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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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Quinisext Ecumenical Council.

The Holy and Ecumenical[122] Quinisext (or Quinisextine), or more properly speaking, Sixth[123] Council was assembled in the imperial and lustrous palace called the Troullos (or, according to the Latin spelling, Trullus), in the reign of Justinian II, who was the son of Pogonatus and was surnamed Rhinotmetus (a Greek word meaning “with the nose cut off”), in the year 691 after Christ.[124] The number of Fathers who attended it was 327 according to Balsamon and Zonaras, but 340 according to the author of the Conciliar booklet, of whom the leaders were Paul of Constantinople,[125] Basil the Bishop of Gortyna, a province in Crete, a certain Bishop of Ravenna who acted as the legate of the Pope of Rome,[126] Peter the Patriarch of Alexandria, Anastasius the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and George the Patriarch of Antioch. It was assembled at the command of the Emperor, not in order to examine into any special heresy, not in order to settle questions of faith, in such a way as to warrant its being called a special and separate Council, but for the purpose of promulgating necessary Canons relating to correction of outstanding evils and the regulation of the internal polity of the Church. Which Canons are the following, as confirmed by Acts 2 and 4 and 8 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and by the latter’s Canon I. They are further confirmed by three Popes, namely, Adrian I, Gregory II, and Innocent III, by Gratian, by the legates of the Pope who were present at the Seventh Ec. C., by the so-called First-and-Second Council, which mentions its c. XXXI in its own c. XII. They are also confirmed or attested by Cedrenus, by John of Damacus (or John Damascene), who says, “consult the definitions of the Sixth Council and you will find there the proof.” They were also confirmed or attested by the interpreters of the Canons, by Photius, by the personal signatures both of the Emperor and of the legates of the Pope of Rome, as well as those of the Patriarchs and of the Fathers who attended it. Thus, summarily speaking, it may be said to have been attested and confirmed by the whole catholic Church, notwithstanding that the modern Latins calumiously traduce them because they censure and controvert their innovations. Adrian I in his letter to Tarasius has left us this admirable testimony concerning these Canons in the following words: “I accept the decisions made by the same holy Sixth Council, together with all the Canons it has duly and divinely uttered, wherein they are expressed.” In certain inscriptions of the venerable icons is to be found added also the whole text of its eighty-second Canon (p. 747 of the Collection of the Councils). Pope Gregory in his letter to St. Germanus (which is recorded in Act 4 of the Seventh Ec. C.) says in reference to this same Canon of the present Sixth Council: “Wherefore the assembly of the holy men have delivered this chapter to the Church by God’s design as a matter of the greatest salvation.” Note, too, the fact that he called this Council a holy assembly and said that its Canons were issued by God’s design. But the testimony of Patriarch Tarasius concerning these Canons is sufficient to shut and gag the mouths of the adversaries. In fact it is rather the testimony of the entire Seventh Ecumenical Council and runs word for word as follows: “Some men who are painfully ignorant in regard to these Canons are scandalized and blatantly say, ‘We wonder whether they really are Canons of the Sixth Council.’ Let such men become conscious of the fact that the holy and great Sixth Council was convoked in the reign of Constantine against those who were asserting the energy and the will of Christ to be a single energy and a single will, and that the bishops who attended it anathematized the heretics and stated clearly and emphatically the Orthodox faith, after which they left for home in the year fourteen of Constantine’s reign. Thereafter, however, let it not be forgotten that . . . the same Fathers gathered themselves together in the reign of Constantine’s son Justinian and promulgated the aforementioned Canons, and let no one have any doubt about them. For those who signed their names in the reign of Constantine are the same ones as those who signed their names to the present paper in the reign of Justinian, as becomes plainly evident from the exact likeness of their respective signatures as written by their own hands. For it was incumbent on them after declaring an Ecumenical Council to proceed to promulgate also ecclesiastical Canons (Act 4 of the Seventh Ec. C., p. 780 of the second volume of the Collection of Canons).” In the same Act 4 of the 7th it is written that this very same identical and original paper, which had been signed by the Fathers of the present Sixth Council, was read aloud to the Seventh Ec. C. Peter the Bishop of Nicomedeia stated, though, that there was also another book containing the present Canons of the Sixth Council (see also Dositheus p. 603 to p. 618 of the Dodecabiblus).

 

Canons.

 




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