sense, “in relating it to all those who have believed and who believe . . . The whole Church has its foundation on the rock, that is to say on the doctrine of Peter, in conformity with this promise.” [21] The anti-Latin controversialists of the thirteenth century did not develop any doctrinal theory with regard to the Roman Primacy and the Church. Still, their deductions, often improvised under the pressure of events, have remained a solid base for Greek theological speculation in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This period produced very many sound theologians and their doctrine on the Primacy is presented in more systematic fashion.


They all make a very sharp distinction between the function of an Apostle and that of a bishop, repeating as their predecessors had done, that the Apostles were the universal teachers. It is for this reason that Barlaam, before his return to the Roman Church, declared that Peter could not have passed on to Clement his character as leader of the Apostles but only the episcopate. And so, from that time on, the Bishop of Rome could not be considered as the leader of the other bishops. [22] Barlaam granted the Pope a certain primacy, but only that which was granted by the Emperors, by Constantine—and here we must see an allusion to the Donation of Constantine— and by Justinian and the councils. Every bishop who professed the faith of Peter is a successor of the Apostles. [23]





Nilus Cabasilas reiterates the statements of Barlaam as to the character of the Bishop of Rome, [24] but he departs from him in adopting the interpretation of Matt. 16.18, which was given by the controversialists. “Christ has founded His Church on the profession of Peter and on all those who have been the guardians of this profession.” These guardians are the bishops who thus all become successors of St. Peter. [25] The result of this interpretation is clear: The universal Church is represented by the bishops who, because they are all the successors of Peter and profess his faith, are equal.


* * *


Although Symeon of Thessalonica interpreted the succession of Peter as a succession in the true faith, he is the most explicit of all the theologians of the fifteenth century. This is what he says on the Primacy: [26]


When the Latins say that the Bishop of Rome is first, there is no need to contradict them, since this can do no harm to the Church. If they will only show us that he has continued in the faith of Peter and his successors and that he possesses all that came from Peter, then he will be the first, the chief and head of all, the Supreme Pontiff. All these qualities have been attributed to the patriarchs of Rome in the past. His throne is apostolic and the Pontiff who sits there is called the successor of Peter as long as he professes the true faith. There is no right-thinking person who would dare to deny this.



After recalling what the council said on the place of the Bishop of Rome, he goes on to quote what he had declared to the Latins in a discussion on the Primacy:


We are in communion in Christ and we have no reason to separate ourselves from the Popes and Patriarchs such as Peter, Linus, Clement, Stephen, Hippolytus, Sylvester, Innocent, Leo, Agapitus, Martin, and Agatho. This is clear since we celebrate their memory





by calling them Doctors and Fathers. ... If another should arise who would be like to them by the faith that he possesses, by his life, and by the traditions of orthodoxy, he will be our common father. We will accept him as Peter and the bonds of union will continue for a long time and to the end of the world.



Unfortunately, he adds, the present Pope does not profess the faith of Peter since he has added the Filioque to the Creed and for that reason he has lost the Primacy. [27] In these words of Symeon we hear an undertone that is almost nostalgic, a longing for the times when the Popes were the defenders of the faith, recognized as primates and venerated as the successors of Peter. The same sentiments seem to animate an unknown author whose treatise I found in the Vatican library. [28] It is listed as a treatise on the councils but it really is a letter written to the Pope by a Byzantine. The author stresses the fact that the bishops of ancient Rome have participated in the seven general councils which defined the faith of all Christians:


These seven holy and ecumenical councils were accepted by the bishops who were the successors of Peter, he who is the leader of the saints and of the famous apostles and they agreed to them in unanimous fashion, some of them even being present at them in person [sic!]. They associated themselves with what was done at those councils and they gave their assent to what was said there, and some of them sent men who were very close to them and who shared their opinions, to work with the Fathers of the council and they confirmed all that had been decided in a definite and clear fashion from the height of your divine and apostolic chair.


