Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Bloodshed during councils


  • Please log in to reply
129 replies to this topic

#1 Justin Farr

Justin Farr

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:33 AM

"In the Council of Ephesus, which was held in 431 A.D., monks and bishops screamed: "Whoso speaks of two natures is a Nestorius, and let him be cut asunder". A bishop was kicked to death by another bishop in course of their arguments, and 137 corpses were left in a church to attest the convincing reasons by which the most ruffian side proved its orthodoxy. Such were the assemblies of saints who formed the pillars of the structure of Christianity."

There are more such cases in other councils/

And these are considered holy and guided by the Holy Spirit?!

Why did such things occur during these councils if they were guided by God?

#2 Justin Farr

Justin Farr

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 03:21 AM

Well, the citation is somewhat a poor source. http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm

I have only taken it as truth because I have heard and read from more authentic sources in the past of great violence in some of the greater ecumenical councils. But maybe it is all just hearsay?

#3 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,064 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 03:33 AM

I have heard one Bishop slapped another who was in heresy. But not murder. Righteous anger.

Paul

#4 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 06:53 AM

I have heard one Bishop slapped another who was in heresy. But not murder. Righteous anger.


That was St Nicholas who slapped Arius. St Nicholas was temporarily deposed for his action. Naturally, in his Akathist, it only says, 'thou didst convict the foolish Arius'!

#5 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 12:36 PM

As we have seen even in this rather sedate forum (due mostly to the untiring efforts of Fr. Dcn Matthew) emotions can be strong. In many cultures the very concept of compromise is totally alien.

I would certainly like to see some more authoritative sources for this information. The very fact that St. Nicholas was strongly censured for his actions against Arius (however justified they may have been) seems contraindicative of said alledged ruffianism. It is useless to try to "justify" violence that may have never really happened.

Beyond that, "peoples is peoples" and sometimes do things that are regrettable, even Christians.

#6 Anthony Stokes

Anthony Stokes

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 413 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 01:38 PM

I would certainly like to see some more authoritative sources for this information. The very fact that St. Nicholas was strongly censured for his actions against Arius (however justified they may have been) seems contraindicative of said alledged ruffianism.



Sources on this type of thing can be hard to find. I tried to do some research on the Catholic teachings about St. Nicholas, and found that the RCC doesn't necessarily believe that he was even at the Council in the first place. Although we know from the service texts and hagiography that St. Nicholas was present, the documents from the council do not mention him, at least that was what my first round of research found.

Subdeacon Anthony

#7 Michael Stickles

Michael Stickles

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1,438 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 01:55 PM

Well, the citation is somewhat a poor source. http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm

I have only taken it as truth because I have heard and read from more authentic sources in the past of great violence in some of the greater ecumenical councils. But maybe it is all just hearsay?


Poor source is right. The "historical" notes are loaded with so many obvious errors I'd have a hard time picking one place to start; the misunderstanding of the observance of the Lord's Day alone leads me to wonder if they've even read the New Testament. And I have not personally read any accounts of major violence at the councils from a credible source (even if I lower "credible" to mean simply "gives a source for their claims").

I wonder if the some of the claims of violence at the councils were prompted by careless reading of accounts of the councils which included descriptions of the trials suffered by the bishops who had been tortured for their faith. As noted in the account of Marutha of Meparkat:

... Chairs were there made for all and the king entered and sat with them. He kissed the spots which were the marks of Christ in their bodies. Of the 318 fathers, only 11 were free from such marks, whose name were Absalom, Bishop of Edessa, and son of Mar Ephrem's sister, Jonah of Raikson, Mara of Dora, George of Shegar, Jacob of Nisibis, Marouta of Mepairkat, John of Goostia, Shimon of Diarbekir, Adai of Agal, Eusebius of Caesarea and Joseph of Nicomedia. But all the others were more or less maimed in their persecutions from heretics. Some had their eyes taken out; some had their ears cut off. Some had their teeth dug out by the roots. Some had the nails of their fingers and toes torn out; some were otherwise mutilated; in a word there was no one without marks of violence; save the above-named persons. But Thomas, Bishop of Marash was an object almost frightful to look upon; he had been mutilated by the removal of his eyes, nose and lips; his teeth had been dug out and both his legs and arms had been cut off. He had been kept in prison 22 years by the Armanites [Armenians] who used to cut off a member of his body or mutilate him in some way every year, to induce him to consent to their blasphemy, but he conquered in this fearful contest to the glory of believers and to the manifestation of the unmercifulness of the heretics. ...


