The <I>Church Histories</I> of Theodore Lector and John Diakrinomenos

by Rafał Kosiński (Author) Kamilla Twardowska (Author) Aneta Zabrocka (Author) Adrian Szopa (Author) Philip Rance (Revision)
©2021 Edited Collection 694 Pages


This book provides the reader with a comprehensive edition of the Church Histories by John Diakrinomenos and Theodore Lector. It contains the original texts along with translations into English and a commentary. We offer a completely new edition, which should be a convenient tool to be used by the researchers. We have made a clear distinction between what is certainly the content that comes from Theodore and the later transmission of the factual information derived from his Church History as can be found in various Byzantine works. We have also attempted, in each particular instance, to trace the connection between the transmission in the later works and Theodore’s composition. It should be emphasized that it is the first translation of all Theodorean tradition into modern language.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • I. Introductory remarks
  • II. Christological Controversy
  • The Church History of John Diakrinomenos
  • Text and Translation
  • The Church History of Theodore Lector
  • Introduction
  • Testimonia. Text and Translation
  • Fragments of Theodore Lector’s Church History
  • Text and Translation
  • The Chronicle of Victor of Tunnuna
  • Text and Translation
  • The anonymous Greek Epitome of Theodore Lector’s Church History
  • Text and Translation
  • The further tradition associated with Theodore Lector’s Church History
  • Laudatio Barnabae of Alexander the Monk
  • Text and Translation
  • Pratum spirituale by John Moschos
  • Text and Translation
  • The Chronography of Theophanes the Confessor
  • Text and Translation
  • The Chronicle of George the Monk
  • Text and Translation
  • The anonymous Synodicon Vetus
  • Text and Translation
  • Scholia to the Church History of Evagrios Scholastikos
  • Text and Translation
  • Suda
  • Text and Translation
  • The anonymous treatise On Schisms
  • Text and Translation
  • Hypothesis – an anonymous account of the sessions of the Council of Chalcedon
  • Text and Translation
  • The monk Kallistos’ Letter to Manuel Disypatos, Metropolitan of Thessalonica
  • Text and Translation
  • Bibliography
  • Concordance
  • Indexes
  • Index of People
  • Index of Geographical Names

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We are glad to be able to present this translation of two works without which any reconstruction of the history of the Roman Empire in the late fifth – early sixth centuries, particularly relating to the reigns of the emperors Zeno and Anastasios, appears to be virtually impossible.

In spite of the significant role of Theodore Lector’s Church History in particular in research on this period, the surviving fragments have never been translated into any modern language. The reason for this is first of all the state of the preservation of the source, which is fragmentary and reconstructed, for the most part, only hypothetically. Nonetheless, no one has ventured to offer a new translation with commentary since 1972 (i.e., when Günther Christian Hansen’s critical edition of Theodore’s work was published).

Our publication is intended to address the absence of a modern language translation of this source. It has been our objective to provide the reader with a comprehensive edition of the Church Histories by John Diakrinomenos and Theodore Lector, which contains the original Greek, Latin, and Old Church Slavonic texts along with translations into English and a commentary.1

The present work is not a carbon-copy of the Hansen edition, with complementary translations and commentary. Rather, we have aimed to offer a completely new edition, very far removed in character from a critical edition. Our overriding idea was to prepare a convenient tool to be used by scholars and researchers in the field of Late Antiquity. Hence, we have made a clear distinction between what is certainly the content that comes from Theodore and the later transmission of the factual information derived from his Church History as can be found in various Byzantine works. In the part on Theodore Lector’s composition, our publication consists of three sections which are preceded by accounts concerning the author: 1) excerpts from the Church History, 2) two extensive collections of excerpts from the History — the Latin one, which Victor of Tunnuna incorporated into his Chronicle, and the Greek-language Epitome, 3) borrowed fragments dispersed in various Byzantine works, drawn from the original History or the Epitome, which we have referred to as “further Theodorean tradition”. This term is used to denote those sources which draw on Theodore’s work or its Greek Epitome systematically (e.g. Theophanes) or ←7 | 8→only infrequently, in the form of one or several mentions (e.g. John Moschos), but with multiple alterations and distortions to the information derived. In the Hansen edition, the texts found in the latter section are complementary to the fragments of Theodore’s original work and the Epitome, which would often lead scholars to consider some passages from George the Monk’s Chronicle or Theophanes’ Chronography as authentic fragments of the incompletely preserved Epitome or passages from Victor’s Chronicle as supposedly containing the information corresponding to the original composition.2 In the present edition, all those elements of the further Theodorean tradition are clearly distinguished. Moreover, we have also attempted, in each particular instance, to trace the connection between the transmission in the works falling under the third group and Theodore’s composition.

A number of other modifications have been made, with some of Hansen’s attributions questioned and others proposed instead. At some places, we choose to refer to the manuscripts directly, presenting the original text in a form different from the critical edition (Epitome, Pratum Spirituale by John Moschos). Despite such significant emendations, we do not claim to call our publication a critical edition, as our primary goal has been to make the Hansen edition more accessible for the purpose of academic research rather than to replace it. For this reason, we have decided to avoid presenting a very elaborate critical apparatus. Instead, we have favoured the option of referring the readers to some more recent critical editions, which we have basically used for the purpose of this publication, or of providing only the most important details about interpretations of uncertain or corrupt passages. It is our hope that such a form of publication will make it a very useful tool not only for historians of Late Antiquity, but also for researchers and students of Byzantine literature.

This book has been published as part of a grant of the National Centre of Science 2015/17/B/HS3/00506, entitled “Preparation of a bilingual edition (in two versions: Greek-English and Greek-Polish) of the Church History by John Diakrinomenos and the Church History by Theodore Lector, with an introduction and historical commentary”. It would not have been possible without the several-year-long efforts of a group of co-authors, each of them responsible for a specific portion of the publication, but also for mutual collaboration and consultation. Aneta Zabrocka and Adrian Szopa are co-authors of the translation from the classical languages, for which the commentary notes have been written by ←8 | 9→Kamilla Twardowska, while Rafał Kosiński has been responsible for the general concept of the entire publication, selection and preparation of the original texts, as well as for the introductions to the individual sections.

In conclusion, we would like to acknowledge all those without whom this book would have contained a number of flaws or errors and would have most probably never been possible in its current form. For all their participation and assistance, we would like to thank Dariusz Brodka, Zofia Brzozowska, Elissavet Chatziantoniou, Paweł Filipczak, Piotr Guzowski, Andrzej Kompa, Anna Kotłowska, Mirosław Leszka, Marie-Aude Monégier du Sorbier, Józef Naumowicz, Jan Prostko-Prostyński, Maciej Salamon, Michał Stachura.

Finally, we wish to express our thanks to Philip Rance and Geoffrey Greatrex, whose comments and suggestions have helped us to avoid making a number of errors in our translation. Their invaluable assistance has contributed to the eventual shape of this edition. Nevertheless, The Authors assume the full responsibility for any mistakes or shortcomings of the present work.

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1The present publication has been preceded by a edition of the relevant texts and their Polish translation; see Kosiński/Szopa/Twardowska 2019.

2For more on the conception and the objectives of the present edition, see Kosiński 2017a, 111–124.

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I. Introductory remarks

John Diakrinomenos and Theodore Lector were writing their church histories during a period of intense Christological controversies, which were centred around the orthodoxy of resolutions adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. As their views of this council are radically different, the works of these two authors have a voice in this dispute, while the events portrayed are profoundly marked by the propaganda of their respective parties.

The decrees of Chalcedon were, of course, just one episode in a series of Christological controversies, primarily with respect to the precise definition of the Divinity and humanity of the Person of Christ. This particular conflict, it should be emphasized, was above all a theological dispute, although some political and geo-ecclesiastical factors, as well as the personal ambitions of individual protagonists, also came to play a role. Yet we must not ignore the fact that the actual motivation for a majority of the bishops and monks, but also for those lay people who became involved in supporting one or the other side of the controversy, was the question of protecting the orthodoxy of the Church against what was perceived as heterodoxy. Even the frequent cases of high-ranking clergymen changing their views most often occurred as a result of the development of theological thought and the emergence of new interpretations of Church doctrine, even if we know of many instances of figures who would go on to change their position for their own advantage or out of fear.

1. New forms of synodal life

The development of Church orthodoxy at this time was essentially a matter of collective effort, inasmuch as it took shape primarily at gatherings of bishops known as synods, where particular positions would often clash with one another, attempts were made to seek compromise definitions of faith, combining various theological traditions, and the views espoused by people accused of tainting orthodox doctrine with heresy were appraised and judged.1 The principal form of assembly in the Church was a local synod of bishops, convened under the direction of a metropolitan bishop of one province, even though we do know of ←13 | 14→synods that were “extra-provincial”, especially around the foremost bishoprics of the Church in late antiquity: Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Carthage. The territorial range of a specific synod, as if a “sphere of influence” around its main centre, was usually determined not only by the significance of a given Church, but also by some practical considerations: for example, as bishops had to travel to synods at their own expense, the venues could not be very distant. In addition, summoning a large number of bishops to come to a synod required the efficient operation of the administrative apparatus of the metropolitan or patriarchal church. Nonetheless, the magnitude of the Christological controversy in the fifth century resulted in a situation where the mitigating measures, and at the same time the healing of the various internal rifts, required a collegial decision of the entire Church.

Ecumenical synods

To have all the bishops of the Empire gathered together at one place in the fifth century was obviously an unfeasible enterprise, as even the deployment of the entire state apparatus would not make this possible. In practice, the point was to achieve a proper representation of the Church. For instance, Theodosios II, when calling the bishops to attend the general council of Ephesos in 431, summoned all the metropolitans of the East and the more important suffragan bishops picked by them.2 Even then, this sort of representation was limited to the Eastern Roman Empire, as the emperor would normally invite, as representatives of the western Empire, only the Bishop of Rome and some other occasionally selected bishops, whose voices could make a significant contribution to the debate.

