First Council of Constantinople
The First Council of Constantinople was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed, dealt with sundry other matters, it met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon. When Theodosius ascended to the imperial throne in 380, he began on a campaign to bring the Eastern Church back to Nicene Christianity. Theodosius wanted to further unify the entire empire behind the orthodox position and decided to convene a church council to resolve matters of faith and discipline. Gregory Nazianzus was of similar mind. In the spring of 381 they convened the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople; the Council of Nicaea in 325 had not ended the Arian controversy which it had been called to clarify.
Arius and his sympathizers, e.g. Eusebius of Nicomedia were admitted back into the church after ostensibly accepting the Nicene creed. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, the most vocal opponent of Arianism, was exiled through the machinations of Eusebius of Nicomedia. After the death of Constantine I in 337 and the accession of his Arian-leaning son Constantius II, open discussion of replacing the Nicene creed itself began. Up until about 360, theological debates dealt with the divinity of the Son, the second person of the Trinity. However, because the Council of Nicaea had not clarified the divinity of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, it became a topic of debate; the Macedonians denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. This was known as Pneumatomachianism. Nicene Christianity had its defenders: apart from Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers' Trinitarian discourse was influential in the council at Constantinople. Apollinaris of Laodicea, another pro-Nicene theologian, proved controversial.
In an over-reaction to Arianism and its teaching that Christ was not God, he taught that Christ consisted of a human body and a divine mind, rejecting Christ having a human mind. He was charged with confounding the persons of the Godhead, with giving in to the heretical ways of Sabellius. Basil of Caesarea accused him of abandoning the literal sense of the scripture, taking up wholly with the allegorical sense, his views were condemned in a Synod at Alexandria, under Athanasius of Alexandria, in 362, subdivided into several different heresies, the main ones of which were the Polemians and the Antidicomarianites. Theodosius' strong commitment to Nicene Christianity involved a calculated risk because Constantinople, the imperial capital of the Eastern Empire, was solidly Arian. To complicate matters, the two leading factions of Nicene Christianity in the East, the Alexandrians and the supporters of Meletius in Antioch, were "bitterly divided... to the point of complete animosity". The bishops of Alexandria and Rome had worked over a number of years to keep the see of Constantinople from stabilizing.
Thus, when Gregory was selected as a candidate for the bishopric of Constantinople, both Alexandria and Rome opposed him because of his Antiochene background. The incumbent bishop of Constantinople was a Homoian Arian. On his accession to the imperial throne, Theodosius offered to confirm Demophilus as bishop of the imperial city on the condition of accepting the Nicene Creed. After forty years under the control of Arian bishops, the churches of Constantinople were now restored to those who subscribed to the Nicene Creed. There ensued. A group led by Maximus the Cynic gained the support of Patriarch Peter of Alexandria by playing on his jealousy of the newly created see of Constantinople, they conceived a plan to install a cleric subservient to Peter as bishop of Constantinople so that Alexandria would retain the leadership of the Eastern Churches. Many commentators characterize Maximus as having been proud and ambitious. However, it is not clear the extent to which Maximus sought this position due to his own ambition or if he was a pawn in the power struggle.
In any event, the plot was set into motion when, on a night when Gregory was confined by illness, the conspirators burst into the cathedral and commenced the consecration of Maximus as bishop of Constantinople. They had seated Maximus on the archiepiscopal throne and had just begun shearing away his long curls when the day dawned; the news of what was transpiring spread and everybody rushed to the church. The magistrates appeared with their officers; the news of the brazen attempt to usurp the episcopal throne aroused the anger of the local populace among whom Gregory was popular. Maximus withdrew to Thessalonica to lay his cause before the emperor but met with a cold reception there. Theodosius committed the matter to Ascholius, the much respected bishop of Thessalonica, charging him to seek the counsel of Pope Damasus I. Damasus' response repudiated Maximus summarily and advised Theodosius to summ
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. This progression was connected to established Jewish centers in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora; the first followers of Christianity were Jews or proselytes referred to as Jewish Christians and God-fearers. The Apostolic sees claim to have been founded by one or more of the apostles of Jesus, who are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem sometime after the crucifixion of Jesus, c. 26–36 following the Great Commission. Early Christians gathered in small private homes, known as house churches, but a city's whole Christian community would be called a church – the Greek noun ἐκκλησία means assembly, gathering, or congregation but is translated as church in most English translations of the New Testament. Many of these Early Christians were merchants and others who had practical reasons for traveling to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia and other places. Over 40 such communities were established by the year 100, many in Anatolia known as Asia Minor, such as the Seven churches of Asia.
