The Second General Council of Constantinople, of 165 bishops under Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian I, condemned the errors of Origen and certain writings (The Three Chapters) of Theodoret, of Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia and of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa; it further confirmed the first four general councils, especially that of Chalcedon whose authority was contested by some heretics.Preview This Lesson
Buy Councils #5: Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. for only $3.99
The Second Council of Constantinople opened on May 5th, 553, with Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople presiding in Hagia Sophia. The Council was attended by approximately 152 Bishops with most of them from the Eastern part of the Empire. Most of the Western Bishops believed that the Third Chapter should not be condemned as we saw in the Introduction. Yet, when the writings from Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas were read out in the Council, they were quickly denounced as heretical by the assembled (mostly) Eastern Bishops. What caused this difference between East and West? One explanation, first advanced by Pope Pelagius II in his third epistle to Elias, was that the Three Chapters were all written in Greek which most Westerns did not understand. Thinking that the Council of Chalcedon had not previously condemned these writings, the Western Bishops were suspicious of Justinian’s sudden decision to anathematize writings from the previous century — Theodore of Mopsuestia had died in 428, Theodoret of Cyrrhus died around 466 while Ibas passed away in approximately 457.
What was behind this sudden condemnation of Theodore, his writings and the writings of Theodoret and Ibas? Justinian had a heretic at his side — his own wife, Theodora. There was certainly no need to consider three men already dead when Theodora was helping Monophysites within Constantinople itself. The Western Bishops may also have been resentful of Justinian’s wars in Italy, the resulting taxes used to pay for these wars or the outbreak of plague that lasted from 541 to 543. Any of these reasons may have caused the Western Bishops to refuse the condemnation of the Three Chapters as well as an honest concern that to condemn the Three Chapters was to undermine the Council of Chalcedon. Facundus of Hermiane in Africa was vehemently opposed to the condemnation, for instance, because he believed that it would weaken the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon. He was in Constantinople at the time of Pope Vigilius’ conferences and spoke of his objections. Facundus wrote “Defensio trium capitulorum” (Defense of the Three Chapters) in 12 books and presented the work to the Emperor then left Constantinople before he was arrested or exiled.
The actions of Pope Vigilius also demand our interest. Facundus tells us that Vigilius had listened as the faithful in Rome, Sicily, Hellas and Illyricum pleaded with him not to condemn the Three Chapters during his long journey to Co... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Councils #5: Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. is part of the following course(s):