What Christians Believe-The Ecumenical Councils (325-787) - Christian Heritage Fellowship, Inc.
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What Christians Believe–The Ecumenical Councils (325-787)

May 20–June 19, 325
First Ecumenical Council (Nicea)

Some Christians refuse to accept any summary statements of the Christian faith, professing to use only Scripture as their statement of faith. Initially, this position may possess greater appeal for the faithful Bible-believing Christian, but a question soon arises: “Whose interpretation of Scripture should I follow?” Before long it is evident there are many interpretations—many subjective opinions. The early Church sought to develop summary statements of the truths of Scripture. These statements are known as “creeds.” The following article is an attempt to describe the development of that group of statements known as the Ecumenical Creeds.

Following the Jerusalem Council of 50 AD, the First Ecumenical Council (Nicea) convened May 20 – June 19, 325

Table of Contents

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Introduction

I. The Jerusalem Council (49 or 50)

The Jerusalem Council was the first council of the Christian Church. Its proceedings are recounted in Acts 15 and took place about 49 or 50. The question of the place of the ceremonial law in the life of the Church was settled by the Jerusalem Council, as seen in the letter sent to Gentiles:

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. (Acts 15:22-29, NIV)

II. Councils as Arbiters of Orthodoxy

Beginning with the Western Council of Arles (314),[1] attempts were made by both political and ecclesiastical leaders to resolve theological differences within the Church by means of ecumenical councils. These councils were attempts to discuss issues and come to a consensus on the matters so that doctrinal harmony might be enjoyed through Christendom; these councils were efforts to define orthodoxy or acceptable doctrine.

III. Orthodoxy in the Ecumenical Councils

Following the first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325, numerous councils attempted to identify and promulgate the orthodox teachings of the church; but from the various councils which were convened, only seven are regarded as ecumenical, or having been compiled by representatives of the entire church. From 325 to 787, the conciliar or universal creeds were devised by these representatives. The following is a brief summary of those councils and the creeds which are regarded as ecumenical.

IV. Councils Not Inspired

The Eastern Orthodox tradition believes that the Seven Ecumenical Councils were inspired by God in the same way that Scripture is inspired. Therefore, these councils hold a place of authority similar to Scripture. But the Protestant tradition denies this understanding of inspired tradition and insists that the councils have authority only so far as they are consistent with Scripture. Protestantism denies that the councils enjoy equal status with Scripture.

Ecumenical Councils

I. First Council of Nicea (325)

A. Purpose: Declared Son Coequal, Consubstantial, and Coeternal with Father; Condemned Arius; Drafted Original Nicene Creed

The purpose of the First Council of Nicea was to settle the question of Jesus’ deity. It was successful in defining the first part of the creed defining the divinity of Jesus. In addition to the creed, this first council established twenty canons[2] to regulate the practice of the church and sent a “Synodal Letter” to the church in Alexandria, Egypt.[3]

B. The Creed of Nicea (325)

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance [omoousion] with the Father, by whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead.

And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost.

And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance [hypostasis] or essence [ousia] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or mutable, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

II. First Council of Constantinople (381)

A. Purpose: Reaffirmed Council of Nicea; Revised Nicene Creed; Ended Trinitarian Controversy; Affirmed Deity of the Holy Spirit; Condemned Apollinarianism

The First Council of Constantinople (381) was called by the emperor, Theodosius I to deal with matters left unresolved by the Council of Nicea. The council drafted a statement which affirmed the same understanding of the divinity of Jesus as that affirmed by the Council of Nicea fifty-six years earlier. This same deity was also affirmed for the Holy Spirit, but this statement has been lost. The council established the orthodox teaching concerning the Trinity. All forms of Arianism, and the new heresy Apollinarianism, were condemned by the council. Only the bishops of the East attended the sessions of this two-month council. Gregory of Nazianzus was reinstated as bishop of Constantinople, and when Meletius of Antioch the council’s first president died, Gregory took his place. He soon resigned, however, when the council disregarded his wishes by electing Flavian of Antioch as Meletius’ successor at Antioch. Nectarius presided over the remainder of the sessions following the resignation of Gregory. In addition to the formulation of a creed, the council also established four canons, with three more being subsequently added, perhaps as early as the following year; and, the council sent a letter to the emperor, which summarized their proceedings:

To the most religious Emperor Theodosius, the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled in Constantinople out of different Provinces.