By the end of the first century, Christianity had spread to Rome and major cities in Armenia and Syria, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity throughout the world. Jerusalem was the first center of the church, according to the Book of Acts, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the location of "the first Christian church"; the apostles taught there for some time after Pentecost. James, the brother of Jesus was a leader in the church, his other kinsmen held leadership positions in the surrounding area after the destruction of the city until its rebuilding as Aelia Capitolina, c. 130, when all Jews were banished from the city. In about 50, Barnabas and Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with the "pillars of the church", James and John. Called the Council of Jerusalem, this meeting, among other things, confirmed the legitimacy of the mission of Barnabas and Paul to the gentiles, the gentile converts' freedom from most Mosaic law circumcision, repulsive to the Hellenic mind.
Thus, the Apostolic Decree may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots although the decree may parallel Jewish Noahide Law and thus be a commonality rather than a differential. In the same time period Rabbinic Judaism made their circumcision requirement of Jewish boys stricter; when Peter left Jerusalem after Herod Agrippa I tried to kill him, James appears as the principal authority. Clement of Alexandria called him Bishop of Jerusalem. A second-century church historian, wrote that the Sanhedrin martyred him in 62. In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome. Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, the city fell in 70; the city, including the Temple, was destroyed and the population was killed or removed. According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt. According to Epiphanius of Salamis, the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian's visit in 130. A scattered population survived.
The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia. Prophecies of the Second Temple's destruction are found in the synoptics in the Olivet Discourse. In the 2nd century, Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina, erecting statues of Jupiter and himself on the site of the former Jewish Temple, the Temple Mount. Bar Cochba led an unsuccessful revolt as a Messiah, but Christians refused to acknowledge him as such; when Bar Cochba was defeated, Hadrian barred Jews from the city, except for the day of Tisha B'Av, thus the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were gentiles for the first time. The general significance of Jerusalem to Christians entered a period of decline during the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, but resumed again with the pilgrimage of Helena to the Holy Land c. 326–28. According to the church historian Socrates of Constantinople, Helena claimed to have found the cross of Christ, after removing a Temple to Venus, built over the site. Jerusalem had received special recognition in Canon VII of Nicaea in 325.
The traditional founding date for the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre is 313 which corresponds with the date of the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Jerusalem was named as one of the Pentarchy, but this was never accepted by the church of Rome. See East–West Schism#Prospects for reconciliation. Antioch, a major center of Hellenistic Greece, the third-most important city of the Roman Empire part of Syria Province, today a ruin near Antakya, was where Christians were first called Christians and the location of the Incident at Antioch, it was the site of an early church, traditionally said to be founded by Peter, considered the first bishop. The Gospel of Matthew and the Apostolic Constitutions may have been written there; the church father Ignatius of Antioch was its third bishop. The School of Antioch, founded in 270, was one of two major centers of early church learning; the Curetonian Gospels and the Syriac Sinaiticus are two early New Testament text types associated with Syriac Christianity.
It was one of the three whose bishops were recognized at the First Council of Nicaea as exercising jur
Marmarica in ancient geography was a littoral area in Ancient Libya, located between Cyrenaica and Aegyptus. It corresponds to what is now the Libya and Egypt frontier, including the towns of Bomba, Tobruk, Bardiya, As-Salum, Sidi Barrani; the territory stretched to the far south, encompassing the Siwa Oasis, which at the time was known for its sanctuary to the deity Amun. The eastern part of Marmarica, by some geographers considered a separate district between Marmarica and Aegyptus, was known as Libycus Nomus. In late antiquity, Marmarica was known as Libya Inferior, while Cyrenaica was known as Libya Superior. Libya was considered as the part of Africa west of the Nile, more west of the mouth of the Nile at Canopus; the periplus of Scylax of Caryanda names the Adyrmachidae as the first people of Libya. Marmarica proper was delimited towards the east by the escarpment of Catabathmus Magnus, now known as Akabah el-Kebir, at Salum; the geographers of the Hellenistic period included Egypt in the continent of Asia, drew the boundary between Asia and Africa at this point.
