Pope St. Celestine I (422-432) and Immediate Universal Jurisdiction

Tiara-and-keys

I believe we have an instance in the 5th-century where a reigning Pope of Rome exercised something like an immediate jurisdiction over the Eastern See of Constantinople, and, by extension, even over the Council of Ephesus (431). The background begins with a newly ordained Bishop of Constantinople, Nestorius, who would go on to espouse the heresy which has it that there are two persons in Christ Jesus, the Human and Divine. He rejected the term “theotokos” (Mother of God) because he thought it violated the human status of the Savior, as well as deify the Virgin Mary. How could anyone beget God unless they, too, are God? This heresy of Nestorius was promulgated through his sermons, and the Pope of Rome, St. Celestine, received word on this. Choosing to work with the 2nd See of Christendom, St. Celestine chose to interact in exchanges with the Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, on the brewing heresy in Constantinople’s new Bishop. The heresy of Nestorius reached a high-water mark around April of 430, and this caused St. Cyril to write a sober letter to the Pope requesting some sort of corrective action. That letter reads as follows:

Cyril sends greetings…It would be more agreeable if we could keep silence, but God demands of us vigilance, and ancient church custom requires me to inform your holiness…I have hitherto observed a profound silence….I was unwilling openly to sever communion with him until I had laid these facts before you. Deign therefore to decide what seems right, whether we ought to communicate at all with him, or to tell him plainly that no one communicates with a person who holds and teaches what he does. Further, the purpose of your holiness ought to be made known by letter to the most religious and God-loving Bishops of Macedonia, and to all Bishops of the East, for we shall then give them, according to their desire, the opportunity of standing together in unity of soul and mind, and lead them to contend earnestly for the orthodox faith which is being attacked” (St. Cyril to Pope St. Celestine, PL 77.80)

Notice that St. Cyril felt obliged to inform the Pope by the ancient custom of the Church. This is a Bishop of the pre-eminent See of Alexandria (First of the East) who is accusing another Bishop of an Eastern See (Constantinople) with heresy, and he senses the obligation to inform the Western Bishop of Rome. That right there is striking. One might ask, if St. Cyril is writing in 430, what precedent could there have been prior to this point that would motivate him to refer to this on the principle of “ancient” church custom? What precisely is this ancient thing, and what makes it ancient by  St. Cyril’s time? Well, he may have known about the Pelagian controversy which received a final judgment from Pope St. Innocent I. There is the situation of Athanasius and other Eastern Bishops who were restored to their Sees by Pope St. Julius, effectively overturning the Eastern provincial synod of Tyre (335). Then there is the Council of Sardica (343) which put into canonical form the process of appeals to the Peter’s See, where condemned bishops could have their case retried (merely stamping what the Pope did with St Athanasius). I am sure there are many elements to this, but I mention these to give a bit of background as to what may have been in St. Cyril’s mind. However, I will say this, this letter from St. Cyril to the Pope is anything but following the famous three canons of Sardica which spell out the manner of appeals to the Bishop of Rome in Episcopal trials. If one reads those canons, they stipulate that a sentence has already been passed upon a Bishop, and that the accused and condemned may, if he deem his case to be good enough, can petition to the See of Rome to have the matter re-opened. In our context here, the accused, Nestorius, is not the one writing to Rome, nor has there been a sentence passed against him. It will not, therefore, suffice to appeal to the Sardican canons to explain what St Cyril means here by “ancient custom”, for the very thing he is doing is outside of the strict Sardican parameters. In any case, it seems well established by his time that Rome is the final arbiter on any and all disciplinary and even doctrinal cases, and he simply felt the obligation to act accordingly.

Upon receiving this letter, the Pope convened a Synod in Rome to discuss the case of Nestorius. At the close of this Synod, Pope St. Celestine writes to St Cyril with the following:

If he, Nestorius, persists, an open sentence must be passed on him…and so, appropriating to yourself the authority of our See, and using our position, you shall with resolute severity carry out this sentence, that either he shall within ten days, counted from the day of your notice, condemn in writing this wicked assertion of his….or if he will not do this he will know that he is in every way removed from our body….We have written the same to our brothers and fellow Bishops John, Rufus, Juvenal, and Flavian, so our judgment about him, or rather the divine sentence of our Christ, may be known

(PL L.466ff; English taken from Creeds Councils, and Controversies: Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church A.D. 337-461 Ed. by J. Stevenson; also see Documents Illustrating Papal Authority: AD 96-454, E. Giles p. 240)

This is no vote-of-one from the West, as some skeptics of Papal authority might be tempted to say.  This is not a motion from someone under the impression that they have a wonderful primacy, yet one of mere honor or moral influence. On the contrary, this Pope insists that his motion had the authority to carry out an “open sentence” of excommunication, by the “divine sentence” of Jesus Christ, upon the Bishop of Constantinople. This particular Pope of Rome happens to be venerated by not just Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but also the Coptic Orthodox Church. And yet, it is of this Pope that Anglican Patristics scholar, J.N.D. Kelly, describes in the following terms:

In his correspondence and through his legates at the Council Celestine repeatedly asserted, with an unprecedented insistence, the Pope’s claim, as successor and living representative of St. Peter, to paternal oversight of the entire Church, Eastern no less than Western (Oxford Dictionary of Pope, Pg. 42)

We can tell from the context here that the St. Celestine believed it was well within his authority as the successor of St. Peter to exercise immediate jurisdiction in the matter with Nestorius. What do I mean by “immediate”? I don’t mean that he decided to isolate himself from his brother Bishops in the process. Quite to the contrary, Pope St. Celestine, just after receiving that first letter from St. Cyril cited above, as already alluded, convened a Council in Rome, and it was through a synodal process that they reached the conclusion that Nestorius’s beliefs were heterodox. Only after this does the Pope write to St Cyril dispatching him with the authority of the See of Peter to carry out the open sentenc eof excommunication. But that also does not mean that the Pope’s authority is not flattened with the Bishops. As president of the Apostolic See, he has the authority to convene and ratify what is even synodally reached, making his primacy of significance.

When St. Cyril receive this letter from the Pope, he , in turn, wrote another letter to Nestorius with warnings. This includes the following:

Take notice then that in conjunction with the holy synod which was assembled in great Rome, under the presidency of our most pious and religious brother and fellow-minister, Bishop Celestine, we conjure and counsel you, in this third letter also, to abstain from these mischievous and perverse doctrines, which you both hold and teach…And unless your religiounsess does this by the time prescribed in the epistle of our aforementioned, most pious and religious brother and fellow-minister, Celestine, bishop of the Romans, know that you have neither part nor lot with us, nor place nor rank among the priests and bishops of God.” (Cyril, Ep. XVII , P.G. LXXVII 105-22; English taken from Creeds, Councils, and Controversies, Pg. 281; see also E. Giles, Pg. 242)

From this section of St. Cyril’s letter, we see very clearly that he did not think the claims of Pope St. Celestine to take immediate action in excommunicating Nestorius by an “open sentence”, which far exceeds merely the removal of one’s name from the diptycha of divine services, as some sort of abuse of Papal power. In other words, St. Cyril was paying heed to the authoritative claims of the Pope, and was prepared to see the Papal letter coming from the Roman synod, which included the threat of excommunication, carried out in full force. It is important to note, therefore, that this was far before any idea of a Council is planned to convene on behalf of Nestorius.

On December 7th, 430, the letters of Pope St. Celestine and St.Cyril were served to Nestorius. The 10 day stipulation which the Pope gave for Nestorius to recant of his error expired on December 17th. However, before notice of this had reached the Emperor Theodosius II, the latter had issued a summons for a Synod to be assembled in Ephesus on November 19th for the examination of Nestorius’s doctrine against the standard of the holy fathers. Thus by the time the letters sent by St. Cyril and St. Celestine reached Constantinople, by four messengers, the Imperial summons to convene at Ephesus had already been spreading abroad. Of course, Nestorius himself had not heeded the threat of excommunication from the Pope, believing the Council could afford him opportunity to defend himself. John, Bishop of Antioch, urged him to submit to the Pope’s letter. Also, when Nestorius reached Ephesus, the Bishop of Ephesus, Memnom, locked the doors of the churches to Nestorius. Apparently, they understood the Papal letter of St. Celestine to have been effective.

In any case, when St. Cyril came to find out that Nestorius procured an Imperial summons to an Ecumenical Council in Ephesus, he wrote a letter to the Pope inquiring whether the hammer of excommunication is to be considered to have dropped, or should the Council examine Nestorius afresh? A copy of this letter is actually lost, but we have the response of the Pope to St. Cyril’s question:

We are replying briefly to your holiness…You ask whether the holy Synod [of Ephesus] ought to receive a man who condemns what it preaches; or, because the time of delay has elapsed, whether the sentence already delivered is in force. Concerning this matter let us consult the Lord in whose worship we are united. Will he not answer us straightway through the prophet, ‘I do not desire the death of the one who dies’; and through the apostle Paul that he ‘willeth all men to be saved and come to know the truth’? Never is a quick repentance displeasing to God in any man” (Celestine, Epistle 16; E. Giles, Pg. 244)

This shows that St. Cyril himself did not know whether to understand the convening of an Ecumenical Council to have annulled the excommunication of the Pope and allowed for a fresh trial. Unfortunately, the Pope’s letter which makes clear that he intended a fresh trial to be allowed for Nestorius, although on the same criteria already laid down, did not arrive to St. Cyril until it came with the Papal legates to the Council of Ephesus in Session II (they were delayed in travel). Thus, Session I of the holy Synod was convened without knowing whether the Pope was willing to extend the time for the allowance of Nestorius to recant or not. The Bishops who convened at Ephesus thus opened up under the presidency of St. Cyril. At the opening, the list of names has the following for St Cyril:

“By Cyril of Alexandria, who managed the place of the most holy and sacred [Pope] Celestine, Archbishop of the Roman Church” (Latin/Greek)

Session I proceeds with reading the letters of Nestorius and Pope St. Celestine. The Bishops summoned Nestorius to appear at the Council, but he never showed up. To close the first session, the bishops concluded with the following:

As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter (ἀναγκαίως κατεπειχθέντες ἀπό τε τῶν κανόνων, καὶ ἐκ τὴς ἐπιστολῆς, κ.τ.λ.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant Cœlestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion.” (Decree of the Council Against Nestorius)

The last part of the Decree gives the reasons for why they are compelled to carry through with the open sentence of excommunication on Nestorius. Notice that the Council Father appeal to the letter of Pope St. Celestine, which had said an “open sentence” of excommunication would have to be passed on Nestorius. It seems quite apparent that since the summoning of the Synod came to the notice of all in the East, that they were going to have to give Nestorius the space to defend himself, or recant. And yet, still without knowing that the Pope gave the extension to his threat to Nestorius, the Council Fathers believed that the Pope’s letter was still in force. Otherwise, why would they be “compelled” by it? If, as some Eastern Orthodox and Anglican historians have attempted to argue, the Council thought of the Pope’s letter as a having no intrinsic bearing on the examination of Nestorius in the fresh venue of the supreme authority of an Ecumenical Council, then why are these Council Fathers compelled by the Pope’s letter? It is, I believe, because they understood the hammer dropping on Nestorius to have been under the open force of the Pope’s letter. In other words, there was no need to judge Nestorius since the Pope’s letter itself was enough, together with the canonical disobedience to the Council’s summons, to pass the sentence they did.

