Rome Constantinople And The Lomb
The Sixth General Council was the last great diplomatic triumph of Rome in
the East in matters of faith, though two centuries after, in the matter of
Photius, Rome played a brilliant part in the internal affairs of the
Eastern Church. Immediately after the council of 681, it was felt that the
West, of which the Greeks had grown very jealous, had triumphed over the
East, especially as several of the leading patriarchs had been conde
Monotheletism, furthermore, was too strongly intrenched in the East to be
removed by a single conciliar action. It was felt necessary to take action
to confirm the results of Constantinople in 681. The fifth and sixth
general councils had been occupied entirely with doctrinal matters and had
not issued any disciplinary canons. A new council might be gathered to
complete the work of the Sixth General Council, not only to reaffirm it,
but in connection with some much-needed legislation to retort upon the
West by condemning some Roman practices. In this way the Second Trullan
Council, or Concilium Quinisextum, came about in 692. The Roman see, in
the meanwhile, although it had triumphed at Constantinople in 681, did not
enjoy an independent political position in Italy. It was still under the
Roman Emperor at Constantinople, as had been most painfully perceived in
the treatment of Martin I by Constans. Although the Pope had his
apocrisiarius, or nuncio, at Constantinople, he came into immediate
contact with the exarch of Ravenna, the Emperor's representative in Italy.
In Italy, furthermore, the Arian heresy long persisted among the Lombards,
although greater toleration was shown the Catholic Church.
Additional source material: The canons of the Quinisext Council
may be found complete in Percival, Seven Ecumenical Councils,
PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV.
(a) Concilium Quinisextum, A. D. 692, Canons. Bruns, I, 34, ff.
This council was commonly regarded as the continuation of the
Sixth General Council, and has been received in the East, not as a
separate council, but as a part of the sixth. The West has never
accepted this opinion and has only to a limited extent admitted
the authority of its canons, though some have been current in the
West because, like much conciliar action, they were re-enactments
of older canons. Occasionally some of the canons have been cited
by popes as belonging to the Sixth Council. The canons given here
are, for the most part, those which were in some point in
opposition to the Roman practice.
Canon 1. Renewal of the Condemnations of the Sixth Council.
We, by divine grace at the beginning of our decrees, define that the faith
set forth by the God-chosen Apostles, who themselves had both seen the
Word and were ministers of the Word, shall be preserved without any
innovation, unchanged and inviolate. Moreover the faith of the three
hundred and eighteen holy and blessed Fathers, etc.
[Here follows a detailed statement of the first five general
Also we agree to guard untouched the faith of the Sixth Holy Synod, which
first assembled in this royal city in the time of Constantine, our
Emperor, of blessed memory, which faith received still greater
confirmation from the fact that the pious Emperor ratified with his own
signet what was written, for the security of every future age. And again
we confess that we should guard the faith unaltered and openly
acknowledged; that in the Economy of the incarnation of our one Lord Jesus
Christ, the true God, there are two natural wills or volitions and two
natural operations; and have condemned by a just sentence those who
adulterated the true doctrine and taught the people that in the one Lord,
our God, Jesus Christ, there is but one will and operation, that is to
say, Theodore of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Honorius of Rome, Sergius,
Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, who were bishops of this God-preserved city,
Macarius, who was bishop of Antioch, Stephen who was his disciple, and the
insane Polychronius, depriving them henceforth of the communion of the
body of Christ our God.
Canon 2. On the Sources of Canon Law.
This canon opposed Rome in two respects: it accepted eighty-five
Apostolic Canons, whereas Rome received but fifty; it drew up a
list of councils and of Fathers whose writings should have
authority as canons, and omitted the important Western councils,
except Carthage, and all the papal decrees. With this canon should
be compared the decretal of Gelasius, De Libris Recipiendis, v.
supra, § 92.