Despite the fact that imperial synods had been convoked since the reign of Constantine I, it was specifically the three ecumenical synods in the fifth century (even if the legitimacy of one of them was subsequently questioned) that would eventually establish the procedures whereby such larger-scale episcopal assemblies, known as “councils”, could function. The right to summon a council was the exclusive domain of the emperor, which was acknowledged even by the Bishops of Rome, who at times fruitlessly appealed to the emperor to convene such a synod. This was mainly due to the previously mentioned practicalities, as in the fifth century no one except the emperor possessed the resources to convey the bishops to the selected venue on time, provide for their food and lodging, as well as arrange for their return to often very remote parts of the Empire. The tremendous costs of such an endeavour exceeded the means that any other ←14 | 15→authority, secular or clerical, could possibly afford. However, the fact that the general councils were organized by the emperor, followed by the enforcement of their decisions by the state authority, might allow the emperor to exert pressure on the bishops attending the convocation, as can be discerned at each of the three ecumenical synods of this period. Although representatives of the emperor actively participated in the sessions of the Council of Chalcedon,3 the emperor’s personal interference in the proceedings was limited. This is exemplified in Theodosios II’s largely ineffective efforts to achieve consensus among the bishops gathered at Ephesos in 431, where two parallel synods were conducting their proceedings at the same time, eventually failing to produce any common position.4 The case of the Council of Ephesos also highlights another critically important aspect. The recognition of a given assembly of bishops as a general council, able to determine the orthodoxy deemed obligatory for and within the whole of the Church, was effectively decided by later ecclesiastical tradition, and not by imperial decree. It was precisely the tradition of the Church that acknowledged the bishops gathered around Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria at Ephesos as constituting a general council, unlike those who had participated in the proceedings under Patriarch John of Antioch.

A synod endemousa (ἐνδημοῦσα σύνοδος)

Sometimes the resolution of an issue to be presented to the emperor was urgent but not sufficiently fundamental to set the whole machinery of the state administration in motion, which always entailed great expense. In these cases, another larger-scale assembly of bishops that gained importance during this period was the so-called synod endemousa, which assembled those bishops then residing (endemountes, ἐνδεμοῦντες) in Constantinople.5 Although the origins of this convocation can probably be traced back to the second half of the fourth century (for which we have no conclusive evidence), its position within the structure of the Church was ultimately given shape during the period covered by John’s and Theodore’s writings, when the sources mentioned it by this name for the first time. The synod endemousa was presided over by the Bishop of Constantinople and the participants were bishops who were present in the city at the time of the assembly, with the principal aim of resolving or settling current affairs that were recognized as matters of greater or lesser importance by the metropolitan bishop ←15 | 16→(or the emperor). Items on the synod’s agenda may have concerned doctrine, as was the case with the most famous gathering of the period, the synod endemousa of November 448, which was convened to pass judgement on the question of the monk Eutyches’ orthodoxy,6 as well as issues relating to the sphere of church organization, such as the autocephalous status of the Cypriot Church, as recorded in the Laudatio Barnabae by Alexander the Monk.7 The synod also had to consider some unresolved disciplinary and liturgical matters. Unlike local synods, this type of assembly would not have had a permanent roster of bishops, but was more flexible in character, whereby bishops who were attending to various matters in the imperial capital were summoned to the convocation in an ad hoc manner. Nevertheless, the significance of this kind of synod grew systematically, in line with the ever-increasing status of the Bishop, later Patriarch, of Constantinople, who would begin to function as the de facto supreme church figure in the Empire, with decisive influence over the emperor and his current religious policy.

Consultation by correspondence8

In 457, the opposition to the Council of Chalcedon reached such a level that once again the unity of the Church was in danger and Leo I, who had succeeded to the throne upon the death of Marcian, decided that his view of the council’s decrees, as well as the legitimacy of the consecration of Timothy Ailouros, the anti-Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria, should be reassessed by the bishops. On this occasion, in order to receive a prompt reply from the pope, but also from the entire episcopate of the Eastern Roman Empire, and to avoid the resurgence of problems normally arising at general councils, the emperor resolved to choose the path of consultation by correspondence, addressing the so-called “encyclical” (a circular letter) to all the provinces, which local synods under the guidance of their metropolitan bishops were expected to answer. This was a unique initiative, which would not be repeated, at least in the period under consideration, but the decisions obtained as part of the bishops’ response proved to be of pivotal importance to the emperor. Leo continued to rely on the result of this consultation and founded his religious policy on the groundwork of this response until the end of his reign.

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2. The main protagonists in the dispute9

The Bishop of Constantinople10

The growth of the Bishop of Constantinople’s position in the Church was, of course, closely connected with the rising status of the capital city, and particularly with the eventual localization of the imperial residence on the Bosporus. By the turn of the fourth and fifth centuries, emperors no longer took an active part in military campaigns or expeditions. The ruler ceased to act as commander-in-chief of the army, entrusting this task to professional military officers, and he would only very rarely leave the city or its immediate environs. Imperial power was concentrated in Constantinople, where the court, the senate and the highest offices were located. The capital city thus became the place visited by many delegations arriving from all the provinces and corners of the Empire, representing cities or municipalities, but also by individuals who wished to bring their personal affairs or petitions to the attention of the court. As the careers of high officials depended on the emperor’s decision, being present in the capital of the Empire in order to seek his favour simply became a matter of necessity.

The same reality governed the affairs in the Church. Bishops would often travel to the capital to lobby on behalf of their city or to appeal decisions taken by the metropolitan or a synod, if they believed them to be unjust. Likewise, monks appealed to the emperor in disputes with their local bishops or when they wished to exert influence on his attitude towards a theological controversy. Very frequently, the emperor ordered the Bishop of Constantinople to resolve disputes or consider settling matters submitted by bishops, whereupon he would often take action with the aid of the aforementioned synod endemousa.

In addition, the metropolitan bishop, who was the senior church dignitary closest to the emperor, served as the ruler’s advisor in ecclesiastical affairs or presented to him, personally, various matters from the provinces on behalf of specific bishops. A good example is the case of Bishop Martyrios of Antioch, who was accused of heresy by Peter the Fuller, but managed to secure the emperor Leo’s support, thanks to Patriarch Gennadios’ intercession, even though Peter was reputedly backed by Zeno, the emperor’s son-in-law.11 The ←17 | 18→patriarchs tended to have an enormous influence on the general framework of the emperor’s policy towards the Church. It seems that Leo I relied on Patriarch Gennadios’ counsel, while Akakios cooperated closely with Zeno, supporting him in his appointment decisions, even when they might have sometimes been contrary to the patriarch’s own view. It was only the reign of Anastasios that would bring significant changes to this model of cohabitation, as the emperor found himself embroiled in conflicts with two patriarchs, Euphemios and Makedonios, both of whom he eventually deposed and condemned to exile.

It is also worth recalling that the patriarchs usually enjoyed considerable support among the faithful. Futhermore, the city of Constantinople, unlike Alexandria, Antioch or Rome, never experienced an internal schism in this period. It is notable that Akakios was even in a position to resist the policy pursued by Basiliskos, by inciting the people of the city to revolt against his authority, which eventually forced the emperor to leave Constantinople in fear for his own safety.

The Patriarch of Alexandria12

Since the enactment of Theodosios I’s constitution Cunctos populos (27 February 380), the Patriarch of Alexandria had been the most significant authority on orthodoxy in the East.13 The theological stature of this status had been built on the groundwork laid by Patriarch Athanasios, who was a relentless adversary of Arianism. Nevertheless, the high position of the Church of Alexandria, following the greatest triumphs of the two patriarchs, Cyril and Dioskoros (the former caused the downfall of Nestorios, Bishop of Constantinople, in 431, whereas the latter similarly ousted Bishop Flavian of Constantinople in 449), would gradually decrease over the following decades. From an ecclesiological point of view, this development was related to the growth of the Bishop of Constantinople’s position, while from a theological perspective, the Church of Alexandria’s support for Miaphysitism and its opposition to the Council of Chalcedon had an adverse effect on the continued treatment of the Alexandrian patriarch as a viable touchstone of orthodoxy by those rulers who decided to adhere to the decisions adopted at that council, and by the pope as well. In addition, internal ←18 | 19→divisions within the Patriarchate of Alexandria would also contribute to the weakening of its position in the overall structure of the Church. In the latter half of the fifth century, the emperor had several patriarchs representing different Christological factions banished (such as Dioskoros, Timothy Ailouros and John Talaia), choosing to replace them with figures who had very little support among the populace. In consequence, the faithful would often refused to remain in communion with the emperor’s appointees.

The Patriarch of Antioch14

The Church of Antioch experienced a considerable, and somewhat surprising, deterioration in its position during the period under consideration. It was considerable, inasmuch as the range of its jurisdictional authority had been dramatically reduced as a result of the loss of some important provinces, caused, for example, by the establishment of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the emancipation of the Cypriot Church.15 At the same time, it was surprising, because, in spite of several conflicts in the midst of this Church, first during the episcopates of Martyrios and Peter the Fuller, then under Flavian,16 the Church of Antioch continued to remain, essentially, an exponent of theological teachings consistent with those in the main stream of the Church and in agreement with the emperor’s religious policy. It is significant that, following a fiasco at the Council of Ephesos (431), Theodosios II entrusted the task of reaching a consensus to Patriarch John of Antioch, and that the last patriarch of this period was Severus of Sozopolis, the preeminent anti-Chalcedonian theologian of the time, whose appointment was carried through thanks to the emperor’s nomination.17 Nonetheless, aside from the influence exercised by Severus, Antioch would remain somewhere on the sidelines of the major axis of conflict, the confrontation between Alexandria and Constantinople.