When the legates arrive, the Council went into its 2nd Session. Here at the opening, the legate Phillip opened up with the following:

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: We bless the holy and adorable Trinity that our lowliness has been deemed worthy to attend your holy Synod. For a long time ago (πάλαι) our most holy and blessed pope Cœlestine, bishop of the Apostolic See, through his letters to that holy and most pious man Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, gave judgment concerning the present cause and affair (ὥρισεν) which letters have been shown to your holy assembly. And now again for the corroboration of the Catholic (καθολικῆς) faith, he has sent through us letters to all your holinesses, which you will bid (κελούσατε) to be read with becoming reverence (πρεπόντως) and to be entered on the ecclesiastical minutes.”
(all citations of the Council sessions are taken from NewAdvent)

The legate make is clear that while Pope St. Celestine understood the criteria of orthodox faith and the discipline of Nestorius had not changed, his dispatching of legates is clear implication that he understood a wider space to examine Nestorius was provided.

During the reading of the Pope’s letter to the Council, the instructions that the Pope gave to his legates are included:

Out of our solicitude, we have sent our holy brethren and fellow priests, who are at one with us and are most approved men, Arcedius, and Projectus, the bishops, and our presbyter, Philip, that they may be present at what is done and may carry out what things have been already decreed by us (quæ a nobis antea statuta sunt, exequantur).”

Important to see here that the Pope understood his decisions which were put in the original letter to have been not open for question. The matter had been decided already, and this council was merely to determine whether Nestorius was going to repent or not.

The papal legate, Projectus, then stood up and exhorted the Council fathers to give their assent to the Papal letter:

Projectus, the most reverend bishop and legate, said: Let your holiness consider the form (τύπον) of the writings of the holy and venerable pope Cœlestine, the bishop, who has exhorted your holiness (not as if teaching the ignorant, but as reminding them that know) that those things which he had long ago defined, and now thought it right to remind you of, you might give command to be carried out to the uttermost, according to the canon of the common faith, and according to the use of the Catholic Church.”

Again, that original Papal letter continues to be presented as the non-negotiable settlement on the matter of the faith.

Firmus, Bishop of Caesarea, speaking on behalf of the Council fathers responded to the Papal legates with this:

“Firmus, the bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia said: The Apostolic and holy see of the most holy bishop Cœlestine, has previously given a decision and type (τύπον) in this matter, through the writings which were sent to the most God beloved bishops, to wit to Cyril of Alexandria, and to Juvenal of Jerusalem, and to Rufus of Thessalonica, and to the holy churches, both of Constantinople and of Antioch. This we have also followed and (since the limit set for Nestorius’s emendation was long gone by, and much time has passed since our arrival at the city of Ephesus in accordance with the decree of the most pious emperor, and thereupon having delayed no little time so that the day fixed by the emperor was past; and since Nestorius although cited had not appeared) we carried into effect the type (τύπον) having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolic judgment.”

This representative of the Council has striking words. They recognized that they were carrying out the sentence, under St. Cyril (whom the Pope originally dispatched), that had been pronounced a long time ago by the Pope. The express words are “we carried into effect the τύπον” of Pope St. CelestineThus the Council understood itself as working off the Pope’s authority in the matter.

In the 3rd Session, the Papal legate Phillip stood up and gave one of the clearest expositions of the Papal-Apostolic theory of Rome’s primacy:

“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (ἔξαρχος) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (θεμέλιος) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Cœlestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time

What is most striking is the context. The context is that the letters of the Pope which sought to depose an Eastern bishop (Nestorius) is an example of a Petrine authority which had been inherited by the occupant of Peter’s chair in Rome. Another striking occurrence is that St. Cyril of Alexandria chimed in after Phillip and others were done speaking and gives obedience to what the Papal legates said, and offers a conclusion to the whole matter of Nestorius:

“Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: The professions which have been made by Arcadius and Projectus, the most holy and pious bishops, as also by Philip, the most religious presbyter of the Roman Church, stand manifest to the holy Synod. For they have made their profession in the place of the Apostolic See, and of the whole of the holy synod of the God-beloved and most holy bishops of the West. Wherefore let those things which were defined by the most holy Cœlestine, the God-beloved bishop, be carried into effect, and the vote cast against Nestorius the heretic, by the holy Synod, which met in the metropolis of Ephesus be agreed to universally; for this purpose let there be added to the already prepared acts the proceedings of yesterday and today, and let them be shown to their holiness, so that by their subscription according to custom, their canonical agreement with all of us may be manifest.”

Thus, St. Cyril believed the Papal-Apostolic theory of Rome’s primacy. Secondly, he also realizes that the force of the Pope’s original letter to Nestorius is what is being dropped into the Council as its own decision.

Now, since I intended to write this post, in particular, for my Coptic and Eastern Orthodox readers, I want to pose the question if the above data can be reconciled with their respective ecclesiologies. Some might want to point out that where the Pope had Nestorius excommunicated 10 days of the receipt of his letter, the Bishops of the Council of Ephesus celebrated him as “reverend Nestorius”, i.e. a man in good standing. The implication here is that the Pope’s letter of excommunication was a dead letter which carried no authority whatsoever. The Pope claimed a pending excommunication at the failure to recant at 10 days, and it did not actually happen, some might point out. Those who would point this out might also say that it was only when a Council met together and judged in a Conciliar fashion that penal action was taken against Nestorius. Ergo, Council is above the Pope, and a Pope cannot judge and excommunicate Bishops outside of his Patriarch. There are some problems with this gloss. First, it ignores the fact that St. Celestine himself believed he was capable of excommunicating Nestorius by the authority of his See, which he gave a share of to St. Cyril (as cited above). That is significant testimony right there. This is not a self-aggrandizing Nebuchadnezzar who was hungry for power and money. On the contrary, he is a venerated Saint. Secondly, this gloss ignores the fact that St. Cyril of Alexandria was ready and prepared to see the Pope’s excommunication get carried out quite apart from any idea of a Council. So did St. Cyril buy into the Papal claims, too? If one is going to sustain the objection I’ve described, this is the inevitable implication. Third, it ignores the fact that when the letters of the Pope arrived to be served to Nestorius in Constantinople, it had already been more than 2 weeks after the Emperor Theodosius II had already sent out a summons for the Bishops to assemble in Ephesus on account of Nestorius (and some other matters). The four bishops which were sent by St. Cyril to serve Nestorius must have returned even far after that to inform St. Cyril of the summons. Then, as I cited above, St. Cyril was torn in half as to allow the Council to provide a fresh trial or to assume Nestorius was already condemned by the authority of the Pope’s letter. On the contrary, if St. Cyril was of the mind that a Council dictates to the Pope, then the idea would have been straightforward: [Cyril speaking to himself] “Well an Ecumenical Councils has been called, so obviously the Pope’s letter is dead, and washed aside”. However, that was not the instinct of St. Cyril, as we know from his question to the Pope. When the Council convened, it appears as if St. Cyril, not having received the Pope’s reply to his question yet (that comes with the late-coming Papal legates in the 2nd Session of the Council), provided a fresh trial for Nestorius, however, continued to use the authority of the Pope’s letter to ground the excommunication of Nestorius. This is why, therefore, the Council understood itself as merely “carrying into effect” what had already been decided by the Pope. If it were the case that the Council thought itself as a superior court than the Pope’s, then the Council would have not considered themselves “carrying into effect” a decision from the Pope, but rather their own decision, and on the basis of their own authority. But we see the contrary. Fourth, and lastly, if Pope St. Celestine’s letter of excommunication were an overstepping of his boundaries, then why is it that not only the Pope himself, nor St Cyril, but neither the Council took any care to rebuke the Pope? There is no use in appealing to the canons of Sardica (3, 4, & 5) since, if the Pope were restricted to what was canonically defined for him, then his letter of excommunication to Nestorius was violating even the canons of Sardica, for in that Council it is the accused Bishop or the Bishops who passed sentence who are to write to Rome. And even then, the Sardican canons only specify re-trials by neighboring bishops or a cleric sent from Rome (or judges he appoints).

