Bishop Hefele, one of the most learned and impartial Roman Catholic historians, thus states, after a lengthy discussion, his present view on the case of Honorius (Conciliengesch., vol. III. 175, revised ed. 1877), which differs considerably from the one he had published before the Vatican decree of papal infallibility (in the first ed. of his Conciliengesch., vol. III. 1858, p. 145 sqq., and in big pamphlet on Honorius, 1870). It should be remembered that Bishop Hefele, like all his anti-infallibilist colleagues, submitted to the decree of the Vatican Council for the sake of unity and peace.
"Die beiden Briefe des Papstes Honorius, wie wir sie jetzt haben, sind unverfälscht und zeigen, dass Honorius von den beiden monotheletischen Terminis ejn qevlhma und miva ejnevrgeia den erstern (im ersten Brief) selbst gebrauchte, den anderen dagegen, ebenso auch den orthodoxen Ausdruck duvo ejnevrgeiai nicht angewendet wissen wollte. Hat er auch Letzteres (die, Missbilligung des Ausdruckes duvo ejnevrg.) im zweiten Brief wiederholt, so hat er doch in demselben selbst zwei natürliche Energien in Christus anerkannt und in beiden Briefen sich so ausgedrückt, dass man annehmen muss, er habe nicht den menschlichen Willen überhaupt, sondern nur den Verdorbenen menschlichen Willen in Chistus geläugnet, aber obgleich orthodoz denkend, die monotheletische Tendenz des Sergius nicht gehörig durchschaut und sich missverständlich ausgedrückt, so dass seine Briefe, besonders der erste, den Monotheletismus zu bestätigen schienen und damit der Häresie Factisch Vorschub leisteten. In dieser Weise erledigt sich uns die Frage nach der Orthodoxie des Papstes Honorius, und wir halten sonach den Mittelweg zwischen denen, welche ihn auf die gleiche Stufe mit Sergius von Constantinopel und Cyrus von Alexandrien stellen und den Monotheleten beizählen wollten, und denen, welche durchaus keine Makel an ihn duldend in das Schicksal der nimium probantes verfallen sind, so dass sie lieber die Aechtheit der Acten des sechsten allgemeinen Concils und mehrerer anderer Urkunden läugnen, oder auch dem sechsten Concil einen error in facto dogmatico zuschreiben wollten." Comp. his remarks on p. 152; "Diesen Hauptgedanken muss ich auch jetzt noch festhalten, dass Honorius im Herzen richtig dachte, sich aber unglücklich ausdrückte, wenn ich auch in Folge wiederholter neuer Beschäftigung mit diesem Gegenstand und unter Berücksichtigung dessen, was Andere in neuer Zeit zur Vertheidigung des Honorius geschrieben haben, manches Einzelne meiner früheren Aufstellungen nunmehr modificire oder völlig aufgebe, und insbesondere über den ersten Brief des Honorius jetzt milder urtheile als früher."
Cardinal Hergenröther (Kirchengeschichte, vol. I. 358, second ed. Freiburg i. B. 1879) admits the ignorance rather than the heresy of the pope. "Honorius," he says, "zeigt wohl Unbekanntschaft mit dem Kern der Frage, aber keinerlei häretische oder irrige Auffassung. Er unterscheidet die zwei unvermischt qebliebenen Naturen sehr genau und verstösst gegen kein einziges Dogma der Kirche."
§ 114. Concilium Quinisextum. a.d. 692.
Mansi., XI. 930–1006. Hefele, III. 328–348. Gieseler,I. 541 sq.
Wm. Beveridge (Bishop of St. Asaph, 1704–1708): Synodicon, sive Pandectae canonum. Oxon. 1672–82. Tom. I. 152–283. Beveridge gives the comments of Theod. Balsamon, Joh. Zonaras, etc., on the Apostolical Canons.
Assemani (R.C.): Bibliotheca juris orientalis. Rom 1766, Tom. V. 55–348, and Tom. I. 120 and 408 sqq. An extensive discussion of this Synod and its canons.
The pope of Old Rome had achieved a great dogmatic triumph in the sixth oecumenical council, but the Greek church had the satisfaction of branding at least one pope as a heretic, and soon found an opportunity to remind her rival of the limits of her authority.