←19 | 20→
The Bishop of Rome18

In spite of the fact that contemporary Christological controversies were essentially disputes taking place within the Greek-speaking Church, the pope continued to remain, throughout the period covered in John’s and Theodore’s accounts, an important participant, who became involved at the instigation of the eastern bishops. In the East, the pope was viewed as a guardian of orthodoxy and the final instance of appeals in conflicts between the main antagonists rather than an authority on theology (the only theological treatise written in Rome that would resonate in the East was Pope Leo’s Tome). The pivotal role of the pope was also due to the fact that he represented an authority that was, in a sense, external in relation to the groups directly involved in the particular stages of the Christological controversy in the Eastern Church. This “externality” was based upon two premises. First, the pope (especially in the period when Arian rulers held power in Italy) was not de facto subordinate to the emperor’s authority and was thus able to retain much of his independence, and a more principled attitude, in relations with imperial rule, particularly in the context of conducting his own religious “policy” without much regard to pressure from the emperor. Second, the pope embodied the theological world of the Latin language, whereas the Christological conflicts of the period were born in and then spread across the Greek-speaking world, where the meanings of individual notions and terms often played a key role in the understanding of contemporary theological discourse. This latter factor would frequently make it more difficult (though not impossible) to achieve a common platform of understanding between the East and the West. Nevertheless, the bishops in the East (or at least those who followed the decrees of Chalcedon) continued, throughout this period, to look to the pope for support or even for arbitration in resolving their own disputes. It is also significant that despite certain reservations voiced by the eastern bishops regarding the orthodoxy of Pope Leo and his Tome, the popes of the period had always been exponents of theological views that would ultimately be recognized as orthodox across the main stream of the Church; first, in their support of Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria during his dispute with Nestorios, and, later on, when they acted against Eutyches and Patriarch Dioskoros, while eastern ←20 | 21→patriarchs (Nestorios, Timothy Ailouros and Peter the Fuller) would often come to embrace teachings subsequently considered heretical.

3. The emperor’s role19

The emperor’s support for one of the opposing parties would often prove to be crucial in attaining the upper hand over their adversaries. Modern historical scholarship has sometimes used the terms “imperial Church” or “state Church” to refer to the main ecclesiastical community of the Empire, which had developed under state protection since the fourth century. Nevertheless, this designation does not seem to be correct, as the Church in question was not, strictly speaking, a state church, as it would, on many occasions, adopt positions differing from those favoured by the reigning emperor. Furthermore, as noted above, fifth-century emperors, in principle, took decisions on religious issues on the basis of earlier synodal resolutions or through consultations with a greater number of bishops. It seems therefore that a more adequate expression is the aforementioned “main stream of the Church”, as opposed to many marginal religious communities (such as Arians or Novatianists), to which various legal restrictions were applied.

Even if the designation “imperial Church” is to be avoided, one could not deny the fact that the emperor played a prominent role and all the parties involved in disputes tended to seek his support. The Empire’s majesty and authority continued to have an important influence on the bishops and often inclined them to attempt to reconcile their views with those of the emperor. Yet the vast majority of the episcopate were not opportunists, while some of them resisted imperial religious politics on many occasions, sometimes risking their lives, as in the case of Patriarch Akakios during the usurpation of Basiliskos. Nevertheless, this would not change the fact that many of the bishops preferred to avoid falling into their ruler’s disfavour. Generally speaking, as depicted in John’s and Theodore’s accounts, emperors did not, with the exception of Anastasios, have any theological conceptions of their own. In the second half of the fifth century, they were primarily military men who would strive to achieve reconciliation and championed the idea of unity in a Church torn by divisions – a unity that could ensure prosperity and God’s protection for the Empire. In order to succeed in attaining this goal, they had to rely on the group which, in their opinion, formed a majority at a given time or could provide the ruler with some immediate benefits. The emperor’s role would then consist in achieving a majority vote, chiefly by ←21 | 22→means of episcopal assemblies whose decisions, strengthened by the sanction of imperial authority, they were to implement. In reality, the bishops had no effective means of duress at their disposal, such as could assist them in enforcing their decrees were they to meet with opposition, hence the state had to take on the role of the enforcer of those formally adopted decrees, as was the case in Palestine in the period following the Council of Chalcedon.

4. Monks

Although the task of defining orthodoxy in the Church belonged to the bishops, the fifth century saw the rise of a new factor that would attempt to usurp this prerogative, namely the monastic circles of the period, who could be regarded as the most radical proponents of specific Christological options.20 Their activities were not limited, as one might be tempted to think, to serving as a sort of task force for particular bishops, deployed in putting pressure on other bishops, officials or even the emperor, but would also be manifested in the field of theological dispute or controversy. Monks of this period wrote treatises, while some of them even became leaders of various Christological factions on a par with bishops, as is clearly evident in the case of Severus of Sozopolis, a figure whose influence on the emperor Anastasios cannot be overestimated.21 Yet there can be no doubt that the radical attitudes of some monks were a cause for concern among members of the hierarchy, who were often intimidated or harassed by them. On multiple occasions, monastic circles questioned the policies pursued by their bishops (the monks of Constantinople were in opposition to first Nestorios, then Akakios; Palestinian monks resisted the authority of Juvenal; Egyptian monks were as opposed to the pro-Chalcedonian patriarchs as they were to the anti-Chalcedonian patriarch Peter Mongos), but they also posed a threat to their personal security. Aware of this growing danger, the bishops convened at the Council of Chalcedon proceeded to draw up canons that effectively subordinated the monastic movement, until then informal in practice, to episcopal authority.22 Those canons were implemented, but not at once and not everywhere: first, the decrees of Chalcedon were not uniformly acknowledged across the Empire; second, the position of bishops with respect to monks seems not to have been very secure in many regions.

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II. Christological Controversy

1. Theological essence of the dispute

The Christological controversy that afflicted the Church throughout the fifth and sixth centuries can be traced back to the views of Bishop Apollinarios of Laodikeia (d. 382). He preached the doctrine according to which the Divinity of the Son (Logos) could have accomplished the act of redemption only if it had directly fused with Christ’s body, creating one single nature (μία φύσις) within him, comparable to the unity of body and soul in other humans. From the perspective of the human nature, this particular union would entail Jesus Christ’s human mind being replaced by the Divine Logos.23 Apollinarios’ views had been condemned as early as the 370s by a number of synods as well as in Canon 1 of the Council of Constantinople (381).24

The teachings of Apollinarios met with opposition especially among those circles identified with the Antiochene school of theology. Theodore of Mopsuestia, one of the distinguished proponents of this school, held the view that if the Logos had not assumed a human soul upon His incarnation, the redemption of man would not have been possible. This Antiochene theologian referred to the actual union of the divine and the human nature in one Person, assuming the oneness of Christ and the existence of His two complete natures.25 One of Theodore’s disciples was Nestorios, who preached that both natures (human and divine) in Christ should be clearly distinguished. He attached great significance to the assertion that the Incarnation could not have caused the impassible Word to be subjected to any change or suffering. Christ was to live a truly human life, as His full humanity was the prerequisite for redemption. Yet, the truly human experience would not have been possible if the human nature of Christ had been fused with His divine nature or if the latter had prevailed over the former. Hence, Nestorios claimed, the two natures, divine and human, had to live alongside one another, not separated and not confused, but, because God’s will united them both, they remained in the most inherent relation to each other. The problem of Nestorios’ teaching was the absence of a precise definition of the term for unity itself. Although he would sometimes refer to “unity” (ἕνωσις), the term that he ←23 | 24→used more readily was “combination” (συνάφεια), which appeared to be free of any suspicion of the two natures being mixed or dissolved. He also attempted to safeguard himself from accusations of preaching the unreality of the union by using such adjectives as “perfect”, “exact” and “constant” to describe the said combination. Christ was thus, in his view, a single being, with one will and intellect, inseparable and indivisible, but dual in His nature.26

The views of Nestorios were contested by Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria. The starting point of Cyril’s Christology was the Person of the Word, existing in a substantial union with the Father eternally, who became a human upon the coming of “the fullness of time”. According to Cyril’s view, the “body” represents the human nature, which is complete owing to its possession of a rational soul. The pre-existent Logos becomes identified with the incarnated One. Upon being incarnated, He assumes the human body along with the rational soul, which constitutes the full and integral human nature. In the accomplishment of this, the Logos retains the full quality of His divine hypostasis (ὑπόστασις) – hence the assumed human nature does not possess its own person. Both before and after the Incarnation, the Logos has been one and the same Person, unaltered in His essence of divinity, with the difference that the Son hitherto existing “beyond the body” has now become “embodied”. Cyril used the terms πρόσωπον, φύσις and ὑπόστασις most often as synonyms, attaching to them the meaning of the intrinsic substance. For this reason, there is only one ὑπόστασις and one φύσις in the Word Incarnate, from which originated Cyril’s formula referring to the one incarnated φύσις of the Divine Word, which might have been perceived as an expression of Apollinarianism. In Antiochene circles, the key word φύσις, meaning “nature”, signified humanity or divinity understood as a specific conglomeration of characteristic features or attributes. Alternatively, Cyril preferred to understand the term φύσις in the sense of a specific entity or an independent being. In this meaning, φύσις was closer to ὑπόστασις, without actually being its synonym. With reference to what the Antiochenes termed as “natures”, he preferred to use expressions such as “natural property”, “mode of being” or “natural quality”. To Cyril, Nestorios’ teaching of the two natures would also signify two hypostases, united in one person (πρόσωπον), which he deemed as tantamount to the doctrine of the “two sons”, and thus a contradiction of the actual union or ←24 | 25→a reduction of the oneness to a mere combination. To Cyril, Nestorios postulated only the existence of a moral (not physical or ontological) union.27