Therefore, the more preferable interpretation is that the Pope’s letter was not anticipating a Council to be convened, but on the knowledge of said convening, it was obvious to both St. Cyril and St. Celestine that some sort of an extension or delay is to be put on the Pope’s letter. Just by the fact that St. Celestine sent legates to Ephesus (431) shows that he understood there to be some room for Nestorius to recant of his error in the mode of a Council. However, the idea here is not that the letter becomes brushed to the side. Far to the contrary, we see the Council still respecting its authority as *still in force*! If it were the case that the Bishop of Ephesus (431) were really Eastern Orthodox, they would have not been so happy with the overstepping of the boundaries of St. Celestine. Remember, this was not merely the Pope’s removing Nestorius’s name from the diptycha, making some sort of a internal schism at time. It was a claim for an open sentence , and to trust that sentence as coming from Jesus Christ. And yet, it is the Pope’s sentence which is , by the admission of the Council, carried out. If it were an abusive Papal overreach, then the Council is saying that an abusive Papal overreach had been united to their own judgment, thereby condemning themselves. For great reasons, I reject this reading of the situation. In short, all the evidence presented shows that the Council followed the orders of the Pope, and so we have to be careful how we are characterizing the initial judgment of the Pope. For if we taint it with Papal-overreach, than the Council falls prey to it. If it were a failed attempt at exercising universal jurisdiction, then the Council falls prey in holding the Pope’s orders as the center of gravity for its decisions. What other way can we interpret the representative voice of Fimus of Caesarea from the Council who said:

The Apostolic and holy see of the most holy bishop Cœlestine, has previously given a decision and type (τύπον) in this matter…This we have also followed and we carried into effect the type (τύπον) having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolic judgment.

This testimony is not consistent with the view that sees the Pope’s original order against Nestorius as basically invalid in light of the Council. The Pope had no intention of carrying the sentence into effect himself, and this is why he dispatched St. Cyril to make a public sentence.

There is only one single alternative which makes any sense of the data: The Bishop of Rome , as successor to the primacy of St. Peter, is endowed with the power of the keys to bind and to loose, over the universal Church and has judged on the matter of Nestorius long ago, and while a fresh examination of Nestorius has been conceded on account of the unforeseen convening of an Ecumenical Council, it is the very same judgment of the Pope, made long ago, that is ordered to take effect through the Council.

There is actually one more piece from this Council which corroborates that the Pope was understood to judge and ratify Councils. The Bishop of Antioch, John, did not actually make it to Ephesus to join with the Bishops in Council. In fact, he opposed the Council, and sought to exclude St. Cyril from communion for condemning Nestorius. In the letter of the Council to the Pope, they describe his opposition to the Council:

“For we had hoped that the most reverend John, bishop of Antioch would have praised the sedulous care and piety of the Synod, and that perchance he would have blamed the slowness of Nestorius’s deposition. But all things turned out contrary to our hope. For he was found to be an enemy, and a most warlike one, to the holy Synod, and even to the orthodox faith of the churches, as these things indicate.”

So what did the Holy Synod do about John’s refusal to attend, and his unwanted opposition? We read in the same letter to the Pope:

” But although most justly and in accordance with law he would have suffered this punishment yet in the hope that by our patience his temerity might be conquered, we have reserved this to the decision of your holiness.”

Now, why would the Council of Ephesus (431), if it were a higher court than the Apostolic See, reserve the judgment of a wayward cleric to the Pope? It would seem unbecoming of a Council, if it were the only venue to judge the Bishops of any region, to reserve a matter to the Pope. It would almost appear as if they understood the Apostolic See to be endowed with the prerogative of judging both the Council and the Bishops of all Sees.

34 thoughts on “Pope St. Celestine I (422-432) and Immediate Universal Jurisdiction

  1. From time to time, you include hyperlinks to the quotations in Mansi and Migne and it was helpful in being able to analyze the primary texts in their context but I don’t see that here and politely ask that y
    ou resume such a helpful habit!

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    The ten day period had actually expired months earlier as it was simply the ruling of the Egyptian synod with a second copy of the Roman Synod’s decision which had reached Constantinople in early December. Pope St. Celestine had immediately sent the decision of the Roman Synod to *all* of the major sees (including Constantinople) simultaneously and it was the receipt of that letter directly from the Roman Synod which prompted Nestorius to put pressure on Emp. Theodosius II to call a council. (“St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy” p. 43-44. So, in reality, they really were reviewing the condemnation of the Roman Synod and that’s why the Acts speak of “what was decreed” as if it had been accomplished.

    • Hello Moderator,

      I thought about posting those links to Migne/Mansi. I might go back and include those.

      The ten days had expired month before the Council of Ephesus was convened. But as I understand it, Nestorius received the official service of anathematisms on December 7th, 430, which was more than a couple weeks when Theodosius II had already sent out a summons to the Council of Ephesus , to be convened in 431.

      You are correct that the 10 days had passed, but recall that Pope St. Celestine himself prepared legates to examine Nestorius for this Council, and he equipped the legates with a letter to St. Cyril , in answer to a letter the latter had wrote to the Pope wondering if a condemned man should be received and judged afresh, which made it clear that the Pope was willing to have Nestorius be tried by the Council.

      The Council , rather than taking things up by its own, referred to the Pope’s letter and saw itself as fulfilling the “open sentence” condition that Celestine stipulated in the letter. So this was not a mere “Hey, we agree with the Pope”, but an official carrying out of what St. Cyril decreed.

      • The letter from Rome would’ve gone out in mid-August and was sent to all major sees. Pope St. Celestine tells us so in two letters (one to Nestorius and in another to St. Cyril that you quoted above). From Rome to Constantinople in August would’ve taken three weeks, which means it would’ve arrived in the imperial city in mid-September. http://orbis.stanford.edu/ The decision of the Alexandria Synod, couple with the Roman one would’ve arrived much later as St. Celestines letter would have to travel to Alexandria and then wait for the Alexandria Synod to meet (which was a big one) before being sent to Constantinople so of course it arrived after preparations for a council began.
        It’s testified to by McGuckin in the citation I provided earlier and I’d include a picture of the pages for convenience but WordPress doesn’t have that option.

        Further, synods deposing another bishop outside their jurisdiction was fairly standard (the Arian controversy provides plenty of examples of this as does Chalcedon and the post-Chalcedonian fall out – I can furnish them if you’re not familiar with examples of this) so you’re beating a dead horse by appealing to St. Celestine’s ability to condemn Nestorius.

        That being said, I honestly see no reason to interpret St. Celestine and the Roman Synod as providing anything more than their big, prestigeous piece in the puzzle that would depose a metropolitan. In other words, ‘we’ve already issued our own deposition, feel free to issue yours as well and join our side.’ This is the only reason Alexandria would and could call its synod together after Rome had given its judgment.

      • Moderator,

        Thanks for this response. Allow me to put things in points here below:

        (1) The Epistles of Pope St. Celestine, which he wrote at the Roman Synod on August of 430, 7 in total, were delivered to St. Cyril via the Alexandrian Deacon Posidonius (whom St. Cyril originally sent to the Pope). Of these 7 letters, the letter to Nestorius, the clergy of Constantinople, Cyril, John of Antioch, and Juvenal of Jerusalem were given to Posidonius to bring to Alexandria for St. Cyril to deliver at his convenience. The other two letters, to Flavian of Phillipi and Rufus of Thessaloniki, may have been given to another postman. However, the letter addressed to Nestorius from the Pope did not reach Nestorius in person until December 7th. However, that does not mean that Nestorius did not know about the plans of the Roman See. St. Cyril had forwarded the Papal letter to John of Antioch, and via John, Nestorius heard about the whole ordeal. Yes, far before December 7th.

        (2) The canonical judgment of 10 days would have proceeded from the December 7th date, therefore.

        (3) Next, you write the following:

        <>

        In my opinion, there is some ignoring of the context here.

        In the first, Pope St. Cyril, the 2nd See of Christendom and the 1st See of the whole East, did not think it appropriate to run a disciplinary course against Nestorius until he had first brought the whole notice of the matter to the Pope. And for what reason? In the 11th epistle of Cyril’s epistolary, we read that Cyril felt required to do so because of the “ancient custom of the Church”. What ancient Church custom? It seems to me that perhaps Cyril had not yet learned about the canons of Sardica, for otherwise he may have used a stronger word such as “canon”. Perhaps he meant the same thing by the word “custom”. But as I have argued, it is unlikely that the canons of Sardica are in view anyway. Thus, the ancient custom here is that the See of Rome is the *final* arbiter and *highest* court on doctrinal and disciplinary matters, regardless of an existing appeal or not.

        Secondly, you are right to point out that Episcopal synods deposed clerics during the Nicaean period. However, do you recall Pope St. Julius’s response to the Eusebian-Orientals when they deposed a number of Bishops at the Council of Tyre (335)? St. Julius then argued that matters of this caliber should have been brought to the notice of Rome, so that a “just judgment” might proceed from Rome. Julius accused the Eusebian part of acting “against the rules” of the Church, and that what he delivered to them in writing were the “constitution of Paul the Apostles, and the tradition of Peter himself”. Evidence, therefore, of Eastern bishops pushing out authoritative depositions meant to carry the full force of public acceptance does not surprise me, therefore. But if you are to ask me if this is appropriate, I would say it is out of order. The deposition of St. John Chrysostom by the “Synod of Oaks” would be another pre-eminent example. Even when the cleric accused was less than a Bishop, for example in the case of the Archimandrite Eutychios of Constantinople, the Pope at the time, St. Leo the Great, could complain to his condemner, the Synod of Constantinople (448) under St. Flavian the Bishop, that rules were not followed if notice of appeal had not been brought to the See of Rome. Of course, the Sardican canons only specify “bishops”, but in any case, it turns out Flavian was the honest one, and Eutychios was dishonest. At any rate, appealing to the random sentences passed by Eastern synods against their bishops could only possibly have the value of a tentative judgment, for the See of Rome could be appealed to for final arbitration, and/or that some Easterners thought they could publish such a sentence regardless of what Rome thought. In either case, this subtracts nor injures anything from what I’ve written here.

