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Results Of The Decision Of Chalc





The definition of the Council of Chalcedon, in spite of its condemnation
of Nestorius and its approval of the letters of Cyril, was a triumph of
the Antiochian school and a condemnation of Alexandrian theology. At
Chalcedon no more than at Nicaea was a controversy settled. So far from
being settled at the council, Monophysitism began with it its long career
in the Eastern Church only to end in permanent schisms. As soon as the
results of Chalcedon were known the Church was in an uproar. Riots broke
out in Jerusalem against the patriarch. At Alexandria, Timothy AElurus, a
Monophysite, was able to drive out the orthodox patriarch. In Antioch,
Petrus Fullo did the same and added to the liturgical Trisagion [Is. 6:3]
the Theopaschite phrase: "God who was crucified for us." The Emperor
Marcian died 457 and was succeeded by Leo I (457-474). His grandson Leo II
(474) was succeeded by his father Zeno (474-475, 477-491). Zeno was
temporarily deposed by Basiliscus (475-477), who, basing his authority
upon the Monophysite faction, issued an Encyclion condemning Chalcedon and
Leo's Epistle, and making Monophysitism the religion of the Empire. Zeno
was restored by a Dyophysite faction under the lead of Acacius, patriarch
of Constantinople. Zeno, to win back the Monophysites, issued in 482 the
Henoticon, setting aside Chalcedon and making only the definition of
Nicaea authoritative. Dissatisfaction arose on both sides, and minor
schisms in the East took place. With Rome a schism arose lasting 484-519.


Additional source material: Evagrius, Hist. Ec., lib. III.


(a) Basiliscus, Encyclion; A. D. 476; in Evagrius, Hist. Ec., III,
4. (MSG, 86, II:2600.) Cf. Kirch, nn. 879 f.


Although an anti-encyclion was issued in 477 condemning Eutyches
as well as Nestorius, the attempts of Basiliscus were in vain.


The Emperor Caesar Basiliscus, pious, victorious, triumphant, supreme,
ever-worshipful Augustus, and Marcus, the most noble Caesar, to Timotheus,
archbishop of the great city of the Alexandrians, most reverend and
beloved of God.