The author then enumerates all the Popes under whose reign the councils had taken place and then he regrets that someone has sown so many evil seeds in Rome. After which, he enumerates the “abuses.” It is regrettable that the manuscript is incomplete; the letter probably dates in the fourteenth century.


From these controversial writings it is possible to see that the Primacy was one of the first preoccupations of the Byzantines





even after the schism had been consummated as a result of unhappy military and political events. [29] The Greek controversialists found it necessary to take a strongly defensive and negative attitude with regard to the Latins and their pretensions, and this prevented them from developing their own ecclesiological system or of sharpening their theory so as to oppose it to the Latin system. Nevertheless, it is possible to recover from their speculations a certain number of common traits. For example, save for one or two exceptions, they did not dare to deny the Primacy of Peter but they considered all the bishops to be successors of Peter. The Church was founded on the rock of his profession and only those who had preserved his faith could be regarded as his successors. God had given His Grace to the whole Church, to every Church which had a bishop who taught the faith of Peter and hence, possessed the plenitude of the sacraments. The Primacy, which Rome enjoyed as long as the Popes held to the faith of Peter, had been granted to its bishop by the councils and the Emperors.


In many of these statements one could very probably find similarities to what Cyprian, Irenaeus and even Origen and Pseudo-Dionysius [30] had thought of the life of the Church, but the Greek controversialists were not aware of them because they did not look for arguments in those early works. Their hostility to the pretensions of the Latin clergy and the bitterness which they felt against the destroyers of their Empire was what urged them to seek for another solution to the problem that obsessed them: how can we reconcile the idea of the Primacy with the idea of the Church of Christ?


* * *


The picture that we have here attempted to trace of the problem of the Roman Primacy in Byzantium is far from complete. We have done no more than examine the most important and most characteristic witnesses. However, it seems clear that





this idea of the Primacy underwent a profound change in Byzantium beginning with the eleventh century. Without doubt, the period between the fourth and the tenth century is of the greatest interest to us since the Primacy of Rome was then accepted as a natural thing because Rome was the capital of the Empire and its ideological base. Further, Rome was the “home of the apostles,” of Peter and of Paul who had lived there. The Council of Nicaea had no need to define or to confirm this Primacy since it had been recognized well before Constantine as a fact which it was neither necessary to discuss nor to prove.


However, since the principal of accommodation to the political division of the Empire had been accepted as the basis for the organization of the Church, the Byzantines were encouraged to try to derive this primacy from the decisions of the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Chalcedon, and from the decrees of Justinian I, Phocas and Justinian II.


Since there were a great number of sees in the East that had been founded by an Apostle, the apostolic origin of the see was not appreciated at its full value; for this reason it was not too easy for the papacy to bring the Byzantines to accept the divine origin of the Primacy by basing it on the words of Our Lord (Matt. 16.18-19).


The whole crisis that was provoked by the vote on Canon XXVIII of the Council of Chalcedon (which confirmed the position of second place after Rome for Constantinople and placed under its jurisdiction three civil dioceses of the empire), and by the attitude of St. Leo the Great, should both be attributed to the fact that the Fathers of the Council had failed to make mention in Canon XXVIII of the apostolic and Petrine character of the see of Rome, even though this character was admitted by them both during and after the council. The effort made by the Popes to substitute the principle of apostolicity for the principle of accommodation had a certain effect in the seventh century when Byzantium began to attribute an apostolic character to the see of Constantinople because it had succeeded





Ephesus—which had been founded by St. John—in the administration of the diocese of Asia. The legend claiming the apostle Andrew as the founder of the see of Byzantium which began to circulate in the eighth century also developed under the influence of the “apostolic” propaganda from Rome.


The Byzantines had been able to appreciate the firm and orthodox attitude of the Apostolic See of Rome and the aid which it always brought to the supporters of orthodoxy during the numerous doctrinal crises that arose as a result of the intervention of the Emperors in the domain reserved to the Sacerdotium. But their fear of compromising the autonomy of their churches prevented the Orientals from accepting the claims that were made by certain Popes, especially Gelasius, Symmachus and Nicholas I, the claim to direct and immediate jurisdiction over the whole Church, including the East.


