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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    When all the bishops were seated, Leo’s legates arose, and advanced to the middle of the assembly, and Paschasinus. holding a paper in his hand, said:—TTR 455.3

    “We have here an order from the most blessed and apostolic pope, of the city of Rome, which is the head of all churches, by which his apostleship has been pleased to command that Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria, should not be allowed to sit in the council. Let him therefore be ordered to withdraw, else we must withdraw.”TTR 456.1

    The commissioners.—“What have you to object against Dioscorus in particular?”TTR 456.2

    No answer. The question was repeated.TTR 456.3

    Lucentius.—“He must be called to account for the judgment he gave at Ephesus, where he presumed to assemble a council without the consent of the apostolic see, which has never been thought lawful, which has never been done; as he is therefore to be judged, he ought not to sit as a judge.”TTR 456.4

    The commissioners.—“Neither ought you to sit as a judge, since you take it upon you to act as a party. However, let us know what crime you lay to the charge of Dioscorus, for it is not agreeable to justice or reason, that he alone should be charged with a crime of which many others are no less guilty than he.”TTR 456.5

    The legates.—“Leo will by no means suffer Dioscorus to sit or act in this assembly as a judge, and if he does, then we must withdraw, agreeably to our instructions.” 13[Page 456] Bower’s “History of the Popes,” Leo, par. 43.TTR 456.6

    The commissioners finding the legates immovable, yielded at last, and ordered Dioscorus to leave his seat, and put himself in the midst of the assembly, in the place of one accused.TTR 456.7

    Then Eusebius of Dorylaeum, the original accuser of Eutyches, stepped forward as the accuser of Dioscorus, and declared: “I have been wronged by Dioscorus; the faith has been wronged; the bishop Flavian was murdered, and, together with myself, unjustly deposed by him. Give directions that my petition be read.” This petition was a memorial to the emperors, and was to the effect that at the late council at Ephesus, Dioscorus “having gathered a disorderly rabble, and procured an overbearing influence by bribes, made havoc, as far as lay in his power, of the pious religion of the orthodox, and established the erroneous doctrine of Eutyches the monk, which had from the first been repudiated by the holy Fathers; “that the emperors should therefore command Dioscorus to answer the accusation which he now made; and that the acts of the late council of Ephesus should be read in the present council, because from these he could show that Dioscorus was “estranged from the orthodox faith, that he strengthened a heresy utterly impious,” and that he had “wrongfully deposed” and “cruelly outraged” him. 14[Page 457] Evagrius’s Ecclesiastical History,” book ii, chap. iv.TTR 456.8

    When the reading of the memorial was ended, it was decided that not only the acts of the late council at Ephesus, but those of the original synod at Constantinople and all the steps between, should be read.TTR 457.1

    The late council at Ephesus had excommunicated Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus. Theodoret had appealed to Leo. Leo had re-instated him, and the emperor Marcian had specially summoned him to this council. Theodoret had arrived, and at this point in the proceedings, the imperial commissioners directed that he should be admitted to the council. “The actual introduction of Theodoret caused a frightful storm.”—Hefele. 15[Page 457] “History of the Church Councils,” sec. 189, par. 4. This is the Theodoret whose “Ecclesiastical History” has been several times referred to in this book. A faint estimate of this frightful storm may be formed from the following account of it, which is copied bodily from the report of the council:—TTR 457.2

    “And when the most reverend bishop Theodoret entered, the most reverend the bishops of Egypt, Illyria, and Palestine [the party of Dioscorus] shouted out, ‘Mercy upon us! the faith is destroyed. The canons of the church excommunicate him. Turn him out! turn out the teacher of Nestorius.’TTR 457.3

    “On the other hand, the most reverend the bishops of the East, of Thrace, of Pontus, and of Asia, shouted out, ‘We were compelled [at the former council] to subscribe our names to blank papers; we were scourged into submission. Turn out the Manicheans! Turn out the enemies of Flavian; turn out the adversaries of the faith!’TTR 457.4

    “Dioscorus, the most reverend bishop of Alexandria, said, “Why is Cyril to be turned out? It is he whom Theodoret has condemned.’TTR 458.1

    “The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, ‘Turn out the murderer Dioscorus. Who knows not the deeds of Dioscorus?’TTR 458.2

    “The most reverend the bishops of Egypt, Illyria, and Palestine shouted out, ‘Long life to the empress!’TTR 458.3

    “The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, ‘Turn out the murderers!’TTR 458.4

    “The most reverend the bishops of Egypt shouted out, The empress turned out Nestorius; long life to the Catholic empress! The orthodox synod refuses to admit Theodoret.’”TTR 458.5

    Here there was a “momentary” lull in the storm, of which Theodoret instantly took advantage, and stepped forward to the commissioners with “a petition to the emperors,” which was really a complaint against Dioscorus, and asked that it be read. The commissioners said that the regular business should be proceeded with, but that Theodoret should be admitted to a seat in the council, because the bishop of Antioch had vouched for his orthodoxy. Then the storm again raged.TTR 458.6

    “The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, ‘He is worthy-worthy!’TTR 458.7

    “The most reverend the bishops of Egypt shouted out, ‘Don’t call him bishop, he is no bishop. Turn out the fighter against God; turn out the Jew!’TTR 458.8