We begin our letter to your Piety with thanks to God, who has established the empire of your Piety for the common peace of the Churches and for the support of the true Faith. And, after rendering due thanks unto God, as in duty bound we lay before your Piety the things which have been done in the Holy Synod. When, then, we had assembled in Constantinople, according to the letter of your Piety, we first of all renewed our unity of heart each with the other, and then we pronounced some concise definitions, ratifying the Faith of the Nicene Fathers, and anathematizing the heresies which have sprung up, contrary thereto. Besides these things, we also framed certain Canons for the better ordering of the Churches, all which we have subjoined to this our letter. Wherefore we beseech your Piety that the decree of the Synod may be ratified, to the end that, as you have honoured the Church by your letter of citation, so you should set your seal to the conclusion of what has been decreed. May the Lord establish your empire in peace and righteousness, and prolong it from generation to generation; and may he add unto your earthly power the fruition of the heavenly kingdom also. May God by the prayers (euchais ton hagion) of the Saints, show favour to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.[4]

B. Creed of Constantinople

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.

And [we believe] in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

III. Council of Ephesus (431)

A. Purpose: Anathematized Nestorianism; Accepted Alexandrian Christology; Condemned Pelagius

The third general council was convened at Ephesus in Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II.[5] The main concern of the council was the new heresy, Nestorianism, which overemphasized the human nature of Jesus to a neglect of his divine nature. Patriarch Nestorius was denounced for having asserted that Jesus was one person; in this way, he refused to recognize the two natures of Jesus–divine and human. The council decreed that Jesus was fully God and fully human. The Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called Theotokos (God-bearer) because she gave birth, not to a mere man, but to God who became man, without sacrificing the nature of either, except that Jesus was without sin. The intent in applying this term to Mary was to affirm both the humanity and deity of Jesus; the council did not intend to suggest that Mary was coeternal with Christ. Rather than apply Theotokos to Mary, Nestorius used the term Christotokos, which laid stress upon Christ’s humanity. The creeds of the first two ecumenical councils were reaffirmed and additions or deletions were forbidden.[6]

B. No Creed

IV. Council of Chalcedon (451)

A. Purpose: Declared Christ’s Two Natures Unmixed, Unchanged, Undivided, Inseparable; Condemned Eutychianism

The Council of Chalcedon (451) was the Fourth Ecumenical Council. It was convened in the city of Chalcedon in Asia Minor, opposite Constantinople, to the East. It was convened by the Eastern Emperor, Marcian, to address the Eutychian heresy. The first meeting was held October 8, 451, at which were present 500-600 bishops, all of which were from the East with the exception of two bishops from North Africa and two papal legates, Paschasinus and Boniface.

Two years prior to Chalcedon, in August 449, Theodosius II, emperor of the East, convoked the Latrocinium (“Robber Council”) which was held at Ephesus to deal with the rising difficulties which were arising out of the condemnation of Eutyches at the synod at Constantinople in November 448. This synod was dominated by Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who was a strong supporter of Monophysitism. Eutyches was acquitted of heresy and was reinstated to his monastery. Flavian and other bishops were deposed, and the Roman legates were insulted.

When the Council of Chalcedon convened, it reversed the decisions of Latrocinium and the Ephesus Council and condemned Eutyches. It drafted a statement of faith known as the Chalcedonian Definition, along with a large number of additional pronouncements, all of which were accepted by the Western Church, except canon 28 which granted the Bishop of Constantinople the title of patriarch and made his see second only to Rome,[7] something which the Roman legates vigorously opposed.

B. Creed: The Definitions of Chalcedon

The Definitions of Chalcedon reaffirmed the definitions of Nicea and Constantinople, asserting that they provide an adequate definition of the orthodox faith concerning Christ, but goes further to assert that the two new errors of Nestorius and Eutyches must be repudiated.

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.[8]

V. Second Council of Constantinople (553)

A. Purpose: Condemned “Three Chapters”; Affirmed Chalcedon

The Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened in 553 by Emperor Justinian to determine the outcome of the Three Chapters, being the person and works of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus,[9] and Ibas of Edessa.[10] In 543-544, Emperor Justinian condemned these three subjects for their sympathy for Nestorianism with the hope of conciliating the Monophysites. The East gave assent to the condemnation, but in the West, Pope Vigilius, refused to comply with the Emperor because his edict opposed the findings of Chalcedon. After being summoned to Constantinople, Vigilius issued his Iudicatum to Menas, the patriarch of Constantinople, which condemned the Three Chapters, but upheld the findings of Chalcedon. A storm of protest followed in the West, causing Vigilius to withdraw his Iudicatum and await a general council.