Under the Roman Empire, Marmarica included the Libycus Nomus, located between the Catabathmus and the Bay of Plinthine. This area had been considered part of Egypt; the city of Paraetonium was the westernmost town of Egypt, for which reason it together with Pelusium was known as the "horns of Egypt". About 10 stadia west of Paraetonium was Apis. Menelaus Portus, according to tradition founded by Menelaus, was known as the site of the death of Agesilaus II; the inhabitants of Marmarica were known generically as Marmaridae, but they are given the special names of Adyrmachidae and Giligammae in the coastal districts, of Nasamones and Augilae in the interior. The Adyrmachidae are said to have differed from the nomadic tribes of the country resembling the Egyptians; the territory south of the Libyan Nomos was inhabited by the Ammonii, centered on the celebrated and fertile oasis of Ammon Both Cyrenaica and Marmarica were included in the diocese of Egypt in the 4th century, within the larger Praetorian prefecture of the East.
Ancient episcopal sees of the Roman province of Marmarica or Libya Inferior listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees: For the sees of Libya Superior see Cyrenaica. North Africa during Antiquity Butnan District Matrouh Governorate Libyan Desert Charles Anthon, A system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges, Harper & brothers, 1855, 722-224. George Kish, A Source book in geography, Harvard University Press, 1978, ISBN 978-0-674-82270-2, p. 24. Leonhard Schmitz, A manual of ancient geography and Lea, 1857, 383-384
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Hosius of Corduba, one of the papal legates, may have presided over its deliberations, its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the divine nature of God the Son and his relationship to God the Father, the construction of the first part of the Nicene Creed, establishing uniform observance of the date of Easter, promulgation of early canon law. The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.
Derived from Greek, "ecumenical" means "worldwide" but is assumed to be limited to the known inhabited Earth, at this time in history is synonymous with the Roman Empire. One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been'begotten' by the Father from his own being, therefore having no beginning, or else created out of nothing, therefore having a beginning. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly. Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate Easter, the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar, decreed in an epistle to the Church of Alexandria in, stated:We send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you.
Significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, the Council was the first occasion where the technical aspects of Christology were discussed. Through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt canons; this council is considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity. The First Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of Córdoba in the Eastertide of 325; this synod had been charged with investigation of the trouble brought about by the Arian controversy in the Greek-speaking east. To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were dangerous to the salvation of souls. In the summer of 325, the bishops of all provinces were summoned to Nicaea, a place reasonably accessible to many delegates those of Asia Minor, Armenia, Egypt and Thrace; this was the first general council in the history of the Church summoned by emperor Constantine I.
In the Council of Nicaea, "The Church had taken her first great step to define revealed doctrine more in response to a challenge from a heretical theology." Constantine had invited all 1,800 bishops of the Christian church within the Roman Empire, but a smaller and unknown number attended. Eusebius of Caesarea counted more than 250, Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318, Eustathius of Antioch estimated "about 270". Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300, Evagrius, Hilary of Poitiers, Dionysius Exiguus, Rufinus recorded 318; this number 318 is preserved in the liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Delegates came including Britain; the participating bishops were given free travel to and from their episcopal sees to the council, as well as lodging. These bishops did not travel alone. Eusebius speaks of an innumerable host of accompanying priests and acolytes. A Syriac manuscript lists the names of the eastern bishops which included twenty two from Coele-Syria, nineteen from Palestine, ten from Phoenicia, six from Arabia, etc. but the distinction of bishops from presbyters had not yet formed.
The Eastern bishops formed the great majority. Of these, the first rank was held by the patriarchs: Alexander of Alexandria and Eustathius of Antioch. Many of the assembled fathers—for instance, Paphnutius of Thebes, Potamon of Heraclea, Paul of Neocaesarea—had stood forth as confessors of the faith a
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis. The term referred to the bishop of the chief city of a historical Roman province, whose authority in relation to the other bishops of the province was recognized by the First Council of Nicaea; the bishop of the provincial capital, the metropolitan, enjoyed certain rights over other bishops in the province called suffragan bishops. The term is applied in a similar sense to the bishop of the chief episcopal see of an ecclesiastical province; the head of such a metropolitan see has the rank of archbishop and is therefore called the metropolitan archbishop of the ecclesiastical province. Metropolitan bishops preside over synods of the bishops of their ecclesiastical province, are granted special privileges by canon law and tradition. In some churches, such as the Church of Greece, a metropolis is a rank granted to all episcopal sees, their bishops are all called the title of archbishop being reserved for the primate.
