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.