The Council met under the presidency of Eutychus, Patriarch of Constantinople, on May 5, 553. Of the 165 bishops who signed the acts of the council, nearly all of them were from the East. The Three Chapters were condemned and writings anathematized. Pope Vigilius, who refused to attend for fear of violence as well as protest against the domination of the East in the matter, drafted his Constitutum, which he signed along with sixteen other bishops from the West. In its, Vigilius condemned sixty of Theodore’s propositions, but refused to condemn his person on the grounds he was not condemned at either Ephesus (431) or Chalcedon (451). After a brief exile, Vigilius accepted the findings of the council against the Three Chapters.

Fourteen anathemas were pronounced by the council against Theodore,[11] Theodoret,[12] and Ibas.[13] Though Pope Vigilius accepted the findings of this council, it was not immediately accepted in the West as authoritative. Unlike the preceding councils, this council promulgated no canons.[14]

B. Creed: The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople

VI. Third Council of Constantinople (680-81)

A. Purpose: Rejected Monothelitism; Condemned Pope Honorius as Heretic

The third Council of Constantinople (680) was convened at the request of Emperor Constantine IV to the settle to determine the question of Monothelitism which had disturbed the East. That same year, Pope Agatho had held a synod at Rome (680) at which was the doctrine of the two wills of Christ were reaffirmed. Agatho sent his delegates to the emperor expounding this teaching, and upon their arrival, the emperor convened a council. Eighteen sessions were held, conducted mainly by the papal envoys to address the question of Monothelitism. In the thirteenth session, the principal leaders of the heresy were anathematized, included among these was Honorius, the former pope.

B. Creed: Statement of Faith

The Statement of Faith of this council was primarily a reproduction of the profession of Chalcedon, which affirmed the two natures of Christ, to which was added a statement of the two wills (qelhmata) two operations (energeiai). Physical unity of the two wills was rejected, but a moral unity was asserted. In conclusion, the statement offered a resume of the Christological findings of the various ecumenical councils. As was true of the preceding council, no new canons were set forth.

This is a clarification of the issue of whether or not Jesus had two wills: one for each of His two natures.

We also proclaim two natural willings or wills in him and two natural operations, without separation, without change, without partition, without confusion, according to the teaching of the holy Fathers — and two natural wills not contrary to each other, God forbid, as the impious heretics have said they would be, but his human will following, and not resisting or opposing, but rather subject to his divine and all-powerful will. For it was proper for the will of the flesh to be moved naturally, yet to be subject to the divine will, according to the all-wise Athanasius. For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is God the Word’s own will, as he himself says: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me,” calling the will of the flesh his own, as also the flesh had become his own. For in the same manner that his all-holy and spotless ensouled flesh, though divinised, was not destroyed, but remained in its own law and principle also his human will, divinised, was not destroyed, but rather preserved, as Gregory the divine says: “His will, as conceived of in his character as the Savior, is not contrary to God, being wholly divinised.” We also glorify two natural operations in the same our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, without separation, without change, without partition, without confusion, that is, a divine operation and a human operation, as the divine preacher Leo most clearly says: “For each form does what is proper to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh.” We will not therefore grant the existence of one natural operation of God and the creature, lest we should either raise up into the divine nature what is created, or bring down the preeminence of the divine nature into the place suitable for things that are made. For we recognize the wonders and the sufferings as of one and the same person], according to the difference of the natures of which he is and in which he has his being, as the eloquent Cyril said.

Preserving therefore in every way the unconfused and undivided, we set forth the whole confession in brief; believing our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, to be one of the holy Trinity even after the taking of flesh, we declare that his two natures shine forth in his one hypostasis, in which he displayed both the wonders and the sufferings through the whole course of his dispensation, not in phantasm but truly, the difference of nature being recognized in the same one hypostasis by the fact that each nature wills and works what is proper to it, in communion with the other. On this principle we glorify two natural wills and operations combining with each other for the salvation of the human race.[15]

VII. Second Council of Nicea (787)

A. Purpose: Affirmed the Use of Icons

The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787) was convened at Nicea by the Empress Irene at the suggestion of Tarsius, patriarch of Constantinople, to put an end to the Iconoclastic Controversy (Iconoclasm was the disallowance or contempt for the use of icons). Pope Hadrian was requested to send two delegates on the condition that the western iconoclastic Synod of Hieria (753) be repudiated. The patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, being under the control of Muslim caliphs, were unable to attend, but each were represented by two monks.