    “The most reverend the bishops of the East shouted out, ‘The orthodox for the synod! Turn out the rebels; turn out the murderers!’TTR 458.9

    “The most reverend the bishops of Egypt, ‘Turn out the enemy of God. Turn out the defamer of Christ. Long life to the empress! Long life to the emperor! Long life to the Catholic emperor! Theodoret condemned Cyril. If we receive Theodoret, we excommunicate Cyril.’” 16[Page 459] Quoted by Stanley, “History of the Eastern Church,” Lecture ii, par. 8 from the end.TTR 458.10

    At this stage the commissioners were enabled by a special exertion of their authority, to allay the storm. They plainly told the loud-mouthed bishops, “Such vulgar shouts are not becoming in bishops, and can do no good to either party.” 17[Page 459] Hefele, “History of a the Church Councils,” sec. 189, par. 4.TTR 459.1

    When the tumult had been subdued, the council proceeded to business. First there were read all the proceedings from the beginning of the Synod of Constantinople against Eutyches clear down to the end of the late Council of Ephesus; during which there was much shouting and counter-shouting after the manner of that over the introduction of Theodoret, but which need not be repeated.TTR 459.2

    The first act of the council after the reading of the foregoing minutes, was to annul the sentence which Dioscorus had pronounced against Flavianus and Eusebius. “Many of the bishops expressed their penitence at their concurrence in these acts; some saying that they were compelled by force to subscribe—others to subscribe a blank paper.”—Milman. 18[Page 459] “History of Latin Christianity,” book ii, chap. iv, par. 38. Then a resolution was framed charging Dioscorus with having approved the doctrine of two natures, and having opposed Flavianus in maintaining it; and with having forced all the bishops at Ephesus to sign the sentence which he had pronounced.TTR 459.3

    Dioscorus was not afraid of anything, not even the terrors of an orthodox church council, and without the least sign of intimidation or fear, he boldly confronted the whole host of his adversaries. In answer to their charges—TTR 459.4

    Dioscorus said.—“I have condemned, still do, and always will, condemn, the doctrine of two natures in Christ, and all who maintain it. I hold no other doctrine but what I have learned of the Fathers, especially Athanasius, Nazianzen, and Cyril. I have chosen rather to condemn Flavianus than them. Those who do not like my doctrine may use me as they please, now they are uppermost and have the power in their hands; but in what manner soever they think fit to use me, I am unalterably determined, my soul being at stake, to live and die in the faith which I have hitherto professed. As to my having forced the bishops to sign the condemnation of Flavianus, I answer that the constancy of every Christian, and much more of a bishop, ought to be proof against all kinds of violence and death itself. The charge brought by Eusebius lays heavier against them than it does against me, and therefore it is incumbent upon them to answer that, as they are the more guilty.” 19[Page 460] “History of the Popes,” Leo, par. 45.TTR 459.5

    Night had now come. Dioscorus demanded an adjournment. It was refused. Torches were brought in. The night was made hideous by the wild cries of acclamation to the emperor and the Senate, of appeals to God and curses upon Dioscorus. When the resolution was finally put upon its passage, it was announced as follows by—TTR 460.1

    The imperial commissioners.—“As it has now been shown by the reading of the acts and by the avowal of many bishops who confess that they fell into error at Ephesus, that Flavianus and others were unjustly deposed, it seems right that, if it so pleases the emperor, the same punishment should be inflicted upon the heads of the previous synod, Dioscorus of Alexandria, Juvenal of Jerusalem, Thalassius of Caesarea, Eusebius of Ancyra, Eustathius of Berytus, and Basil of Seleucia, and that their deposition from the episcopal dignity should be pronounced by the council.”TTR 460.2

    The orientals.—“That is quite right.”TTR 460.3

    Many of the party of Dioscorus now abandoned him and his cause, and went over to the other side, exclaiming: “We have all erred, we all ask for pardon.” Upon this there was an almost unanimous demand that only Dioscorus should be deposed.TTR 460.4

    Dioscorus.—“They are condemning not me alone, but Athanasius and Cyril. They forbid us to assert the two natures after the incarnation.”TTR 461.1

    The orientals, and other opponents of Dioscorus, all together.—“Many years to the Senate! holy God, holy, Almighty, holy Immortal, have mercy upon us! Many years to the emperors! The impious must ever be subdued! Dioscorus the murderer, Christ has deposed! This is a righteous judgment, a righteous senate, a righteous council.”TTR 461.2

    Amid such cries as these, and, “Christ has deposed Dioscorus, Christ has deposed the murderer, God has avenged his martyrs,” the resolution was adopted. Then the council adjourned. 20[Page 461] Hefele’s “History of the Church Councils,” sec. 183, last three par. Milman’s “History of Latin Christianity,” book ii, chap. iv, par. 38. In the rest of this chapter, I follow so closely and so fully, Hefele’s “History of the Church Councils,” that I shall not attempt to cite particular references. The only references that I shall make are to passages not derived from Hefele’s account. In following Hefele, however, I have maintained the uniformity of the narrative by turning indirect quotations into direct, and so have preserved as far as possible the personality of the speakers.TTR 461.3

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