The fifth and sixth oecumenical councils passed doctrinal decrees, but no disciplinary canons. This defect was supplied by a new council at Constantinople in 692, called the Concilium Quinisextum, 639also the Second Trullan Council, from the banqueting hall with a domed roof in the imperial palace where it was held. 640
It was convened by the Emperor Justinian II. surnamed Rinotmetos,1one of the most heartless tyrants that ever disgraced a Christian throne. He ruled from 685–695, was deposed by a revolution and sent to exile with a mutilated nose, but regained the throne in 705 and was assassinated in 711. 642
The supplementary council was purely oriental in its composition and spirit. It adopted 102 canons, most of them old, but not yet legally or oecumenically sanctioned. They cover the whole range of clerical and ecclesiastical life and discipline, and are valid to this day in the Eastern church. They include eighty-five apostolic canons so called (thirty-five more than were acknowledged by the Roman church), the canons of the first four oecumenical councils, and of several minor councils, as Ancyra, Neo-Caesarea, Gangra, Antioch, Laodicea, etc.; also the canons of Dionysius the Great of Alexandria, Peter of Alexandria, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzum, Amphilochius of Iconium, Timothy of Alexandria, Cyril of Alexandria, Gennadius of Constantinople, and an anti-Roman canon of Cyprian of Carthage. The decretals of the Roman bishops are ignored.
The canons were signed first, by the emperor; the second place was left blank for the pope, but was never filled; then follow the names of Paul of Constantinople, Peter of Alexandria, Anastasius of Jerusalem, George of Antioch (strangely after that of the patriarch of Jerusalem), and others, in all 211 bishops and episcopal representatives, all Greeks and Orientals, of whom 43 had been present at the sixth oecumenical council.
The emperor sent the acts of the Trullan Council to Sergius of Rome, and requested him to sign them. The pope refused because they contained some chapters contrary to ecclesiastical usage in Rome. The emperor dispatched the chief officer of his body guard with orders to bring the pope to Constantinople. But the armies of the exarch of Ravenna and of the Pentapolis rushed to the protection of the pope, who quieted the soldiers; the imperial officer had to hide himself in the pope’s bed, and then left Rome in disgrace.3 Soon afterwards Justinian II. was dethroned and sent into exile. When he regained the crown with the aid of a barbarian army (705), he sent two metropolitans to Pope John VII. with the request to call a council of the Roman church, which should sanction as many of the canons as were acceptable. The pope, a timid man, simply returned the copy. Subsequent negotiations led to no decisive result.
The seventh oecumenical Council (787) readopted the 102 canons, and erroneously ascribed them to the sixth oecumenical Council.
The Roman church never committed herself to these canons except as far as they agreed with ancient Latin usage. Some of them were inspired by an anti-Roman tendency. The first canon repeats the anathema on Pope Honorius. The thirty-sixth canon, in accordance with the second and fourth oecumenical Councils, puts the patriarch of Constantinople on an equality of rights with the bishop of Rome, and concedes to the latter only a primacy of honor, not a supremacy of jurisdiction. Clerical marriage of the lower orders is sanctioned in canons 3 and 13, and it is clearly hinted that the Roman church, by her law of clerical celibacy, dishonors wedlock, which was instituted by God and sanctioned by the presence of Christ at Cana. But second marriage is forbidden to the clergy, also marriage with a widow (canon 3), and marriage after ordination (canon 6). Bishops are required to discontinue their marriage relation (canon 12). Justinian had previously forbidden the marriage of bishops by a civil law. Fasting on the Sabbath in Lent is forbidden (canon 55) in express opposition to the custom in Rome. The second canon fixes the number of valid apostolical canons at eighty-five against fifty of the Latin church. The decree of the Council of Jerusalem against eating blood and things strangled (Acts 15) is declared to be of perpetual force, while in the West it was considered merely as a temporary provision for the apostolic age, and for congregations composed of Jewish and Gentile converts. The symbolical representation of Christ under the figure of the lamb in allusion to the words of John the Baptist is forbidden as belonging to the Old Testament, and the representation in human form is commanded (canon 82).
These differences laid the foundation for the great schism between the East. and the West. The supplementary council of 692 anticipated the action of Photius, and clothed it with a quasi-oecumenical authority.
§ 115. Reaction of Monotheletism. The Maronites.
The great oecumenical councils, notably that of Chalcedon gave rise to schismatic sects which have perpetuated themselves for a long time, some of them to the present day.
