Byzantium and the Roman primacy

Francis Dvornik


Byzantium and the Roman primacy


Francis Dvornik


A translation of Byzance et la primauté romaine (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1964).

Translated by Edwin A. Quain, S.J.


Fordham University Press, New York 1979



© Copyright 1966 by Fordham University Press

LC 66-14187

ISBN 0-8232-0701-3


First Edition 1966

Second printing, with corrections, 1979


A translation of Byzance et la primauté romaine (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1964).


Printed in the United States of America





By Francis Dvornik



“It is to a discussion of this issue [of ecclesiastical primacy]—which still divides Christians of east and west—that one of the leading historians of Byzantium, Francis Dvornik, devotes his book, Byzantium and the Roman Primacy,... a sort of general conclusion to his studies on the Byzantines’ view of Rome. It deals with historical facts covering the period from apostolic times to 1204, when the infamous Fourth Crusade led to the sack of Constantinople by western Christians, thus truly fulfilling the schism. . . .


Father Dvornik reaches his conclusions by purely historical research and he repeatedly scolds theologians for imposing preconceived ideas upon history and thus obscuring the facts. . . . his scoldings, as well as the results of his historical research, will be indispensable to anyone taking any part in the current dialogue between Rome and Orthodoxy.”


The Times Literary Supplement



“The greatest obstacle to the reunion of the Greek Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church has been and remains the primacy of the Pope. All other differences pale into insignificance beside this one and are soluble, according to Dr. Francis Dvornik, professor of Byzantine history at Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks and probably the leading Roman Catholic Byzantinist in the world. Certainly, if anyone knows the role that histoiy has played in the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches, it is Father Dvornik, whose views are highly respected in both Orthodox and Catholic circles. . . .


Father Dvornik is one of those few Westerners who have carefully studied Eastern Christian Church history and the Eastern mind with admirable results. . . .


Byzantium and the Roman Primacy is an important book by an important scholar that will be read wherever serious students of Orthodox Catholic relations are found.''


The Orthodox Observer and The Russian Orthodox Journal



“This scholarly, richly documented, lucid little volume“ describes the attitude of the Greek church on the doctrine of the papal primacy, down to the thirteenth century. . . . Byzantium and the Roman Primacy, resting on the profound learning of one of the foremost Catholic interpreters of the Byzantine mind, can only be greeted with the greatest en thusiasm as a splendid contribution to the desired goal of reunion.”


Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia



ISBN 0-8232-0701-3, paperback

A Rose Hill Book









Introduction 11


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


Index 171


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