Whatever laws the pious emperors before us, who worshipped the blessed and
immortal and life-giving Trinity, have decreed in behalf of the true and
apostolic faith, these laws, we say, as always beneficial for the whole
world, we will at no time to be inoperative, but rather we promulgate them
as our own. We, preferring piety and zeal in the cause of our God and
Saviour, Jesus Christ, who created and has made us glorious before all
diligence in human affairs, and also believing that concord among the
flocks of Christ is the preservation of ourselves and our subjects, the
firm foundation and unshaken bulwark of our Empire, and, accordingly,
being rightly moved with godly zeal and offering to God and our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, the unity of the holy Church as the first-fruits of our
reign, do ordain as the basis and confirmation of human felicity, namely,
the symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers who were in time
past assembled with the Holy Ghost at Nicaea, into which both ourselves and
all our believing subjects were baptized; that this alone should have
reception and authority with the orthodox people in all the most holy
churches of God as the only formulary of the right faith, and sufficient
for the utter destruction of all heresy and for the complete unity of the
holy churches of God; the acts of the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers
assembled in this imperial city, in confirmation of the sacred symbol
itself and in condemnation of those who blasphemed against the Holy Ghost,
retaining their own force; as well as of all done in the metropolitan city
of the Ephesians against the impious Nestorius and those who subsequently
favored his opinions.(200) But the proceedings which have disturbed the
unity and good order of the holy churches of God, and the peace of the
whole world, that is to say, the so-called Tome of Leo, and all things
done at Chalcedon in innovation upon the before-mentioned holy symbol of
the three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers, whether by way of definition
of the faith or setting forth of symbols, or interpretation, or
instruction, or discourse; we decree that these shall be anathematized
both here and everywhere by all the most holy bishops in every church and
shall be given to the flames by whomsoever they shall be found, insomuch
as it was so enjoined respecting all heretical doctrines by our
predecessors of pious and blessed memory, Constantine and Theodosius the
younger [v. supra, 73], and that, having thus been rendered null, they
shall be utterly cast out from the one and only Catholic and Apostolic
Orthodox Church, as superseding the everlasting and saving definitions of
the three hundred and eighteen Fathers, and those of the blessed Fathers
who, by the Holy Ghost, decreed at Ephesus [it is possible that there is a
fault in the text here; the expected reading of the passage would be: and
of the one hundred and fifty bishops who decreed concerning the Holy
Spirit; and of those who were assembled at Ephesus] that no one, either of
the priesthood or laity, be allowed to deviate in any respect from that
most sacred constitution of the holy symbol, and we decree that these be
anathematized together with all the innovations upon the sacred symbol
which were made at Chalcedon and the heresy of those who do not confess
that the only begotten Son of God was truly incarnate and made man of the
Holy Ghost and of the holy and ever-virgin Mary, Theotokos, but falsely
allege that either from heaven or in mere phantasy and seeming He took
flesh; and, in short, every heresy and whatever else at any time in any
manner or place in the whole world, in either thought or word, has been
devised as an innovation upon and in derogation of the sacred symbol. And
inasmuch as it belongs especially to imperial providence to furnish to
their subjects, with forecasting deliberation, security not only for the
present but for the future, we decree that everywhere the most holy
bishops shall subscribe to this our sacred circular letter when exhibited
to them, and shall distinctly declare that they submit to the sacred
symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers alone, which the one
hundred and fifty holy Fathers confirmed, as it was also defined by the
most holy Fathers who subsequently assembled in the metropolitan city of
the Ephesians, that they should submit to the sacred symbol of the three
hundred and eighteen holy Fathers, as the definition of faith, and shall
anathematize everything done at Chalcedon as an offence to the orthodox
people and utterly cast it out of the churches as an impediment to the
general happiness and our own.(201) Those, moreover, who after the issuing
of this our sacred letter, which we trust has been issued according to
God, in an endeavor to bring about that unity which all desire for the
holy churches of God, shall attempt to bring forward or so much as to name
the innovation upon the faith made at Chalcedon, either in discourse,
instruction, or writing, in whatsoever manner or place--those persons, as
the cause of confusion and tumult in the churches of God and among the
whole body of our subjects, and as enemies of God and to our safety, we
command (in accordance with the laws ordained by our predecessor
Theodosius, of blessed and pious memory, against such sorts of evil
designs, which laws are subjoined to this our sacred circular) that, if
they be bishops or clergy, they be deposed; if monks or laymen, that they
be subjected to banishment and every mode of confiscation and the severest
penalties. For so the holy and homoousian Trinity, the Creator and
Life-giver of the universe, which has ever been adored by us in piety, now
also is served by us in the destruction of the before-mentioned tares and
the confirmation of the true and apostolic traditions of the holy symbol,
becoming favorable and gracious both to our souls and to every one of our
subjects, shall ever aid us and preserve in peace human affairs.


(b) Zeno, Henoticon; in Evagrius, Hist. Ec., III, 14. (MSG, 86,
II:2620.) Cf. Kirch, nn. 883 f.


Zeno published his Henoticon in 482 as an attempt to win back
the Monophysites. Evagrius says, in a note to the document: "When
these things were read, those who were in Alexandria were joined
to the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." The effect so far as
the West went was just the opposite. Felix III protested and
threatened. But Acacius, bishop of Constantinople, who was chiefly
responsible for the document, refused to listen. Felix (cf.
Evagrius, III, 18) and Acacius thereupon issued mutual
excommunications. On the accession of the Emperor Anastasius
[491-518] the Henoticon continued in force, as his sympathies
were with the Monophysites. It will be noted that the Henoticon
not merely sets aside Chalcedon but introduces phrases which make
it appear that the same moral subject is present in every act,
whether of humility or majesty, and that it is God who suffers.
These are characteristic Monophysite positions.


The Emperor Caesar Zeno, pious, victorious, triumphant, supreme,
ever-worshipful Augustus, to the most reverend bishops and clergy, and to
the monks and laity throughout Alexandria, Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis.