See also: Catholic Church hierarchy and Diocesan bishop In the Latin Church, an ecclesiastical province, composed of several neighbouring dioceses, is headed by a metropolitan, the archbishop of the diocese designated by the Pope. The other bishops are known as suffragan bishops; the metropolitan's powers over dioceses other than his own are limited to supervising observance of faith and ecclesiastical discipline and notifying the Supreme Pontiff of any abuses. The metropolitan has the liturgical privilege of celebrating sacred functions throughout the province, as if he were a bishop in his own diocese, provided only that, if he celebrates in a cathedral church, the diocesan bishop has been informed beforehand; the metropolitan is obliged to request the pallium, a symbol of the power that, in communion with the Church of Rome, he possesses over his ecclesiastical province. This holds if he had the pallium in another metropolitan see, it is the responsibility of the metropolitan, with the consent of the majority of the suffragan bishops, to call a provincial council, decide where to convene it, determine the agenda.
It is his prerogative to preside over the provincial council. No provincial council can be called. All Latin Rite metropolitans are archbishops. Titular archbishops are never metropolitans; as of April 2006, 508 archdioceses were headed by metropolitan archbishops, 27 archbishops lead an extant archdiocese, but were not metropolitans, there were 89 titular archbishops. See Catholic Church hierarchy for the distinctions. In those Eastern Catholic Churches that are headed by a patriarch, metropolitans in charge of ecclesiastical provinces hold a position similar to that of metropolitans in the Latin Church. Among the differences is that Eastern Catholic metropolitans within the territory of the patriarchate are to be ordained and enthroned by the patriarch, who may ordain and enthrone metropolitans of sees outside that territory that are part of his Church. A metropolitan has the right to ordain and enthrone the bishops of his province; the metropolitan is to be commemorated in the liturgies celebrated within his province.
A major archbishop is defined as the metropolitan of a certain see who heads an autonomous Eastern Church not of patriarchal rank. The canon law of such a Church differs only from that regarding a patriarchal Church. Within major archiepiscopal churches, there may be ecclesiastical provinces headed by metropolitan bishops. There are autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches consisting of a single province and headed by a metropolitan. Metropolitans of this kind are to obtain the pallium from the Pope as a sign of his metropolitan authority and of his Church's full communion with the Pope, only after his investment with it can he convoke the Council of Hierarchs and ordain the bishops of his autonomous Church. In his autonomous Church it is for him to ordain and enthrone bishops and his name is to be mentioned after that of the Pope in the liturgy. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the title of metropolitan is used variously, in terms of rank and jurisdiction. In terms of rank, in some Eastern Orthodox Churches metropolitans are ranked above archbishops in precedence, while in others that order is reversed.
Primates of autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches below patriarchal rank are designated as archbishops. In the Greek Orthodox Churches, archbishops are ranked above metropolitans in precedence; the reverse is true for some Slavic Orthodox Churches and for Romanian Orthodox Church, where metropolitans rank above archbishops and the title can be used for important regional or historical sees. In terms of jurisdiction, there are two basic types of metropolitans in Eastern Orthodox Church: real metropolitans, with actual jurisdiction over their ecclesiastical provinces, honorary metropolitans who
Pope Vitalian reigned from 30 July 657 to his death in 672. He was born in Segni, the son of Anastasius. After the death of Pope Eugene I on 2 or 3 June 657, Vitalian was elected his successor, was consecrated and enthroned on 30 July, he kept his baptismal name as pope. Like Eugene, Vitalian tried to restore the connection with Constantinople by making friendly advances to the Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II and to prepare the way for the settlement of the Monothelite controversy, he sent letters announcing his elevation to the Emperor and to Patriarch Peter of Constantinople, inclined to Monothelitism. The Emperor confirmed the privileges of the Holy See as head of the Catholic Church and sent to Rome a codex of the Gospels in a cover of gold richly ornamented with precious stones as a good-will gesture; the Patriarch Peter replied, although his answer was somewhat noncommittal as to Monothelitism, a belief he defended. In his letter, he gave the impression of being in accord with the pope, whose letter to Peter had expounded the Catholic Faith.