It has also seemed good to this holy synod that the eighty-five canons
received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers before us, and also
handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles, should
from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and
the healing of disorders. And since in these canons we are bidden to
receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles by Clement, in which, in
old time, certain spurious matter entirely contrary to piety was
introduced by heterodox persons for the polluting of the Church, which
obscures to us the elegance and beauty of the divine decrees; we,
therefore, for the edification and security of the most Christian flock,
reject properly such constitutions; by no means admitting the offspring of
heretical error, and cleaving to the pure and perfect doctrine of the
Apostles. But we set our seal likewise upon all the other holy canons set
forth by our holy and blessed Fathers, that is, by the three hundred and
eighteen God-fearing Fathers assembled at Nicaea, and those at Ancyra;
further, those at Neo-Caesarea and at Gangra, and besides these those at
Antioch in Syria [A. D. 341], those too at Laodicea in Phrygia, and
likewise those of the one hundred and fifty assembled in this
God-preserved imperial city and of the two hundred, who assembled for the
first time in the metropolis of the Ephesians, and of the six hundred and
thirty holy and blessed Fathers at Chalcedon; in like manner those of
Sardica and those of Carthage; those also who assembled in this
God-preserved imperial city under Nectarius [A. D. 394], and under
Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria; likewise too the canons(307) of
Dionysius, formerly archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, and of
Peter, archbishop of Alexandria, and martyr; of Gregory the Wonder-worker,
archbishop of Neo-Caesarea; of Athanasius, archbishop of Alexandria; of
Basil, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; of Gregory, bishop of Nyssa;
of Gregory the Theologian;(308) of Amphilochius of Iconium; of Timothy,
archbishop of Alexandria; of the first Theophilus, archbishop of the same
metropolis of Alexandria; of Gennadius, patriarch of the God-preserved
imperial city; moreover the canons set forth by Cyprian, archbishop of the
country of the Africans, and martyr, and by the synod under him,(309)
which have been kept in the country of the aforesaid bishops and only
according to the custom delivered down to them. And that no one be allowed
to transgress the aforesaid canons, or to receive other canons besides
them, supposititiously set forth by some who have attempted to make a
traffic of the truth. But should any one be convicted of innovating upon
them, or attempting to overturn any of the aforementioned canons, he shall
be condemned to receive the penalty which the canon imposes and so to be
cured of his transgressions.
Canon 13. On the Marriage of the Clergy.
The following canon permits subdeacons and priests if married
before ordination to continue to live in marriage relations with
their wives. But they are not allowed to marry a second time or to
marry a widow. Neither are bishops to remain married; but if they
are married when elected, their wives must enter a monastery at a
distance. With this canon should be compared the earlier
legislation of Nicaea, v. supra, § 78, and also the law of
Justinian, v. supra, § 94.
Since we know that it is handed down in the canonical discipline in the
Roman Church that those who are about to be deemed worthy of ordination to
the diaconate or presbyterate should promise no longer to live maritally
with their wives, we, pursuing the ancient rule of apostolic discipline
and order, will that henceforth the lawful marriage of men in holy orders
remain firm, by no means dissolving their union with their wives, nor
depriving them of intercourse with each other at a convenient season.
Therefore, if any one shall have dared, contrary to the Apostolic Canons,
to deprive any one in holy orders, that is, any presbyter, deacon, or
subdeacon, of cohabitation and intercourse with his lawful wife, let him
be deposed; likewise also if any presbyter or deacon, on pretence of
piety, puts away his wife, let him be excluded from communion; but if he
persists let him be deposed.
Canon 36. On the Rank of the Patriarchal Sees.
Rome always rejected the claim of Constantinople to rank as
second. Cf. Leo's opinion, v. supra, § 87.
Renewing the enactments of the one hundred and fifty Fathers assembled in
the God-preserved and imperial city, and the six hundred and thirty
assembled at Chalcedon, we decree that the see of Constantinople shall
enjoy equal privilege with the see of Old Rome, and in ecclesiastical
matters shall be as highly regarded as that is, and second after it. And
after this [Constantinople] shall be ranked the see of the great city of
Alexandria, and after that the see of Antioch, and after that the see of
Canon 37. On Bishops of Sees among Infidels.