        And thirdly, during the Synod of Ephesus (431), as you know, the Bishop of Antioch, John, assembled a little rival Synod of his own in the East, and attempted to stifle the decrees of Ephesus by Cyril and company. What was the response of Cyril and Juvenal at the Synod of Ephesus? They argued that it was impossible for Antioch, a lower court than Alexandria, to judge a higher Court. Mind you, John was assembled in a Synodal venue, and the Bishops at Ephesus thought they lacked the authority to judge a higher court. Moreover, the Bishops with Cyril did not think it appropriate to render a judgment against the Synod of John, and relayed the matter to Celestine of Rome to handle.

        (4) Next you write the following:

        <>

        This does not do justice the nature of the sentence that St. Celestine passed. It is obvious that Celestine intended his excommunication to fall down on Nestorius precisely after 10 days had passed of receiving the canonical judgment through Cyril, which came on December 7th. Thus, by December 17th, Nestorius was effectively excommunicated. This would explain why, for example, when Nestorius made his way to Ephesus, all the churches were locked from him getting in. Therefore, Celestine was not working with the contingency of other Sees co-operating and joining together with the Roman Synod. Secondly, the motion of writing his notice to the Sees of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Illyricum, and Phillipi, it shows that he intended his judgment to be received by them, and not to be handled on their own terms. When John of Antioch had received the notice from Cyril of the Pope’s judgment, John wrote to Nestorius and pressured him to pay heed to the authority of Rome. In addition to this, your gloss ignores that the Alexandrian Synod also did not invite the collaboration of Antioch, Jerusalem, or anyone else before Cyril delivered the Papal letters and the Egyptian decrees on December 7th. You will recall that Cyril felt empowered since Celestine gave him an apostolic vicariate on the whole case. Celestine said: “appropriating to yourself the authority of our See, you will carry out this public sentence” (etc,etc). This explains why when Cyril attended the Council of Ephesus, he immediately identified himself as “holding the place of holy Celestine, Pope of Rome”. We have no direct orders from the Pope for Cyril to do that. Your gloss also ignores the many statements of Papal authority on divine law at the Council. The legates of the Apostolic See say, over and over again, that the judgment of the Pope has significance because of something known by all of the ancient church hitherto, namely, that the Lord and God Jesus Christ gave to St. Peter the Keys of the Kingdom, the power of binding and loosing, and that Peter continues to live and judge in his successors, of whom Celestine was at the time. The legates occupied “his place”, as did Cyril. The legates were instructed to allow for no contest on the doctrinal matter, and were only to carry out the sentence of Celestine from “long ago”.

        (5) Lastly, your gloss ignores the response of the Council of Ephesus (431) at the Pope’s judgment from “long ago”. For instance, the legate, Projectus, came out and said the following:

        “Let your holiness consider the form (τύπον) of the writings of the holy and venerable pope Cœlestine, the bishop, who has exhorted your holiness that those things which he had long ago defined, and now thought it right to remind you of, you might give command to be carried out to the uttermost”

        Firmus of Ceasarea writes: “The Apostolic and holy see of the most holy bishop Cœlestine, has previously given a decision and type (τύπον) in this matter…This we have also followed and we carried into effect the type (τύπον) having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolic judgment.”

        The Council’s sentence against Nestorius runs as follows: “Compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter (ἀναγκαίως κατεπειχθέντες ἀπό τε τῶν κανόνων, καὶ ἐκ τὴς ἐπιστολῆς, κ.τ.λ.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant Cœlestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him”

        The Council fathers understood the letter of Pope St. Celestine, not in the context of some dead letter which was ineffective and was only to be counted as the moral judgment of Rome on the matter (i.e. Rome’s vote to be added to the rest), but rather a legal juridicial decree which still carried the force of law, and that, on par with canonical law.

      • I’m going to set aside the other objects for a moment as I don’t think you know which depositions I’m referring to and my “gloss” on why Pope St. Celestine issued a condemnation was somewhat lost on you but instead focus on the receipt of the letter for the time being before coming back to those once the issue of the letter’s receipt is handled.

        <>

        Proof?

        <>

        Proof?

        <>

        Proof it was forwarded through St. Cyril?

        Here’s what patristics scholar and professor of classics Prof. John Anthony McGuckin says:

        “Immediately on receipt of the Pope’s letter in Constantinople the Emperor resolved on his course of action. His capital’s see had to be saved from public humiliation, and so, in November 430, he signalled his final agreement to the proposals for an oecumenical synod from the beginning. In the eyes of the court, this oecumenical gathering would supercede, de jure, the Roman synodically decrees, or those of any other church. At the moment, Cyril was not aware of these developments.” McGuckin 44-45

        “Nonetheless, when he attached them to the Egyptian synodical letter he must have felt greatly confident, still unaware that Nestorius has pre-empted him by persuading Theodosius to move for a general council. At first Nestorius gave no answer, but Cyril was determined to press home the canonical sentence and sent from Egypt a delegation of four of his bishops, Theopemptus, Daniel, Potamon, and Comaros, to deliver the synodic documents in person and to demand a response on the spot.”

        This begs the question, if Nestorius hadn’t received a letter directly (which is what the letter of Pope St. Celestine says – it’s addressed to Nestorius, says they’ve already sent letters to the rest of the clerics in Constantinople and that they’re sending the same letter to St. Cyril), exactly what had Nestorius “given no answer” to? Nestorius had already replied to Cyril’s two letters so those are out of the question.

        Further, it’s funny you should bring up John of Antioch urging Nestorius to heed Rome’s admonition as that letter is dated November 430 and is proof both John of Antioch and Nestorius had gotten the letter from the Roman Synod long before a ecumenical council was called (because if John hadn’t gotten it, what would he be writing about as Rome had only issued one letter on the issue at that point and why would John get it directly but the addressed recipient not get it). This also accords with McGuckin’s assessment.

        The book you’re pulling some of your proof texts from (Giles) has a snippet on John’s letter in the section under the document “Cum Salvatore.”

  2. [The following should’ve been included at the end of the last comment]

    This is exactly why Firmus of Caesarea can say this at the council: “This we have also followed and (since the limit set for Nestorius’s emendation was long gone by…”

    The verb tense “was long gone” is the past before the past. In other words, ‘prior to us all meeting, it was passed’ (or at best ‘prior to us passing this sentence’). He even refers to the fact the sentence had already been sent to Constantinople and other sees.

  3. Also, a friendly reminder: when you want to quote text I’ve composed, you actually have to include that text in your response as you set it up for quoting but didn’t include the quotations so I’m not sure exactly what you’re responding to because I’m not a mind reader.

    • It looks like both of us attempted to cite the other, but the only thing which shows up on my end is:

      So I think when we put something into quotes, it only gives . This is strange, as this is what I’m reading from your end as well

      I will have to figure out why its doing that. Perhaps for now you can just put it in between another symbol?

      • “Of these 7 letters, the letter to Nestorius, the clergy of Constantinople, Cyril, John of Antioch, and Juvenal of Jerusalem were given to Posidonius to bring to Alexandria for St. Cyril to deliver at his convenience.”

        *What’s your proof?

        “The other two letters, to Flavian of Phillipi and Rufus of Thessaloniki, may have been given to another postman.”

        *What’s your proof?

        “However, the letter addressed to Nestorius from the Pope did not reach Nestorius in person until December 7th.
        However, that does not mean that Nestorius did not know about the plans of the Roman See. St. Cyril had forwarded the Papal letter to John of Antioch, and via John, Nestorius heard about the whole ordeal.”

        *What’s your proof?

      • Pope St. Celestine (in his 11th epistle) writes to St. Cyril:
        “We have written the same to our brothers and fellow
        bishops John, Rufus, Juvenal, and Flavian, so our judgement
        about him, or rather the divine sentence of our Christ, may be
        known.” Celestine gives no hint that they were to be forwarded via St. Cyril, though I’m sure copies of them were made available to St. Cyril.

        Second, Pope St. Celestine, in his letter to Nestorius states:

        “And, as the necessity has demanded, we have sent letters to the clergy of the Church which is at Constantinople and to all who are marked with the name of the Anointed One…”

        Now, was this same letter forwarded to St. Cyril? Of course it was, St. Celestine himself also tells us so in his letter to Nestorius and states that Cyril is handling things from now on.

        The letter of John of Antioch to Nestorius is dated to November of 430 and states that a number of Antiochian bishops had taken part in writing said letter, which means that either St. Cyril had forwarded the letters immediately upon receiving them and had not waited for the Alexandrian Synod to examine them *or* St. Celestine had them sent directly to the recipients(which is what McGuckin alludes to) and had copies sent to St. Cyril and it was Cyril’s job to handle the situation from thereon. That St. Celestine would send notice of Nestorius’ ultimatum to everyone except Nestorius is silly in the max and makes the Roman Synod look like a bunch of nubes.

        If nothing else, Kidd points out that John of Antioch had actually sent a copy of the Roman Synod’s decision to Nestorius in an attempt by Rome to get Nestorius to back down, which means he had received the ultimatum much earlier than the official summons. This is why, as McGuckin points out, the four bishops who delivered the decision of the Egyptian Synod to Nestorius “demanded an answer on the spot.” Forget ten days, he’d already had them and they were giving him a second chance.

        Now, when I read what Pope St. Celestine wrote to Cyril on how to treat Nestorius at the council, I don’t see how you drew out of it that the ten day deadline was extended or nullified because a council was called. Exactly where does Celestine or anyone for that matter say anything of the sort? The best I can see is Pope St. Celestine was willing to watch them rehash it and give Nestorius yet another chance but he (Pope St. Celestine) wasn’t going to back down on his position. This is the only way to make sense of Furmis of Caesrea’s statement that Nestorius’ time for emmandation had “long passed.” If the ultimatum from Rome had been nullified or been dismissed, there’s be no timeframe to be “long passed” on.

        This also accords with the fact Nestorius, prior to any notice of the Roman Synod’s decision, had written to Celestine claiming they were calling together an ecumenical council (third letter of Nestorius to Celestine). Had this actually been a problem for Celestine, he would’ve written to Cyril saying so. Instead, AFAIK, he just ignores it. It was Nestorius’ push that Theodosius II takes up when he issues the summons in mid- Novemberand he issues it when word arrives concerning the Roman Synod’s decision.