Picture somebody just scanning along, barely reading every fourth or fifth sentence while waiting for something interesting to grab his eye, when suddenly he gets stopped by "... Some had their eyes taken out; some had their ears cut off. Some had their teeth dug out by the roots. ..." and thinks "Wow! They did that at the councils?!" And he starts telling everybody about it. Maybe there's a more substantive reason why some claim there was major violence at the councils, but until somebody produces it, I'll stick with my theory.

In Christ,
Mike

#8 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:20 PM

I think your theory holds water Mike!

Good job.

In Christ,
Rick

#9 Misha

Misha

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 119 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:21 PM

For our beloved saint Nicholas the wonderworker:

His relics have been stolen by navymen and transferred to Bari(Italy)
In our days orthodox clergy is allowed to do orthodoxy liturgy in the temple where the relics are.
Witnesses say that when an orthodox priest offers the liturgy holy myrrh flows from the relics' case ,which is metal and closed!

#10 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:11 PM

In our days orthodox clergy is allowed to do orthodoxy liturgy in the temple where the relics are.
Witnesses say that when an orthodox priest offers the liturgy holy myrrh flows from the relics' case ,which is metal and closed!


There are a Russian Orthodox clergy at Bari and they celebrate the liturgy at the tomb of St Nicholas - my wife and her parents were there last summer. I believe myrrh does flow. A few years ago, Bishop Eirenaios and some other bishops from Constantinople visited Myra. They celebrated the liturgy in the ruins of the church where St Nicholas' relics originally were and myrrh flowed from his former tomb then.

#11 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 07:20 PM

The Alexandrian bishops (which tended to resort to violence) were over-represented at the Ephesian council, its probable that violence erupted. It was at the pseudo-Alexandrian council also held in Ephesus in 449 a.d. which resulted in the martyrdom of St Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople.

Edited by Kosta, 21 May 2008 - 08:18 PM.


#12 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 21 May 2008 - 07:57 PM

"In the Council of Ephesus, which was held in 431 A.D., monks and bishops screamed: "Whoso speaks of two natures is a Nestorius, and let him be cut asunder". A bishop was kicked to death by another bishop in course of their arguments, and 137 corpses were left in a church to attest the convincing reasons by which the most ruffian side proved its orthodoxy. Such were the assemblies of saints who formed the pillars of the structure of Christianity."

There are more such cases in other councils/

And these are considered holy and guided by the Holy Spirit?!

Why did such things occur during these councils if they were guided by God?



The statement that 137 bodies were left in the church makes no sense. There were only 200 bishops in attendance at that Council of Ephesus to begin with. The Council was heated, and when the Antiochan bishops (who sympathized with their native son Nestorius) arrived late and saw the council was started without them, they began there own council. The population of Ephesus would await for hours outside- for the descision. The Ephesian population eventaully became split between the two camps and violence erupted between them. This also lead to a violent rivalry between the two schools.
The bitterness remained until John of Antioch and Cyril of Alexandria signed the formula of reunion in 433 a.d. which made the Council of Ephesus truly ecumenical.

Edited by Kosta, 21 May 2008 - 08:17 PM.


#13 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 09:25 PM

Poor source is right. The "historical" notes are loaded with so many obvious errors I'd have a hard time picking one place to start; the misunderstanding of the observance of the Lord's Day alone leads me to wonder if they've even read the New Testament. And I have not personally read any accounts of major violence at the councils from a credible source (even if I lower "credible" to mean simply "gives a source for their claims").
....

Maybe there's a more substantive reason why some claim there was major violence at the councils, but until somebody produces it, I'll stick with my theory.

In Christ,
Mike


Hi Michael,

Have you looked into these 2 books:
"There is no crime for those who have Christ, Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire" by Michael Gaddis

http://www.amazon.co...22515382&sr=8-1

and "Voting about God in the Early Church Councils" by Prof Ramsay Macmullen

http://www.amazon.co...22515456&sr=1-1

#14 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 09:33 PM

Chrysostom says in the 32nd section of Homily 1 on the Statues: (bold underline my emphasis)

"32. But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city. And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare , or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God ; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and if any should accuse you, and drag you to the place of justice, follow them there; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels!. For if it be necessary to punish those who blaspheme an earthly king, much more so those who insult God."

http://www.newadvent...hers/190101.htm

What a contrast to Jesus' teaching in Matt 5:43-46

"43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

Any thoughts?

#15 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:01 PM

Here are some little thoughts from a bear of little brain, if I may be permitted such folly.

Different time and different age than the one we live in first off. For another thing, St. John is not talking about enemies. In those days many societies thought nothing about killing one's enemies and their families. He is not talking about killing enemies but about disciplining the Church. You discipline those you love and violent means of discipline (well short of death obviously) were seen as acceptable back then. St. John was emphasizing to his flock the importance of not blaspheming. I doubt he would get away with that today, I doubt he would say such things today. He was speaking at a time and place where pretty much everyone was ASSUMED to be Christian, or to at least respect Christian beliefs. It definitely wasn't today.

