The Photian schism. History and Legend

Francis Dvornik


Part II. The Legend



Chap. I. The Photian Case in Latin Literature till the Twelfth Century  279

            Contemporary repercussions—The Anselmo Dedicata—Tenth-century writers—Unpublished canonical Collections of the tenth century—Historians of the eleventh century—The Photian case in the ‘Gregorians’’ canonical Collections—The Latin Acts of the Photian Council in the writings of Deusdedit and Ivo of Chartres.


Chap. II. Oecumenicity of the Eighth Council in Medieval Western Tradition  309

            Number of councils acknowledged by the Gallic, Germanic, English and Lombard Churches until the twelfth century—Rome and the seven councils —The Popes’ profession of faith and the number of councils—Eleventh-century canonists and the Eighth Council—Was there any other edition of the Popes’ Professio fidei covering the eight councils?


Chap. III. Western Tradition from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century  331

            The Eighth Council in pre-Gratian law Collections, influenced by Gregorian canonists—Collections dependent on Deusdedit and Ivo—Gratian’s Decretum and the Photian Legend—From Gratian to the fifteenth century: Canonists —Theological writers and Historians


Chap. IV. Fifteenth Century till the Modern Period  354

            The Eighth Council among opponents and supporters—Sixteenth-century writers—The Centuriae—Baronius’ Annals—Catholic and Protestant writers of the eighteenth century—Hergenröther and his school


Chap. V. Photius and the Eighth Council in the Eastern Tradition till the Twelfth Century  383

            Unpublished treatise on the Councils by the Patriarch Euthymios—Other contemporaries—Photius’ canonization—Historians of Constantine Porphyrogennetos’ school—Polemists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries— Michael of Anchialos—Twelfth-century chroniclers


Chap. VI. From the Thirteenth Century to the Modern Period  403

            Unionists of the thirteenth century: Beccos, Metochita—The Photian Council in writings of the thirteenth century—Calecas and the champions of the Catholic thesis—Anti-Latin polemists and theologians of the fourteenth century: the Photian Council promoted to oecumenicity—Treatment of Photius and his Council by supporters of the Council of Florence— Unpublished Greek treatises on the Councils and opponents of the Union —Greek and Russian literature from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century—Influence of Baronius and Hergenröther on the Orientals





Contemporary repercussions—The Anselmo Dedicata—Tenth-century writers— Unpublished canonical Collections of the tenth century—Historians of the eleventh century—The Photian case in the ‘Gregorians’’ canonical Collections—The Latin Acts of the Photian Council in the writings of Deusdedit and Ivo of Chartres.



From the examination of the history of Photius, it should now be clear that one account of the growth and the importance of the Photian Schism, as based on contemporary evidence, differs in many respects, some of them fundamental, from the accounts that have been accepted through the centuries down to our own time. It is evident, then, that if our argument is sound the true historical picture of the Photian Schism has been blurred in the distant past and that there has gradually grown up a Photian Legend which was finally adopted as canonical truth. We shall now follow the growth of this legend in Western, and even Eastern, tradition from the ninth century to our present era, noting the different phases of its evolution and the men responsible for the conversion of legend into accepted truth.


As regards Western tradition, [1] we have had occasion to point out some of the factors that facilitated the birth of the Photian legend, and the most telling of these was the enormous prestige enjoyed by the great Pope Nicholas I in the ninth century and throughout the Middle Ages: his reputation was so universally established as to make it next to impossible for anybody to question his well-known attitude to Photius. Anti-Greek animosity, which for the first time broke out in its more violent form in the reign of Nicholas and gained strength in medieval centuries, also militated against the memory of a Patriarch who was daring enough to ‘rebel’ against the great Nicholas, the first great precursor of Gregory VII, the man whose opinions



1. This chapter is a re-edition, with additions, of my study ‘L’affaire de Photios dans la Littérature Latine du Moyen Age’, in Annales de l'Institut Kondakov (Prague, 1938).





on pontifical primacy became the leading axioms of the Latin Middle Ages.


To turn first to the repercussions of the Photian case among his contemporaries in Latin countries, it was between 863 and 870 that the Western world began to take an interest in the bold Patriarch of Constantinople, whose conflict with Pope Nicholas I all but set the whole Western Church at odds with the Eastern Church.


Nicholas I, the gallant champion of papal rights, of which he entertained such a lofty notion, endeavoured to mobilize his whole Church against the Emperor Michael III and his Patriarch, and the Pope’s letter of 23 October 867 [1] was meant to organize the movement in Gaul and Germany; Hincmar of Rheims was personally commissioned to set up the common front of the Frankish Church against the Greeks.


The Frankish Church, indeed, took its mission very seriously. The bishops of the Rheims metropolis charged Odo, bishop of Beauvais, with the task of refuting the Greek calumnies in writing; whereas the mouthpiece of the Sens metropolis was to be Aeneas, bishop of Paris. Odo’s work has been lost, but the bishop of Paris did not exert himself in carrying out his honourable mission; his production is extremely feeble. [2] But Ratramnus, abbot of Corbie, who probably had also been requested to place his learning at the service of the common cause, wrote a reply, [3] which is a credit to the theological learning of the Frankish clergy of the time, and must have deeply impressed his contemporaries in Gaul, and possibly in Italy, too.


Hincmar has given us in his writings a version of these events, to which he refers in his letter to Odo of Beauvais; [4] and we also find in his polemical writings against his namesake of Laon [5] a spirited attack on the Greeks, in which the archbishop takes the Patriarchs of Constantinople to task for pretensions that had already been made by the Council of Chalcedon, and takes exception to their use of the title ’oecumenical’—the whole passage being probably a hint at the Photian Affair.


But a more detailed account of the facts is found in the Bertinian Annals, in which Hincmar mentions the embassy of Radoald and Zachary to Constantinople in 860-1, refers to the Pope’s intention to condemn them and to his scheme of summoning a Council in 864, with the Frankish bishops in attendance and even with the Patriarch Ignatius’



1. M.G.H. Ep. vi, pp. 169 seq.

2. P.L. vol. 121, cols. 685 seq.

3. P.L. vol. 121, cols. 225-346.

4. P.L. vol. 126, Ep. xiv, cols. 93, 94.

5. Loc. cit. ch. xx, cols. 345-50.





case on its agenda; [1] he then describes the moral and physical depression in which his legates found the Pope in August 867, as also the vigour of his appeal to the Western bishops, in particular, the archbishop of Rheims. [2] Hincmar’s main sources are the Pope’s letters, which he often copies textually, and his information is confirmed and completed by the historiographer of the church of Rheims, Flodoard. [3]


The Bertinian Annals also contain a report on the dispatch by Pope Hadrian II of the legates to Constantinople to sanction Ignatius’ reinstatement and on the convocation of a Council in this connection. [4] And there ends the information supplied by the archbishop of Rheims.


The account of the Annals takes us as far as the year 882, without giving any further details on subsequent developments in the Photian affair—which seems surprising. If, however, one brings together Hincmar’s various references to Photius, it becomes evident that the issue interests him only in so far as it concerns his Church and his own person, since he had been charged by the Pope to enlist public feeling in Gaul against the Greek pretensions. That is why Hincmar often prefers to quote word for word the letters Nicholas had addressed to him.


Weaker still is the reaction of the Photian case in Germany. Nicholas I had requested the archbishop of Mainz, Liutbert, [5] to summon a council of Germanic bishops to formulate a common reply to the Greek calumnies: the Germanic bishops did meet at Worms, but committed themselves to nothing more exciting than a short synodic reply. [6]


Except for the mention of this Council, there is only one reference to the Photian case in German contemporary literature and we have it from the Annals of Fulda; but here again, the annalist confines himself to a laconic commentary. This is what he says? ‘Nicholas, the Roman Pontiff, addressed two letters to the bishops of Germany, one on the



1. Cf. E. Perels, ‘Ein Berufungsschreiben Papst Nikolaus’ I. zur fränkischen Reichssynode in Rom’, in Neues Archiv d. Ges. f. ält. deutsche Gesch. (1906), vol. XXXII, pp. 135 seq.


2. M.G.H. Ss. I, pp. 466, 475. Cf. above, p. 124.


3. Flodoardi Hist. Rem. Eccl., M.G.H. Ss. xiii, lib. iii, ch. 17, p. 508; ch. 21, pp. 516 seq.


4. M.G.H. Ss. I, p. 494.


5. Cf. Nicholas’ letter to Louis the German of 23 October 867, M.G.H. Ep. vi, p. 610.


6. Cf. A. Weringhoff, ‘Verzeichnis der Akten fränk. Synoden’, in Neues Archiv (1901), vol. XXVI, p. 639; P.L. vol. 119, cols. 1201-12. Cf. above, p. 123.


7. Ad a. 868, M.G.H. Ss. 1, p. 380.





Greek divisions, the other on the deposition of the bishops Theotgand and Gunthar.... A synod was held in the month of May in Worms. . . where the bishops. . . gave answers apposite to the Greek futilities.’ We might expect to find more in contemporary literature of Roman and Italian origin ; but while information on the first stage of the Photian quarrel is extremely abundant—the letters of Popes Nicholas I, Hadrian II, John VIII, the writings of Anastasius the Librarian—accounts of the second stage of the conflict are, as a result of the concurrence of several unfortunate circumstances, very scanty. First, Anastasius vanished from the scene about 878 ; his death is untimely, as in the last years of his life he gave signs of a modified attitude to Photius. He was the writer, as I have shown elsewhere, [1] who settled the preliminaries of a rapprochement between John VIII and Photius as well as of a new departure in the Holy See’s Eastern policy; Anastasius was not a man of fastidious temperament and would certainly not have hesitated to say exactly the reverse of what he had written in the preface to the translation of the Acts of the Eighth Council and in his biographies of Nicholas and Hadrian, if there had been any such need in the interests of the new policy of the master he was then serving. Unluckily, death prevented him from giving the last touches to his Conversion’, though it seemed to have been well on the way.


More light would have been thrown on the revision of John VIII’s policy towards Photius, had that Pope been blessed with a biographer; but unfortunately the Liber Pontificalis breaks down at this very place. Hadrian II was the last Pope to be favoured in this respect, but his biography does not cover the last years of his pontificate. About John VIII, Marinus and Hadrian III there is complete silence. The biography of Stephen V, which concludes the Liber Pontificalis, deals apparently only with the first year of his reign. [2]


Lastly, it is much to be regretted that John the Deacon, an intimate associate of John VIII, failed to fulfil his intention of publishing an ecclesiastical history and devoting special attention to Greek affairs, for, judging by the biography he wrote of St Gregory the Great, [3] his work would have been of the highest value.


We are thus reduced to one single source of information, which makes a brief, but important, reference to Photius’ rehabilitation, the history of the Benevento Lombards, written by the monk Erchempertus.



1. Les Légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, pp. 314 seq.


2. L. Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, vol. II, pp. vii, viii.


3. P.L. vol. 75, cols. 60-242.





This is what he has to say about the ascent of Leo and Alexander to the imperial throne: [1]


At the death of Serene and August Basil, his two sons were elected to the throne, namely, Leo the eldest and Alexander, his younger brother; the third, called Stephen, took charge of the archiepiscopal see of that city, after the expulsion of Photius, who had come under the perpetual anathema of Nicholas, the Pontiff of the first See, for usurping the see of Ignatius in his lifetime and had been reinstated in his previous dignity by Pope John, who, so to speak, acted in ignorance.



Brief as it is, this testimony is of capital importance, for not only does Erchempertus bear witness to Photius’ rehabilitation, but he also indirectly certifies that the Holy See never went back on its decision. We are of course aware that Erchempertus was no friend of the Greeks, at whose hands he experienced some rough handling as a prisoner in his younger days, and that for the rest of his life he never forgave them. As a zealous patriot, he frankly detested the Greeks as his country’s worst enemies ; and pious monk as he was, he readily forgave even the prince of Capua, Atenolf, for his ruthless treatment of the sons of Benedict in that city and—what is more remarkable—of himself, in consideration of the victory the prince had won over the combined Neapolitans, Saracens and Greeks. He warmly applauded this victory, [2] and his account contains bitter asides addressed to the Greeks, whom he describes as ’akin to animals in feelings, Christians by name, but for morals worse than Agarenes’. [3]


Erchempertus also relieves his feelings against the Greeks in his reference to Photius, making it quite clear that he did not approve John YIII’s conduct and excusing the Pope’s ‘weakness’ on the ground of his ignorance of the true state of affairs.


It is easy to imagine with what relish he would have recorded on this occasion that the Pope had realized the cunning of those people ‘who were Christians but in name’, revoked his decision, and again excommunicated Photius. The fact that Erchempertus says nothing about the second excommunication of the Patriarch of Constantinople by John, clearly indicates that it never took place.



1. Erchemperti Historia Langobard. Benevent., ch. 52, M.G.H. Ss. Rer. Lang, p. 256: ‘. . . eiecto Focio, qui olim a Nicolao primae sedis pontifice ob invasionem episcopatus Ignatii adhuc superstitis perpetuo anathemate fuerat multatus, et a Ioanne papa, ut ita dicam ignaro, ad pristinum gradum resuscitatus.


2. Ibid. ch. 73 seq. p. 262. Cf. Waitz’s Introduction to this edition, p. 232 and Pertz’s remark in his edition in the M.G.H. Ss. in, p. 240.


3. Ibid. ch. 81, p. 264.





Erchempertus’ silence is a sign that not even John’s successors broke off relations with the Greeks. He was in personal contact with Stephen V for instance, who at Erchempertus’ request had intervened against Atenolf and sanctioned the privileges of the Brothers of St Benedict in Capua. [1] Had Stephen V severed relations with the Greeks, the action would have been commended by this enthusiastic patriot as a meritorious deed, and Erchempertus, who thought highly of Stephen for intervening in favour of his confrères, would never have lost the chance of emphasizing the Pope’s unbending attitude towards the Greeks.



For lack of other contemporary historical documents, we may seek some indications of John VIII’s dealings with the Greeks in another class of literature which is still little known and has not so far been utilized by historians—the Collections of canon law. It happens that the period we are studying—that of Nicholas I, Hadrian II and John VIII —is marked by a revival of canonical activity, [2] and canon law Collections invariably reflect with faithful precision the spirit of the policy of the Popes who inspired them.


Now there exists a canonical Collection of the period of John VIII which goes by the name of Anselmo Dedicata, and was composed by a cleric of Lombardy, devoted to the policy of John VIII, probably towards the end of that Pontiff’s reign, about 882. [3] The author dedicated his Collection to Anselm, archbishop of Milan (882-96), who had been the Pope’s faithful lieutenant in an acrimonious campaign which John had fought against Anspertus, Anselm’s predecessor in the see of Milan, who tenaciously championed the rights of his see even at the risk of falling foul of the Pope.


This Collection is relevant to our investigation, as it seems to reflect the Pope’s political opinions. The author has the same lofty notion as John VIII of the Papacy’s mission in the Church. According to the description given by P. Fournier4 of this unpublished Collection, the author aims at assembling the greatest possible number of texts on the



1. Historia Langobard. Benevent., loc. cit. ch. 69, p. 261.


2. Cf. Giesebrecht, ‘Die Gesetzgebung der Römischen Kirche zur Zeit Gregor VII’ (München), Historisches Jahrhuch für das Jahr 1866, pp. 93 seq.


3. P. Fournier-G. Le Bras, Histoire des Collections Canoniques en Occident (Paris, 1931), vol. I, pp. 239 seq.


4. Loc. cit., P. Fournier, ‘L’Origine de la Collection Anselmo Dedicata’, in Mélanges P. F. Girard (Paris, 1912), vol. 1, pp. 475-98; P. Fournier-G. Le Bras, Histoire des Collections Canoniques en Occident, vol. I, pp. 235 seq. Cf. F. Maassen, Geschichte der Quellen der Litteratur des can. Rechtes im Abendlande (Gratz, 1870), pp. 717 seq.





primacy of the bishop of Rome, both authentic and spurious, the latter being drawn from the False Decretals. On the other hand, he neglects anything that is not Roman and does not quote a single text of Frankish, Irish or Anglo-Saxon origin. P. Fournier rightly discovers traces of the Roman spirit animating John VIII, but the author’s bias in favour of Rome does not prevent him from being polite to the Greeks. Evidence of this is to be found in the first book of the Collection. In canon 128 the author copies the decision of the Council of Constantinople conferring second rank on the Patriarch of that city. The next canon is taken from one of Justinian’s Novels [1] and defines the rights of the Patriarchs in Constantinople in the following terms: ‘Be the Pope first of all bishops and patriarchs, and after him the bishop of the city of Constantinople.’ [2] As this composition appears to belong to the last reign of John VIII’s pontificate, such partiality to a Graeco-Roman entente may be taken as indirect evidence that John VIII had not swerved from his Graecophil policy. How then could a writer so loyal to his master’s opinions have inserted in his Collection these two canons, so favourable to the Patriarchs of Constantinople, if John VIII had in that year, or in the previous year, excommunicated Photius for the second time, after discovering, as has so often been asserted to this day, that he had been disgracefully duped by the astute Greek? Such a demonstration would have provoked in Rome, and throughout Italy, a reaction very different from that revealed in the Anselmo Dedicata. [3] It should be enough to recall the agitation that arose in the West at the first declaration of hostilities between Photius and Nicholas I. In the writings of Ratramnus of Corbie,4 and of Aeneas,



1. Codex Justinianus, lib. in, tit. 3, novella 130: ‘. . . Sancimus. . . Senioris Romae papam primum esse omnium sacerdotum; beatissimum autem archiepiscopum Constantinopoleos Novae Romae secundum habere locum post sanctam apostolicam Senioris Romae sedem: aliis autem omnibus sedibus praeponitur.’ The author of the Anselmo Dedicata quotes Justinian’s Novels mostly from the Epitome made by Julianus (ed. G. Haenel, 1873).


2. ‘Papa Romanus prior omnibus episcopis et patriarchis, et post illum Constantinopolitanae civitatis episcopus.’


4. An extract from the Anselmo Dedicata will be found in a Latin manuscript of the Prague National Library, Codex Lobkovicz, no. 496 (13th c. parch.), fols. 850-102, under the title: ‘Incipiunt Excerpta sanctorum pontificum’, where the copyist has transcribed 87 chapters of the famous Collection, but without the slightest reference to the Pope and the Patriarchs. The extracts date from the end of the ninth or the beginning of the tenth century. Cf. Schulte, ‘Über Drei in Prager Hs. enthaltenen Canonen-Sammlungen’, in Sitzungsberichte d. Akad. Wiss. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1867), pp. 171-5.


5. Contra Graecorum Opposita, L. d’Achery, Spicilegium (Paris, 1723), pp. 107 seq., chiefly p. iii. P.L. vol. 121, cols. 223 seq.





bishop of Paris, [1] we find that these two writers, who were thoroughly cognizant of Pope Nicholas’ ideas, emphasized that the Patriarch of Constantinople was subject to the Pope, and did all they could to minimize Justinian’s Novel on the right of the Patriarch. Remembering the vicious castigation, which only a few years previously Hincmar had administered to the Greeks for calling their Patriarch ‘oecumenical’, and to the Council of Chalcedon for deciding in favour of Byzantium, we can readily appreciate how far the spirit of those invectives was removed from that which inspired the author of the Collection Anselmo Dedicata—to conclude that the Holy See’s Oriental policy under John VIII had turned a full circle.



Thus the echoes of the Photian Affair in the Latin literature of the ninth century are feeble enough, but what little evidence they offer contains no reference to a second Photian schism.


In any examination of the literary documents of the period, it must be remembered that the tenth century is characterized by the complete collapse of the Carolingian Empire. As a result of external dangers, especially the Hungarian invasions, and of internal trouble, historiography was barren for several decades and no relevant description of the period survived. Decadence was worst in Rome, at the very centre of Western Christianity, where Anastasius the Librarian and John the Deacon were the last surviving historians. Nor was the position any better in Gaul and Germany, as there other problems, more absorbing and topical than Greek controversies, occupied the few writers who were at work.


So we search in vain through the Germanic writings of the period for the barest reference to Photius. The works published in Gaul are equally unsatisfactory, and when we turn to Italy, the only reference to the incident is to be found in the Chronicle of Salerno written about the year 978, [2] in which the chronicler merely copies the extract from Erchempertus verbatim.


But not even in Rome was the memory of Photius quite obliterated. In a letter addressed to the Frankish episcopate, Pope Sergius III seems to make him responsible for the campaign against the Latin Filioque and mention of it is made in the Acts of the Frankish synod of Trosley



1. Liber adversus Graecos, ibid. pp. 143 seq. P.L. vol. 121, cols. 683 seq.


2. M.G.H. Ss. in, p. 538. A MS. of the Chronicle of Monte Cassino, written by Leo (eleventh century), also copies this extract from Erchempertus. Ibid. vol. vii, p. 609, ad ann. 880.





in the Soissonnais, summoned in 909 by Hérivée, archbishop of Rheims ; [1] but to judge from what Hérivée has to say about it, remembrance of Photius is extremely faint among the Frankish episcopate:


As the Holy Apostolic See has brought to our knowledge that the errors and blasphemies in the East against the Holy Spirit by a certain Photius are still rife, asserting that He proceeds, not from the Son, but from the Father alone, we exhort you, brethren, each of you, to join me in obedience to the warnings of the Lord of the Roman See and after studying the opinions of the Catholic Fathers, in drawing from the quiver of divine Scripture the pointed arrows that will crush the head of the wicked serpent.



I expected to meet Photius’ name again in some Formosian writings early in the tenth century, but the references there proved to be insignificant. But as I hope I have demonstrated elsewhere, it is a mistake to look in these writings for any evidence of schism between the two Churches, provoked by Pope Formosus’ obstinate attitude to the Photian ordinations. [2] On the contrary, we may infer from a careful examination of these writings that even Pope Formosus remained on good terms with the Byzantine Church and that the issue of the Photian ordinations had ceased to disturb peaceful relations between the two Churches.


Another document of the end of the tenth century recalls the energetic measures taken by Nicholas I against Photius: it is a letter by Leo, abbot of St Bonifacius in Rome and legate of Pope John XV to Kings Hugh and Robert in connection with the case concerning Arnulf, archbishop of Rheims, and his successor Gerbert. Leo’s letter is in reply to the charges made by the Rheims synod against Arnulf and against the Pope, the synod disputing the Pope’s right to meddle with what is the business of the church of Rheims. After a virulent attack on the Popes of the tenth century, the Council quotes in support of its contention a letter from Hincmar to Pope Nicholas. [3] The legate replied: [4] ‘So you draw Pope Nicholas to your side on the ground of his silence in face of the bishops’ deposition against the Roman Church. Yet, you will find in his letters how severely he dealt with Photius, the usurper of the Church of Constantinople, till the day he recalled Ignatius to his own see.’



1. Mansi, vol. xviii, cols. 304, 305.


2. ‘Études sur Photios’, in Byzantion (1936), vol. xi, pp. 1-19. See pp. 251-65.


3. P.L. vol. 139, cols. 312-18.


4. Loc. cit. col. 342; M.G.H. Ss. m, p. 689. In this connection cf. J. Havet, Lettres de Gerbert (Paris, 1889), pp. xxiii seq.





Leo does not here touch on any other problems raised by the Photian incident, as it would have been a clumsy move on his part to mention Photius’ rehabilitation. The fact is that the King had applied to Pope John XV for an identical act, i.e. the recognition of Gerbert in the see of Rheims. It would have served his purpose better to point in this connection to Photius’ second condemnation by John VIII, if it had in fact taken place.


We may also note that the decree by Nicholas I against Photius and the clergy ordained by him is cited in a letter from the clergy of Verona to the Holy See. [1] It was written by the bishop of Verona, Ratherius, and the metropolitan appeals there to a number of pontifical documents in his own defence, and for the invalidity of the ordinations made in Verona by his rival, the illegal bishop Milo. That he should pass over Photius’ rehabilitation by John VIII in silence is natural enough, since it would only have harmed his cause.


And that is all there is about Photius in the Latin literary output of the tenth century, and it is very little. It is disappointing to find that the only Latin writer who at that time specially dealt with Greek affairs did not make the slightest reference to the Photian case: this is Liudprand the Lombard, deacon of the church of Pavia (Ticino) and later bishop of Cremona, who between 948 and 950 made a long stay in Constantinople as the ambassador of King Berengar. He speaks, however, on two occasions of the Emperor Michael III and of Basil I in his Antapodosis. [2] His malevolence against the Greeks should have induced him to quote an excellent illustration of Greek astuteness, of which he complains so often, if the history of Photius had in fact been what modern historians have made it.


There remain the canonical Collections of the period, though here again we must not expect any sensational finds, as the canonists of the time contented themselves with out-of-date documentation which went no further than the ninth century. This is noticeable, for instance, in the Libri de Synodalibus Causis, by Regino of Prüm of the beginning



1. Loc. cit. vol. 136, col. 480. Cf. ibid. cols. 97 seq., for remarks on this move by the Veronese clergy. Ratherius lived between 890 or 891 and 974. Cf. M.G.H. Ep. vi, p. 519; A. Vogel, Ratherius von Verona (Jena, 1854), vol. I, pp. 316 seq.; vol. II, pp. 206 seq.; C. Pevani, Un Vescovo Belga in Italia nel secolo X (Torino, 1920).


2. Lib. I, chs. 9, 10, lib. hi, chs. 32-4; M.G.H. Ss. hi, pp. 276, 277, 309, 310. Cf. English translation by F. A. Wright, The Works of Liudprand of Cremona (Broadway Medieval Library; London, 1930), pp. 36 seq., 124 seq.





of the tenth century: [1] all he adds to the documents taken from existing Collections are the canons of the Gallo-Roman or Merovingian Councils with a few extracts from the Frankish kings’ capitularies or Collections of Decreta. Some of these new documents, it is true, belong to the second half of the ninth century, but one would seek there in vain for any decisions by the Popes and Councils of the period bearing on general topics, except for some fragments from Nicholas’ letters about Frankish affairs.


Fragments of letters from John VIII have here and there found their way into the Germanic Collections from the end of the ninth to the beginning of the tenth century, but hardly any of them bear on the subject under discussion. [2]


Similarly one looks in vain for any light on our problem in the famous compilation of the beginning of the eleventh century, Burchard’s Decretum, which for all the success it had in the ecclesiastical world of the time, makes only fragmentary use of the conciliar and pontifical documents of the ninth century; [3] and the same may be said of Lanfranc’s canonical Collection, which in its day had a great vogue in England. [4]


The canonical Collections of southern Italy, though primarily of local interest, belong to a country which lies at the cross-roads of papal and Byzantine currents of influence and faithfully reflect the general lines of pontifical policy towards the Greeks.


The first of this class is the Collection preserved in the Manuscript T XVIII of the Vallicellania. [5] The author is, of course, a Latin, probably a native of southern Italy, who wrote his Collection between 912 and 930;



1. P.L. vol. 132, cols. 175 seq.; cf. P. Fournier-G. Le Bras, loc. cit. pp. 244-67.


2. Chiefly the collection in four volumes of the Chapter of Cologne (Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. p. 285: Letter from Nicholas to the Emperor or Michael III); the collection of St Emeran of Ratisbon (ibid. p. 294); the collections of the Manuscript of St Peter of Salzburg (ibid. p. 306).


3. P.L. vol. 140, cols. 537-1053; cf. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. pp. 364-414.


4. MS. of the British Museum Cotton. Claud. D. IX: Decreta Romanorum Pontificum, Canones Apostolorum et Conciliorum. The MS. dates from the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century. It has two decrees by Nicholas, fols. 125 α, 126, but they are irrelevant to our subject. The author of the Collection only makes use of the first seven Councils and local synods (chiefly fols. 128-59).


5. See detailed description of the manuscript in Patetta, ‘Contributi alla Storia del Diritto Romano nel Medio Evo’, in Bullettino dell' Istituto di Diritto Romano (Rome, 1890), vol. m, pp. 273-94; P. Fournier, ‘Un Groupe de Recueils canoniques Italiens’, in Mémoires de l'Institut, Acad, des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1915), vol. xl, pp. 96 seq.





he is a very outspoken partisan of pontifical primacy, yet none the less favourable to the Greeks. In the first part, we find the same canon as in the Anselmo Dedicata, which gives the archbishop of Constantinople precedence over all the other Eastern Patriarchs and first place after the Pope. [1] Besides this canon, the Collection includes some canons one would never expect to find in a Western production of the kind. For instance, the author gives five texts on the question, so much discussed in the East, of image worship (fol. 145 of the manuscript). One of these texts (no. 13, as reckoned by Patetta and Fournier) is an extract from the Second Council of Nicaea, very little known in the West. He also gives (under no. 432) a list not only of the Popes, but of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople (fol. 143 of the manuscript), and the compiler includes in his Collection texts taken from Justinian’s Novels purporting to regulate the relations of the higher clergy with the imperial court and the Byzantine Patriarch, as well as texts concerning the archimandrites; [2] but no indication on the Photian affair, except perhaps an allusion to no. 451, which is a rule prohibiting the raising of laymen to the episcopacy. It is, however, not clear whether the text is taken from the Council of 869-70 or not. The manuscript is very incomplete; the last part is missing and from fol. 143 onwards—the portion which would be of the greatest interest—there is merely a list of chapters.


Although the Collection provides nothing relevant to our subject, it nevertheless has some interest, since it throws light on the relations between the two Churches in the first years of the tenth century, when the Latin clergy of southern Italy, in obedience to the Roman Pontiff, showed the sincerest deference to the distinctive institutions of the Church of Byzantium. Such mutual regard would be inexplicable, had the two Churches been at enmity till about 890, the date of their so-called reunion. Had this been the position, one might have looked in a canonical Collection of the beginning of the tenth century for some traces of a contest fought under the author’s eyes in a general atmosphere of discomfort; and the first to feel its consequences would have been the clergy of southern Italy, where the rival interests of the two Churches would be the first to be engaged in any general clash.


A similar impression is conveyed by another canonical Collection of the same period, unpublished, but preserved in MS. 1349 of the Vatican



1. Vol. I, p. 129 of the Anselmo Dedicata and no. 28 of the Collection as numbered by Patetta and P. Fournier.


2. Cf. Fournier, loc. cit. pp. 120, 121; Patetta, loc. cit. pp. 281, 282.





Latin MSS. section, [1] called the Collection in Nine Books. It is later than the Vallicellania Collection which served the compiler as one of his sources and manifests the same partiality to Byzantium. The author includes the canon on the precedence of the Patriarchs of Constantinople over the other Eastern Patriarchs and unhesitatingly enters a canon (canon 29 of Book ix, folio of MS. 200a-201) [2] with its definite bias in favour of the Greek clergy for treating third and fourth marriages as illicit. Even in penitential questions, the author is influenced by the practices of the Greek Church, without prejudice to his own loyalty as a son of the Roman Church.


Another work on canon law, the Collection in Five Books, dates from the beginning of the eleventh century. [3] Apparently published in Italy, somewhere between Naples, Monte Cassino and Benevento, about 1020, it clearly shows Byzantinophil feelings. The three manuscripts that have preserved it date from the eleventh century. In the Vatican MS. (Latin section, no. 1339) several miniatures picture the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the six oecumenical Councils (fols. 7-140), [4] showing in the midst of the assemblies the Byzantine Emperors presiding over the Councils, as well as the principal authors of the canons quoted in the Collection. Byzantine influence is undoubtedly traceable in the miniatures of the general Councils, and there is in this Collection the same spirit of repugnance to third and fourth marriages as in the Collection in Nine Books. [5] We must remember that we are on the eve of the final rupture between the two Churches, which makes the Byzantinophil bias of this Collection all the more striking.


The Collection in Five Books enjoyed great popularity in Italy and was widespread throughout the eleventh and twelfth centuries. P. Fournier [6] lists a whole series of Collections produced in Italy under the inspiration of the Collection in Five Books, most of them being simply extracts from it and offering nothing particularly relevant to the Oriental Church.


The Italian canon Collections of this period therefore deserve special attention, chiefly from those who are bent on finding evidence to prove



1. The MS. is described by Patetta, loc. cit. pp. 286 seq., and by P. Fournier, loc. cit. pp. 124 seq. The bibliography of this Collection is also to be found there.


2. Cf. P. Fournier, loc. cit. p. 153.


3. P. Fournier, loc. cit. pp. 159-89 (Vatic. Lat. 1339, Vallicellan B, 11, Monte Cassino no. cxxv).


4. Cf. P. Fournier, loc. cit. pp. 160, 187.


5. Cf. the chapter ‘De Legitimis Conjugiis et de Raptibus’, fols. 253 seq.


6. P. Fournier, loc. cit. pp. 190 seq.





that the two Churches were in schism long before 1054: the spirit that animates this class of writing will give little encouragement to their prejudice.


We should note particularly that Justinian’s Novel summarizing the famous 28th canon of the Council of Chalcedon and determining that the Patriarch of Constantinople should occupy second rank among the Patriarchs immediately after the Pope of Rome found its place in the Anselmo Dedicata and in other Italian Collections as early as the tenth century. This important finding has so far escaped the attention of Church historians, who assumed that Rome did not accord such a prerogative to Constantinople before 1215, i.e. at the Lateran Council, when Constantinople and its patriarchate were in Latin hands and Rome no longer felt in any danger. This general opinion is thus shown to be incorrect.



The second half of the eleventh century was of paramount importance to the internal growth of the Western Church—the period of the great reforming Popes, of the gigantic struggle led by the noble figure of Gregory VII against lay Investiture and for the freedom of the Church.


Naturally, one notes a renewal of activity in the literary field, and the Papacy’s reforming ideas had a good deal to do with it, since it was thought necessary to school contemporary minds in the loyal acceptance of the lofty notions of the sovereign Pontiff’s supremacy, to stabilize the ascendancy of the spiritual power over lay power and to popularize the schemes for reforming clergy and laity. The historical and juridical documents available up to that time soon proved inadequate and others had to be sought; the need for them was all the more urgent, in that the reformers’ leading ideas on the plenitude of pontifical power in matters spiritual and temporal were provoking vigorous opposition; the champions of lay power declared them to run counter to the spirit and the true evolution of the Church.


In the arguments of the eleventh-century reformers, the writings of Nicholas I naturally had a prominent place. Had their ideals not been at least partially formulated by this great Pope of the ninth century? Was he not the Pontiff who so gallantly resisted refractory princes and their attempts to violate the laws of the Church? His brave attitude to Lothar, his refusal to ‘yield to the whims of Michael III’ had not been forgotten. And what a test was provided by the Photian case to put in their place rebellious and haughty bishops who refused to obey the Pope’s commands! How could the reformers have overlooked the





Council of 869-70, which helped them with the detailed story of a Patriarch’s solemn condemnation, and best of all with canon XXII, forbidding the laity to meddle with episcopal elections?


It was, then, only natural at this period that special attention should be given to the Photian incident in the reformers’ writings, though even in these one notes some sort of progression. The supporters of Leo IX for instance still contented themselves with stale documentation, to the neglect of the Photian case. Peter Damian does not even mention it. Cardinal Humbertus, for all the dominant part he played in the contest with Michael Cerularius, is surprisingly discreet about our Patriarch, making no reference to him either in his writings against the simoniacs, [1] or in his report on the embassy to Constantinople, [2] or in the excommunication bull that was certainly drawn up by him, or in his Rationes de S. Spiritu a Patre et Filio. [3] There is but one allusion to the Photian affair in the letter of Pope Leo IX, written for the benefit of Michael Cerularius, perhaps by Humbertus. After mentioning the decrees of the iconoclastic synod and the intrigues of the enemies of imageworship, the text goes on:


Though the authority of the Roman Pontiff, and above all, the independence, so universally praised, of the saintly Pope Nicholas, always opposed them, he closed the church of St Sophia through his legates in defence of the sacred images and on account of the deposition of the saintly bishop Ignatius and the substitution of the neophyte Photius, until the decrees of the Apostolic See should be obeyed. [4]



This question is suggestive, showing that the Pope’s entourage was still ill-informed about the whole affair; that reformers were too easily carried away by their zeal and that they loved to exaggerate the importance of the pontifical intervention in Constantinople.


A bolder position is adopted by Bonizo of Sutri, Gregory VU’s devoted henchman. The conflict had become more venomous than under Leo IX: Gregory VII’s partisans were called upon to defend a daring move by the Pope—the excommunication of the Emperor Henry IV—which led Bonizo to search into history to prove that Gregory’s proceeding was not an isolated case, since the Popes always



1. P.L. vol. 143, cols. 1005 seq.; M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. 1, pp. 100-253.


2. Will, Acta et Scripta quae de controversiis eccl. Gr. et Lat. XI extant (Leipzig, 1861), pp. 150 seq.


3. P.L. vol. 143, cols. 1002-4; A. Michel, Humbert und Kerullarios (Paderborn, 1925), vol. I, pp. 77 seq.


4. P.L. vol. 143, col. 760. This passage is also quoted by Ivo of Chartres in his Decretum, iv, ch. 147; P.L. vol. 161, col. 299.





possessed the right to excommunicate kings and emperors. Of the ‘historical’ instances he quotes in the Liber ad Amicum, written in 1085 or 1086, several would carry little weight with historians. Nicholas I is given pride of place as a matter of course, [1] but even here Bonizo exaggerates, claiming that both Michael III and Lothar had been excommunicated by Nicholas I. It is well known, of course, that this is untrue. [2] But Bonizo had inaugurated a tradition which the Middle Ages readily accepted and Bonizo’s fiction obtained a surprising currency in later literature.


The first to copy this passage was Rangerius (1112), the biographer of St Anselm of Lucca. [3] Archbishop Romuald (1181), author of the Salerno Chronicle, [4] also quotes it in his work, which contains no other reference to the subject. The same passage occurs in the Chronica Pontificum et Imperatorum Tiburtina, begun about 1145. [5] The Liber de Temporibus of Albert Miliolus, written about 1281, quotes it too, [6] but without giving any reason why Michael was excommunicated. Sicard, bishop of Cremona, is more explicit in his chronicle, written at the beginning of the thirteenth century, [7] but does not name either Ignatius or Photius. Bonizo’s report is then textually repeated in the Chronica Apostolicorum et Imperatorum Basileensia, [8] written about 1215, and in an abbreviated form in the Chronicle of John of God, [9] of the first half of the thirteenth century. Martinus Polonus has similarly come under Bonizo’s influence. [10]


The credit given to Bonizo is all the more impressive, as those of his contemporaries who could not yet quote him, however devoted they were to the reformers’ cause and eager to find instances to bolster up the Popes’ power over princes, never refer to the alleged excommunication of Michael III. Berthold,



1. Liber ad Amicum, M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. 1, pp. 607-9: ’. . .Et quid dicam de Nicolao qui duos imperatores uno eodemque tempore excommunicavit, orientalem scilicet Michaelem propter Ignatium Constantinopolitanum episcopum sine iudicio papae a sede pulsum, occidentalem vero nomine Lotharium propter Gualradae suae pelicis societatem.’


2. With regard to Lotharius, cf. E. Perels, ‘Ein Berufungsschreiben Papst Nikolaus’ I zur fränkischen Reichssynode in Rom’, in Neues Archiv (1906), vol. XXXII, pp. 143 seq.


3. M.G.H. Ss. XXX, pp. 1210, 1222.


4. Muratori, S.R.I. vol. vii, pars 1, p. 161 (new ed.).


5. M.G.H. Ss. XXXI, p. 254.        6. Ibid. p. 420.        7. Ibid. p. 155.        8. Ibid. p. 287.        9. Ibid. p. 318.


10. Ibid. vol. XXII, p. 429; cf. also Chronica Minora auctore Minorita Erphordiensi, loc. cit. vol. xxiv, p. 183.





author of the Annals bearing his name and an emphatic 'Gregorian’, only cites the excommunication of Lothar in his plea for supreme papal power. [1] He probably began writing his chronicle in 1076. The chronicler Bernold, who started his work about 1073, likewise only knows of Lothar’s excommunication. [2] Marianus Scottus [3] gets nearer the mark, when he mentions the excommunication of Waldrada only, and, in his libelli, Bernold only refers to that of Lothar. [4]


More characteristic still is the prominence lent to the Photian affair in the chronicle of Hugh of Verdun. Hugh knows of the Eighth Council and even quotes canon XXII, a document very popular with the reformers of that period. [5] He also endeavours to collect the greatest possible number of precedents, more or less authentic, to prove that the Pope had the right to judge and depose Emperors and that the temporal power must remain in subordination to the spiritual power. Among the precedents he quotes one so absurd as to raise a smile on the face of the most solemn Byzantinist ; he pretends that the Emperor Michael II was deposed by the Patriarch Nicephorus [6] for nothing more serious than professional incapacity. Of Michael III Hugh knows nothing; probably he had no knowledge of Bonizo’s writing, though he started his chronicle about 1090.


These examples are not without value, since they illustrate the mentality of the reformers of the time of Gregory VII, who were carried away by a zeal that made them distort historical facts to suit their polemics. The examples also explain how and why advantage was so unexpectedly taken of the Photian incident in the writings of this and the following period. [7]



1. M.G.H. Ss. V, p. 296.            2. Ibid. p. 420.            3. Ibid. p. 551.


4. Libelli Bernaldi Presbyteri monachi (ed. F. Thaner), M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. ii, pp. i seq. (written between 1084 and 1100). P. 148: ‘Item beatus Nicolaus papa primus Lotharium regem pro quadam concubina excommunicavit. Item beatus Adrianus papa generaliter omnes reges anathematizavit, quicumque statuta violare presumpserint.’ This last statement was probably inspired by canon XXII of the Eighth Council. Bernald is identical with the chronicler Bernold.


5. Loc. cit. vol. viii, pp. 355, 412.            6. Ibid. p. 438.


7. Note also how the monk Placidus comments on canon XXII of the Eighth Council, without mentioning Photius. Placidi monachi Nonantulani Liber de Honore Ecclesiae, M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. ii, pp. 566 seq. The treatise written in defence of Pope Paschalis II, p. 618: ‘Quomodo Adrianus papa anathematizavit principes electioni praesulum se inserentes. Non debere se inserere imperatores vel principes electioni pontificum sanctus Adrianus papa VIII synodo praesidens ait: Promotiones etc. . . . ’





But controversialists and chroniclers only partly represented the literary activity that stirred the Church in the second half of the eleventh century: more important was the contribution by the canonists. Research in this field was inspired by Gregory VII, whose anxiety to give his reforming ideas a solid juridical basis prompted him to guide his collaborators’ work in this direction.


Gregory’s first care was to enlarge his canonical documentation by throwing open the registers and archives of the Lateran, where numerous copyists and compilers at once proceeded to hunt for documents that might be of interest to the canonists. Though the mass of this intermediate work must have been enormous, it is difficult to-day to conceive the size of it, as most of the work done by anonymous collaborators has been lost. Only one specimen of this class has come down to us, the Collectio Britannica, preserved in one single manuscript at the British Museum (Additional MS. No. 8873) and very probably belonging to the end of the eleventh century. [1]


These were the intermediate Collections, extracted from official documents that have remained unknown to this day, which the great canonists of the Gregorian period turned to such good account. One of the first big canonical Collections to be adapted to the new needs was put together about the year 1083 by Gregory VII’s most loyal associate, St Anselm of Lucca. [2] Obviously, documentation is attaining considerable proportions. It is chiefly the letters of Pope Nicholas I that are pressed into service; [3] this is but natural, since the reformers of the Gregorian period only aimed at carrying on the work begun by Nicholas; and most often quoted is the letter in which Nicholas rebutted Michael Ill’s accusations. [4] But letters by John VIII are also reproduced, though none of them bears on the Photian incident. The Collection has but three references to the Eighth Council in connection with canons XXI, XVIII and XXII. [5] The first, or canon XXI, forbids rash judgements about Popes and Patriarchs, and Photius is compared with Dioscorus—the only direct reference to Photius in the whole Collection.



1. Cf. P. Fournier on the canonists’ activities at this period. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 7 seq. On the Collectio Britannica see Paul Ewald,‘ Die Papstbriefe der Britischen Sammlung’, in Neues Archiv (1880), vol. v.


2. See Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 25 seq. F. Thaner, Anselmi, episcopi Lucensis, collectio canonum (Oeniponte, 1906).


3. i, 63, 72; ii, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70; IV, 44; v, 39; vii, 135; x, 21.

4. i, 79; ii, 73; iv, 31, 46; v, 42; vi, 89; x, 30.

5. ii, 72 = Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 174; iv, 30 = Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 172; vi, 20 = Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 174.





Canon XVIII concerns the privileges of the Church and the third is the famous canon XXII, so often appealed to by the reformers that its quotation here is not surprising.


On the whole, therefore, the choice of texts bearing on the Photian incident seems to me remarkably restrained ; none of the violent passages that abound in Nicholas’ letters and in the Acts of the Council of 869 are even mentioned.


Much the same restraint is to be found in the canonico-moral Collection under the title of Liber de Vita Christiana, written between 1089 and 1095 by another propagandist of Gregorian ideas, Bonizo of Sutri. [1] Bonizo, as stated before, even omits to mention Photius in the famous passage (also quoted in his Liber ad Amicum) about the excommunication of Michael III by Nicholas, [2] and only once, in canon XXI of the Eighth Council, does the name of Photius appear; [3] this is in the same passage as is found in the Collection of St Anselm of Lucca. Besides this canon, Bonizo also quotes, as a matter of course, canon XXII. [4]


Of the letters of Nicholas, only one refers to the Photian incident: it is an extract from this Pope’s famous reply to the letter of Michael III. [5] Most of the letters by John VIII only concern the rights of the Papacy over Bulgaria and Pannonia. [6] And this is all that interests us in the Collection.


However remarkable the discretion of these reformers in dealing with the Photian case, more revealing still is the study of the masterpiece of the Gregorian reform, the canonical Collection of Cardinal Deusdedit, who wrote his work between 1083 and 1087. [7] His subject-matter was not quite the same as Anselm’s, for whereas the bishop of Lucca aimed at collecting the documents concerning every possible article of canonical legislation, Deusdedit’s main object was to illustrate the Roman Church’s privileged position and the reasons why the primacy was part and parcel of it. His aim was ‘ to raise a monument to the glory of the Roman



1. Cf. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 139 seq.; E. Perels, ‘Bonizo, Liber de Vita Christiana’ (Texte zur Geschichte des Rom. und Kanon. Rechtes im Mittelalter, vol. I, Berlin, 1930).


2. E. Perels, loc. cit. p. 131; cf. M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. 1, pp. 607-9.


3. iv, 95 (ed. Perels), p. 159.


4. ii, 17 (ed. Perels), p. 42.


