The Council of Chalcedon -- 150 bishops under Pope Leo the Great and the Emperor Marcian -- defined the two natures (Divine and human) in Christ against Eutyches, who was excommunicated.Preview This Lesson
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The Council of Chalcedon was called by Emperor Marcian. It was originally decided to meet in Nicaea on September 15th. However, Marcian moved the Council to Chalcedon as it was closer to Constantinople. The Council officially started on October 8, 451, at the Church of St. Euphenia. There were between 350 to 600 Bishops in attendance with the great majority coming from the Eastern portion of the Empire. Pope Leo had believed that there was no need for a Council. Perhaps thinking of the previous “Robber Council,” Pope Leo believed that the Bishops should sign his Tome, recant of their errors and not debate matters that had already been decreed in previous Councils. Yet once the Council was called, Pope Leo sent four legates who presided over the meetings. They were able to read the Tome to the assembled Bishops who listened carefully. Pope Leo’s words were acclaimed — “This is the faith of the Fathers and the Apostles; Peter has spoken through Leo; Cyril taught this too; Cyril and Leo taught the same.” A committee was formed, including three of the legates, to create a Definition of Faith. The section on Church Documents quotes from this Definition of Faith extensively.
The Definition of Faith first states that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is sufficient for a perfect understanding of the Roman Catholic Faith. Unfortunately, there are those — Nestorius , Eutyches and others — who misunderstand what the Creed teaches and then preach incorrect doctrines. St. Cyril’s Letter and St. Leo’s Tome are both accepted as explanations of the authentic Creed. No one is to create or preach any other Creed besides the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. The purity of the Creed must be maintained even if a group of converts finds it difficult to believe in certain sections and changing the Creed would get more members for the Church.
On October 25th, the Emperor Marcian watched as the Papal legates and 452 Bishops signed their names to this Definition of Faith. The Council then went on to disciplinary matters, decreeing the 30 canons discussed in the Church Documents section. The 28th canon was especially controversial with neither the Papal legates nor Pope Leo agreeing to the elevation of Constantinople.
The Council also deposed Dioscorus of Alexandria, exiling both him and Eutyches. Dioscorus was deposed and exiled not only because he supported the heresy of Eutyches but because of his actions at the Council at... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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