      • Moderator,

        Sorry for the delay.

        The part of the letter of Pope St. Celestine to Nestorius which I think makes clear the 10 day count begins from when Posidonius is herein:

        “At our request the deacon Posidonius will take this sentence to the Bishop of Alexandria, and he will act as our proxy”

        Now, if Celestine intended his letter to arrive in C’ple apart from the dispatched post of Cyril’s 4 bishops, then “proxy” is altogether abrogated.

        Moreover, in the letter of the Pope to the clergy of Constantinople, he has a portion which says:

        “Cyril, to whom this letter is to go, in the first instance by Posidonius, will act in our stead; and, he will carry out the sentence here appended”

  4. (1) What’s the citation in Migne for the letter of Celestine to the people and clergy of Constantinople? (I’m unable to verify it until I have that). In addition, the letter simply states it’s going to Cyril. It says nothing about Cyril’s messengers being the ones to deliver it. Considering how quickly John of Antioch got his letter from Celestine, the time frame is almost too tight to have it go from Rome to Alexandria and then to Antioch.

    (2) “…then “proxy” is altogether abrogated.”

    That’s only if delivering the letters is part of his job as proxy. In other words, what makes you so sure Nestorius isn’t served the letter and the told that he’s to follow up with Cyril (i.e. Cyril is handling it from here on out). So far, you haven’t proven Cyril’s job was to deliver the letters, although there’s ample evidence he received copies of the correspondence, which is simply keeping him abreast of developments.

    (3) In addition, in which part of St. Celestine’s reply to St. Cyril does Celestine say his verdict is to be extended? I read it in Latin and didn’t see anything that would indicate that.

      • “reputable scholars” who get the date wrong, eh? You noticed that, right?

        On top of that, we have the names of the bishops who served the papers to Nestorius (and who demanded an answer immediately).Posidonius wasn’t one of them as he wasn’t a bishop so the two historians you cited are simply incorrect and they don’t even agree with your version of events on the one hand nor do they agree with the primary sources on the other (at least one of those timelines would render it impossible for John of Antioch to get the letter from Celestine ans then wrote to Nestorius prior to Nestorius receiving the paperwork from Cyril. Nice try, though.

        Either way, the quotation from Pope St. Celestine about Nestorius’ condemnation has been doctored (I assume you don’t read Latin as it’s glaringly obvious in Latin). The Latin says nothing about extending the ten day period but states that the period has already expired.

      • Moderator,

        What evidence do you have that Nestorius received the letter from Pope Celestine in August? I haven’t seen you provide any support for that. I would think you’d need some evidence for that.

        Regardless if somehow the letter of Celestine got to Nestorius, the Pope’s letter was not an immediate sentence, because he states that Cyril will be the one to carry out that sentence. Thus, the date of expiration would have to be commenced by a notification from Cyril, not Celestine.

        And I am not so much interested in whether the Pope extended the amount of days. What I am interested in is this: the Pope, upon hearing of a Council being convened, realized that a new set of circumstances came to be which put a pause to his letter. The Pope responded by preparing legates to attend the trial of Nestorius in Ephesus, and so it is assumed that he was allowing his sentence to pend. We also know that Cyril wrote to the Pope asking on what status Nestorius should have in light of his condemnation being passed. It would have been swell to have telephone communication, but that simply was not the case. Without any notification from Celestine, Cyril took it upon himself to rush matters at the 1st session of the Council, presuming it was his place because of the letter of Celestine, and carried out what? The judgment of the Synod? Or the judgment of the Pope? In fact, the Council dictates that they brought to pass Celestine’s original stipulation.

        In your reading of the history, Celestine’s threat of excommunication was just as passed and void as the sands of the Sahara desert. The bishops of the Council thought otherwise.

      • “Moderator, What evidence do you have that Nestorius received the letter from Pope Celestine in August? I haven’t seen you provide any support for that. I would think you’d need some evidence for that.”

        I never claimed he received one in August (For your sake, not just for mine, please save yourself the embarassment of being caught not paying attention to key details as you’ll, regrettably, appear sloppy to the readers and it will undermine your credibility). That being said, we know John of Antioch wrote to Nestorius informing him of the sentence of St. Celestine and, unless you’ve forgotten already, that provoked the emperor to call a council in mid-November (one of the first quotations from McGuckin I provided).

        “Regardless if somehow the letter of Celestine got to Nestorius, the Pope’s letter was not an immediate sentence, because he states that Cyril will be the one to carry out that sentence. Thus, the date of expiration would have to be commenced by a notification from Cyril, not Celestine.”

        **Ok, I don’t have a particular problem with that, I just don’t think the historical data adds up to a neat, clean picture as you’re portraying it. Case in point, Pope St. Celestine also informs Nestorius that it’s from “within the tenth day reckoned from the time that this admonition comes to thy knowledge, thou put away by a clear and written confession.” Notice that: “comes to thy knowledge.” That’s a pretty vague statement even in Celestine’s precise (and exquisite) Latin.

        “And I am not so much interested in whether the Pope extended the amount of days. What I am interested in is this: the Pope, upon hearing of a Council being convened, realized that a new set of circumstances came to be which put a pause to his letter. The Pope responded by preparing legates to attend the trial of Nestorius in Ephesus, and so it is assumed that he was allowing his sentence to pend. We also know that Cyril wrote to the Pope asking on what status Nestorius should have in light of his condemnation being passed. It would have been swell to have telephone communication, but that simply was not the case.”

        **Again, the response from Pope St. Celestine says no such thing about “pending” or “on pause.” It states Nestorius is already condemned but if he repents, he should be accepted as a bishop there. That’s his reply.

        “Without any notification from Celestine, Cyril took it upon himself to rush matters at the 1st session of the Council, presuming it was his place because of the letter of Celestine, and carried out what? The judgment of the Synod? Or the judgment of the Pope? In fact, the Council dictates that they brought to pass Celestine’s original stipulation.”

        **Not quite. Pope St. Celestine never gave a decree solo but the Roman Synod did (if you have a copy of his solo decree, I want the citation). How a case of the Roman Synod condemning a cleric is a case of the pope exercising universal ordinary jurisdiction (something proper to the pope alone) is beyond me but it looks like you confused the role of the Roman Synod headed by the pope with that of the Pope solo.

        “In your reading of the history, Celestine’s threat of excommunication was just as passed and void as the sands of the Sahara desert. The bishops of the Council thought otherwise.”

        **It wasn’t a threat, it was an actual condemnation with deposition and you’ve now contradicted yourself by claiming on the one hand it was a threat while on the other that it was a condemnation.

      • Moderator,

        There have been some days since the publication of this article, and the same since you have posted your original critiques. I recall you trying to say that the conditional excommunication (for it was conditional) of Nestorius was enacted directly from Rome to Constantinople either in August or September. What force did you have from this other than to try and suggest that the 10 day expiration was already over in the month of September? If that was not your intention, what is the point of your belaboring this point? On the other hand, we have very good evidence that the letters of Celestine were hand delivered through Posidonius to Alexandria, and that from there, Cyril decided to bring the matter to the notice of John of Antioch forthwith, however keeping the letters of Celestine in Alexandria. It is not surprising , therefore, that John brought this to the notice of Nestorius around that time.

        My argument this whole time has been that Nestorius was not served the juridical stipulation of the Pope until Cyril sent men to deliver the letters in December of 430. This is simply deduced from the first reply of the Pope to Cyril where he says:

        “And so, appropriating to yourself the authority of our see, and using our position, you shall with resolute severity carry out this sentence, that either he shall within 10 days , COUNTED FROM THE DAY OF YOUR NOTICE, condemn in writing this wicked assertion of his, and shall give assurance that he will hold…the faith which the Romans…and the church of your holiness..and the universal religion holds” (Giles 240)

        So I think it is clear that the time of expiration would be, as I said, December 17th-ish.

        Next, you then say you don’t have a problem with this, but that the history is not as neat as I claim it. Well, this is perhaps because you are reading the letter of Celestine to Cyril correctly. When Cyril found out about a duly summoned Council to be held in Ephesus , he immediately wrote to the Pope inquiring on how a Synod should approach someone who had already been condemned. Celestine writes:

        “You ask whether the holy Synod ought to receive a man who condemns what it preaches; or, because the time of delay has elapsed, whether the sentence already delivered is in force”

        So we know from this that Cyril had two questions. Should a Synod receive a man who condemns what is preaches? That is the first question. To this you would expect everyone to say “No”. However, Celestine does not so say. Secondly, Cyril asks whether the sentence is in force from the original Roman decree of August 430. To both of these questions, Celestine does not say “No, do not receive him”, but rather a clear hint that the Council should give him a hearing. That is all I am arguing for.

        This letter of the Pope never reached the East until the 2nd Session of the Council of Ephesus (431) which had already was prepared and attended by the bishops of the 1st session. That means that neither Cyril, nor the Council fathers, knew of this Papal reply. To them, the force of Celestine’s letter still carried authority, but because of the Emperor’s convening of a Council, was put on pause. Once the Council enacted, Cyril presumed his position which was given to him by the See of Rome to be judge in the matter. The Council fathers realized they put un-pause to the Papal decree and allowed it to drop on Nestorius even in the 1st Session.

        You then point out that it is the Roman “Synod” who judges Nestorius, and therefore this carries no evidence of Papal authority. Well, Celestine still refers to it as the “authority of our See”, which means it is the See which dictates the authority of the “we”, and we then learn from Philip the presbyter that the See of Rome is possessed with the authority to judge bishops everywhere because of its inheritance of the authority of Peter, who was given the keys of the kigdom of heaven with which to bind and loose. Do you not recall the statements of Philip the presbyter?

        “It is doubtful to no one, nay — it is known to all ages, that the holy and blessed Peter, the prince and head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, and the foundation of the Catholic faith, received from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, the Keys of the Kingdom , and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins, who up to this time and lawyas lives in his successors and gives judgment. His successor, therefore, and representative, our holy and most blessed Pope, Bishop Celestine, has sent us to this Synod to supply his place”

        And we find out that the Pope allowed no contest to the Roman decree.