This canon is cited here, though not entering into the controversy
between the East and the West, because it is significant of the
changed position of the Eastern Church at this time, due to the
Moslem and other conquests. The Monophysite bishops in Egypt and
Syria were not molested by the Moslems. This canon marks the
beginning of the practice of ordaining bishops in partibus
Since at different times there have been invasions of the barbarians, and
consequently very many cities have come into the possession of the
infidels, so that as a consequence the prelate of a city may not be able,
after he has been ordained, to take possession of his see and to be
settled in it in sacerdotal order, and so to perform and manage, according
to custom, the ordinations and all other things which appertain to the
bishop; we, preserving the honor and veneration of the priesthood, and in
nowise wishing to make use of the heathen injury to the ruin of
ecclesiastical rights, have decreed that they who have been thus ordained,
and for the aforesaid causes have not settled in their sees, may be kept
from any prejudice from this thing, so that they may canonically perform
the ordination of the different clerics and use the authority of their
offices according to proper limits, and that whatever administration
proceeds from them may be valid and legitimate. For the exercise of his
office shall not be circumscribed by reason of necessity, when the exact
observance of the law is circumscribed.
Canon 55. On Fasts in Lent.
As stated in the canon, this enactment is aimed at the Roman
usage, and refers to the 64th Apostolic Canon, which Rome
rejected. For the Apostolic Canons, see ANF, VII, 504.
Since we have learned that in the city of the Romans, in the holy fast of
Lent, they fast on the Sabbaths(310) contrary to the traditional
ecclesiastical observance, it seemed good to the holy synod that also in
the Church of the Romans the canons shall be in force without wavering
which says: If any cleric shall be found to fast on Sunday or on the
Sabbath except on one occasion only,(311) he shall be deposed; and if a
layman he shall be excommunicated.
Canon 67. On Eating Blood.
This canon is less distinctly aimed at Rome. In the West the
prohibition against eating blood seems to have been little
observed, as it had been given another interpretation. At the time
of the Second Trullan Council the practice was very common.
Augustine, it might be said, did not consider the apostolic
command as binding except in the special circumstance in which it
was issued. Cf. Augustine, Contra Faustum, 32:13.
The divine Scriptures command us to abstain from blood, from things
strangled, and from fornication. Those, therefore, who, on account of a
dainty stomach, prepare by any art for food the blood of animals and so
eat it, we punish suitably. If any one henceforth venture to eat in any
way the blood of an animal, if he be a clergyman let him be deposed; if a
layman, let him be excommunicated.
Canon 82. On Pictures of the Lamb of God.
The custom which is here condemned was prevalent in the West.
In some pictures of the holy icons, a lamb is painted to which the
Forerunner(312) points his finger, and this is received to serve as a type
of grace, indicating beforehand through the Law our true lamb, Christ our
God. Embracing therefore the ancient types and shadows as symbols and
patterns of the truth, which have been given to the Church, we prefer
"grace and truth," receiving it as the fulfilment of the Law. In order,
therefore, that what is perfect may be delineated to the eyes of all, at
least in colored expression, we decree that the figure of the lamb who
taketh away the sin of the world, Christ our God, be henceforth exhibited
according to human form in the icons, instead of the ancient lamb, so that
all may understand, by means of it, the depth of the humiliation of the
Word of God, and that we may recall to our memory His life in the flesh,
His passion and salutary death, and the redemption resulting therefrom for
the whole world.
(b) Liber Diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, n. 58.
Notification to the Emperor of an Election of a Pontiff.
The Liber Diurnus was the book of official formulae used on
occasions such as elections of pontiffs and the conferring of the
pallium. It was composed between 685 and 751, and was employed in
the papal chancellery down to the eleventh century, when it became
antiquated on account of the changes in the position of the popes.