Thus ecclesiastical intercourse between Rome and Constantinople was restored, but the mutual reserve over the dogmatic question of Monothelitism remained. Vitalian's name was entered on the diptychs of the churches in Byzantium—the only name of a pope so entered between the reign of Honorius I and the Sixth Ecumenical Council of 680–81; the inclusion of Vitalian's name on the diptych was seen by some as being too conciliatory towards heresy, but that charge was unfounded. Vitalian showed reciprocity toward Constans when the latter came to Rome in 663 to spend twelve days there during a campaign against the Lombards. On 5 July, the pope and members of the Roman clergy met the Emperor at the sixth milestone and accompanied him to St. Peter's Basilica, where the Emperor offered gifts; the following Sunday, Constans went in state to St. Peter's, offered a pallium wrought with gold, was present during the Mass celebrated by the pope; the Emperor dined with the pope on the following Saturday, attended Mass again on Sunday at St. Peter's, after Mass took leave of the pope.
On his departure Constans removed a large number of bronze artworks, including the bronze tiles from the roof of the Pantheon, dedicated to Christian worship. Constans moved on to Sicily, oppressed the population, was assassinated at Syracuse in 668. Vitalian supported Constans' son Constantine IV against the usurper Mezezius and thus helped him attain the throne; as Constantine had no desire to maintain the Monothelite decree of his father, Pope Vitalian made use of this inclination to take a more decided stand against Monothelitism and to win the Emperor over to orthodoxy. In this latter attempt, however, he did not succeed; the Monothelite Patriarch Theodore I of Constantinople removed Vitalian's name from the diptychs. It was not until the Sixth Ecumenical Council that Monothelitism was suppressed and Vitalian's name was replaced on the diptychs of the churches in Byzantium. Pope Vitalian was successful in improving relations with England, where the Anglo-Saxon and British clergies were divided regarding various ecclesiastical customs.
At the Synod of Whitby, King Oswy of Northumberland accepted Roman practices regarding the keeping of Easter and the shape of the tonsure. Together with King Ecgberht of Kent, he sent the priest Wighard to Rome, to be consecrated there after the death of Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury in 664, but Wighard died at Rome of the plague. Vitalian wrote to King Oswy promising to send a suitable bishop to England as soon as possible. Hadrian, abbot of a Neapolitan abbey, was selected. At his recommendation a educated monk, Theodore of Tarsus, who understood both Latin and Greek, was chosen as Archbishop of Canterbury and consecrated on 26 March 668. Accompanied by Abbot Hadrian, Theodore went to England, where he was recognized as the head of the Church of England; the archiepiscopal See of Ravenna reported directly to Rome. Archbishop Maurus sought to end this dependence, thus make his see autocephalous; when Pope Vitalian called upon him to justify his theological views, he refused to obey and declared himself independent of Rome, thus becoming a schismatic.
The pope excommunicated him, but Maurus did not submit, went so far as to declare the pope excommunicated. Emperor Constans II sided with the archbishop and issued an edict removing the Archbishop of Ravenna from the patriarchal jurisdiction of Rome, he ordained. The successor of Maurus, was in fact consecrated in 671, it was not until the reign of Pope Leo II that the independence of the See of Ravenna was suppressed: Emperor Constantine IV revoked the edict of Constans and confirmed the ancient rights of the Roman See over the See of Ravenna. Vitalian enforced his authority as supreme pontiff in the Eastern regions of the Church. Bishop John of Lappa had been deposed by a synod under the presidency of the Metropolitan Paulus. John was imprisoned by Paulus for so doing, he escaped and went to Rome, where Vitalian held a synod in December 667 to investigate the matter and pronounced John guiltless. He wrote to Paulus demanding the restoration of John to his diocese and the return of the monasteries, unjustly taken from him.
At the same time the pope directed the metropolitan to remove two deacons who had married after consecration. The introduction of church organ music is traditionally believed to date from the time of Vitalian's papacy. Vitalian died on January 27, 672. Venerated as a saint by the Catholic church, his feast day is celebrated each year on January 27. Li