5. Especially iv, 86a = M.G.H. Ep. vi, p. 456.


6. iv, 91-94 (ed. Perels), pp. 15S, 159 = M.G.H. Ep. vii, pp. 281 (letter to Carloman), 282 (letter to Kocel of Pannonia), 284 (Commonitorium to legates).


7. Cf. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 37 seq. Edition of Wolf von Glanvell, Die Kanonensammlung des Kardinals Deusdedit (Paderborn, 1905). Cf. also the judicious comments on this edition in W. M. Peitz, S.J., ‘Das Originalregister Gregors VII’, in Sitzungsberichte d. Ak. Wiss. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1911), vol. 165.





Pontiff’s supreme power, so necessary and indispensable an instrument of ecclesiastical reform’. [1]


It is important to stress this leading tendency in the cardinal’s Collection, since it governs the choice of his texts. He first made generous use of the numerous letters of Nicholas I and John VIII; most of these extracts had been utilized by Anselm of Lucca in his Collection, [2] but Deusdedit’s quotations are usually longer. The cardinal also draws freely upon the Acts of the Eighth Council, [3] but it is to his credit that he shows the utmost restraint with regard to the Photian case. It is true that the passages borrowed from the Acts of the Eighth Council several times mention the fallen Patriarch, but they suggest no ill will towards the alleged author of the alleged schism and relentless opponent of the papal claims. And yet, should he not have treated Photius as such, if contemporary opinion had deserved to be taken seriously? An associate of Gregory VII must have been particularly sensitive on the point.


His discretion is all the more unexpected, since the Photian case provided a ready-made argument for the propositions outlined on the first pages of the work by Deusdedit, who meant to deal with the following topics : [4]


1. De ecclesia Constantinopolitana.


2. De episcopis Constantinopolitanis damnatis a R[omana] sede.


3. De excommunicatione eiusdem civitatis episcopi, qui se universalem nominavit.


4. De interdictu apostolicae sedis pro eodem vocabulo.


5. Quod Constantinopolitani episcopi anathematizaverint se et successores suos, si quicquam praesumerent contra alicuius episcopi sedem.



1. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 41, 51.


2. Here is the list, for documentary purposes, of the different passages with their reference to St Anselm’s work:

Nicholas’ letters: i, 152 = A. ii, 64; i, 153 = A. ii, 66; i, 154 = A. ii, 67; i, 155 =A. v, 44; i, 157 = A. v, 65; i, 158; i, 159, 160 = A. ii, 65; i, 161= A. iv, 43; i, 162 = A. ii, 65; i, 163 = A. ii, 70; i, 164 = A. ii, 69; i, 259; ii 62 = A. vii, 154; iv, 159-73, a long passage from the letter of the Pope to the Emperor Michael = A. i, 74; iv, 174; iv, 175= A. xii, 35; iv, 176 = A. iii, 66.

Letters of John VIII: i, 166 = A. vi, 92; i, 238 = A. vi, 92 (98); i, 239; i, 240 = A. iv, 45; i, 241; i, 242; i, 243 = A. ii, 73; ii, 90; iii, 53 = A. v, 50; iii, 54; iii, 55=A. iv, 31; iii, 56, 57 = A. iv, 32; iii, 142; iii, 143; iii, 144; iv, 91 =A. iii, 107; iv, 92 = A. 1, 81; iv, 178; iv, 182 = A. i, 82; iv, 382.


3.  i, 47 = canon 21 of the Council, Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 174 = A. ii, 72; i, 48 = an extract from Session VI, Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 86; 1,48 a = an extract from Session VII, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 97-99 ; iii, 10 = canon 15, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 168,169 = A. vi, 171 ; iii, i = canon 18, Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 172 = A. iv, 20; iii, 12 = canon 20, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 173, 174; iv, 17 = an extract from Session IX, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 152, 153 = A. xi, 151; iv, 18 = canon 22, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 174, 175= A. vi, 23.


4. Ed. Wolf von Glanvell, loc. cit. p. 13.





Thus Deusdedit proposes a thorough examination of the relations between Constantinople and Rome: now let us see which documents he uses and what he thinks of the Photian case. As an argument in support of his first proposition, the cardinal quotes a passage from the letter of Pope Gregory the Great [1] to John, bishop of Syracuse, in which he asserts that the Church of Constantinople is subordinate to the Church of Rome; in support of the second proposition, he quotes the condemnation of the Patriarch Nestorius by the Council of Ephesus, [2] followed by a long extract from the letter of Pope Nicholas I [3] to the Emperor Michael III, dated November 865, about Ignatius’ deposition. This excerpt is significant, for the cardinal is satisfied with pointing to the condemnation—recalled in this letter by Nicholas—of the Patriarchs Maximus, Nestorius, Acacius, Anthemius, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter—without a word about Photius. On the whole of the Photian incident, he quotes from the Pope’s letter only the following: ‘Cum ergo ita sit, cur in solo Ignatio beati Petri memoriam despicere ac oblivioni tradere studuistis? nisi quia pro uoto cuncta facere uoluistis constituentes synodum Ephesinae secundae crudelitati consimilem.’


And yet, there was in Nicholas’ correspondence a whole series of letters with particularly pointed statements about Photius’ condemnation. Is it not extraordinary then that the learned cardinal, who was acquainted with the correspondence of this great Pope, should have omitted them?


Under propositions III and IV Deusdedit quotes an apocryphal letter by Pelagius II [4] against the Patriarch John of Constantinople and a letter by Gregory the Great [5] anent the same John, the apocryphal letter also doing duty as evidence for what he says under V.


This discretion suggests that the compiler’s view of the history of Photius differed from that current in the Western Church of the modern period: not only did he know that Photius had been indicted by the Holy See, but he knew of the reinstatement by the same supreme authority.


I have deemed it necessary to examine the spirit of this canonical Collection before coming to the study of the last documents that conclude it, and which are quite favourable to Photius: there is, first,



1. i, 188, after the edition of Wolf von Glanvell (p. 115). M.G.H. Ep. ii, p. 60.


2. i, 32, Actio V, Mansi, vol. iv, col. 1239.


3. iv, 164, M.G.H. Ep. vi, p. 469.


4. i, 141, p. 95.


5. i, 142, p. 96. M.G.H. Gregorii Reg. ii, p. 157.





the extract from the Acts of the synod that met in Constantinople in 861 [1] under the chairmanship of Photius and in the presence of Nicholas’ legates, Radoald of Porto and Zachary of Anagni. The insertion of a document of this kind in a canonical Collection of Gregory VII’s period is, at least, noteworthy, and raises some doubt whether the extract in fact appeared in Deusdedit’s original work. [2] Yet, if what has been said about the spirit in which the whole of this Collection was put together by the Cardinal be remembered, few will feel inclined to be sceptical, for if the Cardinal really knew that Photius had been rehabilitated by the Holy See and that the Papacy did not revise its judgement, the Acts of the 861 synod against Ignatius must have sounded less odious to him than they did to the refractory Ignatians in Byzantium and to Nicholas’ contemporaries in Rome in the ninth century.


The last exhibit also completes the documentation on the judicial procedure and on the manner of taking the oath, given by the learned compiler at the end of his book; for the Acts of that Council aptly illustrate the supreme judicial power of the Bishops of Rome, when appealed to in the last instance of any ‘major cause’ by the Church of Constantinople. The procedure to be adopted in a suit against a bishop is more clearly explained there than, for instance, in the Acts of the Council of 869-70.


There are also many striking signs of deference to the Bishops of Rome. Nicholas’ legates openly declare that the Pope has the right to revise the case of any bishop : [3] Credite fratres quoniam sancti patres decreverunt in Sardiniensi concilio, ut habeat potestatem Romanus pontifex renovare causam cuiuslibet episcopi, propterea nos, per auctoritatem, quam diximus, eius [i.e. Ignatii] volumus investigare negotium.’ And the bishop of Laodicea, Theodore, replies in the name of the Church of Constantinople : ’Et Ecclesia nostra gaudet in hoc et nullam habet contradictionem et tristitiam.’ The Pope, so the legates declare at the fourth session, has the care of all the Churches; [4] and far from protesting, the synod spontaneously accepts the authority of the Roman See. The ‘adiutores Ignatii’ enthusiastically exclaimed: [5] ‘Qui hoc [i.e. iudicium vestrum] non recipit, nec apostolos recipit.’



1. iv, 428-31, pp. 603-10: ‘Sinodus habita in Constantinopoli sub Nicolao papa de Ignatio Patriarcha.’ See pp. 78 seq.


2. W. von Glanvell, p. xiii, casts doubts at any rate on what concerns the extract from the Acts of the Photian Synod that follows this document. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, p. 48 are of opinion that the two documents may have been added to the Collection later.


3. Loc. cit. p. 605.            4. Loc. cit. p. 609.            5. Loc. cit. p. 604.





As such declarations must have filled ’Gregorian’ hearts with supreme satisfaction and joy, it is only natural that such a text should have found its way into a canonical collection of that period.


Further, the authenticity of the exhibit is above suspicion and its form is in the best style as used on similar occasions by the Chancellery of Constantinople. Deusdedit, or else the copyist who entered it into the Collection, took it from the Latin translation of the Acts of the 861 synod, brought to Rome by Zachary and Radoald and deposited in the scrinium Lateranense; they are, moreover, the same Acts as are mentioned by the author of the Liber Pontificalis, [1] which he must have consulted. The question whether the document was entered into the Collection by Deusdedit or by the copyist in transcribing his book is immaterial, though everything seems to suggest that we owe its preservation to Deusdedit himself. W. M. Peitz, S.J., [2] was struck by the great number of oath formularies in the Collection under consideration and ingeniously inferred that Deusdedit had perhaps occupied the post of cancellarius, in which capacity he would have had opportunities for administering the oath to bishops and other notabilities. We should also remember that as the only complete manuscript which preserved this compilation was written under Paschal II (1099-1118), it was roughly contemporary with Deusdedit. [3] That such a document should have been preserved only in this Collection is not surprising, since the same applies to other writings reproduced there and not to be found elsewhere, at any rate in their oldest and most reliable form. [4]


It is, however, possible that another document, which closes this Collection, was added by the copyist of Deusdedit’s work, the famous summary of the Photian Council of 879—80: as a matter of fact, it seems not to fit into the scheme of the original Collection, nor is it mentioned in the Index, which was drawn up by the Cardinal. [5]



1. Ed. Duchesne, vol. II, p. 158: ‘convocata generali synodo, eundem virum Ignatium patriarcham denuo deposuerunt, sicut in gestis Constantinopolim ab illis compilatis facile reperitur et per legatos, Leonem scilicet a secreto et alios, necnon per epistolam predicti imperatoris [Michaelis] veraciter mansit compertum.’


2. ‘Das Originalregister Gregors VII’, in Sitzungsberichte... Phil.-Hist. Kl. (Wien, 1911), vol. 165, p. 144.


3. About this MS. cf. the study by E. Stevenson, ‘ Osservazioni sulla Collectio Canonum di Deusdedit’, in Archivio della R. Storia Patria (1885), vol. viii, pp. 304-98; cf. also W. M. Peitz, loc. cit. pp. 133-47.


4. For instance the famous extracts from the Lateran Archives (ed. W. von Glanvell, lib. hi, 191-207, pp. 353-63) and one extract from the Frankish Annals (ibid. lib. iv, 195, pp. 496, 497).


5. Cf. W. von Glanvell, loc. cit. p. xiii.





But this trifle does not impair the value of the work. Deusdedit knew the Photian case and notably his rehabilitation by John VIII, since he pointedly alludes to it in his Libellus contra Invasores et Simoniacos, [1] a paragraph strangely reminiscent of John VIII’s letter to the Emperor Basil which was read at the second session of the Photian Council and is also summarized in the extracts from these Acts preserved in Deusdedit’s Collection. [2]


This document also originates from the Pontifical Archives and it matters little whether it appeared in the original collection or was added by contemporary copyists. It at least illustrates the mentality of the eleventh-century reformers and proves that their view of this Council and of Photius’ rehabilitation was not that which has been accepted by modern historians; otherwise, how could the Acts of a Council, which it is the fashion to-day to call ‘pseudo-synodus’, have been admitted into a Collection of such importance?



Furthermore, the Acts of the Photian Council must, through a number of extracts, have circulated among the canonists of the time, to be utilized not only by Deusdedit and his copyists, but also by another great canonist of the period, Ivo of Chartres. [3] To establish the accuracy of this statement, we must collate the extracts from the Acts as handed down by the two canonists.


In the famous prologue, which was probably to serve as a preface to his Decretum, written about 1094, Ivo proves among other things that the Pope has the right to annul a sentence passed on a defendant, and quotes in support several cases gathered from history, including that of Photius: [4] ‘Sic Joannes papa VIII Photium neophytam a papa Nicolao depositum Augustorum interventu Basilii, Leonis, Alexandri, in patriarchatu Constantinopolitano restituit, scribens praedictis Augustis



1. Cf. the passage on the admission of Simoniacs and Schismatics to the priesthood and on those ordained by them. M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, vol. II, chs. 9, 10, p. 327: ’. . . Sed et Alexander primus et Celestinus et Joannes VIII simili sententia decernunt, ut id, quod invenitur pro summa necessitate toleratum nullatenus assumatur in legem. . . . in haec verba: Scripsistis nobis dilectissimi filii. . . .’


2. W. von Glanvell, loc. cit. pp. 612-14; cf. the letter in Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 397; Jaffé, no. 3271.


3. On Ivo of Chartres and his writings, see P. Fournier, ’Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres et le Droit Canonique’, in Bibl. de l'École des Chartes (1897), vol. lviii; idem, ‘Yves de Chartres et le Droit Canonique’, in Revue des Questions historiques (1898), vol. lxiii, pp. 51 seq.; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. ii, pp. 55 seq. Ivo’s writings, P.L. vol. 161.


4. P.L. vol. 161, col. 56.





There follows a long extract from the letter of John VIII to Basil I. [1] The context reveals that the Photian case provides in the opinion of Ivo the leading argument of his thesis. The bishop of Chartres only mentions in this place Photius’ reinstatement and not any second excommunication either by John VIII or by any of his successors, although this was the right place to quote the Pope’s second verdict, since it would have provided the canonist with the most typical instance for his demonstration. And yet, the canonists of the period and their co-workers must have delved into the pontifical archives with some care, noting every single text that could, in one way or another, corroborate their doctrines on the plenitude of papal powers.


How could a document of such importance as the fulmination of a second excommunication have escaped their attention? The compilation called Collectio Britannica contains long extracts from the registers of John VIII and Stephen V, which are lost to-day—a sure sign that all the documents relative to their pontificate were duly scrutinized by the canonists; but this complete silence about a second excommunication and condemnation of Photius can point to only one conclusion— that they never took place.


The study of the long fragment from the letter of John VIII to Basil I, quoted by Ivo, brings out another remarkable point. It is identical with the text of the letter read out to the Council at the second session and we are given the same version in the Cardinal’s Collection [2]—an excellent testimony to the authenticity of Deusdedit’s extract.


Nor is it the only excerpt from the Acts of the Photian Council, common to Ivo and Deusdedit. Ivo included in his Decretum (Deer. vii, 149) a declaration by the pontifical legates ordering bishops who become monks to relinquish their episcopal charge for good; this is followed by the declaration of the second canon of the Council taking similar action and passed by the assembly at its fifth session : now, the same prohibition is mentioned at the end of the extract from the Acts in Deusdedit’s Collection;3 and yet, the passage quoted by Ivo of Chartres is considerably longer than the quotation by Deusdedit, and



1. As far as the sentence : ‘ si quis vero tale quid amodo facere praesumpserit, sine venia erit.’ Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 487; vol. xvii, cols. 141, 395 ; Jaffé, vol. i, no. 3271 ; M.G.H. Ep. vi, pp. 168 seq.


2. Ed. W. von Glanvell, lib. iv, 434, pp. 612 (l. 16)-614 (l. 20).


3. Loc. cit. p. 617.





does not quite tally with the account given in the Acts of the Photian Council. [1]


This shows that Ivo was not copying from Deusdedit, but derived his information from elsewhere, perhaps from the Acts themselves which he summarized at this place, or more probably from an intermediary compilation made from the original documents of the Pontifical Archives, which gave a longer extract from the Acts of the Photian Council.


This is the more plausible as Ivo’s Decretum completes Deusdedit’s extracts on three points. In the fourth part, where he writes ’de observandis festivitatibus et jejuniis legitimis, de Scripturis canonicis et consuetudinibus et celebratione concilii’, Ivo quotes two important passages, which raise the problem of the condemnation of the Oecumenical Council of 869-70 by John VIII. He says (Deer, iv, 76):


That the synod of Constantinople against Photius is not to be accepted. John VIII to the Patriarch Photius.—We annul and absolutely abrogate the synod against Photius held in Constantinople as much for other reasons as because Pope Hadrian did not sanction it. (‘ Constantinopolitanum synodum eam quae contra Photium est non esse recipiendam. Joannes VIII patriarchae Photio.’—‘Illam quae contra Photium facta est Constantinopoli synodum irritam facimus et omnino delevimus, tam propter alia, tam quoniam Adrianus papa non subscripsit in ea.’)



The first part of this passage tallies with the canon IV voted by the Photian Council at its fourth session. [2] The sentence, 'because Pope Hadrian did not sanction it [the synod of 869-70]’, is an extract from the Greek edition of John VIII’s letter to Basil I. Photius gives there a curious interpretation to John’s words contained in the Latin edition of the letter to Basil, to the effect that the legates had signed the Acts of the Ignatian Synod with the saving clause 'usque ad voluntatem sui pontificis’. [3]



1. See the comparison of the texts in my study 'L’Affaire de Photios dans la Littérature Latine’, in Annales de l'Institut Kondakov (1938), vol. X, p. 89.


2. Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 490 (Latin translation) : ‘ Synodum Romae factam contra Photium sanctissimum patriarcham, sub Hadriano beatissimo papa, et factam Constantinopoli synodum contra eundem sanctissimum Photium, definimus omnino damnatam et abrogatam esse, neque eam sanctis synodis adnumerandam esse aut recensendam, neque synodum omnino appellandam aut vocandam esse. Absit.’


3. Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 416 (Greek edition of John’s letter to Basil I); M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 181 (Latin and Greek edition of the letter). For more details, see infra, part ii, ch. 11, p. 329.





This passage and canon IV of the Photian Council are not mentioned in the extract from the Acts of Deusdedit’s Collection; [1] nor does the extract even quote another passage of equal importance in the Commonitorium which John VIII handed to his legates. It is well known that these instructions only survived in the Greek Acts of the Photian Council. In the Cardinal’s Collection the extract from the Acts is a summary of eight chapters of the Commonitorium, with the omission of chapter vi, which lays down for the legates’ benefit the procedure to be followed at the opening of the Council—and of chapter x, which is about the Council of 869-70. But this chapter is inserted by Ivo of Chartres in his Decretum iv, 77 :


About the same, John VIII to his legates. You will tell them that we annul those synods held against Photius under Pope Hadrian either in Rome or in Constantinople and that we take them off the list of Holy Synods. (‘De eodem Joannes VIII apocrisiariis suis. Dicetis quod illas synodus quae contra Photium sub Adriano papa Romae vel Constantinopoli sunt factae, cassamus et de numero sanctarum synodorum delemus.’)



If the Latin translation [2] of chapter x of the Commonitorium be compared with Ivo’s quotation, it will be evident that here also the canonist takes his excerpt from the Photian Council.


That some of the quotations from the Acts preserved by Deusdedit should be almost identical with Ivo’s extracts seems to indicate that both canonists had at their disposal copies of the same intermediary Collection which reproduced extracts from the Acts of the Photian Council. It is also possible that Ivo’s copy contained longer extracts from the Acts than the copy used by Deusdedit or by the copyist of the Cardinal’s Collection.


There must have been a considerable number of those intermediary compilations circulating in the West from the end of the eleventh century. As they were only meant to provide the canonists with juridical materials to bolster up the reformist ideals of the Gregorian period, the choice of extracts from papal letters and conciliar decisions was left to the copyists’ discretion.


On the other hand, in comparing the Latin of Deusdedit’s extract from the Acts of the anti-Ignatian Synod of 861 with that of the one he



1. Loc. cit. pp. 615, 616.


2. Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 471: ‘Volumus coram praesente synodo promulgari, ut synodus quae facta est contra praedictum patriarcham Photium sub Hadriano sanctissimo papa in urbe Roma et Constantinopoli ex nunc sit rejecta, irrita et sine robore; neque connumeretur cum altera sancta synodo.’





quotes from the Photian Synod, it is obvious that the two extracts could hardly have been written by the same copyist. The Latin of the first extract is clumsy, whereas the copyist of the second extract not only wrote better Latin, but he had evidently read the Acts of the Photian Council intelligently and with an open mind. I have explained [1] how he grasped the meaning of his Greek original and its Latin translation; here he even completes the information supplied by the Acts in his extract from the second session with reference to Photius’ reply to the Pope’s request not to make any new ordinations for Bulgaria, for he writes: ‘ We have occupied this priestly throne for three years, but have neither sent a pallium nor made any ordinations there.’ [2] Here the Acts are not so circumstantial, as Photius only speaks in general terms (‘having been Patriarch so long’). [3] Without using any other copy of the Acts than the one we know, the copyist may have got his information from a careful reading and from other documents which he found in the Archives. [4]


It is therefore possible that the copy used by Ivo contained only the extracts of the Photian Council and that Deusdedit or his copyist disposed of conciliar materials gathered from the Archives by two different copyists. Since all these intermediary compilations have been lost, with the exception of the Britannica, it is difficult to imagine what they were like. We shall have occasion to show [5] that even the Britannica, in spite of the mass of new materials it contains, was probably in many places only an extract from longer compilations. Its concluding portion gives an extract from Deusdedit’s Collection.


A comparison of the Britannica materials with Deusdedit’s conciliar extracts shows the working method of the copyists, who on the invitation of Gregory VII searched the Lateran Archives for canonical documentation. Some of them searched the Registers of the Popes and copied whatever they considered to be useful to canonists. The Britannica has many such excerpts from the Pontifical Register—letters of Popes Gelasius I, Pelagius I, Pelagius II, Leo IV, John VIII, Stephen V, Alexander II and Urban II—together with extracts from the correspondence of Boniface, the Patron Saint of Germany. The letters of Nicholas I are not found among them: as they were of special value to Gregorian canonists, they must have circulated in a special copy.



1. See pp. 186 seq.

2. W. von Glanvell, iv, 334, p. 615.

3. Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 417.

4. It is also possible that this precision was due to the translator of the Acts.

5. See pp. 325 seq.





Other copyists made extracts from the conciliar Acts and their work can be traced in Deusdedit’s documentation. But the method was the same in either case: the copyists and the anonymous compilers of the intermediary Collections were only interested in such passages as would prove useful to canonists, especially those that justified the privileges of the Holy See. They were of course not always able to quote literally and had to summarize the longer texts, as was the case with the Acts of the Councils, but the documents were always faithful to the originals.


No other explanation will account for the inclusion of the extracts from the two Councils in the Western canonical Collections of the eleventh century and for the form in which they are preserved. The copyists omitted for instance the lengthy discourses addressed to Photius, since they did not meet their purpose, and what that purpose was we can infer from Deusdedit’s extracts—to take from the Acts only such passages as could serve to document the privileges of the Roman Pontiffs.


It is therefore futile to seek in those documents evidence for the theory that the legates brought from Constantinople only an extract from the Acts, as though the Byzantines feared to send to Rome a full account of what had happened in Constantinople at the Photian Council, or as though John VIII had only seen the Acts in the abbreviated form we know. [1] It was never the custom to send to Rome only summaries of conciliar Acts. John VIII knew exactly what had happened. A copy of the Acts brought from Constantinople by the legates was kept in translation in the Lateran Archives, where the document hunters found it towards the end of the eleventh century.


Because the Acts offered materials that served the copyists’ purpose, they summarized them or extracted their most telling passages. Two of the most eminent canonists of the Gregorian and post-Gregorian periods—Cardinal Deusdedit, or his copyist, and St Ivo of Chartres— saw the value of this material for the privileges of the Holy See and used them independently in their canonical Collections.


By a curious irony of fate, the same Acts which in the eleventh century were regarded as favourable to the Papacy were discarded by historians and canonists of later periods as damaging to the same Gregorian claims. Even their authenticity was questioned.



1. This is M. Jugie’s suggestion (‘Les Actes du Synode Photien’, in Échos d'Orient, vol. xxxvii, pp. 89-99; Le Schisme Byzantin, loc. cit. pp. 129 seq.). Cf. also V. Grumel, ‘Lettres de Jean VIII pour le Rétablissement de Photius in Échos d'Orient (1940), vol. xxxix, pp. 138-55.





What I have said, however, establishes the conclusion that the doubts cast by the West on the Greek Acts of the Photian Council are no longer justified. To repeat it once more, the extracts used by Deusdedit and Ivo of Chartres prove that the Latin translation, the only one known till their time, and which provided their information, faithfully rendered the Greek text of the Acts; indeed, the source of the intermediary compilation used by Deusdedit and Ivo actually was the official copy brought from Constantinople by the legates. [1] The Greek Acts of the Photian Council must therefore be considered absolutely authentic, at least in regard to the five sessions, since it is at the fifth session that the extract of Deusdedit and the quotations by Ivo come to an end. [2]


The examination, now concluded, of the Latin literature on the subject of the Photian incident between the ninth and the twelfth centuries has provided some interesting results: the view held, at that period at any rate, of the Photian case was not the same as the view current in the modern period; Photius’ litigation with the Papacy occupied a very restricted place in the writings of the time ; above all, to our great surprise, absolutely nothing was known of what to-day goes by the name of the second schism of Photius ; whereas against this, the Patriarch’s rehabilitation by John VIII was common knowledge and the ‘Gregorian’ canonists unreservedly accepted the decisions of the Photian Council of 869-70.



1. Hergenröther, Photius, vol. II, p. 573, ftn. 25, is right, as against Hefele, Koniiliengeschichte, vol. IV, p. 483, in stating that the translation of the Acts was made from the copy brought home by the legates (ed. Leclercq, vol. iv, 1, p. 605).


2. Cf. pp. 383 seq. on the authenticity of the sixth and seventh sessions.








Number of councils acknowledged by the Gallic, Germanic, English and Lombard Churches until the twelfth century—Rome and the seven councils—The Popes’ profession of faith and the number of councils—Eleventh-century canonists and the Eighth Council—Was there any other edition of the Popes’ Professio fidei covering the eight councils?



The solution so far reached now raises another weighty problem. If it be true that the Council of 869-70 was cancelled by the Council of 879-80, a decision that was ratified by Pope John VIII, how was it possible for the Western Church to persist in numbering this Council among the oecumenical synods? It is inconceivable that no trace of Pope John’s decision should be found in the tradition of the Western Church: the Pontifical Chancellery had inherited from the Roman Empire its sense of logic, its respect for tradition and its spirit of continuity, and the offices of the Holy See remained true to the tradition. If then we should fail to discover in the documents that issued from the Chancellery and in the tradition of the Western Church any traces of John’s ratification, there would be ample justification for repudiating our conclusions about the Eighth Council. [1]


To find what position the Eighth Council occupied in the Western tradition of the Middle Ages, we must retrace our steps to the ninth century and see how Christendom reacted to that Council. Our first informant is Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, who in his Bertinian Annals [2] wrote as follows on the dispatch by Hadrian II of legates to Constantinople in connection with the Ignatian incident:


Et synodo congregata, quam octavam universalem synodumilluc convenientes appellaverunt, exortum schisma de Ignatii depositione et Photii ordinatione sedaverunt, Photium -anathematizantes et Ignatium restituentes. In qua synodo de imaginibus adorandis aliter quam orthodoxi doctores antea diffinierant, et pro favore Romani Pontificis, qui eorum votis de imaginibus



1. I here go again over the ground of my study, ‘L’Oecuménicité du VIIIe Concile dans la tradition occidentale du M.A.’, published in the Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres de l'Académie Royale de Belgique (1938), vol. XXIV, pp. 445 seq.


2. M.G.H. Ss. I, p. 494.





adorandis annuit, et quaedam contra antiquos canones, sed et contra suam ipsam synodum constituerunt, sicut qui eamdem synodum legerit, patenter inveniet.



Whilst concurring with Photius’ condemnation, the representative of the Frankish Church none the less definitely refuses to admit the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council and his attitude, however unexpected, is perfectly consistent with Hincmar’s point of view; for in his writings concerning his nephew and namesake, this eminent prelate forcibly rejected the Seventh Oecumenical Council and acknowledged only six universal synods. [1] He thus shared the Frankish Church’s distrust of the Second Council of Nicaea, and had no option but to repudiate the oecumenicity of the Fourth Council of Constantinople as well.


The Frankish Church must have unanimously inherited this mistrust from its great representative of the ninth century. A century after Hincmar’s death, another metropolitan of Rheims, the famous Gerbert, the future Pope Sylvester II, made in 991, before taking possession of his see, a profession of faith in which he expressly said: [2] ‘Sanctas sinodos sex, quas universalis mater ecclesia confirmat, confirmo.’ In his letter to Wilderode, bishop of Strasbourg, Gerbert mainly insists on the first four councils, [3] as true in this to an old tradition of the whole Church, stressed particularly by Gelasius, as Hincmar’s special veneration for the same councils. [4]


This profession of faith was apparently not Gerbert’s own composition, for it is found repeated word for word in the biography of Gauzlin, abbot of Fleury and archbishop of Bourges, who died in 1029, written by André de Fleury (d. 1056) who as a matter of course attributed it to Gauzlin. [5] J. Havet asserts that this profession was issued to combat the doctrines of the Cathari : [6] the biographer, so he states, assigns it to Gauzlin, who is alleged to have written it in opposition to the doctrines of other heretics, who were at that time gaining a foothold in his diocese. [7] But it seems more likely that the profession came from a formulary



1. P.L. vol. 126, col. 359.


2. J. Havet, Lettres de Gerbert (Collection de Textes pour servir à l'Etude et à l'Enseignement de l'Histoire (Paris, 1889), p. 162, pièce no. 180).


3. Havet, loc. cit. pp. 208 seq., pièce no. 217.


4. P.L. vol. 126, cols. 384-6.


5. L. Delisle, ‘Vie de Gauzlin, Abbé de Fleury et Archevêque de Bourges, par André de Fleury’, in Mém. de la Soc. Archéol. de l'Orléanais (1853), vol. II, pp. 256-322.


6. Havet, loc. cit. p. 161.


7. Delisle, loc. cit. p. 303.





used by the Frankish Church in the tenth and eleventh centuries. [1] In any case, it all goes to show that as late as the eleventh century the Frankish Church officially acknowledged only six oecumenical councils.


The Frankish formularies contain very few references to the oecumenical councils. Formula 1024 of the Collection published by E. Rozières has an archbishop’s profession of faith, [2] which mentions the first four councils, whereas another formula mentions only two councils. [3]


It is also noteworthy that this ancient tradition remained long in force in the Western Church. Throughout the historical works published between the end of the ninth century and the second half of the eleventh century, the writers pay little attention to the number of oecumenical councils, and if they do happen to mention them, most of them go no further than the Sixth or, at most, the Seventh Oecumenical Council. Here are a few instances.


The Annals of Hildesheim, which copy textually the Annales Laurissienses Minores down to the year 814, stop short at the Sixth Oecumenical Council. The Annals of Quedlinburg, which rely on the Annals of Hildesheim as their principal source until the year 1100, mention no council after the Sixth. [4] The same holds good for the Annales Lambertinienses, [5] which take us as far as 1077, and the Annales S. Jacobi Leodiensis, [6] which stop in 1055. John the Deacon follows the same tradition in his Chronicon, where he gives us the history of Venice till 1088. [7] There also ends the Chronicon Herimanni Augiensis, [8] which carries events till 1054. Marianus Scotus (born in 1028, died about 1087) knows nothing of the councils after that of the year 680-1. [9] Bernold, monk of St Blasius (born about 1054, died in 1100), who follows the Chronicle of Herimannus Augiensis Contractus till 1055, also enumerates only six councils in his Chronicle. [10]



1. Cf. Jules Lair, Études critiques sur divers Textes des Xe et XIe siècles (Paris, 1899), vol. 1, p. 334.


2. E. Rozière, Recueil Général des Formules Usitées dans l'Empire des Francs du Ve au Xe siècles (Paris, 1859), vol. II, pp. 644-5 : ‘Praeterea constitutiones quatuor principalium conciliorum, Nicaeni, Constantinopolitani, Ephesîni et Chalcedonensis, canones quoque synodorum et decreta quae orthodoxa fides suscipit et complectitur, me suscipere, tenere et praedicare velle confiteor.’


3. E. Rozière, loc. cit. pp. 1133-4, form. no. 1387.


4. M.G.H. Ss. iii, p. 32.        5. M.G.H. Ss. iii, p. 29.        6. M.G.H. Ss. iv, p. 12.        7. M.G.H. Ss. vii, p. 10.        8. M.G.H. Ss. v, p. 96.        9. M.G.H. Ss. v, p. 544.        10 M.G.H. Ss. v, p. 416.





Most of these writers use as their source the Ecclesiastical History of Bede and close their list of the oecumenical councils exactly where it is concluded by that great medieval authority. We should also remember the Frankish Church’s emphatic refusal at the time of Charlemagne to accept the authority of the Seventh Council, a disclaimer that must have persisted very long in the West, and at least some of these writers must have shared it. [1]


Few also are the chroniclers who add the Seventh Council to their list. The Gesta Episcoporum Neapolitanorum, [2] an important authority of the eleventh century, mention the Second Council of Nicaea, but say nothing of the Fourth of Constantinople. The Chronicle of Sigebertus Gemblacensis [3] also mentions the Eighth Council, and so do the Annales Laubienses. [4]


We naturally omit the works of Frankish origin which, as is well known, simply deny the oecumenicity of this Council.


Much the same is found in the other writings of the period. Burchard of Worms, whose canonical work on the rule of the Catholic faith enjoyed great authority in the West, quotes the decree of Pope Gelasius I on the sacred books and on the councils, where only the first four oecumenical councils are mentioned. [5] The decree goes on: ’Sed si qua sunt concilia a sanctis patribus hactenus instituta, praeter istorum quatuor auctoritatem, et custodienda et recipienda decrevimus.’


Atto Vercellensis, enumerating in his Capitulary of 954 the sacred books which constitute the canon of the faith, mentions only the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus and Chalcedon, [6] whereas St Udalrich, in his Instruction on the Duties of Religious Practice, mentions no council at all. [7]


St Alfric, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1006, only insists



1. We come across a curious instance of this mistrust at the outset of the thirteenth century in the Chronicon Helinandi Frigidi Montis monachi (P.L. vol. 212, col. 840): ’Ad a. 794 Pseudosynodus Graecorum, quam falso septimam vocant, pro adorandis imaginibus, rejecta est a pontificibus.’ About the Eighth Council Helinandus says nothing.


2. M.G.H. Ss. Rer. Lang. p. 427.        3. M.G.H. Ss. Vi, p. 335. Sigebert died in 1112.        4. M.G.H. Ss. IV, p. 13.


5. Decretorum Libri XX, Lib. Ill, cap. 220; P.L. vol. 140, col. 717.


6. P.L. vol. 134, cols. 49-52.


7. P.L. vol. 135, cols. 1069-74, ann. 1009. Cf. Ratherius, Praeloqutorum Libri Sex (P.L. vol. 136, col. 248) for a similar Instruction; also his Itinerarium (loc. cit. cols. 581, 592). St Odilo does not, in his profession of faith, mention the councils either (P.L. vol. 142, cols. 1035-6).





on the first four councils; [1] and the priest and monk Bernald, born about 1054 and who died in 1100, follows the old tradition by listing only six oecumenical councils. [2]


Textbooks on the councils scarcely exist in the Latin literature of this period, while the Greek Church, as is well known, could boast of a profusion of writings on the subject. All I have found is one single short Latin textbook, anonymous and unpublished, in a MS. of the tenth century and preserved in the Latin MS. section of the Paris National Library (No. 1451), which enumerates only six councils. This is the original text:


De sex prioribus conciliis. Primum concilium Nicaenum factum est temporibus Constantini imperatoris Magni sub Silvestro papa urbis Romae antiquae, ubi fuerunt episcopi sanctissimi cccxviii. Secundum concilium fuit temporibus Theodosii Maioris sub Damaso apostolico antiquae Romae senioris, ubi fuerunt episcopi cl. Tertium concilium fuit Ephesinum sub tempore Theodosii iunioris sub Caelestino apostolico urbis Romae antiquae, ubi fuerunt episcopi cc. Quartum concilium Chalcedonense fuit temporibus Martiani imperatoris sub Leone apostolico urbis Romae antiquae senioris, ubi fuerunt episcopi ccxxx. Quintum concilium item Constantinopolitanum fuit temporibus Justiniani imperatoris sub Vigilo papa urbis Romae antiquae, ubi fuerunt episcopi clxv. Sextum concilium item Constantinopolitanum fuit temporibus Constantini iunioris, sub Aagata (sic) papa urbis Romae, ubi fuerunt episcopi ccc.



The manuscript then takes stock of the heretics who were condemned by the different councils, beginning: ’In Nicaenum concilium (sic) fuerunt damnati Arrius et Photinus et Sabellius. . . .? Note that Pope Honorius is not included among the condemned. This little treatise reminds one of the numerous Greek handbooks and textbooks on the councils and one may justifiably assume that it followed the Greek pattern. [3]


In another Latin manuscript of the Paris National Library (No. 1340), dating from the eleventh century, we find a short anonymous history, which is £ ex sancti Leonis et sancti Gregorii epistolis, et Gelasii papae



1. S. Alferici ad Wulfinum ep. Canones, canon xxxm (P.L. vol. 139, cols. 1475—6: 4 Quatuor istae synodi adeo observandae sunt a Christi ecclesia ut quatuor Christi codices.’


2. Apologeticus (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, n, p. 61); De excom. vitandis (M.G.H. Lib. de lite, ii, pp. 126, 129, 130-5).


3. Cf. also a small treatise on the six first councils found in the Introduction to the Vita Methodii. See my translation in Les Légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, pp. 383, 384.





tomulo concinnata’, a short compilation on the first four councils, which may be quoted to illustrate that the old tradition of the Church, started by Leo the Great, St Gregory and Gelasius, was readily followed in the West as late as the eleventh century.


On the whole, down to the middle of the eleventh century, no single contemporary writing, of all those I have been able to consult, provides any evidence of the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council. But weighty as the indication is, it is not adequate. The few writers who do mention the oecumenical councils in their books follow, as was stated, the old tradition of the Church as based on Gregory the Great’s synodical letter and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History. For the Westerners of that period, councils had not the same significance as for the Greeks; [1] and what matters is not so much the tradition that prevailed in Gaul, Germany, England, or even Italy, but the practice observed in Rome.



What then was the attitude in Rome to the Eighth Council? Documents on this precise question are few, but the few that survive are suggestive.


Pope Marinus II (942-6) addressed to Sicus, bishop of Capua, a letter [2] blaming him for his unclerical principles and conduct, taking particular exception to his violation of the church attached to the monastery of St Agnalius de Monte and threatening the bishop with excommunication, unless he atoned for the damage he had wrought:


Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of all the saints and of the seven universal canons [general councils], we send you this threat of excommunication, so that you may seriously endeavour to be on your guard against the above-mentioned [sins] and to amend yourself. . . . But if you disobey. . . this our warning, you will



1. A classical instance illustrating the mentality will be found in the Legatio of Liudprand (M.G.H. Ss. iii, p. 351). The Patriarch of Constantinople had asked Liudprand which councils were acknowledged by the West and Liudprand replied with the list of the four first oecumenical councils and of the ancient synods of Antioch, Carthage and Ancyra. The answer tickled the Greeks immensely: ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! ait [patriarcha], Saxonicam dicere es oblitus, quam si rogas, cur nostri codices non habent, rudem esse, et ad nos necdum venire posse, respondeo.’


2. P.L. vol. 133, cols. 874—5: ‘Quapropter Dei omnipotentis et beatorum principum Petri et Pauli, et omnium sanctorum, et septem universalium canonum te excommunicando, mittimus, ut ab omnibus his supra memoratis praecavere te, atque emendare summopere studeas. . . . Si vero huic nostrae exhortationi. . . inobediens fueris, sis Dei omnipotentis et beatorum Petri et Pauli et omnium simul sanctorum, atque venerabilium septem universalium conciliorum auctoritate necnon et Spiritus sancti iudicio omni sacerdotali honore alienus. . . .’





be deprived of all sacerdotal dignity by the authority of Almighty God, of the Blessed Peter and Paul, of all the saints and of the venerable seven general councils, as also by the judgment of the Holy Spirit. . . .



The passage is clear enough: Pope Marinus II acknowledges no more than seven oecumenical councils. Nor can there be any question of a slip, since the formula used by the Pope is couched in solemn terms and repeated twice; and Marinus had no special reason for omitting the Eighth Council in this particular place, if he believed in its oecumenicity.


The other document on the same issue is better known: it is the famous synodical letter of Leo IX, sent in 1055 to Peter, Patriarch of Antioch. [1] After enumerating the first four councils, the Pope writes:


In the same way, I accept and venerate the other three Councils, i.e. the second of Constantinople, held under Pope Vigilius and the Emperor Justinian; then, the third of Constantinople against the Monothelites, under Pope Agatho and Constantine, nephew of Heraclius; and lastly, the second of Nicaea, under Pope Hadrian and Constantine, son of Irene, for the preservation of the images of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the saints. Whatever the afore-mentioned seven holy and universal Councils decreed and praised, I believe and praise, and I anathematize whomsoever they anathematized.



The words leave no room for doubt. C. Will, in his collection of documents bearing on the schism of 1054, [2] tried to evade the difficulty raised by the specific reference to seven councils by suggesting that the Pope omitted the Eighth Council for fear of offending the Greeks who did not acknowledge it: the suggestion seems to us preposterous, if not offensive to the supreme head of the Church. Could anyone seriously imagine a Pope deliberately disregarding an oecumenical council to oblige anyone, even the Greeks? The ruse would amount to a thinly veiled capitulation, a concession made to save himself trouble. Think of the consequences of the deception—for such it would be—had the issue been a council like that of Chalcedon: it would have spread joy



1. P.L. vol. 143, cols. 772-3, letter 101: ‘Pari modo recipio et veneror reliqua tria concilia, id est, secundum Constantinopolitanum, sub Vigilio papa et Justiniano Augusto; deinde tertium Constantinopolitanum contra Monothelitas, sub Agathone papa et Constantino nepote Heraclii; ultimum secundum Nicaenum, sub Adriano papa et Constantino Irenae filio, pro servandis Domini nostri Jesu Christi et sanctorum imaginibus. Quidquid supra dicta septem sancta et universalia concilia senserunt et collaudaverunt, sentio et collaudo : et quoscumque anathematizaverunt, anathematizo.’


2. Acta et Scripta quae de controversiis eccl. Graecae et Latinae saec. XI composita extant (Leipzig, 1861), p. 171.





and jubilation among Armenians and all the Monophysites and opened the gates to heresy.


There is no eluding the force of the argument by pretending that in the eleventh century the number of oecumenical councils was not yet definitely fixed. [1] The evasion could pass muster in the case of annalists, or even of the canonical Collections published between the ninth and eleventh centuries, but is inadmissible in the case of an important pontifical document. The letter is an official statement, purporting to teach the Church of Antioch the faith of the Roman Church—a matter of some moment—and at least we must credit the supreme pontiff with knowing the standards of the faith of his own Church. The Pontifical Chancellery of the eleventh century was not so incompetent as to be uncertain about the number of oecumenical councils. The truth is that Marinus II and Leo IX, in speaking of only seven oecumenical councils, were true to the tradition of the Roman Church.


There are two more documents of the same kind belonging to the period of Leo IX and his immediate successors, both endorsing the Pope’s attestation of the number of councils as officially acknowledged in Rome.


The first of these witnesses is Leo IX’s faithful associate, Cardinal Humbert de Silva Candida. After the definite rupture with Michael Cerularius, Humbert pronounced excommunication in the name of the Fathers of the seven councils: ‘auctoritate-..patrum ex conciliis septem. . . . ’ [2]


It has often been wondered why Humbert did not, at that particular moment, mention the Eighth Council: was it a slip or diplomatic caution? It was neither. Humbert no longer felt it necessary to consider the feelings of the Greek spiritual leaders. He had many other grievances against them and never minced his words: why should he suddenly exercise restraint in the matter of the councils? Humbert was not prone to compromise on such matters. A man of his stature, perfectly at home in the procedure of the Pontifical Chancellery, a good jurist and a conscientious theologian, he would have been the last to omit an oecumenical council in a document of such fundamental importance, in which he spoke in the name of the Pope and of the whole Western Church. Humbert may be blamed for many things, but not for overlooking an oecumenical council, whose authority would have added weight to his passionate anathema. The truth is that in quoting only seven oecumenical councils, Humbert faithfully rendered the



1. A. Michel, Humbert und Kerullarios (Paderborn, 1930), vol. ii, p. 425.


2. P.L. vol. 143, col. 1004.





doctrine of his Church, which at that time officially knew no more than seven councils. On this point, Humbert was at one with his master, Pope Leo IX. [1]


The other testimony is later than the Cardinal’s by a few years, dating from the time of Nicholas II. At the beginning of 1059, this Pope sent St Peter Damian as a legate to Milan on a mission to reform a concubinary and simoniacal clergy, and Peter Damian duly reported on his mission to Hildebrand, then promoted archdeacon of the Roman Church. [2] Among the documents appended to this interesting report, we find a copy of the oath which Peter Damian administered to those clergy who wished to repent. The following is what we read in this formula with reference to the number of councils : [3]


I Arialdus, called deacon of the Chapel of the archbishop of Milan, profess to hold the same faith as the seven sacred Councils have by evangelical authority decreed and as the blessed Roman Pontiffs have explained to various people in their brilliant expositions of the truth.



Are we also to accuse St Peter Damian, doctor of the Church, of an unfortunate slip of memory or of misplaced diplomatic caution? The pontifical legate surely had nothing to hide in Milan; the formula must have been drawn up at the office of the Pontifical Chancellery, and Peter and his companion St Anselm of Lucca, the future Pope Alexander II, must have been given definite instructions in Rome, before starting on their official mission. Did the parties concerned forget to remind them of the number of oecumenical councils then officially recognized by the Church? It would be a poor compliment to the Roman theologians of the time.


Here again Peter Damian and his companion Anselm of Lucca bear witness to the fact that the Church of Rome in those days knew only seven oecumenical councils and therefore upheld the decision of John VIII who suppressed the Council of 869-70: there lies the true solution of all these puzzles, a solution perfectly consistent and straightforward.



