The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 869-70

BookThe Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 869-70

The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 869-70

Translated Texts for Historians, 79


March 1st, 2022





The Council of Constantinople of 869-70 was highly dramatic, with its trial and condemnation of Patriarch Photius, a towering figure in the Byzantium of his day, and the tussle of wills at the council between the papal legates, the imperial representatives and the bishops. It was church politics and personalities rather than issues of doctrine, such as icon veneration, that dominated the debates. Out of all the acts of the great early councils, the acts of this council, of which this edition is the first modern translation, are the nearest to an accurate and complete record. Its protest against secular interference in ecclesiastical elections was taken up later in the West and led to this council’s being accorded full ecumenical status, although it had been repudiated in Byzantium soon after it was held. No early council expresses so vividly the tension between Rome’s claim to supreme authority and the Byzantine reduction of this to a primacy of honour.

Author Information

Richard Price is Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, Heythrop College and Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London. His many previous publications include The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 (Liverpool 2009), The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649 (with P. Booth & C. Cubitt, Liverpool 2014), The Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea (Liverpool 2018), The Council of Ephesus of 431 (with T. Graumann, Liverpool 2020) and Canons of the Quinisext Council (691/2) (Liverpool 2020). Federico Montinaro is Research Group Leader in the Emmy Noether Programme (DFG), University of Tübingen. His previous publications include Studies in Theophanes (ed. with M. Jankowiak), Association des Amis du Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance 2015 and A Companion to Procopius of Caesarea (ed. with M. Meier), Brill 2021.