The tumultuous conflict was not resolved conclusively at the Council of Ephesos in 43128 and it was only on the emperor Theodosios II’s orders in 433 that Bishop John of Antioch worked out a compromise Christological definition that achieved the reconciliation between the views held by the Antiochene theologians and Cyril. The formula was complete in its embrace of the integrity and the inviolability of the human nature of Christ, who was consubstantial with the Father as well as with humans. Although both natures retain their properties, they form a union so deep that it is impossible to talk of anything other than one Christ, one Son and one Lord.29

As it turned out, none of the parties to the Christological controversy was fully satisfied with the Formula of Reunion and such sentiments would emerge especially after the death of Cyril in 444. The situation was exacerbated when the Constantinopolitan monk Eutyches began to espouse the view that Christ had two natures, but only prior to the Incarnation, while afterwards He would possess only one, namely the Divine nature that absorbed the human one.30 In this way, Eutyches would strive to defend the oneness of Christ at any cost against any attempt to divide it. In all probability, he regarded φύσις as a specific being and hence his attachment to the Cyrillian formula of μία φύσις.31 In 448, Eutyches was condemned by Bishop Flavian of Constantinople and his synod endemousa, but this only led to the outbreak of a new Christological dispute.32

Flavian received support from Pope Leo I (440–461), who addressed to him a letter, known as the Tome, in which he presented a general interpretation of western Christology.33 Leo was particularly concerned to emphasize the identity ←25 | 26→of the Person of the God-Man with the Person of the Divine Logos. The divine and human natures co-exist in this one Person unconfused and unmelded, as each one retains its own natural properties intact in that union. On the other hand, Eutyches gained support from Patriarch Dioskoros of Alexandria (444–451).34 In order to resolve the dispute, the emperor summoned a new synod to Ephesos, which commenced its proceedings on 8 August 449. During its sessions, the adherents of Dioskoros managed to gain the upper hand. As a result, Eutyches was rehabilitated, while Flavian and the other leading representatives of the Antiochene school of theology were deposed and exiled.35

The judgements of the council at Ephesos failed to put an end to the controversy. Pope Leo I took steps against its decisions, finding support among some notable figures, such as the emperor’s sister Pulcheria.36 The sudden death of Theodosios II on 26 July 450 and the fact that Pulcheria became the wife of the new emperor, Marcian, buttressed the position of those who opposed the decisions of the Council of Ephesos (449). The new imperial couple decided to convoke a new council to resolve the Christological question in the Church once and for all.37

The council sessions, held in the Church of St Euphemia at Chalcedon (8–31 October 451), were from the beginning overseen by high-ranking imperial officials, which was clearly a departure from Theodosios II’s policy of non-interference in synodal proceedings.38 In the course of the council, the bishops unanimously adopted the creeds promulgated by the councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381), as well as Cyril’s letters to Nestorios, while Pope Leo’s Tome aroused opposition among the bishops from Illyricum and Palestine, who found that some of the pronouncements it contained were contrary to Cyril’s teaching.39 During the fourth session, Leo’s Tome was eventually cleared of the ←26 | 27→accusation of heresy and acknowledged to be in agreement with the teachings of the councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381) and Ephesos (431), as well as with Cyril’s theology.40 One of the emperor’s representatives nonetheless used a veto as a pretext for demanding the formulation of a new uncontroversial definition of faith that would be acceptable to both Rome and the Cyrillian bishops. The crux of the matter was that the emperor required a foundation for his religious policy that aimed to achieve a reunification of the Church. For this purpose, clearly and unanimously defined Christological terminology was necessary.41

Despite the bishops’ reluctance to create a new definition, one was drawn up at the expressly stated request of the emperor, who had nonetheless left its final shape to the bishops.42 The council’s Christological definition affirmed the mystery of the Incarnation by resorting to four terms: inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably. The formula was structured in such a way that, despite the use of the phrase “in two natures” (ἐν δύο φύσεσι), instead of the Cyrillian “of two natures” (ἐκ δύο φύσεων), it was not possible to render it in any sense contrary to Cyril’s Christology.43 The definition, thus formulated, was not a new credo, as the council considered the creeds adopted at Nicaea and Constantinople to be fully sufficient. On 25 October 451, in the emperor’s presence, 454 bishops solemnly subscribed to this definition of faith.44 Furthermore, the council carried through the deposition of Dioskoros for his abuses of canon law45 and rehabilitated, under pressure from the pope and the emperor, two influential bishops who had been condemned by the Second Council of Ephesos, Theodoret of Kyrrhos and Ibas of Edessa, on condition that they both condemn Nestorios.46 The greater part of the bishops decided to adopt the Chalcedonian formula out of conviction, not because of any opportunistic attitude. It was only subsequent ←27 | 28→developments, coupled with the dissemination of anti-Chalcedonian writings, that would persuade some of the participants to embrace the argumentation of the anti-Chalcedonian opposition.

2. From acceptance to opposition

Anti-Chalcedonian attitudes would begin to appear and spread very soon after the council, even among its former participants. The emperor attempted to enforce the acceptance of its decrees by enacting some rigorous laws directed at those who questioned the legitimacy of Chalcedon.47 He also required such approval from Pope Leo, who was initially unwilling to comply because of the privileges that the Council of Chalcedon had conferred on the Church of Constantinople, but eventually (in letters dated 21 March 453) he approved the council’s decisions concerning the faith, yet without recognizing the privileges in question.48

The opposition to the resolutions of Chalcedon incited particular resonance in Palestine. Already during the course of the council a group of Palestinian monks led by Theodosios had left Chalcedon and hurried to the Holy Land, where they began to spread the news that the council was restoring Nestorianism.49 Following Bishop Juvenal’s arrival at Caesarea in Palestine, the monks wanted to make him retract his acceptance of the council’s decrees. Since he refused, they prevented him from assuming the patriarchal throne of Jerusalem, compelling him to seek refuge in Constantinople.50 Thereafter, the adversaries of Juvenal consecrated, in his place, the aforementioned Theodosios as Bishop of Jerusalem, while the other sees, with their pro-Chalcedonian bishops removed, would very ←28 | 29→soon be taken over by the anti-Chalcedonians.51 The ensuing disturbances and riots resulted in many casualties.52 The situation in Palestine was disturbing to the court in Constantinople. The emperor initially attempted to restore peace in the Holy Land through diplomatic measures,53 but it was only military intervention and the violent suppression of the riots that made it possible for Juvenal to return to his see in mid-453.54 Theodosios and the other leaders of the rebellion were imprisoned or managed to escape.55 The suppression of the revolt did not put an end to the radically anti-Chalcedonian sentiments in Palestine, and some measure of détente began to appear only after the death of Juvenal in July 458.56

In Egypt, the emperor promptly secured the elevation of the Alexandrian priest Proterios in place of the deposed Bishop Dioskoros,57 but a majority of the Egyptian Christians did not recognize him as their new patriarch.58 As riots also broke out in Alexandria, resulting in a number of deaths, order in the city was only restored by the army.59 When Dioskoros died in exile in 454, his followers recognized that the throne of Alexandria was vacant.60 On the news of the emperor Marcian’s death on 16 March 457, two bishops consecrated Timothy Ailouros as the new Patriarch of Egypt, who would very soon win favour with the ←29 | 30→faithful of Alexandria.61 On 28 March 457, the Thursday before Easter Sunday, Proterios was murdered by a violent anti-Chalcedonian crowd during the celebration of the eucharist.62 In these circumstances, Timothy took full control of the Church of Alexandria and went on to consecrate more anti-Chalcedonian bishops in Egypt.63

The emperor Marcian was succeeded by Leo,64 whose attitude to the council was at first neutral. As a military man, he was most often guided in his policies by the counsel of successive metropolitans: first Anatolios and, after his death in 458, Gennadios. Anatolios pursued a rather moderate policy of supporting the resolutions of Chalcedon, while Gennadios, as a staunch follower of the council’s decrees, was convinced that no compromise with Timothy Ailouros could be achieved.65

In the first place, the emperor had to resolve the situation in Egypt. Those bishops in Egypt who supported the decrees of the council turned to the emperor, requesting that he depose Patriarch Timothy.66 Likewise, Pope Leo demanded that the new ruler take action against Timothy.67 At first, the emperor refrained from using force in Alexandria and even contemplated summoning a ←30 | 31→new council.68 He also planned a debate to be held in Constantinople between the followers of Eutyches or Dioskoros and Pope Leo’s legates, but the Bishop of Rome was reluctant to take part in such a dispute, as he believed that the decrees of the council were not subject to any change. He did send his delegation to Constantinople in August 458, however, with the task of presenting the see of Rome’s position, firmly defending the doctrine of the two natures in Christ and more clearly defining the heresy of Eutyches.69 Emperor Leo passed the pope’s letter to Timothy, who rejected it and accused the pope of Nestorianism.70

In autumn 457, the emperor decided to conduct a survey through correspondence addressed to the pope and 61 metropolitan bishops in the East, concerning the legitimacy of Timothy’s episcopate and the validity of the resolutions of Chalcedon.71 The same question was directed to three ascetics of Syria: Symeon the Stylite, Baradatos and Jacob. The bishops were required to call on local synods to respond to the enquiry.72 Their responses were, with few exceptions, unanimously against Timothy and in favour of Chalcedon, even though not always very enthusiastically.73 Some of the responses, though generally supportive of Chalcedon, expressed a certain measure of reserve towards the council.74 It was only the local synod of Pamphylia II that held a very different view, stating that both Timothy Ailouros’ consecration and the council’s judgements were invalid.75

←31 | 32→

Following this consultative survey, the emperor instructed Timothy to abide by the majority opinion and resign his office. After his refusal, on the emperor’s orders, in late 459/early 460, he was finally arrested and exiled to Gangra,76 only to be transferred to a more remote location at Cherson in Tauris four years later.77 He was succeeded by his namesake, a man known as Timothy Salophakiolos, who was consecrated in 460.78 Although a Chalcedonian himself, he managed to earn considerable respect even among anti-Chalcedonian circles thanks to his moderation and benevolence. He also restored the name of Dioskoros in the diptychs in order to pacify public opinion. In spite of these conciliatory steps, most of the Christians in Egypt refused to be in communion with him.79 The situation did become calmer, nevertheless, as there are no reports of further civil unrest, while the emperor’s consistent pro-Chalcedonian policy led, for the most part, to a restoration of social order and stability in the Empire, where (except for in Egypt and Palestine) there would be no violent backlash against Chalcedon for up to twenty years after the council. Constantinople was increasingly turning into a bulwark of the pro-Chalcedonian movement, in part owing to the activity of both Bishop Gennadios and the influential monasteries in the capital city and its hinterland. On the other hand, very little is known about the position held by the various churches in Asia Minor at this time. Likewise, following the conclusion of the council there are no reports of any unrest in the Patriarchate of Antioch, which appears to have been, with very few exceptions, generally in favour of Chalcedon.80 Of course, there were individuals, especially ←32 | 33→among monastic circles, who refused to accept the judgements of the council in 451, and whose presence in virtually all the regions of the East is reported in the sources, but they would continue to operate as a rather marginal group within the Church until the usurpation of Basiliskos in 475.