1. Humbert refers to the number of councils in another place, namely, in his writing against Nicetas (P.L. vol. 143, col. 992), but there he only mentions six councils.


2. Actus Mediolani, de Privilegio Romanae Ecclesiae, Opuscul. v (P.L. vol. 145, cols. 89-98): ‘Ego Arialdus dictus diaconus de capella Mediolanensis archiepiscopi . . .profiteor me eam fidem tenere, quam sacrosancta septem concilia evangelica auctoritate firmarunt et quam beatissimi pontifices Romani ad diversos data praedicatione lucidissimae veritatis exposuerunt.’


3. P.L. vol. 145, col. 97.





There remains a document which confirms that such was indeed the tradition of the Church of Rome in the eleventh century, the profession of faith which, according to century-old usage, each Pope had to read and sign before his enthronement. It was then laid on the tomb of St Peter and subsequently kept in the Pontifical Archives. The formula of this profession was to be found in the Liber Diurnus, the oldest known formulary of the Roman Chancellery. [1] It has been lost, but we get an idea of what it was from a school-book intended for the training of notaries, also called Liber Diurnus, as it contained copies of most of the formulae of the official formulary. It has survived in three Manuscripts, those of the Vatican Library, of Clermont and of Milan, representing three slightly different versions. All of them give an idea of what the Liber Diurnus must have looked like in the eighth century and at the beginning of the ninth.


Among the formulae bearing on the election and the consecration of Popes, we are here mainly interested in their profession of faith. It is a venerable document whose importance to the history of the Papacy and the evolution of dogmas our specialists have not yet fully realized. [2]


The formula preserved by the school-book Liber Diurnus enumerates the six oecumenical councils to be accepted by the Popes as the norm of the Catholic faith, but it is clear from the text that the original number was four,



1. I am only summarizing here the results of my researches. See the detailed discussion in Appendix I.


2. So far, only the Jesuit W. M. Peitz has tried to show the connection of the profession of faith with the development of Catholic doctrine (see details in Appendix I, p. 442). I have not seen his latest studies on this subject (‘Das Vorephesinische Symbol der Papstkanzlei’, in Miscellanea Historiae Pontificiae edita a Fac. Hist. Eccl. in Pont. Universitate Gregoriana, no. 1 (Rome, 1939), nor ‘Methodisches zur Diurnusforschung’, ibid. no. 3 (Rome, 1940), but the review of the two studies published by E. Hermann in Orientalia Christiana Periodica (1940), vol. Vi, pp. 270-4 stresses the importance of Peitz’s researches and the necessity for proceeding carefully in this delicate matter. Peitz’s conclusions may sound bold to many, but they follow the right direction. The reviews of Peitz’s studies by B. Altaner and C. Mohlberg in the Theologische Revue (1939), vol. xxxviii, were also unobtainable. L. Santifaller’s study, ‘Zur Liber Diurnus-Forschung’, in Hist. Zeitschrift (1940), vol. CLXi, pp. 532-8, summarizing the latest contributions to the problem, is too short and the author has failed to convince me that the Liber Diurnus was not a school-book used in the Pontifical Chancellery, but merely a valuable document of canon law. He should have stuck to his previous conclusions. This controversy has no immediate bearing on the profession of faith formula of the Liber Diurnus. Even if it was only a collection of canon law formulae or the oldest formulary of the Papal Chancellery, it remains established that it was repeatedly revised, the last known revision having been made in the eleventh century. It was this last edition that was used by Cardinal Deusdedit.





the other two being added when they were officially adopted by the Roman Church. This number was considered to meet the needs till the end of the ninth century. As will be explained elsewhere, [1] the Seventh Council was officially included only after 880.


It may be taken for granted then that the official formulary of the Liber Diurnus was altered from time to time, as some formulae needed to be brought up to date. But another formulary came into use, and there are traces of a different edition of the Liber Diurnus, published in the ninth century with alterations that are not registered in the schoolbook. This edition may have been in use till the middle of the eleventh century, when another revision of the Liber Diurnus was made. This was used by the famous canonist of the Gregorian period, Cardinal Deusdedit, who copied a number of formulae from the revised Liber Diurnus for his canonical documentation. The profession of faith for newly elected Popes is one of them. This formula, when compared with formula 83 of the school-book, will give an idea of the profession as used in Rome till the ninth century and of the radical revisions to which the book was subjected in the eleventh century, probably in the reign of Leo IX. Even so, the new profession gives only seven oecumenical councils, without a word about the Eighth. It is the same with the formula called Cautio Episcopi, or the profession form used by bishops after their election, in which the passage on the oecumenical councils was also brought up to date and ’modernized’ in the eleventh century, yet without a reference to the Eighth Council. Only one explanation is possible: the Church of Rome knew only seven, and not eight, oecumenical councils in the first half of the eleventh century. And this tallies with the facts as I have tried to establish them in the first part of this book. In the eleventh century, John VIII’s verdict on the so-called Eighth Council and on Photius’ rehabilitation was still in force and that Council was not numbered among the oecumenical synods.



If this is so, how is it that the Council of 869-70 is regarded to-day as an oecumenical council by the Western Church? How and when was it added to the list ?


Everything points to the conclusion that this change of attitude to the Eighth Council in the West and in Rome occurred at the end of the eleventh century and was contrived by the canonists and reformists of the period. It was they who really 'discovered’ this Council, together



1. See Appendix I, p. 444.





with some canons extremely useful for their documentation, chiefly canon XXII prohibiting interference by lay power in episcopal elections, a discovery that was of considerable importance in the struggle against lay investiture. [1]


But the acceptance of the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council was gradual and the first great canonist of the period, St Anselm of Lucca, still seems to follow the old tradition in computing the number of oecumenical councils. In book vi, ch. 49, of his Collection, he mentions the Popes’ ancient practice of sending to the Eastern Patriarchs synodical letters with a profession of faith, and he quotes a fragment from the Life of St Gregory the Great, written by John the Deacon. [2] In chapter 50 Anselm appeals to the authority of the first four councils, and quotes the synodical letter of St Gregory the Great mentioning the five councils.


But again, it was St Anselm who introduced canon XXII, since grown so famous, into canonical legislation. He also quotes canon XVIII, which prohibits all violation of ecclesiastical privileges, and canon XXI on the honours due to Pope and Patriarchs, [3] and in quoting the latter gives it the title, which the Council had arrogated to itself, of ‘universalis octava synodus’.


Anselm’s example is followed by another reformer of the time, Bonizo, who quotes canons XXI and XXII in his Liber ad Amicum [4] and in his Liber de Vita Christiana. [5] Gerhohus of Reichersberg (1132-69) also draws an argument from canon XXII against the champions of lay investiture. [6]



1. See my study, ‘L’Affaire de Photios dans la Littérature Latine du Moyen Âge’, in Annales de l'Institut Kondakov (1938), vol. x, pp. 82 seq. and pp. 293 seq.


2. He also quotes John the Deacon’s comments on this practice and mentions there the Eighth Council: ‘Quam videlicet consuetudinem, sicut nostri quoque, qui ante biennium ab Adriano papa in sancta octava synodo testantur, ita Orientales praecipue retinent usque hactenus sedes, ut in suis dypticis nullius pontificis nomen describunt, quo usque ipsius synodicum suscipiant. . . .’ When John was writing, this council was still in force in the West.


3. F. Thaner, Anselmi, episcopi Lucensis, collectio canonum, loc. cit. II, 72, p. 109; IV, 30, p. 205; vi, 20, p. 276.


4. M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, 1, p. 607.


5. E. Perels, ‘Bonizo, Liber de Vita Christiana’, loc. cit. I, 1; iv, 95; 11, 17.


6. Opusculum de Edificio Dei (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite, ni, p. 151, cap. 19). The passage is very suggestive: ‘Hinc est quod octava synodus electionem laicali potestate fieri sub anathemate interdicit : quae synodus, petente et presente Basilio magno imperatore, habita fuit. Neque tamen vel ipse Basilius vel ceteri catholici imperatores questi sunt hoc ad sui contemptum fieri, ut nichil de pontificum electione eorum referretur potestati: immo potius leguntur sanctorum patrum institutiones amplexati fuisse easque quidam eorum post quinque patriarcharum subscriptiones suis quoque subscriptionibus roborasse.’ Cf. also ibid. p. 451 (Commentarius in psalmum 64). Gerhohus here follows Deusdedit’s argumentation, ‘Libellus contra Invas.’ (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite 11, p. 307).





The same canon is appealed to by the monk Placidus [1] and in the pleading in favour of Pope Paschal II. [2]


As for Deusdedit, he naturally makes frequent use of the Acts of the Eighth Council in his Collection and in his other writings, but it is generally the same canons that interest him, [3] although he betrays some hesitation about the oecumenicity of this Council. Knowing that the number of officially acknowledged oecumenical councils amounted to no more than seven—the very reason why he dared not touch the profession of faith which he copied from his Liber Diurnus—he also noticed that the Eighth Council had conferred on itself the title ‘oecumenical’. It was also bestowed on it by Anastasius [4] and by John VIII [5] —and that before 879. Though it offered canons of great value to the reformers, Deusdedit, being a conscientious canonist, hesitated, at least in some places, to give it the title ‘oecumenical’.


In his Libellus Contra Invasores et Simoniacos, he writes: ‘Synodus vero pro Ignatio, quae a quibusdam octava dicitur. . . .’ ‘In synodo universali CCXL (!) patrum habita pro Ignatio patriarcha, quae a quibusdam VIII. dicitur.’ ‘ In octava synodo universali habita pro Ignatio.’ ‘In synodo universali patrum CCXL (!) habita pro Ignatio patriarcha, quae a suis conditoribus octava dicitur. . . . ’ [6]


The words clearly reveal Deusdedit’s misgivings about describing the Eighth Council as oecumenical; he simply gave it the title which its authors had claimed for it. The Libellus was composed in 1097 : [7] we should therefore interpret what he says about it in his canonical Collection, completed in 1087, in the same sense.



1. Liber de Honore Ecclesiae (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite ii, p. 618).


2. Disputatio vel Defensio Paschalis papae (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite ii, p. 662).


3. Lib. i, 47, can. XXI; Lib. i, 48, extract from the Actio VII, Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 86; Lib. i, 48a, extract from the Actio VIII, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 97-9; Lib. iii, 10, can. XV; Lib. iii, 11, can. XVIII; Lib. iii, 12, can. XX; Lib. lv, 17, extract from the Actio IX, Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 152, 153; Lib. iv, 18, can. XXII. Libellus contra Invas. (M.G.H. Lib. de Lite II, p. 305) also mentions can. XXII.


4. Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 8 seq.


5. M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 307, letter 53, written in 875. Cf. the passage in the Life of Saint Gregory the Great, written by John the Deacon, mentioned previously, p. 320.


6. M.G.H. Lib. de Lite ii, pp. 327, 346, 349, 356; pp. 307 and 313, though the Council is simply called ‘octava synodus universalis’.


7. M.G.H. Lib. de Lite ii, p. 294; preface by Μ. E. Sackur, the editor.





For he writes in his prologue: [1] ’Itaque primum defloravi neque optima de quibusdam universalibus sinodis idest Nicena, Ephesina prima, Calcedonensi et VI et VII et VIII, quae partim a IV sive a V patriarchis, ab eorum partim vicariis sub diversis temporibus universaliter celebratae fuisse noscuntur.’ Then, to endorse his notion ‘quod legati eius [papae] in omnibus sinodis primi damnationis sententiam inferunt et primi subscribunt’, he also quotes part of the seventh session of the Eighth Council, [2] containing Photius’ condemnation as pronounced by the pontifical legates, without, however, expressly designating the Council. In support of another proposition, ’Quod necessitate exigente ab universalibus sinodis ad Romanam sedem appellatur’, he also cites canon XXI of the same Council, [3] whilst the passage from the seventh session mentioned above is appealed to in support of the phrase: ‘Quod eius auctoritate iam VIII universales sinodi celebratae sunt.’


But, since the synod of 869-70 was actually held ‘auctoritate papae’, and the rules governing the organization of ecclesiastical synods had been observed and the Council was for some time considered oecumenical by the two Churches, the Cardinal could with some show of reason and for the benefit of his thesis add it to the seven preceding councils, even though certain decisions were later annulled by the same authority.


Pope Gregory VII also called this Council ‘octava synodus’ in his correspondence, when quoting canon XXII against lay Investiture, [4] though it would be difficult to infer from the statement anything in favour of its oecumenicity.


The important point in all this is to gain a clear view of the attitude adopted towards this Council by the reformers of the Gregorian and post-Gregorian periods, for whom the temptation to include it among the oecumenical councils was irresistible. Why the first generation of canonists did not yield to the temptation is easily explained, since their case rested directly on the original texts found in Rome, and Deusdedit was too conscientious a scholar to tamper with his sources.


But as the second generation strayed further from the original texts, they gradually receded from the old tradition of the Church; and since



1. See Glanvell ed. p. 3.

2. Lib. I, cap. 48, Glanvell ed. pp. 7, 57; Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 97-9.

3. Lib. I, cap. 47, Glanvell ed. pp. 7, 56.

4. E. Caspar, ‘Das Register Gregors VII* (M.G.H. Ep. sei. 11, 1, p. 333): letter to Hugh, bishop of Die.





relations with the Greek Church had been severed, and the West felt no longer under any obligation to respect its traditions and the Photian incident had been quite forgotten, the only remembrance left of the whole affair was that of Nicholas I excommunicating a disobedient emperor. [1] As against this, the struggle against lay Investiture and in defence of the rights of the papacy had reached a climax of unprecedented virulence, and since the canons of the Council of 869-70 provided such an efficient weapon in the hands of the Roman canonists, it was natural that they should give the Council the oecumenical title which it had claimed for itself.


What is remarkable is that this was done by the canonist who laid least stress on this Council, Ivo of Chartres, who quotes only one canon, the eleventh. [2] In the Collection called Tripartita, so far unpublished, and in Book iv of his Decretum, chapter 132, we nevertheless read the following:


De octo universalibus conciliis. Ex libro diurno professio Romani pontificis. Sancta VIII universalia concilia, id est I Nicenum, II Constantinopolitanum, III Ephesinum, IV Chalcedonense, item V Constantinopolitanum et VI. Item Nicenum VII. Octavum quoque Constantinopolitanum, usque ad unum apicem immutilata servare, et pari honore et veneratione digna habere, et quae praedicaverunt et statuerunt omnimodis sequi et praedicare, quaeque condemnaverunt ore et corde condemnare profiteor. [3]



Thus it happened that the Council of 869-70 made its semi-official appearance among the oecumenical synods at the end of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth. Ivo’s testimony is all the more impressive, as he relies on the famous Liber Diurnus of the Pontifical Chancellery and once again the profession of faith of the newly elected Popes is put forward in a recension different from that of Deusdedit.



1. See my study, ‘L’Affaire de Photios’, loc. cit. pp. 79 seq.; also, pp. 294 seq. in this text.


2. Deer. V, 122; Pan. in, 8.


3. One notes, besides, at this place a certain confusedness on the part of Ivo. In Deer, iv, 132, he says for instance: ‘De secunda Nicaena synodo inter universalia octava (?).’ Deer, iv, 131: ‘Item de eodem. . . . ’ After the historical information about the Second Council of Nicaea, he writes: ‘...In Nicaenam civitatem et celebrata est sancta octava universalis synodus.’ But we need not make much of this. It is quite possible that the confusion is to a great extent due to the copyists of the Decretum. In the MS. of the Decretum at the National Library of Paris (Latin 3874), for instance, fol. 68, the parts Deer, iv, 129-31, are gathered into one, and the inscription of Deer, iv, 130, ‘De secunda Nicaena synodo inter universalia octava’ is missing.





The Liber Diurnus is also quoted by Ivo in two different places, first in the Decretum (iv, 19) and again in his letter to archbishop Hugh, [1] and in both places the issue concerns the extract from the profession of faith. Even this passage, including a variant of smaller moment, corresponds to the version of the profession copied by Deusdedit. In another letter, Ivo also refers to the profession of faith taken from the Liber Diurnus. [2]


The question then is whether Ivo was able to consult the original Liber Diurnus or whether he borrowed the two passages from another Collection. Everything seems to point to the conclusion that the saintly bishop of Chartres did not see the original copy of the Liber Diurnus, since it was difficult, if not impossible, to consult it anywhere but in Rome; [3] and even in Rome, it was to be found only at the Pontifical Chancellery, for whose exclusive use it had been composed.


On the other hand, Ivo does not seem to have used Deusdedit’s Collection; [4] presumably he copied the fragment from Deusdedit’s version and simply added the Eighth Council. As P. Fournier [5] has proved, Ivo of Chartres used one of those Collections called ‘intermediary’, which abounded at the time; and the Collection or Collections he disposed of had some affinities with the Collection called Britannica, the only one of its kind to survive. It is possible, on a first examination, that this Collection served Ivo and his associates as one of their sources. The Britannica, according to Fournier, [6] was composed about 1090 or 1091, and a palaeographic examination of this unique manuscript (British Museum 8873 Addit.) supports this assumption.



1. P.L. vol. 162, ep. 60, cols. 70-5: ‘. . . In libro quoque pontificum, qui dicitur Diurnus, ita continetur de professione Romani Pontificis: Nihil de traditione. . . ’ as far as the words ‘observare ac venerari profiteor.’ The last word is added by Ivo.


2. P.L. vol. 162, ep. 73, cols. 92-5: ’. . . Bernardo majoris monasterii abbati.’ Col. 94: ‘Ipse enim summus pontifex, antequam consecrationis gratiam consequatur, consuetudines Romanae Ecclesiae et decreta praedecessorum suorum se inviolabiliter servaturum profitetur. Sic reliqui pontifices ante consecrationem examinantur.’


3. Even the three MSS. of the edition of this school-book, Liber Diurnus, we possess show reliable affiliation to Rome. Cf. Sickel, loc. cit., in the Introduction to his edition, pp. viii-xxxiii, Peitz, loc. cit. p. 29: ‘Trotzdem dürfte Ivo nicht auf den Diurnus selbst zurückgehen, sondern ihn nur durch Deusdedit oder eine von diesem abhängige kanonische Quelle kennen, wie Decr. iv, 197, als Quelle ähnlich wie Deusdedit ii, 109 angibt: Ex libro pontificum qui dicitur Diurnus.’


4. P. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, in Bibl. de l'École des Chartes, vols. lvii, lviii, does not quote this Collection among Ivo’s sources.


5. P. Fournier, loc. cit. vol. lvii, p. 661; vol. lviii, pp. 53 seq.


6. P. Fournier, loc. cit. vol. lviii, p. 53.





The handwriting of the manuscript is certainly that of the end of the eleventh century.


The minute analysis of the Britannica carried out by Ewald1 shows that the concluding part of the Collection, which Ewald calls Varia ii (fols. 171-210a), is simply an extract from Deusdedit’s canonical Collection. Even the sequence of the texts is scrupulously observed.


Now it happens that we find there a copy of two extracts from the Liber Diurnus made by Deusdedit—the protocol regulating the announcement of a new Pope’s election [2] and the profession of faith of the elected Pope (Lib. ii, 110), which is identical with the text given by the Cardinal; except that, instead of the seven councils, it enumerates eight, [3] with the addition of the Fourth Council of Constantinople.


As it is unlikely that the author of this compilation was able to consult the Liber Diurnus, it may be assumed that he introduced the alteration into the profession of faith on his own initiative; and one can quite understand why he considered the addition justifiable. At another place he quotes, again in Deusdedit’s version, three passages of the Eighth Council in which it gives itself the title of oecumenical. [4] Surprised to find that this Council should not be numbered, in the Pope’s profession, among the oecumenicals, he joined its name with the others.


And yet, Ewald, Conrat and Fournier [5] agree in pointing out that the subject-matter of the Britannica does not exactly correspond to the source which Ivo used for his Decretum. The Tripartita also implies a source similar to the Britannica but more extended in scope. Conrat indicated the true solution of the difficulty when, at the end of his book,



1. Loc. cit. Neues Archiv, vol. v, p. 282.


2. Britannica, fols. 204, 204 a.


3. Britannica, fols. 205, 206: ‘Sancta quoque octo concilia. . . et VIII Constantinopolitanum. . . . ’ Besides this alteration there are only two insignificant variants that differ from Deusdedit’s text; towards the end of the profession: ‘et vicem intercessionibus tuis [om. Britannica] adimpleo’; and at the end: ‘indictione quibus ut [add. Britannica] supra.’


4. Varia 11, 21 ; 11, 81 ; 11, 107. These passages correspond to Deusdedit, 1, 47 (38); in, 10 (9); IV, 17 (15). The copyist of the Britannica, however, erroneously attributes the first passage (fol. 148) to the Eighth Council. In fact the passage is from the Seventh Council, as Deusdedit had rightly pointed out. It only shows that the copyist is not quite accurate in the transcription of the Cardinal’s work. This is important and needs emphasizing.


5. Cf. Ewald, loc. cit. (Neues Archiv, vol. v, chiefly pp. 294, 323, 350); M. Conrat (Cohn), Der Pandekten und Institutionenauslug der Brit. Dekretalensammlung, Quelle des Ivo (Berlin, 1887); M. Conrat (Cohn), Geschichte der Quellen und Litteratur des Röm. Rechts im früheren Mittelalter (1891), vol. I, p. 372; Fournier, loc. cit. vol. lviii, p. 53; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 72 seq.





after comparing the extract of the Pandects in the Britannica with the extract of the Pandects included in Ivo’s work, and noting that Ivo’s extract is more lengthy than that of the alleged source, he writes : ‘ Man mag sich dies damit erklären, dass Yvo neben unserem Auszug noch eine zweite Quelle excerpiert hat oder, was ich für wahrscheinlicher halte, der letztere in der britischen Sammlung in einer unvollständigen Gestalt vorliegt.’ A comparison of the extracts from the pontifical registers preserved in the Britannica and in Ivo’s work clearly points to the same conclusion.


Ivo therefore used a canonical Collection belonging to the class of ‘intermediary collections’, probably written in Italy, perhaps in Rome. The Britannica Collection gives us a fair idea of the character of Ivo’s source, since it is simply a long extract from that original, anonymous Collection, now lost. This original Collection also contained an extract of Deusdedit’s, which seems to have been copied by the scribe of the Britannica, and it was from this portion of their source that Ivo and his collaborators derived the Pontiff’s profession of faith.


Thus the alteration in the number of councils in the Sovereign Pontiff’s profession of faith was probably the work of the copyists of Deusdedit’s Collection. Not being endowed either with the acumen or the accuracy of the Cardinal, they failed to understand why the Eighth Council, which claimed to be oecumenical and supplied a good weapon against lay Investiture and was called ‘oecumenical’ even by Deusdedit in his quoted canons, did not figure among the oecumenical councils in the Pope’s profession of faith. Accordingly, they added it to the list on their own account. It was not Ivo, but one of his sources,, now untraceable, that was responsible for the addition.



There remains, however, an alternative. The author of that original Collection, the source of the Britannica and of Ivo, must apparently be sought in Italy, perhaps in Rome. Had he been able to verify the text of the profession of faith by the original, we should have to assume that the Eighth Council was worked into the profession about 1090, and at first sight this may seem quite possible. But let us look more closely.


If the profession was still in use, [1] it would in all likelihood not have been altered till the advent of a new Pope. Pope Victor III died on



1. We note in this connection that Deusdedit himself calls the rules of the Pope’s election and consecration, whose extracts he publishes, ‘ordo antiquus’. Traces of the usage in the Liber Diurnus can be followed up only as far as Gregory’s pontificate. See pp. 328, 440.





16 September 1087 and Urban II could not be consecrated and enthroned in Rome till 9 May 1088. Now for that period we possess the evidence of Deusdedit, who knew nothing of a new edition of the profession, and it was about this time that his own Collection was completed. Had the profession been altered, Deusdedit would have been the first to take note of it in his Collection and in other writings: and yet, as late as 1097, he seems still to be in doubt about the oecumenicity of this council.


Urban II reigned till 1099, but the canonical Collection which Ivo used had apparently been published before that date. In fact, the Britannica presupposes its existence. The Britannica must have been issued in either 1090 or 1091, when Deusdedit was still alive, so that any official alteration in the Pope’s profession of faith at this period would be out of the question.


Another query: Was the Eighth Council, when its popularity was already widespread in the Western Church, officially added to the other oecumenical councils by a special decree of the Pontifical Chancellery? Of such a decree we know absolutely nothing, though one thing is certain—if the profession of faith was still imposed on the newly elected pontiffs in the twelfth century, then the Fourth Council of Constantinople was certainly included in it. This addition would in any case, as stated before, have been prepared by the works of the canonists of the eleventh century. But we know nothing about the persistence of this custom in Rome in the twelfth century and it could be established only by the discovery of a new official edition of the said profession giving the list of eight oecumenical councils.


So far, there is only one known MS. copy of a profession of faith for the use of Sovereign Pontiffs (Cod. Bibl. Vaticanae, Latin 7160), posterior to the profession used by Deusdedit, which enumerates eight councils and could be offered as evidence that the Popes of the twelfth century were asked to subscribe to eight councils. But on closer examination, this profession [1] is discovered to be but another version of the notorious profession of Boniface VIII which, as is well known, is a fourteenth-century forgery.


Everything considered, it is impossible to trace the existence of a new edition of this profession of the Sovereign Pontiffs after that of the eleventh century as it survives in Deusdedit’s Collection, nor is there any satisfactory evidence that this profession was still imposed on the Popes in the twelfth century. As some faint traces have brought us as far as Gregory VIPs reign, it would not be surprising if it marked



1. See Appendix II, pp. 448 seq.





the terminus ad quem in the practice of this venerable custom. Indeed, this Pope’s conception of the plenitude of papal power, as outlined in his Dictatus Papae, though not at variance with the usage, is hardly compatible with it.


If, as I am explaining elsewhere, [1] we admit that in Deusdedit’s time, in the eleventh century, the Liber Diurnus was already to some extent differentiated from the handbook as used at the Chancellery and that the title came to be attached to what was left of the primitive handbook, which for the importance of its contents was still held in great honour at the Chancellery, it becomes easy to understand how this part of the regulations fell into desuetude under Gregory VII without creating something of a sensation at the Chancellery. As the notaries had much more to do with the modernized handbook, the disappearance of the old-fashioned Liber Diurnus from circulation could easily escape their notice. In Gregory’s time there were many canonical documents that fell out of fashion and lost their importance in Rome, to be replaced by others that better represented the Pontiff’s opinions on supremacy. If then we take into consideration the progress in canonical documentation made under Gregory’s inspiration, we shall find it easier to assume that Gregory VII discontinued the procedure of the ascent to the throne as laid down in the old Liber Diurnus and that the first thing to be suppressed was the profession of faith. If it may be assumed that this pious practice was dropped by Gregory VII, we shall find here a new illustration of how the notion of papal supremacy developed between Leo IX, who merely modernized the formula, and Gregory VII. [2]


To return now to the question of the number of councils in this profession, Baronius quoted in his Annals as evidence of the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council [3] the profession of faith I have demonstrated to be a forgery of the fourteenth century: therefore, Baronius’ only argument in favour of that oecumenicity is valueless. From all that has been said we must conclude that the said Eighth Council was listed among the oecumenical councils by an extraordinary error committed by the canonists at the end of the eleventh century.



1. See Appendix I, pp. 437 seq.


2. On the subsequent growth of the same notion and its influence over the usage at the Papal Chancellery, cf. J. B. Sägmüller, ‘Die Idee Gregors VII vom Primat in der päpstlichen Kanzlei’, in Theologische Quartalschrift (Tübingen, 1896), vol. lxxviii, pp. 577-613—and the same author’s booklet, Zur Geschichte der Entwicklung des päpstlichen Gesetzgebungsrechtes (Rottenburg a. N. 1937), pp· 16 seq.


3. Even Hefele followed Baronius. Cf. Hefele-Leclercq, loc. cit. vol. vi, p. 544; Buschbell, ‘Professiones Fidei’, in Röm. Quartalschrift (1896), vol. x, p. 279.





Yet those canonists can hardly be blamed. In their heroic campaign for the freedom of the Western Church, they had a perfect right to use canons voted by a council where all the representatives of the patriarchates were assembled ; they were considered faithfully to express the feelings of the Church and could therefore be quoted, notwithstanding the decision by Pope John VIII, who sanctioned the annulment voted by the synod of Photius in 879-80. Whereas this condemnation fell upon the particular decision of the Eighth Council against Photius, the canons voted by the assembly were not expressly repudiated either by the Photian Council or by John VIlTs letter sanctioning the Photian Council. [1]


It must, however, be admitted that the revival of the Eighth Council by the Western Church would never have taken effect, had it not been for the severance of the Roman and the Byzantine Churches, as contact with the Greeks, so sensitive on this very point, would certainly have acted as a powerful brake on the zeal of the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This control gone, they found it only too easy to proceed unhindered.


Thus, at the end of our investigations on the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council, we have arrived at results that may at first seem startling. The Eighth Council was not included among the oecumenical councils by the Roman Church from 880 till the beginning of the twelfth century, and until that time the two Churches were in perfect agreement on this important point. It was only as a result of the canonists’ extraordinary oversight at the end of the eleventh century that this Council reappeared on the list of the oecumenical councils.



1. This can be ascertained from the Pope’s letter to Photius (M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 185), where he insists on the observance of the canon which forbids the elevation of laymen to the episcopacy and had been voted at the Council of 869-70 (Mansi, vol. XVI, col. 162) : ‘iuxta kapitulum, quod super hac re in venerabili synodo tempore scilicet decessoris nostri Hadriani iunioris papae Constantinopoli habita est congruentissime promulgatum.’ It should, however, be noted that the Pope does not here call this Council ‘Eighth Oecumenical’ as he did in another letter written in 875 (M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 307), when the Council was still accepted in Rome as authentic. Note also that this reference to the Council of 869-70 found in the Latin edition of the letter is, in the Greek edition, made to the Seventh Council under Hadrian I. This is followed by the statement that Hadrian II is said to have refused to sign the Acts of the Council of 869-70 (Mansi, vol. xvii, col. 416). This bold assertion was based on a passage contained in the Latin edition of John’s letter to Basil I (M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 171), where the Pope writes that Hadrian II’s legates had signed the Acts with the saving clause ‘usque ad voluntatem sui pontificis’. This Greek emendation had the good fortune to be copied by Ivo of Chartres from the extract of the Photian Council he was using (Deer, iv, 76; P.L. vol. 161, col. 285) and thus to be assigned an important place in pre-Gratian canonical documentation. See supra, Part II, ch. 1, p. 304.





Canon XXII, forbidding laymen to interfere in episcopal elections, ‘discovered’ by the canonists of the Gregorian period, mainly contributed to the popularity of the Council in the West and facilitated the canonists’ misrepresentation. Until the twelfth century at the earliest, no declaration had ever been issued by the Holy See including this Council among the oecumenical synods. [1] That it should have figured as one of the venerable oecumenical councils must necessarily have influenced the Western verdict on the Photian Affair and supplied an important factor in the growth of what we call ‘the Photian Legend’ in the Western world.



1. Proof is supplied by Ivo of Chartres. As a conscientious canonist, he tries to find authentic texts in support of the oecumenicity of the eight councils listed in the profession of faith of the Liber Diurnus, and having found them, presents them in Book iv of his Decretum. And yet he cannot, to support the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council, quote a better document than (Deer, iv, cap. 133 ; P.L. vol. 161, col. 296) the letter addressed by John VIII to the Salernitans and the Amalfitans, in which he recommends the legates Eugene and bishop Donatus ‘cuius laus est in sancta synodo octava’ (M.G.H. Ep. vii, p. 307). Yes, but this letter was written in 875, therefore at the time when the Council still possessed all its validity. Ivo of Chartres overlooked this. It was perhaps that passage which helped to prompt Ivo to number this Council among the oecumenicals, despite the Pope’s decision annulling it which the canonist had quoted before.








The Eighth Council in pre-Gratian law Collections, influenced by Gregorian canonists—Collections dependent on Deusdedit and Ivo—Gratian’s Decretum and the Photian Legend—From Gratian to the fifteenth century: Canonists—Theological writers and Historians.



Such then is the result of our research into the period when the Eighth Council was given unmerited pride of place among the oecumenical councils in the West. At the same time we have been able to establish —be it repeated once more—that the responsibility falls on the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, not on the Pontifical Chancellery. We must now extend our inquiry further and examine the remaining canonical Collections of the period. What attitude to the Eighth Council and to the Council of Photius did their authors adopt? And did any of them follow the lead of Deusdedit and Ivo of Chartres in their estimate of the anti-Photian and Photian Councils? Clearly our thesis will rest on more solid foundations, if we can throw more light on the place this problem held in the minds of the other canonists of the period.


Certainly, we are venturing on a difficult and perilous undertaking.. For one thing, it is well known that many problems relative to the evolution of canonical legislation in the Middle Ages still await an adequate solution and that few of the canonical works of that period have yet been published. P. Fournier and his collaborator Le Bras have drawn up a long list of them in their excellent work on the canonical Collections anterior to Gratian, but even their lengthy catalogue is not exhaustive, though it may serve as a reliable basis, since it seems unlikely that any Collection surpassing in importance the great Collections of that period remains to be discovered.


The canonical Collections of the end of the eleventh century down to Gratian can be divided into two distinct groups: the first included those compilations which show the influence of the first handbooks of canon law revised and completed by the canonists of the period of Gregory VII, namely, the author of the Collection under 74 Titles, [1]



1. On this Collection, which offers nothing important on our subject, cf. P. Fournier, ‘Le premier manuel canonique de la Réforme Grégorienne’, in Mélanges d'Archéologie et d'Histoire (Paris, 1894), vol. XIV, pp. 223, 285-90.





St Anselm of Lucca and Burchard of Worms. The other group includes the Collections that were influenced by Ivo of Chartres.


Let us now rapidly survey the principal Collections of the first group, with special emphasis on those we have been able to study at first hand.


The influence of Anselm, of Burchard and of the Collection under 74 Titles is particularly pronounced in the Collection in Two Books contained in MS. 3832 of the Latin MS. section of the Vatican Library. [1] It dates from the end of the eleventh, or from the beginning of the twelfth century, and the compiler has made good use of the letters of Nicholas I, including a few on the Photian case, notably the Pope’s famous reply to Michael III, [2] his reply ad consulta Bulgarorum [3] and an extract from his letter to Photius. [4] The famous canon XXII of the Eighth Council is quoted, too, as a matter of course. [5]


Though there is no definite statement about the number of oecumenical councils recognized by the Roman Church the compiler quotes the profession of faith which an elected archbishop (fol. 120) had to make before his consecration, with its reference to the first four great councils; but the formula is the same as that published by E. Rozière. [6] At the end of the Collection (fols. 188-190) is found a copy of Cardinal Humbert’s bull of excommunication against Cerularius, with its enumeration of seven oecumenical councils, but added to the Collection in a different handwriting, so that it was not part of the original Collection.


The Collection in Five Books, contained in MS. 1348 of the Vatican Library, was studied by V. Wolf von Glanvell. [7]


Though the compiler is indebted to the work of Anselm, among others, he omits nearly all the documents of the ninth century, once so highly appreciated by the archbishop of Lucca, only canon XXII of the Eighth Council being quoted (lib. i, cap. iii, 5). [8]


The most important Collection of the group is the ’Polycarpus’,



1. See Fournier-Le Bras, op. cit. vol. II, pp. 127-31.


2. Fols. 34-45.        3. Fols, 116a, 118a.        4. Fol. 117a.        5. Fol. 88.


6. Recueil Général des Formules Usitées dans l'Empire des Francs du Ve au Xe siècles (3 vols.; Paris, 1859-71), vol. ii, form. 1024, pp. 644, 645 ; and K. Zeumer, Formulae Merovingici et Karolini Aevi, M.G.H., Legum Sectio V, Formulae (Hanover, 1886), pp. 555, 556.


7. ‘Die Kanonensammlung des Cod. Vatican. Lat. 1348’, in Sitzungsberichte der Ak. Wiss. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1897), vol. cxxxvi.


8. Fol. 13 a.





made by Cardinal Gregory between the years 1104 and 1106, [1] but even in this Collection texts referring to the Photian case are few. We can read there an extract from Nicholas’ letter [2] to Michael and two canons of the Council of 869-70, [3] but nothing on the number of oecumenical councils.


Nor is anything relevant to our thesis or to the number of councils to be found in the second recension of ‘Polycarpus’, included in MS. 3882 of the Latin MS. section of the Paris National Library.


Much the same may be said of some other Collections of canon law which borrow from ‘Polycarpus’. The Collection in Seven Books of the Latin MS. 1346 of the Vatican Library, which dates from the year 1112, [4] has, besides the extracts from the letter to the Emperor Michael, [5] three canons of the Eighth Council. [6]


The Collection in Three Books of the beginning of the twelfth century quotes only canon XXII. [7] Even the Prague Collection, [8] of the middle of the twelfth century, offers nothing of interest here, apart from a few quotations from letters of Nicholas I, [9] and none of these concerns the Photian case, whilst the conciliar decisions did not attract the compiler’s attention. [10]


The same applies to the other local canonical Collections studied by P. Fournier-Le Bras: the Collection in Seventeen Books of the Poitiers and Rheims MSS., the Collection in Four Books of the Tarragona and the Bordeaux Collections, the Collection in Thirteen Books of the Arras MS. 425,



1. On this collection cf. P. Fournier, ‘Les deux recensions de la Collection Canonique Romaine dite le Polycarpus’, in Melanges d’Archéologie et d'Histoire (1918-19), vol. XXXVII, pp. 55-101; ibid. pp. 58-60, where is to be found the list of MSS. of this unpublished Collection. Cf. also P. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. ii, pp. 169-85.


2. I have examined MS. 1354 of the Vatican Library, fol. 22 (lib. i, c. 22).


3. Ibid. fol. 31 (lib. m) = canon XXII and fol. 63 a (lib. iii)= canon XVIII.


4. P. Fournier-Le Bras, op. cit. vol. II, pp. 185-92. The same Collection has moreover been preserved in MS. 1346 of the Vienna National Library and in MS. 43 of Cortona.


5. Vat. Lib. Lat. 1346, fols. 25a, 26a.


6. Fol. 32a (lib. I, c. 33) = canon XXI, fol. 37 (lib. 11, c. 4) = canon XXII, fol. 53 = canon XVIII. Nicholas’ letter to Michael III is quoted twice = fol. 25a (lib. I, c. 11) and fol. 26a (lib. i, c. 14).


7. Vatic. Latin. 3831, fol. 19. The letter to Michael III is quoted, fol. 60.


8. Codex Membran. VIII H. 7. Cf. Schulte, ‘Über drei in Prager Handschriften enthaltenen Canonensammlungen’, in Sitzungsberichte der Ak. Wiss. Wien. Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1867), vol. lvii, pp. 175-221.


9. Fols. 27α, 28, 29a, 55, 56.


10. Fols. 15, 15a make a vague reference to the first five councils and fol. 37a to the seventh.





the Collection in Nine Books of Saint-Victor. [1] So far I have been in a position to study only the Collections of Tarragona, [2] of Saint-Victor [3] and of Bordeaux, [4]  but they offer nothing remarkable.


A certain number of Collections of the same class have unhappily remained inaccessible to me: the Collection of Lord Ashburnham’s MS., [5] the Palermo Collection of Santa Maria Novella, the Turin Collection in Seven Books, the Assisi Collection, the St Peter’s Collection in Nine Books, the Gaddiana Collection, the Vatican Collection 3829 and the Turin MS. E.V. 44 (903), [6] but it appears that these Collections are of the same order as those we have been able to examine, and it is very doubtful that they would provide anything fresh, since the sources of all of them are practically the same.


Examination of the canonical Collections belonging to the first group has therefore yielded nothing new and at least we have been able to ascertain that no new element has found its way into these compilers’ canonical documentation. With regard to the Photian case, we noticed also that they attributed to it no special importance and that the scant information they produce invariably derives from the same sources, namely, the canon law Collections of the first period of the Gregorian reform and, chiefly, the work of St Anselm of Lucca.



Now let us turn to the second group. The Collections of this category are more interesting, as their compilers had access to more extensive documentation. Of these Collections, the most important from our point of view is the one called Caesaraugustana, [7] originating, as the



1. See Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 230-61.


2. Paris, Lat. 4281 b, lib. i, 47, fol. 18 a — canon XXII of the Council of 869-70, lib. I, 85, fol. 22a, Nicholas’ letter to Michael III. Fol. 187, Incipit praefatio: canones generalium conciliorum, enumerates the first four councils. The passage was inspired by Gregory the Great’s famous letter (cf. also lib. i, ch. 173: ‘de professione archiep.’—four councils).


3. MS. 721 of the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal. This Collection is especially disappointing for our study.


4. MS. ii of the Bibliothèque Municipale de Bordeaux.


5. MS. 1554, the Laurentiana, Florence. According to Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. ii, p. 136, Ivo’s famous prologue was later added to the Collection by another hand.


6. See description of these unpublished Collections, with their bibliographical information: Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 150-218.


7. Cf. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. vol. Lviii, pp. 416 seq.; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 269-84, and chiefly Fournier, ‘La Collection Canonique dite Caesaraugustana’, in Nouvelle Revue Historique de Droit Français et Étranger (1921), vol. XLV, pp. 53 seq.





name implies, from Saragossa. Two recensions of it are known: the first dates from 1110-20, whereas the second must be anterior to 1143. In both versions of this Collection [1] it is surprising to find the extract from Ivo, condemning the Eighth Council. [2] Further on, we also find a canon of the Photian Council, which is even designated here as 'quinta synodus Constantinopolitana ccclxxxiii patrum sub Johanne papa: “Apocrisiarii papae dixerunt. . .”.’ [3] The author of the Caesaraugustana has also borrowed from the Acts of the Eighth Council, quoting three canons of it, [4] where the Chartres canonist quotes only one. [5]


What is extraordinary is that the author of the Caesaraugustana does not reproduce in his Collection the Sovereign Pontiff’s profession of faith listing the eight oecumenical Councils; all the more so, as in the first book of his Collection he treats of ‘the councils to be admitted’. [6] He quotes Gelasius’ letter, that of St Gregory the Great on the first four councils, some texts on the confirmation of the Sixth Council, Bede’s passage on the six oecumenical councils and a few texts on the Seventh Oecumenical Council, a number of them being copied from the fourth part of Ivo’s Decretum and showing that in preparing his compilation the author had this writing of Ivo lying on his desk. Strange, then, that he should have omitted the pontifical profession with its eight councils as well as Ivo’s paragraphs purporting to prove the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council. How is this to be explained?


P. Fournier [7] once drew attention to the fact that the editor of the Caesar augus tana repeatedly corrected the texts produced by Ivo and rectified his quotations and references, justifying the inference that he was very judicious in his choice of texts from the Decretum and that he many times referred back to the originals, some of which had been inaccessible to Ivo.


The Caesaraugustana’s most important source is Deusdedit’s Collection; here the author of the Caesaraugustana could find material for comparisons with certain texts of the Decretum, his second principal



1. I have studied MS. 3875 of the Latin MS. section of the National Library containing the first recension and MS. 3876 of the same Library containing the second recension.


2. MS. 3875, fol. 9 and MS. 3876, fol. 6a: ‘Damnatio synodi Constantinopolitanae cui papa non subscripsit.’


3. MS. 3875, fol. 70a, MS. 3876, fol. 62.


4. Canon XXII, MS. 3875, fol. 17a, MS. 3876, fol. 14; canon XXI, MS. 3876, fol. 30; canon XV, MS. 3875, fol. 51, MS. 3876, fol. 47.


5. Deer. V, 122; Pan. III, 8.


6. MS. 3875, fols. 5-8, MS. 3876, fols, 2a-5a.


7. ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. pp. 416-26.





source, and also a profession of faith of the Sovereign Pontiffs substantially differing from the one he found in Ivo.


On the strength of all we know about the working methods of the author of the Caesaraugustana, we must admit that he was not without some critical sense, and so perceived that Deusdedit’s text came nearer to the original than the fragment quoted by Ivo. Did the difference arouse any suspicions in the author’s mind about the passage concerning the number of councils, prompting him to omit Ivo’s text from his Collection and mention only the seven councils, without probing the puzzle any further? What makes it difficult to conjecture what the comparison of the two texts suggested to the author is that he also quotes three canons of the Eighth Council. Certainly he did not do what was done by most canonists who relied on Ivo and knew nothing of Deusdedit’s Collection—he did not include the impressive passage of the Decretum.


One may surmise that Ivo himself would have done the same as the author of the Caesaraugustana, had he been able to lay his hand on Deusdedit’s work and to compare the text of the profession handed down by the Cardinal with the text of the only source he knew. For the bishop of Chartres was also possessed of some critical acumen and would never have perpetrated the paradoxical blunder of classing this Council among the oecumenicals, whilst copying on another page the pontifical decision declaring the same Council null and void.


The Collection called the Caesaraugustana served as a model for another canonical Collection kept in a MS. of the Naples National Library (xii, A, 27), but unfortunately I have not seen it, and A. Theiner’s [1] description of it is too scanty to be of any value for our purpose.


The Collection of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Manuscript, which to-day is to be found in Wolfenbüttel (Gud. Lat. 212) and was written about 1120 in the region of Rheims, also bears traces of Ivo of Chartres’ influence; but Sdralek’s [2] description of it is not satisfactorily complete, except for the information that the MS. quotes a fragment of the Pope’s profession (fol. 376), [3] which agrees with the text of the Panormia, III, 4. The author also copied an extract from the letter of John VIII to Basil, announcing his intention to reinstate Photius in deference to the



1. Disquisitiones Criticae in praecipuas canonum et decretalium collectiones (Romae, 1836), p. 76.


2. ‘Wolfenbüttler Fragmente’, Kirchengeschichtliche Studien i, ii (Münster in Westphalia, 1891).


3. Sdralek, loc. cit. p. 28.





Emperor’s wish—a paragraph which Ivo entered in his famous prologue. There is also, in the Saint-Germain Collection, Anastasius’ comment on the Eighth Council (fol. 53 a) and canon XXII of the same synod, which shows that the writer of the collection certainly knew of Photius’ reinstatement.


