Fourth Council of Constantinople (Catholic Church)

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For the Eastern Orthodox synod (879–880), see Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox).
Fourth Council of Constantinople (869–870)
Council-of-constantinople-869.png
Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870)
Date869–870
Accepted by Catholic Church
Previous council
Second Council of Nicaea
Next council
First Council of the Lateran
Convoked byEmperor Basil I and Pope Adrian II
Presidentpapal legates
Attendance20–25 (first session 869), 102 (last session 870)
Topics Photius' patriarchate
Documents and statements
Deposition of Photius, 27 canons
Chronological list of ecumenical councils

The Fourth Council of Constantinople was the eighth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in Constantinople from October 5, 869, to February 28, 870. It included 102 bishops, three papal legates, and four patriarchs. [1] The Council met in ten sessions from October 869 to February 870 and issued 27 canons.

Ecumenical council conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice

An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

Contents

The council was called by Emperor Basil I the Macedonian and Pope Adrian II. [2] It deposed Photios, a layman who had been appointed as Patriarch of Constantinople, and reinstated his predecessor Ignatius.

Basil I Byzantine emperor

Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine Emperor who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the theme of Macedonia, he rose in the Imperial court. He entered into the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of Emperor Michael III, and was given a fortune by the wealthy Danielis. He gained the favour of Michael III, whose mistress he married on the emperor's orders, and was proclaimed co-emperor in 866. He ordered the assassination of Michael the next year. Despite his humble origins, he showed great ability in running the affairs of state. He was the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. He was succeeded upon his death by his son Leo VI.

Pope Adrian II pope

Pope Adrian II was Pope from 14 December 867 to his death in 872. He was a member of a noble Roman family who became pope at an advanced age, despite his objections.

Photios I of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Photios I, , also spelled Photius or Fotios, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886; He is recognized in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Saint Photios the Great.

The Council also reaffirmed the decisions of the Second Council of Nicaea in support of icons and holy images and required the image of Christ to have veneration equal with that of the gospel book. [3]

Second Council of Nicaea synod

The Second Council of Nicaea is recognized as the last of the first seven ecumenical councils by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. In addition, it is also recognized as such by the Old Catholics and others. Protestant opinions on it are varied.

A later council, the Greek Fourth Council of Constantinople, was held after Photios had been reinstated on the order of the emperor. Today, the Catholic Church recognizes the council in 869–870 as "Constantinople IV", while the Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize the councils in 879–880 as "Constantinople IV" and revere Photios as a saint. At the time that these councils were being held, this division was not yet clear. [4] These two councils represent a growing divide between East and West. The previous seven ecumenical councils are recognized as ecumenical and authoritative by both Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christians. These kinds of differences led eventually to the East–West Schism of 1054.

Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox) synod, convoked by Byzantine Emperor Basil I and held in 879–880, confirming the reinstatement of Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople; accepted by some Orthodox churches

The Fourth Council of Constantinople was held in 879–880. It confirmed the reinstatement of Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople.

The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches, which has lasted from the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.

Background

With the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in 800, the papacy had acquired a new protector in the West. This freed the pontiffs to some degree from the power of the emperor in Constantinople but it also led to a schism, because the emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople interpreted themselves as the true descendants of the Roman Empire.[ citation needed ]

Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Pope Leo III 8th and 9th-century pope

Pope Leo III was Bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 26 December 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him Holy Roman Emperor and "Augustus of the Romans".

After the Byzantine emperor summarily dismissed St Ignatius of Constantinople as patriarch of that city, Pope Nicholas I refused to recognize his successor Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople. Photios, in turn, attacked the pope as a heretic, because he kept the filioque in the creed, which referred to the Holy Spirit proceeding from God the Father and the Son. The Council condemned Photius, who questioned the legality of the papal delegates presiding over the Council and ended the schism.[ citation needed ]

Pope Nicholas I

Pope Saint Nicholas I, also denominated (Pope) Saint Nicholas the Great, was Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church from 24 April 858 to his death on 13 November 867. He is remembered as a consolidator of Papal authority, exerting decisive influence on the historical development of the Papacy and its position among the Christian nations of Western Europe. Nicholas I asserted that the Pope should have suzerain authority over all Christians, even royalty, in matters of faith and morals.

Filioque is a Latin term added to the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and which has been the subject of great controversy between Eastern and Western Christianity. It is not in the original text of the Creed, attributed to the First Council of Constantinople (381), the second ecumenical council, which says that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father", without additions of any kind, such as "and the Son" or "alone".

Photian schism

In 858, Photius, a noble layman from a local family, was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople, the most senior episcopal position save only that of Rome. Emperor Michael III had deposed the previous patriarch, Ignatius. Ignatius refused to abdicate, setting up a power struggle between the Emperor and Pope Nicholas I. The 869–870 Council condemned Photius and deposed him as patriarch and reinstated his predecessor Ignatius. [5] It also ranked Constantinople before the other three Eastern patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.[ citation needed ]

Support for icons and holy images

One of the key elements of the Council was the reaffirmation of the decisions of the Second Council of Nicaea in support of icons and holy images. The council thus helped stamp out any remaining embers of Byzantine iconoclasm. Specifically, its third Canon required the image of Christ to have veneration equal with that of the gospel book: [6]

We decree that the sacred image of our Lord Jesus Christ, the liberator and Savior of all people, must be venerated with the same honor as is given the book of the holy Gospels. For as through the language of the words contained in this book all can reach salvation, so, due to the action which these images exercise by their colors, all wise and simple alike, can derive profit from them. For what speech conveys in words, pictures announce and bring out in colors.

The council also encouraged the veneration of the images of the Virgin Mary, angels and saints: [3]

If anyone does not venerate the image of Christ our Lord, let him be deprived of seeing him in glory at his second coming. The image of his all pure Mother and the images of the holy angels as well as the images of all the saints are equally the object of our homage and veneration.

Notes

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. "Photius." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  3. 1 2 Steven Bigham, 1995 Image of God the Father in Orthodox Theology and Iconography ISBN   1-879038-15-3 page 41
  4. Karl Rahner, 2004 Encyclopedia of theology ISBN   0-86012-006-6 pages 300
  5. Karl Rahner, 2004 Encyclopedia of theology ISBN   0-86012-006-6 pages 389
  6. Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen, 2005 Theological aesthetics ISBN   0-8028-2888-4 page 65

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