  5. The quotation from Pope St. Celestine (Cel. EP. XVI) that your argument hinges on (which you aquired from Chapman via Giles) was either mistranslated or purposefully doctored by Chapman. Here’s the Latin:

    “Etenim qaeris utrum sancta synodis recipere debeat hominem a se praedicta damnatem: an quia iuduciarum tempus emensum eat, sententia dudum lata perduret.”
    -St. Celestine, Ep. XVI.

    The first line should read “You ask if the sacred synod should receive the man on his public condemnation of the things he had taught or if, since his time has elapsed the sentence must remain.”

    There’s nothing in the letter about “prolonging,” “pausing,” or “extending” the verdict of the Roman Synod headed by St. Celestine. That’s just fantasy on your part. The question and the reply take for granted that the condemnation and deposition *have already passed* because Cyril is simply asking Celestine’s opinion as to whether or not the council should receive Nestorius as a bishop in the case he publically repents prior to the council. You can’t “unpause” a deposition that’s passed just like you can’t “unpause” a song that’s over. It would be a question of undoing/reinstatement instead. Your entire argument against Seraphim Hamilton hinged on that mistranslation being correct, which it isn’t.

    Second Posidonius delivered, as far as I know, only to Alexandria and whether or not St. Celestine intended for him to deliver the letter to Nestorius is irrelevant as it was bishops Theopemptus, Daniel, Potamon and Comarius who delivered the paperwork and, according to McGuckin (a source you’ve yet to engage with) “demanded an answer on the spot” (St. Cyril pg. 46), which would be pointless if the ten days began upon formal receipt as St. Celestine states in his letter to Cyril. So, either St. Cyril was breaking Celestine’s “rules” or he considered the ten days as superfluous for some reason.

    Then again, and you’ve yet to interact with this as well, St. Celestine informs Nestorius that the ten days begin from him simply becoming aware of the decision (go and read St. Celestine’s letter to Nestorius, it’s near the end of the letter) so we have some mixed messages coming from Pope St. Celestine.

    The statement of Philip the Presbyter says nothing about Rome being able to “judge bishops everywhere.” Instead, it simply states the obvious: the legates are holding the place of St. Celestine as chief at the council (and Sts. Celestine and Cyril had already given their judgements and their independent condemnations with their respective synods).

    “You then point out that it is the Roman “Synod” who judges Nestorius, and therefore this carries no evidence of Papal authority. Well, Celestine still refers to it as the “authority of our See”, ”

    Straw man alert. Exactly here did I say this isn’t evidence of papal authority (auctoritas)? I simply said it’s not evidence of the claim that the pope has the power (potestas) to defrock any bishop he sees fit solo of a council. Details, Erick, details. St. Celestine claims auctoritas for his see and Go look up the differences and nuances between those two very well defined and off used Roman legal terms in Lewis and Short and try to exercise nuance or it’ll go entirely over hournhead http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/

    As for the Roman Synod condemning Nestorius vs. St. Celestine solo, we have the decree from the synod that condemned him in Aug. 430 so it’s not like this is guess work. There’s also all of the Catholic sources, including the Catholic Encyclopedia that locates the condemnation in the Roman Synod and not in the person of St. Celestine. St. Celestine headed that synod and as head, he ratified its decisions as was typical of an archbishop. Also typical was the way the deeds of the synod are attributed to the head of the synod (the way Nestorius places all of the blame on Cyril is a great example – never mind that over 100 bishops decreed it with him or how St. Celestine and his legates speaks of the work of the Egyptian synod in terms of its head, Cyril).

    • Denny,

      Again, I will reply in points:

      (1) I don’t see a problem with your translation of the Latin of St. Celestine’s letter. I also don’t see how it undermines what I have said. In fact, let’s look and see how your interpretation works out. According to you, Pope St. Celestine understood the deposition to have passed. In other words, by December (for sure), Nestorius was not a member of Christian society. However, in Pope St. Celestine’s letter to the Council, which was read at the 2nd Session of the Council upon the legates’ arrival, says this:

      “Owing to our anxiety, we have sent our holy brethren and fellow priests, who are at one with us and are most approved men, Arcadius and Projectus, the Bishops, and our presbyter, Philip, that they may be present at what is done and may carry out what things had already been decreed by us. To the performing of which we have no doubt that your holinesses will assent when it is seen that what has been decreed is for the security of the whole catholic church”.

      Moreover, in addition to this, the legate Projectus said out loud:

      “Let your holinesses consider the form of the writings of the holy and reverend Pope Celestine, the Bishop, who has exhorted your holinesses (not as if teaching the ignorant, but as reminding them that know) that those things which he has long ago defined, and now thinks it right to remind you of, you may command to be carried out to the uttermost, according to the canon of the common faith, and according to the use of the Catholic Church…”

      Then, subsequent to this, Firmus of Ceasarea spoke out:

      “The Apostolic and Holy See of the most holy Bishop Celestine has previously given a decision and formula in this matter, through the writings which were sent to the most God-beloved bishops, to wit, to Cyril of Alexandria, and to Juvenal of Jerusalem, and to Rufus of Thessaloniki, and to the holy churches both of Constantinople and Antioch. This we have followed having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolic judgment”

      So the Pope whose mouth you put words into, the Papal legates, Firmus of Ceasarea, and the Council of Ephesus all believed that the excommunication of Nestorius should be carried out in the city of Ephesus by the Council summoned by Theodosius II. Or are you prepared to argue that Celestine believed it was already carried out, but that it needed to be carried out again? Explain.

      (2) We know that Celestine intended the 10 day stipulation to be from the notice of Cyril. In his letter to Nestorius, the Pope states:

      “We have directed this our sentence {not Alexandria + Rome} to be taken by my son, the deacon Posidonius, with all the documents, to the holy Pontiff of the city of Alexandria, my fellow priest, that HE MAY ACT in our room; and that our decree may be made known to you and all the brethren”

      In his letter to Cyril, the Pope says:

      “you shall with resolute authority carry out this sentence, that either he shall within ten days , COUNTED FROM THE DAY OF YOUR NOTICE, condemn in writing this wicked assertion…” (Etc,e tc)

      Thus, even if McGuckin is right that Pope St. Celestine’s letter went directly from Rome to Constantinople in August or September, this only helps my argument since the Pope explicitly put a tare on the day of Cyril’s notification to Nestorius, and not his own.

      (3) Your attempt to give high measure to an early form of “Auctoritas” Papacy is, once and again, inadequate to explain the facts. Celestine had originally planned to effectively excommunicate Nestorius by the authority of the Roman See. Period. There was no further need to consult with anyone. Secondly, it was typical for the Pope of Rome to meet with his Synod. In fact, such still happens to this very day. That does not entail that Papal authority, as defined by the Catholic Church, is inoperative. In fact, Philip the Presbyer points to the successor of Peter as Celestine, and the Synod under him, as the key holder who binds and looses, and who judges in the matter of Nestorius. Third, Philip makes it clear that this succession of primacy is by divine law, i.e. from Jesus Christ. I understand the modern Orthodox are willing to speak about a universal Petrine primate, but they would never dare argue that it is of “divine law”, otherwise they would have to admit that Christ allowed His Church to have a paralyzed government from the 11th century forward. That is, of course, you believe that Constantinople takes Rome’s place. As you know, this is untenable.

  6. “So the Pope whose mouth you put words into,”

    **Where? Citation.

    “…the Papal legates, Firmus of Ceasarea, and the Council of Ephesus all believed that the excommunication of Nestorius should be carried out in the city of Ephesus by the Council summoned by Theodosius II.”

    **Yes, Nestorius’ trial by the whole Church. That’s required for a patriarch’s deposition. See St. Euthymius’ letter to Pope St. Gelasius.

    “Or are you prepared to argue that Celestine believed it was already carried out, but that it needed to be carried out again? Explain.”

    **Was St. Celestine wrong when he stated Nestorius was already condemned in Ep. XVI? I’ll take him at his word. Was Pope Pius XI wrong in Lux Veritatis? (Pius XI gives a very different explanation than the one you’re peddling). Your initial point was the excommunication was “paused” but I don’t see how any of the quotations you’ve supplied support that contention as opposed to supporting the obvious: the Church of Rome had weighed in with its condemnation just as the Church of Alexandria had weighed in with its condemnation and the EC was a chance for the rest of the Church to weigh in with their condemnation(s). You’ve also yet to explain why even prior to the calling of the EC, Alexandria issued a fresh condemnation of Nestorius after Rome issued its own. Now if this is a case of universal ordinary jurisdiction, there’s no room for a fresh condemnation by Alexandria, let alone an EC as ‘Rome has spoken.’

    “Thus, even if McGuckin is right that Pope St. Celestine’s letter went directly from Rome to Constantinople in August or September, this only helps my argument since the Pope explicitly put a tare on the day of Cyril’s notification to Nestorius, and not his own.”

    **McGuckin never says that. Go back and read the quotations I provided from him instead of making things up. Also, read St. Celestine’s letter to Nestorius (you can move outside of Giles’ for a bit). Celestine isn’t as clean and neat as you’re imagining him to be and that’s because you work from a very limited selection of quotations. Here’s the link: http://www.historyandapologetics.com/2015/02/pope-celestines-letter-to-nestorius.html?m=1

    “(3) Your attempt to give high measure to an early form of “Auctoritas” Papacy is, once and again, inadequate to explain the facts. Celestine had originally planned to effectively excommunicate Nestorius by the authority of the Roman See. Period. There was no further need to consult with anyone.”

    **Unless he’s lying in Ep. XVI, he did excommunicate Nestorius so you’re wrong there. Celestine and the Roman Synod are free to condemn and depose Nestorius thereby deeming him a persona non grata in Roman territory. Bishops did that *regularly.* But in Celestine’s famous statement to Cyril, he delegates the *auctoritas* (actual term he uses) of Rome to Cyril and that should send up read flags immediately to anyone who knows much of anything about Latin.