The same may be said of another canonical Collection, called the Collection in Ten Parts, still unpublished, which is in MS. 10743 of the Paris National Library; [1] where the compiler copied the whole of Ivo of Chartres’ introduction to the Decretum with the paragraph on Photius’ reinstatement under the heading: Tractatus de Concordantia Canonum. It has three excerpts from the pontifical profession quoted by Ivo in the Decretum and in the Panormia, with the passage relative to the recognition of the eight councils; [2] but only its canon XXII is mentioned. [3] There are many letters of Nicholas I in the Collection, but they do not relate to the Photian case. Of the four texts attributed to John VIII, one runs as follows : [4] Johannes papa VIII: privilegia paucorum communem legem non faciunt. The quotation is from John’s letter to Basil, as found in Ivo’s preface, [5] and directly bears on Photius’ rehabilitation.


The Collection in Ten Parts found its summarist and his contribution (Summa Decretorum Haimonis) has survived in several manuscripts. [6] It was made between 1130 and 1135. The preface has a summary of the doctrine on the interpretation of the canons mentioned in Ivo’s long prologue, [7] but the passage about Photius is not quoted, though the compiler borrowed the text from the famous letter of John VIII as we find it in the prologue. [8] It contains no reference to the list of eight councils quoted in the Liber Diurnus. [9]



1. On this MS. of the Collection see P. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. pp. 433 seq.; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. ii, pp. 296 seq.


2. L. ii, d. 49, fol. 104 of MS. 10743 = Decr. iv, 132 (eight councils); l. iii, c. 2, nn. i, 2, fol. 134: ‘Profiteor diligenter. . .et abdicare’ = Pan. iii, 3; ‘Nihil de traditione. . .profiteor’ = Decr. iv, 197.


3. L. iii, c. 7, n. 8, fol. 139 (MS. 10743).

4. L. v, c. 1, n. 9, fol. 261.


5. P.L. vol. 161, col. 58: ‘ quoniam... Photium fratrem nostrum recipimus, sicut et Adrianus papa Tarasium, nullus computet canonicum usum. Privilegia enim paucorum communem legem non faciunt.’


6. P. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. pp. 442-4; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 306-8.


7. Bibl. Nat. Lat. 4377, fols. 3-4a; Bibl. Nat. Lat. 4286, fols. 2-3a.


8. Bibl. Nat. Lat. 4377, fol. 37; Bibl. Nat. Lat. 4286, fol. 82.


9. Bibl. Nat. Lat. 4286, fol. 24æ, where only the extract from the Liber Diurnus, identical to Pan. in, 3, is to be found. The two MSS. (MS. 4377, fol. 23 a, MS. 4286, fol. 25 a) summarize canon XXII of the Eighth Council.





We should also mention another summary of the Collection in Ten Parts found in MS. 14145 of the Latin MS. section of the Paris National Library, [1] though it is no more than a fragment (fols. 9-15) containing Ivo’s prologue. Whatever may come after the reference to Marcellus’ case is summarized on one page (fol. 12). There is a suggestion of the Photian case in the words quoted verbatim and placed by Ivo after the extract from John VIII’s letter to Basil: Csic aliae dispensationes salubri deliberatione admissae, cessante necessitate, debent cessare.’ [2]


More explicit is the author of the Collection in Sixteen Parts which I found in a MS. of the British Museum (B.M. Harleian 3090), also dating from the twelfth century. Ivo’s prologue which appears on the first folios of the MS. is abbreviated, but the main points relating to the Patriarch’s reinstatement are duly quoted. [3]


The Collection contains many references to the letters of Nicholas I, and even of John VIII, but none of them touches on Photius. The Liber Diurnus is also omitted.


have been able to consult the unpublished Collection preserved in MS. 1361 of the Vatican Library, dating from 1133-7, which merely combines Anselm’s Collection and the Panormia, and contains Ivo’s famous prologue. [4] An examination of the Collection of SainteGeneviève in MS. 166 of the Paris Sainte-Geneviève Library, [5] a Collection inspired by Ivo’s work, was disappointing, as it contained not a single relevant text. More interesting is the Collection of MS. 47 of the Châlons Municipal Library, in which we read (fol. 20 a) the famous extract from the Liber Diurnus on the eight councils, canon XXII of the Eighth Council (fol. 43 a), and immediately after this the canon of the Photian Council about bishops who returned to monastic life:


Ex actione quinta synodi Constantinopolitanae 383 patrum sub octavo Joanne papa cui praesiderunt Petrus presbyter cardinalis et Paulus antiochenitanus episcopus et Eugenius episcopus: Ut quicumque de pontificatu ad monachorum descenderit vitam numquam ad pontificatum resurgat. . . . Item praecepit sancta synodus.



1. L. Delisle, Inventaire des manuscrits Latins (Paris, 1863—71), vol. i, p. 129. This part of the MS. dates from the twelfth century.


2. Cf. P.L. vol. 161, col. 58.


3. Fol. 3a: ‘Sic Johannes papa octavus. . . et honorem patriarchatus restituamus’, P.L. vol. 161, col. 56. The extract from the prologue ends on the same words.


4. Cf. P. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. pp. 430—3; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 225 seq.


5. P. Fournier, loc. cit.; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 265-8.





The same passages are also quoted in another Collection kept in the same library (MS. No. 75) and also dating from the twelfth century. Though the Liber Diurnus is not quoted, the Collection opens with Ivo’s prologue and gives the whole extract on Photius’ reinstatement (fols. 8, 9a). In the third part of the Collection, which treats of bishops’ rights, there is also the famous canon about the Patriarch of Constantinople (fol. 51): ‘ De honore Constantinopolitani episcopi. De synodo Constantinopolitana: Constantinopolitanae civitatis episcopum habere oportet primatus honorem post romanum episcopum propter quod sit nova Roma.’ [1]


I have not yet found it possible to consult the Collection of the Chapter of St Ambrose in Milan, composed after 1100. [2]


An examination of the second group of canonical Collections, extending from the end of the eleventh to the middle of the twelfth century, led to the conclusion that the compilers of these Collections had not discovered a single new source on the Photian case and that their knowledge of the case and of the Eighth Council was derived from the same source as the information provided by the compilers of the first group ; but their documentation has a wider range, since they could draw on the Collections posterior to the reform period and chiefly on the Collections attributed to Ivo of Chartres. The author of the Caesaraugustana also makes use of Deusdedit’s work. We have thus been able to ascertain that the surprising ideas of Ivo and his circle on the Photian case, far from being the private opinions of a single man and his circle, so successfully survived the famous canonist that they came to be adopted by a great number of jurists and even, as we shall have occasion to see later, by some historians as well.



We now come to the greatest canonist of the twelfth century, Gratian. It is unnecessary to repeat here what every canonist knows: it will be enough to note that his work does not, on the whole, represent anything very new in the history of canon law. Not only did Gratian fail to discover any new sources of information, he did not even take the trouble to verify those of the canonical works which he pressed into service for his own compilation, merely contenting himself with comparing the texts, often divergent, of those Collections and placing them in order. And yet his work, known by its pompous title



1. P. Fournier, ‘Les Collections canoniques attribuées à Yves de Chartres’, loc. cit. vol. lviii, pp. 624 seq.; Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 308-13.


2. Fournier-Le Bras, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 222-4.





Concordantia Discordantium Canonum, [1] after its publication about the year 1150 succeeded, for all its shortcomings, in driving all previous canonical Collections, including those of Anselm of Lucca, Deusdedit and Ivo, into the background. Gratian’s work, to the exclusion of all others, remained in the hands of canonists, historians and theologians for the remainder of the Middle Ages down to modern times.


It is not our concern here to examine to what extent Gratian’s work deserved the reputation it enjoyed throughout the Middle Ages: suffice it to state that from the second half of the twelfth century onward, Gratian’s Decretum must be considered to have been the main source from which the Middle Ages gathered their knowledge about the councils, the Popes’ decrees and even the writings of the Fathers. It will therefore further our inquiry to know what Gratian thought about the controverted councils of the ninth century and about the Photian case.


In this respect, Gratian was implicitly dependent on his predecessors, since, not being able to consult the original documents, he merely copied what Anselm of Lucca and Ivo of Chartres had chosen to leave him. It is important to remember that he did not take advantage of Deusdedit’s Collection, which was only used by his correctors, so that he did not know of the complete version of the Popes’ profession as handed down by the Cardinal. In fact, Gratian considered it enough to copy the fragment of the text as Ivo of Chartres had it, with its list of eight oecumenical councils. [2] As Ivo’s canonical works were forced into the background by Gratian’s Decretum, it was Gratian—not Ivo—who was primarily responsible for the fact that this fragment of the profession has ever since been considered absolutely authentic and that it has served for most theologians as the stock argument in support of the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council in the Western Church.


In Gratian’s view, the extract from the Popes’ profession provided the main argument in favour of the oecumenicity of the Eighth Council, so popular among the canonists of the period for its famous canon XXII, and he considered it superfluous to quote the extract from the letter of John VIII, which in Ivo’s opinion served as 'evidence’ that a papal



1. I quote from the edition of E. Friedberg, Corpus Juris Canonici (Lipsiae, 1879). See also P.G. vol. 187.


2. D. XVI, c. 8. Here is the correctors’ remark: ‘Item ex Diurno: integram professionem fidei, quando quis in Romanum Pontificem promovebatur, refert Deusdedit Cardinalis in collatione canonum, quae servatur in bibliotheca Vaticana.’ They therefore omitted to state that Deusdedit mentioned no more than seven councils.





decision had classed that synod among the oecumenical councils. Faithful to his principle of ‘reconciling the discordant canons’, Gratian calmly suppressed Ivo’s text, according to which the Eighth Council should have been considered annulled by the same Pope. From his point of view this was simply a piece of elementary logic. Consequently, Gratian extracted as much as he could from the texts of the Eighth Council, [1] which he knew only at second hand from quotations. And yet, he does not for all that esteem the Photian Council any the less, for he copies in his Decretum the canon of this synod (the one utilized by Ivo) on the bishops’ return to monastic life. [2] In quoting this canon, he also calls the Photian Council ‘the Council of Constantinople of the 383 Fathers’, and elsewhere ‘nona synodus’. We are here referring to the two texts of the twentieth causa of the Decretum, and both, as is well known, are misquotations. The first (C. xx, 9, 1, c. 1) is really a quotation from the rules of St Basil, chapter xv, and the second (C. xx, 9, 11, c. 4) comes from chapter vm of the same work by Basil.


But the references are doubtful and Gratian’s correctors even remarked that some MSS. had ‘synodus octava’ instead of ‘synodus nona’.3 Whether the confusion was or was not a mistake due to slovenliness, the fact remains that the Photian Council did somehow impress Gratian.


Gratian’s Decretum represents therefore a very important stage in the evolution of what I call ‘the Photian Legend’. As he dispelled the very last lingering doubts about the oecumenicity and the authority of the Eighth Council, the hesitations we noted in Deusdedit and Ivo yielded to absolute certainty and the Popes’ profession closed the debate for ever. At the same time, Gratian still shared his predecessors’ opinion on the Photian case, the Photian Council being in his view a great Council, whose authority was incontestable: this makes it clear that like Ivo, his principal authority, he knew of Photius’ rehabilitation by this Council.


By omitting the text quoted by Ivo on the suppression of the antiPhotian Council, Gratian did indeed ‘reconcile the discordant canon’.



1. C. xii, qu. 2, c. 13= canon XV of the Eighth Council; C. xvi, qu. 3, c. 8 = canon XVIII; D. 22, c. 7 = canon XXI; D. 63, c. i = canon XX; D. 63, c. 2 = Ivo’s Deer, v, 122; Pan. in, 8.


2. C. vii, qu. i, c. 44: ‘Unde in quinta actione Constantinopolitanae sinodi 383 Patrum, sub VIII. Joanne Papa, cui praefuit Petrus presbiter cardinalis, et Paulus Anchonitanus episcopus et Eugenius Hostiensis episcopus, apocrisiarii Papae dixerunt: (C. vii, qu. 1, c. 45) “Hoc nequaquam apud nos habetur. . . Mansi, vol. XVII, col. 504. ‘Item praecepit sancta synodus’ = canon II.


3. Cf. Antonii Augustini De Emendatione Gratiam (Opera omnia, Lucae, 1767, vol. in), pp. 127 seq.





Viewing events in a better perspective than those canonists who had the Acts themselves, or long extracts from the Acts of this Council, under their very eyes, he cut the Gordian knot after his own fashion: only, by so doing, he unwittingly opened the way to a misrepresentation of the Photian case : from his time onwards the anti-Photian synod has usurped a place among the oecumenical councils, whose authority is a law unto the whole of Christendom, and this has made it only too easy to assume that whatever that Council had said against Photius must be true and that the Papacy never went back on the anathemas hurled against him by the Fathers and endorsed by Rome. The Photian Council could then be allowed quietly to slip into oblivion. The only canon of this synod quoted in the Decretum is of minor importance and. has been seldom appealed to, since during the Middle Ages few Western bishops who returned to monastic life had any wish to resume their discarded dignity.


But it is a pity that the Photian Council did not vote some other canons of a more practical and useful nature, as this would have secured it a prominent place in the canonical legislation of the Western Middle Ages and made it difficult for the ‘Photian Legend’ ever to see the light.



But let us pursue our investigations and inquire how the old tradition concerning the Photian case, a tradition which Gratian still knew and respected, ever came to be forgotten in the West. First of all, to remain within the limits of canon law, we shall confine ourselves to Gratian’s most important commentators of the second half of the twelfth century: Pancapalea, Rolandus, Rufinus and Stephen of Tournay, whose Summae provide all canonical activity for the rest of the Middle Ages with its main basis and authority. As Gratian’s Decretum was destined tobecome the common starting-point, it will suffice to examine how those canonists commented on the passages of the Decretum that bear on our subject-matter.


Pancapalea’s Summa reveals nothing interesting, [1] and the short commentaries that accompany the passages of the Decretum we are considering are totally irrelevant. The same is true of Master Rolandus’ Summa. [2] In the introduction to his book, Stephen of Tournay writes



1. J. F. V. Schulte, Die Summa des Pancapalea über das Decretum Gratiani (Giessen, 1890; written between 1144 and 1150), pp. 18, 19, 21, 39, 74, 80, 87.


2. F. Thaner, Die Summa Magistri Rolandi, nachmals Papstes Alexander III (Innsbruck, 1874), pp. 6, 9, 23, 46, 47.





about the oecumenical councils and insists on the first four of them, but his comments on Gratian’s dicta that are of interest to us have no historical value. [1] The same criticism holds for Rufinus’ Summa. [2] It is the commentaries which those jurists offer, for instance, on the Liber Diurnus, that make it clear how hopelessly unfamiliar they were with the original sources and how they gradually lost all insight into the historical implications of the documents they handled. Here is Pancapalea’s misinterpretation of the Liber Diurnus : [3] Item ex libro diurno, prof. R. potest intelligi beati Gregorii registro.’ Stephen writes : [4] Liber Diurnus dicitur, qui vel una die factus est vel una die totus legi potest.’ More curious still is Rufinus’ comment: [5]


Ex L.D., i.e. illo historico libro, in quo de unius diei tantum gestis agitur. Ut enim ait Isidorus in libro etimilogiarum: triplex historiarum genus est, annales, kalendaria et ephemeria. Annales, ubi agitur de rebus singulorum annorum; kalendaria appellantur, quae in menses singulos digeruntur; ephemeris dicitur de unius diei gestis. Hoc apud nos diarium sive diurnum vocatur. Namque latini diurnum, graeci ephemerida dicunt.



It is evidently hopeless to seek in these 'definitions5 any remnants of a critical and historical sense.


Useless also to look for anything more definite in John Faventinus, who published a Summa on the Decretum after the year 1171. His work rests entirely on the Summae of Rufinus and Stephen of Tournay, [6] though it is well known that John’s performance obtained a wider circulation than, and even supplanted, the works of his forerunners.


As for the canonists of the thirteenth century, their writings offer nothing interesting on the subject; it is, moreover, common knowledge that after the publication of the Gregorian Decretals the canonists’ interest shifted mainly to this new source of canon law, [7] and that the study of the Decretum was consequently abandoned. Among the canonists who continued to study the Decretum, we must cite John Semeca, alias Joannes Teutonicus, who wrote his glosses about 1220; [8]



1. J. F. V. Schulte, Die Summa des Stephanus Tornacensis (Giessen, 1891), pp. 2, 25, 26 (eight councils), 32, 89, 205, 206, 214-16, 222-9.


2. H. Singer, Die Summa Decretorum des Magister Rufinus (Paderborn, 1902), pp. 37, 38, 49, 154, 155, 285-95, 325, 363.


3. Loc. cit. p. 19.            4. Loc. cit. p. 26.            5. Loc. cit. (ed. Singer), pp. 37, 38.


6. J. F. V. Schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen u. Litt. d. can. Rechts (Stuttgart, 1875), vol. I, pp. 137 seq.


7. Cf. A. Tardif, Histoire des Sources du Droit Canon. (Paris, 1887), p. 186.


8. Schulte, loc. cit. vol. 1, pp. 172 seq.





Bartholomaeus Brixensis, a professor in Bologna, who died in 1258, [1] and Guido de Baysio, also called Archidiaconus, belonging to the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century. [2] While John Teutonicus, in commenting on the passages that concern us, generally limits himself to the notes of his forerunners, Bartholomew somewhat expands his commentary on Ignatius’ deposition and on Photinus’ (sic) elevation—one of many indications that the Photian Legend is gradually taking root among the scholars of the period. [3]


In reading the meagre comments on canon II of the Photian Council (C. vii, qu. I, c. 45), it does not take one long to perceive that the canonists have by this time completely lost sight of the history of the Council, being at a loss where to place it and how it came to be summoned. A striking illustration of their embarrassment is afforded by the greatest Pope of that time, Innocent III, who in his letter written in 1208 to bishop Hubaldus, newly elected archbishop of Ravenna, actually said : [4]


Verum postulationi hujusmodi videbatur concilii Constantinopolitani capitulum prima facie obviare, in quo statutum esse dignoscitur ut quicumque de pontificali dignitate ad monachorum vitam et poenitentiae locum descenderit, nequaquam ulterius ad pontificatum resurgat. Unde contra dictum concilium, cum sit unum ex quatuor principalibus, quae sicut quatuor evangelia catholica Ecclesia veneratur, nullatenus videbatur eadem postulatio admittenda. . . .



1. Schulte, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 83-6.


2. Ibid. vol. ii, pp. 186 seq.: ‘Rosarium super Decreto.’


3. I have used the 1772 edition of John Fenton and the Venice edition of 1495 of the Archdeacon. We may quote here, according to the Venice edition (1514) of the Decretum Gratiani, which includes all the glosses of our three authors, some comments by Bartholomew on Ignatius: ‘P. 105 (Ad. D. lxiii, c. i) Ignatius pair. Const. injuste fuit depositus et Fotinus [!] loco eius substitutus. Quam prohibitionem Nicolaus voluit removere sed morte preventus non potuit. Sed Hadrianus, successor eius, misit nuntios tres in C/polim ad Basilium imperatorem et filios eius, cum quibus fuit cancellarius romanae sedis. Et ibi octava syn. congregata duo fecit: primo Fotinum [!] deposuit et Ignatium restituit. Secundo constituit ut clericorum sit electio. . . . P. 155a (Ad. D. xcvi, c. 7 = letter from Nicholas to Michael III): Ostendit hic Nicolas quod Ignatius ratione Michaelis imperatoris deponi non potuit et hoc probat duobus exemplis. . . . P. 201a (Ad. C. iv, qu. 1, c. 2): Ignatius patriarcha Const. anathematizavit quosdam subditos suos qui eumdem Ignatium postea accusaverunt ad quorum accusationem depositus fuit. Sed Nicolas probat, quod anathematizati eum accusare non potuerunt. Et hoc ostendit auctoritate concilii C/politani in quo statuit quod heretici a sacris electi, etc. . . . ’


4. P.L. vol. 215, ep. 249, col. 1553, cf. col. 1592.





Innocent III evidently had only the vaguest notion about the Photian case, and his opinion on this Council was probably shared by several of his contemporaries.


With regard to the canonists of the fourteenth century, it is almost useless to look in their works for anything pertaining to our topic, although the Western Schism let loose a flood of polemico-juridical writings for and against Urban; but their authors drew most of their arguments from recent legislation and neglected the Decretum and the decisions of the oecumenical councils, as these did not provide suitable material for their controversies. The same is true of other writings of the same class at that time, when we only find a few vague references to the eight councils in Gulielmus Durandus junior, [1] but nothing in Nicholas de Clémanges, [2] John Carlerius de Gerson, [3] John of Paris, [4] Marsilius of Padua, [5] Augustinus Triumphus of Ancona, [6] to mention only such writers as one might expect to yield such information. William of Ockham [7] alone has a few references, insignificant though they be, to Gratian’s Decretum.



It is curious to observe that in the controversies between Greeks and Latins during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, very little was said about Photius and the number of councils. Thus, for instance, Anselm of Havelberg, [8] in his 'disputatio’ with Nechites (Nicetas) in Constantinople in 1135, does not even mention Photius, though he argues about the procession of the Holy Ghost, the primacy and the Azymes, in fact about every problem that was once raised by Photius. Nor does his opponent father these differences on the unfortunate Patriarch, but rather presents them as topics of controversy that had always existed.



1. Tractatus de Modo Generalis Concilii Celebrandi (Paris, 1671), pars 1, tit. 11, p. 8.


2. De corrupto Ecclesiae statu, ibid.


3. Tractatus de Potestate Ecclesiastica, M. Goldast, Monarchia S.R.I. (Harroviae, 1611-14), vol. ii, pp. 1384-1404 and the other writings by the same author, ibid, pp. 1425—1526. See also Gerson, Opera Omnia, Paris (1606), vol. 1, pp. 110-45.


4. Tractatus de Potestate Regia et Papali, ibid. vol. Ii, pp. 108-47.


5. Tractatus de Translatione Imperii, ibid. pp. 147-53; Defensor Pacis, ibid. pp. 154-312.


6. Summa de Ecclesiastica Potestate (Coloniae Agrip. 1475).


7. Octo Quaestionum Decisiones super Potestate Summi Pontificis, Goldast, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 313-46 (nothing); Dialogus de Potestate Imperatoris, ibid. pp. 469, 645, 936. Cf. L. Baudry, Guillelmi de Occam Breviloquium de potestate Papae (Paris, 1937). At the end of this treatise Occam expresses doubts concerning the authenticity of the Donatio Constantini.


8. Dialogi, P.L. vol. 188, cols. 1139-1248. The dialogues were written fourteen years after the controversy had subsided. Cf. J. Dräseke, ‘Bischof Anselm von Havelberg’, in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, vol. xxi, pp. 160-85.





In regard to the number of councils, Anselm still follows the old Western tradition and mentions only six councils. [1]


Another theological work that might be relevant to our problem is the treatise of Brother Bonacursius of Bologna, found, with a Greek translation, in a MS. of the Paris National Library: [2] but it is a scholastic treatise, which totally disregards the historical evolution of the schism, never mentions Photius and never raises the question of the number of councils.


Only one ecclesiastical and canonical writer of this period treats of the councils with more freedom—Humbertus de Romanis, who in 1273 issued a memoir for the use of the second Council of Lyons. In the second part of his Opusculum Tripartitum, Humbert devotes several chapters to the Greek schism, yet refers to the councils only once. [3] In reviewing the Greeks’ objection against the supreme power of Rome, he states among other things that, according to the Greeks, the very fact that the first seven councils met in the East proves that in the earlier days of the Church the supreme power belonged to the Orientals. The curious thing is that Humbert is in no way alarmed by the mention of seven councils and does not feel tempted to add the eighth. Elsewhere, Humbert recapitulates certain causes of the schism as well as the liturgical and disciplinary differences between the two Churches, but nowhere does he mention Photius, though he had some knowledge of a misunderstanding in the ninth century; but in his opinion it was over nothing but the Bulgarians’ baptism. [4]


Hugo Etherianus, another Latin controversialist, is far more provocative. In 1177 Hugo sent to Pope Alexander III a book on the Greek errors, in which he already fathers the Greek doctrine about the Holy Ghost on Photius and apostrophizes him in one place in a passionate plea. [5] More significant still is another work against the Greeks, which may, it appears, be attributed to Hugh, or better still, to his brother



1. Dialogi, P.L. vol. 188, cols. 1225-8.


2. Cod. Paris. Gr. 1251, fourteenth-century on parchment, fol. 145. Cf. B. Altaner, ‘Kenntnisse des Griechischen in den Missionsorden während des 13 u. 14 Jh.’, in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte (1934), vol. Lin, pp. 457, 471.


3. Ed. Crabbe, Concilia Omnia. . . (Coloniae, 1551), vol. ii, pp. 990, 991, c. 3.


4. Ibid. c. 12, 18, pp. 993, 998. About Humbert, see F. Heintke, ‘Humbert von Romans, der fünfte Ordensmeister der Dominikaner’, in Histor. Studien, Heft 222 (Berlin, 1933). Cf. also Karl Michel, Das Opus Tripartitum d. Humhertus des Romans, 2. umgearb. Aufl. (Graz, 1926). Cf. B. Altaner, ‘Kenntnisse des Griechischen . . . ’, loc. cit. p. 446.


5. De Haeresibus Graecorum, P.L. vol. 202, lib. 11, cc. 15-18, cols. 322-6; c. 19, cols. 328, 334, lib. ni, c. 15, col. 370.





Leo Tuscus. [1] It has a reference to the general councils as admitted by the Greeks. After enumerating the seven councils, the writer adds: [2]


It should also be stated that besides these seven universal Councils there was another, universal indeed, but as it did not deal with any articles of faith, it is not numbered by the ancient Greeks among the universal Councils, but only among those called Local. But the modern Greeks, being schismatics, have excluded it from all Councils and refuse to hear of it, because it was at that synod that their Patriarch Photius, the heresiarch, was once deprived of his patriarchal dignity which he had illegally usurped. . . . [3]


That is how a Western scholar of the twelfth century tried to reconcile the Greek and Latin attitudes on the number of councils. Leo Tuscus, the probable author of this extract (or his brother Hugh), was well aware that according to Gratian, whose authority he, like everyone else, accepted, there were eight oecumenical councils. But in Constantinople, where the brothers arrived under Manuel Comnenus, no more than seven councils were admitted. As the Emperor’s interpreter, Leo had many opportunities for getting entry into the city’s libraries, and Hugh himself writes in his book that he devoted all his leisure hours in Constantinople to a search for Greek and Latin theological books. [4]


That was how they succeeded in discovering the notorious antiPhotianist Collection, which gave them the clue they were seeking, the summary of the Acts of the Eighth Council, prefaced by the life of Ignatius and written by the Paphlagoniam Armed with this document, they erected to their own satisfaction the hypothesis that the Greeks once acknowledged the Eighth Council, although their canonists did not class it among the oecumenical councils, numbering it instead



1. R. Lechat, ‘La patristique Grecque chez un théologien Latin du XIIe siècle, Hugues Ethérien’, in Mélanges d'Histoire offerts à Ch. Moeller (Louvain, 1914;. Recueil de Travaux de l'Université de Louvain, v, 40), pp. 492 seq. Cf. Hergenröther, Photius, vol. iii, pp. 175 seq.


2. J. Basnage, Thesaurus Monumentorum Ecclesiast. et Hist. sive Henrici Canisii Lectiones Antiquae (Antverpiae, 1725), vol. iv, p. 1. Cf. P.G. vol. 140, cols. 487 seq.: Tractatus Contra Errores Graecorum, composed by Dominicans in Constantinople (1252), attributed wrongly to Pantelemon and followed, cols. 541 seq., by extracts from Etherianus. The passage in question, col. 557.


3. Dicendum quoque, praeter istas septem universales synodos, fuit et una alia, universalis quidem: sed quia non agit de articulis fidei, non ponitur in numero universalium synodorum ab antiquis Graecis, sed inter alias quae locales nominantur. Moderni vero Graeci, schismatici cum sint, ab omni numero illam excluserunt, et nomen eius audire subticuerunt, eo quod eorum patriarcha Photius, Heresiarcha, fuit in ipsa dignitate patriarchali, quam sibi injuste usurpaverat, nuper destitu tus.’


4. Loc. cit. P.L. vol. 202, col. 230.





among their local councils, as it had issued no dogmatic decision. But since the time the Greeks had become schismatics, they had decided to discard this council altogether, since Photius’ condemnation was contained in its Acts.


This is the first time we come across Nicetas’ notorious pamphlet about Photius in the Latin tradition. Its discovery produced on the Westerners the impression one might have expected and naturally affected their attitude to the authenticity of the Photian Council, for we read farther down in the same book, after the list of the local synods endorsed by the Greeks : [1]


But the Patriarch Photius, who was a heresiarch, held two Councils in succession in the City of Constantinople. The first in the church of the Holy Apostles, and the other, which was sanctioned by Pope John, as they assert, in the church of St Sophia. . . . But the synod of Photius, which, as they insist, Pope John approved, made 17 canons, the last of which seems to be very favourable to the Latins.



To any reader of Nicetas’ pamphlet, which could only confirm a twelfth-century Westerner in his conviction that the Eighth Council was really oecumenical, it must have been evident that the author could scarcely admit the Photian Council to have been sanctioned by a Pope, as the Greeks pretended.


The chief interest of the production lies in its being merely a translation of a Greek treatise on the councils. The Greek original seems to have been related to the group represented by the treatises of the Paris. Graec. 1335, Paris. Graec. 425. [2] The translation is literal, only a few passages having been added ; but the seventeen canons mentioned were not voted, as the translator asserts, by the Council of 879-80, but by the Photianist Council of 861. [3]


The treatise against the Greeks, [4] written in 1252 in Constantinople by the Dominican Brothers, also discovers in Photius the principal author of the schism and (it is alleged) Michael Cerularius—the treatise calls him Circularios!—only follows his example in his revolt against the Pope.


The treatise supports the Pope’s primacy with many arguments and the spurious Donatio Constantini is given pride of place—and no wonder, since no one in the West was in the least doubt about the authenticity of this document.



1. Loc. cit. p. 73. Cf. P.G. vol. 140, col. 559.

2. See Appendix III, pp. 452 seq.

3. Mansi, vol. xvi, col. 548. Canon XVII forbids the election of a layman to the episcopacy.

4. Basnage, loc. cit. vol. iv, pp. 50, 60-2. Cf. P.G. vol. 140, col. 540.





This sort of ‘argument’ must, however, have made a curious impression on the Greeks. The Dominicans certainly knew of the writings of Hugh in their Latin, and perhaps also in their Greek, edition, so that they may have felt his influence, although we find no other instance of Hugh’s (or his brother’s) writings exercising such fascination on his contemporaries.


We should also mention the controversies between Cardinal Benedict, legate of the Pope Innocent III, and the Greeks in 1205 in Thessalonica, Athens and Constantinople. Nicholas of Otranto, who acted as his interpreter, summarized the discussions and published them in Greek and in Latin; unfortunately, I have been unable to gain access to the edition of the three discussions made by the Metropolitan Arsenii after a Greek MS. of the Moscow Synodal Library. But I found in the Paris National Library a MS. written in Greek and in Latin, which has the discussions as they were reported by Nicholas of Otranto. This interesting MS. (Paris. Graec. Suppl. 1232) is mainly a palimpsest, but partly written on parchment and bombycine material (165 fols.); it is, moreover, contemporary, being written in the thirteenth century. It certainly looks more interesting than the copies of Moscow and Florence, as described by Baudinus in his Catalogus Codic. Manuscript. Biblioth. Laur. (vol. 1, pp. 60 seq.).


Fols. 1-12 have a dialogue on the procession of the Holy Ghost; fols. 12-14, an 'Opusculum de Barbis’; fols. 15-165, a synopsis of discussions on the Holy Ghost, the Azymes and some other controversial points that divided the Greeks and the Latins, and fols. 25a, 26, a history of these discussions, which deserve a study to themselves. Arguments are freely drawn from conciliar decrees (chiefly fols. 28a-38a), and it is surprising to read the cardinal’s emphatic declaration (fol. 38): ‘facta est tunc et septima synodus, quae a nobis Latinis non tenetur’; a sure sign that the Franks’ disbelief in the Seventh Council prevailed among some people as late as the thirteenth century. Photius is mentioned, as his arguments against the Filioque were turned to account by the Greeks (fol. 64), but there is no reference to the Eighth Council. The discussion certainly makes it evident that the Greeks of the time admitted no more than seven oecumenical councils. [1]


The theological writings between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries I have been able to consult tell us nothing definite about either councils or Photius. Thus, for instance, Petrus Abelardus [2] does not



1. Cf. about Nicholas and Cardinal Benedict, W. Norden, Das Papsttum und Byiani (Berlin, 1903), pp. 182 seq.


2. P.L. vol. 178, cols. 105-8, 375, 376.





even mention the councils in his Confession, nor does St Bruno; [1] St Bruno de Segui, in his reply to abbot Leo of St Mary’s in Byzantium on the affair of the Azymes, written between 1107 and 1111, mentions neither councils nor Photius; [2] St Bernard [3] only speaks of the four councils and his example is followed by Hugh de Saint Victor; [4] all these authors dealt with Greek errors and in their controversies with the Greeks never referred to Photius as the author of that heresy.


The same may be said about the conciliar documents. Paschal II, [5] in his profession of faith at the Council of the Lateran (1112), only mentions the first four Councils, in accordance with the old and fastdeclining usage; and the Acts of the Council of Lyons of 1274 have nothing to say about the Photian incident.


There is no mention of Photius either in the letters of Pope John XIV to the Emperor and to the Patriarch, or in the Emperor’s reply to the Pope; [6] and the Emperor’s profession refers to the councils only in general terms. [7] The oath taken in the Emperor’s name by the Logothete George Acropolites has no reference to the councils, nor has the profession of faith imposed on the Greek Metropolitans. [8] Nothing in the letter from the Patriarch John Beccos to the Pope, though it has the Patriarch’s profession of faith; [9] and nothing in the Acts of the Synod of Constantinople held about 1280, [10] in which John Beccos proved that the opponents of the Union had tampered with Gregory of Nyssa’s text on the Procession of the Holy Ghost. The Council of the Armenians for union with Rome says nothing about the number of oecumenical councils and mainly emphasizes the Council of Chalcedon, which is only natural; [11] but the point is interesting, as the Greeks acted quite differently on a similar occasion, when one of the conditions they imposed on the Armenians who wished to unite with them was the recognition of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Councils. Such lack of veneration—if we may put it so—for ecclesiastical tradition, observed at least to some extent in the Acts of the Council, was characteristic of the new theological method in the West, where scholasticism favoured



1. P.L. vol. 153, cols. 571-2.            2. P.L. vol. 165, cols. 1087-90.


3. Epist. 194, Rescriptum D. Innoc. papae contra Haereses Petri Abel., P.L. vol. 182, col. 360.


4. Eruditiones Didascalicae Libri Septem, P.L. vol. 176, cols. 785 seq.


5. P.L. vol. 163, cols. 471 seq.


6. Mansi, vol. xxiv, cols. 37-136.


7. Loc. cit. col. 72.        8. Loc. cit. cols. 73-7.        9. Loc. cit. cols. 183-90.        10. Ibid. cols. 365-74.


11. Mansi, vol. xxv, cols. 1185—1270. Cf. also the decisions of the synod of Melfi (1284) (Mansi, vol. xxiv, cols. 569 seq.) purporting to regulate relations between Greeks and Latins in Sicily. There the question of councils is not even hinted at.





theological speculation rather than the historic method. Scholastic theologians also concentrated their efforts on the definition of the Catholic doctrine of the sacraments, [1] a section of Catholic dogma to which the first councils had given least attention. Even the prince of scholastic theologians, St Thomas Aquinas, disregards the historic method and in discussing the Procession of the Holy Spirit and the Greek errors limits himself to theological speculation [2] and ignores the origin of the errors he desires to confute.


One document, issued by the Papal Chancellery, reflects the vague notions that were current in the thirteenth century on Photius’ responsibility for the Oriental schism. In his letter of 14 September 1267, to the deans, chapters and suffragans of Sens, Pope Clement IV writes: [3]


Ancient and authentic writings attribute this schism to a certain incumbent of the see of Constantinople. Stripped of his patriarchal dignity by a fair sentence of the Holy See, he gave so many signs of sorrow, devotion and reform after the death of his substitute that the Holy See graciously restored him to favour, or rather allowed him to resume his patriarchal functions. Eventually he proved ungrateful for the favour, regarded as injustice the justice of his deposition, raised heresies that had been condemned and provoked schisms, seduced the emperor of Constantinople and thus was the cause of the schism.



It shows what hazy notions about the history of Photius were current in the West in the thirteenth century and what little importance was attached to his person, since the Pope did not even know his name. The Photian Legend, making Photius responsible for the Eastern schism, was growing. However, the Pope apparently knew nothing about a second condemnation of Photius by Rome, or at least, says nothing about it.


The examination of the main theological writings, which could have been expected to deal with our problem, has shown that remembrance of Photius’ rehabilitation was gradually receding into the background



1. A classical instance of the method, as used by local synods, too, is found in the Acts of the Council of Lavaur (in the Tarn), summoned in 1368 by the archbishop of Narbonne. We read there (Mansi, vol. xxvi, cols. 484-93) a lengthy exposition of the Catholic faith—the Blessed Trinity, the sacraments, the theological virtues, sin, etc.—made with full array of scholastic erudition, yet not a word about the general councils and their number.


2. Summa Theol. qu. xxxvi, art. i-iv (Rome ed. 1888), vol. iv, pp. 375-86. Cf. ‘Contra Errores Graecorum’ and F. Reusch, ‘Die Fälschungen in dem Tractat des Thomas von Aquin gegen die Griechen’, in Abh. Hist. Kl. bayr. Akad. (1889), Bd XVIII.


3. E. Jordan, ‘Les Régistres de Clément IV’, in Bibl. des Écoles Franc, d'Athènes et de Rome (Paris, 1893), série ii, vol. xi, p. 203.





with the Western theologians of the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and that the authority of the Photian Council, which was still respected in Grattan’s time, was almost forgotten. Still, this does not mean that the tradition so carefully fostered by Ivo and his jurists till Gratian’s days was completely lost. Ivo’s writings, chiefly his introduction to the Decretum, though supplanted by Gratian, never lost credit entirely. [1]


It was saved at this period by some historians who were gifted with a finer flair than Gratian’s interpreters. The first was the Dominican Martinus Opaviensis (1278), mistakenly called—for he was really of Czech origin—Polonus. Martin of Opava was at the same time a good canonist and in his Margarita Decreti, which proved so popular in the Middle Ages, he included—of course with Gratian—the Eight Councils. [2] In his Chronicle he also came, as stated before, under Bonizo’s influence, but in another place he speaks of the Fifth Council of Constantinople of the 383 Fathers. [3] It is true he does not specifically mention Photius’ rehabilitation, but on the other hand he does not refer to his excommunication by Nicholas.


Martinus Polonus’ example is followed by Ptolemaeus Lucensis (1327) in his Historia Ecclesiastica. [4]


Another important reference to the Photian case is found in the interpolation of the Chronicle of the monk Albrich (d. after 1252), [5]



1. An indirect hint of his introduction is found in an anonymous writing of about mi, in the course of the struggle against lay Investiture (Sdralek, ’Wolfenbüttler Fragmente’, in Kirchengeschichtl. Studien, I, 2 (Münster i. W. 1891), p. 5; Abschnitt, p. 151). In order to prove to the ’Nicholaites’ that they could not appeal to the fact that the Pope had sometimes granted dispensation from celibacy, the author quotes the same case as Ivo, Pope Gregory I’s dispensation to the English clergy, using terms reminiscent of Ivo (P.L. vol. 161, col. 58). The illustration is, however, not convincing.


2. Decr. XVI. 4 Margarita Decreti’ seu Tabula Martiniana, edita per fratrem Martinum (ed. Peter Drach, Spire, 1490 (?)), p. 10.


3. M.G.H. Ss. XXII, p. 429: ’Sub hoc [Johannes VIII] celebrata fuit V. synodus C/poli 383 patrum, cui praefuit Petrus presbiter cardinalis et Paulus Antiochenus episcopus et Eugenius Hostiensis episcopus, apocrisiarii papae.’


4. Historia Ecclesiastica, Muratori, Ss. R. I., vol. XI, p. 1019 (c. XXI): ’Sub hoc etiam Johanne papa, ut Martinus scribit, celebrata est Synodus in C/poli 383 patrum, cui praefuit Petrus presbyter cardinalis, et Paulus Antiochenus episcopus et Eugenius Ostiensis episcopus, et apocrisiarius Domini Papae.’


5. Chronica Albrici monachi Trium Fontium a monacho Hoiensi interpolata, M.G.H. Ss. XXIII, p. 740. ’Ad. ann. 870: Secundum quosdam octava synodus celebrata est hoc anno. Vide in Gratiano dist. 63. Sine dubio ista octava synodus congregata fuit in urbe C/poli et in auctoritatem recipitur, sed post istam nulla Greca sinodus a Latinis recipitur.’ The first clause is from the Chronicle of the monk Helinandus (d. 1277), P.L. vol. 212, col. 868.





where the writer treats first of the Council of 869 and quotes Gratian’s Decretum as his source. About the Photian Council he writes: [1]


Idem papa Joannes patriarcham Constantinopolitanum nomine Photium neophitum a papa Nicolao quondam depositum in sede sua restituit, interventu Basilii imperatoris et filiorum ejus Leonis et Alexandri, sicut in libro qui Canones inscribitur plenius continetur. Idem Joannes papa regi Bulgarorum Michaeli nomine scripsisse in eodem codice invenitur.



Mention of the Fifth Council of Constantinople also occurs in Flores Temporum, [2] again under Martinus’ inspiration.


Lastly, in the fourteenth century, we obtain from Dandolo [3] fuller information on the excommunication of Michael III (!) as a result of Ignatius’ deposition, and about the Councils of 869-70 and 879-80, the same writer being also the first to point out the disagreement on this subject between the Latins and the Greeks. Writers living far away from regions like Venice, where Greek and Latin interests crossed and clashed, were not aware of this difference.


Writing about the Eighth Council, Dandolo adds: ‘Hanc synodum Graeci inter generales non accipiunt quia in ea de articulis fidei non est actum, et etiam propter Photii depositionem.’ This is what he writes about the Photian Council: ‘Sub isto [Joanne VIII] celebrata est synodus Constantinopoli 383 patrum, cui praefuit Petrus, et Paulus Antiochensis episcopus et Eugenius episcopus Ostiensis, papae apocrisiarius. Photius enim patriarcha prius ibi duo concilia celebraverat.’


Thus we reach the conclusion that between the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries any just estimate of the Photian incident was beginning to disappear, although there are some historians who have a modicum of knowledge not only of the existence, but also of the validity of the Fifth Council of Constantinople. It goes without saying that even at this period absolutely nothing was known of Photius’ second excommunication.



1. Ibid. p. 742 ad ann. 881.


2. Flores Temporum. Pontifices. M.G.H. Ss. xxiv, p. 244: 4 Johannes VIII sedit annos 10. Constituit ut nullus iudex secularis placita secularia tractet in edibus consecratis. Item quod ibi non hospitentur nisi ex Grecia. Sub isto fuit quinta synodus C/politana.’ The author of the Chronicle was a Minorite of Suabia who wrote between 1292 and 1294.


3. Muratori, Ss. R. I., vol. xii, 1. viii, c. iv, pars xl, col. 181, c. v, part, xi, xvi, cols. 184, 185. On Dandolo’s sources, see H. Simonsfeld, Andreas Dandolo u. seine Geschichtswerke (München, 1876), pp. 54 seq.








The Eighth Council among opponents and supporters—Sixteenth-century writers— The Centuriae—Baronius’ Annals—Catholic and Protestant writers of the eighteenth century—Hergenröther and his school.



The fifteenth century ushered in a new period of conciliar tradition: it was the century of the great Western Schism, which was responsible for the 'conciliar notion’ or the primacy of the councils over the Popes. It was natural that in this century a new fashion for the first councils, including the Eighth Oecumenical Synod, should be introduced.


To turn first to the Acts of the Councils of Constance and Basle, it is well known that the Council of Constance again, and this time officially, fixed the number of oecumenical councils, when the conciliar commission charged with the task of formulating reforms rediscovered the notorious profession of faith of Bonifice VIII and advised the revival of this pious custom in the ceremonial of papal elections. [1] The Council agreed to the proposal, and in its thirty-ninth session the Fathers drew up a new profession of faith for the Pope, after the pattern of the so-called profession of Boniface VIII. [2]



1. Mansi, vol. xxviii, document 31, cols. 268-70: ‘Avisamenta per XXXV cardinales, praelatos et doctores, in loco reformatorii Constantiensis.’ Cf. Finke, Acta Concilii Constantiensis (Münster i. W. 1923), vol. II, pp. 616, 618, 621.


2. Mansi, vol. xxvii, col. 1161: ‘Forma de professione Papae facienda. Quanto Romanus Pontifex eminentiori inter mortales fungitur potestate, tanto clarioribus ipsum decet fulciri fidei vinculis, et Sacramentorum ecclesiasticorum observandis ritibus illigari: Eapropter, ut in futurum Romanis Pontificibus in suae creationis primordiis et singulari splendore luceat plena fides, statuimus et ordinamus, quod deinceps quilibet in Romanum Pontificem eligendus, antequam sua electio publicetur, coram suis electoribus publice confessionem et professionem faciat infrascriptam: In nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Anno a nativitate Domini millesimo etc. ego N. electus in Papam, omnipotenti Deo, cuius Ecclesiam suo praesidio regendam suscipio, et beato Petro Apostolorum Principi corde et ore profiteor, quamdiu in hac fragili vita constitutus fuero, me firmiter credere, et tenere sanctam fidem catholicam, secundum traditionem Apostolorum, generalium Conciliorum et aliorum sanctorum patrum, maxime autem sanctorum octo Conciliorum universalium, videlicet primi Nicaeae, secundi Constantinopolitani, tertii Ephesini, quarti Chalcedonensis, quinti et sexti Constantinopolitanorum, septimi item Nicaeni, octavi quoque Constantinopolitani, nec non Lateranensis, Lugdunensis et Viennensis generalium etiam Conciliorum. Et illam fidem usque ad unum apicem immutilatam servare et usque ad animam et sanguinem confirmare, defensare et praedicare, ritum quoque pariter Sacramentorum ecclesiasticorum Catholicae Ecclesiae traditum, omnimode prosequi et observare. Hanc autem professionem et confessionem S.R.E. me jubente scriptam, propria manu subscripsi, et tibi omnipotenti Deo pura mente et devota conscientia super tali altari etc. sinceriter offero in praesentia talium, etc. Datum, etc.’





For the first time since the end of the ninth century the number of oecumenical councils was officially determined, those of the Lateran, Lyons and Vienne being added to the first eight councils; but the fathers of Constance did not take their inspiration from the original formula of the Popes’ profession of faith, but from the spurious profession of Boniface.