Herman the "give me that REALLY Old Time Religion™" Pooh

#16 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:50 PM

We also see the same thing in the monastic tradition up until the last half or so of the 20thc. Growing up in a society in which this was part of daily life as a standard method of correction perhaps it can be said that what was standard then was equivalent to a sharp verbal rebuke now. In other words physical correction of a certain type wasn't seen as violence so it wasn't received even by children as such.

I recall one math teacher we had from Australia who had the habit of silently creeping up behind any of the boys who were engaged in mischief and cracking them on the top of their head with his knuckles. I myself once received this 'medical treatment' and soon mended my ways.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#17 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:28 AM

Here are some little thoughts from a bear of little brain, if I may be permitted such folly.

Different time and different age than the one we live in first off. For another thing, St. John is not talking about enemies. In those days many societies thought nothing about killing one's enemies and their families. He is not talking about killing enemies but about disciplining the Church. You discipline those you love and violent means of discipline (well short of death obviously) were seen as acceptable back then. St. John was emphasizing to his flock the importance of not blaspheming. I doubt he would get away with that today, I doubt he would say such things today. He was speaking at a time and place where pretty much everyone was ASSUMED to be Christian, or to at least respect Christian beliefs. It definitely wasn't today.

Herman the "give me that REALLY Old Time Religion™" Pooh


Don't you already have that old time religion?: today's leading Calvinists make the exact same argument you make above when confronted with the crime that Calvin committed in murdering Servetus by having him burned at the stake. They are still guffawing about it 500 years later.



#18 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:46 AM

We also see the same thing in the monastic tradition up until the last half or so of the 20thc. Growing up in a society in which this was part of daily life as a standard method of correction perhaps it can be said that what was standard then was equivalent to a sharp verbal rebuke now. In other words physical correction of a certain type wasn't seen as violence so it wasn't received even by children as such.

I recall one math teacher we had from Australia who had the habit of silently creeping up behind any of the boys who were engaged in mischief and cracking them on the top of their head with his knuckles. I myself once received this 'medical treatment' and soon mended my ways.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael


Your analogy is flawed in many respects, in my view. It is one thing to discipline for a teacher or a parent to discipline a child, but to create some moral equivalence between that and the instruction to 'smite' grown men strikes me as strange. Hasn't history shown that unlike the case with children, doing such to adults will generate nothing but retailation and a worsening of conflict? Entire wars have been ignited over this principle of gratuitous violence.

Further, this type of a defense strikes me as incredibly inconsistent. How can one nod approvingly of such, and yet affirm with the saints that the passions are indeed to be conquered, or that humility and meekness is the path to theosis? I guess some passions are created more equal than others?

Did the Lord Jesus smite anyone who blasphemed him? And they were many. Aren't we called to be imitators of Christ?

#19 Michael Stickles

Michael Stickles

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1,438 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:16 AM

Have you looked into these 2 books:
"There is no crime for those who have Christ, Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire" by Michael Gaddis
...
and "Voting about God in the Early Church Councils" by Prof Ramsay Macmullen


Never heard of them until I read your post. By all means, if there is a specific instance of violence at the councils mentioned in either of them, feel free to post it along with the reference. I'll only be able to look it up if it's from the first one; the second isn't in any of our local libraries.

#20 Michael Stickles

Michael Stickles

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1,438 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:48 AM

What a contrast to Jesus' teaching in Matt 5:43-46

"43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?


Not a contrast at all. Read further down in St. John Chrysostom's homily (emphasis added; I also substituted "donkey" for the term that gets asterisked out):

If, perchance, we see a donkey fallen down, we all make haste to stretch out a hand to raise him up. Yet we neglect our perishing brethren! The blasphemer is a donkey; unable to bear the burden of his anger, he has fallen. Come forward and raise him up, both by words and by deeds; and both by meekness and by vehemence; let the medicine be various.


This, then, is also the answer to another point you raised:

Further, this type of a defense strikes me as incredibly inconsistent. How can one nod approvingly of such, and yet affirm with the saints that the passions are indeed to be conquered, or that humility and meekness is the path to theosis? I guess some passions are created more equal than others?


We are not here dealing with passions at all, but with discipline, soberly applied with a view to restoring the brother to a right standing with God. If this is not the aim - if the discipline is applied out of rage or vengeance or some other passionate impulse - then it is not even remotely what St. John is talking about.

Also, note that St. John's first recommendation is verbal chastisment, with physical chastisement the last resort: "And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so." I think it is clear that he is not, as you seem to think, advocating "gratuitous violence".

In Christ,
Michael




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users