For a brief period Monotheletism was restored by Bardanes or Philippicus, who wrested the throne from Justinian II. and ruled from 711 to 713. He annulled the creed of the sixth oecumenical Council, caused the names of Sergius and Honorius to be reinserted in the diptycha among the orthodox patriarchs, and their images to be again set up in public places. He deposed the patriarch of Constantinople and elected in his place a Monotheletic deacon, John. He convened a council at Constantinople, which set aside the decree of the sixth council and adopted a Monotheletic creed in its place. The clergy who refused to sign it, were deposed. But in Italy he had no force to introduce it, and an attempt to do so provoked an insurrection.
The Emperor Anastasius II. dethroned the usurper, and made an end to this Monotheletic episode. The patriarch John accommodated himself to the new situation, and wrote an abject letter to the Pope Constantine, in which he even addressed him as the head of the church, and begged his pardon for his former advocacy of heresy.
Since that time Dyotheletism was no more disturbed in the orthodox church.
But outside of the orthodox church and the jurisdiction of the Byzantine rulers, Monotheletism propagated itself among the inhabitants of Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon under the lead of abbot John Marun (Marwvn), their first patriarch (d. 701). The maronites, 644as they were called after him, maintained their independence of the Greek empire and the Saracens, and adhered to the Monotheletic doctrine till the time of the crusades, when they united themselves with the Roman church (1182), retaining, however, the celebration of the communion under both kinds, the Syrian liturgy, the marriage of the lower clergy, their own fast-days, and their own saints.
§ 116. The Adoptionist Controversy. Literature.
The sources are printed in Harduin, Vol. IV., Mansi, XIII., and in Alcuin’s Opera, ed. Frobenius (1777), reprinted by Migne (in his "Patrol. Lat.," vols. 100 and 101), with historical and dogmatical dissertations.
(1.) The writings of the Adoptionists: a letter of Elipandus Ad Fide lem, Abbatem, a.d. 785, and one to Alcuin. Two letters of the Spanish bishops—one to Charlemagne, the other to the Gallican bishops. Felicis Libellus contra Alcuinum; the Confessio Fidei Felicis; fragments of a posthumous book of Felix addressed Ad Ludovicum Pium, Imperat.
(2.) The orthodox view is represented in Beatus et Etherius: Adv. Elipandum libri II. Alcuin: Seven Books against Felix, Four Books against Elipandus, and several letters, which are best edited by Jaffé in Biblioth. rer. Germ. VI. Paulinus (Bishop of Aquileja): Contra Felicem Urgellitanum libri tres. In Migne’s "Patrol. Lat.," vol. 99, col. 343–468. Agobard of Lyons: Adv. Dogma Felicis Episc. Urgellensis, addressed to Louis the Pious, in Migne’s "Patrol. Lat.," vol. 104, col. 29–70. A letter of Charlemagne (792) to Elipandus and the bishops of Spain. The acts of the Synods of Narbonne (788), Ratisbon (792), Francfort (794), and Aix-la-Chapelle (799).
(1.) By Rom. Cath. Madrisi (Congreg. Orat.): Dissertationes de Felicis et Elipandi haeresi, in his ed. of the Opera Paulini Aquil., reprinted in Migne’s "Patrol. Lat.," vol. 99( col. 545–598). Against Basnage. Enhueber (Prior in Regensburg): Dissert. dogm. Hist. contra Christ. Walchium, in Alcuin’s Opera, ed. Frobenius, reprinted by Migne (vol. 101, col. 337–438). Against Walch’s Hist. Adopt., to prove the Nestorianism of the Adoptionists. Frobenius: Diss. Hist. de haer. Elip. et Felicis, in Migne’s ed., vol. 101, col. 303–336. Werner: Gesch. der Apol. und polem. Lit. II. 433 sqq. Gams: Kirchengesch. Spaniens (Regensb., 1874), Bd. II. 2. (Very prolix.) Hefele: Conciliengesch., Bd. III. 642–693 (revised ed. of 1877). Hergenröther: Kirchengesch., 2nd ed., 1879, Bd. I. 558 sqq. Bach: Dogmengesch. des Mittelalters (Wien, 1873), I. 103–155.
(2.) By Protestants. Jac. Basnage: Observationes historicae circa Felicianam haeresin, in his Thesaurus monum. Tom. II. 284 sqq. Chr. G. F. Walch: Historia Adoptianorum, Göttingen, 1755; and his Ketzergeschichte, vol. IX. 667 sqq. (1780). A minute and accurate account. See also the Lit. quoted by Walch.