A compromise had to be reached. In the ninth century this compromise was found by the Patriarch Photius who, by a sort of irony, has always been considered as a bitter enemy of the Primacy. The right of appeal to the Pope, a right which resulted from his Primacy, was put into practice by Byzantium and was fully recognized, for the first time, at the Synod of 861. The Roman tradition which claimed St. Peter alone, without any mention of Paul, as the founder of the see of Rome was finally accepted in Byzantium, and the words of Our Lord by which He had conferred on Peter the Primacy remained in the Greek edition of the papal letters which were sent to the Synod of 879-880. Photius defended the autonomy of his Church but, with his flock, he accepted the Primacy of the Apostolic See of Rome.


That provided a solid base for a further development of the principle of the Roman Primacy in Byzantium. But the prestige that Rome had gained in the ninth century was destined to decline in the course of the following century which was marked by the decadence of the papacy. [31] The influence which the German kings, after the restoration of the Roman Empire in the West, exercised over the election of Popes also contributed





to lower the prestige of the papacy in the eyes of the Byzantines.


All these events speeded up the separation which grew between the Roman and the Byzantine Church. When communication between Rome and Byzantium was substantially interrupted, the Orientals were not aware of the profound changes that were taking place in the West under the influence of the reform movement which had begun in Lorraine and in Burgundy. The conception of the Roman Primacy which had been accepted in Byzantium, although never defined in clear and sharp fashion, was not enough for the reformers. In their zeal to raise the prestige of the papacy they went much further than Gelasius and Symmachus or Nicholas. They claimed for the Pope not only direct and immediate jurisdiction over all the bishops and over the faithful, but also, in their ignorance of the liturgical and ecclesiastical differences which existed in the churches in the East, complete conformity to Roman usages in the East and in the West.


The regrettable conflict which arose in 1054 was the result of this divergent evolution of the ecclesiastical ideology in the two worlds. However, even though this unhappy incident increased the suspicion between the two Churches, we cannot say that it was at this moment that the schism really took place. The Byzantines did not always realize that when the West affirmed the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal power they were thereby definitively abandoning the political system of Christian Hellenism which the Orientals professed. Hope was still cherished that the Crusades would cement the union for all time and they were content to discuss the differences between the two Churches in an academic fashion and without any positive results. The declarations of Theophylactus of Ochrida and of Nicetas of Nicomedia show us very clearly that, basically, Byzantium accepted the idea of the Roman Primacy in the framework of compromise which had been arrived at in the ninth century. It is unfortunate that the Crusades had a result that was far from what was anticipated.





The Crusaders made all Latins very unpopular among the masses of the Greek population by their way of behavior. The taking of Constantinople by the Latins and the destruction of the Byzantine Empire put an end to all possibility of agreement. It was at this moment, in 1204, that the schism reached its completion. The Roman Primacy was thereafter denied and rejected by the Byzantines. However, despite the hostile attitude of the Greek theologians we can see that the memory of the past was still vivid in Byzantium. The Primacy of the Pope was rejected under the pretext that he had become a heretic in accepting the Filioque but Symeon of Thessalonica was quite ready to grant him the Primacy if he would only abandon his “heresy.”


There is no doubt that the arguments of Greek theologians after 1204 were heavily charged with prejudice brought about by political developments. It would be altogether regrettable if the writings of these theologians and controversialists were utilized as a base on which modern Orthodox theologians should build an “Orthodox ecclesiology.” [32] It is equally regrettable that Western theologians restricted themselves to these writings in judging the theological thought of the Byzantines. Neither of these attitudes is correct. No agreement can ever be reached on material that is out of date and stained with the prejudices which have resulted from errors and from unjust treatment in the past. If there is, on one side and on the other, a sincere desire to work for a rapprochement and perhaps even for union, both, both must turn to the period of the fourth to the eleventh centuries. It is there that we can find a foundation for an agreement.