The modern editions of the book are by Roziere, Paris, 1869, and
by Sickel, Vienna, 1889. The text may be found in Mirbt, n. 195,
where may also be found numerous other useful extracts.
Although it has not been without the merciful divine ordering that, after
the death of the supreme pontiff, the votes of all should agree in the
election of one, and that there be perfect harmony so that no one at all
is to be found who would oppose it, it is yet necessary that we ought
obediently to pour forth the prayers of our petitions to our most serene
and most pious lord, who is known to rejoice in the concord of his
subjects, and graciously to grant what has been asked by them in
unanimity. And so when our Pope (name) of most blessed memory died, the
assent of all was given, by the will of God, to the election of (name),
the venerable archdeacon of the Apostolic See, because from the beginning
of his life he had so served the same church, and in all things shown
himself so able that he ought deservedly to be placed, with the divine
approval, over the ecclesiastical government, especially since by his
constant association with the aforesaid most blessed pontiff (name), he
has been able to attain to the same distinctions of so great merit, by
which the same prelate of holy memory is known to have been adorned, who
by his words always stirred up his mind, being desirous of heavenly joys,
so that whatsoever good we have lost in his predecessor we are confident
that we have certainly found in him. Therefore, in tears, all we your
servants pray that the piety of the lords may deign to hear the
supplication of their servants, and the desires of their petitioners may
be granted by the command of their piety, for the benefit of the Empire,
that command may be given for his ordination; so that when we have been
placed by your sacred and exalted clemency under him as our pastor, we may
always pray for the life and empire of our most serene lords to the Lord
Almighty and to the blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, to whose church
it has been granted that a worthy ruler be ordained.
Subscription of the priests.
I (name), by the mercy of God, presbyter of the holy Roman Church,
consenting to this action made by us in regard to (name), the venerable
archdeacon of the holy Apostolic See and our elected Pope, have
Subscription of the laity.
I (name), servant of your piety, consenting to this action drawn up by
us in regard to (name), the venerable archdeacon of the holy Apostolic
See and our elected Pope, have subscribed.
(c) Liber Diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, ch. 60.
Notification of the Election of a Pontiff to the Exarch of
The text may be found in part in Mirbt, loc. cit.
To the most excellent and exalted lord, graciously to be preserved to us
for a long life in his princely office (name), exarch of Italy, the
priests, deacons, and all the clergy of Rome, the magistrates, the army,
and the people of this city of Rome as suppliants send greeting.
Providence is able to give aid in human affairs and to change the weeping
and groaning of the sorrowing into rejoicing.
Inasmuch as (name), of pontifical memory, has been called from present
cares to eternal rest, as is the lot of mortals, a great load of sorrow
oppressed us, for as guardians we were deprived of our own guardian. But
the accustomed kindness of our God did not permit us to remain long in
this affliction because we hoped in Him. For after we had humbly spent
three days in prayer that the heavenly kindness might, for the merits of
all, make known whom as worthy it commanded to be elected to succeed to
the apostolic office, with the aid of His grace which inspired the minds
of all; and after we had assembled as is customary, that is, the clergy
and the people of Rome with the presence of the nobility and the army,
from the least to the greatest, so to speak; and the election, with the
help of God and the aid of the holy Apostles, fell upon the person of
(name), the most holy archdeacon of this holy Apostolic See of the Roman
Church. The good and chaste life of this man, beloved of God, was in the
opinion of all so deserving that none opposed his election, no one was
absent, and none dissented from it. For why should not men agree
unanimously upon him whom the incomparable and unfailing providence of our
God had foreordained to this office? For without doubt this had been
determined upon in the presence of God. So solemnly performing his decrees
and confirming with our signatures the desires of hearts concerning his
election, we have sent you our fellow-servants as the bearers of this
letter (names), most holy bishop (name), venerable presbyter (name),
regionary notary (name), regionary subdeacons (names), honorable
citizens, and from the most flourishing and successful Roman army
(name), most eminent consul, and (names) chief men, tribunes of the
army, begging and praying together that your excellency, whom may God
preserve, may with your accustomed goodness agree with our pious choice;
because he, who has been unanimously elected by our humility, is such that
so far as human discernment is able to see, no spot of reproach appears in
him. And therefore we beg and beseech you, by God's inspiration, to grant
our petition quickly, because there are many questions and other matters
arising daily which require for remedy the care of pontifical favor. And
the affairs of the province and the need of causes connected therewith
also seek and await the control of due authority. Besides we need some one
to keep the neighboring enemy in check, which can only be done by the
power of God, and of the Prince of the Apostles through his vicar, the
bishop of Rome; since it is well known that at various times the bishop of
Rome has driven off enemies by his warnings, and at other times he has
turned aside and restrained them by his prayers; so that by his words
alone, on account of their reverence for the Prince of the Apostles, they
have offered voluntary obedience, and thus they, whom the force of arms
had not overcome, have yielded to the warnings and prayers of the Pope.