Being assured that the origin and constitution, the might and invincible
shield of our sovereignty, is the only right and true faith, which the
three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers assembled at Nicaea set forth by
divine inspiration, and the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers who in like
manner met at Constantinople, confirmed; we night and day employ every
means of prayer, of zealous care, and of laws, that the holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church of God in every place may be multiplied, which is the
incorruptible and immortal mother of our sceptre; and that the pious
laity, continuing in peace and unanimity in respect to God, may, together
with the bishops, highly beloved of God, the most pious clergy, the
archimandrites, and monks, offer up acceptably their supplications in
behalf of our sovereignty. So long as our great God and Saviour, Jesus
Christ, who was made man and brought forth of Mary, the holy Virgin and
Theotokos, approves and readily accepts the praise we render by concord
and our service, the power of enemies will be crushed and swept away, and
all will bend their necks to our power, which is according to God, and
peace and its blessings, kindly temperature, abundant produce, and
whatever else is beneficial will be liberally bestowed upon men. Since,
then, the irreprehensible faith is the preserver of both ourselves and
Roman affairs, petitions have been offered to us from pious archimandrites
and hermits and other venerable persons, imploring with tears that there
be unity for the most holy churches, and the parts should be joined to
parts which the enemy of all good has of old time attempted to keep apart,
knowing that, if he assails the body of the Church sound and complete, he
will be defeated. For, since it happens that of unnumbered generations
which during the lapse of so many years in time have withdrawn from life,
some have departed deprived of the laver of regeneration, and others have
been borne away on the inevitable journey of man without having partaken
of the divine communion; and innumerable murders have also been committed;
and not only the earth, but the very air has been filled by a multitude of
blood-sheddings, who would not pray that this state of things might be
transformed into good? For this reason we were anxious that you should
know that neither we nor the churches everywhere have ever held or shall
hold, nor are we aware of any persons who hold, any other symbol or
teaching or definition of faith or creed than the aforementioned holy
symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy Fathers, which the aforesaid
one hundred and fifty holy Fathers confirmed. If any person should hold
such, we regard him as an alien; for we are confident that this symbol
alone is, as we said, the preserver of our sovereignty. And all the people
desiring the saving illumination were baptized, receiving this faith only,
and this the holy Fathers assembled at Ephesus also followed; who deposed
the impious Nestorius and those who subsequently held his sentiments. And
this Nestorius we also anathematize, together with Eutyches and all who
entertain opinions contrary to the above-mentioned, receiving at the same
time the twelve chapters of Cyril, of holy memory, formerly archbishop of
the holy Catholic Church of the Alexandrians. We confess, moreover, that
the only begotten Son of God, himself God, who truly became man, namely,
our Lord Jesus Christ, is consubstantial with the Father as to his
godhead, and the same consubstantial with ourselves as respects his
manhood; that having descended and become flesh of the Holy Ghost and
Mary, the Virgin and Theotokos, He is one and not two; for we affirm that
both His miracles and the sufferings which He voluntarily endured in the
flesh, are of one; for we do not in any degree admit those who either make
a division or a confusion or introduce a phantom; inasmuch as His truly
sinless incarnation from the Theotokos did not produce an addition of a
son, because the Trinity continued as a Trinity, even when one of the
Trinity, God the Word, did become incarnate. Knowing, then, that neither
the holy orthodox churches of God in all places nor the priests, highly
beloved of God, who are at their head, nor our own sovereignty, have
allowed or do allow any other symbol or definition of faith than the
before-mentioned holy teaching, we have united ourselves thereunto without
hesitation. And these things we write, not as making an innovation upon
the faith, but to satisfy you; and every one who has held or holds any
other opinion, either at the present or at another time, whether at
Chalcedon or in any synod whatever, we anathematize; and specially the
aforementioned Nestorius and Eutyches, and those who maintain their
doctrines. Link yourselves, therefore, to the spiritual mother, the
Church, and in her enjoy divine communion with us, according to the
aforesaid one and only definition of the faith of the three hundred and
eighteen holy Fathers. For your all-holy mother, the Church, waits to
embrace you as true children, and longs to hear your gentle voice so long
withheld. Speed yourselves, therefore, for by so doing you will both draw
toward yourselves the favor of our Master and Saviour and God, Jesus
Christ, and be commended by our sovereignty.





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