1. For more details, see F. Chalandon, Les Comnènes, vol. 2; Jean II Comnène et Manuel I Comnène (Paris, 1912). Cf. also, W. Norden, Das Papsttum und Byzanz (Berlin, 1903) 88ff.





2. Cf. V. Grumel, “Au seuil de la IIe croisade. Deux lettres de Manuel Comnène au pape,” Revue des études byzantines, 3 (1945) 143-67.


3. In retaliation, the sailors of the Latin ships attacked the population of the city. And further, in 1185, William II, King of Sicily, who had occupied Thessalonica, massacred a large part of the people of that city.


4. Published by Arsenij, Tri staty neizuvestnago greceskago pisatelja načala XIII veka (Three articles of an unknown Greek writer at the beginning of the thirteenth century) (Moscow, 1892) 84-115.


5. For more details, see M. Jugie, Theologia dogmatica, IV, 32048. See also La primauté de Pierre, studies by A. Afanassieff, N. Koulomzine, J. Meyendorff, A. Schmemann (Neuchâtel, 1960). The paper by Meyendorff is the best. Cf. also, E. Stephanou, “La primauté romaine dans l’apologie orthodoxe,” in Échos d'Orient, 30 (1931), 212-32 and especially D. T. Strotmann, “Les coryphées Pierre et Paul et les autres Apôtres,” in Irenikon (1963) 164-76. The author examines the titles which the texts of the Byzantine offices give to Peter and Paul.


6. This letter has not yet been published, from the Manuscript Parisinus graecus 1302 (XIII cent.) fol. 272v-273v. Though it is very difficult to read, some extracts from it concerning the primacy have been quoted in M. Jugie, Theologia dogmatica christianorum orientalium (Paris, 1931) IV, 341-42.


7. Edited by A. Pavlov, Kritičeskie opyty, 164-65.


8. John Camateros, Parisinus graecus 1302, fol. 272 bis; the anonymous author, cf. Arsenij, 107, 111; the Patriarch of Jerusalem, cf. Pavlov, 165.


9. A. Heisenberg, “Neue Quellen zur Geschichte des lateinischen Kaisertums und der Kirchenunion,” in Sitzungsb. d. Bayr. Akad. Phil.-hist. Kl., 2 (1923), 22-24. F°r more details see the study of R. Janin, “Au lendemain de la conquête de Constantinople. Les tentatives d’union des Églises (1204-1208; 1208-1214), in Échos d'Orient, 32 (1933), 5-20, 195-202. See also V. Grumel, “Le patriarcat byzantin de Michel Cérulaire à 1204,” Rev. d. études byz. 4 (1946), 257-63.


10. Edited by A. Heisenberg, op. cit., I (1922) 54ff.





11. PG 40, 616C-617A.


12. Edited by A. Gordillo, “Photius et primatus romanus,” in Orientalia Christiana periodica, 6 (1940), 5-39. Cf. F. Dvornik, The Photian Schism, 126ff., and The Idea of Apostolicity, 247-53.


13. As was to be expected, many polemicists and theologians used the idea of the Pentarchy as a weapon against the Roman Primacy. Cf. Jugie, Theol. dogmat., IV, 456#. The patriarch Nilus (1379-1388), in a letter to Urban VI, seems to attribute a primacy of honor to the pope. Cf. F. Miklosich-Miiller, Acta patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, II, 87. He also speaks of the Pentarchy, p. 40.


