Dear Fr. Raphael,
+irini nem ehmot,
It says here only that questions were asked about the Tome by the Illyrian bishops but then, "the answers were found satisfactory" which presumably refers to the Orthodoxy of the Tome.
The point I was trying to make is that there was already a stigma attached to the Tome prior to Chalcedon, which had aroused the suspicion of many before and even at that Council—the Illyrian Bishops, the Palestinian Bishops, and certain other individual Bishops. The pressure applied by the Roman legates and the Imperial commissioners to procure acceptance of the Tome lead these men to request a five day delay in order to investigate the Tome; ultimately they managed to accept it.
One of the Palestinian Bishops, Juvenal of Jerusalem, had in fact already investigated the Tome prior to the convening of Chalcedon, and he found it to be so undeniably Nestorian to the extent that before his departure to Chalcedon he gathered his congregation together and instructed them to resist his authority if he were ever discovered to have changed his mind with respect to the Tome upon his return from Chalcedon. Obedient as the Jerusalem flock were, they followed through with his words, and their resistance was met with severe imperial force.
The ill-reputation of the Tome amongst many Orthodox was further confirmed by the fact that Nestorians appealed to it as support for their cause. In fact it was none other than Nestorius himself who, whilst in exile from the time of his ex-communication at Ephesus 431, looked upon the Tome as a victory of the doctrines he struggled so hard to infect the Church with. Church historian Professor Henry Chadwick states: “Nestorius, reading the tome in his lonely exile, left that the truth had been vindicated at last, and that he could die in peace.” (The Early Church, p. 202)
From my own reading I would say that the Council's ambivalence about Dioscoros probably reflected the ambivalence of the Church at large.
It is clear that many loved St. Dioscoros, particularly the Church of Alexandria which solidly stood loyal towards him to the extent that many died for the sake of upholding his integrity. It was a bloody day in Alexandria when the congregation refused to betray their Patriarch in exile by refusing to submit to the one enforced upon them by the imperial authorities. The Church recognised St. Dioscoros as their leader till his very death, and he has been a Saint of the OO Church ever since (which was quite a significant representation of the "Church at large" at that time--OO's still significantly outnumber the EO's in the lands of the ancient Patriarchal Sees). St. Dioscoros has not only been received in the tradition of the Church as a teacher and confessor of the faith, but also as a holy man according to his works and deeds--a lover of the poor and oppressed who, even during the time of his own oppression whilst in exile, refused to accept the sympathies of his loved ones but rather turned them away and expended his time and energy to serve the needy on the Island of Gangra, performing many great signs amongst them.
Nevertheless, there were those who held an ill-inclined attitude towards St. Dioscoros, but such was also the case with his predecessors—Sts. Cyril and Athanasius. We must go beyond mere observation of the various attitudes held towards and against St. Dioscoros and investigate their underlying basis.
When Eutyches was accepted back at Ephesus in 449 by Dioscoros was this the result of Eutyches being called to account for himself or was it from Dioscoros' ongoing efforts to rehabilitate him from the time of his original condemnation by the synod under Flavian in Constantinople?
Most certainly the former; there is simply no evidence to suggest the latter. The Council of Ephesus 449 which lead to the exoneration of Eutyches was convened neither by the express will or authority of St. Dioscoros, nor was St. Disocoros’ presidency over that Council due to his express will. The Council was convened by the Emperor upon consideration of the personal appeal of Eutyches himself, and St. Dioscoros was president of that Council by virtue of his position as the Pope and Patriarch of the See of Alexandria and by the express command of the Emperor.
Furthermore, your terminology expresses a fundamental presupposition that underlies one of the great misjustices of St. Dioscoros’ trial at Chalcedon. You indicate the belief that: “Eutyches was accepted back at Ephesus in 449 by Dioscoros”—I must emphasise to you that Eutyches was not accepted back into the Church by St. Dioscoros, but rather he was accepted conciliarly
. As Professor R.V. Sellers notes: “To bring these proceedings to a close, Dioscorus then requested each Bishop to state his opinion concerning the Orthodoxy of Eutyches, and, beginning with Juvenal and Domnus, one hundred and eleven Bishops, Basil and Seleuces among them, together with the abbot Barsumas, accepted his confession of faith and agreed that he should be reinstated.” (The Council of Chalcedon, p. 79)
The fact of Ephesus being considered a Robber Council in Constantinople as well as in Rome led some to question Dioscoros' motives
Well for us OO's, the fact that Ephesus 449 was labelled a Robber Council by Leo of Rome leads us to question Leo’s motivations. From our perspective, it was termed the Robber Synod because the Synod had, from the perspective of Leo of Rome, robbed him of his sense of supremacy over Church affairs when it failed to entertain his Tome.
All contrary explanations which attempt to impute some sort of criminal guilt on St. Dioscoros are no more or less akin to the very same charges brought upon his Alexandrian predecessors (particularly Sts. Athanasius and Cyril, both who were charged with some pretty outrageous things) time and time again, and as with those very charges there is a lack of evidentiary basis and in fact a contradiction with what the actual evidence indicates.