Neander, Kirchengeschichte, vol. III., pp. 313–339, Engl. transl. III. 156–168. Gieseler, vol. II., P. I., p. 111 sqq.; Eng. transl. II. 75–78. Baur: Die christliche Lehre von der Dreieinigkeit und Menschwerdung Gottes, Tübingen, 1842, vol. II., pp. 129–159. Dorner: Entwicklungs-Geschichte der Lehre von der Person Christi, second ed., Berlin, 1853, vol. II., pp. 306–330. Helfferich: Der Westgothische Arianismus und die spanische Ketzergeschichte, Berlin, 1880. Niedner: Lehrbuch der christl. K. G., Berlin, 1866, pp. 424–427. J. C. Robertson: History of the Christian Church from 590 to 1122 (Lond., 1856), p. 154 sqq. Milman: Lat. Christ. II. 498–500; Baudissin: Eulogius und Alvar, Leipz., 1872. Schaff, in Smith and Wace, I. (1877), pp. 44–47. W. Möller, in Herzog2 I. 151–159.
§ 117. History of Adoptionism.
The Adoptionist controversy is a revival of the Nestorian controversy in a modified form, and turns on the question whether Christ, as to his human nature, was the Son of God in essence, or only by adoption. Those who took the latter view were called Adoptionists. 645 They taught that Christ as to his divinity is the true Son 646of God, the Only-Begotten of the Father; but as man he is his adopted Son, 647the First-Born of Mary. They accepted the Chalcedonian Christology of one person and two natures, but by distinguishing a natural Son of God and an adopted Son of God, they seemed to teach two persons or a double Christ, and thus to run into the Nestorian heresy.
The orthodox opponents held that Christ was the one undivided and indivisible Son of God; that the Virgin Mary gave birth to the eternal Son of God, and is for this reason called "the mother of God;" that sonship is founded on the person, not on the nature; and that Adoptionism leads to two Christs and to four persons in the Trinity.
Both parties displayed a degree of patristic learning which one would hardly expect in this period of the middle ages.
The history of this movement is confined to the West (Spain and Gaul); while all the older Christological controversies originated and were mainly carried on and settled in the East. It arose in the Saracen dominion of Spain, where the Catholics had to defend the eternal and essential Sonship of Christ against the objections both of the Arians and the Mohammedans.
The Council of Toledo, held in 675, declared in the preface to the Confession of Faith, that Christ is the Son of God by, nature, not by adoption. 648 But about a century afterwards Elipandus, the aged Archbishop of Toledo, and primate of that part of Spain which was under Mohammedan rule, endeavored to modify the orthodox doctrine by drawing a distinction between a natural and an adopted sonship of Christ, and by ascribing the former to his divine, the latter to his human nature. He wished to save the full humanity of Christ, without, however, denying his eternal divinity. Some historians assert that he was influenced by a desire to avoid the Mohammedan objection to the divinity of Christ; 649but the conflict of the two religions was too strong to admit of any compromise. He may have read Nestorian writings. 650 At all events, he came to similar conclusions.
Having little confidence in his own opinions, Elipandus consulted Felix, bishop of Urgel 651in Catalonia, in that part of Spain which, since 778, was incorporated with the dominion of Charlemagne. Felix was more learned and clear-headed than Elipandus, and esteemed, even by his antagonist Alcuin, for his ability and piety. Neander regards him as the originator of Adoptionism; at all events, he reduced it to a formulated statement.
Confirmed by his friend, Elipandus taught the new doctrine with all the zeal of a young convert, although he was already eighty years of age; and, taking advantage of his influential position, he attacked the orthodox opponents with overbearing violence. Etherius, Bishop of Osma or Othma (formerly his pupil), and Beatus, a presbyter, and after Alcuin abbot at Libana in Asturia, 652took the lead in the defence of the old and the exposure of the new Christology. Elipandus charged them with confounding the natures of Christ, like wine and water, and with scandalous immorality, and pronounced the anathema on them.
Pope Hadrian, being informed of these troubles, issued a letter in 785 to the orthodox bishops of Spain, warning them against the new doctrine as rank Nestorianism. 653 But the letter had no effect; the papal authority plays a subordinate role in this whole controversy. The Saracen government, indifferent to the theological disputes of its Christian subjects, did not interfere.
But when the Adoptionist heresy, through the influence of Felix, spread in the French portion of Spain, and even beyond the Pyrenees into Septimania, creating a considerable commotion among the clergy, the Emperor Charlemagne called a synod to Regensburg (Ratisbon) in Bavaria, in 792, and invited the Bishop of Urgel to appear, that his case might be properly investigated. The Synod condemned Adoptionism as a renewal of the Nestorian heresy.