14. See this dialogue in Vizantijskij Vremennik, 14 (1907), 344-57, published by C. Loparev.


15. Cf. Hergenröther, Photius (Regensburg, 1867-69), III, 813.


16. Edited by Pavlov, loc. cit.


17. Cf. Arsenij, Manuila velikago ritora otvet dominikanu Francisku (Moscow, 1889), 19.


18. A. Heisenberg, op. cit., I, 57.


19. Idem, III (1923) 34ff.


20. Edited by Pavlov, 165. See the study of J. Meyendorff, “Saint Pierre, sa primauté et sa succession dans la théologie byzantine,” in La primauté de Pierre dans l'Église orthodoxe (Neuchâtel, 1960), 104.


21. Mesarites (edit. Heisenberg, I, 57-58) also rejects the canons of Sardica which, he says, are valid for the West but not for the East. The anonymous treatise edited by Gordillo, loc. cit., 14ff. is also very hostile to this Synod.


22. Contra Latinos, PG, 151, 1260-63.


23. The treatise of Barlaam is still unedited, Paris, graec. 1218 (XV cent.) fols. 101, 127v. 130v. It is also cited by Meyendorff, op. cit., 109.


24. De primatu papae, PG 149, 704-05.


25. Ibid., 708B.


26. Dialogus contra haereses, ch. 29. PG 155, 120-21.


27. Gennadios Scholarios, the first patriarch under the Turkish regime, saves most of his efforts for the attack on the Filioque. The few allusions to the Primacy that appear in his writings





are found in his treatise on the Procession (edited by L. Petit-M. Jugie [Paris, 1929], II, 62-63) and in his letters (ibid., IV (1935), 206-07. He shares the ideas of his contemporaries on Peter “Bishop and Pastor of the Universe,” a distinction never enjoyed by the successors of St. Peter.


28. Vaticanus graecus 166. fol. 179v, 180. The script is that of the end of the fourteenth century or the beginning of the fifteenth.


29. See also J. Darrouzès, “Conférence sur la Primauté du pape à Constantinople en 1357,” Revue des études byzantines, 19 (1961), pp. 76-109. The monk and deacon Athanasius refutes, in his discussion with the papal legate Peter Thomas, sent to Constantinople in 1357, not only all scriptural proof of the papal primacy put forward by the legate, but uses also the condemnation of Pope Honorius by the sixth ecumenical council. This is probably the only time when the case of Honorius was used in Greek polemical literature as proof against Roman Primacy. Cf. also J. Meyendorff, “Projet de concile oecuménique en 1367,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 14 (1960), 149-177, and V. Laurent, “Les préliminaires du Concile de Florence. Les neuf articles du Pape Martin V et la réponse inédite du Patriarche de Constantinople Joseph II,” Revue des études byzantines, 22 (1962), 11-60. The answers of the Patriarch show clearly the Byzantine mentality and their lack of enthusiasm for a union.


30. J. Meyendorff, Saint Pierre, sa primauté, etc., 114.


31. This decline is also apparent in the realm of ideas. Cf. H. M. Klinkenberg, “Der römische Primat im 10. Jahrhundert,” in Zeitschrift für Rechtsgeschichte, Kan. Abt., 42 (1955), 1-57.


32. If we read the essays on Orthodox ecclesiology, which, incidentally, are not all of equal value, it becomes clear that modern Orthodox theologians are quite in agreement that the ecclesiological problems that face them and other theologians are far from solved. See especially what is said on this by G. Florovsky, in his study, “L’Église, sa nature et sa tâche,” in L'Église universelle dans le dessein de Dieu (Vol. I of Documents of the Amsterdam Assembly) (Neuchâtel-Paris, 1949), 61; idem, “Le Corps du Christ vivant,” in La Sainte Église Universelle. Confrontation oecuménique (Neuchâtel-Paris, 1948), 11; J. Meyendorff, L'Église Orthodoxe hier et aujour d’hui (Paris, 1960), 179; P. Evdokimov, L'Orthodoxie (Neuchâtel-Paris, 1959), 123. See the detailed and irenic examination of recent ecclesiological treatises done by D. E. Lanne, “Le mystère de l’Église dans la perspective de la théologie Orthodoxe,” in Irenikon, 35 (1962), 171-212.


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