Fifth Ecumenical Council

Usually Orthodox and Protestants as well, use what happened in the Fifth Ecumenical Council as an evidence against Rome’s supremacy. I quote to you what happened in this council

A controversy arose out of the writings known as Three Chapters – written by bishops Theodore, Theodoret, and Ibas. Pope Vigilius opposed the condemnation of the Three Chapters. At the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553) the assembled bishops condemned and anathematized Three Chapters. After the council threatened to excommunicate him and remove him from office, Vigilius changed his mind – blaming the devil for misleading him.[103] Bossuet wrote

"These things prove, that in a matter of the utmost importance, disturbing the whole Church, and seeming to belong to the Faith, the decress of sacred council prevail over the decrees of Pontiffs, and the letter of Ibas, though defended by a judgment of the Roman Pontiff could nevertheless be proscribed as heretical."[104]

German theologian Karl Josef von Hefele notes that the council was called " …without the assent of the Pope"

I think what happened is some sort of a conspiracy against the Pope. also the Emperor was involved in this issue and the Pope clearly wasn’t in his side, so the Emperor did all what he could to make his own wish come true, even if that means breaking the rules.

What do you think of such event that usually used as an evidence against Rome ?

One thing I would point out, though this is not a full answer, is that Pope Vigilius had already condemned the doctrine of the Three Chapters five years before the Council was convened, in his letter “Judicatum”, 11 April, 548. For more detail, see the Old Catholic Encyclopedia articles on the Three Chapters, Pope Vigilius, and the Second Council of Constantinople.

Thank you for the answer. :thumbsup:

It certainly can get very confusing due to the shifting meaning of “Three Chapters”!The Three Chapters (tria kephalaia)** were propositions anathematizing: (I) the person and writings** of Theodore of Mopsuestia; (2) certain writings of Theodoret of Cyrus; (3) the letter of Ibas to Maris. **

At a very early stage of the controversy the incriminated writings themselves came to be spoken of as the “Three Chapters”.** In consequence those who refused to anathematize these writings were said to defend the Three Chapters; and, vice versa, those who anathematized them, to condemn the Three Chapters. Thus, that most important work, the “Defensio trium capitulorum” by Facundus, Bishop of Hermiane, was an attack on the anathematization of the writings of Theodore, etc
Thus, in the first meaning, if you defended the Three Chapters, you accepted the anathematizing of the “person and writings of…”

In the second, later meaning, if you defended the Three Chapters, you rejected the anathematizing of the “person and writings of…”

At least that is how I understand it. Let me know if I’m wrong.

FWIW, that doesn’t matter. It is a matter of modern Canon Law that an Ecumenical Council must be convened by a Pope, but it has not always been so. Roman Emperors convened the early Councils. Who calls for the Council doesn’t matter. If Bishops show up, and the Pope ratifies it, it’s a Council. The return address on the invitation is theologically irrelevant.

This is not exactly true. It was Pope Vigilius who WANTED an Ecumenical Council. The point of contention was merely WHERE it was to be held. The Pope wanted a place where there would be a fair representation for Western bishops, but the Emperor wanted it held where the Council would be stacked in favor of those who supported the Emperor’s motives.

But regardless of that disagreement, it is a fact that Pope Vigilius wanted an ecumenical council to decide the matter.


That made things more clear for me.

Thank you so much guys :thumbsup::thumbsup:

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