The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553

With Related Texts on the Three Chapters Controversy

Translated with commentary by Richard Price

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ISBN: 9781846318368

Publication: July 9, 2012

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 51

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The Council of Constantinople of 553 (often called Constantinople II or the Fifth Ecumenical Council) has been described as ‘by far the most problematic of all the councils’, because it condemned two of the greatest biblical scholars and commentators of the patristic era – Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia – and because the pope of the day, Vigilius, first condemned the council and then confirmed its decisions only under duress. The present edition makes accessible to the modern reader the acts of the council, session by session, and the most important related documents, particularly those that reveal the shifting stance of Pope Vigilius, veering between heroic resistance and abject compliance. The accompanying commentary and substantial introduction provide a background narrative of developments since Chalcedon, a full analysis of the policy of the emperor Justinian (who summoned and dominated the council) and of the issues in the debate, and information on the complex history of both the text and the council’s reception. The editor argues that the work of the council deserves a more sympathetic evaluation that it has generally received in western Christendom, since it arguably clarified rather than distorted the message of Chalcedon and influenced the whole subsequent tradition of eastern Orthodoxy. In interpreting Chalcedon the conciliar acts provide a fascinating example of how a society – in this case the imperial Church of Byzantium – determines its identity by how it understands its past.

Richard Price is Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity at Heythrop College, University of London. His previous publications include Theodoret, History of the Monks of Syria: A Translation and Commentary, and Augustine.

Preface vii Abbreviations xiii GENERAL INTRODUCTION I. The Road from Chalcedon 451–518 II. The Ecclesiastical Policy of the Emperor Justinian III. The Trials of Pope Vigilius IV. The Theology: Problems and Solutions V. The Three Chapters 1. Theodore of Mopsuestia 2. The Controversial Writings of Theodoret 3. The Letter of Ibas to Mari the Persian VI. The Reception of the Council VII. Texts and Versions LETTERS FROM AFRICA (545–6) 1. Bishop Pontianus to Justinian 2. Ferrandus, Letter 6 to the Deacons of Rome JUSTINIAN, EDICT ON THE ORTHODOX FAITH (551) LETTERS BY OR ON POPE VIGILIUS (551–2) 1. Letter of Excommunication to Ascidas and Menas 2. Letter from the Church of Milan to the Frankish Envoys 3. Encyclical Letter, Dum in Sanctae Euphemiae THE ACTS OF THE COUNCIL OF 553 Session I, 5 May Session II, 8 May Session III, 9 May Session IV, 12 May Session V, 17 May VOLUME ONE vi TABLE OF CONTENTS VOLUME TWO Abbreviations vii THE ACTS OF THE COUNCIL OF 553 Session VI, 19 May 3 Session VII, 26 May 72 Session VIII, 2 June 102 VIGILIUS, THE TWO CONSTITUTA (553–4) 1. First Constitutum 141 2. Second Letter to Eutychius of Constantinople 214 3. Second Constitutum 219 APPENDICES I. The Anti-Origenist Canons (543 and 553) 1. Canons of 543 2. Letter of Justinian to the Council (553) 3. Canons of 553 II. The Attendance and Subscription Lists MAPS 1. Patriarchates and Provinces 2. The Balkans 3. Western Asia Minor 4. Eastern Asia Minor 5. Syria and Palestine 6. Egypt 7. Italy and Africa GLOSSARY BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Primary Sources 2. Secondary Literature INDICES 1. Persons in the Texts 2. Documents 3. The Commentary

Price’s extra labour in supplying detailed indices and an up-to-date bibliography makes this volume a valuable aid to research as well as an accessible introduction to the doctrinal and political issues surrounding the Fifth Ecumenical Council.
Kevin Uhalde   Early Medieval Europe 19 (3)

There are many amusing and clever asides which make this volume not only an important contribution to historical scholarship and research but a pleasure to read.
Lionel Wickham   Journal of Theological Studies

Price must be congratulated for a translation that will remain indispensable both for historians and for scholars of historical theology.
  The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Volume 62/3

Format: Paperback

Size: 210 x 147 mm

744 Pages

ISBN: 9781846318368

Publication: July 9, 2012

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 51

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