That is how the famous Popes’ profession reappeared, this time with ’an anti-papal flavour’, illustrating the manner in which the Fathers of Constance revived the custom. This tendency took shape at the Council of Basle, which in its second stage is known to have bodily joined the opposition, the profession of faith which it imposed on its Pope Felix V being inspired by the conciliar notion of the council being above the Pope. [1]


One would have expected this Council to rehearse the arguments in support of its opinions [2] by taking fuller advantage of the Acts of the first councils, instead of leaving it to some jurists and theologians, sectarian partisans of the conciliar notion, to do it on their own account. A few of these may be quoted. Peter d’Ailly, to prove that the Pope’s supreme power may be restricted by the authority of the oecumenical council ’ad excludendum abusum’, quotes, among other things, the ancient usage of exacting from the Pope a profession of orthodox faith. He writes: [3] ‘Ideo antiquo iure institutum est, quod papa professionem faceret... et eiusmodi professio per lapsum temporis ampliata est, ut patet ex professione Bonifacii VIII....’ And later, [4] he quotes in support of his contention such phrases used by the councils as ‘ Placuit sacro concilio; concilium deffinit’, etc.


Pope Gregory VII then clearly scented the danger which this practice



1. Mansi, vol. xxix, sessions 29, 32, cols. 112, 1x3, 189; session 40, cols. 202, 203. Cf. the footnote below.


2. Only a few references to the Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon are found in the Acts (J. Haller, Concilium Basiliense (Basel, 1896), vol. I, p. 185; (1900), vol. m, pp. 500 seq.; (1903), vol. iv, p. 299; (1914, G. Beckmann, R. Wackernagel), vol. V, p. 232; (1926, G. Beckmann), vol. vi, p. 366. The Pope’s profession (1910, H. Herre), vol. vii, pp. 220, 221. Cf. also J. Döllinger, Beiträge zur pol., kirchl. u. Culturgesch. der letzten 6 Jh. (Regensburg, 1863), vol. 11 : ‘Informationes Pilei archiep. Januensis super reformatione Ecclesiae’, p. 304.


3. Petrus de Alliaco, ‘ De Ecclesiae et Cardinalium Auctoritate’, in Gersonis Opera (Paris, 1606), vol. v, pars ii, c. 3, p. 918.


4. Ibid, pars iii, 2, p. 925.





spelt for his idea of the plenitude of papal power and it was he who, as mentioned before, very probably suppressed this venerable custom. [1]


The Aureum Speculum Papae [2] also quotes the famous saying of St Gregory on the first councils, 'which must be as highly esteemed as the four Gospels’, to prove that the Pope’s power is limited by the councils. Nicolaus Siculus Panormitanus [3] (d. 1453) was still more explicit in the long speech he addressed to the Fathers [4] and inferred from the Pope’s profession which mentions the eight councils 'quod papa non possit de aliquo mutilare, violare, seu mutare statuta universalium conciliorum’. Jacobatius, Cardinal of the titular church of St Clement [5] (d. 1527), and chiefly John de Torquemada [6] (d. 1468), outstanding champion of the Pope’s supreme power and of the opinions of the Roman Curia, show us how the followers of the conciliar school made capital of the Acts of the Eighth Council to strengthen their views; and as we know from their writings, from the fact that Photius had been condemned by the Eighth Council they inferred that the council was above the Pope. [7] In their view, the speech of the Metropolitan of Tyre, Thomas (actio I), was evidence that a council could be summoned by the Emperor without pontifical intervention. [8]


Canon XXI is appealed to as proof that a council has the right to pass sentence even on the Popes, [9] and the case of Photius is made to prove that a Pope’s judgement is subject to revision by a council, which shall decide in the last instance. [10] Sayings by Zachary, Photius’ champion, at the sixth session are also quoted in support of the conciliar view. [11]


All these objections are met by Cardinal John de Torquemada, who counters them by quoting other extracts from the Acts of the same



1. See pp. 327 seq., 440.


2. Ed. E. G. Brown, Fasciculus Rerum Expetendarum et Fugiendarum (London, 1690), vol. ii, Appendix, p. 83.


3. Cf. Schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen...d. can. Rechts, vol. II, pp. 312, 313.


4. ‘Pro Honore et Conservatione Concilii Basiliensis’, Mansi, vol. xxx, cols. 1123 seq.,. and chiefly col. 1169. In his speech, he makes many false or erroneous claims for the councils.


5. Schulte, loc. cit. vol. II, pp. 342, 343.


6. Ibid. vol. ii, pp. 322 seq.


7. Joannes de Turrecremata, Summa de Ecclesia (ed. Card. Vitellius; Venetiis, 1561), l. iii, c. 29, p. 306. Cf. c. 35, p. 315.


8. Ibid. c. 30, pp. 314a, 315. Cf. Mansi, vol. xvi, cols. 30, 31.


9. Loc. cit. l. iii, c. 45, p. 325 a. Cf. Jacohatii card. Tractatus de Concilio Domini. Ed. Tractatus Univ. Jur., loc. cit. vol. xiii, pars 1, p. 389.


10. Joannes de Turrecremata, loc. cit. p. 326. Jacobatius, loc. cit. p. 363.


11. J. de Turrecremata, loc. cit. p. 327; Jacobatius, loc. cit. p. 363.





Council, [1] where he also finds constructive arguments in favour of his own views on the plenitude of pontifical power, [2] and makes it evident that he was not content with quoting from Gratian’s Decretum, as had been done by the writers of the fourteenth century and many of his contemporaries. The Cardinal knew the Acts themselves in their translation by Anastasius, and some objections made against the curial thesis suggest that the partisans of the conciliar notion had also direct access to the Acts of the Council, this being the first time since the eleventh century that this source was directly used and that scholars were no longer content with copying extracts from Gratian.


Torquemada’s comments on Gratian’s Decretum yield nothing of importance to our subject. [3] To our surprise, he omits to quote the Eighth Council in another treatise of his on the power of Pope and councils, [4] and neglects to turn the Photian case to profit. [5] In his Summa de Ecclesia, published in 1450, the great canonist of this period devotes, however, some space to the Greek doctrines and draws his inspiration from Manuel Calecas, whose Libri IV adversus Errores Graecorum had been translated into Latin in 1421. In this passage (l. ii, p. 93) Torquemada also writes on the Photian Council of 879-80, but merely reflects the ideas of Calecas, whose grave doubts he shares concerning the authenticity of the Council’s Acts.


Nicholas de Cusa also knows the Eighth Council well [6] and at the end of his book De Concordantia even makes the Emperor Sigismund the ‘successor of Basil I’ and compares Sigismund’s energetic action at the Council of Constance with Basil’s performance at the Eighth Council. In his treatise De Auctoritate Presidendi in Concilio Generali,



1. Loc. cit. l. iii, c. 31, pp. 309 seq.; c. 36, pp. 316 seq.


2. Loc. cit. 1. ii, c. 110, p. 255 ; l. iii, c. 9, p. 284; c. 22, p. 298 a; c. 25, pp. 300a, 301; c. 32, pp. 310a, 311; c. 33, pp. 311a, 312; c. 34, pp. 312a seq. (note that Turrecremata, in adducing arguments to prove that all councils need confirmation by the Pope, knows nothing of the confirmation of the Eighth Council); c. 37, pp. 318 seq.; c. 38, pp. 319 seq.; c. 44, pp. 324 seq.; c. 45, pp. 325 seq.; c. 62, pp. 349-51; c. 63, pp. 351 seq.


3. Commentaria. . . in Decretum (ed. de Bohier; Lugduni, 1519).


4. De Potestate Papae et Concilio Generali Tractatus Notabilis (ed. J. Friedrich; Oeniponti, 1871).


5. There is also a reference to the Eighth Council in his ‘Responsio in blasphemantem et sacrilegam invectivam congreg. Basileensium’ (Mansi, vol. xxxi, col. 95). About Turrecremata, see Schulte, loc. cit. vol. ii, pp. 322 seq. and S. Lederer, Der Spanische Kardinal Johann von Torquemada (Freiburg i. B. 1879).


6. De Concordantia Catholica, libri III, S. Schardius, Syntagma Tractatuum de Imp. Iuris diet., auct. et praeeminentia ac potest. Cath. (Argentorati, 1609), pp. 306, 30, 322, 325, 329-31, 333, 343, 377, 378.





Nicholas de Cusa frequently quotes passages from the Acts of the Eighth Council in support of his own thesis. He knows, however, no argument in favour of the oecumenicity of this Council other than the famous passage in Gratian’s Decretum. [1]


The right to summon councils is discussed, among other writers, by Petrus de Monte Brixiensis, but in the treatise he devoted to this subject,, written after 1447, [2] he never once mentioned the Eighth Council.


Now for a rapid survey of the other works, whose subject-matter holds promise of interesting discoveries.


For instance, Cardinal Alexandrinus (d. 1509) wrote a commentary on the Decretum, [3] and he is as disappointing as James de Paradiso [4] and John F. Poggio of Florence. [5] John Capistranus (d. 1456) reveals himself in his treatise on Pope and councils as a third-rate historian: his account of the transfer of the Empire from Greece to Rome is confused; he knows Gratian only for his authority and alludes to the councils in very general terms. [6] Nor does the Spanish bishop Andrew give evidence of any deep knowledge of the history of the councils in his Gubernaculum Conciliorum, written in Basle in 1435 and dedicated by the author to Cardinal Julian Cesarini. [7] He offers nothing of interest and refers to the Eighth Council in terms too vague to be useful.


Neither Peter d’Ailly’s work on the authority of Church and Cardinals, [8] nor the main juridico-religious writings of J. Gerson yielded any results. [9] And yet, the problems raised by the Eighth Council deeply interested the scholars of that period, as is shown by a letter



1. G. Kallen, ‘Cusanus-Texte II, Tractate 1: De Auctoritate Praesidendi in Concilio Generali’, in Sitzungsberichte der Akad. in Heidelberg, Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1935), pp. 10, 14, 22, 24, 26, 30.


2. Monarchia, sive Tractatus Conciliorum Generalium. I consulted the Lyons ed. 1512. In the Tractatus, vol. xiii, 1, pp. 144-54.


3. Commentarius super Decreto (Mediolani, 1494).


4. Jacobus de Paradiso, De Septem Statibus Ecclesiae (ed. E. G. Brown), Fasciculus Rerum Expetendarum et Fugiendarum (London, 1690), vol. ii, Appendix, pp. 102—12.


5. Johannis Francisci Poggii Florentini De Potestate Papae et Concilii Liber (J. Beplin: Rome, 1517 (?)).


6. Tractatus de Papae et Concilii S. Ecclesiae Auctoritate, Tractatus, loc. cit. (1584), xiii, i, pp. 32-66.


7. Ed. H. von der Hardt, Const. Concilii Acta et Decreta (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1699), vol. i, cols. 139-334.


8. Petri de Alliaco card. De Ecclesiae et Cardinalium Auctoritate, Joannis Gersonii Opera (Paris, 1606), vol. I, cols. 895-934.


9. De Potestate Ecclesiastica, De Auferibilitate Papae ab Ecclesia, De Modo se Habendi Tempore Schismatis, Tractatus de Schismate, De Unitate Ecclesiastica, De Concilio Unius Obedientiae, Trilogus in Materia Schismatis, ibid. vol. I, pp. 110-315.





addressed by Nicholas de Clémanges to a Paris professor, asking him for explanations on the first four councils. [1]


What has now become of the Council of Photius? Was its existence completely forgotten in the fifteenth century? The writers just mentioned say nothing about this, with the sole exception of Cardinal Jacobatius, titular of St Clement, [2] who after referring to the eight councils writes :


It should be noted [he quotes Gratian, c. vii, g. I, c. 45] .. .that a synod was held in Constantinople under Pope John VIII with 383 Fathers present and presided over by.... Of this I find no mention in his Life; only of the Council held in Troyes; which makes one seriously doubt, as he [John] succeeded Hadrian II who held the last Council of Constantinople. But it might be answered that this same eighth synod of Constantinople was begun in the time of Hadrian II and concluded under John VIII.



This is some explanation; but Jacobatius proceeds: ‘And some say that at this Council of John Photius was reinstated and that therefore it is recorded that whatever had been written or said against the saintly Patriarchs Ignatius and Photius be anathema.’


This is a curious afterthought on the Photian affair and, unfortunately, the only one, at least in canonical literature, though I should draw attention to the Latin MS. no. 12264 of the Paris National Library, which has a long study on the councils. It was copied at the request of Thomas Basin, bishop of Lisieux, later archbishop of Caesarea in Palestine, in 1459, as suggested by a remark on the last page of the volume. The MS. is on parchment, in a neat handwriting, and it contains a ‘Liber Sententiarum Beati Gregorii, auctore Taione, Leonis Aretini Liber de Sapientia5 (fol. 129a), ‘Liber de Sectis Hereticorum’ (fol. 158) and a study ‘de XXII Conciliis cum suis Expositionibus’ (fols. 172a-219).


After a list of the twenty-two synods mentioned by the Greek canonical books (fol. 172a), we read: ‘Hue usque Graecorum concilia. Constantinopolitanum tercium et Nicaenum secundum hic non ponitur. Quidam putant quartum fuisse Constantinopolitanum concilium.’ And this is all the treatise has to say about the Eighth Council, after which it deals with the local synods of Africa, Gaul and Spain. On fol. 174a the writer returns to the first seven councils and the chief local synods, insists, after the Historia Tripartita, on the authority of the first



1. H. von der Hardt, loc. cit. vol. i, p. 1, col. 53.


2. Loc. cit. p. 194 a.





Council of Nicaea and gives us a translation of a Greek treatise on the Councils :


There exists a treatise in Greek on the seven Greek General Councils, which I recently caused to be translated into Latin. In this treatise this is what is said about the Nicene Synod. From the treatise on the Seven Synods. Every Christian ought to know that there have been held seven general synods. The first was held in Nicaea under Constantine, who is now among the saints, the great King, and under Sylvester, the Pope of Rome, under Mitrophanes and Alexander, the Patriarch of Constantinople.... (‘ Exstat tractatus graecus editus de septem conciliis generalibus graecis, quem ego nuper in latinum transferri feci. In eo autem tractatu de nicena sinodo sic habetur. Ex tractatu septem sinodorum. Oportet scire omnem christianum quod septem et generales factae sunt synodi. Prima quidem facta est in Nicea sub Constantino, in sanctis, magno rege et Silvestro papa Romae et Mitrophane et Alexandro patriarcha Constantinopolis. . . . ’)



Evidently, the Greek original was a treatise akin to that published by Ch. Justellus, [1] with the addition of a summary of the Seventh Council.


After the translation of the summary of each council, the MS. gives a long explanation, of some importance in the history of dogma, of the dogmas defined by the various synods—a valuable document witnessing to the influence of Greek mentality on the Latin theologians of the fifteenth century. It should be noted that except for the short reference quoted above, the treatise has absolutely nothing to say about the Eighth Council.


Besides this important Latin treatise on councils, I have found two dissertations of the same class, probably belonging to the fifteenth or sixteenth century, in the Paris National Library. At least one of them is a translation from the Greek. The first MS., no. 2448 (sixteenth century, on paper, 103 folios), is of unusual interest. It contains a translation of the Greek essay on the councils which Photius included in his letter to Boris-Michael (fols. 1-16), followed by an ‘Epitome Celeberrimorum et Clarissimorum Conciliorum’ (fols. 17-48), which is a summary of the first four councils. On fols. 48-83 there is a memoir on the Councils of Constantinople, Basle and Ferrara, and lastly, on fols. 101-3: ‘Psellus de Septem Sacris Synodis. . .usque ad Michaelem Imperatorem Constantinopolitanum.’ It is known that Psellos wrote a short poem on the orthodox faith and on the seven councils that defined it. It is dedicated to the Emperor Michael Ducas. [2]



1. At the end of his book, Nomocanon Photii (Paris, 1615).


2. P.G. vol. 122, cols. 812 seq.





It has often been copied independently and I found it in the Paris. Graec. 1277 (thirteenth-century, bombycine, 309 folios), fol. 196.


The translator may have misunderstood the dedication, for even when the poem was made into a separate copy, the dedication to Michael Ducas used to be copied as well. The MS. I consulted also dedicates the poem to Michael, but a reader of the MS., who was a little more familiar with Byzantine history, thought that the poet meant the Emperor Michael III, as he noted in the margin, probably to correct the original: ‘Octava universalis synodus sub Basilio Macedone eiusque filio Leone Sapiente fuit peracta, teste Nicephoro Calisto in sua chronologica historia.’ We know that Nicephorus Callistus here meant the Photian Council of 879-80, [1] and the writer of the marginal note probably thought of the Council of 869-70, which at that time was mistaken in the West for the Eighth Oecumenical Council.


The same monograph by Psellus is also found in the Latin MS. 10. 589 (seventeenth-century, on paper, 243 fols.), fols. 208-12, where the copyist has also copied the reader’s note in MS. 2448: ‘Octava universalis sub Basilio Macedone eiusque filio libris [sic! instead of Leone] Sapientiae [sic! instead of Sapiente] fuit peracta teste Nicephoro Calisto in sua dialectica historia.’ On pp. 213-43 the copyist has also transcribed the Latin translation of the extract from Photius’ letter to Boris-Michael on the councils.


Among the historians, the little to be found is not without interest. The most popular textbook on ecclesiastical history at that period was the Lives of the Popes, written by B. Platina, where we read the edifying story of Pope Joan, [2] whose name is placed before that of Nicholas I; also the history of the Eighth Council under Hadrian II, but with the Photian Council left out, as Platina merged it with the Eighth Council, which he credits with a considerable number of attending prelates, borrowed in reality from the Council of Photius. About a second excommunication of Photius there is of course nothing.


But it is curious that H. Schedel (1440-1514), who in his Chronicle frequently plagiarized Platina, appears to have more knowledge. Of the Eighth Council he writes: [3] ‘Hadrian. . . also allowed a synod to meet in Constantinople at which the rebel Photius was dethroned, and



1. P.G. vol. 145, col. 620.


2. B. Platinae Historia de Vitis Pontificum Rom. a D.N.J. Christo usque ad Paulum II (Venice ed. 1511), pp. 94-8.


3. Hart. Schedel, Registrum hujus operis libri cronicarum cum figuris et ymaginibus de Initio Mundi (Nuremberg, 1493), Sexta aetas mundi, fo. clxx.





Ignatius, who had been unfairly dethroned, was reinstated.’ He then credits John VIII, whose reign is related in Platina’s terms, with the conversion of the Bulgars, but unlike Platina attributes to John VIII the Latin translation of the Acts of the Eighth Council. On the Photian Council we read : [1]


Fifth synod of Constantinople. John VIII, Roman Pontiff, sanctioned the fifth synod of Constantinople. He brought about the union of the Greeks with the Latins, which seemed the best way to defeat the Saracens. Over 380 delegates attended the Council. To gather what good work it did in defining articles of the Christian faith, read the canons. Since, as far as we know, no alliance between the Greeks and the Latins followed by which resistance could be offered to the Saracens. . . .



This version of the Photian Council suggests that the writer had some vague knowledge of a reconciliation between the Pope and the Greeks for no other purpose than a combined struggle against the Saracens. The truth, however, is that John VIII was apprehensive about the Arab menace and that there was at the back of his kindly treatment of Photius a desire to secure Basil’s naval assistance in protecting southern and central Italy against the raids of the Arab pirates.


Whilst all these fifteenth-century documents belong to a purely Latin environment, in which a faint influence of Greek tradition is scarcely discernible, there occurred at this time an event which forced Greek and Latin traditions to come to grips on the very point we are dealing with: that was the Council of Florence.


At its fifth session, use was made of the Acts of the first councils [2] to elucidate the true doctrine of the Filioque, and at the opening of the sixth session, Cardinal Julian Cesarini again begged the Greeks to lend him the book containing the Acts of the Eighth Council. To this the metropolitan of Ephesus replied :


As regards this book, we find it difficult to lend it to you; but even were it in our possession, we could on no account be asked to number among the oecumenical councils a synod which not only was never approved, but was even condemned. For the synod mentioned by Your Holiness drew up Acts against Photius in the days of Popes John and Hadrian, but another synod was subsequently held which reinstated Photius and abrogated the first synod.



1. Ibid. fol. clxxi. On H. Schedel see R. Stauber and O. Hartig, ‘Die Schedelsche Bibliothek’ (Studien u. Darstellungen aus dem Gebiete der Geschichte, Bd vi, H. 2, 3; Freiburg i. B. 1908).


2. Mansi, vol. xxxi, cols. 528-51.





This Council, also called the Eighth, met under Pope John and we even possess letters addressed by the same Pope John to Photius. It also dealt with the question of additions [additamentum] to the Symbol, deciding that nothing should be added. We are convinced that you are not ignorant either of this Council or of Pope John’s letters. Since then the Acts of that Council were annulled, it is not these, but rather the Acts of the subsequent Council, that should be looked for. Since that time to this day the great Church of Constantinople has held that whatever was said and written against the saintly Patriarchs Photius and Ignatius be anathema.



The poor Cardinal must have been staggered by this Greek impromptu, which suddenly raised a new difficulty that might wreck all the efforts made towards an understanding with the Greeks; but he quickly rallied, made up his mind and, beating a hasty retreat, said: ‘I will relieve your anxiety. Never fear; nothing will be read from the Eighth Council. . . .’ [1]


But this did not close the incident. Five days later (25 October), in the course of the seventh session, the archbishop of Rhodes, spokesman for the Latins, returned to the attack. He too had obviously been shocked by what the Greek had said, for though he rose to speak immediately after the Cardinal at the sixth session, he said nothing at that moment about the objection so forcibly presented by the Metropolitan of Ephesus. But he must have made some researches in the meanwhile with the following result: [2]


As at the last session you mentioned the Eighth Council, we shall say a few words about the objections you made on that subject. As to the first point, we maintain that Photius, who was an enemy of the Roman Church and wrote many unfriendly things about Nicholas and Hadrian, yet never accused them of having made additions to the Symbol, though it was the very thing he should have done. . . . Also, in the course of the Eighth Council, they passed sentence on Photius and in favour of Ignatius.... As to what you recently affirmed, namely, that a synod was summoned later and condemned the Eighth Council, I say that this seems very unlikely. It will not do to come forward with any doubtful argument to prove the contrary, [i.e.J that the synod did pass such a condemnation, for neither the Pope nor his representative were present. If things happened as you say, some remembrance of it would have survived among the Latins ; for it would be surprising that the Roman Church, which in other matters displays such accuracy and care in the recording of past events, should have overlooked an occurrence of such gravity and importance. . . therefore, the council you mentioned never took place; and if it did take place, it never mentioned it [the Filioque]. . . .



1. Mansi, vol. xxxi, cols. 551, 553.


2. Ibid. cols. 596, 597.





This shows that the archbishop of Rhodes anticipated in 1438 the famous Allatius, who also tried to argue that the Photian Council never took place. Yet the Fathers of Florence refused to make of this controversy about the Eighth Council a ‘matter to haggle about’; despite contradictory premisses, the question was left open; the Greeks continued to reckon only seven councils [1] and in the drafting of the Council’s definition every reference to the Eighth Council was scrupulously omitted, [2] none but dogmatic issues, which so far had kept the two Churches apart, being mentioned, particularly the Filioque, the primacy and Purgatory. Even the proposals for reunion with the Armenians referred to the number of councils in purely general terms. [3]


On the whole, then, it may be said that the fifteenth century had not wholly forgotten the Photian Council and that the writers who happen to touch on the subject invariably betray a feeling of embarrassment.



This brings us to the sixteenth century, a period full of feverish activity in every theological domain, when humanism invaded all centres of religious studies that had been the strongholds of the scholastic method and the progress of modern philology made itself felt even in the field of theology. Gradually, the writings of the Greek Fathers come into prominence; minds grow more critical, more keenly interested in the purity and the origin of their sources; Christian antiquities provoke a curiosity that is further roused by the lively discussions between Catholic theologians and rising Protestantism. In 1523 James Merlin publishes his book on the councils in Paris, and in 1538 Crabbe in Cologne leads us to expect a new stage in the growth of Western tradition on the Photian incident.


The discussions around the Council of Florence and the problem of the Eighth Council continued unabated and caused some excitement among specialists of this and the following period, the impulse being given by the Latin translation of the Acts of the Florentine Synod. Though the Council had its official Latin and Greek scribes or secretaries, charged to take down the Acts of the Council, the Latin Acts were lost and only a Greek version was preserved. At the invitation of the archbishop of Ravenna, the Greek bishop Bartholomew Abraham of Crete then translated the Greek Acts in an abridged form, as he explained in a preface addressed to the archbishop. [4]



1. Cf. session xxv, ibid. col. 893 and Emperor’s declaration.            2. Ibid. cols. 1026-34.            3. ibid. col. 1054.


4. Reprinted in Mansi, vol. xxxi, cols. 1796 seq.





But in this preface the Greek calls the Council of Florence the Eighth Oecumenical Council, incidentally showing that the Greek Uniates continued, as before, to number only seven councils. The confusion which this categorical attitude created among the Latins is apparent from the fact that when Abraham of Crete asked Pope Clement VII (1523-34) for permission to proceed with the publication of his work, the Papal Chancellery approved also the designation [1] of Eighth Oecumenical Council conferred by the translator on the Council of Florence.


When in 1567 Laurence Surius published in Cologne his edition in four volumes of the Councils (Concilia Omnia tam Generalia quam Particularia), he left the designation of Eighth Council given to the Florentine Synod and contented himself with the brief remark:


Learned men are puzzled by what possessed the Greeks [quid Graecis in mentem venerit] to call this Florentine synod the Eighth Council. We could have suppressed the figure, but to avoid a charge of rashness [ne id temeritati tribueretur] we have preferred to leave it and considered it enough to warn the reader that this synod is not rightly called the eighth, as some important General Councils followed the second of Nicaea, which is called the seventh. [2]



Another editor of the Councils, S. Bini (Concilia Generalia et Provincialia, 5 vols., Cologne, Ist ed. in 1606), considered such discretion to be completely out of place. This is his commentary on the subject:


Though Laurentius Surius refused, for fear of I do not know what rashness, to suppress and discard in his short preface addressed to the reader, as quoted below, the spurious title of Eighth Council which Bartholomew Abraham of Crete prefaces to the Acts of the Council, I, urged by the encouragement of some men whom I quoted previously in my notes of the Eighth Council, have come to the conclusion that the designation ‘Sixteenth’ [Council] should be substituted for ‘Eighth’, not only in the title but in the Acts of the Council themselves. [3]


Naturally, Bini’s correction became law for all editors of the Acts and when I. Simond published his edition of the Conciliar Acts (Concilia Generalia, 4 vols., Rome, 1608-12), called Collectio Romana and published by order of Pope Paul V, the 'error’ committed by the



1. Cf. the interesting remarks by Pagi in his commentary on Baronius’ Annals, ann. 809, c. lix, ed. of Lucca, 1744, vol. xv, p. 180. Pagi copies the commentary of Alexandre Noël (Alexander Natalis) on the subject.


2. Reprinted by Mansi, vol. xxxi, col. 1798.


3. Ibid. col. 1796. Cf. also the remark in Janus (J. Döllinger), The Pope and the Council (London, 1869), p. 324.





translator and first editor of the Florentine Conciliar Acts was duly corrected and the designation of Eighth Council given to the Ignatian Council of 869-70. This closed the incident and the other editors of the Conciliar Acts—Ph. Labbe and G. Cossart (Paris, 1671-2), I. Hardouin (Paris, 1715), Coletti (Venice, 1728-33), D. Mansi (Florence, Venice, 1759-98)—had but to follow in the wake of the Western tradition set once for all by the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and by the Council of Constance.


An interesting echo of the incident is found in Alexandre Noël’s (Alexander Natalis) Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris et Novi Testamenti, published for the first time in Paris, 1660. This learned historian considered it necessary to devote a special paragraph to the problem of the Ignatian Council’s oecumenicity. The erudite Dominican was well acquainted with all the documents related to the problem and accessible in his days, but he was very hard on Bartholomew Abraham of Crete. The passage is worth reproducing as it stands: [1]


Abraham of Crete, interpreter and first editor of the Florentine Council, gave it the title of Eighth Council, the same being accorded to it in the Privilegium Editionis or permission to publish, which Clement VII Medici granted, as John Launoi states in the 8th Part of his Letters, i.e. in the letter addressed to Claudius Amelius. But the Cretans were always liars: nor is Abraham truthful in this or commendable, since neither the Acts and Decrees of the Florentine Synod nor the Diplomata of Pope Eugene IV ever gave it the name of Eighth Council. The permission to publish granted by the Pontiff, whose name is given, was non-committal, the title as supplied by the editor being simply copied by the person who granted permission to publish. Furthermore, that in this matter the Sovereign Pontiff was taken off his guard may be inferred not only from the old profession of faith which recently elected Pontiffs used to make in the ninth century, but also from the profession of faith which the General Council of Constance in its 39th session laid down for Pontiffs to be elected in the future. . . . Clement VII would certainly have observed this tradition, if he had seriously considered the privilege he gave to the edition of the Florentine Council published by Abraham of Crete. But it was obtained by surprise, and in the Roman edition of the Council published under Paul V the designation was withdrawn.



1. Vol. vi, Saeculum ix-x, pars 11, Dissertatio 11, par. 24 (ed. of 1660), p. 267. The tradition started by Abraham of Crete was followed by Cardinal Pole in his Reformatio Angliae, where the Council of Florence is put down as the eighth oecumenical (ed. Rome, 1562, fol. 184) and by Cardinal Contarini in his treatise on the most celebrated councils, which he dedicated to Paul III in 1553 (published in 1562, Opera Omnia (Paris, 1571), p. 563). Cf. A. H. Rees, The Catholic Church and Corporate Union (London, 1940), p. 19.





On turning to the canonists of the period, we shall find them less interesting. Jacobus Almainus, for instance [1] (d. 1515), in his reply to Thomas Caietanus de Vio, brings out the old arguments dear to the partisans of the conciliar notion and allots the councils a very limited, though more generous, space than his antagonist. [2] Silvester de Prierio (d. 1523) does not seem to know more about our subject than Gratian [3] and Thomas Stapleton [4] (d. 1598) has not yet shaken himself free from scholastic dialectics.


Thomas Campegius Bononiensis (d. 1564) is more interesting, as his knowledge of the Acts of the Eighth Council is more extensive, though he gets no further than Torquemada. [5] Much the same may be said of Laelius Jordanus (d. 1583). [6] Cardinal Stanislas Hosius makes only a slight reference to the Eighth Council [7] and Joannes Hieronymus Albani is not more explicit. [8] But F. Bartholomew Carranza Mirandevius, in his Summa Conciliorum et Pontificum a Petro usque ad Paulum Tertium, gives a minute account of the Eighth Council and all its sessions; [9] before summarizing its canons, however, he complains that the manuscript he is using is in a very bad state of preservation and regrets that he has looked in vain for a Greek MS. to collate with the Latin. We of course know the reason why he did not find his Greek MS., but his summary of the Eighth Council was destined to be a favourite with subsequent writers. It naturally makes no reference to the Photian Council.



1. De Auctoritate Ecclesiae et Concilii contra Thomam de Vio, Gersonis Opera (Paris, 1606), 1, cols. 707-49.


2. De Auctoritate Papae et Concilii, Bibliotheca (Romae, 1699), vol. xix, pp. 445 seq. Idem, De Divina Institutione Pontificatus Romani Pontif. (1521), Corpus Catholicorum (Münster i. W. 1925), vol. x, ed. F. Lauchert.


3. De Irrefragabili Veritate Rom. Eccl., Bibliotheca (Romae, 1699), vol. xix, pp. 265, 269, 272.


4. De Conciliis, ibid. vol. xx, pp. 107-23.


5. De Auctoritate et Potestate Romani Pont. (Venice, 1555), pp. 36a, 43, 55, 81a, 88, 110a, 115. In his Tractatus de Auctoritate Conciliorum (Tractatus, loc. cit. vol. XIII, i, pp. 3980-474) Thomas Campegius often refers also to the Eighth Council (dis. ui, ix, x, xxiii, xxxv, pp. 401, 404a, 405, 410a, 412). In ch. x (p. 405) he alludes to the Photian Council, but the passage, quoted after Gratian, is confused and presents a good illustration of the embarrassment felt by the canonists at Gratian treating the Photian Council as a genuine and authentic synod.


6. De Romanae Sedis Origine et Auctoritate, Tractatus, vol. xiii, p. 1 (Venice, 1584), a long account on Photius, pp. 6 seq.


7. De Loco et Auctoritate Rom. Pont. in Eccl., Bibliotheca (Romae, 1699), vol. xix, pp. 385 seq., and chiefly p. 415.


8. De Potestate Papae, Tractatus, vol. xiii, 1, pp. 79 seq.


9. (Salmanticae, 1549), pp. 537—53. Cf. also idem, Quatuor Controversiarum de Auctoritate Pontificis et Conciliorum Explicatio, published in Ad Sacros. Concilia a Ph. Labbeo et G. Cossartio edita apparatus alter (Paris, 1672), pp. ci seq.





Far more interesting is Antonio Agustin (1517-86), [1] archbishop of Tarragona, the greatest canonist of his day and one who undoubtedly deserves a place of honour in the history of canon law. On several occasions he dealt with the Eighth Council and that of Photius: first, in his corrected edition of Gratian’s Decretum, on which he began working in 1543 and whose first edition appeared in Tarragona in 1557. He several times refers there to the Photian Council and some of his observations are worth noting. After commenting on the famous D. XVI, c. 8 (on the eight oecumenical councils) Agustin goes on to discuss [2] ‘de duplici octava synodo’ and states that whereas some antiLatin Greeks called the Photian Council the eighth, others numbered neither the Ignatian nor the Photian Council among the oecumenicals, but made the Council of Florence the Eighth. When asked by his interlocutor—the work is written in the form of a dialogue—which council should be listed as oecumenical, he replies:


In a Greek book that once was brought to me from Italy I find many things that the Roman Pontiffs did against Photius after these two Eighth Councils, and they easily convince me that John did not approve the synod held in Constantinople by his legates. B: But John states that the first synod was not approved by Hadrian. A : And what if this is untrue and was invented by Photius, who was convicted by the synod of forging signatures and reports on the Patriarchs? Add to this that if we repudiate the whole synod of Hadrian, we shall seem to approve whatever Photius did against Pope Nicholas and the Patriarch Ignatius. There is more consistency and likelihood in what previous Popes such as Nicholas and Hadrian, Leo IV and Benedict III did and wrote against Photius and Gregory of Syracuse, the bishop who consecrated Photius; and the acts and writings were approved by John VIII, Marinus, Hadrian III and Stephen VI, as I found recorded in Greek in the very words used by those Pontiffs. To this, add again the letters of John IX to Stylianos of Neocaesarea, who wrote many things against Photius to Pope Stephen VI, though afterwards he apparently changed his mind in other letters addressed to the same John. In the letters he wrote to Stephen he stated that bishops Paul and Eugene, who were sent by John to Ignatius, had been deceived. . . .



The above passage amply demonstrates that the great canonist had found in the Vatican Library the anti-Photian Collection, which convinced him that the Ignatian Council was ‘the genuine Eighth Council’, [2]



1. Schulte, loc. cit. vol. hi, pp. 723 seq.


2. De Emendatione Gratiani Dialogus, Ant. Agustini Opera Omnia (Lucae, 1767), vol. iii, pp. 122 seq.





that the Photian Council had not been confirmed by John VIII and that all the excommunications of Photius attributed by the writer of the Collection to the various Popes were genuine and authentic.


Agustin often quotes the Acts of the Photian Council, a copy of which, he states somewhere, [1] was found in the Vatican Library. In other writings of his, particularly in his book on ancient pontifical law, [2] he frequently designates the Photian Council as ‘ synodus nona’, [3] though he points out in one place that ‘this synod was condemned by the Roman Pontiff’; and lastly, he mentions in his excellent handbook on the synods the Eighth Council as well as other councils held in connection with the Ignatian and Photian case. [4]


It is only fair to state that the famous canonist never gives his opinion on Photius in very categorical terms and it is hard to resist the impression of considerable hesitation on his part in passing an adverse judgement on the Photian Council; but in the end he did give an unfavourable verdict, completely misled as he was by the anti-Photianist Collection. It is interesting to note that whenever a Western scholar came upon this document, he went through the same process.



The Lateran Council (1514), although its Acts refer to older councils more frequently than did the Acts of councils immediately preceding, provides nothing new about the Eighth Council. [5] But in the Acts of the Council of Trent we find a well-known retrospective survey of our subject in the speech of Paul Quidellus, [6] though he does not seem to be very familiar with the history of that period. Another disappointment comes from the Bull of Pius IV ‘ super forma juramenti professionis fidei’, [7] which gives no definite decision about the number of councils.


However, everything is changed when we turn to ecclesiastical history. This period must, of course, be regarded as the starting-point



1. Loc. cit. p. 129.


2. Juris Pontificii Veteris Epitome, Opera Omnia (Lucae, 1770), vol. V. It is a posthumous work, and Baronius consulted the MS. in the Vatican Library to borrow from it the Popes’ profession of faith.


3. Loc. cit., pars 1, lib. i, tit. xx, c. x, p. 63; lib. 11, tit. ii, c. ix, p. 72; lib. 1ii tit. XXIII, cc. π, in, p. 89; lib. iv, tit. vi, c. 1, p. no; lib. iv, tit. lxxxvii, c. iv, p. 197; lib. V, tit. x, cc. vii, XVIII, pp. 209, 210; lib. v, tit. xxvi, c. liv, p. 212 (Popes’ profession of faith); lib. v, tit. xliii, p. 255 (‘de synodis damnatis’); lib. vi, tit. vii, c. I, p. 268; lib. ix, tit. XXX, c. 1, p. 386; lib. xi, tit. xx, c. xix, p. 469; lib. xii, tit. xxiv, c. i, p. 524; vol. vi, pars 11, lib. xiv, tit. xxvi, c. 1, p. 287.


4. De Synodis et Pseudosynodis, Opera Omnia, loc. cit. vol. V, pp. xxix, lxxix, lxxx.


5. Mansi, vol. xxxii, cols. 891, 967, 968.


6. Mansi, vol. xxxiii, col. 516. 7 Ibid. cols. 220-2.





for modern ecclesiastical historiography, of which the Centuriae Magdeburgenses and Cardinal Baronius’ Annals are notable examples.


Flacius, with his collaborators, began publishing the Centuriae in 1559 and the whole work (thirteen volumes folio), for all its shortcomings an epoch-making achievement, was completed in 1574. Leaving on one side all other problems raised by the Centuriae, we have only to examine how the first Protestant historians presented the Photian case.


It should be borne in mind that this was the first time since the ninth century that the Photian case was studied in Western literature in all its bearings. No longer content with copying their predecessors’ opinions, the writers of the Centuriae went to the original sources, as far as they were accessible, and with regard to the Photian incident, these sources were first the Liber Pontificalis (Life of Nicholas and Hadrian II), the letters of Nicholas and the history of Zonaras. The writers do not quote the Acts of the Eighth Council among their primary sources, but apparently rely on the work of B. Carranza; but among the historians, they quote Martin of Opava, the Flores Temporum, John de Oppido, Platina, Schedelius, sources that help us to forecast what view they will take of the Photian case.


The origin of the quarrel between Ignatius and the Government is attributed to Bardas, who had repudiated his wife, lived in incestuous concubinage with his daughter-in-law and deposed Ignatius for criticizing his immoral life. Thereupon, the legates of the Roman Pope summoned a council in Constantinople—the Council of 861—which ruthlessly (!) condemned the iconoclasts. Bardas was punished by Basil for the murder of Theoktistos and for persecuting the just, i.e. the iconoclasts, and the same punishment overtook Michael, for restoring the impious worship of images. [1]


The chapter on the government of the Church, [2] following the Liber Pontificalis, refers to Photius’ outbreak against Nicholas’ misdeeds, the convocation of his Council (867) and the reluctance of the bishops attending the Council of 869 to sign the Libellus. Strange to say, in trying to explain the origin of the schism under Michael III in chapter VIII [3] the authors father the divorce and the incest with a daughter-inlaw on Michael and state in two different places [4] that Photius forbade Basil, after he committed his murder, entry into the church.



1. M. Flacius, Nona Centuria Historiae Ecclesiasticae (Basileae, 1565), cap. iii, De Persecutione et Tranquil, eccl. col. 25.


2. Ch. vii, cols. 340 seq.        3. Col. 353.        4. Cols. 353, 425, 426.





The councils of the ninth century are reported in the chapter ‘ De synodis’ [1] and the Photian synod is placed first on the list, contrary to chronological order:


Tempore Ioannis VIII, Constantinopoli synodus habita est ad quam 383 episcopi convenerunt. Romani pontificis vicem ibi sustinuerunt Petrus presbiter cardinalis, Paulus Antiochenus episcopus et Eugenius Hostiensis. Actum est de coniunctione ecclesiarum Orientis et Occidentis, quo animis et viribus associati, ad Saracenorum impetus sustinendos et propulsandos paratiores essent.



They then mention the two synods of Photius of 859 and 861, and the Roman synod of Nicholas I which condemned Zachary, Radoald and Photius. Photius, it is stated, then wrote a book against the Pope’s tyranny and had it signed by a number of bishops as though it were a conciliar decree; a synod of Constantinople, summoned by Basil, deposed Photius, when the Roman synod of Hadrian II decided to summon a new council. There follows a description of the Eighth Oecumenical Council with an analysis of its various sessions.


The Centuriae writers evidently lacked accurate information on the Photian Council, whose Acts they naturally did not know, and they had at their disposal only those sources which were derogatory to Photius; yet, in spite of this handicap, the history of Photius began to improve in clarity and order under their treatment, and had they but known the Acts of the Photian synod, might have carried conviction.



The Annals of Cardinal Baronius (1588-1601), which were meant to provide the Catholic answer to the Centuriae, are no doubt a remarkable work, superior in many respects to that of Flacius and his associates. As Baronius’ sources were far more numerous and the Cardinal made the best of the treasures of the Vatican Library, his documentation on the Photian incident and the Eighth Council is strikingly rich—a deci ded advance on the Centuriae. Over and above the sources at the disp osai of the Magdeburg writers, Baronius consulted the history of J ohn Curopalates, Cedrenus,and Glycas and had access not only to the letters of Nicholas, the Liber Pontificalis and the Acts of the Eighth Council, but also to Photius’ letters; he even discovered the ‘Greek equivalent’ of these sources, the anti-Photian Collection, with its biography of Ignatius by Nicetas, the Greek summary of the Acts and the appended documents; he also found the Greek Acts of the Photian Council, which



1. Ch. ix, cols. 413 seq.





for the first time since the eleventh century were turned to profit by a Western writer.


Of these sources, the most important find was of course the antiPhotianist Collection, in which, without a suspicion of its true character, Baronius and his followers saw a number of valuable and independent sources, chiefly the so-called biography of St Ignatius, considered to be of special value, since it confirmed and even went beyond anything the Eighth Council had said against Photius. Till then, Hugh Etherianus, Leo Tuscus and Antonio Agustin had been the only Western writers to know of the existence of this notorious Collection and we know what an impression it made on them : but it staggered Baronius.


In his account of Photius, Baronius exclusively follows Nicetas and the data of the Collection as completed by Anastasius’ story, long extracts from Nicetas’ pamphlet adorning the narrative and giving it a picturesque touch. Here are some of Baronius’ reflections on Photius’ misdeeds: after telling the story, according to Nicetas, of Photius’ accession to the throne and of his persecution of Ignatius, the good Cardinal exclaims: [1]


You have heard what butchery this eunuch was preparing for the destruction of the Church, making his persecution stand comparison with any of those that schismatics, heretics, or even pagans ever raised against the Church.... In my opinion, no persecutor worse than Photius so effectively struck down the Eastern Church, since besides those cruelties he moved heaven and earth to tear her away from communion with the Church of Rome, with disastrous results that have afflicted the unhappy Orientals with ever-increasing gravity to this day.



He also follows Nicetas in describing the Photian synod and the legates’ despatch to Rome, quotes Photius’ letter to Nicholas and the Pope’s letter to Michael III, then lets Nicetas tell the events of 861 in Constantinople. Theognostos’ letter is also exhibited for the first time and Nicholas’ letters, long extracts from which are cited to illustrate the events of the year 863, announce the final and harsh verdict against the legates and Photius. Even Photius’ letters to Bardas are published and the responsibility for the offensive letter of Michael (ad ann. 865) is naturally put on Photius. There follows, also for the first time, a detailed account of the Bulgarian issue based on original sources and of the sensation created in the West by the Photian affair and Nicholas’



1. Annales Ecclesiastici, auctore Caesare Baronio Sorano. . . una cum critica historicochronologica P. Antonii Pagii (Lucae, 1743), vol. xiv, ad ann. 858, capp. 49-54, pp. 492-6.





alarmist letters. Photius is of course the author of the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father only: ’The unhappy Photius was the first (let this sculptured pillar of ignominy serve him in lieu of glory), he was the first, I say, to use this pretext to sever connection and cut himself adrift from the Roman Church. . . .’ Proceeding with the story of Photius, Baronius also produces reports from Greek historians : 'but the best of all is Nicetas who recorded the doings of Ignatius; as a contemporary he wrote what he had seen with his own eyes and explained how it was divulged, so that events of such importance should have the support of every possible proof and witness.’


Baronius vigorously attacks Zonaras who alleged that Photius, after the murder of Michael, [1] refused to let Basil into the church:


Such is the report by Zonaras, a schismatic and the supporter of a schismatic, out to trump up a new and unheard-of reason for Photius’ expulsion. But there is no proof for his assertion that Photius was expelled for upbraiding the Emperor for the murder; rather was he dethroned because he had been condemned three times by Pope Nicholas. This is attested by the pontifical letters, by the Acts of the Eighth Council, by Nicetas and lastly by all the other ancient Greek historians, leaving no room for any possible doubt. Zonaras lived long after the events, and being himself a schismatic he favoured Photius, the promoter of a schism, praising him and concealing his crimes, patent though they were to the whole world....