3. The watershed moment: Basiliskos’ Encyclical

Upon the death of the emperor Leo, the formal successor to the throne was his grandson Leo II,81 a minor, who very soon made his father Zeno co-emperor. The premature death of Leo II in late 474 was followed by a coup at the court, as a result of which Zeno was forced to leave the capital city, while the throne was seized by Basiliskos, the brother of the late emperor Leo I’s widow, Verina.82

In early February 475, a delegation of Alexandrian monks arrived in Constantinople to persuade the new ruler to recall Timothy Ailouros from exile. The monks were warmly received by Basiliskos,83 to whom the question of building up support in Egypt, before his anticipated confrontation with Zeno, was of pivotal importance. Despite Akakios’ protests, Timothy Ailouros was recalled from his exile and brought to Constantinople.84 His arrival at the capital subsequently proved instrumental in the complete reorientation of the Empire’s religious policy. On 9 April 475, Basiliskos promulgated an imperial document known as the Encyclical, which contained a denouncement of Chalcedon’s decrees.85

The Encyclical was a breakthrough in relations between the imperial authority and the Church in terms of dogmatics. This was an act that intervened in the realm of dogma without any previous affirmation by a synod, an unprecedented event, comparable only to Theodosios I’s constitution of 380. The Encyclical stated that the foundation of the faith of the Church should be exclusively the credo as determined by the Council of Nicaea, since this was the only creed free of error. Likewise, the decrees of the Councils of Constantinople (381) and Ephesos (431) were also to remain in force. The Tome of Pope Leo I and those determinations ←33 | 34→of the Council of Chalcedon that would introduce any novelty into the Nicene Creed were condemned. The Encyclical also denounced those who followed the teachings of Eutyches.86

Patriarch Akakios of Constantinople, supported by the populace and the monks, decided to take a stand against the new policy. In view of the hardening opposition among the population of the capital, Timothy resolved to go back to Alexandria. On his way there, he summoned a local synod at Ephesos, which endorsed the Encyclical and deposed Akakios, calling on the emperor to implement the condemnation.87 A majority of the most significant metropolitan sees came to embrace this anti-Chalcedonian upheaval. The Encyclical was accepted by the patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem,88 with only Pope Simplicius in the West and Akakios in the East remaining in opposition to Basiliskos’ policies. Overall, the imperial document was endorsed, as Pseudo-Zacharias reports, by about 700 bishops.89 Timothy’s next move was to summon a synod of Egyptian bishops, which denounced the Council of Chalcedon and restored Dioskoros’ name in the liturgical books.90

After initial hesitation, Akakios resolved to take up the leadership of the pro-Chalcedonian party in Constantinople, obtaining the aid of the famed stylite Daniel.91 Confronted by the worsening circumstances, Basiliskos decided to retire from the city, subsequently attempting to appease the situation by publicly withdrawing support for the anti-Chalcedonian movement.92 One consequence of this action was his promulgation of the document known as the Anti-Encyclical, which revoked the previous circular letter.93 The Anti-Encyclical reaffirmed the unique significance of the Nicene Creed for preserving the orthodoxy of the ←34 | 35→Church, condemned both Nestorios and Eutyches, as well as their followers, and forbade the convoking of a new general synod. In a very clear way, it addressed, first of all, the bishop and the people of Constantinople, stressing that all the rights of this metropolitan see should be restored. It is notable that the document made no reference to the Council of Chalcedon. In fact, the Anti-Encyclical was not addressed to the entire community of the Church and failed to have any significant impact. In any event, Basiliskos was to lose his hold on power before long, when the ousted emperor Zeno returned to the throne.94

There is no doubt that the period of Basiliskos’ usurpation signaled a revolution in the post-Chalcedon Church, both in terms of its violent turn against the decrees of Chalcedon and the method of that transformation. Basiliskos’ Encyclical, a normative act that was to be respected by all the bishops under threat of severe penalties, constituted a ruler’s direct interference in dogmatic affairs, something unprecedented in the fifth century, with no regard for resolutions of episcopal assemblies. The ruler’s explicit support for the anti-Chalcedonian cause, which signalled a break from the hitherto consistent endorsement of conciliar decisions by previous emperors, not only testified to a temporary breach of this practice, but also demonstrated the actual scale of the anti-Chalcedonian resentment in the Eastern Roman Empire, leading the opponents of the council to realize that they could endeavour to exert pressure on future rulers in order to obtain their support.

4. The “soft” consolidation of the Church around Chalcedon during Emperor Zeno’s reign

Following the restoration of his authority, the emperor Zeno issued a constitution that rendered all the religious legislation of the usurper null and void.95 This act signified the invalidation of Basiliskos’ Encyclical as well as the reaffirmation of the legislation previously enacted by the emperors Leo I and Marcian in the matter of Chalcedon, even though the latter aspect was not explicitly stated. The annulment of the usurper’s religious acts and decrees also entailed deposing those who had been elevated to episcopal rank under his reign.96

After his return to power, Zeno favoured and supported pro-Chalcedonian candidates as bishops in the most important cities of the Empire. Where local conditions made such favouritism impossible, the emperor tended to tolerate ←35 | 36→those opponents of the council who were inclined to seek compromise with the pro-Chalcedonian party, as his overriding motivation was the need to maintain domestic peace and stability. In this sphere, the emperor relied on the counsel of Akakios, who had become the chief architect of his religious policy. This bishop took decisive steps to restore the acceptance of Chalcedon throughout the Empire, by taking part in and presiding over several synods at Constantinople, which anathematized the leaders of the anti-Chalcedonian movement. Also deposed and banished was Peter the Fuller, Patriarch of Antioch, known for his previous endorsement of Basiliskos’ Encyclical.97 Peter was replaced, albeit for only three months, by John Kodonatos,98 who was eventually condemned by a synod endemousa and deposed. Thereafter, a Chalcedonian named Stephen became the new Patriarch of Antioch, amid accusations of his support for Nestorianism, which were levelled by Peter the Fuller’s followers. Although he would later be cleared of such allegations by the synod of Laodikeia, he was murdered by a hostile crowd at Antioch on 9 March 479.99 In response to this act of violence, Akakios consecrated Kalandion, a firm supporter of Chalcedon, as Patriarch of Antioch.100

Concerned about the prospect of further civil unrest in Alexandria, Zeno was not in a hurry to carry through the deposition of Patriarch Timothy Ailouros. It was only Pope Simplicius’ intervention that compelled the emperor to issue the order of deposition.101 Meanwhile, on 31 July 477, the Patriarch of Alexandria died and the anti-Chalcedonian party swiftly conducted the consecration of the archdeacon Peter Mongos as his successor, provoking the emperor to take action and give orders to depose Peter and restore Timothy Salophakiolos to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.102 The emperor also enacted a number of laws, ←36 | 37→threatening with severe penalties those who refused to renounce views contrary to the decrees of Chalcedon and whoever failed to re-establish communion with Timothy within a period of two months.103 In the meantime, Peter Mongos continued to reside in Alexandria, where many citizens still acknowledged him as the legitimate patriarch of the metropolitan see.104

The situation in the Church had changed by the early 480s owing to the increasing conflict between the emperor and the influential magister militum Illos.105 In late 481, a delegation from the Bishop of Alexandria, Timothy Salophakiolos, arrived in Constantinople, with the purpose of obtaining the emperor’s assurance that Timothy’s successor would be elected by the clergy of Egypt and the local authorities106. This deputation included John Talaia, a presbyter and steward of the Church of Alexandria, and Bishop Gennadios of Hermopolis.107 The envoys received a legal assurance from Zeno that the Alexandrians would elect a new patriarch for themselves, but John Talaia, on account of his close relations with Illos, was required to make an oath, in the presence of Akakios and the senators, to the effect that he would not seek to assume the bishop’s throne in the future.108 Nevertheless, when Bishop Timothy died in February 482, in the spring of that year a synod of Egyptian bishops elected and consecrated as his successor John Talaia,109 who, by his delay in communicating this fact to both the court in Constantinople and Akakios, effectively assured the emperor of his disloyalty. In consequence, Zeno resolved to depose him.110 The ousting of John Talaia was not the result of any religious issues, as its background ←37 | 38→was wholly political and it was carried through as part of a broader operation aiming to neutralize Illos’ influence in Egypt.111