    “Secondly, it was typical for the Pope of Rome to meet with his Synod. In fact, such still happens to this very day.”

    **Of course it does and those times, he’s acting as the Archbishop of Rome and not excercisong universal ordinary jurisdiction (UOJ). Were Celestine exercising UOJ, the sentence wouldn’t have been issued by the synod in Rome.

    “That does not entail that Papal authority, as defined by the Catholic Church, is inoperative. In fact, Philip the Presbyer points to the successor of Peter as Celestine, and the Synod under him, as the key holder who binds and looses, and who judges in the matter of Nestorius.”

    “…and the synod under him.” I’m surprised you can bring yourself to admit that.

    “Third, Philip makes it clear that this succession of primacy is by divine law, i.e. from Jesus Christ. I understand the modern Orthodox are willing to speak about a universal Petrine primate, but they would never dare argue that it is of “divine law”, otherwise they would have to admit that Christ allowed His Church to have a paralyzed government from the 11th century forward. That is, of course, you believe that Constantinople takes Rome’s place. As you know, this is untenable.”

    Depends upon what you mean by “divine law.” I’ve found you treat divine law like ‘magic bag’ from which pretty much anything can be pulled.

    • (1) You said : “so we have some mixed messages coming from Pope St. Celestine”, as if saying that the Pope said X in one instance, and then something contrary. You did not put words in his mouth…that was the wrong accusation.

      (2) You say that it requires the whole Church to depose a patriarch. Well, is not what St. Celestine did the action of Papal authority moving to depose the Bishop of Constantinople?

      (3) Celestine *never* says that Nestorius *is condemned*. He writes a conditional condemnation of Nestorius, and then this was interrupted by an unforseen set of circumstances, i.e. the Imperial summons for a Council, which would obviously alter the event. St. Cyril obviously was under this impression, since he wrote to ask the Pope about how the Ephesine council should go about treating Nestorius. Even the Papal letters in response to Cyril, his instructions to the legates, and the letter read aloud at the 2nd session of the Council do not say “Nestorius is condemned”.

      (4) You say that Celestine was merely acting as the head of the Roman territory, and then imply that his motion to remove communion from Nestorius was pertinent to the territory of Rome alone. However, in his first reply to Cyril (Epistle II), he says that he wrote also to Juvenal of Jerusalem, Rufus of Thessaly, John of Antioch, Flavian of Philippi (and obviously he is writing to Alexandria), and thus he is announcing his sentence to the whole oikumene. Secondly, in the same letter, he says:

      “so our judgment about him, or rather, the divine sentence of of our Christ, may be known” (Ep 11)

      That is far more significant than a mere separation of the Roman See from the Constantinopolitan See. This is a universal excising from the Church of God.

      Moreover, when Cyril writes to Nestorius, he writes:

      “unless you do this by the time prescribed…know that you have neither part nor lot with us, nor place no account among the priests and bishops of God” (Ep 17)

      Therefore, Celestine’s judgment was a universal condemnation, rather than carrying merely Roman or Alexandrine venue only.

      (5) Celestine was acting with the jurisdiction which is possessed by the Roman See, which is the source of authority for its president. In other words, the authority of the Bishop of Rome to act as Pope comes to him not by being ordained “bishop” of Rome, but by being ordained bishop “of Rome”. So it doesn’t matter if it was the “Roman synod” or the “Pope himself”, since the See is the source of authority in front of Peter himself.

  7. (1) You said : “so we have some mixed messages coming from Pope St. Celestine”, as if saying that the Pope said X in one instance, and then something contrary. You did not put words in his mouth…that was the wrong accusation.

    *So are you saying I did put words in his mouth or I didn’t? He most certainly gave two messages: Within ten days of Cyril’s notice to Cyril but then says “and unless within the tenth day reckoned from the time that this admonition comes to thy knowledge…” in his Letter to Nestorius so yes, there’s mixed messages to anyone who can read.*

    “(2) You say that it requires the whole Church to depose a patriarch. Well, is not what St. Celestine did the action of Papal authority moving to depose the Bishop of Constantinople?”

    *He deposes him in Roman territory. That’s why Alexandria then immediately calls its own synod and issues a fresh condemnation. You’ve yet to deal with that and I’ve brought it up several times.*

    “(3) Celestine *never* says that Nestorius *is condemned*. He writes a conditional condemnation of Nestorius,”

    *Right, ten days.*

    “and then this was interrupted by an unforseen set of circumstances, i.e. the Imperial summons for a Council, which would obviously alter the event. ”

    *There’s no evidence of that. Again, that’s pure fantacy.*

    “St. Cyril obviously was under this impression, since he wrote to ask the Pope about how the Ephesine council should go about treating Nestorius.”

    *Again, Erick, reading comprehension. The letter asks of they should receive him as a bishop if he publically repents. St. Celestine even makes clear that the ten day period has *expired.* Not put on hold, not paused, not extended, but OVER. Firmus of Caesarea echoes this as well. Do you forget what you’ve read this easily?*

    “Even the Papal letters in response to Cyril, his instructions to the legates, and the letter read aloud at the 2nd session of the Council do not say “Nestorius is condemned”.”

    *Nestorius hadn’t been condemned on a universal level yet. The acts do speak of the “decree” and the “formula” of Celestine and the Roman Synod, though.*

    “(4) You say that Celestine was merely acting as the head of the Roman territory, and then imply that his motion to remove communion from Nestorius was pertinent to the territory of Rome alone. However, in his first reply to Cyril (Epistle II), he says that he wrote also to Juvenal of Jerusalem, Rufus of Thessaly, John of Antioch, Flavian of Philippi (and obviously he is writing to Alexandria), and thus he is announcing his sentence to the whole oikumene. Secondly, in the same letter, he says:
    “so our judgment about him, or rather, the divine sentence of of our Christ, may be known” (Ep 11)
    That is far more significant than a mere separation of the Roman See from the Constantinopolitan See. This is a universal excising from the Church of God.”

    *So now you’re arguing Celestine did condemn him…Ok. First, synods always sent out letters informing other Churches of their inter-ecclessial decisions as those affected other churches so your point is moot. Second, if Celestine’s verdict was final for everyone, there was no point to Alexandria issuing a fresh condemnation.*

    “Moreover, when Cyril writes to Nestorius, he writes: “unless you do this by the time prescribed…know that you have neither part nor lot with us, nor place no account among the priests and bishops of God” (Ep 17) Therefore, Celestine’s judgment was a universal condemnation, rather than carrying merely Roman or Alexandrine venue only.”

    *It was so universal that the Alexandrian Synod issued a fresh condemnnation…But you’re now again arguing Celestine did indeed condemn Nestorius.*

    “(5) Celestine was acting with the jurisdiction which is possessed by the Roman See, which is the source of authority for its president. In other words, the authority of the Bishop of Rome to act as Pope comes to him not by being ordained “bishop” of Rome, but by being ordained bishop “of Rome”. So it doesn’t matter if it was the “Roman synod” or the “Pope himself”, since the See is the source of authority in front of Peter himself.”

    *Pretty words. First, you’re assuming universal ordinary jurisdiction was a thing back then and that no bishop ever canonically deposed bishops outside their see (which isn’t a hill I’d want to die on if I were you). Second, I believe according to even present day RCC canon law – and I could very well be wrong here – the deposition of a bishop requires three bishops to sign. Third, that’s circular reasoning because you cannot use the potestas you’re trying to prove existed as evidence that said potestas existed. Fourth, potestas and auctoritas weren’t derived from one another per se so I’d advise you read up on those two terms before you try to argue using them.

    • (1) There are indeed two different messages, but they don’t have to be solidly contradictory the way you are making it. Yes, Celestine pronounced a conditional excommunication on Nestorius, and its force was set in motion on its own terms, namely, that at 10 days of being served the notice via St. Cyril’s men, an impenitent Nestorius would no longer be a member of the Christian society. However, something came into the mix of things which caused the Pope, the very one from which the authority of the original excommunication derived, to alter the conditions so as to allow a fresh examination at the Council of Ephesus. This is why in the letter that the legates read @ the 2nd Session, the Pope says that the bishops present “might carry out” what he formerly decreed, surpassing the original subject (Cyril alone). These are two different messages, but given the circumstances and the context, it does not amount to contradiction, and it fits nicely with the facts. You must be thinking the Pope said one thing, realized he could not do it that way, or that he did not have the authority to go that way, and then contradicted himself by allowing Ephesus to carry out the sentence. Or you must think the Pope already thought Nestorius was excommunication from Christian society , but because he was embarrassed to continue speaking this way, he accomodated to the Ephesine Council. These latter two interpretations are far more difficult to sustain than mine own.

      (2) Your belittling this to the Roman realm flies in the face of how the Pope wrote it, how Cyril understood it, and how the Council of Ephesus understood it. You are trying to make the Roman Synod a “piece” of the excommunication, then adding the Alexandrine synod as another “piece”, and then, presumably, if Juvenal of Jeru, Flavian of Philippi, Rufus of Thessaly, and John of Antioch all went along with it, that all these pieces added together would have formed a canonical deposition of the Bishop of Constantinople. Such a reading, if this is what you are saying, is far outside being reasonable. I think the reasons are obvious, but if you want I can unpack.

      In the first place, we do not have the letter of Cyril to Celestine after the former came to find out about the Theodosian summons. What we have is the Pope’s reply which is appended to the second session only in Latin. This letter does not indicate that Cyril is asking about whether to absolve Nestorius if he repents. The letter clearly implies Cyril is asking whether the Synod should receive a man who goes contrary to its doctrine, or because the expiration on his original excommunication had passed. Celestine’s answer comes in full at his letter to the Synod of Ephesus.