The council permitted adherence to the veneration (proskunhsij) of images in accordance with the letter which Pope Hadrian had expounded in his letter to Empress Irene, adding that images were honored with a relative love (scetikw poqw), while absolute adoration (latpeia) was to be reserved for God. The decree was signed by all present and the empress and her son, Constantine, and the iconoclasts were anathematized. In addition, twenty-two canons were drawn up by the council.

B. No Creed

Additional Roman Councils

The Roman Catholic Church accepts fourteen additional councils which are accepted neither by the Eastern Orthodox, nor the Protestant Churches. They begin with the Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870) and continue through the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Three Ecumenical Creeds

I. The Apostle’s Creed

As it is now used in the Western Church, the Apostles’ Creed dates from the eighth century. It did not originate in the eighth century but had its origin in the so-called “Old Roman Creed” which was in use in the West in the third century. The roots of the Old Roman Creed are in the New Testament itself. While this creed did not originate with the apostles, it did originate during the apostolic era.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

II. The Nicene Creed

A significant portion of the present Nicene Creed was not part of the original creed. There are two creeds which bear this title. The Nicene Creed of 325 was written by the First General Council of the Church. The Second General Council altered the creed somewhat, and for this reason it came to be known as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and has subsequently been altered.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

III. The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque Vult; c. 500)

After the First Council of Constantinople (381), yet before the questions related to the constitution of Christ could be authoritatively decided, the Athanasian Creed, an amplification of the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds, was generally adopted, at least among the Western Churches. It is universally agreed that Athanasius was not the author of this creed. The principle sources for the creed were the writings of Augustine and Vincent of Lerins. Though it was never formally stamped with the approval of any council, it was soon universally accepted in the West[16] and subsequently in the East. The Church Form of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith are set forth in the Nicene, Constantinopolitan, and Athanasian Creeds.

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian Faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever. Now this is the true Christian faith:

We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated; The Father is eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal; Any yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite. In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; And yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is one who is almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord; yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord, so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords. The Father is neither made not created, nor begotten of anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as one God and one God worshiped as three persons. Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity.

It is furthermore necessary for eternal salvation truly to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ also took on human flesh.

Now this is the true Christian faith:

We believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and Man. He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father, and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother, fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh, equal to the Father, as to his deity, less than the Father, as to his humanity; and though he is both God and Man, Christ is not two persons but one, one, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God; one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person; for just as the reasonable soul and flesh are one human being, so God and man are one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will rise again with their own bodies to answer for their personal deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into everlasting fire. This is the true Christian Faith.

Whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.



This concludes another episode from our podcast library, entitled, What Christians Believe–The Ecumenical Councils (325-787) .

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[1]Constantine became increasingly involved in the life of the Church in the West, so much so that he summoned the bishops of the West to a council at Arles (Arelate) in AD 314, following the split of the church in North Africa over the Donatist controversy. The decision of the council was to repress the Donatists. Their churches were confiscated and their followers viciously repressed.

[2]Canon Law regulated the practice of the church.

[3]See Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 14.

[4]“The First Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381),” http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3808.htm, October 11, 2003.

[5]Grandson of Theodosius the Great.

[6]“Wikipedia: Council of Ephesus,” http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Ecumenical_Council; “Theotokos,” http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theotokos, October 11, 2003.

[7]Canon 28, “Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (isa presbeia) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him.” “The XXX Canons of the Holy and Fourth Synods, of Chalcedon A.D. 451,” http://www.ccel.org/fathers/NPNF2-14/4chalcedon/canons.htm, October 14, 2003.

[8]Historic Church Documents, “The Definitions of Chalcedon (451),” http://www.reformed.org/documents/chalcedon.html, October 13, 2003.

[9]In particular, his writings against Cyril of Alexandria.

[10]His letter to Maris.

[11]The first twelve were addressed against him.

[12]The thirteenth anathema was addressed against Theodoret.

[13]The fourteenth anathema was addressed against Ibas.

[14]Cross, Oxford Dictionary of the Church (2nd ed.), s.v. “The Three Chapters”; “Second Council of Constantinople.”

[15]“The Statement of Faith of the Third Council of Constantinople (681 AD),” http://www.carm.org/creeds/3rdcouncil.htm, October 14, 2003.

[16]In its original form, the Athanasian Creed appears only in Latin. Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:458.

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Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 220
Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is Christian Heritage Fellowship’s executive director and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. He spent 12 years as a Seminary professor and has been a licensed minister for more than thirty years, during which time he has served as pastor, revival and camp meeting evangelist, interim pastor, and other ministerial roles. He has authored numerous articles concerning America’s Christian heritage. Dr. Flick earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in theology and church history.

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