Zeno’s objective was to ensure that the removal of John would not lead to the eruption of a new wave of civil unrest in Egypt, for which the only solution, as it might have appeared, was the termination of the Alexandrian schism. For this reason, the emperor decided to acknowledge Peter Mongos as legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria. This prompted Akakios to voice his objection, but he would ultimately consent to recognize Mongos on certain conditions: Peter was to allow the Alexandrian followers of Chalcedon into the community of the Church and to establish communion with Pope Simplicius. He was also to make a commitment that he would not condemn the council.112 An additional condition called for the signing of a compromise document that should define the fundamental terms of establishing communion between Alexandria and Constantinople. When Peter Mongos consented to accept these conditions, Akakios entered into communion with him.113

The fruit of this compromise was the document known as the Henotikon,114 formulated by Akakios on the emperor’s orders.115 The conditions for establishing communion with Peter Mongos were first accepted by a Constantinopolitan synod endemousa.116 The Henotikon was, as a result, a church act and possessed no legal character.117 The basis for this settlement was the recognition, by both parties, of the Nicene credo, as affirmed at the Councils of Constantinople and Ephesos. Moreover, the Henotikon did not affirm or reject the Second Council of Ephesos and the Council of Chalcedon. It did not refer to Leo’s Tome, but it did denounce the views of Nestorios and Eutyches as heretical. The document was consistent in avoiding the Alexandrian formula of the “one nature of the incarnated Word”, but it canonized the theology of Cyril of Alexandria. Overall, it aimed to avoid any controversial nomenclature, while its stressing of Christ’s ←38 | 39→consubstantiality with the Father in divinity and with human beings in humanity, as well as its determination of the correlation between divinity and humanity in Christ, resembled the language of the Formula of Reunion of 433. The decrees of Chalcedon would be rejected and condemned if any of them happened to diverge from the Nicene Creed.118

The purpose of this document was to win over the moderate opposition in Egypt to the cause of the pro-Chalcedonian Church, namely those of them who would be content not to mention it, without demanding its outright condemnation. It is noteworthy that the Henotikon did not become a valid definition of faith, nor would it have ever gained any universal significance for the entire Church during Zeno’s reign. The main opposition to the Henotikon came from the anti-Chalcedonian circles active in Egypt, Palestine and Syria, which should be indicative of the overall acceptance of Chalcedon at this time.119 On the other hand, there is no mention of any wider opposition to the Henotikon from the pro-Chalcedonian party. The Egyptian followers of the council, except for its uncompromising advocates, had mostly established communion with Peter.120 However, the absence of the Chalcedonian milieu’s negative response to the theological contents of the Henotikon would go hand in hand with the refusal to recognize Peter Mongos, as exemplified by Patriarch Kalandion of Antioch and Pope Simplicius.121 Zeno turned a deaf ear to such appeals and would not show any intention of changing his decision, considering the current political circumstances.122 It should be stressed that Zeno did not promulgate a legal act that was intended to be enforced across the Empire, as the Henotikon was addressed to a specific group of anti-Chalcedonian dissidents in Egypt and was designed with a view to striking a compromise with a group in opposition to the main stream of the Church that was supported by the emperor. It would be incorrect then to speak of any change of direction in his religious policy. Furthermore, the Henotikon’s specific stipulation of extra conditions to be fulfilled by Peter Mongos, such as entering into communion with the pro-Chalcedonian bishops ←39 | 40→(including the pope), re-establishing union with the supporters of Chalcedon in Alexandria, and refraining from excommunicating the council’s decrees, testify to the fact that the emperor’s intention was to mitigate the current religious policy, not to change it.123

After the suppression of Illos’ revolt (482), Zeno resolved to purge the high-ranking clergy of Syria, including Patriarch Kalandion of Antioch, who had largely given their support to the usurper.124 The successor to the deposed patriarch was Peter the Fuller (restored to the Patriarchate of Antioch in 485).125 Peter’s actions, which aimed to achieve a relative balance in the Church of Antioch on the basis of the compromise settlement introduced by the Henotikon, would meet with rather negative responses from the two sides, especially in view of his dismissal of many bishops devoted to the decrees of Chalcedon, even though Peter’s actual attitude to the council remains a mystery.126

The successor to Pope Simplicius (d. 10 March 483), Felix III, had no intention of being reconciled to the changed situation in Egypt. Just after his pontifical consecration, he addressed a letter to Zeno, expressing his protest against Peter Mongos.127 In spring 483, John Talaia arrived in Rome to convince the pope that he had been deposed for his defence of Chalcedon, claiming that his successor was a dedicated opponent of the council. He also made some allegations against Akakios,128 which prompted Pope Felix to send a letter to Akakios, calling on the bishop to respond to John’s charges.129 In a similar tone, some of the monasteries of Constantinople expressed their objection to the recognition of Peter Mongos, asking for the pope’s intervention in this matter.130

←40 | 41→

Having arrived in Constantinople, the pope’s legates accepted the argumentation of Akakios and Zeno to the effect that their policy helped to achieve the reunion of the eastern Churches131 and that Peter Mongos essentially endorsed the legitimacy of the decisions of Chalcedon.132 The envoys participated in the eucharist, during which the name of Pope Felix, alongside Peter Mongos, was read out from the diptychs.133 With this act, the emperor could believe that the principal bishops of the Empire: the pope and the patriarchs of Alexandria, Constantinople and Jerusalem, were in communion with one another.

This apparent success proved short-lived. The compromise with Peter Mongos was fervently contested by the pro-Chalcedonian monks of Constantinople. Their delegation arrived in Rome, communicating the news that the legates had entered into communion with Peter Mongos.134 After their return to Rome, the legates were deposed,135 while a synod in Rome convened by the pope (28 July 484) decided to anathematize Peter Mongos and Akakios, who were then deposed by Pope Felix.136 The main reason for excommunicating Akakios was his recognition of Peter Mongos,137 but the Bishop of Constantinople considered his deposition to be invalid and carried out in violation of the church canons (as it had been pronounced by the pope alone). In response to the latter accusation, the pope convoked a new synod (October 485), which reaffirmed the deposition of Akakios.138

In Egypt, meanwhile, the anti-Chalcedonian opposition escalated their protests against both the Henotikon and Peter Mongos, who was delaying his ←41 | 42→condemnation of the council’s resolutions and had established communion with the pro-Chalcedonian bishops. Under their pressure, the patriarch would finally condemn (reportedly, only verbally) the council and Pope Leo’s Tome.139 This act spurred Akakios to take action and call on Mongos to preserve the union in the Church.140 In response, Peter reputedly addressed a letter to Akakios, so as to leave no doubt about his endorsement of the Council of Chalcedon’s decrees.141 Wary of Peter Mongos’ true intentions, Akakios sent his legates to Egypt with a mission to conduct an investigation of the patriarch’s orthodoxy. In the presence of Akakios’ representatives, Peter Mongos declared that he had never anathematized Chalcedon, whereupon they accepted his justification.142 This formal acquittal of Peter Mongos from the charge of anti-Chalcedonianism resulted in an overt confrontation between him and the radical fringe of the Egyptian anti-Chalcedonian movement in 486. With the aid of the authorities, the patriarch had his adversaries removed from the main monastic establishments.143 Unfortunately, the situation became aggravated to such an extent that the hard-line anti-Chalcedonian opposition threatened to start an open revolt.144 Under pressure from the opposition, Peter decided on a public signing of an anathema against the council and Pope Leo’s Tome.145

Akakios died on 26 November 489 and was succeeded by Fravitas, who attempted to restore church union with the pope.146 When the new patriarch died after only three and a half months, he was succeeded by Euphemios, who resolved to take more decisive steps to reinforce the position of Chalcedonianism in the East.147 In agreement with the emperor, Euphemios endeavoured to renew ←42 | 43→the alliance with Rome, but, to his disappointment, Pope Felix III continued to insist on striking off the names of Peter Mongos and Akakios from the liturgical books.148 The pope’s demands could be satisfied only in part, as Euphemios removed just Peter’s name.149 The popularity of Akakios in Constantinople, coupled with the fact that he was implementing the incumbent ruler’s policy, would not allow a similar measure against him. A synodal letter (from Constantinople to Rome) notifying the pope of Euphemios’ consecration emphasised his dedication to the decrees of Chalcedon and explained the reasons for not having removed Akakios’ name from the diptychs. At the same time, Euphemios restored the pope’s name in the books. Nevertheless, Felix III continued to insist that Constantinople fulfil his demand to condemn Akakios.150

In conclusion, the reign of Zeno signalled the further consolidation of support for the Chalcedonian option in the Empire, but in the entirely new circumstances occasioned by Basiliskos’ failed usurpation. The emperor himself had no theological ambitions and relied on Akakios’ opinion on dogmatic issues, yet he clearly desired the normalization of the situation in the Church, which was shaken by the unexpected turn of events after the promulgation of the Encyclical. For this reason, he coerced Akakios to enter into an agreement with Peter Mongos, a moderate opponent of the council, and to write the conciliatory Henotikon, thanks to which he won over, as he seemed to believe, the Patriarchate of Alexandria for the Chalcedonian Church and, for himself, the loyalty of Egypt during his confrontation with Illos. A similar compromise was subsequently reached with Peter the Fuller in order to pacify the situation in the Patriarchate of Antioch after Illos’ defeat. The prerequisite for these compromise settlements was Peter Mongos’ and Peter the Fuller’s renunciation of the anathematization of Chalcedon. The violation of this condition and the consolidation of Zeno’s authority in the latter half of the 480s made the emperor, towards the end of his reign, even more inclined to give yet stronger support to the Chalcedonian cause.151