      (4) You say that if Celestine’s judgment was universal and final (which it was) that Cyril would not have convened a Synod in Alexandria. Recall that the Pope did not endow Cyril as a mere instrument. Rather, he endows Cyril with the authority of the Apostolic See to carry out the sentence of excommunication upon Nestorius for his condemnation of the term theotokos. Cyril, taking note of his vicariate representation of the Pope, convened that Synod in Alexandria. This is also why, when the Council of Ephesus opened up, Cyril thought he had control of the situation. That seems to make the best sense.

      • “(1) There are indeed two different messages, but they don’t have to be solidly contradictory the way you are making it. Yes, Celestine pronounced a conditional excommunication on Nestorius, and its force was set in motion on its own terms, namely, that at 10 days of being served the notice via St. Cyril’s men, an impenitent Nestorius would no longer be a member of the Christian society. However, something came into the mix of things which caused the Pope, the very one from which the authority of the original excommunication derived, to alter the conditions so as to allow a fresh examination at the Council of Ephesus. This is why in the letter that the legates read @ the 2nd Session, the Pope says that the bishops present “might carry out” what he formerly decreed, surpassing the original subject (Cyril alone). These are two different messages, but given the circumstances and the context, it does not amount to contradiction, and it fits nicely with the facts. You must be thinking the Pope said one thing, realized he could not do it that way, or that he did not have the authority to go that way, and then contradicted himself by allowing Ephesus to carry out the sentence. Or you must think the Pope already thought Nestorius was excommunication from Christian society , but because he was embarrassed to continue speaking this way, he accomodated to the Ephesine Council. These latter two interpretations are far more difficult to sustain than mine own.”

        **Erick, do you realize how much time is wasted in this exchange because you don’t pay attention? This is now the, I believe, *fourth time* I’ve pointed out what St. Celestine stipulates in his letter to Nestorius vs. what he stipulates in his letter to St. Cyril but you somehow misunderstood that for an Ecumenical council…?

        “(2) Your belittling this to the Roman realm flies in the face of how the Pope wrote it, how Cyril understood it, and how the Council of Ephesus understood it. You are trying to make the Roman Synod a “piece” of the excommunication, then adding the Alexandrine synod as another “piece”, and then, presumably, if Juvenal of Jeru, Flavian of Philippi, Rufus of Thessaly, and John of Antioch all went along with it, that all these pieces added together would have formed a canonical deposition of the Bishop of Constantinople. Such a reading, if this is what you are saying, is far outside being reasonable. I think the reasons are obvious, but if you want I can unpack.”

        **That’s exactly what happened, which is why the Council of Ephesus speaks of itself as deposing Nestorius with St. Celestine. Everyone came together there to depose him, Rome and Alexandria had already weighed in and, doubtless, had everyone else somehow miraculously found Nestorius innocent, that wouldve meant nothing to Rome and Alexandria who already considered him a persona non grata per their condemnations.
        It’s analogous to the situation with Meletius of Antioch: Rome wants nothing to do with him and puts someone else on his place. Only Alexandria pays attention but even those who ignored Rome’s dismissal of Meletius stayed within the Church (most notably the three Cappadociand) amd continued in communion with Rome.

        “What we have is the Pope’s reply which is appended to the second session only in Latin. This letter does not indicate that Cyril is asking about whether to absolve Nestorius if he repents. The letter clearly implies Cyril is asking whether the Synod should receive a man who goes contrary to its doctrine, or because the expiration on his original excommunication had passed. Celestine’s answer comes in full at his letter to the Synod of Ephesus.”

        **You’ve already forgotten or else you weren’t paying attention but as I’ve pointed out a few times (and translated for you once before) is we actually do know what St. Cyril asks because St. Celestine repeats the question in the letter saying: “Etenim qaeris utrum sancta synodis recipere debeat hominem a se praedicta damnatem: an quia iuduciarum tempus emensum eat, sententia dudum lata perduret.” (“You ask if the sacred synod should receive the man on his public condemnation of the things he had taught or if, since his time has elapsed the sentence must remain.”). St. Celestine’s answer is direct: God never rejects a repentant sinner. Considering Ephesus was Nestorius’ trial, the only options for his reception were 1. as one condemned (the second option Celestine mentions) 2. or as a repentant (the first option mentioned) so your proposal falls victim to a lack of options.

        (“4) You say that if Celestine’s judgment was universal and final (which it was) that Cyril would not have convened a Synod in Alexandria. Recall that the Pope did not endow Cyril as a mere instrument. Rather, he endows Cyril with the authority of the Apostolic See to carry out the sentence of excommunication upon Nestorius for his condemnation of the term theotokos. Cyril, taking note of his vicariate representation of the Pope, convened that Synod in Alexandria. This is also why, when the Council of Ephesus opened up, Cyril thought he had control of the situation. That seems to make the best sense.”

        **That assumes a vicar would need to convened a council and issue a fresh condemnation on top of the supposedly ultimate and universal condemnation and that simply undermines the authority of the supposed universal condemnation.

        I’m going to *kindly* ask you to respect my time and actually pay attention to what I’m saying. I’m not sure if you’re sleep deprived, have memory issues, or are just super busy but replying for the sake of replying wastes both of our time and it doesn’t make you look better when your interlocutor has to continually correct you on what they had actually said vs. what you’d misunderstood them to have said as it undermines your claim to have the reading comprehension and attention to details necessary to analyze what are fairly complex historical situations. I say this because a running theme in my interaction with you has been that you seem to only skim replies before replying and I’m not asking for detailed responses (though you I a substantial amount of extraneous details seemingly to bolster your image or something) just responses that actually reflect the replied to comment. God bless.

  8. Pingback: Erick Ybarra

  9. I also noticed Erick confused an act of the Roman synod with an act or universal and ordinary jurisdiction. In order to prove the pope had UOJ without a council, you’ll have to.actually find an example of him deposing a prelate without a synod as the Dictatus Papae states he can. Until then, it’s just another deposition that any synods could have done and many actually did validly.

  10. Couldn’t an Orthodox say that, since the Bishop of Rome had a primacy of honor, his provisional governance of Councils and his decision for excommunications were respected due to that primacy? For example, the Pope is given the position of being the president of Councils in general and even could disagree with some canons (as could others apparently – Truglia said once in a debate with you about Leo I that Alexandria managed to veto a canon of a Council), so the Council respecting the Pope’s sentence and literally carrying it out as an instrument don’t necessarily entail Papal unijury.

    • We would have to defy all the evidence that indicates otherwise to fit this narrative. It would like saying the Napolean simply had a primacy of honor, but everyone’s obedience to him was simply out of respect for this honor. Sure, its possible. Not very likely.

      And no, Alexandria could not veto a canon accepted by Rome

      • Mr. Ybarra, that starts with the assumption the role of the Pope was analogous to that of Napoleon (an absolute dictator).

        John, the case of St. Meletius of Antioch speaks volumes. Under at a minimum of latae sententiae condonation from Rome, he was seen as an anti-bishop whom Rome fought against and refused to authorize communion with through the life of the saint. Despite this, the Three Cappodocians kept communion with him and pushed for Rome and Alexandria to do likewise. St. Meletius was even made head of the second Ecumenical Council in 381. Ultimately, Rome’s excommunications meant that one was excommunicated from Roman communion, if other bishops wanted to follow suit, that was their business but the Three Cappadocians never did.

        Nota bene: Acacius of Bores (d. 437? aka “the Old man of the Orient”) had been in communion with both St. Meletius and Rome as well (he was at Constsntinople I and even consecrated Meletius’s successor) and, as far as I know, had remained in communion with Rome and Alexandria on the one hand and John of Antioch on their other even in between the close of Ephesus I and the reunion of 433 when both sides had anathematized one another. In fact, he was one of the people who brokered the reunion between the two sides.

        As for Alexandria vetoing a Roman canon. I have not heard of that, but I know the reverse is true because they followed canon 28 of Chalcedon despite Rome’s protestations and even later, during the “universal bishop” controversy involving pope st. Gregory the Great (d. 610) the sees of Antioch and Alexandria were luke warm about St. Gregory’s upset.

      • UbiPetrus2019,

        I did not intend to make a 1-to-1 parallel between the successor of St. Peter and Napolean, only to illustrate an extreme example where the same could be posited as the explanation for what appears to be coercive authority, when it is just a respect for one’s honorific prestige. So I agree that Napolean is far different than the Pope.

        Allow me to make a comment here about St. Meletios. In the first place, I don’t recall St. Damasus *excommunicating* St. Meletios. I see that St. Meletios ran into conflict with Antioch first, and this branched out from there into the Eastern fiasco of the Antiochene schism. Only later did it come to the attention of the West, in particular, Rome and Milan. So whatever issues we are going to illustrate from this scenario, it has to be hashed out in light of the fact that the the Antiochene schism was not, in the first place, a matter of St. Meletios vs St. Damasus, as it sometimes gets portrayed. The situation is far more complex than that.

        The Roman register of this sad event gets touched by Pope St. Boniface (422) who, per Eastern Orthodox principles, was the Head of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 5th century. See here:

        https://erickybarra.org/2017/02/17/pope-st-boniface-i-a-d-422-the-universal-jurisdiction-of-the-see-of-rome/

        As for Canon 28 – What happened to the Apostolic Canon 34 in the requirement of the Head and members to word in Synod? Are you suggesting that the members can “ex esse” apart from the Head, can make irreformable decrees, but the Head “ex esse” cannot?

  11. @Erick Ybarra,

    Thanks for the response!

    What would you say about the Orthodox who object that Philip the Presbyter’s statement at the Council of Ephesus doesn’t contain anything unorthodox, since it doesn’t exclude other bishops from participation in Petrine succession?

    • I would say that it is a silly observation. What would be the point for the legate of Rome to say that if it is an attribute shared by others? I would say this Orthodox person is exercising poor reasoning. The legates in this case were there to “confirm” the decrees of the Council on the basis of their superior authority via the Pope of Rome. To mention something which is a prerogative of all bishops, or more than other bishops, would be completely redundant.

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