Felix publicly and solemnly recanted before the Synod, and also before Pope Hadrian, to whom he was sent. But on his return to Spain he was so much reproached for his weakness, that, regardless of his solemn oath, he yielded to the entreaties of his friends, and re-affirmed his former opinions.
Charlemagne, who did not wish to alienate the Spanish portion of his kingdom, and to drive it into the protection of the neighboring Saracens, directed Alcuin, who in the mean time had come to France from England, to send a mild warning and refutation of Adoptionism to Felix. When this proved fruitless, and when the Spanish bishops, under the lead of Elipandus, appealed to the justice of the emperor, and demanded the restoration of Felix to his bishopric, he called a new council at Frankfort on the Main in 794, which was attended by about three hundred (?) bishops, and may be called "universal," as far as the West is concerned. 654 As neither Felix nor any of the Adoptionist bishops appeared in person, the council, under the lead of Alcuin, confirmed the decree of condemnation passed at Ratisbon.
Subsequently Felix wrote an apology, which was answered and refuted by Alcuin. Elipandus reproached Alcuin for having twenty thousand slaves (probably belonging to the convent of Tours), and for being proud of wealth. Charles sent Archbishop Leidrad of Lyons and other bishops to the Spanish portion of his kingdom, who succeeded, in two visits, in converting the heretics (according to Alcuin, twenty thousand).
About that time a council at Rome, under Leo III., pronounced, on very imperfect information, a fresh anathema, erroneously charging that the Adoptionists denied to the Saviour any other than a nuncupative Godhead.
Felix himself appeared, 799, at a Synod in Aix-la-Chapelle, and after a debate of six days with Alcuin, he recanted his Adoptionism a second time. He confessed to be convinced by some passages, not of the Scriptures, but of the fathers (especially Cyril of Alexandria, Leo I., and Gregory I.), which he had not known before, condemned Nestorius, and exhorted his clergy and people to follow the true faith. 655 He spent the rest of his life under the supervision of the Archbishop of Lyons, and died in 818. He left, however, a paper in which the doctrine of Adoptionism is clearly stated in the form of question and answer; and Agobard, the successor of Leidrad, felt it his duty to refute it.
Elipandus, under the protection of the government of the Moors, continued openly true to his heretical conviction. But Adoptionism lost its vitality with its champions, and passed away during the ninth century. Slight traces of it are found occasionally during the middle ages. Duns Scotus (1300) and Durandus a S. Porciano (1320) admit the term Filius adoptivus in a qualified sense. 656 The defeat of Adoptionism was a check upon the dyophysitic and dyotheletic feature in the Chalcedon Christology, and put off indefinitely the development of the human side in Christ’s Person. In more recent times the Jesuit Vasquez, and the Lutheran divines G. Calixtus and Walch, have defended the Adoptionists as essentially orthodox.
§ 118. Doctrine of Adoptionism.
The doctrine of Adoptionism is closely allied in spirit to the Nestorian Christology; but it concerns not so much the constitution of Christ’s person, as simply the relation of his humanity to the Fatherhood of God. The Adoptionists were no doubt sincere in admitting at the outset the unity of Christ’s person, the communication of properties between the two natures, and the term Theotokos (though in a qualified sense) as applied to the Virgin Mary. Yet their view implies an abstract separation of the eternal Son of God and the man Jesus of Nazareth, and results in the assertion of two distinct Sons of God. It emphasized the dyophysitism and dyotheletism of the orthodox Christology, and ran them out into a personal dualism, inasmuch as sonship is an attribute of personality, not of nature. The Adoptionists spoke of an adoptatus homo instead of an adoptata natura humana, and called the adopted manhood an adopted Son. They appealed to Ambrose, Hilary, Jerome, Augustin, and Isidore of Seville, and the Mozarabic Liturgy, which was used in Spain. 657 Sometimes the term adoptio is indeed applied to the Incarnation by earlier writers, and in the Spanish liturgy, but rather in the sense of assumptio or ajnavlhyi", i.e. the elevation of the human nature, through Christ, to union with the Godhead. 658 They might, with better reason, have quoted Theodore of Mopsuestia as their predecessor; for his doctrine of the uiJo;" qetov" is pretty much the same as their Filius Dei adoptivus. 659