Notwithstanding his crime, Basil is according to him 'God’s chosen instrument. . . having been called by Him to exalt the humble and put down the proud’. Photius is nothing but a eunuch swollen with pride and temerity, [2] which Baronius proves by quoting the alleged letter of the Patricius John to Photius; the Acts of the Eighth Council are naturally emphasized, and the oecumenicity of the Council is established by the famous profession of faith published by Antonius Augustinus, [3] after which Baronius viciously turns on those who would refuse to range this council among the oecumenicals. Mark of Ephesus, who at the Council of Florence had denied its oecumenicity, is severely taken to task, while Cardinal Julian is roundly scolded for failing to correct 'the lie of that Greek slanderer’, but Andrew of Rhodes is 'vir doctissimus aeque ac maxime pius. . . qui omnino negavit per Ioannem VIII abolitam esse octavam synodum oecumenicam. . . ’. [4]



1. Ann. 867, c. 101, pp. no, 118 (loc. cit. vol. xv).

2. Loc. cit. ann. 868, n. 46, p. 153.

3. Loc. cit. ann. 869, n. 59, p. 180.

4. Loc. cit. ann. 869, nn. 51-63, pp. 180-3.





All that followed the Council of 870 is told in the light of the documents of the anti-Photian Collection, so that Baronius was the first to introduce into history the garbling by Photius [1] of the Acts of the Council of 879-80, Marinus’ second legation, and the second excommunication of Photius by John VIII. [2] Marinus was elected Pope, Baronius alleges, because he was Photius’ bitter enemy; [3] all the condemnations of Photius catalogued by the Breviarium are maintained and the story of Stylianos is told in the version best known. [4]


At last we have now discovered, after long search, who was responsible for the final shaping of the Photian Legend: no other than Baronius. And yet, we need not be too hard on the Cardinal, for it will be remembered that he had some forerunners. Since the Eighth Council had been, thanks mainly to the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, replaced in the West among the oecumenical councils and gained popularity, the ground was ready for the Photian Legend to arise at any time, and as the medieval climate favoured this kind of growth, it gradually began to take root and to break to the surface. At a time when the power and weight of the Papacy were steadily rising, a man known to have once withstood the Pope could expect little sympathy; for the Council by which his condemnation had been made absolute was regarded as oecumenical and its canons had rendered signal service to the Western Church. Moreover, Baronius must have felt more strongly about it than his forerunners, since it was his duty to defend the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff against the scornful attacks of the Protestants. His critical sense was crushed under the avalanche of hitherto unknown documents, the bulk of which seemed to authenticate the severe condemnations of the Eighth Council. Only the Acts of the Photian Council had a good word to say for Photius, but these were discredited by the discrepant version of the pontifical letters which they reproduced.


Thus the seed sown by the eleventh century in the fertile soil steadily irrigated by the canonists flourished only too well: after five centuries the plant reached maturity and bore fruit under Baronius.



The verdict of Baronius, apparently based on a formidable array of documents, must have made a deep impression on his contemporaries.



1. Loc. cit. ann. 879, nn. 53, 61-72, pp. 356-60.

2. Loc. cit. ann. 880, nn. 10-13, pp. 366.

3. Loc. cit. ann. 882, n. 10, p. 384.

4. Loc. cit. ann. 886, nn. 5 seq., pp. 451 seq.; ann. 905, nn. 9-12, pp. 339-541.





He made, of course, many mistakes, some of them glaring, as was inevitable at a time when historical criticism was still in its infancy, and many of his errors have been corrected; but with regard to Photius’ history, his opinion has held the field in the Catholic world to this day. Baronius’ most important editor, A. Pagi, not only substantiated what the Cardinal had written about Photius, but on several occasions improved upon his account of the whole incident. Having access to a larger documentation, and being able to draw on the famous Ignatian Synodicon, the books of Leo the Grammarian, Simeon the Logothete, George the Monk, the Porphyrogennetos and a certain number of Greek canonists, and to complete the quotations from the sources which Baronius had used, it is small wonder that Pagi gave the Photian Legend a new lease of life. [1]


When in 1604 the Jesuit M. Raderus published the anti-Photian Collection with the Greek Acts of the Ignatian Council, it was natural that on the authority of Baronius he should adopt the opinion of the entire Middle Age and regard the Council as one of the most important and those documents as reliable; but when the Acts of the Photian Council were published by Hardouin, it was described as ‘pseudosynodus’ and this designation has survived in Catholic circles to our own day. The treatise by F. Richerius [2] on the councils was of course written entirely under the influence of Baronius, the learned author going even so far as to copy in the introduction to his work the Popes’ notorious profession of faith as Baronius had it.


Henceforth, the story of Photius and of the Eighth Council is treated even in canonical writings after Baronius’ pattern. Dominic of the Blessed Trinity (d. 1687), for instance, in his treatise on the Papacy, repeatedly argues from the Eighth Council and the Photian case, quoting the Cardinal’s work; [3] and the same is true of Eugene the Lombard (d. 1684). [4] Laurentius Bracatus de Laurea speaks of the suppression not only of the Acts of the 'synodus prima et secunda’, but also of the



1. For instance, he adds (loc. cit. ann. 857, vol. xiv, p. 473) that Photius had taught the doctrine of the two souls, completes the account of Ignatius’ deposition (ibid. ann. 859, p. 491), the Cardinal’s attack on Zonaras (ibid. ann. 868, vol. xv, p. 116) and his criticism of Mark of Ephesus (ibid. ann. 869, p. 180).


2. Historia Conciliorum Generalium (Coloniae, 1683), ch. xii, pp. 666—752, ‘History of the Eighth Council’.


3. Dominicus a Ssa Trinitate, De Summo Pontifice, de Sacris Conciliis, in Bibliotheca, vol. X, pp. 364-77, 512-34, 575.


4. Eugenius Lombardus, Regale Sacerdotium, Bibliotheca, vol. xi, pp. 409—13, 420, 457, 481.





Photian Council of 879-80. [1] Don Rodrigo da Cunha, archbishop of Lisbon (d. 1643), comments on various passages in Gratian’s Decretum bearing on the Eighth Council, but confuses the Photian Council with the Eighth. [2]


The same notions also filter into various histories of ecclesiastical literature, like those of L. Ellies du Pin, [3] Robert Bellarmine, [4] Phil. Labbe, [5] and Trithemius as enlarged by Miraeus. [6]


From all these authors one important passage concerning the Eighth and the Photian Councils should be quoted: it is written by Cardinal Bellarmine in his book De Conciliis et Ecclesia, which has been used as a classical handbook of the Catholic doctrine on councils Until the modern period. In the first book [7] the Cardinal writes:


The eighth synod is the fourth of Constantinople, held under the pontificate of Hadrian II and under the Emperor Basil, in the third year of his reign. The first session, as it was understood in the synod itself, was held in a.d. 870. It was attended by 383 bishops, one of whom was Photius and the other Ignatius of Constantinople, the others being represented by their delegates.


It should be noted here that three synods were held in Constantinople on the Photian case. One met at the time of Pope Nicholas I and the Emperor Michael, when Ignatius was deposed and Photius was consecrated. It is recorded by Zonaras in his Life of Michael and, as is evident from the letters of Nicholas I and Alexander II, the profane character of this synod is beyond all doubt.


The second synod is the one we have called the Eighth Council, which is recorded, however imperfectly, in books on the councils—when Photius was deposed and Ignatius was reinstated. This synod is mentioned by Zonaras in his Life of the Emperor Basil.


The third is the one which was held in the reign of the same Basil by the successor of Hadrian, John VIII, represented by his legates, when again,



1. Laurentius Bracatus de Laurea, De Decretis Ecclesiae, Bibliotheca (1698), vol. xv, pp. 20, 40.


2. Commentarii in Primam Partem Decreti Gratiani (Bracharae Augustae, 1629), pp. 112-14, 141, 154 seq·, 847. Cf. also the Protestant jurist Gerhard von Mastricht, Historia Iuris Ecclesiastici et Pontificii (Halae, 1705), pars. 238, 239, 405 (‘octo concilia’), who naturally is more discreet, though influenced by Baronius and Bellarmine.


3. Nouvelle Bibliothèque des Auteurs Ecclésiastiques (Paris, 1698), vol. iii, ch. ix, pp. 80—103, 109-12.


4. Rob. Card. Bellarmino, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis (Coloniae, 1684), p. 156.


5. Dissertationes Philosophicae de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis quos attigit Em. S. R. E. Card. Bellarminus (Parisiis, 1660), vol. II, pp. 221-4.


6. Trithemius, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis (ed. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica, Hamburg, 1718), Auberti Miraei Auctarium, pp. 46, 47.


7. Ch. V, Opera omnia (Coloniae Agrippinae, 1619), torn. 11, pp. 8, 9.





after Ignatius’ death, Photius was reinstated and, if the statement of the Greeks at the 6th session of the Council of Florence and the record of Francis Turrianus in his book on Acts 6, 7 and 8 of that Synod are true, all the Acts of the preceding Council under Hadrian were rescinded and it was even decreed that that word [Filioque] was to be taken out of the Symbol, which is altogether unlikely.


Hence I am very much inclined to think either that whatever is said about John VIII is pure fabrication, as St Antoninus teaches in his historical Summa, p. 3, title 22, ch. 13, para. 10; or that it is certain that Photius was reinstated on the throne of Constantinople after Ignatius’ death by John VIII through his legates; or that the whole story is uncertain, untrue, fictitious and was invented by the Greeks, as Turrianus shows on the authority of Manuel Callecas in the book quoted above. What confirms me in my opinion is that Zonaras did record Photius’ reinstatement, but had not a word to say about the abrogation of the Eighth Council and the removal of the word [Eilioque] from the Symbol; and also, that at the 6th session of the Florentine Council the Greeks did not regard the Council held under John VIII as an Oecumenical Synod, though it would have greatly helped them, had that Council been legitimate and genuine.



Some Catholic historians went even further than the Cardinal, for instance, the celebrated Greek Leo Allacci, whose life and work would claim a special study. He certainly deserved credit for his encouragement of Greek studies in the Western Church, but his keen desire to see the Greek Church reunited with the Latin Church led him astray in the study of the Photian case. Through Baronius’ eyes, he naturally saw in Photius the principal mischief-maker in the schism and considered it his duty to expose the guilt of the prominent culprit whose villainy did so much harm to the whole of Christendom in general, and to Greece in particular. That is how he speaks of him in his scholarly work on the union between the two Churches in matters dogmatic, [1] but he goes much further in his work on the Photian Council, where he tries to prove that the Acts of this council were forged from beginning to end by Photius and that this council never took place. [2] The book on the schism written by L. Maimbourg [3] is less scholarly, but in some places more violent than anything ever written on this subject in the West.



1. Leo Allatius, De Ecclesiae Occidentalis atque Orientalis Perpetua Consensione (Coloniae Agrippinae, 1648), lib. 11, chs. iv, v, vi, vii, pp. 544, 552 seq., 566 seq., 577, 587 seq., 591 seq., 600 seq. Cf. also idem, De Libris et Rebus Eccl. Graecorum (Parisiis, 1646), pp. 147 seq.


2. De Octava Synodo Photiana (Rome, 1662).


3. Histoire du Schisme des Grecs (Paris, 1680).





Writings so unfair to Photius, and all from Catholic writers, necessarily provoked reactions among Protestant historians. J. H. Höttinger [1] undertook Photius’ defence by trying to put his case in a more conciliatory light, supporting Zonaras’ assertion that Photius had banned Basil from the church in punishment for a murder—for which Allatius viciously attacked him in his reply. [2] The same treatment was meted out to R. Creighton, who also dared to defend Photius in his edition of the Council of Florence. [3] Another attempt in the same direction was made by W. Beveridge. [4]


But the most substantial study of Photius of that period which marks a decided advance on Baronius came from M. Hanke, who was able to refute Baronius on many points, for instance: Hanke affirmed that even Metrophanes of Smyrna submitted to Photius after his election to the patriarchate; [5] he makes short work of the assertion that Photius was a eunuch; [6] he shows that Asbestas was excommunicated neither by Benedict nor by Gregory; [7] he believes that Photius had really no desire for patriarchal honours, as he stated in his letter to Bardas; [8] he repeatedly charges Nicetas with partiality and maintains that Photius did keep Basil outside the church; [9] he also places the incidents that accompanied the Eighth Council in a different light, as the Patriarchs’ representatives were only Arab ambassadors on a visit to the Emperor; [10] he puts another complexion on the relations between Basil and Photius after his fall, when Basil acknowledged his mistake; [11] he defends the authenticity of the Photian Council against Allatius, [12] but he believes in Photius’



1. J. H. Höttinger, Historiae Ecclesiasticae Novi Testamenti Enneas I (Tiguri, 1651), p. 673.


2. Leo Allatius, De Octava Synodo, loc. cit. pp. 244 seq.


3. Leo Allatius, De Octava Synodo, pp. 274 seq. and his answer to R. Creighton’s translation of the Acts of the Florentine Council. (Leonis Allatii In Roberti Creyghtoni Apparatum, Versionem et Notas ad historiam Concilii Florentini Scriptum a Silvestro Syropulo, de Unione inter Graecos et Latinos Exercitationes (Romae, 1665), Exerc. xiii-xviii.)


4. W. Beveridge, Συνοδικόν sive Pandectae Canonum SS. Apost. et Conciliorum (Oxonii, 1672), vol. 1, pp. xxiii, 331 seq.


5. M. Hankius, De Byzantinarum Rerum Scriptoribus Graecis (Lipsiae, 1677), p. 264.


6. Loc. cit. pp. 270, 272. This alleged disablement of Photius also plays a curious part in the controversy about Pope Joan: S. Maresius, Joanna Papissa Restituta (Groningae Frisiorum, 1658), p. 47; N. Serarius, Moguntiacarum Rerum ab Initio usque ad . . . hodiernum Archiepiscopum . . . libri V (Moguntiae, 1604), pp. 213—18.


7. Loc. cit. pp. 277 seq.        8. Loc. cit. pp. 284-8.        9. Loc. cit. pp. 336 seq.        10. Loc. cit. pp. 344 seq.        11. Loc. cit. pp. 334-58.        12. Loc. cit. pp. 378 seq.





second excommunication by John VIII and accepts Baronius’ statement about the second Photian schism.


Another Protestant ecclesiastical historian, J. Basnage, [1] followed the same line as Hanke; and with regard to the letters from John VIII to Photius, he was of the opinion that they had been tampered with by the Latins after the Council. Basnage was not alone in being embarrassed by the existence of two different versions of the same letters.


F. Spanheim was also strongly influenced by Baronius, though he concurs with Hanke and Basnage on a few points, as for instance when he defends the authenticity of the Photian Council and denies the falsification of the Commonitorium which John VIII gave his legates. [2]



The two conflicting tendencies in the accounts of the Photian incident which we had noted in the seventeenth century survived in the eighteenth, though Baronius’ influence remained paramount; indeed, Photius’ name has degenerated into a sort of shibboleth dividing Catholics and Protestants, the Catholics vilifying him as the historical enemy of the Papacy, and the Protestants glorifying him for his opposition to Rome.


Thus, for instance, J. M. Heinecke [3] and Gottfried Arnold [4] both adopt Nicetas’ account as the starting-point for their history of Photius, merely trying to attenuate it in some details. L. T. Spittler [5] shares their opinion in thinking that in Photius’ case the Papacy had stepped beyond its rights. J. G. Walch [6] even upholds the authenticity of John’s letter to Photius on the Filioque. Chr. E. Weismann [7] seems to have been influenced by Hanke’s balanced judgement, but believes that the letters of Pope John VIII to Photius were doctored by the Latins. Ch. W. F. Walch, [8] in his historical essay on the councils, also tries his best to be fair to the Patriarch.



1. Histoire de l'Eglise (Rotterdam, 1699), vol. i, livre ix, ch. ix, pp. 572 seq.


2. F. Spanheim, Opera (Lugd. Batav. 1701), vol. i: Historiae Christianae s. IX, c. XI, par. 4 (De Schismate Photiano), pp. 1387—93.


3. J. M. Heineccius, Eigentliche und Wahrhaftige Abbildung der Alten und Neuen Griechischen Kirche (Leipzig, 1711), vol. I, cap. 3, part. 17-27, pp. 147-67.


4. Unparteyische Kirchen und Ketzer Historien. . . (Schaffhausen, 1740), Th. I, Buch ix, c. IV, pp. 329 seq.


5. Cf. his summary in the Grundriss der Geschichte der Christi. Kirche (Göttingen, 1785), pp. 201 seq.


6. Historia Controversiae Graecorum Latinorumque de Processione Spiritus S. (Jennae, 1751), pp. 32 seq., 40-4.


7. Introductio in Memorabilia Ecclesiastica Historiae Sacrae Novi Testamenti (Halae Magdeburgicae, 1745), vol. 1, pp. 788-803.


8. Entwurf einer Vollständigen Historie der Kirchenversammlungen (Leipzig, 1759), vol. IV, pp. 552-83.





J. M. Schröckh [1] occasionally displays a very shrewd critical sense, as when he persistently points out the obvious partiality of Nicetas and other Ignatian sources and refuses to repeat Baronius’ assertion that the Patriarch Sisinnios had re-edited Photius’ famous encyclical, though in this, he only followed the monks of Saint Maur. [2] W. Cave [3] is very restrained in his judgement on Photius, but to this English scholar’s way of thinking the vehemence of the Popes’ intervention against the Patriarch was uncalled for ('in Photium ad ravim usque debacchantes. . .’).


One of the first monographs to deal with Photius from the Catholic side was written by Ch. Faucher, [4] and the solemn and impassioned preface shows in what spirit the monograph is written: the writer is entirely dominated by Baronius, whose severe verdict he can only repeat and endorse. Nor does the first history of the Greek schism written at this time by Laur. Cozza [5] mark any progress on Baronius. One detail deserves noting: in trying to explain how a canon of the Photian Synod found its way into Gratian’s Decretum and was even quoted by Innocent III, Cozza writes: ‘Evidently, Gratian was in the habit of quoting many apocryphal documents.’ As to Innocent III, he merely made a mistake.


M. Le Quien [6] was mainly concerned to deny the authenticity of the letter from John VIII to Photius and in the Panoplia dwells at length on the Photian case, but always with Baronius as his guide. Among ecclesiastical historians we should mention first Alexander Natalis (Alexandre Noël), [7] L. Ellies du Pin, [8] and Claude Fleury; [9] the lastnamed dealt fully with the history of Photius and had the advantage of using a copy of the Acts of the Photian Council lent to him by Baluze, but even Fleury, like the rest, had to borrow from Baronius.



1. Historia Religionis et Ecclesiae Christianae (ed. P. Marheineke; Berlin, 1828), p. 178. Idem, Christliche Kirchengeschichte (Leipzig, 1797), vol. xxiv, p. 160.


2. L'Art de Vérifier les Dates (1783), p. 288.


3. W. Cave, Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria (Oxonii, 1743), vol. ii, pp. 1, 2, 47 seq., 79 seq.


4. Histoire de Photius, Patriarche Schismatique de Constantinople (Paris, 1772).


5. Historia Polemica de Graecorum Schismate (Rome, 1719), vol. ii, pp. 1-162, chiefly p. 147.


6. Panoplia Contra Schisma Graecorum (Paris, 1718), cent. IX, cap. I, pp. 159—85; De Processione Spiritus S. (Venetiis, 1762), pp. 302 seq.


7. Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris et Novi Testamenti (Paris, 1699). Cf. his Dissertations in Thesaurus Theol. (Venice, 1762), vol. in and M. Sesavniczky, Ex Hist. Eccles. P. Nat. Alex. De Schismate Graecorum (Vienna, 1780).


8. Histoire de l'Église en Abrégé (3rd ed. Paris, 1719), vol. iii, pp. 12 seq.


9. Histoire du Christianisme, Livre 50 (ed. Paris, 1836), vol. iii, pp. 378 seq.





Though his Gallican tendencies sometimes break through his account of Photius’ history, he yet gives evidence of critical sense and his study is far more moderate in tone than that of Baronius. He admits among other things the authenticity of the letter of John VIII to Photius on the Filioque.


So, thanks to the authority of Baronius and that of his followers, the fate of Photius seemed to be sealed for ever and Baronius’ account of him was accepted as strictly accurate. Even the Ruthenes, who wished, in 1720, to unite with the Roman Church, were handed a special oath proclaiming among other things: ‘ Suscipio... Constantinopolitanam [synodum] quartam, octavam in ordine, ac profiteor in ea Photium merito fuisse damnatum, et sanctum Ignatium patriarcham restitutum.’ [1]


Having now reached the modern period, we might close our examination of Western writers on Photius and refer the reader to a summary of Western Catholic opinion of Photius from the sixteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth, which is to be found in the works of Photius’ second Catholic biographer, the Abbé J. N. Jager; [2] but we must do justice to another courageous writer who made a valiant attempt to deal more fairly with the Patriarch—A. Pichler. [3] Though his effort was not made altogether in vain, he found very few followers. His opinions did not invariably tally with those of Photius’ great historian, Cardinal Hergenröther, but one cannot read without a feeling of sorrow Pichler’s self-defence4 against the severe, and sometimes exaggerated criticisms of the great scholar, however much his authority towered above that of all other historians of the Church in the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.



1. Mansi, vol. xxxv, pp. 1437 seq.


2. Histoire de Photius et du Schisme des Grecs d'après les Monuments Originaux, la plupart encore inconnus (Paris, 1844). Some efforts, not always successful, to discover a position that was fairer to Photius were made by V. Gutté, Histoire de l'Église (Paris, 1889), vol. vi, ch. iv, pp. 238—50.


3. Geschichte der Kirchlichen Trennung (München, 1865).


4. An meine Kritiker (München, 1865). We may mention a few more ecclesiastical historians of the nineteenth century who preceded Hergenröther and wrote the history of Photius more or less in imitation of Baronius:

·       H. J. Schmitt, Die Morgenländische Griechisch-Russische Kirche (Mainz, 1826), pp. 378-419;

·       E. B. Swalue, Disputatio Academica Inauguralis de Dissidio Ecclesiae Christianae in Graecam et Latinam Photii Auctoritate Maturato (Lugduni Batavorum, 1829), chs. i-iii;

·       Neander, Allgem. Geschichte der Christl. Religion u. Kirche (Hamburg, 1836), vol. IV, pp. 590-633;

·       F. Gfrörer, Allgemeine Kirchengeschichte (Stuttgart, 1844), vol. iii, pt I, pp. 234—304;

·       J. G. Pitzpius Bey, Die Orientalische Kirche, übersetzt bei H. Schiel (Wien, 1857), pp. 24-36;

·       J. P. Bojarski, Historya Focyusza. . . (Lwow, 1895).


About Hergenröther’s work, see W. Drammer, ‘Der Werdegang Hergenröther’s Photius', in Orientalia Christiana Periodica (1941), vol. vii, pp. 36—90.





Hergenröther certainly did revive interest in the history of the Greek Patriarch and his work will never lose its value as an indispensable introduction to Photian studies. He also, like his great predecessor Cardinal Baronius, was inspired by the honourable motive of defending the pontifical primacy against the Protestant and rationalist attacks of his day, but he also went too far, and, strangely enough, failed to discover in the history of his subject such materials as would have served his purpose much better. His great contemporary Hefele was similarly misled.


Before the revival of Byzantine studies in recent times, the Western history of Photius and the Eighth Council remained in the blind alley into which Baronius had driven it. Faced with the high walls of controversy, students were tempted to conclude that the path of research had come to a dead end. A few clear-sighted men could have shown the Westerners the mistake they were making—a few critics of Hergenröther in Russia, chiefly the Hieromachos Yared: but did Cardinal Hergenröther ever suspect that an obscure Syrian had been daring enough to answer him?








Unpublished treatise on the Councils by the Patriarch Euthymios—Other contemporaries—Photius’ canonization—Historians of Constantine Porphyrogennetos’ school—Polemists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries—Michael of Anchialos— Twelfth-century chroniclers.



After our analysis of Western tradition on the subject of Photius and the Eighth Council, we must now extend our inquiry to Eastern literature, since it is important to know the Greeks’ verdict at different periods on their great Patriarch. Did the Greeks always look upon Photius as the principal agent of the severance of their Church from Rome, as it was the general tendency in the West to assume? Was Photius always regarded as the author of the Latin heresy on the Filioque? What tradition was preserved in the long history of the conflicts between Latins and Greeks throughout the Middle Ages of his personality and his work? We must also take into account the Greek tradition on the controverted Councils of the ninth century and verify at what particular time the Greeks began to number the Photian Council among the oecumenical synods.


Attestations on Photius are not wholly lacking in the ninth and tenth centuries but they are not as many as might be expected. Some of those bearing on the adjustment of the Photian schism have already been mentioned; and we have now to consider the short treatise on the councils attributed to the Patriarch Euthymios (907-12), which I discovered in a Greek MS. of the British Museum. The Manuscript (Arundel 528) offers a curious collection of thirty-eight short patristic writings, polemical and otherwise, including a homily by St Basil and two fragments in old Slav, all copied out in different hands. The MS. is on parchment, size 18 (in quarto minori); it contains 192 leaves and the writing is of the second half of the fifteenth century. On pp. 111-17 we find a short tract entitled [1] Treatise written at the patriarcheion of St Sophia hy the saintly patriarch Euthymios of blessed memory.



1. τοῦ τῆς μακαρίας λήξεως Εὐθυμίου τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου πατριάρχου ἅτινα ἐγράφησε ἐν τῷ πατριαρχείῳ τῆς ἁγίας Σοφίας.





On closer examination, we find that it resembles the work on the councils attributed to Neilos, Metropolitan of Rhodes, [1] anti-Latin controversialist of the fourteenth century, and edited by Justellus, [2] though there are some fundamental differences between the two tracts.


Neilos’ tract records nine oecumenical councils, the Eighth being that of Photius, and the Ninth the synod against Barlaam under the Emperor Andronicus. After a summary of the proceedings of the Photian Council, Neilos inserts an extract from the famous letter of John VIII to Photius in connection with the Filioque incident, whilst Euthymios’ tract only mentions seven oecumenical councils and merely designates the Photian Council as ‘the Union Synod’. On the face of it, Euthymios’ work represents a much older tradition than that of Neilos, a supposition borne out by one further detail: Euthymios’ tract includes, together with a summary of the proceedings of each synod, the definition of the faith of the five first and the seventh councils with the addition of a homologia tôn paterôn, or the Fathers’ approval of the dogmatic definitions, of the first four synods. Collation of the two texts suggests that Neilos’ pamphlet is only a later edition of Euthymios’ tract, revised, abbreviated and adapted to the needs of the fourteenth century.


What bears out this deduction is that the Greek MS. no. 968 of the Paris National Library (fifteenth-c., 395 fols., on paper) contains a similar dissertation (fols. 392-5 a) which on careful examination is found to represent an intermediate tradition in the growth of the tractate. First of all, it is anonymous; indeed, this time it could not be attributed to Euthymios, a writer of the tenth century, since its new editor, though following a tradition different from that of Neilos’ pamphlet, has added a summary of the Council of Barlaam. It is curious that the new editor remains loyal to the old tradition, so well established by Euthymios, in conferring the title of oecumenical on the first seven councils only. The Councils of Photius and of Barlaam are therefore not reckoned as the Eighth and the Ninth.


Moreover, the treatise of the Paris MS. copies the profession of faith of the first five councils and of the seventh of Euthymios’ tract, but omits the Fathers’ approval of these definitions. Even in other minor details it bears a greater similarity to Euthymios’ work and the comparison of the three productions supports the conclusion that the tractate attributed to Neilos of Rhodes is merely a third edition, adapted to the



1. Krumbacher, loc. cit. pp. 109, 205, 560.


2. Chr. Justellus, Nomocanon Photii (Paris, 1615), pp. 175—79.





mentality of the fourteenth century, of a short study on the Councils by the Patriarch Euthymios of the tenth century.


The treatise under discussion could in fact have been written by Euthymios, though the MS. which attributes it to him is the only one of its kind and dates from the fifteenth century. Euthymios’ biographer [1] himself assures us that the Patriarch had left to his disciples several of his writings, and we know three homilies of his composition in honour of St Anne and another on the Virgin’s holy girdle. [2] Now the opening words of the homily in honour of St Anne’s conception [3] are only a short dogmatic excursus on the Trinity and the Incarnation, strangely recalling in style and sometimes in words the definitions of the first oecumenical councils, as summarized in Euthymios’ book and also by the anonymous Greek dissertations bn the councils. Nothing then precludes the possibility of the Patriarch being the author of this treatise, which was later copied by an anonymous scribe of the fourteenth century and again circulated in a new edition over the name of Neilos of Rhodes. [4]


Two inferences of some importance can be drawn from this short study: first, that the Patriarch Euthymios knew the Acts of the Photian Council in the version that has come down to us and that the Acts he may have consulted had the protocol of the sixth and seventh sessions as we know it, so that these versions must be absolutely authentic. Since Euthymios quoted them some ten years after the Council, they could not possibly have been falsified, as some would have us believe, in the fourteenth century. Second, this short study provides evidence that the Byzantine Church did not officially confer on the Photian Council the title of Eighth Oecumenical Council. Even when the memory of that Council was still fresh, the Greeks continued to number only seven oecumenical councils, the Photian Council being ranked immediately after the first seven great councils. St Euthymios even gives it the designation which the Council itself had claimed, offiholy and oecumenical synod’; but it is not termed the Eighth—it merely remains the 'Union Synod’.



Corroboration of this is found in another document, also unpublished, the profession of faith of a disciple of Photius, Nicholas Mysticos, which



1. De Boor, Vita Euthymii, p. 30.


2. M. Jugie, ‘Homélies Mariales Byzantines’, in Patrologia Orientalis (Paris, 1922, 1926), vol. XVI, pp. 499-514; vol. XIX, pp. 441-55.


3. Loc. cit. vol. XVI, pp. 499-502.


4. See Appendix III, pp. 456, 457, the edition of an extract from Euthymios’ treatise concerning the Photian Synod.





he made after his elevation to the patriarchate and is preserved in the Vatican MS. Ottob. n. 147. [1] The new Patriarch there declares (fol. 440) that he accepts the decisions of the seven oecumenical councils, which he enumerates by name, an attestation which, coming from a disciple of Photius, is especially valuable, since he must have felt inclined more than anybody else to add the Photian Council to the oecumenical councils; and yet, he too clung to the old tradition of his Church.


As regards the person of Photius, we should in the first place note what was said about him by John, author of a biography of St Joseph the Hymnographer, a work of special value, since it accurately reflects the feelings towards Ignatius and Photius prevailing at the end of the ninth century. Writing of Ignatius and of how much he thought of the Patriarch Photius, John calls him [2] ’the godly Ignatius, distinguished by many virtues and full of zeal for Christ, mounted not long ago to the helm of the patriarchate’. Of Photius he writes: ‘[after him] the patriarchal throne fell to Photius, who was president of the Supreme Council [senate?] [3] and excelled by his gift of eloquence, his knowledge and the rectitude of his character. For his skill in organization and administration, [4] he reached the primacy of the priesthood; into other things concerning him we need not enter, nor allow calumnies to distract us.’ Here one is made to feel the changed atmosphere that prevailed in Byzantium after the settlement of the quarrel between Ignatius and Photius. The other biographer of the Hymnographer, Theophanes, is not so explicit in his references to the two rival Patriarchs, but he is true to the same feeling when he describes Photius as ‘everremembered ’ Patriarch. [5] Arethas of Caesarea, a disciple of Photius, goes still further in his veneration for his master, when he places him in paradise next to St Chrysostom and St Nicephorus. [6]



1. Mentioned by A. Mai, Spicilegium Romanum (Rome, 1839-44), vol. x, p. ix.


2. S. Josephi Hymnographi Vita, auctore Joanne Diacono, P.G. vol. 105, cols. 968-9.


3. τῆς συγκλήτου βουλῆς.


4. πρὸς τὸ συνθεῖναι καὶ σκευάσαι πράγματα ἐπιτήδειον.


5. A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Monumenta Graeca et Latina ad Photii Hist. pertinentia (Petropoli, 1901), vol. ii, p. 10: Ἰγνατίου δηλαδὴ τοῦ θείου ἀρχιερέως ὁσίως πατριαρχοῦντος. . . . Photius. . . ἀείμνητος πατριάρχης.


6. Epitaphius in Euthymium Pair, republished by M. Jugie, Patr. Orient. of Graffin-Nau, vol. xvi, p. 498: μετὰ τοῦ χρυσοῦ Ἰωάννου ἐν ἐξορίᾳ συνθανατούμενε, μετὰ Νικηφόρου καὶ Φωτίου τῶν ἀοιδίμων τοῖς διωγμοῖς καὶ θανάτοις συνδοξαζόμενε.





On another occasion, Arethas replies in unrestrained terms to the Armenians: [1] 'Among them there was recently found one holy by his family ties and holier still for his wisdom, both human and divine. Who is he? Photius, the one raised to-day to the highest in heaven.’ This is frank canonization, and another disciple of the Patriarch, Nicholas Mysticos, goes still further in his letter to the Emir of Crete: 'The most eminent of God’s high priests and the most famous, Photius, my father in the Holy Ghost, has likewise written to Your Excellency’s father....’ [2] In another letter, this time addressed to a Christian king, the ruler of Armenia, Nicholas calls Photius 'the very saintly patriarch’. [3]


To these attestations should be added a saying by the biographer of St Euthymios, Basil, archbishop of Thessalonica, whom I have quoted elsewhere. [4] The leading passage is worth quoting:


It was the blessed Photius who, as his name suggests, enlightened the whole world with the fulness of his wisdom; who from his infancy had been devoted to Christ, suffered confiscation and exile for venerating His image and was from the outset associated with his father in struggles for the faith. Hence his life was wonderful and his death agreeable to God and sealed by miracles.



This at any rate is how I render the passage; but even if the last words refer not to Photius but to his father St Sergius, the main idea of the sentence would stand, since Photius is here 'associated’ with a saint whose holiness was sealed by his miracles, and therefore is likewise looked upon as a saint. Besides, as Photius is the subject of the sentence and his father is mentioned only casually in a subordinate clause, it would only be logical to apply the concluding words to Photius.



There is another point in favour of the above reading. Photius’ father has his commemorative notice in the Greek Synaxarion of 13 March, [5] but while he is recorded as confessor ([homologetes), without any miracle being attached to his name, Photius is called the thaumaturgos [6] in a Synaxarion of the twelfth century.



1. Preserved in the Synodal Library of Moscow, cod. 441, fols. 433-4, quoted by A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus: Ὁ πατριάρχης Φώτιος ὥς Πατὴρ ἅγιος τῆς ὀρθ. Ἐκκλησίας, Byz. Zeitschr. vol. viii, 1889, p. 662: μεθ᾿ ὧν καὶ ὁ χθές τε καὶ πρώην ἱερὸς μὲν τὸ γένος, ἱερώτερος δὲ τὴν σοφίαν, ὅση τε θεία καὶ ὅση τῆς κατ᾿ ἀνθρώπους λογίζεται· τίς οὗτος; ὁ τοῖς οὐρανίοις ἀδύτοις τανῦν ἐγκατοικιζόμενος Φώτιος.


2. P.G. vol. iii, cols. 36, 37: Ὁ ἐν ἀρχιερεῦσι θεοῦ μέγιστος καὶ ἀοίδιμος Φώτιος ὁ ἐμὸς ἐν Πνεύματι ἁγίῳ Πατὴρ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα τῆς ὑμῶν εὐγενείας. . . .


3. Loc. cit. col. 365·

4. Cf. my Les Légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, p. 144.

5. H. Delehaye, Synaxarium Constantinopolitanum (Brussels, 1902), A.S. Nov., col. 682.

6. Cod. Paris. Gr. 1594.





A miracle, remarkable enough in the eyes of posterity, signalized his life, namely the defeat of the Russians in their attack on Constantinople in 860. Whatever one may think about the miracle, [1] it remains none the less true that the Byzantines considered the event as such and the Continuator of Theophanes endorsed their opinion. [2] It is true that the account by Simeon the Logothete [3] assumes the miracle to have been performed by the Virgin, but still through the intercession of Photius. All these attestations point to the fact that Photius was venerated shortly after his death, at least by a section of the people. It is true that the depositions come from the circle of his students and admirers, but is the cult of any hero ever inaugurated otherwise? [4]


It remains to inquire whether and at what period the cult of Photius was approved by the Byzantine Church. In this inquiry, we need not attach too much importance to the evidence of Papadopoulos-Kerameus, as his zeal for his hero’s glorification was somewhat extravagant and he apparently did not succeed in proving that Photius was canonized soon after his death. Similarly I refuse to accept his statement, until further evidence be forthcoming, that the Athos MS. containing the Patriarch’s 'replies to Amphilochus’ and representing Photius with a halo dates from the tenth century; [5] though it would be more difficult to dismiss his assertion that the Patriarch’s name figures in the Synaxarion (Cod. 40) of the Holy Cross monastery of Jerusalem, which dates from the tenth to the eleventh century. [6] It is stated there that his feast was celebrated in the monastery of John the Baptist of the Eremia District, while similar references appear in eight other manuscripts whose dates range between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. [7]



1 Cf. what I said about the Russian danger in my book, Les Légendes de Constantin et de Méthode, pp. 176 seq.


2. (Bonn), p. 196.


3. Loc. cit. p. 674.


4. See p. 272 on what Nicetas the Paphlagonian says about the cultus of Photius after his death.


5. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, loc. cit. p. 664.


6. Idem, loc. cit. p. 662.


7. Cod. 219 of the Berlin Royal Library (12th-13th c.); Cod. Paris. Gr. 1594 (12th c.); Cod. Ambrosianus C. 101 (12th c.); Cod. 227 of the Petrograd Imperial Libr. (12th c.); Cod. 354 of the Syn. Libr. of Moscow (13th c.); Cod. 163 of the Messina Univ. (12th c.); Cod. 239 of the Imp. Libr. of Moscow (14th c.); Cod. A. in, 16 of the Basle Libr. (15th c.). Papadopoulos-Kerameus (Byz. Zeitschr. pp. 668 seq.) adds two more MS. of eleventhand twelfth-century pericopes containing readings for the feast of Photius. Cod. 266 of the monastic library of St John the Evangelist of Patmos (10th c.); Vatican Menologion Gr. 1613 (11th c.); Cod. Mediceo-Laurent. San Marco 787 (11th c.); Cod. Paris. Gr. 1590 (11th c.); Cod. Paris. Gr. 1589 (12th c.).





It is true that his name is missing in some very important MSS., for instance, in the Menology of Basil II, yet it remains beyond dispute that Photius’ name began to appear in Byzantine Synaxaria as early as the end of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh, so that Photius must have been canonized in the second half of the tenth century at the latest. We may then subscribe to the opinion of M. Jugie, [1] who thinks that Photius’ name was added by the usual process of acclamation to the other names of saintly Patriarchs, to the tomos tes Henôseôs, under the Patriarch Sisinnios (996-8), at a time when the last traces of the schism provoked by the fourth marriage of Leo VI had been obliterated. [2]. For the present, we have no solid justification for moving the date back to an earlier period.


Whatever views may be held of this canonization, it cannot be gainsaid that it did take place. Whether the cult of Photius was widespread or not, or whether St Ignatius was a more popular saint than Photius, is another question altogether, and this is no place for wearying the reader with details. Photius’ canonization was at least no more unusual than that, say, of Constantine the Great, who was baptized by an Arian bishop, or than the canonization of the Empress Irene, who certainly could not be held up as a model for Christian mothers to copy. Now two considerations should not be omitted: first, if all that we have said about Photius’ ‘schism5 is true, then the Byzantine Church was, at the time that Photius was canonized, in normal communion with Rome; and second, that in the tenth century canonizations were not yet reserved, even in the Western Church, to the decision of the Pope alone, but could be promulgated by an ordinary bishop.



We may then conclude that Photius’ name was held in great esteem by most Byzantines in the tenth century, and of this indirect signs can be found in some historical works. About the middle of the tenth century a certain number of historical writings, inspired by Constantine Porphyrogennetos, were published in Byzantium and we know the main purpose that prompted all this literary output within the learned Emperor’s circle: [3] it was necessary, for the glorification of Basil I, founder of the new dynasty, to disparage his predecessor Michael III as much as plausible propaganda could bear.



1. ‘Le Culte de Photius dans l’Église Byzantine’, in Revue de l'Orient Chrétien (1922-3), 3rd ser., tom. iii, pp. 109 seq. Note that this study, though out of date, has not lost its value.


2. Cf. also A. Michel, Humbert undKerullarios (Paderborn, 1930), vol. II, pp. 13-18.


3. Cf. Rambaud, L’Empire Grec du Xe siècle (Paris), pp. 51 seq., 137 seq.; Krumbacher, loc. cit. pp. 252 seq.





Hence arose the legend of Michael as a drunkard, an atheist, a mocker of the sacred liturgy, who cared for nothing but pleasure and sport and let his reign take care of itself and the Empire go to pieces; Basil, on the other hand, was the providential tool in God’s hands for the chastisement of an impious unbeliever and the salvation of the Empire. By the same token, Ignatius was placed by the writers of the Porphyrogennetos school in a brighter and more sympathetic light than his rival, since Ignatius had made a stand against the blasphemies of Michael and Bardas, suffering persecution for his pains; but it was under Basil’s reign and by Basil’s orders that he was set free. All this political propaganda did no good to Photius’ reputation.


And yet, what is surprising is that the best of these writers are very discreet with regard to Photius. Joseph Genesios, who wrote a history in four volumes of the Emperors reigning between the years 813 and 886, is, in fact, very partial to Ignatius, but he dare not speak ill of Photius. In his opinion, the misfortunes that befell Ignatius were brought on him by Michael and Bardas, as has been pointed out already, and only in one place does he directly refer to Photius in connection with Ignatius’ deposition, when he writes: [1] 'Bardas put in his place Photius, who excelled in a certain number of good things, but was inferior in others.’ This is not a very flattering compliment, but we should not forget that Joseph Genesios’ father, Constantine, was a keen partisan of Ignatius, whom he visited even in prison, so that the family tradition of the Genesios was decidedly Ignatian. Under the circumstances, one would have expected Constantine’s son to be more emphatic in his dislike of Photius, but even he had to reckon with the fact that Photius’ reputation had considerably improved during his second patriarchate. More characteristic still is the way Porphyrogennetos deals with Photius. In his biography of Basil I [2] he of course transforms Ignatius’ reinstatement into a meritorious deed of Basil’s, who thereby restored peace in the Church and, as behoved an Emperor, repaired the damage done to a prelate. He had to give the fact a slight twist; otherwise it would have been difficult to glorify the blessed memory of the founder of the new dynasty. Again, in telling the story of Photius’ reinstatement after Ignatius’ death, he does his best to colour Basil’s treatment of Photius in exile as flatteringly to Basil as public credulity could stand : [3]



1. (Bonn), 1. iv, p. 100.


2. Theoph. Cont. c. 32 (Bonn), p. 262.


3. Ibid. c. 44, p. 276.





He handed back the government of the Church in a regular manner to one who previously had wished to conduct it in an irregular manner. He gave the succession to the learned Photius. . . canonically and lawfully. But even before that, he never ceased to treat him generously and with honour, in deference to his great learning and virtue, and when he deprived him of his throne, wishing to do no more than justice demanded, omitted nothing that would soften the blow, placed apartments in the palace at his disposal and appointed him teacher and tutor of his children.



The Continuator of Theophanes, who wrote mainly under Genesios’ inspiration, proceeds in the same way: all Ignatius’ trials are attributed to Bardas; Photius is ‘renowned for his learning’; it was Bardas who forced priests to rally to Photius; Photius’ prayers are credited with the divine intervention against the Russians in 860. Now it is my conviction that the testimony of the Porphyrogennetos school of historians is of exceptional importance, since despite its tendentious character they dared not make a frontal attack on Photius, whose memory was cherished and venerated by the majority of their contemporaries; at the same time, their testimony was a contributory factor in the growth of the ‘Photian Legend’, since it further explained away the sober and laconic statements by the Continuator of George the Monk, [1] whose narrative can be called an expurgated edition of Pseudo-Simeon’s ‘history’ of the unfortunate Patriarch.


The writings of the ‘imperial historians5 moreover predisposed posterity to place its confidence in the historical efforts of Pseudo-Simeon, Photius’ bitterest critic, certain statements of whom strangely recall the tone of the anti-Photianist Collection. No matter what one may think of the character of this anonymous ‘historian’, one thing is certain: he belonged to the camp of the oft-mentioned die-hards, who, even after the reunion of most of the Ignatians with the official Church and after Stylianos’ capitulation, obstinately persisted in their hatred of Photius, and it is quite possible that this faction survived till the beginning of the second half of the tenth century, the time when that chronicle was written. In fact, the record goes as far as 963, the year of Romanos’ death, [2] so that the party possibly vanished for good at the end of the tenth century, at the final adjustment of the quarrels over the fourth marriage of Leo VI—which would explain better why Photius’ name was then added by acclamation to the names of the other Patriarchs.



1. (Bonn), pp. 826, 829, 831, 841.


2. Krumbacher, loc. cit. pp. 358 seq.





One thing at least should not be overlooked: none of the historians of the tenth century see in Photius the main author of the schism or the champion of the national Byzantine Church against Roman authority. Pseudo-Simeon frankly detests him, it is true, but the dominant motives of his hatred were either personal or confused with Byzantine issues of a political nature. The historians do not even credit Photius with championing the Byzantine faith on the Filioque against the Latin ‘heresy’ and, what is worth noting, Nicholas Mysticos’ profession of faith makes no reference to the issue.



One would at first have expected Photius to grow in popularity in the Greek literature of the eleventh century, chiefly after the schism of Michael Cerularius; but here again we shall be disappointed. One of the first «anti-Latin controversialists, the Russian Metropolitan Leo, for instance, breaks off the controversy on the Filioque started by Photius to confine himself to the discussion on the Azymes. Nowhere does he quote Photius; [1] and when he attacks the Frankish bishops, Leo of Achrida never once appeals to Photius as the patron and leader of these practices. [2]


Nicetas Pectoratus, who had the distinction of rousing Cardinal Humbert to anger, battles against the Azymes, the celibacy of the clergy and chiefly the Saturday fast, but all on his own initiative; for, had he harked back to Photius in this matter, we should probably have found in the impetuous cardinal’s writings some explosive outburst on the Patriarch of Constantinople; but Humbert apparently does not even know the name of Photius, and his silence in this respect speaks volumes. [3]


More curious still is Cerularius’ procedure: he certainly borrows from Photius’ writings, but nowhere does he credit him with having taken the lead in the anti-Latin campaign, though he mentions him in his homily on the restoration of images, when he quotes the acclamations in honour of the holy Patriarchs and places Photius next in rank to Ignatius. [4]



1. Ed. Pavlov, Πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἤτοι πρὸς Λατίνους περὶ τῶν ἀζύμων, Kriticheskie Opuitui po Ist. drev. Greko-Russkoi Polemiki (St Petersburg, 1878), pp. 115-32.