Since these things are so, we again and again beseech you, our exalted
lord, preserved by God, that, with the aid and inspiration of God in your
heart, you may quickly give orders to adorn the Apostolic See by the
completed ordination of the same, our father. And we, your humble
servants, on seeing our desires fulfilled, may then give unceasing thanks
to God and to you, and with our spiritual pastor, our bishop, enthroned in
the Apostolic Seat, we may pour out prayers for the life and health and
complete victories of our most exalted and Christian lords (names), the
great and victorious emperors, that the merciful God may give manifold
victories to their royal courage, and cause them to triumph over all
peoples, and that God may give them joy of heart, because the ancient rule
of Rome has been restored. For we know that he whom we have elected Pope
can, with his prayers, influence the divine omnipotence; and he has
prepared a joyful increase for the Roman Empire, and he will aid you in
this, in the government of this province of Italy, which is subject to
you, and will aid and protect all of us, your servants, through many
Subscription of the priests.
I, (name), the humble archpriest of the holy Roman Church, have with
full consent subscribed to this document which we have made concerning
(name), most holy archdeacon, our bishop elect.
And the subscription of the laity.
I, (name), in the name of God, consul, have with full consent subscribed
to this document which we have made concerning (name), most holy
archdeacon, our bishop-elect.
(d) Paulus Diaconus, Hist. Langobardorum, IV, 44. (MSL, 95:581.)
Agilulf may have been a convert to the Catholic faith, v. supra,
§ 99. His successors were not. In fact, not until 653, when
Aribert, the nephew of Theodelinda, ascended the throne, were the
Lombards permanently under Catholic rulers.
44. After Ariwald (626-636) had reigned twelve years over the Lombards he
departed this life, and Rothari of the family of Arodus took the kingdom
of the Lombards. He was a strong, brave man, and walked in the paths of
justice; in Christian faith, however, he did not hold to the right way,
but was polluted by the unbelief of the Arian heresy. The Arians say, to
their confusion, that the Son is inferior to the Father and, in the same
way, the Holy Ghost is inferior to the Father and the Son; we, Catholic
Christians, on the contrary, confess that the Father and the Son and the
Holy Ghost are one true God in three persons, equal in power and glory. In
the times of Rothari there were in nearly all the cities of his kingdom
two bishops, a Catholic and an Arian.
To this very day there is shown in the city of Ticinus [Pavia] the place
where the Arian bishop resided, at the church of St. Eusebius, and held
the baptistery while the Catholic bishop was at the head of another
church. The Arian bishop, however, who was in this city, whose name was
Anastasius, accepted the Catholic faith and afterward ruled the Church of
Christ. This king Rothari caused the laws of the Lombards to be reduced to
writing and named the book The Edict; the law of the Lombards up to that
time had been retained merely in memory and by their use in the courts.
This took place, as the king in the preface to his law-book says, in the
seventy-seventh year(313) after the Lombards came into Italy.