In fact, reading through the minutes of Chalcedon where one such charge, particularly that of aggression and force, is discussed, St. Dioscoros pretty much prudently exposes the contradiction in his accuser’s testimonies. When his accusers realised that the untenability and fallacy of their concocted charges had been exposed, many of them renounced their lies and openly cried for St. Dioscoros’ forgiveness.
That is why even though there were those who had a difficult time accepting Chalcedon and the Tome of Leo after 451 much of this was not at all like the clear rejection of the future by what became a non-Chalcedonian church.
The rejection of Chalcedon was quite clear and blatant; in fact the Church held an (essentially) Ecumenical Council (though it is not officially labelled as such) just 20 years after Chalcedon in the year 475; it was presided by St. Dioscoros’ successor St. Timothy and was quite well-represented. This Council re-affirmed the Church’s anathematisation of Nestorius and then went on to anathematise Eutyches and the Council of Chalcedon.
The only confusion, and one which blurred any real distinction between a “Chalcedonian Church” and a “non-Chalcedonian Church” , at that time arose by virtue of the very fact that each side was still holding to the hope that the other side would compromise its position on Chalcedon: Non-Chalcedonians were waiting it out in the hope that those who supported Chalcedon would relinquish their support of it, and vice versa. It is only when all immediate re-union efforts failed to realise the anticipated compromise that a clear distinction and division came to light.
Chalcedon was the effort to provide a way forward for maturing the vision of the Church by setting before it another way of speaking and thinking (ie St Leo representing a Roman vision). But there is no good reason to reject this unless we are to maintain we are a Church which can see only through one lens.
I guess I’d make the same point to you here as I did to Orthodox11: One cannot truly empathise with the OO position if they are to consider particular theological “visions” in a vacuum.
For the OO’s, the adament defence of Alexandrian Christology was neither motivated by a sense of nationalistic pride in the Alexandrian tradition, nor a sense of narrow-mindedness that prohibits consideration of alternative traditions. Rather, it was motivated by the legitimate concern of maintaining the integrity of the underlying Dogmatic Tradition expressed through Alexandrian terminology, against tampering and manipulation by the heretics—a tampering and manipulation that was commonly manifest throughout Church history in the form of an abuse of terminology. The only language at that time that the Nestorians could not tamper with, and which hence served as a clear dividing fence between heresy and Orthodoxy was Alexandrian Christological language.
As discussed earlier, the Tome of Leo gave Nestorius a sense of victory whilst he was in exile; history later reveals that Chalcedon gave rise to a group of Nestorians who upheld Chalcedon whilst commemorating the death of Nestorius. We also hear of Chalcedonians who upheld Chalcedon whilst promoting the Christology of Nestorius’ teacher—Theodore. You see, even if we were to accept the argument that the intent of Chalcedon was Orthodox—its ambiguity leading to its service to the regeneration of an already condemned heresy, and its consequent rejection by many Orthodox, laity and clergy alike, cast doubt on just how much authority and respect is really due to it.
Turmoil also is no good reason for having failed. After all there is something similar about what came before and after Nicea when there was a tremendous struggle over language and various ways of using this.
Consequent turmoil per se is certainly no good reason for deeming Chalcedon a failed Council. It all comes down to the issues of why
But then the Church managed to achieve out of the turmoil a language which takes into account the best of different theological tendencies within the Church.
I cannot find this interpretation to hold water with respect to any of the Ecumenical Councils, and one that is in fact contradicted by the third Ecumenical Council which was strictly of an Alexandrian flavour, or, to put it in terms more relevant to the issue at hand, was a vindication of the Alexandrian flavour over and above the Antiochian flavour. That is not to say that the Fathers of Ephesus thought there to be something intrinsically wrong with the Antiochian Christological tradition, but in terms of the primary concern of that Council—a practical concern to deal with the problems threatening the Faith of the Church in that immediate historical context (i.e. Nestorianism), it was Alexandrian Christology that had to be vindicated because it was Alexandrian Christology that best expressed Orthodox Christology to the negation of Nestorian Christology
, whereas Antiochian Christology was, on the contrary, liable to abuse by the Nestorians regardless of any possible Orthodox intent that may lie behind it.
The Fathers were concerned with providing and dogmatising the best expression of Orthodox Christology to the negation of heresy
, they were not concerned with “[taking] into account the best of different theological tendencies within the Church”.
Furthermore, even if that were so, Chalcedon certain didn’t take the “best” of the Alexandrian expression of the unity of Christ’s natures. In fact St. Severos was the one who suggested that had Chalcedon incorporated the Cyrillian “One Nature” formula along with the rest of what it had incorporated, that this may have sufficed in clarifying the ambiguity that lay with Chalcedon, both for the sake of maintaining unity with the many Orthodox who opposed it, and for the sake of not blurring the division between Orthodoxy and Nestorianism.
In IC XC