←43 | 44→

5. The second wave of opposition to the Council of Chalcedon: the reign of emperor Anastasios

The imperial succession following the death of Zeno did not spell an immediate reorientation with regard to the new ruler’s religious policy. For the first few years of his reign,152 Anastasios’ priorities in this sphere would not be very much different, generally speaking, from those pursued by Zeno during the final decade of his reign. Anastasios made use of the Henotikon as a convenient tool for conducting his religious policy, which was, effectively, neither openly in favour of Chalcedon nor covertly pro-Chalcedonian (as was the case under his predecessor), but overall a more compromise-oriented policy, aware of the fact that some of the bishops who had subscribed to Zeno’s letter addressed to the Church of Egypt would give it an interpretation that differed from its original intention. In any case, during the first decade of his rule, the emperor was primarily concerned with preserving peace in the Church, where the main figures would continue to remain in communion with one another.153

Ultimately, the emperor’s efforts would come to nothing. Even the beginning of Anastasios’ reign was marked by the Patriarch Euphemios’ deep distrust of the new emperor, as the bishop had been opposed to elevating to the imperial throne a man known for his anti-Chalcedonian views. Euphemios retracted his “veto” under pressure from the empress Areadne and the senators, on the condition that Anastasios sign a declaration that he would abstain from introducing any novelty into the doctrine of the Church and keep in force all the decrees of Chalcedon.154 As it turned out, the emperor would be true to his word through the early years of his reign.155 In 492, Euphemios convoked a synod endemousa that affirmed the legitimacy of the decrees of Chalcedon, communicating this event to Pope Felix III.156 Euphemios was determined to seek Rome’s support and to terminate the state of schism between the Churches. Through his cooperation with the pope, he also hoped to bring about the deposition of Patriarch Athanasios of Alexandria, ←44 | 45→who was adamantly opposed to Chalcedon and Pope Leo’s Tome.157 In the end, no alliance with Rome was reached, as Pope Felix had most probably died before receiving the synodal letter, while his successor, Gelasios,158 would prove to be even less flexible than his predecessor. Although Gelasios, upon his election, did address a letter to Anastasios, he failed to refer to Patriarch Euphemios, which was considered an affront.159 Nonetheless, Euphemios continued with his endeavours to win over the pope. To this end, he addressed two letters to Gelasios, receiving replies written in a somewhat unpleasant tone.160 The objective of the new pope in his relations with Constantinople was to emphasize the leading role of the Church of Rome, based on its apostolic origins, and not the administrative significance of the individual sees. The pope’s claims would cause irritation in Constantinople, contributing to the failure of several attempts to resolve the problem of schism in this period.161

On 24 November 496, Anastasios II succeeded Gelasios. The new pontiff did not change the guiding principles of Rome’s policy towards Constantinople, even though he clearly took a more conciliatory stance.162 In his letter to the emperor, the pope restated his demand to remove the names of those figures anathematized by Rome, especially Akakios, from the liturgical books, and he encouraged the emperor to use his authority in order to restore orthodoxy in Alexandria.163 The emperor proposed the following compromise to Faustus, an envoy of King Theuderich (who was seeking the emperor’s recognition of his ascendancy in Italy): he would acknowledge Theuderich as king in Italy in return for the pope’s recognition of the Henotikon. In response to this proposal, Faustus promised to persuade the pope to accept this solution.164 Unfortunately, Anastasios II died before his legates returned to Rome and the controversial election of his successor would lead to a schism in Rome. Although a majority elected the deacon ←45 | 46→Symmachos, some of the members of the conclave opted for the archipresbyter Laurentius, who also received support from the envoy Faustus. Both candidates were consecrated on 22 November 498,165 but eventually it was Symmachos who received King Theuderich’s support and who would serve as Bishop of Rome for more than ten years.166 His pontificate brought no improvement in Rome’s relations with the emperor. Anastasios would even go so far as to accuse him of Manichaeism, illegitimate consecration and, perhaps most serious of all, conspiring with the Senate against the emperor.167 At the turn of the fifth and sixth centuries, the pope responded with the document known as the Apologeticus, in which he rejected all these accusations and justified the legitimacy of continuing the schism with Constantinople.168

After a period of peaceful co-existence, relations between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the emperor deteriorated, with the emperor suspecting Euphemios of conspiring with the Isaurian rebels. His suspicions were not, in all likelihood, entirely groundless. In any event, the emperor had Euphemios deposed (on the strength of a synod’s decision in 496) and exiled to Euchaïta. He was succeeded by Makedonios,169 who was also a follower of Chalcedon, although a little more flexible in his opinion. For example, he did not hesitate to subscribe to the Henotikon after his consecration, thereby alienating the pro-Chalcedonian monastic circles of the capital.170

The period around the mid-490s saw significant changes in many of the metropolitan sees in the East. In 494, Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem died and was succeeded by the pro-Chalcedonian bishop Elias.171 Two years later, the ←46 | 47→Patriarchate of Alexandria was assumed by John II, who immediately denounced Pope Leo’s Tome and the Council of Chalcedon.172 In response, Elias severed communion with Alexandria and Antioch.173 All the episcopal appointments effected at the close of the fifth century revealed, to an even greater extent, a deepening rift in the Church and made the emperor realize the difficulty of achieving ecclesiastical unity on the basis of the Henotikon. In Syria too, the Church was still divided, with Bishop Philoxenos of Hierapolis becoming the real leader of the anti-Chalcedonian movement there. He was fiercely opposed to Flavian, the somewhat wavering Patriarch of Antioch.174

In the course of the first decade of the sixth century, relations among the leading figures of the Church significantly worsened, with mounting tensions between the followers and adversaries of the Council of Chalcedon. In 505, the newly appointed Patriarch of Alexandria, John III, wrote a synodal letter in which he condemned Leo’s Tome and the council of 451.175 In response, Makedonios severed communion with Alexandria.176 The exacerbation of religious conflict did not suit the plans of the emperor, who had been involved in a war with Persia since 502. In this context, some scholars would link the anti-Chalcedonian reversal in his religious policy with that war, arguing that the large inflow of anti-Chalcedonian Persians into the Empire, fleeing persecution in their native land, may have transformed relations between the parties embroiled in the Christological controversy across this territory.177 It seems, rather, that the turnaround occurred on account of two theologians of the anti-Chalcedonian movement who had arrived in Constantinople at that time: Philoxenos and Severus of Sozopolis.178

←47 | 48→

Severus came to the capital in 508, accompanied by a group of two hundred anti-Chalcedonian monks from Palestine, to complain to the emperor about the persecutions they had been suffering at the hands of Nephalios, possibly at the instigation of Patriarch Elias of Jerusalem.179 The theologian’s stay in the city on the Bosporus lasted three years and would have a huge impact on Anastasios’ religious policy. Flavian of Antioch became the first victim of this entirely new situation. Philoxenos persisted in accusing him of Nestorianism and demanded that he excommunicate all the Dyophysites, arousing waves of unrest across the province of Syria I.180 Under Philoxenos’ influence, Anastasios ordered the Patriarch of Antioch to summon a synod in that city (in 508 or 509). During its proceedings, Flavian repeated his endorsement of the Henotikon, passing over Chalcedon, but he also denounced Diodoros of Tarsos, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Kyrrhos, Ibas of Edessa and some other opponents of Cyril’s Twelve Anathemas. The synod decreed the so-called four chapters, which were anti-Chalcedonian in spirit, and went on to inform the emperor regarding the proceedings.181 Flavian’s attitude failed to win over Anastasios and alienated Patriarch Makedonios, who denounced the Antiochene hierarch.182

At the emperor’s request, in 510 (or 511), Severus had drawn up a new document, known as the Typos, which accepted the first three general councils and the Henotikon, but anathematized the Dyophysites and Pope Leo’s Tome.183 It was the first overtly anti-Chalcedonian document created on the emperor Anastasios’ orders. For this reason, the Typos marks a certain watershed in the history of the Christological controversy. Just as the Henotikon could be regarded as the first departure from strict Chalcedonian orthodoxy, which Zeno would use to win over the moderate opponents of the council (who were content with it not being mentioned at all), the new document signified the emperor’s open support for the adversaries of Chalcedon. It is no surprise then that the pro-Chalcedonian hierarchs, even the hesitant Patriarch Flavian, did not wish to subscribe to this document. Likewise, Makedonios refused to endorse the Typos and denounce ←48 | 49→Chalcedon, unless such a decision was first taken by a general council presided over by the pope.184

The rift between Makedonios and Anastasios began to grow wider. The situation escalated when Severus’ monks incorporated the Theopaschite addition “who hast been crucified for us” into the Trisagion hymn, sparking a loud outcry of protest among the faithful gathered in the Great Church. Apprehensive about a further escalation of tension, Anastasios invited Makedonios to the imperial palace, asking him to pacify the crowd.185 Surprisingly, when the wave of unrest subsided, the emperor accused the bishop of inciting the riots and supporting Nestorianism, requiring him to present a written confession of faith.186 In 511, the patriarch prepared a statement in which he recognized the first two councils and the Henotikon, with no mention of the Councils of Ephesos and Chalcedon. In addition, Makedonios reportedly denounced Nestorios and Eutyches, as well as those who espoused the “two sons” doctrine.187 This act angered the pro-Chalcedonian monks of Constantinople, who declared their loyalty to the council. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the patriarch resolved to restore communion with the monks.188 Meanwhile, Anastasios demanded that he present the original acts of the Council of Chalcedon, but Makedonios declined and deposited them beneath the altar in the Great Church, from where they were stolen and handed over to the emperor, who destroyed them.189

The emperor decided to remove the inconvenient patriarch. On 6 August 511, he accomplished the deposition of Makedonios by the ruling of a synod, only to have him arrested the following day and exiled to Euchaïta.190 He was succeeded by a presbyter named Timothy, represented in the sources as a wavering opportunist, who did manage to restore communion with Patriarch John III of Alexandria, but who would never agree to condemn Pope Leo’s Tome ←49 | 50→and Chalcedon.191 Flavian of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem did not recognize the deposition of Makedonios, though they did enter into communion with Timothy.192