2. Epistola de Azymis et Sabbatis, P.G. vol. 120, cols. 836-44.


3. Contra Nicetam, P.G. vol. 120, cols. 1011-21, 1021-38. Cf. A. Michel, Humbert und Kerullarios, vol. il, pp. 371 seq. Cf. K. Schweinburg, ‘Die Textgeschichte des Gespräches mit den Franken von Nicetas Stethatos’, in Byz. Zeitschr. (1934), vol. xxxiv, pp. 313 seq.


4. Homilia in festo Restitutionis Imaginum, P.G. vol. 120, cols. 729, 732.





Nor is any mention of Photius to be found in the correspondence between Michael Cerularius and Peter, Patriarch of Antioch, [1] a feat of discretion that seems significant. And yet, Michael lays every possible blame at the Latins’ door, and had there been at the time any disagreement between Greeks and Latins on the Photian question and the ninthcentury councils which concerned Photius, Michael and his partisans would undoubtedly have referred to it. Michael knew all about the Photian Council and even quoted one of its decisions in his Panoplia, if we suppose that this work was really his. The passage is taken from the sixth session: [2]


In the Acts of the holy and oecumenical synod, presided over by Photius, the very saintly Patriarch of Constantinople, the following was written : ‘ If any one should, as stated before, venture so far in his madness as to propose another symbol and call it a definition, or dare to make additions to, or omissions from, the symbol as handed down to us, let him be anathema.’



Nor does the writer here call the council ‘Eighth Oecumenical’: it is ‘the Council of Photius’, the designation of ‘Union Council’ being reserved to the synod of 995-6. [3]


Theophylactus, archbishop of Bulgaria, does not mention Photius, [4] but in the Life of St Clement attributed to him he makes St Methodius a keen opponent of the Filioque. [5]


Much to the point also is the study on the Greek schism attributed to Nicetas, chartophylax of Nicaea, whose pamphlet has this reference to the Photian schism:


Under Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, there was a great schism, when the Romans were charged with numerous transgressions, as stated in his encyclical letter. When union between the Churches had been restored, as evidenced by the synod which Photius summoned, and John of Rome had canonically recovered his most ancient privileges, no one thought of examining the Romans’ transgressions which the Sixth Council and Photius himself, so we are told, had laid to their charge. 108 years elapsed between the Sixth and the Seventh Councils, when the Churches remained united and Roman errors were never once mentioned, with the exception of the iconoclastic heresy over which they separated again. But ever since the Seventh Council—even previous to it—till Photius, no one had a word to say about those Roman errors, which Photius and the Sixth Council had made so much of; and when after all these troubles and rumours Photius



1. Ibid. cols. 781-816.


2. A. Michel, loc. cit. p. 218.


3. Michel, loc. cit. p. 242.


4. Liber de iis quorum Latini incusantur, P.G. vol. 126, cols. 221-49.


5. Ibid. cols. 1201, 1205.





reunited with the Romans without the slightest difficulty, peace reigned undisturbed between the Churches.


But under Sergius, who ruled at the time of the Bulgaroctonos, we are told that there arose a schism—for what reason I do not know, but the quarrel was apparently over some sees. Well, if the Romans’ errors had so far remained unknown, nobody could put the blame on that communion this time; but since they were known at the Sixth Council, and better still under Photius, the responsibility should lie with the union, as it was then that what was considered to be amiss should have been discarded and corrected—at least in words, if the evil was beyond human strength. If the complaints were really serious—which seems incredible, as we are driven to infer from the fact that the bishops left them so long unheeded—then what did the Greeks blame the Romans for? Hence you see that the schisms mentioned were brought about by our own people. Photius, who had fallen out with Nicholas.... [1]



This extract shows first of all that in the eleventh century part of the clergy were not in favour of the new rupture between Rome and Byzantium provoked by Michael Cerularius, Photius’ complaints against the Latins, repeated by Michael, being considered insufficient ground for a schism. The Emperor’s policy, which favoured an entente with Rome, could therefore depend on support in the ranks of the clergy. Furthermore, the writer of this study considered the rupture between Photius and Rome to be a purely personal matter, and therefore, although not particularly friendly, did not look upon Photius as the symbol of anti-Roman tendencies.


We may also indirectly conclude from the text that the writer did not rank the Photian Council among the first oecumenical councils, for it is because he marks the different periods by their councils that he happens to mention the sixth and the seventh; but when he reaches the period of Photius, he merely mentions the Patriarch’s name. The text also warns us not to make too much of the misunderstanding that arose between Rome and Byzantium under the Patriarch Sergius, since the author, who wrote some ten years after the event, reports it from hearsay and confesses ignorance of its motives; a rather surprising admission. [2]



1. κατὰ πόσον καιρὸν καὶ ποῖα αἰτιάματα ἐσχίσθη ἀφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἡ Ῥωμαϊκὴ Ἐκκλησία. P.G. vol. 120, cols. 717 seq.


2. Pavlov, Kriticheskie Opuitui (St Petersburg, 1878), pp. 132-7, has published a treatise almost identical, taken from a manuscript of the Synodal Library (no. 368, fols. 248 seq., no. 207, fols. 314 seq.), attributed to the Patriarch Photius. It omits the schism of Cerularius. The treatise attributed to Nicetas of Nicaea is apparently of older date. Writings of this class have so often been recopied and recast that they deserve little confidence. Cf. Grumel, Regestes, vol. II, pp. 241 seq., Échos d’Orient (1935), pp. 129-38, and Hergenröther, Photius, vol. iii, pp. 843 seq.





We are also in possession of two other official documents proving that the Byzantine Church of the eleventh century did not number the Photian Council among the great oecumenical councils. The first is the letter written by the Russian Metropolitan John II (1080-9) to antiPope Clement III (1080-1100) ; this is interesting, because it illustrates the Byzantine mentality of the period in matters concerning Rome. Before detailing for the Pope’s benefit all the errors that were imputed to the Latins, John II outlined the foundations of the true Catholic faith, namely, the oecumenical councils. One passage is so typical that it deserves full quotation : [1]


All profess that there are seven holy and oecumenical Councils, and these are the seven pillars of the faith of the Divine Word on which He erected His holy mansion, the Catholic and Oecumenical Church. These seven venerable, holy and oecumenical Councils have been treated with equal respect by all the bishops and doctors of the See of Peter, the standard-bearers of the Holy and Blessed Apostles.


They even attended these councils and spoke there the same language, some being personally present, commendably identifying themselves with what was done and associating themselves with what was said ; others delegated their most intimate friends with equal commendation, to offer their collaboration, and they confirmed all matters by the authority of your apostolic and divine See. The first holy and oecumenical Synod was attended by Sylvester; the second by Damasus, the third by Celestin. The blessed and renowned Pope Leo laid the foundation of the Fourth holy and oecumenical Synod and the saintly letter, so full of wisdom, which he wrote to Flavian was called the pillar of orthodoxy by all who graced the Synod by their presence. Vigilius was present at the Fifth Synod, while the Sixth was attended by Agathon, a venerable man, full of godly wisdom, and the Seventh by the very saintly Pope Hadrian, who spoke through the mouth of the saintly and God-fearing [theoforon] men he delegated, Peter, archpriest of the very Holy Church of Rome, the priest Peter and the Abbot of the monastery of St Sabbas in Rome.



Important as this letter is, it never once alludes to Photius and his Council.


The second document is the report of the synod held in 1089 in Constantinople at the request of Alexis I Comnenus, who was then working for reunion with Rome; in this synod it was decided to request the Pope to send to Constantinople his profession of faith,



1. Pavlov, loc. cit. pp. 58 seq.





which was to include his acceptance of the first seven oecumenical councils. [1]


The Latin embassy sent to Constantinople in 1112, of which the archbishop of Milan, John Grossolanus, was a member, became the occasion for lively discussions between Latins and Greeks on the subject of the dogmatic and disciplinary differences between the two Churches, and seven Greek theologians were asked to reply to their Latin opponent; unfortunately, not all their writings have so far been published, [2] but what little there is provides a fairly comprehensive view of the debate. The fragments of Grossolanus’ speech, [3] the short studies by Eustratios of Nicaea [4] and the contribution by John Phournes [5] make no reference either to Photius or to his Council. The Filioque, however, was the main topic of the discussion, in the course of which Eustratios even quoted the councils, but always in general terms, without referring to them by name. He probably also made use of Photius’ Mystagogy. As far as we are able to judge to-day, Euthymios Zigabenos, who possibly also took part in the debate, was the only one to show that Photius was not forgotten by the Greek theologians in those days. In fact, Euthymios embodied Photius’ treatise on the Procession of the Holy Ghost in his Panoplia and added at the end of his work a fragment of Photius’ letter to Boris-Michael, with the Patriarch’s essay on the oecumenical councils. [6] One would not wish to overrate the implication of the compliment—some would discover there the promotion of Photius to the rank of a Doctor of the Church—but it is none the less significant.


I have had occasion to refer to another Graeco-Latin dispute in Constantinople in 1135 between Anselm of Havelberg and



1. W. Holtzmann, ‘Unionsverhandlungen zwischen Kaiser Alexis I und Papst Urban II im Jahre 1089 ’, in Byz. Zeitschr. (1928), vol. xxviii, pp. 50-62. One may add the profession of faith of the Russian prince Vladimir in the Russian Lietopis, which also gives the seven councils. Cf. A. Pavlov, loc. cit. pp. 5-26.


2. See the list of these writings in V. Grumel’s ‘Autour du Voyage de Grossolanus à Constantinople’, in Échos d’Orient (1933), vol. xxxii, pp. 22-33.


3. P.G. vol. 127, cols. 911-19; Bibliotheca Cassinensis (Monte Cassino, 1880), vol. IV, pp. 351-8.


4. Published by A. Demetrakopoulos, Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ βιβλιοθήκη (Leipzig, 1866), pp. 47-71 (see p. 68, a fine chapter on Popes Damasus, Celestin, Leo, Vigilius, Agathon, Gregory the Great and Zachary), pp. 71-84, 84-99, 100-21, 151-60, 161-98.


5. Ibid. pp. 36-47.


6. P.G. vol. 130, tit. XIII, cols. 876, 1360 (appendix). Cf. tit. xxiv, col. 1189, an extract from Photius’ writings against the Paulicians. Photius there is called ὁ μακαριώτατος πατριάρχης.





Nicetas of Nicomedia; [1] but it was not the only theological disputation in which this German bishop engaged in the East, for in the course of his second journey he arranged another debate on 2 and 3 October 1154 in Thessalonica, this time with Basil of Achrida, [2] the archbishop of that city. According to the Dialogue published by the latter, the name of Photius did not come up in the discussion at all. [3] We may note in passing that the letter this same Basil wrote to Pope Hadrian IV (1154-9) was very deferential to the bishop of Rome. [4]


Among other Greek controversialists we should first mention Nicholas of Methone, an outstanding theologian in his day, who in his books, most of them published by Demetrakopoulos, [5] gives evidence of a fair knowledge of Photius’ writings, but nowhere quotes him by name. Only once does he quote a canon of the Photian Council of 861, canon XVI, in his plea for the Patriarch Nicholas IV Muzaton. [6] The case of this Patriarch presented a curious similarity to that of Pope Formosus. It is known that Nicholas had resigned his see of Cyprus and retired to a monastery; but his rivals pretended that Nicholas had in so doing renounced episcopal honours and had ceased to be a bishop. Thereupon the bishop of Methone, at a synod summoned to settle the dispute and in the presence of the Emperor, made a great speech in defence of the validity and legitimacy of the election, but to little effect, since Nicholas IV was called upon to resign in 1151. Hergenröther [7] registers surprise that Nicholas of Methone should on that occasion have failed to quote the canon of the Council of 879-80, forbidding prelates who reverted to monastic life to resume their episcopal functions; but there is nothing surprising about it, since by quoting it the bishop of Methone would have played into the hands of the opposition, the canon of the Council of 879-80 being far more explicit and emphatic than canon XVI of the Council of 861.



1. See p. 345.


2. Cf. V. Grumel on when the theological controversy between Basil of Achrida and Anselm of Havelberg in Salonica took place, Échos d'Orient (1930), vol. XXXIII, p. 336.


3. Jos. Schmidt, Des Basileus aus Achrida. . .unedierte Dialoge (München, 1901).


4. P.G. vol. 119, cols. 929-33.


5. Νικολάου ἐπ. Μεθώνης λόγοι δύο, loc. cit. pp. 199-380. Cf. also the Latin edition of two of his writings: Nicolai Methonae episcopi Orationes Duae contra Heresim Dicentium Sacrificium pro nobis Salutare non Trisypostatae Divinitati sed Patri soli allatum esse (Lipsiae, 1865).


6. Loc. cit. pp. 284, 285.


7. Photius, loc. cit. vol. iii, p. 805. Cf. also what he says (ibid. pp. 806 seq.) on the letter of Basil of Achrida to Hadrian IV.





No mention of Photius is made either by John of Jerusalem in the second half of the twelfth century [1] or by John of Claudiopolis, [2] the only polemists of this school whose writings have been published.



One polemical work by Michael of Anchialos, the bitterest enemy of the union between the two Churches that was then being prepared under Manuel Comnenus, deserves special attention. It is written in the form of a dialogue between the Patriarch Michael of Anchialos and the Emperor, [3] who after vainly trying various arguments to convince the obstinate Patriarch of the urgency of reunion finally appealed to the example of Photius, who also had made peace with the same Latins he had fought. To this the Patriarch retorted: [4]


Even granting that Photius sinned by this action, they [the Latins] were not thereby justified, for it is not transgressions that make good law, and it is not in evil but in good deeds that we should imitate and follow others. . . . The fact is, however, that no such fault is to be found in relation to the case we are dealing with in that very godly man, [5] whose life offers no example of greater strength than his behaviour in this case; strength, I say, to crush and refuse to have anything to do with those atheistic and impious Italians, although here as elsewhere calumny may have its own way and some people have not hesitated to call him ’a good divider and a bad uniter’. The reverse is the truth. As a matter of fact, this very saintly Photius, after his formidable attack, far from unconditionally readmitting those he had cast off to unite with him and the Church, first imposed proper guarantees that they would be orthodox in future and recant the blasphemies they should never have uttered. They then addressed to him their symbol of faith, which they worded in orthodox terms, whereby they agreed to remain steadfast in that faith, to add or to subtract nothing, to number among the enemies of truth and the champions of mendacious error any who should dare to do so; they then followed the same procedure with the three other Patriarchs, according to the ancient custom by which one honoured with patriarchal and supreme dignity should send to his brothers and co-Patriarchs his encyclical letters of appointment to inform the whole world of his personal orthodoxy and agreement in faith with the Fathers who preceded him and were orthodox.


This, to my way of thinking, was what was fully meant by the canon on whose terms he readmitted the Italians,



1. Dositheos, Τόμος ἀγάπης (Jassy, 1698), pp. 504-38.


2. Pavlov, loc. cit. pp. 189-91.


3. Published by Chr. Loparev with a commentary in Vizantiiskii Vremennik (1907), vol. XIV, pp. 334-57·


4. Cf. V. Grumel, ’Le Filioque au Concile Photien de 879-880’, in Échos d'Orient (1930), vol. XXIX, pp. 252-64.


5. τὸν θειότατον τοῦτον ἄνδρα.





for we find there the following: ’Let the Pope as well as ancient Rome and the communion under him hold as rejected and likewise reject whosoever is considered rejected by the very saintly Photius, and through him by our Church in fulfilment of their duty.’ Now it is evident from this that this man acted like those wise doctors wrho skilfully forestall future diseases and administer preventive remedies to those suspected of being threatened with a possible affection, and in this sense deserved no blame but acted for motives of prudence, however changeable he may have seemed to be, when he meant and intended to obtain but one thing—that the Italians had no right to add in writing anything as truth to the Symbol, knowing full well that they were in duty bound never to do anything in disagreement with the feelings of the Greeks and their spiritual leaders in connection with the Divinity and what touches religion; and that if they should be so daring, they would, by their own previous admission, fall under the anathema.



Here is evidence that Michael of Anchialos knew the same version as is known to-day of the Acts of the Photian Council. He first mentions canon I of the Council, voted by the Fathers during the fifth session as ’the true guarantee that they [the Latins] would be orthodox in future and recant blasphemies which they should never have uttered5. Their worst blasphemy was, to his mind, the addition of Filioque to the Symbol. So, after accepting canon I, 'they addressed to him their symbol of faith, which they worded in orthodox terms, whereby they agreed to remain steadfast in that faith, to add or to subtract nothing, to number among the enemies of truth and the champions of mendacious error any who should dare to do so....’ The last words recall the solemn declaration [1] read by the protonotary Peter after the recitation of the Symbol of Nicaea without the addition of the Filioque. This was the only occasion under Photius’ patriarchate when Rome’s delegates presented to Photius and to the other Patriarchs the Symbol of Nicaea without the Filioque. In the same passage, there seems also to be an open hint of Photius’ disclosure in his Mystagogia that Hadrian III had sent him his synodical letter containing the Nicene Symbol without the Filioque. This also was the only known instance under the same patriarchate.


Canon I does not mention the addition to the Symbol and Michael is quite aware of it, since he states that the canon was really meant as a manoeuvre to bind the Romans to the faith without the Filioque as laid down in the Nicene Symbol. He therefore does not appeal to the canon



1. Mansi, vol. xvii, p. 516.





as conclusive demonstration; [1] it only embodied [2] the promise which the Latins were asked at the sixth session of the synod to keep. The passage in question can therefore be taken as additional evidence that the Acts of the Photian Synod were known to the Greeks of the twelfth century in the same version as we know them to-day.


We may in this connection recall the attitude of another contemporary of Michael Anchialos, Nicetas of Maronea, a partisan of the union, who in his Dialogues, only a few fragments of which were published by Hergenröther, defended the truth of the Latin doctrine of the Holy Ghost, but strongly demurred to the addition of the Filioque to the Symbol. [3] He also must have had the decision of the sixth session of the Photian Council before his eyes, for he seems on the whole to have shared the opinion of the pontifical legates who were present at that session.


There is nothing surprising [4] in the way Michael Glycas, another contemporary of Michael of Anchialos, deals with the General Councils, when in defence of the Greek position on the Filioque [5] he appeals to the authority of the Oecumenical Councils, insisting on the Popes’ participation in those councils, but says nothing about the Photian synod. This is sufficiently explained by the fact that the Greeks did not rank the Photian Council among the great oecumenical councils, so that its decision had not the same authority for them as the decrees of the seven oecumenical Councils. Besides, in the twelfth century, Photius himself, as we have pointed out already, was not yet a topic of controversy: his case was closed and full agreement had been reached on the conflicting issues between Photius and Ignatius. This at least partly explains why his Council was not quoted as often as might have been expected.


Photius’ popularity, however, was to grow in proportion to the gradual recrudescence of anti-Latin polemics, when all the great controversialists of the second half of the twelfth century borrowed most of their arguments from Photius’ writings;



1. V. Grumel misunderstood it in this sense (‘Le Filioque au Concile Photien de 879-880’, in Échos d'Orient (1930), vol. xxix, pp. 252-64. M. Jugie (‘Les Actes du synode Photien’, ibid. (1938), vol. xxxvii, pp. 96 seq.) rightly dissociates himself from that line of argument.


2. Leo Allatius, in his De Ecclesiae Occid. et Orient, Perpetua Consensione, col. 557, correctly translates the passage as follows : ‘Hoc enim acute satis innuere existimo, cum in Canone, quo Italos admisit, continetur.’


3. P.G. vol. 139, cols. 165-221. Nicetas also appeals to the decision of oecumenical councils, but his reference is too brief.


4. V. Grumel, loc. cit. p. 264.


5. Κεφάλαια εἰς τὰς ἀπορίας τῆς Γραφῆς, edited by S. Eustratiades (Athens, 1906), pp. 341, 342, but I have not been able to come across the work.





for instance, Andronicus Camateros [1] and Nicetas Acominatos, [2] to cite only the best. We should also note in particular that the Fathers of the Council of 1156, held in Constantinople, also borrowed texts from Photius’ writings for their own purposes [3] and quoted him next to the Fathers of the Church: not that they ranked him among the Fathers, but their opinion of him illustrates at any rate the authority Photius’ writings and personality wielded in Byzantium in the twelfth century.


We may also mention as belonging to the same period some treatises on the Azymes; two short productions of this class were recently published by Leib. [4] Their anonymous authors display unvaried deference to the Latins and a sincere desire for union, but completely ignore Photius and the Greek Councils of the ninth century. [5]



To turn now to the Chroniclers of the twelfth century, whose works also touched on the period concerned, only five can be quoted: John Skylitzes, George Cedrenus, John Zonaras, Constantine Manasses, and Michael Glycas. The sources used by John Skylitzes, Cedrenus and Zonaras were, for our period, the Continuators of Theophanes and George the Monk, but their references to Photius are brief, briefer still than their sources, and they dwell chiefly on Bardas5 incest and on Michael’s orgies. Zonaras is still more laconic than his two colleagues, but all of them make Bardas responsible for the persecution of Ignatius and none is favourable to Photius, though they acknowledge his renown. They also dwell at some length on the second deposition by Leo the Wise. [6]



1. Cf. Hergenröther, Photius, vol. hi, pp. 810-15, materials of his unpublished treatise; and P.G. vol. 141, cols. 396-613.


2. Thesaurus, P.G. vol. 140, col. 173. For other borrowings, cf. col. 289.


3. Mai, Spicilegium Romanum, vol. x, pp. 38 seq.


4. ‘Deux inédits Byzantins sur les azymes’, in Orientalia Christ. (1924), no. 9, p. 3. Cf. what the writer says (ibid. p. 153) on the treatise attributed to Nicetas-David.


5. Examination of a treatise on the Azymes by John of Claudiopolis which I found in a MS. of the British Museum (Harl. 5657, fols. 1280-36, on fifteenthcentury paper) also yielded negative results. Nor was anything relevant to be found in two unpublished letters of John Camateros, Patriarch of Constantinople, addressed to Innocent III (Bibl. Nat. Cod. Paris. Graecus 1302, on parchment, thirteenth century, containing 296 fols., fols. 2700-5) and in two other short theological writings of the same class in the same MS. (Responsa Theologica, fols. 275-81; Orationes Catecheticae Duae, fols. 281-95), the latter MS. being unfortunately in a very bad condition and scarcely legible in places.


6. Skylitzes-Cedrenus (Bonn), pp. 161, 172-3 (Photios ἀνὴρ ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ γνώριμος), 205, 213, 246 seq. Zonaras, Epitome Histor. (Bonn), lib. xvi, caps. 4-11, pp. 403 (Photios ἐν λόγοις ὀνομαστότατος), 404, 405, 418, 422, 438 seq.





Mariasses and Glycas are the only chroniclers to father Ignatius’ ill-treatment on both Bardas and Photius, Manasses [1] following Photius’ bitterest enemy, the Pseudo-Simeon, and on two occasions giving Photius some very uncomplimentary titles. Michael Glycas [2] is the least independent and the shortest of all; he simply plagiarizes his immediate predecessors, Skylitzes, Zonaras and Manasses, and is the only one to make Photius responsible for Ignatius’ trials. In conclusion, the writings of the chroniclers of that period bring out what harm was done to Photius’ good name by the writers of the Porphyrogennetos school and chiefly by the Pseudo-Simeon.



1. Compendium Chronicum (Bonn), pp. 218, 219, 220 (Photios κακοῦργος), 224, 226 (ὁ βαθυγνώμων Φώτιος ἀεὶ διψῶν τοῦ θρόνου). P.G. 127, cols. 412 seq.


2. Annales (Bonn), pars iv, p. 544.








Unionists of the thirteenth century: Beccos, Metochita—The Photian Council in writings of the thirteenth century—Calecas and the champions of the Catholic thesis—Anti-Latin polemists and theologians of the fourteenth century: the Photian Council promoted to oecumenicity—Treatment of Photius and his Council by supporters of the Council of Florence—Unpublished Greek treatises on the Councils and opponents of the Union—Greek and Russian literature from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Influence of Baronius and Hergenröther on the Orientals.



It will have been noted that while Photius’ name came gradually to be quoted more frequently in the polemical writings of the twelfth century, it was not until the thirteenth century that his personality and his unfortunate anti-Latin venture became favourite topics of dispute between the partisans and the opponents of reunion. Sufficient evidence will be found in the debates that preceded and followed the Council of Lyons, when the friends of reunion opened fire by trying to convince their opponents that first Photius’ example was not one to be followed, and second, that he had no serious excuse for causing a rupture and that in any event he disowned his anti-Roman campaign by his reconciliation with Rome.


The first Greek champion of the Catholic doctrine on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, Nicephorus Blemmydes, [1] restricted himself to dogmatic arguments, but the Patriarch John Beccos was not satisfied with the sort of reasoning that had all but exclusively prevailed until his time: he was the first to use the historic method by trying to establish that no attempt to create a schism ever had a truly dogmatic cause behind it. He also directly attacked the first Greek controversialists.


It was natural that Beccos should single out the Photian case for special attention and he made Photius responsible for the whole trouble. From the way he continually harped on this topic through all his writings, it was clear how much importance he attached to what Photius had to answer for, and as in Beccos’ days Photius had become a hero to all who hated the Latins and a Father of the Church representative of Greek doctrine, and as his example and his writings were the object



1. P.G. vol. 142, cols. 533-84.





of the highest praise, it was necessary to tackle the evil by striking at its roots.


Beccos [1] dealt more fully with the Photius incident in his works on the reunion of the Churches, in which he aimed at showing that it was not the Filioque or any other alleged abuse of the Roman Church that was the cause of the Photian schism, and that Photius’ history proved that he did not fall out with Rome over these ‘abuses’, though he knew them well, as long as he remained uncertain whether his ascent to the patriarchal throne would receive Rome’s approval or not. This contention was borne out by the facts in the conflict between Photius and the Popes.


When Ignatius [2]—’a man of so exalted a degree of sanctity that his memory has been venerated to this day by the Church, the reward of all those who please God’—was Patriarch, Photius, ‘a man of great learning and wisdom, cast his eyes upon the See5 and yearned for its possession. He dethroned Ignatius, who appealed to Rome. Pope Nicholas summoned Photius to return the See to the legitimate Patriarch, but Photius tried to bring the Pope over to his side, and in a lengthy letter pleaded on his own behalf and detailed the issues that divided the two Churches. This passage of the letter is quoted by Beccos at full length, which proves, so the Patriarch asserts, that Photius was perfectly aware of all the characteristic customs that differentiated the Roman from the Greek Church. But, as long as there remained any prospect of Nicholas deciding in his favour, Photius refrained from making a grievance of any of these customs, altering his tactics when he was excommunicated by Nicholas and his successor Hadrian; then only did he bitterly reproach Rome with various customs as though they were grave abuses. Beccos quotes the most striking passages from the letter, and as his two quotations must have caused surprise, he concludes: ‘This makes it clear that the schism was not brought about by any eagerness for truth [true doctrine] but by Photius’ own wilfulness.’ As though this were not enough, Beccos goes on:


As Pope John, who followed Hadrian, Nicholas’ successor, on the apostolic throne, did not feel the same aversion to Photius and received him with kindness after his reinstatement on the patriarchal throne, Photius summoned a synod of over three hundred bishops in Constantinople, promulgated some canons and anathematized whatever he had said at the time of his quarrel with the Roman Church.



1. On his writings, see V. Laurent, ‘Le Cas de Photius dans l’Apologétique du Patriarche Jean XI Beccos (1274-82) au Lendemain du Deuxième Concile de Lyon’, in Échos d'Orient (1930), vol. xxix, pp. 396-407.


2. P.G. vol. 141, cols. 928-42 seq.





Then, at one of the sittings of the Reunion Synod, het hus addressed John, who then governed the Church which Photius had so violently abused in his previous speeches.



Here Beccos quotes a few extracts from the opening speech of welcome addressed to the papal legates and other similar passages, all in praise of the Pope. ‘Photius also said some flattering things in the course of this Reunion Synod, making it obvious, as we have been trying to prove, that whatever Photius had said or done against the Roman Church was merely an outlet for his ill-feeling and petulance.’ All this is perfectly clear, says the Patriarch, and no other document is needed to prove it: to make sure, however, he also quotes the letters which Photius sent after his reconciliation to Marinus, Gauderich and Zachary of Anagni.


In the third book of his treatise, dedicated to Theodore, [1] bishop of Sugdea, Beccos returns to the subject and repeats the same argument; he quotes some passages from the letters of Nicholas and Hadrian to Photius, refers to the latter’s reply and concludes by repeating word for word the extract of the Reunion Synod; he then adds a quotation from the Mystagogy, which pays homage to Pope John and recalls the fact that he made his legates sign the Symbol of the Faith at the Reunion Synod. ’Our enemies’—so Beccos goes on—‘would have it that Photius made peace with the Romans only because John had sanctioned the Symbol without the Filioque; but no one in his senses will ever believe that things happened this way, and this because no dogmatic decision was issued by a synod that had only been summoned to restore peace in the Church.’ Photius, as soon as he found a Pope willing to sanction his appointment, merely wished to cover his true motives and screen himself behind soft and apologetic words to soothe those who might have criticized his sudden volte-face. Photius only wanted an excuse to make his peace with John and found his chance when John made his legates sign the Symbol without the Filioque. [2]


Beccos returned to this theme in his refutation of the Mystagogy, where he sharply criticizes Photius for his instability, so unworthy of a Prince of the Church, and insinuates that Photius had prepared some sort of an apology, pretending that John had appreciated the compliments addressed to him by the Patriarch. He then goes on: ’I refuse to admit that Photius shifted from hostility to peace just because Pope John had signed and approved the Symbol, since we profess the same without the addition.’ [3] This is not all. The zealous champion of Catholic doctrine and reunion also mentions Photius in a sermon on



1. Ibid. cols. 326 seq.            2. Ibid. cols. 852 seq.            3. Ibid. col. 853.





his deposition, [1] when Beccos recalls the demonstration he once published to the effect that Photius had been roused against the Church not by any breath of divine zeal, but by sheer perversity. However that may be, the scandal was short-lived, as the culprit himself removed it; he summoned ‘a great and all but oecumenical synod’, [2] when he healed the sore of the scandal by applying the remedy of correction. Then again, more than 160 years elapsed between Photius and Cerularius, when the Church lived in perfect peace.


Beccos5 method of presenting the Photian Council is quoted [3] to justify the assertion that the Acts of that Council were falsified at the end of the thirteenth century or the beginning of the fourteenth, on the ground that Beccos knew a version of the Acts totally different from the version known to-day, Beccos’ Acts containing a solemn anathema undoing all that Photius had said and written against the Roman Church, and a statement that he intended to meet John VIII’s written recommendation to humble himself and apologize to the Council.


This is an overstatement of the case, as there is nothing to justify such an interpretation of Beccos’ words. We only need to recall what he said in his book on the reunion of the Churches : to prove his allegation that Photius had anathematized whatever he had said and written against the Church of Rome, Beccos merely quotes the compliments which the Patriarch of Constantinople addressed to the legates of the Holy See and to Pope John. This—Beccos contends—is sufficient proof of his statement, and he quotes, as additional support to his argument, the three letters addressed by Photius to some Italian bishops.


Now these letters and compliments did show that Photius had completely veered round in his attitude to Rome, but not that Photius had uttered the anathemas attributed to him by Beccos. As Beccos is always looking for conclusive arguments and omits nothing that serves his purpose, he would have been only too delighted to quote the famous anathemas uttered in the presence of a council against all Photius’ antiLatin writings, if they had in fact been uttered. If he could not quote them, it was only because there were none to quote.


We are forced, then, to fall back upon canon I of the Reunion Council, since the anathemas which Beccos utilizes to the utmost are found nowhere else. Controversialists naturally make mountains of mole-hills and the Patriarch did find some justification for reading into



1. P.G. vol. 141, Oratio 11, col. 980.


2. διὰ μεγάλης καὶ ἀντικρὺς οἰκουμενικῆς συνόδου.


3. V. Laurent, ‘Le Cas de Photius. . .’, loc. cit. pp. 407-15.





Photius’ action the actual recantation of his words and deeds against Rome. Beccos also admits that the legates of John VIII signed the Symbol of the Faith. According to the Acts of the Photian Council, this was done during the sixth session, and as we know of no other suitable occasion, we must conclude that Beccos knew the same version of the Acts as we do.



Beccos’ writings on the Photian schism are supplemented by the interpretation which his disciple George Metochita gives to the unionist Patriarch’s opinion on Photius. Metochita dealt with the Photian schism in the first book of his history of dogma, [1] where he recalled, after the manner of his master and often using the same phrases as Beccos, the origin of the quarrel between Ignatius and Photius and Rome’s intervention.


Such behaviour on the part of Photius [he writes later] might with some show of reason be called satanic; but since Photius controlled himself and displayed his better feelings, we need not attribute it to anything but common human aberration. For once the skilful pilot came to the helm of the Roman barque, he who was so gracious to Photius in word and deed, directed him to quieter waters and offered him the anchor of reconciliation, Photius took in sail and sang, as we say, the palinode, [2] as he followed the straight course indicated to him. After his rancour had subsided, he set to work as best he could for reconciliation. He ceased to act as carelessly as he had done during the conflict; nor was he alone this time as he was known to be when he worked for the schism, but followed a definite plan and on canonical lines. At a synodical conclave of more than three hundred bishops gathered from many places he set everything right, decided that the Pope should keep for ever his age-long privileges and applied to the evil a remedy so strong as to make people say rightly: Where hatred once abounded, the grace of peace has abounded more.


[Chapter vii] But let none be so perverse as to object that Photius and his synod settled nothing until the Symbol had been publicly read without its addition, as though implying that the Romans implicitly consented to its suppression. Granted that the Symbol was read in that form (I am not questioning that, for I know that the Romans, at some definite date, recited with or without us the Symbol minus the Filioque in accordance with ancient tradition) ; but what I ask is whether the Romans, as a result of dogmatic discussions or otherwise, acquiesced in its suppression, as though they had been reprimanded for the addition and confessed to their mistake.



1. Georgii Metochitae Diaconi Historiae Dogmaticae Lib. I et II; A. Mai, Patrum Nova Bibliotheca (Roma, 1854-1905), vol. viii, lib. i, chs. vi-ix, pp. 9 seq.


2. καὶ παλινῳδίαν ᾖσε κατὰ τὸν φάμενον.





But I find no evidence of such a surrender and nobody after reading the books on the subject will dare to affirm such a thing, unless some recent writers have altered, or are trying to alter, the case, a common practice with those who are out to back up schism, as happened recently and in the more remote past. [1]


The truth is exactly the reverse. Anybody can see for himself that the oft-mentioned Photius consigned to fire and anathema, without any hesitation or discussion, [2] and in token of his clear and genuine reprobation, all he had said and written against the Roman Church in connection with the addition of words which he had considered to be wicked and absurd and which had prompted a series of blasphemies and charges against the Roman Church for the most horrible crimes. The Romans then did what I know they are still doing to-day: they approved, held dear and considered as orthodox all those who recite the Symbol as it has always been recited, and with them they wished to be at peace. For the Romans also, as I have stated before, openly recite the Symbol on certain days in the same manner, with full knowledge of the tradition of the Fathers.


[Chapter VIII] But... no one capable of judging these matters and reading the account of them would admit that the reading of the Symbol in full Council implied the Romans’ consent to the suppression of the additional words. . . and it would surely be easy to find in the records of that time that whatever has been said and written against the Roman Church in connection with these words was disowned and wiped out. . . .



Neither can it be said that the Romans consented to the suppression ‘of those oft-repeated words’, since ‘they were weary of the protracted struggle’, or ‘because they showed themselves too obliging, since at that time the Greeks were anxious to conciliate the Roman Church’. Both assumptions are preposterous.


Photius knew all this [Metochita goes on] and he knew that he had to make up for his invectives against the Roman Church and against true peace, the results, as I said, of human weakness ; and by thinking thus, he only did what was owing to the legates who had shown him such kindness and acquitted themselves of their mission so well. Their mutual affection was no more than one would expect.


They had brought him liturgical presents from the Holy See—a phelonion, an omophorion, with a sticharion and sandals, which he received with great joy, paying homage to the Pope who had sent the gifts and overwhelming the legates with praise: and that is how things happened, as far as Photius and the entente between the two Churches were concerned. The result was a greater stability, further guaranteed by a conciliar decree, which increased as time went on and the Patriarchs succeeded each other for many years.



1. ὁποῖα πλεῖστα τοῖς τὸ σχίσμα κρατύνασι καὶ κρατύνουσι, καὶ νῦν καὶ πρότερον πέπρακται.


2. δίχα πολυπραγμοσύνης τινός.





They numbered sixteen after Photius, all shedding lustre on their patriarchal dignity by the splendour of their many charismata, their eloquence and their wisdom, and all of them bent on keeping the laws of union and harmony with daily increasing diligence, and on persevering in concord.



Now what is one to make of these words of George Metochita? [1] They certainly do not warrant the conclusion that either Beccos himself or George Metochita knew any other edition of the Acts of the Photian Council than the one we possess to-day. Metochita first throws light on his master’s words about the reading of the Symbol at the Council, when he states that the Symbol was read at the Council, but without the Filioque; but this can only refer to the sixth session. In mentioning the Roman custom of reciting the Symbol ‘in accordance with ancient tradition’, Metochita also follows his master, who on two occasions quotes such a custom in his works, [2] while taking Photius to task for exploiting the fact that Leo III had had the Symbol engraved on two tablets to be placed on the tomb of St Peter.


Metochita also makes reference to the anathema pronounced on all that Photius had said or written against the Roman Church in connection with the Filioque, but his words can only be explained in the same way as those of Beccos, since both embody an interpretation of canon I of the Photian Council. Metochita states that everything was ‘consigned to fire and anathema without any hesitation, without discussion’, but ‘as implying a clear and unmistakable condemnation’.


These were, after all, the contents of the Acts as we know them, and if they are to be credited no notice was taken of what Photius had previously said or written; not a word was said about it: the implicit condemnation in the anathemas of canon I seemed to be all that mattered.


We also note that Metochita, exactly like his master, flatly denied that any dogmatic question was raised at the Photian Council :


What I should like to know [he exclaims] is whether the Romans, as a result of dogmatic discussions or otherwise, acquiesced in its [i.e. Filioque] suppression, as though they had been reprimanded for the addition and had confessed to their mistake. But I find no evidence of such a surrender and nobody after reading the books on the subject will dare to affirm such a thing.



1. Metochita also mentions Photius in three other places of his long treatise: ibid. l. i, ch. XIII, p. 18, ch. xxxi, p. 44, and he tells of Beccos’ efforts to get at the truth: De Historia Dogmatica, Sermo III, ch. 67-9; A. Mai, ibid. vol. x, Sermo III, p. 353, ch. 67-9; and in his treatise Contra Manuelem Cretensem (ed. L. Allatius), Graecia Orthodoxa (Rome, 1652, 1659), vol. ii, pp. 1068 seq.


2. De Unione Ecclesiarum, loc. cit., col. 112; Refutatio Photiani Libri de Spir. S. loc. cit, cols. 845 seq.





This is exactly what happened according to the Acts in our possession, and were we to think that Photius acknowledged the hollowness of his attacks and even apologized to the Council, we should have to assume a dogmatic discussion at the same Council, and contradict Beccos’ and Metochita’s emphatic assertion that in the course of the Council, according to the Acts they had in their possession, no such theological discussion ever took place.


At the end of his exposition, Metochita, like his master, offers no other argument in support of his contention, i.e. that Photius had anathematized and committed to the flames all his anti-Roman invectives, than the Patriarch’s own kind words to the legates and to John VIII, but nothing of this proves that the Acts of the Photian Council had been tampered with at that time. Beccos and Metochita assert on the contrary that they knew of no other account of what took place at the Photian Council than the one we read in the Greek Acts we possess to-day, and in their examination of the Photian case they came to the same conclusion as Nicetas of Nicaea had reached in the eleventh century. He also discovered that Photius’ schism was without any foundation in fact, and with the Acts of the Photian Council before his eyes noted that no mention whatever was made there of Roman errors, concluding, like Metochita, that if those errors were at all reprehensible, they should have been dealt with at that Council.



The writings of these two champions of the cause of unity also corroborate the fact that in their days the Photian Council, for all its great reputation, was not classed among the oecumenical councils. Metochita calls it ’almost oecumenical’: [1] the first Graeco-Catholics therefore admitted the validity of this synod, whereas they did not admit the validity of the Ignatian Council of 869-70; logically enough, since it had been annulled by the Council of 879-80. For all the esteem they professed for St Ignatius, they shared in this respect the opinion of their opponents.


Note also that Nicetas of Nicaea had a vague remembrance of having heard of a quarrel between the two Churches under Patriarch Sergius, but Metochita knows nothing about it; on the contrary, he emphatically states, complementing his master’s words, that from Photius to Cerularius the two Churches lived in perfect peace and even gives the number of Patriarchs who succeeded each other in the interval. -



1. De Historia Dogmatica, Sermo III, ch. 67; Mai, loc. cit. vol. x, p. 353: διὰ μεγάλης καὶ σχεδὸν οἰκουμενικῆς συνόδου, τὰ τῆς προτέρας ἑνοτικῆς....





Of any disagreement arising between the two Churches under Pope Formosus he knows nothing, and as the Photian incident should have been recalled in this connection, a champion of the Catholic side might at least have been expected to say a word about it. But he did not.


The verdict of these ardent Unionists on Photius and his relations with Ignatius is also interesting in other respects : the Byzantines were beginning to lose completely the true notion of what happened in Byzantium in 859; and no wonder, if we remember how the writers of the Porphyrogennetos school mishandled the facts. At the time when Beccos and Metochita were writing, it was scarcely possible for anybody to verify the facts as reported by nearly ail the chroniclers—which may also explain why the name of Photius is missing from some Byzantine Synaxaria of this period. Evidently, the name of Photius had by this time become a symbol of division between the unionists and the orthodox, [1] the clash between the two affording the opportunity to hasten the growth of the Photian Legend, even in the Eastern world.


Confirmation of what we have said about Beccos and his disciple comes from a work—unpublished, unfortunately—by Job Jasites, though its most interesting passage has been made public by Cardinal Hergenröther. [2] In a book written against the Latins at the suggestion of the Patriarch Joseph, Job writes: ‘The sixth session of the Council summoned at the time gives us clear evidence of the manner in which Photius received the Latins.’ After quoting a long portion of the session, Job proceeds: ‘Do not come and tell me that the Roman Church made no innovations later. . . .’ Now Job Jasites makes it evident that he knows exactly the same version of the Photian Council as that used by his opponents, for he uses the same argument as Metochita attempted to refute, namely, that the Romans, by signing the Symbol without the Filioque, had ‘abjured’ their heresy, and that therefore Photius was quite consistent in making peace with the Latins. In another Greek code of the Munich Library, again on Hergenröther’s information, 3[] there is another quotation from the sixth session made by the Bulgarian archbishop Gennadios.



1. A curious parallel is found in the Synodicon of the Church of Rhodes (N. Cappuyns, ‘Le Synodicon de l’Église de Rhodes au XIVe siècle’, in Échos d'Orient (1934), vol. XXXIII, pp. 196-217). Photius’ name appears in three different places of this document, is scored out and later replaced. Cappuyns (pp. 212, 213) is of opinion that the name figured in the original composition and was scored out perhaps at a time when the Church of Rhodes had moved towards Rome, i.e. about 1274. There is a good deal to be said for the conjecture.


2. Photius, vol. ii, pp. 525, 526, Cod. Monac. Gr. 68, fols. 45-520:.


3. Loc. cit. vol. II, p. 536, Cod. Monac. Gr. 256, fol. 28.





In the present stage of research in this field, this is almost all we can find about Photius in the controversial writings of the thirteenth century. A rapid survey of the works I have been able to consult will facilitate the verification of our statements.


Nicholas Mesarites, one of the first polemists of that period, [1] Nicephorus Blemmydes, [2] George Acropolites [3] have nothing to say about either Photius or the councils; Manuel Moschopulos [4] and the other students of Beccos, Constantine the Meliteniot, [3] George of Cyprus, [6] John Chilas, [7] Theoleptos of Philadelphia, [8] the Patriarch Anastasius Makedon [9] and Maximos Planudes [10] are all silent on the subject.


Other writers discuss the oecumenical councils, but leave Photius out; the Patriarch Gregory of Alexandria, for instance, who in the profession of faith he submitted to John, Patriarch of Constantinople, declared his acceptance of the seven oecumenical councils. [11]



1. A. Heisenberg, ’Die Unionsverhandlungen vom 30 August, 1206. Patriarchenwahl und Kaiserkrönung in Nikaia, 1208’, in Sitzungsber. d. bayr. Akad., Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1923), pp. 15-25. Cf. J. Pargoire, ‘Nicolas Mésaritès, Métropolite d’Éphèse’, in Échos d'Orient (1904), vol. vii, pp. 219-26. I have not been able to consult the edition of Nicholas’ three works by Arsenii (Novgorod, 1896). Cf. also Janin, ‘Au lendemain de la conquête de Constantinople’, in Échos d'Orient (1933), vol. XXXII, pp. 5-21, 195-202.


2. De Process. S. Spir., P.G. vol. 142, cols. 533-84; Lämmer, Graeciae Orth. loc. cit. pp. 108-86.


3. Λόγος περὶ τῆς Ἐκπορεύσεως, in Demetrakopulos, Ἐκκλ. βιβλ. pp. 395-411.


4. Διάλεξις πρὸς Λατίνους, Cod. Parisinus Graecus 969 (14th c.), fols. 315-19.


5. De Process. S. Spir., P.G. vol. 141, cols. 1032-1273.


6. Scripta Apologetica, P.G. vol. 142, cols. 233-300. Beccos’ reply to these writings, P.G. vol. 141, cols. 864 seq.


7. Libellus de Process. S. Sp., P.G. vol. 135, cols. 505-8. A few of John’s letters preserved in Cod. Paris. Graec. 2022 (14th c.), fols. 150-7 provide no information on the subject.


8. Tractatus de Operatione in Christo, P.G. vol. 143, cols. 381-404 (only a fragment).


9. P.G. vol. 142, cols. 480-513 (Letters to the Emperor, Cod. Paris. Graec. 137, fols. 16-113).


10. Tria Capita, refuted by G. Metochita, P.G. vol. 141, cols. 1276-1308. Another work against the Latins, Cod. Vindob. Theol. 269, fol. 77, only I have not made a thorough study of it. M. Laurent, ‘La Vie et les Œuvres de Georges Moschabar’, in Échos d'Orient (1929), vol. xxviii, p. 135 mentions a debate between the monk Hierotheus and the Latin bishop of Crotone, who had entered the service of Michael Palaeologus: preserved in the Marc. Gr. 153.


11. P.G. vol. 152, cols. 1102, 1103: οὕτως ὁμολογῶ οὕτως κηρύττω, δεχόμενος καὶ στέργων καὶ ἀσπαζόμενος ἐκ μέσης ψυχῆς τὰς ἁγίας καὶ οἰκουμενικὰς ἑπτὰ συνόδους, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τόπους ὀρθοδόξως γεγενημένας.





A very curious and important reference to the councils is to be found in a work by the Emperor Theodore II Lascaris against the Latins and on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, [1] where the imperial writer proves his point with quotations from Holy Scripture and the Fathers, maintains that all the councils approved the Symbol as drawn up by the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, and finally enumerates the seven councils with a few particulars on each. It may be noted that while omitting most of the names of other Patriarchs, he always places the Pope or his representative at the head of each list. None but the Emperor has the right to summon councils; the Photian Council is not mentioned, as it was not classed with the oecumenical councils, but the Emperor’s list of the councils is borrowed from one of those pamphlets on the councils which were very widespread at the time. [2]


But it is useless to prolong our search through the works of the historians and chroniclers of the period : George Acropolites and George Pachymerus, as we know, do not deal with the period we are concerned with; Joel’s chronicle offers nothing interesting, as Photius and his case receive only scant treatment; and all he has to say is that the Patriarch Ignatius was forcibly dethroned and that Photius was expelled from the patriarchate for having reproved Basil for his crime. A single sentence, and very vague at that, summarizes Photius’ second deposition. [3]


Equally scant and unimportant is the information to be found in the anonymous history published by Sathas, [4] a chronicle which lightly



1. H. B. Swete, Theodorus Lascaris Junior de Processione Spiritus Sancti (London, 1875), Λόγος προλογητικὸς πρὸς ἐπίσκοπον Κοτρύνης κατὰ Λατίνων περὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος, pp. 17-20. Note also the writings of an anonymous controversialist of the period published by C. Simoniades, Ὀρθοδ. Ἑλλήνων θεολογικαὶ γραφαὶ τέσσαρες (London, 1859), and attributed by him partly to Nicholas of Methone (cf. Krumbacher, loc. cit. p. 87). Reference is there found to the first six councils (pp. 36-8) but not to Photius. The same is true of a treatise by George Coressios, published in the same work (pp. 91-108).


2. The Patriarch Germanos II (1222-40), in his second letter to the Cypriots, lists seven Oecumenical Councils (Epistola 11 ad Cyprios), J. B. Cotelerius, Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta (Paris, 1681), vol. il, ch. vil, p. 479. So does the Patriarch Arsenios (1267) in his Testament (Testamentum Ss. Arsenii archiep. Const., ibid, vol. ii, p. 169). Cf. ibid. vol. iii, pp. 495 seq., Criminationes adversus Ecclesiam Latinam, written after the conquest of Constantinople ; and Norden, Das Papsttum und Byzanz, loc. cit. pp. 204 seq., on the pourparlers between the Greeks and the Latins. On the same subject, A. Heisenberg, ‘Neue Quellen zur Geschichte des Lat. Kaisertums und der Kirchenunion’, in Sitzungsber. d. bayr. Akad., Phil.-Hist. Kl. (1923), part il : ‘Die Unionsverhandlungen vom 30 August 1206.’


3. (Bonn), pp. 55, 56.


4. C. Sathas, Bibliotheca Graeca Medii Aevi (Paris, 1894), vol. vil, pp. 142-51.





runs over the principal events of Photius’ history and also attributes to Bardas Ignatius’ deposition and the unjust treatment meted out to him.



It should now be clear that it was the unionist writers and controversialists who in the thirteenth century began to make a more systematic use of Photius, while the orthodox copied their opponents’ tactics by trying to turn to their own advantage the facts connected with Photius’ schism and his reconciliation; and so the Photian Council came into prominence for the first time. The Photian litigation was also turned to controversial profit in the fourteenth century and there again, after the example of Beccos and his students, it was the Catholics who took the initiative. Of all the unionists, the writer who ventured farthest in this direction was Manuel Calecas, who more than any of his predecessors had been influenced by the Latin point of view and shared with the Western theologians of his day an exalted notion of the Papacy.


Take for instance the interesting passage on the Pope’s power in the fourth book of his work against the Greeks, [1] where Calecas takes his cue from the notorious Donatio Constantini and faces the problem: Who has the right to summon councils?


We saw just now how the Emperor Theodore Lascaris claimed this right for the Emperors exclusively by quoting the precedent that all general councils had in fact been summoned by them. The notion was general among the Greeks, but the question was how to reconcile it with the rights of the Papacy. To the great relief of the unionists, Manuel Calecas set out to solve it, stoutly upholding the Dictatus Papae to prove that the right belonged to the Pope alone, endeavouring to explain the convocation of the first councils in this sense and supporting his position with many quotations from St Basil and St Gregory of Nazianzus.


Calecas betrays the debt he owes to the Latin theology of his time even in his references to Photian polemics, [2] when he re-echoes the Patriarch Beccos and Metochita and emphasizes the injustice done to Ignatius and throws the whole responsibility on Photius, who was craving for the patriarchal throne ‘quem adipisci non poterat, nisi permittente Romano Pontifice; necesse enim erat, ex more, ab eo auctoritatem confirmationemque venire. . .’.



1. Adversus Graecos Libri iv, P.G. vol. 152, cols. 243 seq.


2. Ibid. lib. IV, cols. 205 seq.





Calecas, like his forerunners, then describes how Ignatius appealed to Rome and how Nicholas I and Hadrian II intervened ; but his tone is far more aggressive than that of the Patriarch or Metochita. After describing the reconciliation made under John VIII, he attacks the claim that Photius was reconciled with the Latins because they had condemned the addition of the Filioque to the Symbol, though it is true, he adds, that there is a reference to the Filioque in the sixth session, but ‘it should be known that this was later added by synodal decisions purporting to show that such additions are prohibited; it is evident, however, that this is not reasonable’. Calecas then recalls as his main argument the fact that the Commonitorium, in outlining a procedure for the legates to follow, said nothing about the Filioque. Since the main object of the Council was the recognition of Photius, there was no call for him to raise the Filioque scare, for he would have risked the Pope’s recognition. No, he concludes, it was not the Filioque that caused the schism: only Photius’ pride. Calecas also wrote a work on the Procession of the Holy Ghost which has long been erroneously attributed to Demetrios Cydones, [1] but it makes no reference to Photius.


Calecas’ line of argument has of course its weaknesses, and given the Greeks’ mentality at the time he could not expect to rally much sympathy among them towards the Pope’s supreme power. It was only too easy to deny an inconvenient historical fact and it takes more than emphasis to make a denial convincing.


The other champions of the Catholic position do not appear to have gone the length of Calecas. Maximos Chrysoberges takes his cue from Beccos in telling the story of the origin of the schism, [2] but in his opinion Ignatius was not ill-treated by Photius, as Calecas asserts, but only by the Government. Unfairly raised to the patriarchal throne and unable to obtain Rome’s recognition, Photius trumped up the Latin heresy of the Filioque ; and this is all he has to say about the incident in his treatise, which is unfortunately too short.


A study by another unionist, Manuel Chrysoloras, still remains unpublished, [3] but I was able to consult it in a MS. of the Paris



1. P.G. vol. 154, cols. 864-958. See G. Mercati, ‘Notizie di Procore e Demetrio Cidone, Manuele Caleca e Teodoro Meliteniota ed altri appunti per la storia della teologia e della litteratura Bizantina del secolo XIV’, in Studi i Testi (Città del Vaticano, 1931), vol. lvi, pp. 62 seq.


2. De Process. S. Spir., P.G. vol. 154, cols. 1224 seq.


3. Paris. Graecus 1300 of the sixteenth century on paper. Manuel contents himself with quoting Fathers of the Church who, he thinks, favour the Filioque, says very little of the councils and mentions neither Photius nor his synod.





National Library, only to find that it entirely neglects the historical problems under discussion. His published letters provide no information. [1] Demetrios Cydones [2] never once alludes to Photius in his long apology in which he explains to his countrymen how he was driven to the conviction that the Catholic doctrine is true and why he had translated some Latin theological works into Greek.



The anti-Latin controversialists and theologians have little to say about Photius : Barlaam [3] merely notes in his treatise against the Latins that the origin of the schism is connected with the name of Photius; Nilus of Thessalonica [4] has nothing about Photius in his published writings, though he wrote about the schism and about the Pope. Joseph Bryennios is more definite and refers in his work about the Trinity [5] to the sixth session of the Photian Council, which he interprets in an antiLatin sense, quoting in support the letter of John VIII to Photius, the authenticity of which remains very doubtful—the first occurrence, as far as I know, of this document in the polemical writings about the Filioque. One may regret that Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulos did not complete his Ecclesiastical History, as he announced in his introduction 6 that he would deal with the history of Ignatius and Photius in the twenty-second chapter, but the book stops short at the year 610.


In order to gather a clear idea of the place Photius and his Council occupied in the writings of the anti-Latin controversialists and theologians of the fourteenth century, I have consulted a number of treatises, some of them unpublished, but found to my surprise that



1. P.G. vol. 156, cols. 24-60.


2. G. Mercati, ‘Notizie di Procore e Demetrio Cidone’, loc. cit. pp. 359 seq. Cf. M. Jugie, ‘Demetrius Cydonès et la Théologie Latine à Byzance aux XlVe et XVe siècle’, in Échos d'Orient (1928)., vol. xxxi, pp. 385-402. G. Mercati also discovered some letters by Demetrius Cydones, published by M. Cammelli, but I have not seen them. Cf. G. Mercati, ‘Per l’Epistolario di Demetrio Cidone’, in Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici (1930), vol. hi, pp. 203-30; V. Laurent, ‘La Correspondance de Demetrius Cydonès’, in Échos d'Orient (1931), vol. xxxiv, pp. 338—54. Cf. G. Cammelli, ‘Personnaggi Bizantini dei secoli XIV—XV attraverso le Epistole di Demetrio Cidonio,’ in Bessarione (1920), vol. xxiv, pp. 77-108.


3. Pro Latinis, P.G. vol. 151, col. 1266 (written when he became a partisan of the union). Few of his anti-Latin writings have been published.


4. De Dissidio Ecclesiarum et de Papa, P.G. vol. 149, cols. 683-729.


5. Περὶ τῆς ἁγίας Τριάδος Λόγος (8th ed. by E. Bulgaris; Leipzig, 1768), vol. 1, pp. 138 seq.


6. Ecclesiastica Historia, P.G. vol. 145, col. 617.





Photius’ case is never mentioned. [1] On the other hand, Simeon, archbishop of Thessalonica, in his treatise Of Heresies, [2] refers several times to the Latin 'heresy’ of the Filioque, as well as to other 'abuses’, but without mentioning Photius by name. He only alludes to his Council.


More interesting is the observation on Photius found in the biography of Anthony Cauleas, attributed to Nicephorus Gregoras, where the author tells us that the troubles of which his hero was to remedy the consequences were the sequel of the iconoclastic struggles. He is full of praise for Photius, but in the same breath severely blames him for his pride and the lust for power that roused him against Ignatius. Photius is there alleged to have drawn the young Emperor Michael, or rather Bardas, into his scheme, the author here evidently taking his cue from the historians and chroniclers who since the tenth century had misrepresented Photius’ accession in that manner. His appreciation is none the less worth considering. [3]



1. Paris. Graecus 1303 (14th-15th c., on paper), fols. 176: Arsenii monachi Scholia in Sanctorum Patrum Loca, quae Latinorum Doctrinae Favent, ibid, fols. 35 seq.; Gregorii Cyprii Expositio fidei adversus Beccum, fols. 36a-49a; ejusdem Apologia, fols. 50-64; ejusdem confessionis excerptum, fols. 65a—69a; ejusdem ad Andronicum imp. epistola, fol. 70; Theodosii mon. tract, de process. Spiritus S., fols. 71a—77a; Arsenii mon. Nicolai Methonensis et Anonymi fragmenta de eodem, fols. 78-144a; only the Treatise of Nicephorus Blemmydes, fols. 145-62, makes mention of the Seventh Council (fols. 161a-162a); the pamphlet by the monk Philarges (Paris. Graecus 1295, 15th-16th c., on paper, fols. 85a-98); the short letters by Demetrius Chrysoloras (Paris. Graecus 1191, 15th c., on paper, fols. 39a-45). The letters are interesting for the personal information they supply on the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, whose trusted confidant Chrysoloras was; but his correspondence has nothing about Photius (Legrand, Lettres de l'Empereur Manuel Paléologue, Paris, 1893); nothing in the treatise by the hieromonachus Macarius Macres (Πρὸς Λατίνους, ed. Dositheos, Τόμος Καταλλαγῆς (Jassy, 1692), pp. 412-21). There is a treatise by another Macarius in the Paris. Graecus 1218 (15th c.), but I have not seen it. There is no mention of Photius in the short study by Isaias of Cyprus (P.G. vol. 158, cols. 971-6).


2. P.G. vol. 155, cols. 33-176.


3. This biography is found in the Munich MS. 10, fols. 87, 88 and is quoted by Hergenröther, Photius, vol. II, pp. 697, 719 and 720:

Μ. R. Guilland, Essai sur Nicéphore Gregoras (Paris, 1926), vol. xxvi, pp. 174, 175, was unaware of this passage and attributes to Gregoras another biography of Cauleas (P.G. vol. 106, cols. 181-200) written by a certain Nicephorus. I must see the MS. before attempting a definite solution of this problem.





This is of course not all that was written on Photius in the fourteenth century and more than one interesting remark could be found in other works. Cardinal G. Mercati, for instance, in discussing the writings of Isaac Argyros, [1] gives two quotations very complimentary to our Patriarch. Unluckily, the works of many controversialists and theological writers of that age are still patiently waiting for publishers to rescue them from the dust of their libraries : so long is the list, [2] that it is still impossible to obtain a full picture of what the Byzantines of the fourteenth century thought about their great Patriarch; nevertheless the works that have come to light give us a fair notion of it.


We also possess fairly definite information on the growth of Byzantine opinion about the Photian Council in the fourteenth century, as the anti-Latin controversialists often quoted its sixth session in order to support their opinions and naturally tried to make the most of its authority. Manuel Calecas tells us, for instance, in the quotation on Photius, that some people were calling that synod the Eighth Council, [3] and Simeon of Thessalonica substantiates the report. After giving the names of the seven great oecumenical councils and commenting on their decisions regarding the Symbol, he adds in chapter xix of his Dialogue against Heresies the following words : [4]


After the Seventh Council, no other oecumenical council was held with the exception of the one called the Eighth, of which even the Latins make mention. Its Acts are fairly well known and they tell us what innovations the Latins have made and how that Council anathematized those who would presume to say that the Divine Spirit proceeds from the Son.



Neilos of Thessalonica [5] also states that the Latins knew of that Council:


The oecumenical Synod that follows the Seventh Council, summoned by three hundred and eighty Fathers, as the Latins say in their canons, aimed at the restoration of peace between the two Churches, removed from the Symbol the additional article on the Spirit being from the Son and condemned it as a source of scandals. This oecumenical Synod was attended by the Pope’s representatives, the bishops Paul and Eugenius, and the Cardinal-priest Peter, who led all the debates. Even Pope John, in whose reign all this happened,



1. Loc. cit. pp. 231, 232: ὡς ὁ πολὺς ἐν σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει Φώτιος ἐν τῇ πονηθείσῃ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ βίβλῳ ἀπορίας καὶ λύσεις περιεχούσῃ τῶν ἐν τῇ θείᾳ ἐμφερομένων γραφῇ. . . . Vatic. Graec. 1102, p. 290, ibid. fol. 13: ὁ σοφώτατος ἐν πατριάρχαις Φώτιος.


2. Cf. A. Demetrakopoulos, Ὀρθ. Ἑλλάς, loc. cit. pp. 91-8; Krumbacher, loc. cit. pp. no, 114.


3. P.G. vol. 152, col. 206.

4. P.G. vol. 155, col. 97.


5. Passage quoted from an unpublished work against the Latins by L. Allatius, De Octava Synodo, loc. cit. pp. 162, 163.





approved by letters and decrees whatever had been done, after due explanations. This is denied by the Latins, though I do not know why, but as they never revoked the decision, the matter remains authentic.



The passage is curious and may suggest that the Greek controversialists knew Gratian’s Decretum and had found there the famous canon of the Photian Council. No other explanation would properly meet the case.


Nicholas Cabasilas, like his uncle and predecessor in the see of Thessalonica, Neilos, mentions the same Council, but goes a step further by calling it the Eighth Oecumenical Council. [1]


Joseph Bryennios also deals with this synod without, however, calling it the Eighth Oecumenical Council:


Seventy-five years elapsed after the Seventh Council when another council was summoned in the imperial city in the reign of Basil the Macedonian. The purpose of this convocation, due to the Pope’s approval and the Emperor’s effort, was as follows: to bring about Photius’ restoration to the see of Byzantium, to condemn and to excommunicate those who would have the daring and the perfidy to state that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. This it accomplished satisfactorily, and the synod was approved through his representatives by the very saintly Pope John himself who then governed the Church of Rome. He anathematized whoever should in future add anything to, or subtract from, the Symbol, and the pontifical legates duly signed this declaration in their own Roman fashion, or rather, he himself signed it through his legates, whose signatures have been preserved to this day in the Great Church. . . . [2]



The account by Neilos Damylas is very confused:


In the days of Photius, a synod of over three hundred Fathers, called the Holy and Oecumenical first and second Synod, was summoned in Constantinople by order of the pious Emperor Basil the Macedonian. . . for the purpose of excommunicating Nicholas who had been the first in his time to make the addition to the Symbol. But after a warning, he confessed his error for fear of being expelled, sang the palinode and denied through his legates present at the Synod having made the innovation, protesting that he thought and argued about the Procession of the Holy Ghost exactly as was thought



1. P.G. vol. 149, col. 679:


2. Loc. cit. pp. 140, 141. Bryennios only counts seven oecumenical councils in his Διάλεξις περὶ τοῦ ἁγ. Πνεύμ. (Ibid. pp. 420, 421·)





and professed by the first and second universal Synod and by the Holy Symbol which he had received from other oecumenical Synods. Such being the opinion of the Synod, he was not severed from communion. [1]



Damylas, not having taken the trouble to read his documents, evidently confused here the three synods that were held under Photius.


Unimpeachable evidence proving that the Photian Council was at that time beginning to be reckoned among the oecumenical synods by some anti-Latin controversialists has been handed down to us by Neilos of Rhodes, [2] probably the new editor of the short study on the councils written by St Euthymios. Not content with calling this synod the Eighth Oecumenical Council, he added the Council against Palamas to the list as the Ninth.


But this promotion of the Photian Council was, as has been demonstrated, neither official nor general and the Greek Church continued to reckon seven oecumenical councils only. Of this evidence is found, among other places, in the Acts of the synod of 1350 against Palamas, Barlaam and Akyndinos, as in the profession of faith administered to Palamas only seven oecumenical councils were named. [3] On the other hand, not all the works on the councils written at that time follow the example of Neilos of Rhodes, as is shown by the publication attributed to Matthew Blastares which he appended to his short pamphlet against the Latins and in which he gave the names of all the councils with the figures of their attendance. [4] After remarking on the Seventh Council, he merely adds a general observation. [5]



To proceed with our inquiry into the Greek writings of the fifteenth century, we may begin with the Catholic writers who championed the union and the Council of Florence; and foremost among them is Cardinal Bessarion, [6] who mentions Photius in his encyclical to the



1. Fragment published by L. Allatius, loc. cit. pp. 166, 167. Cf. Paris. Graec. 1295 (15th-16th c., on paper, 342 fols.), fols. 62a-85.


2. Ed. Justellus, Nomocanon Photii, loc. cit. p. 177.


3. Mansi, vol. xxvii, cols. 203-6. The profession names the synods held against Barlaam but volunteers no information on Photius.


4. Κατὰ Λατίνων (ed. Dositheos), Τόμος Καταλλαγῆς (Jassy, 1692), pp. 444-8.


5. ὅτι γὰρ ὥς δυσσέβειαν τοὺς Λατίνους νοσοῦντας διὰ τὴν τῶν προειρημένων ἁπάντων ἀθέτησιν ἡ καθολικὴ καὶ ἁγία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῷ ἀναθέματι παραπέμπει, ἱκανῶς μὲν δὲ τὰ φθάσαντα μαρτυρεῖ, οὐχ ἧττόν γε μὴν δείξει καὶ τὰ ῥηθησόμενα. Ἡ γὰρ ἁγία καὶ οἰκουμενικὴ ζʹ σύνοδος. Εἴ τις φησὶ πᾶσαν παράδοσιν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν ἔγγραφόν τε καὶ ἄγραφον ἀθετεῖ ἀνάθεμα.


6. On the Cardinal, see L. Möhler, ‘Kardinal Bessarion als Theologe, Humanist und Staatsmann’, in Quellen und Forschungen aus dem Gebiete der Geschichte (Paderborn, 1923), vol. XX.





Greeks. In defending the Pope’s sovereign power, Bessarion recalls the story of Photius in the following terms:


Then the Pope excommunicated Photius for usurping the See of Constantinople and for unjustifiably expelling the very saintly Ignatius, and him he reinstated; evidently, because he wields power over all. Later, when the godly Ignatius had migrated to God and the Emperors continued pleading in favour of Photius in numerous memorials, is it not a fact that John, who succeeded to the government of the Church after Nicholas and Hadrian, replaced him on the patriarchal throne by sending him the pallium (sic) through the good offices of bishop Paschasius (sic)? Now what does all this mean but one thing, that the great Roman Pontiff rules supreme over the whole Church? [1]



The learned Cardinal’s lack of knowledge about Photius is indeed surprising.


The same line of argument in support of the Pope’s supreme power is followed by Joseph, bishop of Methone, in his treatise in defence of the Council of Florence. [2] In chapter xiii, where he deals with the primacy, he states: ’Nicholas I, at the time of Photius, excommunicated even the Greeks, not one iota being missed out of the excommunication. But like the Jews, the Greeks, as he stated in his own words, are like captives among the nations. . . . ’ Later, he writes: [3] ‘Nicholas I himself went to Constantinople, there to put an end to a schism; and as they refused to receive him, he excommunicated them all.’ Naturally, Joseph makes use of the Donatio Constantini. [4] In his refutation of the writings of Mark of Ephesus, he unhesitatingly attributes the authorship of the schism to Photius, and Mark of Ephesus, another agent of the schism, [5] is made to join the coryphaeus of schismatics. The unionist Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory Mammas, specifically dealt with Photius, when he refuted Mark’s profession of faith, and in his writings there is to be found the notorious passage in which he denies the canonization of Photius. [6] No matter how much Mark insisted that Photius had taught the Procession of the Holy Ghost, Gregory retorts:


Observe well that Photius was not numbered among the saints, although Photius and Ignatius were living at the same time: whereas the latter is honoured among the saints and has his place in the Synaxaria on October 23,



1. Encyclica ad Graecos, P.G. vol. 161, cols. 477, 490.

2. Pro Concilio Florentino, P.G. vol. 159, col. 1365 ; Mansi, vol. xxxi (supplem.), 1214.

3. Ch. XV, col. 1376.

4. Ch. IV, cols. 1321 seq.

5. P.G. vol. 159, cols. 1040, 1092.

6. Contra Ephesium, P.G. vol. 160, col. 76.





Photius has fallen far short of the ideal of sanctity. But we had better say no more about him, since whatever is written against St Ignatius and Photius falls under anathema from this ambo.



The above words of Mammas have often been quoted against the fact that Photius was the object of a cultus in Byzantium long before the fifteenth century; but they prove nothing more than that the Greek unionists had ceased to number Photius among the saints. Now we understand still better why the name of Photius is missing in a number of Greek Synaxaria; it is because the unionists made the Patriarch mainly responsible for the schism, an extraordinary development of the Photian Legend among the Greek unionists. We were able to observe that in the tenth century, when the canonization took place, the Photian Legend had not yet developed in this direction.


Later, [1] the unionist Patriarch dealt with the profession of faith itself, and whilst Mark had acknowledged the seven oecumenical councils, with the Photian Council added as the Eighth, Mammas makes the eighth synod that of the Ignatian Council. The verdict of this synod against Photius, he continues, was backed by Cedrenos, Manasses, Glycas, Skylitzes and the Life of St Ignatius written by Nicetas. And yet, strange to say, the author adds: ‘But we accept even the Acts produced by Mark of Ephesus as those of the Eighth Council.’ The letter of John VIII to Photius rouses his suspicions, but he accepts it nevertheless and proceeds to tell how the reconciliation between Photius and the Pope during the sitting of the Council came about, repeats that he accepts that Council as oecumenical and quotes a long extract from the letter of John VIII to the Emperor Basil I to prove to his opponent that a synod can revoke the decisions of another synod. All this is most interesting, but it is curious to find the ideas once expressed by Ivo of Chartres in his Prologue, in a Greek writing of the fifteenth century. Lastly, to meet Mark’s objection to the Latins re-ordaining converted Greek priests, he states that the Latin bishops did so sometimes, but only conditionally, as was the case in Bulgaria with Photius’ Greek priests, who had been excommunicated by the Latins for having been ordained by him. [2]


Mammas’ opinion on the two Councils of Ignatius and Photius is quite unexpected. So far, we have been accustomed to see the Greek



1. Contra Ephesium, P.G. vol. 160, cols. 86 seq.


2. Loc. cit., col. 165. We should add that in another place, col. 157, Mammas, referring again to the Photian incident, proves that the addition to the Symbol was not the cause of the schism.





Catholics not only refusing to acknowledge the oecumenicity of the Photian Council, but sometimes even questioning its authenticity, or, at least, that of the sixth session (in fact I gave the names of a few writers who, in opposition to the schismatics, adopted the Council of Lyons as their eighth, and even Joseph of Methone [1] goes so far as to state that the Council of Lyons should be called ‘the Eighth Oecumenical Council’), but never had we come across any Catholic Greek writer who admitted the oecumenicity of the anti-Photian Council of 869-70. It only proves, to my mind, that the Photian Synod, despite opposition, was held in the highest esteem among the Greeks : no one could gainsay the hard fact that this Council had rehabilitated Photius and that its verdict never lost its validity.


An anonymous and unpublished treatise on the councils well illustrates the confusion on this topic in Byzantium in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The author is a unionist and his work occurs in a single MS. of the Paris National Library (Paris. Graec. 1712, 14th-c. on parchment, 430 fols.). On folios 4-6 there is a section on the ten oecumenical councils with a summary of the first seven councils, to which the writer adds the Councils of Lyons, ratified by the Council of Constantinople under the Patriarch Beccos, and the Council of Florence, these three synods being reckoned as the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Councils.



There is another class of Greek theological literature that claims attention as setting the Greek tradition on the number of oecumenical councils accepted by the Byzantine Church in the right light—the treatises on the councils. On this subject, Greek works are many and would claim a study to themselves; they are also interesting in many other ways, as for instance on the tradition of Eastern Christianity with reference to the councils, the infallibility of the Church and the position attributed to the patriarchs, especially the Patriarch of Rome. Here I can only express the hope to see this class of writing evaluated by specialists interested in the evolution of Christian dogma. The MSS. I have been able to study [2] make it clear that officially the Byzantine Church counted only seven oecumenical councils and that neither the Ignatian Council of 869-70 nor the Photian Council of 879-80 were numbered among them.



1. Disceptatio pro Concilio Florentino, P.G. vol. 159, col. 969.


2. In Appendix III, pp. 452 seq. will be found a survey of the treatises on councils which the author was able to study in Paris, Brussels, Vienna and London.





To turn now to the opponents of the union, I have already quoted the speech by Mark of Ephesus at the Council of Florence in defence of the validity of the Photian Council and I also mentioned his writing on the Procession of the Holy Ghost with its refutation by the Patriarch Gregory Mammas. In other polemical writings, Mark is less profuse about the great Patriarch, [1] but he twice returns to the subject of his council and writes towards the end of his Dialogue on the Addition to the Symbol: [2] ‘After the seventh Synod, another, summoned by Photius, the very saintly Patriarch, met in the reign of Basil, Emperor of the Romans: this synod is called the Eighth and was attended also by the legates of John, blessed Pope of ancient Rome....’ After quoting the decree of this Council on the addition, he adds: ‘Pope John, too, said the same in clear and unambiguous terms, when he wrote to the very saintly Photius on the said addition to the Symbol.’ Mark says much the same in his profession of faith, calling the Photian Council the Eighth Oecumenical and also quoting the letter of John VIII to the Patriarch. [3] These passages leave no room for doubt upon Mark’s opinion about Photius and his Council.


Mark’s brother, John Eugenicos, wrote a pamphlet against the union decree, in which he severely reproves those who attribute to the Council of Florence the title of Eighth Oecumenical, there being another synod to claim that distinction, the Council summoned under Basil by Photius. [4] George Gemistos Plethon, on the other hand, in his short tractate (the only one published) says nothing about it. [5] George Scholarios finds some very hard things to say about Photius, blaming him for splitting the Church to serve his own conceit and ambition, [6] though on other occasions he refers to him with respect and appeals to his authority. Thus, for instance, in his second treatise on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, he quotes the decree of the Eighth Oecumenical Council—as



1. Nothing is found in his encyclical epistle, published by A. Norov (Paris, 1859), pp. 27-43 and by Mgr Petit, Patrol. Orientalis, vol. xvii, pp. 449-59, nor in the other short tractates published by A. Norov (ibid. pp. 44-66). An examination of his Ἐπίλογος πρὸς Λατίνους, which I found in the British Museum MS. Add. 34,060, 15th-c., fols. 348 seq., has also been unproductive of results.


2. Mgr Petit, ‘Documents relatifs au Concile de Florence’, in Patrol. Orientalis, vol. xvii, p. 421.


3. Ibid. p. 440.


4. Dositheos, Τόμος Καταλλαγῆς, loc. cit. pp. 210 seq., 256 seq.


5. P.G. vol. 160, cols. 975-80.


6. De Process. S. Spir., Tractatus I, c. 3 (ed. by M. Jugie), Œuvres complètes de Gennadie Scholarios (Paris, 1929-38), vol. II, pp. 11 seq. Cf. Hergenröther, Photius, vol. II, p. 526.





he describes the Synod of 879-80—and the letter of John VIII to Photius on the Procession; [1] he returns to the subject of the Synod in his short Apology of the Anti-Unionists [2] and in his polemical writings against the Union of Florence. [3]


Theodore Agalianus, in the three short writings which have seen the light, [4] avoids touching our topic. The history of the Council of Florence, written by Sylvester Syropulos, has nothing of interest regarding our inquiry; [5] and Macarios Macres [6] is also silent about Photius. The anonymous treatise published by Dositheos (probably belonging to the fifteenth century) [7] is interesting for revealing Greek feelings, in particular towards the Papacy; it contains a vague reference to the Synod of Photius, summoned under Basil the Macedonian, the author saying in effect that Photius had condemned Nicholas I at a synod of a thousand Fathers. [8] To these witnesses we may add the great rhetorician Manuel, who in his book on Mark of Ephesus and the Council of Florence unaccountably calls this council the eighth, as the unionists called it at the time. [9]


Finally, two more attestations from the Emperor John Palaeologus. In his letter to Martin V on the summoning of a council for union, the Emperor expressly says on two occasions that the new council should meet ‘secundum ordinem et consuetudinem sanctorum septem universalium conciliorum’. [10] He thus admits that in his time only seven oecumenical councils were officially recognized. The second attestation from the same Emperor is more surprising. The MS. containing it belongs to the fifteenth century, and on fols. 73 a and 74 there is a copy



1. Ed. by M. Jugie, vol. II, pp. 323 seq.


2. Apologia syntomos (ed. by M. Jugie), vol. ill, pp. 88, 89.


3. Letter to Demetrius Palaeologus against the Union of Florence, loc. cit. p. 127.


4. Refutatio Argyropuli, P.G. vol. 158, cols, ion-52; Συλλογή published by Dositheos, Τόμ. Καταλ., loc. cit. pp. 432 seq.


5. Vera Historia Unionis Non Verae (ed. by R. Creighton; Hagae-Comitis, 1660). Only in Sectio ix, cap. 4, p. 254 the Emperor John Paleologus’ speech, quoted by Syropulos, makes it clear that the Emperor knew only seven oecumenical councils: ‘Ego quidem arbitror hanc synodum generalem nullatenus infra dignitatem aliarum septem Generalium subsidere, quae eandem antevertunt. Quare volo ut haec illis par in omnibus succedat, nec aliud quidpiam ab illis diversum in hac gestum prodeat. . . . ’


6. Dositheos, loc. cit. pp. 413 seq.


7. Loc. cit. pp. 1-204.            8. Loc. cit. p. 40.


9. Manuelis Magni Rhetoris Liber de Marco Ephesio deque Rebus in Synodo Flor. Gestis (ed. by L. Petit), Patrol. Orientalis, vol. xvii, p. 491.


10. Mansi, vol. xxviii, col. 1069.





of a profession of faith, [1] recalling that of Pseudo-Anastasius, which the Emperor had read engraved on the doors of the church of St Peter in Rome. This profession, so far unpublished, enumerates the seven oecumenical councils.


From these investigations we may now draw some important conclusions. First of all, we have been enabled to see that Photius was not considered in Byzantium to be the principal actor in the schism till much later than has been generally believed; the Photian Legend arose in the thirteenth century and it was the partisans of the union who contributed most to its development, even in the East. But, while their account of Photius’ advent to the patriarchal throne was not based on fact, they always professed a certain respect for his great erudition. Certainly, they never believed in Photius’ second excommunication, nor have we found in the tradition of the Byzantine Church any trace of such a belief. On the contrary, it was generally held that the peace between the two Churches, once sealed by the Council of Photius, lasted without a single break till the patriarchate of Michael Cerularius. No hint of any quarrel between the two Churches did we find under Pope Formosus, though at least some traces of it should have been left in tradition, had the two Churches fallen into schism in his reign. The oldest treatise on the schism, attributed to the chartophylax of Nicaea and dating from the eleventh century, knows nothing of any split under Formosus, though he vaguely mentions some quarrels under Sergius III ; and the unionists of the thirteenth century seem to be no wiser.


With regard to the Photian Council, we may take it that it was never officially classed among the oecumenical councils as the Eighth Council by the Church of Byzantium and that, officially, it never admitted more than seven oecumenical councils, the reason being that in the Byzantine conception of canon law the Council of Photius did not issue any doctrinal decisions and was only summoned for the restoration of peace in the Church.


Yet the Greeks always professed the highest veneration for that Council, and even the Greek Catholics, with the exception of Calecas, who as a Dominican could not emancipate himself from Western influence, never denied the validity and the importance of that synod



1. Paris. Graec. (Bibliothèque Nationale) 1191. The MS. is on paper and contains 141 fols. Examination of an anonymous opuscule De Azymis adv. Latinos, found in the Paris. Graec. 1295 (i5th-i6th c., on paper, fol. 342), fols. 22-6, and of another pamphlet (Paris. Graec. 1286 16th c., on paper, 318 fols.), fols. 47-56a, has given no result. George Koresios in his Ἐγχειρίδιον περὶ τῆς Ἐκπορεύσεως (ed. by Dositheos), loc. cit. pp. 276-410, has nothing to say about Photius.





and continued to respect it even after the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when their opponents promoted it to the rank of eighth oecumenical council. They protested against the promotion, but they treated its Acts with respect. At the same time, the writings of the friends of the Union in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are evidence that even the unionists never classed the Ignatian Council among the oecumenicals. Having been annulled by the synod of 879-80, the Council that condemned Photius remained in the estimation of the whole Church non-existent. In the eyes even of the Greek Catholics, only the decisions of the Council of Photius kept their full legal value. A few of the unionists made the Council of Florence the Eighth Oecumenical Council, but none of them ever designated the Council of Ignatius oecumenical; this is clear evidence that in this respect the Eastern Church remained to the end faithful to the tradition of the universal Church, a tradition forgotten in the West at the beginning of the twelfth century for reasons I have explained.



We shall now close our review of Eastern literature between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, dealing only with the output of the principal Eastern writers and drawing an appropriate parallel with the contemporaneous development of Western literature during the same period.


The first of the modern Eastern writers to stand comparison with his Latin brothers of the pen is the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos. We have had occasion to appreciate his erudition and his scholarly editions of Greek texts; he also wrote a more detailed history of Photius in his Tomos Charas, in which he published among other things the Acts of the Photian Council and several of Photius’ letters for the definite purpose of defending the Patriarch’s memory against Baronius and more particularly against Allatius, the writer who denied even the existence of the Photian Council. His book was not published till 1705, at Jassy, after his death, by the good offices of the Metropolitan Anthimos. Though the Patriarch, in his summary of the history of Photius, often contradicts Catholic historians, Baronius in particular, even he must have yielded to the Cardinal’s fascination. Dositheos presents the story of Photius’ elevation in a manner unlike that of Baronius and follows the old tradition of his Church, nearly forgotten, that Ignatius had duly resigned; he defends the authenticity of the Acts of the Photian Council and disproves the libel that Photius was a eunuch, but with regard to the second schism of Photius Dositheos completely capitulates to the Cardinal.





But he was not the only modern orthodox writer to allow himself to be led astray by the great Roman historian. Baronius’ prestige left its mark on the East, and as a Russian translation, naturally expurgated, of his Ecclesiastical Annals was published in Moscow in 1719, his main findings found ready favour with the Orthodox East.


This is important, for it explains how Eastern scholars came to abandon the sound tradition of their Church, a tradition which, as we have seen, had maintained itself almost intact from the ninth century down to our modern era. Had they but taken the trouble to examine with some care the works of those Greek writers who dealt with the history of Photius, they would perhaps have withstood the rush of documents and new arguments that came upon them from the Ecclesiastical Annals. But Baronius triumphed in the orthodox Eastern world, to the lasting detriment of the memory and the history of Photius.


It is easy to trace the Cardinales influence in nearly all the Eastern writers, whether Greek or Russian, from the seventeenth century onward; for instance, Elias Menâtes, a contemporary of Dositheos, and bishop of Cercyra (1679-1714). In his book, The Stone of Scandal, published in Leipzig in 1711, Menâtes frequently endeavours to correct Baronius, but at other places succumbs to the force of the Cardinal’s dialectics, so that even in the opinion of this orthodox bishop Photius’ case is taken to be one of the most important issues that divide the two Churches. [1]


The Photian case is also a leading topic in the polemical work of the Patriarch Nectarios of Jerusalem. [2]


Sophocles Oikonomos, who edited Photius’ Amphilochia, [3] and



1. Unable to consult the original of this rare work, I have used an unpublished Latin translation kept in the British Museum (Harl. 5729): ‘Elias Menatas, Cephalonis, Cernicae et Calavritae in Peloponeso episcopus, Petra Offensionis, sive de origine causaque schismatis inter ecclesiam orientalem atque occidentalem deque quinque illis circa quos dissident sententiis, dilucida narratio. Edita a Rev. Do. Francisco Meniata archiepresb. Cephaloniae Athoo Patre, atque ad certiorem plenioremque rei notitiam, omnibus qui Vetera apost. et synodica sectantur dogmata, sive episcopi fuerint sive presbyteri, sive principes laici, sive orthodoxi christiani, ab eodem dedicata, rogatu atque hortatu splendidissimi doctissimique viri, Domini Jacobi Pilarini Cephalonii, Medicinae doctoris.’


2. Περὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ Πάπα (Jassy, 1672). Cf. the English translation by P. Allix, Nectarii Patr. Hierosolymitani confutatio imperii Papae in Ecclesiam (Londoni, 1702). Cf. the Catholics’ replies to Patriarch Dositheos: A. Andruzzi, Vetus Graecia de Sancta Sede Romana praeclare sentiens (Venice, 1713); idem, Consensus tum Graecorum tum Latinorum Patrum de Processione Sp. S. ex Filio (Romae, 1716). On Le Quien’s Panoply see p. 380.


3. Athens, 1858; cf. Krumbacher, Geschichte der Byzantinischen Litteratur, p. 77.





J. Valetta, [1] the editor of his letters, also bear traces of Baronius’ influence, though both try to rectify some of his mistakes, and the same is true of the Greek Ecclesiastical History, the first great work of its kind, published by Meletios, the Metropolitan of Athens. [2] Andron. K. Dimitrakopoulos [3] also adopts Baronius’ opinions; and Filaret Vafeidos [4] mostly follows Neander and Schröckh in his account of Photius.


Equally marked is the influence of Dositheos, Meniates, [5] Baronius and the Protestant historians on the first modern Russian historians. The works dealing with our subject that I have been able to consult are the following: the Manual of Ecclesiastical History, by the archimandrite Innokentis (I. Smirnov), [6] the works of A. N. Muraviev, [7] of Filaret, [8] archbishop of Tchernigov, and of P. A. Lavrovskii [9] (on St Cyril and St Methodius).


Western scholars had since the sixteenth century monopolized the entire field of Photian studies and Eastern scholars could only follow their lead, at most contenting themselves with discarding some of their opinions; then in the middle of the nineteenth century another Roman scholar, Cardinal Hergenröther, came on the scene, bringing to light an imposing number of new or little-known documents in evidence of his theory on Photius, and the influence which he exerted upon orthodox scholars was similar to that of Baronius. N. I. Kostomarov, [10] the first Russian critic of Hergenröther’s work, accepted nearly all the Cardinal’s postulates and could scarcely disguise his embarrassment in some of his controversies with the German scholar.



1. Φωτίου ἐπιστολαί (London, 1864), Prolegomena, pp. 1-98.


2. Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία (Wien, 1783), 4 vols., vol. il, pp. 272-80, 299—302, 306-24.


3. Ἱστορία τοῦ σχίσματος τῆς Λατινικῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀπὸ τῆς ὀρθοδόξου ἑλληνικῆς (Leipzig, 1867), pp. 1-21.


4. Ἐκκλησιατικὴ ἱστορία (Constantinople, 1886), vol. ii, pars. 110-13, pp. 48-64.


5. His book was translated into Russian and published at St Petersburg in 1783 (Kamen Soblazna).


6. Nachertanie Tserkovnoi Istorii (St Petersburg, 1817).


7. Pravda Vselenskoi Tserkvi 0 Rimskoi i Prochikh Patr. Kaf. (St Petersburg, 1849), pp. 124-81.


8. Istoricheskoe Chtenie ob Ottsakh Tserkvi (St Petersburg, 1859), vol. iii, pars. 281-6, pp. 219-46.


9. Kiril i Mefodii (Kharkov, 1863), pp. 39-182. For other works, scarcely accessible in the West, see bibliography of Ivantsov-Platonov, loc. cit. pp. 175-7.


10. ‘Patriarkh Fotii i Pervie Razdyelenie Tserkvei,’ published in Vyestnik Evropui (1868), books I and II, pp. 120-68, 591-636.





Golubkov’s critique of the Cardinal’s first volume [1] displayed a minimum of originality; only A. P. Lebedev could summon more courage and critical sense.


To the credit, however, of Oriental scholars, it must be admitted that the great Catholic historian found among their ranks an antagonist worthy of his steel, an obscure Syrian hieromonachus, educated in Russia, Gerazim Yared. Reference has been made to some of his opinions and criticisms, and in spite of many reservations to be made, I must again insist that the work of this humble scholar was the real reply which Hergenröther deserved. It is a matter of regret that the Cardinal probably never knew that a hieromonachus had boldly answered him, and that Yared’s deductions, often well founded and unanswerable, passed unnoticed in the West. Even so, Yared could not remain wholly immune from the influence of Baronius and Hergenröther, particularly with regard to Photius’ second schism.


What is more extraordinary is that Yared’s findings met with such a poor response, even in the East. He found his severest critic in the person of A.P. Lebedev, professor at the Moscow Theological Academy, and this famous scholar’s [2] criticisms on the Syrian’s conclusions were partly justified. Yet, on many points, the Syrian had a finer flair than his critic. A. P. Lebedev [3] was not so original in his inferences as appeared at first and though he often crossed swords with Hefele and Hergenröther, he was indebted to the latter more than he would have cared to confess; lacking a deeper knowledge, he succumbed to the superficial cogency of the Cardinal’s logic. As Lebedev’s ideas held the field in Russia and the Eastern world, their influence can be traced in the Russian literary output on Photius published about 18904 to commemorate the millennium of Photius’ death. It was then that a new period in Photian studies in Russia was inaugurated by Ivantsov-Platonov, in the speech he addressed on 12 January 1892 to the assembled Moscow University. His lecture, completed and enriched with numerous critical observations and discussions, is a masterpiece of original and well-balanced judgement; but, I regret to say, not even this study has so far come to the knowledge of our Western Byzantinist scholars.



1. ‘Novuiya Izsledovaniya o Vremeni i Lichnosti Pair. Fotiya,’ published in Pravoslavnoe Obozryenie (May 1868), pp. 54-89.


2. Chteniya Obshchestva Lyubitelei Dukhovn. Prosvyeshcheniya, 1873, no. 1.


3. Chiefly in his two works: Rimskie Papui v Otnosheniakh k Tserkvi Vizantiiskoi v IX-X. v. (Moscow, 1875) and Istoriya Konst. Soborov IX. v. (Moscow, 1880).


4. The list of these studies, most of which were published in Russian theological reviews and which Westerners would find it difficult to get at, is found in Ivantsov-Platonov, loc. cit. pp. 183 seq. I have only been able to consult Platonov’s book.





The upshot of it is that though the influence of the two cardinal-historians has not vanished altogether, it has certainly, in this particular study, come upon evil days. Some of Ivantsov-Platonov’s conclusions were completed and corrected by Th. A. Kurganov. [1]


Rosseikin’s book, published in 1913, merely marked time and failed to carry Ivantsov-Platonov’s work further to any appreciable extent.


So much for the growth of what we call the ‘Photian Legend’ in the Eastern world. Its history has had its ups and downs in the East no less than in the West, though not to the same extremes; but even in the orthodox world the true notion of the history of the great Father of the Eastern Church has been sadly dimmed and blurred in the course of centuries. The remarkable thing is that the Eastern point of view of Greek and Russian scholars so affected the Photian incident that when the two traditions met on the threshold of the modern era in the sixteenth century, they found themselves in agreement on one important item of the Photian Legend, the so-called second schism of Photius.



1. ’K Izsledovaniyu o Patr. Fotiye,’ Khrist. Chtenie, 1895, vol. 1, pp. 192 seq., 286 seq. 


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