It seems that, following the removal of Makedonios, Anastasios may have intended to revert to the policy of providing moderate support to the enemies of Chalcedon. The most serious situation was in the Church of Syria, where the anti-Chalcedonian circles, led by Philoxenos, persisted in their efforts to oust Patriarch Flavian.193 In 511 or 512, the latter summoned a synod at Sidon with the aim of reaffirming the Henotikon.194 The anti-Chalcedonian bishops were in a minority at this synod and failed to carry through their postulations collected in the form of 77 chapters. For their part, Flavian and Elias addressed a letter to Anastasios, in which they restated their commitment to the Henotikon.195 In autumn 511, Elias also dispatched to the capital the leader of the Palestinian monks, named Sabas, who was arguably successful in mitigating the emperor’s anti-Chalcedonian policy.196

Anastasios also received an appeal from Philoxenos, who demanded that Flavian denounce Chalcedon, but the latter returned to his tactics of recognizing the first three councils and the Henotikon, once again passing over the council of 451.197 In 512, riots at Antioch, instigated by Philoxenos, forced Flavian to go into exile at Petra, while his deposition was formally announced by a subsequent synod assembled at Laodikeia.198 He was succeeded on 6 November 512 by the leading anti-Chalcedonian theologian, Severus of Sozopolis, who wasted no time in condemning Leo’s Tome, the decrees of Chalcedon, and Nestorios and Eutyches, but recognizing the first three general councils and the Henotikon, though in an anti-Chalcedonian interpretation.199 His synodal letter was ←50 | 51→positively received in Alexandria, but it would meet with rejection in Jerusalem and even in several locations across Syria.200 Some of the bishops in Isauria likewise denounced Severus.201 As Pseudo-Zacharias reports, in 513 or a little later, bishops of the East gathered at a synod at Tyre,202 perhaps with the intention of curbing the rising opposition to Severus, though apparently to no avail.203

The final chapter in the fleeting triumph of the anti-Chalcedonian movement was the emperor Anastasios’ edict of 4 November 512, providing for the obligatory singing of the Trisagion hymn, with the Theopaschite addition, in all churches.204 This act triggered another outburst of discontent at Constantinople, with large-scale riots and casualties, and popular demands for the emperor’s abdication and the election of an orthodox ruler. Unexpectedly, Anastasios appeared at the hippodrome and declared his readiness to make concessions, thereby swiftly defusing the tense situation.205 In consequence, the emperor came to realize the tenacity of the people’s commitment to Chalcedon, which prompted him to revert to his previous policy of moderation.206

In summer 516, the emperor resolved to remove Elias from the see of Jerusalem, sending him into exile at Aila.207 He was succeeded by John, who pledged to condemn the Council of Chalcedon and enter into communion with Severus. Ultimately, in view of the strength of opposition among monastic circles, he decided not to do so. On learning of this, the emperor had John arrested, but the patriarch made his situation known to the monks of the Judean Desert, who arrived in Jerusalem. Along with Theodosios and Sabas, John ascended the pulpit ←51 | 52→in St Stephen’s Church, where they condemned Nestorios, Eutyches, Severus, Soterichos and all those who did not recognize the decrees of Chalcedon. In response to this act, Emperor Anastasios wanted to banish the patriarch and the ascetics, but he encountered intense opposition from the monks of Palestine, who addressed a letter to Constantinople in defence of the Chalcedonian doctrine and against Severus. Anastasios did not feel strong enough to force through the acceptance of the Antiochene patriarch and allowed John to stay.208

In the same year, the pro-Chalcedonian bishops of Syria made an appeal to Pope Hormisdas, acknowledging his papal primacy and teaching.209 Likewise, the bishops of Epirus surrendered their Church to the pope, just as the bishops of Illyricum had done previously, severing communion with Bishop Dorotheos of Thessalonica, who would in turn appeal to the pope with his request for establishing communion with Rome.210 A factor that contributed to this pro-papal turn in the Balkans was Vitalian’s rebellion in 514. The rebel leader’s main demands concentrated on economic issues and his own personal ambitions, but he also called for the restoration of the exiled bishops and the reestablishment of orthodoxy in the Church by the pope.211 Beleaguered by this series of setbacks, Anastasios pledged to summon a council of all bishops (including the Bishop of Rome, to whom he addressed his written invitation), to be held at Herakleia on 1 July 515.212 In any event, it would seem that the emperor did not try hard ←52 | 53→to facilitate such a council and deliberately delayed delivering his epistle to the pope to prevent him from reaching the venue on time. For his part, the pope sent a delegation, which reached Constantinople on 11 August 515 and delivered his letters to the emperor and to Vitalian, along with the so-called Libellus or Hormisdas’ Formula, in which the pope called for an affirmation of the legitimacy of Chalcedon, the removal of the heretics’ names from the diptychs, and for deposed clerics to be granted the right to appeal to Rome.213 The Formula called for complete subordination to the pope in all matters of faith, to which Anastasios could not give his consent. In effect, the emperor sent the delegation back with his reply, declaring that he had never openly denounced the Council of Chalcedon, while condemnation of others, and in particular Akakios, could result in bloodshed.214 As Vitalian was defeated at this time, the emperor was relieved of the threat from the rebellious troops and refused to hold any further negotiations, sending the pope’s delegation back to Italy.215

In summing up the emperor Anastasios’ reign, it should be stressed that he had been guided by pragmatic considerations until the final years of the first decade of the sixth century and strove to avoid inciting civil unrest or public disturbances that would have shaken the stability of the state, as he had personally witnessed during the popular revolt in the capital in 512. The emperor allowed himself to become influenced by certain prominent figures in the monastic communities, as is evident in Severus of Sozopolis’ impact on his religious policy in the years 508–512 as well as in the visit of a group of pro-Chalcedon Palestinian monks to Constantinople, led by the ascetic Sabas, who received the emperor’s approval for their demands.216

←53 | 54→

1For overviews of the role of synods in Late Antiquity, see Saxer 1995, 63–68; Kosiński 2010c, 289–290; Bralewski 2015, 343–346.

2ACO I 1.1, 114–116; cf. Destephen 2008, 103–118.

3See below on p. 26–28.

4On Theodosios II’s efforts to reach a consensus at Ephesos, see Ilski 1992.

5On the synod endemousa, see Hijjar 1962.

6On this synod, see below on p. 25.

7See p. 388–389.

8For more on Leo’s Encyclical, see p. 31.

9For relations between the individual patriarchates, see especially the excellent studies by Philippe Blaudeau (2006 and 2012).

10On the Church of Constantinople and the increasing role of its bishop, see Dagron 1974, 367–517; M.B. Leszka 2011, 350–400.

11For more on this event, see Theodore Lector, Epitome 55 [390]–56 [391].

12On the Church of Alexandria, see Maraval 1995, 883–901; Wipszycka 2018, esp. 135–198.

13CTh xvi 1.2.

14On the Church of Antioch, see the somewhat outdated study by Devreesse (1945), with a number of its passages emended in Downey’s extensive work (1961, 414–519). For the patriarchate of Severus of Antioch, see Alpi 2009.

15On the establishment of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, see Honigmann 1950, 240–247; for the autocephaly of the Church of Cyprus, see below.

16On the issue of Martyrios and Flavian, see below.

17On John’s role after the council, see Camelot 1962, 70–72; Fraisse-Coué 1995, 542–550; cf. also Fairbairn 2007, 383–399. On Severus, see below.

18On the Church of Rome, see Caspar 1933; Richards 1979; Guyon 1995, 771–798; Sotinel 1998, 279–319. For relations between the papacy and the emperor, particularly during the pontificate of Gelasios, see Koch 1935; Ziegler 1942; Dvornik 1951, 111–116; Ullmann 1981.

19For the emperors’ religious policies, see esp. Bralewski 2018.

20On the radical attitudes of monks, see e.g. Teja 1997, 3–19; Hatlie 2006, 13–25.

21On this issue, see pp. 47–53.

22Council of Chalcedon in 451, Canon 4 and 8 (ACO, ii 1.2, 159–160).

23For Apollinarios’ views, see Norris 1963, 79–122; Grillmeier 1987, 329–343; Kelly 1968, 289–295.

24Council of Constantinople (381), Canon 1 (DSP, 70).

25On the Christology of Theodore, see Sullivan 1956; Greer 1961; Grillmeier 1987, 421–439; Kelly 1968, 303–309.

26For the Christological views of Nestorios, see Scipioni 1956; Braaten 1963, 251–267; Grillmeier 1987, 443–519; McGuckin 1988, 93–129.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (June)
History of Late Roman Empire Constantinople in the Early Byzantine Period Late antique historiography History of Late Antiquity Christological controversies in the 5th and 6th Century
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 694 pp.

Biographical notes

Rafał Kosiński (Author) Kamilla Twardowska (Author) Aneta Zabrocka (Author) Adrian Szopa (Author) Philip Rance (Revision)

Rafał Kosiński is a professor of Ancient and Byzantine History at the University of Białystok. He graduated from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow where he also obtained his doctorate and habilitation. His research is mainly in the field of Late Antiquity, especially Church history and late antique historiography. Adrian Szopa is an assistant professor in the Ancient History Department at the Pedagogical University of Cracow. He earned an MA degree in history at the Pedagogical University as well as in classical philology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. His research is mainly in the field of Late Antiquity. He is a member of the Polish Historical Society and co-founder of the Polish Society for Ancient Studies. Kamilla Twardowska studied history at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, where she also defended her doctoral thesis. She works at the National Museum in Cracow. Her research is mainly in the field of the political history of the Late Roman Empire. Aneta Zabrocka is a teacher at the British International School of Cracow. She graduated from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow with an MA degree in classical philology. She has taught at the Buccleuch Academy in Kettering, UK. She is interested in the Greek literature of the period of Late Antiquity.


Title: The <I>Church Histories</I> of Theodore Lector and John Diakrinomenos
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